Monday, December 24, 2012

Jingle the Elf on the Shelf: Week 3-4

Jingle (Our Elf on the Shelf): Week 3-4

So, this is our last week with our beloved Jingle.  We've loved every minute, although to be honest, there were some nights I didn't feel like doing much with him, and I could feel his judgement of me from across the room. 

Jingle made lots of snowflakes and hung them for all to see.

Story time with the toys.

Jingle went over to the grandparents' house and decorated their tree for them! 

Jingle doing a puzzle.

Hot air balloon ride!

Challenged Buzz to a friendly game of Hungry Hippos!

Jingle wrote a note to R on the bathroom mirror.

Decorating the windows with "snow".

Rappelling from the cabinet.  He's such a daredevil!

Making some snowmen!

Lastly, making R work for his presents, Christmas morning.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday Projects (i.e. Why I've been so freakin' busy!)

So, of course, ever since I was introduced to the world of Pinterest, I've seen a multitude of projects that I wanted to do for Christmas.  Like this, and this, and of course no holiday celebration is complete without this!!  I only got a few things done though, but I love them! 

Fabric Covered Christmas Tree Cones

I used the tutorial here, but I did not pay the $12.95, or whatever it was, for the download template.  I didn't think it was necessary.  I feel like maybe I went a little overboard with the trees, but I was in the zone...and I had already purchased the materials.

Snowman Ornaments

I have a snowman tree in my dining room, and being the cheap frugal soul that I am, wanted to make several more ornaments to hang.  I have been crosstitching for years, but straight up sewing is not a skill I use much.  So, while the stitching is good, the sewing is only so-so.  The ones above are all free patterns that I got online.  You can find them on my pinterest board here.

The Let It Snow and Peace on Earth are Dimensions kits I got off Amazon.  I think they're also available at Walmart, but I had a gift card for Amazon, so I went with that!

Now, if I could just get the house clean, I think I'll be ready for Tuesday!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hershey's Butterscotch Chocolate Fudge

Butterscotch Chocolate Fudge

Hershey's currently has a bake, share, win giveaway going on, so I thought I'd give it a go and see how I fared!

To be fair, I'm not sure if fudge actually qualifies as a baked item.  But, I did cook it on the stove, and since there are a multitude of no-bake items that resemble baked items, I'm going for it.  I won't say anything if you won't.

First, let me start by saying that I love Hershey products!  Their "perfectly chocolate cake" is my go-to chocolate cake recipe, and it's delicious!  The frosting is the same way.  I also love their chips and drops that you can buy in the baking aisle.  They taste great, for starters, but also, they're cheaper than their competitors!  It's a win, win, if you ask me. 

Butterscotch Chocolate Fudge
slightly adapted from Eagle Brand's Foolproof Chocolate Fudge

4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
6 oz. butterscotch chips
1- 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
dash of salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 to 1 cup of chopped nuts (optional)

  • LINE 8- or 9-inch square pan with foil (would strongly recommend parchment instead), extending foil over edges of pan.
  • MELT chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt in heavy saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat. Stir in nuts and vanilla. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
  • CHILL 2 hours or until firm. Remove from pan by lifting edges of foil. Cut into squares.

    It does seem like a motley assortment of chocolate, but it totally works, trust me.  The bittersweet chocolate really cuts down the normal sickly sweet taste of regular fudge, that way you can eat more!  Also, with the addition of the butterscotch, it almost tastes like it has a little alcohol in it.  That, or it could be my homemade vanilla that I used.  Either way, it's a great recipe that I know my family will love when they get here for Christmas.

    I made half with nuts, and half without, because I have a nephew who says he dislikes nuts.  He also says he dislikes anything with the word "pie" in it, but he'll eat chocolate pie.  Yeah, he's one of those.  Enjoy!

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    CandiQuik Prize Pack Winnings!

    I recently won a Candiquik giveaway from Aimee at ShugarySweets and Miss Candiquik, so I wanted to give them a little shout out and show them what I've been up to with the goodies they sent me!  (Unfortunately, I didn't realize I was going to do this until after I had used some of the items, so I don't have a group shot of the prize pack.)

    I made some Holiday pretzels with sprinkles, to give as gifts.  First, I melted down the candy in the convenient microwave trays that they come in (aahhhhmazing, btw), then I dipped the pretzels in about 2/3 of the way.  I let the excess drip off, then set them on a parchment lined baking sheet to harden.  Some of them I decorated with sprinkles, while the candy was still wet.

    I know it's a pretty basic and simple thing to do, but they can be so nice when packaged up.  The recipient feels special that you took the time to do this for them, and no one needs to know how incredibly easy it was!

    Thanks again to Aimee and Miss Candiquik!  Couldn't have done this without you!!

    Elf on the Shelf: Jingle the Elf- Week 2

    Here are the pics from our 2nd week, and then some.  My time seems to have run away from me recently.  Anyway, on with the pics!

    Driving away in the Handy Manny race car!

    The holiday season is no reason to slack off at the gym!

    Stealing R's chocolate milk in the morning.  Jingle!

    Rolling by on his skateboard.

    Little drummer boy!

    Zip line elf!

    Watching a little TV.

    Held captive by 3 Transformers (you can't see it in the picture but he's gagged and handcuffed too).  Oh no!


    Jingle hung Christmas lights along the breakfast bar chairs.

    Fishing in the sink.

    We're still really enjoying all the antics that Jingle has gotten into.  Another week and a half to go!  Good thing there are so many great ideas on Pinterest!

    Sunday, December 2, 2012

    Our Elf on the Shelf: Week 1

    This year, we started the ever popular Elf on the Shelf tradition at our house.  Except, we're not using the creepy Elf, that looks like his head might do a 360 of its own volition.  We're using a different one, called Christoper Pop-In-Kins.  Not only does this elf already have bendable extremities, but he's just so darn cute!  We named our elf Jingle.  And, we're loving every minute of it!

     Day 1: Dinosaur Sleigh

     Day 2: Hanging upside down from bunk bed.

    Day 3: Sleeping in Kleenex box

     Day 4: Decorating a Christmas tree

     Day 5: Playing with cars

     Day 6: Exchanged undies for stockings

     Day 7: Hanging from the ceiling fan

    Day 8: Playing cards with Optimus Prime (our favorite so far)

    We don't subscribe to the whole Santa thing, so we just we just have fun with the elf showing up in the morning and enjoy it!  I highly recommend it!

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

    Thursday Thoughts

    Thursday Thoughts

    • I know it's Thanksgiving, but I wanted to get a few thoughts down and this seemed like the perfect outlet.  First of all, I'm extremely thankful and grateful for my family.  Without them, I would be lost, penniless and alone.  Thank you so much!  I'm also thankful that I can still afford my mortgage.  I'm not really sure how it's possible on my salary, but for some reason, all the lights are on and I haven't starved yet.
    • Have you been watching Homeland? is going on with Carrie and Brody?  And, what was with that scene?!  (If you've seen the episode, you know to which I am referring.)  I know think I would totally embarrass myself if I were ever recorded in that scenario.  I'm just not that good.  Also, Downton Abbey season 3 Christmas special....where are you?!?  I need a fix!
    •  I'm reading like 3 books right now.  Naked in Death, by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) on my phone, Reflected in You, by Sylvia Day on my Kobo and Bloodfever, by Karen Marie Moning, on my iPod.  I listen to that on the way to/from work.  It helps pass the time.  I always thought it would be confusing to read multiple books at a time and often wondered how anyone could do it.  Turns out, it's not that hard.  Obviously, or I wouldn't bother.  The newest Grisham book is next on my Kobo.  Can't. Wait.
    • Over the weekend, I saw the much anticipated Breaking Dawn: Part Two.  Uhh....I'm not real sure what to make of it.  It was good, but in so many ways, SOOOO different from the book.  The books were fantastic, which is why I've seen the movies all along.  And, to give Summit some credit, the movies have pretty much stuck to the books, plot wise.  And, each one has gotten progressively better.  But, still.  Come on.  I think it's best said here.
    • MUST make these for my snowman tree this year.  I really want to do this too, but I don't have enough t-shirts of all the same color!  I feel this way about my company.  This is SO true!  This reminds me of my friend Jim.  My sister and I might attempt this gingerbread this year.  I especially love the little Luke Skywalker hanging!  Classic!
    • We're starting an Elf tradition this year, but not with the creepy one who looks like his head might spin around.  We're doing Christoper Pop-in-kins.  He's too cute!  We named him Jingle.  We'll start this tomorrow, and I'm probably more excited than R is.  Crazy fun.  Hope to post all the pictures as I go.

    Sunday, October 28, 2012

    Oreo Play Up Dessert!

    Oreo Play Up Dessert!

    I recently won an Oreo giveaway hosted by Love From The Oven.  Yay!  The prize package consisted of 1 package of Halloween edition Oreo cookies, 1 Crate and Barrel Halloween plate and spider spatula, 1 container of Wilton Halloween sprinkles, 1 package of (50) Wilton Halloween cupcake liners and a fall decorated apron, along with 3 Play Up Dessert! recipe cards.

    They asked us to play with the ingredients and share our creations.  After looking through the goodies and recipe cards, I decided to use the same concept as the Oreo Spider Web Cookie Pizza, only modifying it slightly.

    Black Cat Cookie Tarts
    adapted from Kraft Recipes

    24 Halloween OREO Cookies, divided
    1/4 c. butter, melted
    2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
    1 1/2 c. whipping or heavy cream, divided
    1 pkg. (3.4 oz) vanilla flavor instant pudding
    1 c. cold milk
    8 small round candies
    2 Tbsp. Halloween sprinkles

    Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

    Crush 22 cookies to form fine crumbs; mix with butter.  Divide mixture between 4 mini tart pans, sprayed with cooking spray.  Press onto bottom and sides.  Bake 4 min.; cool.

    Meanwhile, microwave semi-sweet chocolate and 1/4 cup cream in a microwaveable bowl on high 1- 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 sec, until the chocolate is completely melted  and mixture is well blended.

    Whip remaining cream on high until cream is thick, or soft peaks form.  DO NOT over beat!  Set aside.  In another bowl, beat pudding mix and milk 2 min.  (Pudding will be thick.)  Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding, until well combined.  Fill tart pans with pudding mixture, spreading with an offset spatula, to within 1/2 inch of edge.

    Carefully cut 2 Oreo cookies into quarters.  Use 1 quartered cookie piece for each cat's ear.  Place small round candies onto each cat's face, for the eyes.  If you don't have candies, simply use the chocolate mixture you made earlier.

    Spoon chocolate mixture into resealable plastic bag; snip off small piece from one bottom corner of bag.  Use to draw pupils in eyes, whiskers, nose and mouth. Sprinkle Halloween sprinkles onto wet chocolate of the mouth.

    Chill for 1 hour before serving.  Or, honestly, you can eat it right away.  Keep refrigerated though, if not serving immediately.  Enjoy!

    We had a great time whipping up this fun Halloween treat!  Thank you so much Oreo and Love From the Oven for the giveaway!

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