Emergency Bake Sale for In-Sync Exotics

July 15, 2013

Apollo from In-Sync Exotics

Apollo

We’ve done our Christmas bake sale the last two years for In-Sync Exotics. We’ve been thrilled to support In-Sync, since we’re huge cat lovers and they do such amazing work. In my opinion, In-Sync is holy ground, and that’s not something I say lightly.

In this economy, it’s rough for any non-profit to keep things going, even when things are kind of normal in their world. Last month, however, things took a horrific turn at In-Sync when their lions and tigers were hit with a random outbreak of Canine Distemper, probably spread by an infected raccoon. As of today, we have lost two tigers – Apollo and Abrams – and one lioness; Layla.

This Thursday, we are holding an emergency bake sale to assist in any way we can with the enormous costs incurred over the last few weeks. Volunteers and staff are working 24/7, caring for and treating all of the cats at risk. The financial and emotional and physical burdens have been overwhelming.

We can’t fix this, but we can do what we know, which is bake to try to help ease a teeny tiny bit of the financial burden. If you’re in the Dallas area, please join us. We have a sponsor who will match the proceeds of the event 100%.

The sale will be in the lobby of the Premier Place building at 5910 North Central Expressway, near I75 and Mockingbird Lane. If you have any questions, email us at kittybakesale (at) hotmail (dot) com. If you’re not local, please go to In-Sync Exotics web site to contribute to the work they’re doing.

Thanks in advance for your support.

~BigSis

In-Sync Exotics Bake Sale 2012 Wrap-Up

December 30, 2012

In-Sync Exotics Bake Sale

Could I get a drumroll please? The total for 2012′s charity bake sale benefiting In-Sync Exotics is…

$15,192!

You read that right. After all the contributions were counted and our sponsor matched them dollar for dollar, the grand total was $15,192. Unbelievable!

We, first of all, thank God for blessing this event! We experienced a lot of challenges and spiritual warfare during the planning and execution of this year’s sale. When that happens, it’s always a sign to me that we’re on the right track to something awesome if the Enemy is interfering to that extent. He was and we were!

Second of all, thank you to our sponsors. Paper Mart provided us with a generous discount on all of our packaging, which helped us enormously. Since all of our ingredients, packaging, printing and every other expense comes out of our personal pockets, we really appreciated Paper Mart’s help. Thank you, Paper Mart!

City Vet was back as a third-time sponsor, and we are so grateful for everything they’ve done for our event. They help promote it via social media, and have donated gift cards and a wide variety of fun things for us to sell and give away. They’ve also shopped with us, so we’re doubly blessed by them and their friendship. Thank you, City Vet!

We, of course, are extremely thankful for the 100% matching gift provided for the second year by our employer. We hope these checks will continue to grow each year as they have been so far! 2011′s match was $4,175 and 2012′s was $7,596.

Huge appreciation also goes to the In-Sync Exotics volunteer who donated $2,500 to the bake sale total. You, kind lady, are responsible for $5,000 of the $15,192 that went to In-Sync this year. We don’t even know what to say about that, except that your generosity is an enormous blessing to the big cats and everyone who cares for them. Thank you!

Last – but absolutely not least – I want to thank all of the bakers! My co-workers Kristen and Lauren were back with all their goodies, and also recruited Erica and Susan for cookie duty. My SisMama baked 105 pound cakes (!), and Cyndi brought a wealth of brownies in all flavors. Thanks for doing this with me, girls! We make a good team!

Because we were so darn busy (good problem) during this year’s sale, my photography was a little rushed and skimpy. Following are the photos I did manage to snap before the goodies were snapped up by lots of hungry people with Christmas shopping lists and cash in their hands. Thank you to everyone who made this happen for the wild ones at In-Sync Exotics. We are beyond grateful!

~BigSis

2012 In-Sync Exotics Bake Sale…Now!

December 16, 2012

Gideon, baby bobcat

Gideon the baby bobcat is our poster child for this year’s bake sale!

After much planning, shopping, fretting, stressing, and finally baking, wrapping and packaging…the 2012 Bake Sale benefiting In-Sync Exotics is here! The only things left to do now are to sell like crazy, and pray, pray, pray!

I promised to talk about this year’s goodies, but apparently I got too immersed in actually working on the goodies to get that done! I will absolutely put together a post-sale follow-up with a bunch of photos and results from the day.

Before I get back to sale preparations, I have to say again that we just can’t thank our sponsors enough for their support.  We are very, very grateful to City Vet, Paper Mart and Venable Royalty. This event would definitely not be as successful without everything they do for us, so thank you!

Wish us luck. For the wild ones!!

~BigSis

In-Sync Exotics Bake Sale 2012!

December 6, 2012

Gideon

Gideon: our 2012 Bake Sale Poster Boy! Is there a cuter baby bobcat?

Our 2012 charity bake sale for In-Sync Exotics is right around the corner on Monday, December 17th, and we are full of gratitude and excitement about it! It’s the season to be thankful, so let me count the reasons!

  • We have a brand new sponsor joining with us in support of this wonderful charity. Paper Mart – our favorite packaging source for years – has provided us with a generous discount on the incredible items we use to make our goodies look super cute. We know that cuteness helps things sell, right? And moving our goodies out the door is the name of the game at bake sale time. We could probably feed our cookies to the lions and tigers, but we’d much rather sell them to peeps and use the money to buy what the big kitties prefer to eat (and that’s not biscotti). If you’d like to see some of our favorite Paper Mart products, check out my Pinterest Bake Sale Board. Thank you, Paper Mart!
  • We are so happy to welcome back City Vet as a returning sponsor for the third year! City Vet provides us with tons of things to sell and awesome giveaway items. This year they’ve even donated a gracious plenty of the reusable shopping bags that we all love. These will be a big help, and a nice bonus for our shoppers who buy a bunch of goodies. We also have some gift certificates for exams and baths to sell; things that all of us animal lovers need! Thank you, City Vet!
  • Last but not least, we are beyond thrilled that our employer is matching our sales, dollar for dollar, for the second year in a row. That means that we can totally leverage what we’re doing. If we sell $4000 in goodies again, that magically turns into $8000 instantly!  Thank you, our boss!

I have lots of baking to do, and ribbon to cut, and tags to make, and tweets and pins and instagram photos and facebook statuses to post, so I’m out for now. I’ll report back this weekend with our list of goodies to entice you.

For now, thanks, thanks, and more thanks to our supporters! If the wild kitties at In-Sync Exotics could thank you, they would, so I’ll speak on their behalf. Oodles of thanks, chuffs and purrs to you all!

~BigSis

Life According to Ashy Poo

November 18, 2012

Ashy Poo 8-09

Ashy Poo in 2009

If you had come to my door sometime in the last twelve years, my official welcoming committee – consisting of one rescued FlamePoint Siamese lover boy – would have greeted you with something like this:

“My name’s Ashy Poo, what’s your name? Do you have any cheese in that bag? Do you think I’m pretty? Do you have any dogs? Are you going to sit down so I can sit by you? What’s that smell on your shoes? Do you want to pet me? Do you have any chips? Isn’t my blonde hair stunning? Can you get me some treats? Can I play with your shoelaces? Did you know I used to live on the street? Have you ever seen a tail as long as mine? Don’t you think my mom is nice? Do you want to brush me?” And on and on. Rapid fire, without a breath. Ashy Poo never met a stranger, and loved everyone.

Ashy Blue Nails

Ashy showing off his blue mani

Ashy dealt with a LOT of challenges in his life, and I wonder what our attitude would be if we faced all of this in one twelve-year period:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Bartonella
  • Chronic gum disease which left you with three teeth
  • Heart disease
  • Out of control hyperthyroidism
  • One blind eye from a cataract
  • One displaced kneecap
  • Early signs of kidney disease
  • Anemia
  • IBS
  • Car sickness every road trip (involving both ends!)
  • Multiple gunshot wounds from a childhood attack, which left a pellet in your hip and probably caused the cataract and knee problem too
AshyClose

Beautiful freckle-faced one

Just imagine how many doctor visits and how many medications were involved in all that! I can tell you my state of mind would probably be “poor, poor me” if that was my life, but Ashy Poo didn’t feel that way at all.

AshyEar

God’s handiwork

Life – according to Ashy Poo – is beautiful.

Ashy Warrie Gaby

Ashy with Warren Bitey and Gaby in 2004

Ashy Poo had a pretty simple list of life principles, and no one lived them out like he did:

  • Never stop purring, no matter what. No. Matter. What.
  • No one is a stranger and everyone is your friend. Why wouldn’t they be your newest fan? You’re awesome!
  • Trust everyone, even if people have proven to be untrustworthy. Even if you get hurt, keep trusting.
  • Never let anyone see that you don’t feel well. It only upsets your family if they think you’re puny. Just hide under the bed for a little while and sleep til you can act well again.
  • If you have to wear a silly hat from time to time, so be it. It’s a small price to pay to make people smile. Besides, you look so darn CUTE in hats! Draw the line at wearing a sweater though.
  • There’s nothing to be afraid of! Not vacuum cleaners, not hair dryers, not car rides, not strangers, not even death. Just live and don’t be skerd! Fear is a waste of energy and emotion.
  • Don’t give up. Fight through whatever comes your way…starvation, homelessness, illness, gunshots. Whatever. Just push through it and don’t give up.
  • Bounce back and be a trooper! When everyone gives up on you, you bounce back like the Energizer Bunny and keep on ticking. Prove the doubters wrong.
  • Show gratitude for your family and your home. Not everyone is blessed with a safe home with a warm bed, yummy food and people who love you. Always be thankful and remember where you came from.
  • Choose a mom with a couple of credit cards with high limits if you can. You never know what the future holds.
  • Never get hissy or huffy with your mom. If she says eat, you eat til you’re full. If she says go to the doctor, you go to the doctor and make new friends. If she says take medicine, you take medicine cheerfully and spit it out when she isn’t looking. If she calls you, you come running. She might want to kiss you.
  • Always remember that you’re special. There’s no one else like you. God made you unique and the world needs you to be you.
  • Never lose your dignity. Dignity isn’t dependent on your situation, it’s dependent on your attitude.
  • Rule your house with a soft voice and a velvet paw. Keep your brothers in line. Someone has to be the boss!
  • Leave your mark on this world so no one can forget the difference you made. Leave blonde hair everywhere too.
  • Love everyone. That’s all.
Ashy Hay

Ashy with HayHay the day we brought him home from the Siamese Rescue in December 2000.

 

That’s the walk that Ashy Poo walked for the twelve years he spent with us. His long list of challenges finally got to be too much for his fragile body, and we suddenly lost him last Monday.

We miss this boy like crazy. We invested so much hope, emotion, time and love into this precious soul, and we fought his challenges together for a long time. It’s weird that all that is just gone now, and our lives feel off balance in every way.

I’m very thankful that he knew how much we were all madly in love with him, beyond a shadow of a doubt. He knew he was cherished, and as he was taking his last breaths I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to tell him that again and again.

Ashy leaves behind his lonely furry brother Gaby, and a huge extended family of hoomans who loved him and won’t forget his sweet spirit and the lessons he taught us. We’ll do our best to follow his example, and even thought we’re beyond sad, we’re going to purr again.

That’s what Ashy Poo would want us to do. Keep on purring. Because life according to Ashy Poo is beautiful, and the life he’s living right now is more beautiful than any of us can imagine. We’ll see you again, Ashy Poo. We love you and we miss you, sweet baby. Forgive us if we can’t find our purr just yet.

AshyCamo

~BigSis

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How my little brain works…

January 22, 2012

I’ve been noodling around a tiny brainstorm for the last 2 days, so this is how a chunk of my Sunday was spent.  A weird little mess, you say?  Maybe.  I’d rather call it the evolution of an idea. :-)

Cat Ears Trial

I’ll give you the scoop on what I’m up to bit later, but here’s a hint…a very beautiful, dangerous and mesmerizing hint.

Sheila

~BigSis

In-Sync Bake Sale Update

December 4, 2011

Our bake sale for In-Sync Exotics is only a week away, so our ovens are in turbo mode and there’s lots to do!  Here’s a quick update:

  • These glittery cookie boxes are finished and waiting to be filled with goodies.  I’ll give you a quick little how-to on making them as soon as I can get the chocolate and sugar off my hands.

Christmas Glitter Boxes

  • Remember these painted cross magnets I made around Easter? They make great Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers, so I’m getting them dressed up in Christmasy boxes for the sale.

Painted Cross Magnet

  • SisMama has already baked oodles of pound cakes in vanilla, chocolate, lemon and brown sugar/caramel flavors. Go, SisMama!
  • K & L have baked breads in apple cinnamon, spice, cranberry and blueberry flavors.  They’re also working on doggie treats and bunches of cookies this weekend.
  • I have pumpkin walnut and banana chocolate chip gluten-free breads done, plus 3 varieties of biscotti (gingerbread, chocolate/chocolate chip and dried cherry orange), and 3 kinds of brownies so far.
  • We have some nibbles on matching our sales, and continue to market the event as well as more baking this week.
  • CityVet is graciously sponsoring our event for the second year in a row.  They have donated items for the sale, and are considering doing more for this worthy charity.  A huge thanks to CityVet for their support!

That’s it for now, I have cookies to check on!  Stay tuned for more!

~BigSis

Charity Bake Sale 2011 for Big Cats!

November 6, 2011

It’s official, we’ve chosen our charity for this year’s Bake Sale. Drumroll please…it’s In-Sync Exotics in Wylie, Texas!

In-Sync Exotics Lioness1

In-Sync Exotics may be new to many folks.  It was to me and my fellow bakers until a year or so ago.  In-Sync is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the rescue of unwanted, neglected and abused felines.

In-Sync Exotics White Tiger

And by “felines” we aren’t talking about little housecats. We mean BIG cats; much much bigger than my 16 pound Gaby whom LilSis calls the fat cat with the little head.

In-Sync Exotics Lion1

In-Sync was founded in 2000 and is currently home to 59 tigers, lions, leopards, bobcats, cougars, cheetahs, lynx, servals and one honorary cat named Nugget who is a Coatimundi.

In-Sync Exotics Serval

This is the fifth year for our Charity Bake Sale, which has been held to benefit the SPCA of Texas for the last three years.  We decided to select a smaller charity this year – a bit below the radar – who might benefit from our little fundraiser and the attention it could bring to a group in need.  We still support the SPCA of Texas personally, and continue to appreciate the crucial work they do every day in North Texas.

In-Sync Exotics Cheetah

Back to In-Sync now.  I had the chance to visit their big kitties last weekend, along with a couple of my fellow bakers.  We spent a few hours enjoying the annual Pumpkin Bash, where the cats all get a pumpkin to play with/eat/destroy/ignore.  We absolutely fell in love with the cats and the place, and the work that’s being done here.

In-Sync Exotics Khan Sheila

In a perfect world, these cats would be running free in their native habitat but this world isn’t perfect.  Not even close.  These guys have suffered at the hands of humans, and needed a safe place to recover from the physical and emotional damage inflicted on them.

In-Sync Exotics Tiger 2

In-Sync is that safe place.  Big wild cats can’t be placed in furever homes like cats and dogs can, and they can’t be released into the wild.  Big cats need a place to live out the rest of their days, where they can receive medical care, a clean environment, nourishing food, enriching playtime, and love.

In-Sync Exotics Tiger Toes 3

Since these cats will stay at In-Sync forever, and more cats continue to unfortunately come in, In-Sync’s need for funding will only grow as time goes on.  They are currently trying to raise $30,000 to build a home for the two cheetahs who recently joined them.

In-Sync Exotics Tiger Paws

The four of us girls are going to bake our little hearts out to try to help in our small way.  Stay tuned for more details as we approach this year’s Bake Sale on December 12th.  Meanwhile enjoy a few photos of Jett the spotted leopard enjoying the Pumpkin Bash!

In-Sync Exotics Jett 2In-Sync Exotics Jett 3In-Sync Exotics Jett 4In-Sync Exotics Jett 5In-Sync Exotics Jett 6

For the record, the final score was Jett 1, Pumpkin 0.  ^..^

Note: All photos were taken by BigSis and published with the permission of In-Sync Exotics.

~BigSis

Camouflage Cat

September 16, 2011

Camouflage Cat

Camouflage Cat

 

Camouflage:  I haz it!  You no can seez me!

~BigSis

Your Donation to the In-Sync Big Cats Doubles Today ONLY!

September 15, 2011

Cerella

Cerella the Cougar

You know we’re big cat fans at BigSisLilSis!  We talk about cats all the time.  But did you know we’re really BIG CAT fans?  ^..^

My favorite animal of all time is the mountain lion (also known as the cougar, puma, or panther), and I’ve been dying to take a little road trip to In-Sync Exotics to visit their mountain lions, tigers, lions, leopards, lynx, cheetahs, bobcats and servals.  In-Sync is a wildlife rescue and education center in Wylie, Texas which is only around 30 miles from North Dallas.  They’ve been around since 2000 and specialize in big cats.

I’m not a fan of zoos, circuses or any other organization that scoops animals out of their natural habitat to be used for our entertainment.  In-Sync isn’t one of those groups; quite the opposite actually.  They provide safe, caring homes for these big cats who need it for whatever reason.  It seems neglect and abuse are the common thread in many of these cats’ stories.  They will be loved and watched after for the rest of their days at In-Sync.

What that means is that In-Sync needs operating capital, and their needs for cash will only grow as they take on more and more of these big kitties.

Now for the good news!  Today only – September 15th, 2011 from 7am to 7 pm – is your opportunity to leverage a gift to In-Sync Exotics.  Your donation to In-Sync will be matched dollar for dollar via Donor Bridge.  Your $25 gift becomes $50, $50 becomes $100, $100 becomes $200.  You get the idea!!

Just do what I did.  Go to In-Sync Exotic’s Donor Bridge page and click on Donate Now.  You can also go to Donor Bridge and search for In-Sync Exotics.

If you have big love for big cats as we do, please don’t let this day pass without checking into this great opportunity before it gets away!

Moses

Moses the Bobcat

Note:  I saw on Donor Bridge that the company who processes credit cards for their charities charges a fee of 2.9% for the service. If you donate $50, your fee will amount to $1.45.  To me, that’s a small price to pay for an extra $50 for the charity.

Photo credits: In-Sync Exotics

~BigSis