All I Want for Christmas is Shoes…Christmas Cookie Heels

cind quote

Merry Christmas Eve Everyone!

If you have procrastinated with my gift this year, just remember shoes are the way to my heart… along with wine & fresh flowers. You know your obsession with shoes has gone way too far when you pick out your shoes first each morning, and coordinate everything else around them.  My Christmas present to self this year is on its way… Valentino rainboots  that I found on Gilt for WAY too great of a deal… I was kind of hoping Santa would bring lots of rain, but seeing how it’s almost eighty this Christmas Eve, I may have to wait to wear them.

shoe 1

 xmas shoe collage

These high heel cookies with matching handbags were made for my mom’s annual luncheon with here girlfriends. They start around lunchtime and end after midnight. It’s a two meal party… how awesome is that? And speaking of parties, I am  already thinking ahead to the perfect heels for New Year’s.

Here are my top five picks:

leopard-katespade

I have been pining over these shoes for the past few weeks. They are on sale at Kate Spade right now. My Kate Spade gift card is burning a hole in my pocket, so I just may have to put it to good use on these. You can never go wrong with animal prints.

sparkle kate spade

And these are my all-time favorite New Year’s shoes, also Kate Spade and the same style as the leopard ones. The sparkles just scream New Year’s!

enzo

By no means am I a shoe snob. I LOVE when I find a deal on shoes. These are on sale at Nordstrom for under fifty dollars, and I would probably get a lot more use out of these than the sparkly ones above.

 

scallop boots

If I could justify another pair of boots, which I can’t, these ones from Anthropologie would be my pick. I have a thing for bows if you haven’t noticed.  I also have a thing for boots. These shoes, unlike my other picks are much more appropriate for the New Year’s party I am hosting.

rain boots

Truth be told though, I’m really praying for rain this New Year’s Eve so I can wear my new, shiny, black Valentino rainboots with the signature Valentino bow.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends.

I feel so blessed to spend it with the people I love!

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California Christmas Cookies… and Catching up!

blake and me40bdayHope everyone is enjoying the busy holiday season. I have been away from this blog for far too long. so I apologize in advance for the lengthy post. Some interesting surprises and challenges have come our way over the past six months, but through each episode, we’ve seen a little more how blessed we have been with an amazing circle of friends. These are the people who are always there in an instant (you know those people – when your car won’t start or you’re having a crisis because you are about to turn 40, or you find yourself trapped in a car full of pre-teen boys who are having an in-depth conversation about girls getting their periods and you just have to call someone and tell them).Yes, these are the people in my life who keep me laughing when I start taking life too seriously.

The photo above is of the boy and me celebrating my 40th birthday this past September. Notice, he has on the backwards hat, while I have on the tiara… pretty much our personalities captured in one shot. I really thought I’d have no problem turning 40, but I admit I did freak out several weeks before the big day. I was kind of a wreck, until I had a fabulous idea. Here’s how I got out of my rut… I hate surprises, so I decided I’d throw a reverse surprise party. Several of my best friend’s kiddos are Blake’s BFF’s. These are my single mama BFFs (with one married friend, who we include in our secret single mom society). Long story short, I rented a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE limo, told no one (the boy almost went insane), bought field level seats to a Dodger’s-Padres game, and told everyone what time I would get them. Even once the limo pulled up, the boy had NO idea it was ours for the night. We filled it with balloons and I had presents that we set out for all of my party guests (part of the reverse surprise is that everyone else gets a gift!). Once in the limo, I still told not a soul where we were headed. The boys had their side of the limo with their glow sticks and junk food and the moms had our side with plenty of wine flowing. (I am told I did slightly embarass the boy, but he is kind of used to that.). That was one of the BEST days of my life… Best Birthday Party Ever!

limo collage


xmas platter

Here’s my twist on winter wonderland cookies. What can be better than flip flop and bikini cookies in December? California is its own kind of winter wonderland. I don’t think the boy will ever live in a place that he couldn’t wear flip flops to Christmas dinner (of course, flip flops dressed up with a collared shirt; I’ve learned to pick my battles and flip flops just aren’t worth the battle.).

xmas flip flops


Last Christmas we brought California themed Christmas cookies to Deb, my BFF on the East Coast. Deb is my girlfriend who has moved from coast to coast multiple times in the past few years. Last May, Deb called to tell me she was moving back to the OC. She was only a few weeks away from having her fourth baby girl, so the boy and I were doubly ecstatic. Deb is a trooper…just when you think you know how things are going to turn out, God throws a curve ball. Well, Deb had Emery in July after renovating her new home from top to bottom in record time. (She is Wonder Woman by the way. ) Just as we were gearing up for the school year, she was faced once again with the tough decision of relocating back to DC for a job opportunity that was hard for her husband to pass up. (I don’t think I’ve mentioned her husband is crazy smart, we are talking Valedictorian, Ivy League school kind of brilliance. But above all, he is a really good guy… which explains why every company wants to hire him). welcome home

It was another tough good-bye, but what I have learned through all of Deb’s moves is that a best friendship transcends any distance and any amount of time. I love her dearly, miss her daily, but can’t wait to see what plans God has in store for this amazing woman who has touched my life in so many ways.

baby emery

And while we are talking about Christmas and babies, these cookies below (also twelve months overdue to be posted) were for the other Kate in my life who had her baby girl, Brooklyn (Baby B), right before New Year’s. Kate’s one of those people who you meet and you instantly know you are going to be friends with for life. We met at a baseball game when she overheard a man telling me that the Naughty One (my pup) looked like she was about to have babies (clearly a derogatory comment about her weight, right?). My response to the man was, “You should be glad she is a dog or she would be really offended right now.” Kate thought I was funny…I was kinda serious. She and I are both single moms with twelve year old boys. We both have the same jobs, just in different districts, and we are both experts at sneaking wine into public venues (Starbucks cup, no one ever suspects anything!).

xmas baby cookies

 

I have been abundantly blessed with baby girls in my life that I can spoil with, anything, pink, anything sparkly, and shoes galore!!! We are throwing Brooklyn’s Twinkle Twinkle/ owl themed first birthday party right after Christmas and have been talking about it since Baby B’s birth.

 

caterpillars

And I couldn’t mention baby girls without mentioning Charlotte… this is my baby who calls me “Mama” and cries big tears whenever I have to leave her (the boy hates that the baby loves me more than him). Keri has been my BFF since 5th grade. She is the only person in my life who knows my ENTIRE story and the one person I think I am 100% myself around… if that makes sense. Love her and her girls to death! Keri is such an awesome best friend that she agreed to throw a Hungry Caterpillar first birthday party, which she knows I have been dying to have. It was an amazing party…cutest decorations and food spread ever! She went all out and invited 50+ people, and let me do the treats. One of the coolest things about Keri is that she lets her kids just dig right in… literally and figuratively.  She doesn’t even get anxious when she tells over fifty people to stare at her one year old and sing happy birthday to her. Okay, I was the one freaking out about the massive amount of red frosting Charlotte dug into and the potential hysteria brought on by the Happy Birthday Choir. But you know what… Charlotte loved EVERY  single minute of it, smiled and laughed through the entire song… so much like her real mama!

 char collage b

 

So basically the short, short version of this post is… this holiday season, I am thankful for best friends, baby girls, and making memories with the people I love!



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3 bears

Build a Bear Cookie Favors

Where does the time go? I’m still not quite sure how we got from December to April so quickly. The boy and I just wrapped up a fabulous Spring Break. Neither of us wanted it to end (me more so than him!). I forgot what it feels like to slow down and just be. Needless to say, I am counting the days (39 work  days, in case you are wondering) until summer. Though I’ve been away from the blog,  I have still been doing orders (as much as I can), I’ve just become much more realistic about what I can manage and still keep my sanity in tact.

These cookies just had to be shared, as they were made for a pretty amazing little girl named Brooke. Is she not the most adorable girl you’ve seen! At four years of age, she has faced more challenges than many will face in a lifetime. Brooke’s mom, Jenni and I have known each other for years from teaching.  At just a few weeks old, Jenni, and her husband were given the devastating news that Brooke had a rare heart disease, which enlarged her heart. At two and a half, Brooke was given the gift of life and received a heart transplant from a donor. She is now turning four and healthy and happy. I am so inspired by Brooke and her family. They have made the choice to  let Brooke live life to its fullest. She is in preschool and dance, and is a girly girl! You can read more about Brooke and organ donation here

Brooke had her birthday at Build a Bear and I was super excited to do cookies for her. She requested bear cookie favors that had purple and pink on them and bows in their hair. Since boys were invited to her party, we made some boy bears too. Each cookie favor bag also included a little red heart, just like the little hearts that are sewn into the kids’ bears. Adorable bears for an adorable girl… if I do say so myself!

Be back soon (a very relative term, I know)!



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More Christmas Cookies…

Here’s another batch of cookies I made in the past couple of weeks. Hope you’re enjoying these last couple days before Christmas.

 

 



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Eat, Drink & Be Merry!

It’s kinda sad when 6 days before Christmas my most recent post is of Halloween treats. And quite honestly, I’m not exactly sure how we got from Halloween to Christmas so quickly. It has been such a crazy year. My KitchenAid has been running overtime the past couple of weeks…tons of cookie dough and royal icing!! I didn’t want to let Christmas go by without posting. The boy and I are off to Washington DC right after Christmas to visit our friends. We are both looking forward to a much needed break from our daily routine.

Wishing you all a merry Christmas!! Savor all of the time with your families.




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Halloween Treats… Seriously, It’s about time I posted!!

I didn’t want the day to go by without wishing everyone a Happy Halloween! If you’ve been checking my site, you probably found it was down on and off. While I was away, it survived a major hacking episode, and then a few weeks later was shut down by Hostmonster… an “error” on their part (whatever that means).  Jim, The Hack Repair Guy is my cyber-hero and got me back up and running both times. His attention to detail and super-speed efficiency are definitely not the norm in the blogging world.

 

Life continues to go by at warp speed, and as cliché as it is, there really are not enough minutes in the day. My new recent weight loss plan is to keep crazy-busy and not stop moving until around 9, at which point I’m too exhausted to get up and fix anything. Each night the boy and dog-child nag/bark at me until I surrender to the couch for “tv time”.
In addition to our normal activities, we’ve now added homework to the mix.  You do not know what homework really means until middle school. It was a monumental day a few weeks back when the boy for the first time EVER asked me to help him with his homework… prior to that time he always refused my assistance (seeing how I have absolutely no experience in education, I guess??) Ironically, of all things he needs help with is algebra. The day will come soon where he will surpass my math capability, but for now we are both struggling through it. And as much as I am missing those early years with my boy, I have to say I’m loving watching him mature and come into his own.

This was the first year we didn’t do our annual drive out to the farm to get my 100 lb+ pumpkin. We decided not to host our giant carving party, and will be gone tonight, so it made sense to skip this year. Also, my pumpkin partner-in-crime dad, who helps me load and unload the pumpkin, is MIA. My parents are still clocking the miles across the US in their new tricked-out, rock-star RV. We always knew they were rock-stars! Though we are very excited for them to live out this adventure, the boy said it best yesterday when he told me that ten weeks is TOO long for Grandma and Grandpa to be gone. Having my parents here all these years has been an amazing blessing in our lives and we are excited to have them back soon. My sis and her family are visiting in a few weeks too. We can’t wait to have everyone back home!


My Kitchen-Aid has been on hiatus since school started, aside from a few cookie orders I squeezed in. I did make time to do a few treats for Halloween festivities this week. One of my latest finds is a chevron cookie cutter. My girlfriend Deb and I both have kind of an obsession with the trendy chevron pattern, so I had to have this. To use it, you bake the cookie shape you want and once cool, press the chevron cookie cutter into it to make an impression. Then, go back and outline with royal icing. I found this at Plastics in Print, an online Etsy shop. They have some really cute cookie cutters and will make custom cutters too.

 

Wishing you a fabulous night ahead!!



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Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats to Kick-off Fall

 

Happy fall everyone! Technically, I’m a few days late, but that’s kinda been the story of my life lately. Middle school is now in full swing and the Naughty One, the boy, and I are back to our regular routine. The Naughty One has resumed her 15 hour per day sleep regimen, and the boy and I are back to school, sports, and work. Why is it that the busier things are, the calmer we feel? A little paradoxical, but we’re creatures of habit…what can I say.

I’m pretty sure today marks the day that I’ve officially lost my cool status (and yes, I do think prior to this I was considered a “cool” mom). This morning in the carpool I made a serious faux pas and knew it the second I said it. I asked the girls if they still play with one of the other girls in our neighborhood, and was quickly informed that eleven-year-olds no longer “play” with friends. I was further informed that middle schoolers are WAY too busy to play and even if they did have free time, it wouldn’t be considered “playing“. Can I tell you how excited I am to relive these junior high years again. Somehow, I have a feeling it’s going to be WAY less amusing in the parent role.

With fall comes one of my favorite things… pumpkin. I posted pumpkin rice krispie treats on my site a few years ago and the photo has been making the rounds on Pinterest. I’ve had a lot of emails asking for directions on how to make these, so I thought I’d do a repeat performance with detailed instructions. These are simple to make and a great recipe to get the kids involved. I tried something a little different this time around. Have you seen all of the flavored marshmallows Kraft has created? There’s chocolate, strawberry, toasted coconut, cinnamon bun, caramel and vanilla, chocolate mint, gingerbread, peppermint mocha, pumpkin, and I’m sure a few more. Who knew??I bought the pumpkin spice marshmallows and substituted the original marshmallows with these. In addition to the pumpkins, we made mini pumpkin pie shaped treats. These would be a fun Thanksgiving treat for your non-pie lovin’ kids.

The boy didn’t dare argue about the adorable-ness of these (he wasn’t given the chance or he might have). He did say they tasted like “nothing” (whatever that means). Did I mention that eleven-year-olds feel free to provide unlimited feedback on every topic? The treats actually do taste like “something”. The pumpkin marshmallows added a hint of pumpkin flavor and gave them a darker color. I added a touch of Americolor Orange to the mixture for the pumpkin color. Better than the original recipe? They’re good, but I wouldn’t go that far.  I’m now wondering if the cinnamon-bun marshmallows would taste even better. Let me know if you try them.

 

Pumpkin Rice Krispies Recipe

3 tbsp. butter

5 cups Rice Krispies

1 bag (8 0z.) Kraft Pumpkin Marshmallows

tootsie rolls

green icing (tan if you are making the pie shapes)

orange food coloring (optional)

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Add a few drops of orange food coloring and stir to combine. Add rice krispies and stir until thoroughly coated. Let sit for 3-5 minutes.*

To make pumpkins: form rice krispie mixture into balls. If your hands are super sticky, you can spray them with a little non-stick spray. Insert half of a tootsie roll for the stem. Once firm, pipe green icing for the vine.

To make pumpkin pies: Spray a standard cupcake pan with non-stick spray. Fill each cupcake with rice krispie mixture and press down to mold. I filled mine about half-way. Once firm, use royal icing or frosting to pipe. I used royal icing tinted with a little gold and warm brown. The criss-cross lines were piped with Wilton tip #46 and the border was piped with tip #102.

Store in an air-tight container.

*It’s important to let the mixture sit in the pan for a few minute so that it’s firm enough to form into pumpkins.

 

 

Happy Fall!



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birthday cookies

It’s Birthday Time!


It’s birthday weekend around here! Today is my Sis, Karyl’s and my BFF, Keri’s birthday… and it’s also my birthday eve! My sister and I have been celebrating birthdays together since birth… literally. My mom went into labor with me on my sister’s second birthday. My girlfriend Keri and I have shared pretty much everything for almost 30 years, birthday parties included. My sister is in Texas celebrating with her family today, but she has finalized her Thanksgiving plans and is coming out to stay with us again this November. The boy and I are super excited to have them here again for a post-birthday/Thanksgiving/pre-Christmas celebration. We already have plans in the works for a cookie decorating day.

Look who we got to see today… our girls! Keri got to come visit today so we could celebrate our birthdays with the kids. Growing up together  and now getting to be moms together is one of the greatest blessings in my life. Today pretty much sealed the deal… Blake and I decided we really do need a baby around here (preferably a baby who has mastered the art of sleeping). Charlotte is super snuggly, just like the boy was. We may just need to borrow her often and wait to see what God has in store.

Don’t you love these plaque cookie cutters? The possibilities are endless! I went online a few weeks ago to order cookie cutters for my sister and by the time I finished shopping, she and I both ended up with a few of these. These are from Coppergifts.com. I LOVE their cookie cutters. All cookie cutters are not created equal and though these are a bit more expensive than others, it was worth the splurge. You can find less expensive plaque cookie cutters at  Plastics in Print on Etsy and CheapCookieCutters.com sells a set of three for $15 (I started with this set before my impulse birthday gift to self moment).



A Little Cookie Inspiration…

Thanksgiving place card cookies Coppergifts.com

Broadway by Flour Box Bakery on Coppergifts

Halloween cookie Coppergifts.com

plaque variety Cookie Artisan on Coppergifts.com

monogram by Serendipitous Sweets at flickr.com

Happy Birthday Karyl & Keri

Love you both!!

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