Top 10 Posts of 2015

Top 10 Posts of 2015

Sunshine and Munchkins has been up and running for almost three months now and it’s been so much fun for me!  Lots of hard work and time, but I’ve loved being able to share my posts with you and hear from you as well.  As we begin a new year, I thought it would be fun to show you what my top 10 posts were for 2015!

Top 10 Posts of 2015

10. My FAVORITE Roll and Cut Cookies–The title says it all, but these really are my favorite cookies to make when using a cookie cutter.  They keep their shape, taste yummy and are so easy to make!  Be sure to save this recipe and use it for any holiday or event you want to decorate cookies for.  (Which is pretty much all of them, right?)

Top 10 Posts of 2015

9. 25 Easy Neighbor Gifts–Neighbor gifts aren’t just for the holidays.  They are great to drop by any time of year, for any reason.

Top 10 Posts of 2015

8. Traditions I’m Starting This Christmas–My family LOVED the traditions we started last year!  I’m excited to add some new ones this year.

Top 10 Posts of 2015

7. DIY No-Sew Burlap Table Runner with Tassels–Burlap is so versatile and this no-sew table runner has been part of my holiday decor for the last 3 months because it’s so darn cute.  Definitely one of my favorite and easiest projects I’ve ever done.

Top 10 Posts of 2015

6. Traditions I’m Starting This Thanksgiving–If you didn’t get a chance to see our Thankful Tree and Book of Thanks we did for Thanksgiving last year, be sure and check it out.  My family loved doing both of them and we will be continuing the traditions for years to come.

Top 10 Posts of 2015

5. Gift Guide: Men–So many of my friends and family have told me they struggle with coming up with gift ideas for the men in their life, so I compiled a HUGE list!  This is a great list for birthdays, Christmas, anniversary and Father’s Day.

Top 10 Posts of 2015

4. Gift Guide: Parents and Grandparents–Just like men can be hard to buy for, parents and grandparents are too because in many cases, they can just go out and purchase anything they might want or need.  Check out this list for a bunch of great ideas for birthdays, Christmas, anniversary and Mother’s Day/ Father’s Day.

Top 10 Posts of 2015

3. 23 Free Thanksgiving Coloring Pages and Activities–Lots of waiting goes on during Thanksgiving break and Thanksgiving Day.  Why not print off some coloring and activity pages to keep your kids hands busy while the food cooks (and maybe yours too!)?  Pin it now and print it out in November.  (Or October if you’re Canadian.)

Top 10 Posts of 2015

2. 6 Simple Ways to “Halloween-ify” Your Home–Besides including a cute, free printable for you, I also give 5 more easy ways you can decorate your home for Halloween without spending a lot of money.

And the #1 most popular post in 2015…

Top 10 Posts of 2015

1. Awesome Non-Candy Alternatives for Halloween–I was so excited that so many people liked this post!  As much fun as candy is on Halloween, I think that providing non-candy alternatives is a great option.  One person told me that they were specifically thanked by a family for providing something different than candy for their children.  I love hearing stories like that.  But don’t limit yourself to Halloween with this post.  Valentine’s Day is coming up and you could use many of these same suggestions for your children to give out to their friends.

Thank you so much to everyone who has read, commented, shared, liked and pinned my posts!  It means a lot.  I’m excited for 2016 and what it will bring!

What types of posts would you like to see more of this year?

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

Today I opened my front door and found a jar of jelly sitting there with a cute note attached: “He had a broad face and a little round belly that shook when he laughed, like a ‘jar’ full of jelly”.  Aaaannnddd…cue the fun, creative and yummy treats that start popping up on doorsteps during this Christmas season!

Every year, I like to think of fun treats to give out to friends, neighbors and my husband’s coworkers.  There are so many cute ways to package and label gifts that it seems a shame to repeat any one gift twice!  (Although, I’d probably be the only one who would know…)  Since it would be impossible to make all of the treats I would want to and show you how to present them, I’ve put together a friend and neighbor gift round up for you to pick and choose what you’d like to give.  I’ve just made your holidays easier.  You’re welcome.  *wink*  (Please follow the links for more information and pictures.)

“We could all use a little extra ‘dough’ this Holiday Season.”–cookie dough (free printable from The Things I Love Most)
25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

“Everyone could use a little extra ‘dough’ this time of year!”–cookie dough (free printable from Happiness is Homemade)
25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

“Homemade cookies would be so fine, but these are so much better than mine!”–box of store bought cookies or dough (from Things That I Create)

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

Good Roll and Cut Cookies–the perfect cookies for decorating (from yours truly)

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

“We wish you a Merry Christmas and a “Bubbly” New Year!” (free printable from Money Hip Mamas
25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

“Wishing you a Merry KISSmas and a “sparkling” New Year!”–include chocolate kisses (free printable from Tastefully Frugal

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

“Cheers to some great neighbors!” (from Blue Skies Ahead

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

Peppermint Popcorn (recipe and free printable tags from Design Dazzle

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

“Just POPPING by to wish you a Merry Christmas” (free printable from The Things I Love Most)

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

“Merry Christmas to all and to all a Movie Night!”–include a Redbox code (free printable from Over the Big Moon)
25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!
“We’re POPPING by with a holiday ‘Hi!'” (from Things That I Create)

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

Jello Popcorn (recipe from Our Best Bites)–I love this stuff!

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

“A bit of ‘disposable’ Christmas cheer!  What could be better?  No dishes my dear!” (from Things That I Create)  

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

“Our Christmas wish to you…less dishes to do!” (from Things That I Create
25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!
“May your days be Merry & Sprite and all your Christmases be white” (free printable from It’s Always Autumn)
25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!
“We’d SODA like to wish you a Merry Christmas!” (free printable from Simply Kierste for Baby Center

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

“‘Soda-lighted’ you’re our neighbors!  Merry Christmas!” (from Things That I Create)
25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!
“‘Twizz’ the season to be jolly!”–Twizzlers (from The Dating Divas

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

“There ain’t “muffin” like good friends!”–muffin mix (from Pebbles in my Pocket)
25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!
“Ho!  Ho!  Ho!  Merry Christmas from the Ding-Dongs next door!”–HoHos and Ding Dongs (from One of A Kind

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

“We think you GEYSER awesome and we hope you have a BLAST this Christmas!”–Mentos and Diet Coke (from FLIPZLES

 

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

Snowman Soup–hot chocolate, candy canes, chocolate kisses, mini marshmallows (free printable from Ginger Snap Crafts

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

Caramel and Chocolate Dipped Pretzels (recipe from Spend With Pennies

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

Christmas Crack aka Saltine Cracker Toffee (recipe from I Heart Nap Time)  

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

Reindeer Dust–A fun and easy gift for families with children! (click here for a free printable from me!)

25 Easy Neighbor Gifts--also great for friends, family and co-workers.  Lots of fun ideas!

What are some of your favorite neighbor gifts to give?

My FAVORITE Roll and Cut Cookies

My Favorite Roll and Cut Cookies--the perfect cookie to use with cookie cutters.  We make these year round!

I love to bake, especially yummy treats.  My husband is not so much of a treat guy.  It took a little time for me to figure this out after we first got married and I’d make what I thought was a delicious dessert, only to have him take a tiny bite to appease me.  It hurt my feelings and one day I asked him why he didn’t like to eat any of my desserts.  Well, it turns out he’s more into fruity desserts, candy or ice cream shakes, so what I was making wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t what he preferred.  Now, I’ve learned to either half dessert recipes or make sure and share them with my friends and neighbors.

However, one recipe that my husband and kids LOVE are these cookies I learned to make growing up.  For sake of a better name, they were called “Good Roll and Cut Cookies”.  Creative?  No.  Descriptive?  Yes.  These cookies are perfect for…you guessed it: rolling out and cutting with cookie cutters.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve made these, but I would venture to say I’ve made them more than any other cookie recipe I own.  The reason is that they are super simple, they make a decent amount and you can use them any time of year.  They are definitely my go-to for cookie cutter cookies.

Let’s get started!

Here is what you’ll need:

My Favorite Roll and Cut Cookies--the perfect cookie to use with cookie cutters.  We make these year round!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, cream your butter and sugar.  Make sure your butter is softened but not melted.  You can use a hand mixer or a spoon (I use a metal spoon.).   *Tip: If you need to soften your butter, you can unwrap it and put it in a bowl in the microwave for 30 second intervals at power 3 or 4 (30-40% of full power).  This comes in handy when you forget to pull your butter out of the fridge/freezer to soften at room temperature.

Add the vanilla and egg and mix well.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt and combine.

Divide the dough in half and form one half into a ball shape.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Flour your surface well.  (I use my flour sifter.)  Place the ball in the middle of the flour.  Roll the dough out to about 1/8″ thick.

Tip: Get a piece of plastic wrap and lay it over the top of the dough.  Then roll the dough out using your rolling pin.  The dough won’t stick to the plastic wrap!  Doing it this way also means you don’t have to use any flour on the top of the dough, which will lead to less crumbly cookies.  (This also works great when rolling out pie crust!)

My Favorite Roll and Cut Cookies--the perfect cookie to use with cookie cutters.  We make these year round!

My Favorite Roll and Cut Cookies--the perfect cookie to use with cookie cutters.  We make these year round!

My Favorite Roll and Cut Cookies--the perfect cookie to use with cookie cutters.  We make these year round!

Then place your cookie cutters on the dough.  I try to make as many cookies as possible out of each sheet of dough so I’m not adding too much flour to the dough each time it gets rolled out.  Using a spatula, place your cookies on your cookie sheet.

My Favorite Roll and Cut Cookies--the perfect cookie to use with cookie cutters.  We make these year round!

I use a silpat whenever I’m making cookies, which is basically a silicone mat that can be reused and helps prevent the cookies from sticking to the pan or getting burnt on the bottom.  I use these (affiliate link).

Place cookies in oven for 6-8 minutes.  You don’t want them to brown.  If you’re not sure they are done, softly press on one and if it still soft, keep it in for a little longer.  They will feel mostly firm when they are done.

My Favorite Roll and Cut Cookies--the perfect cookie to use with cookie cutters.  We make these year round!

Take them out and let them rest for a minute or two and then place them on a cooling rack or muslin type cooling cloth.  (I’m not sure what they are called but I got some for my wedding and I love them!)

The amount of cookies you get out of each batch of this dough will vary since the size of the cookie cutters used varies.  I generally get between 2-4 dozen.

Allow them to cool completely.  If you want to frost them the same day, you can leave them out.  If you want to wait a day, store them in an airtight container on the counter.

Now for the frosting… 

I guess it’s really more like icing since it is pretty runny and sets with a shiny finish.  Whatever you want to call it, here’s how to make it:

In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla.  You can stir by hand or with a hand mixer.  There is not an official recipe I use for this, but more of a how does it look and taste?  I’ve included approximate measurements, but it will vary a little.

You will know that it is the right consistency when you scoop some onto a spoon and when you let it fall back into the bowl, it goes in a steady stream, almost like syrup, but a little thicker.  The flavor is up to you.  I like mine not to to be overly sweet so I add a little more vanilla so it has more of a flavor.

My Favorite Roll and Cut Cookies--the perfect cookie to use with cookie cutters.  We make these year round!

If you want to do different colors, get a few small bowls and divide it out, then add the color.  When you are adding your food coloring, keep in mind that you may have to add a little more powdered sugar since the amount of food coloring you add will affect the consistency.

My Favorite Roll and Cut Cookies--the perfect cookie to use with cookie cutters.  We make these year round!
My little sprinkle helper

Since this icing/frosting is more on the runny side, I like to use a small spoon to frost the cookies instead of a knife.  I scoop a little onto my spoon, pour it in the middle of the cookie and spread outwards, leaving a space between the edge of the cookie and my frosting.  Then I add any sprinkles or other cookie decorations I want since it will begin to set fairly quickly–within 2-3 minutes.  Make sure to stir up your frosting, as it will probably start to form a thin “crust” on the top, but it’s nothing to worry about and should mix right back in.

Let your cookies sit out and set for about an hour or so before putting them back in a container.  If you have to stack them, put a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper between each layer so they don’t stick to each other.  Store them in an airtight container either in the fridge or on the counter for up to a week.

One more thing:  These cookies actually taste better after they’ve been sitting for a day or so.  The reason why is that the frosting and the cookie have time to set up together and the sweetness of the frosting is balanced out by the not very sweetness of the cookie.  Trust me on this.

My Favorite Roll and Cut Cookies--the perfect cookie to use with cookie cutters.  We make these year round!

Good Roll and Cut Cookies
makes 2-4 dozen, depending on size of cookie cutters 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2-3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. In a medium bowl, cream your butter and sugar.  Make sure your butter is softened but not melted.  You can use a hand mixer or a spoon (I use a metal spoon.).
  3. Add the vanilla and egg and mix well.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt and combine.
  4. Divide the dough in half and form one half into a ball shape.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Flour your surface well.  (I use my flour sifter.)  Place the ball in the middle of the flour.  Roll the dough out to about 1/8″ thick.
  5. Then remove the plastic wrap and place your cookie cutters on the dough.  I try to make as many cookies as possible out of each sheet of dough so I’m not adding too much flour to the dough each time it gets rolled out.  Using a spatula, place your cookies on your cookie sheet.  I use a silpat whenever I’m making cookies, which is basically a silicone mat that can be reused and helps prevent the cookies from sticking to the pan or getting burnt on the bottom.
  6. Place cookies in oven for 6-8 minutes.  You don’t want them to brown.  If you’re not sure they are done, softly press on one and if it still soft, keep it in for a little longer.  They will feel mostly firm when they are done.
  7. Take them out and let them rest for a minute or two and then place them on a cooling rack or muslin type cooling cloth.
  8. Allow them to cool completely.  If you want to frost them the same day, you can leave them out.  If you want to wait a day, store them in an airtight container on the counter.

Icing/Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • food coloring

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla.  You can stir by hand or with a hand mixer.  (I’ve included approximate measurements, but it will vary a little.) 
  2. You will know that it is the right consistency when you scoop some onto a spoon and when you let it fall back into the bowl, it goes in a steady stream, almost like syrup.  The flavor is up to you.  I like mine not to be overly sweet so I add a little more vanilla so it has more of a flavor.
  3. If you want to do different colors, get a few small bowls and divide it out, then add the color.  When you are adding your food coloring, keep in mind that you may have to add a little more powdered sugar since the amount of food coloring you add will affect the consistency.
  4. Since this icing/frosting is more on the runny side, I like to use a small spoon to frost the cookies instead of a knife.  I scoop a little onto my spoon, pour it in the middle of the cookie and spread outwards, leaving a space between the edge of the cookie and my frosting. 
  5. Add any sprinkles or other cookie decorations I want since it will begin to set fairly quickly–within 2-3 minutes.  Make sure to stir up your frosting, as it will probably start to form a thin “crust” on the top, but it’s nothing to worry about and should mix right back in.
  6. Let your cookies sit out and set for about an hour or so before putting them back in a container.  If you have to stack them, put a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper between each layer so they don’t stick to each other.  
  7. Store them in an airtight container either in the fridge or on the counter for up to a week.
My Favorite Roll and Cut Cookies--the perfect cookie to use with cookie cutters.  We make these year round!

Do you have a go-to cookie recipe when using cookie cutters?