Tastes Great, More Filling

by Stefani on 20-October-2009

This is so NOT what I had in mind. 

Baker Maniron chef

 I'm gonna be honest with you. I avoid the cookie decorating. It's funny really because cookie decorating is one of those things that I envisioned a lot when I was imagining what it would be like to be a mama. 

cookie cutting

Only in THAT vision, there were pigtails and petticoats, patent leather and adoring smiles. Perfect children all in a row, perfect cookies all for show…. 

And then I became a real mama, with real BOYS, and the very idea of THREE of them plus kitchen machinery, raw eggs, bags of flour and, dear God, food coloring… well just the thought of it wears me out. 

Flour Power

So it was a leap of faith, this decision to say yes to the "can we decorate some Halloween cookies?" question. 

And of course, it went all wrong. I realized halfway through that I didn't have powdered sugar for the icing. Then only AFTER the store run for the sugar, did I realize that I didn't have orange food coloring (or red to mix with the yellow, thank you) for the pumpkins. So we mixed brown with yellow and got something resembling orange.

 I think. 


There was a good bit of sibling arguing, and my kitchen is coated in flour, still, hours later. I think the dog might have eaten an icing tip. There were tears when one of the pumpkins, so lovingly made, dropped to the floor. It was scraped clean for a do-over but we only had green icing left so it became a frankenpumpkin. 

At one point I even had a child naked and wet, fresh from the shower, rolling on the floor amidst the powdered sugar and flour. Wet, naked, rolling and SINGING an ode to cookies. I kid you not. 

And it wasn't even a respectable hour to break out the cork screw. 

The whole scene was kind of a disaster.


But, even so, the green pumpkin DID result in a whole bunch of priceless laughter through tears, the very best kind of laughter, I truly believe. The cookies really did taste fantastic. And I kind of have a feeling that one day, when they are grown, and I am an old lady, this whole crazy, mixed up scene will still leave a sweet taste in our mouths. 

Life is really kind of like Halloween isn't it?… a little scary, a little sweet and entirely unexpected. 


***** If you should be crazy insane enough to want to make cookies too, you might be interested in the recipes that we used. 

You can't go wrong with the super tasty, completely delectable sugar cookie recipe found here. It makes a LOT. We divide it into quarters and freeze what we don't use so that we can recreate the cookie decorating joy (ahem) another day. 

For frosting we use this recipe, which is exactly the right consistency for spreading and decorating, and hardens up just right as it dries. For the black though, I just buy the ready made stuff in the tubes. I never can get a good black when I make it myself… or a red for that matter. I gave up trying a long time ago and just buy the red and black when I need them. 

Sarah Jackson October 20, 2009 at 9:23 pm

I don’t do cookie decorating for those very same reasons. Maybe I’ll give it a shot this year, in solidarity.

amanda October 20, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Lovely. This is just how it really is. I had a friend over last year at my birthday, this friend was a very new mother, with a very hallmark idea of baking with children. She thought, with the best intentions that it would be a wonderful idea to have my children help her make me a birthday cake, all by herself… ahhhh. Its just one of those moments that they never show in the cooking with kids commercials. Real cooking, with real kids… there is nothing like it!

Meredith October 21, 2009 at 12:15 am

Hilarious! Makes me want to bake up a batch of my own hilarity, too! Reminds me of the time I overheard my children making me Mother’s Day breakfast in bed — “Wait! Careful! Aw, you dropped it on the floor! Quick! Pick it up!” It’s own special kind of delicious.

CitricSugar October 21, 2009 at 1:15 am

Oh, Sweetheart! It looks like your boys had a really good time! I offer to bake with my friends’ kids but only one at a time…

And re: the corkscrew – think globally! It’s always happy hour somewhere…. And the French drink at breakfast. Throw some OJ in and call it a mimosa (just not everyday….) 🙂

heather October 21, 2009 at 3:32 am

i felt like i was right there in your kitchen stefani! you have totally made me want to make and ice pumpkin cookies this weekend. 😉

French Knots October 21, 2009 at 3:58 am

Priceless! Children are so good at making a mess, we don’t often get the glitter out for the same reasons. Last time we did it ended up in the baby’s,very fine, hair and took for ever to pick out!
But your cookies look great, so worth the mess.

Carine Mattix October 21, 2009 at 3:58 am

That’s it! You’ve just inspired me to make some… great great idea. And whatever the kitchen turns out to look like at the end, I promise not to get cranky about it.

BOATBABY October 21, 2009 at 4:27 am

I love coming here and seeing a familiar taste of life with boys. I feel like in my real life and in bloggyland I am surrounded by the quiet petticoat thing, but here, I am home. What a fun day you shared with us, thank you!

Beth October 21, 2009 at 4:30 am

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, it!!! Thank you for posting REALITY. I have two girls and a boy and I always feel like this about something I want us to ENJOY, d*%$ it!

Sara October 21, 2009 at 4:30 am

I have three boys too. Enough said.

Mama Urchin October 21, 2009 at 5:10 am

I considered making cookies with my daisy troop (10 first-graders) and thought better of it 🙂 I will have to do it with my kids though.

Visty Lindgren October 21, 2009 at 6:15 am

I hope you got a picture of the child making himself into a sugar donut on the floor!

Stefani October 21, 2009 at 6:26 am

Oh totally, and it’s SO going into the rehearsal dinner photo montage 🙂

Stefani October 21, 2009 at 6:28 am

Oh my yes! And then they stand over you while you eat, grinning, so that no matter what monstrosity is on your plate, you HAVE to eat it! You just have to.

Kate October 21, 2009 at 6:34 am

haha, this is sooo familiar. Maybe minus the wet donut boy AND the part where when the mess gets good and huge and there is no turning back, and then they all scatter to play outside because they have lost interest, leaving me behind to finish making cookies by myself!!

Stefani October 21, 2009 at 6:35 am

I cannot agree more! I love cooking with my kiddos, but almost always limit it to just ONE in the kitchen at a time. It’s way more enjoyable (for me) that way!

And yeah… I think that you might have stumbled upon the very thing that fuels that whole Joie de vivre that the French possess! Only if I started drinking at breakfast I’d need a nap by noon and goodness only knows what I’d wake up to!

Stefani October 21, 2009 at 6:37 am

Oh yes… glitter comes out about once a year… and I find the remains of it for months and months afterward. But baby hair! Goodness I bet that WAS something to see.

Stefani October 21, 2009 at 6:40 am

Oh boy, yes. I have said through gritted teeth more than once, “That’s enough! You’re all going to smile. And your going to be HAPPY!”

Stefani October 21, 2009 at 6:40 am

There are many jewels in your crown in heaven, dear. Just the words “daisy troop” give me the shivers 🙂

Darla October 21, 2009 at 6:57 am

Thanks for sharing the reality Mom picture. In an effort to bond with those “Blue Yonder” boys (that we try so hard to keep up with), we are going to make cookies for Halloween! I hope to survive and will have a bottle of wine in the ready position to make sure it’s fun for all!

Cassandra October 21, 2009 at 7:55 am

Ember has been BEGGING me to make cookies. I’ve been stalling. But I’m going to roll up my sleeves and let them at it. (Have I mentioned that although I love pie, I don’t like making it because of the flour that I have to sprinkle EVERYWHERE?) What a sweet post! Those frankenpumpkins are awfully cute.

Teddi October 21, 2009 at 8:16 am

I love this post.

My own perfectionist ways keep me from doing a lot of this kind of stuff with my kids. Things you think should be simple become so complicated when you mix kids in the picture! It looks like you had fun, though, and it’s a good reminder for me to let go and let the kids create.

I think I’ll head to the store for some halloween cutters at lunch.

Jennifer October 21, 2009 at 8:34 am

I had these dreams, too, with the tulle and all things girly. Alas, my 3 boys are brutal. I love them but 3 boys each a year and a half apart is tough. I don’t know if I’ll ever be brave enough to decorate cookies with any of them.

Mandy October 21, 2009 at 9:28 am

Well imagine my delight when I had three little girls. Three little girls of which to decorate lovely cookies with like my mother ALWAYS did. Then I did it. About halfway through I thought “this is way more trouble than it’s worth”. And then every year I do it again at Christmas. Every.stinkin.year. I just hope my girls have fond memories of it like my sister and I do. That will make it worth it I suppose.

Jennifer October 21, 2009 at 11:02 am

Hmmm…. I THOUGHT I wanted to bake some Halloween cookies with the kids tomorrow 🙂 Oh well. You only live once, right? Your story reminded me of the “Great Pumpkin Carving” day we had last year. My toddlers gleefully ran with hands full of goop into the living room and smeared the couch with it.

Meredith October 21, 2009 at 11:25 am

Yep, yum yum!

this little light October 21, 2009 at 11:26 am

I can SO RELATE to this post. It starts out with good intentions, but quickly gets a bit messy! Life is messy….but you’ll cherish this memory (one day, when you get the flour dust off everything in the kitchen!).

this little light October 21, 2009 at 11:27 am

Ohh…I have a Daisy Troop too! Tread lightly!

Marcella October 21, 2009 at 11:41 am

This is a great post and especially for those of us mamas with boys,I imagine!

Myrnie October 21, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Heh…the thought of a child, naked and wet, rolling in sugar, SINGING…oh yes, I can see it.

THANK YOU for the recipe links, too! There’s something so wonderful about sugar cookies, and mine fail miserably every time I try. I’m excited to give your recipe a whirl 🙂

mister dad October 21, 2009 at 12:39 pm

GOOD GRIEF! THAT’S ALOTTA RESPONSES! to a very natural outburst of natural need to bake sugar cookies, and naturally ice such.

would that we all had such freedom to dress them so unabashed. though i hafta say, drawing a bath for a couple of head-to-toe iced kiddos is one of the funniest things i’ve ever done– made ’em wear their shoes and all… a shear riot……….

Stacy October 21, 2009 at 1:26 pm

I am so glad that I am not the only mama out there that feels that way about making cookies with my little ones! BTW, I do have a girl and it is not any easier! LOL! Thanks for sharing. I am going to venture into trying it with my little ones. We bought new fall cookie cutters and they are itching to try them out…

Molly October 21, 2009 at 1:47 pm

How FUN!!!

alanna October 21, 2009 at 1:52 pm

i read that you can make powdered sugar yourself! just grind up some granulated sugar in a blender or food processor…voila! powdered sugar…Of course, I’m a bit late on that tidbit!

Kez October 21, 2009 at 1:56 pm

lol – they look great anyway!

Valarie Budayr October 21, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Oh Yes….the cookie decorating and kitchen remodeling of cooking ingredients. In my mind it’s always perfect to. My kids moto is….”if it’s not messy it wasn’t fun enough.” Now where’s that clean-up crew that’s suppose to drop in and help? 🙂 What a really fun post. This is exactly how it goes at my house too. Great lookin cookies frankinpumpkin and all.

Stacy Herrera October 21, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Mine are icing eaters – I just have to find a way to keep it out of their mouths long enough to get it on the cookies – I may need some tips from you on this one.

Jessica @ Life as I See It October 22, 2009 at 12:14 pm

awww – I am SO IN LOVE with this post!! 🙂 I have two little boys and I too dreamt of “clean girly” baking activities and that’s just totally NOT how it works with my two either!!

While they’re both young and a lot of the mess comes from their young ages “helping” me I know a lot of it also comes from that fact that they’re boys. And I cherish that. And love, love, love your celebration of boys in the kitchen. 🙂

This post was awesome.

dana November 2, 2009 at 7:32 am

Oh my….can’t believe I’m just now finding your blog! Beautiful photos. Jade from Craft Hope tipped me off to you. And in fact, I just may be meeting you in person. She invited me to hang out with you guys on Dec 3rd for the Pioneer Woman book signing. Small world :).
Thanks for the wonderful blog. I’ll be coming back!

Jennifer November 2, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Yep, the mess….it’s hard to lighten up about that, isn’t it. But the memories for them and the process… there are so many rewards from such an undertaking. Their future wives will thank you when they know how to bake.

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