How to make a Big Mac burger cake

Son # 1 is a walking, talking teenage garbage disposal. He loves food. He’s obsessed with food. He’s a growing boy, for sure. I get that. There are certain foods he prefers to eat, like poptarts and hotpockets and generally anything that’s heavily processed or full of caloric garbage, but in a pinch will grab whatever is closest to his face in the refrigerator and just work his way down through the shelves and drawers. I’ve witnessed him eat droopy, on it’s last leg, I personally probably would have tossed it and sucked up the loss, celery, slathered in peanut butter, shoving it in his mouth while making a face and asking me why I buy such awful tasting stuff. Last weekend we went out for burgers; I stood there awestruck, and mildly horrified as he ordered two full-size meals, while the hubs and I issued the standard rule the sons are all familiar with, “if you order it, you have to eat it. ALL of it.” This didn’t deter him in the least and he smiled as he said he’d be good. We watched him scarf down his own food and then immediately begin eyeing his brother’s plates to see if there were any stragglers who’d need help cleaning their plates. To his disappointment, their weren’t.

 Big Mac Cake

The point of this story? Son # 1’s birthday was last week. His 16th birthday. The hubs and I don’t buy cakes, we make them. When the sons were younger they would inundate me with all kids of creative possibilities and decorative ideas for their birthday cakes. As they’ve gotten older, they pretty much leave it up to Mom. They just want to know that there will in fact be copious amounts of ice cream and frosting flowing. I always try to come up with something that either says something about them, or represents something they love. With Son # 1, that’s food of any kind, and in desperate times, in any capacity. What better cake for him, especially after his recent burger binge, than a Big Mac Burger birthday cake?!

Big Mac Birthday Cake 2

It’s super easy to make, even for a total beginner at cake decorating. The best part for us? Seeing his eyes light up when he saw the finished product. Those cool Mom moments may come a whole lot less often as he’s gotten older, but they’re still just as special when they do.

Also, have you ever seen a ‘pretty’ Big Mac? Be honest. No, you haven’t, because they’re kinda messy and never look that perfect way that they do in the commercials, relax and know that your cake doesn’t have to look ‘perfect’. In this case, messy is spot on.

 Big Mac Birthday Cake

2 boxes yellow cake mix
1 box (family size) fudgy brownie mix
frosting, homemade or store-bought
green, yellow, and orange food coloring

Directions

1. Cook each box of cake mix according to the package directions to make 2 circular cakes. In the end you should have 4 cakes total, although we’ll only be using 3 here.
2. Mix your brownie batter up and divide between two circular cake pans, the same size as the ones used to make the cakes. Cook according to package instructions.
3. Divide your frosting into 3 separate bowls. Use your food coloring and add into the frosting to make one bowl of each color, green, yellow, and orange.
4. Using a sharp knife, cut the crusty outer edges away from the cakes so they look for hamburger bun-like.
5. The bottom will obviously be a bun. So put one of your cakes down onto whatever surface you’ll be presenting the cake on. Top that with a brownie hamburger patty.
6. Spread/drizzle the different colored frosting’s over the ‘patty’, allowing some to run down the sides, to represent the lettuce, mustard, and secret sauce.
7. Top that with another cake ‘bun’ and another brownie ‘patty’. Repeat the frosting layer.
8. Top this with the last ‘bun’. Voila, you’ve got a cake-mac! I sprinkled on some sesame seeds for added effect, but that’s totally optional.

Our Minecraft Birthday Party

Anybody who has a young boy (or even girl) right now probably has heard of Minecraft. It is the thing. Literally, THE. THING. But if you’re like my husband, or our parents, you probably have no clue what it actually is other than a game the kids play that they’re crazy about. And even worse, if you’re trying to throw a Minecraft-themed party, you might not be able to find many decorations or idea at the main stores, or even Party City. Ahh! This could be time to panic. But rest assured it’s not. So what do you do? You make due and do the best you can.

With a little patience, and a little ingenuity, you can easily throw your own DIY Minecraft birthday party. Here’s how we did it.

minecraft party

But first, here’s son # 4 enjoying some of the frosting leftovers the night before his big day. He’s just a stud muffin looking for a cupcake. πŸ˜‰

Minecraft party 2minecraft party 3

Ok, getting down to business now, Minecraft makes an excellent theme for a birthday party. The simple graphics make decorating easy, and there’s a ton of ideas around the internet for games and party food. For the cake, we use different color dots of several hues of green icing to give our ‘dirt block’ the pixel-ated Minecraft look. It dawned on me after the cake that I should have used a square baking dish instead of my regular circular cake pans to give it a truly authentic look. I found the toy set I used as toppers in Walmart. They had 3 different options. We crushed oreos in the food processor and pressed the crumbs into the side of the cake for our ‘dirt’.

minecraft party 4

Creeper. cupcakes. The sons were stoked! They couldn’t have been any easier and coordinated perfectly with our cake. Kudos to the hubs for decorating them while I was trying to get all the last minute details perfected and in place.

minecraft party collage

For drinks we had Minecraft water (not pictured) by adding a few drops of blue food coloring to 2 2-liters of diet Sprite. We also had ‘Creeper-ade’. Tape a cardstock kreeper face onto a clear drink dispenser and fill it with green Hawaiian Punch. Again, super easy. I found chocolate candy rocks online to represent the coal/iron ore. We had sourpatch candy watermelons for the ‘melon’ and used potato chips to represent the game’s ‘gold’. There were square jello cubes for water blocks. We served square sandwiches. Square crackers, several kinds. You get where we’re going? Everything in Minecraft is square. Serve square food. So simple, and oh-so impressive to the Minecraft fandom.

minecraft party 6

Son # 3 came up with the idea of using some balloons & crepe paper (again found at Walmart, for $1/ea) to make some Enderman decorations. In the end he decided they looked more like squids but, since there are in fact squids in Minecraft, it was all good. In the end the boys and their friends took turns playing Minecraft on our Play Station, ate, played some more Minecraft, opened presents, ate cake/cupcakes with scoops of ice cream and left. It was one of the best parties I’ve done for them yet. Fun, exciting and easy to do.

minecraft party 10

Best of all, both birthday boys felt super special on their special day. And that my friends, covers it. No muss, no fuss, simply a great Minecraft party that had just the right amount of themed items that impress the kids/guests without stressing the host/ess out!

minecraft party 11

Happy, happy birthday to two of our sweet, sweet boys. We love you and are so blessed to be your parents. We’ve loved every minute of being your parents and watching you grow into the compassionate, inquisitive, happy, and comedic souls that you are. We love you, honeynugget & little man!

How To Piss Off Your Teenage Son Who Knows Everything

How To Piss Off Your Teenage Son Who Knows Everything

-Tell him he has to get a job
-Make him create a resume and take him around for a month gathering applications
-Make him call ahead to be sure a manager is there whom he can speak with and hand his application to
-Make him dress appropriately (i.e. dress shoes, slacks, dress shirt, belt, and tie)
-Take him to deliver applications

Watching him walk out of stop # 2 with an immediate offer of employment: PRICELESS.

Squirt Gun Art

Late last month a whole new crop of pool toys and water guns have popped up at stores, nationwide, overnight. I’ve already noticed most of the pool sections have been ransacked and what’s left picked over. This is the perfect time to start looking out for deals. If you come across a package of squirt guns on sale, don’t hesitate to snag them. Beyond the pool, they’re great for making some really neat artwork. The sons couldn’t believe I’d handed them squirt guns full of paint. Yes, paint. It really was an exercise in trust. But, we were outside so I figured what’s the worst that can happen? Pictures completed they’ll cease squirting canvas and turn their weapons on each other. When they’ve run out of ammo, I’ll just hose the warriors down. (I had the forethought to use washable paint at least) Problem solved and great, healthy fun was had by all. Plus, they left me with some pretty snazzy art work to hang on the walls!

If you are looking for a fun, yet inexpensive, art project this summer then look no further. This water gun painting project was a blast and such a nice change of pace from the regular painting that we usually do! For the painting here, I used cheaper guns that I found in the dollar spot at Target, but don’t fear using the more expensive ones because from my experience the paint will not ruin the guns, it rinses away easily with water.

Squirt Gun Art

4 Sons 'R' Us: Squirt Gun Art

Tempera paint
Squirt Guns
Water
Canvas
Painters Tape (optional)
drop cloth or old sheet or even an old towel

Directions

1. Mix the tempera paint with a little water (a 50/50 mixture).
2. Use a measuring cup with a pour spout and slowly pour in the paint/water mixture.
3. Use the painters tape to make  a design on the canvas or just use the entire blank canvas, as is.
4. Go outside and go to town!
5. Lay the canvas out and wait for the paint to dry before taking the tape off or moving.

Why I’m OK With My Boy Liking Pink Ponies & Dolls

I had a friend come over the other day, and Son # 4 was enjoying the tv time he’d earned after completing his worksheets for the day. His approved Netflix pick? My Little Pony. We were snuggled up enjoying a 20 minute episode when this person clued me into their astonishment that I was actually letting, and completely ok with, my boy watch such a ‘girly’ show. Wasn’t I afraid it would damage him? Or worse, make him effeminate?! Uh, no. Just no.

What hate-filled, judgmental side of the bed did you get up on this morning? Do you have children, boys or girls?!

He is 4. 4! What healthy 4 year old wouldn’t be drawn to the colorful, playful, happy ponies.

my little pny

He will have the rest of his life struggling to find himself a midst being pressured by the worlds idea of gender stereo types. My only concern right now is to let him be himself. He can watch, and like, whatever he wants. He will grow up secure in the fact the whoever the man he grows up to be is, his Mama will always love him.

Brave is one of his favorite Pixar movies to date. Before that it was cars. When he was in his cars faze, Santa brought him Lightning McQueen & Radiator Springs toys. This Christmas he wanted a Merida doll so badly. Every time we were in the toy Isle, he pointed to one he had to have. I could have tried to appease my stereo-typically obsessed, black & white line acquaintances and say it could be just that Merida sounds very similar to his beautiful Aunt Meredith’s name. I could have tried to come up with some other excuse to explain away his infatuation. But, there isn’t one, and I didn’t feel the need to defend him or my choices. Simply put, Son # 4 idolizes the pretty red-headed princess. While he got plenty of gender ‘appropriate’ toys (if there even is such a thing), he also was elated when he tore open a package to reveal, you guess it, not only the coveted Merida barbie doll, but also her horse Angus, and a plastic replica of her bow, that was covered in glitter.

Is he wrong? No, he’s simply a little boy who likes what he likes. If it’s a healthy, age appropriate like, I will support him 100%, from now until I’m no longer on this Earth. There’s a whole world waiting for him, and it’s filled with countless people who will judge him for every little decision he makes, even if it’s something as simple as preferring pink over blue. What he will always know is that he doesn’t have to care what they think. He is free, at least within his own family, to always be who he is without fear of judgment.

merida

Hell, I am PROUD of him. Out of all the Princesses he could have chosen to Idolize, he chose Merida. He chose a strong, brave young woman who herself, fought against her stereotypical role. If that’s the kind of woman he respects now, I will worry a whole lot less when it’s time for him to date and when he’s found a woman he loves enough to marry. Women can be strong, brave, go against the grain, and that in itself is beautiful. I’m raising four boys to be men who respect women. They want an equal partner, a best friend, not a doormat.

Ok. Rant over.

Olympics Themed Party Ideas

Get ready for the Olympics, get the whole family excited, and learn a thing or two about other cultures with a couple fun Olympics Themed Party Ideas.

In honor of the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, here are two simple ideas to do with your kids to celebrate and help them feel connected to it all. And no, it’s not too late. You’ve still got another week to enjoy these sweet and simple treats. Shoot, does a party always have to be at the beginning anyway? Have a going away party for the Olympics to celebrate the great games and events over the last week and week to come. Go against the grain. You just might be creating a new tradition or find your snazzy ‘bid the Olympics adieu’ party idea suddenly trending.

I know I mentioned these are simple ideas. Just how simple? Two ingredients each. That’s it. Barely any assembly required. Lazy Mom status. That’s how I roll. At least today anyway.

The Olympics Themed Party Ideas

Gold Medals for your Champions

4 Sons 'R' Us: edible 'gold' medals

Adorbs. Totes McGoats.

Cut a fruit by the foot in half and gently bend until the ends are brought together. Slap an oreo onto said ends and there ya go. You’re ‘gold’en!

Olympic Torches

4 Sons 'R' Us: edible olympic torches

For quality control purposes, I would suggest not actually consuming ice cream cones and cheetos together, but the sons are weird and didn’t listen to my advice. No surprise there though. What could Mom possibly know that they don’t? Ok, rant over…

I, sophisticated as I am, ate my cheetos first and then (after making sure the inside wasn’t powdered orange) added a scoop of ice cream to polish off my cone. I didn’t tell them there was ice cream? They’d already eaten their cones? There aren’t anymore cones?! Oops. πŸ˜‰

Back to the torches. These make the perfect edible, and adorable ‘toast’ to the Olympics. As son # 1 said, “It’s our ‘shout-out’ to Sochi.” So if you missed the boat like I did  and didn’t usher the Olympics in with style this year ((or even if you had your ducks in a row and had your Olympic party when things actually started on Friday), bid them a fond farewell with these fast, fun treats.

Holiday-Themed Sensory Bags

According to Buddy, the elf, “The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.” While I certainly believe this to be true, I can’t always just break out into song. I mean I could, but then everybody in the middle of Target would probably stare and there’s no way my kids would ever, EVER go out in public with me again. So, in the interest of self-preservation I have to reign it in. Sometimes. Like in public.

Still, I absolutely love to get my family, and pretty much everyone I know, into the holiday spirit, even the little ones who still aren’t quite sure what’s going on and why Mom’s dancing around and singing about a fat man with a scratchy beard. A holiday-themed sensory bag was my compromise with myself, and a favor to my kids. I mean, come on, spreading the love cheer and stimulating little minds and developing gross motor skills? That’s what I’d call winning!

The ‘Holiday-Themed’ Sensory Bag

4 Sons 'R' Us: The Holiday-Themed Sensory Bag

hair gel
ziplocking bag
decorative buttons or beads
strong tape

Directions

1. Squirt hair gel into a zip-locking bag.
2. Add in your decorative buttons, beads, etc and zip the bag closed making sure it’s secure.
3. For extra peace of mind re-enforce the top with tape so the bag can’t accidentally open.
4. Let your little ones squish it around and explore the different pieces included.

The ‘Snowman In A Bag’ Game

4 Sons 'R' Us: Snowman In A Bag

a large ziplocking bag
shaving cream
orange foam sheet
black felt
glitter, optional
glue

Directions

1. Cut 6 small, ‘lumpy’ circles (you’re going for the lumps of coal look) from the black felt for the snowman’s mouth. Cut out two larger lumps for it’s eyes.
2. Glue the lumps onto the outside of your ziplocking bag to resemble a face. Let dry.
3. If using, add a little glitter to the inside of your bag. Squirt in a little shaving cream. Securely seal the bag closed and squish it around to mix up the glitter and shaving cream.
4. Cut a carrot shape out of the orange foam.
5. Put the carrot shape into the bag, making sure you securely seal the bag closed again.
6. Have fun watching/helping your little ones move the nose around until they’ve completed the face.

Don’t you just love ‘baggie’ projects? They’re so simple, but so fun, and all for practically free! These are great manipulative toys that all ages love. They are great for a rainy, dreary days when you can’t go outside. Let these help keep those little hands busy. You can squish and wiggle that snowman all afternoon. πŸ™‚

How do you spread the cheer & get your family into the Holiday Spirit?

Super Hero Birthday Cakes

Sons 1 & 3 have birthdays within a week of each other. Since the dates are so close together they typically have a combined celebration where all of their family and friends can get together at once. We almost always do a cake and coordinating cupcakes. This year, they opted for a combination of comic books (Son # 1 collects them) and some of their favorite Super Heroes (is any boy ever too old for them?). These were the results and they thought they were absolutely fantastic!

Comic Book Birthday

4 Sons 'R' Us: Comic Book Cupcakes 2 4 Sons 'R' Us: Comic Book Cupcakes

Holy Cupcakes, Batman! I loved, as did Sons 1 & 3, how these turned out! They were a huge hit. The cupcake toppers are from 3 separate printables. The first one, representing some of the boys favorite iconic comic book superheros was from Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss. Batman was present, but isn’t pictured. The Happy Birthday, Bang, Pow, and blank printables I found at Let’s Panic. Finally, the smaller ‘Boom’ & ‘Pow’ came from Simply Designing with Ashley. I just cut out the printed images and hot glued them to lollipop sticks. Last minute I decided to add some Pop Rocks as ‘sprinkles’ so the cupcakes matched their comic book captions.

A few months ago I had found Thor’s hammer on clearance at Target for less than $5. I purchased it immediately with this cake in mind. I used chocolate frosting to cover the cake. I gently pressed the hammer into the cake at an angle creating an indention. I removed the hammer and had my husband cut a rectangle into the indention, in the center, where the hammer would rest to make it stable and ensure it would remain upright. I then stuck the hammer on top and sprinkled crushed oreos around for ‘dirt’.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Thor Cake

While the older boys wanted things kept simple party-wise, both loved their cake and cupcakes. Seeing their eyes widen when I presented them with their birthday treats made me feel pretty darn ‘super’ myself. They can just call me Wonder Woman. Just Kidding.

I love my little ‘Supers’.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Comic Book Birthday 3

Dr. Seuss’ ‘The Lorax’ Themed Birthday Party

With four boys, you’d think that would mean A LOT of birthday parties. I used to have visions of perfectly planned out, whimsical themed parties. As the kids grew, they pretty much let me know I’d lost a marble or two. I’m lucky if the older boys let me comb their hair on their big day. All totally normal I’m told, but I still don’t have to like it. Do I?

That being said, I’m taking full advantage of the youngest son’s obsessive love of things and getting in as many themed birthday’s as I can before I’m stuck with just super heroes, and then nothing but cake, ice cream, pizza, and presents.

Since he first got it for Christmas, the youngest son has been in love with The ‘War-ax’. I had flirted with the idea of Toy Story, but as I watch his love of this famous Seuss’ character continue to thrive, logically I knew nothing else would do. That being said, while I enjoy having a ‘theme’ especially one so close to his little heart, I do have four kids and there’s only so much I can do. While I wish I had the time, and energy, and let’s be honest… motivation to throw the super elaborate parties some of my friends do where everything is planned out, coordinated, and theme-centric (virtually down to the tp in the bathroom), I just can’t.

Son # 4 walked in, took one look at the few simple treats in store for him, and his face literally lit up. Now, if only I could keep him thinking I’m that cool forever.

Dr. Seuss’ ‘The Lorax’ Themed Birthday Party

'The Lorax' Themed Birthday Party

The Lorax face was made using a pumpkin template that I traced onto construction paper. The pumpkin template can be found here. Orange Hawaiian Punch made his ‘body’.  I did have to explain that punch, in this instance, is something you drink and not something you do. The ‘UNLESS’ quote printable can be gotten from A Little Delightful. The I speak for the trees picture was made using lollipop sticks, a sharpie, sparkly pom poms, and a glue gun.

Since my son absolutely loves The Lorax movie, and it’s adorable cast of characters, I knew I wanted to have some themed goodies to snack on. We opted for Teddy Grahams ( as Barbaloots), Goldfish (representing the Humming Fish), Marshmallows (their most favorite treat), and yellow and orange Reese’s Pieces to represent The Lorax himself.

j

Also, to note, when setting out snacks at a party, vases, bowls, glasses and jars all make cute serving dishes.

Of course, the youngest son had to have a ‘War-ax’ cake. Again I used the cut out pumpkin template to ‘trace’ the basic outline with a tooth pick. The eyes were made using life savers, smarties, and miniature chocolate chips. We also made him his very own Truffula tree forest.

Lorax Party

Lorax Party 2

'The Lorax' Themed Birthday Party 3

Again, these cupcakes were made using lollipop sticks that I had ‘sharpi-ed’ Truffula bark onto. Tufts of cotton candy made the ‘wooly’ bits. While I had seen these cupcakes in several party posts, there was on lesson they all failed to mention that I had to learn the hard way. Cotton candy melts, especially in a moist atmosphere. These were what the cupcakes looked like about an hour after being tufted.

Lorax Party 3

Pretty depressing, right? I felt a brief wave of panic when I checked on them before I went to bed the night before the party and originally discovered their sorry state. However, I was easily able to re-do the sticks and waited until just before I was ready to serve cake to re-tuft, and they stayed perfectly fluffy up until the moment they were greedily gobbled up.

So, son # 4 thought he was pretty much the luckiest little boy in the whole world when he saw his special cake and cupcakes. I know this because he told me so himself the next morning when he borrowed one of my rings and proposed to me.

Lorax Party 4

The 5 Minute, No Sew, Bottom Bunk-Bed Fort

I often hear the saying ‘Boys And Their Toys’, but after having four of my own, I feel like it should really be ‘Boys And Their Forts’. It seems boys, or at least all four of mine, are biologically programmed to build forts. Almost like clock work, their first fort seemed to signify their ‘christening’ into Toddler-dom. After that, the building never stopped. Without fail, anytime I step foot into one of their bedrooms I find sheets strung up, taped up, tacked up. Up! Bins have been used as room dividers, with blankets for doors, and pillows inside serving as child-sized divans for lounging and comfort.

While I love the little kingdoms they create for themselves in their world of blankets and imagination, sometimes we just don’t have time for all the construction, and eventual clean-up, that that kind of creativity requires. When that happens, I go from being the beautiful ‘Mom Princess’, as the littlest son has dubbed me, to the mean old ogre storming the gates. I hate ruining harmless fun. Then I really feel like a giant grouchy, green ogre.

Stumbling upon Laura’s idea for an easy, DIY Bunk Bed Fort was a Godsend. It’s fast, easy, and there’s not a single thing to cut or sew! You can literally throw it up in 5 minutes. There’s not even a mess to clean up afterwards, and it’s always ready and waiting to play. Perfect for any ‘Mom Princess’ or ‘Queen of the Castle’, whether you’re raising young lords or little ladies, who wants to keep letting the good times roll, even when you’re running out of time.

The 5 Minute, No Sew, Bottom Bunk-Bed Fort

4 Sons 'R' Us: The 5 Minute No Sew Bottom Bunk Bed Fort

  • flat sheet, twin sized
  • 12-14 curtain rings with clips
  • tension rod

Directions

  1. Slide your curtain rings onto the tension rod.
  2. Mount the tension rod to the bunk bed.
  3. Fold your twin-sized, flat sheet in half, lengthwise.
  4. Attach the clips on the fold, spacing them as evenly as possible so the whole sheet is evenly held up.
  5. You’re ready for playtime!

Look how it works.  The curtain can be all tucked away when not in use, but just slide it closed for your very own Bottom Bunk-Bed Fort. The sheet easily un-clips for washing, and the tension rod is equally easy to remove whenever desired.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Bottom Bunk Bed Fort