Sunday, March 8, 2015

Confessions of a Cookie Baker: Forget Valentine's Day, No Way

My husband and I don't tend to make a big deal about Valentine's Day.  We usually pick up something small for the girls, some balloons from the Dollar Tree, and eat a nice dinner at home, but this year, we were headed out of town to spend some time with Grandma Rose, so I didn't plan anything at all, well, except for the box of Krispy Kreme heart-shaped donuts to eat before we left.

So, I was a bit caught off guard, when Valentine's Day morning, he had a nice card for me.   So, when we stopped for lunch on our road trip, I ran to the Dollar General to "get a hole punch" AND a card.  I found a sweet one that fit the bill perfectly AND a hilarious one I can't get out of my head.  (I should have bought it or at least taken a picture, but I, alas, I did not.)  SO, it said "Me, forget Valentine's Day... No way!  I have a memory like... one of those big grey animals with the long nose."  

So, the point is... Yes, I did bake Valentine's Day cookies.  I WILL share them with you... but first I must confess...  Yes, I DO have a cookie blog.  I haven't been keeping it up for sometime. Truthfully, as more and more time passed, I thought it would be better just to wait until President's Day came around again, and jump back in, so that it wouldn't look like there was a gap, and then I missed President's Day and well, here we are again.  Life has a way of doing that... 

It wasn't PURE laziness on my part.  The truth is I love the blog-writing, story-telling part of my cookie business and have missed it these past, ahem, two years.   Actually, when I first started the cookie company I wouldn't let myself go to bed until I had washed every dish, edited the photos and written and scheduled the blog post, and then I realized my health, both mental and physical, was more important than getting every last detail down for 6 people to read.  AND I have been baking a LOT of cookies, but the nature of my business has changed a little to be more corporate oriented.  I still LOVE the creativity of creating a custom designed cookie that is JUST RIGHT for your special occasion, but the bread and butter (or cookie and icing, hehehe) of my business is now in corporate orders which keep me hopping, baking the same cookie over and over again.  (Not complaining, mind you, just explaining, why I have chosen not to post corporate cookies every week.)  Even my 4 year old can recognize the logo of the companies I bake for and will comment when she sees it when we are out and about!  

So, no, I haven't really forgotten that I have a blog, just like I hadn't really forgotten Valentine's Day. I just didn't take care of business.  Sorry!  

That said...  The good news is... I have quite a few fun cookies that I haven't shared here, that I will share somewhere down the road.  ;^)

So... where was I... oh yeah, Valentine's Day.

This year, I made one set of Valentine's Day cookies.  They were for my daughters' school auction, which was the Saturday before Valentine's Day.  They were pretty simple and straight-forward, because they were intended to appeal to a wide audience to help raise the most money that they could.  

They were individually-wrapped in high-barrier cello and nestled in multi-colored paper shred.  They were placed in a white bakery box and tied with a beautiful red satin bow.  I was pleased that they raised an above value amount for the school!  

All that said, yes, I know it is now March, but like I've always said "Better late than never!"

Happy Valentine's Day!  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hail to the Chief...

2013 President's Day Cookie Collaboration
Happy President's Day!

One of the great this about being a cookie baker is getting to celebrate obscure holidays with cookies!  Another great thing is the amazing community of cookie bakers, who are encouraging and supportive, helpful and challenging.  I can not begin to tell you how knowing and talking to these gals everyday has impacted my abilities as a cookie decorator and my sanity in more ways than I can count.

One of the fun things that we will often to is challenge each other to stretch our skills, creativity or comfort level in new and exciting ways.  One way we do this is through cookie collaborations!  I am so pleased and excited to have been a part of my very first cookie collaboration for President's Day this year!  

Anne, at the Flour Box Bakery, got it all started with an idea to do a series of presidential cookies. She contacted a whole host of bakers and the rest was well, history. ;^)

Out of the luck of the draw, I got President Taft #27 and then, because I was feeling ambitious (read STUPID) I asked for George W. Bush #43 as well. (Truth be told, I really wanted an excuse to buy a Texas  cookie cutter... but it would have been a way better plan just to add one to my cart the next time I was buying.)  You can see all of my Presidential cookies (Yes, I made a whole set for each.  Yes, I was supposed to do just one cookie.  Yes, I am glutton for punishment.) and read a little about each by checking out their individual blog posts "Help!  I am stuck in the bathtub!" and "They misunderestimated me!"

And when you think you have had just about as much of my President's Day cookie fun as you can handle, then you can go and visit the pages of each of the lovey, and very talented, cookie artists that participated in this amazing collaboration!  

1) George Washington by Sarah of Sweet Surrender Cookie Co.,    
2)  John Adams  by Nicole of Life’s a Batch
3)  Thomas Jefferson by Sarah of Songbird Sweets
4)  James Madison by Georganne of LilaLoa
5)  James Monroe by Anne of Flour Box Bakery
6)  John Quincy Adams by Liz of Arty McGoo
7)  Andrew Jackson by Tiffany of TheRedCooky
8) Martin Van Buren by Jill of Jill FCS – Funky Cookie Studio

9)  William Henry Harrison by Christina of Sweet C’s Bake Shop
10)  John Tyler by Kim of The Cookie Puzzle
11) James K. Polk  by Debbie of D&T Designs
12) Zachery Taylor by Stephanie of Ellies Bites
13) Millard Fillmore by Melissa of Simply Sweets by Honeybee
14) Franklin Pierce by Kris of So Cute Cookies

15)  James Buchanan
by Lene of Not Your Everyday Cookie
16) Abraham Lincoln by Debbie of Sweet Creations by Debbie

17) Andrew Johnson by Liz of CookiesToGo
18) Ulysses S. Grant  by Rebekah of Love at First Bite
19) Rutherford B. Hayes  by Heather of Twins Plus One Goodies
20) James A. Garfield by Teresa of Sugar T's Cookies
21)  Chester Arthur by Alyse of B.E. Sweet Treats
22) Grover Cleveland  by Kimberly of Barefoot N Baking
23)  Benjamin Harrison by Laurie of Cookie Bliss
24) Grover Cleveland  by Kimberly of Barefoot N Baking

25)  William McKinley by Susan of Sweet Williams Cookies
26)  Theodore Roosevelt by Heather of SugarNosh Treats
27) William Howard Taft by Sarah of Sarah’s Sweet Shoppe
28)  Woodrow Wilson by Cheryl of The Sugared Apron
29)  Warren G. Harding  by Shannon of Artfully Delicious Cookies
30) Calvin Coolidge by Stephanie of Ice My Biscuit
31)   Herbert Hover by Fumie of A+Kake sweets 
32) Franklin D. Roosevelt by Christine of Chris’ Creative Confections

33)  Harry S Truman by Kim of Sugar Rush Custom Cookies

34)  Dwight Eisenhower  by Monica of Cookie Cowgirl
35)   John F. Kennedy by CeCe of The Tactical Bakery
36) Lyndon B. Johnson by Jennifer of One Kookie Cookie
37)  Richard Nixon by Jackie of iBakery
38)   Gerald Ford by Georgeanne of LilaLoa,

39)  Jimmy Carter by Jennifer of One Kookie Cookie
40)  Ronald Reagan by Melissa of The Baked Equation
41) George Bush Sr. by Penny of Lucky Penny Cookies
42)  Bill Clinton by Laurie of Cookie Bliss 
43)  George W. Bush by Sarah of Sarah’s Sweet Shoppe
44)  Barack Obama by Teresa of Sugar T's Cookies

Thanks, Anne, for this great idea and this wonderful opportunity!

Happy President's Day!

"They misunderestimated me!"

President George W. Bush

I recently participated in a President's Day Cookie Collaboration, and by the luck of the draw, I got assigned President William Taft (#27).  I was very excited because I already knew what I wanted to do for President Taft. (To check out my Taft cookies, read "Help! I am stuck in the Bathtub!")

I then proceeded to request President George W. Bush (#43) as well.  "What were you thinking?!?" you might ask.  Honestly, I wanted an excuse to purchase a Texas-shaped cookie cutter.  I figured a baseball would be easy.  I even thought that it would be kinda fun to poke some fun at President Bush's many "Bushisms." (One of the more famous of which were "They misunderestimated me.")

However, I grossly "misunderestimated" how difficult it would be to paint an image of a modern president.  (Not to mention one that I personally liked, but most political cartoonists were not kind to...)  Here are all of my practice cookies... (one of them looked like Howdy Doody and another like Grandpa Munster! ;^))

I also "misunderestimated" how hard it would be for me to cookie W's Presidential career.  I thought about a chalkboard cookie that said "No Child Left Behind" or a playing card cookie with Osama Bin Laddin's photo on it, but when it was all said and done, for me, the defining moment of his career was 9-11.

This cookie was created respectfully to honor those who lost their lives or loved ones on 9-11-2001.  

Image of Fingerprint Presidents of the United States of America

This image was inspired by artist Jason Pruett and his illustration of President George W. Bush, in his book Fingerprint Presidents of the United States of America.  This talented artist did an excellent job with this great book!  Thank you, Jason!

2013 President's Day Cookie Collaboration

AND a huge "Thank You" to Anne Yorks of The Flour Box Bakery for organizing this fun and educational cookie collaboration!  Be sure to visit her blog where she has links to all the cookies and their artists AND interesting tidbits on each of the presidents!

To see a full list of the cookie bakers involved read my post "Hail to the Chief..."

Happy President's Day!

Help! I am stuck in the bathtub...

President William Taft 

Four workers posing for picture
after installing President Taft's new tub.  
I recently participated in a President's Day Cookie Collaboration, and by the luck of the draw, I got assigned President William Taft.  (I got President George W. Bush too, but that is a different story.)  I was very excited because I already knew what I wanted to do for President Taft, a bathtub cookie!

However, the more I researched the more I felt compelled to do more than pick on President Taft for his large size (he weighed more than 350 lbs.) and the fact that he once got stuck in the bathtub at the White House.

President Taft followed President Teddy Roosevelt into office.  There was a joke at the time that TAFT stood for "Take Advice From Teddy."  But once in office, President Taft held his own. 

Although my daughter and I agree that he looks a bit like the Monopoly man... Taft was actually very anti-monopoly, signing over 80 anti-trust suits while in office.  

He was an avid horseman and rode his horse everyday.

He also enjoyed watching baseball.  He was the one who started the tradition of the "First Pitch" and the "Seventh Inning Stretch."

(This image is used with permission from a very talented Artist Jason Pruett and copied from his book Fingerprint Presidents of the United States of America.  Please read below for more details.)

Following his presidency, he taught Law at his alma mater, Yale University. (Yes, he looks a little like their mascot too...)

But, most notably,  he served as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1921-1930.  He is the only person in our country's history to have ever served as the head of two branches of our government.

Unfortunately, all we can remember is that bathtub! ;^)

Image of Fingerprint Presidents of the United States of America
As I mentioned, I had a great time working on this project.  All of these cookies are hand-painted with food coloring.  The image of Taft and the Seventh Inning Stretch is used with permission from artist Jason Pruett and copied from his book 

Image of Presidents Poster - 13 x 19 inchesFingerprint Presidents of the United States of America.  It includes a fun image and a short poem about each president which is helpful in remembering who they are and what their contributions were.    It also comes in a 13 X 19 poster, which would be a great gift for a teacher!  Thank you Jason!

(I re-purposed his head for my bathtub cookie.  I couldn't help myself, it was perfect!  It is amazing how yawning and screaming look so much alike!)

2013 President's Day Cookie Collaboration

AND a huge "Thank You" to Anne Yorks of The Flour Box Bakery for organizing this fun and educational cookie collaboration!  Be sure to visit her blog where she has links to all the cookies and their artists AND interesting tidbits on each of the presidents!

To see a full list of the cookie bakers involved read my post "Hail to the Chief..."

Happy President's Day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My "Punny" Valentine

Large Valentine's Day Gift Box
(1 dozen)
Medium Valentine's Day Gift Box
(6 Cookies)
I have always been a sucker for puns!  I love them!  So, when Valentine's Day rolls around, you can be sure that you'll get some "punny" valentine's out of me.

This year, my daughter's school auction hit the weekend before Valentine's Day, so nothing was more appropriate to donate than Valentine's Day cookies.

I created these "I Love You a Latte" cookies based on my cute Lil' L., who ran around this fall saying "I love you a latte!" It was so adorable!

Then, I also made this set, which I turned into a gift basket (see below) to donate.  I thought that they were so fun!

I got the inspiration for the two signs from my friend Stephanie Seeney at Ice My Biscuit in the U.K.!  Thanks, friend, for letting me use your idea!

I made a few extras for us play with... ;^)

Happy Valentine's Day from the Roses!



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine, You've Got Class

Reader R's Class Valentines
I am not quite sure when it happened, but somewhere between 1986, when I stopped giving valentines to my classmates, and 2007, when our family reentered the world of Valentines, something drastically changed. When I was little, it was so fun to get a shoe box full of those cute paper valentines that you got 32 in a box for $2.  Now, it is all about the STUFF.  I did not realize this when my oldest daughter entered preschool.  Yes, someone should had mentioned something... but yes, my daughter showed up with just the cheap valentines from the box. Yes, I was mortified when she brought her box home and I realized we were the ONLY ones who had been left in the 1980's Valentine's Day time warp.
"Friend, We Go Together Like Milk & a Cookie!"
 Well, enough said, we would not be caught empty handed again!  Honestly, most years, I have opted for the still cheap, "day-after-purchase, hold-it-all-year pencils or bracelets plan."  But this year, Pinterest and resourcefulness got the best of me and I decided that we would make our own treats.   I decorated the cookies and made the topper, and Reader R wrote each of her classmates names on them with food color marker and helped package them!  Success!

Now, poor Curious K, she got the left over cheap valentine's that I had had in storage for a couple years, and because I was too tired to go to the store... we stuck marshmallows in popsicle sticks and dipped them in chocolate.  She did a great job drizzling them with pink and red candy melts and adding sprinkles.  I loved that she helped and that I had everything on hand. ;^)

Happy Valentine's Day!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Gotcha Day!

If you have been following me for a while, you might know by now that I am not one to be overcome by emotion... (JUST KIDDING!) or to celebrate a random holiday... (gotcha again!), but today is TOTALLY LEGIT!!! I promise! At least for one sweet little girl and her forever family!

Happy "Gotcha" Day, Ava!!!

Today, I am giddy with excitement for a sweet little girl (and thousands like her) will be celebrating National Adoption Day by being legally adopted by their foster families.  While the situations that land children in foster care are atrocious, the loving families that step in to care for these precious children are an amazing blessing.

Whether they are in their care for two days or two years, every child that is placed in a loving home is blessed, but they are far from alone... the foster family is blessed, the extended family is blessed, the covenant family is blessed, the community is blessed.

And then, if it is God's will and the courts allow, sometimes, something REALLY special happens, and that sweet bundle of joy that you never carried in your womb, but have carried in your heart from the moment you got the call, becomes yours... FOREVER!

Congratulations to Ava Jane Vesper and the Vesper Family!  The Roses are thrilled for you all!

You know what they say, "If the glass slipper fits, wear it!"
Did you know that there are over 100,000 children in foster care waiting for permanent, loving homes?  I know that it takes families with a special heart to care for foster children and to adopt.  If you are one, "Thank YOU!"   If you have ever considered foster care or adoption, keep praying and learning and talking to families who have been there.  If it is not at all on your radar, consider encouraging someone who is caring for a foster child or thinking about it.  Shower them with your prayers and your love.