Favorite Finds: 10 Classic Christmas Cookies

I’ve done a terrible job this holiday season.  Our Christmas tree wasn’t up until Tuesday, the ornaments are still in boxes, our stockings were hung {with care} from the highchair, the two decorations on display were gifts we’ve received this past week, and I’ve done absolutely zero holiday baking.  Usually Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving in our house.  Next year I’m going to go all out.

Aside from the decorating, the holidays are a great time to get together with family and friends.  To share and engage in traditions that have been passed on from one generation to the next.  I’m not the best baker, but that doesn’t stop me from baking Christmas cookies.  It’s the experience that I love.  There’s something so magical about being in the kitchen, surrounded by sugar, and singing along with Mariah Carey.  I’m so excited by the thought of having Evie {standing on a stool} next to me in years to come!

10 Classic Christmas Cookies

I vividly remember my momma baking two types of Christmas cookies: chocolate crinkles and gingersnaps.  She’d arrange them nicely on a tray to take with her to her cookie exchange parties and would come home with buckets full of assorted iced, powdered, crinkled, and sprinkled cookies.  Throughout the following weeks we’d take a few bites of each, as if we were sampling a box of chocolates.  The bright green Corn Flake wreaths and butterscotch haystacks were always my favorites.

Tip: When searching for chocolate crinkle cookie recipes I learned that some people use Devil’s Food cake mix.  I’ve never tried it, but it could be helpful if you’re in a crunch for time.

This weekend Ryan and I are devoting our time to all things Christmas.  Taking Evie to meet Santa, shopping, decorating {even if it’ll be up for only a week}, wrapping, and baking.  Below I’ve compiled a list of my 10 favorite classic Christmas cookies.  Each recipe can also be found on my Holiday Pinterest board.

1.  Cocoa Crinkle Cookies by HERSHEY’S Kitchens

Cocoa Crinkle Cookies

2.  Gingersnaps by Chef in Training

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3.  Christmas Cornflake Wreaths by Tastes Better from Scratch

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4.  Butterscotch Haystacks by Nutritious Eats

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5.  Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies with Easy Icing by Sally’s Baking Addiction

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6.  Spiced Gingerbread Man Cookies by The Comfort of Cooking

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7.  Perfect Peanut Butter Blossoms by How Sweet It Is

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8.  Almond Spritz Cookies by A Girl’s Guilty Pleasures

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9.  The Best Snickerdoodles by Averie Cooks

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10.  Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate by Just a Taste

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Question:  What’s your favorite classic Christmas cookie?

Question:  Do you have any family traditions that you look forward to every year?

— Allison

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Favorite Finds: Greatist is the Greatest

Guess what…  We had school yesterday!  Throughout the day Thursday I exchanged messages with a few of my teacher friends and we all agreed, the decision was a toss-up.  The temperatures were forecasted to be the coldest they had been all week, but the streets were finally ice/snow free.  Around 7 p.m. the county announced that schools would open with a 2-hour delay.  I heard parents rejoicing and students cursing in my head – it was a symphony of sound.

The day was short – I taught for an hour – but it was fun.  All of the students wanted to share their snow day stories… A handful did Rainbow Loom all day every day, a few baked/cooked, a lot played in the snow (only one got a concussion), and none of them studied their multiplication facts.  (un)Surprisingly they begged for no homework over the weekend.  Sorry kids, your pouty faces were adorable but your arguments were weak.

IMG_5523 waffles last weekend, the BEST french toast this weekend

This morning I woke up at 5 a.m.  My body is like clockwork everyday, weekends included.  I watched an episode of 20/20 (because it featured a local news story) and an episode of 100 Days of Summer.  Both were okay, nothing great.  But what was great was the french toast that I ate and the website that I found while browsing Pinterest

Have y’all heard of Greatist?  I’m sure you have, I did a while back but never checked it out.  Big mistake, BIG mistake.

We bring you the best content in the health space. Not only is every fact cited by a scientific study and every article approved by multiple experts, but everything we do is written in a friendly and relatable tone. Greatist is your trusted, healthy friend, inspiring tons to make healthier choices everyday.

- About Greatist, What We Do

I pinned a TON of great(ist) articles, but here are just a few.  I definitely recommend that y’all check out the website for yourselves.  I signed up for the free daily email ;)

Greatist

10 Must-Know Tips to Stay Hydrated During Your Workout

10 Must-Know Workout Hydration Tips

60 Must-Read Health, Fitness, and Happiness Blogs for 2014

60 Health & Fitness Blogs for 2014

The Ultimate Guide to Protein Supplements

The Ultimate Guide to Protein Supplements

30 Superfood Recipes You’ve Never Tried Before

30 Superfood Recipes

77 Healthy Crock-Pot Recipes

77 Healthy Crock-Pot Recipes

17 Science-Backed Ways to Bust Out of A Workout Rut

17 Ways to Break a Workout Rut

The Ultimate Guide to Totally Nailing Every One of Your Goals in 2014

100 Tips for Your Best Year Ever

27 Easy Ways to Sleep Better Tonight

27 Ways to Sleep Better

I’ve got 7 miles to run this morning (on the treadmill, sidewalks are still covered with ice) and Ryan’s coming with me to do weights – he hasn’t been to the gym for months because of his ankle surgery so it’s a pretty big deal!  Hopefully something good is on TV or y’all are sharing lots of interesting pictures on Instagram because I’d rather brave the cold than run that long on the dreadmill if given the choice.

Question:  Have you looked at the Greatest website?

Question:  What’s your favorite pick-me-up when you’re low on energy?  I’m not sure if I’m getting sick or just exhausted from a lack of sleep, but my energy tank is running on low this morning.

— Allison

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Favorite Finds: Healthy New Year

Call me crazy, but I’m counting down until Monday morning.  Usually we’re all looking forward to the weekend, but I’m eager to get back into the classroom.  After a two week winter break I can’t wait to pick up where we left off…  Multiplication tables?  Oh yeah!  The solar system?  Hey there sunshine!  Jamestown?  We wouldn’t be here without you Captain Smith!

Thursday afternoon I finally met Sarah from Passion & Laughter.  She and I had been exchanging messages about meeting for a run/walk/coffee/anything date for months.  I joked on Twitter just before we met that blogging is a lot like online dating…  You meet someone virtually and if you like what you see you plan a date.  It’s hilarious but totally true!  Thankfully, I didn’t have to fake any emergencies because we had a fabulous time chatting for over two hours.  If I didn’t have to study I’m pretty sure that the conversation could have continued through dinnertime.

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Friday morning we woke up to a light dusting of icy snow, below freezing temperatures, and whipping wind.  Nothing compared to the blizzards up in New England, but it was bitter.

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While growning up in Northern Virginia, I learned to drive on winding roads (the ones that make you feel like you’re flying out of your seat if you go too fast), but I didn’t learn how to drive in the snow.  I’ve never been in a major accident, but ever since I fishtailed in Ryan’s car a few years ago, almost crashing into two other cars, I’ve let him be my snow chauffeur.  Unfortunately, my chauffeur had to work yesterday so I was on my own to get to my test.  The major roads were treated so it wasn’t as bad as I had envisioned, although I did pass by two minor accidents.

In college I was required to pass a series of MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) subtests in order to graduate and receive my Professional License.  Some states will honor out-of-state licenses if you have a few years of experience, but since I was straight out of college Virginia issued me a Provisional License valid for three years.  Three years will be up in June so yesterday I took the VCLA (Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment) and I’m excited to share – assuming I didn’t completely bomb the free response – that I passed!

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It has been a while since I’ve done a Favorite Finds post, but what better time is there to get back into the groove than the New Year?  I continue to add new boards to my collection so rather than posting my favorite pin from each board, I’m thinking that I’ll share 5-10 of my favorite pins from the week?  And with it being the New Year, this week I’m focusing on a healthier approach.  New Year, new start, fresh ideas, lots of (p)inspiration!

Favorite Pinterest Finds

Homemade Healthy Butterfingers by The Sweet {Tooth} Life – one of my favorite candies, second to Reese’s Pieces!

Homemade Healthy Butterfingers

Breakfast Cookies by Sally’s Baking Addiction – a great grab-and-go idea for weekday mornings

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Stuffed Pepper Soup by diethood – thick & hearty, perfect for a cold winter day

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Quinoa Quiche Muffins with Spinach and Cheese by diethood – sneak in those healthy ingredients

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Top 13 in 2013: Workouts by Peanut Butter Fingers – a mix of treadmill, elliptical, circuit, & strength workouts

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50 Tips for Healthier Living by Lauren’s Latest – baby steps towards a healthier lifestyle

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“Look, I eat really well and I workout, but I also indulge when I want to.” – Jennifer Aniston

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11 Healthy “Hippie” Ingredients Everyone Should Cook With via BuzzFeed – healthy can be tasty

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Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa by The Lemon Bowl – dark chocolate is full of health benefits!

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Printable New Year’s Resolution by The Girl Creative – write as many or as few goals as you want *free*

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Question:  Do you enjoy driving in the snow or do you have a snow chauffeur?

Question:  What’s your favorite healthy ingredient?

— Allison

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