Friday, January 25, 2013

Star Wars Cookies

Truth be told, I cannot wait for this weekend to be over! Not gonna lie...I'm a little Star Wars'd out.

On Wednesday, my mom, Ellie and I made buttercrisp cut-out cookies. I have to admit...they were pretty BA. We used my Grandma Gert's recipe, rolled out the dough and cut out almost six dozen Storm Troopers, Yodas, Darth Vaders and Boba Fetts.


Even though they are super adorable as is...I couldn't leave them unfrosted.

So...last night I put myself through sheer torture.

I whipped up a batch of royal icing, divided all of the icing up into six different air tight containers, tinted the icing, and began my five hour adventure.

Oh...that's right. It took me five hours to frost those buggars. was all a labor of love for the birthday boy.

I have to admit. I'm pretty bad ass. I mean...the cookies turned out pretty amazeballs. Don't ya think?


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Double Dees Bakery...Pun Intended

January is the month of not-so-little-anymore prince.
He recently turned the big seven on January 13th. I know...I say the same thing! I'm not old enough to have a seven year old! And oh...aren't you sweet, but I already know that I don't look 35!
Anyway. Enough about how young and adorable I am. Back to Lucas.
Like any seven year old his age, he is obsessed with Star Wars.
So when it came time to ask him what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, it was a no-brainer - R2-D2. Everyone's favorite and lovable Droid.
You see, I make Wilton cakes for birthdays. It's a tradition that my Dad started when my brother and I were little. He would spend hours upon hours picking the perfect pan, baking the cakes (my Mom actually did that part), and decorating them to perfection with what seemed to be millions of tiny stars.
It's a tradition that I fell in love with and was eager to pass on to my kiddos. It's a special moment to have your child pick out their own pan, make an amazing cake and give a piece of art and yourself to your child for his/her special day.
Unfortunately, Wilton stopped making the R2-D2 cake pan in 1980. It's now selling on eBay for a small fortune. sister-in-law and I decided that we could make our own 3-D, R2-D2 cake...and ROCK it!
I made four double-chocolate fudge cakes in two 6x3 Wilton pans during the week. After the cakes cooled, I wrapped them in saran wrap and stuck them in the freezer.
I also used Wilton's ball cake pan in order to make the top of R2-D2's head. So...all in all, there were five cakes that were made.
Meredith (SIL) came over on the Saturday before the family party and we got to work - making three different types of buttercream icing, construcing a stable design to stack the cakes on, and making rice krispie treats for his legs.
And by the way...we are both messy bakers. This is what my kitchen looked like as we started this adventure.

This is the rest of the process....


And after five and a half grueling hours....R2-D2 was complete.

 Lucas and Aunt Meredith

 Lucas and Me!

And finally...Double Dees Bakery!
So there you have it...our first 3-D cake that was a complete work of art that we could share with the birthday boy.
Happy birthday sweetie boy! Love you to the moon and back!
P.S. Still wondering about our bakery name? My maiden name is Dees and Meredith married my brother - so, she's the new Dees. Get it? Double Dees Bakery?! Buahahahaha!  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Oh...can it!

Within the past few years, I've had a small obsession with canning.

I remember my Grandma Bea canning everything from her garden - green beans, pickles, and the like. The ball jars lined an earthy ledge in her cellar. As a matter of fact, I would be willing to be that she still has green beans from 1982!

Unfortunately, I am not gifted when it comes to the world of food. I know, I know. You totally wouldn't know that by looking at me. lol

I have a tendency to burn water, turn homemade yellow cake into cornbread and generally screw up anything that I try to cook or bake.

However, Justin got me an amazing gift for Christmas - one that I had put on my list a few years prior but never received. (Probably because he knows that I would mess everything up. Good thinking on his part)

I received a Ball canning set for beginners, a collapsable funnel and a jar gripper (to pull the hot jars out of the boiling water).

Now...this may not sound exciting, but I was all sorts of giddy! There are so many things that I can make and preserve!

So...I put my abilities to the test last night - I made homemade no added sugar apple butter and preserved it!

To be completely transparent, I made it for my mom for her birthday (which is on Friday). The girl that has everything is receiving homemade apple butter and freshly baked bread (by me, of course!) for her big day! I mean really...who doesn't love delicious food?!

And just in case you want the how to's of this delicious recipe, they are listed here.


Monday, January 14, 2013

A letter to my sweetie boy for his birthday: Seven is a big deal!

My Dearest Lucas,

Yesterday was your birthday. The big seven! I won't scar you with too many details of our first meeting, but I can tell you that even though it was a rough beginning for both of us (your dad, Eema and the medical staff too), it still melts my heart thinking about you and hearing your "cry" for the first time.

You have brought me nothing but pure joy since that very first moment. Watching you grow, absorbing the world around you, inquisitive and delighted to learn, I’m reminded each day of the treasure you bring into my world.

As all mothers do, I have goals, dreams and wishes for you. I have, as you can imagine, dozens of them, but on this seventh anniversary of  our first moment together, I will limit myself to the seven that I wish for most.
 I wish for the kind heart I see you in now to stay firmly in place.  Keep it, nurture it, handle it with care.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are too sensitive. You are the first to hold your sister’s hand when she is scared, the first to run for the ice pack when someone is hurt, the first to tell me that you love me when you see that I am upset.  The best part of my day is the joy infused by your smile, your hugs, the tender way you put your hand on my face or suddenly say, “Mommy, how was YOUR day?”  I couldn’t live without your affection and kindness.

Don’t ever apologize for who you are, for what you want, for how hard you have worked or where you are going in life. I don’t doubt you will work hard, but I can already see signs that you are quick to apologize, to back down. Don’t. You have learned this from me and I wish I could take it back.  Stand your ground, be proud of you.  Do not live to make others happy or to measure up to someone else’s expectations.  Be Lucas.  This is enough.

Be a student.  Be a teacher.  Learn at every opportunity.  Read. Be inquisitive. Ask. And when you know something and know it well – teach others.  Do not hoard your knowledge, your gifts – share them.  There is inherent beauty in being both student and teacher.  It is a gift to learn and a privilege to teach. After all, you teach me something new every day.

I wish you wins and losses, trophies and empty shelves.  As much as I would love to see you succeed in everything you do… as much as I believe in your gifts, I must wish you challenges.  For it is within the losses, the 3rd, 4th and 5th places, and the failures that your character will be built. It is my job, as your mom, to do my best to guide you through these moments. If everything was to be easy for you, you would be ill-prepared for the ‘real’ world.  I promise you, life is not always easy.

Your dreams: do them.  Your heart: follow it.  Your family: treasure them. Your friends: be loyal to them. Your fears: embrace them and allow them to make you stronger.  The money you earn: respect it. Your passion: LIVE IT.

Seek joy.  Every single day, find something that makes you happy and do it.  Be it big or small – an act of kindness, listening to a song you love, calling a friend, watching the Browns with your dad  - it quite simply doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you spend a portion of each day smiling and laughing. You have such a beautiful smile and a belly laugh that I love to hear. And for the record, even when you think that I'm not watching or listening, I am. Those moments bring joy to my heart, tears to my eyes, and a smile to my face. Thank you.

And my ‘one to grow on’ - I wish to be here for each of your moments…. to keep you on track.

Lucas, you are what bliss looks like in a little boy.  You are dirty and messy, you snuggle and love me. I melt when you say, “I haven’t had my hugs and kisses yet today, Mommy” or "Huggie!" I adore that you need to be all sprawled out in your bed at night in order to sleep. I love it that you still sleep with Bear, Snoodle, and Smokey.  I will never forget your need for a story before bed, how you still love to snuggle with me and how a good dance-a-thon can bring out the sillies in all of us.

And nothing gets to me more than hearing you say, “I love you, Mommy”. Thank you, my sweetie boy – for picking me to be your mommy. There is nothing better in this world.

I will always love you, my buddy.