Thursday, May 30, 2013

Williams Syndrome Awareness Cookies

May is Williams Syndrome Awareness Month! Most of you reading this have probably never heard of this rare syndrome, but hopefully by the end of this post, I will have done my job and raised your awareness! The cookies you see are the Williams Syndrome Association logo and the most recognized symbol for Williams Syndrome.

 From the Williams Syndrome Association website: "Williams syndrome is a genetic condition that is present at birth and can affect anyone. It is characterized by medical and cognitive problems, including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays, and learning disabilities. These occur side by side with striking verbal abilities, highly social personalities and an affinity for music."

"Williams syndrome affects 1 in 10,000 people worldwide – an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people in the United States. It is known to occur equally in both males and females and in every culture." 

"They are extremely sociable and experience the normal need to connect with others; however people with Williams syndrome often don’t process nuanced social cues and this makes it difficult to form lasting relationships."

At this point, I should explain how I came to know about Williams Syndrome.  We have all had that teacher that we loved, will always remember, and look back fondly on our memories with them.  One of these said teachers for me was Mrs. Smith.  I can recall specific lessons she did in our English class and I will never forget when she sang during our senior slide show at graduation.  She is an amazing lady.  A role she fulfills just as gracefully and beautifully is her role as Mary's mother.  Mary has Williams Syndrome, but this genetic disorder does not define her.  She is an amazing young woman, extremely friendly and outgoing, and we even share a passion for cheerleading!  While it has been some time since I have seen Mary or Mrs. Smith, I will always remember Mary in the hallways or in Mrs. Smith's classroom after school and her sweet smile and willingness to give hugs.  The Williams Syndrome website goes on to explain that "children with Williams syndrome tend to be social, friendly and endearing," and this definitely describes Mary!  Mary Karele, you are BEAUTIFUL, for you are fearfully and wonderfully made!.. Psalm 139:14

While I got these cookies in just under the buzzer for Williams Syndrome Awareness month, you can help raise awareness anytime.  Please visit the Williams Syndrome Association website to see how you can do your part to promote awareness!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day: Air Force Cookies

Memorial Day is a time to remember and honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  I am blessed enough to not have known anyone who lost their life in the line of duty.  However, now that we live in San Antonio, home to Lackland Air Force Base, we have met several members of the Air Force and Air Force veterans, for whom this day of remembrance strikes a lot closer to home.

One of these Air Force veterans that has become very important to us is our neighbor Dave.  He served in the Air Force for 25 years, and he reached the rank of Colonel.  During that time, he fought in Vietnam, served as a flight instructor, and played a vital role in the bombing of Gaddafi in Libya.  Because he lost several friends and students during his time in the Air Force, I wanted to make him something special to celebrate their lives and their service. 

Also, while I would love for you to think that I have made big leaps and bounds in my photography skills, I have to give a HUGE thank you to my brother-in-law Jeremy for taking the pictures.  He is extremely creative and has the artistic eye that my photography is often lacking.  If you are ever in need of shirts, hit him up at Custom T-shirt Outfitters.

Thank you so much for all of those who have served and are currently serving in our Armed Forces.  We are all blessed to have the life we do because of your sacrifice.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Firefighter Cookies

One of my closest friends, Kim recently lost her uncle.  He was a dedicated fireman for 35 years and even served as Battalion Chief for 22 of those years.  Kim wanted to give something to her cousin, Ginny, who has two boys of her own, to not only brighten their day, but also to help celebrate the life of Ginny's father.  Because of his service, firefighter cookies were the natural inspiration.

While I did not have the opportunity to know Kim's uncle and Ginny's father, I do know he was an incredible man who will be missed.  I hope these cookies can bring a smile to your face as you remember and treasure the time you had with him.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Teacher Retirement Party: Nerdy Apples

I met April on the first day of school in 4th grade.  If ever there was a "meet-cute" made for the movies, it was ours (on a side note- I hope "meet-cute" doesn't refer only to romantic couples or you might think this post is headed in a very different direction...). 

Anyhow, we were sitting near each other in the "morning room."  I had that mixture of excitement/anticipation of the first day back, before all the monotony of a school year sets in.  I heard someone call my name and whipped my head around to see which of my friends I was about to be reunited with after the long summer.  My hair has almost always been long and my ponytail smacked April right in the face.  It was a great ice breaker and we have been friends ever since!

She contacted me about making cookies for her mentor teacher's retirement party.  April surprised her teacher not only by being at the party, but also by bringing cookies.  I recently saw these cookies on Sweet Sugarbelle's blog and thought they would be perfect for the party.

That's April on the far left surprising her mentor teacher!
I now know you had so much fun surprising your mentor teacher.  I look forward to getting together this summer and letting our little guys meet!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jack: Pikachu Cookies

Today is my nephew Jack's birthday!
I cannot believe that he is 7.  It seems just yesterday I was in my dorm room at A&M jumping up and down in joy as my sister told me she was pregnant.  And I'll never forget getting home late after my trip from Germany and Katie asking me if I wanted to meet him.  Of course! There he was- this perfect little baby.  It was really my first experience with a newborn and I remember being struck by his "frog legs" and it amused me how I could pull one down and it would bounce right back like a spring. I was so awestruck with him and thought it was so unique and special. I now know it is a hallmark of a newborn.
Jack is my first nephew and the sweet boy that promoted me to one of my favorite jobs: being Aunt Malu.  I love how sensitive and loving he is.  I love his big brown eyes and his cowlick. I love that he told me I am "a really good artist" after seeing the Pikachu cookies.  I even love that my standard greeting from him nowadays is, "Hi, Aunt Malu, where's Uncle Kevin?" But probably most of all, I love his hugs.  When he asked if I could make cookies for his party and described the exact expression he wanted Pikachu to have, how could I say no?! Once again, I was forced to face my fears of the dreaded character cookies!
The one of the left is the face Jack described in detail.  He explained the positioning of his ears and said he should have a smile "like this" while demonstrating for me.

I hope you have an amazing birthday, Jack! I love you so much!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Texas Theme Cookies

It might appear that things have been slow around here for the past week or so, but it is actually the opposite! I've been so busy making cookies, that I haven't had time to blog about them.

Before our big move to San Antonio, I was a teacher and I coached cheerleading.  I loved coaching cheer and definitely miss it, in big part because of my amazing girls (yes, I still consider them my girls and always will).  One of these said amazing girls, Olivia, contacted me about making birthday cookies for her grandmother.  She saw my bluebonnet ones and said that is her grandmother's favorite flower.  We decided to go with a whole Texas theme and as the proud Texas I am, I love the results!

The whole collection
Indian Blankets
Texas with Texas flag design
And now for the close-ups....

I don't know about you, but these Texas cookies make me want to sing out "Texas, Our Texas" at the top of my lungs!  Thank you, Olivia, for giving me the opportunity to make these Texas cookies.  I am so proud of you and am extremely excited for the big changes you have coming with a career in nursing and a marriage on the horizon.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy Birthday, Hudson: Sports Cookies

Today is Hudson's 1st birthday!

Hudson can't 100% understand this yet, but he is one very blessed little man because he has one AMAZING momma, Lynnsay! Lynnsay is an incredibly talented photographer that has taken our family photos several times.  Head over to her blog and check out her work. (His dad, HB, is pretty awesome too... but I only have so much time).

I have known Lynnsay for almost all of my life.  Our relationship is more than just friends, we are really more like sisters.  From attending her family reunions in New Mexico to cheer competitions in Florida to a girls' cruise in the Bahamas and most importantly having our sons within 2 months of each others, we have shared many special memories.
She contacted me about making the cookies for Hudson's big day and said they were doing a sports theme.  We collectively came up with the idea of doing the sports balls on the number one and I am pretty happy with the results!

I hope you have the happiest of birthdays, Hudson.  I can't wait to see the wonderful pictures I know your mommy will post of the big day.  I love you so much and look forward to celebrating many, many more birthdays!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Happy Birthday, Tara: Kentucky Derby Cookies

Right around the time we moved from Houston, our good friends Steve and Tara moved away as well.  Their move was just slighty farther than ours and they ended up all the way in Minnesota! Tara saw my cookies on Facebook and wanted to know if I could make her some cookies for her birthday.  They are doing a birthday party/Kentucky Derby party. How fun is that?!
When I heard Kentucky Derby, I immediately thought horses, roses, and big hats.  Tara sent me a picture of some other cookies she found through a Google search.  The picture she found just happened to be cookies done by Ali Bee's Bake Shop, a blog I admire and follow and aspire to be as good as someday. So I used the picture she sent me for inspiration (and a direct copy in some cases J ) and here is the result!

Royal Icing Roses on a horseshoe
The horses of course 
Jockey Silks
Roses are a must since it is "The Run for the Roses" after all.
Hats - the bigger the better!

One of these days, we will have to make the trek up to Minnesota to see y'all.  Hope you have a wonderful time at the party this weekend and sip a Mint Julep for me!