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Sunday, July 16, 2017

All About Puzzels

On a recent visit to Heilebeere's home I had the opportunity to be instructed in the fine art of puzzle assembly by a young man who appeared to be very proficient.  He volunteered the instruction and being one always looking to expand my horizons, I took him up on his kind offer.
First, he got all the pieces out and made a pile of them in the work area.  That worked well for the particular puzzle we were using, the pieces where pretty big.  I'm not sure how well it would work with a 1,000 piece puzzle but for today's purpose it worked quite well.
Then, after checking out several different pieces, he selected an edge piece to begin with.  I was encouraged by that as that's normally how I also begin a new puzzle.
We stopped often as he put the pieces together to discuss this aspect or that nuance of puzzle assembly.  It was actually quite interesting to listen to him explain what he was doing as he went along.
He was very good to carefully consider and answer most of my questions as we went along.  Only once or twice did he look at me like I was crazy when I asked a question.  In those cases I didn't press for an answer - I didn't want him to give up on me as hopeless and cut the demonstration short.
He was very good to explain what he was doing at each step of the way.  I learned that corners are very important and, while they can be saved until late in the assembly, they shouldn't be left until the very last.
At last the puzzle was complete.  We were then able to discuss the picture the completed puzzle made and talk about the details of the illustration.  This was a marvelous puzzle.
And then, what do you do with the finished puzzle?  Well, you dance on it.  Of course!  All in all, a very enjoyable and educational experience with my grandson.  Gotta love him!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

An Old Fashion Toy

The other day I was helping Brombeere do some cleaning at work.  We were cleaning out a closet that hadn't been cleaned that thoroughly for quite some time when we came across an item the likes of which I haven't seen for years and years.
We used to call them "tops".  What was amazing was that both pieces were there and in good shape!  The top and the string.  These were all the rage when I was in middle school - everybody had one.  Teachers were always taking them away from kids because they were disrupting class.  During lunch there were always several them going in the halls around the school building.
Of course I had to try it out and see if I could still make one work.  You take the string and wind it around the bottom of the top.  Yeah, backwards, I know.  But that's how it was done.  Well, maybe it was just a matter of winding the string and then holding it upside down to start.
So you get it all wound up and hold it with the end of the string between your fingers.  They always had something there to help it stay in place. This one had a big letter "H", which, while a bit cumbersome, still worked.  It served the purpose.

Then you stepped back to where you had a little room to give it a throw and let it go.  It would unwind as you tossed it to the floor and that would give the top its spin.  So while Brombeere continued to work, I had to play for a few minutes.  I was trying to get a good spin on it and get a movie of it at the same time. And I did but it wouldn't upload to the blog.  Disappointing.  But it sure looked cool to me!   And she let me keep it!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Cooking with a New Toy

A while back I was looking at some recipes and learned of a gadget called a "spiralizer".  This caught my attention, it looked fun.  Basically, it was a way to prepare vegetables for salad or other dishes, including making "noodles" of them to replace regular pasta noodles.  Now that sounded interesting to me because there are some pasta dishes I really like but I don't like the calories that go along with regular pasta.  So I made a note and did some additional research.  I looked into recipes that use a spiralizer, to see how much variety was out there.  Also to see what a spiralizer costs and, of the several different designs out there, which one might work best.  Finally, after several months, I bought one.  And a few weeks later, I got it out to use.
We had made regular spaghetti and had lots of left-over sauce so I decided to spiralize a butternut squash to use for the noodles.  I really like butternut squash anyway so I figured it would be a good item to try for the first time.  At the store I found what looked like the perfect squash, long neck and very little bulb, since you really can't run the bulb through the spiralizer.
I also had a recipe for spiralizing a butternut squash into "noodles".  So I started by cutting off the bulb end and peeling the squash,  That turned out to be easier than I expected.
Then I cut what was left into manageable pieces and got ready to go at it.
It took a little playing around, I also ended up finding a YouTube video demonstrating the use of my particular brand of spiralizer to figure out how to put the pieces together and make it work.
Then I got to work.  It really didn't take that long, nor was it all that hard to turn the whole squash into a nice bowl of noodles, ready to go.
Almost looks like a mountain of grated cheese.  And, for that matter, you can grate cheese with my spiralizer.  Or carrots, or zucchini, or cucumbers, or all kinds of other stuff.  But that's a different recipe.
Then it was time to spread the noodles out on a baking sheet, drizzle a little melted butter over them and pop them in the oven for a few minutes to cook.
For each piece of squash I was left with a "coin" of squash that wouldn't go through the spiralizer so I just cooked them, along with the bulb end, and ate it regular.  Yum, yum!
After they came out of the oven the whole lot had cooked down a little bit but now it was ready to go on the table.
Top it off with the spaghetti sauce and it turned out pretty good!  A little different than regular spaghetti but a whole lot less calories.  And still quite yummy.  And filling, as well. We'll have to try this new toy with some other vegetable, too, to see what we can come up with.  I also bought some sweet potatoes at the same time I was buying the butternut squash so they will probably be part of the next experiment.  And you could also spiralize stuff to put on salad, too.  All kinds of possibilities.  I think I like my new toy!

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Close Call

Hope you can stand a little more "family history".  I was gathering up some stuff this afternoon to put away in a more permanent place when I came across this postcard I sent home from my mission.  The story behind this card is kind of funny the way it turned out but it came close to being sort of tragic.

As my mission drew to a close I was packing and getting all ready to leave my last city.  Although no one actually said it would happen, I had just kind of figured all along that the mission office, or maybe the church in Sale Lake City, would send my parents the information about when I was getting home and all that jazz.  It seemed so obvious to me that I hadn't said anything to them even though I had known for a couple of weeks by that time.  But then, as we were walking out the door so I could head to the train station, I thought maybe I ought to send my parents something with my arrival time, just in case.  I wasn't sure, however, that at this point, it would even get there in time.  Our apartment was on the fourth floor of a building on the main market square several blocks from the center of town.  On the ground floor was a stationary store.  One that sold office supplies and all kinds of that stuff.  As we got down the stairs and walked passed the office supply store I said to my companion I wanted to stop quick and buy a post card.  So we did and then headed for the train station.
On the front of the postcard was a picture of the train station we were headed to, a place I was already very familiar with after eight months in that city.  Once we got there I wrote a quick note on the back side with my arrival time.  At the station was a post office so we went in, bought the postage, and put it in the mail.  Then I got on the train and left my last city.
That was in the morning.  I traveled to the mission office and got there in the early afternoon.  Then I spent the day getting a final interview with my mission president, making sure all my papers and ticket were in order, having dinner, and waiting around while the three or four other missionaries that were traveling home with me also got their final interviews and checked out.  We spent the night in a motel there in town and early the next morning we all hopped on a plane headed for London, New York, and home.

When we landed in New York, back on American soil for the first time in nearly two years, we each bought a fudgesicle because it had been nearly two years since any of us had one - you couldn't get them in Germany, at least not in the British sector where I had spent my mission.  Then it was catch another plane and on Chicago and to home.

As the postcard said, my plane landed at about 8:35 pm on what felt to me like two days after I had sent it, though I'm sure that I crossed enough time zones coming home that it was actually longer. And there was my family, my immediate family plus several members of my extended family, all smiling and happy to see me after two years gone.  It was a very good reunion.  On the way home my Dad told me that earlier in the afternoon, as he had been coming home from work, he had stopped to get the mail at the post office and there was my postcard, the only notice they had received of when I was arriving home.  So he hustled home and grabbed everybody from there, got word to a few aunts, uncles, and cousins, and headed almost immediately for the airport to be able to be there in time to meet my flight.  I came that close to not having anyone there at the airport to greet me when I got home.  That would really have been something.  Maybe that little postcard had some help making the trip in record time.  Who knows!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Love Notes


So I'm going through another of the boxes of stuff my Mom and Dad left and I came across these little bits of paper.  So I open them up to see what they are.  My Mom had left notes here and there as she had gone through some of this stuff after my Dad had died.  She had tried to make sense of some of it but it was a pretty big job.  Anyway , I figured it was another of her little notes as she tried to get this organized.  But, not so!  It was four little bits of paper that were notes they had passed back and forth, probably during the time just before they were married.  Three of them were short little notes, mushy, sentimental stuff - I'll spare you.  But one of them made me smile, chuckle, actually.  It was funny and would have been fun to be "a fly on the wall", as they say, watching.
It reads:
Dad: This is another example of taking up time on a program and saying nothing.

Mom: I can't concentrate 'cause you're tickling me.

Dad: He's not very interesting anyway.

Really makes me wonder what they were sitting though.  A bit of a different picture from what I saw as I was growing up.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Pioneer Recipe

Grandma, 1965
An on-going project I am currently in the middle of is converting a bunch of family history stuff to digital format, which makes it easier to preserve and share.  So here recently I have been converting some cassette tape recordings my grandmother, my Mom's Mom, made of her life's history.  She was older when she did this.  She just sat with a tape recorder and reminisced about her childhood, growing up, going to school, how she got started on the violin, getting married, having kids, and so on.  She did five tapes, somewhere around five and a half hours of her soft, sweet voice relating all these memories from her life.  She even sang little bits of a few songs she remembered from her younger years. The wonderful things is that she did it.  The sad part is that she was not too careful to let the recorder get started before she began dictating, or other little details that would have made the quality of the recordings just a little bit better.  So there are gaps here and there, the sounds get a bit muffled from time to time, and here and there are background noises, although that's not always a bad thing.  Its just the sounds of life happening around her. I have only done three of the five tapes so far but its been real interesting.  My converter is such that I have to play the tapes as it captures the sound.  Then, when I'm done, I save it as a "wav" file.  Some really interesting stuff here.

My grandma was raised in a small, rural town.  She was born only about 40 years after the first settlers came to the area.  Her family home was one of the first to be built as families began moving out of the fort that originally was built to protect the new settlers. Later, as things began to be more settled, people began moving farther out from the fort and other small communities began to be established.  Grandma's family had some property about 40 miles from the family home where they often spent much of the summers.  They ran sheep and kept them at the summer place for the most part.  Free range sheep, I guess they'd be called now-days.  She spoke of going up to the cabin each spring and what they had to do to reclaim it from the vermin that had taken over during the winter.

Grandma, 1907
But I digress.  Anyway, as I was listening to tape two, Grandma began talking about a treat her mother used to make, one she remembered from when she was a small child, one that I'd guess she grew up with and made many times herself because she knew the recipe well enough that she included it in her history.  She said, after all, that she really liked it. Unfortunately, she didn't give it as a detailed recipe, she only mentioned the ingredients in passing, only giving the quantities of some of the ingredients, but not all.  As I listened to her talk about it for the few minutes she spent on it, it suddenly dawned on me that she was giving enough detail that I might actually be able to make the stuff.

So here's what she said:
"And there were gooseberries. And the gooseberries, of course, were the first fruit that came on that could be used in the spring and when mother baked gooseberry cake that was a real treat for us.  We'd go out and pick the gooseberries before they were ripe, when they were still quite green just barely getting ready to look like gooseberries because we couldn't wait for some kind of fruit.  And we'd pick them, at least a couple of cups she would want.  We'd bring them down and she'd make an old fashion cream cake and put the gooseberries in it.  The cake was made with - it didn't matter what measurement you used.  One measurement of sugar, one measurement of cream, and then enough flour with baking powder and so forth in it to make a good cake dough, just a regular kind of cake dough.  And the gooseberries were stirred into it just as it was put in the oven. And some vanilla was usually added.  And that was the best cake mother could ever make for us.  After it was cooked it was cut in squares and the squares set out in bowls for us and what was called "dip" was poured over it.  Dip was made from milk and vanilla and lemons and sugar to make it sweet.  And that was poured over the cake and you ate it like a pudding.  It was delicious, all of us enjoyed those cakes very much."

Now I'm not a stellar chef, but I can find my way around our kitchen so I began to figure out how I would make the stuff, how to fill in the gaps.  I have to admit that at one point it made me think of the movie Jurassic Park, how they used frog DNA to fill in the gaps missing from the dinosaur DNA they extracted from the mosquitoes embedded in the amber.  Fortunately, I knew that if I messed up the worst that would happen would be a poor tasting cake.  Nobody's life would be at stake.  Anyway, the other problem was gooseberries.  Not really the season for gooseberries right now.  I'm not 100% sure I'd be able to find any around here in the summer, much less late winter.  I ended up ordering some.  A little pricey and I ended up having to buy more than I needed for one cake.  But I really wanted to try this so I got them.

While I was waiting for my gooseberries to arrive I also spent time looking online for similar recipes, recipes that sounded similar to what Grandma had described, to see if I could fill in some of the gaps.  So by the time the gooseberries arrived I knew what else I was going to use and had it all ready to go.  The last step was to write it all out, like a regular recipe, because I'm that kind of cook - I like to have a recipe.
When I was ready to bake the cake I gathered all the ingredients together.  Gooseberries are smaller than I imagined.  Yes, I must confess that I don't remember ever having seen gooseberries before.  From the pictures I'd seen of them I thought they would be grape sized.
So anyway, I got the pan all greased and floured, and got the oven set to warm up.  Then I started tossing stuff in the bowl.  Grandma had said to add flour until you had enough to "to make a good cake dough, just a regular kind of cake dough." So I was trying to remember what normal cake batter looked like.  The last cake I made was for my son about five months ago. I did the cake but everything after that was a community effort.  Well, I had a very good helper and I was pretty much the supervisor.  Turned out pretty good.  That was a from scratch cake so I was trying to remember what the batter had looked like, since that isn't normally something you pay a lot of attention to, as long as it doesn't look terribly out of the ordinary.  So I added the flour and until it looked good to me, which ended up being just short of a cup.
Then it was ready to go in the oven.  Since Grandma said "the gooseberries were stirred into it just as it was put in the oven" I gently folded them into the batter at that point.
Then I turned the batter into the pan and slid it into the oven.  Of course I had to lick the spatula.  That wasn't too bad, though it was a little sweeter than the last cake I made.  But as an early indicator of how it was going to turn out, it was promising.
The recipe I had found that seemed most similar to what Grandma described said to cook it for 35 minutes so that's what I set the timer for.
While the cake was baking I made the Dip so it would be ready when the cake was done.  Grandma hadn't really said whether or not to zest the lemon but the recipe I was sorta patterning all this after said to so I did.  Grandma also hadn't said anything about portions for the sauce so I was using something along the lines of the pattern recipe for that, too.
I also squeezed all the lemon juice out of the lemon and put all of that in, too.  I was a little worried it might turn out to be too lemony but in the end it was okay.
When the timer went off I checked the cake.  I poked a knife into it and it came out clean but the cake still looked a little under done to me so I gave it an additional five minutes before pulling it out of the oven.  It sure smelled good.  And it looked pretty yummy, too.
I gave it a few minutes to cool and then was going to take the cake out of the pan but decided that might not work too well.  It looked done enough but it just didn't look like a normal, solid cake.  Grandma had described eating it in a bowl with the sauce, like a pudding.  I decided that might be the better choice so I cut a piece, put it in a bowl, and poured the dip on it.  It turned to to be pretty good!  I would call it a success!

So here's the recipe for the cake and sauce as I made it.

Cake
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4/5 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
15 oz gooseberries

Sauce
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 350, grease and flour a 9.5" inch pan
Combine ingredients in the order listed, except the gooseberries.  Stir until smooth.
Gently fold in the gooseberries, then pour the mixture into the pan and place in the oven.
Bake for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Mix all the sauce ingredients and stir until smooth.
To serve, place a piece of cake in a bowl and pour the sauce over the cake.

Not too complicated, if I do say so myself,  Now here's what I'll change when I bake this in the future.

  • I'd increase all the ingredients so that there it makes more cake. That may require additional cooking time.  It seemed to me that the final cake was pretty thin.  While that's not entirely bad, I just thought it ought to have been thicker.  No good reason, it just seems that way to me.
  • I'd leave out the lemon zest and cut back a little on the lemon juice.  I like my flavors a little on the strong side but the lemon flavor was a little stronger than it needed to be.
  • Grandma hadn't really said anything at all about the portions for the sauce so I was guessing on whether we'd end up with too little, too much, or just right.  We ended up with sauce left over when the cake was gone.  So maybe the whole sauce recipe could be cut by a third.
  • If you'll remember, Grandma had said vanilla, whereas I would try it with almond extract.  That's just personal preference.  I like the flavor of almond better than vanilla.
It is also my plan to check with the local berry farm once summer rolls around to see if they have gooseberries.  If they do I am for sure trying this again with fresh gooseberries.  It'd be interesting to see how that affects the flavor.  My pattern recipe said the gooseberries needed to be "topped and tailed" but coming from a can, I didn't have to worry about that this time.

Grandma, 1933
From a family history perspective, I think it's cool that Grandma gave enough detail in her description of this favorite treat that I was able to "reconstruct" it.  I'm not sure I ever had it growing up.  And I certainly don't remember it ever being a tradition or even talked about.  There was another traditional favorite that Grandma did make.  She called them Easter Lillies and made them for Easter all the time.  We knew that if we ever had an Easter dinner or any kind of get-together at Easter time at Grandma's house there would be Easter Lillies.  And they were really good.  She was a remarkable woman, but that's a whole 'nother story.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Memory Stirred

A few days ago there was a big storm in California that blew a big sequoia tree down.  Those trees are so big and old that it made the news. They're big, old, and unique to California.  I don't think they grow anywhere else in the world. Blaubeere saw it and commented that it was unfortunate because she would have liked to have seen it.  The article had made the news all over the place and I had seen the headline but hadn't read any of the articles.  So when Blaubeere said that I commented that she had seen it already.  Then I read the article and realized that the one she had seen was not the same one that had come down.  She had seen some in southern California.  This tree was in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, a ways west of Sacramento.  The park and trees we visited when Blaubeere was three was Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, a ways west of Fresno and south of Calaveras Big Trees State Park.

Anyway, Blaubeere was only three and may not have much memory of the trip.  I thought it was a good time.  We camped in the park for two or three days with family.  And of course, while we were there we had to visit all the sights around the park.
They had tree tunnels at the park we visited, both downed trees as well as through trees still standing.  The tunnel through the standing tree that I remember had a tunnel too small for a modern car. It had been carved through back when wagons were the prevalent mode of transportation so the hole was a bit smaller.
The monster tree we saw was the General Sherman, considered the tallest tree in the world.  It currently stands at 275 feet call, measures 36 feet in diameter at the base, and weighs an estimated 2.7 million pounds.  It is a sequoia, not to be confused with a redwood, which tend to grow more to the north and more in coastal regions of California.  Sequoias tend to live longer than redwoods as well; 3,000 years as opposed to a mere 2,000 years.  The National Park Service claims the General Sherman is the world's largest living organism but that is subject to dispute.  Pando, the trembling giant, weighs an estimated 13.23 million pounds and covers 107 acres.  But anyway, that's a whole different story.
They had another tree that had fallen and been leveled so that you could drive up on it.  There was a short line and we, of course, took a turn.
At the time our family was much smaller, we only had two little girls.
One of the sights in the park was a big, granite dome rock formation called Moro Rock.  Very impressive.  The rock out-cropping has a set of stairs cut in some parts, poured in others, that is 797 feet long with 400 steps that follow natural ledges and crevices to the top.  That's just a few more steps than up the Statue of Liberty.
Yes, some of us did make the trek up to the top of the rock.  Quite a view.
While I remembered that my parents had been on this camping trip with us I had forgotten that my whole family had been there.  This was a family reunion with all my brothers and sisters there, along with all the grandkids.  Fourteen people. Not huge but cool nonetheless! We like family reunions!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Modern Technology in an Old Way

The other day Blaubeere brought  a couple of her kids over and we all went to the local childrens' museum for a while.  As the kids were playing and having fun we noticed an interesting thing happening.  Dragon, who is six and doesn't remember ever a time when stores didn't scan purchases, was playing with his little sister in the grocery store section of the museum.  His sister brought a basket full of groceries to where Dragon was pretending to check her groceries.  His register was an antique, mechanical calculating machine, old enough that it had individual keys for each number, one through zero, in all the columns up to the seventh or eighth place.  The biggest number you could punch in was 99,999,999.99.  The way those old machines worked was you'd punch in your number and then pull the lever down to "enter" it.  Then you'd punch the function key and then do your next number.  They typically only did the four basic functions, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  Lots of key punches to do very limited calculations.  Certainly no scanning as is found on modern store registers.  So young Dragon had to fill in the gaps with his imagination.  The place where the adding machine paper feed out with a "tape" of your calculations became the scanner.  Never mind the lever, it served no purpose.  Nor did the keys get much, if any use.  But the "scanner" was sure busy.
video
It was a hoot to watch him and suddenly realize what he was doing.  Neither he nor his sister skipped a beat, it was groceries on the counter, scan them, and into the bag with them.  They were moving along at quite a pace, just like at the grocery store.  It was fun to watch.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

From the Past

In between everything else that was going on today I spent some time looking for some specific old photos.  While I did not find the ones I was looking for I did find some others that I thought were pretty interesting.  They were mostly pictures of Blauebeere, from various times and events when she was a little kid.
Like this one - its her and her Mom, still at the hospital after being born.  Granted, you can't see much of her in this picture.  But you can see what a head of dark hair she had when she was born.  It caused quite a sensation on my side of the family where most babies were born with little or not hair.  Then along came Blaubeere with her head of long, dark hair.  Caused quite a stir.
This one is a few years later.  She was a month past her first birthday.  Her dark, thick hair was still thick but it had gone lighter and lighter all the time, until she ended up nearly a platinum blode at one point before slowly beginning to go a little darker again as she grew up.  Brombeere had sewn a big pillow out of old denim, material from jeans she'd been collecting for a while.  It was three or so feet long and a couple feet wide.  Blaubeere's favorite use for it was to do belly flops onto it.  We called it the "jumping pillow".  One day she was doing that with the pillow but it was a little too close to a low table we had sitting in front of the couch... she caught the corner of the table in the eye.  Needless to say, that put an end to the jumping for that afternoon.  And she got a pretty good shinner out of it.  Its kind of hard to see in this picture, but its her right eye.  She got over it pretty quick.  And it didn't put an end to her jumping on the pillow.
A couple of years later Erdbeere was born and Blaubeere got a little sister.  That can be traumatic for the first child, when the second one comes along.  Suddenly the child that has not had to share the parents or anything else suddenly has someone else with whom they have to share, and someone who gets all the attention at first.  Blaubeere's had a thoughtful aunt, who lived only about 40 or 50 miles away,  On the first day we took Erdbeere over to visit, this kind aunt had a present all ready for Blaubeere, a big, blue teddy bear.  Needless to say, Blaubeere was quite pleased.
This is Blaubeere, riding her trike in the driveway of the appartment complex we were managing at the time.  Pretty much any time I was outside working you could usually see Blaubeere riding her trike up and down the driveway.    It was a 12-unit complex, with the resident parking at the back of the two buildings but Blaubeere was real good about watching for cars and getting off to the side, out of the way, any time a car came.
A few years later Blaubeere was six and we had made another interstate move.  One day we went to the zoo with a bunch of family that lived nearby.  It was a fun day, Blaubeere enjoyed seeing the animals and having fun with her cousins.
Two years later my parent's family had a big family reunion.  One of the last ones they held at that level, one of the last ones we ever made it to.  It was held in a valley near where most of the extended family lived.  There was an old fashion steam engine train ride nearby that we all rode on.  This is Blaubeere with her grandpa, riding on the train through the mountains.
The next summer we had made another interstate move and no longer got to see the grandparents or cousins as often.  Fortunately, they came to our house now and then.  Here is Blaubeere in our back yard, with her grandma.

I like looking through these old photos.  I had kind of lost track of them and now recently I have found them.  Its fun to look through them and remember the good times.  Now I just need to find the ones I was looking for today.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

More Goodies!

They know my weakness!  The other day when Blaubeere and her kids were here they came prepared and planning on making cookies.  And not just any cookies, mind you.  They were planning on making my all time favorite cookie, frosted sugar cookies!  And she brought a really good recipe, too!  Of course, most stuff that Blaubeere makes is really good!  She's a "scratch" chef - almost everything she makes is from scratch and she has a collection of excellent recipes, some she knows so well she does them out of her head!  I'm impressed!
So they got out all the stuff and got to work!
This young man is getting pretty good all on his own.  And he enjoys it - a good combination!
She brought everything with her, much of it pre-measured, so it didn't take very long at all before we were rolling out dough.
Everybody pitched in, cutting cookies is, after all, pretty fun.
Some of the cookies were just smashed into shape.  We learned a valuable lesson about how much to "soften" the butter before adding it.  Liquefying it does have an affect on the dough.
Grandma has lots of cookie cutters so everyone got a wide variety to choose from.
I got some valuable instruction in the art of cookie sprinkles from an expert.
She was also the quality control specialist, have to sample the product to make sure we're turning out good cookies.
Of, course, its hard to go wrong with sugar cookies.  Smile!
When you get them cut and cooked you're only half done.  A proper sugar cookie, much like good brownies, has to be frosted to be complete.
Good, thick, done just right, sugar cookies!  Perfection! Among the foods eaten in heaven!
When all the cookies were through the oven then out came the frosting and decorating stuff.  Time for the art!  We were limited only by the fact that the only frosting we had was chocolate.  Of course, that's not entirely bad.
In the end, we ended up with some very fine looking cookies.  And they were every bit as yummy as they looked!
I like making cookies, its especially fun when there are kids involved.  And I like when Blaubeere cooks when she's here.  Its always so delicious!  Good people, good food, good times!  We need to do this again!