Somebody Pinch Me . . .

I'm sitting at my kitchen table looking at these pictures and I still can't quite believe I was actually there.
There, meaning at the Pioneer Woman's Lodge, teaching a cookie decorating class on Saturday.  I was so nervous that I have no recollection of saying much of anything.  But, there are pictures and I had icing under my fingernails, so it must have happened.
Here's the deal, Ree held a contest on her blog, and 4 readers (and their friends) won a trip to the Lodge for a weekend and some holiday bakingClick on over and meet them....they are such a GREAT group of ladies; I LOVED getting to know them!!!

By some stroke of good luck, Ree (the blogger who makes me laugh, cry and hungry every day) asked me to come teach the cookie decorating class to the winners and a few of her friends.  ACK!!!  Me? 

{I have to admit that when I saw her email, I screamed a little.}
Let me say know how on her blog, Ree is funny and genuine and down-to-earth?  Well, in person, she's all that and more....gracious, warm and welcoming....and FUN!  (Was that gushing?  I'm sorry, but it's true...every word!)

I arrived at the lodge and met the winners of the trip...and lots of friends who had come in for the afternoon.  Wanna see?

We had the most delicious lunch, prepared by Chefs Tiffany & Lia.  I love them.

Then, we decorated cookies.  And, I learned something.  I learned that showing how royal icing takes 5-10 minutes to come to a peak isn't all that entertaining.  Next time I will work up a juggling act or something for while the mixer is spinning around.
There is a great recap of the class and step-by-step cookie pictures over at PW's.
I also learned that thinning royal icing with water a half teaspoon at a time takes an eternity when 24 pairs of eyes are watching. As the old saying goes, "A watched icing never thins."  Or something like that.

This is a little handout for the ladies with cookie and icing recipes and some cookie making tips.  The wonderful and talented Amy of Living Locurto (up above in the red sweater) designed the border!  (I'm hoping to have copies that you can download available later this week.)

After the cookies, there was a chocolate class taught by pastry chef Lia. She was AMAZING!!!

Even though I spent the majority of my time making goofy faces like this...
....they let me stay for dinner, too!  Beef tenderloin, seafood pasta....absolute heaven.

OH!  One more thing, the question I've been asked most since the trip....
Yes, I met Charlie. ♥

So, to recap....  
Cookies + PW + amazing ladies + chocolate + dinner at the Lodge = one amazing trip!
Thank you so much, Ree!!!  It was so FUN!

{PS...cookies I brought along for the trip coming up tomorrow.}
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