Confessions of a Cookbook Queen http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com The cookbook queen, and lover of all things sweet, pink and sparkly Mon, 03 Aug 2015 01:45:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.6 Cotton Candy Layer Cake http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/cotton-candy-layer-cake/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/cotton-candy-layer-cake/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 01:45:16 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=11214 Cotton candy layer cake will make everyone smile. It’s full of sweet flavor and pretty pink color! I have heard rumors that cotton candy is meant for children, but I have difficulty believing this to be true. Because eating cotton candy is equivalent to eating heaping spoonfuls of straight up sugar....

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Cotton candy layer cake will make everyone smile. It’s full of sweet flavor and pretty pink color!

Cotton Candy Layer Cake Pic

I have heard rumors that cotton candy is meant for children, but I have difficulty believing this to be true. Because eating cotton candy is equivalent to eating heaping spoonfuls of straight up sugar. And while I’m sure that is a delightful experience, it is not very socially acceptable. And certainly isn’t conducive to good behavior.

It is with this in mind that I admit to stealing cotton candy from my son several years ago. Bless his heart, he headed off to first grade assuming that his precious cotton candy would be waiting for him when he got home from school. Little did he know that with HIS best interests at heart, I would consume the entire bag with no remorse.

It wasn’t good for him. And all that sugar was liable to send him into a spiral of undesirable behavior. I mean, think of what could have happened! I probably saved him from a life of crime. The fact that he’s not in prison right now is most likely thanks to me and my theft of his cotton candy.

Cotton Candy Layer Cake Photo

Also? It wasn’t even that good. And we all know that there is nothing worse than second rate cotton candy. I sacrificed my taste buds to save him the inevitable heartbreak of consuming mediocre cotton candy.

Moms are just selfless like that. Sometimes I read articles about the importance of moms doing things for themselves more often and I’m like you know, I think these people are on to something. Then I sneak in my child’s room after he falls asleep and raid his Easter basket/Christmas stocking/class party goody bag and feel strangely at peace about it. I feel like it’s what the experts would recommend. How can I take care of anyone else if I’m not taking care of me?

Cotton Candy Layer Cake Picture

If, by any chance, you are open to the idea of sharing cotton candy (I don’t necessarily recommend it), this cake is a great option. The pink cake is cotton candy flavored all the way through, and the cotton candy buttercream is perfectly creamy and sweet. I do not recommend topping it with cotton candy until time to serve, otherwise the moisture in the frosting will break down the cotton candy and cause it to shrink very pitifully.
Whether you choose to share or keep this cake all to yourself, you definitely need to MAKE IT! It’s so yummy and fun, it’s sure to bring a smile to your face.

You can also find this Cotton Candy Layer Cake recipe on Food Fanatic, where I am a regular contributor of all things sweet.

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Meal Plan {8/3 – 8/7} http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/meal-plan-83-87/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/meal-plan-83-87/#comments Sun, 02 Aug 2015 01:02:59 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=11208 Looking for simple, family friendly weeknight meals? I’ve got a meal plan and a printable grocery list! Happy Saturday! Oh my gosh, we are in the home stretch!! School starts in just a couple of weeks! Not that I’m counting. Except I am. Every second. This week the boys are out of town so I...

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

MealPlan83Happy Saturday!

Oh my gosh, we are in the home stretch!! School starts in just a couple of weeks!

Not that I’m counting. Except I am. Every second.

This week the boys are out of town so I’m taking advantage by whipping up some meals that they normally wouldn’t eat. Roasted veggies and beans and all the things!! Am I the only mom who misses out on a lot of her favorite foods because the husband/kiddos don’t like it?

My husband always tells me to make whatever I want and if he doesn’t like it it’s no big deal, but I just feel like it’s a waste of my time. The last thing I want to do is slave over a meal and watch it go uneaten.

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

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

Basic B Burrito Photo

Monday: Basic B Burrito

I’m nothing if I’m not a basic b, so this is perfect. Bean burritos are easy and one of my favorites!

**photo credit

spaghetti-all-amatriciana-1-7

Tuesday: Classic Spaghetti All’Amatriciana

This caught my eye on Facebook — it looks so good! And it can be whipped up in 30 minutes, which is a bonus.

**photo credit

Balsamic-Roasted-Veggies-1bWednesday: Balsamic Roasted Vegetables

This plus brown rice and I’m a happy girl!

**photo credit

Pulled Pork Frito Pie PictureThursday: Pulled Pork Frito Pie

ALL THE YES. I have pork in the freezer so this is perfect!

**photo credit

bbqchoppedsaladFriday: Barbeque Chopped Salad

I’ll use whatever Barbeque Pork I have leftover for this!

**photo credit

Enjoy and have a great week!

 

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The Bachelorette Recap {Kaitlyn Bristowe – Finale} http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/the-bachelorette-recap-kaitlyn-bristowe-finale/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/the-bachelorette-recap-kaitlyn-bristowe-finale/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 02:32:31 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=11190 I’m recapping the season finale of The Bachelorette with Kaitlyn Bristowe! I got a few messages last week about the fact that I skipped a recap — it was The Men Tell All episode, which is never very fabulous, so I decided to skip. The last thing I feel like doing is talking about men tal...

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I’m recapping the season finale of The Bachelorette with Kaitlyn Bristowe!

Kaitlyn Bristowe Photo

I got a few messages last week about the fact that I skipped a recap — it was The Men Tell All episode, which is never very fabulous, so I decided to skip. The last thing I feel like doing is talking about men talking about what they talked about. Snooze. No thanks.

Also, SUMMER. I am over it. My romance with no routine and lazy mornings and fun outings with the kids is over. At this point, I’m simply surviving.

Let’s recap what happened this week!!

The episode opened with both men telling us how in love they are with Kaitlyn. Just for once, I wish one of these dudes would pull a Becca and be all, “meh, I’m just not feeling it.”

Kaitlyn is with her family, preparing them to meet Nick. They are all familiar with Andi’s season and are shocked to hear that he’s baaaaaaaack. Then she casually mentions that she accidentally messed up and fell on his private parts naked while on a date.

Whoopsie.

Her family really doesn’t even flinch. I get the distinct impression that her mom runs the show, so they all seem to be taking their cues from her. And Mama Bristowe is not only unfazed, but looks like she time traveled right out of an 80’s soap opera. Like she flew in from Falcon Crest or something. So maybe that’s why she’s not bothered by the sexytime shenanigans.

Nick comes in to meet everyone, and as usual I can barely understand a thing he’s staying. He’s all mumbley, his hand is constantly over his mouth, and his five million bracelets seem to be blocking his mouth noises.

ENUNCIATE, NICK. YOU’RE ON TELEVISION.

Mama Bristowe pulls Nick aside and as to be expected, he manages to charm her socks right off. One second she’s calling him possessive and arrogant and the next minute she’s giggling and wiping away tears. Next Nick sits down with Kaitlyn’s dad, who seems WAY too eager and willing to give his blessing. Like for real, he’s basically jumping for the opportunity to make her someone else’s problem.

Nick and Kaitlyn make out outside and Nick goes home. Do they ever say goodbye like NORMAL people?

The next day is Shawn’s turn and the family is a little nervous that he won’t hold a candle to Nick. Clearly, they set the bar really low. Mama Bristowe is decked out in accessories that I’m PRETTY sure she bought at The Merry Go Round, and she has SOME QUESTIONS for Shawn.

Bless him, he walks in looking all adorable and Gosling-ey and has gifts for Kaitlyn’s sister’s kids. Oh good grief, just let me have him, Kaitlyn. You obviously don’t fully appreciate his charms.

Shawn does a heartfelt toast as they sit down to eat and it’s obvious that he knows how to take charge of a situation. Unlike a certain mumble mouth we all know. Mama Bristowe pulls him aside and asks him all the hard questions. Mainly, do you feel about Kaitlyn and Nick playing Monopoly naked all night that one time?

Shawn stays calm and collected the whole time and gives all the right answers. He then sits down with both parents and asks for Kaitlyn’s hand, which they both give their blessing. Eagerly.

Kaitlyn gives him a casual hug and kiss outside and he leaves. No make out session for Shawn.

The next day Nick and Kaitlyn have their date. He meets her on a yacht and they sip champagne. You know…just a normal date. Just once, I’d love to see them go to a TGI Friday’s on the finale. Maybe follow it up with a game of putt putt. You know how you decide if someone is husband material? Ask them to stop by Ulta “real quick” on your way home from a date, then spend an hour looking at eyeshadow while they sit on a chair bored out of their ever-loving minds. REAL LIFE.

Later that evening, Kaitlyn and Nick meet at his suite, where they kiss and snuggle and he gives her a photo and poem that he wrote for her in a frame. And this is when I notice tears streaming down my cheeks.

FINE, NICK. I maybe, sorta get the appeal. BUT JUST BARELY.

Kaitlyn tells us that she can see herself marrying Nick, they make out, date over.

The next day is Shawn’s date and it starts off terrible. The conversation is awkward and stilted and they are barely looking at each other. Maybe this is why Kaitlyn and Nick make out so much? It fills a lot of dead space. Poor Shawn is gulping red wine like it’s water and Kaitlyn said at one point, “Oh…I forgot what I was going to say…”

Finally (praise Jesus) they part ways and meet back up at his suite in the evening.

Things seem to be going better this go around, and Shawn seems confident and ready to get married. He gives her a gift, which is a jar full of mementos from EVERY SINGLE DATE they had. Now, what, NICK?? Your little poem isn’t so awesome anymore, is it?

Shawn, this is your last chance. I WILL MARRY YOU.

Kaitlyn leaves and she’s all “Oh I’m so confused, I’m in love with two guys, ” and I’m thinking, is this really that tough of a decision? When all else fails, measure their muscles, that’s what I say.

The next day Neil Lane shows up at the men’s suites to help them pick out a ring. Honestly, I always fast forward through this part. Good ol’ Neil always makes me feel uncomfortable. Like he should be on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills instead of The Bachelorette.

The next day the men nervously prepare for the rose ceremony. The first limo pulls up, and we all know that whoever steps out…is not The One. And what do you know — it’s Nick. He walks up to Kaitlyn, who is basically hyperventilating, and launches into his heartfelt speech about how in love with her he is.

Knowing that he’s going home, I’m waiting for her to stop him. I’m BEGGING her to stop him. I’m covering my face with my hands, peeking through a crack in my fingers, yelling, “STOP HIMMMMMM!!!!!!”

But no. Kaitlyn lets him KEEP GOING. She stands there with the worst expression on her face, like she’s holding back vomit, and only stops him when he starts to pull the engagement ring out of his pocket.

Poor Nick. I actually feel sorry for him. I’m actually confused. WHY DID SHE LET IT GO THIS FAR? Nick basically shuts down at this point, turns into a robot, and lets her walk him out to the limo. It’s awful. Like borderline unwatchable. But at the same time, strangely wonderful.

I know. I’m a terrible person. I really do feel for the guy. Good grief, he can’t catch a break. Nick heads off in the limo angry and bitter. And I honestly don’t blame him.

I’m sorry Nick. You never stood a chance against Shawn’s muscles.

Next Shawn shows up. He’s cute and confident and I suddenly forget that I was just crying for Nick moments earlier. He gives his speech, proposes, and Kaitlyn accepts. And so do I.

YES, NICK. YES!! WE WILL MARRY YOU!!!

Again, I find myself crying. HOW DO I ALWAYS GET SUCKED IN?? HOWWWWWW?????

Kaitlyn accepts the massive Neil Lane diamond happily, and they kiss and are just two crazy kids in love.

This was followed up by After the Final Rose, which was mostly a lot of talk. The main things we learned were:

Still no word on the next Bachelor. It seems pretty obvious that it will be Ben H., though. He’s definitely grown on me — I think there is a real chance of him coming out of it with a relationship that lasts.

Kaitlyn and Shawn are still happy and in love. I am really rooting for them and hope they make it. Popular opinion seems to be that they won’t, but I actually think they might have what it takes.

There is still no love lost between Shawn and Nick. They met up to kind of clear the air, but Nick was the only one who seemed willing to actually bury the hatchet. Shawn was still ready to kill him.

Nick told us that Kaitlyn told him that she loved him multiple times throughout the show. I guess you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. He’s all about humiliating women at the finale.

All said and done, I do feel for Nick. I think that Kaitlyn could have told him sooner (like maybe before he was pulling a ring out of his pocket) and I do think that his feelings for her were genuine. But I definitely think that she and Shawn are the best match and hope that it works out long term.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Should she have picked Nick? Who should be the next Bachelor? And will Kaitlyn and Shawn make it to the altar?

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Cookies and Cream Cupcakes http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/cookies-and-cream-cupcakes/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/cookies-and-cream-cupcakes/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:02:00 +0000 http://confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/queen/2011/04/cookies-and-cream-cupcakes/ These Cookies and Cream Cupcakes are full of surprises! From the cookie in the bottom to the cream filling, they are over the top delicious! I realize that I’m a fairly young person who doesn’t have a lot of life experience yet, but I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I have b...

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These Cookies and Cream Cupcakes are full of surprises! From the cookie in the bottom to the cream filling, they are over the top delicious!

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes Picture
I realize that I’m a fairly young person who doesn’t have a lot of life experience yet, but I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I have been through more than my share of stressful situations.

But I can assure you that nothing prepares a person for the stress of the morning drop-off/pick-up line at the elementary school.

Mostly because I don’t do well under pressure.

Neither, apparently…does my son.

Because somehow, this sweet boy who manages to be “finished with dinner” before I’ve even sat down at the table, promises that he washed his “ENTIRE body” after a two minute shower, and has his room “clean” in ten seconds needs NINETY EIGHT YEARS to open the door and get out of the car.

NINETY.

EIGHT.

YEARS.

And everyone knows that a second of real time equals almost an hour in line drop off time. So, I’d say that ninety eight years is actually being quite generous.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes Image I’ve even come up with a system that I never EVER stray from:

1.  I remind my son to unbuckle and put his backpack on right as we coast slowly towards the end of the car line. I say it all nice and friendly, but deep down, I’m already fighting the nervous tremors.

2.  I press the unlock button to make sure the door will be ready when it’s his turn to get out. Actually, I press it about nineteen times, just in case it didn’t work the first eighteen. Also, I just need something to do with my nervous, anxious hands.

3.  While we are waiting in line, I have my son give me an ADVANCE kiss and hug goodbye. This is important because kiss and hugs take precious time that I won’t have to waste once the drop off is actually in progress.

4.  As I pull to a designated kid-letting-out spot, I tell my son goodbye and that it’s time to get out.

And this is where things get tricky. My son now begins looking around the car. Does he already have his backpack on? Did he remember his lunch? Is there another mini muffin left in the bag on the dashboard? Is his iPod charged so he can play Minecraft when he gets out of school? Did he remember to have me sign some random form that he forgot about until THIS VERY MOMENT?

You know…all the important things he didn’t do while he sat on the couch watching cartoons all morning.

And that’s when people start judging me.

I know they are. I can feel their judgment glares boring holes in the back of my seat while my son slooooowly makes his way out of the car.

I’m holding up the line. I smile at my kid and ask him to please hurry I love you but people are judging us have a good day i love you hurry up hurry up hurry up what are you looking for why are you tying your shoe NOWWWW hurry up people are waiting oh my gosh I’m having a heart attack.

I’m begun researching other drop-off methods.

Could I buy a small plane and drop him with a parachute right in front of the school door?

A circus cannon? I mean, as long as there was like…a pile of feathers or something for him to land in once I shot him out it would probably be okay. Right?

Maybe dig a tunnel that leads from my yard to the inside of the school? I’d have to hire someone to dig the hole since I’m allergic to being outside and sweat, but surely it can’t be that expensive.

This is too stressful for me to even think about anymore.

Let’s talk about cupcakes, want to?

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes Photo

Yummy Cookies and Cream Cupcakes with fluffy marshmallow cream filling.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Ingredients

    Cupcakes:
  • 1 box Duncan Hines White Cake Mix
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • 24 whole Oreos
  • Filling:
  • Frosting:
  • 1 stick salted butter, slightly softened
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 7 oz jar marshmallow creme
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • Frosting:
  • 4 sticks salted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 15 Oreos, crushed VERY FINELY

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin tins with liners. Place an Oreo in the bottom of each liner.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer, combine cake mix, eggs, melted butter, and water. Mix on low speed for one minute. Increase speed to high and beat for a minute more. Fill liners 2/3 full and bake for about 20 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched.
  3. While cupcakes cool, make your filling.
  4. Prepare filling: In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter, vanilla and whipping cream on medium low speed. Add marshmallow cream and beat on medium until smooth. Slowly beat in powdered sugar until just barely mixed. Increase speed to high and beat for one minute, until fluffy. Frost cake and serve.
  5. Once cupcakes are cooled completely, fill the cupcakes. You can do this by cutting a small hole in the top of the cupcake and spooning the filling in, or putting the filling in a pastry bag with a bismarck tip and piping it in through the top of the cupcake.
  6. In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter, cream, and vanilla on medium-low until smooth and well-combined. Slowly add powdered sugar. Once powdered sugar is barely mixed in, increase speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes. Fold in crushed Oreos.
  7. Generously frost or pipe frosting on cupcakes and top with a mini Oreo if desired.

Notes

Store uneaten cupcakes in the refrigerator.

These are always a sure hit when I bring them anywhere — one of my most popular cupcake recipes. Enjoy!

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How I Limit My Son’s Screen Time http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/how-i-limit-my-sons-screen-time/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/how-i-limit-my-sons-screen-time/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 03:06:21 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=11161 Most parents I know struggle with how to implement screen time restrictions. Screen time has been a huge issue in my house for a very long time, too, and I have tried many different methods for keeping it in check. We finally came to a system that (mostly) works a couple of years ago, and it has mad...

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How I limit screen time photo

Most parents I know struggle with how to implement screen time restrictions.

Screen time has been a huge issue in my house for a very long time, too, and I have tried many different methods for keeping it in check. We finally came to a system that (mostly) works a couple of years ago, and it has made my life SO much easier. My son is a pretty good kid, but the constant struggle and begging and arguments…it got old. I was always feeling guilty and frustrated and trying to think of different things that might work!

So I am sharing what works for us, not because I am a parenting expert, but because I believe that parenting works best when we all share our struggles and triumphs with each other.

One thing I want you to know first is that I am very supportive of technology in my kid’s lives. I know that some parent’s think “the screen” is the root of all evil, but I strongly disagree.

1. Technology isn’t going anywhere, and our kids need to know how to use it. It is becoming more and more integrated into our day to day lives and that will only continue as our children grow up.

2. With boundaries and limits, screens can be a wonderful thing. I was able to start my own business from absolutely NOTHING, thanks to a computer and the internet. I now contribute to a good chunk of our household income thanks to…a blog. I have met my very best friend (Hi Shelly) and a truly wonderful network of women who act as a support system. Despite the distance, we are able to text, call, and maintain meaningful friendships that have truly changed my life and made my time as a work-at-home mom a lot easier.

3. Screen time, when given with limits, helps teach priorities and boundaries at an early age. Just like any other life lessons, our children need to learn to prioritize and use their screens in the right way. The last thing I want is to raise children who neglect their children or spouses because of a screen, or get involved in activities online that aren’t healthy or moral and negatively impact their families. The only way they learn this is by being TAUGHT.

4. As a mom, screen time is a wonderful bargaining chip for ME. Want chores done? Withhold screen time. Kiddo being disrespectful? Take AWAY screen time. Leverage always makes my life easier, and screen time is what he values.

How I limit screen time is VERY simple. I give my son SET HOURS that he is allowed to play his iPod, PlayStation, or laptop. It’s a very black and white system that is super simple for me to implement and super simple for him to UNDERSTAND. Unlike a time limit system (2 hours a day, etc), he’s not constantly nagging me about how much time he has left, did this or that count against his time, etc. Using the set hours system, I am also able to choose the time of day that is most convenient for him to be on his screen.

I do NOT change my schedule to accommodate his screen time. If for some reason we are busy doing something else one day and he’s not able to get on his electronics during the set hours, too bad. It doesn’t always work out and that is that.

I give Jon David more time during the Summer than I do during the school year. He doesn’t always have kids around to play with and it’s SUPER hot here in Arkansas, so playing outside in the afternoon is absolutely miserable. During the Summer he gets from 1pm – 5pm. This means that in the morning he has plenty of time to do his chores, play outside before the temperature peaks, run errands with me or go out for something fun before Lucy’s nap, and eat lunch. Around 1 is when I lay Lucy down and sit down to work for a couple of hours, so it’s a great time for him to be on his screen. Then he’s off his screen in time to help with dinner and hang out with us as a family when my husband gets home from work.

I do NOT allow him to have his screens (other than family TV time) in the evening for a few reasons.

1. It’s cooler out, so it’s a better time of day to swim or play outside with the neighbors, etc.

2. As he grows older, it’s a good habit to have. Evenings are when kiddos get into more trouble on the internet or phones. NO TECHNOLOGY IS ALLOWED IN BED. EVER. The end.

3. It encourages him to spend time with his family.

4. He has to read every night before bed. I do not want the temptation to be there to skip reading for his iPod.

5. Kids that have their devices at night generally stay up later or have more trouble winding down.

During the school year, Jon David is allowed screen time from 4pm – 6pm. This gives him time to have a snack and do chores and homework, and be off his screens in time to help with dinner and hang out with the family for the evening.

I can’t emphasize enough how much SIMPLER this system made my life. I’m no longer nagged constantly about his iPod or computer. He knows — if it’s not 1-5, he doesn’t get to play. And if he bugs me, he won’t get his time at all. It’s very black and white and very easy to keep up with. When it’s not his set hours, all of his screens are put away.

These limits are SO important. Without them, Jon David would probably never see his friends, play with his sister, or spend time giving us his UNDIVIDED attention. In return, his limits encourage me to prioritize my own screens and be present with my family. I do support technology in a kid’s life, but I also think that it can go overboard if not limited. Time away from screens encourages creativity and social interaction which is SO important.

I’d love to hear what has worked or hasn’t worked for you in regards to screen time.

Have a great day!

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