4th of July Cupcakes

If you’re looking for a fun and festive idea for your 4th of July dessert, look no farther!

A couple months ago, I started seeing Galaxy Cupcakes with fun hidden surprises inside on my Pinterest feed. I just KNEW I could switch these up a little and turn them into something cute and patriotic.

I cheat a lot when it comes to cupcakes.

I use a boxed cake mix for the cupcakes themselves, then jazz them up with homemade icing. I’ll share my favorite recipe below.  Start by baking a batch of cupcakes. Once those have cooled, use a small circle cookie cutter to make a hole in the center of each cupcake.

Next, fill each hole with star sprinkles!

I found these silver Wilton star sprinkles at my local Michael’s store, but I’m sure you could find them on Amazon, or your favorite craft or baking store.

The last step is to cover the top of each cupcake with icing!

To make these patriotic, I made a double batch of Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting (below). I colored one batch blue and left the other batch white. When you fill the piping bag, try to keep the white icing on one side and the blue on the other. I piped my cupcakes with a large star tip. As you go, the blue and white naturally blend to make these pretty swirls on top.

That’s it! You now have a lovely batch of Star Surprise 4th of July Cupcakes to share!

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe 4th!


Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Credit: joyofbaking.com


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 - 7-ounce jar of marshmallow fluff
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted


  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Beat in vanilla extract and marshmallow fluff.
  2. With the mixer on a low speed, beat in the sugar. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. On a high speed, beat the frosting for 3 to 5 minutes, or until it is light and fluffy. Add a little half and half or milk if it is too thick for piping.




June Run Streak

I’m attempting something new this month — a run streak! I’ve always been very protective of my rest days, so a streak has never really appealed to me. The challenge I’m participating in now requires that you walk, jog, or run one mile per day, every day in the month of June. This time, something clicked, and I decided to give it a shot.

I finished Day 6 today. I’ve mixed some easy runs with longer, tougher runs, letting the short days be my “rest” days. It’s working so far. Although, I have had to break out the Biofreeze and Pro Compression socks a time or two.

I’m still feeling motivated. Only 24 more days to go! Have you ever attempted a run streak? What is your record?

Summer Bucket List

I don’t know about you, but I have a list of things that are quintessentially summer that just need to happen in order for my summer to feel complete. I like to roll with it, for the most part. But I do have a running list of things we need to accomplish in just two(ish) short months!

  • Sleep late.
  • Stay at the pool until our toes are wrinkly.
  • See a baseball game.
  • Eat ice cream for lunch.
  • Catch fireflies.
  • Ride with the windows down.
  • Sleep in a tent.
  • Spend a day at the zoo.
  • Go on a road trip.
  • Have a picnic.
  • Chase down the ice cream truck.
  • Make milkshakes.
  • Watch fireworks.
  • Roast marshmallows over an open fire – bonus if we makes s’mores with them!
  • Have a water balloon fight.
  • Take a turn on the slip ‘n’ slide.
  • Grow something.
  • Go to the fair.
  • Eat a snow cone (or shave ice).
  • Blow bubbles.
  • Make sun tea.
  • Fly a kite.
  • Play mini golf.
  • Eat from a food truck.
  • Have a movie marathon on a rainy day.
  • Make ice cream floats.
  • Go on a bike ride.
  • Listen to an outdoor concert.
  • Visit an amusement park.
  • Send a postcard.
  • Shop at the Farmer’s Market.
  • Host a BBQ.
  • Paint something.
  • Find a rainbow.

What have I forgotten? What are your must-do summer bucket list items?

It’s National Donut Day!

I haven’t announced this here yet, but I recently began writing as a contributor for the Omaha Moms Blog. I told literally no one that I’d applied, because I was sure I would never be chosen. It was such a wonderful surprise to receive the e-mail asking me to join the team!

I have a post up this week in honor of National Donut Day…which is today! I had a sweet model to help me get a great pic for the post, so stop by and check out my list of places to find a great donut in Omaha! Leave a comment if you’re feeling really generous. 😉

The Last Day of School

It’s the last day of school. When I see my kids again, they’ll no longer be a 3rd and 6th grader. And don’t they look really excited to be just a day away from summer break? (ha!)

This transition is giving me lots of feelings. Next year, for the first time since they began school, my two kiddos will be attending different schools. Aidan will move on to middle school and leave Neely behind in elementary. The next time they attend school together will be Aidan’s senior year of high school. 

I don’t know why that feels like such a big deal to me. Maybe it’s because my brother and I only went to the same school for one year. He was in kindergarten, and I was in the sixth grade. I probably wasn’t nearly as nice to him as I should have been. But I’ve seen my kids get excited to pass one another in the hallways at school, give each other high-fives and hugs. It’s sweet, and I’m fairly certain the dynamic will have changed greatly in six years. She’ll always be the pesky little sister, but will senior Aidan want to give freshman Neely an encouraging high-five in the hallway of their high school? I hope so. And yes, I know I’m borrowing trouble from years in the future.

Staying Ahead of the Calendar

The month of May. It’s insane. We’re in the throes of the last few weeks of school. We’ve got band concerts and soccer practices and middle school open houses and soccer games and doctors’ appointments and finding the perfect Mother’s Day gifts and field day and trips to the dentist…and, oh, by the way, all the other regular stuff like work, laundry, grocery shopping, and house cleaning have to happen at some point as well.

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

I have a long, crazy list that I’m using to try and keep my life together. And a paper planner. And the calendar in my phone. And about a billion and one reminders and Post-It notes. Despite all of that, I know that at some point, I’m going to forget something. I just hope it’s not something earth-shattering, like the snacks for the soccer game, or to leave my makeup on for my Zoom conference meeting this evening, or to mail those Mother’s Day gifts on time! My mental load is through the roof, and that’s with all my handy helpers like ClickList and Eat Fit Go.

Hit me with your best tips, tricks, and time savers for when life gets a little crazy!


Happy Star Wars Day!

In honor of May the 4th, I thought I’d write a quick “Top 5” to share the Star Wars attractions that are already available for you to enjoy at Walt Disney World. I know a lot of Star Wars fans are anxiously awaiting the opening of Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but for the casual fan, or for the family who was already planning a visit to Orlando this year, you can still get your fix. All of these attractions can be found at Hollywood Studios.

#1 – Jedi Training Academy

Kids ages 4 to 12 can learn the ways of the Force from a Jedi Master, then test their skills against the Dark Side! You must register to participate. This is important. You can show up to watch the shows, but if your younglings want in on the action, you need to register them early in the day. When you enter the park in the morning, you need to go to the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost. It’s located between the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! and 50’s Prime Time Cafe. The participating child must be with you to register. Once registered, you’ll be given a return time to come and watch your little ones in the show! My own children have never been interested in jumping on stage in front of a crowd, so I don’t have any photos of this one.

#2 – Star Tours — The Adventures Continue

This motion-simulated space flight has been in the park for a while. In 2011, the ride was improved to include 3D technology, and new characters and story lines were added. On a hot summer day, I also very much enjoy the mostly-indoors line.

As you exit the ride, there are some cool things to see and do in the gift shop. My kids really loved the “Build Your Own Light Saber” station. It was fun to come home with a souvenir that they put some time and thought into, rather than just grab and go.



#3 – March of the First Order

Several times daily, you can watch Captain Phasma and her squad of stormtroopers march up Hollywood Blvd., searching for rebels.

#4 – Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away

This show is also held several times daily, Center Stage at the end of Hollywood Blvd., in front of Grauman’s Theater. Some of your favorite Star Wars characters recreate iconic movie moments right before your eyes.

#5 – Star Wars Launch Bay

The Launch Bay houses tons of Star Wars props, costumes, models, memorabilia, and art work. If you’re a fan, this is a must-see. In the Launch Bay Theater, watch a 10-minute film that celebrates the entire Star Wars saga. My favorite thing about the Launch Bay, though, are the character meet and greets. Chewbacca and BB-8 were our favorites! None of us was entirely sure what to do around Kylo Ren. Awkward!



Summer Race Schedule

After spending the winter training indoors (and not motivating myself to drive to the gym quite often enough, if I’m really honest), I am so thankful that warm weather seems to finally be here to stay. I’ve begun running a few times a week around my neighborhood to kick-start my spring/summer running season.

I don’t know about you, but it helps keep me moving when I have races scheduled. I’ve registered for some of the races on my list, and I intend to register for the rest when they start opening up in the coming months. This is definitely an optimistic goal. I have never run this many races in a three-month span. Distance isn’t a problem. I don’t intend to attempt anything longer than a 10K in the summer months, and I already run 5K pretty regularly. It’s just…I know it’s going to be hard to get up and go on this many early weekend mornings. But I know it will be good for me.

Also, nothing is planned as far as family travel for the summer yet, so one or two of these may drop off the schedule if they conflict with something later on. I just need to have a list going to keep myself on track!

My Summer 2018 Race Calendar

anytime in June – runDisney Virtual Running Shorts 5K

June 16 – Cornfield Cornfield 10K

June 23 – Dizzy GOAT (as many laps as I can run in 3 hours)

anytime in July – runDisney Virtual Running Shorts 5K

July 4 – Murray Freedom Festival 5K

July 7 – 5K Superhero Run for CASA

July 14 – The Color Run

anytime in August – runDisney Virtual Running Shorts 5K

August 25 – Nebraska State Fair 5K

How about you? Do you get out and run when the weather is nice? Have you started planning out your race schedule for the summer? For the year?

Vacation Post-Mortem


I breathe a huge sigh of relief the day we drive (or fly) away. Why? Because I’ve done all I can. All the laundry that can be done is done. The house is either left clean, or it’s not. Hopefully, I’ve finished any work tasks or projects that might loom over my head. I’ve set up my email auto-reply and my vacation voicemail and packed my bags. If I’ve forgotten something, there isn’t anything I can do.

This past weekend, we attended a wedding (kid-free!) in Temecula, California. We added an extra day to the trip for relaxing and exploring the area. This post isn’t really about the trip itself, but if you’re ever planning a trip to the area, I highly recommend a stay at The Inn at Europa Village. Chef Dean’s breakfasts are phenomenal. The Europa Village winery was one of our favorites, and we also stopped in at Peltzer, Chapin Family Vineyards, Doffo Winery, and Avensole Winery (where the wedding was held – gorgeous venue). If you’re hungry, Goat & Vine, The Public House, and 1909 are all great places to dine. The sun was shining. The weather was wonderful. We met up with friends, old and new. It was a great weekend.

Then…and then…we came home. It’s like all of those things I did before we left, in hopes I wouldn’t return to a disaster, didn’t even happen. The laundry regenerated. That empty work to-do list piled right back up in my absence. The girl had to be taken to soccer practice. I had a Derby themed event I’d agreed to attend and only one day to buy and assemble a hat. Sheets and towels need to be washed and the house needs to be cleaned to prepare for another set of house guests this weekend. (This is not me complaining. I love having company!)

To cap it all off, I haven’t managed a decent night of sleep since we returned. What is that about? I didn’t have any trouble adjusting to the bed at the bed & breakfast in California, but I have to deal with an adjustment period returning home??? So frustrating.

It will all be fine. I’m still smiling and loving life. I am so thankful for the weekend away. I think my brain still wants to be on vacation. I’m having trouble catching back up and finding my “normal” rhythm again. I have a vacation hangover.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this! What do you find hardest about returning home from travel?

Take Care of Yourself, Mama

Who here is not so great at taking care of themselves? So often we (I’m looking at you, Moms) are so busy taking care of other humans that we forget about ourselves.

Trying to do it all is hard work. We feed our people three meals a day, keep them in clean clothes, go to work, pay the bills, do housework, make sure homework is done, drive them to school, church, sports, and then we rinse and repeat over and over and over again…am I right? Husbands are helpful, and I don’t know about yours, but mine isn’t always here to assist with the daily grind.

It is important to be really intentional, so that I don’t lose my ever-loving mind, about trying to do something just for me every day. Yes! I said that. Every. Day. I also said “try.” 😉 It doesn’t have to be something huge or earth-shattering, but I want you to learn to take care of yourself, too.


Self-care looks different for everyone. Here are a few ideas to get you rolling.

Take a shower, and blow-dry your hair. I’m looking at you, moms of babies and tots. I know it’s hard to sneak that shower in some days, but it will make you feel human.

Spend an hour reading a book. While you’re at it, sip a cup of hot tea and snuggle up under a cozy blanket, too.

Sleep late on a Saturday. If your little humans are still very young, this may require the help of a husband or friend who’s willing to stay the night and wake up early to take care of the tiny terrorists. I’m kidding! Your kids are perfect! It’s just mine who are terrorists. (haha!)


Exercise! Start the day with a good workout, and get those endorphins going. Or end a long day with one to relieve stress.

Go to that yoga class you keep saying you want to try out.

Find a babysitter or a Mom’s Day Out program. Even if all you do is go grocery shopping by yourself, it will be money well spent.

Have a spa day. Get a massage, a haircut, a manicure…shoot, make an appointment for all of the above!


Wear your favorite outfit, even if it is “too fancy” for the grocery store, school pick-up, whatever you’re doing today. It makes you feel good, so wear it!

Spend time with your friends. If your kids are in school, like mine, take advantage and plan a fun lunch outing! If your children are younger, plan a play date and invite them to come to you. They may need an excuse to talk to another adult, too. 😉


Remember to be YOU. You aren’t just somebody’s mom, somebody’s wife, the PTA president, soccer coach, snack mom, etc. It is absolutely OK to take time out for the things you enjoy most!