I hope you all had a great holiday, celebrating anything and everything this season.  We have had a lot going on, from our annual holiday party to work parties, family Christmas, the whole shebang.

My husband and I happen to be fortunate enough to live within a 2 hour driving distance of our families, but when it comes to Christmas, it turns into a whirlwind of driving.  My husband’s family is down on Cape Cod (the best time of year to go and avoid traffic!), and I hail from Northeastern CT.

We have a pretty good pattern going now, with us spending Christmas Eve and morning on the cape, and then driving across RI to get to CT for Christmas day/night/day after.  The worst part is traffic, as well as the drive across RI, as once you get out of Providence it’s all four lane roads with plenty of stop lights and low speed limits.

This year was the first year that our nephew really knew what was going on (he’s 2 now), so he had a pile of presents to open.  My husband took over and sped things along with the old bait and switch.  It worked really well, and we got through the gift opening segment fairly easily.  Then the adults all set out to set up his Lego set (duplo legos take about 2 minutes to put together), and we played with them ourselves.  He got this pretty sweet fire station, and my husband was nice enough to teach him the phrase “axe murderer.”

This was also the first year that my grandfather wasn’t around for Christmas.  He passed away in March, and we all knew that Christmas wouldn’t be quite the same without him.  He lived in an apartment above my parents garage (now my brother’s bachelor pad) and would be present for all the Christmas festivities.  For some reason I was in a bit of a grinchy mood all season anyway (work stress and holiday stress don’t help), and I was fine with not listening to holiday music and doing a lot of the same things we normally would do.

Anyway, I’m glad to be home and off work this week.  I know there will be a pile of work waiting for me when I get back, but I also know that we’re just over a month out from our Mexican family vacation.  I really can’t wait for that!  This year we are having a very laid back New Year’s, which will be nice and relaxing.

I bet at this point you’re wondering where your recipe is.  Well thank you for being patient, and I’m going to share my mom’s butter cookie recipe.  Normally I’m not a huge fan of cookies you have to roll out, as they are more labor intensive and I tend to get bored.  But I decided to make them with my nephew, who was all about it.  I made the dough ahead of time, and he and I cut them out and decorated them with sprinkles (the easy way out, no icing involved here).  The dough on its own is also really delicious.  Growing up my mom would make two batches – one for eating, and the other for cookies.

Butter Cookies

1 cup butter
1 egg
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar

Cream butter.  Add sugar gradually, and cream until fluffy.  Add unbeaten egg and vanilla and beat well.

Sift together dry ingredients.  Blend into creamed mixture.  Divide dough and chill for at least a few hours, overnight if possible.

To bake cookies:

Preheat oven to 375.  Roll out dough on well floured surface to 1/8″ thick.  Cut with cookie cutters and decorate with sprinkles before baking (if you’re lazy like me).  Bake for about 6 minutes on an unbuttered cookie sheet.

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