Chocolate, Sugar & Powder (Of A Different Variety!)

If I could think of a perfect weekend, this past couple of days would have been in the running! It started out fairly business-as-usual with our company holiday dinner on Friday night, but after that, it was all play, play, PLAY!

ski day2

Although we got home from the dinner later than expected, Will and I still managed to roll out of bed pre-dawn on Saturday morning. Since Colorado has been getting annihilated with snow, we made plans with a friend to head up to Keystone to catch some of the freshly-fallen powder. Weekend skiing can be absolutely brutal because of the bananas traffic, so we wanted to beat the hordes of people and arrived at the mountain right at 8:30.

ski day

ski day 6

Even better? The sub-zero temps had scared most people away from the mountains so even though there was tons of snow to be had, the slopes were relatively empty! Honestly, I was totally expecting lift lines out the wazoo, but there really weren’t any! Sure, we were skiing in single-digit temps all day but we had planned for the chill and bundled up. I wore a new Mountain Hardwear down jacket that I’m testing and that sucker kept me warm! In fact, I even debated shedding a layer for a hot second! (Haha, get the pun? Get it?!)

ski day 5

Told you we actually got hot in the single-digit temps!

ski day 3

Caryn and I NEEDED to pose with Santa and his reindeer!

Our friend, Caryn, was on skis for the first time in five years so I put my rusty teaching skills to good use and helped her figure out the two-plank world. She did fantastic for her first day and even worked her way up to blue runs. I like to think it’s because of my mad ski instruction skills….but let’s face it. I’m not that good; she is a natural athlete!

ski day 4

Will and Caryn

However, we weren’t done with fun on Saturday….because Sunday was our COOKIE PARTY!

If you’ve read my blog for a year or longer, you likely remember photos from past years’ parties. This cookie thing started a few years back when a friend and I were talking about Christmas baking. She used to do major cookie carnage with her mom and sister, but her mom had passed away and her sister had moved out of state. I knew it was special to her, so I volunteered to go to her house and bake some cookies. We had a blast and put it on the calendar for the following year.

cookies 2

Well, year #2 rolled around and I invited another friend to join the party. Little by little, the cookie party gained speed and this year was officially the fourth annual event!

I think we had 15-20 friends come this year (including Lauren and Paige!), but half were guys who had zero interest in baking or decorating cookies. They found some beer and the latest Bronco game and happily parked themselves on the couch for the day! The rest of us gals were on a mission though, and I definitely think we made the most cookies to date. If I had to guess, I’d estimate that we finished up the day with at least 40-50 dozen cookies of various shapes and sizes.

cookies

Per usual, I made my Grandma’s buckeyes and sugar cookies, but we had so many other types! Chocolate peanut butter, pretzels dipped in chocolate, mexican wedding cakes, pizzelles, a saltine-caramel-chocolate combo, caramel salted cookies and creole crispies….just to name a few! I mean, Cindy even made homemade dog treats out of peanut butter, bananas and parsley (which, for the record, Tally LOVED!)

Overall, I had so much fun. This time of year is so busy for everyone and it was great to get some friends together to catch up with each other before the chaos of the holidays really gets going. I also loved the sentimental feeling I got from baking Grandma’s cookie recipes. Our entire family has missed her since she passed in August, but baking Christmas cookies is something totally “Grandma.” Sure, I don’t have the same Santa cookie cutter that she used and I sure can’t frost cookies with her expert level of detail, but she loved packing up boxes of cookies to ship to family around the country. I don’t have as many cookies as she used to make (after all, I had to share with everyone else!), but I’m really looking forward to sending some cookies out to family over the next few days. Kinda feels like a perfect tribute, you know?

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Do you have any holiday traditions like baking cookies?

How about cookies parties—love ‘em or hate ‘em?

20 Comments

  • Reply Cathryn at

    We like baking gingerbread cookies…they’re so good.

    Talk to me about layering for skiing. We’re off to Steamboat tomorrow (thanks to your recommendation). How did you layer for the cold? This California girl is FREEZING in Boulder (although still loving it).

    • Reply heather at

      Oh yay! You made it! Steamboat is a cold part of the state but luckily, the cold breaks tomorrow 🙂 But, in terms of layering, here is a quick run down: on top, wear a wick-away top made of a material like merino wool. It’s warm but won’t soak up all your sweat. Terramar and Icebreaker make good ones! Then, I usually put an omniheat (Columbia) fleece layer on to reflect my body heat, followed by an insulated down layer. If it’s windy, wear some type of shell on type (Gore-Tex or other companies’ proprietary versions)to block the wind. On bottom, I go pretty minimal with another merino wool base pant and then just snowpants. No matter what, don’t pack a bunch of socks on your feet if you’re skiing! It’s tempting to put lots on because you think it will keep your toes warmer, but it really just makes the cold worse. Ski boots are so darn rigid that you don’t have tons of wriggle room, so if extra socks are taking up all the minimal free space, your toes will NOT be happy! Wear a single pair of ski socks and you should be set. Also, hopefully you’re skiing in a helmet anyway, but if not, do! In addition to the obvious need to protect your head, helmets are SO MUCH warmer than hats!

  • Reply Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb at

    So many cookies! Like you, I identify cookies with my grandma. We have yet to make cutouts but chances are they will happen between now and Christmas. Enjoy your tasty treats!

    • Reply heather at

      Will loves Grandma’s sugar cookies so much that he has requested a new batch that we don’t have to share with everyone 🙂

  • Reply Kate at

    Love cookie parties! I’m going to have to try those creole crispies, yum.

    • Reply heather at

      I think you already noticed, but Lauren posted the recipe on her site!

  • Reply Alyssa at

    Well, now I’m mad, we said we were going to get our act together and have a cookie party this year but we failed. I definitely love the tribute to your grandmother! It’s our first Christmas without my Gram in my family too, so I feel for you. Tough stuff :(. But I bet “including” her this way was a great way to relive the memories.

    • Reply heather at

      It felt good 🙂 And didn’t you just have a snow day?! Get on that baking!

  • Reply Natalie @ Free Range Human at

    I love cookie parties! That sounds like a blast. I am so ready to get back on skis. These pictures really make me want to find some time on the calendar to make a quick trip to CO this winter.

    • Reply heather at

      Do you think y’all will make it this way?

      • Reply Natalie @ Free Range Human at

        We’re thinking about making it up for a long weekend over MLK Day. I hope we can make it happen! If not, we’ll be back over Memorial Day weekend to get some backpacking in.

  • Reply Kayla at

    Sounds like you had fun, fun, and more fun! Me and my mom always get together for a couple of days and make a butt load of cookies and candy to pass out to everyone, but this year we just wont be able to make it happen! I think I needed whatever down coat you had on last weekend when we were braving the cold for the Baylor game!!! I pretty much froze my butt off for 7 hours. But then again, it’s easier to stay warm when you’re active than when you’re just sitting around watching a football game.

    Feel free to mail me some of those cookies. ;p

    • Reply heather at

      Fact. Sitting still is brutal when it’s cold outside!! Did you bake during the ice storm?

      • Reply Kayla at

        No I didn’t!! I didn’t have any supplies and we were terrified that we were going to lose power any second, since life everyone we knew was out of power! Totally unprepared.

  • Reply Kayla at

    P.S. I want to see a picture of you all dolled up for the holiday party!

    • Reply heather at

      I actually think I’m gonna write about all of that– I’ve been using all of the face stuff for less than a week and it has made a HUGE difference….so thanks for your help!

  • Reply Paige @ Your Trainer Paige at

    I’m so glad I could join you guys 🙂
    You know, when I got home, I got all of the different cookies out, and had Shane try them all and choose which ones he liked best. Your buckeyes won! He had never heard of a buckeye…I couldn’t believe it!

  • Reply Lauren @ Me and the Mountains at

    I still don’t FULLY believe you (and Greg) that is wasn’t freezing cold at Keystone. 😉
    Thanks so much for including me in this awesome family tradition- it was so much fun! The only problem is- I can’t stop eating cookies! 🙂
    I definitely identify cookies with my grandmother too- and that’s why I chose to make her “famous” recipe (which she got off a box somewhere decades ago…).

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