Archive for May, 2009

Sweet nothings

May 19, 2009

It was yet another week of steady Florida rain. In and of itself, the rain is not an issue. But when it is preceded by a week of a sick kid cooped up in the house waiting to feel better so she can GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY, well…it’s an issue. So there we were, desperate for diversion and crankiness loomed on the horizon.  We had made some paint crafts the previous day and when I suggested a similar project, my daughter’s lack of enthusiasm could be felt from across the room, where she sat begging to watch TV. So I countered with a cheerful “let’s make cookies!” Now that got her moving!

I was almost knocked down by the  powerful SWOOSH of a child dashing by me and into the kitchen. By the time I made it in there after her, she had already pulled the kitchen chair up to the counter and was demanding a wooden spoon. At that moment I thought, “gee I really hope I have ingredients to make cookies”. Something I probably should have considered sooner. Thankfully, I had the makings for a batch of sugar cookies. Well, technically I didn’t have enough butter. But part butter, part margarine, part shortening sugar cookies would do just fine!

Ingredients in...

Per the recipe (which I quickly took off the back of the sugar bag), I needed to chill the dough for an hour. To an almost-three-year-old an hour might as well be forever, so we went ahead and rolled the dough out anyway. It was definitely stickier than if we had chilled it. Here’s a handy tip to help with clean up when making cut out cookies…parchment paper.

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I cut out a large piece of parchment paper and used painters tape to attach it to the table. It serves two purposes. First, it keeps the mess off the table so all I have to do is roll up the paper and toss it into the trash. Second, because it is a fairly nonstick surface, less flour is needed. When you have a child who likes to toss the flour all around, the less flour the better! If you haven’t used parchment paper in your baking, I highly recommend it. It will help your cookies brown evenly and reduce the need to grease the pan (works great for cakes too)!

My daughter is getting pretty good at using the cookie cutters. I help her roll the dough out by using a mini sized rolling pin that I purchased just for her. After that, she chooses the cutters she wants and presses them into the dough.

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My original intent is to have her cut out all the cookies. I know she will have a lot of fun with this. But while the first batch is in the oven, the baby lets me know in no uncertain terms that she needs to be nursed NOW. One look at the clock reminds me that it’s past lunch time and nap time is coming up too. I decide to take care of the children’s bellies and deal with the cookies later. During nap time, I cut out cookies from the remaining dough. My daughter’s disappointment will be eclipsed by her delight of the next step…decorating!

I had planned on whipping up a quick batch of icing…powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, milk. Simple. Quick. Then I look at my sink. My sparkling clean sink. Next to my sparkling clean sink is my sparkling clean mixer and my sparkling clean mixing bowls. I had just washed everything. Did I really want to do it all again? A quick peek in the pantry reveals…

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Thank you Pillsbury for making life a little easier!

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And thank you sprinkle makers for making sprinkles look so darn colorful and cheerful!

Nap time is over and the fun begins!cookies 033

After frosting a few cookies she informs me that her hands are too dirty and that “you should frost them mommy”. The sprinkling of happy sprinkles is what she is really after anyway.

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And boy can she sprinkle! I mean, thick coats of sprinkles on each cookie. I have to go behind her and shake off the excess. But what a beautiful collection of happy rainy day sugar cookies we created!

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Cake pops for a cause

May 6, 2009

In memory of my beautiful mother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease seven years prior to her death, I will be walking in the Alzheimer’s Association 2009 Memory Walk. My husband and I participated in the walk a few years ago, but this year we will be walking as a family of four. Of course technically the baby will be in the stroller, but at 3 years old, my oldest will be walking by my side this year!

I also decided to take my new found obsession with Bakerella’s cake pops and put that energy to good use. She recently posted on her blog that she had made her cup cake pops for the American Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life”. Check out the story Cute for a Cure! I was so inspired that I contacted the director of the Alzheimer’s Association’s North Florida chapter and offered to do the same for the Memory Walk. She was thrilled with the offer!

So I will be making about 200 cake pops to sell at the walk this year! Every penny of the sale will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association in my mother’s honor. I really hope these turn out well and that I raise a large amount of money during the walk. The walk isn’t until November, so I have some time to work on my cake pop making skills. Here is a picture of the ones Bakerella made.

photo curtesy of Bakerella

photo courtesy of Bakerella

I plan on making the regular cake pop version instead of the cupcake pop. I think that will help to make this a reasonable task for me. It turns out that the Alzheimer’s Association’s color is also purple so mine will look similar.

photo curtesy of

photo courtesy of

If I get really inspired, and depending on what is going on in my life in November, I might attempt to make candy versions of the Forget Me Not flowers to attach to the pops. This flower is a symbol used by the Alzheimer’s Association.

If you are in the North Florida area, please sign up to walk and raise funds for Alzheimer’s research. If you are there, please make sure to visit my table and buy a cake pop (or two or five)! If you aren’t in the area, you can still help by making a donation to the cause. Click here to be directed to my Memory Walk fund raising page. This is a website created and monitored by the Alzheimer’s Association and all funds go directly to them.

If you want to help even more, you can sign up as a member of my team. This will create your own webpage which you can then forward to friends, family and coworkers. You don’t have to be present at the walk to raise money, so you can join my team no matter where you live.

Or you can even start at team of your own. Check out the Memory Walk website for more information. This is a cause that is so very close to my heart. I never want my daughters to have to suffer the slow and painful loss of their mother the way that I did.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s visit the Alzheimer’s Association online!