Monday, December 26, 2016

Keep Calm and Retire

If you can dream it, 
you can do it.    
                                    Walt Disney

My sisters and I were raised in a household that believed in a "can do" spirit.  Much like other "baby boomers," we were raised to believe that we could achieve anything as long as we worked at it.  Thus, as a newly single Mom of three, my sister decided to go to nursing school.  At times, it was a struggle to balance the demands of parenting, a part time job and classes, but Carol never gave up.  It was a proud moment for the entire family when Carol stood on the stage to speak to the audience in her new cap.

In July, 1985, Carol began her career as a psychiatric nurse at the VA hospital in North Chicago, now the Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center.   After 311/2 years, she is now retiring from her position as the Section Leader of the MICAM (Mental Health Intensive Case Management)  Program.

I am so glad that she has finally decided to follow in her younger sisters footsteps and join Rita and me in retirement. We have been highly recommending it for years!

I am hopeful that she will find that her retirement years will be filled with so much more . . .

More sleep
More music
More beaches
More books
More excitement
More gardening
More travel
More sunsets
More fun
More time to explore new hobbies
More time with her children
More time with her grandchildren
More time with her friends
More adventures


Love, hugs and cookies!  Keep calm and enjoy retirement life.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas, 2016

 The letters to Santa that were prepared last year for the younger generation . . .

made an appearance this year in "Cubbie" blue for the kids. . .

 and as a surprise for one of the biggest Cub fans I know!

The family collection.

Christmas cookies that were sent to friends out of state.

Reindeer for the annual Women's Club Dinner.

Merry Christmas
one and all! 

Great-nephew, Elliot, was a pretty happy guy when he found his special cookie under his tree on Christmas morning.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

A White Christmas Doesn't Have to Mean Snow

Sand and Surf or Ice and Snow .  .  . 
Which White Christmas do you prefer?

In 2012, beach cookies became a trend.  All shapes and sizes, they were everywhere, but I think I originated the "Merry Beachmas" design.  It is my favorite cookie, the most popular entry on my blog, and the inspiration for the cookies that I will share at our family gathering this year.

For the family members who prefer snow, I made traditional winter designs.

Finally, a tribute to our loved ones who are forever in our heats and in the stars . . .

Friday, December 16, 2016

O'er The Fields We Go

Cookies to send to friends in Iowa and Ohio are baked, decorated, packaged, and in the mail.

The Ho-Ho-Ho cutter is new this year.  I have made them before by piecing two cutters together, but this year I purchased a cutter designed by Mike at SemiSweetDesigns.  I was unable to manage the crisp clear lines that Mike had and my elf looks a bit tipsy, but I keep telling myself,  "it's just a cookie."

I had no intention of repeating the cars and trucks that I made last year for my family because it is time consuming to piece together the car and tree from two cutters.  However, when I found this tin and card with the same theme, I thought they would be a fun package to send to friends.

In addition, an internet search helped me find some inspiration for more realistic looking trees.

Finally, I had to purchase the new cutters designed by my favorite cookie mentor, SweetSugarBelle.  That reindeer just makes me smile.

To friends near and far,
love, hugs, cookies,
a very Merry Christmas!

Bakeat350-truck with tree
Haniela's reindeer design

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Give Thanks

The first Thanksgiving was my inspiration for cookies this year.  An internet search provided plenty of design ideas for Pilgrims, but Native American cookies required some creativity on my part.

 Of course, silly turkeys are a big part of our Thanksgiving tradition.

A few simple minis completed the collection.

To Friends and Family near and far, Happy Thanksgiving.

Diamond Ring:
Cupcake and Tulip:
Turkey Pilgrim:

Friday, November 11, 2016

Honoring Our Vets

Cookies for Elk Grove High School's
Third Annual Salute to Vets

Honoring all who served .  .  .

Thursday, November 10, 2016

It Wasn't Meant to Be

By election day, I was prepared for a close race, but confident that Hillary Clinton was going to be elected President of the United States.  I was excited to be a witness to history as the first female candidate would be given the honor and responsibility to lead this country.  My vote for Clinton was not because she is a woman, but because she was the most qualified candidate running.

My confidence allowed me to bake cookies and prepare packages to send to the many first time  voters in our extended family. I prepared a cookie topper that took the "high road."

The topper was designed to honor: Jeannette Rankin-first woman elected to Congress; Shirley Chisholm-first African-American woman elected to Congress; Sandra Day O'Connor-first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court; Hillary Clinton--first woman chosen as a presidential candidate of a major party; and Dr. June Sochen one of my college professors, who wrote the book, Herstory, in 1974.

Then, I decided that the bags for friends would have a humorous topper that reflected the ugliness of this election:

While watching election returns, I gladly decorated these cookies until I heard the newscaster call Florida for her opponent.  Oh noooooo!  As the hours passed and it became evident that she was not going to win,  I threw these cookies in a bag and asked my husband, "In the trash or do you want to eat them?"  I was shocked, angry, confused, and never wanted to look at these cookies, again.  Matt said he would eat them and the next day he asked if he could share some with friends, so I decided to make a new topper for the cookie bags.

So now that  I am feeling a bit less angry, I am placing my faith in our system of checks and balances, and have been reflecting on the outcome of this election and what it meant for me personally.

To all the members of the secret FB page, Pantsuit Nation, thank you for letting me a part of it.

To my 86 year-old Mom, who was thrilled to vote for Hillary, thank you for helping me get through the pain of this disappointment.

To my niece, who proudly wears her shattered glass ceiling pin, please hang on to it.

For the first time voters in the family, this first presidential election will be a memorable one.  Please continue to be engaged in the process.

Finally, for all the very young people in my family who didn't quite understand how all the bad things that were said were part of our election process, please don't lose interest in learning about our political system.

A woman in the White House in 2016 was not meant to be, but someday it WILL be!

You will have successes and setbacks, too. 
This loss hurts but please never stop
 believing that fighting for what's right is worth it. . .

. . .to all the little girls who are watching this, 
never doubt that you are valuable and powerful 
and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world 
to pursue and achieve your own dreams. 
                                                Hillary Clinton, November 9, 2016


Friday, November 4, 2016

Fall Cookies

New scarecrows and sunflowers. . .

. . . plus some traditional favorites for a fall bake sale.

While baking cookies this week, the Chicago Cubs were playing in the World Series.  Although I knew championship cookies would be big sellers IF our beloved Cubbies won the series, I was superstitious and just "couldn't count my chickens. . ."

As I am packaging the cookies I am watching the Cubs Parade to celebrate their World Series.  In addition, I continue to read all the amazing posts that people are sharing via FB regarding this special Chicago celebration.  A friend posted  a picture of the following cookies that he purchased at a bakery for $4.00 each!

Perhaps a prop will increase the price of my cookies at the fundraiser!

Fall 2016 will be a memorable one for all Chicagoans!
Go Cubbies!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

We Didn't Know We Were Making Memories

My childhood was your typical "baby boomer" life of the '50s and 60's.  Lots of kids in every house, playing at a local park, walking or riding your bike everywhere, and a neighborhood that believed that "it takes a village to raise a child."

Recently, I ventured back to that innocent era and reunited with former classmates to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our eighth grade graduation.   People gathered from six different states and all walks of life, but it was as though we had just returned to school after a summer break.  Non-stop fun and conversation for over four hours!

The celebration included old photos, memorabilia, a trivia game, and a tribute to our classmates who are no longer with us.  For me, that included one very special classmate who brought so much joy to so many of us in his nineteen short years.

To special friends
we lost too soon,
you are loved, missed and forever in our hearts.

The nine months of the planning process was as much fun as the actual event due to the renewed friendship with Vickie and Doug.

Love, laughter and memories = a great day!

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