Candy Flower Cupcakes

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My 8-year-old helped me decorate these amazingly simple cupcakes for her birthday this year.  I simply made cupcakes with a boxed cake mix and frosted them with store-bought frosting.  I chose to make lemon cake with cream cheese icing, but feel free to choose whichever flavors you like best.  Then my daughter used M&Ms to create the cute flower on each one.  We were really pleased with the results and it was a fun and simple activity to do together!

Ingredients:

  • 1 box cake mix + ingredients to make it
  • frosting (from grocery store or homemade)
  • M&Ms candies

Directions:

Make cupcakes according to package directions.  Let cool.  Frost.  Use M&Ms to make a flower on each cupcake.  Enjoy!

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Valentine’s Day Candy Bark

For some odd reason I decided to make our bark in a pie pan.  Bad idea–stick to waxed paper on a jellyroll pan.  I love how the salty pretzels help offset the sweet of the candy bark.  Once the candy has melted, you’ll want to work quickly so that it doesn’t set before you place your decorations on it.  Thanks to Wilton for the original idea!

Valentine’s Day Candy Bark

Ingredients:

  • white candy bark
  • chocolate candy bark
  • pretzel twists
  • M&Ms
  • sprinkles

Directions:

Line jellyroll pan with wax paper.  In microwave safe bowl, melt white candy bark according to package directions.  Spread over wax paper in thin layer.  Lightly place pretzels on white bark as desired.  Melt 1/4 to 1/3 package of chocolate candy bark according to package directions.  Carefully spoon into openings of pretzels, covering pretzel so that it resembles a chocolate heart in the center.  Place M&M or desired candy in middle of pretzel hearts.  Decorate white bark with sprinkles.  Leave at room temperature or put in cool place to harden.  Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

Buckeyes

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We absolutely love Buckeyes!  They are a family Christmas tradition and the holidays just aren’t complete without this peanut-buttery treat on the table.  This year my niece made them and she did an excellent job!

Buckeyes

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 C. crunchy OR creamy peanut butter
  • 3 C. Rice Krispies cereal
  • 3 C. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 lb. paraffin wax
  • Lg. Hershey bar or other melting chocolate

Directions:

In lg. bowl, mix together butter, peanut butter, cereal, and powdered sugar.  Melt chocolate and wax together in double boiler.  Form peanut butter mixture into balls, dip in chocolate to cover, and place on wax paper to harden.

Maple Walnut Fudge

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My husband is not a fan of chocolate fudge, so we like to try out alternate fudge recipes to please his palate.  This one has earned a thumbs-up from the husband!  I love the maple taste and it pairs wonderfully with the nuts.  If you don’t have walnuts, you can substitute another nut.  We used pecans for this batch.  Also, since some of us don’t like nuts in fudge, I just put the pecan half on top and leave it out of the mixture altogether.  That way it can be picked off the top and everybody is accommodated.  I can’t find the original source of this recipe.

Maple Walnut Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 2 C. sugar
  • 1 C. evaporated milk
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 C. mini marshmallows
  • 3 C. white chocolate chips
  • 1 C. chopped walnuts, or nut of choice (optional)
  • 3 tsp. maple extract
  • 50 walnut halves (optional)

Directions:

In lg. saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, milk, and butter.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Let boil 5 minutes at 236-238 degrees F (soft-ball stage).  Remove from heat and quickly stir in marshmallows, white chocolate, chopped walnuts, and maple flavor.  Spread in a foil-lined 9×13″pan.  Top with walnut halves.  Chill 8 hours or overnight.  Cut around lg. walnut pieces to serve.

Tip: If the mixture doesn’t get hot enough, it will not set right.  It will still be delicious, just not firm like fudge.

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Graveyard Cake

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My son requested that we make this totally tubular Graveyard Cake from the Betty Crocker Halloween Cookbook.  The thing I like best about this type of cake is that it doesn’t depend on stellar frosting skills.  As long as you can get a basic coating of frosting on there, the rest is fairly simple.  It’s just a matter of assembling the different components and arranging them on the cake.  This is my favorite way of decorating cakes.

Graveyard Cake 4The chocolate trees are made from melted chocolate bark, while the headstones are Nutter Butters with “RIP” piped on in the same chocolate.  I like how the chocolate bark works really well for making nice lettering.  It doesn’t look sloppy at all.

Graveyard Cake 5These are all the graham cracker pieces that we used for the little house/shack.  You may end up breaking a few crackers as you try to cut them, so plan to have some extras on hand.

Graveyard Cake 6Here is the assembled house.  I ended up cutting the side pieces too short, so I just cut another little piece to patch the hole.  No problem since it’s supposed to look dilapidated anyway.  I reserved some of the green frosting to hold the house pieces together.

Graveyard Cake 3I love how the trees turned out.  Another thing you could do is break off the tree so that it looks like a dead tree stump.  That looked quite realistic, too.

Graveyard Cake 2A few more of the details: chocolate graham cracker walkway, candy pumpkin and Reeses Pieces decorations, and gravestones spread about.  We forgot the crushed chocolate graham cracker crumbs around the headstones to look like dirt.

I hope you have fun making your own graveyard cake!  Post a link below so I can see how yours turned out!

Jelly Belly® Candy Giveaway Winner!

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Ba da da baaaa!  It’s time to announce the official winner of the Jelly Belly® Candy Giveaway, sponsored by Moms Just Want To Have Fun!

Here is what the lucky winner will receive:

  • 1 lb. bag of Belly Flops® Jelly Beans
  • 6.75 oz. Sunkist® Fruit Gems Gift Bag
  • 2.1 oz. bag of Harry Potter™ Jelly Slugs
  • 1.2 oz. box of Harry Potter™ Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Bean
  • 0.55 oz. Harry Potter™ Chocolate Frog

And the prize winner is: Rachel B.!  Congratulations!  Your prize will be delivered within the next couple of days.

Thank you to all who participated!  I think this giveaway went well and now that I know what I’m doing, I look forward to hosting the next one.

SweeTARTS Soft & Chewy Ropes Review

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We had the opportunity to sample a new candy from SweeTARTS–Soft & Chewy Ropes in cherry punch flavor.  I received this free sample from Smiley360 to provide a review.  My opinions are 100% my own.

The kids and I all liked them.  The flavor is like a tangy cherry and the filling is fairly soft.  Overall the texture and flavor work very nicely together.  It’s like eating licorice, but a little different at the same time.  They’re not as hard as traditional licorice and have a stronger fruity flavor.

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We did some silly stuff with our candy–like trying to roll it from our foreheads down to our mouths (did not succeed!), balancing it on our fingers, and making it into a heart.  These would make great favors for a child’s birthday party!

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Have you tried this candy yet?  What did you think of it?

Jelly Belly® Candy Giveaway!!

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One of the fun parts about blogging that I’ve been looking forward to mucho much is hosting giveaways.  This is my first one and I am so excited about it!!

I wanted my first giveaway to be something that my own family enjoys.  Jelly Belly® candy fits that bill perfectly.  Now, I’m not saying this is a prize that’s going to help you with healthier living.  What I am saying is that this is a prize you will enjoy immensely!

For your snacking pleasure, we’re giving away one grand prize which includes:

  • 1 lb. bag of Belly Flops® Jelly Beans
  • 6.75 oz. Sunkist® Fruit Gems Gift Bag
  • 2.1 oz. bag of Harry Potter™ Jelly Slugs
  • 1.2 oz. box of Harry Potter™ Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Bean
  • 0.55 oz. Harry Potter™ Chocolate Frog

I encourage you to join the giveaway through the rafflecopter.com link below and let your friends know about it so they can enter, too!  The winner will be announced on Sunday, April 19.  Check the giveaway for the complete terms.  Happy spring to all of you and may the most bodacious person win!

ENTER HERE — Jelly Belly® Candy Giveaway

P.S.  I’ve already got my kids thinking about what we should feature in the next giveaway.  So far I’ve heard canned vegetables, watermelon, ground beef and chicken.  I don’t think we’ve hit on a winner yet.  😉

Japan Crate Review # 1

IMG_6204 crAnother food box review!  Food box reviews are my favorite boxes to do.  It might have something to do with the fact that eating is one of my favorite things to do–especially sweet things!

IMG_6206 crOpening this box is fun–your eyes are hit by a wallop of color.  There was also a mini comic included.  The box was quite full!

IMG_6208 crAnd here’s a look at all the yummy goodies included in the box!  Everything was sweet, except for the squid snack.  It also included a drink.  The drink was like a weak apple soda.  You may recognize Pocky, as I did, but that was the only thing I recognized.  All of it was yummy, but my favorite thing was the Everyburger–delicious!  We also got a few candy kits, where you mix up a concoction and let it set.  We still haven’t made any of those yet, but I’ll post a few pics once we do.  I can’t really tell you about the candies and treats because their packaging is in Japanese.

Cost: $30/month

Shipping: Included

Final Thoughts: We enjoyed this box a lot!  The sizes were nice, not just little bitty packages.  It was neat to get a drink, too.  I feel like it was worth the $30 to get a box full of quality Japanese treats.  If you’ve never had Japanese candy before, you should give it a try at least once in your life.  Have a little fun!

Check it out for yourself: Japan Crate

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Shikibox Review # 1

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This is my first ever Japanese candy/snack box, and I was majorly excited to try it out!  Shikibox provides a monthly box of Japanese treats, with a few different options.  I got the trial box which is a sampling of the “Green Tea Set” and “Candy & Snack Box”.  The box that I got can only be ordered one time, as it’s a sample box.  I’m sure they want you to get a regular box once you’ve decided that you like the snacks.  The other boxes are bigger than the sampler box that I got.

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This is what the box looked like.  It wasn’t completely full, either.  There was a short information sheet included.

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And here’s everything that was included!  Now honestly, I don’t know what each item is called or any other information about them.  Some of the snacks had U.S. counterparts and some did not–gumballs, chocolate, gummies.  The overall conclusion we came to was that most of us liked all of the items.  There were a few things that were more of an acquired taste, or they only appealed to one or two people.  There was a dried fish snack that only Daddy liked.  There were also a couple of salty/sweet crackers that the kids didn’t care for.  There were a few snacks that I wished we had more of because they were sooo good.

Cost: $13/one time trial (other box options: Battle Box – $20/month, Green Tea Set – $50/month, Candy & Snack Box – $30/month)

Shipping: Included

Final Thoughts: I liked the variety of items we received.  It was a good mixture of salty and sweet.  A couple of the items were seafood flavored.  If you don’t like that kind of flavor, just be aware that it will be included.  Our family of seven (plus a neighbor kid) sat down to sample all the goodies, so we went through the entire box in one sitting.  If you were to sample them at a more relaxed pace and with fewer people, it would last a lot longer.  The cost was not unreasonable, especially considering how far the box had to travel.  I think this was a great sampler box to get and that it was a good cost for what we got.  It helped to introduce us to some Japanese candy and snacks that we will now want more of!

Check it out for yourself: Shikibox