The Epic Poop Cake

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Poop . . . CAKE!?

Now, I know that normally the words “poop” and “cake” are not something you see together in the same sentence.

But “funny chocolate cake?”

Yeah.

I could get behind that.

We’ve been celebrating the kids’ birthdays this week and our birthday conversations seem to inevitably circle back to the epic Poop Cake that I made a couple of years ago for my husband’s birthday.

It left quite an impression.

But it was also SO easy to make. And if you follow my blog you know that my favorite type of recipes are the easy ones – that also happen to be delicious.

I’m sharing the process today more than an actual recipe (um, it was totally a box mix). But if you know anyone who is a fan of toilet humor and chocolate, then you’ll definitely want to try this out. It’s pretty much a guaranteed hit.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 box chocolate cake mix (I like this one)

3 tubs chocolate icing (like these)

1 tube decorating icing (like this)

1 cup milk chocolate chips

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Chocolate sprinkles

Plastic toy toilet (we used this wrestling toy toilet)

Candles (optional numbers like this)

Another thing I should mention is that we freely curse in my house. So, yeah, the cake says “crap,” but if you’re uncomfortable with that, you can totally sanitize it for any kiddos around. Or not.

Depending on your normal vocabulary, here are three options:

“Holy Crap, You’re Old!”

“Holy Shit, You’re Old!”

“Holy Poop, You’re Old!” (This one gets the message across to kids but adults still get the underlying double entendre.)

I will warn you: if you jump in and fully commit to making a cake covered in poo, kids will ask why. They’ll want to be in on the joke. For us, this was no issue at all. Crap=Poop and dayum my hubby is old. It’s the big 4-0! Holy shit!

Some of the other gifts and decor mimicked this phrase. I did manage to find this one that managed to match the sentiment of the cake perfectly:

The embroidered toilet paper is from Etsy. (Going for romantic? Try this instead.)

I can’t find this particular poop squishy for sale anymore but here’s a similar one.

I also found poop emoji Easter eggs (the popularity of the poop emoji in recent years helped greatly with decorating!)

The rest of the signs and banners and streamers generally matched the color scheme: black with touches of gold and silver. I kept all of that fairly neutral so the focus would be on the humorous pieces.

Oh and that toy toilet? We didn’t just throw it out afterwards. It was an accessory for wrestling figurines so it happened to fit perfectly in the Barbie house. Dual purpose, yo.

So, how did I put together the cake?

Good question. This playful hunk of deliciousness was a pretty straightforward process. Check out the supplies I listed above. Most should be available in your local grocery store and you’re not making anything from scratch here so it shouldn’t be overwhelming.

And remember – always remember – homemade doesn’t have to look perfect! (Especially if it’s swirls of poo. Just saying.)

Step one: make the cake. Follow the package directions to make two 8-inch rounds of cake and let them cool completely. If they puffed up too much with big round tops, trim them flat. If they’re mostly flat already, just leave them as they are.

I suggest getting 3 tubs of pre-made icing, though you may be able to get by with two. I tend to be a bit paranoid about running out of things mid-cooking while prepping for parties so sometimes I overestimate. Besides, those things are shelf stable.

Here’s one of the fun parts. I forgot to photograph the inside of this cake (or a slice) but there’s an extra layer of chocolatey goodness. I did show pics on my post about the Merida cake I made, so check out those photo examples here. Essentially, place one layer on a plate or cardboard tray, and smear chocolate icing all over it. Then sprinkles those milk chocolate chips over the icing. Then take the other layer of cake, flip it so the flat bottom is now up, and place it on top.

Those chocolate chips inside add extra flavor and texture. I totally recommend it.

Now that you’ve got the basic cake base, spread chocolate icing over the whole thing. Before it sits too long and starts to harden, take handfuls of the chocolate sprinkles and press them into the side of the cake.

Next, scoop some of the icing into a decorating bag or a gallon sized plastic bag with one corner snipped off. Make the poop decorations by swirling the bag as you squeeze out the tiny piles along the top.

I also put one big pile right behind where I placed the number candles.

The final step is the decorations and text. Press the toy toilet into the cake, add the number candles if you’re using them, and write out your message with some decorating icing.

Then dump a handful of miniature chocolate chips into the open toy toilet and voila – a mildly inappropriate but wildly entertaining birthday cake!

Nothing left but to blow out the candles and enjoy.

If you make your own, please share with me! Leave a comment here or post a pic on my Facebook page.

Happy Baking!

New Kittens and a Resolution Not to Overdo It

Well, here we are in 2021.

It’s been quite a journey. Now, I’m not one of those people who’ve been hoping that we’d all wake up on January first and find that all the struggles of 2020 had magically disappeared. Things rarely change in a single day. But I’ve slowly been coming to the realization that I need to change the way I do things. And now is as good a time as any to start.

First, as you can see from the photo, we have kittens! Up until about six weeks ago our fur babies consisted of a fluffy doggo, Zari, and one black cat, Luna. On my birthday last month we ventured to the pet store during a gathering of fostered kittens. There were so many. But these two, they caught our attention.

I hadn’t planned to add more black cats specifically to the mix, and certainly hadn’t planned on getting more than one. I had hoped to bring home someone to keep Luna company. But these two were brothers. And so precious. Our daughters took them into their arms and, well, the rest is history.

So allow me to introduce our newest snuggle buddies: Milo and Jinx. And now, our fur babies consist of a fluffy doggo and THREE black cats.

I’ve heard so many foster moms talking about how hard it is to adopt out the black cats. People still hold to the old superstitions. But these babies are like my good luck charms. And we now have three tiny panthers running around the house.

This, in my opinion, is a literal representation of joy.

Plus, as a way to not overwhelm people with an abundance of fur baby photos, I’ve started a new Instagram account. Just lots of furry happiness.

You can see it here: instagram.com/fur_babies_for_days/

I did mention resolutions in the title, did I not? This post, after all, is not simply an excuse to share kitten photos.

Technically I never do New Years resolutions or promises or whatever. But this IS the time of year when I’m packing away the Christmas decorations and it naturally lends itself to a time of cleansing and rejuvenation.

And this happens to be the year that I realized I needed to give myself a break.

You see, awhile back I had decided I needed to just try a little harder in order to accomplish everything that I thought needed to get done. I could do it. Sure. I could work full-time, take care of my kids, go back to school for my master’s degree, plan a wedding, and pack up and move to a new house.

AND I could do it all while getting back to publishing posts on my blog full of projects and recipes and tons of gorgeously staged and perfectly lighted Pinterest-worthy photographs.

Yeah. I convinced myself that was all going to happen.

Just try harder, I thought.

I was, quite frankly, overwhelmed. I had too much on my plate. The blog wasn’t happening at all and the wedding took more work than I expected. I had to take a break from going to school myself once my kids were sent home from school due to the pandemic. House hunting also became complicated with the suddenly changing market.

And then, last fall, I got sick.

Out of the many experiences I’ve had in life, including difficult childbirth and repeated bouts of mono, Covid is by far the worst. People often say “it’s no joke,” and while that on one hand feels like a devastating understatement, it’s also frightfully accurate.

Besides, laughing causes coughing fits.

It’s the end of January and I’ve been in pain every day since the end of October. That’s a great many days of heavy pressure in my chest, a fog stunting my very thoughts, a fatigue so intense it’s crushing. So many nights of lying awake shrunken into a shaking ball struggling to inhale and worrying that if I fell asleep I may not wake again.

Even after the worst of the pain dimmed, and after two trips to the hospital, I was still left with “long Covid” symptoms. So here I am, in a new house without the energy to unpack boxes, my degree still on hold for the foreseeable future, and with my emergency leave depleted so that I’m back at my job where I end each day relieved that I’ve managed not to pass out.

It’s no longer about “trying harder.” There is no hidden reservoir of energy that will suddenly well up if I just will it with positive thoughts. No way to even pretend that I can “do it all.” I can barely do what I need to do to sustain a semblance of regular life most days. And many days, even less.

It’s tough. Which is, yet again, another understatement.

But it’s also given me a great deal of time to sit and think. Is this really what I wanted out of life? Such hectic busyness just to produce some outward appearance of perfection?

Nah.

What makes me happy in life? My kids, my husband, my pets. Reading, writing, being creative. These are the things I need to focus on. Without giving a damn if the accompanying photos are magazine-perfect. I can sit in a chair and read. I can do crafts with my kids. I can play with the fur babies. But it doesn’t all have to be in one afternoon.

It’s time to breathe.

One breath at a time I can do things I enjoy. I can live life slowly and still be valid. I can take my time and still be happy.

The laundry doesn’t need to be folded. Breathe. The spots on the bathroom mirror aren’t bothering anyone. Breathe. There’s nothing wrong with eating on paper plates because the “real” plates are still in the dishwasher. Breathe. A degree isn’t necessary to prove your worth. Breathe. Unpacked boxes in the corner are not the end of the world. Breathe. You are not a bad person for calling out sick from work. Breathe.

Just

B R E A T H E

Smile at your kids. Sit with your family and read a book aloud. Scratch a fur baby behind the ears.

Catch your breath.

It’s time.

Take the time that you have and use it well. And don’t forget that it’s okay to spend it slowly.

One breath at a time.

Nature Art

Nature Art

I suppose it’s a bit of a swing to go from Halloween projects to something completely different … or is it?

Today I wanted to highlight the glory of Nature Art.  Or, in general, making art with things found in nature.

These pictures are from a couple years ago but we have done this project many times.

Basic supplies you’ll need:

  • paper
  • pencil
  • glue
  • leaves, flowers, sticks, grass, feathers, tiny stones, etc.

Nature Art 2

I like doing this project on plain white printer paper because the things we collect really pop against the bright background, but it can easily be done on any color construction paper.

We don’t have the giant colorful leaves that you find up north, but this craft is really about exploring your own space and using what you have where you are.

Though I may point out a few suggestions, I let my kids pick whatever they find inspiring.

We also use it as a learning experience to look up a plant when we’re not sure what it is.

Nature Art 3

You can draw something very specific, like a house or tree, and recreate those items with the things you’ve collected, or you can go more abstract.

This particular day, my daughter was making random patterns.

This was her favorite finished piece:

Nature Art

And, like I said, what’s so great about this is allowing kids the creative space to explore their local environment and then utilize simple supplies to create anything they can imagine, all while experimenting on how things fit together.

It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, especially since we’re finally heading into autumn, and we’re still not able to socialize like we used to.  This year has had us doing a lot of stuff at home – so we try to add in art where ever we can!

More outdoor ideas to try:

Birdseed Christmas Ornaments 1

Birdseed Ornaments 

Power Word Hopscotch

Sight Word Hopscotch

How to Make Pom Pom Acrons 1

Pom Pom Acorns

Painting with Chalk 1

Painting with Chalk

Happy Crafting and Creating :)

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Spiderweb Cinnamon Rolls

spiderweb cinnamon rolls

This is one of those recipes that’s so stinkin’ cute but also super easy.

Halloween is a time of year when we eat a lot of “fun” foods.

(Yeah I said “time of year.”  It ain’t just a single day in this family – we celebrate for at least a month … but I’m always up for something spooky.)

So I like to spruce up meals and snacks when I can.  Which means some are quite elaborate and others… well, are like this!

This dish that has essentially two ingredients:  a can of cinnamon rolls and a bag of chocolate chips.

spiderweb cinnamon rolls 2

To get this platter of spookiness, bake the cinnamon rolls according to package directions and place the finished rolls in a circle on a plate.

Melt some candy melts or chocolate chips.  Candy melts are smoother but I didn’t have any on hand.  If you melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, do it at half power 30 seconds at a time.

Put the melted chocolate into a piping bag or a baggie with the corner cut off, and squeeeze out the chocolate into a big and little circle for a spider’s body, along with eight legs, onto one of the rolls.

Then draw a web over the rest.  I did this with the straight lines first and then spiraled around to make it look like a web. And don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect – it’ll be gobbled up soon anyway!

Happy Early Halloween!

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Jack Skellington Rice Krispies Treats

I love me some Nightmare Before Christmas.

So Jack Skellington recipes are kind of a given.  This Halloween treat is made with a Rice Krispies base and decorated with candy melts.  The pattern in black and white is striking and it really pops on a platter.

It’s a fun project to make, with (or even without) kids.

To start, make a batch of Original Rice Krispies Treats (links to recipe from Kellogg’s site). I often throw in a splash of vanilla extract to the melted marshmallow mixture for a nice touch of extra flavor.

Once you have your pile of sticky cereal, spread it out on a large pan or cookie sheet that’s been prepped with non-stick spray.  Flatten it with your fingers (spraying them with non-stick as well) until it’s as smooth as you can get it.

Then cut out circles with round cookie cutters like these or these, or whatever else you have lying around.

Dip the circles in a shallow bowl of melted white candy melts, and shake them a bit to make sure the candy isn’t too thick before you set it back down to set.  I recommend doing all this on top of waxed or parchment paper.

Instead of the white candy melts, you could also use an icing like this one that I made for my Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies.

Next, melt some black (or dark chocolate) candy melts in a piping bag (or a baggie with the corner snipped) and draw on those smiling faces.

It’s great because the faces are easy to make.  A couple of large eyes, small nose dots, and a string with lines for teeth and voila!

jack skellington rice krispie treats 3

This was the display I brought into work.  I loved the way the Jack Skellington faces stood out.  Actually all of the treats pop – even in the recycled take out containers!

Yummy AND cute!

The spiderwebs on the right are tiny Peppermint Patties.  You can see the larger version of them that I did on this post.  Another super simple recipe that makes a big visual impact – my fave.

And for the pumpkins in the middle, I tried out something new for my kids.  Specifically the youngest who is obsessed with Nutella.

I took some silicone pumpkin molds (not really sure which store I picked them up at) and coated the inside of the mold with some melted orange candy melts.  Once that set, I put a tiny scoop of Nutella into the center of the mold, then drizzed more of the orange candy melts over to cover the Nutella.

The pumpkins took a little more time and effort to get right, but were definitely worth a try.  Plus, they’re filling so a few go far in a party setting.

jack skellington rice krispie treats 2

Sooo much sweetness in this post!

I love it though.

Of course, this is also why I make so many savory Halloween dishes – to balance out the sugar!

I’m not sure what Halloween is going to look like this year, when it comes to trick-or-treating or parties, but I sure know one thing:  we’ll have some eerily festive food.  ;)

Follow me on Pinterest for more recipes!

Happy Early Halloween!

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Cheesy Ghosts and Pumpkins … aaand I’m Back!

Halloween Cheesy Ghosts and Pumpkins open faced sandwiches

So I took a look at when I last published a post on this blog and … *gasp* it’s been HOW long?

Well, my attempt at balancing work and kids and going back to school for my masters and planning a wedding all at the same time did not work out as planned.  And things got even more complicated this past spring when we all went into lock down and I was both working from home and home schooling my girls.

I still access this blog all the time, especially for recipes.  And heaven knows I’ve never stopped taking pictures of what my girls and I get up to.

But with the craziness that’s surrounding us all right now, I’ve decided to start writing again.  There aren’t suddenly more hours in the day, but I miss doing this.  Plus, it calms my anxiety (extra important in these stressful times!) and, hey, I love sharing food with you guys.

Halloween is practically around the corner – it IS August after all.  So I’m going to start by sharing Halloween recipes and ideas.

https://static.catsoncatnip.co/images/rwXkWuJxaqSj_700.jpg

This recipe here is for an age-old favorite of mine:  open faced cheese sandwiches.

These are so much fun.  And in the fall especially, my girls wind up getting some variation of these for lunch quite a bit.

Cheese and bread make a great base for a lunch since they go with so many different sides.  I can throw these on a plate with pretty much whatever fruit is on hand and it works.

Halloween Cheesy Ghosts and Pumpkins open faced sandwiches

 

For the pumpkins and ghosts pictured above, I used yellow American cheese and white Provolone.  You could also substitute another white cheese like Swiss, Mozzarella, white Cheddar or Monterey Jack, depending on your family’s favorites.

I placed the cheese slices on the bread and microwaved it for about 8 or 10 seconds, just until the cheese started to melt.  This makes sure it doesn’t fall apart in their lunchboxes.  You could also try warming it in a toaster oven instead – just keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.

I personally like mine with crispy half-burnt cheese, but well, these aren’t for me…

Once the cheese is melted to the bread, simply use cookie cutters to cut out the shapes.  I can’t remember the brand of cutters I have, but they are similar to these and these.

I was able to get two pumpkins out of one slice with the size cookie cutters I have.  And, really, I often just save the scraps to eat as part of my own lunches.  Or, you know, midnight snack.  If they make it till midnight.

You could also use them as cheesy croutons in tomato soup.  If yours last longer than mine…

Here is a similar way I like to change it up:  Jack O Lantern Cheesy Bread

Follow my Halloween Pinterest Board for more ideas!

Happy Early Halloween :)

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Christmas Cinnamon Roll Reindeer Breakfast {Or, The Illusion of Being Busy}

Reindeer Christmas Cinnamon Rolls

Well, it’s that time of year again . . . when it’s actually NEXT year (January) and I still have yet to post any of my Christmas projects or recipes. Never mind Halloween or Thanksgiving . . .

And when I took a close, sobering look at my blog, I see that I haven’t updated it in over six months.

Six MONTHS, people.  And not just that, but I haven’t been updating my Facebook page either, let alone Twitter or Pinterest.

I seem to be a tad behind.

So here I am:  feeling the need to make arguments for how busy I am.  And of course I’m busy – but aren’t we all?  I could make a very long list mentioning my full-time job and my two young kids, and how I moved recently and adopted a new kitten and how my schedule and stress levels were completely thrown off when Hurricane Irma rolled through . . .

But those are all just excuses.  We find time for the things that are important to us.  And this blog is important to me.  Sharing crafts and books and recipes that connect me to my children is important to me.

So here I am.  I also realized that this past holiday season I remade a lot of old recipes (already posted here) with my kids and don’t have a lot of new things to post, but there ARE still things to share.  And I’m going to make the time for it.

Starting with these Cinnamon Roll Reindeer, because, I mean, aren’t these just the most adorable cinnamon rolls EVER?

Reindeer Christmas Cinnamon Rolls 2

This past holiday season I spent a lot of time striving for recipes and crafts that embraced simplicity.

These yummy treats are a representation of that.  In the picture below you can see the 3 things I used to make them:  Grands cinnamon rolls, miniature candy canes, and M&Ms.

I made sure to unwrap the candy canes ahead of time, so I wouldn’t have to deal with the plastic wrappers before my coffee kicked in, but other than that task, these were thrown together in no time.

I used the Grands because they have little pockets, so to speak, to slip the candy canes into.  They’re made in a roll shape instead of the little cake-like cinnamon rolls that are one solid piece.  This way the candy canes just slid right in and were supported with no problem.

After baking the rolls according to the package directions, apply the icing.  Before the icing hardens, add two M&Ms for the eyes and a red M&M for a Rudolph-like nose.  Put two candy canes on each side of the “head” to represent the antlers.

You’ll need 4 candy canes per roll.  So if you have a package of 5 rolls like I did, then you’ll need 20 miniature candy canes.

Reindeer Christmas Cinnamon Rolls 3

I served these with some sausage and fruit.  They were a lot of fun and certainly enjoyed by the kids.  I plan to make these a regular tradition.

Happy Baking ;)

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Custom Pancake Bar & Reading List

Custom Pancake Bar 1

Sometimes I forget that my kids don’t always know where things come from (“Is the corn in cans different from corn-on-the-cob?”) or where things go (“What happens to the water after we flush it?”).

So I like to show them the extra steps for things when I can.  Of course, I don’t have wheat growing in my backyard so we won’t be grinding that into flour to make pancakes completely from scratch any time soon.  But what I CAN do is grab some colorful books to demonstrate the process.

I wanted to make a “Custom Pancake Bar” with my girls to show them how versatile pancakes could be.  But even without the grinding of flour, I still wanted to do more than just stir up a box mix.  Pancakes are easy anyway.

We’ve drawn with pancake batter and celebration pancakes are always fun, but I realized that I had yet to post an actual pancake recipe on this blog.  I’m calling this recipe the “Overnight or Now Pancakes” because I like to make the batter the night before, but it could also be used right away.

I am not, by any means, a morning person.  So I like to get things ready the night before:  breakfast, school lunches, my coffee maker … whatever CAN be done WILL be done.

Like this batter.  All made up and left to sit in the fridge until needed.  I also set up the griddle and toppings and even our plates the night before.

Because having kids means I’m often required to do things before I’m caffeinated.

Which can be … interesting.

Custom Pancake Bar 6

We had a lot of fun with this, though, because we personalized all of the pancakes.  Some had just mini chocolate chips or raisins, others sprinkles, and some a combination of everything.  A few had walnuts and cinnamon sugar, which is quite possibly my new favorite.

My daughter even made a face for one with walnut eyes, a chocolate chip mouth, and sprinkle hair.

There are other toppings you could incorporate, like blueberries or pieces of apples or bananas.  Coconut is also good (kinda like I used on my Tropical French Toast).  Just remember to use extra butter when flipping to make sure it doesn’t stick.

Before I share the recipe, I want to talk a little about the books we read.  I picked them all up at the library, but I’ve included (affiliate) links to Amazon in case you’d rather have your own copies.

Pancake Picture Books

Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle

This one is great because it shows the ENTIRE process for making pancakes from scratch – including harvesting wheat and churning butter.  The colorful illustrations demonstrate that there is an awful lot that goes into making our meals, but the story is told in a way that is playful.

There is also a board book version of Pancakes, Pancakes that is abridged.

Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola 

This wordless picture book is a delightful story about a woman who wakes up and decides to make pancakes.  But she’s out of eggs and milk and needs to get some more from her chickens and cow.  She even gets maple syrup from a nearby farmer.  But when she gets back with the syrup, her pets have turned her kitchen upside down and she can no longer make her pancakes … but luckily her neighbors had the same idea!

The pictures are pretty straightforward but drawn in a charming way.  And because the wordless pictures are easy for kids to “read,” it works well for either story time or reading-to-self for even the youngest of readers.

Mama Panya’s Pancakes

This story is a little different.  It also includes some steps in making pancakes, like buying flour and spices, but it focuses more on the people doing the cooking.  It tells us about a boy named Adika who is headed to the market with his mother, who also happens to invite everyone he sees back to their place to eat their pancakes with them.  It’s a wonderful tale of joy and generosity with a positive message about sharing.

There is a recipe, but my kids were more interested in the background information.  They were eager to hear all about village life in Kenya, and as soon as I started to read off the glossary of Kiswahili words, my 7-year-old jumped up to grab a paper and pencil so she could take notes.  I loved the way this book helped me to show my kids that things as basic as shopping with mom or sharing exciting news with friends (or making pancakes) are universal concepts practiced all over the world.

The Runaway Pancake 

This is a fun story which is based off of a fable from Norway and Germany about a pancake who really doesn’t want to be eaten.  He rolls through the forest trying to escape everyone who is trying to eat him, but makes the wrong decision to trust a seemingly kind but very hungry pig.  It briefly mentions how pancakes are made, but the real draw here is the silly story and cute illustrations.  It’s also one a beginning reader can read on their own.

And now … back to the recipe!

I’ve made these to have a noticeable taste of vanilla, and strongly suggest that you invest in some Madagascar pure vanilla extract because it has simply done AMAZING things with everything I use it in, from cookies to cheesecake to, well … pancakes!

But the vanilla in the recipe could easily be halved if (for some strange reason) you’re not a big vanilla fan.  And you could stir in your add-ons ahead of time (like chocolate chips or walnuts or sprinkles) instead of doing it the pancake-by-pancake way.

The individual way was an awful lot of fun for my kids, but just make sure to keep safety in mind!  Remember that flipping pancakes can cause splatter — and nobody wants to be pelted with splashes of hot butter!

When it comes to making the batter, we did it the night before and stuck it in the fridge.  It’s easy for kids to put together, which makes it nice for them because they are so involved in the whole process.

One of the things I wanted to mention, was that we decided to add some extra milk to the batter the next morning.

I don’t know why I did that.  I blame it on the caffeine deficiency.

Anyway, my point is that the pancakes still tasted great, but were much thinner than I had intended them to be.  It’s not necessary to add the extra milk like I did.  If you follow the recipe and don’t add any extra milk, your pancakes will be thicker than the ones photographed here.  Just stir the batter when you pull it out of the fridge in the morning and start frying!

Custom Pancake Bar 7

I used an ice cream scoop to measure out the batter.  My oldest daughter measured out one or two, but I mostly did that part.

And (again) make sure there are plenty of reminders of how hot the griddle gets and how much we realllly don’t want to touch it.

Cooking is fun, but safety is important too.

Custom Pancake Bar 8

Some of the add-ons made things a little sticky, so make sure to add more butter, or non-stick spray, when flipping the pancakes.

You can see where we made some with only one topping, like mini chocolate chips, and others which were combinations of toppings, like the one with chocolate chips, walnuts, and cinnamon sugar.

Custom Pancake Bar 9

Don’t those look delicious??

You can see where the cake sprinkles seeped color into the rest of the pancake, but the flower sprinkles held their shape and color nicely.  Both tasted nice, and the thicker sprinkles gave a little sugary crunch to the pancake.

I put them on the platter with the topping side up and spread them out so you could see which was which.

Leftovers refrigerate and freeze nicely.

Let’s get cooking…

Overnight or Now Vanilla Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
4 tablespoons (half stick) butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Optional:  Toppings like mini chocolate chips, nuts, sprinkles, chopped fruit, etc.

Combine the milk and vinegar and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes to “sour” into buttermilk.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk eggs, melted butter, and vanilla into the milk.  Then whisk the milk mixture into the flour until the large lumps are gone.  Make sure all the ingredients are fully incorporated, but don’t over mix.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or use right away.

Before cooking, stir in any extras you’d like.  For example, you can mix in about 1/2 cup of miniature chocolate chips, blueberries, strawberry pieces, or something similar.  Or you can do the Custom Pancake Bar (see below).  For the Custom Pancake Bar, do not mix anything extra into the batter.

To make pancakes, preheat a large skillet or griddle to medium heat.  Coat surface with butter or nonstick cooking spray, and spoon about 1/4 cup of batter onto cooking surface for each pancake.  Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, then flip and cook 2 minutes or until browned on the other side.

Serve with syrup.  Leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen.  Makes 15 to 20 pancakes.

For Custom Pancake Bar:  Do not mix extras into batter.  Leave batter plain.  After scooping batter onto griddle, sprinkle your toppings over the pancake.  When it bubbles, flip the pancake and cook for about 2 minutes or until lightly browned on the other side.

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Click here for the free printable PDF copy of the recipe:

Overnight Or Now Pancake Recipe

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Happy Cooking!

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Painting with Crayons & Water Colors

Painting with Crayons and Water Colors 1

This was one of those super-simple craft projects that’s nearly free.  You may already have all of the supplies on hand, but this changes things up from a normal painting or coloring project because it mixes the mediums.

It’s also a lot of fun.

What we did was create a drawing with crayons, and then color it in with watercolor paints.  We did some regular pictures (butterflies and flowers) and some that were patterns of lines and shapes.

And don’t mind the ancient crayon box full of mixed crayon types…. this is a “rediscovered” conglomerate of art supplies from my own youth. We use what we can here… it’s part of what makes this craft free, or nearly-free (the water colors are new).   We keep a craft drawer of leftover supplies from other projects, too, and sometimes we have a free-for-all craft with whatever we can find.

The kids love it.

Painting with Crayons and Water Colors 2

We discovered that the crayon looks much better if you draw thicker lines to help it stand out against the paint.  It also creates a neat, smooth texture.

And we experimented with the paint as well.

My older daughter tried painting with her fingers, instead of the brush, and she also would tilt the paper in different directions to see what happened when the excess paint dripped across her picture.

Painting with Crayons and Water Colors 3

My youngest daughter tried different things, like using multiple paintbrushes at one time.  This project gave them both the freedom to be creative in their own ways.

This project was cheap (free if you already have the crayons, paint, and paper) and easy to set up.  It gave them a creative outlet, and it kept them busy for a long time.  It had a lot of benefits on top of the fun-factor.

Plus, I had some beautiful fridge-worthy artwork at the end of it.

Here are a few of the finished products, including one of mine:

Painting with Crayons and Water Colors 4

Happy Crafting!

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Book Review: A Unicorn Named Sparkle

A Unicorn Named Sparkle

I recently read A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young and it seriously gave me a case of the giggles.

I mean, it’s a story about a little girl who orders a unicorn for 25 cents from an ad in the back of a magazine (whoever tells you that’s not a dream come true is lying), but what shows up is a goat with an ice cream cone stuck to his forehead.

How can you not love this premise?

It’s a delightful picture book that my children found to be fun and silly.  The illustrations are bright and colorful and … sparkly.

Lucy’s wild hair and polka dot shirt are painted with soft watercolors and dance across pages of wide white spreads, and the baby unicorn/goat practically dances right into your heart with his own little heart-shaped cutie mark.

Now, when Lucy imagines what kind of unicorn will be delivered to her, she pictures something perfect and pretty with a flowing mane and impeccable manners.  When the goat arrives, with his scruffy mane and tendency-to-eat-things manners, she decides to return him.

The truck arrives to take him back, but, luckily, Lucy realizes her mistake before it’s too late.

Because although he was not quite what she expected, “she had to admit:  sometimes he made her smile and sometimes he made her laugh.”  And while friends might not always be perfect, they are certainly precious.

So if you or your kids love unicorns (or goats), check out A Unicorn Named Sparkle for a fun and charming story!

Happy Reading!

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