Saturday, March 31, 2012

well THAT was more difficult then I expected!

One of my orders this week was for 6 dozen assorted farm cookies....trayed. 

how cute is the hay?

I need to work on icing tires. 
They never look quite right?

The cookies were really fun to make, as usual.  Along with the farm animals I also added in some barns and tractors.  I was so happy with this collection not only because all of the baking and decorating went so smoothly, but the final designs coordinated so well and it all just came together nicely. 

this is my favorite tray at home to use for cookies. It was a wedding gift from our registry at Pottery Barn. But there's only 29 cookies on this tray and look at how full it looks!  I needed to fit 72 on one plastic tray! 

And then it was time to tray them.

I had purchased these disposable trays at Sam's Club awhile back and that was really all I could come up with for traying these cookies.  I hate that they look so generic but are there any better options out there?  Anyway, I left myself about an hour to tray the cookies before I had to make the delivery.  How hard could it be?  I started arranging them on the tray and it was seriously driving me crazy that they weren't a perfect fit.  I was turning the cookies every which way, stacking them in various patterns, and hoping that it would like nice from every angle.  Then I realized after stacking the third layer that some of the second layer cookies were cracking because too much pressure was on them from the third layer and not enough support from the first layer.  Does that make sense?  It made sense as I was typing it....I think.

So I took ALL of the cookies off the tray, placed the broken ones aside (thank goodness I had a whole dozen extra cookies to work with!), and started again.  Now I got to the third layer and everything was looking good and then I needed a fourth layer and then a fifth layer and then a sixth layer....and then I tried to put the lid on.  Nope.  The cookies were stacked too high.  omg.

So I took all of the cookies off again (this story is getting boring, no?) and widened each layer and stacked four layers high all the way to the edge of the tray.  I very carefully placed the lid on them and some of the cookies got broken on the sides where the lid hit them.  I used up all of my extra cookies to replace the broken ones and I had one last shot (and like 5 minutes until I had to leave) to get it right. 

Now originally I planned so that there would be at least one of each cookie design right on top,  that there wouldn't be 2 of the same cookie next to each other, etc.  And then in the last five minutes, I literally stacked the damn cookies whichever which way that they fit on the tray, closed it up and tied a 3-second bow on top.  And I think it looked really nice!

I'm so bothered by the little cluster of barns on the bottom left.  Ugh...I should have spread those out.

Lesson learned about cookie-traying.  It ain't easy....until you don't make it too difficult...and then it's easy.  Make sense?   

Monday, March 26, 2012

She's onto me...

I used to be able to escape to the dining room to decorate cookies and Mia wouldn't really understand what was going on in there.  I don't think she ever realized that the things that I would decorate were actual cookies...I think she just liked to look at the designs and characters and pretty colors.  That time has passed. She's totally onto me.

Over the past few weeks Mia has become extremely curious about my cookie creations.  Usually I bake during the day while she's napping and by the time she wakes up the cookies are packed away and won't be brought back out to decorate until she's fast asleep for the night.

So the other day I went in to get her after her nap...she's standing in her crib and I say "Hi Mia!" and she looked at me and said "Smells like cookies."  And she waited for me to answer and I just kind of stood there.  And she said it again..."Smells like cookies, mama."  So I came clean....and I said "Yep!  Mommy made snickerdoodles while you were sleeping."  ("Snickerdoodles" is now her favorite word...but it comes out "Nickernoonles")  We came downstairs and this little detective child looked all around the kitchen for evidence and she just kept saying..."Nickernoonles....where ARE YOU?"  It was so darn I broke down and gave her a cookie.  That was the beginning of the end.  Now she's unbelievably aware that there are always cookies in our house...she is definitely her mother's daughter with this psychic ability to locate baked goods.

A few days....and many repeated requests for more cookies later....we took Mia to her 18 month checkup at the pediatrician.  Now this sweet little angel of mine has been to the doctor so many times in the past few months.  She's had like 6 ear infections, multiple checkups, a visit to the ENT, and even some Children's medexpress visits.  I feel so bad when she has to get poked and prodded because she's so good about dealing with it.  She even says "thank you" to the nurses and doctors.  I completely forgot that she was going to get shots at this visit so when the doctor said it I just felt so terrible so I blurted out..."You can have an elmo cookie when you get home!"  Oh crap.  I had made elmo cookies for a customer that week and I knew that I had a couple extra...that wasn't the problem.  I just knew that she wouldn't forget about my promise and now she would know that all of my decorated creations are edible. 

in one hand is the elmo cookie...and in the other
hand is the sticker from the doctor.  SO CUTE!
So of course...the whole way home Mia talked about the elmo cookie and she was so excited.  We got home and she went straight to the dining room and waited for me to uncover the tray.  I removed her shirt (hello, elmo is like all RED icing) and put her in the highchair (no red icing walking around MY house!).  At first Mia was a little bit sad about eating elmo's eyes....but that quickly passed and she went to town and ate the whole darn cookie.  This. Kid. Loves. Cookies.

So this past week I was working on some Winnie the Pooh cookies and I thought...I'll just save one for Mia.  She's really into Winnie the Pooh right now and she would love it so much.  And then I thought about it for a minute and changed my mind.  I think I'll just take a few minutes and go read her favorite Winnie the Pooh book with her instead.  As much as I'm a believer that a cookie isn't gonna hurt her...there was a much bigger revelation going on in my mind.

So why am I writing this post?  Well I had a major parenting realization with this whole cookie obsession ordeal.  It's a really good thing that my house is constantly filled with things that Mia would really like to have...because it gives me great practice in learning to tell her NO.  She needs to understand that just because there are Winnie the Pooh cookies or bright pink star cookies, or even elmo cookies in the house, that they are not always for her.  When she comes into the dining room and peeks over the edge of the table and says "oh wow....HI POOH!!,"  I simply say..."Yes, Mia!  Mommy is making these for our business. These are for a little boy's 1st birthday party...isn't that great?"  And mostly she says "yeah!"  Of course we'll have the occasional meltdown...that's normal.  But I won't give in.  I think it's really important for her to learn this lesson early and often.  It translates into trips to the toystore or to the Disney Store...or even the grocery store.  She needs to know that she can't always have whatever she sees and I'm the one who is responsible for teaching her that.  So that's just one more small lesson that this business has taught me...and a lesson that I'm forced to practice week after week.  Who knew that I would learn so much?

Next week's lesson for to tie a perfect bow with 7 inches of ribbon...because mommy is getting really tired of doing  it!  Just kidding....I'll at least wait until she's 3 years old to really put her to work :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I just wanted to wish everyone a very FUN and SAFE St. Patrick's Day tomorrow!  God, I'm old.  I can't believe that I just said a SAFE St. Patrick's Day.  Back when I used to really celebrate this holiday if someone told me to "be safe on St. Patrick's Day" I would've laughed hysterically until I fell off my bar stool and spilled a green Bud Light all over myself. 

But times have changed...I'm a responsible adult now(lol)....and I just make cute St. Patrick's day cookies to celebrate the Irish.  No more green beer or green shots for me...and no more green hangovers(don't miss those).

To those who can still handle the all day beer/parade/loud bands/corned beef & cabbage(yuck) enjoy yourselves.  Live it up!  Happy St. Patrick's day!

Maybe I will have a green beer this year after all....

Monday, March 12, 2012

down on the farm!

Can you believe it?  I made goat cookies 2 weeks in a row.  Of all things....goats!!  And you know what's even funnier?  I have to make them again for another order on March 30th!  Anyone else need goats this month?  Anyone? 

Along with these goats went some cows, pigs, sheep, horses, and roosters.  A whole farm!  I think the sheep were my favorite.


These cookies were for a group of veterinary students who were going to visit a farm for a week for training.  I have nothing but the MOST respect for veterinarians because I am such an animal lover. But I could never EVER do their job.  Seeing sick animals just makes me cry uncontrollably. 

Speaking of vets, Rob took our dog Layla to the vet this weekend for her yearly checkup.  She gained 7 pounds since last year....and she's been full-grown for a few this weight gain is sort of a problem.  I blame the weight gain on a few different factors:

A.  Rob feeds her pretzels every night.
B.  Mia feeds her everything.

....maybe I've given Layla a cookie once or twice.  I guess I'm part of the problem, too.

Anyway, Layla is quite an active dog in the summertime when we go to the lake so I'm quite sure that she'll be dropping some of the weight in just a few short weeks.  And other than the weight gain we have a very healthy pet....and for that I am so grateful.  As for the $180 vet bill?  Not so grateful.

Here's Layla jumping off of the dock into the lake!  I think she could be in competitions!
instead of swimming all the way back to shore she learned how to climb a ladder all by herself. 
Rescue dogs are smart, too!

our cuddle bug Layla :)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Brand spankin' new

I love cookie weeks when all of the orders are for new designs that I've never done before.  I love a challenge!  This week didn't let me down.  I had three orders and wow....they couldn't have been more different!

Let's begin with the goats....yes GOATS, as in the farm animal.  These weren't quite as easy as I thought they might's something about outlining the head of an animal that is just really difficult for me.  Like whenever I was a kid and I would attempt to draw a dog, the head would always be this super-weird shape.  Am I the only one?  Please someone tell me they have this problem, too.  Well I thought these turned out pretty cute....they were shipped to North Carolina for a bridal shower.  Apparently there's a back-story to why this particular customer wanted goat cookies for a bridal shower....but I have yet to hear it. (Ahem, everyone is wondering!)  I took one picture of the goats on a tray but I completely forgot to photograph them once they were bagged with a ribbon and a tag.  I've been really bad about remembering to take pictures lately.  You'd think that Rob could help with that (Rob, my husband, who is Give Mia Cookie's self-proclaimed "tech-guy" who has yet to send one email, upload a single photograph, spell-check any blogs, or trouble-shoot any lap-top issues.  I think he just wants to weasel himself onto the payroll.  It ain't happening.)  So are the goats! 

I asked for my boss' opinion on these....and she(Mia) said "ILLY GOATS!"  Billy Goats, awesome!  Come to think of it she may have been saying Silly Goats.  Ehh...either way she said goats...that's a win in my book. 
 The next order was originally for teddy bear cookies....but the customer changed her mind about a week before the event and decided on train cookies instead.  "No Problem!" I tell her.  (I say that a lot and then usually stress out later.)  So when I went looking for my train cookie cutter it was missing.  M.I.A. as we call it our house because usually Mia has something to do with it.  But I have to blame myself for this one because my cookie cutters are completely off limits to Mia.  I ended up ordering a new train cutter and it arrived just in time to do the order.  These cookies were quite large...and so cute....and very yummy, too.  They were for a baby shower and I just wish that I had known the baby's name because I think it would've looked so cute written on it.  It's not often that you have a cookie that's large enough to accommodate a lot of letters and this one would've been perfect!  I thought of it too late....maybe next time.

For those of you who haven't seen my new logo stickers!  Love them :)

And finally....the last order of the week was for superhero cookies.  Something that is so completely foreign to me as I grew up one of three girls, don't have any sons, and I don't like action movies or comic books.  I have a feeling that I'll get some more orders for these, though because apparently superheroes are crazy popular these days.  Who knew?  I'm pretty happy with the end result on all 4 designs.  Can you believe that the most difficult one was the Captain America shield?  I looks so simple...but trust me, it wasn't. 

All of this in just one week...geez I'm tired. 

I can't tell you how happy I am that March is here....that means that Spring is right around the corner...and that means that Easter will be here very soon!  If you'd like to order Easter cookies please contact me ASAP.  March and April calendars are filling up quickly. 
Happy weekend everyone!