Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Wow...the cookie business has been busy lately!  I haven't posted pictures on facebook lately because....well...I'm just as annoyed as everyone else with the new facebook changes.  I tried to upload pictures for 2 hours one night and they just wouldn't load.  I guess I'll try again soon and maybe facebook will be nicer to me.  In the's a riveting blog post about a classic game that I happen to love....BINGO!
I got a call to do some Bingo card cookies for a client's mother-in-law's 80th birthday party.  I was so excited because making cookies that are outside the box is really fun for me.  I only wish that I'd had enough notice to do a couple of trial runs to get a better final product....but regardless I'm  pretty happy with how they turned out.  Just so you know for future reference...I am so so so so picky about cookie details that I usually end up hating the way that designs turn out.  If I had the time I would probably re-make every order at least 5 times! 

Getting back to BINGO, I have some really great memories of playing Bingo with my Grandma Stell, who passed away years ago.  She was the coolest grandma who worked at a bar and taught me how to play cherry machines, played the lottery daily and promised to take me to Children's Palace to pick out any toy that I wanted when she won, and would agree to a weekend trip to Atlantic City with just a moments notice.  You could say that she was a gambler :)  And we all loved her for it.

Stell and my mom loved to go to play Bingo at the local firehalls and was sort of their mother-daughter time together.  Can you imagine...time with your mom where you were never interrupted by cell-phone calls or emails or text messages?  Those were the days....  I was so thrilled to tag along when I was 12 or 13...the thought of winnning $ at that age was like a dream.  Stell had the embroidered Bingo bag full of Werthers Original candy, cans of Coca-Cola that she would sneak in(oh wait, that was the movie theater where she used to sneak in soda.  I think it's totally legal at Bingo),  a good-luck slot machine keychain, and of course the many many colors of Bingo dobbers (is dobber a real word?).   My grandma and my mom taught me all about the different Bingo pattern games...postage stamp, X, small frame, DOUBLE postage stamp, etc. lol. And let's not forget the elusive COVER-ALL game at the end where you're heart is pounding when you're waiting on one number for 4 calls...and then the lady at the end of the table with 76 bingo cards in front of her wins. Damn.  Sooooo close!

I haven't been to Bingo in awhile....but I bet if I call my mom right now...she'd know exactly what firehall is having the early-birds and big jackpots tonight :)  She would pack up her slightly more fashionable Bingo bag that just doesn't get used enough these days and she would meet me in a heartbeat.  She is so much like her mother...and I love her for it. 

These cookies are dedicated to Stell...who never saw her 80th birthday...I love and miss ya!

By the way...I-19 was always my lucky Bingo number....what is yours?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My house is under attack!

It's almost fall...I'm not a huge fan of this season although I know that many of you are.  As much as I love  wearing Uggs, Steeler football, and baking apple pies, fall brings one of the greatest annoyances in my life...ACORNS.  Sounds crazy I'm sure, but if you've ever been to our house this time of year you know why I hate acorns so much.  My house is literally under attack 24 hours a day from falling acorns...and here's the culprit:  Note: I put a standard-sized garden gnome next to it so that you could realize the size of the tree...and then I thought....who knows how big a "standard-sized garden gnome is" lol. Whatever...the picture was already uploaded.  You get the point.

Let's back up a few decades to when I was a many of you may know I grew up in this house my entire life.  I have many great memories that include an awesome tire swing, jumping in HUGE piles of leaves, and filling buckets with acorns by picking them up one by one. Wait, is that last one a great memory??  Oh I know why I remember it so dad used to pay my sisters and I a penny per acorn that we could collect.  Come to think of it I'm positive that he never counted them and I'm pretty sure that my sisters stole my share of the $ anyway.  Sneaky parents.  Nonetheless....this giant beautful oak tree in our backyard has given me so many fun memories to cherish.  We have always had families upon families of cute little squirrels that have lived amongst it's branches, it's been a home to cardinals and blue jays every spring, and the acorns have been a source of food to so many beautiful deer in our neighborhood.  

Fast forward to 2011....this. tree. is. on. my. last. nerve.  The roots are so huge...we've had to add many yards of soil to our yard each spring just to attempt to cover them and grow grass again.  Every attempt = fail.  Those lovely deer that live in our backyard for the constant food supply do not back down to our dog we can't leave Layla outside for the fear of them ganging up on her or giving her fleas and ticks. The leaves clog the gutters, the birds fight with eachother, the squirrels dig holes, and the acorns....ohhhh....the ACORNS.  I'm not exxagerating when I say that some of these things are the size of golf-balls.  When a strong wind blows through the oack tree, the back of our house and our deck get pelted with acorns.  It's so loud and it's somewhat scary.  Sometimes they hit the windows and I'm convinved that some little squirrel is throwing them at us. My in-laws babysat for us one evening last October and they thought that someone was shooting at our house.  We have an annual outdoor pumpkin carving party for all of our neices and nephews...we jokingly said that the kids should wear helmets.  It's really not a bad idea to be honest.  Not only do the acorns attack us by air but once they've landed on the ground it's a whole new type of attack...we can't even walk on the grass....we roll like we're wearing roller skates.  Poor poor Rob rakes them up and then shovels them into lawn bags.  The bags weigh at least 95 pounds and there's usually at least 5 bags of just acorns!  Plus all of the leaves!  Again....this tree is just driving me nuts (no pun intended).

Last year I tried to embrace the fall and even the acorns, too.  I collected a couple hundred of them that had their cute little hats still attached and filled large vases to display on my mantle.  They really were beautiful and a gorgeous fall decoration I must say.  Until a week later when I was showing them off to my mom and dad and noticed tiny little worms crawling all through the vases!  Gross!!!  The attacking acorns had infiltrated my house!!!  So I gave up...and we went back to really hating that tree.

Just this month the acorns have begun to fall again in full force since it's been so dry here in PA.  We had to hang Mia's new swing in the front yard to keep her fragile little head safe from the acorns, Layla has completely surrendered and the deer have taken ownership of the yard, and the squirrels sit on our patio table and eat the acorns ... so not to make the mess of the fallen shells in their own home...but to drive Layla crazy at the sliding glass door and so I can clean up after them at each meal and snacktime. 

This week I got a little bit sad.  I really don't want to hate this tree anymore.  I want to get back to that place where I think it's a strong and beautiful fixture of this home.  I want Mia to have good memories of it, too.    I sorted through the huge lawn bags of acorns before garbage night this week (I probably looked like a total lunatic) and collected a couple hundred acorns and "hats". I did a little research and learned how to dry the acorns and kill all of the bugs and germs...and then I went to work.  I had these mirrors that I bought at Ikea years ago just lying I got out the hot glue gun and got a little crafty.  After finishing two mirrors I even have enough acorns leftover to fill some vases for the mantle :) 

I have a new appreciation for my aging tree.  I've realized that although it won't create the same memories for Mia, she will have brand new ones that are hers and hers alone.  She'll always remember that we made everyone wear helmets at the pumpkin carving party starting in 2011.  She and I will make some new "acorn art" each autumn season. And I may even bring back that classic tradition of paying her a penny per each acorn that she can collect.  My dad can front the money. 

After a lot of discussions with friends and family about new homes and new housing plans lately... it's got me thinking that I have a renewed love for my home and all of the memories and experiences that have been created here.  You just can't buy things like that.  As for the deer and the squirrels and the birds and the chipmunks and the racoons and even the skunks...I'm embracing that my backyard is home to them, and that they are happy here, too :)