Chewy Gingersnap Cookies Recipe

Nothing says "the holidays are here" quite like homemade chewy gingersnap cookies.  Are they still considered gingersnaps if they are chewy?  Either way, these cookies have the perfect blend of spice and sweetness.  This recipe is a favorite of my husband's from his mom's repertoire.  We got the recipe from her, and these were easy, relatively quick to make, and so yummy!
Chewy Gingersnaps
3/4 c. shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. ginger
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
White sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cream shortening, brown sugar, and molasses together.  Add the egg and mix together.  Next, add dry ingredients- flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.  Form dough into cookie balls, then roll in white sugar.  I like to put the sugar in a shallow bowl for this step.  Place cookie balls on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes.  They will look a little underdone in between the cracks when you pull them out, but this is how they stay chewy.  Leave them on the cookie sheet to cool for another 5-10 minutes.


Lifestyle Crafts- New Embossing Folders Coming Soon

Lifestyle Crafts has some really fun Goosebumpz Embossing Folders coming out next month, so I thought I'd give you a little sneak peek at some of the new ones today!  These are some of my very favorites, and you can head over to see the rest on Lifestyle's website:
I am loving these!  There are about twelve more new ones as well, all coming out in January.  I still haven't gotten me an Evolution machine yet, since I am holding out for a letterpress combo pack (which I'm told will also be arriving in January), but I will definitely be saving some of my Christmas money for some of these embossing folders.
And, as always, don't forget to use code "AUDZIPAN" to get 20% off of your order. 


Molten Cake Neighbor Gifts

For our neighbor gifts this year, we decided to go with a fun treat that didn't necessarily have to be eaten right away.  Let's be honest, there's a huge overload of sugary treats this time of year, so why not give something that can be saved until all the festivities die down?  For this quick and easy gift, all you need is a box of cake mix, a recipe card, and a piece of festive ribbon.  I also added some cute Christmas cards that I was able to get on a deal last month.
I included the recipe for a family favorite-- single serving molten chocolate cake.  I would totally give you a printable for the recipe, but my computer did an auto-update before I had a chance to save the file.  Here's the recipe, though:

Single Serving Molten Chocolate Cake
 1/2 cup chocolate cake mix
1/3 cup water
Hot fudge
Chocolate or white chocolate chips
Whipped topping or ice cream
In a microwave safe, cereal size bowl, stir cake mix and water together for one minute.  Top with five generous teaspoons of hot fudge and sprinkle on some chocolate or white chocolate chips.  Microwave 95 seconds.  Top with ice cream or whipped topping.  

The best part about this recipe is that you can really do any variation you can think of with the chocolate chips and toppings.  Hot fudge is a must if you are going for the molten cake taste.  Since baking supplies are generally on sale this time of year, you should be able to make these for a pretty reasonable price.  I was able to get the cake mixes for about a dollar at Winco, but I think it's a really great gift for that cost.

Good luck to any last-minute gifters!  We were able to finish all our shopping today, and boy does it feel great.


Merry Christmas 2012

Here's our Christmas card this year.  We tried a few photos with both of the girls in the car, but it was a tight fit and there weren't any shots with both of them happy...  I saw the idea online somewhere a while ago and modified it for us, adding the polka dot background and saying.  We got them printed as 4"x6" photos, which is my biggest tip for saving money on cards and invitations, if you have the graphics programs you need to make the image.

Stay tuned tomorrow for an easy neighbor gift for all you last-minuters out there.  Merry Christmas, from my family to yours!


Ghosts of Christmas Projects Past

I feel like I ought to explain myself a little bit.  I have been less than dedicated to the blog for a while.  Between finishing our basement completely on our own, being pregnant with our third girl (due in March), and starting a fun new business with my mom(reveal soon), I have been totally occupied with other things. 

Also, it's not like I haven't been doing things, it's just that they never make it to the blog.  Funny how that goes.  I hope that once the basement is done I can get back to more of the fun stuff I usually get to do, instead of drywall, mud, and wiring.

So instead of sharing something totally new today, I am sharing some of my favorite Christmas projects from years past.


Lifestyle Crafts- Free Printable and Free Shipping!

Here's a great pre-Black Friday deal to add to your shopping list- 20% off and free shipping on all orders over $50 at Lifestyle Crafts!  Just head over to their website and use "AUDZIPAN" as your discount code.  The free shipping is good through the 21st, and the 20% off doesn't expire.
Plus, did you know that Lifestyle has fun digital downloads?  Most are only a dollar, and some of them are even free, like this cute Candy Cane Gift Bag:
All you have to do is head to the website and add it to your cart, then after you check out, you will be emailed a link to download it as a PDF, which you can print right off your computer.  These would be so cute as favors for a holiday party, packaging for neighbor and friend gifts, or as a fun craft after Thanksgiving dinner.  Go check it out!


Unicorn Pegasus Cake

I made this fun birthday cake for my niece a couple of weeks ago, and I have to say, it does get easier with each new cake.  I loved that the party theme was Unicorn Pegasus.  What could be better for a six-year-old little girl?  Here's a brief run-down of the process.
I love how two 6" rounds look stacked on two 9" rounds.  The proportions seem perfect to me.
Before I stacked the top tier, I put a few bamboo skewers in the bottom for support.
The top tier is on a cardboard cake board, which sat on the bamboo skewers and worked really well.
I stuck a skewer through the top in the center, then instead of cutting it off, I wrapped the pink fondant around it for the unicorn horn.  
I thought about doing more embellishments but ended up liking the simple look the best.  I usually do.  We have another birthday next week, but I don't have a plan for the cake yet.  It may or may not involve fondant.  I haven't even sent out invitations, so it's probably going to be a low-key occasion.  Either way, I'm sure it will be a good time!


DIY Spidergirl Costume

My oldest daughter decided that she wanted to be Spiderman for Halloween a long time ago, like months.  For a three-year-old, that is a very long time.  Luckily, she hasn't changed her mind about it either.  I don't know why she is so into Spiderman, except for maybe some fatherly influences, but she is, and so we are going with it.

We tried on a cousin's old costume with built-in muscles, and it just looked weird on a little girl with long, blonde hair.  Then, I saw this on Pinterest:
Problem solved!  Just add a tutu to a boy costume and you're set.  (I don't know the original source of this photo, because the link is broken on my pin.)  This week, I found a muscle-less Spiderman costume at Target for $10, and work on the tutu began.
I used an elastic waist and made the elastic band 4" shorter than my daughter's waist.  Even then, it ended up slightly looser than I wanted, but it still fits well enough.  The tulle was cut in 15" strips, so it ends up around 7" sticking out.  Here's a full-length "in character" shot:
I don't know where she gets it.  We still need some accessories, like maybe a felt eye mask and some cute hair things.  I have some leftover red tulle, so I could even just tie that around pigtails or something.
And no, the pink flip flops aren't part of the costume.  It's way too cold around here for that.  Once I finish the felt eye mask, it's going to be a very happy Halloween around here for this little girl!


Lifestyle Crafts Discount Promo Code

Promo Code: AUDZIPAN
I was recently contacted by Lifestyle Crafts to become one of their blogger affiliates, and of course I jumped at the chance.  Personally, I have never had a manual die cutting machine, and I don't know how interested I would be in one now, but these machines can also emboss and letterpress paper!  I don't know what draws me to the letterpress look, but I seriously researched getting an old letterpress there for a while.  Turns out, they are expensive, hard to find, huge, heavy, and quite complicated if something should go wrong.  After abandoning that path, I realized my only feasible option would be to go with some small crafting machine, but at the time there wasn't anything out there that could do letterpress.  So, I waited.  And then, the L Letterpress came out:

I have wanted to get this for so long, but since I didn't have a manual die cutting machine, it took until now that I think I might actually get one.  Some of the coolest parts of the letterpress is that the dies are compatible with other machines, like Cuttlebug, so you wouldn't have to invest in a whole new system to get started doing letterpress, and you can order custom printing plates.  How cool is that?!

Anyway, if you are interested in seeing what's with all this die cutting, embossing, and letterpress, I am going to be finding out, and you're welcome to watch from afar.  If you are already into it, you can get
. . . just for being a reader of the Audzipan Anthology.  Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for some fun projects!
Note: As an affiliate of Lifestyle Crafts, I am partially compensated for my posts, but all content is truly my personal opinion.


What Have I Been Up To?

What have I been up to?  It's been a while since I finished a project start to finish, but rest assured the wheels have been turning over here.  Progress on finishing our basement is slow but steady, one of the results of doing nearly everything yourselves.  At this point, we are finished framing and ready to start the electrical and plumbing.  This does eat up a lot of our spare time (ha! what's that?), but I have been able to sneak in a little side home improvement project upstairs.  Remember this bathroom?
This is the main bathroom of our house.   It's right by the kids' bedrooms, but it is also right off the front room area, so it's the one that gets the most use.  Right now, I wouldn't say that this room is complete by any means, but we have made some real progress.  Ready to see?
Yep, we painted!  And did board and batten!  Well, you know, faux board and batten.  It was an easy, yet time-consuming and detail-oriented project, but this was a much needed transformation for this room.  It just had no heart, ya know?
We still need to frame that mirror, hang some hooks, and get some new decor going on in there.  The hair clip tree and hair clip frame, both fun and easy DIY tutorials if you need the storage, are both things I would like to hang onto in some form or another.

As far as decor goes, I'd like to add some river rock grey or toned-down cool hues to the room.  There isn't a defined theme for the room, but I'd like to have a New England lake house feel going on.  I have also considered spray painting some or all of the metal hardware in the room with oil rubbed bronze spray paint.  I'm not sure how those two ideas go together, though, so we'll see how this all plays out.  The shower curtain will probably have to go as well, although it still kind of matches.

What do you think?  Any ideas?  I'm glad to be back at blogging and excited to share some more fun things in the near future.


Progress Report: Zig Zag Quilt

We have been having such a busy summer around here!  I started this quilt months ago, intending it for the basement family room, once it's finished.  I did all the cutting and piecing with some friends using this tutorial from the Bee Square Blog.  It was easy enough to follow, but I only used four different fabrics instead of nine to give it a more cohesive look.
I have since finished piecing the top and trimmed the points off all around.  I found some flannel for the backing but haven't been able to piece it yet, since I started my screen printing up again last week.  My new design will be ready to debut after I get some good pictures.  Also, I'll be sure to show some photos of the finished quilt when I get it all put together.


Unbirthday Cakes

Last month, we had an Unbirthday Party for my mom's Domestic Science Club meeting.  I made the cakes for the party, and once again learned a lot about the process.  I chose sky blue and rose pink for the colors.  One of the cakes was butter yellow, and the other was chocolate fudge.  I did them in 6" round pans, which was a fun shape and size. 
The biggest lesson learned during this session: don't finish fully-frozen cakes!  I like to freeze my cakes to make it easier to work with them, but since these ones were thicker than usual they didn't defrost as quickly as 9" rounds.  This means that I ended up with shrunken cakes the next day.  Luckily, I had only covered them with a single layer of fondant since I hadn't had time to do the decoration, so I was able to salvage these ones.
The flowers were just strips of fondant, rolled and shaped along the way.  I find that I always have less time for doing the finishing touches than I'd like.  Maybe next time I will remember that and plan ahead!  The white flower was my first attempt at working with gum paste, which was not at all what I expected.  I have some more experimenting and research to do on that front.