Tag Archives: kids

Happy Halloween!

I can feel the holiday season ahead…it’s time to start baking up a storm. But before the season kicks in…I thought I would share our Halloween Pumpkin!

Here’s our Haunted Fairy House Pumpkin! Hope everyone has a Happy & Safe Halloween!

Haunted Fairy House Pumpkin

Promising Ice Cream….Sandwiches!

The first week of school is coming to an end.  My little one has started Kindergarten and had a rough morning.  Day 1, excited, but clung to Dad as she was getting on the bus.  Day 2, tearing up, got in line to get on the bus, then made a quick turn to run back to me.  Day 3, crying most of the morning, crying to the bus stop and needed me to hold her hand onto the bus.  Of course, she has a great day and is super smiley when she gets off of the bus!  But with all of the tears this morning, we promised her ice cream when she gets home.  Hoping to distract her from her anxiety.

But I have really, really wanted to make homemade chocolate chip cookies and tada – I had a great idea!  Ice Cream Sandwiches.

PK Ice Cream Sandwiches

Actually tried a new chocolate chip cookie recipe from Allrecipes and they were delicious!  They turned out to be the perfectly shaped, with a thin crispy outside and soft chewy middle.  I baked these an extra 2 minutes, but followed the recipe exactly.  They made 45 cookies using a 1 inch cookie scoop.

SS Cookie Rack

Love the versatility of the Sweet Stackers risers.  They elevate cookie racks at the perfect height to save space on the kitchen counter tops!

Once cooled, I transferred the cookies to a staging container to keep them extra fresh.  Sweet Stackers neatly organizes the cookies in tiers.

Sweet Stackers Cookie Container

Time to fill the cookies!  Place a good round scoop of ice cream in between two chocolate chip cookies (they bottom of the cookies touching the ice cream).  I used a smaller container to store 12 ice cream sandwiches separated using a Sweet Stackers tray.

Even though I was in a cool room, the ice cream melted quickly.  I suggest placing the container in the freezer and adding one or two sandwiches at a time.  But even is some ice cream dripped, the container and trays wipe down easily.  The trays also made a nice surface to work on.

SS Ice Cream Sandwiches

There were extra cookies for a later treat!

The kids had a great day at school and were very excited about this yummy summertime treat!
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Disney Frozen Birthday Party

Hope you enjoy my recap of planning a Disney Frozen Theme Birthday Party – including an ice castle cake, snowflake cookies, party favors, “Pin the nose on Olaf” game and a grand Anna & Elsa pull string pinata!

As the girls arrived, I set up a table for them to pick a party hat and decorate it.  I had provided the hats, markers, gem stickers, foam snowflake stickers, shiny ribbon, hold punches, etc.  This is a good way for the kids to mingle and jump right in to an activity while we wait for everyone to arrive.

Decorating Frozen Birthday Hats

All of the kids sat together to eat lunch.  I had 10 kids total and used our kid’s table and coffee table together which was the perfect height and size.  The tables were covered with a plastic blue tablecloth.

After lunch, all of the kids lined up to play “Pin the nose on Olaf”.  If you have seen the Disney Frozen movie, Olaf is the snowman that Elsa created.  I found a picture online and sketched a kid-sized Olaf on two sheets of posted board.  Truly, you do not need to be an artist to do this!  I outlined him with black marker and painted the stick arms, hair and eye brows brown.  The only feature I didn’t draw was his orange carrot nose.  Using orange construction paper, I cut carrot noses for each child to stick onto the poster.  During the game, we spun each child around with a blind fold on and directed them toward Olaf.  I think the kids really got a kick out of him!  The winner was the child who pinned the nose the closest to where is should appear.

Olaf Game

After having singing to the birthday girl and eating the Disney Frozen Ice Castle Cake.  We did the Elsa & Anna pull string piñata.  I had the girls form a circle around it and gave each girl a try at pulling one of the strings.  It worked pretty good.  One string opened the box and the goodies fell out (with a bit of assistance).  All of the kids scurried to gather a bag full of treats.  Here is how I created the homemade Frozen piñata:

Disney Frozen Pinata

I used two family-sized cereal boxes.  One box was slightly bigger that the other, so I used the larger one of the bottom.  The bottom box was closed and the top open, then the other cereal box open on both the top and bottom was inserted slightly inside and taped together with duct tape.  Leave an opening in the top of the box so it can be filled later.

Once the boxes are secured, I covered it with Papier-mâché.  Papier-mâché is newsprint bound with glue (combination of flour and a small amount of water).  I filled a bowl with about 2 cups of flour and stirred in small amounts of water until the consistency was like Elmer’s white glue.  Cover the floor or table where you will work with plastic.  Strips of newsprint are dipped in the paste to cover both sides, removing the excess glue and then placed around the entire structure.  The papier-mâché needs to dry over night.

Frozen Pull String Pinata

When the structure is completely dry, I used white crepe paper (party streamers) to wrap around the structure.  Cutting slits along one edge of the crepe paper and tacking each piece in place as it is wound around.  The slits will give it a ruffled effect.

Frozen Handmade Pull String Pinata

Online, I found an image of Elsa and Anna (the two sisters from Disney’s Frozen movie).  I enlarged the images and printed them on two sheets of paper (taping the images together).  Elsa was glued to one side of the piñata and Anna was glued to the other side.

Homemade Pull String Pinata - Frozen

Now for the fun part – engineering the pull string piñata.  I made a slit in the flap of the bottom of the box and inserted one string through the slit, taping it to the inside.  The box was taped shut using a heavy duty tape, just enough to hold the heavy goodies, but not too good so that it won’t open when pulled.  I tested it to make sure it would work.  Once the box bottom was secured in place, I taped many strings to the bottom of the box and then camouflaged the strings using more white crepe paper.

Two holes were punctured in the top sides of the box and the treats were filled inside.  The piñata was ready to hang in place!

For the party favors, I found these cute little blue buckets and filled them with a few goodies including: rock candy (looks like ice!), watercolor paints, hair accessories, bubbles and lip balm and glittery nail polish.


Also baked a batch of snowflake sugar cookies.  Each were individually packaged and sent home as a party favor for all.

SweetStackers Snowflake Cookies

Halloween Brownie Bites

Happy Halloween!  It was a fun and festive day to spite it raining…all….day…long!  A backup plan was needed just in case we couldn’t go trick-or-treating.  I wanted to make a quick festive treat that my kids could enjoy if they weren’t going to bring home a huge bag full of treats.  There was only one hour until the school bus would arrive home.

My preference is to bake from scratch, but I usually keep a couple of box mixes in my pantry for a spur of the moment dessert.  I found a box of brownie mix and placed the brownie batter in a mini-muffin tin to make brownie bites.


While they were baking in the oven – I whipped up a white glaze using 1 cup of confectioners sugar and 1-2 tablespoons of water.  Once the brownie bites were slightly cooled, pipe a dot in the middle surrounded by two circles.  Then using a toothpick, pull the glaze from the center to the outer circle.  This formed cute little spider webs.

But wait…the sun poked out of the clouds for just a few minutes to produce the most beautiful rainbow!  It soon got ominous out again, but we were able to make it around the block to trick-or-treat.  Then came home to a yummy treat!

Hope you had a Happy Halloween!!

Pumpkin Muffins – two ingredients?

Muffins with only two ingredients?  I saw this recipe on Pinterest and was totally skeptical!  So now that I tried it – get out that healthy can of pumpkin and celebrate autumn!

Kid & Mom approved – great snack for a lunch box or afterschool treat.

Pumpkin Muffins

For this batch, I used a chocolate cake box mix and one 15 ounce can of pumpkin.  With an electric mixer, combine the ingredients.  Add a couple of tablespoons of milk to moisten the batter if needed.  For kicks, add 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice…spice it up!  With a little research you can use any flavor of cake.  I am sure that spice cake would be pretty yummy.

For mini-muffins:  Bake in a 350° oven for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Store these moist cupcakes using Sweet Stackers stackable food storage trays.  The trays separate and divide your food items in one container without a mess – visit sweetstackers.com!

Healthy Raspberry Cake? Why Yes!

My family and I had a relaxing afternoon picking raspberries at a local farm on Labor Day.  It was definitely the peak picking time for the season after the heat and rain last week.  The berries were so big and delicious!  When we got home it was about time to start planning a BBQ dinner, but I wanted to whip up a quick dessert with our fresh picked berries.  I remembered that I had received a message last week from the Meal Makeover Moms about a healthy cake with fresh fruit.  Yes, I said it…healthy cake!  Well, I was actually missing one main ingredient.  I thought I had wheat germ in my fridge, but as it turned out I didn’t.  Since I needed a 1/4 C of something, I added another whole grain – corn meal.  Which I really enjoyed the moist cake with a little added crunch.

Healthy Fresh Raspberry Cake

Raspberry Breakfast Cake

Makes 8 Servings

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ or ground flaxseed 1/4 cup corn meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 400°.  Coat a 9″ round cake pan with cooking spray.

Add the dry ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl.  In another mixing bowl, whisk the egg, sugar, canola oil, milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract until combined.  Add the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Pour the mixture into the pan and place the fresh fruit on top.  Sprinkle the top with remaining tablespoon of sugar.

Bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick come out clean.

Let cake cool or serve warm.  A scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt is certainly a treat over the warm cake!

Aaaa..vocado Mini Muffins

These mini muffins will make you say, “Mmm…”!

That is because everyone in my house couldn’t guess the magic ingredient to make these muffins a smidge green.  I heard that substituting avocado in your basic banana bread recipe is really delicious and I just had to try it!  I was pleasantly surprised, because it gave the muffins a nice creamy and subtle flavor.  The spices and sweetness from the raisins and mini chocolate chips complemented them perfectly.

So easy and a great way to add this super fruit as a yummy treat in your kid’s lunchbox!

Cooling Avocado Mini Muffins

Avocado Bread Mini Muffins

yields 36 mini muffins

2 C flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. allspice

1/2 C butter

1 C sugar

1 C  – 1 large avocado

1/3 C milk

1 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 C raisins (optional)

1/2 C mini chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease mini muffin tin with cooking spray.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together.  Add the avocado until well mixed.  Lower mixer speed and add dry ingredients, milk and lemon juice.  Fold in the raisins and chocolate chips.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Have you ever substituted a “different” ingredient to your banana bread recipe?

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

Love this recipe!  So easy, so yummy…and perfect for a play date.  I am pretty sure the kids liked it and I know the Mommies sure did!  Thank you Pioneer Woman for a great recipe.

This recipe intrigued me because the filling can changed to any fruity jam or preserves.  So depending on your mood or whatever jar of jam you have in your pantry, you most likely have all of the ingredients on hand.  Though…it sounds like the strawberry is the best if you need a comfort food.  They were hard to only eat one….perfectly sweet!

Using SweetStackers trays

Using SweetStackers trays

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

  • 1 3/4 sticks salted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 – 10 to 12-ounce jar strawberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Add the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixing bowl.  Cut in the butter (using your hands, combine the butter into the dry ingredients) until it makes course crumbs.  Spread half of the mixture into the greased pan, pushing it evenly and tightly into the corners.  Add a layer of the jam over the oatmeal crumble, carefully spreading it with a knife.  Then layer the remaining oatmeal crumble over the top of the jam.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Now for the hard part.  Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

using SweetStackers

using SweetStackers

Owl Handprint Painting – Birthday Party Activity

It is not often when I create a post that is not food related, but I thought this was just too cute to pass up and not share.  For my daughter’s 2nd birthday party, we did an owl painting activity with my kids and niece.  Check out my prior posts for the owl cookies and owl cake that were made to celebrate this birthday and read on to see how we made the owl painting that will be a keepsake to remember for the birthday girl.

Owl Birthday Party Activity

I bought a couple of inexpensive 16″x20″ canvases from our local craft store.  Using Crayola washable finger paints the kids painted their handprint onto the brown branch that I had painted before the party.  Each kid got to pick a color for their owl.  After the party, I enhanced the painting with the eyes, beak, talons and brushed the background light blue.  This painting will be hanging in our playroom and our niece is going to get one as a party favor.  Imagine how much fun this is for a kid’s birthday party?

Kids Owl Handprint Painting

The Birthday Girl’s – 2-year-old

Gingerbread Houses for Kids

Kids love to get involved in the kitchen and definitely like to help decorate for Christmas.  I was planning on making a real gingerbread house, but ran out of time.  This project turned out to be real hit with my kids: ages 5, 3 & 1.  Each kid had made their own house.  The two older kids could do most of the work with little assistance from me and we tried two different construction techniques.  For my 1-year-old, I made the structure and she helped decorate the house and ate a few M&Ms along the way.  The best part is that I had all of the ingredients in my pantry.  Think about what you have and get creative!

graham cracker gingerbread houses

Graham Cracker Gingerbread House Ingredients

royal icing (combine 1 egg white, 1/2 tsp. lemon juice, 1/2 box confectioner’s sugar until the consistency of peanut butter)

zip lock bags to pipe the icing

1 box graham crackers

mini pretzel sticks

mini M&Ms

Life Cereal

Cheerios Cereal


Cut the graham crackers to the size and shape house that you want to construct.  My 5-year-old was patient enough to be able pipe icing along the edges of the graham crackers to hold the walls to the floor and then the roof to the walls.

House using milk carton

To construct my 3 year old’s house, we used a small milk carton and cut the top off.  This way she could easily spread some icing on the carton to make the graham cracker walls to stick.  To fill in the gaps at the corners, we applied mini pretzel sticks.

Gingerbread - Cereal Roof Tiles

The kids had a lot of fun decorating the houses with cereal, candy and pretzels.

Gingerbread - Oat Cereal Roofing

Even my 1-year-old enjoyed squeezing a bag of icing and placing mini M&Ms on the roof.  She got a kick out of Santa and Mrs. Clause standing at the door.  I flipped through the holiday ads that came in my Sunday newspaper to find the perfect size Santa, Snowman and Gingerbread Man.  I glued the image to a piece of the cardboard milk carton and the kids were easily able to use icing to adhere the image to the doorway of their houses.

Slanted Roof Gingerbread House

The houses were the perfect size to sit on my kitchen window sill.  A perfect place to display them and decorate our kitchen!

Gingerbread House - windowsill

We even constructed a chimney and placed some pieces of marshmallow for smoke.  I helped by piping some icing along the roof of the house to make icicles.

Gingerbread House - windowsill decor

Hope you had a great holiday and enjoyed with your kids!