Cookies with Kids

One of the best parts of the holidays is sharing the magic of the season with friends.  Every year we get together with our good friends Christiana and Todd and their kids and decorate cookies together. I still remember our first cookie party five years ago when there was only one kid decorating cookies. Jamie and I didn’t have any kids of our own, but we set up the party for our friend’s daughter because we knew she would love it. Times have changed and our families have grown! We now have five kids standing around our kitchen island decorating cookies, and next year there will be seven kids between our two families! We definitely believe the more the merrier… but we have also come to realize the more the messier! We don’t mind the kids making a mess, but we have discovered that the kids have more fun when things are a bit more organized and don’t feel as chaotic. We’ve learned a few things over the years about hosting a cookie party and thought we would share a few of our tips! Make the Dough! Use a good recipe for making your dough! We have previously posted Jenny Cookie’s sugar cookie recipe here  in addition to the best soft gingerbread cookies here. Make the dough early enough so you have time to roll your cookies out the day before your cookie party!

On another note… you could skip this step altogether! Check with your local bakery or grocery store to see if they have cookie decorating kits where you can just purchase fresh baked cookies directly from the store! Lets be honest… sometimes there just isn’t time to do all the baking yourself, and thats ok!

Roll it out! Roll the cookies out before all of the kids arrive! We used to have all of the kids participate in rolling out cookies. While it is fun to do with one or two kids, rolling out cookies with five kids, is tough. We found that they had a hard time being patient through rolling enough cookies to actually decorate and then waiting for them to bake and then cool. Most kids are really excited about adding the frosting and the sprinkles, so baking the cookies ahead of time allows the kids to do what they really love most!

I rolled out most of the cookies myself, but it sure was fun to have my little buddy next to me rolling out a little bit of dough and experimenting with how to use a rolling pin!

 3. The icing on the cookie! While I love the look of smooth royal icing on a sugar cookie, it’s not very easy or fun for kids to work with. We like using buttercream… or perhaps I should call it fake buttercream- you know the fluffy kind bakeries ice their cakes with that is entirely unhealthy but still tasty! You can find our recipe here from a post we did several years ago!

Make your icing ahead of time and color it to your desired shades! We use AmeriColor food coloring in small amounts, or just keep the icing white!

You can also just purchase icing from your local bakery or grocery store!

Sprinkle it up! At our very first cookie party two year old Isola referred to the sprinkles as “toppers” and the name has kind of stuck with us! We like to find a variety of fun and unique sprinkles in the color palette of the party. We source our sprinkles from places like Williams Sonoma , Wilton  or Etsy!

Minimize the mess! We don’t mind kids making the mess, but if we can minimize the amount of clean up we have to do afterwards, it gives us more time to spend with our family versus being overwhelmed with clean up! Here are a few supplies that have come in handy for us:

  • Takeout containers with lids work great to quickly color and store your icing
  • Disposable decorating bags allows for quick clean up at the end
  • Icing bag ties  help keep the frosting in the decorating bag by tying off the end
  • Small cookie sheets for each kid to decorate on keep the sprinkles (mostly) contained
  • Paper souffle cups  are perfect for rationing sprinkles out to each kid ( this helps us avoid the whole sprinkle bottle from being poured out on just one cookie or kids fighting over which color of sprinkles they currently want to use!)

Standing higher! We get the kids closer to the action with the use of towers and stepping stools. We have a couple of  these learning towers that have been gifted to us. We love this brand because of the solid construction and that the towers are adjustable for different heights to accommodate various stages of childhood. Our step-stools are probably from Target- Nothing special, but great to have on hand!

Freedom and Fun! I love that our kids feel free to decorate their cookies however they want. We try to just let them explore and figure things out on their own unless they ask for help. I love seeing what they each come up with, what colors they prefer using and creating what they find beautiful in their little minds! The kids get so focused on what they are doing, and then are so proud of themselves for what they have created. Except for London. She’s just there to eat the cookies (with monitored consumption of course).

Take photos! It’s so crazy to think that Isola was only two years old when we made our first cookies together. Watching her grow into the young lady she is becoming has been a joy… she’s also developed some impressive cookie decorating skills since that first party. I wish I had photos from that first year. Watching how the kids have changed and developed from year to year is really special and the photos from this party each year are things I really treasure.

Get in on the Action! Parents deserve to have some fun too! When the kids are done and lose interest, take some time and create your own cookies… It will make you feel like a kid again! This is the first year that our kids were old enough to really go and play on their own in the adjoining room while we were able to have some decorating fun! Something tells me 10 years from now it will just be us decorating the cookies while the kids are off spending time with each other.


Tied up in String! The first year we decorated cookies together, we got to the end and I realized we didn’t have anything to package the cookies and send them home in. We are more prepared now, and have a variety of different bakery boxes that our friends can package their cookies up with, like these bakery boxes!  Having ribbon to tie up the package makes it special and festive! The velvet ribbon in the photos was a vintage find, but you can purchase similar ribbon from ETSY and the chunky yarn is from Michaels!

Life is better done together! The most important thing that I am reminded of every time we see our friends, is that life is better when we do it together. Our community is our support, encouragement and cheering squad through the ups and downs of life. Investing into the kind of friends that truly know your heart and allow you to just be yourself, and push you to be the best version of yourself is worth its weight in gold.  True friendship is hard to come by and is truly the best kind of gift you can receive in this world… although good cookies with some icing and “toppers” might be a close second!

Photography: Alanna Maria Photography 



Jessica and Todd

sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-1If I had to pick one wedding from my career that I am most proud of, it would be this wedding. We first came to know this family when we planned a rainbow themed wedding for Jessica’s sister, Hanna, and it was an honor to plan a second celebration for the same family. This is a family we love and deeply respect, and I have no doubt they will be part of our lives forever. I will always appreciate the trust they had for us, and the freedom they gave us to dream big. The mother of the bride, Laurie, once again challenged me to think outside of the box and encouraged the creativity in me to flow freely. I’ll be forever grateful for the experience of working on both weddings with this family.

People always ask me my favorite detail from this wedding, and it is an impossible question to answer as there were so many elements that I loved.  Here are some of my favorite highlights from the day: Gold metallic brushstrokes carried throughout the event from save the date to the petit four favors; custom grey velvet table cloths and aisle runner; 14 foot living trees that are now planted at the families home; that amazing Alexandra Vidal gown; miniature wedding cakes for each guest; custom candy bars with the name of the couple; Pottery Barn chandeliers that arrived the day before the wedding; Casa de Perrin’s beautiful place settings driven up from California, the concrete planters we used as centerpieces; the seven (yes seven) wedding cakes; the lucite chuppah and seating assignment boards and the fact that we pulled off a wedding on top of a roof in downtown Seattle!

We had a staff of 38 people that worked around the clock to pull this wedding off. I’m proud of our team, and proud of ourselves for what we accomplished. I hope you enjoy these images that give you a glimpse into this special day. And make sure to pick up a copy of the current fall issue of Martha Stewart Weddings to see the 10 page spread!

Happy first anniversary Jess and Todd!

sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-3 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-4 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-5 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-6 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-7 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-8 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-9 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-10 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-11 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-12 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-13 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-14 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-15 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-16 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-17 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-18 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-19 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-20 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-21 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-22 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-23 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-24 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-25 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-26 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-27 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-28 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-29 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-30 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-32 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-33 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-34 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-35 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-36 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-37 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-38 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-39 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-40 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-41 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-42 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-43 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-44 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-45 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-46 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-47 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-48 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-49 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-50 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-51 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-52 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-53 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-54 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-55 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-56 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-57 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-70sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-58 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-59 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-60 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-61 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-62 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-63 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-64 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-65 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-66 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-67 sinclair-and-moore-jess-and-todd-68

Special thanks to my talented team of designers that came up to help me out with this wedding. I could not have pulled this off without all of your help and the thousands of flower stems each of you touched. Tinge, Oak and the Owl, Reverie Made, Splendor of Eden, Seventh Stem and Finch and Thistle.

Also, extra special thank you to Sally from LaHappy Design for working with me tirelessly on all of the stationery and big picture design ideas for this wedding.

Event planning, design, and flowers, Sinclair & Moore

Reception location, The Great Hall at Union Station

Catering, beverages, bar, mini desserts, chocolate bar, and petits fours favors, Lisa Dupar Catering

Photography, Belathée Photography

Videography, Cabfare Productions

Stationery and calligraphy, La Happy

Cakes and mini cakes, The SweetSide

Reception band, Impulse

MC and reception DJ, Chris Graves

Rentals, Casa de Perrin; Cort Party Rental; Choice Linens; Kevin Bradford Design

Bride’s gown, Alexandra Vidal

Bride’s shoes, Manolo Blahnik

Hair and makeup, Erin Skipley

Matron of honor’s dress, Oscar de la Renta

Flower-girl dresses, Olivia Kate Couture

Groom’s tuxedo, shirt, and pocket square, Lanvin

Lighting, audio, and backline, GreenLight Events