Mama’s Night Out 2012 – Recap

 

If you are not already familiar, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based out of New York whose mission it is to bring awareness of and raise money for pediatric cancer. Gretchen Holt and Larry Witt founded this organization on the realization that there was very little money designated to pediatric cancer research. Their son Liam, who from the age of 2 to 6 ½ battled stage 4 cancer, was the inspiration behind all the hard work they have poured into this organization; and although he has passed, his spirit lives on in the continued enthusiasm that people nationwide have for the momentous changes this cause is striving to achieve.

With this same will to make a difference came the original idea behind the brain child that Cara Pearson and Michelle Riddle termed “Mama’s Night Out” (you can read about the 1st annual event by clicking HERE). This year, there were expectations – reasonable expectations, but added pressure nonetheless – to host the 2nd annual Mama’s Night Out event and really show the people of Santa Cruz and the surrounding areas how to be a Good Cookie and what Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is all about. The beauty of events like this is that they mean so many things to so many different people; and whether you are directly or indirectly affected by cancer, or perhaps not at all, it still gives women the chance to get together and celebrate their lives and the lives of those they love.

During the months and weeks leading up to the event, it was hard not to overhear the constant flow of ideas between Cara, Michelle, and all the other wonderful women involved in the creation of this event. Simply put, it was inspiring. Their unrestrained passion for this project for the second year in a row was evident to me in their dedication to each and every detail and the way in which they strived with every meeting to come up with the “bigger and better” concept that a 2nd annual event enacts.

Mama’s Night Out 2012 began with thoughts of orange (Liam’s favorite color) and a complimentary deep and gorgeous turquoise blue. So you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when, after waiting in line with my two girlfriends amongst the large and growing crowd of other excited women, the details began to emerge: I was presented with an orange leather flower cuff.

This was simply one of many details, I’m sure, that the majority of women strutting through the beautifully draped ivory satin curtains at the event entrance did not notice that evening. But they were details that I had the pleasure of seeing get pulled together in the end as the event was finalized. Everything from the hand-crafted and hand-painted bake sale stand to the turquoise blue paint stir-sticks made raffle signs for each raffle item (yes, those were paint stir-sticks!)

Although Gretchen wasn’t able to make it to the event this year, her words of thanks and inspiration were passed along via a short video message meant to encourage women in the room to take action. As I looked around the room, I could see how her words captivated these women, many of them also mothers with beautiful children by whom they would do anything to save. The importance of the event became clear to me again this year as I glanced at these women around me; and in that moment I felt so honored to have been a part of the event process for the second year in a row…to be a part of something with such strength to invoke change for the better.

The Pacific Cookie Staff

Birthday Fever

Happy Birthday, August Babies!

Here at Pacific Cookie Company, we like to celebrate birthdays in the month of August (maybe the heat of summer gets us thinking about a nice cool ice cream cake). So we thought we’d take these last few days before the end of August to continue the celebrations with a few birthday sale items. You can view those items either by viewing the birthday section of our website, or the sale section.

Of course you have all seen our one-of-a-kind “embarrass the birthday kid” velvety birthday hat with the candles on top. We believe that celebrating your birthday without the birthday hat would be like eating a cookie without a glass of milk! You just can’t have one without the other. In fact, one of our employees, Ashley, has a family tradition of passing the birthday hat from Aunt to nephew to brother to Grandma, etc. depending on who’s birthday they are celebrating.

Back in April, Mila and Lily, the two daughters of Cara Pearson,  celebrated yet another year of fun-filled childhood surrounded by their loving friends and family. Michelle Riddle, of Michelle Riddle Photography, was kind enough to take photos of the event that we have been waiting all year to share with you – and might we take a moment to compliment Michelle’s great work – “Fantastic shots, Michelle! They came out perfect!” Needless to say, all the kids there had a blast between the pinata, easter egg hunt, and classic cookies cakes. Cookie cakes, you ask? Well yes, but not the store bought kind.

The Pearson Family reinvented the cookie cake – And we thought we’d share the secret with you since they’re so simple to make, and a definite party pleaser!

Cookie Cake Recipe

Need:

Pacific Cookie Company cookies (most popular flavors = Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, Snickerdoodle, and Dr. Midnight)

– awesomely long candles (we bought ours at Outside-In Kids, in Aptos)

Directions:

1. Stack cookies about 6 high on a large plate

2. Place candle in center of first cookie on each stack

3. Light the candles

4. Enjoy!

**And if you really want to top it off (no pun intended), check out Lily’s Birthday Topper on our website for a fun addition to any birthday, young or not so young! Here’s a great review from one of our customers: “Hi all, Just wanted you to know how much my uncle loved not only the cookies I sent for his 70th birthday, but the plush birthday hat they came with. He had a big party and wore the hat the whole night, even when he started getting hot — he never took it off. It was the hit of the party and his special day. Thanks for offering such a fun gift! – Frances”

Mama’s Night Out

In Southern California, the opportunity to get “dressed to the nines” and strut around town in a classy pair of heels presented itself more often than not. Even a simple summer night strolling Victoria Gardens (the local outdoor mall where I grew up) called for a matching clutch and cute pumps. But my move to Santa Cruz sharply contrasted the consumer driven bubble I grew up in. Here I was met face to face with comfort in the form of anything and everything hemp, organic cotton, O’Neill, yoga attire, or Birkenstocks. With this in mind, when the idea arose for Pacific Cookie Company to be the primary sponsor of Mama’s Night Out, a “shabby chic” benefit event for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, you can imagine my slight uncertainty of the intended attire.

My father’s words of wisdom cut through as I remembered him always telling me it was better to be overdressed than under-dressed. So, I left the house that evening in my matching satin blue heels and two-tone aquamarine feather earrings, ready to join the throngs of other women who gathered at this special occasion to help raise money in the name of Liam Witt and Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. As I fed a few dollar bills into the parking meter, I heard the once familiar clicking of heels on concrete and was shocked to see a small group of women in slim-fitting black dresses with shiny clutches tucked under their arms. I approached the Rittenhouse building in downtown Santa Cruz where the event was being held, and checked in.

I was directed to a large elevator around the corner, and amidst a collage of floral perfumes and the distinct smell of Chanel No. 5 I ascended towards the soft rhythms of a jazzy beat. As I turned the corner towards the mingling cliques of women, I was overwhelmed by the exquisite nature of the space:  beautiful drop chandeliers hanging above simple white tables and decorated with pink and orange satin runners, an illuminating pink and orange glow radiating from the tabletop candles, colorful floor lighting that highlighted black and white photographs of various families who donated to the event, and small twinkling white lights that seemed to draw one’s eye back to the vast array of locally donated sweet treats so artfully arranged on long banquet tables framed with pink and orange Gerbera daisies.

It was at that moment that I realized the significance of the event. Mama’s Night Out wasn’t just another night on the town; it wasn’t about socializing with friends or with other mothers; it wasn’t about showing off your new shoes, or winning a few raffle prizes; it was about family. It was about solidarity. It was about creating awareness. It was to teach how to Love Like Liam.

Liam was the son of Gretchen and Larry Witt, a couple devoted to raising money for pediatric cancer research by way of their non-profit organization, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Their dream to “support the development of new and better treatments” began with just a few bake sales and 96,000 cookies. Just 3 years later, they have facilitated in the hosting of thousands of bake sales across the country and raised millions of dollars in the process. Liam would have been 7 years old this past May. To commemorate his life, a call to action was made to host 700 bake sales in his honor and to continue the fight against pediatric cancer. In association with these bake sales, The Glad Products agreed to match all proceeds in May up to $225,000.

With this goal in mind, Michelle Riddle of Michelle Riddle Photography and our own Cara Pearson put their heads together to plan what became Mama’s Night Out. Their goal was to attract 200 women looking to spend time with their girlfriends while raising $10,000 for pediatric cancer. The event was a smashing success – from the fantastic wines complimentary of Epic Wines to music by DJ Sparkle to various vendors including personalized perfume creations (Studio Parfum) and bra fitting (Essential Body Wear), Mama’s Night Out attracted 275 women, and raised $18,000 which, after matched by The Glad Products, came to a grand total of $36,000!! Needless to say, we’ve already had MANY inquiries as to whether or not there will be a 2nd annual Mama’s Night Out (of which the answer is hands down “YES!”).

I now wear a simple bracelet decorated with three beads: one pink for my sister’s June birthday, one brown for my husband’s November birthday, and one orange for Liam. And although I never met this strong young man, the stories of his innocent smiles and contagious laughter are embodied in the plain orange bead that sits between the pink and the brown. To me, my bracelet represents the simplicity of life, how fragile it is, and how quickly it can all be taken away. It represents strength and the power that we have when working together towards a larger goal. But most of all it represents Love, and reminds me to Love Like Liam. Everyday. I feel proud to be part of a community that respects and strives towards these same values, and cannot wait to be a part of the 2nd Annual Mama’s Night Out.

Thank you to all who volunteered, and an equally appreciative thank you to all those who attended! Your donations and support are furthering a cause that will one day lead to major cancer treatment breakthroughs. Remember to Love Like Liam, and in the words of Cookies for Kids Cancer, thank you for Being a Good Cookie!

Bake Sales Raise Money for Pediatric Cancer Research

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a non-profit working to encourage people to hold bake sales to raise money for pediatric cancer research, declared September 14th as National Bake Sale Day. In honor of this declaration an inspired group of mothers and kids got together to host bake sales at three Scotts Valley, Ca local schools.

With cookies donated by Pacific Cookie Company the bake sales were a huge success. All together Vine Hill Elementary, Baymonte Christian and Scotts Valley High School raised $1892 for Cookies for Kids’ cancer!!

Together we can help make a difference.