Dec 31, 2013

2013 Wrap up....My Favorite Posts this year

Good bye have been amazing!
This has been a busy and fun year.
I thought I would wrap up the year
by sharing some of my favorite posts of the year.
So...grab your beverage of choice,
and prepare for a long post, as I have
been busy.
I started the year off with my first
I discovered that I am a Glaze Gal, always and forever!
Mini Puzzle Piece Cookies, they always make me happy!
This dude, he is John Tyler, the 10 President,
he was my contribution to a group project, you can see
them all Here.
Chocolate Goober Bars, make these...they are YUMMY!
I cookied my lucky shirt as part of a
My simple Iris Cookie for a Spring is in the Air Inspiration Challenge
April was HUGE for me!
I invited people to guest post on my
blog to bring awareness to Autism.
WOW....each and every post had me in tears
and total awe!
Please take a moment to look at the
wrap-up post Here  You will see amazing cookies
and cakes, and read some of the most inspiring
stories.  So moving, and so thankful for
the guest posters, they went above and beyond.
***I am still undecided if I am going to do this again this year,
it was a lot of work, and a lot of stress, but, if you are a blogger,
or have a Autism related story you would like to share on my
blog during April, please contact me at, and I will contact you
if I decide to do it again.***
Mustache cookies were a big hit at a baby shower.
We are HUGE KC Royal's Fans,
I made Cookies to prove it!
Peanut for my sister's birthday.
Confession, after the mini puzzle piece cookies, these
are my favorite cookies this year, but don't tell
the other cookies.
Donut Cookies, so simple and cute!
So....there you blog life of 2013!
It has been a great year, I have grown and met some
amazing friends.  I have learned a lot.  I have seen
success and failure.  I have grown as person.
I pray that 2014 will be a blessed year for me...
and for you too!

Dec 29, 2013

Pieces of My Puzzle 12-29-13

Howdy folks and Happy Sunday.

Well...this is last Pieces of My Puzzle post of 2013!

Confession...I have debated long and hard about weather I should keep up these posts.  Honestly, they have not been a big hit here.  I find myself having to get up early on Sunday's to write them, they seem a little tossed together, and some weeks I just don't feel like writing them at all.  Well, I expressed my concerns and fears with my best friend and she pointed out that they are a great way to let my readers to learn about my life outside this blog.  A way for me to get real, vent a little, and share some of the crazy that is going on in my life.  Maybe talk about the books I am reading, the TV shows I have been watching, Pop Culture...whatever is occupying my life this week, so...if you like my Pieces of my Puzzle posts, you have dear Melissa to thank.  Thanks are the best!

So...Christmas has come and gone.  Did you have fun?  Are you glad it is over?  Have you taken your tree and decorations down yet?  Me...we had a very blessed day, and am SOOOO glad it is over, and nope...tree is still up.  Collin's favorite gifts this year was BOOKS!  We got him a WiiU, but, books were the star...just hours after open his gifts, he was in his room reading.  I have to share, that as a parent, especially as a parent of an autistic son, this makes my heart sing.  It too many years to get him to even try to read books, and longer to get him to Love reading, and now...well, it is his passion.  While at Walmart yesterday, he said "Mom, I have moved on, I want books, not video games"  Wow...what more can a parent ask for?

TV watching this week has been a little off.  I have found myself watching crazy shows like "Pawn Stars" "American Pickers" and "Ax Men"  What?  Crazy I know, but with all my favorite shows on break...I have to watch something.  So...there you go..nothing exciting really but, entertaining for sure.

Got big plans for New Year's Ever?  We will be doing what we always do, going to a party at our Church.  We get there at 8 pm, eat, visit, play games or watch a movie, then pray in the New Year, and home by 12:10.  I need to bring some snack foods, but am stuck on what to bring.  Got any ideas?  Something fun, easy and tasty?  Share with me some recipes a girl out?

Oh...ya'll....I have busted out my crochet needles and yarn....I have not done that in years....and I have to confess, I am kinda loving it.  I will share with you my finished project, maybe this week.  That is if it looks good at all, and I can figure out how to take a decent looking picture of it.  Talk about a challenge.

So..this week has been pretty quiet on the blog...just one little post...Simple Snowflake cookies...but they were fun, and easy...what is not to love about that?

I pray everyone has a safe and happy New Year.  I am ready to start a new year for sure...planning lots of changes, new me, new vision for the blog, spread my wings a little, see where I end up.


Dec 24, 2013

SImple Snowflake Cookies

Happy Christmas Eve!
Do you have big plans today?
Me..well...I have to work today, then I have
a candle light service at church tonight.
Then, it is home to get ready for Santa's visit.
Need a last minute treat for Santa? 
These cookie fit the bill!
Simply add some blue food coloring to your favorite
sugar recipe, and cut cookies using a 6 petal mini flower cutter.
Bake as normal.

When they are cool, add details with white glaze or Royal Icing, dip
in white sanding sugar.
Simple, cute and fast snowflake cookies.

They are perfect for Santa
or teachers
or neighbors
or for eating.
Whatever floats your boat!
Have a safe, happy and blessed
Much love,
Kim, Mr. Cookie Puzzle and Collin!

Dec 22, 2013

Autism and Christmas

Christmas is in just a few days.

Christmas can be very stressful for children with Autism and their parents.

I know this first hand, as my 18 year old son has Autism, and I have experienced my fair share
of a  stressful Christmas.  While I am not expert....I have learned a few things that I wanted to pass along.

So...what do you do?  How to you make it a fun and stress free Christmas.

Well...simply do what you need to do for your child.  It is NOT about traditions that other's hold is not even the traditions that YOU hold is about making traditions that YOUR child will cherish.

Do the lights on the Christmas tree freak your child out? lights on the tree?

Does the Santa at the mall scare you child?

Fine...don't force it on your child so that YOU can have a picture for your scrapbook.

Does your child not so well in crowded noisy stores?

Fine...don't take them shopping.

Honestly, it is not rocket science people.  As a parent of a special needs child, you do what you have to do...period, end of discussion.

Guess what?  Collin comes first...always...every time...without exception. husband went to a lot of holiday parties without me.

We went to parties as a family, and left early.

We had a dear friend of ours dress as Santa, and come to our home, for a visit and pictures.

Shopping online keeps me and my child out of the crowded stores.  Free shopping, cheaper prices, and often times better selection.

Your child does not like a hot itchy Christmas Sweater....fine...let them wear their favorite shirt.  Is a battle over clothes worth it?  NOPE...move on...pick your battles.

My job as Collin's mom, was to make Christmas a fun and enjoyable experience for Collin.
Was it hard? Yes.  Did I have to plan ahead? Yes.  But that is is my job.

Gifts for special needs children can be hard.  Collin always made VERY SPECIFIC lists.  If it was on his list...he expected it.  Period...end of discussion.  If it was not on his list...he did not want it...fine, we are all like can be rather embarrassing when he tells a friend "I did not ask for this, I don't want it"  You know Autistic children often lack a filter.  This is not a problem now, as Collin has learned to just smile and say "Thank you"  But when he was filter was in place.  How did I work around this? Well...I spoke up...when Grandmas asked what Collin wanted, I told her, specifically what he wanted, or offered to purchase the gift for them.  See...easy solution .  That way Collin gets the gifts he wants...Grandma's know that the gift is welcomed   and I am not embarrassed.

So...are you a parent of a special needs child?  What to you do to cope during the holidays?

I saw this posted on Facebook today....and shared it on my Facebook page...I thought it was really cute, so I made a little picture using PicMonkey...feel free to share it...print it out..and give it to people who look at you all crazy like when your child acts "odd" to them.

No Autism.....No Santa....Take that!


1. He lines up & names his reindeer over and over again
2. He wears the same clothes every day
3. He has an extremely limited diet of only milk and cookies
4. He gets stuck in the same routine year after year
5. He avoids social interaction & does all of his work at night when everyone else is sleeping
6. He checks his list over and over and over.....
7. He likes hanging out with people smaller than he is
8. Everything is black or white (naughty or nice) no in-between!
9. He loves squeezing into teeny spaces (chimneys!)
10. He is clueless about the social stigma of creeping into other people's houses
11. He spends an entire year preparing for one night
12. He does things that amaze people & has them wondering how in the heck he did it!

Dec 15, 2013

Pieces of my Puzzle 12-15-13

It is now December 15th!  That means there are officially 10 days until Christmas.  Are you ready?
Have all your cookies and candy made.  Is your Christmas Tree up?  How about all your gifts, are they are purchased?

Me, well....I am almost there.  Thanks to online shopping, I am almost done with my gifts, got to love shopping in your pajamas, while watching TV, and free shipping!  No crowds, rude people and thanks to Amazon, running from store to store!

I have all my baking almost done.  Friday night I packaged up all my candy...38 containers of candy! I was up at 6 yesterday morning, and baked and decorated 20 dozen mini Christmas cookies..WOOT WOOT!

My Christmas tree, it is up...but don't break out the awards yet.  For the last few years, I have only put up a table top tree, and it is blue, and I love it!  I live in a pretty small house, and putting up my big tree involves, getting up in the attic, moving furniture and all kinds of chaos, so...small blue tree it is.  I am firmly anti chaos during the Christmas season.  I love my small tree, and Santa does not seem to mind.

I have not gotten much reading done this week, still trying to get through The Throne of Fire.  Collin finished Atlantis Rising, and is waiting for Christmas to come to start a new book.  His Christmas list this year included mostly books.  I sent word to Santa, so I think he will be a happy boy.

TV time.....lots of good TV this week.  I am sad to see the Winter finale of my favorite shows.
American Horror Story BLEW MY MIND!  I think I will watch the first season, while waiting for it to start again in January.  Grey's Anatomy and Scandal also ended.  I have watched Grey's since it started, and it did go through an awkward phase for a few years, but is come out of that, and I love the show now.  Talk about a cliff hanger!  WOW...just WOW!  Scandal, I did not watch the first season, and started watching it halfway through the second season, but it is quickly becoming one of my favorite shows.   Survivor ends tonight, the last few seasons were kind of boring, but I am loving this years.  Who are you rooting for? For me, I would like to see Ciera win, girl is tough, took huge risks, and has fought to stay in the game. Now...I have to find something to occupy my TV time until my favorite shows come back.

So...this week on the blog


 Coming this week....well...I am not sure....while I made lots of candy...I kind of gave most of it away and forgot to save some to take pictures with...oppps...blogger foul!
I did save a little, so if I can get some good pictures, I will share my Million Dollar Fudge recipe, and my recipe for Crispy Peanut butter balls.  I also made tons of chocolate covered pretzels, but those are simple, not sure if they are blog worthy.  Oh...and the cookies....I will try to save them....easy and cute, and perfect for gift to love that!  I will try to share those too.
Until next time....

Dec 12, 2013

Big Batch Crockpot Peanut Clusters

Ya'll I have been a straight up
a candy making machine the last week.
My husband likes to give
candy trays to a few of
his business associates and friends.
By a few, I mean 38 trays!
How sweet of him, right?
Well...that means the I have to make a lot
of candy.
I need BIG Batch Simple Candy.
These Peanut Clusters are just that.
If you can turn on a crock pot, you can make these.

Big Batch Crockpot Peanut Clusters
12 oz. package Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
12 oz. package Milk Chocolate Chips
20 oz. package Chocolate Almond Bark
35 oz. Salted Peanuts
Place chocolate chips and almond bark in crockpot.  I use a large 7 quart crockpot, but a 5 quart one would work also.  Set to low and let it do it's magic.  Stir occasionally.  When chocolate is completely melted and smooth, stir in peanuts.  Using a large cookie scoop or two spoons, drop onto wax paper lined cookie sheet. Making these in the crock pot lets you work at your own pace, with no fear of the chocolate hardening or scorching.   Let harden and enjoy.  This makes a HUGE batch, perfect for gifting and sharing.  I store these at room temperature, because I like them soft, but you can store them in the refrigerator for a firmer cluster.
Stay tune....I made lots of other candy, I will share them soon.
Until next time......

This post might be linked up at the link parties found Here

Dec 9, 2013

Naughty and Nice Christmas Cookies

One of the highlights of my month
on this blog is the pleasure
of being able to join in on the
Monthly Inspiration Challenges
hosted by
This month's theme was
Naughty and Nice.
When I heard the theme, I drew a total blank.
I mean, I had NOTHING!
No idea what I could do at all.
Then one, I was at the grocery store,
and saw a whole line of
Naughty and Nice Themed Christmas Items.
Nothing fancy, just simple and cute phrases.
So...I took pictures with my phone,
normal people do that, right?
I meant to get these made and posted early in the month, but
time got away from
better late then never, right?

These were fun cookies to make,
thank you ladies for always inspiring me to
try new things!
Make sure you head over to
see other Naughty and Nice Cookies.
And join us next month for
"Warm and Fuzzy"
This post might be linked up at the link parties found Here

Dec 5, 2013

Chocolate Mint Bars

The Holiday Season can be all kinds of crazy for

I am no exception.

I work full time, try to manage a house,
have a Husband, Special Needs Son,
two crazy dogs and an aquatic turtle.

When I bake, I need to be quick, and simple.

These bars fit the bill perfectly.

You can whip them up in like 5 minutes,
and have a delicious treat for the family,
to take to a Christmas Party, or give as a

A cake mix, some mint chocolate chips and a
few other kitchen samples, and you are done!

When I decided to make these last weekend,
I planned on using a chocolate cake mix,
but sadly I did not have one, so I used a yellow cake mix,
and added some cocoa powder and some brown sugar.

The result was a think, soft and delicious almost
cake like bar.  You could also put some icing on them
and call it a snake cake.

What ever floats your boat, I will not judge.

Just make them, they will make you smile!

Here is a quick tip that I always do when baking bars,
I line my pan with aluminum foil before baking.
When done baking and completely cooled, simply lift the
bars out of the pan, and cut squares  with a bench scraper.
The result is perfectly cut bars that look great on a
platter and are sure to wow your recipient.
As a bonus, the pan is completely clean! 
Bonus points right there!

Chocolate Mint Bars 
The Cookie Puzzle

1 Yellow Cake mix
1/4 cup cocoa (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup water
1 package Nestle Dark Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Spray 9x13 cake pan with Non-stick spray or line with foil.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine, cake mix, cocoa, brown sugar, eggs, butter, and water.
Mix on low until combined.  Turn mixer to medium and beat for 2 minutes.  Gently stir in chocolate mint chips.  Bake for 23-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Cool completely, cut into bars.

This post might be linked up at the link parties found Here

Dec 1, 2013

Pieces of My Puzzle 12-1-13

Happy December 1st!
Sorry I have been MIA say life has been crazy lately
would be a major understatement.
But, I am back, and I will try
not to be gone so long next time
So...let's get too it!
Did everyone have a happy Thanksgiving?
I has a very blessed day.
We had breakfast with Mr. Cookie Puzzle's Mom, his brother and our
2 nieces and nephew.  Nothing like starting the day off right, with a
big family breakfast.  Spending time with my nieces and nephews is always a blessing, they
are growing up fast.  We got our bellies full, cleaned up, and played some cards.
After that, we packed up and heading to my sister's house for
Thanksgiving dinner with my family.
Again, it was a blessed event, my sister hosted dinner this year
in her new house, and she did an amazing job!
I ate way too much food, and she sent me home with enough
left overs to feed an army!
Black Friday.....well...we did not venture out in the crowds.
As I have mentioned before, I hate shopping, and shopping
in crowds is not my cup of tea.
So...that means I have no Christmas presents purchased yet.
What about you?
Are you one of those crazy organized shoppers who has everything done?
I am more of a last minute shopper type, make a list, run in and grab what
I need and get out of Dodge!
Not much baking or cooking took place this week.
I did have 15 dozen cookies that I delivered on Saturday, but
I forgot to take any pictures.  They were very simple mini cookies
with one color on them.  They were for a couple celebrating their
60th wedding anniversary!  Can you imagine being married that long?
Mr. Cookie Puzzle and I have been married 19 years in a few weeks, and
that seems like a life time!  I told him that I have now officially been with him
for more then half my life.  I guess I will stick around a few more years!
As for Christmas Cookies, well I have one set in my head that I want to make
this year. And after that, we will see how it goes.
Hopefully I will get them baked today, or tomorrow, or whenever.
I try to keep  things simple, and just offer one or two options
for Christmas each year.  My customers seem to be happy with this
arrangement, so why change it up?
Last year I offered these Nativity Cookies, and they were a hit.
Then, I thought maybe some personalized Stocking Cookies, the
kiddos always enjoy them.
Then...I also have to make candy..lots of candy.
Mr. Cookie Puzzle runs his own business, and every year
I make gift baskets for his business associates and the
companies he works with. Last years I put together
35 baskets....that is a lot of fudge, clusters, bark and other
goodies.  If I can get my act together, I will share my
recipes for BIG BATCH candy.
TV Time....well...lots of my favorite shows are on break,
so I have been spending my TV time watching mindless TV until they get back.
Last night Collin and I watched
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two.
Did you watch it?  Are you a fan?
ABC Family had a Harry Potter marathon on this weekend,
so I watched as many of the movies as I could, and recorded them for later.
So...that is about it...a long post about nothing really.
Just me...keeping it real....trying like crazy to keep my heard
above water.
Until next time...

Nov 21, 2013

Chewy Pumpkin Pie Pudding Toffee Cookies

Thanksgiving is one week away!
Are you ready?
I am!
I love Thanksgiving!
I love food in general, but Pumpkin Pie is my
favorite EVER!
Hold the Whipped Cream please.
Odd, maybe, but I want to tastes and savor
every bit of pumpkin and spice, and the
whipped cream just gets I the way.
Nothing gets between me and my
pumpkin pie!
These cookies are perfect if you are a
pumpkin pie lover.
No fork needed!
They are soft and chewy, and have a
great pumpkin flavor.
They get better as they sit.
When I first made them, I fell in love.
Then next day, we got engaged.
Then, on day three...we got married had 2.5 kids and a white picket fence.
So....I have to make more!
When I found the Pumpkin Pie Pudding in the stores, I
knew I wanted to make cookies, and I went
straight to my best friends Blog and found
this amazing recipe for
make them...they are wonderful!
But, I changed it up a little, as just like whipped cream,
I am not a huge fan of chocolate and pumpkin.
So I added chocolate toffee chips, they add a little sweetness, creaminess and crunch.
Chewy Pumpkin Pie Pudding Cookies
(adapted from Simply Sweets by Honeybee)
2 3/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
 1 cup unsalted butter {softened} *
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla {I used Mexican vanilla}
1 small {3.4 oz} pkg instant pumpkin pie pudding mix
2 eggs
1 {8 oz} pkg Milk Chocolate Toffee bits
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the flour,baking soda and salt. In the bowl of your mixer add the butter, sugars, vanilla and pudding mix and beat until smooth and creamy. Then beat in the eggs until combined well. Add the flour mixture. Stir in the toffee bits. Drop about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes.

Yield approximately 3 dozen cookies depending on how big you scoop them. I used a #30 scoop {2 tbsp} and got 34 cookies.

This post might be linked up at the link parties found Here

Nov 19, 2013

Turkey Cookies for the "Kids Table"

Thanksgiving is right around the corner.
It will be here before you know it.
Don't tell the retail stores that, they
have skipped right over Thanksgiving, and
went from 4th of July right to Christmas.
Halloween and Thanksgiving have been
moved down the holiday food chain,
next year, they will be as popular as
Flag Day and May Day.
But...I love me some Thanksgiving!
Some of my favorite Thanksgiving memories
revolve around the
Kids Table at Thanksgiving Dinner at my
Grandma's house.
Our Kids Table, was banished to a small
room off the kitchen.  No fancy table cloths
no cloth napkins, no center pieces.
Just a card table and some "chairs".
I say "chairs" because they were often
times not chairs, but step ladders, wooden spools,
lawn chairs, boxes, whatever we could find.
But we always had fun.
 We also did not have
decorated cookies on our plates,
I think they would be so cute
at the kids table. 
And then, just to keep the little
ones busy, add an edible
food marker.
And have them write what they are
thankful for.


I made these cookies using a number eight cutter
and a simple leaf cutter.  They are easy to make
require few colors, and sure to be a hit this Thanksgiving.

This post might be linked up at the link parties found Here
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