I'm Maria. My Mom is Mary Lyn. We've been making cookies together for as long as I can remember - although it wasn't until I had children of my own that she finally allowed me to graduate from just washing the cookie sheets to actually mixing the dough and baking the cookies.

But the most special cookies of all were the ones we made for Christmas. Every December, a full week would be set aside for holiday baking. Endless hours of preparation would result in an overwhelming assortment of cookies in the best Italian tradition. Each one full of the same love, devotion, and caring that Mom put into everything she did.

Around 1999, our family was devastated by the news that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. All at once, so many things became meaningless. But what became even more meaningful were the moments spent with Mom.

We never got to make cookies that year, but we realized that life is too short to wait till Christmas to share this wonderful tradition together so we decided that once Mom was cancer-free, we would make Christmas cookies every day. Our family was given a second chance and we decided to spend it together baking for other families.

Now, my mom and I bake all year long. (My daughter Jacquelene, and my sister Ann don't bake, but they do a lot of taste testing!)

Maria's Mom's cookies are homemade from scratch. We only use the finest ingredients and make each cookie by hand. It takes longer, but once you taste our cookies, you'll be glad we did.

It seems every time my mother and I make another batch, I learn a new baking secret. But she has so many to share.

Hey Mom - what are your plans for the next 20 years?