Dessert Before Dinner

Dessert Before Dinner

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Springtime Candy Haystack Nests

My husband and my boy love to watch a show called “Agents of Shield” together. It’s their special “boys only thing” they do.

When they are having their boy time my daughter, Ciera and I usually take off for another room in the house, and do girlie stuff together. We usually craft, paint nails, bake (sometimes all of the above!) but tonight we did something a little different.

First we went back into my room, snuggled up on my bed together, and I listened to the sweet sweet sound of her read to me- in Spanish to boot!! (thanks to her Spanish immersion program at school!)

SO amazing to hear her read. So crazy how fast she has learned this year.

After she read to me for a while we decided to make a fun, easy, no bake springtime treat-

Springtime Candy Haystack “Nests”-

You’ll need:

1 package of chow mein noodles

1 cup of butterscotch chips

1/2 cup peanut butter

and some mini Cadbury eggs for garnish

Place 1 cup of butterscotch chips and 1/2 cup peanut butter together in a large microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir.

Now, add 4 cups of the chow mein noodles to the chip/peanut butter mixture

and drop by the spoonful (mine were very large spoonfuls) onto wax paper. Top with 3 different colored Cadbury eggs.

Pop them into your freezer for just a few minutes for them to set.

How CUTE are these?!?! They would be perfect for a fun Easter brunch dessert. And seriously, they are too easy to make! Have fun, and please, get the kids involved. Ciera did almost all of this project herself, and was just thrilled when they were complete.

PS- Here’s a little hint- you can make these ahead of time, and pop them into your freezer until you are ready for them. They freeze perfectly! ENJOY!!


Etnies Kids Discount For OC Family Readers!

Hi guys,

Remember my blog post about my new favorite shoes?

Click here to read it.

Well, i’m so excited to share a special coupon code for you on the purchase of regular priced kids items.

The etnies Kids code will give you guys a 25% off discount on Kids products. This code is active until July 1, 2014

Go ahead and do your littles a favor and try out mine and my kids favorite shoes at a discounted price! Your kids feet will be very happy!

Just enter the code ETNIESKIDS4U when purchasing!

Campground To Kitchen: Simple S’more Bites

One of my favorite activities to do with my family is go camping. I love everything that goes along with camping — the sounds of nature, the hikes, the campfires and of course the s’mores!

I’ve had one too many desperate times at home, craving a s’more and trying — yet failing miserably– to make one in the microwave. The marshmallow blows up (literally!) making a huge mess or turns out to be hard as a rock. Yep! You know exactly what I’m talking about if you’ve ever attempted this microwave s’more making method.

Well, I’m happy to announce that I’ve found a new EXTREMELY easy way of making the perfect s’more at home, and all it takes is 3 ingredients!

Here ya go:

You’ll need graham crackers, jumbo sized marshmallows and a bag of Hershey’s Kisses.

Start off with half of a graham cracker

Next, you will take a jumbo marshmallow and cut it in half

Place one half of the marshmallow on the graham cracker, sticky side down

Place all your graham cracker/marshmallows on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and pop them into the broiler for approxamately 3 minutes. You’ll want to keep a very close eye on these, as they start to brown super fast!


Now take your unwrapped Hershey’s Kisses and place one on top of each marshmallow (while the marshmallow is still hot from the broiler)

And there you have it- the yummiest, cutest, simplest s’mores bites.

S’mores perfection at home!

Happy Feet- My new favorite shoes!

My kids and I have fallen in LOVE with the latest shoes from Etnies.

I was SO happy when I had received them in the mail.

I had ordered 3 pairs of shoes, one for each of my kids and one- of course, for myself. I ran outside to go grab the package, and couldn’t believe how lightweight the box was! I thought to myself- there’s NO WAY 3 pairs of shoes could be inside this box. Well, much to my surprise, there was!

How CUTE are these?!?

My kids have now neglected all of their MANY other pairs of shoes, and will only wear these Etnies ones. That’s totally ok with me, they are adorable, good for their feet, and weigh absolutely nothing. In fact, Charlie went to go grab his “other” shoes this morning before school, and complained about how heavy they were!

Had to take a photo of myself with the shoes =) They are perfect for working out, and taking walks. Also, for every pair that you purchase, Etnies will plant a tree, so your doing something good– not only for your feet, but for the environment!

Read about the Etnies SCOUT  shoes here:

The New etnies Kids Scout Delivers Style and Comfort, Plus Helps Plant More Trees on the Planet

March 5, 2014 (Lake Forest, CA) – The new etnies Kids Scout shoe makes its debut in four colors this month across the nation. The Scout offers lightweight, flexible qualities as well as comfort and style, and feels almost as weightless as the air it breathes. Yes, breathes! Its thin, all-mesh uppers lets air in and out keeping kids’ feet cool while kicking moisture and stinky smells out.  The combination of breathability, STI Evolution Foam™ midsole and the Ortholite outsole, which features a patented salt-based antimicrobial that fights against fungus, bacteria and odor, makes this shoe perfect for your kiddo to hit the ground running.

etnies Scout in Black, Pink/White, Red/Black and Navy/Orange, $44.99, is now available in select retailers across the U.S and available on

The Scout’s side heat transfer rap bar and elastic heel support reinforce comfort and versatility. Made by a sustainable, no-waste molding process, the shoe is a new addition to etnies’ Buy A Shoe Plant A Tree (BASPAT) initiative. For every pair of Scouts sold, a tree is planted with the Trees for The Future Foundation in Brazil.  etnies’ BASPAT reforestation program helps kids see that their happy feet means a happy forest.  For more info, visit:
For more information on etnies Kids, visit or stay connected on Pinterest (


About etnies:
Established in 1986, etnies is the first skateboarder-owned and operated global action sports footwear and apparel company. etnies not only pushed the envelope by creating the first pro model skate shoe, but it pioneered technological advances  and changed the face of skateboard footwear forever. Today, etnies’ vision, led by owner and skateboarder Pierre-André Senizergues, is to remain the leading action sports company committed to creating innovative products that provide the most style, comfort and protection possible.  etnies stays true to its roots by sponsoring world class skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, moto x, BMX and auto teams and continues its dedication by giving back to each of these communities.  For additional information, visit


Happy feet, Happy Forest!

If you try these shoes out, I’d love to hear what you think of them. I just know you’ll love them as much as I do.

Homemade Essential Oil Play Dough!

My daughter, Ciera has been on a HUGE play dough kick lately. All she wants to do is play with the stuff, and look up videos on You Tube about play dough, and all the new things she can learn to make with it.

Well, our canned play dough was nearing the end of it’s life (due to being left out, lids not being closed.. You know the story!) I was about to take off to Target to go replenish her stock, but then I remembered seeing a great recipe on Pinterest for homemade play dough made with essential oils. I looked it up this morning, realized I had all the ingredients at home, and figured why not give it a try?!?

It gave us a fun activity to work on together, and of course Ciera was absolutely thrilled!

Here’s the recipe, I hope you’ll give it a try with your littles!

Homemade Essential Oil Play Dough:

2 cups of flour

2 cups of colored water (just add a few drops of food coloring into the water, stir)

1 cup of salt

1 TBSP. olive or vegetable oil

1 TSP. cream of tartar

approx 8 drops of essential oil OR extract of your choice (I used doTerra’s grapefruit essential oil)

* Add all ingredients together in a non-stick pot  (other then the oil/extract), cook over low heat until the mixture forms a ball.



Remove play dough ball from pot, let it cool for a good 10 minutes. Add in your essential oil/extract and have your child knead the oil into the dough. They’ll LOVE doing this!


Have fun and play away!

Brownies with Peanut Butter Cup Icing

This recipe comes to you from my good friends over at Tradernation on instagram.

It is absolutely GENIUS and too good not to share with you!

Take this:

Bake the brownies according to package directions.

(licking the brownie batter off the spoon is part of the package directions, right?!? Kidding, I don’t recommend it, especially because it has raw eggs, but it’s oh so good!)


When the brownies are done baking, remove them from the oven and take these:

And spread them all over the warm brownies. I used about 3/4 of the package of PB cups.  It turns out the to be the most perfect, decadent icing. YUMM!

Hope you enjoy this easy peasy recipe.

And, if you happen to love Trader Joes (like I do) and happen to have an instagram, go follow tradernation, for more great products and recipe ideas!


Great Grandma’s Fudge

Ohh this is a good one friends!

This recipe comes from my hubby’s Great Grandmother. I have absolutely no idea where she acquired this recipe, could be her own, could be a friends, could be out of a cookbook! All I know is that it’s amazing and I had to share it with you!

 3 Cups    ( 18 oz. )      Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

 1 Cup     Butter

 2 Cups   Miniature Marshmallows

 2 Teas.  Vanilla

 2 Cups   Coarsely Chopped Walnuts

 4 Cups     Sugar 

 1   12oz.  Can of Evaporated Milk

 Put the first 5 ingredients into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

 Combine Milk and Sugar in a large heavy pan.  STIR, slowly but
CONTINUOUSLY, bring to a boil over medium heat.  As soon as it comes to a
full rolling boil, cook it for 11 minutes.  NEVER STOP STIRRING!  A flat
wooden spoon works well to keep it from sticking or scorching at the bottom
of the pan.  At the end of 11 MINUTES pour the sugar/milk mixture over the
ingredients in the mixing bowl and stir until completely combined.  Pour
into a greased 9"x13" cake pan and chill for a few hours before cutting.
Store in a covered container in the fridge.

This fudge is so good, I'm enjoying it as I write this! Trust me, you gotta make it!

Mardi Gras at Pretend City!

Download mardi-gras%20Graphic.jpeg (367.1 KB)

Join Pretend City next Tuesday in celebrating Mardi Gras!

In honor of the new Cajun-themed Pretend Cafe exhibit opening, the Bayou Cafe, Pretend City will be hosting a family-friendly Mardi Gras celebration.  Kids will have the chance to make their own float to march in the Mardi Gras parade, decorate jazz masks, play with toy instruments along with the live jazz band, sample some Cajun food at the pretend cafe and walk in the confetti showered parade with colorful beads galore.

Sounds like a good time to me!

Mardi Gras parade begins at 12:30, next Tuesday March 4th. Hope to see you there!


Pretend City

29 Hubble, Irvine, CA 92618


OC’s BEST cookies on Amazon Local today!

Hi Guys!

Just wanted to let you all know that Donna B’s Bakery- Voted best cookies in OC are on Amazon Local deals today!

You get your choice of either 1 dozen cookies for $11 or 1 dozen mini cupcakes for $12. Awesome value… You don’t want to miss out on this sweet deal- I already got mine!

Click Here for the link to the deal.

And click here and here to read more about Donna B, and her award winning cookies!

Hurry and go get your Donna B’s deal!!

Essential Oil Infused Cake Pops

If you know me, then you know that I absolutely love my doTerra essential oils.

I’ve been using them for about a year now, slowly replacing many of my over the counter meds and other household products in exchange for these natural, pure and safe essential oils.

You guys probably never would have guessed that I just love desserts, and could pretty much live off them for the rest of my life like a day, maybe… haha. Well, leave it to me to create an essential oil infused dessert! I don’t just use my oils for medicinal and household use, no I love to bake with these oils and let me tell ya, I  created a very unique sweet treat!

I love that these oils are so pure that you can cook and bake with them. I had so much fun with these cake pops!

I chose 2 of my favorite oils: peppermint and wild orange.

For the peppermint cake pops I made a chocolate cake, and added 1 drop of oil- I repeat ONE drop of peppermint oil to the cake batter. The oils are SO extremely potent that all you need is a drop!

So bake the cake, remove from the oven. Let it cool. Then crumble it all up! Mix cake crumbs with approx 1 1/2 cups of frosting until the consistency looks almost dough-like. Then roll into cake balls approx 1 inch in size. Place cake balls on a wax lined cookie sheet, and pop them into the freezer for at least half an hour. Freezing the cake balls will allow them to be much much easier to work with when it comes time to dip!

To dip, I used Wilton Candy Melts-

You can find these at most craft stores in the cake decorating section, in a variety of colors. I used the green and orange colored candy melts. Melt  according to the package directions.

Take your cake pop stick (these are also found in the same section), dip just the tip into the melted candy melts, and stick it into your cooled cake balls. This will act as a “glue” so the sticks won’t fall out. Let them harden for a few minutes. Now dip your cake balls into the candy melts.

I garnished them with some pretty purple sugar, and wrapped them up.

For the wild orange cake balls, I went about it a little differently:

Make your regular cake batter this time and don’t add any essential oil yet. Bake your cake, cool, crumble, add frosting, roll into balls, freeze… you get it- exactly the same way I made the peppermint cake balls. Now melt your candy melts, and this time add 1 drop of the wild orange essential oil to the melted candy melts. This will make the candy melts taste like an orange creamsicle, yumm!

Both flavors of cake pops turned out great, but I found that the orange infused ones had more flavor. I think this is due to the oil being placed into the melted candy melts rather then the cake batter. It gives it a more intense flavor!

I brought these cake pops to an “Intro to essential oils” class taught by my friend Jen Broas (also known as Crash Test Mommy, here on OC Family) The class was hosted by Suz Broughton- Alive In Wonderland, and I think they were a hit!

I love this photo Suz took of Jen and I with the cake pops. Such a fun night!

I’d love to hear from you if you try making some of your own cake pops with essential oils, if you use essential oils… I’d just love to hear from you! Happy Baking!