Every Year Lace and I have a tradition of using this advent calendar to celebrate the countdown to Christmas. My parents used to get my brother and I the advent calendars that had the chocolate in them. I thoroughly enjoyed them, and wanted to share this idea with my kids. So Lace and I got this cool calendar with doors and you can place a little something in it. We bought it in 2008, and Lace and I thought it would be great to put fun things inside, with the idea of doing something special each day. That was great in practice, and in reality fell very short.
What would happen is the kids came running to the calendar with full excitement of the surprise inside, and they would turn to us and ask, “can we open #2?” To which Lace and I would respond, “…sure… Go change into pajamas first.” Yes it only took to the second of December for us to have nothing for them in the calendar. As the kids would run to change, Lace and I would run to the pantry in search of anything to give the kids. Jello, that won’t fit, and would be a give away as the pudding slowly oozed out from behind the #2 door. Chicken Bouillon, it is gold colored and wrapped all pretty, maybe they won’t notice the chicken flavor through all the excitement. Inevitably we would wind up with one of two things. 1) chocolate chips, each of them got about 10 (I love milk chocolate chips, and we always have 2-3 bags on hand) 2) (the one used more frequently) left over Halloween candy that the kids didn’t really want to eat, (i.e. whoppers, jolly ranchers, and dum dums).
We have tried to improve since that first year. With little success until last year. Last year Lace went and got a bag of candy, and squinkees. For those that don’t know squinkees are regular toys, like Disney princesses, and shrunk into little tiny toys, that are apparently the cutest things on the planet. I have found that if you take anything, and make it really small, that makes it super cute. So to convince my wife I need new climbing gear, I am trying to find a way to make it super small. I will update you on my success.
This year we had the same challenge arise, what to put in the calendar. The good news is we have plenty of Halloween candy still in the pantry for a back up. I don’t think the kids will notice that their candy is slowly siphoned to the advent calendar. So we are gonna take it day by day with the hope that we can come up with more memory filled activities.
For Dec. 1st We decided we would put a note in the calendar telling the kids that at 9:00 we would make cookies, and watch Elf. The kids were ecstatic! Day 1 was off to success. We put Christmas music on, and started the baking.
Ayla lead the dancing (she had just returned from a birthday party for her friends, and that is where she got the makeup)
As we begun the cookies, Lace and I tried to figure a way to make healthier cookies. So we replaced the butter with cream cheese, and Greek yogurt. This was a test for Lilly to figure out what 3/8 a cup worked out on the side of the cream cheese.
As we put the cream cheese and greek yogurt the kids were less than impressed. They have felt a violation of their childhood, as the pure essence of Christmas was being vandalized for the sake of health. We tried to assuage all fears and tell them all would be ok, as we were putting in enough chocolate chips that anything would taste good. They were not persuaded. Lace took to putting them on the cookie sheet.
While she was putting them on the cookie sheet, the kids and I were sampling the dough to assure that it was tasty. It was quite good and tasted like regular cookie dough should. We thought they were a little gooey, so we added a little more flour. that solidified them a little, and we were set to throw them in the oven. I was nervous to see what would happen to cookies with very little fat in them. The fat is what binds the cookies together, and we were missing that.
We put them into the oven, and Lace took position to watch the cookies to make sure they don’t spontaneously combust.
After 8 minutes of constant monitoring by Lace, the cookies were…done? They had gone in little gobs of dough, and they came out little globs of dough… The cookie didn’t even change in the oven, at least not in appearance.
After we had placed the cookies on a cooling sheet, Lace took one off the rack, and took a bite. The look on her face explained it all. She described it as chocolaty, cakey, and the same texture as Styrofoam. Well that is disappointing.
Not to deny the kids, we offered each of them a cookie without tainting their opinion by telling them what Lace thought. They each grabbed a glob that they first thought was cookie dough, and dived in. All three reacted as expected. Disappointed, but not wanted to hurt feelings. Carter said it was different, and maybe next time when we make cookies we could use the butter, just so we can remember what they taste like.
My opinion - the cookies weren’t all that bad really. They had more of a muffin consistency, but the taste was still good. So we mounted up the tray to head to the movie, and enjoy some treats.
All said and done, the kids loved watching Elf and eating the cookies. Since they were healthier, I felt no remorse letting them eat 5 a piece, and out of 24 cookies, we had 5 left over this morning. Pretty successful if you ask me!
Now I just to need to come up with something for tonight… Either left over cookies, or 3 Hershey's kisses…