This post is sponsored by World Market. All opinions are my own.

Truth be told, I didn't bake anything from scratch until I was married at 22. I had used a lot of box recipes or store bought cookie dough to bake, and my parents, of course, showed me how to use an oven. However, I don't really have memories of baking with my parents, and part of me feels like I missed out on some special memories.

As parents, we always want to give our kids the things and experiences we didn't have, so I've been trying to do more cooking and baking with Elle. She has showed a lot of interest in baking partly because she is a sugar fiend that loves licking the bowl and partly because she really enjoys working with her hands. Her favorite activity is playing with play-dough, so why not give her the real thing, right? 

Levi is still too young to help us, but he sure loves to eat. We recently found out that he as an intolerance to gluten, dairy and soy that has limited a lot of the cookie recipes I know. So, last week Elle and I tried our hands and gluten-free baking by creating pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and roll-our sugar cookies.

I usually just have Elle wear grubby clothes when we bake, but I found a kid's apron at World Market just for her. She was SO excited to wear it, and look just like mommy. I also found her own set of measuring spoons. Her face was priceless when she saw them.


The pumpkin cookie dough was easy for her to scoop up with a spoon and drop on the pan, especially using holiday parchment paper from World Market. (P.S. Did you know that delicious dairy free chocolate chips exist?! Recipe and tasty ingredients below).

We popped them in the oven for 15 minutes and she just sat on the floor and waited. She loved watching them grow in the oven, but I think the anticipation just about killed her. haha. Of course, after the first batch came out of the oven she wasn't too keen on baking the rest as much as she was on eating them. I bought her a little cookie stamp for her to press the cookies down after they came out - an easy and fun task for a four year old.

After that we switched to rolling out our gluten-free sugar cookie recipe that I had made and refrigerated the night before. I bought an extra rolling pin just for her, and I found the BEST cookie cutter shape out there - the ugly sweater cookie cutter.

Here's why it's so awesome for kids. First, she can be her own fashion designer. Second, it's unique compared to the typical snowflakes. And third, considering how messy frosting is and our lack of perfect cookie decorating skills, every cookie will look like a perfect ugly sweater. Lord knows I'm not a skilled baker and can't make a cookie look pretty to save my life let alone my four year old. Bahaha! So, it's a win, win! 

Sadly, the cookie dough didn't turn out as I had hoped. I have learned gluten-free baking can be challenging, and that this recipe would have been better if I had simply chilled it for an hour verses overnight refrigeration. I'm going to try it again, and share that one with you soon. But not all was lost because making a mess together was just as fun, and that's what matters. 

Here are Elle's finished gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free amazing pumpkin cookies set on a pedestal for all to see. Please try them at home. They are so good and allergen free, which is nice when you're hosting a party. With so many gluten intolerances on the rise it's good to have on hand.

by Nicole Lee (licensed to AVE Styles)

2 sticks room temp vegan (soy free butter, earth balance the red one)
2 eggs
3 cupsGF All purpose baking flour ( I used Bob’s Redmill )
1 tablespoon molasses
12 -16 ounces vegan chocolate chips
2 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla paste 

Directions : 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

In a medium bowl , with a wooden spoon cream the butter and sugar, add in the eggs (one at a time) and vanilla paste. Make sure everything is well mixed. Add in the baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, flour, pumpkin pie spice. Mix well, then add in the molasses mix, and finally the chocolate. 

Line a baking pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper or rubber liner. Take a large spoonful of dough and place 6 heaps on the pan, bake for 15 min. Once finished, flatten with a spatula and transfer to cooling rack. 

To create the same experience for your kids, be sure to shop the World Market products below. 

Photos by Rennai Hoefer; product gifted by World Market; this post contains affiliate links. 

What I Don't Do

So, I'm reading this book, Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist, and there is a chapter entitled, "What I Don't Do." Besides being laugh out loud funny, this chapter offered a wealth of wisdom to me as a professional, as a wife, as a friend, etc.

We all have those people in our lives, or even celebrities, that just look like they have it all together. Great marriages, gorgeous and polite children, a fantastic career, a beautiful home, an impeccable wardrobe and flat abs... haha. We all know perfection doesn't exist, but I think there are women and men out there that can accomplish many things and do them well, but NOT EVERYTHING.

In the book, Shauna asks one of those all-star ladies in her life how she does it, and she responded saying it was about what she doesn't do - what she doesn't spend her time on because she knows herself well, and only wants to invest in the things she cares about.

So here's my list of what I don't do right now because I value other things more...

1. I don't bake. Why? I like salty things over sweet, I have no self control when it comes to cupcakes and I just don't enjoy the process of baking or even cooking for that matter. I'm sure Ryan wishes I baked desserts more because he has a sweet tooth, but I don't. I'm okay with that too. I don't mind buying store bought cookies AT ALL if I have to bring something to a party. That's just me.

2. I don't garden. In fact, I think I could have a successful career in killing plants because that's what happens when I try to have real plants. haha. I also don't mind having gorgeous fake orchids. They look just as cool to me. =)

3. I don't do crafts. As creative as I am and as much as I like the idea of being able to restore furniture, create my own jewelry, sew my own curtains...I don't. I was making hair flowers for a little while, but honestly, I just didn't like the slow, boring process. I'm a fast paced person, and I'm okay spending my money on a cool headband and supporting someone else's business.

4. I don't keep up with my nails. As I sit here and type, my toes are covered in lavender toe nail polish from JUNE and my hands have a two week manicure that I have made last for FIVE weeks. Yeah...I just need to step away from the nail polish.

I know myself pretty well to confidently say that the things above will never really be a priority for me because they just aren't a part of who I am and what I truly enjoy doing.  I guess it goes back to the concept of doing a few things very well over doing many things mediocre. I am capable of doing the things above, but they just aren't a priority for me. They could very well be for you though.

What are some things you don't spend  your time on? Making the bed? Washing your car?