With today's 24/7 news cycle, there are plenty of negative stories shown repeatedly on the airwaves. Yet, how often is there an upbeat news report that makes our hearts melt?  When do you see a positive story about those who serve our communities and good deeds done by those who run toward the danger, putting their lives at risk while protecting us?  Who are these courageous persons?  First responders such as police officers and firefighters, that's who. They are just like you and me but are extraordinary, in my opinion. They love their families, community and country and are out there to make this world a better place. Isn't that what we all strive to do?  Leave the world better than we found it.

The K-9 Unit of the Montgomery County, Maryland Police Department is such an example. They planned a magical day for a special little boy, a six-year-old who is battling brain cancer. Luke was made an honorary K-9 officer. Rather than explain the events of that day, take 6 minutes to click and view this video.

Source:  LukesSquad Facebook Page
Learn more about DIPG.
Donate to DIPG.
Donate to aid Luke's parents with medical expenses.

Hot Air Balloon Cookies
Hot Air Balloon Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for flooding tinted Dark Blue with AmeriColor Navy Blue and AmeriColor Super Black
Royal Icing for flooding tinted Dark Green with AmeriColor Teal, AmeriColor Leaf Green and AmeriColor Royal Blue
Royal Icing for flooding tinted with AmeriColor Super Black
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip # 3, #2
Wilton Pearl Color Mist

Pipe three sections of balloon with #3 tip in blue flood icing.
Let sit 30 minutes.

Pipe two remaining sections with #3 tip in green flood icing.
Let sit one hour.

Pipe basket with #2 tip in black icing. 

Let dry overnight.

Gently spray cookies with color mist. 

Let dry 45 minutes.

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TUTU COOKIES/ Vintage Photographs

Have you ever gone through old family photographs and had no idea who you were looking at? Have you then turned over the photo to find it blank? … ugh! I think this may be a common experience when going through shoeboxes of old photographs. Those persons alive at the time of the photo knew who were in those photos and apparently saw no need to identify those persons. It seems it never occurred to them that those photos would out-live them and their descendants would have no idea who those people were!

Recently, a cousin sent me old family photographs that once belonged to my paternal grandfather so I could make copies for my collection. There were just a handful of photos, some of my Dad and his sisters as children which I had never seen. There were also photos of my grandparents, their parents, siblings and cousins. Some photos date back over 100 years in Ireland and others were taken in the 1930's. I easily identified Dad as a toddler and teen as well as my aunts and my grandfather. My grandmother who passed away during my father's childhood was also identified with ease. Fortunately, my mother once told me Grandma looked like her eldest daughter, Aunt Dot. Beyond that it was a guessing game. Documents discovered during my family research, such as ship manifests and WWI and WWII draft cards contain physical descriptions including eye color and hair color. They were a great tool in identifying extended family members like my grandmother's brothers and my great-grandparents. These photographs are treasures although I was disheartened there were no photographs from Ireland of my grandfather's parents and his only sibling who perished in WWI.

Great-Grandparents, Joe & Sarah (Ireland, circa 1920)
Grandma & Aunt Dot (circa 1917)
Aunt Marjie & Dad (circa 1931)

Dad & Aunt Marjie; Grandpa & Grandma; Grand Uncle William & wife (circa 1933)
Aunt Dot & Aunt Marjie (circa 1936)

This prompted me to go through my family photographs, including those in picture frames to identify family members and date the photos. Otherwise, my grand nieces and nephews and their children will not be able to identify their own ancestors. So, I suggest you do the same. Your descendants will appreciate it someday. Dig out boxes and albums of old family photos, go through them with your parents, grandparents and older siblings to identify the persons in the photos. Use an archival pen or soft lead pencil to write on the back of the photos. Also, in this time of digital photos my suggestion is to print out favorite photos, identify persons in the photos and place in scrapbook or acid-free photo box. That way there will be pictures for future generations to hold in their hands. They may likely endure longer than the digital pics.

As a thank you to my cousin for sending the photos, I made these tutu cookies. She has two little girls and these cookies seemed the perfect choice. I skipped embellishments of bows or flowers as they can crack and break easily during shipping. Instead, I simply used pearl airbrush spray to add a satiny look.

Tutu Cookies
Tutu Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted Pale Pink with Wilton Brown and Wilton Pink
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
Wilton Pearl Color Mist

Outline bodice of tutu with #2 tip in pink icing
Flood bodice with pink icing. Let sit 15 minutes.

Outline sections of skirt with #2 tip in pink outline icing.

Immediately flood every other section with pink icing. Let sit 15 minutes.

Flood remaining sections with pink flood icing. 

Let dry overnight.

Lightly spray cookies with pearl color mist.
Let dry 30 minutes.




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FOOD FOR THOUGHT/ What is . . . .

What is LOVE ...
strong affection for another; unselfish, loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another such as brotherly concern for others

What is KINDNESS ...
the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate; treating people with kindness and respect

What is COMPASSION ...
sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others

What is EMPATHY ...
the ability to understand and share the feelings of another

What is GOODNESS ...
the quality of being good, in particular a belief in the basic goodness of mankind

What is DECENCY ...
behavior that conforms to accepted standards of morality or respectability

What is GENEROSITY ...
the quality of being kind and unselfish

What is CARING ...
displaying kindness and concern for others

What is CHARACTER ...
the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual; a person's good reputation

What is MORALITY ...
principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior; a particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society

What is TRUTH ...
that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality

What is HONESTY ...
free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincerity

What are VALUES ...
a person's principles or standards of behavior; one's judgment of what is important in life

What are ETHICS ...
moral principles that govern a person's behavior or the conducting of an activity

What is LAUGHTER ...
to show amusement or joy by smiling and chuckling

What is FUN ...
enjoyment, amusement or lighthearted pleasure

What is JOY ...
a feeling of great pleasure and happiness

What is WONDER ...
a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected or inexplicable

What is HAPPINESS ...
a state of well-being and contentment

What is HOPE ...
a feeling of expectation and desire for something good to happen

[Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary]

What is...

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New Cookie Post Coming Soon!


For a long while it was 'Frozen' and now the best thing in the world among little girls are 'unicorns' while 'mermaids' are sneaking in on the scene. No one can resist the pastels in purple, teal, pink, yellow and green of unicorn designs. They are the rage in the baking world; cakes, cupcakes and cookies. So when the 9th birthday of my eldest grand niece arrived, she requested Unicorn Cupcakes to share with her third grade classmates. For our vanilla girl, it had to be that all-American flavor for her cupcakes.

Ok, I'm going to be honest here. I struggle decorating cupcakes; it's the piping. It looks so easy in the videos. Well, l need lots of practice. Although, I can assure you these cupcakes were made with love.

As with royal icing, the same rings true with buttercream frosting. It comes down to 'consistency' …. 'piping consistency.' When spreading frosting onto a cake or cupcake, it doesn't have to be so exact. It seems either the frosting is too stiff and it takes all my might to squeeze out the swirls like in these neon cupcakes or the frosting is too soft and the design droops a bit. The secret is in the amount of milk or cream and I have yet to find the right formula. One more thing, I've been using the whisk attachment which seems to whip too much air into the frosting causing air bubbles. Next time I will use the paddle attachment. So I guess that means more cupcakes are in my future. Good thing I have so many little taste-tasters! 

Vanilla Cake
2¼ cups Softasilk Cake Flour (or 2-1/8 cup Flour), sifted
1½ cups Sugar
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
2/3 cup Crisco Shortening
1 cup Milk
1½ tsp Vanilla
3 Eggs

Mix Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder and Salt. Add Shortening.
Add a little over half of Milk to the dry ingredients. Add Vanilla.
Add remaining Milk and Eggs. Mix well.
Pour batter 1/2 full into 24 cupcake liners.
Bake 18-20 minutes at 400 until cake tester comes out clean.
[This is the Rich Golden Cake recipe from the 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook]

Creamy Buttercream Frosting (large recipe)
2 cups Butter (4 sticks), softened
8 cups Confectioner’s Sugar, sifted
½ tsp Vanilla (optional)
1-4 tbsp Milk or Cream
Wilton Star Tip #1M
Wilton French Tip #199 

Beat butter for 4-5 minutes until pale and fluffy.
Gradually add the sugar 1 cup at a time beating well after each addition.
Add milk 1 Tbsp at a time until frosting is smooth.
Tip: When piping onto cupcakes do not add too much milk to maintain slightly stiff piping consistency.

Tip: To achieve pastel colors, place small amount of icing into small bowls. Add drop or two of gel coloring. The result will be a deep color. Gradually add colored icing to each batch of frosting until you reach desired pastel color.

Split frosting among 4 bowls.
Color Lavender with AmeriColor Electric Purple.
Color Mint Green with AmeriColor Teal.
Color Pale Pink with AmeriColor Super Red.
Color Soft Yellow with AmeriColor Lemon Yellow.

Layer colors and fill piping bag with all four colors.

Pipe large roses with petal tip #1M. Pipe ruffle with petal tip #1M.
Pipe posey with petal tip #1M. Pipe peaks with french tip #199.



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