Being neighborly

I have many vices, but probably the biggest one is baked goods. This manifests itself as weekly trips to the donut shop and an almost constant desire to bake cookies. The problem is magnified because the Dude and I committed to a diet after Baby was born, and by the fact that baking is one of my favorite pasttimes. Maybe the fact that I have had to limit my time in the kitchen with flour, sugar, and chocolate chips contributed to the birth of this blog. I needed something to keep my mind off baking. So instead I'll write about baking. Sometimes the urge to get out my beautiful, fire engine red KitchenAid mixer is just too strong to deny, so I end up baking up around 36 delicious something or other. This time it was lemon cake cookies. Chocolate is always my first choice and go-to dessert. But alas, I was out of chocolate chips, so I raided my pantry. I discovered a box of lemon cake mix leftover from my dad's neglected birthday when my family was here for Baby's birth. I looked up a recipe for something yummy with lemon, preferably in cookie form. I didn't have all of the ingredients, so I made some substitutions. Here is my recipe:


1 pkg. lemon cake mix 2 cups whipped creme 2 egg whites
powdered sugar Mix all together. Form into balls. Roll in powdered sugar. Place on parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until lightly browned. 


 Two hours later my kitchen table was covered with 48 lemon cake cookies. The sad thing is, if I was to leave all of the cookies at my house I would have eaten them all. Not kidding. That's why they call it a vice, right? To make matters worse, the Dude absolutely refuses to eat anything lemon. My solution was to get crafty and get neighborly. With warmer weather teasing us, it was a good opportunity to reconnect with the people who live twenty yards from us, but we haven't seen in four months.

I raided my craft closet and came up with some supplies for milk carton bird houses. The general idea was from a segment on create on PBS.

They are super easy and cute. Here's how I did it:

1. Cut off the top of the milk carton. Wash and dry it inside and out.

2. Cut cute paper to cover half of the bottom part, glue with a gluestick. Then use a contrasting paper to cover the top half and glue.

3. Cut a hole in the front and use a broken scewer for the birdie perch. I added a big orange flower to make it unmistakably springy.

4. For the lid, cover with some of the same paper and glue. Add a square of paper to the underside of the lid so it will sit nicely on the bottom. Then cut 2 triangles out of paper to hide the sides.

5. Wrap 8-10 cookies in plastic wrap, tie with a ribbon. And ta dah! A cute birdhouse cookie holder for the neighbors!

I added a little tag that said, "Thanks for being such sweet neighbors! Happy Spring!"The morning before I delivered these with Monkey we pulled into our driveway after our donut run to find our neighbors edging our lawn. So glad I had something on hand to say "thanks!"