Practicing Cookie Painting

We had some scrap cookies lying around and I thought it would be a perfect time to make a paint palette and try out some of the painting techniques that I had tried at cookie con, so I made up some paint palettes and armed all three of us with paintbrushes.

Someone's inner artist is escaping again!

Someone’s inner artist is escaping again!

Aaron did an amazing job on his little chunk of broken cookie.  Averie and I had a lot of fun with ours too, though we definitely weren’t as artsy in our projects as Aaron was!

2014-03-29-1I’m still not sure how much I’ll use painting in our cookies, but I do love the way they look!

It’s OK to play in the mud once in a while…

I *hate* messes, which is pretty funny if you’ve ever seen the state of my home after a busy cookie week…  So sometimes, it’s hard for me to let go and just let Averie be a kid and make a mess of things.  Being an only child, and my child, Averie’s pretty attentive to being clean too – she washes her hands without being asked, and keeps her toys (mostly) picked up and put away where they belong.

Her dad isn’t quite as meticulous as I am.  I came home today to someone playing in the rain, in the mud, in the backyard.  I almost had a meltdown, until I realized how much fun she was having.  Instead, I just calmly asked her to stop digging holes in the yard, snapped a quick picture, and ran a quick lap around the yard with her.

2014-03-28

I’m not going to convert to a ‘mess lover’, but I will admit that it was a little refreshing to run around in the rain, even just for a few minutes.  Sometimes it’s hard to remember that kids need to be kids, kids need to make messes and sometimes  you just gotta let it happen.  Even if it goes against ever fiber of your mess-hating self!

 

Cookie Con 2014

Guess what?!   I’m not the only “crazy cookie lady”! I’m just home from a cookie conference, called CookieCon, where I hung out with 450 other amazing, crazy cookie ladies — and even a few crazy cookie men in Salt Lake City! First off, I traveled and roomed with Emily from Emi’s Treats.   She’s another local cookier CR.  We were originally destined to be on different flights/different airlines, but after my initial flight was cancelled the itinerary they rebooked me on was the exact same flights as hers.  I think that’s the first time that a cancelled flight has actually worked in my favor!

Waiting to board the plane and head to Utah!!

Waiting to board the plane and head to Utah!!

We landed LATE and hopped into a taxi queue only to discover we were waiting in line with other cookiers, so we shared a cab to the hotel.  We crashed pretty hard that night, and were up pretty early the next morning to take a bus tour of Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City is GORGEOUS!

Salt Lake City is GORGEOUS!

Our tour operator was fantastic, the entire bus was full of just us cookiers, and every single one of these girls were among the nicest people I have ever met!

Can you spot me?  :)

Can you spot me? 🙂

I’m not going to go into vast detail about every part of the trip – we would be here forever and I would run out of synonyms for ‘AMAZING’ very, very quickly.  What I will say is that there were classes, discussions, groups of cookiers getting together, nobody hanging out alone, open decorating day, an awards banquet, and just – well, a lot of AMAZING things…  Anyway, here are a few highlights! The Sugar Show — cookies were brought in by people of all kinds of talent levels that went along with one of the chosen themes for the event.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Mystery Shape — on open decorating day, everyone was given the opportunity to decorate a cookie in a special shape, a speech bubble!  Mine was the little mouse.

Open Decorating Day — This was a chance to practice, play and try out different techniques while having other cookiers nearby to help.  I tried stenciling with royal icing, painting with gel colors, edible images, and shading with the airbrush.

My various practice cookies

My various practice cookies

Meeting Some of My Favorite Cookiers — I got to listen to presentations by and meet some of the best of the best, and even managed to pose for pictures with a handful of these people whose blogs I’ve followed for AGES!

All-in-all, it was an amazing time, a HUGE thank you to Karen’s Cookies for organizing the event, the girls from Cookiers R Us for the wonderful conversation and Emi’s Treats for being an awesome travel companion!

DIY Jungle Nursery Artwork

I alluded to this project in my last post, so here it is!

First we found and changed up some artwork of the animals that we loved – I used my KopyKake to project them on to canvases — you could use tracing paper, or just as easily do these freehand, but it was after midnight and I didn’t trust myself!

Still working on nursery artwork pre-prep at 2 AM...

Still working on nursery artwork pre-prep at 2 AM…

I traced the outline of all of the animals onto the canvases using a pencil.  These were 8×8 canvases.

All traced!  Can you tell by the lighting how late it was?!

All traced! Can you tell by the lighting how late it was?!

Then I packed these bad boys up into a suitcase and took them with me to surprise Las.  She was a good sport – she didn’t even complain that I showed up with work for her to do!  After a (VERY QUICK) trip to Michaels, we left with all of the acrylic paint and paintbrushes that we needed to get to work.

And of course I put the pregnant lady to work!

Working hard - with her feet up!

Working hard – with her feet up!

We did around 2-3 coats on everything to make sure it was covered well.  I think they turned out super cute!

All done!

All done!

And they definitely go well in Lewis’ jungle themed room!  Done just (barely) in time for his arrival!

DIY Nursery Jungle Animals Artwork Canvases

Surprising my best friend and (sort of) putting her into labor…

So, my best friend is pregnant.  She also has big, fat giant feet.  So lately the aim of the game has been to try to keep Las sitting down with her feet up.

Las does not do well with sitting down, nevermind putting her feet up.  She’s a “go-er” and a socialite – even if she tries to claim otherwise, it’s all lies.  Seriously, you should look at her planner one day.  It makes me exhausted just to think about it, never mind actually doing it – which says a lot, if you’ve ever looked at my calendar…

Needless to say, I felt compelled to do my best to do what I could to make sure she was following doctor’s orders.  It started with randomly requesting she send me photos of her feet – to make sure they were propped up like they were supposed to be.

But when I’d ask, she’d occasionally tell me she was at Target, or driving, or…  something.  Granted most of the time it was a reasonable excuse.  (ex: dr’s appointment), but still, that didn’t stop me from threatening to show up and smack her.  Because really – a good smack on the head isn’t going to hurt the baby.

Then I got to thinking – I should follow through on this one!  The last thing I want is for her to start thinking I’m making blind threats…  I mean, that’s one of the most basic rules of parenting, and she often calls me ‘mom’, so I better make sure she takes me seriously!

Armed with some frequent flier miles, her hubby’s contact information and some vacation time from work, I started plotting.

No more than a few hours later, I was ready – flights were booked and her hubby was armed with a perfect story as to why he had to go to the airport — his old boss was flying in.  I’m not sure who was more cunning – me, or him!

Next up – I had to figure out how to keep my mouth shut and not give away that I was coming.  It was EXCRUCIATING!  Especially when she was asking me questions about how to arrange artwork in the nursery.  I even told her “would be easier if I could just see the whole room…” and she sent me back a video of the room.  PAINFUL!  I wanted to scream at her – just WAIT!!  She also had a box that she needed to get mailed to me.  Thankfully her hubby came up with a good reason to not take it to the post office…

She was hooked on getting artwork for the nursery done, and I promised I would do it, but the problem was trying to get her to tell me what she wanted so I could do the prep work in Iowa and bring it with me to Texas to have her help finish it.  She finally figured out what she wanted and I managed to finish the prep work somewhere around 3 AM on the day that I was flying out – I wanted to scream at her ‘HURRY UP AND MAKE A DECISION – I HAVE TO GET ON A PLANE SOON!’.

Still working on nursery artwork pre-prep at 2 AM...

Still working on nursery artwork pre-prep at 2 AM on the day of my flight…

So the morning of the flight I still needed to pack.  Then I realized all of our suitcases were in the storage room that we had accidentally locked from the inside.  Oops.  Thankfully LeeAnn was able to pick me up early, and Kohl’s was having a sale on luggage.  Whew!

I had to take the most INSANE route to get to Texas to save on Frequent Flyer Miles.  Iowa to Chicago, Chicago to North Carolina, North Carolina to Houston.

Seriously - does this route make any sense?!

Seriously – does this route make any sense?!

The good news is that the frequent/random stops kept me in contact with her throughout the day, and I was able to continuously request pictures of her feet, so she didn’t suspect much was up.  I did, however, begin drilling into her that she should really stay home while Colin went to the airport to pick up his boss – as she shouldn’t be on her feet so much!

My flight was delayed in North Carolina, so Colin had to do some quick thinking and research and picked out a different ‘flight’ for his boss to be on.  Thankfully all worked out in the end.  I landed and Colin met me at baggage claim – Las was in the car, waiting to meet Colin’s old boss (despite my lectures – though I knew it was going to happen that way.  She’s STUBBORN!)

We snuck up behind the car, nearly giving her a heart attack when the trunk popped open, and I opened her car door and asked her why her feet weren’t up!.  And for the first time in my life – I rendered Las speechless.

Trust me, that doesn’t happen often!!  Well, not speechless, she was still talking, but all she could say was “There are no words…”

The next few days were spent largely with her sitting – we finished up the artwork for his nursery, did some crafting and fit in some spa time for mani-pedi’s.  But mostly, sitting.  And lecturing.  And blood pressure taking.

Seriously amazing place for Pedicures - Plush Nail Studio

Seriously amazing place for Pedicures – Plush Nail Studio

We also watched a lot of My Drunk Kitchen. Because, well, because it’s basically us…  Or at least it was us before kids anyway!

And then I had to fly home.  I didn’t want to leave, something told me I should just stick around a little bit longer…  and I was SO right.  I flew out on Wednesday.  Las was admitted to the hospital on Thursday, and little Baby Lewis made his appearance on Friday, 3/14.  I think he might have been scared to meet me, considering how much I scared his mother just a few days earlier by randomly showing up to smack her!

lewisborn

A HUGE congrats to Las and Colin, who worked VERY hard to get to this pregnancy.

The hard work isn’t over yet though.  Now they get to parent a child with Las’s stubborn tendencies and uncoordination and Col’s sense of humor and analytical tendencies.  My prediction: they probably shouldn’t hand over their ‘frequent flyer’ card for the hospital / ER quite yet.

LOVE YOU!

 

 

Homemade Trail Mix

I love snacking.  If you don’t, I’m a little worried about you…

I also love a mix of sweet and salty things.  Trail mix is awesome, except – I don’t really like most of the nuts that are in them.

So I decided that Averie and I would make our own trail mix.  And she LOVED helping out.  Cashews, Raisins and M&M’s were all that we wanted, and we made enough to last us months!

Doesn't it look delicious!?

Doesn’t it look delicious!?

Homemade Trail Mix
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Prep time: 
Total time: 
I bought the biggest bags of each of these that I could find. You can buy whatever size works best, swap out the nuts etc.
Ingredients
  • Cashews
  • Raisins
  • M&M's
  • Snack sized ziploc bags.
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into a bowl and stir it up.
  2. Use a small cup to measure and place a small amount in each snack sized bag

 

Snowy, Wintery Ick!

What do you do when it’s snowing outside?

You come home from school, put on your PJ’s and play ‘Go Fish’, of course!

Go Fish!

The best part of playing with a four year old?  She gets excited and yells “YES!” when you tell her to “Go Fish”.  I don’t think she quite has the game figured out yet…

 

Lavender and Grey Baby Shower

Sometimes I get an order where I get to be creative and have fun.  Those are my FAVORITE orders in the whole wide world.  This time I was given a color scheme and an example of the banner that was being used for the party.

Can you tell by the lighting I was late night cookie-ing?

Can you tell by the lighting I was late night cookie-ing?

So out came the purple, grey and white icing, and somewhere there was a hint of pink too – apparently that didn’t make the photo though.  And from there I just got to be creative.  I incorporated different patterns that were on the banner and had a lot of fun with this!

Lavender and Grey Baby Shower Cookies

Of course there was extra icing left over, but all I had for cookies was a blank plaque and a bunch of tulips.  I didn’t want to make a bunch of tulips, so I had Averie helped me think of different animals that the tulips could be.  We ended up with an owl, a cat and a pig!

Tulip Cookie Cutter for Animals

 

DIY Glittered Vases

I saw these cute little guys at Michael’s in their cheap-o bins and I just knew I needed them for Averie’s birthday party, but there was one problem – I didn’t want clear vases – I wanted them to go along with the party theme…

It's so little and cute!!!

It’s so little and cute!!!

So out came the modpodge, and the glitter.  Unfortunately all I had was coarse glitter, but it seemed to work.  I used clear sealer on top of the glitter to hold it all together.  They came out super cute!

DIY Glittered Vases