The Conclusion of 24 Days of Advent Calendar Fun: Days 19-24

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These last few days have been busy around here. So much going on for the holidays: baking, present wrapping, last minute present making, etc. With that, the advent calendar has been sort of on a back burner. I haven’t even been able to update the blog about it until now! Three of the days I gave my grandma chocolates, because we were too busy to do any extra activities. But we did get a few fun things done.

Since I’m covering six days in this post, I’ll skip Days 19, 21, and 22 because she only got chocolate those days and there isn’t much to say about it other than that.

Day 20

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On the 20th we made a cute Christmas paper garland kit that I found in the dollar section at Target. It came with stickers, little ornament shapes, and some string. Grandma helped me place the stickers on the ornaments and then I strung it up in our living room.

IMG_5195Day 23

Yesterday we worked on decorating some sugar cookies! I’ve always wanted to try royal icing for cookies but figured that it would be too complicated for my grandma to participate in, so I opted to frost the cookies with canned frosting and let her sprinkle things on them. I also decorated a few since that’s my favorite part of baking.

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I used a Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix for this project to make things quick and simple. They turned out fairly good. I might have made them too thin though, because they are a little crunchier than I like. One thing I thought was interesting is how different each batch baked. The first batch was cooked on a pizza stone, and the dough didn’t change its shape much but took way longer to bake. I baked the second batch on a baking pan lined with a silicone mat and they expanded much more than the first cookies and were done at least 5-7 minutes sooner. Of the two, I think I liked the pizza stone cookies more since they still resembled their original shapes.

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I found that detailed decorating with frosting is not very easy, this is probably why people use different icings on cookies but I think our cookies turned out pretty cute.

IMG_5225Day 24

Today we are going to watch another Christmas themed movie as our final advent calendar activity. I chose Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer this time. It’s a Christmas classic. I remember one time while watching this movie about 20 years ago, my family’s old grandfather clock that hadn’t worked in years, decided to let out one bong out of nowhere. It’s was really odd. That memory has always stuck with me. Maybe it was Santa letting me know he was on his way.

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I hope my grandma enjoys watching this with me today.

Well, that ends the 24 days of Advent Calendar Fun. I hope you had fun following us on our Christmas adventures this year, and maybe even tried some of the activities yourself. Have a great Christmas tomorrow!

If you’ve missed any of the previous days, here are the links:

You can find instructions for how to make this advent calendar at Holiday Crafts and Creations.

**The snowflakes in the title image are from www.obsidiandawn.com and www.graphicssoft.about.com**

 

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24 Days of Advent Calendar Fun: Days 12-16

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IMG_5153Hello, folks! It’s been a few days since I last updated my Advent Calendar of Fun, but I had good reason. My birthday was on Saturday, and I was busy with that, other holiday activities, and the actual advent calendar activities, so I didn’t have some to write the blog post until now.

We did quite a few things these past few days. We made treats, watched movies, and my grandma got a few little trinkets on days 12 – 16.

Day 12

I let my grandma open this a day early, because I gave her some felt tip pens, but forgot to give them to her before we wrote her Christmas cards up on the 11th. Silly me.

Day 13

For lucky Friday the 13th, I just gave her a chocolate marshmallow snowman candy since she hadn’t received candy in a while.

Day 14

Since this day was my birthday, and I knew I’d be too busy for an activity, I gave her a pair of fuzzy warm socks that have anti-slip rubber nubs on the bottom. These kinds of socks are great for her because we don’t want her to slip and fall which is easy to do on our faux wood floors.

IMG_5128Day 15

Yesterday we made mini pie bites with my Babycakes Pie Pop Maker. I love the line of Babycakes products, but sometimes they can be a little out of my price range. I found this Pie Pop Maker at the discount store Big Lots for $10 about a year ago but hadn’t used it much yet. What better time than the holidays to pull it out!

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I usually don’t use the pop sticks because it seems wasteful since I usually eat 4 or 5 mini pies at a time. The size of these treats is perfect for desserts or appetizers. It also comes with its own dough cutting tool so that the crust fits perfectly into the machine.

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For the fillings I tried two different flavors. I always like finding ways to use my IKEA lingonberry jam, so I made half of the mini pies with the jam filling and the other half with Trader Joe’s Cocoa Almond Spread.

IMG_5143Both flavors tasted great! I would definitely use these again. The thing that’s great about the Pie Pop Maker is that it only takes about 2-4 minutes for each batch of 6. I wish I could make more at a time but since they cook so quickly, it didn’t take long before we had a plate full of delicious mini pies.

IMG_5145For the last two pies I made, I put both fillings into one and it was pretty darn good too!

IMG_5147Day 16

Today her advent calendar activity was to watch a Christmas themed movie. She also received a roll of Santa Bubble Tape gum. I haven’t had any of that type of gum since I was a kid.

For the movie, Grandma chose to watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas. This is one of my favorite Christmas movies from my childhood and I can’t wait to see it again. I guess today’s calendar mitten inadvertently had the theme of my childhood.

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I can’t believe Christmas is almost here! I look forward to this Wednesday’s activity. You’ll have to come back to find out what it is.

If you’ve missed any of the previous days, here are the links:

You can find instructions for how to make this advent calendar at Holiday Crafts and Creations.

**The snowflakes in the title image are from www.obsidiandawn.com and www.graphicssoft.about.com**

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24 Days of Advent Calendar Fun: Days 7-8

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Days seven and eight of the advent calendar were successful! We did activities for both of the days.

Day 7

On day seven I had my grandma help me color an ornament of a framed picture of Martooni, our cat. She was able to help me out a little bit on this one, but she had to strain her eyes to see the lines on the ornament, and so I took over after a while.

IMG_4992I think this is a great addition to our tree. Martooni is wearing an elf hat in this picture. I’m so glad this cat puts up with my crazy ideas, even though I don’t think he likes it so much.

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 Day 8

Today we made brownie pops! I love brownies. I think I love brownies more than cupcakes. Maybe this blog should be called Shane’s Killer Brownies.

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Continue reading »

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Show The Protein Bakery Your Muscle {Review & Giveaway}

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I love sweets. And if they weren’t so horribly unhealthy, I’d eat sweets all the time. Like all day long. Making dessert is fun, but sometimes I just want to grab something quick to satisfy a sweet craving, so I was delighted to try The Protein Bakery’s line of baked goods.

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These nutritionally balanced goodies are trans-fat free, preservative free, and wheat flour-free. They are also made with natural ingredients like rolled oats, nuts, light brown sugar, and quality chocolate. And as the name suggests, they are packed with whey protein which is good for those wanting more protein in their diet. As healthy as these treats are though, I’d still suggest eating them in moderation, because they are definitely not low in calorie or fat.

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The delicious Walnut Brownie

I received a sampling of The Protein Bakery’s brownies, blondies, cookies and minis for this review. I found that I really enjoyed some of the items, but others were not quite to my liking. The walnut brownies were delicious and very moist while the peanut butter blondie I tried was flavorful but very dry. The minis were a bit dry as well. Heating them up in the microwave helped a bit but still not as moist as I was hoping for. The cookies were soft and tasted like homemade cookies. Despite dryness in a few of the treats, I liked pretty much everything I tried.

Connect with The Protein Bakery

Catch up with The Protein Bakery in many ways:

Website: http://proteinbakery.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/proteinbakerycookieswithmuscle?ref=ts

Twitter: http://twitter.com/proteinbakery

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/company/the-protein-bakery?trk=fc_badge

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheProteinBakery

Showing muscle is kind of difficult when holding a cookie.

Showing muscle is kind of difficult when holding a cookie.

Show Your Muscle Promotion!

Right now The Protein Bakery is running a “Show us your muscle” promotion! If you buy any of their products, send them a picture of yourself holding your Protein Bakery treat while making a muscle for a chance to win a free baker’s pick gift set (their largest gift set!) and T-shrit, as well as having your photo highlighted on their website. Send your photo submission to info@proteinbakery.com and let them know Shane’s Killer Cupcakes sent you!

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If you want to enter the contest without making a purchase, then enter my giveaway below for a chance to win a taste of Protein Bakery (an assortment of 2 brownies/blondies, 2 cookie 2-packs and 2 mini’s), a $45.00 value, courtesy of The Protein Bakery! If you win my giveaway, you can use your prize of treats to enter their “show us your muscle” contest for even more treats! Whoo-hoo!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

****I received product from The Protein Bakery in return for an honest review and to promote their new “Show us your muscle” promotion. All opinions are mine and are entirely honest.
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Cake It Easy No-Bake Cake Pop Kit Review

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IMG_3600I received this cake pop kit for review from Cake It Easy last week and couldn’t wait to try it once I had enough time to really review it properly. The kit is very easy to use and would be a great activity for kids to do on their own since it doesn’t require a hot oven.

IMG_3608The kit includes the following supplies:

  • No Bake Cake Pops Mix in Chocolate
  • Rainbow sprinkles
  • 10 cake pop sticks
  • 10 paper cupcake liners
  • A paper mat to work on

The only thing you need to complete the kit is some water and oil. The box also has a couple variation suggestions if you don’t want to use water. It says the water can be substituted with cream cheese, melted butter, frosting, etc., but I don’t know if it’s an exact amount substitution or if you have to use different amounts of those other ingredients. Also, if you use the melted butter instead of water, do you still use the oil? That wasn’t clear. Although I like that they include other options for making the cake pops, I find this substitution section a little vague and ambiguous. The rest of the instructions are easy to follow though.

IMG_3609I like that they include a paper workspace sheet so that you don’t get your table or countertop messy. A sheet of wax paper or parchment paper would also suffice if you need more space to work than just the sheet that is included.

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I used the included sheet to lay out the cake balls as I made them and got a sheet of wax paper out for the decorating. This kit is so easy to use, even my 93 year old grandma was decorating like a champ!

IMG_3612Once you’re done decorating the cake balls you can put them in the included paper cups and add the sticks if you want to make them into pops. The instructions say to put the sticks into the balls and then chill them, but I found that without some kind of “glue” like candy melts, the sticks didn’t really stay attached to the cake balls even after chilling them for a while.

I used the rainbow sprinkles that came with the kit, as well as some of my own cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and some other candy sprinkles to decorate these with.

IMG_3616If I were to make these again, I think I’d try the cream cheese substitution because the water and oil cake balls were not as rich as I was hoping they’d be. They didn’t taste bad but were just too plain.

It took no more than 30 minutes to make these and were super easy put together. Despite a few of the drawbacks like the sticks not staying in the cake balls, I’d definitely recommend this cake pop kit, especially if you have kids. I had a lot of fun making these with my grandma. I just wish it made more pops! These cake pops went quickly.

The kit retails for $19.95 USD and ships for free! You can buy these kits directly from their website or on Amazon.

Connect with Cake It Easy on the web!

Cake It Easy’s website

Cake It Easy on Facebook

Cake It Easy on Twitter

 

***DISCLAIMER: I received this kit in exchange for my honest review of the product. I was not compensated monetarily.***
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Skeetie Salad a.k.a. Fruit Salad {Recipe}

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IMG_3566Skeetie Salad is a fruit salad that’s been in my family for years. My family renamed it Skeetie Salad after my uncle Scott, because as a child he loved to make and eat it so much. (Skeetie was his childhood nickname).

I made this recently for a ’60s themed cocktail party, along with a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. It is not hard to make and only uses a few ingredients (although others could be added)

Skeetie Salad a.k.a. Fruit Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 28 oz canned pineapple tidbits (I used one 20 oz and one 8 oz can)
  • handful of maraschino cherries
  • 2 - 11 oz cans of mandarin oranges
  • 6 bananas
  • half of a 10.5 oz bag of mini marshmallows (about 2-3 cups)
  • Approx. 1/3 cup mayonaise (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Strain the pineapple and mandarin orange juice into a bowl. Drain as much liquid off of the fruit as you can and put into a large separate bowl.
  2. Dump mini marshmallows into the juice and allow to soak while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  3. In the bowl with the pineapple and oranges, add cherries and sliced bananas.
  4. After marshmallows have soaked up some of the juices, strain the juice and discard, and put the marshmallows in with the fruit.
  5. Add the mayonaise and mix it all together.

Notes

This salad often tastes even better the next day, although slightly mushier. The mayo measurement is approximate because we never really measured it before.

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http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2013/07/skeetie-salad-a-k-a-fruit-salad/

 

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