christmas giving

hi friends.

I've missed you.

I've been absent from the blog this whole month, and so much has happened!  I turned a year wiser, took an overnight trip with Mia to a cabin,  played one of the ten virgins in a play (don't ask), went on a super fun trip to Seattle, spoke in church, spent 36 hours in bed with the flu, attended our annual Adult Family Christmas Party, went to {Whippycake's} magnificent {Smashball}, attended two dance concerts, two choir concerts, and a piano recital, made and sent 100 Christmas cards, and hosted a family party for the cousin's gift exchange.  Those are just the big events from the first two weeks of December and we've still got two weeks to go!

When my mom was expecting me, her medical due date was December 25th.  I'm pretty sure that I didn't want to miss all the festivities that come with the holiday season, so I enthusiastically made my appearance on December 1st.

I've never been a fan of missing a good party!

However, as much as I enjoy a great party, I love the service opportunities that present themselves during this time of year even more.  My extended family has been doing something for the past 5 years that I absolutely love!  We all gather together (there were 23 of us this year) and sing Christmas carols down the halls of a nursing home.

Please pardon the world's most horrible iphone picture.

Waking up on Christmas morning to some surprises is fun, but what I really want for my children is to feel the pure love of Christ, and want it in their lives.  Bringing a small bit of holiday cheer to others is a tiny step in the right direction.  When we knelt together for family prayer before bed that night, my husband's heartfelt plea was that we could all remember the feeling in our hearts and keep it with us.  I know my kids are hoping and wishing for various things this year, but my daily prayer for them is that they can understand and show charity to someone, every single day.  It's really the simple things, like a smile, a small favor, or a helping hand.  We have a couple more service events planned this week that I am super excited about.  You'll have to check back to hear all about them.....

This adorable lady held my (very pregnant) sister's hand and talked to her for about 5 minutes.  She also gave us a hearty round of applause after every song.  She was so cute.

We spent about an hour at the facility, and it was wonderful to bring a smile to so many people's faces.  When we were done, everyone headed over to our house for gift exchanging, hot chocolate and cookies.  The kids draw names each year and have fun picking out a gift for their chosen cousin.  I didn't have any family that lived close growing up, so I am ecstatic my kids get to have the experience of lots of close relatives.  14 kids made for a lively party!  We missed the five that live out of town, and can't wait for the new little girl due to arrive any day now!

I sent everyone home with a roll of cookie dough, and I'm here to tell you they are the best oatmeal cookies you will ever eat!  I make and freeze a bunch every year and give them as gifts.  I love that I can make them way ahead, deliver them frozen, and the recipient can slice and bake them at their convenience.  My freezer is currently stocked for friends, relatives, neighbors, and teachers.

I covered my rolls with foil, then wrapped them up in thin, white paper that I found by the roll in the painting section at Lowes.  I used some scalloped scissors to trim the ends, then tied them up with some wide, red ric rac.  I also created some simple tags with the baking instructions and our name.  I printed the labels on light pink cardstock and used some double stick tape to attach them to the top of the cookie roll.  Simple, neat packaging that's special but not too fussy.
I'm including the recipe with the hope that they will become a family favorite of yours, too!  They are easy to make, freeze beautifully, and are great to have on hand at all times.  I double this recipe and make 5, nice sized rolls.  I have a Bosch mixer, and a double recipe fills it to capacity.

Freezer Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups quick oats

Mix shortening, white sugar, and brown sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Add all dry ingredients except for the oats, and mix well.
  Add oats last, and mix just til combined.
  Shape into 2 (large) or 3 (small) rolls.  Wrap in foil and freeze. Slice 1/2" thick and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

If you decide to use my recipe to make some last-minute gifts and want to include my custom tag, email me at meandjilly@gmail.com and I will send it to you as an attachment with your family's name on it.  Since I make 5 rolls at a time, the tags come 5 to a page.  It's my tiny Christmas present to you!

We wish we could give each and every one of you a giant, heartfelt hug!  We appreciate anyone who takes time out of their busy life to read what we have to say.  We love to blog, and miss it when we have to back off a bit because of other priorities.  We truly enjoy each and every comment and love to connect with our readers.  Thank you for spending some of your time with us this year!  We wish you all the happiness your heart can hold this holiday season.

We'll be back in 2013 with some great projects, tutorials, recipes and ideas.  Can't wait!


  1. Oh Jilly!!! Thank you so much in advance for the sweet offer to make me my own family tag~ I will make these cookies and I will joyously give them to my neighbors in the next week. : )
    I love your blog and everything about you girls and look forward to another year enjoying every little word you have to share~
    Merry, Merry Christmas! xo beth

  2. You are such an inspiration Jilly! Thank you so much for your words of wisdom, all your wonderful projects and recipes, and most important, a glimpse of precious moments with your family. It's truly a treat to read your blog! Keep up all your hard work. Merry Christmas!

  3. I'm happy the 3 of us actually met in person this year!! Keep up the blog -you don't need much sleep!! Ha. I love your tradition -my daughter just started this in her SYA ward -she used to put on shows for the old folks when she was young -like a singing recital, but it was just her!! Sweet. Merry Christmas -Your NOT SO imaginary friend Janae in Mesa!!

  4. Merry Christmas! I am a follower that would love to receive your custom tag :)
    My last name is Lorsch and my email is:

  5. Merry Christmas! Hope we get a lot more chances to hang out in 2013! PS: I totally made your cookie dough. Genius! It's WAAAAAY less work than giving out actual cookies!

  6. Thanks! your post is very beneficial for me, you really do me a favor on this issue.
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  7. I have been catching up in your blog and loved this idea for next Christmas! I was admiring your countertop in the picture of your cookie dough rolls. What is the material? I love the veins running through it! I am still searching for the perfect material for my big island. :)

  8. Christmas is a time for celebration. A fun time with family and friends where enjoy good food, good company and lots of presents. Christmas Gift


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Mia & Jilly

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