I went to a Garden Party ... the lyrics to the 1972 hit song about a concert in Madison Square Garden sung by Ricky Nelson (1940-1985), the super cute younger son in the 1960’s television show Ozzie & Harriet.

The garden party I’m talking about was my grand niece’s 5th birthday party. She and her pre-K pals painted flower pots and planted daisies into the brightly colored pots. There are some Picasso’s among these tykes or possibly the Moms added a dab of paint here and there. They ran around the backyard and released helium balloons gazing in awe to the sky until they disappeared.

Kids Birthday parties have come a long way since my day of cake, ice cream and a mini basket of M&Ms. The little ones munched on a smorgasboard of fun kid food: Ants on a Log  (celery sticks stuffed with peanut butter and topped with raisins); Veggie Lady Bugs (halved mini tomatoes and olives on a cracker); Carrot Veggie Bites, and even Dirt Pudding.

To keep with tradition the guest of honor blew out her birthday candles. Soon after, these bundles of energy ran out of steam and left the garden party with their flower pots in hand and butterfly cookie favors.

Unable to decide on one specific design for the butterflies, I decorated cookies with a mix of design and color. The coral and turquoise icing matches the ‘Oh Joy’ color scheme party collection. 

Butterfly Cookies
Butterfly Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted Turquoise with AmeriColor Turquoise and AmeriColor Electric Blue
Royal Icing for flooding tinted Coral with AmeriColor Peach
Royal Icing for flooding tinted Yellow with AmeriColor Lemon Yellow
Royal Icing for flooding tinted Purple with AmeriColor Regal Purple
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tips #2, #3


Outline cookie with #2 tip in turquoise icing.

Flood cookie with turquoise icing. 

First Design
Pipe dots with coral icing on upper wings.
Pipe dots with yellow icing on lower wings. Pull with toothpick to create hearts.

Second Design
Pipe dots with yellow icing on upper wings. Pull with toothpick to create hearts.
 Pipe dots with coral, yellow and purple icing on lower wings.

Third Design
Pipe lines with coral and yellow icing on upper wings. Pull with toothpick to create design.
Pipe dots with coral and yellow icing on lower wings.

Pipe dots for body of butterfly with #3 tip in yellow outline icing. Let dry overnight.

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After 17 years, I just packed up and shipped off the last college goodie package. The first was sent in the fall of 1997 when my eldest nephew headed off to college. This month the youngest of my six nephews is graduating from college. Some years overlapped with two away at college which meant double shipments. Usually filled with Chocolate Chip Cookies (everyone’s favorite cookie) and Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, it was my little way of supporting the guys during their studies and breaking up the monotony of lectures, papers and exams. I enjoyed baking for them and they were always appreciative and prompt to email or text a thank you. They say they owed their popularity to my cookies but no doubt, it was their dazzling personalities.

Time has flown and it’s hard to believe goodie packages arrived at campus post offices for 34 semesters. It’s been fun and I no longer need to save every box and stuffing delivered to our home. My husband says I’m just taking a hiatus. In 13 years our grand niece will be heading off to college followed by her brothers and cousins … I see more goodie packages in my future! 

To my nephews: Pat, Chris, Kevin, Ryan, Steve and Alex, thanks for continuing to bring this aunt oodles of joy.

For this last goodie package, I made a variation of the Original Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe using milk chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
2¼ cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
½ cup Butter (1 stick), softened
½ cup Crisco Shortening
¾ cup Sugar
¾ cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Eggs
1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
1 cup Peanut Butter Chips

In a separate bowl mix Flour, Baking Soda and Salt. Set aside
Cream Butter, Shortening, Sugar, Brown Sugar and Vanilla. Add Eggs one at a time.
Add flour mixture gradually. Stir in Chocolate Chips and Peanut Butter Chips.
Bake at 375 for 7 to 9 minutes until edges are slightly golden.
Cookies will look undercooked. Makes 5 dozen cookies.





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Springtime in DC means baseball. We’re all nuts for our Washington Nationals. After a long drought, baseball finally returned to DC in 2005. Before then, to see a baseball game meant a long drive to watch the Baltimore Orioles.

During the first three seasons, the Nats played in the old RFK Washington Redskins football stadium until a spanking new stadium was built near the waterfront in 2008. So far, the team is 18-14 with awesome catches by Jayson Werth (my fav) and big hits by Bryce Harper, who was our teenage phenom at age 19 and now a two-year veteran. Ryan Zimmerman, Danny Espinosa and Adam LaRoche are threats at the plate. In 2012, we made it to the playoffs and won the Eastern Division Pennant and nearly reached the World Series. In DC, we’re hoping this is our year. Go Nats!

These cookies were made for my relatives in Chicago who we visited last month. Determined to pack light, I made these simple square zebra cookies which packed neatly into the bright yellow box that once contained golf balls. I squeezed a dozen cookies into the box and stuffed it into my Vera Bradley carry-on bag. 

Zebra Cookies
Square Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted White with AmeriColor Super White
Royal Icing for outlining tinted Black with AmeriColor Super Black
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
PME Decorating Tip #1.5
Hint:  Zebra stripes look good in any color. 

Outline cookie with #2 tip in white icing.

Flood cookie with white icing. Let dry overnight.

Pipe stripes with #1.5 tip onto cookie in black icing.

Pull end of stripes with toothpick to create point. Let dry overnight.




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