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An accidental tradition””

Jennifer Sikes and her daughter, Anna, are self-proclaimed “peas in a pod.”

The two enjoy spending time together – something which is evident in the first few minutes after stepping into their kitchen, the self-described “heart” of their home.

And, from that heart comes two hearts who use a love of cooking, mixed with a joy of spending time together – making the perfect recipe of helping others in their community.

Jennifer said the two began their “accidental tradition” of baking for the Help the Hungry Bake Sale when Anna was four years old.

The two make time between Jennifer’s work at Mineral Area College and Anna’s busy schedule as a seventh grader at Farmington Middle School. She’s also a member of the Farmington Middle School Knightline team, as well as a student of dance and gymnastics – plus piano lessons once a week.

Anna said she and her mom visit Pinterest to gather ideas for a variety of projects.

“We like to be quite original,” Anna said. “We do a lot of ‘pinning’ – we don’t generate these ideas. But, we do make modifications occasionally – because we think it tastes better.”

This marks the eighth year for the Sikes girls to contribute their special creations for the bake sale.

Jennifer said the signature item Anna bakes is the Coca-Cola Cupcakes from a special cookbook by the soft drink company.

“They sell immediately,” Jennifer said. “That is the one thing she does (each year).”

Anna said they do make a few modifications to the recipe regarding flavoring and icing. But, for Jennifer, her favorite part of the recipe is how it came to be.

Jennifer taught in the pre-K program for the Farmington R-7 School District when Anna was younger. One day, she remembers, Anna was at W.L. Johns when the “Books Are Fun” sale drive was in the office.

“She was four years old at my school…and she just loved it (that) she could read ‘Coca-Cola’ on it,” Jennifer said, adding she purchased the cookbook as another way to encourage her child to read.

It was about time for the Help the Hungry Bake Sale when Anna approached her mom and said she wanted to make something for the sale – pointing out the cupcakes.

“That’s how it started with the Coca-Cola cupcakes and it’s just built,” Jennifer said.

The two have made Almond Joy cookies, candy corn brownies, candy bark among other items.

“So many people know we do this now…and, if we go to Walmart people will say ‘whatcha making for the bake sale? I can’t wait to see what you’re baking’,” Jennifer said. “Or they’ll say, ‘we can’t wait for you to post (on social media) tonight. We know you’ll be baking.’”

The two traditionally bake the Friday night before the bake sale – which is set for Nov. 18 this year.

Jennifer said she’s already thinking ahead to when Anna is in college – of special arrangements needing to be made for her to make it home to continue their tradition.

“It won’t feel like Thanksgiving unless we do it,” Anna said, with Jennifer adding it has become a part of their holiday celebrations.

Before that, however, they take time to break down what they need about a week before and what ingredients they will need.

“We usually have to go to three different places to find everything,” Jennifer said. “And now, we have Amazon if there is something we can’t find.”

Anna said she excited about the possibility of baking stained glass cookies for this year – something she plans to practice on before the big baking night.

“You smash up hard candies – like Jolly Ranchers – that are clear until they are really fine and then you cut out sugar cookie dough so you have a place to put the crushed up Jolly Ranchers and then it turns into a stained glass design,” she explained.

Jennifer said the cookies will be a real effort “so we’ll probably stick to more traditional” items on the side in addition to the cupcakes and cookies.

Her mom said bake sale organizers also asked they package the cupcakes individually this year due to how quickly they sell out.

Jennifer said they always arrive to St. Joseph Catholic School gymnasium early on the day of the sale – not only to drop off their treats but to get their place in line for a few treats as well.

“We show up early because we bring quite a few things and it takes a couple of trips from the car to the gym,” Anna said. “But, we really like the 12West gooey butter cake – as I’m sure a lot of people do – and when we get there we sprint and look for it.”

“We are usually two or three in line (for the sale) and I send her sprinting to get it,” Jennifer said with a chuckle.

Thinking of the treats of the day inspired Anna to throw out the possibility of baking potato bread.

“I love potato bread,” she said. “We might have to make two batches because I like to eat it.”

It’s more than just baking for the two. The bake sale means memories for this mother and daughter pair.

“It’s just our day…actually, that whole weekend,” Jennifer said.

Anna added she enjoys watching the cooking clergy contest in part because Rocky Good from New Heights Church – their pastor – always bakes a cake relating to his life.

Jennifer joked her husband, Jim, comes to the bake sale during the oral auction to keep her “reined in.”

Anna not only likes to bake, but she enjoys cooking from scratch as well. Jennifer said that is a favorite activity lasting a lifetime.

“I told her a long time ago, ‘Anna, if you learn to cook, everybody will be at your house in college and you won’t have to buy groceries’,” she said. “You just give them your list and you can cook for them.”

Jennifer said most importantly through all of this is the life lesson learned through participating with her daughter – a lesson of being “missions-minded” Anna said her mother taught her from the beginning.

“Since we ourselves are so blessed, we feel it is our job to bless others,” Anna said. “And we feel like we can really do that and we love to bake, so it just works out perfectly.”

12th Annual Help the Hungry Bake Sale

Nov. 18

9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

St. Joseph Catholic School Gymnasium

501 Ste. Genevieve Ave.

“Since we ourselves are so blessed, we feel it is our job to bless others. And we feel like we can really do that and we love to bake, so it just works out perfectly.” – Anna Sikes, 12, on why she bakes for the Help the Hungry Bake Sale

Jennifer Sikes and her daughter, Anna, prepare to decorate a treat for a Halloween event. The two love to spend time baking together in the kitchen and, for the past eight years, prepare special treats for the Help the Hungry Bake Sale. 

Jennifer Sikes and her daughter, Anna, prepare to decorate a treat for a Halloween event. The two love to spend time baking together in the kitchen and, for the past eight years, prepare special treats for the Help the Hungry Bake Sale. 

Jennifer and Anna Sikes are known for their special cupcakes made for the Help the Hungry Bake Sale. Anna, 12, began helping her mom create goodies for the sale when she was four. This year's Help the Hungry Bake Sale is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 18. Proceeds go to the Farmington Ministerial Alliance and St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantries.

Jennifer and Anna Sikes are known for their special cupcakes made for the Help the Hungry Bake Sale. Anna, 12, began helping her mom create goodies for the sale when she was four. This year’s Help the Hungry Bake Sale is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 18. Proceeds go to the Farmington Ministerial Alliance and St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantries.

Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3628 or srobinson@farmingtonpressonline.com

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