Make Your Own Cheap and Easy Gender Reveal Cupcakes

Posted by Carly Morgan

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Gender reveal has turned into a huge deal. Lots of couples are turning the news into an event by having family over or throwing shower-like parties to announce whether the baby is a boy or a girl. I’ve seen everything from betting on the gender to dropping pink or blue balloons on party guests. One of the most common trends that I’ve seen is a cake reveal, where the color of the cake or the frosting inside announces the gender. Some couples even choose to be part of the surprise, having the doctor write down the gender on a piece of paper and then having that paper put in a sealed envelope to be taken to a local bakery that specializes in gender cakes. (Even Baskin-Robbins will do them if you ask!)

It’s easy to make your own gender reveal cupcakes if you want a cheap, easy, and fun way to break the news to your family. You could probably fancy up this process, but this is the $10 version:

  • One box of cake mix for the cupcakes
  • One tub of white frosting
  • One tub of chocolate frosting
  • Food color or colored frosting in pink or blue

(1) Bake the cupcakes according to the directions on the box. Allow to cool completely.

(2) Using a grapefruit spoon or the back of a piping tip, hollow out a quarter sized hole in the cupcake. Save the crumbs and pieces you cut out.

(3) Fill the hole with the colored frosting and cover with the crumbs and cake pieces. Pop in the fridge for about a half hour to allow the frosting to harden in the center.

(4) Microwave the chocolate frosting until it’s liquid. Be careful not to overheat it or it will burn. (It’s about one minute and twenty seconds on my microwave.)

(5) Dip the tops of the chilled cupcakes in the microwaved frosting, letting the excess drip off. Allow to set for about 20 minutes (faster if you put them back in the fridge).

(6) Put the white frosting into a pastry bag or a ziploc with the corner cut off and use it to decorate the tops of the cupcakes. You can make question marks, hearts, loops, or write “baby” in cursive.

gender reveal cupcake

Once the frosting sets a little, they’re ready to be served! If you’re delivering them instead of serving them at a party, put an individual cupcake into a clear plastic cup and then cover the whole thing in party wrap or saran wrap so you don’t accidentally squish it and let the “secret” color out.

Or you can just cut one in half and post it on your blog to announce the gender of your baby:

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PS: It’s a boy! Due early August…

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New Look for the New Shared Nursery/Toddler Room

Posted by Carly Morgan

When I first got pregnant, I assumed that meant we’d be moving out of our house. However, a little house hunting and a lot of loving our current house has led to a plan in which both kids will be in one bedroom and we’ll be in the other. Plan for chaos and hilarity now.

 

Eva’s room is currently very, very Eva. We picked Eva’s name from the Disney movie Princess and the Frog, so there are multiple pieces of art from that movie in her room and the general color scheme (light purple, green, and blue) comes from the movie art.

 

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It’s great, but I knew it wasn’t going to work for Baby #2, regardless of gender, because the whole room is just so Eva. In order to feel like we’ll be welcoming the new baby home, instead of feeling like we’re just finding a place to stick it in Eva’s room, I’m planning on doing a pretty big re-haul of the nursery. Luckily, it’s my favorite room in the house to decorate (explaining why I do it so often).

 

I considered waiting to hear what the gender was before deciding on another theme for the room, but then I realized that I’m kind of over themes. They tend to be a little too restrictive for my taste. I decided to go with a general color scheme instead, so that elements of the room could come together but other things could be brought in later without too much disruption. For my inspiration, I’m using a piece of art that we’ve already purchased.

 

We picked up a wall peel of a vintage French Winnie-thePooh movie poster because we had a big blank space in the nursery and we needed something that wouldn’t damage the wall too much. It’s currently hanging on the wall in Eva’s room (and doesn’t match the color scheme at all), but I’ll be moving it so that it’s the big focus right above the crib. Since it’s going to be drawing so much attention anyway, I decided to try to focus the colors of the redesign on colors from the poster:

 

New Nursery Color Scheme

 

This isn’t too rigid of a palate, but I’m hoping that if the big pieces kind of go with the poster, the room will feel put together without making you feel like you’re walking into a hit-you-over-the-head themed room or a chaotic hot mess of baby crap. I’ll be painting some of the furniture (Eva’s bed and the crib included) but other pieces will stay white or neutral since I don’t want it to be too much.

 

Lots of stuff will be built or purchased brand new for the brand new baby. Here’s a styleboard of some of the things I’m thinking:

 

Pooh Nursery

 

If you’d like more of a peek at the new nursery, follow my baby board on Pinterest. There’s all sorts of projects and ideas that I’m excited to try just as soon as it gets a little warmer outside…

Six Months Into Living with Food Allergies: An Update

Posted by Carly Morgan

It’s been about six months since the food allergy bomb was dropped on our house and so many little things have happened since then. I keep thinking that I’ll sit down and write them out for the benefit of other (future) allergy moms, but they tend to get lost in the general chaos of life. So here is a quick round-up of thoughts:

 

* * * * *

 

There is nothing more terrifying than the callous remarks of other non-allergy parents. It trumps salad bars, daycare snacks, and birthday parties on my list of things I lose sleep over. We’ve been lucky enough to never have anyone even hint at being insensitive about Eva, but the comments that people leave on the Internet are enough to scare the living hell out of me.

 

For example, when I was doing research about food allergies and how they’re handled in Utah schools, I came across an article about a local elementary school that has gone completely nut-free. I was shocked at how angry most of the comments were and it made me realize that there are plenty of people who don’t want to be accommodating of the small percentage of kids who have allergies. Some of the comments included these gems:

  • “If they are that sensitive to the slightest trace of peanut dust, then how did they survive this long? What if Mr. Wind blows some onto them at recess? Put them into a bubble where they will feel sooooooo special…”
  • “It is ridiculous not to allow the majority of people to eat what they want to eat at a PUBLIC school where their tax dollars are being spent to educate their child. If you have a problem — it’s YOUR problem.”
  • “You don’t like nuts? Fine, don’t eat them. I don’t like spinach, but I don’t begrudge you eating all you want. Nuts make you break out? Fine! Stay away from them. But why do liberal nutcakes consider it so socially advanced to punish me for your problem with nuts?”

 

These, and other comments like them, really show how common it is for people to assume that the nut-allergy problem is one that affects kids with crazy overprotective parents who are from high-income families and who feel the need to control everyone else’s children. It’s frustrating and, as we get closer to the days when Eva will go to school full-time, it really makes me nervous. It’s one thing to have to put up with whining from parents, but it’s going to be another if parents are teaching their kids that classmates with food allergies are a pain and you don’t really have to be as careful as they say you do. Also, these comments could come from teachers. They might be coming from people who make decisions for the schools in our neighborhood. I don’t know…but I lose sleep over it.

 

* * * * *

 

We’ll be able to test Eva for allergies again in about a year. It’s hard not to already be discouraged about it, based on the severity of her reactions so far. Kyle pointed out that we have better odds of her growing out of them than we do of winning the lottery, but we still buy lottery tickets sometimes. When he said that, I realized that between the two, I would rather she grow out of her allergies than win a million dollars, even if we won so much money that we could build her a nut-free palace. I feel like being able to just not worry about her would be worth more to us.

 

* * * * *

 

We’ve been eating out more. The list of potential nut allergens at local restaurants is really intimidating, but we’ve worked on being brave and now Eva can eat at a handful of the places in our neighborhood. One of the best was Subway, although our last trip involved a run-in with a woman who has temporarily halted our desire to eat there. We like Subway because most of their food is healthy and free of nut warnings and Eva really loves sandwiches, but there is a problem with contamination from their cookies. When Kyle went to order Eva a kid’s meal, he noticed that the woman behind the counter was putting the cookies out and he asked her to change her gloves before making the sandwich. She resisted, gave him a hard time, and ended up making Eva’s sandwich with no cheese, two slices of meat, and only two of the six toppings we’d requested, all while being nasty. Eva didn’t want to eat it and we were sad enough about it that we haven’t been back since.

 

* * * * *

 

We keep running into things in our house that we didn’t know were bad for Eva. The worst have been lotions and soaps. It turns out that a large number are made with sunflower oil (a major allergen for her) and Cetaphil, which used to be our go-to for her sensitive skin, turns out to use both almond oil and macadamia nut oil. The worst offenders have been the expensive, all-natural baby care products that we got when she was born. It turns out that “all-natural” is really just another way of saying that these are made almost entirely from nuts and sunflowers.  It’s Vaseline for us and let’s all pray that that stuff stays as chemical and fake as possible.

 

* * * * *

 

I still miss our cats, which surprises me since they were a bit of a pain in the butt most of the time. It’s hard to know that they’re living somewhere else now. We recently had our first really warm day and I went around the house opening all the windows, only to be sad because that used to be the most exciting thing that happened to them all year. I’m really crossing my fingers that Eva’s allergies for pets fade a little bit, because it would be great for her to have some more furry friends, even if we can’t get Charlie and Scout back.

 

* * * * *

 

It’s too hard to predict when Eva will suddenly get hungry, so we’ve had to get creative with the snacks we can keep with us at all time. They include bags of pretzels (certain brands), pouches of applesauce, saltine crackers, bananas, juice boxes, and string cheese. In addition to keeping her happy when she’s munchy, we pull these out to compensate for the fact that she can no longer have snacks at friends’ houses, samples at the grocery store, or purchased treats at things like community and sporting events. We’ve also started potty training, which means I need to take two extra outfits whenever we leave the house. This, combined with her allergy pack and the large stash of safe snacks I keep with me means that I’m carrying about 20 lbs of diaper bag at any given time, along with the toddler. Thank god baby #2 is still in my stomach because I don’t know how I’m going to carry it around as well.

 

* * * * *

 

At her two-year wellness exam, we found out that Eva is underweight. In fact, she’s so underweight that she’s on the border of being diagnosed with “failure to thrive”. It’s horrifying and embarrassing because it seems like we just aren’t feeding her enough and we must be pretty bad parents. Realistically, we just have the hardest time getting her to eat anything but fresh fruit and we think that might be because she’s bored with her limited diet. We’ve been on a mission to find more things, but so far she hasn’t really fattened up. I really wish I could just give her peanut butter sandwiches in the mornings, chocolate cake on the weekends, and join the ranks of moms who complain about having to come up with creative nut-free school lunches because someone else’s kid is ruining it for all of us. Then I’d kiss my fat little toddler goodbye and she could spend the day at school free to touch any surface, use any soap, and trade snacks with any friend.

 

Seriously. Like winning the lottery.

 

I Said No But She Turned Two Anyway

Posted by Carly Morgan

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This is not the 2nd birthday party post that you think you’re going to be reading. I need to go over party plans and panic and glitter balloons and all of that stuff, but I’m not doing it today. We’ll save the crepe paper chaos for tomorrow.

 

This is about the fact that our kid turned two and I did not handle it well.

 

I didn’t realize that I wasn’t handling it well until about four hours before her birthday. Four weeks before her birthday, I secretly started to melt down a little but I blamed my birthday anxiety on work, illness, the pregnancy, etc. It just felt like it was all too much. The Morgan family is on a pretty fast holiday trajectory after Thanksgiving, since we now celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Our Anniversary, My Birthday, Valentine’s Day, and Eva’s Birthday in about a three month time span. This means that we’re doing celebrations about every two weeks and by the time Eva’s birthday rolls around it’s hard not to just throw a handful of confetti at her, give a half-hearted “yay”, and move on with life. Last year, I threw an insane first birthday party at home and it was weeks of planning and preparing and cleaning up. I just did not have that in me this year.

 

As you saw, I did have a moment of panic about needing to do something for Eva’s birthday. I decided that we needed to take a trip (more than slightly influenced by the fact that multiple members of my family took off for Hawaii in the weeks before her big day). We scouted out the cost of trips to Disneyland, Walt Disney World, San Diego, Napa, Seattle, Vegas, New York, etc. but last-minute travel proved too expensive and crazy-making since Kyle and Eva have school/work responsibilities and I really need to clamber on top of the hot mess that is my work life. So, with just three days to go before her birthday, I issued an S.O.S. on Facebook and the resounding response was that I should just invite family over to celebrate. Everyone received last-minute texts inviting them over so I thought we’d only have a few people, but I guess everyone else had already marked the day as her birthday because I didn’t mention Eva and they all showed up with gifts anyway.

 

In the meantime, we just needed to grab some food, pick up a few party decorations, and call it good. This is the point in the story where I start to unravel.

 

We went to a local party warehouse and spent more than an hour wandering up and down the aisles.We had picked a color theme, so I bought a lot of things that fit and a few extras because I was having a hard time finding any excitement for this event. Eva picked up handfuls of things and threw them into the cart and I paid for them because what the hell. It was odd…like trying to party shop when you’re sleepwalking. We got out of there and cleaned the house and baked and filled the next day with errands, but I spent the whole day feeling like I wanted to crawl back into bed. With Eva. And pull the covers up over us.

 

It finally hit me hard the day before we threw her parties. I didn’t want her to turn two. I mean, obviously, I wanted her to turn two in that really gross “I don’t want her to NOT turn two” kind of way, but mostly I just wanted to freeze her and us and our family. I feel like I’ve been a little resistant to this pregnancy so far and I think it’s all connected to this general desire to just grip what we have and not let it change. There was also this strange melancholy about Eva getting bigger. I didn’t like the newborn stage with the dozen poopy diapers a day or the floppy stage where she couldn’t even sit up by herself, etc., but now that she’s getting older I’m very nostalgic of those quiet morning feedings when Kyle was at work and it was just me and Eva and a sunny window and some soft music. For that reason, I’m having a hard time imagining quiet moments with this new baby because I can’t see where Eva will be in that picture. I feel like I have to let go of her to hold the other one.

 

I’ve been worried about her feeling displaced with the new kid and it turns out that I’m the one with displacement anxiety.

 

The good news is that once I realized it was all about my anxiety over our changes, I was able to start getting on top of it. I braced myself for sadness when we celebrated Eva’s birthday and she turned two yesterday, but it didn’t come. I was able to enjoy her for what she is – a little kid who goes to school and comes home with babbling stories and complaints because she didn’t get enough snack. Every day that she gets older is my new favorite age, so today she’s one day closer to being my favorite three-year-old and my favorite four-year-old.

 

I also feel like I’m making some progress with the pregnancy where I’m moving out of anxiety about maybe losing this baby or having our lives explode when it’s actually here. I’m not 100% pink lighting and nursery planning yet, but I’m getting there and hopefully when we find out the gender in the next few weeks and we start nailing down a name, this baby will be easier to picture as our new son/daughter and not “the baby that isn’t Eva”. And in the meantime, I have leftover birthday cake, a quiet house, and just two hours before I can pick up my two-year-old and hear all about her day.

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