First photos with my Lensbaby Sweet 35

Lensbaby recently had a great sale on their tilt shift lenses, so I picked up a Sweet 35 Optic. The lens does not communicate electronically with the camera body, so you have to adjust the settings and focus manually. Needless to say, there is a bit of a learning curve and it’s quite challenging to get the focus just right, but I’m having a lot of fun experimenting with it!


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Peppermint Swirl Cookies

We made these cookies on Christmas Eve in preparation for Santa’s arrival. 😀 They are my favorite combination of crunchy yet slightly chewy and the light mint flavor adds a festive touch. These would be a great way to use up any extra candy canes you may have, or you can bookmark this recipe for next year’s holiday season!

The recipe makes a simple cookie dough that you divide into two halves… the first half is left plain.

Vanilla and peppermint extracts, pulverized peppermint candies, and drops of red food coloring are added to the other half of the dough.

The two dough halves are rolled out into rectangles, stacked, rolled into a dough log, chilled in the refrigerator, and sliced into round cookies.

Although not part of the original recipe, my girls wanted to add a light sprinkling of red sugar sprinkles.


Peppermint Swirl Cookies (from Cook’s Country)
makes about 4.5 dozen

3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks softened unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 cup finely ground peppermint candies (about 20 mini candy canes… use a food processor to grind them)
red food coloring (we used four drops)
red sugar sprinkles (optional)

1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Beat butter and eggs in a separate bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Slowly add flour mixture while mixing on low speed. Remove half of dough and reserve. Add vanilla and peppermint extracts, pulverized candy, and food coloring to remaining dough and mix until combined.

2. Place reserved dough half between two sheets of parchment paper and roll into an 8×14 inch rectangle. Repeat with peppermint dough. Stack the peppermint dough on top of the plain dough and press lightly to adhere. Roll dough into a log with the long side facing you. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners. Slice chilled dough into 1/4 inch rounds and place them one inch apart on the cookie sheets. Add sprinkles if desired. Bake for 12-14 minutes until edges are a light golden brown. Cool for ten minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

Brown Sugar Cookies

These cookies are fairly nondescript, but what they lack in appearance they more than make up for in taste. This recipe was originally featured by Epicurious and later by Joy the Baker… enough said!

The recipe calls for dark brown sugar which has a higher molasses content than light brown sugar.

The dry ingredients include ground cinnamon and ground ginger which adds wonderful flavor without being too holiday-ish.

One of my girls said, “Mmm… these are a little cinnamy!” when she tried them. Some of the words that kids come up with are so cute!

Happy monday to you! 🙂