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Whew!  Another cookie party has come and gone.  Those are my cookies above.  I did all the same things as last year.  I even used the same invitations!  Lame.  I know.  I wanted to add "wear your most obnoxious christmas sweater" to the invite but worried the christmas sweater wearing types might not think it was so funny!  Maybe next year I will be braver 🙂

That's all the cookies- well almost all since I bought a sideboard/ buffet this year that held some additonal trays.  I love seeing everyone arrage their cookies and walk around tasting.  

As usual we voted after everyone had tasted and looked and discussed.  The voting is VERY secretive.  Just kidding- everyone blah blah blahs about who they voted for.

  We also had cute kid entertainment during all this action…

And finally the votes were tallied and the winners announced!

Not my best picture of these excellent bakers!!!  They are holding my prizes which I forgot to get a good picture of.  They were cute patchwork pot holders and sanding sugar my friend Karen got from Amish country.  Michelle won best all around cookie AGAIN.  Her cookie was a peanut butter chocolate revel.  That's like 8 years in a row folks!   Aven won best tasting for a delicious light and fluffy orange buttermilk cookie.  And Mary (Michelle's mom!) won most beautiful cookie for her pretty truffles.  I only got a picture of the truffles and they are beautiful!

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Aren't those poinsettas so pretty?  One of our newcomers was 13 year old Syndey and her mom Wendi who made 80 beautifully decorated sugar cookies.  That's a lot of mom/ daughter bonding!  The result was some really cute cookies.

I really toned down my Christmas decorating this year.  I even gave a big bag of decorations to the Goodwill.  Is this some kind of milestone in my life?  Instead of accumilating Christmas decorations, I am finally getting rid of them!  Or maybe I am just getting wise to less is more (and less clean up in January!).

I am fascinated by people who can take good pictures of their trees.  How do they do that?  I decided to experiment a little.  Here is pretty good one of mine from the party…

Our tree has been named "chubba wubba" by the kids.  I usually go for a taller and thinner tree but in a moment of pretending like I don't like to be in charge of everything (haha-but it's true!)  I let Travis and the kids choose this chubby short tree.  It's still cute though.

Here is another picture of the tree at night that has a little more interest…

Maybe night is the key since that one looks pretty good!  I set my ISO to the highest setting (1800) and took the picture with no flash.  Then I lightened it up in iphoto.  First I tried to edit it in PSE but I couldn't get it quite right.  Sometimes something more simple works!  

See my white tree in the background?  I love it so much.  A garage sale find!  I decorate is with pastel new and vintage glass ornaments.  Here is a close up..


So, cookie party 2011 complete!  Thank you to my talented SIL Jenny Stein for taking picture of the cookies and that sweet pictures of the girls entertaining the crowd.  

The next week and a half are for making a few handmade gifts and trying to enjoy this sweet time of year.  I am always torn between wanting to squeeze it all in (should I book a fancy breakfast with Santa?  the nutcracker?  go to the lights show?)  and just spending time at home admiring our cozy decorated home.  

So, did any of you attend a cookie party or throw one yourself?  Give me some tips to try next year!  This party may need some shaking up!  What else do you have planned before Christmas?  

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