Yesterday was a strange and beautiful day. Circumstance arranged for all of my children to be home before four with no sports or music or friends scheduled. The house was quiet as they all studied and did homework by the glow of the Christmas tree while I started dinner.
My middle one, the one I call Bear, said how much he wished there were cookies, which led to browsing through my favorite holiday cookbooks and recipes. Gracie had never (that she remembers) made Spritz cookies and was intrigued by the press, so we made some dough.
Part way through the mixing, Daddy walked in the door! Turns out he had an appointment near home and decided not to go all the way back to work for such a short time. He suggested a date night, but we postponed it since I already had a chicken in the oven and we were in the middle of the cookies.
It was a good thing - shortly thereafter, all heck broke loose on Atlanta's highways. Hundreds of accidents, dozens of roads closed, people stranded on the highway, and my poor cousin who was waiting at home with his kids while his wife was trapped at an office holiday party after the road into the subdivision was shut down! I've never been so happy to have all my chicks under one roof.
I don't know if it's just me, but Spritz cookies always seem like such a good idea. The dough has few ingredients that are almost always on hand. The press seems like it should be easier than rolling out and cutting cookies. But it isn't. It always takes me several tries to get even two dozen cookies, and by the end I remember why I don't make these all the time. Anyone else? Tips? Or should I just pitch the press?
Eventually the cookies were pressed and sprinkled and baked. The chicken and rice were ready, warm comfort food for our bodies while our souls were nourished by the three lit candles and the prayers of the Advent wreath. And after dinner, cookies by the fire.
All six of us, counting Daisy, cuddled on the couch and flipped between a Disney Pixar special and the weather updates and talked about our days and the days ahead. My oldest has exams this week, the Bear has a performance on Friday morning, and Gracie has a piano recital on Saturday.
And then my husband reached around behind one of the kids and the dog and touched my hand and said, "I'm so glad we stayed home. This was the best."
Who needs Christmas presents?