Patriotic Oatmeal Cookies

I love the heartiness of an oatmeal cookie. When combined with chocolate, it is the perfect combination of sweet and satisfying! These patriotic oatmeal cookies are the perfect treat for a summer BBQ with their red, white, and blue M&M candies. You can switch out the M&Ms on any holiday to switch them up!

Patriotic MM and Oatmeal Cookies

To make these cookies you’ll need:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 egg whites plus 1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cups M&Ms, put 1/4 cup aside

 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking sheet in parchment paper.
  2. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a bowl.
  3. Mix in dry ingredients, saving oatmeal until last.
  4. Mix in 1 1/4 cups of M&Ms.
  5. Put tablespoonfuls of dough onto parchment paper covered baking sheet. Add more M&Ms on top as needed to be able to see the M&Ms on the cookies.
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes until starting to brown.
  7. Cool before eating.

For a fun serving option, decorate the oatmeal container to look like a firecracker and use as a cookie jar.

Fun, festive, and filling cookies … that are delicious to boot!

 

Cherry Turnovers

Making these Cherry Turnovers is easy to do! You can whip up the filling the day before, then put them together in the morning and be a sweet breakfast hero, or a snacktime pastry savant!

Simple Cherry Turnovers

You’ll need:
One tin of refrigerated crescent dough
1 8oz jar cherries
1/2c sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg white

ingredients for cherry turnovers

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together sugar and corn starch with whisk. Combine in a saucepan with cherries (with half the syrup) and the vanilla extract. Heat to a low boil, then simmer until sauce reduces and becomes thick. Set aside to cool.

cook on stovetop

Open biscuits, lay out individually, and stretch gently (you can roll with a rolling pin if you prefer). Place 2-4 cherries in the center, then fold up the sides. Seal the edges by crimping with a fork.

spoon filling into center

 

secure edges by crimping with fork

Allow 1-2 small holes in the top for steam to escape.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Move to a rack to cool. Serve warm or room temperature.

delicious and easy cherry turnover recipe

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Donuts

These vanilla chocolate chip donuts are downright delicious! I decorated them with vanilla frosting and chocolate sprinkles, but you can really eat them without any frosting … they are great right out of the oven!

This post contains affiliate links. Making a purchase through an affiliate link helps support this site.

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Mini Donuts

Making these vanilla chocolate chip mini donuts is easy with the Wilton Nonstick 12-Cavity Mini Donut Pan. The pan is inexpensive, but only holds 12 mini doughnuts, so I have two pans, which makes the baking go twice as fast.

1 1/4 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean – scrape the inside, add to the batter, throw away the shell
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
2 tbsp melted butter
1/2 c mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray doughnut pan with nonstick spray.

Stir together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients until fully incorporated, then add chocolate chips.

Fill a plastic zip-top bag with the batter, and snip off a small corner. Use this to fill each cavity of the baking pan half full. Bake for 5-7 minutes.

Allow doughnuts to cool slightly before removing from pan.

 

These donuts are delicous unfrosted, but you can easily frost them with some canned frosting that has been thinned. Scoop out 3tbsp vanilla frosting into a bowl. Slowly add 1-2 tablespoons of milk, mixing well to incorporate. Dip each doughnut in the bowl, then sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles.

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Mini Donut Recipe

Check out my other mini doughnut recipes – chocolate mini donuts and banana spice sugared donuts.

Banana Spice Donuts

These Banana Spice Donuts are super delicious, and easy to make! I whipped up a couple dozen of these mini doughnuts the other day, and had a tough time not gobbling them all up! They get much of their sweetness from the banana, the spice adds some extra flavor, and the sugar on top adds crunch and texture. These are delicious all around!

This post contains affiliate links. Making a purchase through these links helps support this site.

Banana Spice Sugared Donuts

Make your own banana spice sugared donuts by using a Wilton Nonstick 12-Cavity Mini Donut Pan. I have two of these pans, which makes it much faster to whip up the 6 dozen mini doughnuts that a single batch of dough makes.

BANANA SPICE SUGARED DONUT RECIPE

1 1/4 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1 ripe banana, well mashed
1/2 c whole milk
1 egg
2 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray pan with nonstick spray.

Mix together dry ingredients. Add in wet ingredients and mix until fully combined.

Put batter in a zip-top bag, snip off a small corner, and squeeze batter through the hole into the cavities of the mold. Fill each cavity about half full.

Bake 5-7 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.

 

To coat with sugar:
Put a 1/2 c apple juice in a small bowl, and 1/2 c sugar on a plate. Dip each doughnut in the apple juice, then shake off any excess juice. Dip in the sugar, then place on a plate to dry.

 

You can substitute another juice, such as orange juice or lemonade, if you like.

Sugared Banana Spice Donuts

Mini Chocolate Donuts

Over on 30 Minute Crafts, I’m doing a whole week of printables for a donut party. I baked up over 200 mini donuts for my little party, and thought I’d share the recipes with you! Today I’m sharing my Mini Chocolate Donuts. They are super easy to make, and not too sweet!

This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through affiliate links helps support this site.

Chocolate Mini Donuts Recipe

These donuts are baked in the Wilton Nonstick 12-Cavity Mini Donut Pan. I have 2 of the pans, which makes the baking go a whole lot faster! I topped them with my cheater chocolate ganache. Simple to make in the microwave, and no heavy cream needed, my faux chocolate ganache is the perfect way to top these mini mouthfuls. Afterwards, you can also add sprinkles! Yum!

CHOCOLATE MINI DONUT RECIPE

1 1/4c flour
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/4 c cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 c whole milk
1 egg
2 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray donut pan with nonstick spray.

Mix together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix until fully combined.

Put batter in a zip-top bag, and cut off a small corner. Use bag to fill each donut cavity 1/2 full. Bake for 5-7 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then carefully remove from pan.

Makes about 6 dozen donuts.

 

CHEATER CHOCOLATE GANACHE

1 c mini semisweet chocolate morsels
4 tbsp whole milk

Put ingredients in microwave-safe bowl, then microwave for 90-120 seconds. Stir to combine ingredients well. Carefully dip baked donuts into ganache to coat the top. Place in refrigerator to set the ganache.

Chocolate Mini Donuts

 

… and that’s how Christmas gets DONE.

I am one of the funny members of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This post has been compensated as part of a series of #motherfunny posts for Collective Bias and Nick Mom.

101 Things to do before Christmas #motherfunny #cbias #shop

When it comes to marriage there are a lot of compromises. On both sides. We compromise and accept the household to-do list… and our husbands compromise by letting us.

Then Christmas comes along, and that to-do list multiplies. Even more so at our house, because of the massive number of December birthdays in my husband’s family. An aunt on each side, a cousin, a close family friend who might as well be a relation, and both his mother and sister. My MIL and SIL have birthdays the week of Christmas – and my Mother in Law was born on Christmas Eve Day. Add to this my husband’s work schedule. He works in retail management, so his regular 50-hour workweek easily becomes 60 hours a week starting 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, and going right up to Christmas day.

This time of year, our division of labor looks something like this:

Pre-Thanksgiving Christmas schedule:
1. Decide what to give nieces/nephews on my side. Purchase, make, wrap, and give before mid-November.
2. Ask husband to write up his Holiday wish list.
3. Write my holiday wish list and wishlists for the kiddos
4. Try on old bridesmaid dress for pre-holiday family birthday party with “red carpet” theme. Decide it will look great if I lose 10 lbs.

Christmas to-do #5 #motherfunny #shop #cbias
5. Resolve to lose 10 lbs before the party.
6. Remind husband to write his wish list.
7. Start purchasing stocking stuffers.
8. Find place to hide stocking stuffers from nosy Kindergartener.
9. Remember it is almost Elf on the Shelf time. Check to make sure Elf is in off-season hiding spot.
10. Get e-mail from in-laws reminding me wishlists are due.
11. Pull up last year’s wish list, copy and paste husband’s portion. Delete anything he was given last year.
e-mail list to in-laws in the nick of time.
12. Decide hiding place for stocking stuffers will be discovered. Re-hide stocking stuffers.
13. Get new wish list from husband. Let in-laws know that previous list has been revised.
14. Ask husband to remind me to get the Elf up.
15. Ask husband what he wants to do about Christmas cards.

Post-Thanksgiving Christmas schedule:
16. Go through in-laws Christmas lists with husband. Find that two people did not send their lists.
17. Have husband text family for missing lists.
18. Select Christmas gift for MIL with husband.
19. Select Christmas gift for FIL. Discover that there is no remastered edition of the original Star Trek on Blu-ray.
20. Postpone selecting a Christmas gift for FIL.
21. Check out online toy lists with Hubs to select gifts for kiddos. Santa is generous this year.
22. Consider taking holiday photos.
23. Send e-mail to hub’s family re: missing lists.
Christmas to do #24 copy #motherfunny #shop #cbias
24. Remember that Elf is supposed to be up, but is not. Concoct plan to get kids out of the room to put up elf as if she was always there.
25. Decide we are not taking holiday photos this year.
26. Look for Christmas cards that have not been sent for two years.
27. Discover Christmas cards. All envelopes are addressed and stamped. With Forever Stamps. Winning.
28. Start writing Christmas letter for Christmas cards in perfectly rhymed couplets.
29. Move front room furniture to make room for tree.
30. Discover floor in front room is disgusting. Mop/Vacuum.
31. Toddler comes to help. Finds an M&M under couch. Eats it.
32. Wonder about the dangers of eating a 6-month-old M&M.
33. Keep an eye on toddler for strange symptoms.
34. Floor is clean – now couches are noticeably covered in cat hair. Vacuum.
35. Decide that rhyming takes too long, start Christmas Letter over in standard letter format.
36. Get tree up. Only two ornaments broken. Instagram.
37. Move piles of papers from front room tables. Decorate tables.
38. Get holiday wish lists from remaining two family members.
39. Remember that hub’s family friend makes fun of me for writing Christmas letter in third person.
40. Revise Christmas letter to be in the first person. Read through twice to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
41. Send out invitations for Gingerbread house decorating party.
42. Present Christmas letter to husband for review. Get high praise in the form of “it’s fine.”
43. Sit down with husband to pick gifts for remaining family.
44. Remember we need to purchase Birthday gifts for MIL and SIL. Sit down with husband, go through lists again. Select gifts.
45. Go online to purchase selected gifts that can be purchased online.
46. Give up Sunday to brave the malls and stores to purchase gifts not available online. Instagram photos of long lines to commiserate with others.
Christmas to-do #47 #motherfunny #shop #cbias
47.  Try to distract kids when boxes of items ordered online appear at the door. Curse retailers who leave CozyCoupe in original box and just slap on a label.
48. Decorate Banister. Instagram.
49. Search for the “perfect gift” to give hubby.
50. Make 28 gingerbread houses out of graham crackers for Kindergarten class to decorate.
51. Make 28 bags of icing for Kindergarten class. Run out of powdered sugar. Head to the store.
52. Curse my big mouth for volunteering to do gingerbread houses with Kindergarten class.
53. Decorate front-room windows with kids. Take appropriately candid-looking photos, and Instagram.
54. Trip over now-empty holiday decor boxes. Pile up semi-neatly. Ask husband to put away.
55. Shop for holiday clothes for kids and husband to wear to pre-holiday family birthday party with “red carpet” theme.
56. Bring graham cracker houses to school for decorating. Break 2. Hope two kids are sick today.
57. Ask husband to put holiday boxes away.
58. Prepare to print Holiday letter on cute Candy Cane/Christmas Tree/Gingerbread house stationary. Discover letter is too long. Adjust font, font size, margins… edit the letter for length.
59. Print Holiday letter.
60. Read through holiday letter as they are printing. Discover typo. Stop printing, throw away all printed copies. Fix typo and start over.
61. Ask husband to put holiday boxes away.
62. Sit down with kids to make holiday artwork for grandparents. Instagram.
63. Search online for hubby’s “perfect gift” find something that will do. Order it.

Christmas to-do #64 #motherfunny #shop #cbias
64. Bake a dozen+ sugar cookie houses from scratch. Put together in preparation for holiday party. Instagram.
65. Ask husband to put holiday boxes away.
66. Clean downstairs in preparation for holiday gingerbread-house decorating party. Decide to close baby gate and ban people from the upstairs so that they won’t see the mess.
67. Ask husband to put holiday boxes away.
68. Shove holiday boxes in the garage and out of the way.
69. Have Gingerbread decorating party. Take photos and Instagram. Blog about it.
70. Pour through blogs to decide on appropriate pot-luck dish for work Christmas Party.
71. Fold holiday letter and shove into envelopes with cards from 2 years ago. Resolve to get to the post office.
72. Bring Christmas cards to post office. Do a dance to celebrate first cards out in three years! Instagram. (the post office, not the dance).
73. Sit down with kiddos to make holiday ornaments. Instagram.
74. Clean up mess from holiday party while snacking on leftover candy. Remember resolution to lose 10 lbs. Put candy away.
75. Make dish for work Christmas Party Potluck. Fail. Throw in garbage.
76. Buy cookies at grocery store on way to work Christmas Party. Take out of packaging and put on Christmas plate while in car on the way.
77. Hem boys’ pants for pre-holiday birthday party. Instagram.
78. Remember we didn’t get gifts for aunts being honored at pre-holiday birthday party. Scramble to figure out, purchase, and wrap gifts.
79. Wrap gifts from online and shopping trips.
80. Remember that MIL and SIL birthday gifts are not allowed to be in Christmas paper. Search for Birthday Wrapping paper.
81. Find wedding and baby shower wrapping paper. At least it is not Christmas. Wrap gifts.
82. Put gifts in car to give to family at party to save on shipping costs.

Christmas to-do #83 #motherfunny #cbias#shop
83. Go to post office to send any remaining gifts. Bring jelly beans to entertain the kids. Curse long lines and insane postal prices. Instagram.
84. Go to pre-holiday birthday party. Drink, Eat, be merry.
85. Shop for holiday meals: Christmas Eve Dinner: Mexican. Christmas Breakfast: MonkeyBread. Christmas Dinner: All the fixin’s.
86. Find room in fridge for all the groceries.

Christmas to-do #86 #motherfunny #shop #cbias
87. Display Christmas cards as they come in. Ooh and Aah over cute family photos. Regret earlier decision not to take family Christmas photos.
88. Decide to use hand-wash-only wedding china for Christmas meals.
89. Make Christmas Eve dinner
90. Curse hand-wash-only wedding china. Wonder what would happen if they went in the dishwasher. Decide not to risk it. Hand wash dishes.
91. Find room in fridge for Christmas Eve dinner leftovers.
92. Wrangle kids through Christmas Eve Bath.

Christmas to do #93 #motherfunny #cbias #shop
93. Bribe kids with multiple stories to get them to bed.
94. Drink a well-deserved glass of wine.

Christmas to-do #94 #cbias #shop #motherfunny
95. Put kids who snuck out of bed back into bed.
96. Wrap gifts for boys and husband.
97. Stuff stockings, put presents under the tree. Instagram.
98. Put Elf on Shelf back in off-season hiding spot.
99. Think of all the things that didn’t happen this year. Resolve to do better next year.
100. As the sun is coming up, fall asleep exhausted. Wake up moments later to shouts of excited children.
101. Update Facebook status: “Worth it.”

Hubby’s list:
1. Write Christmas Wish List.
2. Ask wife if she remembered to get the elf up.
3. Read Christmas card letter. Tell wife it looks fine.
4. Move holiday boxes conveniently stacked in the garage onto garage shelves.
5. Shop for new suit for pre-holiday birthday party with “red carpet” theme.
6. Eat leftover gingerbread house pieces and candy. Be thankful for amazing metabolism.
7. Purchase gift for wife. Wrap. Put under tree.

If you need a little more holiday humor, check out Nick Jr. after the kids go to bed. Nick Jr. becomes Nick Mom at 10pm, and they have some great stand-up comedy from real moms who have lists (and lives) just like ours. You can also commiserate with Nick Mom on Facebook, and Nick Mom on Twitter.

Whimsical Holiday Entertaining Recipes

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.Holiday Entertaining with Smart & Final #shop

This Holiday season, we’re staying at home. I have let my family and in-laws know that they are all welcome at our house… but we don’t plan to do any holiday traveling. We traveled last December, and we’ve done a lot of traveling this year for family parties and events. Now, we get to enjoy some time at home. Which is perfect for me, because I love Holiday entertaining. I love dressing up our home, and welcoming guests. I love cooking and preparing delicious treats. This holiday, with the help of Smart & Final, I thought I’d come up with a sweet twist on drinks and appetizers.

Instead of traditional drinks and savory appetizers, I came up with some sweet candy sushi and drinks that use Country Time Lemonade and Kool Aid as the base. But don’t let the Kool Aid and Lemonade fool you… these drinks have kick!

I started by making the Candy Bar Rolls and Starburst Nigiri.

candy bar sushi platter #choosesmart #shop

For my “sushi”, instead of rice I used Cheerio treats.

To make your own Candy Bar Sushi Rolls you need:
2 tbsp butter
2 c  mini marshmallows
3 c Cheerios
2 Snickers bars
2 3Musketeers bars

Melt the butter in a nonstick saucepan on med heat. Add marshmallows. Stir until melted together. Add Cheerios, and stir until fully combined.

Tip: to keep everything from sticking to your spoon, spray your spoon with non-stick spray.

To turn the Cheerio treats into candy sushi, pour half of the still hot Cheerio treat mixture on a piece of aluminum foil, sprayed with non-stick spray. Use your spoon to spread it out into a large rectangle. Place two candy bars (with wrappers removed, of course) down on the middle of the rectangle of cheerio treats. Fold in the sides of the foil so that the Cheerio treats encircle the candy bars. Roll the treats in the foil to even them out around the candy bars. You’ll feel them melting into the chocolate coating on the candy bars a little. That’s fine.

Remove from the foil and set aside to cool. Repeat with the second half of Cheerio treats and two more candy bars. You can use the same piece of foil, and no need to re-spray with no-stick spray. There will be enough left on the foil.candy sushi roll #choosesmat #shop

Once the Cheerio treats cool, cut into pieces about 1″ wide with a SHARP knife.

Make Candy Bar Sushi #choosesmart #shop

To make the Starburst Nigiri, you need:
2 tbsp butter
2 c mini marshmallows
3 c Cheerios
Starburst Candies (unwrapped)
Sprinkles (optional)

Make a batch of Cheerio treats, just like before. Make tablespoon-sized balls of treats on foil. Make sure to spray both your spoons and foil with non-stick spray.

Put 3 starburst in the microwave. Times will vary based on your microwave, but mine took about 10 seconds. You want them slightly softened, NOT melted.

Pull the warm Starburst into the shape of a slice of raw fish, and set on top of your cereal treat “rice ball”. Dip in sprinkles if you like.

As long as I was giving Cheerios and candy bars a more “mature” look in the form of candy sushi, I thought I’d give CountryTime lemonade and Kool Aid a makeover. Because what is more welcoming after a long drive than a refreshing drink?

Pitcher of Kool Aid #choosesmart #shop

I made a Kool-Aid a-rita. Which is the delicious love-child of a Margarita and Kool-Aid. You can make it on the rocks or blended, the recipe changes a little based on how you want to serve it.

kool aid a-rita #choosesmart #shop

Kool-Aid a-rita on the Rocks:

3 parts Kool-Aid
2 parts Tequila
1 part Grand Marnier
Shake and serve over ice. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Blended Kool-Aid a-rita

3/4 c Kool-Aid
1 c Tequila
1/2 c Grand Marnier
Add a scoop of Kool-Aid powder
Fill blender with ice, blend until smooth. Garnish with a slice of lime.

 

I like giving my guests two different drink options when entertaining. That way, if they’re not a fan of a particular drink (or the booze in that drink), they have options. I made the second drink with Country Time lemonade:

Sweet Suprise CountryTime Lemonade Drink #choosesmart #shop

Sweet Surprise

Sugar rim with 50/50 mix of CountryTime Lemonade and Sugar
3 parts CountryTime Lemonade
1 part Vodka
Pour in glass over ice
Top with a splash of Chambord (about 1 tbsp)
Add a Maraschino Cherry
(the Chambord and Cherry will sink to the bottom)

The surprise is the cherry at the bottom of the drink.

If you’ve never sugared the rim of a glass before, it is easy to do:

How to Sugar the rim #choosesmart #shop

Mix a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of the lemonade mix together on a small plate. On a second plate, pour a little of the prepared lemonade.

Dip the rim of the glass into the lemonade. Let the excess drip off. Then dip into the sugar mixture. It is that easy!

Holiday entertaining has never been as sweet!

Oh – and keep a pitcher of un-spiked Kool-Aid and Lemonade around for your under-21 houseguests!

Smart and Final is a great store for all your entertaining needs – from meat to dairy, produce to paper goods, they’ve got you covered! Check them out on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/SmartFinal and on Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/SmartFinal

And right now there is a great promotion going on! Save $5 when you buy 5 select General Mills, Mars, and other products (like the cereal, drink powders, and candy bars used in my recipes), AND get free Adult-Child movie passes!

Save 5 and get a free movie ticket #choosesmart #shop

Best way to Cut Cake: Cut Cake with a Spool of Thread

cut clean lines of birthday cake with this simple trick!

If you’ve ever taken the time to frost a beautiful cake, you dread the time that it will be chopped up. Sure, you want your guests to enjoy a bite of cake, and you know that dismantling your work of art is part of the process, but seeing all your hard work hacked to crumbs and pieces might make you die a little inside. Instead of attacking your cake with a knife, use a spool of thread for beautiful, clean lines that you might not even notice after cutting! This trick even works on cakes that have been out of the refrigerator for a few hours, with frosting that is a little soft, and cake that is no longer firm.

Grab a spool of thread. Hold the spool in one hand, and the end of the thread in the other. Pull your hands apart so that they are a few inches wider than the with of the cake.use a spool of thread to cut clean lines of birthday cake

With the thread tight, pull the thread straight down over the cake. This will make a clean cut. At the bottom, make sure that the thread reaches all the way down to the cake board (or plate if that is what the cake is sitting on), and pull tight to make sure you have cut cleanly through the whole cake.

Release the thread end, and holding on to the spool, pull the thread out. Repeat the process across the length and width of the cake to cut all of the slices. Then serve your beautifully cut pieces!

Must-know tip! The best way to cut a cake with neat, clean lines - even if it has been sitting out for hours!

Mac and Cheese Recipe Using Leftovers

No More Leftovers Mac and Cheese at Always Expect Moore

I was at a party, and there was a bunch of cubed cheese left over afterwards. The hostess couldn’t eat it, so she asked if I could take it home. I knew that I could turn that cheese into a yummy dinner… and it really was delicious!

Update: I hope you like this easy, affordable recipe! Between April 25 – May 25, 2014 a donation of just $40 will help the Beckstrand Cancer Association feed a family coping with cancer for an entire week! Click HERE to make your donation.

Here is the Mac and Cheese Recipe I used.

For every 1 cup of cheese, you’ll need:
4oz elbow macaroni noodles
2 tbsp flour
1 c whole milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp butter + 4tbsp for breadcrumbs (use REAL butter – worth it!)
1/2 c Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

Boil water and add macaroni noodles. Cook according to package directions and drain.

While the noodles are cooking, preheat oven to 400 degrees and chop up the cheese so it is as thin as if you had shredded it.

chop cheese to shred

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour, salt, and pepper and whisk.

Once the flour/butter/spice mixture is mixed, slowly pour in the milk. Keep stirring as you pour to keep everything lump-free. Bring the pot up to a boil, stirring the whole time, and cook for 2 minutes. Lower the heat and keep cooking for about 10 minutes.

Start adding the cheese, incorporating a little at a time. Let the mixture cook for another 5 minutes. Keep stirring, making sure to stir up the bottom to prevent burning.

Add the cheese sauce to the macaroni noodles and mix well so that the noodles are fully covered. Pour into a greased baking dish.

Melt the remaining butter and toss the breadcrumbs in it. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes until top is golden and yummy. This is the best Mac and Cheese Recipe ever… and to think that it was made using leftovers! YUM!

adapted from Fannie Farmers Mac & Cheese Recipe

Dinosaur Party Wrap-up

At the end of April my baby turned one. And suddenly, he doesn’t look like a baby anymore. He’s grown tall and lanky. His baby chubbyness is slimming down as he runs around the house and yard. He climbs up anything his legs can reach.

To celebrate his first birthday, we threw a dinosaur-themed party. When my oldest turned one, we used the theme from his nursery for his first birthday. It was an easy transition. So we did the same here. My baby has a dinosaur themed nursery, and so we threw a dinosaur themed party for him.

You might have already seen the dinosaur invitations with washi tape, the dinosaur wreath, and the tissue paper pennants. I had fun creating handmade items for the party.

I spent the day before prepping food for the party. Lots of fresh fruits and veggies. I had a smash cake for the birthday boy, and a chocolate cake on the side, but also cupcakes for the kids at the party. Cupcakes are so much easier than a large sheet cake when you’re expecting lots of people.

I got a little help putting up decorations for the party… sometimes streamers end up like this when you have a 4-year-old involved!

Instead of getting a heavy helium tank, or schlepping to a party store early in the morning for helium-filled balloons, I hung regular balloons from the ceiling. This also kept them out of the hands of small children during the party.

Before the party, my brother and sister-in-law helped me cut out dinosaur feet for the kids to decorate. We used this template from Make and Takes.

Once they decorated them, they could wear them.

I made several batches of homemade playdoh the day before for the kids to play with. We also had a pinata for the older kids – at the request of big brother.

The birthday boy didn’t know what to do with the dinosaur smash cake he was offered…

And although he loves cake, he hasn’t ever been a big fan of frosting. After we pushed his hands into the cake, he wasn’t a very happy guy.

After a change of clothes and a nap, we opened gifts.

I can’t believe how big he is already! Happy Birthday, little man… I’m looking forward to so many, many more celebrations with you!