Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Peanut Butter Cups

My husband's favorite. :-)

  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/2 c peanut butter
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 12 c brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ~10oz mini peanut butter cups
  • mini muffin pans

  1. Cream peanut butter, butter, and both sugars.
  2. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to mixture.
  4. Blend to make a dough.
  5. Shape into 1/2 inch balls. Place in an ungreased 1 1/2 inch muffin tins.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  7. Immediately after removing from oven, press a peanut butter cup into the center, deep, until only the top shows.
  8. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Candy Canes

These cookies are so YUMMY but they do take a while to make.

From Betty Crocker's Cookie Book, pg 74

  • 1 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 3/4 c margerine or butter, soft
  • 3/3 c shortening
  • 1 1/2 eggs (yeah, I don't get it either)
  • 2 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 3/4 c flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp red food color
  • 3/4 c crushed peperment candy
  • 3/4 c sugar

  1. Mix powdered sugar, margerine, shortening, egg, almond, and vanilla.
  2. Stir in flour and salt.
  3. Divide dough, color 1/2 red.
  4. Shape 1 tsp each color into 4 inch rope. Twist together into candy cane shape.
  5. Bake on ungreased sheets for 9 mins at 375 F.
  6. Mix candy and sugar. Sprinkle immediately over cookies after baking. Cool on racks.

Chocolate Dipped Almond Fingers

I believe this is another cookie we've done every year since we started. If we decide to drop one next year, this will be it. We like them, but the dough is crumbly and annoying. LOL

From Good Housekeeping Christmas Cookbook, page 48

  • 1 c butter or margerine
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 c sifted flour
  • 2 c finely chopped, toasted slivered almonds
  • 6ox semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 tbsp shortening


  1. Mix @ medium speed - beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in milk, vanilla, and salt.
  2. Mix @ low speed - beat in flour. Stir in almonds.
  3. Wrap dough in wax paper. Chill 3 hours.
  4. Shape into 2 inch fingers, place on ungreased sheet.
  5. Bake 15 min @ 325 F. Cool on wire racks.
  6. In double boiler over hot, not boiling, water, melt chocolate with shortening.
  7. Dip end of cookies in chocolate. Let dry on racks.
  8. Store in loosely covered containers at room temperature.

Classic Spritz Cookies

Like the title says, classic.

May have gotten this recipe from Pampered Chef, but I'm not sure. It's pretty basic anyway.

  • 1 1/2 c butter
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3 1/2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • colored sugar for decorating
  • cookie press

  1. Preheat to 375 F.
  2. Thoroughly cream butter and sugar. Add egg, milk, vanilla and almond; beat well.
  3. Stire together flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing to make a smooth dough.
  4. Do not chill.
  5. Press cookies onto ungreased sheet.
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool on rack. Sprinkle with colored sugar while hot.

Sour Cream Snowdrops

I think we've been making this cookies since we started doing Christmas Cookies. Before our son was born we used regular sour cream. Now we use the soy substitute sour cream.

From Pilsbury Festive Holiday Recipes, page 73


  • 1/3 c margerine or butter, soft
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 c chopped nuts
  • 1 c crisp rice cereal
  • Powdered Sugar

  1. Combine margerine, sour cream, egg, sugar, and vanilla.
  2. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour.
  3. Add nuts and cereal.
  4. Drop rounded tsp 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheeets.
  5. Bake 8-10 min @ 375 F
  6. When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Stained Glass Cookies

We've done this cookie for the past few years. It's a fun cookie to make with kids. Originally from Foodnetwork.com: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/stained-glass-cookies-recipe/index.html

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Assorted brightly colored, hard candies
  • 1 (2 to 3-inch) star cookie cutter
  • Special Equipment: 1 small triangle cookie cutter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the sugar and butter until smooth. Add the egg and the vanilla extract. Mix in the flour. Remove the dough from the mixer and press into a rectangular shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Remove from the refrigerator and cut dough into 1/3. Roll out dough, 1 piece at a time to a 3/16-inch thickness. Cut out as many large stars as possible. Repeat with all of the dough. Cut a small triangle out of each the arms on each star.
  4. Place the hard candy, by color, into small plastic bags. Place a towel over the bags and crush the candy with a meat mallet. Place all of the cookies on parchment lined sheet pans. In each of the
  5. triangle holes, fill with different colors of crushed hard candy. Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown, and the candy has melted.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mini Chocolate Chip Snowballs

Another new addition to our recipe box, also from allrecipes.com: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Mini-Chip-Snowball-Cookies/Detail.aspx

Instead of the mini morsels we used dairy-free chocolate chips. Still yummy! :-)

  • 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (12 ounce) package NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts
  • Powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla extract and salt in large mixer bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in flour; stir in morsels and nuts. Shape level tablespoons of dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set and lightly browned. Remove from oven. Sift powdered sugar over hot cookies on baking sheets. Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar if desired. Store in airtight containers.

Soft Gingersnap

These yummy soft gingersnap cookies are a new addition to our Christmas Cookie recipe box. The recipe came from allrecipes.com: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Soft-Gingersnaps/Detail.aspx

We did substitute margerine for the butter, because our son cannot have cow's milk, and also egg replacer for the eggs because our neighbor's daughter can't have eggs, but they are still delicious!

  • 1 1/2 cups butter (no substitutes), softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Additional sugar

  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in molasses. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt and nutmeg; gradually add to creamed mixture. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.
  2. Roll into 1-in. balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-12 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire racks.

Christmas Cookies

Is there anything better than baking up some goodies, wrapping them up, and sharing them with friends and family?

Stay tuned for photos of the individual cookies, and the recipes! YUM!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Coming January: CTMH's new catalog!

January's Stamp of the Month: (click for larger view)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Layout: Easter (digital)

Layout: Guitar Hero (digital)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Christmas Planner

Inspired by the pictures at http://www.organizedchristmas.com and the links to the blogs there, I created my own file folder Christmas Planner.

Materials used: Die Cuts With a View Christmas Glitter Stack, cardstock, ribbon (about 18"), 2 eyelets, brads, print outs from Organized Christmas, one 8.5"x11" file folder (OK I used about four before I decided exactly how I wanted it folded....)


(NOTE: depending on your preferences and your folder, you may need to adjust where you score your folders.)

Score the folder 8" from the top and then 4" on either side of middle fold.

Because my folder had the tab in the middle, I trimmed the folder on each side so that I got the look I wanted when it was all folded up. If your folder has the top on the top, you probably won't have to trim anything. Just fold your folder and see how you like it, and if you need to cut pieces away you can. If you need to adjust your score lines, start with a new folder. Like I said it took me four tries to get what I liked. :)

Here's how mine looks folded up:

Ink the Edges

I didn't want the color of the folder to show on the edges so I inked in dark green using a sponge dauber. I like the varigated look the sponge dauber gives but you could do it more evenly, too. The image above is the back of the folder. I didn't do the middle section because I planned to adhere that closed so that the planner opened like a book instead of an accordian. However I don't think that will work out (it's too thick) so I will go back and ink those edges and cover with paper.

This is the inside of the folder. Ink all the edges. Notice I completely inked the tabs too. I didn't cover this side of the tabs with paper so the green ink is all you see on it.

Cover with Paper

Cut paper to fit each section. I cut mine 1/8" smaller so just a touch of green would show. Adhere the paper to the insides of the pockets (8"x4.25", 2 8"x4", 8"x5" minux 1/8"). After this paper is adhered, fold up the pocket and adhere the two edges.

Now cover the pockets. I cut the paper 3 5/8" high (again 1/8" smaller than the space).

Cover the tabs if you want.

Cover the front cover and the back cover (and the middle back if you want)

Set two large eyelets (3/16") - one in the front cover and one in the back cover. I put my eyelets in so they helped hold the folder pockets closed. Thread the ribbon through the eyelets so that it goes around the front cover and the back of the planner and knot the ends so they don't pull through. Make sure the ribbon is long enough to open the planner all the way.


I printed some of the planning pages from http://www.organizedChristmas.com and made some of my own. I cut cardstock 7.5"x3.25" and cut the planning pages to 7"x2.75". (I think those are the correct measurements.) For the planning pages I will use up and want to replace every year (such as the Menu Planning) I used brads to attach it to the cardstock. For the pages that will be updated every year instead of replaced (such as Gift Ideas) I just adhered it to the cardstock.

That's it! Pretty easy!

Sticky Pecan Buns!

I can hardly believe these yummy looking sticky buns came out of my own oven! I cannot wait to pull them apart and indulge in their sticky goodness tonight. MMmmmmm....

Recipe from: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking

Monday, November 10, 2008

Christmas Activities/Advent Calendar

It suddenly hit me that November is already here and Christmas is just around the corner. Every year I say I'm going to start earlier and really be ready for Christmas, but I just can't seem to even think about it until Halloween is over.

This year I decided I wanted to make an Advent/Activity Calendar. I don't know if it really counts as an Advent calendar since it's not religious-based, but I wanted a countdown to Christmas with activities that could be done as a family each and every day. (see the end of the post for the list of activities I choose)

I was inspired by this example I saw online and followed it as an example. I made my wider (a full 12" in the middle) so that my tags would be big enough to write on. I like that the tags are completely removable and seperate from the numbers, so that I can decide exactly when I want each activity to happen, depending on our schedule for December that year.

Materials used: Die Cuts With a View Glitter Christmas Stack, CTMH cardstock, CTMH ribbon, CTMH stamps and inks, CTMH fiber, Liquid Glass, glitter, pop dots, misc brads, etc. A Wishblade or similar electronic cutting system will be helpful but not absolutely necessary if you don't mind some hand cutting.

Unfortunately I didn't think to take photos for each step, but I'll try to describe each step.

The Overall Structure
  • One 12x12 sheet of cardstock is used for the background of the middle section (the green paper the folders are attached to) - paper A
  • Two 12x12 sheets of cardstock on used on either side of the middle section (the red and green "Joy" paper you see in the image below) - paper B
  • One 12x12 sheet of cardstock for the back (not shown in photo) - paper C
Put it together like this:
  • Score the two B papers at 6". On one of the sheets, the left side will show, and on the other, the right side will show.
  • Lay paper C face down on the table.
  • Take one paper B and adhere the front of it to the wrong side of paper C, so that the score line at 6" is at the left edge. Paper B will extend 6" past paper C and fold back over it.
  • Do the same thing with the 2nd paper B on the right side of the paper C.
  • Take paper A and adhere it in the middle, between the two score lines, covering the seam created by the two paper Bs.
  • In the end, half of each paper B will be sandwiched between papers A and C. The other half of each paper B will fold over, meeting in the middle to cover paper A.

The Front

The front closure needs to be done before the inside.

I punched two circles (1" I think) from light green, and four smaller circles (3/4" I think). I adhered two small circles and one large circle together in a stack, and then attached the snowflake with a brad, through the three circles AND paper B. The smaller circles give a little space for the fiber to fit under.

Repeat with the remaining cirlces on the other side. Wind some waxy flax around the left side for a closure.

When the inside is done, it will cover the prongs from the brads.

The Left Side, Inside

To cover the wrong side of the scored paper used for the cover, I cut another piece of 12x12 cardstock, paper D (the striped cardstock in the above photo), in half and adhered one to each side. But before you stick it down, see the grommet in the top with the ribbon through it? I wanted it to look finished on both sides, so I put a grommet in paper D and a 2nd grommet in the cover (paper B) each facing the right side of the paper. Then I adhered paper D to paper B, and threaded the ribbon through.

Repeat this on the right side, so a total of 4 grommets will be used.

For the NOEL, I stamped the letters on white paper with red ink, then covered lightly with Liquid Glass and sprinkled with glitter. It doesn't show very well in the picture, I know. I originally wanted to emboss the letters but my embossing never comes out how I want it. *sigh*

Cut out the letters and adhere to green cardstock (I forget the size, I think there's about 3/4" around all four sides) and inked the edges with dark green ink.

The Right Side, Inside

The envelope on the right side for holding the leftover tags took me a lot of time. I had to create the template for the envelope and I'm not very good with spacial thinking, and I wanted it to be thick enough to hold all 24 tags, so it's actually 1/4" deep. I used my CraftRobob (similar to Wishblade) to cut out the envelope. I originally intended to just make it red, but ended up lining it with green paper, to cover the wrong side of the brads.

So, once you have a piece cut out of each green and red, put the brads into the red paper. Leave them a little bit loose so there's room underneith them for the fiber for closure. It's easier to do that before you assemble the envelope. Once the brads are in, assemble the red and green envelopes separately. Then put the green envelope into the red envelope and adhere. It's a tight fit (because they are cut the same size) and the green pokes out of the red a little. You could make the red template a smidge bigger if you wanted to keep the green totally inside.

The Believe tag was simply cut out from one of the papers included in the DCWV stack.

I wrapped some CTMH waxy flax around the brad in the flap, to use as a closure.

Download GSD file for envelope
(NOTE: this file was created in RoboMaster 2.4 and I have no idea what other software it will work in.)

Tags and Folders

The tags are simply punched out using the Marvy punch on dark green paper and inked with black ink. Then I punched squares (1 1/4" I think, I'll have to check) from light green paper and inked with red ink and wrote the activity with a red pen. Adhere the light green squares to the tags and add fiber.

The folders I also used my CraftRobo for. Cut them out and assemble them. I inked the edges because the white from the back of the paper showed through the scored edges and I didn't like how it looked.

I punched 12 pink and 12 light green circles (3/4") and inked in red and green, respectively. Then, alternating numbers, stamped in red and green, respectively. Adhere to folders with pop dots.

Adhere folders to paper A evenly, 6 across and 4 down. I drew lines with a vanishing ink pen and eyeballed the placement of each folder within the grid.

Download GSD file for library pocket folders
(NOTE: this file was created in RoboMaster 2.4 and I have no idea what other software it will work in.)

List of Activities

Here is the list of activities I wrote onto the tags. I also plan to make some extra, blank tags to keep with the calendar, to make new activities as our family grows. This way I won't have to worry about having the same supplies to match several years down the road.

Visit Santa at the mall
Buy a toy for Toys for Tots
Watch a christmas movie with popcorn
Drive around neighborhoods to see Christmas lights
bake cookies
make ornaments
make gifts for teachers
letter to santa
Family Game Night
Watch a christmas movie with popcorn
Decorate outside
Deck the Halls and Trim the Tree
Symphony of Lights
Choose a toy to donate
Deliver cookies to the neighbor
Fill out Christmas Cards (bulk)
Put gifts under the tree
Fill out family Christmas Cards
Read the Christmas Story/The Greatest Story Ever Told
Wrap Gifts for Mommy
Wrap Gifts for Daddy
Choose 3 toys to donate
Choose 2 toys to donate
Choose one gift to open

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Album, beginning layouts

Creating a Halloween album that I update each year has been on my to-do list for a while. I finally started it a few weeks ago. I am using a 9x9 CTMH album and the Enchanted paper pack. So far all of my layouts have come from Reflections, one of CTMH's idea books.

I have more pages done but haven't taken photos of them yet. These layouts still need some embellishments and/or journaling.

Friday, October 31, 2008

2008 Pumkpin Carving

One of the things I look forward to with Halloween is the pumpkin carving. This year I did Diego for DS, Mets for DH, and the Twilight movie poster for me. Diego and Mets I found patterns for online. To make the pattern for the Twilight pumpkin I downloaded the PumpkinShop software and created the pattern from the movie poster. It was my first time doing layered carving (shaving the skin off) so there are definitely improvements that can be made, but not bad for my first attempt. The orignal image was: