Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Domestic Goddess - Vanae

My sister Vanae had a birthday the first part of July. She actual shares her birthday with another on of my sisters, Kristi. But this year Vanae was no where near her home for her birthday. She and her husband Don were clear across the country.

They helped move out their son Karl's family to North Carolina because of  new job he started this summer.
Don has a goal of riding his motorcycle in all of the mainland states so he rode his motorcycle out to NC and my sister rode out with her son in the moving van. But to get home Vanae hopped on the bike and they took at least three weeks(estimate) getting home! I was not sure if she would last the whole trip and in fact Don told me he was surprised himself that she did not book a flight home after a couple of days on the bike. But she didn't she did the whole trip with him.

I know that had to have been a long trip. Back in my biking days even 5 hours on the bike was enough for me and she was riding 8 hours a day, I think. She is a trooper, I am quite proud of her.

Now to the cookies, Vanae works at the local school in the small town she lives in. She had been assigned to a student who had special needs for many years and did a wonderful job at it. I believe this year she is the librarian and also the computer guru of some sorts. So I did a stack of cookies and a apple.

You might wonder why this post is title Domestic Goddess well I am going to get to that. Vanae is amazing!! She can do anything. She lives in a very small town I am talking no stop light small town. She has had to do many things her self because accessibility is an issue but even if she did live in a big town she would still do all the things she has done her whole life.

First of all she is a master gardener. She plants a good size garden every year and and then she cans everything from it. She also has a few fruit trees as well. When I was out there last fall she was giving us a bunch of stuff from her garden and she was showing us what all she cans I was just tired thinking about it.

So I did some veggie cookies, I like the broccoli one the best.

Oh and sewing!! You name it she can make it. She has sewn clothes for herself, for her family, and even for me. She sewing a beautiful Asian style dress for me many years ago and it seemed like is was easy peasy for her.
My favorite memory of Vanae was when I was pregnant with my son and my family was having a baby shower for me in Kanab, Vanae drove three hours to come and when I opened her gift I just started to cry, it was a beautiful crochet white blanket! I love it so much and I felt so blessed  and loved that she would take the time to make that for my little son. I cherish is and it pass it on to his first born child when that happens.

Oh and don't even get me talking about her culinary skills. She does everything from scratch!!!! I made these roll cookies (thanks to Lilaloa, she showed how to make an awesome roll cookie from a flip flop cutter) because almost every get together my family has Vanae gets assigned to bring rolls, cause they are AWESOME!
She can make anything even her own cottage cheese!! I don't even want to know how to make it cause I am sure I don't want to take the time to do it.
Vanae is an awesome cook that is for sure.

So there you have it, Vanae, one domestic Goddess! She can cook, bake, teach, garden and sew better than anyone I know. Well maybe my Mom is just as good, I think that is where my sister inherited all her skills from. :)

Friday, July 26, 2013


We had a summer get together last week in the local woman's church group I belong to. I signed up to bring a dessert and when I found out there was going to be a retro swim suit theme I knew I had to make some cookies.

I also wanted to try out the beach cookies I recently saw over at Sweet Ambs amazing website.

Vintage suits turned out pretty cute.

Surf boards, the flames didn't work out so well.

And my favorite.... the word summer in cookies. I tried to reflect the other cookie designs in the letters.

Summer is going to be over before we know it. I hope that you are having a great summer and hopefully a little cooler than the 100 degrees we are enjoying surviving here!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ladies Retreat

Some of the ladies in my family decided to have a little retreat. My sister had some time in her husband families condo in park city so a bunch of us who could take the day off all hung out, we made bracelets, made lunch and ate it. Painted our toenails. Then we went to the outlets and did some shopping. We drove around trying to decid where to eat because no one would make a decision and then finally we decided to do dinner at Kneaders and then the hot tub.

It was a fun time it's hard to find time to get together it would be nice to do it more often. I am glad we got to do it and hopefully we can find time to do it again!!

I have wanted to make some spa themed cookies so I thought this was a good excuse to do so.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

1st Annual Garden Party - Downton Abbey

This last Saturday I got to be a part of something really fun.

Last month my friend Jennifer from Salt Cake City asked me if I would be interested in being a sponsor at a party, a garden party, a garden party with a Downton Abbey theme!! Who would say no to that!

I would make the cookies for the event and in return I would get to have my business cards and brochures available to the attendees.

It was a no brain-er at the time and of course I said I would do it.

A few weeks later and we have a 150 RSVP's. Then I thought oh man I have to make a ton of cookies. I made three different cookies one was a authentic shortbread cookie dipped in chocolate (which is not pictured) and then I did both vanilla bean and chocolate sugar cookies decorated in vintage style.

I ended up making a total of 400 mini cookies!!

The chocolate blue ones with ribbon roses were the simple ones.

I had planned to do Sweet Ambs cracked glaze cookies but then when I started I realized that was going to take WAY too much time. So for the vanilla bean cookies I did a combination of wet on wet roses as well as hand painted roses.

I made some bagged ones for easy take home. Since they are mini it does not look like much but there are 160 cookies in this picture!

Betsy of  Betsy Couture was the host of the party. She is an amazing custom wedding dress designer. If you are in the market for an amazing dress and especially if you want a vintage dress you NEED to go to Betsy. Check out her site, her dresses are so beautiful!

She threw the party in her brothers back yard. The gardens were absolutely beautiful, it really helped you believe that you were back in time. Especially since almost all of the attendees were amazing and dressed up in period pieces. I should have taken more pictures but didn't and I am grateful to my husband for taking the pictures that we got.

My cookies being served by the one of the lovely servers.

Betsy, Jennifer, myself and Lisa did some giveaways. Oh Lisa of Timeless Music was another sponsor and she provided lovely music for the afternoon, her voice was so delightful.

Me and my handsome hubby, so grateful for his support! I cut my hair off just the week before so it was a little difficult to do a 1910 hairstyle but I tried.

Betsy and I as well as one of her lovely vintage dresses.

It was so much fun to be a part of the event and Betsy plans this to be an annual garden party with every year a different era. I hope to be able to come back again it's a great way to thank our clients, family and friends for all their love and support they give us.

If you want to check out the other sponsors of the party you can see their sites here.

Cookies - Natalie Puikkonen - Sweet Shop Natalie
Flowers - Val Hunter -Flower Afternoon
Cakes - Jennifer Hill - Salt Cake City
Dresses - Betsy Barker - Betsy Couture
Music - Lisa Reed -Timeless Music
Photographer - Brooke Davis - Blush Photography
Fudge - Antie M's

This last picture was NOT taken by me. Brooke of Blush Photography took this amazing photo you should click on over to her site!! You will not be disappointed in fact you will want to book her immediately. :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Friendly VS Flirting = Kristi

It was my sister Kristine's birthday a week ago. Kristi is 4 years older than me and even though she hung out more with my brother, McKay, growing up I have always looked up to her and have been grateful that we have become closer since our youth.

I have many memories of my sister. One of my early ones is a memory that I don't really remember but have been told about many times so I think I remember it. :) We used to share a bed when were were little, she tells me the story that she got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and when she came back I had sprawled out like an X on the bed and she was not able to get back in. She tapped me and said "Natalie move over".... nothing, shook me a little harder, "Natalie move over".... nothing, so she punched me in the gut! In a sluggish slow tone I simply said, "wwhhaatt". She told me to move over and she was able to come back to bed. The joke was that if she would have done that to me during the day she said I would have been screaming and bawling about being punched!! I love my sister!!

If you live in the same town as my sister you are more thank likely to see her sipping on one of these. I think her favorite is a some type of concoction involving Mountain Dew and some thing else, not sure what else she puts in it.

I have many stories that would go with these cookies and when I asked my hubby what he thought of when he thought of Kristi and the first thing he said was that she is a flirt. She says that she is just "friendly" to everyone she meets. But we like to give her a hard time when she is "friendly" to men!! ;)

My sister is a cosmetologist and she is amazing at her job. I swear she is the fastest hair cutter ever!! I remember getting my hair cut one time and it took an hour and a half, the girl styled it as well but 90 minutes for a hair cut and style holy cow!!! I was not ready for it to take that long.
After high school I wanted to follow in Kristi's footsteps and go to beauty school but my Mom said oh we already have a hair stylist in the family we don't need another one. So I didn't and probably a good thing cause when I did decided to switch careers I looked into to going back to beauty school but thought about it and decided that I didn't want to do hair or nails but the skin still interested me and that led me to Esthetics which I pursued and have really enjoyed!!

Kristi usually wins the favorite Aunt award with my kids. She knows just what to do and almost evey time we go to Kanab to visit she loads my kids in her van and takes them to go get ice-cream. She also has a candy jar that the kids love to get their hands into as well. She is going to make an excellent Grandma someday!!

I had a great time staying with my sister on our last visit. We always do and I love that she will get me up in the morning to go exercise and that she is so great to my children. Thanks Kristi and I hope you birthday was a wonderful Day!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Pie maker, list creator, volleyball player = Jana

The other SIL who shares Julie's birth date is Jana. Jana is married to my younger brother and baby of the family, Brant.

After 13 years I will be publicly be apologizing to Jana for my lame-sauce behavior! I am 5 years older than Brant and when he got engaged I was not very happy. Not because of Jana, but I was being a total selfish dingbat. I was mad that he was getting married before me. I had been living the single life for quite sometime and was just perturbed that here I was still single and my baby brother was leaving me in the dust, the only sibling not married out of 9.

So in my selfishness I was not outright rude to Jana, I just didn't make an effort to get to know her. So Jana, I apologize for my immature behavior so many years ago and I hope you have forgiven me for it.

Jana is passionate about many things, health, homeopathic medicines, her children, holidays and a major passion = volleyball.

I knew I would do volleyball cookies and when I think of Jana that is the first thing I think of. I Seriously think she could Eat, Sleep and Drink volleyball. So I came up with this cookies.

It was fun to learn other things about my in-laws and I guess this is one not many know about Jana. My brother told me she loves to make lists. She seems so laid back all the time that I did not think she was a closet organizing woman! :)

Another passion of Jana's is baking, specifically pies, every thanksgiving she makes quite a few of them and she does an amazing job. Over at Ali Bees Bake Shop is where I saw some great pie cookies and I used her design.

Jana has said growing up with her own family they did not hype up holidays or make a big deal about them, and she felt that was lacking. So she has made it a point to make holidays a fun day for her children to remember and continue the tradition.
Her favorite holiday happens to be St. Patrick's Day. I am not quite sure why, but she goes all out for that one for sure.

It was fun to be able to see Jana and my brother's family last week. My children always look forward to playing with their cousins. I forgot to ask her what she actually did on her birthday. I am hoping that my brother was able to make it as memorable for her as she does for him and their kiddos.

Friday, July 5, 2013

It's midnight what do you do? Vacuum! - Julie

June was a very busy month for me and I had good intentions to get the June birthdays done on time but alas that did not happen. Funny thing was last year when I did cookies for my 37 nieces and nephews there was not one birthday in the month of June. This year doing my siblings and their spouses I only have 16 for the whole year and almost half of them happen to occur within 5 weeks of June and July.

I have two sister-in-laws who share a birth date, June 24th. This set is for Julie. Julie married my oldest brother over 30 years ago. I was probably around 8 years old when they got married. I still remember seeing Julie for the first time and thinking Julie was the most beautiful girls I had ever seen. She looked like a model with her long blonde hair and petite features.

My first memory of Julie besides seeing her for the first time was we were up in their neck of the woods for a visit and I think I had some fingernail polish with me. At that time they had their first child and she was just little probably around 1 year old. Well she got into my fingernail polish and she got some of it on her clothes. Well of course when mom saw that she had ruined her new outfit with the fingernail polish she was a little upset and she got after me. I was young and for a while I was a little bit scared of my Aunt Julie but that did not last long. I totally understand where she is coming from. There are plenty of times when I freak out when my kids spill just milk all over themselves.

Julie is nothing but a very nice person and she is not scary at all. In fact I love all my sister-in-laws I feel pretty darn lucky to have them in our family. All five of my brothers married very well and it has been fun to get to know all of them and to have them be apart of our family.

Julie has always loved musicals and dancing and she has passed that loved onto her girls. I know a couple of their favorites are "White Christmas" and "My Fair Lady", so I made some music notes to represent that as well as for her love of watching those singing talent shows like American Idol.

Julie also is a teacher and this past year she even got her masters degree so apples were in order for this great teacher and student.

These next two cookies crack me up. I sent a text to two of her daughters asking what were some of the things that their Mom loved to do. And this is part of what one of them said......

"She loves to vacuum :) she loves musicals/singing dancing. Shopping, Costco, she spends a lot of time there:).......

When I got the text I read it to my husband and with both just laughed we thought it was so funny so I decided to make cookies to highlight those loves. Her other daughter said her mom does vacuum a lot and will even be vacuuming at midnight!! I have enjoyed giving her a hard time over this last week about vacuuming and Costco.

But really who doesn't love Costco. I like it but I don't go to the one close to us because it is insanely busy because everyone obviously loves it too !!

The whole group. Happy Birthday to Julie I wish her many more trips to Costco and hours of watching musicals while vacuuming!! :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tiggers Picnic for a Terrific Woman!

Here is the other set of cookies I did for the winning bidder of the cookie auction I participated in this month.

My good friend Laura and my number one cookie fan was the winning bidder on the first cookie auction I sponsored. She is a selfless woman who is always willing to do anything for her friends and family. She is such a good example to me and love the times when we get to hang out!!

I asked her what theme of cookies she wanted and she just gave me free reign.

I remembered her mentioning a long time ago that as a kid her favorite story book character was Tigger from Whinnie the Pooh. So I decided to do Tigger cookies for her and I decided that Tigger was going to go on a picnic.

So here they are.

Got to have watermelon at a picnic.

Some of the things Tigger might say while at this picnic.

Tigger himself!

And the picnic blanket & ants. :)

Thank you Laura for helping out the victims in Mooore OK, you are a hero!!