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“My blog is a collection of tidbits about the things I love... sugar cookies, baking, great food, cute stuff, and life in Happy Valley. Check back often for updates!!”

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Halfway There

posted Thursday Aug 12, 2010 at 09:58 AM by Anne Yorks — 1 comments

Do you remember my super amazing Flour Box apron? Handmade by my super amazing Aunt Annie? 



My Aunt Annie and Uncle Tim have four wonderful, talented and intelligent children. Really, there's not a dud in the bunch!

Well, her oldest daughter, Ellen, just graduated (again) from Villanova. Ellen is one of those people that just excels at everything, especially running. As a high school track athlete, she traveled all over New York state and beyond and became a very decorated running star. She was recruited by many schools (including my alma mater Penn State), and finally decided to attend Villanova University on scholarship. A few months ago, Ellen graduated and contacted me about making a unique cookie gift for her coaches. (thoughtful, right? This is just the kind of person Ellen is...c'mon, how many other college kids would do this?)

She asked for a Villanova cookie and a track cookie...and this is what I came up with for the order...

A Villanova 'V' and a winged track shoe. 



The winged shoe was much more of a challenge that I thought it would be. It took me several tries to get the angle of the wing just right. But, I'm always up for a good challenge. I was pleased with the final results. I hope her coaches enjoyed their special treat. With all that running, I'm sure they can indulge a little bit.

Speaking of winged shoes...

So I'm in a race with my good friend Katie. On June 24th, we started 'virtually' racing across the state of Pennsylvania. To be exact, the race started at the Phillies stadium (Citizen's Bank Park) and is ending at the Pirates stadium (PNC Park). That's 310.5 miles of walking or jogging. And, we are not just tracking how far we walk in a day, the only distance that counts is aerobic walking. I do most of my walking on a treadmill. I'm at 179 miles. I honestly never thought I'd make it this far. But I'm so happy to be halfway there! It's amazing what can be accomplished through sports. The physical and mental benefits are just too many to count. Besides, with all the cookies and baked goods I eat...I need to get my ba-donk-a-donk moving a bit more!

Did I mention the winner gets 3 hours of me-time (aka free babysitting). I'm SO motivated to win. But, just so there are any true losers...the loser - if they finish - gets 1.5 hours of me-time. Not too shabby.

I'll keep you posted. I estimate I'll be walking 'virtually' across the Clemente bridge and into PNC Park by mid-September.

Last weekend I did get the opportunity to walk for real across the Clemente bridge. Grace and I took Topher and his dad to a Pirates game. We had an awesome time and I will be posting a recap on the blog soon!

That's all for today! I have lots of orders in the works: crabs, fish, golf, baby, butterflies, and more!! 

Have a sweet day,
Anne

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SKUNK!! (and my Vacation Recap)

posted Thursday Aug 05, 2010 at 01:43 PM by Anne Yorks — 2 comments

So the week leading up to our week-long vacation in Avalon, NJ was quite hectic to say the least. Toph had a crazy, busy work schedule and I had my regular web orders, PLUS a large order for the local hospital's ribbon cutting ceremony. Here are the test cookies I made for the Mt. Nittany Medical Center. I never took pictures of the final cookies because things were too hectic. But these are basically the same.


Not to mention, I donated trout cookies for the Bellefonte Chamber meeting...


And, I tackled a Luigi cookie. I'm not a huge fan of character cookies because there isn't any room for error. Customers rightfully expect them to resemble the character. I always debate on whether or not to do these orders and this time, since it was a smaller order, I agreed. 


So by the end of the week, I was pooped. Super pooped. Of course, I still needed to pack everything for vacation too. Since we were staying in a house, I also need to pack our groceries, linens, etc. Busy Busy.

Thankfully, the packing went well and we had our car loaded up with everything we needed...including my favorite coffee mug, my Contigo. Love that thing! It was a surprise from Topher. He must really love me cause that's the best darn mug in the WORLD. 


So we were off, off to the airport to pick up my big brother in Philadelphia and then to Avalon.

The ride went well thanks to the portable DVD player. I always said I would never use one of those, but for a long car ride, it was a good idea. Our trip included a reststop at Farley's (which is no longer just the fresh veggie/fruit stand from my childhood. It now has a starbucks! What?!?!)  

We arrived Saturday evening and had enough time to unpack the car and make the beds before a delicious grilled chicken dinner made by my brother-in-law. And from that moment on, although we had a full week at the beach, the time seemed to zoom by. And by zoom, I mean that I think it all happened in the blink of an eye. Here are a few highlights from the week...

All week long the food was GREAT! We all took turns cooking. Topher and I hosted a 'Build Your Own AWESOME Burger' Night. We grilled beef, turkey and veggie burgers. Then we offered the following burger toppings: avocado, sauteed onions, sauteed mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, onion, spicy mustard, ketchup, and two kinds of cheese. Mmmmmm. Mmmmmmm. Best burger I've had in a long time. Our second night of cooking we put pork in the crockpot before heading to the beach in the morning. It slow-cooked all day, and by evening we had the juiciest and most flavorful BBQ pulled pork sandwiches. I roasted cauliflower (olive oil and salt) at 375 in the oven for 25-30 minutes until brown. It was so good - it's really my new favorite side dish. And Toph grilled zucchini. Yum.

But the funniest night of dinner was the sausage/meatball sandwich night hosted by my brother-in-law. Most of us chose one or the other. But not Toph. Nope. He went for the gusto and made this guy (and ate it too!). Wow. It's a sausball sandwich, no a meatage sandwich. Oh whatever. It's just crazy.


Most of our days were the same...relaxing, sunny, and enjoyable. Here is our annual picture with the Avalon lifeguard boat. In the back, I'm on the left, my sister in the middle and my brother on the right. Those are my sister's kids and my little girl in front!


My little girl LOVED the beach...just like me and just like her Nana!! We spent quite a bit of time at the beach building castles...


and jumping and riding waves. 


My sister and I did a lot of walking. One morning I walked all the way to Stone Harbor (8 miles round trip). I did it just to prove I could. It was fun too. I had a good Pandora mix that morning!


We had a night out or two. I don't think we are going to be welcome back at the Windrift anytime soon, but boy was that a fun night that ended with a bang! Great band and lots of cougars (and by lots - I mean like 200 women wearing loads of perfume. Seriously, you could taste it in the air. Those cougars love to boogie!)

There was also lots of time for crafts!!

We made tie-dye shirts. Here we are working on my niece's shirt.


This is my cute nephew. Do you like the trash bag smock? Thanks, Uncle Topher!


And then a few days later...the finished product...


We made sand art. 


Each kid made two projects and we still had leftover sand! Totally fun! (By the way, my sister got the girls matching outfits! So cute!!)


There was also a bead project, but I didn't get pictures. Bummer. : (

While my little girl napped in the afternoon, I played cards with my niece and nephew. My nephew kicked my butt playing Go Fish and WAR! I also read a new book, The Apple Turnover Murder by JoAnn Fluke. It can be purchased on most book sites, including Amazon.com. 


It's a great beach read. I had read most of the others in the series, and the recipes in this particular book seemed delicious...especially the sausage and cheese pancakes and the breakfast muffins!!

Avalon is a fantastic family beach town. Not much of a boardwalk, in other words - no carnival rides :) I am not a fan of rides or carnival food. There are a few cute shops, bakeries, and restaurants. We found a reason to visit Hoy's everyday (the general store). 

We also made it to our favorite place, PK McCool's several times. Avalon's motto is 'Cooler by a Mile'. So PK's motto is 'McCooler by a Mile'. My mom's initials are PK...so now we call her PK McCool. She loves it. At PK's they handmake much of the items on the menu, including their great scones served with homemade lemon curd. Yum! It's to die for! I want to make my own...and in case you do too, click here for a great recipe from the Joy of Baking.


I should also mention that PK McCools is home of the best french toast Topher has ever eaten...it's almond crusted! This plate was clean in minutes! 


But the best part of the vacation, or maybe I should say funniest part, was the discovery my nephew made Tuesday evening. He was playing in the backyard of the house when he noticed SEVEN HUGE WHITE SKUNKS walking out from under the neighbors shed. I am not joking when I say these things were the size of small dogs! They were actually really pretty, but since we were afraid of getting sprayed, we stayed off the lower deck after 8pm. Our house had a second floor deck that was perfect for late-night card games and a beer. The joke of the week was us yelling 'SKUNK!!' just like Chevy Chase yelled 'SQUIRREL!!' in the Christmas Vacation movie. I really have never seen anything like it!!


Did I mention they were the size of small dogs? It's true. Surprisingly, we never smelled a thing the entire week. What a relief. I warned everyone riding in our car that a spray from the skunk would land them a ticket on the roof rack. Good thing no one was sprayed!

So that's my vacation in a nutshell. Thank you again to all my customers that waited patiently to place orders upon my return! You are the best! Now that I'm rested and refreshed, I am totally happy baking up a storm!

Have a sweet day,

Anne

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Home is Where the Heart Is

posted Tuesday Aug 03, 2010 at 09:33 AM by Anne Yorks — 2 comments

I feel like I have so much to say that I don't know where to start!

I know I promised updates on the blog while we were on vacation, but obviously that didn't happen. Our house did not have internet as we originally thought. So I was forced to take a week off from blogging, emails, facebooking, etc. I have to say, as much as I missed it, I was happy to really have the week off. It was a true vacation!

Our beach vacation in Avalon, NJ was the best vacation I've had in a long time. No one got sick. No one ended up in the emergency room. We had a to-do list going into vacation and managed to check off everything on the list...and then some! I will have a 'vacation post' hopefully up tomorrow. I still need to import photos, etc. So I'm not quite ready to share! But it was a fun time and I can't wait to tell you all about the sun, food, and fun!

But, Dorothy on the Wizard of Oz said it best, "There is no place like home." As much fun as I had on vacation, I am so thankful to be home and settling back in. 

So with that sentiment, I would like to share with you the latest product I have added to my shop at www.flourboxbakery.com. The "Home is Where the Heart Is" cookie collection!



This gift was created for a housewarming cookie gift or a hostess gift. 

There are the yellow 'Home Sweet Home' hearts. I added the pink border to match them to the colors of the large pink hearts.



The large pink hearts have a cute flower and leaf border. If you look close, the flowers are actually mini hearts. 



The house cookie actually looks a little more like a cottage cookie. It was so much fun to make! I added a heart to the front door and the flower garden below the windows. Look close again, those little flowers are actually hearts!



I just want to move into this house! Or eat it! 

Here is a picture of the full collection in the box...



If you like this collection...click here to view the order details!

That's all for now. I am still playing catch up from being away. I think I have answered all emails/message. I have finished our mountain of laundry. And my cookie orders for the week are in progress.

I hope to have my vacation recap up tomorrow or Thursday! I can't wait to tell you all about the fun we had!

Have a sweet day!
Anne

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Giveaway Winner...

posted Friday Jul 23, 2010 at 08:35 AM by Anne Yorks — 2 comments

Before I announce the winner to the contest, I want to let you know that Flour Box will be CLOSED from Friday, July 23 - Sunday, August 1st. 

We are heading to the beach!! Any orders placed during this time will be processed immediately upon our return and will ship by August 5th. Thank you for your understanding as we work on our tan lines and sand castles. Want to follow along with the fun? I will be posting updates to the blog – you can enjoy our adventures ‘virtually’ on Tidbits!

And now the winner of the GIVEAWAY....

Congratulations to Mindy! She is the winner of the glass cheese board from Glass by Erica and one box of the Day at the Beach cookies!

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that posted a comment. Are any of you interested in posting a GUEST BLOG ENTRY? I would be so honored if you did!! Some of the family cookie recipes sounded to die for!! Just so you know, the offer is out there if you ever want to write an article on Tidbits!

It's short and sweet today! I have a bunch of cookie deliveries and then I'm off to pack my suitcase!! Yippee!!

Have a sweet day! I'll be in touch from the beach!!

Anne

 

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Life's a Zoo {and a GIVEAWAY}

posted Sunday Jul 18, 2010 at 10:49 AM by Anne Yorks — 69 comments

I'm celebrating today! The Flour Box Bakery Facebook page is now more than 400+ fans! I can't believe how quickly it happened. That page was only started 6 months ago. In appreciation of all the wonderful supporters and customers we have, I am hosting a super cool GIVEAWAY! Read to the bottom of this post and leave a comment for a chance at a great giveaway prize! (the details are below!!)

On my last post, I shared a bunch of animal cookies that I made for the Noah's Ark Cookie Baby Shower. Today, I want to show a few more animal cookies I have done for recent orders. I think I now have enough animals to open a cookie zoo!

Sometimes I feel like I live in a zoo! With a two-almost-three-year-old little girl, life gets silly and crazy pretty quickly! Add a 'Topher' into the mix and there is just no end to the laughter! But if we really did live in a zoo, I would hope instead of a 'don't feed the animals' sign on our cage, we would have a 'please feed the humans cookies' sign!!

Here is my little girl hamming it up on the ladybug ride at Knoebels Amusement Park. 

Telling knock-knock jokes that have pointless punch lines. They are the best!

Here is Topher eating a cupcake and practicing for the upcoming Pirate musical. (SIDE NOTE: He will be playing the part of One-eyed Bobby in a dinner theater fundraiser for our new church - www.centrechurch.org on August 28th. I think the musical will be hilarious, but even if it isn't the food is coming from Kelly's Steak and Seafood. Mmmmm. Mmmmmm. Mmmmmmm. Any locals that are interested in the $35 tickets, please email me at anne@flourboxbakery.com).

Being silly at the picnic lunch table...


Don't worry, there are a few serious, pensive moments mixed in the bunch! 

 

But even if my little girl is being serious, with those sunglasses, everyone else is cracking up!

These animal cookies make me smile almost as much as my family...

This is a new frog cookie favor I was testing out. He is cute and simple.


I have also done this guy... a frog prince (this went with a Valentine's Day order)


And this frog cookie...


Who do you like best? 

I also recently did a brown bear cookie. We actually saw a brown bear walk in front of our car on Route 80 during a recent road trip! We just missed hitting him. It was so crazy! He looked a lot like this cookie! I had to do a double take!


And then there is this friendly little guy...a turtle cookie. Whenever I'm walking on the treadmill. I think of the turtle - slow and steady wins the race. Of course while I'm walking on the treadmill I'm watching the food network and planning my next delicious dinner. I don't know if that's the best idea.


Recently, I have had a bunch of orders for horses...

I did a My Little Pony Horse Cookie for my niece's 5th birthday. My Sister-in-Law found her a ginormous Pony Castle and 50 ponies on ebay. I have only seen the pictures, but it is amazing!


I added hearts and flowers to their hind quarters.

The manes came in pink...


purple....


and aqua...


I also did a more traditional brown horse for a birthday party favor...


The colors of the party were red, blue and yellow. 


So I made the saddle to coordinate with that color scheme. I just enjoyed make the horse. It was fun.


So now for details of the giveaway...

Recently, my family and I attended the Boalsburg Peoples' Choice Art Festival. My friend, Erica, was an exhibitor. She makes glass gifts... jewelry, mosaics, and these really cool cheese boards and spoon cradles out of glass wine, water, and spirit bottles. 


The winner of the giveway will get one cheese board from Glass by Erica (www.glassbyerica.com). It is a special edition Evian bottle that has been heated and flattened in the kiln at 1000 degrees. It also comes with a super cute cheese knife.

PLUS...in addition to the cheese board, the winner will also get one 'Day at the Beach' cookie gift from Flour Box Bakery!!


So all you need to do to win this prize is leave a comment telling me what is your favorite kind cookie or cheese. It's that easy! 

You have until this Wednesday at midnight to post your response. I'll announce the winner on the blog and will also notify them by email. Please keep in mind that I only ship to the continental United States. No purchase necessary to enter. This is just for fun!! Good Luck!

Have a sweet day,

Anne

PS - Here are my favorites... I love Sugar Cookies and Parmesan cheese (but the real Italian kind that is aged 24 months. I don't consider myself a cheese snob, but I'm not a fan for the kind from Wisconsin that has aged only 10 months. It's just not the same!!!)



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