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Category: Fun Stuff

  1. Thursday, November 16

    ATTENTION! ONLY ONE WEEK UNTIL THANKSGIVING!

    I love it when Thanksgiving is a little early because then there’s more time in between Thanksgiving and Christmas but HOLY CRAP HOW IS IT ONLY ONE WEEK UNTIL THANKSGIVING?

    Just letting you know I’ve tagged all of my Thanksgiving goodness on the blog. Simply click HERE to scroll through it all. You’ll find all kinds of goodness, including from-scratch green bean casserole that is to die for, cranberry slush, SERIOUSLY THE BEST WAY TO COOK TURKEY EVER and so much more. (Did I mention the turkey? Oh, yeah, okay, I did, but really, check out my turkey roasting technique.)

    Happy Thanksgiving prepping!


  2. Friday, October 20

    Show and Tell, Grab Bag Edition! Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer, Deodorant, Netflix Birthday Fun & Prius Envy

    Hello, friends. I have a veritable grab bag of things to share with you today, including a recipe, deodorant, Netflix and car talk. Yes, totally random. But also fun! 😉 Let’s start with the food!

    Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer Recipe from LAND O LAKES and @janemaynard

    Pumpkin Spice Butter Spread + Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

    Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer Recipe from LAND O LAKES and @janemaynard

    Last week LAND O LAKES treated me to a surprise package, complete with a shiny new Chemex coffee maker and everything I needed to make Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer using their Limited Batch Pumpkin Spice Butter Spread. We are loving the Pumpkin Spice Butter (seriously, I had to cut Cate off…she would have eaten a loaf’s-worth of toast just to consume the butter), so I felt like I needed to tell you about it! Plus, I did in fact make the Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer and it was delicious. I am now sharing the recipe with you!

    Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer Recipe from LAND O LAKES and @janemaynard

    Show and Tell, Grab Bag Edition! Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer, Deodorant, Netflix Birthday Fun & Car Envy
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • ½ cup half & half
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 2 teaspoons LAND O LAKES Pumpkin Pie Spice Butter Spread
    Instructions
    1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Microwave, stirring occasionally, 30-45 seconds or until butter spread is melted and sugar is dissolved.
    2. Beat with hand mixer for 90 seconds or until mixture is frothy. (Note: I whisked by hand.)
    3. Store in refrigerator in a container with a tight-fitting lid up to 1 week. Shake well before each use.

    Native Natural Deodorant

    Native Deodorant, my new favorite thing! from @janemaynard

    Years ago I wanted to switch to natural deodorant but had a bad experience (read: Hello, Stinky Lady!) and gave up. but the fact I’ve been smearing aluminum on my body every day for over 30 years has always nagged at me. Well, my sister-in-law Cora recently demanded that I try Native deodorant. She was insistent. She pretty much made me buy it. Well, I must admit that I am grateful Cora was so bossy! I LOVE NATIVE. So, so, so, so much. I have the Coconut & Vanilla, Coconut & Shea and Apricot & Peach scents and I love them all. Note: the scents are seasonal, so a few of those flavors aren’t currently available, but there are a bunch of new ones that sound great!

    Why do I love Native so much?

    • First and foremost, the deodorant actually works. I have less body odor than I did with anti-perspirant and my clothes are picking up less scents, too. Cora (and the website) said that I would need about 2 weeks for my body to adjust and for the deodorant to work well. I started using the deodorant during a heat wave and loved it from Day One. But please, if you try it, give it at least 2 weeks to kick in (in case you are not lucky like I was). Also, if you need to freshen up later in the day, just re-apply and magically things smell better.
    • Native’s customer service is amazing. AMAZING. I originally ordered the summer scent pack and did not like the floral scent that came with it. Native made an exchange beyond easy. Plus, even before needing customer service support, I loved their email communications. They do a great job every step of the way
    • I really like the scent options they have. The deodorant just plain smells good without being overpowering.
    • For those with baking soda allergy, they also have a sensitive version that does not contain baking soda.

    I must admit I thought it was a little funny how excited Cora was about her deodorant. I mean, how can someone be that happy about deodorant. But here I am. On the Native bandwagon and happy to be here. I’m in all the way! Thanks, Cora!

    Netflix Birthday Fun!

    New! Netflix Birthday Messages for Kids! from @janemaynard

    Did you hear about the new birthday messages for kids on Netflix? They launched the birthday messages just in time for Owen’s birthday last month and he loved them. Owen’s birthday party involved taking eight 5- and 6-year-old boys to the LEGO Ninjago movie, followed up with a dinosaur cake at the park. Having the LEGO Ninjago friends and the Dinotrux friends sending birthday wishes his way totally made Owen’s day!

    To find the messages, simply type “birthday” or “birthdays” into your Netflix search bar and all 15 birthday message video options will appear. Definitely a cute way to kick off your little one’s special day!

    Why I Wish We Weren’t So Frugal and Had Bought a New Prius

    2017 Toyota Prius Test Drive from @janemaynard

    Nate has been driving a Prius for over 3 years and has been very happy with it. When his lease was up this past spring, we decided to be frugal and buy the car he was driving rather than start a new lease with the latest Prius. I was perfectly happy with that decision until 3 months later when Toyota lent us a new 2017 Prius for our east coast trip. I love the new Prius. We shouldn’t have been so responsible after all! What were we thinking? 😉 I am grateful I had the chance to try the Prius out for a month (thanks, Toyota!), but now I totally have Prius envy. Here are a few of the things I loved about the car:

    • The car basically drives itself. The radar cruise control works beautifully. I used it ALL THE TIME. For example, when we drove from Cape Cod to New Hampshire, I followed my sister-in-law using cruise control. The system detects the speed of the car in front of you and adjusts accordingly, so Jess was basically doing all the driving. There is also a lane departure alert system, pre-collision and pedestrian detection system, and the car can park itself.
    • Even better gas mileage. I got over 50 miles per gallon the entire trip.
    • For such a small car, there  is a ton of storage. The back is roomy, and there is a net you can use to store smaller items. The storage was great for short and long trips alike.
    • I’ve mentioned this before about Toyota, but I love their remote lock system. It’s just awesome.
    • There was also a spot for doing that fancy cordless phone charging. My phone doesn’t have that capability, but I was sure wishing it did! I also like how the middle console is set up better in the new Prius versus previous models.
    • The navigation system worked better than my Google maps app on my phone. Impressive! And the car told me what the speed limit was at any given time, which is especially handy on those east coast back roads!
    • The one thing I did not love was the SofTex synthetic leather seat material. It is more eco-friendly than other synthetic leather materials and does not use any animal-based material, but if I had to choose I would go with fabric or real leather. I just didn’t love the feel of the seats or how they looked when inevitably sand and other stuff got into the seams.

    Phew! I think that’s all I have to share for today. As usual, Show & Tell is for the whole class! Feel free to chime in with your own finds and recent loves in the comments!

    Please note: I have a relationship with Netflix as a member of the Stream Team, which means they don’t pay me a dime but do send me cool fun stuff occasionally. Toyota provided me with the Prius for our trip. Land O Lakes provided me with product. I have no official relationship with Native deodorant.


  3. Thursday, October 5

    The Easiest Dinosaur Birthday Cake That Was Beyond Beloved

    Owen’s birthday was last week and I have yet to share his birthday cake with you all. I love making fun birthday cakes for my kids and my kids really look forward to planning out their cake each year. For his 6th birthday, Owen decided he wanted a dinosaur birthday party. He and I sat down and scrolled through Pinterest together to find the perfect dinosaur birthday cake. Owen picked out a few options, kept changing his mind about which cake he wanted, and then learned about chocolate candy that looks like rocks. Once he knew that candy existed he was hooked on making what turned out to be the easiest dinosaur birthday cake ever. Thanks, Owen!

    Easiest Dinosaur Birthday Cake from @janemaynard

    So, how do you make the easiest dinosaur birthday cake ever?

    1. Make a 2-layer round cake. Frost with chocolate frosting. Be generous with the frosting, especially on the top as those dinosaurs need a nice layer of mud to sink their feet into so they can stay standing!
    2. Buy chocolate candy that looks like rocks/pebbles. (I found the candy at Cost Plus World Market. They have pebble candy on Amazon, too, although the candy at Cost Plus were cuter and cheaper.)
    3. Place said candy on top of the cake.
    4. Pick out 3 of your child’s toy dinosaurs, stick them on top of the cake. (Dinosaurs should be relatively small – the big ones tip over.)
    5. YOU ARE DONE. You’re welcome.

    Easiest Dinosaur Birthday Cake from @janemaynard

    I used Matthew Mead’s chocolate cake recipe, which you can find at the end of this blog post. I made a chocolate buttercream frosting for the outside of the cake – recipe below!

    Click here for the the inspiration for this cake!

    Click here for the other easy dinosaur birthday cake idea (hello, cutest fossils ever) that I was totally trying to get Owen to choose. I had him convinced for about 2 hours, but then that rock candy ruined everything. Except it didn’t because Owen’s cake was super awesome.

    Easiest Dinosaur Birthday Cake from @janemaynardThat’s Owen’s “I knew the rock candy cake would be as cute as the fossil cake, Mom” face.

    Here is how I made the chocolate buttercream frosting. Once again, people who usually do not like cake loved my cake. These recipes are winners. Also, use HIGH QUALITY cocoa powder. I’m telling you it makes a difference. Promise.

    Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) salted butter, room temperature
    • ⅔ cups cocoa powder
    • 6-7 cups powdered sugar
    • 6-8 tablespoons milk or cream
    Instructions
    1. Beat butter with a mixer (I use my KitchenAid with the paddle attachment).
    2. Using a fine mesh sieve, add the cocoa powder to the butter. (The sieve prevents the cocoa from getting lumpy.)
    3. Gradually work in the powdered sugar, alternating with the milk/cream and beating well after each addition. I put a range for the powdered sugar and milk/cream measurements. Start with 6 cups and 6 tablespoons each, then add more powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin, or more milk/cream if it is too thick. Frosting should be a spreading consistency that still holds its shape.
    Notes
    This makes enough frosting for a 2-layer 8- or 9-inch cake, with a little leftover.

     


  4. Sunday, September 3

    Burger Dogs and Week 552 Weekly Menu

    Happy Labor Day weekend, friends! I have a little something fun for you to potentially make at your barbecues this weekend, plus a menu. That’s right, I’m actually planning a menu this week. My goodness, I CANNOT believe I went two weeks without posting a menu. That is something I have not done in over 10 years, but I suppose there is a first time for everything. Honestly, it’s just been a crazy summer and we ended it with a bang. I decided to just give myself a break and not worry about it. Jane of This Week for Dinner from a few years back would be horrified. Miss a weekly menu post? QUEL HORREUR! But the world kept on spinning and this week I’ll give it a go again!

    How to Make a Burger Dog from @janemaynard

    But before the menu, I need to share this fun idea with you. One day when we were grilling up hot dogs and hamburgers, someone in our family (not sure who…maybe Nate? or one of the kids?) thought it would be funny to make a hamburger into a hot dog shape and serve it on a hot dog bun. I was like, “Sure, why not?” and proceeded to make hot dog-shaped burgers, a.k.a. burger dogs. The kids were downright giddy, it was really fun. So, the burger dogs totally worked and the kids loved it! It’s not that they taste different or anything, it really is just the novelty of it all. If you were to serve burger dogs as a meal, I would recommend chopping your lettuce and tomatoes as opposed to slicing, but other than that have at the burger dog like you would a regular hot dog or hamburger!

    How to Make a Burger Dog from @janemaynard

    How to Make a Burger Dog from @janemaynard

    I don’t have instructions because, well, all you do is shape the meat into what looks like a hot dog and then cook it like normal. Easy peasy! Now go and make burger dogs to celebrate Labor Day!

    Menu time…

    How to make Burgers Dogs! Plus this week's dinner plans from @janemaynard, including free printable PDF of the meal plan and ingredients list!

    MONDAY:
    – Labor Day Cookout! The food will be the usual suspects I’m sure 🙂

    TUESDAY:
    – BLTs

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Caprese Salad and baguette

    THURSDAY:
    – Grilled Brats
    – Salad and watermelon

    FRIDAY:
    – Leftovers

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SUNDAY:
    Bistro Chicken
    – Salad and mashed potatoes

    Click here or on the image above for a printable PDF of this week’s menu and ingredients list.

    As usual, if you have a meal plan for the week, please share it in the comments!

    And, before we go, I just want to take a moment to send love to anyone reading this affected by Hurricane Harvey. All week it has felt strange to me to be going about my daily life, knowing of the catastrophe unfolding for so many. For those of you looking for ways to help from afar, my friends at Mom2 created a great list of ways parents and kids can help with the hurricane relief efforts. Much love to all!


  5. Wednesday, June 28

    How Shopping at My Local Farmer’s Market Reinvigorated Life in the Kitchen…and Got Our Family Eating Healthier!

    This post is sponsored by the American Heart Association Healthy For Good movement. The views, opinions and positions expressed within this post belong to Jane Maynard of This Week for Dinner and do not necessarily represent those of The American Heart Association unless explicitly stated.

    Local Tomatoes from Cyclops Farms | Photo from @janemaynard

    My new year’s resolution for 2017 was to cook more. I know it might seem strange to have a food blogger make this her resolution, but the fact of the matter was I had let cooking take the back burner (pun intended!). So, as 2017 kicked off, I decided to really focus on cooking again. And that focus has worked and made me a much happier person as a result.

    2016 was a rough year for several reasons that I won’t get into, but it really is no surprise that making dinner wasn’t a top priority for a good portion of the year. We were eating out a ton, which always makes me uneasy because I know we’re consuming way more calories, fat and sodium than we should be eating. There were a lot of pancake and cereal nights, too. I’ve made peace with how dinner went down in 2016 and have told myself “everything in its season.” But I am also feeling so good about the fact that I’ve been in the kitchen more this year, even during times that get especially busy.

    Cyclops Farms in Oceanside, CA | image from @janemaynard

    One of the keys to the success of this year’s resolution has been shopping at our local farmer’s market each week. There is a farmer’s market every Wednesday (all year!) in my town and after 3 1/2 years into living here I had never visited. I KNOW. It’s just so weird because things like farmer’s markets and CSAs make me so happy! So, as part of the resolution to cook more, I started going to the market each week. We also discovered a small, organic farm smack dab in the middle of a nearby neighborhood that is perhaps the happiest place in San Diego, with devoted shoppers and restaurateurs carefully selecting their produce each week.

    I cannot tell you how AWESOME this change in my life has been. First off, it’s fun telling my friends that I am going “to the market.” They think like I sound like a European grandmother and never quite know what I’m talking about.

    Cyclops Farms in Oceanside, CA | image from @janemaynard

    Beyond sounding like a European grandmother, going to the market each week has kept me much more in touch with what food is in season at any given time and our meals have reflected that natural seasonality more and more. And I love buying local – most of the farmers represented are located in my town or neighboring communities. I love knowing that our family is having a positive environmental impact through buying so much more of our food close to home.

    There’s been another unexpected benefit of going to the farmer’s market each week: my cooking has gotten more fun and creative. As you know, I’m totally about planning a weekly menu. My shopping list is always built around that plan and I rarely stray from the list when I am at the store. Going to the farmer’s market has gotten me to have a little more fun with our meals and add a bit of flexibility to the planning. Yes, I go into the market with a list, but I also let the fruits and vegetables that happen to be there that week drive what we eat. It’s made cooking fun and creative. (If you’re looking for a little creative inspiration before your next shopping run, consider shopping and serving the rainbow!)

    And, of course, the biggest benefit has been that we are eating way more homemade food, which is just plain healthier than takeout and most restaurant foods. I have been meaning to write this post about my new farmer’s market habit and the American Heart Association finally gave me the kick I needed to get it done. I am so happy to share my experience as part of their Healthy For Good campaign (did you know it’s National Fruit + Vegetable Month?), which encourages us all to Eat Smart, Add Color, Move More and Be Well.

    Remember that rough year I had in 2016? It kind of got me down. I felt uninspired and the stress of everything definitely caused me to rely too heavily on eating out. This post from the AHA about unhealthy eating as related to stress really spoke to me, especially numbers 2 and 6! I am telling you that this new focus I have had on nourishing myself and my family through food has been transformative. Yes, I still feel stress. Yes, I am still getting over some of that 2016 nonsense. But taking the time to focus on food has been amazingly uplifting. Plus, getting outside and walking for my grocery shopping sure has made life happier, too!

    I’m sure you’re wondering if I get all of my food at the farmer’s market…and the answer is no! First I hit the farmer’s market then pop over to my local grocery store to get other staples that weren’t at the market. I’ve never really loved food shopping, but now I look forward to it each week!

    So, that’s the update on this year’s resolution to cook more. The farmer’s market is my new happy place and I love the effect it’s had on our eating and on my life in general. And it’s totally helping me keep my new year’s resolution.

    Happy cooking!


  6. Thursday, May 11

    A Beautiful Up-Cycled Mother’s Day Giveaway + Maybe The Easiest Mother’s Day Craft Ever (as in, NO WORK FOR MOM)

    Sponsored by General Mills Cereals

    Happy almost Mother’s Day! To celebrate I have a fun and EASY craft idea for the kids in your life as well as some love for TO THE MARKET, one of my most favorite companies. And a beautiful giveaway that will have 20 winners (woohoo!).

    To The Market Up-Cycled Cereal Box Necklaces

    As you know I’ve worked with General Mills Cereals in the past. They approached me recently about coming up with a fun craft idea using up-cycled cereal boxes with my kids. I AM NOT A CRAFTY PERSON. But when I told my kids about the project they were all in. You see, they are crafty people. I’m not entirely sure they are my children. Anyway, my kids were doubly in when they learned they would have to eat some of their favorite, yummy cereals, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Honey Nut Cheerios, in order to make the craft happen (empty cereal boxes are a necessity!). Basically, this is their favorite post on my blog ever.

    Up-cycled Cereal Box Mother's Day Flowers

    As a lovely Mother’s Day gift, General Mills Cereals sent me a necklace and bracelet set from TO THE MARKET. TO THE MARKET is a company that sells survivor-made goods from around the world. I’ve written about TO THE MARKET before and founder and CEO Jane Mosbacher Morris is one of my favorite people. She was even on my podcast at one point! (It’s one of my favorite episodes, by the way. Jane is the BEST.) Anyway, TO THE MARKET is helping SO MANY WOMEN and their products are beyond lovely. I have a very special place in my heart for their work.

    To The Market Up-Cycled Cereal Box Necklaces

    The jewelry that General Mills Cereals sent was created by Haitian TO THE MARKET artists, with beads made from up-cycled cereal boxes. The beads are gorgeous. You simply cannot believe they are made from cereal boxes. Both my girls are enamored with the jewelry (I think Anna might steal it) and felt very inspired for their own cereal box crafting!

    Up-cycled Cereal Box Mother's Day Flowers

    Up-cycled Cereal Box Mother's Day Flowers

    Which brings us to today’s craft. For real this is the best craft ever because the parent doesn’t have to do ANYTHING. Just give the kids some empty cereal boxes (the more colorful the better!), scotch tape and colorful straws. Then say, “Go make flowers!” All three of my kids, from ages 5 to 12, had a blast cutting up the boxes and getting creative. Anna’s flower ended up being three dimensional, Cate made an adorable bumblebee for the bouquet, and Owen went completely off book and made a ladybug with a heart to show that the ladybug loves me. I consider it all a crafting success! And I didn’t lift a finger. (Well, okay, I helped clean up the billions of cereal box cuttings strewn about the kitchen. But it was worth it.)

    Up-cycled Cereal Box Mother's Day Craft

    Lucky for our family my beloved mother will be here for Mother’s Day this year. She will be taking home the best bouquet ever!

    Giveaway time! General Mills Cereals and TO THE MARKET are providing TWENTY of you lucky people with your own necklace made with upcycled cereal box beads. You can’t buy these necklaces, so this is the only way to get one! Here is how to enter: (Comments must be posted by Midnight PT May 25, 2017.)

    BONUS BONUS BONUS: If you head on over to TO THE MARKET’S Stories Blog, they are also giving away these necklaces and you can enter there, too! Yippee! Winners were randomly selected and have been notified via email. Thank you!

    Happy Mother’s Day!

    I partnered with General Mills for this post because they are committed to strengthening communities around the world through remarkable initiatives, nonprofits and causes that help strength people and the planet. General Mills Cereals partnered with TO THE MARKET to create these handcrafted pieces of jewelry from up-cycled cereal boxes as part of this commitment and to celebrate all the moms, caregivers, aunts, sisters and special heroes who fill the world with love.

    Learn more about General Mills Cereals and its delicious line of cereals including Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charm, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and many more at www.generalmills.com/cereal.


  7. Friday, March 24

    Show and Tell Time!

    I haven’t done Show and Tell in SO LONG. It’s time.

    Julie's Greenroom, now streaming on Netflix (Julie Andrews and the Jim Henson Company team up to teach kids about theater)

    TV Loves

    Okay, so Netflix is keeping us busy lately. Here are a few of our recent favorite discoveries:

    • Julie’s Greenroom. Julie Andrews is the best person EVER, amiright? I just discovered that she has a new Jim Henson Company children’s show streaming on Netflix called Julie’s Greenroom. I already know I love it and I haven’t even watched it. Here’s an article from The Guardian that gives a nice summary of the show. My kids are going to be watching this show no matter what.
    • The OA. Have you watched The OA yet? WHAT DID YOU THINK?!?!?! I’m not even 100% sure I know what I think about it all, but I do know we blasted through the first season in about half a second. It was crazy and fun and mysterious and that-last-episode-what-the-what?!?!
    • The Grinder. This comedy series starring Fred Savage and Rob Lowe originally aired on Fox and is now streaming on Netflix. Nate and I cannot figure out why it was cancelled after one season because it’s hysterical. We’re considering watching all the episodes again because we need more Grinder in our life! (Hey, Netflix, maybe a Season 2? Just sayin’…)
    • Hap & Leonard. Netflix recently suggested this show to us and Netflix was right again. This Sundance series is great. We’re only about halfway through the first season but we are totally loving it. Also, OMAR. (If you see the name Omar and know what I’m talking about, then you’ll know you need to watch this show.)

    Be sure to check out Robyn Stone's new cookbook "Add a Pinch," an easier, fresher approach to Southern cooking

    Cookbook Loves

    One of my long-time blogging friends Robyn Stone just published a beautiful cookbook and I’m so excited for her! Robyn has been blogging at Add a Pinch for many years (seriously, I’ve known her forever in blog years!) and has published her cookbook of the same name. It’s as beautiful as I anticipated it would be and I can’t wait to dive into the recipes she shares in the book. The premise of her book is easy, fast, fresh Southern classics, which sounds just about perfect to me. A big congratulations to Robyn on the birth of her book baby! I am so happy for her and she deserves the very best! You can pick up Robyn’s book on Amazon.

    Seaworthy shop in Carlsbad, CA + SAND+GRIT jewelry - Fab Faves from @janemaynard

    Local Loves

    I need to throw out some local love from here in North County San Diego. If you’re local or vacation in North County San Diego, be sure to check out the recently re-opened shop Seaworthy in Carlsbad Village. My talented friend Ashley now owns the store and is doing beautiful things there.

    Thanks to Ashley’s store I just now have discovered SAND+GRIT jewelry, made by a local artisan in Carlsbad. I LOVE HER STUFF SO MUCH. I wear my new triangle necklace and copper cuffs every day. The Seven Earring in 14K Rose Gold is next on my to-buy list. Bonus: SAND+GRIT is high quality and affordable, a great combo. You don’t have to be in Carlsbad to get your hands on this awesome jewelry…just visit their website! (And good luck not buying everything.)

    That’s it for me today. As you know, Show and Tell is for the whole class…feel free to share anything you like in the comments! (And, if you watched The OA, seriously, I want to know what you thought!)


  8. Wednesday, January 11

    Anna’s Hamburger Birthday Cake

    Like most parents, I come up short in lots of ways. But there is one thing I am committed to as a mom that I have yet to fail on: birthday cakes. (I probably should knock on wood after making such a bold statement!) I blame my own mother for this obsession, thanks to the truly memorable birthday cakes she made for me as a child. Each year I let the kids choose whatever they want for their cake and then I tackle it. So far I’ve had pretty good success and I love sharing the cakes with you so you can make them, too!

    How to Make a Hamburger Birthday Cake from @janemaynard

    Anna had her birthday last month and requested a hamburger birthday cake. (This girl has a thing for cakes that look like savory foods, apparently.) It was her “family year,” which means no party, just a fun night with the fam. Rogue One came out on her birthday, so we went and saw the movie together. She could pick anywhere to go out to eat but decided to do takeout hamburgers and come home to eat in the living room while watching old Gilmore girls episodes. Naturally a hamburger birthday cake was in order!

    Anna and I did some searching on Pinterest and found a lot of ugly hamburger cakes as well as a lot of cakes that were just too much work. But then one caught our eye on a blog called Gluesticks. The mom had used unfrosted chocolate and vanilla cakes to make the bun and hamburger patty. Genius!

    How to Make a Hamburger Birthday Cake from @janemaynard

    Here is how I made the cake and a few notes for you if you decide to tackle this project yourself. (Click here for the Gluesticks instructions. She piped frosting for most of the decorating, but I hate washing frosting tips so took a little bit of a different approach.)

    • Make 2 yellow cake rounds and 1 chocolate cake round, all the same size, for the bun and hamburger.
    • For the lettuce: toss shredded coconut in the green liquid food coloring. Tip: I didn’t let the “lettuce” hang off the edges enough, wish I had concentrated more coconut to hang over the edges so you could see the lettuce better.
    • For the mayonnaise: Use white buttercream frosting in between layers 1 and 2 and layers 2 and 3, frosting out to the edge so you can see the “mayo.”
    • For the veggies and cheese: Either use marzipan or white rolled fondant. Separate and make a few different colors – red, green and yellow-orange. Roll the fondant/marzipan flat then cut into the shapes you need. I cut triangles freehand with a knife in the yellow fondant for the cheese. I used a medium-sized, smooth-edge round cookie cutter for the tomatoes. I used a small-sized, ripple-edged round cookie cutter for the pickles.
    • For the seeds: Pipe white frosting on top for the seeds!
    • I recommend using smaller round cake pans. I used my 9-inch cake pans and, well, it was SO MUCH CAKE. Plus I think the dome would have held better if the cake had been smaller. Bottom line: 9 inches was too big, 8 inches probably would have felt too big, too. However, those sizes will work for sure if that’s all you have or if you do in fact need a lot of cake. Otherwise, go with smaller cake pans!
    • Make sure you grease and flower the pans REALLY WELL and use parchment paper on the bottom. My cake ended up sticking to the pan a little too much on the edges in some parts. Those parts did not look pretty and I had to hide them in the back.
    • Do not use cake strips for this cake, at least for the yellow cake rounds. You want the yellow cake to dome so that the top resembles a hamburger bun. Two quick notes: First, you will still want to level one of the yellow layers and the chocolate layer since they will be stacked. Just the top yellow layer should have a dome. Second, my cakes did dome in the oven but for some reason settled down flat after cooling – I think it was the homemade cake recipe I used. I think boxed cake mix may work better in this instance. If your cake does go flat, I recommend putting more frosting between the 2nd and 3rd layers, concentrated in the middle to make the top layer “poof” up a bit more like a bun. (I didn’t do that and you can see that my bun looks flat.)

    Click here for my cake decorating post with TONS of tips for making and decorating cute cakes. That post also includes the buttercream recipe I used.

    Happy hamburger birthday cake making!


  9. Monday, November 21

    Easy Turkey Pudding Craft Perfect for Thanksgiving

    Before we take off on our Thanksgiving travels, I have to share this super cute, crazy easy Thanksgiving kids craft with you. Owen brought it home from school. It’s so simple and so cute (and so delicious…I love Hunt’s Pudding Snack Packs for some reason!) even I would do this craft with my kids. That is really saying something. I’m like the anti-craft mom.

    Simple and Easy Turkey Pudding Craft Perfect for Thanksgiving!

    Materials:

    • Chocolate Pudding Snack Pack
    • Small Googly Eyes
    • Construction paper, cut into feather shapes and small orange triangles for the nose

    Simple and Easy Turkey Pudding Craft Perfect for Thanksgiving!

    How To Make the Turkey Pudding Craft:

    • Flip the pudding snack pack upside down.
    • Using either a hot glue gun or scotch tape, attach the eyes, nose and tail feathers.
    • All done!

    You could even have the kids make these and then put them on the table at each place setting for decoration. It will keep them busy while the grown-ups are cooking and make them feel like they’ve contributed.

    I never thought I would say this on the blog…but…Happy Crafting!


  10. Sunday, November 20

    Week 513 Menu, THANKSGIVING and ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’ is Almost Here!

    Happy Thanksgiving Week! I’m going old-school-This-Week-for-Dinner and doing a weekly menu post filled with all kinds of stuff. Here we go!

    THIS WEEK’S MENU

    We were originally going to be hosting Thanksgiving here at our home, but plans have changed and now we’re driving to Utah to be with family there. Which means I don’t need to plan a menu for this week because we’ll be traveling. But if YOU have a menu planned for this week, please share it in the comments!

    classic pumpkin pie with homemade pie crust at @janemaynard

    THANKSGIVING!

    This November I’ve been feeling a lot of gratitude. Things have also been a little quiet here on the blog, on my podcast and on my social media channels. You see, two weeks ago I was in a car accident. I’m not going to get into details for now, and I am recovering very well. That said, the accident was scary and unexpected. In the end, though, it could have been so much worse and, from the moment the car came to a stop and I knew I was okay, I felt nothing but gratitude throughout the entire experience. That gratitude carried me through. And now, entering the busiest time of year, I’ve not only been forced to slow down, but I’ve also thought a lot about just how lucky and blessed I am. Instead of feeling frustrated by not being able to do more this November I’m just taking it in stride and letting it be a positive experience. Here’s to a holiday season that is less about the busy and more about the gratitude and love.

    That is why I haven’t been posting much or sharing any new recipes for Thanksgiving. But that’s okay, I’ve got tons of great Thanksgiving content on the blog already. If you’re looking for assistance for the big feast this week, I have some links you need to peruse!

    If you have your Thanksgiving feast planned, please share that in the comments! Links to recipes always welcome!

    We can't wait to bingewatch "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" on Netflix this Thanksgiving weekend! Woohoo!

    GILMORE GIRLS IS ALMOST HERE!

    Forget the accident, I think the new Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life episodes airing on Netflix the day after Thanksgiving is why I am feeling truly grateful this year. Just kidding! (Mostly.)

    Netflix sent me an adorable package filled with goodies to help us enjoy the new episodes. I’m still not sure if I’m going to bingewatch or spread out the new episodes, but the mailer got me and my girls watching old episodes together this weekend and it’s been so much fun. Nate is still flummoxed by the fact I can watch Gilmore Girls over and over and over again. (To be honest, I’m a little flummoxed by it myself.) Psst…I have an inside source who has already seen the new episodes. This little birdie didn’t give me any details (it’s a good birdie) but she did say that the new episodes are SO GOOD. Are you as excited as I am?!?!?! WOOHOO!!!!

    And with that I am DONE. I kind of love today’s post. I don’t have to plan a weekly menu (I know, ironic). THANKSGIVING! And GIMORE GIRLS! As I mentioned before, if you have a weekly menu and/or Thanksgiving plan to share in the comments, please do. And, of course, any and all discussion of the Gilmore Girls is welcome! Happy Thanksgiving Week!