Punny Birthday Yeti Tumbler

My husband is two years younger than me.

Although it’s only two years, we always joke about our age difference.

For example, he was born while I was getting ready for Prom.

And I was buying my graduation gown while his mom was buying his diapers.

Oh, and TLC’s “Waterfalls” came out when he turned 1.

(That one might actually be true).

Anyway, my hubby turned 29 this month, and it occurred to me that he has not been 30 yet omg. 

I’ve been 30 for over a year and he hasn’t even gotten there yet.

So, naturally, for his birthday I decided to make him a little giggler gift to tie in our inside joke.

Punny Birthday Yeti Tumbler

He’s had his eye on the Yeti collection for a good year now, so I decided to make that his gift.

And then, of course, I had to add a pun.

Check out his birthday Yeti, complete with a “Can’t Believe You’re Not 30 Yeti” tag. Get it? Yet? Yeti? 

Nyuk nyuk nyuk.

I still chuckle when I think about it lol.

Do you do anything special for birthdays in your house?

xoxo

Cara

DIY Monogrammed Summer Chargers and Cups

 

really don’t want summer to end.

I mean, I’m totally looking forward to fall (because boots and sweaters), but there’s a carefree air about summer that’s going to be hard to do without for the next 8 months.

To cling to summer a bit more, I designed these adorable plastic chargers and matching cups with a handmade monogram — You know, for all that outdoor entertaining I’m sure to do in the next 4 days.

DIY Monogrammed Summer Chargers and Cups

To make these was easy as pie (but not as messy).

I spotted these plates and cups at Target ($0.79 each, baby!), and bought eight of each. Because, you know, I have seven friends. I then found the fanciest font on my Cricut machine and pulled C-M-G together to create our monogram. (That’s our couple’s monogram, but you can do your own if you don’t like sharing your lemonade with others.)

Then, I cut the monogram in two sizes and affixed to the plates and chargers! I used the large monograms for the cups and the small ones for the rim of the plates/chargers.

Seriously, so incredibly easy.

As a note, my nextie bestie Tauni of SnapConf let me know that if you use outdoor vinyl, you can put it through the wash. I’m not planning on using these plates as anything other than chargers, so I opted not to. But keep it in mind if you create your own! I plan to just hand wash these bad boys after I’ve used them… which won’t be a problem since I might not even get to use them for another half a year.

‘Scuse me while I go mourn.

What are some ways you’ve clung to summer in the spirit of DIY? Any fun entertaining plans in these last few days of summer??

xoxo

Cara

 

 

Total Eclipse of the Tart Printable Tag

Tart Printable © Politics to PlayDoh

Remember that one time I made Blueberry Cheesecake Homemade Ted’s Tarts? And I mentioned that they’re one of my favorite comfort foods?

And did you also happen to hear that we’re going to witness kind of a big deal out West here next week?

Yep, that’s right. I’m talking about the total solar eclipse.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it’s gonna be YOOOOOGE.

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

Well, I didn’t get my nifty solar eclipse glasses in time for the viewing next week (darnit!), but I have a backup plan. I decided that since I won’t be seeing the super cool ultra famous total solar eclipse next Monday, I could at least celebrate its existence with scrumptious treats.

So, I’m going to plan on whipping up another batch of tarts and watching the frenzy unfold up the street from us in good ol’ Idaho.

And what better way to package these yummies than with a gift tag, amiright?

Tart Printable © Politics to PlayDoh

Total Eclipse of the Tart Printable Tag

If you’re looking to gift these delectable treats for friends and neighbors next week, grab the printable for a cute nod to one of the most celebrated events in years!

Tart Printable © Politics to PlayDoh

Nothin’ I can say, it’s a total eclipse of the tart.

 

xoxo,

Cara

Blueberry Cheesecake Homemade Ted’s Tarts

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

Anyone who knows me knows the story of how I met my husband, Gavin.

I worked at the most wonderful restaurant in D.C., Ted’s Bulletin.

I’d worked there since it opened in May 2010, when I’d first moved to D.C., in the role of server, then bartender, then host.

On the morning of September 10, 2011, I was working the host stand.

I was actually scheduled to serve that evening, but I told my friend, the manager, that I wanted to shift back to hosting, so she let me work the morning as host instead.

And I will never be able to repay her for that.

Because at around 10am that morning, the most beautiful man I’d ever laid eyes on walked into the restaurant, and my life would never be the same.

I remember two things distinctly about that morning:

1. For some unknown reason, there was only a 5 minute wait for brunch that morning. If you know Ted’s Bulletin, you know that the line for brunch on any given day — but especially on Saturday mornings — is at least an hour long. Why there was no line that morning remains a mystery. But I’m sure glad it was short, because Gavin’s since admitted that they probably would’ve gone elsewhere instead of waiting. Whew. Crisis averted.

2. Gavin was wearing an ice blue polo that day. I know this because when he walked in, I abandoned my host stand to run to the back and get all of the servers, managers, and kitchen staff to look at “the gorgeous guy who just walked in in the ice blue polo.” My goodness. Swoon.

When I composed myself and went up to take his name for a table, we struck up casual (Read: I was beside myself) conversation, and I discovered his grad school program shared the floor with mine at George Washington University.

(We also later realized that we’d met at a POLITICO event months earlier when I’d picked lint off his jacket as we waited for the elevator. Needless to say, he was not ready for Cara at that meeting. He gets me now. lol)

Anyway, the reason he was at Ted’s that morning was because 1. it was his birthday the next day, and 2. Ted’s makes the best biscuits and gravy in the entire city.

His parents were in town from Montana for the weekend, so he took them to the famous breakfast place.

(And yes, that means I got to meet his parents before our first date. I’d recommend this to anyone. Takes a whole lot of pressure of that official “first” meeting when you meet the parents before you meet the guy.)

Since it was his birthday, I decided to have his server, Sydney, bring Gavin a famous blueberry cheesecake Ted’s Tart with a candle in it.

…And I bet now you’re wondering how the heck we ended up here, married with a kid?

Well, as he was leaving, I abandoned my host stand once again (Sorry, customers!) and grabbed his arm. I printed out some receipt paper, wrote down my number, and handed it to him as he walked out.

He texted me a few hours later, and then the rest was history.

A history which has involved lots of love, sprinkles, and even a giant batch of mini Ted’s Tarts at our wedding, courtesy of the Ted’s Bulletin pastry chefs and management!

Needless to say, one of the hardest parts of leaving D.C. was saying goodbye to my beloved Ted’s.

This summer, I wanted to see if I could recreate their delicious pastry in my own kitchen. I was shocked to see how easily I could!

[Disclaimer: These are nowhere near as delicious as Ted’s’. In fact, no Pop Tart variation ever will be. That’s why they’re famous across the country. But these serve as a tasty comfort when you’re missing your D.C. extended family.]

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

Blueberry Cheesecake Homemade Ted’s Tart

To make this treat, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Pillsbury pre-made pie crust
Duncan Hines blueberry pie filling
Jell-O No Bake cheesecake filling (Filling only, no crust)
1 2/3 cup cold milk
1 egg (optional)
Parchment paper

Confectioner’s sugar
Milk

Rainbow sprinkles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, now bear with me as I reveal how insanely simple this is, and what a cheat of a “baker” I am.

**Remember: Assembly over oven.

…Although in this case you’ll need an oven, too.***

 

1. Speaking of, preheat your oven to 425 degrees

2. Make your Jell-O cheesecake mix

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

Mix the Jell-O filling with 1 2/2 cups milk until thick. Then, put that sucker in refrigerator Time Out while you whip up the shells.

3. To make the crusts, start by taking one of the pre-made pie crusts out of the box (each box contains two — woo!)

4. Unroll the pie crust onto a flat surface and use a rolling pin to flatten it into a thin layer

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

5. Cut the crust into rectangles in the size your prefer

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

I’ve made these in ‘normal Pop Tart size’ as well as ‘mini Pop Tart size,’ and both worked flawlessly, so the size is up to you. They don’t have to be perfect, either. Because who wants to eat a perfect Pop Tart, amiright? (Answer: Anyone who likes original Pop Tarts lol)

6. Lay the rectangles onto a parchment paper-lined pan

7. Take your cheesecake filling out of the refrigerator (it should be Jell-O consistency, and solid-ish to the touch)

8. Put a dollop of cheesecake onto each rectangle

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

Keep in mind that you’ll need to shut the top layer of the tart, so don’t go overboard. But know that if you do, your tart will still shut, and it will be no less delicious either way!

9. Then, add half a spoonful or so of blueberry pie filling on top of the cheesecake filling

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

If you’re going Ted’s all the way, you’ll use fresh blueberries instead of blueberry pie filling. But I never want to see my waistline again, so…

10. Next, unroll the second piece of pre-made pie crust from the box onto a flat surface and repeat steps 4 and 5

11. Take each newly rolled rectangle and lay it onto the filling-covered crusts on the tray

12. Then, use a fork to ‘crimp’ the sides so they seal

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

Don’t be alarmed if some of your filling oozes out – That happens! Just make sure you seal thoroughly, since otherwise your layers won’t connect and you’ll end up with more of a sandwich than a tart.

13. If you want, use a brush to add a little eggwash (legit just a beaten egg) onto the tops of your tarts

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

This will give them the lovely brown and crisp we love in pies!

14. Place your tray in the preheated oven for about 7-10 minutes for regular sizes, and about 4-5 minutes for mini tarts

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

15. While your tarts are heating, you can prepare your simple icing

Simply combine confectioners’ sugar and milk until the consistency is about that of toothpaste. It should be liquid and run, but it shouldn’t dribble right off the spoon.

16. Once your tarts are a nice golden brown, pull them from the oven and let them cool completely

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

17. Then, paint them with your icing and add sprinkles to taste

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

Ted’s uses a lovely blue and purple mix on their blueberry cheesecake tarts, but I had a bunch of rainbows lying around, so I opted for those.

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

And with that, you’re done!

These things won’t taste quite like a Ted’s Tart, but dang it feels good to have them back in my life again!

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

If you’re ever visiting D.C. or the area, make sure you go to Ted’s Bulletin. Seriously. You will NOT be disappointed. And you might even end up meeting the love of your life!

xoxo,

Cara

Blueberry Cheesecake Ted's Tarts © Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Girls Trip Monogrammed Tote Bag

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

A few months ago, my mom invited me and my little sister to a girls week in Sea Island, Georgia.

Naturally, I jumped at the chance.

Quality girl time in the most beautiful resort in the South?

Yes, please.

We decided to make it a Southern Belles road trip from North Carolina to Georgia, so naturally I needed to make a little gift for the adventure.

I found this adorable tote bag at Target, and I instantly knew what I was going to create: a Southern Belles Girls Trip Monogrammed Tote Bag.

Southern Belles Girls Trip Monogrammed Tote Bag

This bag was so easy to create, and seriously perfect for the trip.

I bought three of the tote bags from Target, all in the same style since it was the easiest to vinyl.

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

I then created three unique phrases for me, my mom, and my little sis:

Me: Salty but Sweet 

I thought this was adorable, not only because it gives a nod to the beach and the Great Salt Lake, but also because it is so. me. 

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Little Sis: Bummin’ Around

My maiden name was Bumgardner, so my little sis goes by “Bum” or “Bummy” a lot. Since we’re staying at a glitzy glam resort, I figured “bummin’ around” would be a cute tongue-in-cheek saying for her bag that she could carry over to D.C. when she went back.

Mom: Special Time

When we were younger, my mom would take us out one at a time for “special time.” Special time could include a movie, a day at the park, tea at the local tea room, or, in this case, a week at the most beautiful resort in the country. Either way, I thought it was an appropriate saying to remind my mom of the special times she’d given us growing up, and all the special times we were going to have together.

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

I just made the cut files and the monograms on heat transfer vinyl, used my Cricut machine to print them, and then I ironed them onto the bags. Monogram on the front, saying on the back. Easy peasy! I chose light light pink for mine, and metallic gold for the girls’.

 

We carried these bags everywhere. 

We started in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

We used them at South of the Border and Beaufort, South Carolina.

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

We brought them through Savannah, Georgia.

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

And we carried them at Sea Island.

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

We had them at the beach to carry our shoes.

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

We carried them to the spa to pack our suits.

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

We had them at the candy shop on the Savannah River Walk for our sweet treats.

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

We used them to hold our spoils when we shopped the SCAD store and stopped for tea afterwards at Gryphon Tea Room. (I got the Blackberry Pomegranate Lemonade Spritzer).

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

We used them on our bike rides for our camera gear.

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

And we used them to pack our fun little frillies from the Cloister before we headed out.

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

 

They are so practical, and they are so dang cute.

Seriously, if you ever take a road trip, these are a must. So easy and so adorable!

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

Do you have a go-to bag for road trips? Are you a monogram addict like I’ve recently become?

 

Southern Belles Monogrammed Tote Bag - Politics to PlayDoh

xoxo

Cara

 

Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Chili Sea Salt Pop Rock Bark

Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Bark - Politics to PlayDoh

Post contains affiliate links.

Did you read that title?

I mean, how much can you pack into a plate of chocolate bark?

Well, my friends, a lot. 

A few months ago, my coworker mentioned to me that there’s a place in St. George, Utah, that sells spicy Pop Rock chocolate bars, but that they’re really expensive for chocolate.

My response? Challenge accepted.

In no time, I’d whipped up a decadent treat that packs a real punch: Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Chili Sea Salt Pop Rock Bark.

Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Bark - Politics to PlayDoh

Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Chile Sea Salt Pop Rock Bark

This treat is seriously so easy, you’ll wonder why you’ve never put it together before!

First, gather your ingredients:

 

2 bags dark chocolate chips (or your meltable dark chocolate of choice)

Dash of ground cayenne pepper

Sea salt

2 packets Pop Rocks

Parchment paper

 

Easy!

Now for the ‘hard’ part.

 

1. First, line a pan with parchment paper

I use a pan that’s as shallow as I’d like my bark, for reference.

 

2. Next, melt your chocolate

You can use the double boil process, or you can pour your chips into a glass microwaveable bowl and pop that little guy in the microwave until melted.

 

3. Then, pour your chocolate onto your parchment paper

Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Bark - Politics to PlayDoh

 

4. Add cayenne, sea salt, and Pop Rocks to the top, to your liking

I found that initially I hadn’t added nearly enough cayenne (even for me!), so keep in mind that the dark chocolate will oftentimes overpower any spices on it. I ended up dumping more on afterwards lol.

Also, the Pop Rocks can often get wet and begin to melt in the chocolate, making them unpoppable. One solution would be to wait until the chocolate has almost hardened before you add them to the top.

As always, this is all to taste! So pile it on or sprinkle it around — You can’t mess up dark chocolate!

Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Bark - Politics to PlayDoh

5. Then, refrigerate for a few hours

6. Once it’s nice and solid, break that bugger into a million pieces

I like to fold the parchment paper over the slab and then pound it with my fist. I feel like this is more humane than just beating it to a pulp without the cover? Right? I mean, chocolate has feelings, too, you guys…

7. Voila! Sweet and spicy chocolate chili sea salt Pop Rock bark!

Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Bark - Politics to PlayDoh

Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Bark - Politics to PlayDoh

Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Bark - Politics to PlayDoh

Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Bark - Politics to PlayDoh

Are you a fan of spicy? Or are you like me: You’ve gotta cover spicy with sweet to tolerate it!

 

xoxo

Cara

Shark Week “You’re FIN-tastic” Popcorn Beach Bucket

Shark Week "You're FIN-tastic" Popcorn Beach Bucket - Politics to PlayDoh

Post contains affiliate links.

Welp, it’s here.

Shark Week is upon us like a Great White on a surfer in the Pacific.

[shudder]

I don’t know about you, but I don’t do animals.

Snakes? NOPE.

Spiders? NOPE.

Sharks? NOPE.

Alligators? BIG NOPE.

I mean, you just can’t reason with them, ya know? If they’re gonna eat you, they’re gonna eat you. There ain’t no pleading with them.

I think that’s pretty unfair, if you ask me.

Nonetheless, people are fascinated by sharks. And Shark Week has become a present-day cult classic, especially among my contemporaries.

So, I figured I’d make a little something to accompany any Shark Week-watching that goes on in my house this year.

Because I don’t know about you, but I eat my fear.

That means popcorn.

And what better to put your popcorn in than a cute bucket that makes sharks a wee bit less intimidating! I present: The Shark Week “You’re FIN-tastic” Popcorn Beach Bucket.

Shark Week “You’re FIN-tastic” Popcorn Beach Bucket

This guy was SUPER easy to make.

I just (compulsively) grabbed a $1.49 mini bucket from my local grocery store, but you can find adorable pail-and-shovel combos on Amazon for $1 each.

Shark Week "You're FIN-tastic" Popcorn Beach Bucket - Politics to PlayDoh

(Yes, I acknowledge the irony in beach buckets during Shark Week…because when I’m watching TV this week, the beach is the last place I want to be.)

I then created this super fun cut file.

Shark Week "You're FIN-tastic" Popcorn Beach Bucket - Politics to PlayDoh

I printed it on my Cricut, affixed it to my bucket, and voila! Adorable Shark Week “You’re FIN-tastic” Popcorn Beach Bucket!

Shark Week "You're FIN-tastic" Popcorn Beach Bucket - Politics to PlayDoh

Shark Week "You're FIN-tastic" Popcorn Beach Bucket - Politics to PlayDoh

Fill it with popcorn, Swedish Fish, gummi sharks, salt water taffy, and other goodies, and enjoy the week!

Shark Week "You're FIN-tastic" Popcorn Beach Bucket - Politics to PlayDoh

By the end of the week, one thing will be clear: You’re gonna need a bigger stomach.

xoxo

Cara

 

Easy-Assemble Salted Caramel Snickers Ice Cream Cake

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDohPost contains affiliate links.

My parents have a house in North Carolina, and it’s one of my favorite places in the world.

Years ago, their neighbors (my son’s wonderful godparents) hosted a little get-together and invited the folks in the neighborhood to join. Everyone brought a side dish or dessert.

For the most part, we covered all of the basics: Potato salad, seven layer dips, mac ‘n cheese, that green stuff rabbits eat (I’m told it’s called ‘regular salad’?)…

But one woman brought something I will never forget: Ice cream cake.

I love me some sugar, and I’ve been around the gumdrop block a time or two, but this was a level of delightfulness I’d had yet to experience.

It was seriously the best ice cream cake I’ve ever tasted.

And then came the finale: She showed me how she’d made it.

You guys, when I say “mind blown,” this is the conversation that comes to, well, mind.

Maybe I was just naive. Maybe this had been done before. Who knows.

But what I did know was that I had to make this cake.

 

…Fast-forward a decade.

Here I am, checking this long-awaited treat off my To Do List – finally.

And guys, it was so worth the wait. (Ask my neighbor, Aleisha, to confirm).

So now I am sharing with you all the super simple steps to assemble this delectable summer ice cream treat.

Easy-Assemble Salted Caramel Snickers Ice Cream Cake

First off, as always, let’s start with the ingredients.

Hold tight, this one’s a doozy! (Not. Obviously. lol.)

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

 

20ish Snickers ice cream bars (If a few “disappear” on their way to the pan, oh well)

1 dozen ice cream sandwiches

2-gallon tub of vanilla ice cream

Caramel sauce

Chocolate sauce

Snickers bars, chopped OR 1 pack Snickers unwrapped bites

Planters Salted Caramel Peanuts

Reynolds parchment paper

1 3-inch deep disposable pan (Or any pan you want, really. Just try to make it deep)

 

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

Now comes the fun part!

1. Line your pan with parchment paper (for easy, mess-free removal).

2. Place your ice cream sandwiches, unwrapped but intact, in the pan.

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

3. Cover the sandwiches in a layer of vanilla ice cream.

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

4. Drizzle caramel and chocolate sauce over the ice cream, and sprinkle with peanuts and Snickers pieces.

(You can use any type of sauce; I choose Smucker’s Toppings because I love that they’re ooey gooey and warm, and I can refrigerate and reuses again and again!)

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

5. On top of your ice cream, add a layer of Snickers ice cream bars.

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

6. Cover this layer with vanilla ice cream, as well.

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

7. Drizzle with caramel and chocolate sauces, and sprinkle with peanuts and the remaining Snickers pieces.

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

8. Cover the entire treat with parchment paper and place it in the freezer for an hour …or until you can’t take the anticipation any longer!

9. Remove the pan and slice and serve!

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

 

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

Voila! A delicious, hassle-free ice cream cake, ready in moments and so delicious you’ll wonder how you’ve lived without it!

 

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

The best part of this treat? You can layer and layer to your heart’s content! Add ice cream sandwiches or Snickers bars until you can’t layer no more!

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

What’s your go-to summer dessert? And have you heard of these Salted Caramel Peanuts before?? I stumbled upon them in the grocery store and had to incorporate them into this perfect nutty caramel deliciousness!

Snickers Ice Cream Cake - Politics to PlayDoh

xoxo

Cara

 

Candy Land Game Night Birthday Party

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

I love Game Night.

Back East, this would’ve been considered laughable and childish; but we discovered very quickly that a number of people in Utah value bonding experience over a solid game of charades just as much as we do.

So we’ve made it a regular thing in our home and neighborhood.

I look forward to Game Night every month (or more), which is why I wanted to incorporate it into my 31st birthday party.

Now, I’m not one to celebrate every birthday (although I did have a fun and flirty 30th), but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share Game Night with a few fresh new faces.

So I racked my brain and opted for a Candy Land-themed Game Night birthday party.

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

Candy Land Game Night Birthday Party

If there’s one hobby I love most in this world, next to singing and dancing, it’s entertaining.

We haven’t had our yard installed yet, but once we do, I plan to entertain every week, if I can find people looking to be entertained.

For this party in particular, I didn’t have a lot of time to prep, what with summer travel out the wazoo. But I came up with a few fun and easy additions that’ll make any Candy Land-themed celebration a hit.

1. Candy

This is an obvious one, but having a fun assortment of candy is critical to a good Candy Land party.

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

At first, I wanted to stay true to the game and include each of the spaces on the Candy Land board, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only person in all of humanity who actually enjoys licorice… And ice cream can get a bit messy.

So I scrapped that and went for the common candy theme.

You can buy bulk candy on Amazon or Party City, and Etsy always has adorable personalizations for all your party decor.

My go-to candy theme candies are:

Old Fasioned Candy Sticks

Rock Candy Sticks

Mike n Ikes

Sprinkles in a jar

Candy necklaces

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

Anything that’ll help your guests relive their colorful childhoods will do the trick!

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

 

2. Drinks

I like fun punch options for candy-themed parties. For this one, I did a basic Crystal Light pink lemonade mixed with Sprite.

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

To get your fruit to stay grouped well and to sit on top of your beverage, I like to fill my pitcher a third of the way with ice and then layer on lemon slices and strawberries. I then mix my concoction in a separate container so that the powder is completely dissolved, and then I pour it over the ice mixture.

This way, the solids rise to the top instead of awkwardly floating around in the liquid.

To add flair to your drinks, include nostalgic rock candy stick ‘stirrers’ or cotton candy toppers to the glasses.

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

You can also grab a few variations of bright, colorful drinks for the folks who plan to get their sugar kick from the hard candy.

I opted for these adorable watermelon sparkling waters, which can be found at any Target or local grocery store!

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

They fit perfectly with the bright color scheme!

 

3. Food

Creativity is key when it comes to Candy Land-themed food.

Since I didn’t have a lot of time to plan, I couldn’t come up with a lot of creative options, so I went for bite-sized instead.

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

We did mini sliders, mini corn dogs, and chicken parmesan lollipops. (Get it??)

And can we talk about these tiny champagne grapes?? I picked up these cuties at my local Trader Joe’s.

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

Anything that’s colorful will also incorporate nicely into the theme.

Oh, and I did a little Boom Chicka Pop sweet and salty kettle corn popcorn in fun popcorn boxes to keep Game Night fun!

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

(You guys, these are cupcakes!!)

4. Cake

If this is a birthday party, you’ve gotta make sure your cake matches the theme!

I completely ran out of time before I could finish mine, but the goal is COLOR COLOR COLOR and CANDY CANDY CANDY!

So use several colored dyes in the mix to make it pop, and then consider dyeing your icing for that extra oomph. (I’d planned to dye my icing a light blue and then accent it with sprinkles and candy).

Add lots of rainbow sprinkles, and top with candy as desired!

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

5. Decor

Next, decorate to the candy max with this theme.

Keys for my party were confetti balloons, confetti garland, confetti bunting, and colors upon colors upon colors.

I also included old fashioned lollipops anywhere I could. I put some in vases on coffee and side tables, and I put a few ‘bunches’ in bud vases on my dining room table.

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

It gives the whole room a colorful pop!

For even more fun, try to leave a few of your confetti garlands on the counter amidst the treats — the dots look just like your childhood Candy Land board!

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

6. Games

Finally, don’t forget the games!

Some of our favorites are:

Catch Phrase

Heads Up

Pass the Popcorn

Pictionary

Charades

Candyland Game Night Party - Politics to PlayDoh

Overall, I think we all had a blast channeling our inner child and celebrating through games, friends, and color!

Would you consider throwing a Candy Land-themed party for your next birthday? If so, what fun, colorful options would you add??

 

xoxo

 

Cara

 

Copycat Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies

Copycat Girl Scout Thin Mints - Politics to PlayDoh

Post contains affiliate links.

Be honest. How much do you hate solicitors? Scale of 1 to Get Off My Lawn?

BUT do you change your tune REAL fast when said solicitors are 4 feet tall and clad in green and brown and rainbows?

Yeah, I’m talkin’ Girl Scouts. And I don’t think a single American can claim dislike for these little fairy-like creatures, frolicking through neighborhoods and office cubicles delivering magical sugary goodness.

Girl Scout cookie season, unfortunately, comes but several times a year, and there’s no established time frame for it. It always seems to appear out of nowhere, amiright?

Suddenly, Sally-down-the-hall is shuffling around the order form for cookie boxes, and in seconds your wallet is empty and your pantry is full.

But the anticipation is almost too much to take.

So I created a quick-and-easy copycat recipe for the ever-elusive Thin Mint cookies, perfect for the off-season when the cravings really take their toll.

Copycat Girl Scout Thin Mints - Politics to PlayDoh

Copycat Girl Scout Thin Mints - Politics to PlayDoh

Copycat Girl Scout Thin Mints - Politics to PlayDoh

Copycat Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies

These things are easy as pie…Er, cookies.

First, you’ll want to gather your ingredients.

 

1 bag of Mint Oreos

CandiQuik chocolate melts (or any dark chocolate)

Andes Mint Pieces (if desired)

 

That’s literally all, you guys!

CandiQuik chocolate is seriously the most magical candy-making accessory for those times when you just don’t have the time or energy to double boil chocolate chips into chocolate.

Copycat Girl Scout Thin Mints - Politics to PlayDoh

You just pop this little guy into the microwave for a few minutes and voila! Dippable chocolate!

(The instructions tell you 1. Microwave for 1 minute, and 2. Do NOT overheat, but I’ve never gotten the thing to melt with fewer than 2 minutes.)

Once you’ve microwaved your chocolate, just dip your Oreos in it until they’re completely coated, and then allow to dry.

Copycat Girl Scout Thin Mints - Politics to PlayDoh

*CandiQuick only takes a few moments to dry, so if you add accoutrements like Andes Mint Pieces to the top, you’ll have to move a little to get them to stick.

Copycat Girl Scout Thin Mints - Politics to PlayDoh

And then you’re seriously done, you guys. That’s all it takes to create these delectable treats!

And they taste just like Thin Mints!

Copycat Girl Scout Thin Mints - Politics to PlayDoh

Copycat Girl Scout Thin Mints - Politics to PlayDoh

Copycat Girl Scout Thin Mints - Politics to PlayDoh

Copycat Girl Scout Thin Mints - Politics to PlayDoh

These little yummies will deliver rich, minty goodness to your mouth until little angels can deliver the real thing to your door.

 

Copycat Girl Scout Thin Mints - Politics to PlayDoh

Copycat Girl Scout Thin Mints - Politics to PlayDoh

 

Copycat Girl Scout Thin Mints - Politics to PlayDoh

Copycat Girl Scout Thin Mints - Politics to PlayDoh

What’s your all-time favorite Girl Scout cookie? (And do you call them by the old names or those funky new ones?)

xoxo

Cara