Tag Archives: parenting

Gummy Penguin Cupcakes

We are going on vacation for a week with Grandma and Grandpa Corleone. We’re going down the shore. That’s Philly talk, for “going to the New Jersey beaches.” Look for me on upcoming episodes of Jersey Shore. I’ll be the cool one, unloading a cooler full of Juicy Juice and Goldfish crackers from the minivan. Yeah, that’s right. This baby’s got not one, not two, but ten cup holders! Eat your heart out, Snooki.

Before we leave, I thought I’d give you a glimpse inside the insanity that is my mind. Here is an excerpt from my to-do list:

Things to do (not necessarily in this order):

  1. wash every article of clothing in the entire house
  2. pack
  3. clean the bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, and living room
  4. clean and organize the toy bins, putting toys in similar categories
  5. put away all the clothes from #1
  6. re-organize the game closet
  7. finally tackle that basket of ironing
  8. go to Sam’s Club
  9. go to Walmart
  10. decide if I’m buying that awesome blue bag I saw at the mall
  11. go to mall to buy awesome blue bag (I need it for packing)
  12. spend some time admiring new blue bag
  13. bake cupcakes for daughter’s summer birthday to share with class (done!)
  14. bake cookies I promised to bring for last day of school party
  15. go to store to buy cookies I promised to bring for last day of school party
  16. see if my bathing suit still fits
  17. stop crying and just pack the dumdum* bathing suit, already (I don’t think I’ll say dumdum, but this is a family-friendly blog, so I can’t put the word(s) I will say).
  18. run a 5K (done!)
  19. write a blog post (done!)
  20. wash and change all the bedding in the house
  21. finish reading Bossypants and return to library
  22. find the rest of the library books and return them

The sad thing is, this really is just an excerpt. These are just some of the things that I would like to get done before we leave. I know it’s crazy. I know it’s unrealistic. I know that if the ironing waited this long, it can wait another week. But I can’t help it. I walk around the house every day and see all the things that need to be done, and even though the list plagues me all the time, at vacation time, I somehow think I can turn into Superwoman and get it all done in a few days. 

By the night before our trip, my to-do list will look like this:

Things to do:

  1. pack

And that’s not because I got everything done. It’s because I finally decided that fine, okay, the toy bins don’t have to be organized before we go. The game closet can wait. I just need to get this dumdum mountain of dumdum clothes into those dumdum suitcases so we can go to the dumdum shore. (see ‘dumdum’ note above).

Anyhoo. You’ll notice that one of the items on my list is cupcakes. My daughter’s birthday is in August, during summer vacation, so she brought cupcakes to school today to share with her class.

I wanted to do something with candy on top, and my first thought was, Trader Joe’s Gummy Tummies Penguins. I puffy heart Gummy Tummies.

Yummy yummy in my tummy

Since it’s late, and I have 22+ items on my to-do list, you won’t be getting many details on how I made these. Basically, I baked cupcakes using a chocolate cake mix (yes, a mix. Hel-looo?!? Have you seen my to-do list??).

Then I made Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting from sweetsavorylife.com which is just so, so easy… and way better than the stuff in a can. I piped the frosting on top in two layers, and sprinkled with some blue sugar. I added the penguins, and voila! A perfect winter  summer cupcake!

Gummy Penguin Cupcakes

The other Critics were upset that they didn’t get a cupcake, so I promised I’d make them again soon. Awww, shucks! You mean I have to buy those darn penguins again? Rats!

Apparently the kids in the class enjoyed the cupcakes. Except Robert. He said he didn’t want one. I don’t know what his problem was.

Okay, back to my list…


Sausage Stuffed Peppers

I’m pretty sure my kids can see right through me. I think they figured out that I don’t know anything. I’ve never been good at acting. I just didn’t think they’d catch on so soon.

My parents know everything. When I was a little girl, I would ask them questions, and whatever they answered, I knew to be The Truth. Even if it didn’t make sense. I’m still not sure how my dad had to walk to and from school uphill both ways. I guess it was some strange cosmic thing where you live at the bottom of the hill but you’re also at the top…? I don’t know. All I know is, my dad said it, so it must be true.

Also, I’m still trying to figure out where they sent our dog Bingo. I’m sure it’s a lovely farm. I’d like to visit him.

As for my kids, I’m wondering how many times I can say, “I don’t know, honey, that’s just the way God made it” before they start whispering to each other, “Don’t bother. She doesn’t know anything. Let’s go look it up on wikipedia.”

I was hoping I’d learn some things before they become teenagers and really know more than me, but it’s all going by so fast, and I’m pretty sure I’m getting dumber by the minute.

I guess I should be happy that my kids are smart. And I am. But if I have to hear the words, “Actually, Mommy…” one more time, I’ll… Well, I don’t know what, because my brain already punched out for the night. But I’m sure it will involve  the “little Smart-mouths” getting “something to cry about.”

Even my two-year-old has added the word “actually” to her vocabulary. The other day she pointed to the book I was reading and said, “That’s mine.” I told her that no, it was Mommy’s book. But apparently her wise older siblings already informed her of my stupidity. She calmly replied, “Actually, it’s mine.” Sigh. Et tu, Elmo?

Sometimes when my kids ask me a particularly hard question, I just stuff their sweet, inquisitive little faces with food. It’s a win-win.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

  • 1 lb Italian sausage (I used a mix of hot & sweet)
  • 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 large bell peppers
  • 4-6 tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese
  • tomato sauce for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚
  2. Remove casings from sausage. Brown sausage over medium-high heat in a skillet, breaking up into crumbles.
  3. Drain the can  of tomatoes and reserve juices. Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl. Remove sausage from skillet and add to tomatoes. Add bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, basil, and oregano. Mix to combine.
  4. Pour reserved tomato juices into a baking dish. Remove tops, seeds, and membranes from peppers. Place peppers in dish on top of the juice. Fill the peppers with the sausage mixture.
  5. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle 1 – 1 1/2 tbsp mozzarella cheese over each pepper. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, for another 10-15 minutes, or until peppers are soft and cheese is melted. Serve with tomato sauce, if desired.

Click here for printable version

The Reviews:

Elmo: I don’t like it. (She was talking about the peppers. Actually she had several helpings of the sausage)

Batman: Mmmmmmm…. I love it!

Curious George: I tasted it, and I don’t really like it. Then: I sort of like it. Then: I like it.

Sarah Crewe: I like the pepper but not the stuffing.

Don Corleone: I love it!

I didn’t think the kids would eat this dish, so I thought four peppers would be enough. (Of course I thought that. I dumb, remember?). I think next time I’ll make six peppers and give each Critic their own.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Maybe one day I’ll learn some stuff, and then I’ll share it with my kids. For now, I think I’ll embrace my ignorance. At least it gets me off Homework Duty.