Monday, July 4, 2011

On Independence Day

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with quirky parades and family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  This is patriotism at its finest.  ~Erma Bombeck

A lot has happened since my last blog post. For one, we moved. Packed up and left the country for the city. It was pretty much a spur of the moment (albeit difficult) decision, yet that is how we roll--shoot first and ask questions later.  As it turns out, I love being back in the city; there are so many things I didn't realize I missed. The town we now call home is an amazing mix of big city life and small town feel. Our 4th of July Parade was a great example; it's quintessential small town in the big city, and patriotic to the tenth.

 No floats in this parade, just an assortment of cars, old and new, 
all decked out in red white and blue.

 Our neighbors invited Jaden to ride in the parade with them. He LOVED it, waving to the crowd and throwing candy, all the while yelling "Pork Chop." ???

It's days like today that not only am I proud to be an American, but I'm happy to find small town perks in the city. Now if I could just see the stars at night....

May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country!  
~Daniel Webster

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pie Dreams

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. 
~ Mark Twain
I remember it like it was yesterday. The moment I knew I was destined to be a baker. My Easy Bake oven sat humbly on my grandmother's kitchen floor. She, my teacher and mentor of all things in the kitchen, was baking a cake for my Father's birthday. So was I, just on a smaller scale. I stood next to her and slowly, carefully mixed my cake batter, watching her with an eager eye. I slid the cake gently in the "oven" and stared through the tiny window, watching in awe as the heat from the light bulb magically baked my cake. 

Sometime in my adult life, I began to try my hand at pie baking. I was determined to create the perfect pie crust, and to create pies that would make anyone's day better.  I love everything about pie. From rolling the crust to concocting simple but delicious fillings.  Even one of my favorite movies, "The Waitress," is a favorite because it involved pie. 

So I guess you say I'm over the moon to be the the new "Pastry Chef" (humbly self taught) at a quaint location in the Hill Country of Texas. I am bursting with excitement, have my baking shoes on and am ready to roll. I hope to have time to chronicle my journey for you stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Days of December

There are many things I love about the Christmas season. I love the spirit, the sights and sounds (my favorite Christmas songs are not so traditional, a few of which are playing for you now). I love the food, the celebrations, the cards that come only once a year, buying our tree (a real tree and nothing but), and especially Christmas Eve. That is my favorite day in December. There is a feeling on that day like no other. My son loves every day in December, thanks mostly to a gift we received from a very special family.  About 6 years ago, we had a Norwegian exchange student join our family for a year. Marte is now like a daughter to me, and our time with her was one of the best experiences I've ever had. She and her family left us with many special memories and gifts.  One of those gifts has become a much anticipated Christmas tradition in our house. We call it the Star Calendar.  It hangs on my son's bedroom door, and is the reason he's up at sunrise every day, checking what treat was left for him. This year, I think I'll mix it up a bit, taking some inspiration from this blog. I love the activities she's come up with; what a great way to celebrate the spirit of the season. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Sweetest Thing

What a difference a year makes.  This photo was taken at last year's Bake Sale:
Dorothy was in the throws of her battle with kidney cancer.  She was so brave, and always happy despite everything her little body was going through.  In her three years of life, she has fought a battle tougher than many of us will ever know. Dorothy has been in remission for a year now, and this is nothing short of a miracle.  

Here is Dorothy today-happy and healthy and full of life. She truly is the sweetest thing.

Healthy children are a blessing we should never take for granted.  As we gear up for our Cookies For Kids' Cancer bake sale this weekend, please keep all the brave children battling cancer in your prayers. If you're local, come out to Boerne Market Days and support our cause, or visit the Cookies website and donate. And always, always be thankful for the healthy children in your life.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A blanket of love

Blanket, you are soft and comfortable
in the coldest winter, you keep me warm.
You surround me like soft cotton.
You give me long, sweet dreams,
and keep me wrapped in your warmth.
You are sweet, my blanket.

I'm knitting this right now - a blanket for someone very special. 
I haven't met him yet, but I already love him.
I will be his aunt, and spoil him for sure.
He will change a lot of things for a lot of people.
And I hope he loves his blanket.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

There is so much more

There is so much more to life than the daily grind.
It's easy to get caught up in our lives and forget about those who are in need, especially when we seem to be so blessed.  But the fact remains; there are many in need.

A few years ago, my heart began to open it's eyes to see the needs of others, not just myself and my family.   They say that the greatest impact you can have may come out of pain. We might not understand why sometimes we have to travel a difficult road to discover wonderful opportunities, but I guess we're not meant to understand everything.

How can any of us understand why children get cancer? It seems so unfair that this horrible disease can inflict itself on our most innocent, but is does. And it continues to be the number one disease killer of children in the U.S.  Another fact that many people don't know is the extreme lack of funding for pediatric cancer research.  Did you know that 8 out of 10 clinical trials are funded by the private sector?

My passion for raising money and awareness for pediatric cancer research came out of a very difficult time for my family. Last year, we baked our hearts out for a cause (you can read about that here and here).   We are gearing up for another bake sale this year, because even though my family is no longer in the throws of pediatric cancer, many others are.  And they need our help. Give thanks for the blessings in your life.  Be especially grateful for healthy kids, and get involved to make a difference for those who are not.

If you are reading this, please visit Cookies for Kids' Cancer and learn how you can help.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Come. Sit. Heal.

I recently wrote an article for children about Therapy Dogs. I am already a dog lover, but through my research, I gained an even deeper respect for Man's Best Friend. A dog's ability to heal people goes beyond our comprehension. Mostly because they achieve this through the simplest means. Dogs heal us by just being. I have a dog, a goofy chocolate lab named Lily. Not everyone sees the best in her, but I do. She's like my second child, my shadow, and I can't imagine life without her. She's even chewed up my favorite pair of shoes and an heirloom sewing item that was my grandmothers, but I love her no less. I came across this little tidbit during my research, and I wanted to share it. The author is unknown, but clearly knows dogs. Enjoy.

If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can get going without pep pills,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can overlook it when those you love take it out on
you when, through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can ignore a friend's limited education and never correct him,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can say honestly that deep in your heart you have no
prejudice against creed, color, religion or politics,

Then, my friend, you are almost as good as your dog!