Entries tagged with “baking”.

Day 20: 30 Days in the StepMom Trenches

As the holidays draw closer, I’m reminded of how precious our time is with our family. Time is always a cherished commodity but when you live in a stepfamily, time with your husband, kids and stepkids is treasured in a special way because often you don’t have all your kids all of the time.

As a custodial stepmom, my two stepdaughters are with us 24/7 but my four children go between our home and their father’s home on a regular basis. This means that spontaneity is often a rarity when it comes to holiday fun. I have to plan out in advance when we will take a family photo, cut down our Christmas tree, go to family and friends, watch Christmas movies and most importantly – bake cookies.

I have always loved to cook with my kids and even before I was remarried I used to bake up a storm for the holidays. As young as two, I would have each child pick out a cookie and bake it with them. To this day, my four kids stand strong in their favorite Christmas cookie. It was a tradition that we brought into our blended family and now the girls will bake a cookie with their dad and/or me.  

Because schedules are getting crazier with the kids getting older, I appreciate the simplicity of some of the recipes.. I used to only have to factor in the time my kids were with dad. Now I have to factor in swim, ice skating and basketball practice and cub scout meetings.

I thought I’d share with you a cookie that I love to bake over and over with my kids at the holidays. It’s actually one of my son’s favorite to make with just me but we also have  a day when we can all bake them and then slip on our jammies and watch the Polar Express.

Here are our favorite Reindeer Kisses:

1 bag mini pretzels

1 bag Hershey Kisses

red & green M&Ms

Preheat oven to 220. Place pretzels on a cookie sheet. It’s okay if they touch each other. Place one unwrapped Hershey Kiss in the center of each pretzel. Place in the oven for 7 minutes. Take tray out of the oven and gently press an M&M in the center. If it goes in easily, finish the rest. If it’s hard to push the M&M into the center, place back in the oven for another minute or two.

Chill the Reindeer Kisses for twenty minutes. If you live in a cold climate, stick the tray outside for a few minutes to cool down.


One of the reasons this recipe is such a family hit is that all the kids can get involved and help.  My two oldest like to line up the pretzels, the boys love to unwrap the Kisses and the two youngest sort the M&Ms even though they don’t need to.

Lesson from the StepMom Trenches: Life can get hectic and the holidays can spin our schedules into overdrive. Take a few moments to plan ahead and do some things in the next few days that might save you some stress a few weeks from now. We can’t always bank on schedules staying the same or kids staying healthy so getting some shopping, baking, Christmas card writing, etc… done ahead of time can save some time and headaches later on.

Challenge: Think back to last year. Was there anything that you wished you had more time for? Make some adjustments and changes now so that you can make sure you have time for it this year. Having some fun and easy recipes on hand can help out. Getting shopping done early also helps.

What’s one of your biggest holiday challenges with your family at the holidays?

Looking for an easy and yummy recipe for Mother’s Day? Looking for a sweat treat to share with those you appreciate on this special day? Try these Mini Cranberry-Orange Breads!

This recipe is from the great folks at Domino Sugar. Of course I had to test this recipe out before recommending it to all my gals so  I asked for some volunteers at home. I had a blast baking with three of my six kids. Not only did we have a wonderful bread to share afterwards but we created a precious memory that the four of us  will treasure forever!

Padon my tangent, but I wanted to share that one of the reasons I so love baking with my children is it reminds me of the special time I used to spend with my grandmother. She not only taught me the fine art of baking she used that time to teach me about life.  There is no better time to talk to your kids then when you are working together on an interactive “project” like baking. I miss my grammie:)

Thanks for allowing me to reminisce.

This bread has a delicious aroma while baking. Your whole house will smell great!  The recipe is also super easy to make. Older kids could definately bake this on their own with you supervising the oven.

Everyone in our family enjoyed tasting the final product. It is sweet but the cranberries give it a tartness to create a nice blend of flavors.

I decided that I’m going to request this bread on Mother’s Day.  It will go nicely with the bowl of Honey Grahams, piece of toast, banana and glass of milk my kids always bring to me in bed (One year the tray didn’t make it all the way up the stairs! That was okay, I had my feast where it landed!)

I’m also going to bake up a few extra loaves to wrap up nicely and give to some friends who are such a blessing to me and are great moms and/or stepmoms as well.

However you choose to celebrate Mother’s Day, know that while we as moms sometimes go unnoticed and unappreciated we are doing the most important job of all and we are creating a legacy that will live far beyond what our eyes can ever and will ever see.

I wish you all a happy day!

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