Sunday, December 18, 2011

Oh, What a Lovely Weekend!

Christmas is fast approaching, and it's hard to believe that Christmas is only 7 days away!  This year has flown by, but it's been so good that I haven't minded.  I realized last week that I was WAY behind on several of my holiday season obligations festivities, primarily baking Christmas cookies and giving gifts and cards to my co-workers.  That's where I've been slacking this year.  I seriously needed to catch up, so I dedicated this weekend to baking.  That covers the food demands and gifts for co-workers, and makes the hubby uber happy.

This weekend I had the pleasure of having my sweet sister Kelly come to visit.  She came on Saturday morning, and we promptly went out to Wright's for lunch.  It was delish as always, but the lind was out of control!  When we got in line, the line was out to the curb!!  I've never waited in such a long line there, but it was worth it.  Afterward, we decided to be brave and stop by Wal-Mart and Sweet Bay, where we were searching for Christmas colored non-pareils.  I'd searched Publix and Target for them a few days ago, but no one has them this year!  We struck out at Wal-Mart too, but I did see the product below that I thought was pretty amusing:
It's a Snack Size bag of cookie mix.  Leave it to Wal-Mart to serve the person who wants to make some cookies, but not enough to leave any evidence after their snacking is over.  I'd have never imagined needing this product in Snack Size form, but it's sold at Wally World nonetheless. 
Anyway, after shopping trip was over, Kelly and I came home and worked on cookies.  We started by rolling and baking oodles of sugar cookies, then moved on to mint chocolate sugar cookies, snickerdoodles and M&M cookies.  We also whipped up a batch of white chocolate covered pretzels and buckeyes.  Here are a few pics of our baking extravaganza:

There we are in our awesome aprons.  We hadn't gotten dirty at this point.
Here was our primary workstation, completely surrounded by baking supplies.  Oh the joys of a tiny kitchen!  The vino helped make the experience all the more delightful.
 
Here's our cooling station. The stackable wire racks were definitely the best $10 investment I've made for baking.  They are a-maz-ing! 
On Sunday, my parents came up to visit for lunch, and y mom joined Kelly and I in frosting and decorating the sugar cookies.  It felt just like it did when we were kids, will all of us working around the table to make silly looking cookies and reminisce about past holidays.  I totally love family time, and we just don't get it very much anymore.  After the cookies' frosting set up, we had a cookie swap.  My mom brought pumpkin nut cookies, peanut butter blossoms, and chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal cookies.  We split all of our goodies three ways, and here's what I ended up with:
I've got SO many delectable cookies! I can't wait to take a plate into work this week to show them off.  Below is a close-up of some of our sugar cookies and snickerdoodles.  I'm so proud of our handiwork!  It may not look professional, but we had a blast doing them.
On Saturday night we took a break from baking to go our to Green Iguana for dinner.  Afterward, Pete told us that we had to go check out this Chick-Fil-A that apparently had a stunning Christmas light display.  We thought, "It's a Chick-Fil-A, how good can the ligts really be?"  Uh... they were unbelievable!  As someone who is extremely fond of Christmas lights, I was in awe.  Here they are, in all their glory...

This is the back side of the restaurant.  Imagine what the front looked like if this was the back!


There was a movie screen behind the restaurant showing the original version of the movie A Christmas Carol, and there were bleachers and chairs set up for viewing!  They also had a machine spitting out fake snow so it finally seemed like a White Christmas in Florida!  Kinda trippy.

Here are the Chick-Fil-A cows, holding signs that said "Happy Moo Yeer".  So appropriate.

Here's part of the front of the restaurant, where the drive-through is.  They actually have a second drive through lane, which was blocked to give them more room for Christmas lights (shocker) and seating.  The Christmas tree in front of was quite pretty.  I do love those colored lights!
While we were at Chick-Fil-A, I treated everyone to a round of Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshakes, which were far better than I imagined they would be.  I dug the crushed candy canes, since they added a cool textural element that normal milkshakes lack.  Totally worth the caloric splurge.

Even though I spent the weekend working on cookies and treats, my baking isn't over!  I'm getting together with my dear friend Jess and her mom tomorrow night to bake thee or four more types of cookies.  In celebration of my baking kick, I'll be posting one of my Christmas cookie recipes every day this week.  I love to share my favorite recipes and hopefully you'll find one you like, too.

Have a wonderful week and Happy Holidays!

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Tampa, Florida, United States
I'm a wife, daughter and amazing twin sister. I'm a mom to my adorable dog, Bella. Loves: Shopping, cooking, baking, good grammar and Dave Matthews Band. I'm also a Bath and Body Works addict, a Michigan State Spartans fanatic, and an iPhone aficionado. I see beauty in simple things and little things make me ever-so-happy. Welcome to my world!


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