Star Wars Rebels Party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BDayOnBudget #CollectiveBias

Star Wars Party

Last month we had the amazing opportunity to attend ComicCon for the first time. Baby Ben was absolutely mesmerized by all of the Star Wars characters and has since been playing/sleeping with his light saber that we got for him as a souvenir.

Star Wars Party 1

Since my Mother in Law is in town from Switzerland this year, we decided to have a birthday party for him so that she could celebrate with him. When I took him to Walmart to pick the decorations, he immediately picked the Star Wars Rebels theme.

star wars party 2

With three kids and endless summer camps as well as multiple road trips, I knew that this party had to be done on a budget. My husband calls me the most expensive party planner on earth (because of the amount I usually spend on party planning), so this was quite a challenge. I wanted to make it is just as cute and special as I usually do when I plan my daughter’s birthday party.

Star Wars Party 3

Normally I usually make everything by hand as far as decorations. For this party I enlisted the help of Disney Star Wars Rebels-themed American Greetings party supplies and let me tell you it cut down on so much stress!

Star Wars Party 5

For the initial party table set up, I wanted the backdrop to look like a star studded galaxy. I nailed a string of tinsel globe lights to the wall then placed a black plastic tablecloth over them. I then made tiny holes where the globes were and pushed it through. It definitely added a galaxy theme to the table.

star wars backdrop

I used the cute Star Wars Rebels  cups and stuffed them with trinkets from the Party Favor Pack. The children loved them and the parents loved even more that their children were not going home with a bag full of more candy.

Star Wars Party 4

The party food was of course my favorite part of the tablescape. We served a variety of Star Wars related food that the parents and children went crazy over.

Star Wars Party 7

The Chewbacca Chocolate Cupcakes were especially popular because they were so delicious.

Chewbacca Chocolate Cupcakes

This party was definitely out of my element, but made my new Star Wars Rebels loving child one happy Birthday Boy!

star wars party 6

Chewbacca Chocolate Cupcakes


  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Special Dark cocoa powder (or regular cocoa powder)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup stron coffee
  • Chocolate Frosting
  • 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • Chocolate Jimmies for decoration


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer, combine all dry ingredients.
  3. Add eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla and mix on low until combined.
  4. With a wooden spoon, stir in coffee. Batter will be runny.
  5. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a knife is inserted and comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely.
  7. Frosting
  8. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon to avoid burning.
  9. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
  10. Let cool to room temperature.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter, cream, the vanilla and salt and beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute.
  11. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, then reduce the speed to low.
  12. Add the chocolate and beat until combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute more.If the frosting is dry, add more milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until it is creamy but still holds peaks. Makes about 2 cups.
  13. Frost cupcakes and garnish with chocolate jimmies.

star wars rebel party supplies


No Bake S’more Cheesecake

No Bake S'more Cheesecake

Today we are celebrating the virtual Birthday of Kimmie from! She and I met a few years back at a San Diego Blogging event. Soon after our meeting, she moved to San Francisco. She was always on my call list when I went up there and she always took us to her favorite San Fran spots. Sadly (for me, not her) California lost a wonderful food blogger and Kimmie has returned home to Texas. Now I just need to find an excuse to get out there.

Smores No Bake-Cheesecake

So because we can no longer celebrate in person, we celebrate virtually! For Kimmie’s Birthday I thought it would be fun to make a S’more cheesecake. However, with this El Nino humidity, there was no way hell I was going to turn on the oven. Thus, this chocolate cheesecake turned into a rather fantastic No-Bake Chocolate S’more Cheesecake!

No Bake S'mores Cheesecake

The cheesecake is extremely easy to put together and is just as creamy as a traditional cheese cake. When torching the marshmallows, I got a bit excited and almost set my kitchen on fire. After all, I had to get that picture of the flame right?!? I quickly realized that it would have been much simpler/safer to broil the marshmallow s’more cheesecake for about 2 minutes. Live and learn right!

A Slice of S'mores No Bake Cheesecake

I served the slices with some extra ganache because who doesn’t love extra chocolate. This cheesecake is the perfect summer recipe and the perfect way to say Happy Birthday to my friend Kimmie!

No bake Cheesecake slice with chocolate sauce

Check out the other bloggers who are celebrating in this virtual birthday party-Bake Love Give, Cupcake Rehab, JavaCupcake, Sarah’s Bake Studio, Stetted, and  A Less Processed Life.

No Bake S’more Cheesecake


    Chocolate Cheesecake
  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted(I use Plugra)
  • 1-1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 and 1/2 packages (12 oz.) cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter (I use Plugra)
  • 2 cups whip cream
  • 1 and 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 chocolate sauce for serving


  1. To make the cheesecake generously spray a 9 inch pie pan with non stick cooking spray.
  2. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.
  3. Press mixture into pie pan and chill for 1 hour.
  4. Place chocolate chips in small microwave-safe bowl and microwave 1 minute; stir then set aside to cool.
  5. Beat cream cheese, sugar and butter in large bowl on medium speed of mixer until creamy.
  6. Gradually add melted chips, beating on low speed until blended.
  7. Fold in whipped topping until blended; spoon into crust.
  8. Refrigerate until firm.
  9. Once firm, top with marshmallows, pecans, and chocolate chips.
  10. Preheat broiler to high.
  11. Once preheated, place the cheesecake under the broiler until the marshmallows have melted and started to puff and brown(about 2 minutes).
  12. When done, refrigerate cheesecake until ready to serve.
  13. Serve slices with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Homemade Drumsticks

Homemade Drumsticks

If any of you follow me on Instagram then you would know that I blame my 3 year son 100% for the California drought. No matter how many times I bathe him (on most days it is at least 3), he is always covered in dirt. He is pure boy.

dirty ben

I know that this is a sign of childhood and a happy healthy kid. However when we are out and about, I prefer to have a semi clean child. In order to not have to cart around a gallon sized bucket of water, a towel, and a bar of soap, I carry these super wipes. Wet-Nap® Antibacterial Hand Wipes are perfect for sticky, muddy, dirty hands. These also come in Hands, Face, and Body Cleansing Wipes that are perfect to carry in your purse, car, or just about anywhere else your toddler is. We just stocked up at Walmart for an upcoming road trip!

Clean Ben

The wipes come particularly handy when making and eating homemade drumsticks. Things can get a little dirty when tiny hands are helping. Even the dog got in on the ice cream action and had to be wiped down!

Dog Ice Cream Nose

Homemade Drumsticks are so much fun to make and customize. We opted for the classic vanilla ice cream, but went crazy with toppings and fillings. The kids of course wanted sprinkles (who can blame them), the pre-teen opted for Oreos, and we went the classic route with chopped peanuts.

Wet Naps and Homemade Drumsticks

Between filling the cones, dipping in chocolate, and eating the drumsticks, we almost went through an entire canister! It was certainly a delicious mess and well worth it!

Homemade Drumsticks

Visit Walmart for all your Wet-Nap® needs: 110-Count Hands, Face, & Body Cleansing Wipes, 24-Count Packettes Antibacterial Hand Wipes and 40-Count Canister Antibacterial Hand Wipes! Make sure to also print the coupon before heading to the store, because if you have kids like mine you will need plenty of cleansing wipes!

Homemade Drumsticks

Homemade Drumsticks


  • 12 sugar ice cream cones
  • 1 gallon of ice cream
  • Fillings such as fudge or caramel sauce (optional)
  • 1 block of melting chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable shortening
  • Toppings such as sprinkles, chopped peanuts, or crushed Oreos (optional)


  1. Remove your ice cream from the freezer and allow to soften for about 10 minutes.
  2. Once ice cream is soft, place a half of scoop into the cone.
  3. Insert the handle of a spoon in the center of the ice cream until about half way, then remove spoon.
  4. Drizzle in fudge or caramel sauce into the hole.
  5. Top cone with a large scoop and place in the freezer to harden for about an hour.
  6. Before you remove the cones, place chocolate park in a large microwave safe cup or deep bowl.
  7. Add coconut oil or shortening, and heat chocolate for 1 minute.
  8. While chocolate is melting, prepare your toppings.
  9. Remove chocolate from the microwave and stir until smooth.
  10. Remove cones from the freezer and dip ice cream tops into the chocolate the immediately sprinkle on the toppings.
  11. Place in freezer for at least 10 minutes before enjoying.
  12. Place in a large ziplock bag in the freezer if not going to eat immediately.
  13. Will stay fresh for 3 weeks frozen.

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Wet-Nap®, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #ConquerTheMess

Almondmilk Shakes

Almond Milk Shakes

The kids and I have been having so much fun this summer! I have been keeping them exceptionally busy, and have only heard the “I’m bored” a few times. That is a major win in my book!

Black Forest Almond milk shake

During the school year, dinner preparations are quickly done while they are doing their homework. They always ask to help, but I never let them because there is just too much to do before bedtime. This summer however, I have been including them in all the cooking. I think that it is extremely important that children know what they are eating and where their food comes from.

Almond Milk Shakes in many flavors

One of the things that we have been making pretty regularly are Almondmilk Shakes. They get so excited when I take out the blender. I love that they think they are drinking an ice cream milk shake when in fact they are drinking something much healthier! Not to mention that they are extremely simple to make!

Almond Breeze Milk Shakes

We have been getting really creative with flavors of the Almondmilk Shakes too. We start with the base, Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Chocolate Almondmilk and ice. From there, we have added chocolate, caramel, or berry syrup, whip cream, and of course sprinkles!

Cool off this summer with a low calorie Almond Milk Shake

Last week my husband requested a Black Forest Shake so I added cherries and a touch of kirsch to the smoothie and topped it with chocolate fudge, cherry, and chocolate sprinkles. It was delicious a low-calorie version of his favorite dessert and definitely fulfilled his chocolate loving Swiss sweet tooth.

Fun Almondmilk Shakes to cool off this summer

These Almond milk shakes make a wonderful dessert on a hot summer’s day. They are easy to make and fun to customize! Enjoy!

Almond Milk Shakes

Yield: makes 1 milk shake


  • 1 cup Almond Breeze Chocolate
  • 1 cup ice
  • Chocolate fudge syrup
  • Whip Cream
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Cherry


  1. In a blender, blend together ice and almond milk until thick and smooth.
  2. Drizzle chocolate syrup in cup.
  3. Pour milk shake into cup and top with whip cream, sprinkles and top with a cherry.
  4. Enjoy immediately.

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk. We love these products and love creating fun, delicious, and healthy recipes with their products!

How to build a Gin + Tonic Bar

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WaterOnlyBetter #CollectiveBias

How to build your own Gin and Tonic Bar

During the summer months we love entertaining. Last year, my husband built an entire deck out of free pallets and a gorgeous 16 foot farm table out of my grandmother’s old fence. We finally have the yard for entertaining, and we have been taking advantage of it every bit. This past weekend we wanted to have a few friends and family over for a light summer meal and a refreshing cocktail.

It was such a nice evening and of course a beautiful sunset. With so much going on with family and work, it is really nice to get together with friends and enjoy the simple things in life.


Since moving to the new house and new city, our social life has definitely decreased significantly. At our old apartment complex, every Friday night we would meet at the picnic table with all of our neighbors and enjoy appetizers and a drink. The kids would ride around on their scooters and skateboards and the dogs would play together too. It is probably one of the only things we miss about apartment living. I have missed these guys and their fun loving attitude terribly.


Thankfully our friends/old neighbors and their dogs will still occasionally join us for a backyard BBQ. It is so nice reminiscing on the old days, gossiping about the crazy neighbors (there are always a few in an apartment complex!) and talking about kids. Many of them have had babies since we moved, so it is a great chance for me to get my baby fix in too.

Gin and Tonic Bar Party


Canada Dry

In order to make it more appealing and possibly persuade them to brave the traffic and 30 minute drive more often, I set up the cocktail station as a bar. I did this so that my friends can get creative and make a cocktail based off of what they like. I have one friend that is allergic to a lot of things, so this was perfect for her to customize a drink that she can drink! I also did this so they can make their own cocktails instead of me running around all night making everyone’s drink. Smart huh!?! A party that I can actually relax!

Gin and Tonic Bar add ons

For the bar, I purchased two bottles of our favorite gin and orange juice. For the tonic I purchased the new and original Canada Dry Sparkling Seltzer Water at Walmart. The flavors come in Mandarin Orange, Lemon Lime, and Original. They were so delicious that even the non-alcohol drinkers (aka kids) loved it!

Canada Dry

To mix with the gin and tonic I sliced up lemons, limes, grapefruit, cucumbers, and strawberries. I also added some fresh mint, basil, and blueberries.

Gin and Tonic Bar Creations

We had so much fun watching our friend’s creations and then naming them! This creation was called “The Summertime Refresher” and combined Gin, Canada Dry Sparkling Seltzer Water Mandarin Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, and mint. It was indeed refreshing and perfect for a hot and humid evening!

The next creation was called “The Spa Day.” It combined Gin, Canada Dry Sparkling Seltzer Water Lemon Lime, sliced cucumber and fresh basil. A drink that makes you crave a massage!

All in all the evening was so much fun. We had some great laughs and dozens of wonderful gin and tonic concoctions. Since Canada Dry Sparkling Seltzer Water contains no calories, sodium, or artificial ingredients, I will be enjoying the leftovers and creating my own gin and tonics all weekend!

Outdoor Summer Gin and Tonic Bar Party

If you are a sparkling water lover like us, make sure to print out this coupon to save 50¢ on ONE (1) 12-pack cans of any flavor* Canada Dry® Sparkling Seltzer Water.

canada dry

So tell me, how do you make your gin and tonic?

Blistered Tomato Almond Brie Bruschetta

Blistered Tomato Almond Bruschetta

For the first time in about 10 years, my dear husband and I are on a trip sans children. My mother in law is currently in town and she generously offered to watch them so we could get away.

Marinated Tomato Almond Bruschetta

Last year my family and I took an epic month-long road trip where we traveled up the coast of California. We had such a wonderful time, but had to skip quite a few *adult attractions (i.e the wineries) because of the kids. Although our trip this year is less than a week, we are packing it all in. It is amazing how much more you can do when you don’t have to worry about providing a healthy meal three times a day and make sure you are back at the hotel for nap time.

Pismo Beach

So far we have walked Pismo Beach hand in hand at sunset, gone horseback riding along the winery trails, and hit up every brewery along the 101. It has been pretty amazing.

Our Romantic Getaway

Since I knew that we would be so active, I packed a few essentials for quick snacks and easy meals. Blue Diamond Almonds are the perfect on the go snack. Before we left I also made a quick batch of these Blistered Garden Cherry Tomatoes. Combined with slice of bread, brie, and a few almonds drizzled on top, it makes the most amazing appetizer/dinner ever.

Tomato Almond Brie Bruschetta

We have also been taking full advantage of being able to eat cheese at every meal.    A perfect cheese platters is my husband’s favorite meal. Brie, Gruyère, Gouda, and Burrata are always essentials on the platter. We also like to add hard salami, some fruit, marinated vegetables, roasted almonds, and bread.

Perfect Cheese Platter

Every summer I always make at least one batch of these blistered tomatoes. They are so simple but so tasty. It is the perfect thing to have on hand for those impromptu guests or dinner parties. I like to serve them with our cheese platter but if I need an appetizer to take somewhere I will toast some sliced bread and top it with some cheese (normally brie) then top the cheese with a few of the blister tomatoes, and finally, garnish with some almonds. The flavors and different textures make it one heck of an appetizer!

Perfect Cheese Platter 1

This “Flavor Your Adventure” post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. For more snack ideas to “Flavor Your Adventure” this summer, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on Facebook.

Almond Cheese Platter

Blistered Tomato Almond Brie Bruschetta


  • 2 cups fresh cherry tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 loaf of french bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 wedge of Brie
  • 1/2 cup roasted Blue Diamond Almonds


  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees and line a small rimmed cookie sheet or 9x13 baking dish with foil.
  2. Lay tomatoes, smashed garlic, and thyme in a single layer on the cookie sheet.
  3. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss to ensure that tomatoes are coated.
  4. Bake tomatoes for 3 hours.
  5. Remove from oven and cool.
  6. Once cooled, spoon tomatoes and garlic into a large mason jar and top with the olive oil from the pan.
  7. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  8. Oil in the jar will solidify when cold which helps preserve the tomatoes. They can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.
  9. To assemble the bruschetta, slice bread about an inch thick.
  10. Brush with olive oil and broil on high until slightly golden brown.
  11. Top with a slice of brie, a few blistered tomatoes and sprinkle with roasted almonds.
  12. Serve immediately.



Gluten Free Granola Bars

Back To School Lunch!

As quickly as it started, summer is quickly coming to an end. Soon the permanent sand toy spot will be replaced with backpacks and lunch boxes. There will no longer be late breakfasts and watermelon lunches. Our days will be full of school and sports instead of beaches and pools. As much fun as it has been, I am ready for structure again.

Gluten Free Granola

This summer we have significantly lived off of fresh fruit and vegetables from our garden. While our summer harvest is coming to an end, we have decided that we will continue our natural and organic journey. In doing so, I have replaced many items in our pantry for organic items. I have found that Ralphs (Kroger) has a wonderful line of Organic items for economical prices.


In addition to transitioning our home into an organic state of mind, we have also been working really hard at reducing our family’s sugar intake. This has been one of the hardest transitions yet, especially because of my job. I have been silently switching out regular sugar for coconut sugar and have replaced many items with pureed dates and agave. There have been no complaints!

Gluten Free Homemade Granola Bars

These Gluten Free Granola bars are studded with organic red walnuts, sunflower butter, and dates. They are sweetened with pureed dates and Simple Truth Blue Agave syrup. They are filling, nutritious, and delicious. They are extremely easy to make and freeze beautifully! These bars have been a staple for beach snacks and road trips and will continue to make a lunch time appearance during the school year!

Homemade Granola Bars

As much as I would like, I know that I will not always have the time to make all of their snacks homemade. During these times, Horizon crackers, grahams, and fruit snacks will be the snacks of choice. Washed down with my kid’s favorite Silk Chocolate Almond Milk, they will be happy and full students! Do you have any tips on keeping your family healthy after summer?

Gluten Free Granola Bars


  • 1 and 2/3 cup Gluten Free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup oat flour (pulverize oats in a blender until becomes flour)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (or any nut)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup agave
  • 2 large eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9 inch baking dish with parchment paper or spray generously with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in the bowl of your mixer.
  3. In a small separate bowl, combine peanut butter, coconut oil, and agave. Mix together until blended.
  4. With your mixer running on low, slowly add the wet mixture.
  5. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated.
  6. Press granola into the pan evenly.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
  8. Cool completely and chill for 1 hour before cutting into bars.

This conversation is sponsored by WhiteWave Foods. The opinions and text are all mine.