Changing Tradition

For as long as I can remember my mom, dad, brother, and I have donned picture perfect coordinating outfits and traveled to the Christmas tree farm the day after Thanksgiving in search for the perfect tree. With holiday music playing and the tree settled into it’s base, the boys wrap it in lights while mom and I bake homemade gingerbread cookies. Then, we all take part adorning the tree in ornaments followed by a classic Christmas movie while we munch on the freshly made cookies. I love how autumn swirls into winter and this tradition is my favorite by far.

Here are a few pics from the last three years.

This year looked a bit different though. My brother lives in another state and because of scheduling had to fly down for an early Thanksgiving celebration. When the plans were first made, I realized our annual tree farm visit would be interrupted. I’m not gonna lie, it has been a little tough to accept the changes just because things will never be exactly like my childhood.

After a lovely Thanksgiving at my grandparents house in Central Texas, mom, dad, and I decided to do something different since we had already decided to put the tree on hold until closer to Christmas. We went to the Homestead Fair north of Waco, Texas. Although I love modern conveniences, I have always been fascinated with pioneer life. I even had a “Little House on the Prairie” themed party for my 10th birthday in a family friend’s log cabin. Homestead Heritage is a community that values simplicity and sustainability. Each year, they host a fair the weekend after Thanksgiving to showcase their way of life. Upon arrival, we felt as though we were transported back in time. We milled around the tents and buildings where their handy work was displayed. We took a hayride to an overlook of their farmland. We even witnessed a sheep being sheared and a good old-fashioned barn raising. And let me tell you, the smells were just as magical as the sights. There was unique food at every corner. My favorites were the spiced donuts accompanied by fresh apple cider and sorghum pecan ice cream served in a waffle cone. We could not have asked for better weather and it was such a fun family atmosphere!

Next on our to-do list, was baking Southern Living’s delicious gingerbread cookies…with a twist! Because today is shop small Saturday and our fave local storefront’s one year anniversary, we decided to celebrate with them. 🎉 HomeGrown is run by family friends whose store is filled with fabulous tees and adorable decor. Mom and I wanted to do something special for them, and since they love Texas, we landed on making Texas-shaped gingerbread cookies.

Us making the dough last night looked like a scene straight from “Christmas Vacation”. Our hand mixer broke and dad deemed it un-fixable. Mom has a vintage stand mixer that we thought we would try to see if it would even work. The answer is no and I’m surprised our house is even still standing. When I plugged it in, it sparked out an inch! The outlet is a tad charred and I’m still a little shaken from the “shock”… what a mix-hap! 😂 All I have to say is thank goodness for food processors.

Traditionally, we slather Betty Crocker cream cheese icing on the cookies but we wanted to make them fancier for our friends. We have always admired perfectly iced confections and decided to try our hand in flood icing. We started with one cup of powered sugar, a tablespoon of milk, and a teaspoon of vanilla then played with the consistency. The trick to getting the flooded look is to outline the cookie with a thicker icing and fill in with a thinner. As we worked on out technique, we discovered that is better to fill in the border right away instead of allowing it to dry to create a more seamless look. It is also a good idea to let the icing dry overnight.

We had a blast delivering the cookies to HomeGrown’s porch party on a decorated charger (courtesy of the Cameo once again) and wrapped in cellophane.

All that said, I am looking forward to new adventures, tradition or not. 😌

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