Thursday, December 8, 2016

Bake-and-Make-a-Memory Day 2016 at Ruthy's Place

This all came about with our "Keep Christmas Simple" plan... And by simple, I don't really mean SIMPLE.

Youse guys know me, you know that really doesn't enter the vocabulary.

But simple as in sweet, prayerful, family-pleasing, joyous and relaxing, unlike my former self who ran around like a crazy person, shopping and spending too much money.

This is such a wonderful new tradition! One day a year we gather all the grandkids we can and we spend a day making and baking, to give them a taste of what Christmas was like for their moms and dads, growing up here on the farm.

There were gingerbread houses. Lacey built the basic graham cracker house the night before (after working all day and before spending a day as a track official at a college track meet on Saturday, so the word "simple" will make her laugh! Simple as long as little sleep is required!)

Station One, The Gingerbread Decorating Station is ready for business!

Sugar cookies in the kitchen... we use our favorite sugar cookie recipe (known as Mary's Sugar Cookies, Deluxe Sugar Cookies and Sugar Cookies from Betty Crocker). You'll find it here...  and that was our first Bake A Memory Day at the farm!

Emma and Morgan... Let me just say that Morgan LOVES dumping flour from one cup into another! :) 
Eli and Dave manning the royal icing bags and having their turn at the Gingerbread Station...

And the Homemade Ornament Station manned by the beautiful Mandy (who really, really, really doesn't do crowds of children well, but she knew I needed help because our helper, Casey, was visiting a college that morning.... Like that was more important, CASEY??????)

Mandy, Logan and Emma, creating picture ornaments to go on family trees...

Individual picture ornaments of the cute kids... and a family pic ornament for each family, courtesy of Aunt Beth who came up with this lovely idea!

And this recipe is one that Lacey found on a baking website she loves  This is an amazing dip you can use for those leftover graham scraps from house building... and just for a fruit dip or bagel spread... It's amazing and easy!

Caramel Cheesecake Dip:

Use two bowls (I know what you're thinking, don't even SAY IT... this is not hard! So just get out the two bowls and stop yer fussin'!)  :)

8 oz. softened cream cheese
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 graham crackers, crumbled/crushed/obliterated

Whip these ingredients together until light and fluffy.

In second bowl:

1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. white sugar

Whip until firm, soft peaks form...

Fold together. Serve.... or chill until serving time.

And I thought I took a nice pic of the platter filled with broken graham crackers surrounding a lovely bowl of delicious, fluffy dip... but obviously not, because it's not here!

But it was a wonderful and very deliciously appropriate treat to eat while we were hard at work on super fun stuff!

And here's Grandpa, grabbing a salt bagel from Brueggers before the crazy began, because we put Gramps on baby duty....

And that busyness of fun, hectic, delightful crazy is my version of simple... because it is simply filled with love!

AND GET READY FOR NEXT WEEK!!!!! When the gals of the Yankee Belle Cafe begin The Twelve Days of Christmas Treats and Sweets... with daily prizes drawn for our chatty visitors!

Come join us as we welcome the holidays with some homemade, festive fun!

Beloved author Ruth Logan Herne writes stories that touch the heart... and the soul. She's in her northern latitude cave for the winter, hanging with cute kids and writing great books while snow and wind tend to negate her images of climate change.... come visit her website and friend Ruthy on facebook as Ruth Logan Herne...  and you can visit her TODAY in Seekerville where she's talking about small town romance... and the classic small town that set the world aright over two thousand years ago....


  1. There are so many fun things that go on at Ruthy's house. I want to come to Make a Memory Day next year, so just put me on the books. And that dip! Crackers are obviously just a technicality. Fingers and spoons would also work. Shoot, just give each person a bowl of their own and let them eat it however. Yum!

    1. Mindy, that would work with this dip! A spoon would suffice!!!! :)

      And yes, come north next year, darling... it's crazy and Mandy will probably HIDE next December, but it all works out in the end.

      When the mess is cleaned up and twinkle lights and a peaceful Nativity set prevail!!!

  2. The time you spend with your children and grandchildren is always so inspirational! You're right - that day looks like it was FAR from simple...but oh! the memories!

    I'm of the opinion that the best gift a grandparent can give to their grandchildren is a multitude of memories of time they've spent together.

    But your previous memory making days have inspired me to start my own Bake a Memory Day. We're starting small this daughter, future DIL, and a son's girlfriend...but I hope we'll add more to the crowd as time goes on.

    And I'm SO looking forward to the 12 Day of Christmas Treats here at the Cafe!

    1. Jan!!! I'm so glad you're starting a Bake a Memory Day! Isn't it a great idea?

      You know what inspired ours (well, mine, Dave hasn't been kitchen inspired in oh... well... ever.... ) :)

      Anyway, a friend of mine gets together with her mother and sisters and daughters and does an apple pie baking day and they freeze them.... and Mandy gets together with the Polish side of her family and they make Pierogis and freeze them.... so I thought that we could start our own tradition... but that's when I realized that a couple of extra grown ups on hand was required, LOL!

      But it is so much fun.

      And I want to know what youse are baking????

    2. Well, now you've inspired me not to wait for grandkids to do this! I'll start with the kids and new daughter-in-law. :)

    3. I plan to share our day here at the Cafe on Monday!

    4. Missy, yes! Don't wait for the rugrats... go for it. And you guys can laugh over successes and mistakes! It's great for building those relationships. (If you ask Karen and Lacey that, I'm sure they'll agree... they might not MEAN it, but they'd agree because they are lovely ladies.)

  3. I love this idea!! Of course, if I wanted a house full of grandkids, I probably should've had 6 kids like you did, Ruthy! LOL But I'll enjoy whatever I'm blessed with and will try to do something similar someday (if on a smaller scale). :)

  4. That looks like so much fun! My friend is hosting a graham cracker gingerbread house decorating day. She was going to have them assemble the houses themselves but I think pre-assembly is key so they have time to harden. Passing this along!

    1. Josee, doing that the night before was AWESOME... But for adults, if you're going for hours, it might not matter.

      But having them pre-done was perfect with the kids.

  5. Such a brilliant idea. Back when my daughter was little and it was just the two of us with no extended family around, I started the tradition of a tree decorating party. We invited some friends -- adults and kids -- and we all made ornaments before everyone helped us decorate our tree. And, of course, I fed everyone. Great fun, and it gave us the illusion of a massive family gathering. Some of our favourite Christmas memories. That and decorating the park trees with edible ornaments for the squirrels and birds. :-)

    1. Kav I love the idea of decorating the park trees with edible ornaments!!! I must use that in a book, don't you think???

      And how beautiful to manufacture your illusion so it wasn't an illusion after all. Brilliant!!!!

  6. There's a special place in heaven for people like Lacey... and Mandy... and you, of course.

    I'm so glad it was a wonderful day. I have such lovely memories of Christmas baking with my girls.

    1. Cate, that's exactly the goal, to spawn those memories for them... and us... and honestly, Lacey, Mandy and Beth were clutch in getting this done, especially because Casey was visiting a college. But when she showed up to help, Mandy smartly slipped out the door... With a big hug!

  7. Memories being created in a loving and fun way. I remember baking cookies with our mother and grandmother--the best memories are from the kitchen with family members. God bless. Merry Christmas to all.

    1. Merry Christmas to you, Marilyn! God bless you, too, and thank you for coming over today. We love company here at the cafe.

      And it's all about those memories, isn't it? Such a blessing!

  8. So many fun memories! Everyone did a wonderful job.

    Happy Holidays!