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December 2008

Cookie Party

Cookie tilt   

Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared.  ~Nehemiah 8:10

I am so blessed to have a group of gal pals who are like sisters to me.  And these wonderful friends had a terrific idea to help ease the holiday baking burden by having a cookie baking party.  It's similar to a cookie exchange, but instead of bringing cookies, we brought a big batch of dough (enough for 6 dozen) and prepared and cooked them together with the kids.  When the kids got bored, we sent them to the family room for a movie while we sipped a little wine and chatted. 

We each made a different cookie: Snickerdoodles, Oatmeal Raisin, Peanut Butter Kisses, Cranberry Crisps, Persian Almond, and Chocolate Chip.  And each of us went home with at least a dozen of six different varieties of cookies -- a good deal.  But the best part was slowing down to spendtime with friends and family during the busy holiday season.  It seems to me that women are very communal and are really designed to work together as a group to nurture the larger group.  That's how it was for my hubby back in the Old Country, with Aunts and cousins all over the place in the summers.  Sounds nice.  And I can't picture a Christmas without 3 or more women in the kitchen chopping and chatting, ladling and laughing....

Here's the recipe for my Persian Almond Cookies (Nan-e Shirini)

2 Cups flour                        1 egg                                sm. bag of sliced almonds

1 tsp baking powder            1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Cup shortening                1 tsp almond extract

1 Cup sugar                        1 tsp lemon extract

Cream together the shortening and sugar.  Blend in egg and flavorings.  Gradually add dry ingredients until dough is well blended.  Roll dough into round balls about and inch wide.  Place on ungreased baking sheet and flatten slightly, adding 1 or 2 sliced almonds to the top of each cookie.  Bake at 325 for 10-15 minutes.  Remove before the edges brown.  Makes 2-3 dozen.

Lord, with every Christmas cookie we munch, and every card we receive, let us remember and give thanks for those who blessed us with them.  Remind us that Jesus was born into a family and surrounded with friends and loved ones right from that first Holy night.  Thank You for all of those that You have placed in our lives to nurture, support and love us.  And thank You most of all for loving us enough to bless us with Your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Out of the mouths of babes...

   Waugh Play & Cookies 032 Copy of Waugh Play & Cookies 056  Waugh Play & Cookies 038   

With praises from children and from tiny infants, you have built a fortress. It makes your enemies silent, and all who turn against you are left speechless.  ~Psalm 8:2

This Sunday, our combined church Sunday School put on their annual Christmas Play.  Despite a shaky dress rehearsal Saturday, both performances were outstanding.  Of course the littlest angels and centurion stole the show, but the older kids are now polished performers.

I love the Christmas Play because it usually fills the pews at both churches, and frequently with relatives and others who are not 'regulars'.  And it is truly moving how the Christmas story, spoken by those young voices, as if it were all brand new, really touches the heart and brings home the gospel message.  Children were special to Jesus, and he blessed them, and used them to demonstrate how all of us should be -- trusting, loving, and dependent on our Father without pride or shame.

For the kids it was a fun time to dress up and perform, and that is at it should be.  But the Lord is able to take our humble little play and use it for His glory -- and that is how THAT should be, too.