Christmas Cinnamon Roll Reindeer Breakfast {Or, The Illusion of Being Busy}

Reindeer Christmas Cinnamon Rolls

Well, it’s that time of year again . . . when it’s actually NEXT year (January) and I still have yet to post any of my Christmas projects or recipes. Never mind Halloween or Thanksgiving . . .

And when I took a close, sobering look at my blog, I see that I haven’t updated it in over six months.

Six MONTHS, people.  And not just that, but I haven’t been updating my Facebook page either, let alone Twitter or Pinterest.

I seem to be a tad behind.

So here I am:  feeling the need to make arguments for how busy I am.  And of course I’m busy – but aren’t we all?  I could make a very long list mentioning my full-time job and my two young kids, and how I moved recently and adopted a new kitten and how my schedule and stress levels were completely thrown off when Hurricane Irma rolled through . . .

But those are all just excuses.  We find time for the things that are important to us.  And this blog is important to me.  Sharing crafts and books and recipes that connect me to my children is important to me.

So here I am.  I also realized that this past holiday season I remade a lot of old recipes (already posted here) with my kids and don’t have a lot of new things to post, but there ARE still things to share.  And I’m going to make the time for it.

Starting with these Cinnamon Roll Reindeer, because, I mean, aren’t these just the most adorable cinnamon rolls EVER?

Reindeer Christmas Cinnamon Rolls 2

This past holiday season I spent a lot of time striving for recipes and crafts that embraced simplicity.

These yummy treats are a representation of that.  In the picture below you can see the 3 things I used to make them:  Grands cinnamon rolls, miniature candy canes, and M&Ms.

I made sure to unwrap the candy canes ahead of time, so I wouldn’t have to deal with the plastic wrappers before my coffee kicked in, but other than that task, these were thrown together in no time.

I used the Grands because they have little pockets, so to speak, to slip the candy canes into.  They’re made in a roll shape instead of the little cake-like cinnamon rolls that are one solid piece.  This way the candy canes just slid right in and were supported with no problem.

After baking the rolls according to the package directions, apply the icing.  Before the icing hardens, add two M&Ms for the eyes and a red M&M for a Rudolph-like nose.  Put two candy canes on each side of the “head” to represent the antlers.

You’ll need 4 candy canes per roll.  So if you have a package of 5 rolls like I did, then you’ll need 20 miniature candy canes.

Reindeer Christmas Cinnamon Rolls 3

I served these with some sausage and fruit.  They were a lot of fun and certainly enjoyed by the kids.  I plan to make these a regular tradition.

Happy Baking ;)

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July 4th Fireworks Painting and Cookies

July 4th Fireworks Painting Activity and Iced Cookies with Roaming Rosie

Happy Fourth of July!

This year, my kids and I did a painting activity and a cookie project that mimicked fireworks.  First, we stamped fireworks with toilet paper rolls, and then we baked some chocolate cookies and iced them in patterns to represent bursts of color.

Both of these things were done on dark backgrounds to make it look like our paint and sugar fireworks were exploding against a nighttime sky.

Even threw in some glitter (edible and not-so-much) for a little extra spark!

Fireworks Painting with Toilet Paper Rolls and Glitter 1

First up:  the painting project.

We reused some toilet paper rolls by transforming them into stamps.

To make the firework-shaped stamps, cut slits around one side of the cardboard roll, making the incisions about a quarter-inch wide (my kids made a few slivers; don’t aim for uniformity here), and then bend back the strips against the palm of your hand to make the pieces stick out.

I put some red, white, and blue (washable) paint into three small paper plates, and we dipped the stamps into the plates and then pressed them into the paper to make our fireworks.

To get a neat effect, overlap your stamps.

Fireworks Painting with Toilet Paper Rolls and Glitter 2

After you’ve covered your paper in fireworks, sprinkle with glitter for a fun sparkly touch!

Allow the paint to dry before shaking off the excess glitter and displaying your art.

Fireworks Chocolate Iced Cookies from Roaming Rosie 1

These cookies were not only fun to make – they were delicious too!

Just like the painting activity, we used the red, white, and blue colors against a dark background (in this case chocolate) to represent the fireworks bursting against a night sky.

We used the recipe that I made for my Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies, but I made double the batch of icing.

You don’t actually NEED to double the icing – the recipe already makes plenty – but I wanted to make extra, double, totally sure that we’d still have enough icing if my girls ended up squirting most of it onto the counter instead of the cookies.

It turned out, one batch probably would have been more than enough . . . except that one of my containers burst and half of the blue icing spilled out onto a couple of cookies.

But that’s an anomaly.  (Hopefully.)

Fireworks Chocolate Iced Cookies from Roaming Rosie 2

When you make the icing, be sure to stir it well until there are no lumps and it drips easily from the fork or spoon in thin ribbons.

Not watery – just thin.  If it’s too thick or clumpy it will clog your spout.

I used my Wilton Candy Making Decorating Bottles.  Mine are quite old but they usually work fine only sometimes explode.  (But seriously, this is the first time I’ve had a problem.)  I’ve been meaning to pick up some new ones anyway.  They’re pretty easy to clean and my girls just love using them.

But if you don’t have bottles like these, you could just as easily put the icing into three separate plastic baggies and snip off the ends to squeeze out the patterns.

If you’re using the bottles, I poured the white icing into them and then mixed in the food coloring with a wooden skewer, the kind used for making shish kabobs.  You could do the same with the baggies, or, if you’re not lazy like me, you could put the icing into three bowls and add the red and blue food coloring to two of them, and mix them before pouring them into the containers.

I made the icing while the cookies were in the oven.  You could make it much earlier in the day, but the longer it sits, the more likely to thicken and then you’ll have to worry about mixing in more water or stirring it to thin it again.

Fireworks Chocolate Iced Cookies from Roaming Rosie 3

As you can see, we took the easy way out with these “cut out” cookies:  no cookie cutters.  We just sliced them up with a pizza cutter.  Easy Peasy.  Re-roll and slice again.

(If you’re wondering, that’s cocoa powder sprinkled over the counter to keep the dough from sticking, which you can use instead of flour when making chocolate cookies.)

We made the cookies into rectangles or large squares, all slightly different.  Once baked and fully cooled, I spread some waxed paper to catch the drippings and we all drizzled the icing onto the cookies, overlapping the colors, in a bit of a star burst pattern so that they would kind of look like fireworks exploding.

And, before the icing could harden, we added some white sparkling sugar to add a little extra spark to our cookies and to match the glitter on our paintings.

Again, you can find the cookie recipe on my post for Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies.

Happy Fourth!

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Top 50+ Non-Candy Easter Basket Gift Ideas

Top 50+ Non-Candy Easter Basket Gift Ideas from RoamingRosie.com

I was about to say that I’ve got everything listed here from toddler to teen… but that’s too narrow a description. Really, if you’re looking for Easter basket gifts for anyone – whether they’re a newborn or about to leave for college – you’ll find something here.

You might even find something for yourself. :)

But what you WON’T find here is this: candy. Chocolate. Marshmallows. Sugar.

My kids will each get a chocolate Easter bunny, sure. (They’re even in the pic above.)  And probably a few jelly beans, too. But they last thing they need is a gigantic basket filled to the brim with sweets and sugar.

I also, however, don’t want to fill it with a bunch of junky toys that will break and get thrown out soon afterwards.

So I’ve compiled a list of gift ideas that all fit in an Easter basket, that aren’t made of sugar, and that are quality gifts your kids will enjoy.

If you’ve got any ideas to add to the list, please tell us in the comment section!

Happy Browsing!

Here are my Top 50+ Non-Candy Easter Basket Gift Ideas

1. If you read my blog regularly, you can probably guess what #1 will be: BOOKS. I give books for every holiday, and I certainly give Easter-themed books at Easter, BUT there are a ton of other ways you can incorporate books into gift giving. Some of my favorite interactive books to stick in an Easter basket include:

Sticker Books
Doodling Books
Wipe-Clean Books
Activity Cards
“That’s Not My…” Touchy-Feely Baby Books
There’s a Mouse About the House
Muddle and Match Imagine and Adventure
Kid Kits

2. DVD of their latest favorite movie or television show.  My girls are getting some 2-for-1 movies (2 in one case).
3. That Video Game they’ve been asking for
4. A CD or an iTunes Gift Card
5. Gift Card to their favorite clothing store
6. Gift Card to the local movie theatre
7. Disney Phone Case
8. Monogrammed iPad Case
9. Pocket Journal
10. Personalized Night Light
11. Personalized Flash Drive
12. Wooden Craft Set. Like the kind you get at Michaels or the Dollar Tree that comes with paint and markers (and is pictured above).
13. Foam Craft Set. Like #12, you can find these things at craft stores with all the pieces to make your finished product included in the set.
14. Sun Catchers and Sun Catcher Paint
15. Colored Pencils
16. Markers
17. Crayons
18. Gel Pens
19. Scarves
20. Socks. My favorites are the colorful character ones that you find in the Target bargain section.
21. Sunglasses
22. Jewelry (necklaces, earrings, bracelets, etc.)
23. Press on Nails
24. Make Up. Blush, eye shadow… seriously, there are soooo many sparkly and fancy (yet affordable) make up sets out there.
25. Lip Gloss. (My 3yo looooooves lip gloss!)
26. Nail Polish
27. Small LEGO sets. Also LEGO Minifigures.
28. Matchbox or Hot Wheels cars. We have a whole drawer dedicated to cars at my house. Receiving new ones as presents never gets old.
29. Erasers. These things are even great for hiding in Easter eggs. And they come in sooooo many designs – both girl and boy specific and gender neutral. I get most of mine from the Dollar Tree.
30. Puzzles. For smaller versions of puzzles, the dollar store has some really nice options.  Like the two in the photo.
31. Glow Sticks / Glow Bracelets / Glow Necklaces
32. Bubbles
33. Bookmarks
34. Stickers
35. Schleich Figurines. From dinosaurs to fairies and from jungle animals to giant castles, these things are not only versatile, they’re classic.
36. Punch Balloons. You know – those balloons on a string that you bounce all around. Keeps kids busy forever.
37. Sidewalk Chalk. Egg-shaped Sidewalk Chalk is more widely available around this time of year, too.
38. Travel Games
39. Pool Toys
40. Backyard Safari Adventure Sets. Or just a net or a bug house. I only let my kids keep their bugs or worms in their habitats for a couple of hours – max – but what they really love anyway is the hunt. And the longer they spend chasing no-see-ums around the backyard with a butterfly net – the better they’ll sleep that night.
41. Instruments. Kind of like these B. Jungle Animal Instruments Set. I’ve also seen some of those pieces for sale individually at Target.
42. P’Kolino Mess Eaters Artist Journal. My girls just received this as a birthday present and we LOVE it. Great for my little artists – and great for car rides, too. Available in Pink and Green and Blue.
43.  Budding Baker? Get them some cool Cookie Cutters.
44.  Budding Eater? Get them a cool Utensil Set.
45.  A Kid’s Water Bottle  or Personalized Sports Bottle for Teens and Tweens
46.  One of those character party cups found in the party section.  Like the Frozen ones pictured here.
47. Stuffed Animals. Could be a bunny or a chick, but don’t forget about other favorites, like that 20” Elsa doll that’s become my daughter’s new favorite or that Minecraft Plush Enderman your kid spotted at Walmart the last time you were there.
48. Card Games. Like Uno, Phase 10, Spot It and even regular playing cards. Did you know they made Princess Bride Playing Cards??? Because I just may have to make an Easter basket for myself to sneak some of these in there…
49. Flip Flops. Especially ones with cool designs or gemstones.
50. Gardening tools, gloves, and packets of seeds.
51.  A flower pot that comes with its own seeds, like these Grass Heads my kids really like.
52. Rosary Beads. If your kids don’t already have their own beads, now is a good time to gift them some.

I hope you enjoyed the list!  Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions to add!

If you’re wondering about the specific books pictured above, they are the Zoo Sticker Book, Animal Sticker Book, Magic Painting Book, 50 Easter Things to Make and Do (also reviewed here), and the Easter Bunny Flap Book (also reviewed here).

And be sure to check out my Resurrection Garden:

Easter Resurrection Garden

and Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies:

Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

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Decorated Rice Krispies Treat Marshmallow Christmas Trees

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

My girls love Rice Krispies Treats, but, then….. I’m pretty sure everyone else does, too.

I wanted to do something a little different with them this holiday, though, so we made Decorated Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees.

And they looked kinda cool.  :)

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

Anyway, it’s the normal base recipe for the trees, plus some food coloring, and then some royal icing and candy to decorate them.

For our Christmas tree “ornaments,” we used miniature M&Ms and Confetti Sprinkles.

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

I think the easiest way to color the trees is to mix the food coloring into the melted {melting} marshmallows before mixing in the cereal.

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees
Doesn’t that look neat?

And you can see I made the icing ahead of time.  If you do, too, just make sure you cover it with some plastic wrap to avoid the top layer drying out.

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

I drizzled the icing onto the trees with a spoon, decorating only 2 or 3 of them at a time.

The icing hardens pretty quickly – which is great for storing and eating them, but you have to decorate them quickly if you want the sprinkles and candy to stick.

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

Mostly, for the shaping of the trees, I did that part myself.  My 4yo didn’t really like the feel of it.

You need to coat your hands {quite heavily} with a nonstick cooking spray so that the marshmallow mixture doesn’t stick to you.

Then grab a handful of the stuff and shape it into a cone.  Voila.  Time to decorate.

THAT part my kids loved.

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

Decorated Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

Tree Ingredients:
1 package (10 oz., about 40) marshmallows
3 Tbsp. butter
6 cups puffed rice cereal
Green food coloring

For the Icing and Decorations:
2 cups confectionery (powdered) sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons water
Green food coloring
Miniature M&Ms candies
Large or “confetti” sprinkles

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Stir in green food coloring (I used about 25 drops of liquid food coloring) and continue to stir until the marshmallows are completely melted and the color is fully incorporated. Stir continually to avoid burning the marshmallows at the bottom of the pan. (Alternatively, you can heat the butter and marshmallows in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl for 3 minutes, stirring after 2, then mix in the food coloring.)

Stir the cereal into the marshmallows and mix well with two spoons until all the cereal is coated. Allow to cool for a minute before handling – it will be hot!

Liberally spray your hands with a nonstick cooking spray. Grab a handful of the cereal mixture and shape into a cone. Allow to sit for a few minutes to continue cooling and to harden into shape while you make the icing.

Combine the powdered sugar and meringue powder in a bowl with a fork. Stir in the extract and water, starting with 3 tablespoons and increasing the amount of water until you reach a consistency that is still slightly thick but easily pourable. Stir in green food coloring. (If you make the icing ahead of time, simply cover bowl with plastic wrap until you’re ready to use it.

Use a spoon to drizzle the icing over two or three cereal trees at a time, and sprinkle on some M&Ms and confetti sprinkles. Place a yellow M&M at the top to represent a star, if desired. Allow icing to dry.  Store covered at room temperature for a few days or in the freezer for 6 weeks. Makes about 15 trees.

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Click here for the free, printable PDF version of the recipe:  Decorated Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

Enjoy!

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Red, White, and Blue July 4th Cookies

Red White and Blue July 4th Cookies

Happy July 4th!

Made these festive cookies today.

I dyed some sugar cookie dough red (with Wilton Christmas Red gel), rolled the balls of dough in red sugar sprinkles, and baked.

Just after pulling them out of the oven, I gently pressed on a chocolate star that I made from blue candy melts the night before.  I put a white chocolate dot in the center of the star, but, honestly, they wound up looking a little bit more like fireworks than stars.

Still tasted awesome, tho.

Enjoy your weekend!

Roaming Rosie Signature

New Year’s Eve Cookie Clock

New Year's Eve Cookie Clock

Cookies are always a good idea.

Seriously.

So why not bake a giant cookie to help you ring in the New Year?

New Year's Eve Cookie Clock

Since I wanted our giant cookie to look like a clock, I used melted chocolate to make some numbers.  I used dark cocoa chocolate melts, but you could also use regular chocolate chips for this, too.

I melted them at 50% power in a baggy, then cut off a small corner to squeeze out the chocolate onto some parchment paper.  I let these harden while we made the cookie.

New Year's Eve Cookie Clock

And the easiest way to shape your cookie into a circle is by using a circular pan.  I don’t have any fancy “giant cookie pans” or anything, so we smushed our cookie dough into a regular cake pan.  On top of a piece of parchment paper, though, that I had cut into a circle just smaller than the pan.  The paper keeps the cookie from sticking.

Use your favorite cookie dough here.  I went with chocolate chip, and I even used a box mix since we had some of those BOGO deals from Publix taking up room in the pantry, but you could use any recipe you like.

You need to watch it as it’s cooking.  Since it will be thicker than a regular cookie, the middle will still be a little soft when the edges are done.  You just kind of have to judge.  Usually the middle will feel a little underdone to some people (unless you overcook it), but that’s what I love about them.  It’s kind of like a cookie-brownie.

New Year's Eve Cookie Clock

When you take the baked cookie out of the oven, let it sit for a minute or two, and then lay the chocolate numbers on top of the cookie, very gently pressing to make sure it stays in place.

The heat from the cookie will melt the bottom of the chocolate numbers and as the cookie cools the numbers will harden again.

To make the pattern easier, put the 12, 3, 6, and 9 on first, and arrange the other numbers in between them.

I drew on the hands of the clock afterwards, since I wasn’t really sure what size I’d need.  You could draw the hands ahead of time when you make the numbers, though.  And if you really want to make them ahead of time but you’re really worried about the size, make a few and choose the best when the cookie is done.

New Year's Eve Cookie Clock

Once the cookie and numbers had finished cooled, I stuck some candles in it and we sang Happy Birthday to Mother Earth in celebration of the New Year.  My girls loved blowing out the candles at the end of the song.

Oh, and I did actually remove the cookie from the pan after we took out the candles and before we cut it.  It only cracked a little on the edge when I stuck a cake server under it to transfer it to a plate, but I didn’t take any photos after that.  Was too busy eating.  :)

Do you have any special New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day foods?  Let me know!

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Happy {Caffeinated} New Years

Coffee New Years 2014

How are you celebrating the New Year?

For my part, coffee is keeping me conscious until it’s

Time to Drink Champagne and blow Bubbles

In the meantime, the girls and I are celebrating New Year’s Eve with plenty of fun kid-sized activities.  From balloons to noisemakers, there are plenty of ways to make the day fun for the little ones!

And, of course, there’ll be a post to follow.  :)

Happy New Year!  May 2014 be a very blessed {and caffeinated} year for you all!

Roaming Rosie Signature

(You can download the coffee bean pic from Dreamstime and find the bubbles poster at society6.)