Beauty & the Beast Cupcakes are the cutest way to celebrate that classic movie that’s been reinvented. We sense a viewing party in your future!

Beauty and the Beast Cupcakes Image Please tell me you’ve seen the new live-action Beauty and the Beast!

It’s probably one of the most magical movies I’ve ever seen, partly because Belle is my favorite Disney princess of all time (I’m a sucker for a girl who loves books and cookbooksduh) and partly because the costumes and setting are sheer perfection.

We took the kids on opening weekend because I’d never hear the end of it otherwise. And also because I kind of couldn’t wait. Who could?

The previews were only playing every five seconds for seventeen months. Hi Emma Watson, you’re kinda amazing.

Beauty and the Beast Cupcakes Picture

I was slightly concerned that Lucy would get frightened during the more intense scenes, but of course I had grossly underestimated her. My precious four-year-old was mesmerized by the Beast, raising her fist and cheering during his fighting scenes.

At several points, I had to ask her to take it down couple of notches, lest she terrify the precious girls in front of us dressed in their very best Belle ballgowns. Bless it all, we are always those people, but I’m really not sorry. Life is hard and strong girls get ahead.

As you might expect, the music was probably my favorite thing about the entire movie. There were a few new songs that are not in the original animated version, but the classics we love were even better than ever.

The “Be Our Guest” scene was everything I could have hoped for and we all sang along, except for my husband who was asleep with his mouth hanging open.

I don’t know what it is about that man and movies, but he just can’t hang.

If you’ve considered seeing the movie but haven’t made it yet, GO! There are some films that really shine on the big screen, and this is one of those films.

The scenery is so rich and the costumes are so intricate and perfect – it really needs to be seen in all of its glory.

And don’t be surprised if your princess walks out proclaiming the Beast as her favorite character of all. That hairy guy just has something about him.

Of course, I had to make Beauty and the Beast cupcakes! I decided that the Enchanted Rose would be the best option for a cupcake topper – relatively easy to pull off, but instantly recognizable.

Lucy absolutely loved them and immediately knew what they were, which I always consider a success. And bonus – the toppers are completely edible (and delicious).

Enjoy!

This Beauty and the Beast Cupcakes recipe can also be found on Food Fanatic, where I am a regular contributor of all things sweet. Enjoy and have a great day!

These Fruit Loop Cake and Frosting Pops are the funnest type of treat — on a stick!

Fruit Loop Cake and Frosting Pops Picture Lucy has recently become obsessed with the Spice Girls.

If we are being honest, this is probably my fault. But in my defense, the Spice Girls have truly stood the test of time and also “Wannabe” never fails to get the crowd going at Karaoke. But only if you do the British accents because obviously.

The only downside to Lucy’s recent obsession is attempting to explain why screaming “IF YOU WANNA BE MY WUVER YOU GOTTA GET WIF MY FRIENS” isn’t appropriate at Christian preschool. I’ve been sneaking cookies into her lunches and I let her bring lipgloss in her purse last week, so I’m on thin ice as it is. I swear this child is bound and determined to make sure I never win a single Parent of the Year award.

Which, by the way, there is no prize for. I would know because I’ve asked around. So take note overachievers — no extra credit for homemade quinoa protein snacks.

Fruit Loop Cake and Frosting Pops Photo

We are all big fans of cereal around here, the only problem being that we are not big fans of milk. What this means is that cereal exists simply as a snack food, which we consume by the handful like chips or popcorn.

As someone who is disgusted by the thought of drinking cow juice, I’d have to conclude that this is the only civilized way to eat cereal. But apparently there is a whole world out there who believes otherwise, and I fully intend to help them see the error of their ways.

Starting with these Fruit Loop Cake and Frosting Pops.

Fruit Loops Cake and Frosting Pops Image

These are the funnest little pops, perfect for stashing in the fridge or serving at a birthday party! Rounds of lemon cake topped with Fruit Loop buttercream are covered in vanilla candy coating and topped with crushed Fruit Loops. It’s cake and frosting in a portable pop and they are so fun to serve and to eat!

Trust me when I say that this is how you eat cereal.

Fruit Loop Cake and Frosting Pops

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 24

Serving Size: one pop

Ingredients

  • Cake:
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • Frosting:
  • 4 sticks salted butter, slightly softened
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 cups Fruit Loops cereal, crushed
  • 24 popsicle or cookie sticks
  • Topping:
  • 32 oz vanilla almond bark, melted
  • 2 cups Fruit Loops cereal, crushed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a half-sheet pan (rimmed -- like a jellyroll pan).
  2. In the bowl of your mixer, beat cake mix, sour cream, vegetable oil, and eggs on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat on medium speed for two minutes. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until the top springs back when lightly touched in the center. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Prepare frosting: In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter, heavy cream, and lemon extract on medium-low speed until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat on medium-high until smooth. With the mixer on low, slowly add the powdered sugar until just barely blended. Add crushed cereal and increase mixer speed to high. Beat for two minutes.
  4. Spread frosting evenly on top of cake. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight until very firm and cold.
  5. Using a 2-inch circle cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out rounds of the frosted cake and place them on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Melt vanilla candy according to package directions and insert top two inches of each popsicle stick in the melted candy. Insert through the center of each cake/frosting round. Place pan in the freezer for one hour to allow sticks to become firmly stuck in the cake.
  6. Carefully dip each pop in the vanilla candy, fully coating the cake and frosting. Gently shake off the excess candy and place the pop back on the wax paper-lined baking sheet. Top with crushed cereal. Let set until firm.
  7. Keep uneaten pops stored in the refrigerator.

Enjoy, friends!

My weekly meal plan is full of simple and family-friendly dinner ideas that are perfect for busy weeknights!

Happy Easter, everyone!

We went to church this morning and then I came home and made a fabulous brunch, drank forty-seven mimosas, and took a 3 hour nap. It was amazing and I’m not sorry.

The day was rainy until about dinnertime, when it dried up and the sun came out. We got Lucy a big girl bike for Easter — the kids have birthdays so close to Christmas that Easter is a good opportunity to get them an outdoor toy they’ve had their eye on. She looked so cute riding up and down the street with her unicorn helmet on. I loved it!

Here’s what we are having for dinner this week. As always, be sure to print out a grocery list for super simple shopping.

Have a great week!

Monday: Loaded Burrito Bowls

Meals like this are always a hit around here! My husband and I have been watching our calories, so I love that this makes it easy for us to adapt our meals to suit out own tastes/diet.

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Tuesday: Crispy Parmesan Chicken with Creamy Lemon Garlic Pasta

I am such a sucker for this meal! The crispy chicken, the creamy lemon sauce — it’s kinda perfect.

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Wednesday: Slow-Cooker Beef and Potato Au Gratin

This is a super-simple cozy recipe that I think the kids will love! Beef, potatoes, cheddar, chicken broth, and onions. What’s not to like?

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Thursday: Ranch Pork Chops and Potatoes Sheet Pan Dinner

Just five minutes to season and prep, then pop in the oven for 40 minutes. Done!

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Friday: Bacon Ranch French Bread Pizza

We all love french bread pizza, so I’m excited to try this version! Perfect with a crunchy green salad.

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My April Reading List has great options for all kinds of book lovers!

Apr17ReadingList

How is Easter this weekend?

I feel like I looked at my calendar last month and Easter was infinity away. And then I woke up this morning and realized that Easter is in just a few days and I haven’t even bought one plastic egg or one chocolate bunny. Whoopsies.

Strangely, Lucy is a super huge fan of the Easter bunny. We happened across him at the mall the other day and she totally fangirled. Of course, she was wearing a pizza sweatshirt and her hair was sticking out in a zillion directions, so NOT visiting was not an option. We stood in line and when it was her turn to sit on his lap, she basically collapsed into him, snuggling his fur and closing her eyes as if to fully absorb the whole experience.

Needless to say, the $20 photo I ordered is quite a sight to behold.

So here we are. April means April Reading List. I went with a variety this month, so there’s a little something for all tastes. Unless you’re into that 50 Shades stuff, in which case…I can’t help you.

ILikedMyLife

I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

I have been seeing this book on ALLLL the lists lately, and the reviews are phenomenal. One review said that this book “will keep you reading until the final delicious revelation.” I mean, I am all about delicious revelations, so it had to go on the list.

Via Amazon:

A story from debut author Abby Fabiaschi that is “as absorbing as it is illuminating, and as witty as it is heartbreaking.”

Maddy is a devoted stay-at-home wife and mother, host of excellent parties, giver of thoughtful gifts, and bestower of a searingly perceptive piece of advice or two. She is the cornerstone of her family, a true matriarch…until she commits suicide, leaving her husband Brady and teenage daughter Eve heartbroken and reeling, wondering what happened. How could the exuberant, exacting woman they loved disappear so abruptly, seemingly without reason, from their lives? How they can possibly continue without her? As they sift through details of her last days, trying to understand the woman they thought they knew, Brady and Eve are forced to come to terms with unsettling truths.

Maddy, however, isn’t ready to leave her family forever. Watching from beyond, she tries to find the perfect replacement for herself. Along comes Rory: pretty, caring, and spontaneous, with just the right bit of edge…but who also harbors a tragedy of her own. Will the mystery of Maddy ever come to rest? And can her family make peace with their history and begin to heal?

ColdSassyTree

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

Somehow I’d never even heard of this bestseller, but it came so highly recommended that I had to give it a try. I’m currently about halfway through…and it’s very good. It’s not particularly a page-turner, but it’s an all-around good and entertaining book. If you like classic Southern coming-of-age tales, I highly recommend this one.

Via Amazon:

The one thing you can depend on in Cold Sassy, Georgia, is that word gets around – fast. When Grandpa E. Rucker Blakeslee announces one July morning in 1906 that he’s aiming to marry the young and freckledy milliner, Miss Love Simpson – a bare three weeks after Granny Blakeslee has gone to her reward – the news is served up all over town with that afternoon’s dinner. And young Will Tweedy suddenly finds himself eyewitness to a major scandal.

Boggled by the sheer audacity of it all, and not a little jealous of his grandpa’s new wife, Will nevertheless approves of this May-December match and follows its progress with just a smidgen of youthful prurience. As the newlyweds’ chaperone, conspirator, and confidant, Will is privy to his one-armed, renegade grandfather’s second adolescence; meanwhile, he does some growing up of his own. He gets run over by a train and lives to tell about it; he kisses his first girl, and survives that too.

Olive Ann Burns has given us a timeless, funny, resplendent novel – about a romance that rocks an entire town, about a boy’s passage through the momentous but elusive year when childhood melts into adolescence, and about just how people lived and died in a small Southern town at the turn of the century. Inhabited by characters who are wise and loony, unimpeachably pious and deliciously irreverent, Cold Sassy, Georgia, is the perfect setting for the debut of a storyteller of rare brio, exuberance, and style.

TheHateUGive

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This YA novel was published just over a month ago and already has 180 five star reviews. I really love smart, thoughtful, important YA novels with a message and I’m really looking forward to diving into this one.

Via Amazon:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

 

Got any titles I need to add to my next list? Let me know!