Buying a store bought cake is not something that I normally do. Store bought cakes are so expensive and I find that homemade cakes taste better. Homemade cakes also offer a personal touch to the event.
When my children were very young, I was very fortunate that my mom would make their birthday cakes for me. Here is a Cars Movie cake that my mom made for my son’s third birthday.
My son wanted a Lightning McQueen cake for his birthday. I looked around in the stores and tried to figure out what I was going to do. Then I decided to buy the car figurines from the toy section. At $12 for three cars, I thought it was a bit pricey but it was cheaper than buying a cake and then at least he would have the cars to play with later.
First we started with a 9×13 sheet cake we made. If I remember correctly, we chose chocolate, but any flavor will do. We iced the cake with homemade white icing. Since I had a Lightning McQueen car that had mud painted on the side, we thought it would be neat to create a mud scene on the cake with chocolate icing. We even smeared the icing a little to make it look like Lightning McQueen slid through the mud.
Next, we dyed some of the icing green and used it to pipe grass on the cake. My mom used the rest of the brown icing for the border.
Finally, we placed the other two cars on the cake. My husband looked online and found a Radiator Springs sign to print. He taped it to two toothpicks and inserted it into the cake as a sign.
I thought this was a pretty cute cake and it wasn’t hard at all. I don’t have any cake decorating experience and I feel that I could recreate this cake myself. Sometimes all it takes is looking around for inspiration to trigger ideas.
Do you enjoy making your own cakes?
images (c) Karen Weideman
April 14, 2012
Back in 2010, I showed you the teddy bear luau cupcakes that I made for my children’s pool party. They were cute, easy to make, and way cheaper than a store bought cake. The do-it-yourself luau cupcakes have been a top read each month since then so I thought I would show you the ones I made in 2011.
I was a little hesitant to show these because they’re not as cute or creative as the teddy bear luau cupcakes. I finally gave in to the idea that we’re all in need of different ideas, no matter how easy they are. Alligator Girl had her first sleepover and since there were just a few girls and no adults I didn’t have the pressure to produce something anything time consuming. These cupcakes were super fast and went along with the pool party/luau theme. They also tasted great.
As you can see from looking at the pictures, there are a few different styles of cupcakes. I mostly used pink and orange to decorate with but I also had a can of rainbow chip icing in the cabinet. Most kids like rainbow chip, so I used that too.
I put piping on some of the cupcakes. I found the paper toppers at the dollar store. You could probably find some cupcake toppers at an arts and crafts store or party supply store.
As you can see, these are nothing extravacant. They are simple, easy, and cute. They are perfect for a girls’ luau party sleep over.
November 27, 2011
Chef Scott Liebfried has created another kid-friendly recipe using Bumble Bee tuna. This recipe uses simple ingredients such as English muffins, cheese, basil, and tomato sauce. It also uses the Bumble Bee Foods sun dried tomato and basil tuna.
You might to try this healthier version when making pizza. I’m thinking this would make a nice lunch or easy weeknight dinner idea.
Disclaimer: I am a member of the Bumble Bee Foods Bee Squad.
July 23, 2011
I attended a baby shower and they had some really cute pacifier favors and pink confetti spread across the table for decoration. I thought the pacifier favors were so cute (and inexpensive) that I had to share them with you. The candy pacifiers simply consist of two Lifesaver candies and a jelly bean that are held together by frosting or melted chocolate.
You will need:
- Lifesavers (These are made from peppermint Lifesavers.)
- royal frosting or melted white chocolate
- miniature jelly beans (probably Jelly Bellies)
- Unwrap your Lifesavers and set aside.
- If you are using chocolate then you will need to melt it. Follow the instructions on the package for melting the chocolate. Please note that you should be using chocolate candy that will harden after it dries. This is the kind that is sold in most craft stores or in the cake decorating section of Walmart.
- Put a small dab of chocolate or frosting in the center of some of the Lifesavers. To make your finished project more attractive you should make sure that the Lifesaver words are facing the handle and that the jelly bean side is plain. For best results, only work with a few Lifesavers at a time.
- Attach the second Lifesaver to the first. The second Lifesaver should be on its side so that it acts as a pacifier handle. It will make a “T” shape. Hold together for a few seconds to allow icing or chocolate to set.
- As you complete these steps, set them aside to dry. After they have dried add the ribbon to the pacifier handle. The ribbon should be about four inches long.
- Add a small dab of frosting to the other side of the lifesaver (the plain side) and attach the jelly bean. Let these dry or harden. You may have to hold the jelly bean onto the Lifesaver for a minute until it sets.
You may find that you want to make the pacifier handles first, attach the jelly beans, and then let the whole thing dry before adding the ribbon. Feel free to modify the instructions to meet your personal preference.
Uses: These candy pacifiers can be spread around the tables for decoration or placed on a cake. You can put them in a bowl on the tables or spread them around a centerpiece or the base of the cake. Put them in small candy boxes and send them home with your guests. You could also have the ribbon personalized with your baby’s name. There are many uses for them.
Money saving tips: You know that I am all about saving money. Save your craft store coupons to purchase these items while they are 40-50% off. Ask your friends for their craft store coupons. If you know in advance that you will be making these you can watch the weekly sales flyers for sales on these items. Check the dollar ribbon area of the craft store for ribbon deals.
This post was originally written by me in 2009. The content has been rewritten and modified to put on my own website.
Image (c) Karen Weideman
July 18, 2011
Last year Chef Scott Liebfried demonstrated how to make some recipes that he created for Bumble Bee Foods. This year he is showing some kid-friendly recipes. I’m sure we could all use some healthier kid-friendly recipes in our homes. This if the first webisode in the series.
Disclaimer: I am a member of the Bumble Bee Bee Squad.
July 6, 2011
I am a member of the Bumble Bee Bee Squad again this year. Bumble Bee is working with Chef Scott Lebfried again and this time they are working on kid-friendly recipes. I’m sure we could all use more kid-friendly recipes in our homes.
As you know, I have had a series of events happen this year so I am a bit behind on my blogging. Stay tuned for more posts about kid-friendly recipes from Bumble Bee.
May 30, 2011
I know I haven’t done meal plans on here in a while but I need to get back on track. I looked through the cabinets and freezer and here is a rough sketch of what we’re having.
Sunday my aunts and cousin came for a visit so we enjoyed fresh summer foods and salads. I enjoy making salads during the summer because you can eat them for several days.
Sunday: Company is here!
lunch – tuna salad and chicken salad sandwiches, pasta salad (two different kinds), fresh mixed fruit (watermelon, strawberries, grapes, kiwi, etc), chips
supper – grilled hotdogs, grilled asparagus (YUM!), baked beans, wilted spinach with roasted peppers, leftover pasta salad, leftover mixed fruit
dessert – s’mores by the fire pit
I had the tuna and chicken in the pantry from sales with coupons. The pasta noodles were free from a sale and coupon. I purchased the chips a week or so ago during a Harris Teeter sale for buy 2 get 3 free. I got the asparagus at Sam’s. I think it was 2 lbs for around $5.50. It was enough for a few meals. The hot dogs were buy 1 get 1 free and I had a $1 coupon.
Monday: leftovers – hotdogs, pasta salad, baked beans, chips, mixed fruit, grapes
Tuesday: pizza, sliced apples, wilted spinach
The spinach was purchased at Sam’s. They have a 1 lb container of organic spinach for less than $4. It’s a super deal!
Wednesday: breakfast for dinner- eggs, sausage, toast, fruit
Thursday: cheese and chicken quesadillas, Mexican rice
Friday: hamburgers on the grill, grilled potatoes, some sort of vegetable
Saturday: We’re probably eating out with some of my yard sale proceeds.
lunches – leftovers and sandwiches, yogurt, watermelon, strawberries
snacks – fruit, granola bars, ice cream, almonds
I have most everything that we needed for these meals. I purchased strawberries, 1 cucumber, a few Roma tomatoes, hotdog buns, a watermelon, a can of baked beans, 1 dozen eggs, milk, and the supplies for the s’mores (We used 1 bag of marshmallows, 1/3 box of graham crackers, and 1/2 pack of Hershey’s chocolate bars). I will also need to buy hamburger buns and possibly tortillas for the quesadillas.
Even though I fed extra people this week, I am still keeping my food costs low by purchasing items on sale and with coupons, using leftovers, and meal planning from what I have in my stockpile.
What’s on your menu this week?
March 20, 2011
We’ve been having some pretty warm weather in North Carolina but today was a little bit cooler. I decided to take the opportunity to make some taco soup/chili today. The recipe makes a big pot full so I always try to freeze half of it..
The taco soup is really easy to make and I always try to keep the supplies on hand. We like to top ours with cheese, sour cream, and serve it with tortilla chips. This will definitely make meal time easier and less stressful after a long day at work. Freezer meals save time and money.
What meals do you like to freeze?
March 4, 2011
Last year when I went back to work full-time I decided that freezer cooking would save me a lot of time. I have done a little freezer cooking before with freezing leftovers and such but now I try to be more intentional about it.
Sometimes freezer cooking depends on my level of energy or time that I have but many times it depends on sales. Whenever I see a good deal on ground beef I know that I can precook and preseason the meat for quick dinners. The same goes with chicken.
Last week Harris Teeter had their whole chickens for only $.59/lb. I went on Monday before the sale ended and purchased two chickens. I boiled the chickens, picked off the meat, and put the torn chicken into meal portioned containers. Here’s the fruit of the labor:
I ended up with enough chicken for at least four dinners. With this chicken I can make chicken casserole, chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings, chicken enchilada chili, chicken stew, and many other dishes.
Cooking with sale items saves time and money. Do you cook for the freezer?
January 11, 2011
I know it’s not Monday, but since this weekly meal planning is called “Menu Plan Monday” we’ll keep it at that. We’ve had some inclement weather this week. Sunday night it snowed and last night it iced, so we’ve had quite a mess here in North Carolina. We’re stuck at home and I’m ok with that, but I’m missing the grocery deals this week.
I realize I have plenty in my stockpile to choose from so I’ll try to make due with that. Thankfully I have some frozen vegetables in my supply too.
Sunday - corn dogs, macaroni and cheese, and fruit
Hubby was taking Alligator Girl on an outing so I needed something easy for lunch before they left. We rarely eat corn dogs so it was a nice treat for the kids.
Monday - hot sub sandwiches, french fries, mozarella sticks, green beans
We were stuck inside all day so we wanted some fun foods for dinner. Since we were frying some things, hubby also fried a few pickles and green beans.
Tuesday - ham and cheese quiche, fruit, maybe smoothies?
We ended up having potato cakes and quiche with ham, cheese, mushrooms, and spinach.
Wednesday - chicken pot pie
I have one whole chicken left in the freezer from a terrific deal at Harris Teeter. I just happened to be in the store one day when they were having chickens for $.19/lb. These chickens have enough meat for two meals.
Thursday - chicken casserole, butter beans
We’ll use the leftover chicken from Wednesday to make the chicken casserole.
Friday - something with ground beef
Saturday – homemade pizza
We are definitely under the $35 dinner budget for this week.
What is on your menu?