Merry Christmas!

The staff at FT wishes everyone a Merry Christmas!

Once again the staff had photos taken for a Christmas card, below are the results:

Santa Scene
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Chewy is Mrs. Claus, TaunTaun is Santa in the sleigh, and Fizz is the Reindeer.

Fizz as a Reindeer
reindeersmall

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The staffers were kind enough to wear their hats for about a minute while the human took lots of shots. The Santa hat, Mrs. Claus costume, and antlers are from Petsmart. The harness the human made from felt and yarn, and it just sat on Fizz’s back. The background was added in Photoshop. The Santa scene is a composite of two different shots – one good one of the interns and one good one of Fizz. The human made an attempt to get the whole group together for a single picture but that was quite ambitious, and she still had to put two different shots together.

Here was the set up:
setup

We hope that you have a Merry Christmas!

– Fizz and the Interns

Merry Christmas! Guinea Pig Style

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

This year the staff here at Fuzzy Today took some Christmas pigtures we want to share.

Cola the Elf
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Santa Fizz
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The Others…
I know, but they wish to remain anonymous at this point because they do not take photos very well. They came to me at almost two years of age and cameras are not their thing.

They did love sitting in this though:
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Singing for treats:
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Our fur blends in very well with the fuzz around our bed, we love it!

Yes, we did wear the costumes and hats – for about one minute! Long enough to get pictures while munching on carrots and then be off into floor time with more treats.

The Making of a Christmas Card

 

 

Yesterday I posted my Christmas card picture and explained that my guinea pigs cannot be together because they fight. Today I will share more of the pictures I took and show the making of my Christmas card.

The set up:

set up

 

I had my camera on a tripod so I could prevent as little movement as possible so the frame would line up. I used a roll of fabric snow set up on the dinner table with a box behind to create the background. The dinning room does not have the best lighting, but I do not own any photography lights and it would not have made much of a difference anywhere else in the house.

The clothing and props:

prps

We had to get the cards made in order to be printed in time to mail, so I did not have time to make a more elaborate or interesting scene. I took two snowmen off my bookshelf and arranged the two sleds with stuffed Christmas guinea pigs next to them.  The wicker sleds I got when I was a kid, and the stuffed guinea pigs were gifts last Christmas.

The hat is a Yankee Candle jar candle topper accessory, so it has no strap. It is the smaller hat in this picture:

ycc_santa_hat_and_pants_small

The holiday cape and bandana came from Petsmart, and are Life’s Fur-tas-tic! brand. The bandana ended up being too small to fit, so it was not used.

Each guinea pig wore the one hat and dress individual and I took a few different pictures hoping to get something useful.

Cola’s individual pictures:

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Fizz’s individual pictures:

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Then after picking out the best pictures, photoshop’s magic put them together (and removed red eye):cropsantahats

Merry Christmas!

Well, it is the second day of Christmas, so Merry Christmas!

cropsantahats

My guinea pigs posed for the camera this year to feature on my Christmas cards.

Cola and Fizz cannot be together because they fight, so they had individual photos taken and photoshop put them together. I can post a series of photos on what that looked like another day.

Bo Obama

There is a new video out of President Obama’s dog, Bo a Portuguese Water Dog, inspecting their “holiday” decorations:

The theme for the 2012 decorations is “Joy to All.”

Here is a photo of Bo by a decoration made to look like him:

bo(image from whitehouse.gov)

Another with santa hat and lights:

Screen-Shot-2012-11-30-at-9.19.16-AM-thumb(image found on Yahoo News, originally from whitehouse.gov)

Reindeer Cam!

Late last night I saw a news article that spoke to the success of Reindeercam.com. It is a webcam where you can watch a couple reindeer go about their day, and you can see Santa come to feed them at 10am and 5 pm EST!

The camera is on all day and night, and is an awesome opportunity for kids to see these amazing animals. The reindeer with antlers is actually female, male reindeer drop their antlers come December.

The makers of the site have a camera that features the white tail deer they raise and decided to create this cam when a friend suggested they do something for Christmas. They did not expect it to be so popular, so sometimes the servers become overloaded. But it is worth watching for a bit if you get the chance. It has been viewed by people in over 126 different countries.

Go to Reindeercam.com to see them in action!

Here is a still shot of the reindeer:

Here is a time when Santa was visiting and reading the Night Before Christmas, also pictured is a tame white tail deer.

You can read an article about the site here.

I am sad that I did not know about this before now because the cam will be turned off after Christmas until its return next year.

Cute Christmas Cookies

I love to make Christmas cookies, and there are some adorable recipes to choose from. Here are five cute recipes that you can make use of this holiday season.

Each has a link to the page where I found the recipe, in case you would like more detailed instructions and more pictures.

1. Reindeer Cookies — pillsbury.com

This recipe makes 32 cookies and takes a total of 55 minutes.

Ingredients:

1 roll (16.5 oz) of Pillsbury refridgerated sugar cookies

1/4 cup  all-purpose flour

1 cup vanilla ready-to-spread frosting

64 small pretzel twists

64 semisweet chocolate chips (about 1/4 cup)
16 gumdrops, cut in half

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350. Break up the cookie dough in a bowl, add flour until blended. Roll dough into a log, and then make into a triangle shape.

2. Cut dough into 32 triangular slices – 1/4 inch thick. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake 7 – 11 minutes, or until set. Cool for 1 minute and then move to cooling rack. Cool completely – takes about 15 minutes.

4. Frost the cookies with frosting. Place two pretzel twists on each triangle near the corners for antlers. Press two chocolate chips into the frosting to make eyes, and 1 half of a gum drop to make a nose.

To store: place between sheets of wax paper in a tightly covered container.

2. Jolly Santa Cookies — bettycrocker.com

This recipe makes 18 cookies, and takes a total of 1 hour 50 minutes.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons vanilla frosting

3 tablespoons red sugar

18 mini marshmallows

36 chocolate chips

18 red cinimon candies

3/4 cups shredded coconut

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 400. Beat butter, sugar and lemon with an electric mixer on medium, or with a spoon. Stir in egg and milk. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

2. Place dough in rounded teaspoonfuls full 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to make each about 1/4 inch thick and 3 inches in diameter. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Move immediately from sheet to wire rack. Cool completely – about 30 minutes.

3. Spread frosting on one cookie, then sprinkle red sugar over the top 1/3 of the cookie to make Santa’s hat. Press on a mini marshmallow for the hats tassel. Press 2 chocolate chips for eyes, and 1 Cinnamon candy for nose in the middle third of the cookie. Then sprinkle the coconut on the bottom third of the cookie for Santa’s beard. Decorate one cookie completely before moving on to the next so that everything sticks.

3. Marshmallow Snowmen — Better Homes and Gardens

This recipe makes 26 cookies and takes a total time of 1 hour 20 minutes.

Ingredients:

12 vanilla carmels, unwrapped

3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

1 tablespoon butter

1 10 ounce bag of marshmallows

53 pretzel sticks

1 cup chopped pistacchios, toasted coconut, toffee pieces, and/or 1/3 cup nonpareils

4 ounces bittersweet, semisweet, or milk chocolate pieces

2 tablespoons shortening

orange colored mini candy coated chocolate pieces or other small round candies

optional: marshmallow cream to stick together marshmallows if they do not stick on their own.

Directions:

1. Line a baking sheet with foil, butter the foil and set it aside. In a small sauce pan combine the carmels, condensed milk, and butter. Heat and stir over medium low heat, until melted and smooth.

2. Use kitchen scissors to cut 1/3 of the marshmallows in half crosswise. Place the marshmallow half sticky side down on top of another whole marshmallow to form the head and body. Press gently together to get them to stick, use marshmallow cream if needed. To make arms – stick two pretzel sticks into each side of the whole marshmallow.

3. Dip the bottom 1/3 of the snowman body into the carmel mixture, allow excess to drop off. Place onto foil.

4. Put pistachios, coconut, toffee pieces, and/or nonpareils into separate bowls. In another sauce pan, combine the chocolate and shortening. Heat and stir chocolate mixture over low heat until melted and smooth.

5. Dip the caramel coated end of each snowman into the chocolate, enough to cover the caramel. Allow the excess to drip off, then dip into one of the bowls of pistachios, coconut, toffee, or nonpareils. Put snowman back on baking sheet, and let stand for 30 minutes or until the chocolate is set.

6. If necessary, remelt the chocolate over low heat in a sauce pan. Put the snowmen onto their backs to finish decorating. To make eyes and buttons, dip one end of a pretzel stick into the chocolate and then dab onto the snowmen. To make a nose, dab on some chocolate and attach a small piece of candy. Let stand until dry, about 5 minutes.

4. Santa Hats — Disney Family Fun

Makes 2 dozen santa hats.

Ingredients:

2 egg whites, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

red colored sugar

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 200 degrees F. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks start to form. While continuing to beat the mixture, add the tartar, vanilla, and then slowly the sugar. Continue to beat until the peaks are stiff.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon the meringue into a quart size plastic bag. Snip off a corner and pipe 2 dozen 1 and 1/2 inch tall santa santa hat triangles onto the parchcment paper. You should have about 1/4 of the meringue left.

3. Sprinkle the triangles with the red sugar, and then use the remaining meringue to make the pompom on the end of the hat and the trim. Bake the hats until hard but not brown, about 1 hour and 2o minutes. Turn off the oven and then leave inside the oven for another hour to crisp the cookies before removing.

5. Penguin Ginger Bread Cookies — The Crafty Penguin

This receipe reuires you to make the cookies and then gives detailed instructions on how to decorate them.

Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 and 1/2 sticks salted butter

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

5 tablespoons molassess

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper

Making the cookies:

1. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.

2. Add mollassess, water, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper – mix until combined.

3. In a seperate bowl whisk together flour and baking soda. Slowly add to batter in three parts, mixing after each part is added.

4. Roll the dough until 1/4 inches thick between sheets of wax paper. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Then cut into circles and refrigerate another 30 minutes before baking. You can make circles of varying size, but bake those of the same size together.

5. Bake for 8 to 10 mintues at 400 degrees F on a parchment paper or Silpat lined baking sheet. Once cooled, the cookies can be decorated.

To Decorate:

Recipe for royal icing

How to decorate — scroll down to the decorating section, includes pictures

Be aware that this will take a long time because once the black icing is done, the cookies have to dry overnight before the white icing can be done.

Cute Christmas Gift Ideas

In seeing all the toy adds for the Holidays, I decided to put together a short list of adorable toys. I know I would have loved to play with these toys when I was little, and I still find them cute. Some of the cute “toys” I found are great for adults too.

1. Calico Critters of Cloverleaf Corners
While wandering around my local mall I happened upon a new toy store, which opened in an old KB Toy Store location, which now features more unusual toys. Prominently featured were these adorable little animal families:

This amazingly cute line of small animals features cats, rabbits, dogs, squirrels, and bears among other animals. They have homes, furniture, and various professions and situations which make the toys even more endering. For more information visit the Calico Critters website.

2. Playmobil
I had a number of different sets of playmobil toys when I was younger, and I absolutely loved them. I feel that this line of toys has a great varity of scenes and situations, sutable for both boys and girls. There are sets with animals, mythical creatures, doctors and hospitals, weddings, police officers, and many more.



To see more sets and to purchase these toys, see the playmobil website.

3. Littlest Pet Shop
I must admit, I liked these toys a lot better when I was younger — well, at least what they used to look like. They used to be life like, and now they have giant heads with disproportionate eyes. I do agree that these attributes are supposed to make the toys appear cute, I feel they followed the path of bratz dolls (which I find incredibility ugly). But after seeing some of my younger cousins playing with them, I understand their appeal. So they make my cute list:

4. Puppies In my Pocket
Again, another toy I used to play with that has been reinvented and rereleased. These too now have disproportionate heads and large eyes. I miss the realistic figures that these once were. However, the animals are still very cute and now they are fuzzy! If I could, I would collect these toys. I have one set – a family of rabbits, my mom gave it to me as an Easter present. I still have all my old puppies and horses from the first release of these toys. Maybe your kids will enjoy these fuzzy little guys as much as I enjoyed the old ones.


5. Zhu Zhu Pets
When I first saw these at a local Toys R Us, I did not think much of them. But they are one of the hottest and often hardest to find toys this Christmas season. Stores all over were putting limits on how many of these toys you could buy at a time, and the prices for them seem over inflated on ebay. Now that I really think about these toys, they are a wonderful alternative to a real hamster. A unique idea with all the charm of a hamster without the fear of it escaping into the house or dying within a week. Plus, they are expanding the line of accessories availble for these little guys, the habitats they fun around in, and more hammy styles.

6. Pillow Pets
These are both stuffed animals and pillows. I have seen these guys at mall kiosks and at Hallmark. Just a fun and cute idea available in a number of different animals and sizes.

7. Giant Microbes
Who knew that germs could be so cute? These might not be so kid appropriate, but they are great as a fun gift. They are a great conversation piece or can be a hilarious gift. With these cute little guys you can safely give swine flu, the regular flu, or even mad cow.

8.  Puchi Petites by Re-ment

These are tiny foods that come in a variety of different types and arrangements. They are incredibly life like, and great for dolls and doll houses. I found a website that sells these in collections as well as in individual sets. The collections offered show the variety of foods and include sets like: bread and butter, candy, doughnuts, European Grandmother’s dinner, and sushi. The company also makes tiny furnature and kitchen appliances. I simply love these little foods and things, they are so cute!

9. Penbo

I was looking around online when I happened to find the website for penbo, an interactive penguin toy that comes with a baby penguin. The mama penguin waddles around,  responds to touch and to her baby, and can play games.  I think they are both rather cute, but the baby ball of fluff is adorable.

1o. Giddyup N’ Go Pony

I saw a commerical for this toy and then happened to see a whole palate full of them at my local Meijer. I would have LOVED one of these as a kid. So much cooler than a simple rocking horse! As a child bounces up and down on the pony’s back it causes the pony’s legs to move and they can ride the toy around. Pressing the pony’s ears even makes different noises.