Ice Cream Sundae Cupcakes

Homemade yellow cupcakes topped with a fluffy marshmallow frosting, sprinkles, and a cherry on top make these cupcakes look like an ice cream sundae!

Homemade yellow cupcakes topped with a fluffy marshmallow frosting, sprinkles, and a cherry on top make these cupcakes look like an ice cream sundae!

You could use red, white, and blue sprinkles and patriotic cupcake liners for a 4th of July theme.

Homemade yellow cupcakes topped with a fluffy marshmallow frosting, sprinkles, and a cherry on top make these cupcakes look like an ice cream sundae!

Ice Cream Sundae Cupcakes
Serves: Makes 18 regular sized cupcakes or 12 jumbo
 

Ingredients
Yellow Cupcakes
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup milk
Fluffy Marshmallow Icing & Decorating
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened at room temperature
  • 13-ounce jar Marshmallow fluff
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Multi-colored nonpareil sprinkles
  • Optional: maraschino cherries and/or large bubblegum balls

Instructions
Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and grease muffin pans or line pan with paper cups.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the butter and sugar. With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  4. Add the eggs to the creamed butter, one at a time. Mix well after each addition.
  5. Stir in the vanilla.
  6. Using a mixer on low speed, add half of the flour and then half of the milk. Mix until well incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk.
  7. Fill each muffin cup ⅔ full and bake for 20 – 22 minutes or until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to complete cooling process. Frost with icing when completely cooled.
Icing & Decorating
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, add the softened butter and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer on medium speed until blended.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, and mix on medium speed until the frosting becomes light and creamy.
  3. Add the marshmallow creme and mix until well incorporated.
  4. With a Wilton icing tip (I used size 1A), frost each cupcake.
  5. Shake the nonpareil sprinkles on top of each cupcake, covering the marshmallow icing completely.
  6. Top each cupcake off with a maraschino cherry or bubble gum ball.

Homemade yellow cupcakes topped with a fluffy marshmallow frosting, sprinkles, and a cherry on top make these cupcakes look like an ice cream sundae!

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How to Improve Your Credit Score

discover disclaimer

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I like to pay cash for most of my purchases (even big ones like cars). However, two years ago when we moved to Florida I had to qualify for a mortgage, on my own.

(Long story – but we were buying a house before we sold our current house and my husband was between jobs, so I was on my own to qualify for our new home).

I’ve always paid our bills on time (thank-you automatic bill pay) but never paid much attention to my credit score because we always paid cash for everything. Then, all of a sudden I was consumed with credit scores, reports, bank statements, and every other piece of financial paperwork from the last three years of my life.

I didn’t realize that there were things you could do to raise (or hurt your credit score) until I needed the best score possible to get a great mortgage rate for our home loan.

How to monitor your credit report for free.

Pay your bills on time

As long as you are living within your means, this should be very simple since every bank offers automatic bill pay. All of my bills are paid automatically each month so I don’t even think about making payments and am never late even if I’m sick, on vacation or super busy.

Keep your balances low  

Ideally, you should pay your bills in full every month, but if you can’t, make sure your balances remain low. If it looks like you have maxed out your credit cards, your credit score may decrease. 

Use credit cards responsibly

While you don’t need to have a credit card to improve your credit score, having a credit card history that includes timely payments is a great way to work to increase your credit score. Don’t open multiple new accounts in a short period of time (that can decrease your score) but rather keep a few accounts in good standing and your score will improve.

Monitor your credit score

I truly believe that knowledge is power and knowing your credit score will allow you to make the best decisions regarding your credit and purchases.

Discover recently launched a new site, Credit Scorecard, where you can check your credit score for free.

Available to all consumers (not just Discover cardmembers), you can check your FICO® Credit Score which is the score used by 90% of the top lenders.

creditscorecard

In a recent survey, Discover found that 61% of people who checked their credit score improved their credit behavior. You can’t fix something if you don’t know it’s broken, right?

Over the years, I’ve met many people who stick their head in the sand when it comes to their finances. Educating yourself to become a smart consumer is the best way to improve your financial future.

  

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7 Activities to Keep Your Toddler Busy on the Plane

Flying in a plane is an exciting adventure for a toddler, but a toddler’s attention span is quite limited. The excitement will wear off and the boredom will commence. Not only are you trying to keep your toddler busy for your sake but also for the sake of everyone on the plane.

A busy toddler is important because you want the time to pass quickly for them. Check out these 7 activities that will keep your toddler busy on a plane.

A busy toddler is important because you want the time to pass quickly for them. If you can find a way to do that and avoid any tantrums, you are winning as a parent. The best thing you can do to make this a good flight is to prepare in advance, and you can do that with these tips! Check out these 7 activities that will keep your toddler busy on a plane:

1. Play I Spy

I spy is a great game on any trip, but it can be even more fun from the window of a plane. If you are too high up to see the little houses below, play I spy in the clouds. Have your toddler spot the cloud that looks like a lion, a tiger, or a bear.

2. Sing Songs

Singing songs is one way to keep your toddlers busy. Whether you bring a portable CD player or sing a cappella, toddler songs like ABCs, the wheels on the bus, and hot cross buns are great options for keeping your little ones busy.

3. Bring Coloring Books

You can’t bring a lot on the plane, but a couple of coloring books and crayons are a perfect plane activity. You can also bring blank paper and crayons and let your toddler use his creativity. Take a look out the window and draw what you see, or draw some portraits for people on the plane. Or, make paper airplanes decorated with color. Paper and crayons can add excitement and entertainment in various ways.

4. Read a Book

Toddlers may not want to sit still for long, but on a long plane ride, you can get them engaged in a few books. Bring Where’s Waldo? books, picture books, and short books that you and your toddler can talk about. The more they feel involved in the book, the more interested they will be in it.

5. Decorate the Window

Window clings are a great way to keep your toddler entertained for hours. Grab different themed clings and let your child sit by the window. Since you will be up in the sky, think birds, bugs, and bats to put up in the sky. Let your toddler be creative, and see what he can come up with.

6. Make Lace-Ups

Make or print letters using card stock, hole punch various holes around the letters, and bring some shoe laces. Your toddler can learn their letters while working on their fine motor skills. Not only does it keep them busy, but it’s educational. If you don’t want to make your own, you can purchase some like these Lace and Trace Pets.

7. Make Puppets

Bring a couple of paper bags (brown bags or colorful ones) for you and your toddler to create some puppets that can easily be transformed into a barf bag if need be. A couple wiggly eyes and a glue stick can easily go in a pocket to add a bit more fun. Or, if you want something different, try these Little Hands Paper Bag Monsters. If you know the people in front of you, you and your toddler can use the back of the seats as a puppet theater.

When you have a toddler, it can be tough to go on vacation. With a little creativity and planning, your toddler can be entertained for the duration of the flight. Do you have any tips to add to this list?

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Patriotic Felt Cuff Bracelets

These Patriotic Felt Cuff Bracelets are a fun way to celebrate Independence Day and honor the men and women who are the true superheroes this 4th of July.

By contributing writer Beth

These Patriotic Felt Cuff Bracelets are a fun way to celebrate Independence Day and honor the men and women who are the true superheroes this 4th of July.

My kids love to play superhero and save the day. They help the weak and fight the bullies. They’re just all around great at fighting for freedom. So when I saw this idea for felt cuff bracelets, I wondered if I could create a fun and patriotic way for them to celebrate our Independence from tyranny while role playing with their friends.

I pulled together items that I already had around the house so this is an inexpensive project. You can use felt, lace, ribbon, or any fabric that fits the red, white, and blue theme.

Always be careful with scissors and hot glue guns around children. Proper supervision is required to keep everyone safe.

DIY Patriotic Felt Cuff Bracelets for Kids

Supplies Needed

  • Paper towel tube
  • Scissors
  • Felt
  • Ribbon
  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks

Instructions

1. Cut the paper towel tube. First cut it lengthwise. Then cut the tube into four sections creating four cardboard cuffs.

DIY Patriotic Felt Cuff Bracelets for Kids

2. Prepare felt for Cuff #1. Cut out a white felt rectangle that has the same surface area as the cuff.  Then cut two strips of ribbon and a red felt heart. Position the ribbon on the edges and then place the heart in the center. Make sure the sizing works before hot gluing all the elements in place.

DIY Patriotic Felt Cuff Bracelets for Kids

3. Prepare felt for cuff #2. Cut out a red felt rectangle to cover another of the cardboard cuffs. Cut a navy felt zig zag the approximate length of your rectangle. Cut out 7 – 8 white felt circles. Arrange the elements on the red band the way you like them before hot gluing them all in place.

DIY Patriotic Felt Cuff Bracelets for Kids

4. Prepare felt for cuff #3. Cut a red rectangle the size of another cuff. Cut out three different sized felt circles (large white, medium navy, and small white). Cut out a red star. Stack these in the middle of your bracelet: large white circle, navy circle, small white circle, then red star. Glue in place once you like the placement.

DIY Patriotic Felt Cuff Bracelets for Kids

5. Prepare felt for #4. Cut out a navy rectangle the size of another cuff. Cut out three red felt strips and a white felt star. Lay the strips horizontally on the navy felt rectangle. Place the star on top. Hot glue everything in place.

DIY Patriotic Felt Cuff Bracelets for Kids

6. Attach felt to tubes. Hot glue the rectangles onto their respective cuffs. If you have excess fabric on the ends then hot glue them onto the back side.

DIY Patriotic Felt Cuff Bracelets for Kids

7. Shape the cuffs. Place the cuffs into a small diameter glass while they dry and cool so that they’ll keep a smaller rounded shape. Share with all your friends and enjoy!

These Patriotic Felt Cuff Bracelets are a fun way to celebrate Independence Day and honor the men and women who are the true superheroes this 4th of July.

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