The Best Kids Birthday Party Hack

Brilliant birthday party hack: Create a photo-worthy cake without spending $200. Here’s how.

glam-rock-sprinklesHere’s the thing about kids’ birthday parties: No matter how hard you try, you always end up spending way more than you planned. (We too have been suckered into a $200 cake for a 4-year-old because it was just so…

While that money shot can rack up a whole bunch of Insta “likes,” you’re left at the end of the day with kids high on sugar and, well, nothing else.

Which brings us to possibly our favorite life hack to date: The Fancy Birthday Cake For Less.

Here’s how to do it:

Dinner Hacks You Should Know About

If takeout and cereal constitute your dinner on the regular, read on. We break down better options based on how much prep you want to do – including zero. ? @sunnybaur

wtf-to-eat-for-dinnerWelcome to the most stressful part of being a parent that isn’t covered in any of the parenting books: What the f*ck to eat for dinner. Yes, we know, you’ve been answering it yourself with “noodles” or “Seamless” or “passing out in front of the TV and waking up and eating stale Cheerios at 3am.”

Let us introduce you to the apps and sites that will change your whole freaking life. You decide how much effort (and yes, “none” is totally an option) you want to put in, and healthy, delicious dinner is soon to be served.


HealthyOut. This app is like having a nutritionist-curated Seamless: It only serves up the healthy choices at the restaurants nearby you, so you’re only faced with the nutritious choices. The best part? A “not a salad” filter. Nationwide; free.


Babath’s Feast. All hail flash-frozen meals! Inspired by France’s frozen food specialty stores, this shop stocks ready-made meals (and a la carte ingredients, if you prefer) that just need to be put in the oven or microwave. Delivers nationwide, though flat-rate delivery starts at $25 if you’re outside NYC, so order a few meals at a time. Sample meal: Beef Bourguignon for 4, $25 (+ delivery fee).

Factor75. Input your dietary preferences and a team of chefs will put together as many dinners (and lunches, and breakfasts) as you like, and ship them over for you to warm up whenever. Ingredients are all organic and free of preservatives, soy, and gluten, so banish all thoughts of a cheesy diet-delivery-service. Nationwide. Sample meal: Lamb Meatballs with Artichoke Salad, $14 per person, with delivery starting at $10.

Munchery. Choose your meals, chefs cook it up and it’s delivered to your door for you to refrigerate or pop in the oven/microwave. In 4 cities (and counting!) right now.Sample meal: Flank Steak and Blue Cheese Salad, $13 per person.

HungryRoot. If you’re into veggie-based dinners, this delivery service brings you spiralized vegetable noodles with inventive sauces and (optional) grilled chicken that you sautėe together for less than 10 minutes. Nationwide. Sample meal: Carrot Noodles with Tangy Sriracha Peanut Sauce, $10 per person.


Plated is our favorite of the ingredient-delivery services. Get precisely-measured produce, meats, and spices all ready so all you have to do is some prep work and throw them together. Nationwide. Sample meal: Chicken Tostadas with Avocado Sauce, $12 per person.

Popcart. The best browser widget you will ever install: It scans the recipes you’re ogling over (more on finding those below) and, with the press of a button, adds them all to your online shopping cart (usually FreshDirect). Nationwide. Flat rate of around $8 per delivery.

Yummly app + Instacart. Choose your recipes based on Yummly’s algorithm that suggests recipes based on your preferences, click a button to add all the ingredients to your Instacart order, and a personal shopper will scurry through Whole Foods to get it to you within an hour or two. In major cities. Deliveries start at $4; available in major cities.


Cooksmarts. Learning about this app literally brought tears to our eyes. It helps you choose recipes based on your preferences (as many or few as you like per week) and strikes that delicate balance between giving you enough options to feel in control without so many you’re overwhelmed, give up, and pull up Seamless. It serves up a grocery list and then, with the help of BFF Popcart, adds them to your shopping cart with a single click. Nationwide. $6/month (through you can try 3 weeks for free!)

Pepperplate. Find, import, and organize recipes, create a calendar of recipes, and accompanying shopping list. Nationwide. Free!

Make-Ahead Slow Cooker Meals. We know, this sounds so mommy blog 1.0 but Hello Natural’s guide is so devastatingly easy and is possibly the only one on the internet with photos that don’t make you want to cry (and again, open up that Seamless tab.) It’s 12 slow cooker meals that you prepare ahead of time, ziplock up, and then keep in the freezer until the morning you realize you have NO CLUE what to do and then just pull it out and drop it in your slow cooker. Free!

Taskrabbit. Imagine that your husband gets home from work an hour early, spends NO time stuck on his phone and instead springs into action helping you chop, washing the pots and pans as needed, and running out to buy parsley without complaining. Now imagine it’s not actually your husband but some lovely background-checked person who you can book a few hours in advance and will do this all and more for $18, give or take.

? @sunnybaur

Farmers Market Haul: Asparagus

3 kid friendly asparagus recipes the whole family will love.

In our parenting dreams, we stroll through the farmers market with our kid, tasting fresh produce together, relishing the bounty of spring. But that, friends, is just not our reality. (It’s more like doling out crappy packaged snacks just to avoid a tantrum).

But we are committed to finding (and testing) seasonal recipes that the whole fam-damily will happily eat (or at least try, we’ll take a try at this point).

First up: Asparagus, which – offensive tee tee smell aside – is one of our faves.

Baked Asparagus Fries

Commitment Level: 15 minutes of easy peasy prep
Tip: If the kids turn their nose up, whip out marinara sauce for dipping.
Health Level: We’re talking whole spears of asparagus, masked by a few carbs. If your kid eats this (and ours actually did) you are winning at parenting.
Kid Reaction: They were on the fence until we broke out the marinara sauce – then everybody’s plate was clean.

Asparagus Gruyere Frittata

Commitment Level: This is an easy one with just 6 ingredients and a few steps. Plus you get more than one meal out of it.
Tip: This is a fun one to make with kids – they make excellent egg whiskers and stirrers.
Health Level: Sure, there’s cheese, but with minimal ingredients, this one is high in protein and carb-free (boo-yeah!).
Kid Reaction: Winner winner, asparagus frittata dinner.

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

Commitment Level: Not gonna lie, shaving asparagus is a pain in the a*s but oh so worth it..
Tip: We leave off the green onion.
Health Level: It’s pizza so not at the top of the list, but the raw, shaved asparagus is so shockingly fresh and delicious it balances out. Also, use whole wheat crust for added fiber.
Kid Reaction: A tough sell since the asparagus was raw, but we took it off (more for us!) and they happily ate cheese pizza for dinner. You win some, you lose some – we call making only one meal a win.