Vote for me, Please!

I have resisted my competitive sides desire to post a reminder every single day about the Dollar Tree Contest voting. You can vote once a day and tomorrow is the last day! I am behind in the polls, so I would really appreciate it if you could click on the link and press the vote button.
http://www.dollartreeholidaycontest.com/contest/gallery/?submission_id=40194
It should pop right up for you, if not you can search for the word 'Key' and you can see it that way.



Thanks for your support, I really appreciate it.

I will be back with some new projects after the New Year. I am gearing up for a joint birthday party for my 5 and 3 year old. Yikes!

(I may post one more reminder begging pleading asking for your votes tomorrow. It's the only way I am ever getting a Kindle, and I would LOVE one.) Thanks again!

Crudite Tree

We are attending a breakfast on Christmas Eve and I have been searching for something to contribute. Check out this cute Tree I saw at Busy Bee Kid Crafts. I more than likely saw it on Craft Gossip. Some of the greatest ideas are featured there!



I would love to bring it but Monday night I came down with a crudy cold! So I think I will stick to something with minimal food touching!
I am definitely filing this away for next year though. I love it!

Here's another quick reminder.. you can vote once per day for the Dollar Tree Craft Contest.
Here is the link to my Key for Santa again: http://www.dollartreeholidaycontest.com/contest/gallery/?submission_id=40194
Thanks again for all your votes!

Holiday Flair for Crafts

Remember my Santa Key Shadow Box? I entered it into the Dollar Tree Flair for Crafts contest. The voting is going on now and I would be so ecstatic if you would go over and vote for it.
Just follow the link below and my entry will pop up. Press the Vote button and you are all set.
Vote here: http://www.dollartreeholidaycontest.com/contest/gallery/?submission_id=40194

You can vote once per day, I am pretty sure. Thank you so much! It would be really appreciated if you could help me spread the word too.
Thanks!

White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

I found this yummy looking recipe for White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge at Making Memories With Your Kids, she linked up to our Incredible Cookie Exchange. (You still have a few hours to link up your recipes!)


I actually made this fudge and wanted to share the results. It's important to note that I have never made fudge or any sort of candy before, although Alton Brown talked me into buying a digital candy thermometer a few years back. I was thrilled to finally pull that bad boy out of the package!
The fudge is delicious! It is just cooling down enough to get into it and I love it! So does the hubs, and he's never eaten anything but his Mom's fantasy fudge.
I couldn't find the Andes Peppermint crunch that the recipe called for so I took a bag of Hershey's Candy Cane hugs and took them for a few spins in the food pro. (I unwrapped them first of course. Ha ha)
I really love peppermint flavor and I am not sure I am getting that flavor strong enough for my taste. I am thinking I might try some peppermint extract or something next time.

Now, I don't know if I just got extremely lucky or this recipe is forgiving, but I made a few blunders that could have ruined the whole deal.
1. It is raining here in AZ today. Humidity can make your fudge not set-up. I somehow dodged that bullet, because it is the perfect texture. Keep humidity in mind if you are planning to make it.
2. You were supposed to butter the 9 x 13 pan before your poured the fudge in and I totally forgot. I have pulled a small square from the corner and it came out just fine. I'm expecting the rest will work out great too.
In conclusion, I give this recipe two thumbs way up! The tutorial and pictures that Erin wrote up are great and a fudge-newbie could totally do this.
Thanks for linking up Erin! More features are coming soon.

Gingerbread Houses

Tomorrow is my son's last day of school for the year so I am working on finishing up gift exchange presents and teacher gifts. I wanted to quickly show you two completely awesome gingerbread houses.
I love this Candy House from It's Sew Stinkin' Cute because it is something that I could totally do with my kids. You will have to go visit Julie and see her secret to making this house so simple. Here's a hint, "it does the body good!"

I love this next one because it is so gorgeous! Check out this Sewing themed Gingerbread at The Decorated Cookie. I don't think it is something I could ever do, but it sure makes me want to give fondant a try. Megan is so talented!

I tried to pick my favorite part but couldn't decide between the yarn balls out of licorice or the button roof shingles.

I've got one other cute decorating idea I want to feature, but I want to get permission first since it comes from someone's family blog.

Good luck to everyone finishing up their holiday to-do lists. You can do it!

Handmade gift discussion


My Mom told me today about a Dear Abby column where a woman made handmade cards with her niece for several years and sent them out to friends and family. Last year, someone sent a card back to the woman with money so she could afford to buy "real cards" next year. WHAT?!? That takes some nerve.
Over on my Facebook page, Cute As A Fox, I have started a Topic on the Discussion tab about it.
I would love to hear your thoughts on hand made gifts and your experiences about giving or receiving them. Both positive and negative experiences are welcome.
If you don't have a Facebook page, feel free to leave a comment if you have something to share.
Being a craft blogger and spending a good deal of time making gifts, I think I might be a little biased, so I can't wait to hear what others think too!


The Incredible Cookie Party is still going strong. Come check out all the links and add some, if you haven't already. I will be posting some of my favorites in the next day or so.

The Incredible Christmas Cookie Party: Soft Ginger Cookies

Today is the big day and I am so excited! Welcome to the Incredible Christmas Cookie Party. I am going to share one of my favorite cookie recipes with you, Soft Ginger Cookies. I am a sucker for soft cookies, and these are divine! My husband loves them too. In fact, he told me I was lucky there were any left to photograph.



Big Soft Ginger Cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. Salt (optional)
¾ cup margarine, butter or shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
¼ cup molasses
2 Tbs. sugar
Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl beat margarine, butter, or shortening with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds to soften. Gradually add the 1 cup sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add egg and molasses; beat well. Stir dry ingredients into beaten mixture.
Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls (1 heaping tablespoon dough each). Roll in the 2 tablespoons of sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 ½ inches apart.
Bake in a 350 degree oven about 10 minutes or until light brown and still puffed. (Do not overcook). Let stand for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Cool.
Makes 24 three-inch cookies.




Remember to check out what recipes the other hostesses have shared! My mouth is watering just looking at the names.
Steph of Somewhat Simple: Pumpkin and Chocolate Cookies
Kendra of My Insanity: Hand-painted Holiday Butter Cookies
Jax of Aly and Ash: Whipped Shortbread Cookies
Marni of Sassy Sites: NO Bake Chocolate Drops
Kristyn of Lil Luna: You'll have to go see for yourself!

Now it is your turn to share your favorite cookie/dessert recipe.
Grab the button and put it on your post or on your sidebar.


Link up your recipe here and remember it will go on all 6 of the hostesses blogs. One link and six times the exposure. I can't wait to see all the yummy recipes everyone shares!(Desserts only please)

Announcing the Incredible Christmas Cookie Party

I have been working hard on this all week, so I can't wait to tell you about this awesome party starting on Friday.
For awhile now. I thought it would be fun to organize a Cookie Exchange for the other bloggers in my area. Well I'm sure your December is just as busy as mine, so you understand when I say that adding one more thing to my plate, just wasn't going to happen.
Then it came to me, I'm a blogger, so why not make it a virtual cookie exchange and then I can invite everyone! I contacted some of my best blogging buddies and asked if they wanted to help me host a HUGE Christmas Cookie Link Party. That is how the Incredible Christmas Cookie Party {Blog Style} came to be.

Here is how it is going to work:
Starting Friday, December 10 at 6 AM EST a massive link party will open up on all six of our blogs. When you post on any one of the 6 blogs, your link will show up on all 6 blogs. How cool is that?
How you can participate:
Blog about your favorite Cookie recipe or dessert. Dessert's only please. Grab a Button from below and put it on your post or sidebar so everyone knows you are participating and they can join the party too.


Meet your Hostesses:
These fine ladies agreed to throw this party with me. I know I plan to feature some of the yummy cookies that get linked up, and I wouldn't be surprised if they did too! This banner will always be at the top of my blog all week long, so if you forget who is hosting, you can always check there.









I can't wait to share my favorite cookies with you! They are perfect for that tray of goodies you take to neighbors and friends. I will see you back here bright and early Friday morning!
Oh and I need to give a special thanks to Jax from Aly & Ash for creating the graphics. She is a rock star!


Biscuit Snowman Snacks

It is my turn to do snacks for preschool again. It seems like just yesterday I was dipping and decorating eleventy billion pretzel rod monsters. I couldn't believe how hard I had to scour the internet for non-dessert Christmas themed snacks that were preschool appropriate. I found an image of some biscuit snowman, but they were pretty plain jane(sorry I couldn't find it again to credit it)Update: Thanks to reader Amanda, here is the original inspiration from Family Corner. I decided to add a few more fun details and spice them up a little.



This project would be really fun to do where the kids decorate their own snowmen. I think I want to do this again with just my own children.
Supplies:
  • Pillsbury Refrigerated Biscuits(3 per snowman)
  • Pretzel Sticks (arms)
  • Raisins (buttons)
  • Mini-Chocolate Chips (Eyes and mouth)
  • Candy Corn (Nose)
  • Optional: Fruit Roll-up or Pull and Peel Licorice (scarf)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees
  2. Spray your cookie sheet with Pam
  3. Lay out three biscuits to form the snowman body. Make sure you press them together well so they will be nice and sturdy when baked. I had a two bottom segments fall off when I picked them up because they weren't baked together enough.
  4. Insert pretzel sticks into the second body segment for the arms.
  5. Push some raisins down into the biscuit a little ways for buttons. If you are doing a scarf, don't start right at the top of the neck, leave some room.
  6. With the mini-chips push in two eyes and 4 chips for a mouth. Make sure you leave plenty of room for the candy corn nose.
  7. The package of biscuits says to cook 8-10 minutes. The first batch I put in for 8 and they were a little too tan for snowmen. I went with 6 minutes for all the rest, and I thought they were great. Completely cooked, but not a lot of color on the top yet.
  8. Insert the candy corn nose at an angle. I pushed them in about as far as to cover the white tip. They might also be cute if you inserted the yellow end in first. I didn't think to try that at the time.
  9. Move them to a cooling rack and allow to completely cool.
  10. Using kitchen shears, cut a rolled up Fruit Roll-up into 1/2" to 3/4" inch pieces. Unroll each segment and attach your scarf. Note: I found it easiest to take each strip and break it into two pieces. One for the hanging down part and one to go across the neck. If you wrap it all the way around the snowman neck, you will probably need two pieces and it will stick.
My son loved them this morning, so I think they will be a big hit with his class!

Update: The Fruit Roll-Ups got pretty sticky when it was time to eat them. So next time I am definitely going with licorice!

A Key for Santa Shadow Box

I am so excited to share this project with you! It is my entry into the Dollar Tree Flair for Crafts contest. If you haven't heard, Dollar Tree is putting on a holiday crafting contest. All the info can be found at http://www.dollartreeholidaycontest.com

I found these glittery skeleton keys in the Walmart ornament section a while back for $1. We don't have a chimney at our house so I thought it would be cute to introduce it as a key for Santa. My kids aren't old enough to question the logistics of Santa Claus, but I want to have my bases covered.


Here is a wide shot of part of my "mantel." I use the top of my piano for a mantel during the holidays. When I get everything tweaked and in the right spot, I will show more of my decorations.

Here is the readers digest version of how to make this:
Supplies:
  • Glitter Key (Walmart $1)
  • Shadow Box (Ikea under $10.)
  • Vinyl Lettering
  • Scrapbook paper (From your stash or $0.50)
  • Hot glue/glue stick on hand
  1. My frame had a matte which I covered in a white texture paper using a glue stick.
  2. Attach your patterned paper to your matte with tape or glue.
  3. Hot glue your key onto your patterned paper.
  4. Apply vinyl lettering to the front of the frame
I really wish I could accurately capture the sparkles. The key is super sparkly and the red stripes on the patterned paper actually have some sparkle to them too. I have decided that glitter makes me happy!

The voting for the contest starts December 17, so I am sure I will be mentioning this project again.