DIY Birthday Cakes for Your Kids

I love a good DIY project and decorating cakes is a hobby that makes me happy so putting those together is fun for me!

About half way through the mess of baking, I tend to remember that Costco and Sam’s both sell 1/2 sheet cakes for less than $20.

But, alas, my kids like for me to bake and decorate their birthday cakes and that makes me happy.  It is a labor of love and actually quite fun to see their ideas come to life!  The delight that they get from them is worth every minute.  They really are truly excited and appreciative.

For this year, my twins asked for two totally different cake styles.  Apparently when you turn eight, it is no longer cool to share a theme.  My cat lover wanted a cake with “tangled up cats.”  My horse lover wanted a pasture scene with horses.

Although I have an excellent home made white cake recipe, I went straight to Wal-Mart to aisle 9 and picked up my favorite boxed white cake mix.  You just cannot go wrong with this one!

For the chocolate cake, I used this devil’s food mix.  I am not a chocolate lover but apparently it is yummy.

I only have one set of round pans and one rectangular cake pan, so I helped the girls to decide that is just what we needed to have the perfect cakes.  The power of persuasion was strong.

So, after a morning of baking, cooking, and leveling the cakes, we were ready!

I used a basic Wilton frosting recipe for the white cake and this chocolate buttercream recipe for the other.  It is the best chocolate one that I’ve tried.   Yummm!

My cat lover is also a foodie.  She loved the strawberry cream cheese filling that I had used on her daddy’s birthday cake so she requested it for her own.  It is really, really good and takes a cake from basic to amazing.

I let the girls choose a set of Toobs to use for the figures on their cakes.  This was like a little gift before the birthday and they put A LOT of thought into just which ones to get.

You really can’t go wrong with “tangled up cats.”  This was super easy to decorate. To make the yarn balls, I covered a bouncy ball and a marble with icing.  This worked well but kept me on my toes at the party to make sure that they got removed before becoming a choking hazard!

It was a bit more fun to decorate the horse cake.  I would have really liked to add a fence  (my idea was to use pretzels and icing) but she insisted that her horses were free roaming. 😉

Overall, we had a really good time with these. It was worth the effort and I felt a bit like superwoman as they oooohed and aaahhhed over the results!

They are already planning for next year!






Kids in the Kitchen

We are so excited around here to have somewhat of an unhurried schedule.  That leaves us time to do the things that we enjoy!

One of the things that I would really like to work on improving is feeding the family healthy-ish meals.  The further we get into the school year, the further I slip. By April, if Tyson and Sister Shubert don’t make it, well….

Last week, I had a little help in the kitchen making these brown sugar biscuit twists.  They are really easy to make with kids and they turn out delicious.  We will be making them again this week.


I wrote a few months back about some things that my picky eater will eat.  We are sticking to many of those things for the summer because they are quick and inexpensive.  I have no desire to stay in the kitchen for an hour so that everyone can eat for 5-10 minutes.

My hubby is also awesome at making big batches of breakfast burritos.  We LOVE these! They are breakfast, snack, or dinner.  We use whatever we have on hand and saute the veggies in olive oil (or lard if you want to, no finger pointing here :)).  Tonight that included mushrooms, onions, basal, garlic, and green onions.  We then added sausage crumbles (because we had some leftover from last night) and the eggs.  We put that into a warmed tortilla and top them with cheese and salsa. They are so so good!  They will keep well in the fridge or the freezer and are quick to heat up.  You can get the kids involved and they can do the chopping for you.


For this week, we will add blueberries to every meal, due to being overachievers at the berry farm!

Just a funny extra, the strangest thing happened as I was thinking up the title for this post.  The tune of “pants on the ground” came into my mind!  Kids in the Kitchen, Kids in the Kitchen. Wow! You never know what is lurking in your sub-conscience. 🙂 Ha!

Here’s a really fun recipe for Apple Ladybugs that I plan to do this week.  My kids just happen to eat all parts of this so it should be a winner.  Isn’t that cute?

Apple Ladybug Treats

Are there fun and easy recipes that your kids help you with in the kitchen?








Too. Many. Blueberries!

We spent the morning at a blueberry farm.  We may have gotten a little carried away!  There were just so many amazing blueberries.  Look at those berries!  Isn’t that gorgeous?

IMG_6921My personality wouldn’t let me walk away! I must pick.all.of.them!!!

Henry and LG have very similar personalities so it was no fooling  for two hours! We concentrated on the task at hand!


This was our first time visiting a blueberry farm so we may have been overly zealous.  We picked 26 pounds of blueberries!  Crazy!!


My husband and I got into the van and looked at each other and pretty much had the same thought! WHAT will we do with all these blueberries?  We just laughed out loud.

Thankfully, google has helped.  As my husband is working hard to get them washed, dried, and frozen, I’m searching for ways to use them up.  (I got the easy job.)  I have learned quite a bit.

  1. They must be dry before freezing.  Put them as a single layer to freeze.  We used paper plates with paper towels over them because a large pan won’t fit into our freezer.   Here’s a glimpse of just a small part of the berries! FullSizeRender (32) By now, we have put many of the frozen berries into mason jars for the freezer.
  2. Here’s a handy tip that I found.  I had forgotten this but it does work.  If you are going to use them in baking, put blueberries in a zip lock baggy with some flour and shake them and they don’t sink in the batter.

So, what are we going to do with all of these berries?

We gave five pounds away for a birthday present to my sister-in-law.

So, what about the other 20 pounds, you ask?

We ate them.

Just kidding.  We have eaten entirely too many though!  Too much of a good thing is a good thing, right?

But these are our plans for real:

  1. Smoothies – Henry makes smoothies every day with some type of fruit.  These will be great.  He normally uses spinach, fruit, and some yogurt or kefir in his Ninja food processor.  That baby gets a workout every day.  It is versatile.  (I posted about how I almost burned it up making my laundry detergent here.)
  2. Popsicles – He has also perfected real fruit popsicles.
  3. I will be making this blueberry sauce for ice cream toppings.  I’ve done something similar with frozen nectarines and it was wonderful.  Can’t go wrong there.
  4. We made this lemonade today.  Best.lemonade.ever. according to the kids.  Actually it didn’t wow me.  The blueberries are just cute in there but whatever. The kids liked it.
  5. I will be making these blueberry biscuits this week.  I am not sure about the apricot glaze but the recipe sounds great.
  6. I plan to make a fruit crisp. I made one a few weeks ago with rhubarb and strawberries and some of us (my hubby) couldn’t get enough.

I’m not sure about the rest.  We may never want blueberries again.  I think we are certainly good for the next two weeks! 😉

What about you?  Any amazing recipes that you can share?  I’d be very grateful. I feel like Forest Gump with his shrimp menu ideas.