Easy way to make a homemade birthday cake

Ok you guys, so here’s the thing, I am NOT a baker.  Like really not a bake. But my kiddos love homemade birthday cakes. There’s something really special about someone baking you a birthday cake from scratch. You just feel important.

So with Frankie’s birthday this week, the kids and I wanted to do something a little special.  We thought it would be fun (and by fun, I mean…..make a mess, everyone fights, and cries, and mom ends up yelling – yes, that kind of “fun”) to work together to come up with something really special for him.

First, we had to decide on a cake that we could actually bake.  Frank insisted on chocolate (thank goodness, I kind of hate baking vanilla cakes).  I scoured the internet for THE BEST chocolate cake recipe and ended up going with this one from The Barefoot Contessa, called Beatty’s chocolate cake.  And let me tell you….it’s THE cake to bake.  It uses buttermilk (which we love in this house) and a full cup of coffee.  Plus it’s honestly really easy.  The kids actually made the batter on their own and you don’t need a mixer.  

Now the hard part – decorating it.  The kids and I spent a little time looking at all of the overly perfect cakes on Pinterest.  They asked for about three dozen intricately decorated cakes -all of which I said “heck no” to before we came up with an idea I could actually attempt.  

Our plan was simple….white frosting, cover the sides in sprinkles and then make a “5” out of sprinkles.  That we could do 😉

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How to help reset your mind this September

I think it’s safe to say that there’s been a lot of anxiety leading up to this month. Like a lot. For all of us. Wondering if kids are going back to school? What it will look like? How will it go? So many unknowns and strange “firsts” as we all transition into this next

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Blueberry galette

One of my very very favorite things about the warmer summer months is shopping at local Farmer’s markets. I feel so blessed that here in Chicago we have an amazing market, the Green City Market.  The market was founded in 1998, has over 175,000 visitors a year and is widely considered one of the best

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5 ways to help shift your mood

….to find more JOY! More happy. More peace. I pride myself on being a girl who is usually pretty optimistic and happy. I can almost always see the glass as half full. But with everything that has been happening in our world the past six months, I found myself really struggling. My “tools” that previously

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little eyes watching

Whether we’re ready for it or not, in the next several weeks as school begins to resume (either virtually, in person, or a hybrid of both), we will be entering the next chapter of this wild ride we’re calling 2020.  And as we all stumble along trying to figure out our “new normal”, we are

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Grilled pizza with corn and jalapeno

Grilled pizza is probably my number one favorite indulgence during the summer months.  I’m usually not a huge “pizza” girl.  I can take it or leave it.   But grilled pizza is a whole other category of pizza.  Especially when it’s made with homemade dough and topped with beautiful summer veggies. During the past few months

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Sweet potato & mushroom tacos

No joke, we have tacos at least once a week in our house.  I think “tacos” actually make up one of the four food groups for our kids.  We try and mix up “taco night”, but my kid’s favorite is for sure the old school beef, cheese, and of course the crunchy shells.  The tacos

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Caprese pasta salad

The past few weeks have been really heavy, for a lot of us.  I don’t know if there seems to be more heartache in our world right now, or if we’ve all just slowed down enough to finally see and feel it all.  But either way, I know this time is hard for a lot

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