Start The Year Off Right! {Giveaway}

Many people start the year off with resolutions, but since I tend to break them so easily, I like to do GOALS.  On December 10,  two years ago, I added this entry to my list of goals:

*8. Start developing my true hobbies and interests like crafting, restoring old furniture, and cookie baking. (Basically being the absolute best at anything I choose to do!)*

When I wrote that, I did it with good intentions, but who knows what would have happened if life hadn’t set in.  Within a month, my beloved grandma, Nanny, passed away.

Few people in life are lucky enough to have what I did with her.  Nanny wasn’t often the perfect ideal grandma type, but she loved me unconditionally, even when I didn’t deserve it. She would literally do anything to help me.  And despite her shortcomings, she taught me a lot about strength and family and being able to smile, even when life didn’t turn out quite as planned, and for that I am forever grateful.

I knew for a very long time that Nanny’s time was coming to an end, but I guess it never really seemed real until the day before she was gone.  Dad called and told me I really needed to think about going to see her.

I usually managed to avoid it, because I was terrified of seeing her so very sick, but since she was no longer able to call me daily, I knew it was time.

When I got there it was as bad as I had imagined.  She was painfully thin and unable to speak, and even though I cried the whole drive down, I was determined not to let her know how scared I was because I knew she would worry…and I didn’t want her to worry.

The tough face plan didn’t go so well after I arrived.  One of my last memories of Nanny is me turning into a bawling mess while she struggled to tell me that everything would be okay.

It was so very backward in every way…I should have been conforting her, but that was my Nanny, always trying to mend my broken heart.

*Tears on the keyboard*

NOTHING prepared me for the void I felt when she left this world.  Suddenly baking became a refuge,  my distraction.  Now, almost two years later, here I am.

A lot of it is surreal.  This time of year takes me back.  Sometimes I cannot believe so much time has passed.  I have learned SO much and made friends along the way that helped to fill the hole that was left when I lost Nanny.

It also takes me back to those very first days of surfing the net, looking for any and every bit of available information on decorating cookies.

The  first website I stumbled upon happened to be Karen’s Cookies.  I was absolutely, utterly, and completely amazed at what I found.  There I sat in the Hyatt Place during our Christmas vacation, enchanted and ordering every cookie cutter and sprinkle I could afford with my handful of giftcards.

Fast forward to now.  Since Karen’s Cookies was the very first cookie door I ever opened two years ago, isn’t it appropriate that for my first big giveaway of the year, Karen so generously offered to provide most of the supplies needed for a prize that I have been dying to give away for 2 months?!  For my very first prize of the year, I have, with Karen’s help, managed to put together a wonderful  gift! This month’s prize is…


This kit has all the supplies I use to decorate cookies on a daily basis…among them, my favorite icing tips and gadgets, my preferred food colors, icing bottles, DISCO DUST and much much more!

Now, I apologize for the tears. {Nanny didn’t like re-hashing the bad days}  And I didn’t mean for this to turn into a sad tale, especially since this is a giveaway…But overall, this has a happy ending.  A wonderful new story from the end of another, memories that will always make me smile, and the knowledge that Nanny is just as proud of me now as she was when I was a kid and would draw silly pictures of all of her pals.  She carried on every single time like I’d given her a Rembrandt =)

All this said, I really hope this kit falls into the hands of someone who needs it as much as I did at the beginning of my journey, or someone who is as passionate about cookies as I am.

*To enter this giveaway, you have two options*

First of all, you can head on over to Karen’s Cookies FB page and “LIKE” her since she was kind enough to do this for me. That’s reason enough to like her in itself.  And if that doesn’t convince you, one looksie at her cookie website will!

If you already do “LIKE” Karen, just tell her hello, and come back and let me know…she and her hubby Mike have some of the best service and fastest shipping, AND she has this great habit of always tucking a surprise in each package.  You gotta love that!

For a second entry, I just want to keep it simple.  Leave me a comment telling me your fondest memory of your “Nanny” {Everyone has a Nanny, whether you call her *or him* that or not}…

There are no rules about what you share, I’d just like to give everyone else a chance to share something special about their loved one.

Remember, each comment IS AN ENTRY, so post each one separately, AND leave a way for me to contact you.

I will choose a winner next Thursday using, so keep your eyes open =)

*and as always, tweeting this giveaway is a free bonus entry*

Since this is a giveaway post, I had a few birthday cookies in the archives that seemed appropriate.  Afterall, winning is almost like receiving the gift of all birthday gifts.  {That is, if you are into cookies of course =)}

I made these for my neighbor…
I used a napkin for inspiration…
And I made these for my hubby to give to a childhood friend as a gift for her daughter’s second birthday =)
I was especially proud of the “b” cookies I came up with, and I am already making plans for a repeat appearance of these at another special birthday party I will be making cookies for…
So, after a few happy tears and some fond memories, here’s to a WONDERFUL year.  Here’s to good memories, learning new things, improving upon the things we know already, and appreciating the moments with the people we love.
 Good luck and happy baking!