"Thank you for designing (on purpose!) a tin that fits perfectly into the USPS flat-rate priority mail boxes. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate knowing that cookies I create to send to our son, (currently deployed to Afghanistan) and the other shipments of cookies I send to our family and friends will arrive in one piece. I shared about the Baking It Forward campaign at my blog and hope you enjoy reading along! http://www.thearmymom.com/2012/12/martha-stewart-by-mail-cookie-cutter.html"
I shared my story on my blog (www.StillLivingTheDream.com) yesterday but wanted to include it here, too. Jennifer
Sometimes having a blog can be so rewarding. an outlet that allows me to share with you so many things. Products, books, crafts and recipes I love. Funny stories about marriage, parenthood and life in general. Fun places to travel, both within and outside the city of Houston.
Other times it’s a burden.
Like recently. When I’ve wanted to share with you something significant that's been going on in my life but instead I’ve chosen to gloss over it. Filling recent posts with giveaways and back-to-school stories. And sometimes, not posting at all.Because writing something down makes it real. And I haven’t been ready for real.
This morning I found two cookie recipes online and then went grocery shopping and filled my cart with items like sugar, flour and butter. I pre-heated my oven to 350 and dusted off the Kitchen Aid mixer. And as I put together the ingredients to form a perfect treat. I slowly came apart. The cookies are for my mom.
She had just barely recovered from her own heart attack last April when her sister, my aunt, called with news that she had been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. After a month of chemo, the doctors delivered the worst news possible. There wasn’t anything that could help. My aunt was given just three months to live.
My mom took a leave of absence from her own job to fly across the country to help her. (My aunt never married and doesn’t have any children.) Over the last couple of months her health has deteriorated and my mom has been there by her side to help her go to the rest room, feed her through her IV, rub her back and hold her hand while she cries. This week marks that three month mark her doctors predicted would be the end. And we know in our hearts that they were right. She doesn’t have much time left.
I visited to help for a bit during the summer but I don’t know how much help I really was. I struggled with my own emotions and while I kept them in check while I was there; hugging my aunt goodbye for the last time was almost too much to bear. I cried the entire trip back home. My sister has been able to travel up to help several times and my aunt and uncle have been there to help, too.
But it’s mom who has been my aunt’s main caregiver. She’s so strong and calm and ever present.
But I know she’s tired. And she’s sad.
I have developed such a deep respect for what those who take care of ill and aging family members go through. The sacrifice they make to take care of someone else.
I hope the cookies I baked and the care package I send will bring her comfort. That she will feel loved and cared for while she is loving and caring for her sister, my aunt.
I got the idea from Imperial Sugar’s Bake It Forward Program. I’ve been lucky enough to do some work for them this summer and through my affiliation with the company I heard about tins you can get from them and then fill with goodies and send to someone who needs a smile. The hope is that person will then be inspired to fill the tin with goodies to send to someone else and that the tin slowly travels from person to person.
I registered my tin and then after my mom gets her cookies, she can send it to someone else and track it. I know that she has many people that she can give it to like nurses and aides that visit the house to check on my aunt and my other aunt in Massachusetts who recently lost her mom and is caring for her sick father. But because I don’t want my mom to worry about baking more cookies, I sent her a second batch to fill the tin and pass it on!
You can check out more about the Bake It Forward movement on their website. I think it’s a great idea. It motivated me to send my mom a care package and also, to finally share what’s been going on with me with you.
To visit my post on my blog, Still Living The Dream - visit http://www.stilllivingthedream.com/2012/09/baking-it-forward-to-my-mom-in-new-york.html
I was looking for a way to show my appreciation for my next-door neighbor who constantly watches over our home, and flashes a heartfelt smile everyday. God placed this tin in my eyesight! And, then I visited the website...it was all so perfect! Thank you, Imperial, for making this such a worthy and ENJOYABLE cause.
My husband and I are serving our 3rd tour here in Germany. My husband will soon deploy to Afganistan in the next few weeks. When I saw that my Aunt (Tammy Allen) was doing the Bake It Forward I thought that it was wonderful and hoped to receive one. In which we did on July 5. I have since sent it onto another wonderful friend from our last duty station. We really enjoyed the goodies and my children were very excited to get in the box. My children look forward to packages as they are a treat for us and when we received this one they were overally excited. Thanks for allowing this military family a chance to exprience a wonderful thing. BIF-A6410
I was so excited that my sweet friend, Jane, gave me an Imperial Sugar box with cookies in it. It made me feel special that she was including me as someone to be part of the Bake It Forward program. Now days, we need to try to help others Smile and Feel Special. Thank you, Jane. I will send mine to my mom in Arkansas.
Its me again with a sweet story. I delivered a tin to our dear friend Mary Shelton, long time Sugar Land resident. You should have seen the look on her face. She said, "I can still bake and that is what keeps me busy. I will have so much fun with this!"
I received my BIF tin on a day I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with volunteer commitments. When I first saw the box on my porch, I thought "Now what??!!!" Once I discovered what it was...what a pick-me-up!! Someone cared enough to think about me and on a day I really needed a little TLC. Thanks, Jane!! I’m not sure yet exactly what will go into my tin or to whom I’ll send it. I just hope it brightens their day as much as it did mine!!
Jane We live in practically the shadow of the Imperial Refinery in Sugar Land. When I heard about the Bake It Forward initiative I knew right away that it was something I’d like to do. My favorite three packages went quite a way - to my new york "Auntie" who could use some happiness, to a friend in Honolulu who helps EVERYONE, To a cowboy cousin working in Montana. And I also found a way to get a dozen bins of cookies sent to military personnel serving in harm's way through a great organization called Cypress Cares. www.cypress-cares.org Everyone seems to be enjoying the experience!
Received my tin from my good friend, Jane. Am passing it along to another good friend, Miriam, filled with Mandlebrot.
What a wonderful surprise it was to have received the Bake it Forward tin filled with yummy cranberry cookies. I love the idea of passing it on and will track my tin to see where it lands. My First Cookbook was from Imperial Sugar, I am sixty years old and I still have it. When my daughter was little we made cookies from it. This past December my husband purchased a copy of your cookbook from your Sugar Land office for our granddaughter, so, the tradition lives on. Thank you Imperial Sugar!
Received my tin this week from my daughter filled with lots of my favorite cookies...don’t laugh, Toll House chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips! Love chocolate but for some reason like this cookie sans chips. Now I am thinking of sending it back with an apricot filled pastry cookie...
After having a hard week at work, I came in on Monday morning to find a tin full of delicious brownies!!! What a great way to start my week! Can’t wait to bake up goodies to make someone else’s day.
I am baking it forward to my daughter in NY.I baked Peanut butter cookies,oatmeal raisin cookies . I couldn't bake last year because my oven didn’t work so this year I had so much fun baking!!
In my family, we had tea every day at 4:00 p.m. My mom always had homemade cookies, muffins, or date nut bread to go with the tea. She was a wonderful cook and her house always smelled like heaven. She died about 15 years ago and I still miss her every day. A few years after my mother died, I discovered that I didn’t have all of her recipes. I had a few favorites, but was missing many more. I felt kind of panicky because I had lost something extremely valuable. I began to email my sisters and nieces hoping to find the rest. Much to my relief, the replies came quickly with so many recipes that I began to compile them into categories. That gave me an idea so I emailed again, this time asking for everyone’s favorite memories of my mom. When those rolled in I knew I had the makings of a family cookbook. While reading everyone’s stories, I understood that my mom made everyone feel special and loved. It also made me cry more than I had in years. Everyone who has lost an important person in their life knows that grief comes in waves. It hits you hard, and then goes away. I could be driving down the street feeling fine, hear a song on the radio like "It’s a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong (her absolute favorite), then I’d burst into tears. Having the cookbook to put together gave me a mission that year and it helped me to get through the holidays. At the time I didn’t have a digital camera, so I drew and painted pictures of the food by memory. I cut out and glued the paintings on each recipe to put together one master copy. Next I color copied each page and I made 12 copies. I let Kinko’s put a clear plastic cover and back page and they bound them in plastic, also. The cover showed through nicely. I made a copy for each sister and for all nine of our children, put them all in large envelopes and mailed them off several days before the holiday. The carrot cookies were only made for Christmas Eve so I wanted them to arrive in time. Mama’s Christmas Carrot Cookies Preheat oven to 350 degrees Cream the first 3 ingredients below: 1/2 cup softened butter ½ cup shortening 1 1/8 cup white sugar Add 2 eggs 1 1/2 cup carrots (cook until soft, then put through the food processor or blender) In a different bowl: Sift all 3 items below through a metal strainer: 3 cups flour 2 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. salt Mix all the dry and wet ingredients together. Put parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Make rounded tablespoon size drops for the cookies-I use a medium sized melon baller. Bake for around 12 -15 minutes- They don’t get brown just check to see that they are firm, but watch for the bottom burning. Orange Icing 1 package confectioner’s sugar 2 oranges grated Juice the oranges 1/2 stick of butter, softened Add the sugar and butter then mix. Use as much orange juice from the 2 oranges as needed but don’t make it too runny, then add in the grated orange rind. When the cookies are cool, spoon as much icing as you want over the cookies. Cut maraschino cherries in half, blot on a paper towel, and then place one on each cookie after icing. Delicious- not too sweet, but the flavor of carrots and oranges together is so wonderful. Here’s what my niece Cindy wrote in her memory of my mom for the cookbook: "The joy of walking up the stairs to her home after a long, long trip-tea every day-how wonderful it was for the whole family to be together-date squares, carrot cookies, reading on the back porch, having her put her large knitted afghan over me for a nap, sweet peas growing in her yard, decorating Christmas cookies at her house with all the cousins, watching her bring plates of food to neighbors who were alone or sick. She was so loving." If you ever have the opportunity to put together a family cookbook I know you will find it an exercise in love.
Had a great time baking Butterscotch and Lemon cookies that I am sending to my cousin Nancy Lee in Arizona. While Nancy was in Austin a month ago she fell seriously ill, was hospitalized and eventually had to have surgery. Her recovery was successful, but for the last three weeks she has been on a liquid diet. I thought she would have a wonderful time enjoying a few sweets. Ed Lallo
I’m in Richmond, TX, and tonight I made some delicious orange cranberry scones for my co-worker and friend Maria. She is always doing for others, so I thought I would take the time to bake her something she would really enjoy. This will be one of her favorites I know..it’s already one of mine! She loves to bake and bakeitforward is a great way to start the holiday season! I can’t wait to see how far it goes!
I received a batch of yummy sea salt brownies from my favorite ’older’ cousin (well cousin’s wife). I am sending her tin to Tulsa for a birthday present for one of my daughters college friends (filled with white chocolate macademia nut cookies). Happy Birthday Em. Patty
I sent Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies to my Grandmother in Ada, Oklahoma. I sent them to her to brighten her day and also I knew she would take the time to bake it forward...just dont know if she will be able register the tin online...hahaha
Nobody has ever accused me of knowing my way around the kitchen. But, I never pass up an opportunity to make someone smile. Hockey season just started. So, I drew inspiration from that and baked actual-sized hockey pucks. (thank goodness they taste better than the real thing) I sent the chocolate cake pucks, with ganache icing, to my great friend Tori in Philly. I know she and her sweet Maddie will bake it forward, together. Can’t wait to see how far my tin travels.
I used to work at Imperial and a former colleague and friend sent me some awesome pralines. I now work for Dr Pepper, which has used Imperial Pure Cane Sugar for over 100 years.
I am "Baking Forward" my Sea Salt Brownies. They are super easy to make... just mix up your favorite brownie recipe, and instead of using a 9x13 pan, use mini muffin pans. (Be sure to spray with cooking spray.) Fill each cup up about 3/4 full, drizzle a little sea salt on top, and pop in the oven. The cooking time will be shorter, so start checking them around 12 minutes. I got the idea for this recipe from some brownies I found at Trader Joe’s. But beware – the salt and sweet flavor combination is addicting! One tin is going to my cousin Patty in Hurst, Texas. She is a breast cancer survivor and since October is breast cancer awareness month, I thought this was a good way to show I was thinking of her. The other is going to my daughter, Anna, in Las Vegas. She recently returned to work after being on maternity leave, and I know she's missing her precious son, Gavin. Hopefully this will brighten her day.
We at Freed are so excited to be a part of Bake It Forward! A bunch of us baked over the weekend and brought our goodies for this photo! We picked up a bunch of flat rate boxes from the post office and are getting ready to enter our tin numbers and ship! I myself and shipping to three relatives and a good friend of mine that worked here that just moved to Tucson. Thank you, Imperial Sugar, for this great feel good idea! I can’t wait to hear from my recipients!
I was really excited to help kick off Bake It Forward! I decided to send some Cranberry-Orange muffins to my best friends in Tyler. I know she loves to bake, so hopefully she’ll Bake It Forward, too! Can’t wait to see how far this goes.
I’m part of the first-day launch of this idea! My tin of brownies is headed to my sister in Salt Lake City, Utah. I'm a pretty busy person by nature, so I haven’t spoken to her in a long time. It’s nice to have a reason to just say, "thinking of you." She’s a baker, so I’d imagine the tin will find its way back to Texas -- perhaps to our mom’s house -- filled with something awesome soon (hint, hint).
Sending brownies with chocolate chip cookie baked on top to my sister Kelly, niece Siannan, and nephew Patrick. Miss you guys and Bake it Forward.
I baked some great sugar cookies for my niece in Ft. Worth. Hopefully she’ll get a big smile and bake it forward for someone else!