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Ours was truly a Christmas kitchen tonight. I ventured out to Target to find a microwave to replace our late departed one, constrained by the dimensions of the cabinet niche it needed to fit. When I arrived home (triumphant, with new microwave — huzzah!), Georgia was in the midst of a wild candy-making fit, with the Christmas music channel in the background. Nick did a quick microwave installation (huzzah, again) and tutorial, then we forged ahead.

The candy melts were conspiring against Georgia, but I was able to whip them into shape. Georgia made these gorgeous peppermint-bark leaves for the girls’ teachers, as well as baking some chocolate chip cookies (for us to eat), brownies, and some free-form peppermint bark. She wrapped them up with bows and gift-tag labels, and will include a Starbucks gift card inside one of my handmade Christmas cards.

The most wonderful part of all was the three of us in the kitchen together. The girls were asleep and the adult conversation was comfortable and love-filled. And we all know that the magic ingredient in any cooking is the love.