Friday, March 30, 2012

Rock Chalk! Jayhawk!


I created these KU Jayhawk cookies for my daughter's school auction.  I was planning on donating Easter cookies, but when the Jayhawks won their division and moved on to the Final Four, these cookies seemed like an obvious choice.  Plus, I knew that we have some HUGE Jayhawk fans at the school, so I had a feeling that they would be a big hit!

I had gotten the Jayhawk cookie cutter for Christmas, but hadn't had a really good opportunity to use it, until now! It was pretty complicated, but very fun!  I took artistic licence with two tiny details, but other than that  they are pretty true to form.

I had fun making a bracket with KU as the National Champion, only time will tell if it was a good prediction!

For the jersey's I did a ton of research.  I found out that in the semi-final game, KU would be the "home" team and wear white (which I was thankful for because the more color a cookie has in it the more likely it might taste a little funky).  Also, I thought the white would contrast with the colorful Jayhawks better in the box.  I picked the numbers, 0, 10, 5, 25, and 2, by looking at the roster and picking the three seniors, the one center, and the one junior who is from my hometown.  

Well, it was a HUGE success! Several families were bidding for the cookies, and in the end, they raised almost $100 for the school!

Rock Chalk!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Musings...

A Trinity Cross

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

Actually, we don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day in a big way at our house.  We will wear green shirts.  We will eat green shamrock pancakes, because it is fun.  On a good year, we might even go to a parade, if it doesn't make mommy tired just thinking about it.  We won't really talk about Leprechauns (except to remind our girls that they are just fun imaginary characters) or chase after their pot of gold...  We don't believe in luck... so there isn't much to say about that.
Before I mixed up my green icing...
I just used white and covered it with green sprinkles.

One thing, that we will definitely do though, is talk about who the real St. Patrick was and why we celebrate his day.  He was a real person.  He did not believe in God.  He was captured by bandits and taken to Ireland.  He was a slave and a sheep herder.  He was alone and afraid, and he prayed to God to save him.  God did!  Then, Patrick studied the Bible and soon he wanted to go back to Ireland to tell the people there about Jesus.  He was the first missionary to Ireland.

We will talk about the symbol of the Trinity on the crosses (above) and how there is no beginning and no end to their design, just like God, who is infinite,  and has been from eternity past and will be for into eternity future.  (Thank you to Anne at the Flour Box Bakery for the inspiration for these crosses.  You really should go see it... Her cross is AMAZING!)

We will talk about the shamrock and how it is also a symbol of the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit).

We will talk about the daffodil and how flowers are a symbol of death (when you plant the dead looking old bulb in the Fall) and new life (when it blooms as a beautiful new creation in the Spring).

 We will talk about how we are all like sheep and are prone to go our own way, but Jesus, the Good Shepherd, watches over us and takes care of us.  (Thank you to Callye at Sugarbelle and Marian from Sweetopia for sharing the guest post on how to make these cuties!  I guess if I had actually read the whole post, I wouldn't have ended up with the great big pile of icing in the middle... oh well!  They still tasted good and looked cute.)  

We will talk about rainbows and the beautiful symbol of God's covenant love that they represent.

We will have lots of fun things to talk about...
We might even eat a cookie that looks like a funny green hat. ;^)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Reader R's cookies - She is becoming quite the decorator!

P.S. - I did have fun decorating cookies with my oldest daughter,  Reader R.!  She says "I love FLOOD!"  Too cute!  Her cookies turned out great too!

Here are our pancakes too!  Reader R. and Lil' L. were so excited.  Curious K. was not too excited about the green breakfast that looked strangely like broccoli.

Painting the Daffs Yellow...

It is Spring Break at the Rose Residence... and with a toilet training toddler, we aren't going anywhere farther than the Chic-Fil-A, which means that we are indulging in quiet a few more movies than usual.

So, this week, my oldest daughter, Reader R, and I watched, "Alice in Wonderland", not the creepy recent one... but this one, that I still remember from when I was a little girl.  Ok, well, it does have some "scary" parts for a 1980's audience, but their "special effects" just made my first-grader laugh.  (It is a LOT more like watching a play than a 2010's movie...).  

So, one of my favorite parts of that movie is the scene where the cards at the Queen of Hearts' castle are painting the roses red, because the accidentally planted white ones.  (As a matter of the record, I totally intended to make, and even cut a White Rabbit cookie and make a Mad Hatter's hat, but being the "good" mommy that I am, I gave that up when Reader R. wanted to decorate with me and gave her my extra hat and ate the rabbit.  If you want to see what I was daydreaming about, but my cookies would never look like, check out these beautiful and inspiring cookies by Alison at Ali Bee's Bakeshop and Callye at the Adventures of Sweet Sugarbelle.)

Well, little did I know that this week I would have the opportunity to do something similar at my home...  You see, I meant to make daffodils for St. Patrick's Day... but when decorating with my daughter, I got struck by a fit of laziness and time constraints of a quickly-ending nap time, and decided to make a daisy instead.  Well.  It was a beautiful daisy.  But daisies don't work for St. Patrick's Day, and when it came time to lay out and take a photo of my cookie platter.  I had a hole, that could only be filled by a daffodil. Grr.  So, due to the inspiration of Arty McGoo and the encouragement of Alison at Ali Bee's, (and the fact that I practiced yesterday on a backpack, so now I think I can do anything... I decided to PAINT my daisy into a daffodil.  AND TADDA!  Here she is... 

(OK, I know she is not a work of art, and I will have to practice, practice, practice, before I could make them for anyone else, but for a former Daisy, I think that she turned out great!)

The Daffodil formerly known as Daisy.

So, you will have to wait, until my St. Patrick's Day post, to see her with her cookie friends...


Friday, March 16, 2012

Cookie-d Memories: My Magnum Opus

Have you ever thought... "This is it!  I'd better stop now,
because it could not get any better than this?"

This is how I feel about these very special cookies.  I am not sure that I will ever love any cookies more than these "Happy Birthday" cookies I made for my very dearest friend, Dana, who is celebrating a big birthday this year.  As my gift to her, I created these cookies, which show not only where she has been, but my wish for her future and the foundation for the wonderful woman she is.

Dana and I meet in college at William Jewell College, in Liberty, MO.  We were kindred-spirits from day one and have been best friends ever since!  She is younger than I am, so we didn't always have our adventures that the same time... but we have so many memories in common it was almost like cookie-ing my own life story!

My favorite college English professor, Mike Williams, once said "Is a tree ever just a tree? No, it is a tree laden with deep symbolic meaning."  Well, is a cookie ever just a cookie?  Maybe.  But not it this case... each cookie is a cookie laden with deep symbolic meaning. (This is your warning... if you don't want all the sappy details of the cookies of my life, and can live with the guilt... bail now!)

My birthday wish for Dana, although it wouldn't all fit on the luggage tag, was that:

"Where ever life takes you,
May you always have your faith,
your family & your friends,
your compass & your big backpack."

(Please graciously ignore that it says "Whereever" with no space.  I have never been a good speller. A former teacher used to say that "My mind just worked too fast to bother with getting the letters in the right places." [Which by the way is why I had such a hard time with college prep vocab, not because I didn't know the definitions, but because I couldn't spell the words.]  However, now that I am trying to help my Reader R. learn to spell, I am convinced that I am just silly and lazy in that area of life.  I mean really, how long would it have taken for me to google which "Where ever" or "Wherever" to use... [twenty-two seconds, because I just did it to figure out which was right before I wrote this], but instead, I just did it and hoped no one would notice that it wasn't right, if it wasn't, which I wasn't convinced of, until I googled it a second ago.  Of course, I also knew, deep down that I couldn't just let it slip by now that I knew that it was incorrect, but rather, had to point it out to the rest of the world and admit what I goof I am... instead, I will just say "My mind was working too fast to bother with getting the letters in the right places" and leave it at that.)

This cookie is for Dana's faith.  Her strong faith gives her true joy and gratitude, even in the difficult times.  She is an amazing sister and such an inspiration and encouragement to me.  (OK, are you still with me?  Was that deep symbolic meaning too much for you?)

These cookies represent Dana's family!  Her mother LOVE Mickey Mouse, so that cookie is for her parents and her family of origin.  She is married to a wonderful man named David, so the heart is their monogram. And she has two precious children, a girl and a boy.

This is my cookie.  (Yes. I cookie-d myself into her present.... tacky? A little, maybe, but we are dearest friends.)  So, yes, if I were a cookie, I would look like this.  (Just stick around, I may turn into one yet.  They say "You are what you eat.")  No, seriously, I love tea pots and my last name is Rose.  It doesn't get any more simple than that.  (OK, except for the cross.  That one was a give-away.)  What I love about this cookie, is that I tried the brush embroidery that Alison at Ali Bee's Bakeshop taught me!  Thanks, Alison!

The mortarboard is for our Alma Mater and the value of the education and life lessons that we learned there.  The compass is actually the Outward Bound logo.  We both spent 14 days in the Florida Everglades, canoeing and serving on an Outward Bound High Adventure trip during college, but also it serves as a reminder of Stephen Covey's concept of "True North" and always knowing what is really important to you.  The "Big Backpack" is symbolic of hopes and dreams.  We were recently discussing that although we are officially grown-ups and are working hard to de-clutter our homes, one of the seemingly odd items that we cannot seem to part with is our "Big Backpack" that we used to hike all over Europe.  (The squiggles in the background are supposed to be a journal entry.)  These two cookies are also fun because they are the first time that I tried painting on a cookie.  Thank you to Liz, a.k.a. Arty McGoo and Alison from Ali Bee's Bakeshop for the inspiration and the great tutorials.

"Oh the places you will go!"  During college, Dana and I both studied oversees in Oxford England, not at the same time.  We also both had the same internship in New York City, not at the same time.  I also had a Dora the Explore potty training sticker of Eiffel Tour on my shirt as I was decorating, so I toddled off into Na-Na land and created an Eiffel Tour sticker, hoping that she, too, like Dora and myself, had been to Paris. (Deep huh?) Turns out, she has a really great story about meeting a mutual friend and sorority sister under the Eiffel Tour, that I am sure I have heard at some point in the last 15 years and just happened to subconsciously bring up in time to make the perfect cookies for her birthday.  Thank you to Anne at the Flour Box, who convinced me that yes, I could make a telephone booth cookie, and Kim at the TomKat Studio for the tutorial on how to make an Eiffel Tower.  Although, both would have been easier with a KopyKake projector than drawing them by hand, looking at Dora the Explorer stickers for reference.

So, I individually-wrapped each cookie and bundled up our memories in a gift basket.  I added the outer-wrap so that they wouldn't spill out, and I VERY carefully delivered these delicious wishes to my very best friend.   (By the way, it is very hard to get a good photo of a gift basket... sorry.)

We laughed.  We cried.  We smiled so much our faces hurt, like rush in college.  We shared memories.  It was wonderful!  Thank you Dana for having a birthday, so that I could make these cookies!  (Which turned out to be a "for-you-for-me" gift... sorry!)

"We will always be dear old friends, 
until we are old and senile, 
then we will be dear new friends again."
I also want to say a brief thank you, my husband and my girls for supporting my cookie dream, to my parents for providing so many of these life-forming experiences, to my family and friends for buying my cookies, to all of my cookie mentors (whom I have never actually met, but feel like we are close friends), but especially Jodi at Wonderland Cookie Co.who taught me not to be afraid to link to cookies that are prettier than mine, and to my almost 100 followers who read my ramblings on a regular basis.  Thank you! 


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Confessions of a Cookie Baker: Food & Photography

My treat for today... A spot of tea and a cookie.

These "Delft" Teapots remind me of my Dutch heritage.

Why, might you ask?  

Well, you know my "big girl" turned two this week.  I thought it would be the perfect time for a photo shoot.  Then I got "brilliant" and thought maybe I should take photos of her eating a "Big Girl" cookie... in her Minnie Mouse costume. Her favorite gift.  Brilliant.  Just brilliant.

Whoa, Nelly, let me tell you, I now understand why photographers give you the evil eye when you walk in with a favorite toy/book/blanket in hand.

After about 15 minutes, two temper tantrums (one from a little-big girl and one from a BIG-big girl), lots of pushing ears back on... and over 200 images later...  this is what I got:
I actually had a really hard time picking just 12 outtake photos to share...

My Sweet Big Girl

I was hoping for the dainty-little-nibble, with the inscription showing, and ears upright.  I got lots of crumbs, falling ears, a wiggly-squirmy little-big girl, black teeth, and "see" food.  I also got, lots of laughs, a big hug (for letting her eat a BIG cookie for a "snack"), some priceless memories, and ONE "good" photo.

So now, I think I might just enjoy my tea cookie and my one good photo, and then go back to taking pictures of cookies.  They sit still. They look good.  They don't chew with their mouth open. ;^)


Monday, March 5, 2012

Happy Birthday Lil' L!

My "baby girl" turned two today!  I had a hard time believing how quickly the past two years have gone and what a "big girl" she is now.  "The days are slow, but the years are fast..."

We had a big family party with my husband's side of the family yesterday... three cousins have birthdays this week, so we had lots of cupcakes and sang "Happy Birthday" three times! And then today, we had just a small family dinner with my brother, sister-in-law, and their daughter, who is also two...  Lil' L. loves Minnie Mouse, so these were her special birthday treats...

(Her nose is a little high on her face, and she is missing her eyelashes, but other than that...
she turned out ok for a thrown together leftover cake.)
Poor, neglected third kid.

After bailing on treats for the big family party, I was struck by a case of Mommy Guilt and feeling bad for my "poor, neglected third kid," I bought a Minnie Mouse balloon and a couple of cans of frosting at the grocery store this morning.  The best part was that the cake was pieced together from the frozen leftovers from the "cake-pop" experiment, so I didn't even have to bake a cake, and I have no more leftover cake-pop cakes hogging room in the freezer and making me feel bad for being a cake-pop-flop. Plus, I used my candy melts to make these SUPER yummy Oreo Micky and Minnie cookies.

If you're headed to Disney or just returning, these treats are fun for a pre- or post-party. I made these after we went to Disney (found inspiration online at several different sites). Just press some mini Oreos halves into the Double Stuffs, and then dip the bottoms into colored Winston's candy melts. Decorate with white icing that hardens to add dots, and then stick a candy stick in for a fun "lollipop" twist.
Original inspiration from Pintrest

I got the idea from this Pintrest pin... which was repinned from this blog (, but I could not find the original post for it.  Lil' L. isn't much into food on-a-stick, so I just skipped the stick and did it my, I didn't like the fact that you could tell that they were Oreos... and I couldn't get my ears to stay in place, so...

I wish that I had taken in-process photos for you so that I could do a proper tutorial... but I didn't.  So here is how I found was the best way to make these SUPER yummy (did I already mention that) and super easy, once you know how to do it, treats...

Shopping List:  
- Double-Stuffed Oreos
- Mini Oreos
- Wilton candy melts (red, pink) and Almond Bark (chocolate and white chocolate)  ((You can use candy melts for it all, but the Almond Bark is less expensive and works just fine, plus it is what I had, so...))
- Sticks (if you want them)

1) Use a paring knife to scrape out just a little bit of frosting from 2 o'clock and 10 o'clock positions on the D-S Oreo. (Scrape it off into a bowl for your helper to eat.)

2) Open and scrape the frosting off a Mini.  Keep the cookie, ditch the frosting.

3) Melt your chocolate, according to the directions on the package.  Use a microwave safe bowl that is deep enough to dip the top half of the cookie.

4) Dip about 1/4 of the Mini in the chocolate and stick it in place at 2 o'clock. Repeat for 10 o'clock.  Let harden on a sheet of wax paper or parchment.

5) Then dip the top half of the cookie in the chocolate, gently tap the excess chocolate off over the bowl, and lay on wax paper to dry/harden.  (I actually ended up spooning the chocolate over my cookie instead of dipping, because in my initial trials, before I "glued" in the ears with chocolate, I kept losing my ears.  Also, I was running low on chocolate and didn't want to fully coat the back side.) If it leaves a puddle, use a toothpick to create a separation line BEFORE it hardens.

6) Once the chocolate is VERY hard, melt your red or pink candy melts.  If you want to put it on a stick, you will want to dip the tip of the stick in the candy melt and stick it quickly into place, and then quickly spoon the candy coating on to the bottom of your cookie, gently tap off the excess candy over the bowl, and let dry in a cake-pop holder.  If you are skipping the stick, then dip or spoon chocolate over the bottom side of your cookies, gently tap the excess candy off over the bowl, and lay on wax paper to harden.  (I preferred to spoon it, because I didn't want the chocolate to melt from the top and discolor my candy for the bottoms.)  Also, I wanted hot pink bottoms, but I only had light pink candy melts, so I used the red and then stirred my leftover red into my light pink.  It worked fine.

7) Then, melt the white chocolate and put into a decorator's bottle.  For Mickey's buttons, I tried to use some white chocolate chips that I had, but they didn't melt into place like I thought they would, so they stick out too much.  For Minnie's skirt, I used melted white chocolate chips (and they didn't melt smooth, so I thinned them with shortening, but then they were too runny to make good consistent polka dots.) Learn from my mistakes and use either candy melts or white chocolate almond bark.

8) Let dry and serve with love.

And here are a couple of photos of my "big girl" on her "big day!"

 (Aren't you glad I spared you the potty training pictures from the weekend?)


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Confessions of a Cookie Baker: Cutter Collection

Here it is...  I have a LOT of cookie cutters (but not as many as some cookie bakers...)  At last count I had just over 300.

I used to keep them in ziploc bags, like Georganne at Lila Loa, who recently challenged cookie bakers everywhere to show her their cookies.  However, thanks to the generosity of my parents, who gave me their old kitchen cabinets for my laundry room, and my good friend Kara, who spent all evening text-coaching me on cookie cutter organization... they now look like this...

My cookie cutters in their happy new home.

In early January, I spent about a week sorting them into different sized piles based on categories, finding just the right containers to maximize the space, my budget, and my needs.  I landed with these containers, because they were clear, flat (so I could see the shapes I have easier), only $1 at the Dollar Tree, and fit on the shelves.  Some of the categories are pretty narrow (hearts), others are pretty broad (animals).  I used some great labels that my friend Dana gave me to make them pretty and itemize what is inside.

At the same time I was grouping them, I took photos with my phone of each group, so now when I see a new cutter, I can check my phone and see if I already own it... no new duplicates!

I love my new system.  I also have a bin where I keep the cutters I am just about to use and the ones I haven't put away yet...  and I take the cutters of the season (Easter, Spring, Flowers) down and keep them in my kitchen.

So all that said... the one bit of Kara's advice that I wish I hadn't ignored... was to make sure I had room for growth.  Since my re-org, I have purchased almost 30 cookie cutters.  Uggh.  Plus, they have been rather unique ones... the state of Kansas, a fleur-de-lis, a windmill, etc. and I pretty much don't have a category or a box for them.  I am not quite sure what I'll do about that... I guess I might just have to stop buying cookie cutters... not likely.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lil' L.'s Secret...

Face it... we are all motivated by something.  Lil' L., my almost two year old, is motivated by COOKIES!

So today, I am posting cookies that will either get me banned from Facebook, or nominated for Cake Wrecks.

Today is the BIG DAY!  Lil' L. is a BIG GIRL!  We are having a huge Potty Party to celebrate!  I pulled out all the stops and I am following the method of Lora Jensen, the self-proclaimed "Potty Training Queen," for toilet training in THREE days.  Here we go!!!
So, they aren't anything that would make Victoria's Secret blush, but they are perfect for a toddler in training!

So, at our house, we celebrate everything with COOKIES.  (Surprise!)  So, of course, this huge milestone needed to be celebrated too... AND as we already know, my darling daughter is VERY motivated by COOKIES.  As with all of my cookies, I try really hard to make them fit the personality of the honoree.  Lil' L. loves Minnie Mouse, balloons, sunshine, and since she is turning 2 on Monday, I made a big deal about the #2.  At the same time, I wanted these to be good, encouraging, teaching cookies... (and I had a lot of blue frosting, so...) Here we are... Potty Party cookies!

Potty cookies aren't nearly as gauche as they seem... when you are 2!
(I made them from the "Pot of Gold" cookie cutter from my new St. Patrick's Day set... Ironic, isn't it?
But if you have been buying diapers for the last 7 years, you, too, will know how appropriate it is.)

Lil' L. loves to "high five," so this is how we celebrate! 
Lil' L. loves Minnie Mouse and picked Minnie panties for her big girl pants, so these were perfect!

I couldn't bring myself to make anything to fancy... like these lingerie cookies from Nadia at My Little Bakery or even these cute Granny Panties from Marilyn at Pink Martinis and Pearls.  Plus, they had to be tiny, so they could be rewards for a "job well done."  I ended up using my onesie cutter and just cutting the bottom part off.  They turned out just the right size!

The full learning set!
The full celebration set!

Lord willing, by Monday, we'll be able to eat these and celebrate big time!

So, needless to say, I am not doing any baking today...  but we are having a LOT of special one-on-one time with my big girl, having tons of messy fun in the kitchen: play-dough, paints, pudding (since I am going to be doing laundry later anyway and because we don't do that very often, it is really special), and we even painted our toes.

She picked blue...

"Train up a child in the way they should go, 
and when they are old they will not depart from it..."

Proverbs 22:6

I'll be back baking on Monday... hopefully, I'll have some fun Minnie Mouse birthday treats to share for my "Big Girl."