Gingerbread House ~ 2012

December 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm (Food, Holidays)

Here is 2012’s version of our Gingerbread House– 27 years of making one!  To see last year’s, click here. This year we decided to stick with a red/green/white theme–













Funny story– at first, I set up the gingerbread house in front of the christmas tree to use the light bokeh as a backdrop, but I thought it was too busy.  So I set up a white blanket on the couch and draped it with some white lights.  About halfway through my gingerbread “photo shoot”, my cat decided that the lights looked like a comfy place to nap, so he jumped up and settled in– thankfully, he curled up into a little ball and is blocked by the house in most of the pictures, but I just had to take a few pictures of him when I was done.


I also did end up playing with the lights on my tree– even though Christmas isn’t even here yet, I’m already dreaming of summer!1DSC_6900





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Cinnamon Pretzels

November 30, 2012 at 12:54 pm (Food)

I keep seeing recipes on Pinterest to make cinnamon pretzels, and they always look so good!  Today, I decided to use all the recipes I saw and tweak them to make my own.

This recipe also added some drizzled white chocolate on top– what could be more perfect?


Cinnamon Pretzels:


One 16 oz bag of Pretzels (most recipes I saw suggested using the lattice shaped ones as they hold the most cinnamon)
4 T butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 T cinnamon

Plus an additional 1/2 sugar and 2T cinnamon for sprinkling on top
1/2 to 1 cup of chocolate wafers (I like using Wilton brand)
1T oil

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the 4 T of butter. Add in the 1/2 cup of sugar and 2T of cinnamon and stir until well mixed. Pour the bag of pretzels into the bowl, taking care to hand scoop out the last few pretzels so you don’t get all that added salt and pretzel bits that are always at the bottom of the bag. Mix pretzels until they are well coated. Place bowl into microwave and heat for 30 seconds. Remove and stir well. Repeat this two more times.
Cover a cookie sheet with waxed paper or foil. Pour half the mix of pretzels and arrange so they are in a single layer. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the remaining sugar and 1T of the remaining cinnamon. While they cool on the cookie sheet, melt the chocolate wafers in a microwave safe bowl. Depending on the brand you use/the type of chocolate you use, this can take anywhere from one to a few minutes. Remember to remove and stir every 30 seconds so the chocolate doesn’t burn. When the chocolate is melted, stir in 1T of oil to make it runnier. Using a fork, “flick” the chocolate onto the pretzels. Allow to cool until chocolate is hard to the touch. Store in an airtight container. Repeat the sprinkling of the remaining sugar and cinnamon and chocolate step with the other half of your pretzels.

Warning: These babies are addictive! My sister and I literally ate a whole plate of them last night.

They would make a great mid-afternoon snack, but I’m thinking of taking it a step further and packaging them up for some Christmas gifts!

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Care Package #1

November 28, 2012 at 11:44 pm (Food, General Crafting)

My fiance is deployed for the holidays, so I’ll be keeping his spirits up with some care packages. Here’s the first one I sent out to him– it’s a combination Halloween/Birthday/Bits from Home theme–

Besides a birthday present from my mom (I had already given him my presents) I made him some airplane cookies:

All wrapped up in wax paper for their long journey!

Since I can’t be there to light the candles and sing to him, I wrapped it up and glued the candles to the ribbon. I hope he likes it!

I also made him this– a latitude/longitude keychain featuring the coordinates of where he is and where I am, seprated by a heart.

(This keychain can be purchased from my Etsy shop here )

And a little overview of everything I sent him– an Advent calendar to count down to Christmas, a People magazine so he can see everything that happened here with Hurricane Sandy, some Nutella (he had mentioned that he missed eating Nutella), a bag of candy corn, two bags of his favorite trail mix, the keychain pictured above, his cookies and a gift from my mom.


Care Package #2 will be posted as soon as he gets it– and this one I am stoked to show off! Stay tuned!

ETA: he loves the advent calendar I sent to him!


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Halloween Wrap-Up

November 19, 2012 at 2:03 am (Food, General Crafting, Holidays)

My fiance’s office had a Halloween party where families could bring their kids and let them go trick or treating through the building– everyone was asked to dress up, and we all brought a snack for the party afterward.

I made Witch’s Fingers Chocolate Covered Pretzels– they were so easy!  I melted down green chocolate wafers, dipped some pretzel rods into them, and then pressed a sliced almond onto the end for the fingernail.  They looked freakishly realistic yet totally awesome at the same time!

For our costumes, I wanted to do something awesome, but I had the large problem of not having a sewing matching out in Washington, so whatever we were had to be something that could be “constructed” without sewing.  After much deliberation (and Pinning), I came up with the idea of being Where’s Waldo, and his girlfriend Wenda.  I figured we could go to a thrift store and find red striped shirts (and a denim skirt for me), and at the very least, we could get a white shirt and paint it.  Lo and behold, we hit up a Goodwill one night, and within minutes each had a red striped shirt, a red hat, and I even found the perfect denim skirt.  A trip to Walmart a few nights later got me red stockings and red and white striped socks!  The black glasses were courtesy of the dollar section in Michaels.  All in all, both of our costumes combined cost less than $20 and we were a hit at the party!


We also carved our first pumpkin together.  Nothing major (or elaborate, as I usually do!), but it still turned out cute.

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Gingerbread House *2011*

December 24, 2011 at 8:39 pm (Food, Holidays)

I can’t believe I’m not posting this until Christmas Eve! Better late then never, right?
Here is our 26th (26th?! Can you believe it?) Gingerbread House.
To see the previous 25, Click Here.

This year, we went with a new design- a different roofline than we’ve ever done. It still has our famous rounded bow window and interior lighting though!

The finished product:

We also made a second one, and donated it to my school to be raffled off:

And some detail shots:

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25 Years of Gingerbread Houses

December 28, 2010 at 6:54 pm (Food, Holidays)

Earlier this month, I wrote about our “silver anniversary” Gingerbread House. (Click the link to see it). That’s right- our family has been making Gingerbread Houses from scratch for over 25 years. To celebrate (or document, really) I made my mom a Shutterfly book with photos of all 25 houses through the years. Since I spent the time to find and scan all these old photos, I figured I’d give them another use and share them here.

1985 was our first house. I was 2, so I’m pretty sure I didn’t help too much with this one.
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And here’s what I looked like in 1986 (and we still have, and display that snowman!) Wish I could say the same for that sweater—wouldn’t it make great felted mittens?
1986 (1)

1987 (2)

And here’s me again in 1987 (this is the last random picture of me- I got tired of scanning pictures REAL fast…)
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1988 was the year my sister was born. Seeing as she was not even 2 months old at Christmas time, we didn’t have time to make a house.

1989 – we had just moved into our new house, hence the unfinshed kitchen counter here.
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Starting in 1990, we began the tradition of inviting another family over to make a second house with us. Here we are with my childhood friend Ashley.
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Some in-progress shots from that year:
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1991 – Ashley came back for another round of house decorating.
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Jenna must have finally been old enough to help:

1992 – Another childhood friend, Alyssa, along with her mother, came to build a house.
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1992 (1)


1993 (1)

1993 (2)

(I love the Alf puzzle next to the house….)



’94 must have been an angry year for me….I have no idea why I’m making this face. On a side note- I love how these pictures tell us so much about our lives—we’ve seen new houses, Alf puzzles, and this picture has my “Marble Club” necklace. I was such a dork. Haha.
1994 (1)

Jenna happily helping

1994 (2)

1995 (1)

1995 (2)


1996 (2)


1996 (1)


1997 (1)

1997 (2)



1998 (1)


1999 (1)

1999 (2)


In the new millenium, we began inviting people over again. We began with my dads cousin Elena. This must have been when I started taking over as family photographer—I’m in a lot less photos, and there’s many more pictures of each house now…

2000 (3)

2000 (2)

2000 (1)

2001 (1)


In 2002, we went to Disney for Christmas. So instead of making our own houses, we got to visit 2 of Disney’s life-sized Gingerbread creations.


2002 (1)

Jenna’s friend Michelle and her family joined us to make a house this year.
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2003 (4)


2003 (1)


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In 2005, our relatives came to make a house with us.

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A friend from work came with her daughter.

2006 (2)

2006 (1)

2007 (1)


We ran out of holiday time in 2008, so we “cheated” and made a sugar cube igloo. The igloo did light up though! I had also made graham cracker houses with my students that year, and I brought the extra supplies home to make a few more.

2008 (1)

2008 (2)

2008 (3)


2009. In 2009, we must have run out of time once again—so Wilton kit it was!
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And #25 was completed in 2010.
For “complete coverage” on that house, click here

Where will the next 25 years take us?

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A Quarter of a Century of Gingerbread Houses

December 2, 2010 at 6:57 pm (Food, General Crafting, Holidays)

2010 is the 25th year making Gingerbread Houses in my family. We’ve been making houses of different shapes, sizes and types since I was 3, in 1985. (Post to follow with pictures from the past 25 years!).
This year I decided to branch out on my own and attempt making my own “house”. I drew up plans, constructed a three-dimensional mock up to make my pattern pieces from, and finally made up my own pattern pieces.
My mom and I then spent an entire Sunday baking, cutting, molding, and baking some more to get allll the pieces we needed for 2 houses…and my special “house”!

Gather all of your ingredients!
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Follow the recipe carefully
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Mix Mix Mix
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Start cutting out all of the house pieces
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Carefully cut out the window panes…one by one…
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And finally, after everything is done baking, let the pieces sit out for a few days to dry out and get hard.

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And on to the fun part! Assembling and decorating the house!
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After the house is assembled, time to decorate!
Here’s a preview of some of the accessories for my piece:
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What could it be?
A tiki hut?
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You got it!!

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All of the flowers, garland and other foliage was hand molded by me using colored gingerbread:

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The back of the hut sports the shoreline, cooler, date and more tiki’s

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The ginger-tender has a coke for you!

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Mini beach scene with a candy towel, gingerbread boom box and umbrella!
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The back of the hut has a little candy cooler full of soda and ice
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Bar stools, tiki totem pole and guitar

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The front of the hut is complete with a hibscus garland and some pretzel pilings

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My family also made a house (of the more traditional sense). Here’s theres!

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The bow window:

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The back
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The side
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And last—our two houses together!
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And really last—a cool “Christmas-y” shot of my hut:
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Perfect! Just as skilled as Mama!

September 20, 2010 at 10:29 pm (Food, Sewing)

Its no lie that I love video games. Ever since I laid my hands on my first Super Nintendo controller, I was hooked. Many video games later, I find myself addicted to Cooking Mama, a game where “Mama” gives you directions and you prepare various dishes. I don’t know what it is about the game—the fact that many dishes are Japanese, how adorable “Mama” is, or the fact that I can “cook” on my DS (and iPhone)—but this game has got me hooked!

What better way to show my love for the game then with a Cooking Mama apron!
I printed out a picture of Mama, then traced each “layer” of color onto double sided fusing, which I then fused on to various colors of felt. After cutting each piece out carefully, I layered them, peeled the paper off, and fused it all together. Combine that with a simple apron made out of an old bed sheet, and you’ve got an adorable apron that pays homage to my favorite gamer Mama!


Close uo of my darn good cutting (if I do say so myself!)

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What kind of cupcake would a Leprechaun want?

May 12, 2010 at 2:36 pm (Food, Holidays)

Each year it is a tradition at my school that a Leprechaun visits the Kindergarten classroom. The students make traps to try to catch him, but so far no one has succeeded! The Leprechaun comes in, messes up their traps, destroys the room, and leaves a nasty note for the students. As a parting gift, he also leaves a special snack and green milk. Plain old cookies and cupcakes wouldn’t do for me—no sir. What kind of cupcake would a Leprechaun leave? Rainbow cupcakes of course!



Just like the crayons….the kids LOVED them. One said “I didn’t know rainbows tasted so good!” Now THAT is a compliment 🙂

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I Think Mother Nature Took Performance-Enhancing Drugs This Winter…

February 22, 2010 at 2:50 pm (Food, General Crafting, Glass, Photography)

Within the past 3 months, I think New Jersey has seen over 4 feet of snow….we’ve had 3 different major snow storms, each averaging over a foot of snow. In February alone, we had 2 major snowstorms within 5 days—that equals lots of days off from school—which also equals lots of crafting!

To start…a few pictures of all the pretty snow!


I’ve always wanted to see snow on the beach–so last week we went to Seaside.


And how the boardwalk should look—NO BENNIES!!

Since Christmas, my mom and I have wanted to make homemade pasta. What better time to do it, then when you have two days off? First we started with little balls of pasta dough.

Then we rolled them through the pasta machine

Artsy shot of the pasta:

And what goes better with homemade pasta then a fresh pot of homemade sauce?

Mmmmm…..all done. It was delicious!

We were lucky to get the last picture when we did – shortly after we started eating, the power went out due to the heavy snow on the lines. It came on a few minutes later, but it was cool sitting there in the dark, eating homemade pasta, watching the snow swirl around outside of you. That must be what its like to live inside a snowglobe.

The next day brought another snow day, so I made some glass.
Valentines day was coming up. A simple black piece with a hand cut copper heart in the middle:

I was into stripes that day:

Lots of browns and greens – my Brady Bunch collection as I called it….


Two Disney ones:

And clearly, I was wishing it was summer…..

And finally…lots o dots:

And that’s it for now! Although…I hear there’s another snowstorm predicted for the end of the week…..

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