INTERESTING! Since I knew I was a rookie, I did my best to be fully prepared. All the baking supplies were on one counter (flour, sugar, chocolate, etc.). Cookie sheets, cookie press (actually have two -- both my mothers), rolling pins, etc. on top of the stove since we wouldn't be using burners. Spices, extracts at the ready. Two counters clean for mixing and rolling. Cuisinart and mini-Cuisinart at the ready. Yup, I'm all primed. Day one is sugar cookies -- using the press, cutting out, mixing with flavoring for other type of cookies. Mom, where's the butter? Um, er .... in the freezer. Mind you, this butter is in 1-lb blocks. Get butter out of the freezer. User big, heavy, sharp butcher knife. Start to cut in half. "MOM! The knife isn't going straight!" Look, it sure isn't -- gone off on a total tilt. Slowwwwly pull knife out. Run my beautiful, heavy chopping knife under hot water. Cut the butter in half. Run it under hot water again, cut butter into quarters. My wonderful chopping knife is no longer sharp. sob Okay, I remember the butter soup story. Put a stick in the microwave and defrost for 10 seconds. Still frozen solid. Defrost for 30 seconds. Solid butter. Defrost for another 30 seconds -- semi-soft. Another 30 seconds and it is soft. PHEW Marie mixes first batch. No problem. We stare at the cookie presses. No directions for either. Unscrew the bottom of one. There's a white cap that has to be removed. Marie tries. No luck. Here, I have fingernails, I'll try. No luck. Marie says let me try again. She uses her teeth. No luck. That thing is wedged in there. I take the press and look at it very carefully. Press a button at the top and the lever/masher/whatever you want to call it goes up. The white plastic cap goes up. DUH!!!! Put the appropriate design in and press away. The rest of day one was pretty uneventful besides flour on the black cat, probably the white cat (but we couldn't see that) and all over the dog's nose when he got on all fours to see what we were doing and dumped his snoot into the mixing bowl. (Yes, we tossed that batch of flour/sugar and started anew.) Oh, mustn't forget the butter on the floor with happy pets licking away and us sliding as we tried to work. We finally just rubbed butter on our socks and slid around the kitchen floor for a bit for fun. Day two was making banana nut bread, rugelach, Andes mint cookies and chocolate-peppermint pinwheels. Day two was also Vanilla extract flying from the spoon into the air as Marie slipped on some more butter; next tablespoon hitting edge of counter and running down cabinet doors; third spoonful missing the bowl as cat jumped up and hit her elbow. I'm laughing so hard tears are streaming down my face. She's mad as all get out until she sees cat licking vanilla from every spot she can reach and then she's laughing, too. The banana nut bread is Marie's specialty so no problems there. She bought the Andes mint while I shopped for other stuff and decided to get two different types of mint -- chocolate with mint; white chocolate with peppermint. The chocolate melts like a charm. The white chocolate refuses to melt on the cookies. The cookies are getting cold and the peppermint is still solid. Finally nuke the peppermint and spread it on. Um, the chocolate ones look sooooooooo good. The peppermint ones look pretty sad -- kinda like red frosting gone amok (but they smell good). As I said previously the pinwheels had one of two looks: either really cute and edible or something the cats barfed up. Both tasted pretty good, though. Amazingly, the rugelach had no mishaps. Took forever to make but so worth it! Then it was time to decorate the sugar cookies. Did I mention I don't bake? Well, I decorate even less than I bake. I've never (and I mean NEVER) decorated a cookie before in my life. I'm using tips, tubes, whatever. The only ones that even vaguely resembled Christmas cookies (besides the cutout shape) where the ones with icing all over and sprinkles on top. Marie's were much better -- some even looked cute. Oh, forgot the thumb cookies. Did you know that if you fill the hole to the brim the preserve mixture bubbles over and runs over the edge of the cookie and onto the sheet. Leaves an interesting lacelike texture you can pull off with your fingers. The discolored cookies from the runoff can be easily disguised with powdered sugar. So, not too bad for two amateurs and we did have fun!