I’m starting a new little series called “at home for the holidays” as we begin celebrating (in my opinion) the most delightful time of year! Each post will include friends who have graciously allowed me to come into their homes and share their time, recipes and most treasured holiday memories or traditions. This series is meant to share joy, warm your heart with sweet traditions, and maybe inspire you to make a new thing or two this year. Be prepared to have your heart warmed, giggle a little and find the deepest joy in reading these treasured memories.
Meet my friends, the Baumans–one of the most joyful and fun families. From going to the library in superhero costumes, to stomping in the mud, to having a pet bunny and playing pretend–these are the days this family will look back on with full hearts. They are always giving to others and this holiday tradition is no exception. Each year, Crystal and Emerson (mother and daughter) bake cinnamon rolls and hand them out to their closest neighbors.
I walked into their beautiful little house and was greeted by drowsy little faces fresh from an afternoon nap. Greyson sat by me and chatted about his day. His older sister fixed her hair and listened to her momma whisper words intended to inspire kindness and to help her giggle away the grumpies that many of us experience after being awakened from the perfect nap.
Crystal was positive that baking cinnamon rolls would do the trick, so Emerson and I followed her across their hardwood floor and into the sunny kitchen. The dough had risen and was ready for Emerson to get her little hands all covered in butter, sugar and cinnamon.
We glanced at the recipe, where Emerson had proudly written her name a year ago. Crystal gave me a smile and admitted she could not be upset about the sweet scribbles if she tried. These well loved pages will be treasured forever. They tied on their aprons, Crystal explained why Emerson can’t lick her fingers this time, and we got to work.
A simple chalkboard with the words “Tell me and I’ll forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand” written on it could have been written by Crystal herself. In each step whether it be flouring the counter, rolling out the dough, spreading the toppings and rolling and cutting the rolls-she let Emerson involve herself. Crystal gently guided little hands and muffled a smile or two when she caught Emerson licking her fingers and sent her away to wash them. She took time to explain that getting messy was part of being a baker and let her know that flour wars are always welcome.
As they worked, the rest of the family would peek in to see the progress or visit for a bit. Greyson was so quick with his little visits, I couldn’t get a photo that wasn’t simply a blur. But the sweet baby was happy to be with everyone as her daddy held and snuggled her chubby cheeks and sleepy eyes.
The rolls baked, they patted out more and Emerson made a special card for her very first delivery: a sweet woman who lives just next door. As we crossed the lawn, Crystal had to remind her not to run, but Emerson was so aflutter she could hardly contain herself. So they held hands, careful not to drop the precious roll but both bouncing with excitement.
As soon as their neighbor saw the Bauman ladies, she gave them a big smile and hurried in their direction. She stopped short as she caught a whiff of the warm rolls. She exclaimed “You gave me exactly what I needed!” the perfect words to make Emerson feel as if she had done something special. They hugged, and we all walked home with a full hearts.
This kind of love, caring and cherishing of the little things is the very heart of Thanksgiving. Not just a day of giving thanks, but a life of being thankful and sharing what you have with one another.
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks Cookbook.
Graphic designed by (the amazing) Sarah