SPCA Christmas Bake Sale 2010: Done!

December 19, 2010

The 2010 SPCA Christmas Bake Sale is now history!  We held the charity event last Monday, and contributions are still coming in but the total amount raised so far is $3,265.  We’re short of our $4,000 goal, but considering all of the obstacles that confronted us this year, we’re pretty happy to have raised that amount!  We wanted to beat last year’s $4,023 total but we’re thankful for what we have.

Our conference room wasn’t available this year, so our management company allowed us to use an empty suite on the first floor.  We liked the accessibility of the ground floor space, but the large concrete-floored room presented an ambiance challenge.  We used lots of signs and color, and fabrics on our tables.  The focus was on the goodies available for purchase to benefit the animals anyway, not the interior design, right?

We had a wide selection of cakes, breads, candy, treats, cookies and brownies to choose from.  The biggest change this year was that all 15 items that I baked were vegan, and I was really happy with how they came out.

Here are some photos from our wild and crazy day!

SPCA Bake Sale Cake Bread

Cakes and Breads

SPCA Bake Sale Pound Cake

SisMama's Cream Cheese Pound Cake: DEEEElicious!

SPCA Bake Sale Cookies Brownies

Cookies and Brownies

SPCA Bake Sale Vegan Cookies

Vegan Cookies

SPCA Bake Sale Biscotti

Vegan Cranberry Orange Macadamia Biscotti

SPCA Bake Sale Biscotti Reindeer

Reindeer Bucket O' Biscotti sold out quickly!

SPCA Bake Sale Treats

Treats and more treats

SPCA Bake Sale Santa Treats

Santa's Spiced Pecans surrounded by more goodies!

SPCA Bake Sale Sponsor CityVet

Huge thanks to our first SPCA Bake Sale Sponsor: CityVet!

Thanks to CityVet and to everyone who helped us raise a bunch more money for the SPCA of Texas!  We appreciate you and look forward to next year!

~BigSis

SPCA Bake Sale 2010 Today!

December 12, 2010

SPCA Christmas Bake Sale

As I mentioned with great enthusiasm and anticipation last the week, our 3rd Annual Bake Sale for the SPCA of Texas is TODAY, Monday, December 13!  100% of the proceeds go directly to the SPCA.

Last year, our sale raised over $4,000 in one day, and we hope to repeat that success this year.  Here are the details:

Location: Dallas, Texas (If you can come, please email me for the address)

Time: 8 am until 6 pm or sell-out, whichever comes first!

If you can’t attend but you’d like to support the SPCA of Texas, you can contribute through this web page:  http://www.spca.org/bakesale

Thanks in advance for your support!  Stay tuned for photos and the scoop on the outcome of the day!

~BigSis

SPCA Christmas Bake Sale #3!

December 8, 2010

This December 13th will be our 4th charity bake sale, and the 3rd one we’ve done at Christmas for the SPCA of Texas.  Since I stopped eating and using eggs and dairy products this last January, I needed to find some great new recipes for this year’s sale.  We’ve been blessed with great success and happy customers that return year after year, so scrapping all of my old recipes and starting over was a daunting proposition!  I was especially motivated to find some fabulous goodies after a hater told me I’d be disappointed because no one would buy “that vaygan stuff”!

I bought several vegan baking cookbooks and did a lot of online research, and finally swooped into the kitchen to get my hands dirty.  I’ve been baking up a storm in my lab (aka kitchen) for the last several weeks, trying out new recipes.  The latest test: Oatmeal Dried Cherry Cookies adapted from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook.

Vegan Oat Cherry Cookie

These cookies had a great flavor, and would have been excellent if I hadn’t over-baked them by a couple of minutes.  That’s why I test though.  I have a rule that I never make a recipe for the bake sale without taking it for a test drive first.

I’m pretty excited with the successes I’ve had.  I actually have well over a dozen things to choose from.  These are my favorite options.

  • Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Coconut Cookies adapted from Epicurious
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie with Peanuts and Almond Meal adapted from Cookie Madness

There’s much more baking to be done so I’m dashing back to the kitchen for more baking frenzy.  I’ll be back next week with photos from the sale, and hopefully a big donation to the SPCA to report!

~BigSis

SPCA Urgently Needs Our Help!

January 28, 2010

I hope you’re all having a good week.  I’m having a great week myself, but I have a nagging feeling that I can’t seem to shake, and it’s about the 27,000 exotic animals that the SPCA is taking care of.  Last week, I told you about the largest animal rescue in US history that took place in Arlington about six weeks ago.  Since then, the SPCA of Texas has been caring for 27,000 exotic animals who were neglected and abused.

I got an urgent email from the SPCA this week, which said that the “people” (I use that word loosely) who owned the company have appealed the judge’s decision to confiscate the animals from them and award custody to the City of Arlington.  Until that appeal is settled, the SPCA will continue to care for the animals, at a cost of $8,000-$10,000 per day.  They are in desperate need of $150,000 ASAP!

If this situation touches your heart as it does mine, will you please consider making a donation to the SPCA?  If I could do another bake sale tomorrow that would put a dent in this need, I would do it.  But their need is much bigger than that.  They need us all to come together for them, and contribute what we can.  Thanks for considering helping these poor little critters!

BigSis added this note January 28 at 1:30 pm: I just found this great video on DallasNews.com, which shows some of the animals and gives you an idea of the lengths the SPCA is going to for these guys.  Here’s the link: http://www.dallasnews.com/video/dallasnews/hp/index.html?nvid=412930

It’s short, so please check it out.  I’m in love with the Ring-Tailed Lemurs and the teensy turtles.

~BigSis

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SPCA Exotic Animal Rescue

January 22, 2010

Last week, several of us who worked on the SPCA Bake Sale had the opportunity to tour the SPCA of Texas’ new facility.  We met the Chairman of the Board at our 2008 sale, and he offered us a tour but we never made the time to do it until our 2009 sale was behind us.  We expected to see kitties and puppies, and were worried that we’d all leave with our arms full of furkids.  What we didn’t expect to see was a facility full of 27,000 exotic animals.

You might have heard about the largest animal rescue ever in US history.  A PETA investigator went undercover for 7 months in an exotic animal store, US Global Exotics, who sold to pet stores and chains like Petco and Petsmart.  After gathering evidence of the neglect and abuse going on there, the investigator blew the whistle on the business.

On December 15, 2009, Arlington Humane Services swooped into the facility with a seizure warrant, with assistance from the SPCA of Texas and the Humane Society of North Texas.  It took these agencies over 14 hours to rescue the thousands of animals. Many were already dead or dying, including over 200 iguanas who had been packed up for a trip to Egypt and then were left for 2 weeks with no food or water when the order was canceled.

Three days prior to the seizure, the SPCA began preparing a facility to receive all of these stressed animals.  You can read more about the incredible lengths they went to in this Examiner article.

What kind of animals are we talking about?  Turtles, snakes, tarantulas, scorpions, geckos and iguanas and all kinds of lizards, crabs, hamsters, rats, frogs, mice, gerbils, ground squirrels, sugar gliders, ferrets, guinea pigs, flying squirrels, coatimundis, agoutis, chinchillas, prairie dogs, hedge hogs, mini possums, ring-tailed lemurs, sloths, wallabies, and kinkajous.

Here’s SPCA of Texas President James Bias describing the situation in a local news video:

We were overwhelmed by the sheer number of animals we saw.  Can you even begin to fathom what 27,000 exotic animals looks like?  Then add to that the incredible variety of animals…over 500 species. Then imagine what all of those poor animals went through.  It was really too much to comprehend.  We were very grateful to have the chance to see all of these animals up close, but extremely sad that they were in this warehouse after this horrible experience, instead of roaming wild in their native habitat.  At the same time we were thankful that the SPCA was taking such good care of them.

None of these animals will be available for adoption. They will be placed with accredited zoos, sanctuaries and rescue organizations.

So how can you help?

  • The SPCA of Texas is currently spending approximately $8,000 to $10,000 a day to provide proper nutrition and habitat for these creatures and it could take months before they are all safely placed.  The cost of this rescue will be enormous.  You can help by donating to the SPCA online at www.spca.org.
  • Volunteer if you’re in the area.  With so many involved in the care of the 27,000 exotics, volunteer assistance is needed now more than ever.  For volunteer information, visit www.hsnt.org or www.spca.org.
  • Never ever buy an animal from a store!  Adopt from a rescue group or shelter.

Thanks to PETA, SPCA of Texas, Humane Society of North Texas, the judge who awarded custody of these animals to the City of Arlington, and to all of the vets, workers, volunteers and everyone else involved in the rescue and care of these animals.  God bless all of you!

~BigSis

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SPCA Bake Sale Wrap-Up!

December 31, 2009

We have one more little topic to wrap up for 2009 just as we fly into 2010…the SPCA Bake Sale results, of course!  The sale was held for one day only on December 14th, and we thankfully sold every crumb we had!  We also had a web site set up for donations from out-of-town folks, or for local friends who just couldn’t make the sale.

So here are the results.  Drum roll, please!  The web site donations are $405, and the one-day sale of baked goodies brought in $3618.  That makes our grand total so far $4023!  Woo hoo!!

We are enormously grateful for the support of our friends, family, fellow tenants, our building’s management, and an awesome SMU fraternity.  Thank you so much for showing your love to the animals and to the SPCA of Texas in a huge way! We baked our fannies off, but without all of you, it would have been for nothing!

Here are some photos from the sale.  You can get an idea of how much we started with, but what you can’t see is that we have boxes and boxes of more goodies under the table!  We sold it ALL!


Cakes and breads all lined up before the sale started at 8 am.

Bars and brownies are ready to be snatched up and gobbled up!

Cookies were all huddled together here.

All the treats were organized in happy little rows here.

Almond Toffee and Soft Peanut Brittle went into these cute little totes.

Cakes and breads were packaged in tall treat bags from PaperMart.

Brownies and other bars got these cute Treat Toppers from Hobby Lobby.

3 kinds of fudge were molded into shapes, and then decorated.

Cinnamon and Peanut Butter Fudge close-up.

Pretzels got a dip in chocolate, and then a swoosh and a drizzle of cuteness.

The cutest gift bags ever were donated by LilSis!

Thanks again to everyone! We can’t wait until next year!

~BigSis

SPCA Bake Sale 2009: Check!

December 15, 2009

The 2009 SPCA Bake Sale is now history.  We started setting up at 6 am, opened the doors at 8 am, and left the building at 6 pm.  It was a long day, but it was incredible fun.

Our goal was to beat last year’s donation of $3055.  Our little team started baking 3 or 4 weeks ago, and we pulled out every trick in the hat to try to make our goodies irrestible to buyers. We emailed everyone we know, we sent out press releases, we lined up the most irresistible sample girls you could ever meet, and we talked about nothing but the SPCA and cookies for the last month.  We decorated, packaged and labeled until we were loopy.

How did we do?  I’m too fried to remember how to get pictures off my camera today, and we don’t have a final total yet because donations are still coming in online.  I’ll just leave you with one little teaser for now.  We are humbled and amazed and incredibly grateful.  How much money do you think that 5 baking girls could raise in one day if their bake sale sold out?  What if God showed up in a big way to answer their prayers?  What could happen?

I’ll come back later to tell you.  If I come down off Cloud Nine long enough to type again.

~BigSis

SPCA Bake Sale Today!!

December 14, 2009

SPCA-xmas logo-vertical-small

It’s finally here; the day we’ve been working toward and looking forward to since last year’s sale that resulted in a $3,055 donation to the SPCA of Texas!

The baking and packaging is all done, and now all we can do is sell these goodies!  Our goal is another $3000 for our favorite charity, and we pray pray pray that we make it!  Our secret fantasy – not so secret now – is that we sell everything we’ve made!  How incredible would that be!

If you’re in the Dallas area, email me for directions at bigsis at bigsislilsis dot com.  We’d love to see you!

If you’re not in the area and you’d like to help these little furkids, you can donate at http://www.spca.org/goto/bakesale.  If you use this url, the SPCA can see that your contribution came through our event, and we can send you a thank you!

Thanks for your support, your well wishes, and your prayers for a successful event today!

~BigSis

Got Holiday Stress Hissy Fit?

December 10, 2009

I’ve been talking about it for a while, but in case you haven’t heard, our Bake Sale benefiting the SPCA of Texas is coming up on Monday.  This Monday! Great googly moogly!  So much to do in so little remaining time!

We want this to be the best sale we can possibly put together for the SPCA, and we’re pretty much driving ourselves wacka-doodle-doo over it.  That’s what happens when a few OCD perfectionists come together on a project they’re passionate about I guess, but we’ve created a really stressful week for ourselves.

Hissy-Fit Photo Credit: Vaughan

Hissy-Fit Photo by Vaughan

I freaked out big-time yesterday and had a little hissy fit about some things that weren’t going the way I wanted them to.  By the end of a really long frustrating day, I was about to cry and decided to just go to bed and start fresh this morning.

I was thinking that bunches of us are hissy-fitting this time of year, not just me.  I sometimes wish I could be more lackadaisical and nonchalant about things instead of giving myself an anxiety attack trying to get it all done.  The challenge I think is how to arrive at a balance; how do you be more nonchalant and less compulsive without turning into a full-blown procrastinator who doesn’t get things done?   I have no idea since I’m not good at balance and moderation; I’m all or nothing about everything I do.  When it comes to the bake sale and other things I care about, it’s 100%-full-blown-all-I’ve-got.

How do you manage to achieve this kind of balance in your life?  I really want to know.  When I start melting down like this, all I know to do is try to slow my breathing down.  It does seem to help.  Also taking a minute to focus on what’s really important helps a bit too.  Am I freaking about something that even matters?  Probably not.  Am I making too much of this right now and overreacting?  Probably so.

If you have any tips on this topic, please send them on.  I betcha I’m not the only one doing the Hissy-Fit Freak right now!

~BigSis

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One Week til SPCA Bake Sale!

December 7, 2009

SPCA-xmas logo-vertical

Our “little baking team that could” has been baking up a storm the last two weekends, and we have just one more week to get everything baked, packaged and organized!

We’re trying to raise another $3000 for the SPCA of Texas here in Dallas.  Last year’s sale raised $3055 and we really hope we can do better than that for the animals this year.

It seems like an overwhelming task to prepare $3000 worth of baked goodies, and then sell them all in just one day.  We all agree though that this is some of the biggest fun we have all year long!

So far, I have bunches of these things wrapped up in my freezer:

  • Cranberry Pumpkin Bread with Walnuts
  • Vegan Pumpkin Bread with Walnuts
  • Strawberry Bread with Pecans
  • Texas Pecan Pie Bars from the Pastry Queen
  • Texas Pecan Pie Bars with Chocolate and Bourbon from the Pastry Queen
  • Barefoot Contessa’s Outrageous Brownies
  • Barefoot Contessa’s Outrageous Brownies with Mint Oreos
  • Barefoot Contessa’s Outrageous Brownies with Bittersweet Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

SisMama has made a whole slew of awesome pound cakes in lots of flavors, and K & P have made oodles of breads.

Next weekend, we’ll be making all of the candies and other treats that we don’t want to freeze.  If you’re in the Dallas area, email me or leave a comment if you’d like to come visit us at the sale and I’ll send you the details.  If you’d like to donate to the SPCA of Texas but you’re too far away to visit us, you can use the web site that’s been set up for our donations.  It’s http://www.spca.org/goto/bakesale.

Meanwhile, wish us well!  The SPCA of Texas – like lots of animal organizations right now – is in serious need of funds in this economy, and we’d really like to help!

~BigSis