It's the first of October; a chilly autumn day here in the Hudson Valley.  A few tinges of red and yellow are starting to appear on the trees.  I'm not looking back longingly towards summer this year, though. This year, the building excitement of our upcoming events is pulling me eagerly towards winter.  Our second edition is in production!  We are going to be sharing The Angels on My Tree in so many ways with wonderful new people this season.  We are planning events, making calls, checking calendars, and brainstorming. Here's a little taste of what's to come, and why we're so excited!

One of my childhood favorite TV actors will be recording a reading of The Angels on My Tree! Wow! - Stay tuned!

This year angels will be part of The Parade of Children at the fantastic annual Sinterklaas Festival! (Truly one of the Hudson Valley's best happenings.)

The venerable Zimmer Brothers Jewelers has created a spectacular limited-edition angel ornament for 2015 specifically for The Angels on My Tree!

The Angels on My Tree will be featured as November's Indie Book of the Month by the Tiny Bee Gift Co., a wonderful company that GIVES a book to a child in need every time a customer purchases one! 

The joy is spreading!

Baking Cookies

Growing up I knew it was holiday time when my mother brought out the big box of cookie cutters.

The tradition of gifting family and friends with homemade cookies is one I always treasure. Simple bar and drop cookies have their place but to me nothing says I love and treasure you like a box of beautifully decorated cut out cookies.

Each Year I decorate a small Christmas tree in my kitchen with candy canes, cinnamon cookies and my mother’s collection of cookie cutters. I have purchased many new cookie cutters over the years, but my favorite ones are almost worn thin from the nimble fingers of my mother and grandmother.

My Favorite Sugar Cookies

• 1-½ cup butter
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 whole eggs
• 2 whole eggs yolks
• 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 teaspoons almond extract
• 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking powder

Beat butter and sugar until well combined, about 2 minutes, in a mixer.
Add eggs and egg yolks and mix until combined.
Add extracts and mix until combined.
Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder, I a separate bowl.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix to combine.
Put dough in Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, when you are ready to bake.
Roll dough out on a well floured surface.
Cut out cookies.
Bake for 6-8 minutes.
Cool before icing.

• 1 cup confectioners sugar
• 1 drop lemon juice or vanilla extract or almond extract
• 1 tablespoon corn syrup
• 1 tablespoon milk
• food coloring if desired

Combine sugar, lemon juice (or extract), and corn syrup in a bowl.
Add milk just a drop at a time until it looks like icing.

Thicker icing is good for outlining the cookies and for doing detail work.
Thinner icing gives easier coverage but less control.

If you are using liquid food coloring add it before the milk as it will change the consistency. If you are using a gel food coloring add it as you like.
If you want more SHINE, use more corn syrup and less milk. This frosting will stay good for days in the fridge.

Reach Out & Read!

Thanks to our wonderful Sponsors!  Kudos to Sally Butler at Reach Out And Read!

Copies of The Angels on My Tree will be given Wednesday morning to a wonderful group of children at our special author-illustrator event at PS 119 in New York City!  Thanks to generous donations from Filomena Fanelli - Impact PR & Communications, Trinity Episcopal Church, Fishkill, NY, and from actress Barbara Feldon! - Thanks, 99! 

Reach Out and Read provides a free book to a child at medical visits, along with a "prescription" for reading! http://www.reachoutandread.org/