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Your Last Minute Gift Guide: Kids

I'm a last minute kind of person. Even when it comes to doing gift guides in the first place, here I am, a week out from Christmas. But I finally have some spare time on my hands and I want to share! Without further ado, my last minute gift guide for kids! The plan is to do women & men next... hopefully today, so you'll still have a week to put your trust in Amazon Prime and Target next day shipping.

Green Toys Parking Garage: Green Toys are my favorite brand of toy products. Easy to clean, green, and simple enough to not overwhelm the developing mind. This is something recommended by Bodie's Special Education Teacher. They play with them at his speech therapies as well, "Going up up up! Down down down down!" The perfect toy for your littles.

Kid Made Modern Arts & Crafts Library: Georgia could craft for hours and I recently saw this at Pottery Barn Kids and knew she had to have it. It was cheaper on Amazon for now, but it is in-stores at PBK!

Osmo Little Genius Starter Set: another special education recommendation. This connects with an iPad or an Amazon Fire. Great to learn the alphabet and numbers. Another great option is to purchase an ABC Mouse subscription, both of my kids love it, and it's done wonders for Georgia's sight words. There is going to be screen time. It may as well be productive screen time.

Digital Camera: honestly just check out the price. Your kids will love taking photos!

Barbie Dream House: the old stand-by. We got Georgia a different dream house-esque dollhouse last year and we grabbed her the Barbie Camper this year, but these keep them busy and playing and who can argue with that?

Lego Classic Brick Box: again, imagination can run wild, great for stacking and developmental play for all ages.

Beautycounter Jellies Gift Sets: I'm mostly including this because I feel so strongly about children using pretend makeup. Spring for the jellies, I promise your little one will be just as pumped without potentially digesting anything harmful! The perfect stocking stuffer.

LOL Dolls: I don't think LOL mania will ever end.

A Lacrosse Story: a friend of mine shared this book to Instagram this week and I learned it's from a local Pittsburgh couple! We hope the kids will play lacrosse so this feels like a great intro!

THE AMAZON JACKET BUT FOR KIDS: I had no idea there was a children's version!! This jacket is so stinkin warm and cute! The perfect gift and mine has withstood being washed as well!

So there you have it! The other great option are those experience-based gifts. I plan on taking my niece to make a build a bear, you can get a giftcard for swim lessons, take a child to the movies! Whatever! The last thing any of us really needs is more junk, but I know these gifts are pieces my kids will play with over and over.
Molly Knorr
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Compost Cookies

I'm back to my much-neglected blog to talk about cookies. Our Neighborhood hosts a cookie exchange each year and while I always push it to the last minute, it's fun to bake some cookies. This year, Jeff and I had been watching the Chef's Table on Netflix and we were SO inspired by Christina Tosi, of Mylkbar. Her Instagram is adorable. With that in mind, I set out to make some of her cookies. I found the recipe on Brown Eyed Baker.

This recipe will yield 20 or more cookies and it did take some time to prepare, as well as a lot of ingredients... but if you love sweet and salty, I promise this is perfect for you.

For the Graham Crumb Mixture:
  • 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon milk powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
For the Cookies:
  • 1 1/3 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons glucose (alternative is 1 tablespoon light corn syrup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup mini butterscotch chips
  • prepared graham mixture
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground coffee (do not use instant coffee or expresso powder in place of the ground coffee)
  • 2 cups potato chips (preferred brand: Cape Cod)
  • 1 cup mini pretzels (preferred brand: Synders Mini Pretzels)
Cooking Instructions
  1. Prepare Graham Mixture: in a small bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, milk powder, sugar and salt. Whisk together the butter and heavy cream, then add to the dry ingredients. Toss with a fork until the mixture is evenly moistened, set aside.
  2. Prepare the Cookie Dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. Combine the butter, both sugars and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and continue to beat for 7-8 minutes.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  5. Still on low speed, add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, graham mixture, oats and coffee, and mix until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the potato chips and pretzels and again, mix only until barely incorporated, 15-20 seconds.
  6. Using a 2 3/4 ounce ice cream scoop (or a 1/3 measuring cup), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  7. Bake the Cookies: preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment or silpat-lined sheet pans (6 cookies per sheet).
  8. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be very faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center. Give them an extra minute or so if that's not the case.
  9. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before serving or storing. The cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.
Molly Knorr
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