Chess Squares


I do not know why, but I want to say the name of this recipe in the way Spongebob would do it. Okay, I do know why. It is because his last name is Squarepants and the title has the word “square” in the name.

Don’t leave me hanging. Let’s do it together in a nasally twang, shall we?:

“Cheeeeeesss Squuuuuuuuaaaaarres.”

Whew! I feel better. Although, any recipe that starts with a paragraph about a children’s cartoon and then proceeds to use the verse, “nasally twang” generally isn’t something that wets one’s appetite. Sorry about that.


I had first seen this recipe on Pinterest and then looked it up on the internet. I found it on so many sites, with no one really knowing where the recipe originally came from. I followed the Duncan Hines’ version, but used butter instead of margarine.

I generally do not post directions if it is not my recipe, but in this case I will. I needed to mention a few tips in the directions below that were not found in the recipe I followed. This is not my original recipe. It is someone else’s. Perhaps a certain sponge’s who dwells under the sea?


1 package of yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 stick of melted salted butter
8 oz. of softened cream cheese
1 pound (16 oz.) powdered sugar



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If you have a convection oven then preheat to 325 degrees F.

In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer in a bowl, beat together one egg, cake mix and melted butter.

Press the dough into a greased 9 X 13 baking dish. I like to use a clear one, because it is pretty seeing the different layers.

Set aside 1/4 cup of the powdered sugar.

Combine the remaining powdered sugar, two eggs and cream cheese in your stand mixer or in a bowl with your hand mixer on medium speed until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.

Pour the mixture over the dough in the 9 X 13 pan.

Bake for thirty five minutes.


Remove from the oven and let cool for forty five minutes. Sprinkle the powdered sugar you set aside earlier over the dessert.



Cut into squares.


Serve (refrigerate remaining dessert).


Crown yourself King Of The Sea and keep this yummy indulgence away from Patrick and Mr. Krabs. You will not want to share this.

Pajama Party


I love my friends (my sweet sister being one of them).

Every year, I invite them over for a pajama party to watch a Christmas movie. This year we watched, “Four Christmases.” They were all too polite to rat me out, because the fact is, we had all ready watched this movie two years before. There are just not a lot of Christmas movies to choose from. I started this tradition with my all time favorite Christmas movie many years ago (and to be honest, one of my favorite regular movies, too), “White Christmas.”

Most of the girls didn’t like it.

So, now that is what my family watches every December 23rd together. This was what we did as a child growing up. I hope at least one of my children carries on this tradition with their own family. You tell me which child it will be based on the following conversation:

My son: “Mom, you should make everyone watch ‘White Christmas’ at your party. It’s a really good movie.”

Me: “I showed that before, a lot of the girls didn’t like it.”

Shocked gasp from the backseat.

Me: “But, we’ll watch it together in a few days.”

My daughter: “Ugh. Why do you force me to watch that evvvvvery year?”

My oblivious husband: “We don’t force you.”

Mean Mommy to Nice Daddy: “Um, yea, honey, we do.”

Poor kid. I can think of worse things, though.



I wore my pink gnome flannel pajamas. I was a wrinkled mess. I briefly entertained the thought of ironing my pajamas, but, who are we kidding? I can’t even iron my regular clothes. There is no way I am ironing something I am going to sleep in. Cross that out. There is no way I am ironing something.

A girl’s gotta have standards.

I did not take any pictures of the gathering. Everyone was comfy and I wanted to respect their laid back coziness without posting it all over the internet. I did take photos of the food, though.


I made homemade salsa for the party. I also served some queso dip from a jar, because I got it free with a coupon. Everyone loved the queso, including me. So I will be buying some more when I host my family Christmas Eve.


I whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookies.


And homemade chicken pot pies.


I tried a Rachael Ray roasted sugar snap pea recipe. I don’t think I prepared the peas right. I have never served them before. Looking at my picture, was there something I was supposed to cut off?


The biggest hit of the night was definitely, “it tastes like a cinnamon roll cake.” Yum!

I gave prizes throughout the movie with my spur of the moment drunken trivia questions.


Everyone went home with a loaf of cinnamon burst bread from the local bakery. A neighbor gave me this as a gift last year and I really liked the sweet simpleness of the gesture. So, I copied them.

My friend Bridgette looked at the piano and said, “Is that bread on your piano?” This had both of us in hysterics. Because, yes, where else would you put your bread?


Some of us girls stayed up until 1:00 in the morning talking. I wish we could have stayed up later, but I was stressed out because my husband had to get up at 4:30 in the morning to go to work. Next year, I will ask him if he could get himself a late shift or take the next day off. It put a (small) damper on the night.

But, regardless, I was so happy and thankful to wind down and laugh with women who make my heart sing (missed you Lizzie). Thank you girls!


And no gathering would be complete without Ollie. He made sure to repel everyone with his continuous dog farts. Do I throw a good party or what? It’s not a party unless everyone is gagging and retching.

At least at my house.

Who needs alcohol when you have a bulldog?


Have you been to any holiday parties recently? Hopefully yours did not involve a flatulent dog.

“Hokey Pokey”


I am a klutz. I was a klutz growing up. I am a klutz now.

Enter my worst nightmare: growing up during the roller skating era. This was before rollerblades. Before rollerblades became replaced with scooters. Before scooters became replaced with electric scooters. And this whole time, the bicycle was laughing. This was old school. This was terrifying.

Every single birthday party I went to in my youth was held at the local roller rink.

I would linger in the sitting area while tying my roller skates onto my shaky legs. I would act like staying on the carpet was the most exciting thing to do. It never worked. Some grown up would grow weary of me eavesdropping on their conversation.

“Go out there,” I would be told.

I would make my shuffling way to the rink. Dread settling in my stomach like a day old biscuit that I didn’t want to eat. Each step, a bite scraping on my teeth. A slanted chew. The crumbs of panic sliding down my spine. I would grip the edge of the rink with my fingertips. The walls were made of carpet. Or carpet covered the walls. It mattered not. It provided enough of a texture for the end of my fingertips to grip into the edge. And around I would go.

It never failed.

“Let’s hear it for the birthday girl!” I would be halfway around the rink. My fingernails aching.

“Everyone in the middle!”

I would flatten myself against the carpeted wall. Strobes flashing to the fast beat of my heart.

“EVERYONE in the middle. You! On the wall! Get to the middle!”

One time, I didn’t move. I figured, “What could they do?” Let me tell you what they could do. They will turn on all of the lights. Everyone in the rink will stare at you. Some bored teenager will be sent to pry your fingers from the wall and skate with you to the center of the rink, where they will deposit you into a glaring circle of children. And without fail, “The Hokey Pokey” will begin.

It was easier and less dramatic to just let the inevitable happen. To let go.

And so the festivities would be put on hold as I creeped my way to the circle. Every eye upon me. Cold sweat clinging to my back.

I would finally make it there. And it would begin.

“Put your right foot in.”

My nightmare would pause and I could manage to fumble my way through the familiar song. A beat I could finally follow. A song that told me what to do.

But then it would be over. And just like that, I was in the middle of a tornado of children. Swirling by me. It was no wonder I was a prodigy at “Frogger.” I lived that game from the time I was eight to the time I was twelve.

As soon as I would make my way across the round room of pulsating horror, the party would be over.

Until the next weekend.

I never did get over my terror of the roller rink. But I did grow up. I realized that not loving to roller skate is not a flaw. It is not a social stigma anymore. In fact, if I showed my children a pair today, they would probably laugh. The roller skates to them being silly shoes with old fashioned wheels and nothing more. Not an object of failure. Just shoes. With wheels.

I know that now.

“And that’s what it’s all about.”


* I wrote this in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge. . The challenge this week is “moved by music.”

* Pictures of roller skates are from Target’s website. They are very cute…for roller skates.

A Minecraft Party


My son wanted a Minecraft party. They do not make Minecraft party supplies. You have to make them yourself. The very name “Minecraft” even has the word “craft” in it. Here is the problem: My name does not.

A dilemma was born. What is the lazy, uncrafty mom to do?



Attempt to make invitations. In bed. With a glass glasses a lot of wine. While watching the Food Network. Call it done. Send them out and hope the parents think your child made them. (This actually worked out exceptionally well, as several parents called me to tell me my son did a great job on the invitations. Cheers!)





Thankfully, there are many moms out there who are crafty. And they will sell you the things they have made… For a price. I purchased most of the items for my son’s party from Ebay. Unfortunately, most of the items have increased in price by more than 30% since I purchased mine. Bummer!


They are cute, though. And the kids loved the masks.



My good friend, Kellie, taught me how to make candy molds. If I can do this, anyone can. It has to be Merckens chocolate. The Wilson chocolate that you can buy at craft stores is… not my favorite. The Merckens brand is delicious. So good. I actually think it tastes very similar to Lindt’s white chocolate. We have a cake shop in town that sells it. Amazon also carries it. But it is much more expensive there. Check your local area first.

After I finished making the last mold, I licked the bowl. I stood there over my kitchen sink and licked that bowl clean. My family was clueless in the other room. I have good manners like that.

I just melt one small batch at a time in a bowl. I put it in the microwave for thirty second intervals. Stirring in between. Usually it takes one minute. Just stir the bits of chocolate around until they are all melted. Pour the chocolate in the candy mold. Gently tap it to get rid of air bubbles. Refrigerate the candy mold for about thirty minutes. Pop chocolate out. Bag it. Repeat. This is so much fun and the kids love this. I made big white chocolate video game controllers for each kid. In typical Jenni fashion, I made the wrong kind of controller. However, I bet they tasted good, all the same.



For the cake, I ordered a half sheet cake in green with writing on the corners. Then my husband broke up some hershey bars and made a creeper face (this was my idea in my head.) It was touch and go. It was definitely another Jenni DIY project. As in, the kids liked it. I hid it from the adults. We had twenty minutes to make it. It was actually fantastic for the time allotment. I was having a meltdown with the candy bars and the stickers while my sweet husband made the face.



And there you have it. We went to a trampoline park. The kids had fun. The facility cleaned up. Score! This mom went home and had pizza and wine. I thought I would do a post on this in case there were any other uncreative moms out there with kids who want a Minecraft party. In searching for ideas, I ran across so many awesome DIY moms who did amazing parties. I am not that mom. The parties these moms threw (I mean…Wow! Just google it. But then come back here for a dose of reality. And don’t cry.) had me in a panic. A cold sweat. Tears. I knew I was on my own. You are not alone! There is hope! Invest in some hershey bars and wine. Then call it a day! Your kid will love it! (The candy bars, not the wine.)

What have been some themes your kids or yourself have requested? Did you run into the same problem I did? What did you do?