Sunday, December 19, 2010

Good Morning Father

Here I am this morning Lord, ready to start my day.
I pray that you will guide me Lord, in each and every way.
Help me be kind an gentle Lord, and patience is a must,
especially with my children Lord, there's one that just won't hush.

Help me be a light for you each place I go.
Your love and goodness, mercy and care, help me Lord to show.
But most of all dear Lord I pray, that you would give me words to say,
when people I meet who need to hear of why I hold you Jesus, so dear.
Lord I want the world to know that it is because you love us so,
Your precious son was crucified.
Jesus died on the cross so we might have life.
Yes, I love you Jesus, and this I pray, that I might bring you glory today.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cookies and Cakes, and MORE Cookies and Cakes!

Well, it's been a busy few weeks here at the bakeshop! my oven has been working overtime, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel. My boys (all 3) have been so patient with me as I mix and roll and cut and bake and clean and do it all over again. I try really hard to only bake when John Merritt and Samuel are asleep, but for the last few weeks, I've been having to sneak in a few minutes here and there in the kitchen. I goofed a little on my calendar, and took on a little too much. It's been a hobby on steroids to say the least. It all began with this chocolate monster. This was a sweet sixteen cake for our niece Aubrey. This is called a candy barrel cake and I thought it was quite fitting since it was a chocolate themed party. Happy Birthday Aubrey!

The next day, I catered an entire party. ALL the food. It was lots of fun, but I was one tired puppy. And I have no pictures of my beautiful food.
The next weekend I created this pretty cake for a sweet 7 year old who wanted a "Jesus" birthday party. Thanks Christy, I hope Sidney Clay liked her cake.

That same weekend, I had another cake of monstrous proportions to complete. It's another cake and cookie combo and it had to feed 50. Word is the Birthday Boy loved it and wouldn't let anyone have a cookie. I also did star wars cookies on a stick for his party at preschool. Thanks again Abby!

Snowflake cookies for a dance class and a preschool class. Thanks Tracy and Elizabeth!

Melted snowmen cookies for a class party at Burlington Day School. Thanks Tracy...again!
Polka Dot Christmas trees for a preschool class party. Thanks so much June!

And finally, a farm themed birthday cake. Once again, it's a cookie and cake combo! Love those!
Thanks so much Tracy!

All of this may not seem like much to you, but each cookie takes a great deal of time and has to dry for 36 hours or so before you can bag them up. I really have to think ahead and can't leave everything to do last minute. Just keeping up with when I need to do what is a chore!
Only a few more projects before Christmas, and then a very special cake is scheduled for Christmas Day...a birthday cake for Jesus! Can't wait to bake that one with my boys.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Which One Would You Choose?

Every year, I frame a picture of our boys for the mantle. It's fun to pull those out each Christmas and see how they've grown. We had a little photo shoot before church yesterday, and I thought you could help me choose which photo I should frame. Here are your choices.
This one's not that bad, but they can do better.
Like this one.
This one is great!
This one would have been cute, but my flash was off.
This one's a keeper!
But this one is by far my favorite!
I'm just kidding. We'll try again another day.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Little Preacher

John Merritt, our 4 year old, sits in service with me 3 times a week. I think he's been listening quite a bit.
Samuel, our 1 year old, sits with me in service 2 times a week. He's more interested in crackers at this point, but he does shout "Amen" anytime we finish praying.
This is a lengthy video, but well worth the watch. If your video is choppy, pause it and let it load, then watch it without interruption. If someone can tell me how to keep it from doing that, please do!

Peace Sign Cake and Cookie Favors

Here's a cute cake I did this weekend for a 12th birthday party. Again I was able combine cake and cookies! Love, love, love doing that. I think it is so cute. I just now realized that the #1 is taller than the #2. The perfectionist in me is screaming! I SO would have stayed up all night making another #1 cookie.
I made these cute little cookies on a stick for party favors. Thanks again Meredith! I really enjoyed working on this one. You are such a sweet person, I was glad to FINALLY be able to make a cake for one of your kids!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Cookies

This year, I only had time for a 1 Thanksgiving order due to our traveling out of town. I would have loved to have been able to do more (especially for a sweet person named Katy) but I guess they'll have to wait until next year. But with the way these turned out, I can't wait to start creating cookies for the Christmas season! The only cookie cutter I had for these was the flower. The others were hand cut from clip art I found on the internet. These were ordered by a nice young lady to be auctioned off to help a family in need. Thanks again Craig!

I baked all of the cookies on sticks and made a cookie arrangement. Won't these look cute on someone's table?

Stay tuned for Christmas cookies in a week or two!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Monster Truck Cake

For some reason, this is one of my favorite cakes I've made. I don't know why. Maybe it's the mud, or maybe it's because I used twix to build up little walls for the trucks to drive over. Or maybe it's because I was able to combine my decorated cookies with a yummy cake. I just really like it. PLUS, it's one of the few decorated cakes I've been able to do with chocolate icing. YUM! I like doing free formed carved cakes where you get to hack into the nice round cake and build with other pieces of cake. It's really fun, except for the mess it makes! So anytime you need a mountain or a mud pit or anything of that nature, give me a call and I'll squeeze you into my schedule!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shark Cookies, Cupcakes and a Big Bake Sale

It's been a busy week at the Sweet Manna Bakeshop! Our church had a HUGE bake sale this past weekend at a bluegrass festival. We were able to raise $450 that will go to our Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Thanks again Lorraine Jordan and Carolina Road for letting us set up. We sold massive amounts of coffee and goodies!
Here's a picture of our tables.

Thanks to Kevin, Paula and Burke who helped us man the table on Saturday morning. Kevin can sure make a good cup of coffee!

Donna, Paula and myself cut up while Kevin made coffee.
One of the reasons I love having a table at the festival is that we get to hear all the "jamming" that goes on. And I even get to sneak away from the table to play a few songs. See me with the guitar?
AND I get to talk with some great people. I really enjoyed talking with Christy Reid. Here I am with Lou and Christy Reid of Lou Reid and Carolina.
It was a great weekend and we hope to be back next year!
I did manage to squeeze in a few outside orders this week. Here's a monogram cake for a birthday party. Thanks Julie!
And these are chocolate caramel crunch cupcakes for another birthday party. Don't they look fancy! Thanks Brandy!
These shark cookies were for a cute little boy's birthday party at his school. Thanks Jodi!
Whew! what a week. No wonder my house looks like a tornado blew through!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cookie Giveaway Winners Announced!

Yes, it's not a typo. I waited anxiously until midnight to hold my little drawing. The first name I pulled out of my bucket was KATY!!! Congrats Katy. But then I started feeling sad for all of you who didn't win. I would love to send each and every one of you cookies, but I just can't. I did decided, however, to draw a second name out of my bucket. And the 2nd place winner is Kandis!! Woo Hoo. Here is what Katy and Kandis had to share about their favorite kind of cookie.
Katy said
My Grandmama's shortbread cookies! Our family is Scottish, and these were the real deal. The only time she made them was at Christmas, and each family got a tin. They were rationed at our house, even getting down to splitting cookies and licking our fingers to get every last crumb. My cousin sent me Grandmama's prized recipe after she died. I haven't had the heart to make them, fearing it was the heart that she put into them that made them so special! Maybe I'll give it a go this Christmas!
Did it make you catch a tear? So sweet.
and Kandis said
Oh, Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, Sugar, Molasses Chew, Shortbread, White Chocolate and Macadamia, White Chocolate and Cherry, Triple Chocolate, M&M, Peanut Butter with Hershey Kisses pressed in the middle, Ginger Snap, Lemon, Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate Mint...just to name a few. I got my sweet tooth from my Daddy's side of the family, it's not secret. But I guess my sweetest memory of making cookies is with Judy King, which ultimately makes my favorite cookie the Snickerdoodle, since that is what we made. Anyone who knew Judy will agree, to spend time with her was always special. She made everything extraordinary and beautiful. It was her gift. I don't know why I had the privilege of getting her all to myself this particular day, but I did! And we went to her house and made Snickerdoodle cookies to take to church for a fellowship function later that evening (back when we used to fellowship in the basement!) I got to measure and pour and mix, and then lick the beaters! She was so encouraging and uplifting, and she always made me feel like I did a great job, as if no other 7 year old in the whole world could ever do it better! That night, as each person placed a Snickerdoodle on their plate, I prowled the room, watching everyone eat my cookies and I remember feeling so important and grown, and, well, part of something. I guess that's when I fell in love with cookies and making them for other people. Judy had a way of making impressions like that.
Life can be hard, full of complications and disappointments. But cookies are such a simple joy--for one moment there is nothing but you, the sweet taste of sugar and butter, and the beautiful gift of taste God gave us. That's why I always give cookies (or other decadent treats)to anyone who needs a little lift. A prayer and a cookie is good for the soul!

Kandis is a sweet young lady that grew up in the church my husband now pastors. Judy King, who she mentions in her comment was a dear member who passed away last summer. I only knew her for a short time, but she was a very special person and could put Martha to shame in the kitchen!
Such neat stories, Katy and Kandis, and all the ladies that entered. I think I'll be doing this again soon!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Great Cookie Giveaway!

It's "The Great Cookie Giveaway!", you have the chance to win a special order of my decorated sugar cookies. Actually, they're more like shortbread cookies, but that's a different post. I thought a giveaway would be fun! I follow several blogs and am always excited to see a chance to win something. But those blogs have umpteen followers, and right now I'm at...let's see...13 to be exact. So people who choose to participate really do have a good chance at winning!
So who wants to win? And I will ship them to you if you live far away!
This is all you have to do: go to the comment section of this very post and tell me your favorite kind of cookie. That's all! I'll close the contest at midnight on Wednesday, November 3rd, so that should give you plenty of time to tell me about your favorite kind of cookie. AND if you have a sweet story to go along with it, please include that also! We would all love to hear about that recipe your great, great, great, great Grandma brought over on the Mayflower.
You know you love cookies, so what are you waiting for?
p.s. make sure you check back on Thursday evening. I'll announce the winner in a post.

Pumpkins, Candy Corns and Soccer Balls

It's been a busy week in the Sweet Manna Bakeshop! We've made lots and lots and LOTS of cookies and one really cute soccer cake. Since July, I've gone through 50 pounds of flour. I don't even know how many pounds of butter and sugar I've gone through and I'm positive I've gone through enough eggs that would justify us having our own chicken coop in the back yard! Obsessed...yes, maybe a little. I'll admit it. I love creating things. But I think it's more than me enjoying baking cookies. I think creativity is something my Father has placed inside my heart. I was created in His image, right? So I guess I'm "seeing my Father in me" by finding joy in creating things. He is the perfect Creator, after all!

I did 7 dozen of these cute candy corn cookies for 2 different parties and for John Merritt's and Samuel's Little Gym classes. I had an extra one and I sent it (wrapped of course) through the drive through tube at the bank. We sat in the van and laughed and laughed as we thought about how surprised the teller would be.
These pumpkins were for a 2 year old's class party. I love these!
These polka dot pumpkins went to a play school class party.
Don't you just love raffia?

These were soccer ball cookie favors for an end of season party.
And here's the cake to match. The hardest part of this one was not sculpting each player's face out of gumpaste, but it was putting the pattern on the soccer ball! ugh. I love, love, love, how it turned out though. This team was made up of mostly 4 year old's!

I even matched the hairstyles and hair colors! I love to personalize.

The polka dot pumpkins, the soccer cookies and cake all went to one really sweet mom friend of mine. I'm sure her suv smelled like one big cookie by the time she made it home! Thanks again Meredith.
Now I think I better go clean the layer of powdered sugar that has built up all over my kitchen!