Turtles & Tiaras — A Combination Birthday Celebration


Last October, we were blessed with our baby girl!  She was born 1 day before her older brother’s 3rd birthday.  We knew their birthdays would be close, we just didn’t know how close.  Of course it was exciting for all of us and fun knowing that they will forever have a birthday buddy.  But it also meant that we would have to be a little more creative with birthday parties.  Not only two ages, but also the gender difference.  The first thing that came to mind was to do a Pirates & Princesses.  But he wasn’t really that interested in pirates.  So when he all but insisted on having a Ninja Turtles party, my brain got to work.  The final result was TURLTES & TIARAS! Of course finding an invite that incorporated both of these things was near impossible.  So I created my own with a turtle mask on one side (in orange, because Mikey is our FAVORITE!) and a tiara with jewels on the other side.

Turtles & Tiaras | crumbsandchaos.net | #ninjaturtles #tiaras #birthday #party #invitations



A couple things that both themes shared were the sugar cookies that were from a local bakery.  Half of them were decorated with the Ninja Turtles and the other half had a pink tiara on them. I also bought a Ninja Turtle coloring book and a Princess coloring book at the dollar store.  Set out with crayons, the kids LOVED coloring. But the other details we split between the two themes.

Turtles & Tiaras | crumbsandchaos.net | #ninjaturtles #tiara #princess #birthday #kids


  • For dinner we went with a must have Ninja Turtle entree, PIZZA of course!  It’s easy and quick and loved by all!
  • I made Ninja Turtle Jello Cups by pouring green jello 3/4 of the way full in 8 clear plastic cups.  Once set, I made orange, purple, blue, and red jello and poured about 1/2″ on top of the green to represent their masks.  Making 2 of each character.
  • I put together 4 candy bowls, filled with green candy.  Then wrapped each with a piece of colored fabric to represent each turtle.  It was kind of a difficult task to find green candy that is sold independently without other colors.  Of course there are places you can order it from but that gets very pricey!  I ended up using Mint M&M’s, Spearmint Leaves (which are kind of like gumdrops), Sour Punch Straw Bites, and Caramel Apple Twizzlers.

Turtles & Tiaras | crumbsandchaos.net | #ninjaturtles #tiara #princess #birthday #kids


  • You can’t have a birthday party without some sort of cake (IN MY OPINION)!  So, I made Neapolitan Cupcakes.  I used a mini cupcake pan.  Layered chocolate cake, vanilla cake, and topped it with THE BEST Strawberry Buttercream Frosting I’ve ever had.  They were adorable and an absolutely perfect fit for the princess theme.
  • For all of our princess guests we had rings, necklaces, and bracelets.  They were bought at the dollar store and perfect for picking out, trading, dressing up, and even gettting a little cake on.
  • My favorite thing was the tiaras! I knew I wanted a tiara for Addison, and looked around town and online without much luck.  When it dawned on me that I could make it, I dove right in!  With a few trial and errors, I finally came up with one that I loved.  Then decided to make them for all the girls at the party.  Each one was different and they loved them.  I expected them to wear them but was pleasantly surprised when they didn’t take them off.  They were a huge hit and much cuter (and more comfortable) then the hard plastic ones you can get at the store! *


*To get your own handmade tiara, visit my etsy shop, Circa86


Some of our other favorite birthday party ideas:









Caramel Apple Cups

Caramel Apple Cups | crumbsandchaos.net | #caramel #apple #pie #fall #desserts

If you search Caramel Apple on our site you will find a plethora of awesome recipes, such as my favorite Caramel Apple Donuts, Caramel Apple Cinna-minis, Caramel Apple Dip, and much more!  Why you ask?  Well because in my opinion {caramel + apples = one of the BEST flavor combos EVER}!  It always has been my favorite and it probably always will be.  These Caramel Apple Cups fit into that category and did not disappoint.  They are a wonderful “mini” pie of sorts.  With a delicious graham cracker crust, sweet apple pie filling, and topped with a smooth caramel drizzle.  YUM!

Caramel Apple Cups | crumbsandchaos.net | #caramel #apple #pie #fall #desserts

Over at Princess Pinky Girl she baked them in mini cupcake pans.  I didn’t have them available so I went with regular sized.  I tweaked this recipe slightly to work and they were perfect.  Making sure to bake your crusts a little before filling them, they are the perfect cup to hold the apple goodness!  Another wonderful recipe for one of our favorite times of the year!  FALL!

Caramel Apple Cups
  • 10 Tablespoons BUTTER, melted
  • 3½ cups peeled, cored and chopped APPLES (I used a food processor but you can just chop them)
  • ⅓ cup SUGAR
  • ¼ cup BROWN SUGAR
  • 2¼ tablespoons FLOUR
  • ½ teaspoon CINNAMON
  • ¼ teaspoon NUTMEG
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease pan with non-stick spray. Combine melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, and powdered sugar in a bowl. Evenly distribute mixture to the 12 greased muffin cups. Press along the bottom and sides to make a “cup”. Bake for 5 minutes and let cool completely.
  2. In a baking dish, mix apples, sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake for 15 minutes, until apples are slightly softened. Scoop the apple mix and place on top of the graham cracker crust cups (while still in the muffin pan). Bake for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool completely and remove from pan. Drizzle with caramel topping. ENJOY!

Recipe adapted from Princess Pinky Girl

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Pumpkin Pie Brownies

I love pie!  Definitely in my top 5 favorites is PUMPKIN PIE.  It is a staple at every Thanksgiving… or so I thought.  For the first 23 years of my life, I did not know a Thanksgiving meal without Pumpkin Pie.  Then along came my in-laws.  I showed up to their house for Thanksgiving and discovered that they were serving Cherry, Coconut Cream, and French Silk Pies.  Uhhhh WHAT???  There was no pumpkin pie and I was shocked.  They all acted like it was no big deal and reassured me that they rarely, if ever, served Pumpkin Pie at Thanksgiving.  Fast forward one year and I decided that I would contribute to their Thanksgiving spread by making a Pumpkin Pie.  It was my first time actually making it and it turned out perfect!  I was so proud of it and was once again shocked when the evening was winding down and I discovered that I was the only one that ate any of it!   Needless to say I decided not to try to change their traditions again, but instead, if I know I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with them I just find anyone I can that is is willing to save me a piece of pumpkin pie from their family’s meal.

All of that to say, I love pumpkin pie.  And I also love brownies.  So when I saw them together, baked in my current obsession {the cast iron skillet}, I knew I had to try them.  What I love most about them is that they aren’t just pumpkin spice flavored.  It is actually the taste and texture of pumpkin pie, on top of a chocolatey brownie.  Then topped with whipped cream, seriously, how could you go wrong!  These are a must try for any pumpkin pie lover!

Does your family serve Pumpkin Pie?  If not, what pie is traditionally at your table??

Pumpkin Pie Brownies | crumbsandchaos.net | #pumpkin #brownies #dessert


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Pumpkin Pie Brownies
  • 4 ounces CREAM CHEESE
  • ¼ cup SUGAR
  • 1 EGG
  • 1 teaspoon VANILLA
  • 1 teaspoon PUMPKIN PIE SPICE
  • 1 box BROWNIE MIX, batter prepared according to box
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Then in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg and continue to beat. Add pumpkin puree, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice. Beat until very smooth. Set aside.
  2. Prepare brownies according to box. Pour batter into a cast iron skillet. Top with the pumpkin pie layer. Using a knife, swirl the top layer. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool slightly. Serve topped with whipped cream! ENJOY!

Recipe adapted from: The Cookie Rookie




More pumpkin chocolate goodness…

Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies

It’s a classic… the peanut butter cookie with the Hershey’s chocolate kiss on top.  Around here we call them, Peanut Butter Blossoms, and they are one of my all time favorites.  So when I saw that a good friend of mine posted this pumpkin version on her Facebook, I instantly began drooling.  A pumpkin cookie with a pumpkin spice kiss on top…. YUM!  My favorite part, besides the pumpkin, is the fact that they are rolled in cinnamon/sugar before baking.  It almost gives it a snickerdoodle type texture, which I also happen to love, but that’s for another day!  These pumpkin cookies are a great fall cookie to add to your regular rotation!

Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies | crumbsandchaos.net | #pumpkin #cookies #hersheys
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5.0 from 1 reviews
Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies
  • ½ cup BUTTER, room temperature
  • 1 cup SUGAR, divided
  • ½ cup BROWN SUGAR
  • ½ teaspoon VANILLA
  • 1½ cups FLOUR
  • 2 tablespoons + ½ teaspoon CINNAMON, divided
  • ⅛ teaspoon GROUND CLOVES
  • ⅛ teaspoon GROUND GINGER
  • ½ teaspoon BAKING SODA
  • ¼ teaspoon BAKING POWDER
  • ¼ teaspoon SALT
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large cookie sheets with silpat or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl beat the butter, ½ cup granulated sugar and brown sugar together on medium speed 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin and vanilla beat on low 1 minute. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, cloves, ginger, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to the sugar mixture and beat on low just until combined. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Whisk the remaining ½ cup sugar with 2 tablespoons cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Scoop up level tablespoons of the dough and roll into a ball then roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Place on cookie sheets 2 inches apart and bake 12 minutes. Remove from oven and press a kiss into the center of each one. Cool completely on wire racks. ENJOY!

Recipe Source: Cinnamon, Spice and Everything Nice



 Cookies for everyone…

Caramel Blossoms

Chocolate PB Explosion Cookies

Peppermint Pattie Cookies

Peanut Butter Apple Dip

In case you were unaware, kindergarten really makes a kid hungry!  Even with a morning snack and a full lunch, he still comes home looking for food.  Lots of learning and multiple recesses must really work up an appetite.  So in my journey to figuring out this ‘having a kid in school’ thing,  I have been looking for and experimenting with all sorts of meal and snack ideas.  Since he is a peanut butter LOVER and has recently discovered the joys of marshmallow creme, I knew this would be something he would enjoy.  I was able to mix it together real fast before I picked him up and then upon returning home I sliced an apple and we got to dipping!  He loved it and there was plenty so we stored it in an airtight container and enjoyed it for a few days.  With only 3 ingredients it is simple and easy and great on apples or even on graham crackers!

Peanut Butter Apple Dip | crumbsandchaos.net | #apple #peanutbutter #dip #afterschool #snack … 

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Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread | crumbsandchaos.net | #bread #pumpkin #zucchini

A few weeks ago, when I posted the Lemon Zucchini Bread, I promised another zucchini recipe would follow.  But this time, I got to add one of my all time favorite ingredients… PUMPKIN!  It is September after all!  Around here we ADORE the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins so when I saw this I figured it would be a hit.  But instead of making two loaves of bread, I decided to make one loaf and 12 muffins.  With my oldest just starting Kindergarten we are still trying to figure out the perfect morning routine.  One thing I have decided is that having muffins made ahead of time makes life SO much easier.  So seriously this was a no brainer!… 

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Lemon Zucchini Bread

Lemon Zucchini Bread | crumbsandchaos.net | #zucchini #bread

OUT. OF. CONTROL.  That is the only thing I have to say about the zucchini in my garden.  Last year I begged and pleaded for my Dad to build me garden boxes for my really small yard! I had never gardened before so it is all trial and error and talking to some friends that have done this before.  This year, I decided to try zucchini.  With baby food making in full swing I figured we could definitely get some use out of it.  Well here is where we get to the out of control part!  I swear I barely blinked and the stuff is growing like crazy!  And they’re huge!  I can’t keep up with them.  So I went on a zucchini recipe search. Pinterest of course turned up tons of delicious looking recipes.  I decided to start with this Lemon Zucchini Bread.

Lemon Zucchini Bread | crumbsandchaos.net | #zucchini #bread

It is a delicious twist on a classic favorite.  Dense and moist like you expect zucchini bread to be with a burst of citrus flavor!  I was very pleased with the result and I have a feeling this won’t be the last of the zucchini recipes from me! What are your favorite zucchini recipes?

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Lemon Zucchini Bread
  • 2 cups CAKE FLOUR
  • ½ teaspoon SALT
  • 2 teaspoon BAKING POWDER
  • 2 EGGS
  • ½ cup CANOLA OIL
  • 1⅓ cups SUGAR
  • 2 Tablespoons LEMON JUICE
  • ½ cup BUTTERMILK
  • zest of 1 LEMON
  • 1 cup ZUCCHINI, grated
  • 2 Tablespoon LEMON JUICE
  • 1 Tablespoon MILK
  1. Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Then add oil and sugar until well blended. Add lemon juice, buttermilk, lemon zest to this mixture and blend all together. Fold in zucchini until it is mixed well. Then add dry mixture to the wet mixture and blend all together until well combined.
  2. Pour batter into greased 9x5 loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. While still warm, make glaze and spoon over the bread. Let the glaze set up before cutting and serving.

Recipe source: Lil’ Luna

 More ways to enjoy your zucchini abundance…

Zucchini Lasagna

Fire Roasted Tomato and Basil Pasta

Grilled Zucchini Bruschetta from What’s Cooking with Ruthie

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Seriously…. around here I have been on a pesto kick!  Not too long ago you may have seen that I posted Pesto Parmesan Baked Eggs. Well today I have a different approach to using pesto.  It is a little more traditional, as it is served on pasta as usual, except with a interesting twist.  The twist is roasted red peppers.  It’s not an ingredient that I use frequently because it’s one that my husband “doesn’t care for”.  So if anyone talks to him, don’t mention that this recipe, which he ate and approved of, contains roasted red peppers! :)  This recipe is easy to begin with but I used the jarred pesto as my base so it was even easier.  Just the addition of the peppers and some heavy cream.  Then toss with warm pasta and there you have it.  A wonderful weeknight meal!  As my preschooler would say… Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezey.  My favorite part was that it was approved by the whole family.  It kind of reads as a red sauce, so even my picky eater ate it!

Red Pepper Pesto | crumbsandchaos.net |#pesto #pasta #dinner

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
A delicious twist on traditional pesto. This Roasted Red Pepper Pesto is a quick and easy weeknight meal.
  • 1 cup ROASTED RED PEPPERS (fresh or jarred)
  • 1 jar PESTO SAUCE
  • ¼ cup HEAVY CREAM
  1. Place red peppers in food processor until smooth. Then combine with pesto. Set aside. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot. Add the sauce to the noodles and stir to combine. Stir in heavy cream for a creamier sauce. Heat until warmed through. Serve immediately. ENJOY!


Recipe source: Annie’s Eats


Pesto Parmesan Baked Eggs

Pesto Parmesan Baked Eggs | crumbsandchaos.net | #breakfast #eggs #pesto

A few years ago, I posted Herbed Baked Eggs.  They were delicious, but at the time I didn’t have individual ramekins and needing to have multiple herbs fresh and on hand was a bit of a challenge for me.  So even though they were good, I didn’t repeat them very many times.  And then… I stumbled across this recipe.  Essentially it achieves the same results with a whole lot less work!  Not only do I now have adorable teal ramekins but you also don’t need to have fresh herbs on hand.  As a mom of three, who is still adjusting to 2 active boys and a baby girl who’s still nursing, quick and easy is essential.  This takes about 2 minutes of prep and then only about 12 minutes of baking time.  So I can get these ready and in the oven and then I can nurse the baby or get the rest of the meal ready or just take a deep breath!  It is also great because they are baked in their own ramekins so there is no serving before eating, and because they are individual, you only make as many as you need!  In the recipe I gave you measurements to start with.  But to be honest, I don’t actually measure.  I just scoop out some pesto to spread in the bottom, top with eggs, and sprinkle with Parmesan. So easy and so delicious!

Pesto Parmesan Baked Eggs | crumbsandchaos.net | #breakfast #eggs #pesto

Baked Pesto Eggs


  • 1/4 cup PESTO SAUCE
  • 8 large EGGS
  • 1/2 teaspoon SALT
  • 1/4 teaspoon BLACK PEPPER
  • 4 teaspoons grated PARMESAN CHEESE


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and spray four 2-cup ramekins with nonstick cooking spray. Spread 1 Tablespoon of pesto in the bottom of each ramekin. Carefully crack 2 eggs into each ramekin, season with salt and pepper, then top with the parmesan cheese. Bake about 12 minutes, until the eggs are set. ENJOY!


Recipe Source: Picky Palate Cookbook

PB&J Skillet Monkey Bread

Q: What is black and heavy and has a ton of WONDERFUL uses???

A: a cast iron skillet, of course!

One of the many kitchen tools that I have thought about for quite some time, yet I have put off buying.  I have also passed up some very good looking recipes because I didn’t have one.  But lo and behold, I finally took a leap and bought one!  Based on the fact that I’ve used it three times and I’ve had it for 10 days I would say that it was a great purchase so far!

This monkey bread came from a cookbook that I had never seen before.  It’s called The Picky Palate by Jenny Flake and it’s written for the picky eaters in your family.  Seriously just flipping through it I found at least a dozen recipes that sounded awesome just based on the titles alone.  This one stuck out because of the word skillet <I had just bought one!> and because of pb&j <our all time favorite combo!>.  Needless to say, it was delicious straight from the oven and just as delicious straight from the fridge later.  Seriously, if you love pb&j this is a must try!

PB&J Skillet Monkey Bread | crumbsandchaos.net | #peanutbutter #dessert #skillet

PB&J Skillet Monkey Bread


  • 1 can REFRIGERATED BISCUITS, 8 count
  • 1/4 cup BUTTER melted
  • 1/4 cup SUGAR
  • 1/4 cup CREAMY PEANUT BUTTER, warmed in microwave until liquid like
  • 1/2 cup JELLY, warmed in microwave until liquid like
  • 4 Tablespoons HEAVY CREAM
  • 1/2 cup POWDERED SUGAR


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a cast iron skillet. Cut each biscuit into fourths. Place melted butter into a large baggie and toss in cut biscuits. Shake around to coat then toss in sugar, mixing to combine. Pour into prepared skillet and drizzle warmed peanut butter and jelly over top. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden. Meanwhile whisk the heavy cream and powdered sugar until combined. Drizzle over warm biscuits. ENJOY!

Original Source: The Picky Palate