Saturday, April 19, 2014

Project Anita

I was invited to participate in a group project to honor one of our own. Anita from Sweet Hope Cookies started making cookies to raise awareness and funds for ALS. Her generosity and love inspires all she interacts with to be better, love better, and live better. Today we honor Anita as she remembers her brother Randy, with stories of the people in our lives that inspire us the most. Please join with us by sharing this photo and YOUR story. Follow the love with #CelebrateLife 

Anita inspires me in so many ways. I've been lucky enough to have met her in person twice. It's a lot like meeting a celebrity and yet she makes you feel completely comfortable and she's just as nice and super funny as she is on her blog. Her devotion to the fight against ALS is nothing less than inspiring and she does it all in loving memory of her brother, Randy. I have no doubt that Randy is watching over her and incredibly proud of his sister's efforts in the fight against ALS. 

For this project, we were asked to choose someone that is our hero, who inspired us, who we are proud of, who we love. There are so many people that fall into that category for me, but the obvious choice was my dad. My dad was always my biggest hero. He taught me that I could do anything if I dedicated hard work to make it happen. Our problem solving skills were the same. The way our brains figured out things was the same. Character, honesty and work ethic were some of the most important qualities to him. We lost my dad to Cancer 6 years and 7 days ago. 

Did I ever tell you that my dad was a race car driver? He was also an Engineer and a Marketing Manager, but racing cars was his passion. So I made him race car cookies. More about that in a bit.
This was an amazing group project started by Georganne of LilaLoa. She has an 11 day old newborn baby, but somehow found the time to head this entire project with all these cookie artists. She's another one that inspires!
The cookie artists that joined in this project are:

1.       Lorraine’s Cookies
2.       Cristin’s Cookies
3.       Sugar Rush Custom Cookies
6.       Whisked Away Cookies
7.       Sweet Ree’s Bake Shoppe
8.       The Cookie Architect
9.       The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle
11.   Kookie Kreations by Kim
12.   Sugar Nosh Treats
13.   The Baked Equation
14.   Chris’s Creative Confections
16.   Tami Rena’s Cookies
17.   Cindy’s Cozy Kitchen
18.   Suz Daily
19.   TLC – Trinnie Loves Cookies
20.   Yankee Girl Yummies Yankee Girl Yummies
21.   Laura's Cookies  LaurasCookies

So I made lots of race car cookies that I knew my dad would get a smile from.

My dad's favorite color was yellow.

and then I bought Aidan a race car outfit. Did you know Aidan's middle name is Edward, named after my dad? My dad sure would have thought that was pretty special. I wish he could have met him and Abigail.
 When my dad was racing cars, I used to be part of his crew. One of the jobs was to work the turns and alert the race car drivers if there was a hazard. One of the times we were at Sears Point Raceway. I was holding the stop watch and I was told that my dad would be coming around the corner at X time. He didn't come. Immediately my heart started pounding out of my chest. Another few seconds went by and tears were streaming down my face. I knew something was very wrong. Then we got alerted to put out the hazard flag for the drivers. I swung the hazard flag and alerted the drivers, but I knew it was my dad. I was a panicking mess. Even now all these years later, I have tears streaming just remembering that awful day and how that felt. My dad had crashed in turn 10. If you know anything about Sears Point Raceway, there have been lives lost in turn 10. The workers got the race track closed down. We all waited for more information. They brought me to an area to wait for news on my dad. After what felt like an eternity, I saw my dad walking slowly toward me from very far away. I ran to him and hugged him and thanked God he was alive. A little bit later someone told me that they pulled my dad out of the car and this is the only thing my dad said "Make SURE that Cristin sees ME, before she sees the car". Shortly after my dad had walked that long way to me, the car was pulled up. It would have been devastating to see the car and not know if he had survived. The ENTIRE left side of the car was now on the right side of the car. Seeing that car is etched into my memory forever. My dad wasn't concerned about himself or his injuries or his beloved race car. He was worried about his daughter seeing it and knowing what I would have thought. That's the kind of man my dad was. And that was the last race I ever went to. I'm not strong enough for that and he understood.

 For the last 7 years, my family and I have joined the fight against Cancer. Together we have raised over $26,000 toward Cancer research in memory of my dad.
Abigail wanted to get in the race car blog too :-)

Thank you Anita for being a true inspiration and sharing your love. The stories of your Random Acts of Kindness sitting in the coffee shop seeing everyone's faces as they get up in line and realize that someone has already pre-paid for their coffees and the gifts you give and the love you share, inspire all of us to be better and do better.
Please consider sharing YOUR story. Follow the love with #CelebrateLife

Race Car blog background for today:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Gingerbread Cookies - My Very Favorite

What is your very favorite kind of cookie? Mine is gingerbread. I am CRAZY over gingerbread. I love the smell of gingerbread cookies as they cool after baking and while they are waiting to be decorated. Yum. I love gingerbread so much that I decided that I need some special gingerbread cookie cutters of my own design. These are not actually gingerbread dough, but I had fun making these.

Cookie Cutters Available HERE
Download Tutorial Cards HERE
Free Printable Cookie Tags HERE
 I started with a gingerbread house. I have a few gingerbread house cookie cutters, but this is exactly the one I wanted and I'm very happy with it. You can get one HERE

Then I made Ginny the Gingerbread Girl with bow and scarf. I love her. Cookie cutter available HERE

 and lastly I made Giselle the Gingerbread girl with apron and bow. Cookie cutter available HERE

 My son and his girlfriend had a wonderful time making a gingerbread house over the holidays.

 Then after the gingerbread house, they decided to try out decorated cookies and ended up having a lot of fun with my extra icing colors.
 They did a great job and the cookies were super yummy!

This is an old photo of Abigail, but it was so cute with these cookies that I couldn't resist

So tell me, what is your FAVORITE type of cookie?

Gingerbread blog background for today: 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ice Skating Cookies and Some Hot Cocoa Too

I have a big decision to make and I always think best when I'm on the bike. So yesterday I went for a good bike ride and let my mind run away with my pedals. I decided that being a cyclist probably gives a pretty good idea of what it might be like to be someone suffering with a bipolar disorder. I'll give you an impression of what I mean and paint a picture for you. 

So you start out the day on your pretty pink bicycle thinking that it is such a beautiful day with a delightful cool breeze. The hills are green. The chatter is delightful. Later as you start to work hard, you realize that what you thought was a cool breeze is actually Mr. Wind standing directly in front of you and using all his might to push you backward while you try to turn the pedals forward. And that wonderful cycling buddy that you invited to join you on this casual ride is a Race Across America WINNER and you start to get all in your head about how much you are going to hold this friend back and realize that she's probably riding about as slow as she possibly can while staying upright on a bicycle just so that you can attempt to keep up. But you press on. Then you come upon a hill. Now mind you, this is not "really" a hill, but actually a "bump". But you've already ridden about 35 miles into the wind and you're so out of shape that the bump feels like a mountain. You concentrate on just turning the pedals. Into the sun. With the wind blowing you backward. You're tired. You're hungry. You start to talk to yourself and say What on earth are you doing? Why do you do this to yourself? What is at the top of this hill that you want so badly? You've somehow forgotten how to breathe or at least you're doing the child-birth breathing with your lungs on fire. Then somehow you make it to the top of the hill and you remember that what goes up, must come down. You take a deep breath and you're thankful to get air back into your lungs. Your bicycle starts going with almost no effort on the pedals. The wind goes through your helmet and rejuvenates you. The pool of sweat on your back starts to dry up. Descending is the most wonderful thing and it is your reward for the climb. You get into a nice little tuck and fly down the hill. Again the birds are chirping and you remember that this is a beautiful day. But then.... you come upon another hill. Like I said, being a cyclist must be what it's like to be bi-polar.

I had fun making ice skating cookies and the things that go with ice skating. Like hot cocoa and mittens and such. This was a really fun set and I loved the color combination.

Cookie Cutters Available HERE
Download Tutorial Cards HERE
Download Free Printable Cookie Tags HERE
 My favorite in this set is Alexa the winter girl that loves to ice skate. You can get the cookie cutter HERE

 Cute huh. I made one with a striped hat brim and striped scarf and the other I left plain, but then added yummy sanding sugar to her for some extra sparkle.
 I used to ice skate all the time growing up in New York (when I was very very young), but I switched to roller skating when we moved to California, but I still love both. Ice skate cookie cutter available HERE

 I had so much fun making this cookie cutter of mittens on a string. I posted a picture of just the cutter to see what people thought it was going to be. Several said a cyclist and then someone guessed mittens with a heart in the middle. I didn't plan on it being a heart in the middle of the mittens, but I can definitely see that too. Mittens on a string cookie cutter available HERE

 Hot cocoa is wonderful for winter sports like ice skating and when it's cold in cycling too. I was very excited to make a cup of hot cocoa with swirls of heat above. Cookie cutter available HERE

 and this is Ingrid the Ice Skating girl with fun ear muffs and striped socks. Cookie cutter available HERE

 I added super sparkly disco dust to the tiny bit of her ice skates for them to be sparkly fun.

and I used my Hibiscus flower cookie cutter to make a snowflake. Cookie cutter available HERE

My daughter and I took Abigail ice skating! It was so cute to see her out on the ice!

 My reward ;-)

Do you like to ice skate?

Ice Skating blog background for today: