Race Track Cupcakes

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RaceDayRelief #CollectiveBias

Ready for Race Day? Follow this tutorial for a Race Track Cupcake Display! Use for any birthdays or any Race Day party to delight your kids. #RaceDayRelief

As you well know by now, Des is a car guy! Scarlet was a bit of a car girl, and I even remember being four-years-old and being THRILLED that my friend Jeremiah gave me a Dukes of Hazzards gift set. He was bashful, maybe because he was late to the party, or maybe because he gave me the gift from behind his back – amid a sea of dolls and pink toys from other kids – but I LOVED it. Really, I think my parents still have it in their basement. So I love to feed Des’ love. I don’t remember four well.

So it’s extra amazing to watch it unfold.

Cassidy helped build this garden racetrack at the end of last winter. It was a bright beacon after the New England cold. In fact, it has survived three seasons now and is still going strong. We worked tirelessly on it in one day and loved the results:

race track

Over the summer, I picked up some extra pool noodles from Walmart, and set up a little racetrack on our deck. The kids helped me make flags and signs and it’s something they still play with. They love to have races:

race track

I think you know by now that I love to indulge the kids’ dreams. Des’ birthday isn’t until June – which is great because I don’t even want to think about the big FIVE and starting kindergarten next year – but I wanted to do something special now. He’s been flourishing in preschool and he got such a bad cold last month, that he missed a lot of fun events. Not cool, fall!

So I got some supplies together to make this awesomeness:

Race Track Cupcakes:

I LOVE it! First, I baked my favorite white cupcakes recipe:

Then I mixed green food coloring with white frosting and used piping to get a “grassy” look:

Then I used chocolate bars and white icing to make road stripes:

The final touch is toy race cars that the kids get to keep after:

I got all of my supplies at Walmart earlier this week. That’s where I picked up cupcakes ingredients, the toy cars in the party supplies aisle, the frosting, and the chocolate. Then I made a pit stop at the Pharmacy for something crucial: Advil!

And seriously, what makes this all possible? It’s not just the getting inspired, but having the stamina to see the project through. For me, it’s fast acting Advil® Film Coated. I simply can’t imagine life without it. Not today!

Not tomorrow.

Aches and pains don’t slow me down – not on race day, and not on any day. As a parent, I’m glad I can rely on the new fast acting, rapid release formula so that I can comfortably play race cars with Des all day, AND make him awesome cupcakes too.

You can use the new fast acting Advil® Film-coated for headaches, muscle aches, toothaches, menstrual cramps, back pain, and aches and pains associated with the common cold. Nothing’s faster on tough pain.* The rapid release formula goes to work in minutes. AND, I have coupons!! Many awesome ones too. Just follow this link for BIG savings.

Looking forward to Race Day? Ty Dillon is driving the #95 car at the Ecoboost 400 in Miami on November 28th!

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever made for a birthday party? Does Advil power you through some days?

*Among OTC pain relievers.

Getting Your Kids To Open Up

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FavoritesInAMix #CollectiveBias

Lately, Scarlet and I have shifted into a nighttime routine that just seemed to happen on its own. Cassidy was out or busy or working a few times, and even though he’s been the bedtime guy for years now, ever since I was pregnant with Des and then also handling a newborn, I enjoy putting the kids to bed. I enjoy the process of putting one, two, and then three blankets over her – no matter what time of year it is. I enjoy the back scratches, strange questions, and short stories. Only recently did she want me to tell her real stories from my childhood and young adulthood, rather than the made up “door in the floor” stories I had been telling her since toddlerhood. In many ways, this is exactly why I always wanted to be a parent before this.

I’m a storyteller and I always will be. And I have a lot to say. Yet, what about what I want to hear?

With our long Alaska trip and having the kids go to “Nana Camp” for nine days, as well as getting a little lost in the shuffle of daily life – camp, school, friends, activities, learning, reading, writing, sports, whatever, I miss my girl sometimes. It’s not that she needs me less than she used to, but it’s that she is having longer intervals of time away from home. This is growing up. This is what I want for her, but I miss her gorgeous face – and more importantly – the words that come out of her mouth.

I was shopping at Target, unsurprisingly, and I found four NEW Pillsbury™ Girl Scout™ flavored baking mixes in the baking aisle. I’m always looking for products that bond Scarlet and me together. They excited us quite a bit in four flavors:

And, here are the flavors!

1. Girl Scouts® Caramel & Coconut Blondie Mix
2. Girl Scouts® Caramel & Coconut Cookie Mix
3. Girl Scouts® Thin Mints® Brownie Mix
4. Girl Scouts® Thin Mints® Cupcake Mix

So of course I picked up a couple so I could let Scarlet decide which one she wanted to make together. I was a Girl Scout when I was just a little older than she is, and some of my favorite memories of my troop meetings were when we baked together! In the fall, we made caramel apples and cupcakes. In the spring, we sold cookies. I love that my favorite cookie flavors can now be found in brownies or cupcakes. This is a special memory for me, and now it’s time to make more for her:

The Pillsbury™ Girl Scout™ flavored baking mixes are so easy to use, and they come out so beautifully! I love the chocolate mint taste, and the ganache is probably my favorite part, although the cupcakes are equally good. It melts in your mouth!

Pillsbury™ Girl Scout™ flavored baking mixes are an easy and creative way to bring loved ones together, with the products and flavors that everyone loves. Clearly, I’m a fan. We bonded quite a bit while baking together over the weekend.

And so, it got me thinking about the best ways to get our kids to open up to us, so that we don’t miss too much.

Five Things You Can Do Together to Get Your Kids to Open Up to You:

  1. Of course, I’ll say this first. Make a meal or bake a snack or dessert together. It requires concentration, but there’s also downtime. Notice the conversation openers and jump on them! Also try to listen before instantly jumping in to offer advice.

  1. Teach them something. Whether it’s something you love – in my case writing and photography – something new that they love, or a new skill, it creates so much opportunity for conversation. Like when Scarlet taught herself to tie her own shoes!

  1. Have a picnic together! They say to make sure you connect with each of your children every single day, and I love to have one-on-one picnics with mine. We talk about everything buzzing around us, and also about the deeper things on our minds.

  1. Build “special time” with each child into your routine, every day. If that’s bedtime, great, because that’s when I can tell my kids all the stories that mean so much to me, and pass along the most special memories I have to the people I love most.

  1. Stay open and available. Listen. Look them in the eyes. Respect them. Always be there. You know, just like you’re doing.

Pillsbury™ Girl Scout™ flavored baking mixes bring us together in conversation and love.

Finally, how do you get your kids to open up to you? Do you like baking? What flavor of Pillsbury™ Girl Scout™ Baking Mixes looks best to you? Right now, there’s a Cartwheel offer at Target. Save 20% off purchase of product from 7/31 – 10/1!