Monthly Archives

March 2017

allergy friendly fruity pebble treats - use a plastic egg to mold them into an egg shape for Easter

Allergy Friendly Fruity Pebble Treats

My oldest son has food allergies and both of my boys had food sensitivities while nursing so we have done our fair share of elimination/allergy friendly diets. Since I have a major sweet tooth, I spent a good chunk of time trying to come up with “safe” versions of desserts. Rice Krispy treats were one of my go to’s, but for Easter, I put a fun little twist on them and used Fruity Pebbles instead. I also stuck the treats into a plastic Easter egg to mold them into egg shapes. I placed them in an empty egg carton left over from our confetti eggs and the kids loved them (I’ve also seen empty egg cartons in the Dollar Section at Target). If you know someone, especially a kid, who has food allergies, you know how amazing it is when they don’t feel left out of holidays and celebrations. I hope this dessert brings some joy to your family this Easter.

Allergy Friendly Fruity Pebble Treats

Easy allergy-friendly treat (Wheat, Dairy, Egg and Nut Free). For Easter use a plastic egg to mold them into an egg shape.

Copycatable Rating:?????


  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 cups marshmallows
  • 5 cups Fruity Pebbles Cereal
  • Dash of vanilla (optional)


  1. Microwave oil and marshmallows in large bowl for 1 minute 30 seconds or until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is well blended. (keep in mind that the oil will not blend in as well as butter does)
  2. Add a dash of vanilla (optional) and stir.
  3. Add cereal and mix well.
  4. If making into eggs, press into greased plastic egg, then set aside to cool.
  5. *I only roughly follow the measurements above – just add cereal until the treats are to your preferred cereal to marshmallow ratio 😉 I also usually double the recipe – especially when making these for parties*

    *As with any allergies, I recommend double checking labels. What is tolerated by one person may not be tolerated by another so use caution when trying ingredients for the first time.*

homemade alphabet half birthday donuts - could write any message or celebrate any occasion with these

Alphabet Donuts for Luc’s Half Birthday

Luc loves donuts! It’s his favorite food and he would eat them all the time if I let him. A few places in the Los Angeles area make these adorable alphabet donuts (I’m sure you have seen them as they are all the rage at the moment) and I thought that would be the perfect way to celebrate Luc’s half birthday. After calculating donut and delivery cost though, I decided I would attempt to make these myself. Of course, now that I have made these, I think the price is totally justified so if you aren’t the DIY type and want to buy some, check out DK’s Donuts and California Donuts. These were really fun to make and not very difficult, but they were time-consuming, so if you have a lot of time on your hands or you are cheap like me, read on to learn how to make your own alphabet donuts. 😉

half birthday doughnut dough and cookie cutters from michaels or amazon

half birthday donut making

homemade alphabet donuts to celebrate a half birthday

decorating half birthday donuts

homemade donuts to celebrate a half birthday

Alphabet Donuts

  • Servings: approx. 18 donuts
  • Print

Fun and easy, but time-consuming, doughnuts that are perfect for celebrations or teaching your kids about the alphabet

Copycatable Rating:????? Credit:The Pink Wings

Tips: I used these cookie cutters from Wilton.


    For Donuts
  • 1 1/8 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup cugar
  • 1 package instant yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 sticks butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • canola oil (I used two 24 ounce bottles)
  • For Glaze
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1-2 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
  • food coloring
  • sprinkles


  1. Heat milk to about 105-110 degrees F. Pour the sugar into the milk and stir to dissolve. Place yeast in a small bowl and pour milk over it. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat your eggs, then add your butter while mixing continuously. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Turn to medium speed and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix for a couple of minutes until well combined.
  3. While still mixing, gradually add the flour about 1/2 a cup at a time. Once it’s all combined, mix for another 5 minutes. Scrape if needed, then mix for another 30 seconds. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Spray a large mixing bowl with oil. Transfer your dough to the bowl, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Prep a few cookie sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper dusted with flour.
  6. Lightly flour a clean surface and roll out your dough to around 1/4 inch thick. Use your alphabet cookie cutters to make letters and place them on your prepped cookie sheets. Roll together leftover scraps, let the dough rest a few minutes, then repeat until done. Cover with tea towels and let ride in a warm, dry place for at least an hour until they look fluffy.
  7. Before the dough is quite risen, fill a heavy-bottomed pot almost halfway with oil on your stovetop and bring temperature to 375F (or if you are like me and don’t own a thermometer that reads that high, follow this test to know when the oil is hot enough) Prep some pans with paper towels for your fried donuts.
  8. Once the oil is hot enough, place a few donuts into the hot oil and fry for one minute. Turn them over and fry for one more minute. Remove from oil and let rest on paper towels. Let the oil heat back up if needed, then repeat until done.
  9. For the Glaze:
  10. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients until smooth. Divide into smaller bowls and add food coloring as desired. Dip the tops of the doughnuts into the glaze and immediately add sprinkles. Set aside to dry. Best eaten within the day. (*I have doubled the glaze ingredients in my recipe because I ended up needing to double it and my glaze consistency and color differed between batches so I recommend making it all at once. Also, in my opinion, a bit thicker glaze works better)

And just for fun, here are some of the past ways we have celebrated Luc’s half birthdays.

homemade (allergy free) half birthday cake for a half birthday celebration - number topper made with cricut

For his first half birthday, I made my first layered half cake (using the wacky cake recipe and an allergy free frosting recipe because I was on an elimination diet while nursing Luc). I used my cricut and gold scrapbook paper to make the numbers, then taped them to cake pop sticks.

homemade (allergy free) half birthday cake for a half birthday celebration - number topper made with cricut

For Luc’s 1 1/2 birthday, I made him pancakes. Both boys love pancakes, so they are always a hit.

number pancakes for a half birthday celebration

For all of the fun ways we have celebrated Hudson’s half birthdays, check out this post.

homemade alphabet donuts to celebrate a half birthday. You could use these to write any message or celebrate any occasion
half birthday celebration ideas - half cakes, half stack of pancakes, alphabet donuts, numered pancakes and cookies
Green velvet cupcakes with white chocolate mint cream cheese frosting - perfect for St. Patrick's Day

Green Velvet Mint Cupcakes

Green Velvet Mint Cupcakes

  • Servings: 18-24 cupcakes
  • Print

A fun twist on our favorite cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor that are perfect for St. Patrick's Day

Copycatable Rating:?????


  • 24 paper liners for cupcake pans
  • 1 package plain German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 package vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 bottle (1 ounce) green food coloring *I only use enough to reach desired green color, about 1/4-1/2 the bottle*
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup Andes creme de menthe baking chips
  • For White Chocolate Mint Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 6 ounces Ghiradelli white chocolate chips
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Line 24 cupcakes with paper liners.
  2. Blend cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, water, oil, food coloring and eggs in large mixing bowl for 30 seconds using an electric mixer on low-speed. Increase mixer speed and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides as needed. Fold in the Andes baking chips. Scoop into lined cupcake cups, filling each three-quarters of the way full. Place in oven.
  3. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed with your finger. Remove from oven and set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.
  4. To make frosting, place the white chocolate chips in a small glass bowl in the microwave oven. Cook on 50% power for 30 seconds, then add 15 seconds more if needed. Stir until smooth.
  5. Beat cream cheese and butter in large mixing bowl on low-speed until well combined, about 30 seconds. Add melted white chocolate and blend until just combined, about 30 seconds. Add the mint extract and 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar and blend on low until the sugar is incorporated, 30 seconds more. Increase the mixer and beat until the frosting is fluffy, about 1 minute more, adding up to 1/2 cup more sugar if needed to make a spreadable consistency.
  6. Place a heaping tablespoon of frosting on each cupcake and swirl to spread using a short metal spatula.
  7. Store the cupcakes in the refrigerator.

For more St. Patrick’s Day fun check out this post. 🙂

st patrick's day dessert table with links to free printables

St. Patrick’s Day Round-up

We had so much fun celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year. We crammed a lot in and most of the things we did didn’t involve a lot of work on my end which was a plus! Our family has been sick with one thing or another since Christmas and I was in bed all last weekend so I didn’t plan anything for this holiday until I was feeling better on Tuesday. So most of these ideas can totally be thrown together at the last-minute with minimal effort, yay! And because I was short on time, I had to get creative and I came up with a few really simple and easy ideas that were some of the biggest hits with my kids. In case you are busy or hate reading, here is a cliff notes, round-up photo. If you want all the details though (with links to recipes and printables), keep on reading.

Tons of fun ideas for St. Patrick's Day - sensory bin, fine motor activities, art, desserts, meals, and links to printables

We started off the week, with green pancakes. We do this every year and it is always a hit. My kids love pancakes! 🙂 There are so many ways you could do this. Green food coloring is the easiest. Spinach pancakes are a healthier option, but my kids refused to eat them the year I made them. I always like doing mine in shapes. One year I free-handed shamrocks, but now I just use my heart pancake molds.

use heart shaped pancake molds and green food coloring to make shamrock pancakes

We added another fun breakfast idea into the mix this year and it was also a big hit. I saw this idea on Pinterest from the Celebration Shoppe. We made shamrock cinnamon rolls. You just carefully unroll the cinnamon roll dough (I used the Pillsbury grand cinnamon rolls), cut it into five pieces, then pinch 4 of them into teardrops and place together like a shamrock.

shamrock cinnamon rolls using store bought cinnamon rolls

Then I baked them at 350 for about 13-15 minutes. I added a drop of food coloring to the frosting then spread it all over the warm rolls. I topped them with a few green sprinkles too to make them extra festive. The kids loved these and Luc has been asking for them for breakfast every morning since.

shamrock cinnamon rolls using store bought cinnamon rolls

Last year, I  made Hudson an elaborate rainbow lunch (complete with a pot of gold chicken nuggets), but this year I simply ran out of time.

rainbow fruit with pot of gold chicken nuggets

On our drive home from pre-school I started wracking my brain trying to figure something out using things we had on hand and I came up with the easiest and cutest lunch idea: I put some spreadable butter in a bowl, added a drop of food coloring and made Hudson a shamrock toasty sandwich.

add food coloring to spreadable butter and heart cookie cutter to make a shamrock toasty sandwich

The green color intensified in the panini press and I used a heart cookie cutter to make the shamrock. I served it with some leftover shamrock shake and green veggie chips. Super easy, delicious and very cute.

add food coloring to spreadable butter and heart cookie cutter to make a shamrock toasty sandwich

add food coloring to spreadable butter and heart cookie cutter to make a shamrock toasty sandwich

Speaking of smoothies, we have done different variations of green smoothies over the years. All have been dairy free because of Hudson’s allergy. Last year we tried this one from my friend Amy and we really liked it.

dairy free healthy mint smoothie

This year, we changed it up and went with a dole whip smoothie as a pot of gold. I have been wanting to try a dole whip smoothie forever and since we had already planned on watching Moana on St. Patrick’s Day, I figured it would be the perfect dessert. Unfortunately, my blender died half way through making these and the boys didn’t end up liking it (I think because they weren’t smooth enough – they are weird about texture). If you are interested though the super easy 3-ingredient recipe and adorable printables can be found at The Littles and Me.

pot of gold 3 ingredient dole whip smoothies with link to printables

We also did some really fun activities this year. My boys love sensory bins, so I threw together a St. Patrick’s Day themed one for them using chick peas, a few shamrock stickers, cups, funnels, miniature tongs (from Walmart), and spikey balls. This ended up being a great fine motor sensory bin because both boys used the tongs to pick up the balls and place them in the cups.

St. Patrick's Day themed sensory bin

We were invited to a very fun playdate this year too. Our friend had a few simple treats and snacks and provided us with canvases and paints so we could make a rainbow hand print. It was really easy and I am such a sucker for hand print art so of course I love how they turned out!

rainbow handprint art - perfect for St. Patrick's Day

Every year I make rice krispy treats with Lucky Charms marshmallows in them. I know most people just use Lucky charms cereal, but I did that one year and prefer this way. The only problem is that you have to pick out all the marshmallows. Well, I came across the cutest little hand tweezers “handy helpers” at Walmart and decided this would be a perfect fine motor activity for my 4-year-old. I poured a large bowl of cereal and asked him to pick out all the marshmallows. It was a total win-win.

Fine motor activity - have child pick out marshmallows using "handy helpers" or mini tongs

Then we made the rice krispy treats together. For his afternoon snack, I gave him a lucky charm treat with a big glass of green milk and he couldn’t have been happier. 🙂 (I also used the treats to bribe the boys to take their antibiotics – dessert for breakfast is a big hit with kids. 😉 )

rice krispy treats with lucky charm marshmallows added and green milk - perfect treat for St. Patrick's Day

I have a funny story to share – a few years ago, pre-kids, I decided at the last-minute to make a St. Patrick’s Day dinner (my first). See, last minute has always been my jam. 😉 I knew I wouldn’t have time to make something super traditional because I literally made the decision to make something on my way home from work. I found a recipe from Paula Deen, grabbed groceries and got to cooking. The cabbage I was making looked amazing and then I got to the part in the recipe where I had to add cans of corned beef. They were supposed to hold their shape, but they hit the cabbage and turned into a soupy mess of what looked a lot like dog food. It looked so gross, that Nic and I both refused to even try it. I threw it in the trash and he headed out to get us McDonalds. I had kind of erased this funny disaster from my memory, but I was solo parenting this week and grabbed the kids McDonalds for dinner Thursday night. The boys both loved the Shamrock shake and we had a really fun night reading a few St. Patrick’s Day themed books. I think this is going to have to become our new Night Before St. Patrick’s Day tradition because it was really fun, easy and a bit sentimental. 😉

the night before St. Patrick's Day tradition - read books and drink a McDonald's shamrock shake

For St. Patrick’s Day dinner, I usually make corned beef and cabbage in the crockpot, but because I didn’t plan ahead we didn’t have all the ingredients we needed. Instead, I made cheese stuffed spinach tortellini (the ones you buy pre-packaged) and then I made a green sauce loosely following this recipe from Taming Twins. (You could use pesto for a much easier option, but my boys haven’t been cleared to eat pine nuts – they have allergies). I forgot to put spinach on the grocery list and didn’t really measure; I just threw the boiled brocoli, cauliflower and cheese in my cuisinart (because my blender was toast from the smoothie) and added some milk until I got the consistency I wanted. Hudson really liked it, but Luc took one look at it and refused to even try it. I guess you can’t win them all right? 😉

spinach tortellini with brocolli cheese sauce for an easy and festive green St. Patrick's Day dinner

For dessert, I always make these Green Velvet Mint Cupcakes. They are just my twist on my favorite Red Velvet Peppermint Cupcakes.

use m&ms to make shamrocks - green velvet st patricks day cupcakes with mint cream cheese frosting

In the past I have also made Saltine Cracker Toffee (which can easily be adjusted for any holiday), but I figured we had enough dessert in the mix already this year.

saltine cracker toffee for st. patrick's day

I also stepped up my table display this year using a few really fun free printables from Elva M Designs. You can find the ones I used plus a bunch more here.

green velvet cupcakes with mint cream cheese frosting and link to free lucky you printables

I also printed out some fun photo booth props from the Dating Divas that can be found here. If you want to get more info on how to set-up your own DIY photobooth, check out this post.

link to free St. Patrick's Day photobooth props and diy photobooth set-up

I hope some of these ideas inspire you to add a little fun into your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

May your troubles be less and your blessings be more and nothing but happiness come through your door. 🙂

(A link to this as a free printable and tons of other fun ideas can be found on my Pinterest page – be sure to follow me)

Digital scrapbook documenting baby's first year - with weekly photos and text. Products are Bella Blvd Baby Boy Digital Collection

Hudson’s First Year in Weekly Pictures Album

I am so excited to share this project with you. This has been on my to-do list for so long and once I finally got started, I finished it in three weeks! I don’t think I have ever finished a photo related project that quickly before.

A friend of mine, Jackie, who blogs over at The Howard Bunch shared the idea of taking weekly photos of your kids their first year. I fell in love with the idea because a lot happens each week and babies change so quickly. I took the weekly photos and kept notes on my phone, then posted each weekly update to my personal blog. I had always planned to get one of those blog books printed, but just never did it. I finally looked into it last month and was underwhelmed by the options and difficulty of getting just the specific posts I wanted into a book (not to mention the hassle of importing my blog because it is private). I then turned to Shutterfly, which I normally love, but again it just didn’t feel right for this project and after making a few pages I realized it was going to take me forever to create and cost me a fortune to purchase. I also considered traditional scrapbooking since I had already printed the pictures for Hudson’s 1st birthday, but because I had so much text to go with each picture I knew formatting and printing it for each layout would be a long process. So, I decided to try digital scrapbooking. I have never made digital scrapbooks before, so I purchased a kit from my favorite scrapbooking company, Bella Blvd, and for my first page I figured I would duplicate a page made by Megan Klauer just to get a feel for how it works.

Digital scrapbook page originally designed by Megan Klauer and re-created by the Creative Copycat - using products from the Bella Blvd Baby Boy Digital Collection

I was blown away by how easy it was and how quick too. So with that, I was off. I kept my pages simple as I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on this project and I knew the previous options I had looked at had been very basic and I am so happy with how it turned out. Plus it was so fun to re-read my notes about Hudson throughout his first year – so many fun milestones, funny moments and challenges that I had already forgotten. I was also cracking up because their was a lot of text! I am not really a journalist (i.e. I despise it when I scrapbook and have layouts from years ago with the journaling spots still blank), but this was totally that first time mommy – I want to remember every little detail- thing and it makes me smile to remember being in that stage. I realize now that I have kids how important telling the story is in addition to the pictures and I really hope that Hudson will love reading all about his first year when he grows up.

Digital scrapbook documenting baby's first year - with weekly photos and text. Products are Bella Blvd Baby Boy Digital Collection

Here is some of the info if you would like to make an album like this of your own.

-I just took notes in my phone as soon  as possible after things happened – then combined the notes into weekly blurbs when I had the time.

-I used the polaroid frame and text in the free version of Ribbet to format my photos.

-I used Panstoria Artisan 4 to make my pages (If you are a digital scrapper, I’d love to hear what program you use)

-I plan to order my 12×12 prints from Persnickety Prints

If you have any other questions, please let me know. 🙂

gender reveal cake idea

Hudsons’ Gender Reveal Party

A friend of mine mentioned our Gender Reveal Party the other day so I found myself looking back through the pictures and thought it would be something fun to share here on the blog. The party is from March 2012 so it might be a little outdated now, but I still love it and hope that if you are having a Gender Reveal Party that some of the ideas might inspire you. Spoiler Alert: It’s a Boy! 😉

gender reveal party - cutting the cake - its a boy

I copied tons of ideas from Pinterest (I was hoping to link to original sites, but most no longer exist) and threw in a few of my own ideas too.

As with all of my parties (and my life in general), the #1 priority was dessert. I used pink and blue square paper plates to create a backdrop and had a bakery create a gorgeous dessert bar of pink and blue funfetti cupcakes, oreo and red velvet pink and blue cake pops, m&ms, blueberry sour rings, lollipops, cotton candy (which was seriously adorable and a big hit with the kids), salt water taffy and sixlets. My favorite part though was the gorgeous cake!

gender reveal party dessert bar

Another one of my favorite aspects of the party was a Gender Poll scrapbook page where everyone wrote down their guess. At the end of the party I just slipped it right into my scrapbook.

gender poll scrapbook page

I used free printable wish cards for everyone to fill out for our baby.

gender reveal party wishes for baby - link to website offering free printable

We had pink and blue props for our make-shift photo booth. (This was a HUGE hit with the kids). We have always had a thing for photobooths, but this was before the cool set-up we have now. For awesome DIY photo booth tips check out this post.

gender reveal party photo booth fun

We had all of our baby’s ultrasounds hanging up for people to take a look at.

gender reveal party ultrasound pics

We played an old wives tale game.  I created the poster board and boy and girl onesies using my cricut then I looked up a bunch of old wives tales. At the party, we went through each one to see if they predicted a boy or a girl. Girl ended up winning by only one.

gender reveal party old wives tales game

After the game, we gathered everyone around and Nic got his family on skype for the big reveal. We actually already knew what baby was going to be, which some of our friends had complained about, saying that the whole fun was seeing our reactions. We found out before the party because Nic wanted the moment to be private. I wouldn’t have minded either way, but if I had to do it all over again I would do it the same way. It was really special to find out in a more intimate setting and have a few days to take it in on our own, but mostly, I liked doing it this way because instead of focusing on our reactions and emotions, we got to take in everyone else’s. I so wish I had taken a photo because that moment was priceless. I hope I never forget that moment when everyone first found out we were having a boy. It was really special.

gender reveal cake idea

half stack funfetti pancakes for half birthday

Half Stack Pancakes for Hudson’s Half Birthday

I admit I am an over celebrator. I pretty much look for any excuse to celebrate, so when I learned about half birthdays from a friend I knew it was something I would be doing for my kids. For Hudson’s actual half birthday (when he turned 6 months old), we ordered an impressive half cake from a local bakery.

half cake for half birthday

half birthday cake for Hudson's half birthday

Since then, I have made a 2 1/2 out of pancakes and a 3 1/2 out of sugar cookies. (I somehow missed 1 1/2 – I swear that first trimester with Luc must have been more brutal than I remember because looking back now it appears I was constantly dropping the ball).

number pancakes for a half birthday celebration

number sugar cookies for a half birthday celebration

This year, I thought it would be fun to get back to that food cut in half idea and I knew a stack of pancakes would be perfect. Hudson still hasn’t been cleared to eat eggs in pancakes so I had to combine a few recipes together to create my own egg-free funfetti pancakes. These pancakes don’t have quite the same fluff as regular pancakes, but they are the simplest egg-free pancake recipe I’ve seen and they were absolutely delicious.

half stack funfetti pancakes for half birthday

Hudson was so excited when he saw his pancakes, his eyes lit up when we sang him “Happy Half Birthday” and he is still talking about his special celebration a week later so I’d say that is a definite mom win!

Egg-Free Funfetti Pancakes

Allergy friendly funfetti pancakes perfect for special occassions such as birthdays, brunches, half birthdays, parties, showers, etc.

Copycatable Rating:????? Credit: Pancake recipe is a combination of Six Sisters Stuff and an allergy-friendly recipe I’ve had for years. Glaze is from Six Sisters Stuff


  • 1 cup bisquick (for soy free option use Bisquick Heart Smart)
  • 1 cup funfetti cake mix
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (could use rice or coconut milk for a dairy free option)
  • 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
  • Glaze (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. of unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. of vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp. of milk
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar (depending on the consistency you like your glaze)


  1. Combine all pancake ingredients, slowly whisking in milk until desired consistency is reached.
  2. Pour batter into skillet or pan and bake like a regular pancake.
  3. For the glaze, mix butter, vanilla and milk with beaters while slowly adding in powdered sugar. Add powdered sugar ntil desired consistency is reached.
  4. Drizzle glaze over warm pancakes and serve
  5. For half pancakes, stack the pancakes, slice the stack in half, then drizzle with glaze. I also added some whipped cream, more sprinkles and a homemade banner to mine.

half stacked funfetti pancakes are perfect for a half birthday