Snowman Milk Bottles

So remember when we started this whole 12 Days of Christmas thing? Remember my little pre-apology just in case life got in the way of a post or two coming your way? Well, it was bound to happen and it finally did. (Although we did have a solid six day run before that. Yes!)

Long story short: Son # 4’s allergies got the best of him. Zyrtec kicked his allergies butt and dried up excessive amounts of mucus. And backed them right up into his ear which culminated in an ER visit narrowly avoiding a burst ear drum. Now that we’re all back to normal, we’re ready to resume our regularly scheduled programming. And back to the Christmas craftiness we are. In 3 … 2 … 1 …

I’m about to show you something really cute.

Like really, really cute.

And it’s so simple! Just a few supplies, and you can have an adorable Winter milk jug ready for the kids, for guests, or even for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Snowman Milk Bottle

Also, it’s Christmas time, and that means it’s also (unofficially) cookie season. And you can’t have cookies without milk. It’s just one of the unwritten laws of dessert. So whether you’re throwing a Christmas party, hosting the family baking day, or just enjoying some much needed qt with your cuties, having milk on-hand is a must, and what better way to serve it than this?!

Snowman Milk Bottles

milk bottles, I happen to own a set, but Starbucks Frappuccino bottles would work perfectly too
felt, I used red but any color would work
black buttons
straws
glue gun

Directions

1. Cut a strip of felt. Snip the ends of the strip of felt to resemble a scarf.
2. Tie the strip of felt around the neck of the bottle. Arrange the ends so they both lay flat. If needed apply some glue to the bottom strip and press the top down onto it to secure.
3. Glue two black buttons onto the midsection of the glass.
4. Fill with milk, insert a straw, and you’re ready to impress!

Candy Cane Fruit & Cream Cheese Danish

Candy canes are very famous holiday treats that everyone loves. Well, most everyone. I’ve never been a big fan, but they’re like a holiday staple or something. Like the rock hard, year old candy in Grandma’s Christmas candy dish, or the fruit cake. That being said, I couldn’t resist the idea of a candy cane-inspired breakfast danish for Christmas morning last year.

Totally easy to throw together too, so I didn’t have to miss a single moment, or capturing one, that morning. It was so good, that nobody minded finishing it for lunch either. It was the perfect thing to sit back with, well that and a strong cup of coffee, to finally relax and just enjoy the sons’ joy last year. This is definitely going to be a repeat item this year.

 Candy Cane Fruit & Cream Cheese Danish

Candy Cane Fruit & Cream Cheese Danish

Candy Cane Fruit & Cream Cheese Danish 2

2 cans of crescent rolls
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 can cherry or strawberry pie filing

For Glaze (optional)

Powdered sugar
milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

1. Set two roll sections aside for candy cane stripes. Lay out remaining crescent roll sections in the shape of a candy cane making sure to overlap the edges slightly. Use a knife to cut out your candy cane shape. Mix together your cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Spread on top of your candy candy shape.
2. Spoon pie filling on top of cream cheese filling.
3. Using the remaining two roll sections, cut off long strips and lay them out on top of your filling to create a candy cane look. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the bread is golden brown.

Glaze:
Mix together ingredients alternating between powdered sugar and milk until desired consistency is obtained.

Drizzle over baked candy cane and enjoy!

Snowmen On A Stick

Aren’t these snowmen on a stick just adorable? They made the perfect end to our tree trimming this year.

 snowmen on a stick

When Son # 4 was born in 2009 we had always used an artificial tree. That Black Friday we pulled out our trusty tree form storage and every single Christmas decoration we owned just like we did every year. To say I get a little excited over trimming the tree and decking the halls would be an understatement. When I saw the way the hubs was paused over the tree bin, just staring down into it, I knew something was wrong. The look way he looked at me when he glanced up? My stomach dropped. His next words had me on the verge of tears, “Baby, it’s broken.” How? Who knows. The hubs is the best packer and most careful organizer I’ve ever met. But it happened, and Christmas just wasn’t going to be the same. We had 3 older kids and a new baby. I was a stay at home Mom on the hubs meager income. We didn’t have money to buy a new tree. How could we have Christmas without a tree?!?! Trust the hubs to immediately come to the rescue and save the day. 20 minutes later the hubs had us all packed in the car like sardines, but told me not to worry, we were going to get a tree. That. day. In another 20 minutes we were all busy exploring the tree farm fields for our first actual Christmas tree.

Since then, after Thanksgiving we always head off to the local tree farm to pick out our annual family Christmas tree. We’ve always been big on traditions, and I’ve got to say this one turned out to be an awesome accident. And every year, everyone gets into the hunt. And yes, we all have that Clark Griswold moment, with golden light shining down illuminating our perfect tree. Then it’s time to saw that sucka down. And thankfully, we always remember the saw 😉

 The Sons' Christmas Tree 2014

The hubs and Son # 2 oversaw that job this year.

The Sons' Christmas Tree 2014 2

You didn’t have to ask or mention it twice, Son # 2 was chomping at the bit to help his Daddy. They were pretty proud of themselves and their personal best chop time.

I wanted to do a fun festive treat for the boys to enjoy while the Christmas  music’s playing and I’m singing at the top of my lungs humming along as we all hang ornaments and rehash stories of when they were made or their significance. And these powdery snowmen were easy to assemble and even easier to enjoy.

 Snowmen on a Stick

snowmen on a stick 2

powdered doughnuts
orange and green Mike & Ike candies
wooden skewers
toothpicks
black food coloring

Directions

1. Carefully thred three doughnuts onto a skewer. Carefully, because the sons went through too many broken doughnuts to count before they found their gentle touch.
2. Place an orange Mike & Ike candy in the hole of the top doughnut for the nose. Place a green in each of the remaining holes for ‘buttons’.
3. Dip the tip of a toothpick into the black food coloring and make dots for the eyes and mouth.
4. That’s it. Easy, right? Additionally, you can use fruit roll ups or some other kind of bendy candy to make a scarf, but I was making do with what was in the pantry.

Sous Chef Sunday: Apple Pie Taquitos

I can’t think of anything more American to devour on Thanksgiving than an ooey-gooey heap of caramelized apples piled into a crispy, buttery crust.

A good apple pie can be oh-so-good, but a bad one, well, it’s just flat out depressing.

Unfortunately a lot can go wrong when it comes to the classic dessert, and I’ve yet to find/perfect a solid pie crust recipe. But the sons and I have found a way to still get our festive fix.

All the makings of a great apple pie, in a fun taquito shape. Apple Pie Taquitos. It’s genius!

And, again, it’s fun. And the sons and I are all about some fun. Serve em up warm from the oven with a drizzle of caramel syrup and a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream for a delicious dessert you’ll really be thankful for!

Apple Pie Taquitos

Apple Pie Taquitos

recipe adapted from Jo Cooks

1 20 oz can of apple pie filling
12 medium soft tortillas
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
caramel syrup, optional

Directions

1. Combine the cinnamon and sugar on a plate.
2. Empty the can of pie filling onto a cutting board and chop up the apples into bite-sized pieces.
3. Lay a tortilla flat and top with about 3 tablespoons of the apple pie filling. Tightly roll up the tortilla. Brush the outsides of the taquito with butter, then roll it in the sugar/cinnamon mixture to coat the outside. Place the taquito in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and apple pie filling.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the taquitos start to get golden on top. Drizzle with caramel syrup before serving.

Sous Chef Sunday: Teddy Bear Toast

I didn’t think anything could shift son # 4’s love of eggs for breakfast. But, one morning of helping me with these and he was hooked. He’s asked for it again every morning for a week straight. I’m so glad we found a way to put a little fun back into our breakfast routine. These adorable little teddies take less than two minutes to whip up, and make a perfect healthy and FUN breakfast option for the little ones. Don’t like peanut butter, or wanting more variety. Sub nutella!

Teddy Bear Toast

Teddy Bear Toast

a few slices of your favorite sandwich bread, toasted
banana, sliced
raisins
creamy peanut butter
 
Directions
 
1. Start by toasting the piece of bread in the toaster. Then spread the creamy peanut butter, or nutella, all over it.
2. Cut up the bananas into thin slices and put two at the top corners of the toast and one in the middle.  
3. Add three raisins making the bear’s eyes and nose.
4. Isn’t it just soooo cute?! This is a great way to sneak in some healthy options (bananas and raisins) without them complaining.

Olympics-Themed Party/Treat Ideas

In honor of the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, here are two simple ideas to do with your kids to celebrate and help them feel connected to it all. And no, it’s not too late. You’ve still got another week to enjoy these sweet and simple treats. Shoot, does a party always have to be at the beginning anyway? Have a going away party for the Olympics to celebrate the great games and events over the last week and week to come. Go against the grain. You just might be creating a new tradition or find your snazzy ‘bid the Olympics adieu’ party idea suddenly trending.

I know I mentioned these are simple ideas. Just how simple? Two ingredients each. That’s it. Barely any assembly required. Lazy Mom status. That’s how I roll. At least today anyway.

The Olympics Themed Party Ideas

Gold Medals for your Champions

4 Sons 'R' Us: edible 'gold' medals

Adorbs. Totes McGoats.

Cut a fruit by the foot in half and gently bend until the ends are brought together. Slap an oreo onto said ends and there ya go. You’re ‘gold’en!

Olympic Torches

4 Sons 'R' Us: edible olympic torches

For quality control purposes, I would suggest not actually consuming ice cream cones and cheetos together, but the sons are weird and didn’t listen to my advice. No surprise there though. What could Mom possibly know that they don’t? Ok, rant over…

I, sophisticated as I am, ate my cheetos first and then (after making sure the inside wasn’t powdered orange) added a scoop of ice cream to polish off my cone. I didn’t tell them there was ice cream? They’d already eaten their cones? There aren’t anymore cones?! Oops. 😉

Back to the torches. These make the perfect edible, and adorable ‘toast’ to the Olympics. As son # 1 said, “It’s our ‘shout-out’ to Sochi.” So if you missed the boat like I did  and didn’t usher the Olympics in with style this year ((or even if you had your ducks in a row and had your Olympic party when things actually started on Friday), bid them a fond farewell with these fast, fun treats.

Sous Chef Sunday: Grilled Cheese Roll-Ups

These little grilled cheese ‘sticks’ are easy, delicious, and dippable. For all of you fellow double-dip offenders, you know exactly what I mean when I say, it’s ten times better if it’s dippable. Son # 3 dubbed these his favorite ‘eggrolls’. All the sons thoroughly enjoyed dunking them in their bowls of creamy tomato soup.These were so much more convenient than our old grilled cheese sandwich.   Son made, son tested, and son approved.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Grilled Cheese Roll-Ups

6 slices of your favorite sandwich bread, any kind will do
6 slices of American or Cheddar cheese
2 tbsp butter
tomato soup

Directions

1. Lay out pieces of sandwich bread on a flat surface. Use a rolling pin to flatten. Then, if you’re anti-crusts, use a knife to cut the crusts off of each piece of flattened bread.
2. Place a slice of cheese on top of each slice of bread, then roll up tightly to form a grilled cheese
3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat until melted. Place the grilled cheese rolls (about 3 at a time) seam-side down in the skillet, and cook on all sides until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. You can press the rolls down with a spatula to be sure that they do not unfold while cooking.
4. Remove and repeat with the remaining sandwiches, adding more melted butter if necessary. Serve immediately while the cheese is still warm and gooey with extra delicious dipping sauce tomato soup.

The World’s Easiest Cheeseburger Sliders

I’m definitely a foodie at heart. I come from a long ling of women who love good food, and I’m pretty sure I’ve done my job of instilling that same feeling in my boys. While normal sized food is always great, there’s just something about food in miniature that I just can’t help but adore. It’s just so cute and fun. Not to mention, with four growing boy, two growing teenage boys who inhale food like vacuums, it’s often a whole lot less messy. With those things combined, sliders are a huge hit with this mom. Still, it was a wee bit time consuming to have to shape each petite patty by hand. Then I stumbled on this genius kitchen life-hack, and BAM! Mind.Blown. This recipe, literally, is for making the easiest sliders ever. Ever.

Easy Cheeseburger Sliders

4 Sons 'R' Us: The World's Easiest Cheeseburger Sliders

1 1/2 pounds, 93% lean ground sirloin
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (12-count) Kings Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls (or slider buns)
6 slices cheddar or American cheese

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.   In a bowl, combine beef, bread crumbs, onion, and salt.  Gently press mixture into a 9-by-13-inch pan so that it makes one large patty of even thickness.  Use the tines of a fork to poke holes throughout the meat.  Bake for 30 minutes.  As it bakes, the meat will shrink away from the sides and liquid will accumulate around the edges of pan.  2. When fully cooked, remove the pan from oven (keep oven turned on) and carefully drain off the liquid.
3. Top the meat with an even layer of sliced cheese; return pan to oven for about 2 minutes or until the cheese melts.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes.
4. Cut into 2-inch squares (or the size of the buns used), making 12 mini- hamburgers.  Serve with dill pickle slices and ketchup.  Serves 6 at 2 sliders each.

A Candy Cane Craft: Teddy Bear Sleds

I used to look at candy canes and see one of two things. A. cute, simple, and in-expensive tree decorations, or B. something gross I wouldn’t eat and would most likely collect dust in the Christmas bin until next Christmas. Boy, was I missing out! Still inexpensive, candy canes are great for Christmas-time crafts, like these adorable Teddy Bear Sleds. Who wouldn’t be tempted to eat these sledding teddies? They’re just so adorable. The youngest son loved these, so much so that he wouldn’t even eat his for a whole day. He’s never not eaten candy IMMEDIATELY. That’s never happened before, like not in the history of ever.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Teddy Bear Sleds

These little guys are so ‘bear-y’ cute! Sorry, I couldn’t resist 🙂

4 Sons 'R' Us: Teddy Bear Sleds

They’re almost too cute to eat. Almost.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Teddy Bear Sleds

A Candy Cane Craft: Teddy Bear Sleds

fun size snickers bars
mini candy canes
mini teddy grahams
chocolate frosting

Directions

1. Attach candy canes to the sides of unwrapped candy bars, using frosting, to look like sleigh rails. Let dry.
2. Again using the frosting, attach 1-2 teddy grahams to the top of the sleigh. Let the frosting dry again.
3. Enjoy your sleigh-riding teddy bears!

Pizza Pancakes

Do your kids love pancakes? Mine sure do. Coincidentally, pancakes were also one of the first things we taught them how to help us, and help themselves, make. When I heard ‘pizza pancakes’ I was intrigued. When I saw the recipe, I was inspired! All 4 Sons got in on the action. This delicious little hybrid was a fun new twist and a real treat for the kids. Pizza pancakes and it’s cast of characters are now set for a recurring role on our family’s dinnertime menu.

Pizza Pancakes

4 Sons 'R' Us: Pizza Pancakes

 

recipe adapted from Plain Chicken

  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni, diced
  • 1 cup sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • pizza sauce, warmed
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine the biscuit mix, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Combine eggs and milk. Stir the wet ingrediets into the dry ingredients until just moistened. Fold in the cheese, pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms, if using.
  2. Pour batter by 1/4 cup-fuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle. Turn when bubbles form on top and continue cooking until the seconds side is golden brown.
  3. Serve with warmed pizza sauce and Parmesan cheese.