Rice Krispies Making Memories Challenge Grand Prize

Just before Christmas I got some great news. Team Phoenix won the Motherhood Rice Krispies Making Memories Challenge for the whole year! That means that when the scores from each challenge were totaled up, we had the most points. We were totally blown away, because we had some seriously tough competition. I thought it would be fun to recap the projects we made this year. You can click on the title of each project to go to the post with the full recipe.


Chewy Gooey Rice Krispie Chicks and Easter Display

 Rice Krispies Easter Basket Tutorial: http://www.cuteasafox.com/2011/04/rice-krispies-easter-basket.html
Rice Krispies Treat Topiary Tutorial: http://www.cuteasafox.com/2011/04/rice-krispie-treat-topiary.html

Rice Krispies Stuffed Peanut Butter Pops



I created the Rice Krispies Treat Ice Cream cones for this challenge. It has been one of my most popular posts this year! Tutorial: http://www.cuteasafox.com/2011/07/kelloggs-rice-krispies-ice-cream-cones.html

 

Caramel Apple Rice Krispies Treats






Rice Krispies Treat Winter Wonderland featuring Swirly Peppermint Roll-Ups



Cocoa Krispies Reindeer: http://www.cuteasafox.com/2011/11/hot-cocoa-krispies-reindeer.html

I have really enjoyed working with all of my Team members:
Working with theMotherhood.com has been really so amazing too. I want to thank everyone that liked our pictures, or helped spread the word. It really meant so much to us.

You can check out all the different teams entries for the whole year over at the Rice Krispies Making Memories Circle on the Motherhood. It is pretty sad that the whole thing is over. I would love to do it again. I think it is a safe bet that I will continue to create Rice Krispies treat recipes just for the fun of it. I am officially hooked!

Mens BBQ Apron

A while back my sister was on vacation in Maine and saw this men's BBQ apron that her boyfriend really liked. He went to school in Maine, and I guess residents of Maine really do like lobsters! The price tag however was $75. Yowsers! She asked if I could help her create something similar and so we got to work.


Inspiration Apron ($75):

Our apron (way less than $75):  The best part was that when he opened the apron, he thought my sister had gone back and paid the money for the apron. Win!

Here is another shot of the apron: 

To make the apron, we modified this apron pattern found at WeAllSew.com.
Modifications we made:
  • Add 6 inches to the length. We wanted it to hit right around the knee
  • For the neck strap, I added D-rings to one side instead of the grommets.
  • Added two pockets to the front for tools. 
For the lobster, I created a lobster SVG file and made a freezer paper stencil. Here is the lobster silhouette as a JPEG.


You can download the file in SVG format here: http://www.4shared.com/file/mt5AYEbD/lobster_silhouette.html
Download Instructions: Click the Blue Download Link button.  Wait for the 20 second clock to count down. Click the "Download File Now" link that will appear.


A BBQ apron makes a great present for the men in your life. Assuming they like to Barbecue of course! :)



I hope everyone had a great holiday! My family had a wonderful Christmas, but I am looking forward to getting back to the regular pace of life!

Glass Teacher Ornaments

These ornaments are probably too late for teacher gifts this year, but you could always pin it for next year!

 


Before we talk about the teacher ornaments I made,  here is a little back story. My Mom was looking for some ideas for little ornaments to give the women in her church and per usual, Vanessa from The Sew-er, The Caker, The Copycat Maker came to the rescue with these amazing glass ornaments.


Back in August, I helped my Mom make somewhere around 80 of these nativity ornaments. I was sworn to secrecy though, she didn't want any of the recipients seeing their present on my blog. To save a few steps we copied the nativity directly onto the transparencies and then cut out the ornament shape.

These nativity ornaments got the ball rolling and I thought it would would be fun to make some ornaments for my kids teachers using the same principal.

  1. I designed the ornaments and printed them out on regular paper. 
  2. Then I headed over to Office Max and had them make color copies onto transparencies.  
  3. Cut out the ornament shape using this template.

    Right click and select 'save image'
  4. Roll the transparency up and insert into the ornament.
  5. Using a funnel, insert snow. In these case I cut up metallic paper shred in school colors to make some fun confetti.
  6. You will need to pull the transparency up slightly and trim the very top of that little rectangle. 
  7. Put the ornament top back on and you are all set!

 

If I have left something out, please feel free to ask me with questions. You could also check out Vanessa's amazing ornaments. She probably has it covered.

Snow Globe Gift Card

This is going to be a short and sweet post. Last Thursday I came down with some sort of awful sickness and I still feel pretty terrible. I wanted to share a quick idea with you that you could still pull off before Christmas.

I give plenty of gift cards for Christmas, and I feel just fine about it. I thought it would be fun to spruce up the presentation just a bit though. I found these photo snow globes at  CVS and put a printable Amazon gift card inside. My seventeen year old nephew seemed to like the idea and it got lots of oohs and ahhs from the family. If your gift card won't fit, you can make your own print with the store and dollar amount, and then tape the actually gift card to the bottom of the snow globe.

Here are the other ways, I spruced up my gift card presentation:
  • Attach a Gift card to the back of a lollipop
  • Buy an inexpensive pair of slipper socks and stick the card inside
  • Tape the gift card to the tag of a water bottle. I got my Brother-in-law a bottle featuring his favorite sports team and taped a gift card to the bottle. 
Do you give gift cards? Share your ideas for sprucing up the presentation in the comments. I would love to hear how you do it!

Gift Card Weekend

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gift Card Weekend for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I don't know about you but we usually purchase a handful of gift cards each holiday season. From the hard to shop for to the people who prefer being able to pick out their own gifts. I am totally happy to oblige.

Have you ever heard of Gift Card Weekend? I hadn't until just recently myself. Let me tell you how it works. Purchase a gift card at participating retailers, then redeem them the weekend of January 6 - January 8, 2012 and get special deals. In essence, you are increasing the value of the gift card you purchased. This is great news in my opinion. I love stretching my dollars or helping someone else do the same thing.

Here are a list of all the participating retailers:

-JCPenny
-Regal Cinema
-Subway
-Sephora
-Applebee's
-Bass Pro Shops
-Adidas
-Buca di Beppo
-Lowe's
-Spa Finder
-Marriot
-Giant Eagle

You can check out the GiftCardWeekend.com for a list of the perks being offered by each retailer.

I have some even better news, in order to get everyone excited about Gift Card Weekend, Gilbert the Gift Card Machine is giving away gift cards everyday on Facebook. All month long, there will be giveaways to some of the participating retailers I listed above. For example, 12/10 - 12/18 the giveaway is for a $25 Applebee's gift card!

applebees_giftcard.jpg

Entering is very simple. All you need to do is 'like' Gift Card Weekend on Facebook. Share with your Facebook friends and you can receive an extra chance to win for every 'like' you influence. Then you just need to keep an eye on the Gift Card Weekend Facebook page to see all the different giveaways for the month.

Good luck to everyone! I hope you win some gift cards!!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Christmas Ornament Cupcakes


Thanks to Duncan Hines for sponsoring my writing. There's no limit to the baking possibilities, so grab your favorite Duncan Hines mix and Comstock or Wilderness fruit fillings and Bake On! www.duncanhines.com.

My youngest just turned four and at her preschool, that means you get to bring cupcakes. Her birthday is so close to Christmas, I thought it would be fun to make some fun Christmas cupcakes. After much searching, I found some cute inspiration from Hello, Cupcake! over on the Duncan Hines website. Here are the Ornaments Cupcakes that I came up with.


These cupcakes were so fun and easy to make. They are really great for any kind of holiday entertaining you want to do. These would even be great for a girls night in. You just need to whip up some cupcakes from Duncan Hines cake-mix before the event and you and your girlfriends can decorate cupcakes while you sit and chit chat.


Christmas Ornament Cupcakes

Ingredients:
  • 1 box Duncan Hines cake mix - I used the Moist Deluxe Devil's Food
  • Water, Oil, Eggs
  • 1 can Duncan Hines Creamy Homestyle Classic Vanilla Frosting
  • Sanding Sugar - I used gold, silver, red, green
  • Spice or gum drops
  • Licorice laces
  • Toothpicks
  • Gel frosting writers
  • Assorted candies, and sprinkles for decorating

Directions:
  1. Make your cupcakes according to the directions on your Duncan Hines cake mix box.
  2. Let cupcakes cool completely.
  3. Working with one cupcake at a time, frost with Duncan Hines Creamy Homestyle Classic Vanilla Frosting and press the cupcake into a bowl of sanding sugar.
  4. Add sprinkles, candies, licorice, or gel frosting to decorate your cupcake.

  5. Time to make the ornament top. Use a toothpick to poke two holes in the top of the spice drop. Insert the licorice laces into the holes you just made. I used the toothpick to help me push the licorice in. put a small amount of frosting on the bottom of the spice drop and set on the cupcake. 


I thought it was funny that one of the simplest ornaments was my personal favorite.
Have I persuaded you include these scrumptious cupcakes at your next holiday function? I sure hope. I really loved making them. There is something very relaxing about getting creative with your food. Whether they are eating them or decorating them, these cupcakes are sure to be a big hit with the kids and adults!


Remember to check out Duncan Hines' website www.duncanhines.com to find some great recipes for your holiday get-together! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective.

Simply Dressed Caesar Bacon Green Beans

Growing up I thought I despised green beans. I was never going to eat them, and you couldn't make me. Turns out that I despise CANNED green beans. A few years ago a family member brought this green bean side dish made with fresh green beans to Thanksgiving and it was amazing! When I was given the chance to review Marzetti Simply Dressed, I knew that I wanted to revise this family favorite and incorporate some Simply Dressed Caesar dressing. I loved it and I can't wait to share it with you!

First I want to tell you a little bit about Simply Dressed dressings. Each dressing is all natural. I could pronounce and recognize each and every ingredient on the list. The dressings are kept in the refrigerated section of the produce section. I found it next to all of the bagged salads. I know that retail prices vary from store to store but I found the Marzetti Simply Dressed for $2.99 full retail price. That is definitely a price point that I can work into my budget.

Before I used the dressing in a recipe, I decided to give it a taste and see how it compared to other dressings that I have had. It is delicious! The taste and smell were wonderful. It had a great texture and you could differentiate the different ingredients as you ate them. It wasn't some big homogenous mixture that was Caesar "flavored." It had a depth of flavor that frankly I was surprised to find in a bottled salad dressing. It tasted like it belongs on a $15 caesar salad at a trendy restaurant.

Now that you're salivating, here is the recipe!

Simply Dressed Caesar Bacon Green Beans
Ingredients:
  • ¾ lbs fresh green beans
  • 6 slices of bacon (chopped)
  • Marzetti Simply Dressed Caesar dressing
  • 2-3 cups of water
Directions:
  1. Brown chopped bacon in a large skillet.
  2. Drain the grease if necessary, but do not clean the pan.
  3. Add the green beans, add enough water to cover the green beans.
  4. Cook on low heat for 30 minutes or until the beans are cooked.
  5. Use a slotted spoon to serve the bacon and green beans. 
  6. Drizzle the top with Marzetti Simply Caesar dressing. 
  7. Serve to the hungry masses!
Back at the beginning of this post I professed my love for  fresh green beans. Well, adding the all natural Marzetti Simply Dressed Caesar was a no brainer. Seriously, this dish is awesome! It doesn't hurt that it has bacon in it either. Everything is better with bacon!
 
Marzetti Simply dressed comes in a variety of flavors including:
  • Balsamic
  • Blue Cheese
  • Caesar
  • Champagne
  • Coleslaw
  • Ginger Sesame
  • Greek Feta
  • Pomegranate
  • Ranch
  • Strawberry Poppyseed
  • Thousand Island
I am really interested in trying the Balsamic, Coleslaw, and Pomegranate varieties too.  I will of course be having my Caesar dressing in a traditional salad too. Yum!
One last time, I am going to demand encourage you try out this green bean recipe or at least bookmark it for later. This would be a great one to take to your next holiday potlucks. I know that my cousin now has to bring her green beans to every family function because they are so good. I really think you would have everyone asking for your Caesar dressing recipe if you brought this dish. ;)

I was one of the bloggers selected by T. Marzetti Company and Clever Girls Collective to host a Marzetti Simply Dressed review. They provided me with product to test myself and compensation for my time. However, my opinions are entirely my own.

Minky Bear Hat

It doesn't happen very often, but sometimes I see an idea or a tutorial on a blog and I have to make it NOW. This was the case with this Bear-y Cute hat tutorial by Jessica at Happy Together. Not only was the cuteness factor through the roof, but it also seemed totally doable for my sewing level. I would probably call myself an advanced novice.


My in-laws do a Christmas gift rotation and this year I hit the jackpot because we give to my brother-in-law that just had a brand new baby. She is two weeks old, so she is super brand new.
I ran to Target and picked up a cute Baby's First Christmas sleeper, some socks, and then to the craft store for all the supplies for the hat.

Here is the hat I made! I followed the tutorial exactly and it came out perfect. 


There are two things I would change. The first, I would make the flip up portion of the hat a little bigger. I made mine smaller than the tutorial, but I think maybe I should have stuck with what Jessica did. As for the other thing I would change, I would never photograph on a red background again. I am investing in a white foam board. Yikes!

Here is the whole set for my niece's first Christmas. That little green bow is in case my sister in law wants to change out the ribbon on the hat.

I asked my sister in law to take a picture of my cutie pie niece in her hat and here she is! I love sleeping babies. :)


There is one other thing that made me really excited about this project. I finally made something I was proud enough of to put my Cute as a Fox label in. My friend Julie, It's Sew Stinkin' Cute, bought them for me but I haven't done much sewing lately. I love them! Thanks Julie!

Here is the link to the tutorial over at Happy Together again: http://www.happytogethercreates.com/2011/11/beary-cute-hat-tutorial.html
Thanks for the great tutorial, Jessica!