Montana: Iced Oatmeal cookies are Santa’s favorite

The choice for Montana’s best cookie was easy–Iced Oatmeal Cookies.  What attracted me to this specific recipe was the icing (which reminds me of the classic Archway Iced Oatmeal cookies we bought when I was younger) and the direction in the recipe requiring the oats to be milled in a food processor.

If you haven’t been following our 2017 challenge, Jeremy and I are baking our way through the 50 states in search of the best Christmas cookies to present to our friends.  My last cookie was a winner, Mississippi Praline Macaroons.  The pecans in baked meringue were like eating nutty toasted marshmallows–a treat for me.    Michigan,  South Carolina,  Indiana,  New JerseyAlaska, Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Alabama.

The cookies started off well, with the food processor and the oats.  Like other recipes that have tripped me up, there was a footnote that I read at the end of the recipe–milling the oats too long makes a flour, which makes the entire cookie more soft.  I think that the very soft cookie was not my overall objective–I would have liked the end result to have some chewy/crunchiness.

I took the cookies to my nephew’s graduation party, and the plate was empty when I left.  I loved the icing, and the cookies looked very pretty.  Next time, I will not mill the oats at all to keep the traditional texture.  The link will take you to the website with really nice photos and step by step directions.Oatmealcookiedrying

Prep time, 15 mins
Cook time, 12 mins
Total time, 27 mins
Serves: 2 dozen
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Glaze
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk

 

 

Podcast #68- Happy 5th Birthday!

bday-cakePodcast #68- Happy 5th Birthday!

Celebrating our 5th Birthday!

Natalie and I are back!  We met for our annual Christmas Eve podcast and discussed many important issues. Listen to hear about our 2106 entries and results from the Festival of Trees (spoiler- we’re now multiple award winning tree designers). We also discuss our recent Christmas adventures and what the future holds for our site. We have challenged ourselves to be more engaged in sharing our Christmas joy in 2017.  Listen to the whole podcast to hear our plans for next year- it’s going to be good!

Podcast #67- 316 Days to Go!

candy cane hearts

Podcast #67- 316 Days to Go!

Click here to listen to our latest podcast- Catching up for 2015!

We try to get back on track this week and collect our thoughts for 2015 podcasting.  Natalie and Jeremy discuss thoughts about holiday bargains, the 2014 Christmas wrap up, and lots and lots of craft ideas!
Snowmen, winter and snow days off from school also feature prominently in our chat leading up to Valentine’s Day 2015.  Listen in for all the details.

Save the sand dunes by recycling your tree

The most depressing day is just 12 hours away.  Roger and I have agreed that Christmas must be boxed up and put away tomorrow.  (According to some, it’s bad luck that I have waited this long.)

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On Wednesday, I clipped the notice in The Frederick News Post about the Frederick tree recycling program.  Residents have until January 26 to give their tree back to Mother Nature.  Locally, trees will most likely be processed into mulch, but then, I learned that trees are used for other environmental benefits.  This infographic tells the story of a tree’s possible afterlife.

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One of the four possibilities includes erosion prevention/shoreline stabilization.  Do we do that in Maryland? I couldn’t find a specific program in Maryland, but there was a great article about how New Jersey was using trees for shoreline stabilization after Hurricane Sandy.

This is a good video describing the Canadian National Park program that recycles trees to help stabilize shore areas.

I’m curious about whether our readers, who are also lucky enough to live along the coast, have a Christmas tree shoreline stabilization program in their communities?

 

 

What’s the cost of those 12 Days of Christmas?

12 Days D3I had a little extra time while working with a group of kids today. To finish up our time, groups were challenged to see who could list all the gifts of the classic song Twelve Days of Christmas first.  Funny enough none of the groups got the list just right- not sure about the ducks and the chickens that were suggested- HA! After reviewing all the correct gifts for each of the days, the groups were challenged to guess what the cost of the gifts might be.  Following a WILD set of guesses we went to the web and found this little gem: The PNC Christmas Price Index.

According to the website the index was started 31 years ago by one of the economists at PNC.  HE wanted to know what the cost would be for one set of each of the gifts listed in the song.  This initial quest for knowledge has become 30 years of looking at the adjustments and cost rise and fall over time. You can see trends in the US economy reflected in the Christmas Price Index.  The site is pretty cool. There is a lot of interesting financial info- you can look at the total price over time, the price of individual gifts over time, and look how things as varied as the internet and fuel cost have affected the prices.  There is a complete separate section of the site the provides educators with ways to use the information to implement some lesson on financial literacy (don’t be surprised in my classes if you see this round about the 22nd and 23rd).

Great CarolThe site also has lots of fun and clever parts to it.  There is a section dedicated to “updating” the song itself since it “has fallen to an all-time low in popularity”. The section is titled The Great Carol Comeback and features cool renditions of the song for each of the 12 gifts.  Future classics like “Milk Bucket Music”, “Golden Ring Orchestra”, “Bird Call Quartet” and “French Hen Hairband”.  Be sure to check out all twelve of the The Great Carol Comeback.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the 2014 price of one set of all gifts is $27,673.21.  Seems fair, right?

Podcast #64- 104 Days to Go!

Beach-Shell-Christmas-TreePodcast #64- 104 Days to Go!
Click here to listen to the newest podcast- Time to Start Again!

Natalie and Jeremy are getting back to work.  After a long nearly 6 month break, it is time to refocus our Christmas spirit. We are excited to get back to sharing all the joys of the season. Today we took to the mobile studio and recorded while on the go (forgive the poor recording quality- a little studio trouble). We discuss our lack of Christmas in recent months and our renewed energy for the Christmas spirit. We talk about elves and trees and make the announcements about our tree themes for the 2014 Kennedy Krieger Festival of Trees. Give it a listen and let us know what you think about our tree ideas. Looking forward to getting back to our 2014 structure of KNOW, PLAN, and DO in the coming week.  Merry Christmas everyone!!

Wreath a month? That’s a go!

1510784_10202631586058118_442989884_nFor 2014 my focus is to try to be more organized with my posts.  My first each month will be about music and my second each month will be about creating something for this year’s celebrations.  It might be a craft, some type of DIY creation, or a home-made gift.  This time it’s a craft project- specifically a wreath.  When I was very young my mother made a beautiful wreath using just a wreath frame, green yarn, some wooden beads, and a bow.  It is one of my favorite decorations today- and I have LOTS of decorations:)

Prior to Christmas I attempted to make a small version of the wreath to give as a gift for Secret Santa at work. It went pretty well but it took WAY more hours to do that I predicted.  The supplies and directions are simple.

Supplies:
Flat wreath frame- I used styrofoam- light-weight and affordable.
Sturdy dark green yarn
Red decorative bow

1538794_10202631585698109_1138671801_nDirections:
Cut a piece of yarn about 12 inches long.  Use this to determine the size yarn you will need.  Wrap it around the frame and tie it into a small bow.  Cut off the excess yarn.  THis is the length yarn you will need.  Cut about 100-200 pieces this length to start.
Take each piece of yarn and tie it into a small bow on the frame.  Yarn should be close together, nearly overlapping.  The bows should be tied at different spots on the front face of the frame to give it a full bushy appearance.
Continue cutting yarn and tying bows until the entire frame is covered.
Add your decorative bow when finished.  You may want to add other beads or decorative items.

I intend to make a full size wreath this month.  It will go to the Festival of Trees in November as a donation.  This is the first of my  wreath plan for 2014.  I happened upon a post on the Buzzfeed website titled “50 Wreaths You Can Make Out of Anything”.  Of course I had to read more.  There are lots of great ideas in there.  Some are pretty elaborate and time-consuming (#s13, 18, 37, and 50).  Some are quite simple and quick (#s 4, 16, 33, and 36).  Others are pretty weird or just not my thing (#s8, 14, 41, and 44).  But then there are those that are just right!  My first four to make are #s 2/3, 9, 32, and 43.  That will get me to June.  On our next podcast Natalie and I will be discussing some of the wreaths.  Maybe we can each do one a month?  That would give us 24 wreaths created by the Yule Log.  Sounds like the start of a great plan!