Friday, December 23, 2011

Family Fun Night- Gingerbread

We have started doing family fun night in our house.  We try to do something together as a family whether it is just dinner out or something a little more involved.  Last week we did a gingerbread theme.  We started by making gingerbread man cookies.
 The boys helped cut out all the men and put them on the cookie sheet.
 While they were baking we read "The Gingerbread Man".
 Once they were done we decorated the cookies with frosting, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips and M&M's.
 My youngest son got a little carried away.
 After the cookie decorating we made Gingerbread play dough.  It smells just like gingerbread cookies but doesn't taste very good.  We used cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes.  This kept the boys busy for quite awhile.
 Some how they ended up on the table.  Since it was family fun night I decided to let it go and let them have fun.
 The last thing we did was decorate gingerbread houses.
 Each boy took their time and made their house very special.
We all really enjoyed our night together and all look forward to our next family fun night together.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa's Belly Pot

While trying to come up with a gift for my sons teacher this year I came up with this Santa Belly Pot.  It was something that would be inexpensive and easy for my son to do.  We started with a clay flower pot and some paint.  My son painted the whole thing red.  After it dried, he (with my help) painted the "belt" black.  We then used a hot glue gun to stick on the "belt buckle".
I had made some homemade candy the day before so we wrapped it up and stuck it inside along with an ornament my son made. 
I love how easy the gift was and that my son was able to do most of the work himself.  Homemade gifts are always my favorite.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Christmas Mantle

You may remember the post from a couple weeks ago where we installed our new mantle.  It is definitely a great focal point in our house.  So much so that I am having a hard time decorating it.  After looking at it for a couple weeks this is what I have come up with.  I am not 100% satisfied with it but it will work for now.  Hopefully over the next year I will be able to come up with something that I really love.  I added our new sparkly stocking holders, 2 small nutcrackers and two glittery trees to the ends.  I filled two glass apothecary jars filled with ornaments and my ornament frame to the center.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reindeer Food

One of my boys favorite Christmas traditions is making reindeer food.  On Christmas Eve we sprinkle it all over the yard.  The glitter is supposed to reflect off the moon to help the reindeer find our house.  While Santa is delivering the gifts the reindeer have a tasty treat to enjoy.
 You will need:

 Put some oatmeal in a bowl and add the glitter.  We mixed it together and then poured it in a little tin pail.
It is all ready to go for Christmas Eve.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Reason to Stockpile

Over the years I have been asked numerous times why I stockpile.  I always say the same reason, to help my family save money.  Well yesterday a new reason came about.  One of my best friends has a co-worker who is having a rough time this year.  She does not have the money to give her kids a Christmas meal let alone a special Christmas.  Because of this, the father was threatening to take them from her so the kids wouldn't do without.  When I got the email from my friend to help her co-worker, I jumped right on it.  Not only would I be able to help out but I would also be able to teach my kids a valuable lesson in giving.

We started in by going through our toy stockpile. This is where I keep toys on hand to use as gifts for birthday parties.  Next we hit up the craft room and filled a bag with crayons, pencils, construction paper and much more.  We also gave a bag of food and toiletries.  The kids got so excited that they wanted to start giving away their own toys.  I loved seeing how willing they were to help out other kids in need.

While I don't know this family and will probably never meet them, it is nice knowing that I was able to help them out a little.  Everyone deserves to have a special Christmas.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cookie Dough Fudge

It is time again for the Crazy Cooking Challenge over at Moms Crazy Cooking.  This month's theme is FUDGE!!  I have tried to make fudge in the past and was not successful.  It would never set up and was kind of runny.  I was very happy when this recipe turned out perfectly and tastes amazing.  I have to pace myself so I don't eat it all in one sitting.

 I chose Cookie Dough Fudge from Cookies & Cups.

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
4 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 t. salt
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 (15 oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk

Combine first 5 ingredients in a mixing bowl and cream together. Add flour and stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Form your cookie dough into marble sized balls.
Place on a waxed paper lined baking sheet.
Freeze for at least 15 minutes. The longer the better, so it doesn’t melt when you add it to the fudge.

Butter the bottom and sides of an 8×8 pan.
In a medium saucepan over low heat melt the sweetened condensed milk and chips together.
Stirring continuously.

When chocolate is melted remove from heat.
Remove your cookie dough from the freezer and carefully fold into your fudge.

Spread immediately in the pan.
Chill for at least an hour.

Cut into squares and serve.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

Lately I have been struggling with meals.  It seems if I spend a lot of time in the kitchen making a more involved meal my boys will complain and not eat.  After a couple months of this, I have come to the conclusion that I need to stick with quick, simple, easy to eat meals.  My boys tend to eat them better and are much more excited about meal times.  One meal I make often is homemade pizza.  It is easy and well received.  When I came across this pizza puffs recipe here, I knew this would be a big hit.  It is so good I need to start making a double batch so we have some leftover.
3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
pinch of salt
pinch of red pepper flakes-optional
3/4 cup whole milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup cubed pepperoni
1/2 cup pizza sauce

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan.  In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, Italian seasoning, salt and red pepper flakes.  Whisk in milk and egg.  Stir in the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan, and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.

2. Stir the batter and divide among the mini muffin cups.  Bake until puffed and golden, 20 - 25 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, microwave the pizza sauce until warmed through.  Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ornament Frame

After Christmas last year I bought a bunch of ornaments on clearance.  I have had a lot of fun this Christmas coming up with fun ways to incorporate the ornaments in my decorating.  I saw an idea similar to this on Pinterest.  I didn't pin it so not sure where the idea came from...sorry.
 I started out with an old picture frame I found at a yard sale over the summer.  I primed and then spray painted it a flat black.  The ornaments I planned to use were shiny so I used flat paint so they wouldn't compete.
 I used the painted frame, 4 ornaments, white ribbon and an "A" I found in the Dollar Spot at Target.
 I dismantled the back of the frame and took out all the screws and moved them to the top.  If I had a staple gun (which is on my Christmas list) I would have stapled things on instead of using the screws.
 I cut the ribbon and played around with different lengths until I had it the way I wanted.
 I stuck the ribbon under the screws and then tightened them down, then cut off the extra ribbon.
It is now sitting on my mantle until I find where I want to hang it. 
This was an simple project that cost less then $2 to make.

Linked up to Ginger Snap Crafts!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Save Mart cheap hot dogs

While shopping at Save Mart keep a look out for these cheap hot dogs.  Bar S hot dogs on sale 4/$5 with a $1 quick sale sticker on them.  I got them for .25 each and stuck them in the freezer for later.  The best buy date was still a week away so these made for a very thrifty deal.