Cookie Mix In A Jar, Disaster In My Kitchen

In the last year since I’ve updated this blog (whoops), I got a new amazing job for an amazing company in an amazing department with amazing people. (Did I mention my work life is great?) I only started in January 2014, so this is my first Christmas season with everyone, and I didn’t even think about gifts for everyone in my department…of 9 other people. That’s a lot of thinking, and I can barely buy gifts for my husband who I’ve known for 10 years. So, I started looking for ideas online, and realized I could finally try something I’ve been wanting to try for a while but never had the occassion – the (in)famous cookie mix in a jar.

Image from The Creative Junkie

I’m sure you’ve seen these all over the internet, especially if you’re on Pinterest (I’m a recovering Pinterest addict myself). They look super cute and are great and inexpensive gift ideas, perfect if you work in a department with 9 other people. Plus, it’s literally dumping ingredients in a jar. How hard could it possibly be? (hahahahahahaha.)

I looked around and decided on following these instructions from AllRecipes. I got 9 1-qt mason jars from Michael’s for $2.49 each, and decided I would use a few sheets of Christmas craft paper I already had to cut into tags, and print out the instructions on pieces of paper and just glue them to the festive paper. (On an unrelated note, I also decided I would crochet small ornaments to go with these, which I will discuss further in another post.)

Since I purchased the jars on a Friday night, and wanted these prepared to bring to work the following Tuesday, Saturday morning seemed like a good time to have a test run, since I had absolutely no plans on Sunday. I knew we didn’t have enough of everything for 9 batches, so I went to the supermarket before 9am to grab extra of everything. (Did I mention this was all happening the weekend before Christmas? I have been a master procrastinator since I was 7 years old.) I got home and reviewed the instructions; in hindsight, I should have seen a red flag at “1 1/2 c of flour,” but whatever it’d be fine.

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Not so much.

This would be perfect if I didn’t still have to add a cup of chocolate chips! Guess who started baking cookies at 9:30 in the morning, with the organic butter I’d just paid a ridiculous amount for, since we had no regular sticks of butter.

I read through some of the comments on AllRecipes and was stunned that there was only one negative comment about actually fitting the ingredients. Everyone else claimed they packed and packed and packed with an ice cream scoop until it all fit nicely, but I didn’t have the time or patience for that. (Well, I had the time, but didn’t want to have an issue AGAIN, because now I definitely didn’t have enough butter for another batch.) So I figured I could just halve the recipe, and add 2 each of the cookies I’d just surprise-baked, since now I’d have room at the top of each jar. Except…

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Nice try.

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These things spread to be HUGE. I will take some of the blame for this, because the recipe called for softened butter, and I stopped paying attention and half of my butter was melted. But really? There is no way I’m fitting these things in the mason jars.

Now, it’s not even 11am and I’m drinking white wine because this whole experience has me strung out. Plus now I have to wash all the dishes from my surprise baking session. At this point, I’ve already rinsed out the Fail Jar, so I refilled it but with half of all the ingredients.

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A definite improvement, since now everything actually fits, but there is so much OBVIOUS empty space at the top, now I have to think of something else to fill it with. (Oh, and of course, this new job is for one of the biggest candy companies in the world, so putting some candy in a plastic bag and placing it on top would be pointless.) I toyed with the idea of literally dumping packets of hot chocolate into plastic bags, but then decided I would just cut the cookies up until they fit. (Cookie bites are a thing, right?)

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The cookies were a huge hit, and everyone was appreciative. And maybe if I hadn’t done this less than a week before Christmas, it wouldn’t have seemed quite as tragic. But I’ve learned my lesson – if I ever want to attempt the cookie mix in a jar gift again, I’ll just make the cookies.

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Halloween, For The Childrens

As I have previously stated, my cousin was recently pregnant with her second child, who would be a planned cesarean baby. As it turns out, she still decided to come early! I didn’t get a chance to see her in the hospital, so a week after she came home I went out to Staten Island to visit the whole family…and as everyone knows by now, I can’t resist going to see her son (and now daughter!) without gifts.

a very willing model

She may have been early, but at least she was still an autumn baby…and very nearly an October baby…because I really wanted an excuse to make an adorable baby pumpkin hat. I was going to wing it and just make a regular hat and put a stem on it, but I’m glad I followed the instructions on FaveCraft – not only did it make it easy to add the vine parts, but the ridges looked more pumpkin-y AND it’s now easier to stretch over her noggin. For a week-old baby, it was way too long (even with the rim turned up a few inches) but I’m thinking she might grow fast enough where that won’t matter in a few weeks when it gets consistently cold enough that she needs a hat. Let me tell you, it’s the curly vine next to the stem that really makes this project…SO ADORABLE.

This project on Ravelry

 

   

As for the little man, this is the same little man that loves throwing around my amigurumi projects. I decided it was close enough to Halloween that I could make some spooky critters for him. The bat, while cute, was everything I dislike about amigurumi…which is really just lots of little pieces to put together. I mean, the pattern was great, I’m just lazy and I hate having to sew all these pieces together. The ghost had less pieces to put together; I tried to make a wavy edge on it, but it’s too small to really be appreciated and kind of took over the rest of the ghost, so I ripped it out and worked it even. He seemed more impressed with the ghost…but actually I think he just loved that he’d throw it and it would land right side up, because its shape lends itself to that.

The bat on Ravelry

The ghost on Ravelry

(The ghost pattern is a Ravelry PDF, so you’d have to access the pattern through there. The link to it can be found via my project link.)