First, let me say that I feel an extraordinary amount of pressure to post only great pictures from now on. That said, these aren't great ... but you can't always control the lighting in every situation! Moving on ...
Lubbock and I attended our first cookie exchange. We brought my favorite ... oatmeal raisin (and since I didn't have enough raisins, I used cranberries as well ... mmm).
Linda, of Tri City Tots, hosted the cookie exchange. She had the house set up perfectly. The cookies were laid on her kitchen island. She had hot cocoa with spoons dipped in chocolate for stirring! (I'm stealing this idea one day.)
She had a craft project set up in the dining room for the older kids. They made miniature gingerbread houses (graham cracker houses if you want to be technical). This kept some of the children busy for well over an hour!
She already had the milk cartons taped down, the pieces of graham cracker cut to size, and all the candies laid out for decorating, including coconut flakes for snow! Another idea I'll steal at some point.
The little kids played upstairs for a while, but once Lubbock discovered there were older kids, he wanted to be where they were. I really don't think he considers himself a baby anymore. He'll stand by the older kids as they talk to each other and say 'ya' and if they laugh, he laughs. He cracks me up sometimes. Linda has a small ball pit that Lubbock played in for a majority of the time. He would hand me a ball and I threw it back in from the other side of the pit. He thought this was hilarious. At least someone thinks I have a good sense of humor.
As for the cookies, we got a great variety. Lots of sugar cookies, a few green corn flake wreaths, some yummy peanut butter kisses, some chocolate and peanut butter bars (those were my favorite), and on and on. There were 14 people in attendance, so it made for a nice mixture of cookies. We came with 2 dozen of one kind and left with a mixture of 2 dozen. It's a nice amount to tide me over for the next cookie exchange. The big one!
Our playgroup is doing a 10 dozen one so that we won't have to bake so many different ones for the holiday parties. Just a lot of one kind. I'll take our spoils down to Texas to share.
I do need to get crackin' on the gifts for Kevin's office, though. I set such a high standard the first year I did anything. I was pregnant, so I had all the time in the world and made an assorted box for all 50 people in the office. It wound up being about 2 dozen per person. The next year, I had some help, but there were about 60 people. I still did boxes, but took a slightly easier approach. I did mostly cookies, but also did dipped pretzels and a small bag of Chex Mix to fill most of the space. Each person got about 12 cookies last year. Kevin said most people liked the pretzels best of all, though. (This slightly bothered me since that was the least difficult thing in the whole box. Oh, well!)
It's saving me from putting forth too much effort this year. They now have over 70 people. I'm just going to make pretzels for them, I think. I'm trying to decide what kinds, though. I'm thinking ... regular chocolate dipped, peppermint white chocolate dipped, nuts and dark chocolate dipped, and I don't know if it will work, but a peanut butter chocolate dipped one. I'll probably work on these this weekend, so I'll take pictures and let you know how they turn out.