I have come across a goldmine of a website! www.joyofbaking.com is my new favorite passtime. The receipes (seem) tried and true and the pictures are great, there are good explanations and suggested alternatives, there's even a history section! If you bake at all (if you don't, we are so not friends anymore) go to the "Christmas Baking" tab on the right, I want to make every one of those!!! I made the sugar cookies last weekend as I was looking for a basic sugar cookies recipe and this one was perfect. When I was little my mom used to make "Lori's Smart Cookies" which were essentially sugar cookies named after a girl down the street... for some reason, but these could easily compare.
On that note, I wonder if the feeling of "that reminds me of home" will ever grow old? I get it alot around the holidays but that's probably because a big part of the holidays is family. Doing all of this holiday baking has been a major contributor. One of the very far off memories of my dad that I have is baking with him at Christmas and thinking "Why does mom bake every other day in the year, dad is so good at this!" when really most everything I know about baking is stuff I learned from my mom. Probably because my mom would just give me a recipe and let me go, whereas my dad liked to do it with me. It was as if my mom took a break at xmas and my dad pitched in with the cooking/baking, probably because he could easily get me to help. I remember when my mom first taught me how to measure butter using cold water and to always add dry to wet gradually. She taught me so much!
When I was younger I used to go away to summer camp and off to visit my relatives and then I eventually left when I was 14 for Winnipeg, never once did I get homesick. These days though I feel closer than I ever have with them. I talk to my mom 5 times a week usually, message my brother a few times a week and I try to talk to my dad as often as he can. I miss them all and I can't wait to pack my suitcase full of the little gingerbread family I'm going to make. I can't wait for Christmas!