Crafty Cake Topper


I love parties for the food, the fun (drinks) and the crafts. I recently made this adorable cake topper for a graduation party, and I decided to share how easy it was to make. And it turned out so cute!

I tried to take pictures to show each step. I’m obsessed with stamping. I think it makes everything look so adorable. 


Hope you enjoy! I hope you guys get crafty for your next party!


Make it Better: Cake Mix Fancy


I wanted to start a new series on the blog called: Make it Better! There is always room for improvement, right? I feel like small improvements can add up to big changes! So, here is how I make a cake mix… Better!

I took a cake mix (Betty Crocker’s gluten free yellow cake mix doesn’t have the hydrogenated oils that most other mixes have) and followed the instructions.

I added:

  • 3 tbs of hemp hearts
  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt (I used strawberry activia Greek yogurt)
  • 1 almost rotten banana
  • 2 rounded scoops of Designer Whey vanilla protein powder

 For the icing:

  • 1 stick of organic butter
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of Hershey’s cocoa
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 rounded scoops of Orgain chocolate plant based protein powder

 I then mixed all of the above ingredients with a handheld mixer and then added 2 tbs of all natural creamy peanut butter and 3-4 tbs of Nutella.

Super yummy! And if my calculations are correct there are about 8-10 grams of protein per cupcake.

I hope you enjoy making your cupcakes…better!


Banana Pancakes

Well, since Sara’s post about teaching your children to cook, I decided Milly should start learning. I have been staring down a rotting banana on my counter top for days now, I just can’t bring myself to throw it away. And it is a good thing I didn’t. I decided to try the paleo banana pancakes that I am always coming across on Pinterest.

First things first, hand your two year old daughter two highly fragile eggs and the rotting bananas for pictures. Needless to say, we used different eggs than in the picture (smh).


2 eggs & 2 ripe bananas (an egg for a banana but I had two ripe “rotting” bananas)

Side note: I also have tried them with 3 eggs and 1 banana and they were easier to cook and just as yummy.


Place ingredients in blender like so:

And blend:

I used coconut oil to cook the pancakes.

They were absolutely delicious and didn’t need any syrup, but I added some real maple syrup and fresh blueberries anyway. Yummmmmm!





We were fortunate enough to have tour dates in Hawaii! This was my first time to Hawaii, although Sara has been many times before. We pooled our favorite pictures together. Enjoy!



Mini Ham & Cheese Quiches


Here’s the recipe for my Ham and Cheese Quiches, but in the bite sized version that I shared with my friends on The Chew! They are SO good!

  • 2 store-bought pie crusts
  • 1/2 pound bacon (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 red onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 pound ham (sliced)
  • 1/2 pound Swiss cheese (sliced)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin by spraying lightly with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out circles of pie dough to line each muffin tin. Place in the oven to bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

3. Meanwhile, preheat a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and sauté until crispy. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the butter to the same pan. Once the butter has melted, add the onion, season with salt and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

4. Divide the cooked bacon and onions into the bottom of each par-cooked crust. Then, tear the ham and cheese pieces to fit inside the muffin tins. Layer the ham and cheese on top of the onions and bacon, ending with a layer of Swiss cheese.

5. Whisk the eggs, cream, dried mustard and a pinch of salt together until well combined. Divide the mixture between the 12 cups. Sprinkle a little nutmeg on top of every mini quiche.

6. Place in the oven to bake until the center of the quiches are set (about 20 minutes).

7. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.


Back to Basics


Psychologists say that the things that children remember most from childhood are:

1. Time spent outdoors
2. Time spent on vacation with family
3. And…time spent around the dinner table.

I grew up on a farm in central Missouri. I have 6 siblings, 2 older brothers and 4 younger sisters. My mother cooked 3 big hot meals every single day, in a tiny kitchen with NO DISHWASHER!

I remember some of my earliest memories were of standing in the kitchen watching my mother cook and her telling me little things to do, like stir the gravy, or add 2 cups of milk to this, or peel those potatoes, and on and on. I loved it! It was the safest place I could ever imagine being. The only other place I can think of in which I felt that same safety and security is being in my Granny’s kitchen. She wouldn’t really let me help her as much as just watch her. But I watched these two incredible strong and hardworking women make this food completely from scratch that would bring so much joy to huge tables full of family members. And if it took 2-4 hours to prepare with love, it likewise took about 30 minutes to devour, with gratitude!

Now, don’t roll your eyes, or sigh, or report me to women’s lib groups….but we were also the women who not only prepared and served these meals, but we also cleaned them up while the men excited to the TV room! But you know what? That was our norm. We were farmers, and very old fashioned. I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I don’t. My 2 daughters are also following in those footsteps. They are both learning to cook. They can already at ages 12 and 10, make meals such as baked chicken, fried zucchini, mashed potatoes, salad, fried corn, pork chops, spaghetti & meatballs, lima beans and quiche! My husband and children appreciate this so much and are always bragging on this. My son Avery said to me the other day, “mom, I want you to teach me to cook all of my favorite things that you make before I leave for college!” And of course, I will gladly do just that! By cooking for your kids; you help them to make good choices when they aren’t with you. I have somewhat made my kids food snobs because they prefer my home cooking over fast food and most restaurant food.

Not to mention the emotional and psychological benefits that come with feeding your family and sitting around the table…doing something radical- are you ready for this??? TALKING! TALKING! TALKING TO YOUR CHILDREN. Checking in with their hearts, no phones, no tv, no distractions other than “pass the butter please.”
And being a working mom is no excuse! I’m a working mom who travels. I have a housekeeper who works approx 3 days a week, but the other time, I am cooking, shopping, doing laundry, etc….


My tips for cooking at home:

1. Always keep meat in the freezer. Pull something out in the am to thaw.
2. Always have frozen dinner rolls ready to make.
3. Always have salad and feta or goat cheese and croutons and dressing. Throw together a salad every meal.
4. Always have canned veggies
5. Always have spaghetti and spaghetti sauce and frozen meatballs.
6. Always have potatoes.


Those would be my basic go to’ so that you can always whip something together in 30-40 minutes.
And if you don’t work, try to make dinner during the day while kids are at school, so it’s out of the way and you can go to sports activities knowing that you have something wholesome already made when you get home.
And now, if I can’t be home, I know that my girls can prepare a whole dinner for the family. It makes them, and me so proud!


Back to basics.


Sour Cream – Chicken Enchiladas

This is a great way to have Mexican at home on a budget. Add jalapeños inside the enchiladas for an extra kick!



  • 1 can (10.25 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 container (8 oz) sour cream
  • 1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chilies
  • 1 package (10.5 oz) flour tortillas for soft tacos & fajitas (twelve 6-inch tortillas)
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (12 oz)
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken or 2 boxes (9 oz each) frozen diced cooked chicken, thawed




1. Pre-heat oven to 350º F. Spray 13×9 inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In medium bowl, mix soup, sour cream, and green chilies.

2. Spoon 2 tablespoons soup mixture down center of each tortilla; set remaining mixture aside. Reserve 1/2 cup cheese for garnish. Top each tortilla with about 1/4 cup chicken and scant 1/4 cup cheese. Fold sides of tortillas over fillings; place seam side down in baking dish. Spoon remaining soup mixture over the filled tortillas. Cover tightly with foil.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

4. Remove from oven. Uncover; sprinkle with reserved 1/2 cup cheese. Return to oven; bake uncovered for 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. If desired, serve with chopped tomato and shredded lettuce.


Moving Tips

Oh goodness! Watching the above video brings back so many memories. That house is where Jay and I started our family. Thank you to Good Housekeeping for the reminder. I love having that video of our first home together as the Barker Family.

And that got me thinking about all the stuff 9 people and RoRo can accumulate over the years. We have been married for 6 years, and we are now in our second home together. Are you wondering how we managed to move all of our stuff?? Well…we had help. (lots) We have learned a few tricks, provisos, dos and don’ts….

  • Do take pictures or video of your home for the sentimentality, or even posterity. Memories are all we have from the past. Don’t lose them!
  • Don’t rent a storage place for years and years and years and forget what you even have in the thing.
  • Do not throw all of your excess in a POD and forget about it (Yes, I have a storage unit AND a POD).
  • Do have someone else pack you up and move your entire home.
  • Do have your decorator put all of your pictures and curtains up before moving in.
  • Do buy a house that you have never seen while on a 4 hour flight to L.A. Isn’t that how everyone buys a house? (I might have to explain more on this later).

And if you want some REAL tricks, check out this awesome buzz feed!

After reading the above, maybe, instead of hoarding in storage buildings and PODs, organizing and goodwill-ing are in order. Check out the time KK saw my POD here!



Turkey Meatloaf


Courtesy of Food Network
Courtesy of Food Network
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 medium onion, peeled
  • 2 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce



1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the oats and milk. Thinly slice 1/4 of the onion and set aside.

3. Finely chop the remaining onion. In a large bowl combine the turkey, oat mixture, chopped onion, bell pepper, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mix just until well combined.

4. Transfer the mixture to a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and shape into a loaf about 5 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches high. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatloaf and sprinkle with the sliced onions.

5. Bake for about 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees.F

6. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to15 minutes before slicing.


20 Facts about us

Soooo, we did it! Our first blog challenge-Here it is!

BTW, the picture above is the Glam Squad for the Cheatin’ video. From left to right- Colleen Runne (makeup), Sara, KK (wardrobe), Kim Clo (hair)

I made a questionnaire that we both filled out. And I added extra questions so it is even more than 20. I know, we rock!

1. What is your middle name? LINN
2. What is your favorite drink? COKE ZERO
3. What is your favorite song at the moment? NOT THE ONLY ONE- Sam Smith
4. What is your favorite food?: Zoe’s chicken salad.
5. What is the last thing you bought?: OUTDOOR LIGHTS FOR OUR SIDE PORCH
6. Favorite book of all time? HUNGER GAMES (the first one)
7. Favorite Color? LIGHT BLUE
8. Do you have any pets? A MALTIPOO NAMED ROMAN
9. Favorite Perfume? KAI
11. Are you married? YES
12. Have you ever been out of the country, if so how many times? YES- probably 20 times
13. Do you speak any other language? NO
14. How many siblings do you have? 6
15. What is your favorite store? H&M
16. Favorite restaurant? Five in Birmingham AL
17. When was the last time you cried? This morning when I watched Parenthood.
19. Favorite Movie? Divine Secrets of the Yaya Sisterhood.
20. Favorite TV show? Parenthood
21. PC or Mac? MAC
22. What phone do you have? IPhone 6 plus
23. How tall are you? 5’8
24. Can you cook? YES! IT’s MY PASSION!

1. What is your middle name? Kaelin
2. What is your favorite drink? Leese Fitch Cabernet or diet coke with lime
3. What is your favorite song at the moment? Ed Sheeran: thinking out loud
4. What is your favorite food? Greasy burger and fries
5. What is the last thing you bought? Spinach and Kefir
6. Favorite book of all time? The help
7. Favorite Color? I truly love so many colors. Black and white together are my favorite!
8. Do you have any pets? I still hope our cat Bailey is alive somewhere
11. Are you married? Yup, for almost 14 years
12. Have you ever been out of the country? Oh yes! Lots of times. Europe, Canada, Mexico, Central America, Australia.
13. Do you speak any other language? Hablo español!
14. How many siblings do you have?: I have two older brothers and an older sister!
15. What is your favorite store?: TJ Maxx
16. Favorite restaurant? Calypso Cafe
17. When was the last time you cried?: Last night while watching Parenthood, that show gets me every time.
18. Favorite Blog? So many are so great but I love the
19. Favorite Movie? Forrest Gump (but honestly, how can you choose just one)
20. Favorite TV show? Presently Parenthood
21. PC or Mac? Reluctantly I have a Mac
22. What phone do you have? iPhone 5
23. How tall are you?: 5’9
24. Can you cook? I’m sure I could if I tried.

Anything else you need to know?