Liz Carey, SC

Premium Writer

As she has for the past two decades, Liz loves telling the stories of what makes us. As a journalist and columnist for the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Duluth News-Tribune, and others, Liz has won more than 30 awards for her work. Now a writer and novelist, she continues to illuminate others’ lives. When she’s not writing, Liz is an avid camper and cook. Her dream is to buy an RV, travel the country with her dog Chloe, and write about her adventures and the stories she finds.

As a Story Terrace writer, Liz interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

Ninjabread Men and Ugly Sweater Cookies

Usually, near the middle of December, you’ll find my two sons gathered around the kitchen table, their fingers and lips covered in multiple hues of icing, hovering over a plate of ninjabread men and ugly sweater cookies.

It was really the only way I could get them interested in decorating cookies again.

For years, every Christmas, my sons and I decorated Christmas cookies. I’d bake up a batch of sugar cookies, and we’d make a day of it, always somehow eating our mistakes. Sometimes, they’d even invite their friends over to help cover Santas and angels and reindeer in frosting.

But as the years went by, they lost interest in spending time in the kitchen with Mom. There was basketball practice to go to and video games that were begging to be played. Mom’s love of family bonding kind of fell by the wayside.

It wasn’t until they had girlfriends that I was able to pique their interest again. I asked them to bring over the girls so I could meet them, promising to serve cookies and hot cocoa.

Unbeknownst to them, I’d found cookie cutters shaped like ninjas in various action poses at a dollar store, and a few sweater-shaped cookie cutters, as well. Along with the traditional cookies, I cut out a few flying ninjas in mid karate kick and a few sweaters.

Like I always had, I lined the tables with wax paper, put out bowls of icing and several different kinds of sprinkles, and baked up a batch of cookies. Then I made five ninjas with different colored belts, and two of the ugliest Christmas sweaters I could devise.

When the four of them arrived, I was in full decorating mode–something neither girl had ever done before. But just seeing the ninjabread men and ugly sweaters was enough to reel them in. They couldn’t wait to try their hand at decorating. The girls thought I was the coolest mom ever, and the boys were quick to agree. Within minutes, the boys and their dates were busy creating some pretty ugly sweaters and decorating ninjas for stealthy combat.

For a while, I didn’t think I’d be able to get the boys back to the decorating table. I knew they were growing out of love with stuff that was too mom-ish and not action-filled enough. But now, it’s a tradition I treasure and that my boys look forward to–ugly sweaters, flying karate kicks, and all.

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