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!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Marvelous Mondays

This week we were blessed with another "Marvelous Monday!" Daddy and John Merritt enjoyed a canoe trip in the wilderness. Actually, it was about a mile from our house! Samuel and Mommy stayed at home since 1 year old's and canoes don't go together very well. Maybe next trip Sambo.

Maybe next time, John Merritt won't even need Daddy to help paddle.

Thank you Lord for Your creation!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

10 Years!

Ten years ago today, I married my best friend. But he wasn't always my BEST friend. When we married on October 21, 2000, it seemed sometimes like we barely knew each other. We knew that we were madly in love and that God had put us together. We knew it had to be God's working. After all, what are the "chances" of you meeting the love of your life on a horse ranch in Colorado? And what are the "chances" that he would be a good 'ole Carolina boy that your Mama would be proud to call her son-in-law? Yes, it was definitely God's divine plan for our lives, that we should be together.
So when we first met, Jason looked like this:
Here's a great picture. You can't see Jason that well, but I love this picture.

Here we are at a rodeo the summer we met and fell in love. Check the hats out.

I like this shot too!

So Jason the Cowboy and Meredith the Cowgirl fell in love the summer of 1999. We said a tearful goodbye as I headed back to school that September, we dated long distance until that April when Jason proposed. We were married that fall back home in Alabama.
Here's a picture of us on our honeymoon at one of those dress up photo shops.

We spent our first several years of marriage in the mountains of Colorado. It was a great place to become BEST friends and not just partners in a marriage. It's hard to go running home to Mom when she's thousands of miles away. All we had was each other. I did a lot of growing up in Colorado!
We've been back in North Carolina now for almost 7 years. A lot has happened since moving to NC. Mainly these 2 guys!

It's been a great pleasure to see how God has worked in our lives and how he continues to mold us into His image. Christ has done an awesome work in our lives and our marriage. I can truly say that Jason is the head of our house. He leads us spiritually and provides for us everything we need and want. He seeks Christ daily and strives to always teach our two little cowboys the ways of the Lord. He shepherds a flock here in Ossipee and I'm so very proud of my best friend. Thank you for putting up with me and I look forward to many more years by your side. Happy Anniversary! I Love You!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Marvelous Mondays

For the past two Mondays, Daddy has been able to join us for an adventure. We've really enjoyed these special times and we hope to have many more.
Our first "marvelous Monday" took us to the zoo! It was a beautiful day and the animals really put on a show for us. Enjoy these videos!

Yesterday we enjoyed a special breakfast at Chick-fil-a, then we went for a family hike. It was another beautiful Monday.
Check out the nifty backpack! Thanks Ashley for sharing your backpack with us!

Just what is down in that hole??

The leaves are beginning to turn.

John Merritt found a "walking stick."

We stopped for a rest and a quick lunch.

Riding in a backpack makes a baby thirsty!

"You're not putting me back in that thing!!"

It was a wonderful day and we enjoyed God's beautiful creation. Thank you Jesus!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Train Cake and Bowling Pin Cookies

Here are my baking projects for this weekend. Actually, I began these earlier in the week. The train on the cake, the number one and of course the bowling pins are all cookies which take FOREVER to dry! No waiting until the last minute on those elements.
This train cake was for a sweet little baby at our church, Ian. Happy Birthday Ian! Thanks for letting me make Ian's cake Stacy. We'll see what he does with the little "smash" cake I made to match.

These bowling pin cookies were favors for a bowling party, of course! Thanks Brenn, I hope the kids liked them!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Falling Leaves Cookies and Baby Shower Cookies

I thought these cookies were really cute! They were SO easy to do.

These cookies on a stick are for a baby shower on Sunday. Thank you Susan!

Have a great weekend everybody! We're off to a fall festival!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Our First Field Trip

This wasn't a normal field trip. The kind we used to go on where you had to wear uncomfortable name tags and the same color shirts, and where the teacher had to try and cram 30 lunches in 1 cooler. The only kids you will see in these pictures are John Merritt and Samuel. You see, we are a homeschool family. John Merritt started 4 year old kindergarten on August 16th. And Samuel, well, he's only 16 months, but he's already reading. Just kidding. He does join us for bits and pieces of our lessons. And he'll go over to the calendar and make grunting noises while pointing to the different numbers. Yes, we homeschool and we LOVE it! Because what school would let you go on a field trip dressed like THIS!

We homeschool using the Principle Approach. Our curriculum is structured by Biblical principles and leading ideas. One principle that we've been learning a great deal about since we began in August is God's principle of individuality. By studying this truth, we learn that each created thing has a unique identity from God. There's much more I could share about that, but I'll move on. In literature, we've been reading The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. Most of the story takes place in Mr. McGreggor's garden. What better place to see this principle of individuality displayed than a vegetable garden? In fact, a garden is so rich in biblical principle display, I could go on and on! But I'll keep moving.
Well, the season is past for vegetables, but I happen to pass by the Cooperative Extension office earlier in the week, and I noticed they had overgrown lettuce and cabbage growing around their flag pole. Peter Rabbit LOVED lettuce, so we thought we'd swing by and take a look. Come to find out, they have an entire "teaching garden" where most of the plants are labeled. What a beautiful display of God's diversity and they even labeled it for us! John Merritt took some of these photos. He's quite the photographer. Our friend Allison would be proud.
What happened to this cabbage I don't know. Any cabbage growers out there? I'm thinking this is what it looks like when you just let it do whatever.You can see some type of lettuce behind the cabbage plant.

This plant was really neat. It's common name is "lamb's ear" and that's exactly what it felt like when you petted it.
Samuel loved the huge stepping stones.
Here's a muscadine vine.
Sam's checking out that evergreen. It felt really neat too.
Look at these big gourds that were hanging from a tree.
They even had a little water feature.
Look at those colors! Wow God, that's pretty! Thank you for creating all of these neat plants. Thank you for making these purple and not green.
Can you tell Samuel doesn't like it when John Merritt tries to make him stand still?
And why do these "put your arm around your brother" shots never work out? Could you help me out on that one Allison?
It was a great first field trip and I'm looking forward to many more. But you know, I didn't have to go very far to see God's beautiful principle of individuality...I'm living with one special little individual.
God made me Special.
Like no one else you see.
He made me a witness,
to His diversity.

Rosalie Slater