Pineapple Whip Cupcakes bring all the flavor of the frozen treat to cupcake form. You’ll feel like you’re at the best place on Earth all over again!

Pineapple Whip Cupcakes Image

School is back in session, and I’m not sorry.

I love the summer vacation, I do. I cherish the lazy days by the pool and the long, late nights eating ice cream and running through the sprinklers. But there comes a point late July where something inside me just breaks and I desperately need for the kids to GO. TO. SCHOOL.

“Mom, what are we doing today? Mom, what’s for lunch? Mom, can we go get tacos? Mom, what would you do if you were born with robot arms instead of regular arms? Mom, if you could only eat one candy for the rest of your life, what would it be? Mom, how much longer will you be in the bathroom?”

“Mom? Why do you look so mad?”

Pineapple Whip Cupcakes Photo

Every time I celebrate the start of the school year, there are those few moms who feel the need to tell me that they NEVER get tired of their kids and DREAD the first day of school. Oh the horror! Seven straight hours of silence!

To that I say, good for you. Truly, I am envious. You obviously possess a special talent which I clearly lack. But I have made peace with this. We are all blessed with particular skills, mine being the ability to consume record-worthy quantities of Twizzlers in a single sitting and knowing the words to every 90’s hip hop song ever written.

So you understand that it would be asking too much to also be blessed with the ability to tolerate children 24 hours a day, every day, for over a month.

Pineapple Whip Cupakes Picture

To celebrate the end of summer vacation, I made pineapple whip cupcakes. They are light and creamy and perfect for parties! And if you’re the type of mom who is sad about the start of school, consider these a consolation prize. A cupcake eaten in peace has no calories in it, I checked!

You can also find this Pineapple Whip Cupcakes recipe on Food Fanatic, where I am a regular contributor of all things sweet.

Enjoy and have a great day!

First Day of Preschool Picture

I woke her up yesterday morning and got her dressed for her first day of Preschool. I had an adorable chambray tunic with neon stitching (an Aztec pattern — so on trend) pulled over her head, when she looked down and burst into tears.

“Baby, what’s wrong?”

“I don’t WIKE IT!!”

I briefly considered trying to talk her into it, then quickly changed my mind. I remember wearing clothes I didn’t like as a child, and how it felt. How helpless it feels to be unhappy with your appearance. How badly I want my kids to feel confident and comfortable with the self that they present to the world.

“Darling, what would YOU like to wear?” Without hesitation she shouted, “A DRESS!!”

Sighing, I went to her closet. I am behind on laundry and knew that the options would be slim. I noticed Lucy’s Minnie Mouse dress that I special ordered from Etsy to wear on her 2nd birthday. I don’t think she’s worn it in at least 6 months. I pulled it off the hanger and showed it to Lucy. She grinned from ear to ear.

I helped her put it on, remembering the barrette and necklace I had bought to go with. This was even better — my girl loves nothing more than a great accessory. We got her ready, ate a quick breakfast, and strapped on her Frozen backpack.

First Day of Preschool Image

On the way to school, I reminded Lucy that we’d be taking her into class and then daddy and I would leave. “But I’ll be back later,” I reminded her. “And what will I say when I see you?” “HI LUCY!! I MISSED YOU!!” Lucy shouted. “Lucy, there might be friends in your class who are crying. Be brave and don’t cry. Nicely ask them to go play.” “YES!” Lucy said, excited. “PLAY TOYS!!!”

On the way to school, Lucy noticed that her nail polish had chipped off her nails. “Mommy, Lucy needs red nails again.” “Okay baby,” I replied. “Mommy will paint them this afternoon.”

“NO!! Lynne can try!!” Lucy was adamant about this. I started thinking about Lynne, the woman who has done my manicures every other week for 5 years. I made my first appointment with her when Jon David started Kindergarten. I was sad and decided to do something for myself that I hadn’t been able to do with a kid at home. This was when I was certain that I DID NOT want more kids. And now here I am, taking my baby girl to preschool and she’s asking for the very same Lynne to do HER nails. Life is just so funny.

We walked Lucy in. She begged me to carry her to class, wiggling out of my arms as soon as we stepped in the doorway to her classroom. I showed her her cubby, where we stored her blanket, backpack, and lunch box. I asked for a kiss and she planted a big one on my lips. I said, “remember, I’m leaving now?” “Okay! Bye! Yuv you!!”  She smiled all the way up to her eyeballs as Miss Cherry placed a name tag on her dress. Her teacher is gentle and loving and Lucy already adores her. It’s so reassuring. My husband and I leave her standing in the middle of class, smiling and trying to decide what to play with first.

I’m definitely not crying.

My eyeballs are just sweating a little.

The perfect No Bake Cookie Recipe!! If you’ve ever struggled with getting these to set up correctly, this is the recipe for you!! Perfect, no fail cookies every time.

Perfect No Bake Cookies Picture

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard about this, but Arkansas has pretty much the worst weather ever.

We have three seasons — Hot, Wet, and Tornado-ey, but sometimes you’ll get a combo like Wet and Tornado-ey or Hot and Wet, which are especially wonderful.  I’d say that the weather and the abundance of men’s t-shirts with the sleeves cut off are probably my least favorite things about living here, but don’t tell anyone I said that. These men here get really passionate about their right to bare arms.

Get it??

But seriously, though.

Perfect No  Bake Cookies Photo

This month the temperatures hovered around 100 degrees, which is totally ridiculous. Obviously this means that I never go outside because sweat ruins my make-up, and I need to put a little bit of distance between myself and Ulta for awhile. Because when my husband found out how many Reward Points I had, he almost had a heart attack.

I tried to tell him that by getting so much free stuff I was actually SAVING US MONEY, but he was so busy trying to calculate how much I had to spend in order to accumulate that many points that he wasn’t even hearing me.  He was all, “why can’t you just do like you used to and get your make up from Walmart” and I explained,”I’m older now and old skin needs special stuff. CoverGirl only works for 20 year olds, EVERYONE KNOWS THIS.”

That is actually completely untrue, but I have found that with boys, if you speak with enough conviction, they’ll usually assume you are right. It helps to throw out phrases like, “We JUST talked about this the other day,” or “Remember, we saw that lady talking about it on the Today Show last Tuesday?” Another good one is, “What do you mean? It was YOUR IDEA to begin with!!” Trust me, if you say it like you know what you are talking about, you can get away with practically anything.

So like I said, it’s hot here, hot kitchens ruin my make up, and I’m trying to lay low on buying new make-up for awhile, so No Bake Cookies are a good call.

Also?  They’re delicious.

Now — I realize that No Bake Cookies are nothing new, but I’ve heard enough No Bake Cookie horror stories that I feel that we should go over this carefully. If in the past, your cookies have remained gloppy, shiny, and refused to set up, this recipe will change your life. Follow my instructions exactly (EXACTLY!!) and you’ll have the perfect No Bake Cookie!

Perfect No Bake Cookies Image

You’ll love these, I promise!

No Bake Cookies

Prep Time: 7 minutes

Total Time: 7 minutes

Yield: 20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 cups QUICK oats

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, butter, milk, and cocoa. (HAVE YOUR OTHER INGREDIENTS MEASURED OUT AND READY NEARBY) Stir constantly and bring to a ROLLING boil. By rolling boil, I mean that the ENTIRE surface of the pan contents should be steadily bubbling. Once this begins, set your timer and boil for exactly ONE MINUTE, stirring the whole time.
  2. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and peanut butter until peanut butter is melted. Add quick oats and stir with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes until the mixture begins to cool and thicken. Do NOT skimp on this step. Stirring for 2 minutes allows the oats to soften and cook just slightly in the hot liquid.
  3. Drop by spoonfuls on wax paper and allow to firm and cool for an hour or so.

Not only are these cookies amazingly good (one of my very favorites), but you can roll one up and trick your kid that it’s poop!

Enjoy!

Looking for simple, family friendly weeknight meals? I’ve got a meal plan and a printable grocery list!

Meal Plan 8/24
Happy Saturday!!

We are spending the day with the kiddos at Silver Dollar City in Branson. We thought we’d take the opportunity while the weather was cooler and the Summer crowds had dwindled down. It’s nice to have an amusement park within a reasonable driving distance! Lucy has never been the greatest car rider, even with a DVD player and a zillion gadgets.

It has been a nice, quiet week at home. I love the Summer, but I am so ready for Fall!! It’s never too early for Halloween candy, is it? Fun sized bars just taste better.

Here’s what looks good this week. Don’t forget to print out a free grocery list. Everything you need is already filled out for you.

If any of the meals on this week’s plan don’t sound good to you, be sure to check out previous week’s meal plans. Lots of yummy and simple ideas to choose from!

Chicken Quesadillas Picture Monday: Chicken Quesadillas

The whole family loves these and they are SO easy to make!

**photo credit

Enchilada Casserole Picture Tuesday: Enchilada Casserole

We love this and it makes great leftovers!

**photo credit

Chicken Legs Picture Wednesday: Baked Chicken Legs

This is one of my favorite recipes ever!! So inexpensive and so good.

**photo credit

Barbacoa Beef Picture Thursday: Barbacoa Beef

Another easy, versatile recipe! This is great served over rice.

**photo credit

Salsa Verde Chicken Friday: Salsa Verde Chicken

This is like a spicier version of chicken and dumplings. I love it. So comforting and good.

**photo credit

 

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend!