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About Me

Welcome to our blog and thank you for your interest in A Crafty Spoonful! My name is Danielle and I am a work at home mom in San Diego who enjoys raising three young children, a son born in February 2009, a daughter born in December 2010, and a second daughter born in February 2015. I’m married to Joseph (resident IT guy and DIY & Home expert) We love to share the activities and crafts we love, delectable recipes tested on the family, and our favorite DIY projects around the home and garden. 



Should you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to contact me at

We love to share the activities and crafts we love, delectable recipes tested on the family, and our favorite DIY projects around the home and garden and are thrilled that our blog has become a resource for others. 


We’re honored to have been featured on platforms such as the Step 2 blog, Metro US, Delish, Country Living, the Sioux City Journal,  and local Fox channels. We were recently listed as one of Cision’s Top 50 U.S. Mom Bloggers. I spoke on creating great video content at SoFabCon 2014 and I’ve also been hired as a contributor for family-focused sites like Someday I’ll Learn and Formula Mom and have received great reviews from clients we’ve worked with.

I also am the Sponsorship Coordinator for my son’s school PTG here in San Diego. With 200+ families in grades Preschool-8th, its a great target audience for your business.

We enjoy cooking, baking, and eating healthy (and not so healthy) meals and LOVE sharing our favorite restaurants. We have a few great toddler and kid friendly meals that we share along with tips on how to get the kids to help out in the kitchen. 
We love to craft and create. Whether it’s with the kids, making gifts, or just finding a fun hobby. We also love sharing our latest projects around the house. 
We love to tend to our garden beds in our front and back yards. We helped found our old neighborhood’s Community Garden and now help lead our school’s garden club. We enjoy growing and learning with our community.
We spend many days exploring San Diego and once or twice a year enjoy going on trips.
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Should you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to contact me at

How to Make a Chocolate Lava Volcano Cake

This easy tutorial on how to make a chocolate lava volcano cake will help you create the perfect dino-themed cake.

As you know, my son is OBSESSED with Dinosaur Train. It’s pretty much the best TV show ever according to him. So when we were planning his Dinosaur Train party, we knew we had to have a volcano cake. 

Not only does this incorporate some of his favorite things (chocolate and volcanoes), it was the perfect centerpiece for our dessert table! Plus it was so easy to make. Just use our delicious devil’s food cake and bake up in a bundt pan then follow the instructions below. 

You’re a few steps away from your own chocolate lava volcano cake! 

Chocolate Lava Volcano Cake

Devil’s Food Cake

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature 
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter and sprinkle the pan with cocoa powder (make sure you get every nook and cranny).

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In another large bowl, using an electric mixer beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the brown sugar and continue beating until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour, beating after each addition.

Divide the batter between the prepared liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Transfer the cake and let cool for 15 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting and decorating.

Chocolate Glaze

  • 1/4 cup chocolate pieces, semisweet
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk

In a small saucepan, melt chocolate with butter. Remove from heat and beat in powdered sugar adding milk gradually until mixture is a pourable consistency. Immediately pour onto cake once it’s done.

To Assemble the Cake

  • 1 cup large marshmallows
  • 1 bag red chocolate candy melts
  • 1 bag orange chocolate candy melts 
  • red and/or orange glitter sprinkles
  • 3 round lollipop sticks
  • piping bags or plastic bag

 Move the bundt cake onto a cake plate and fill the center with marshmallows. Top the marshmallows with chocolate glaze and allow glaze to drizzle over the sides of the cake.

Melt 1/2 of the red chocolates and pour over the chocolate glaze to create the lava. Allow to drizzle over the sides of the cake and make sure to coat the middle where the marshmallows are. Let set.

While the chocolate is setting melt remaining red chocolates. Line your counter with wax paper and tape it down. Set the three lollipop sticks down spaced apart. These will be the flames of your cake. You can either free-hand the flames or print out a template and put the template under your wax paper.

When the chocolate is melted pour or scoop it into a piping bag and cut off the tip. Draw your flames around the lollipop sticks and make sure to coat the stick well. Leave about an inch at the end to stick into your cake. Top chocolate with some sprinkles to make them pop while the chocolate is still melted. Repeat with the orange candy melts until you get the desired look you want for your flames.

Once the chocolate has set (I waited about 1/2 an hour) you can stick the flames into the middle of your cake. Ta-Da! A chocolate lava volcano cake worthy of any prehistoric party.   

Have you hosted a dino themed party? What was your favorite part? 

Love what you read? Find more great dino-themed ideas below: 

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Cutest Sushi Roll Ever {The Wishing Elephant}

Some moms and dads would rather not attempt to DIY a costume for their kids. Whether it be a hectic schedule, lack of materials or they’re just plain bad at crafts, it’s ok! There is a way to have your kids look super adorable in a DIY costume with none of the super glue or felt flying around the house. A great place I like to look for DIY costumes is Etsy. Some of the Etsy stores I’ve stumbled upon have costumes that would be perfect for your little ones.

A few weeks ago a good friend, Heather, posted a link to The Wishing Elephant’s Etsy store. The link went to a sushi roll costume and I knew it was the perfect idea for a great DIY costume. Now I don’t have a lot of time on my hands but I was prepared to try and re-create this costume for a news segment we were invited to participate in for The Mama Mary Show and Fox 5 News. I was already making the dino costume for my son so what’s another costume, right? But when I showed Mary the costume she contacted The Wishing Elephant and they surprised us by offering to send over a onesie in my daughter’s size!

Photo Courtesy of The Wishing Elephant

We were able to get the costume in time for the segment and as soon as we made it to the Fox 5 green room we put it on and were in awe of the cuteness! Everyone who saw Miss M fell in love with the costume and I’m pretty sure that she stole the show. At least she caught the eye of the news anchors! The costume was simple, well made and super comfy for any infant. I added a pair of neutral cream baby legs to protect Miss M’s knees and a cute headband from Evi Luna Boutique to create the look you see above.

And not only does The Wishing Elephant have adorable costumes for Halloween, they have a whole array of cute onesies that range from adorable gnomes to the ever so popular Mario and Luigi from The Super Mario Brothers. I’m especially smitten with the bow tie onesie. If we ever had another little boy I’d have to purchase it for pictures (NO! I’m not pregnant!). If you are looking for unique onesies for your little one or the perfect baby shower gift, you’ll find it here! Their appliques are made with eco felt (100% post consumer recycled plastic bottles) so you can feel good about your purchase.

Make sure to head on over to The Wishing Elephant’s Facebook page or blog and show them some love from The Simmworks Family Blog! We truly appreciate their generosity.

Ah! Sushi-zilla!

Food, Nutrition, and Health Tips for Kids

Food Nutrition and Health Tips for Kids - great snack and meal ideas

One of the biggest problems I have when it comes to my toddler and eating is that he doesn’t eat meals like I do. He would much rather snack all day then have large meals.

So in order to get him to eat during the day I let him have small snacks every two to three hours versus a set breakfast, lunch and dinner. And because it’s so easy to grab a pre-packaged snack from the cupboard I needed to find some simple, quick, healthy snack ideas to keep him fueled throughout the day. [Read more…]

An Update to Our Potty Training Breakdown

So it’s been a little over a week since I went off about our potty training journey. And I really think that we’ve hit the worst of the worst. Since then E has only had 2 accidents with me. And one of them was totally my fault. We were at the zoo,  I saw him dancing around and didn’t take him to the potty right away since he said he didn’t have to go. Well… he didn’t WANT to go because he was with his friends looking at cool reptiles. Lesson learned. Again.

He’s filled up his sticker chart and was able to pick out his prize from Comic Con (he got a plush Woody and Buzz)! Way better than choosing a prize from Target although Daddy gave in and bought him two dinosaurs tonight while we were at Target. And while I thought we were a ways off from him completely turning around and getting back on track he’s even started TELLING me when he needs to go! Seriously. I will ask him if he needs to go and sometimes a few seconds or minutes later he will tell me he needs to go potty. This makes outings amazingly easy.

And the biggest thing I’m proud of is that he’s been working on trying to go poop on the potty more than once. He is starting to realize that sometimes things take time. And he’s starting to realize that his body will help him and let him know when he needs to go. He still isn’t back to his “regular” self but he’s starting to go poop on the potty every other or every third day. I hope we get him back to his every day routine since that seems to be best for all of us (he gets grumpy when he doesn’t go!).

All in all I am so proud of my boy. This potty training drives me crazy but I know that he was ready. I didn’t push him into this. Sure, he’s not yet 2 1/2 and he’s a boy but that doesn’t automatically mean he’s not ready to potty train. And now I know he’s one smart cookie who likes to push boundaries and see what I’ll put up with.

Miss M’s Baptism

My beautiful baby girl was baptized this Saturday. With family surrounding us we welcomed her into our church. She was quite pleasant even though we didn’t get a chance to feed her before we left for the church and as soon as we got there we had no time to nurse. She smiled, she cooed, she made everyone love her even more 🙂 But come on… how could you not love her?

I was going to have her wear my baptism outfit but it just didn’t look right and I didn’t get a chance to bleach it in the sun. So we used our back up outfit. I found this dress at Nordstrom’s Rack. It was an amazing find. The gown has what looks like a cross and a heart embroidered right on the front of the dress but the tags said nothing about it being a baptismal dress. It was long sleeved and came with matching white bloomers and it fit Molly perfectly.

Molly received a bracelet from her Godmother, Aunt Louise. and wore it with her dress. It was a beautiful addition to her outfit. She received this beautiful cloth box from her Great Grammy filled with two cute outfits. And it was too beautiful not to reuse for Molly. So I am going to store her baptism dress, bracelet and candle. I also hid away two pictures for Molly of her special day. I’ll post those when we get the pictures from the photographer.

Molly was all smiles in Daddy’s arms before the ceremony

And she gnawed on Sophie while she waited for her turn to get dunked

Cousin Aaron made silly faces while Father Michael spoke

And then we got on with the show…

Molly and her godparents, Uncle Jeremy and Aunt Louise

And the parents

Aunt Louise made cookies just like she did for E’s baptism. Everyone gobbled them up!

I made some monkey bread, two different types of egg cups and crock pot oatmeal. I also served some fruit and coffee, tea & juice. Everything was super yummy.

Grandma Ann kept the two boy cousins entertained with a great book. This one’s one of E’s favorites (Dinosaurs Love Underpants).

Big Boy Room Completed

We’ve finally completed the big boy room. This past week we picked up an awesome Pottery Barn Kids bedspread from craigslist because we knew our big boy would love it. And he does! Now we just have to get a few more prints we bought for the walls framed and the room will look awesome. Animals and Dinosaurs may not be the best combo but it’s what our son loves 🙂 What do you think?

Adventures in Potty Training {Day 1}

Day one of potty training has commenced…  hopefully I’ll have enough time later tonight to recap how day one went. So far we’ve had one accident and one successful pee on the potty (resulting in E receiving a yummy M&M). Once he’s completed Day 1 he gets a cool dinosaur book. After Day 2 he’ll get another cool dinosaur book and on Day 3 he will get to choose what he wants to receive (probably something train or dinosaur related…). 
We will be staying home for these next three days and will be with Ethan (right next to him) unless he is sleeping so we wont have much time for anything else. I’ll try and update daily on our successes and failures! He seems to be on board so far and loves the M&M rewards and all of the fun attention. 
Oh, and for anyone who is interested, we’re following the 3-Day Potty Training Method. I’ve heard many, many success stories! 

Ethan’s 2nd Birthday Party!! – Pictures of the fun

M got all dressed up for her brother’s big day! I bought this dress for her for Christmas but she was still too small for it. Now it fits perfectly. I didn’t know how much fun dressing up a little girl is! Just wait till you see her Easter ensemble. Daddy picked it out and it is CUTE!

Belle saying Hi!

E’s favorite meal of hot dogs, berries & grapes

E enjoyed greeting his guests at the gate. He LOVED that everyone was there to celebrate him and he knew it. He wore this goofy grin on his face for the first half of the party.

I wanted to make sure that all of the little kids got fed as soon as possible to reduce the chance of mini-meltdowns. It worked for a bit… until my child had a not-so-mini meltdown! Luckily he wasn’t the only one as I was told later on. Oh the joy of a 2 year old!

 We had originally booked the jump house and than the morning of the party the weather forecast changed their mind and called for rain all throughout the party. So I called and canceled the jump house at 7am. Then the weather forecast  changed AGAIN and it was supposed to be sunny up until 6pm. So after talking to Aunt Louise and Joseph I decided to call and see if there was any way we could get the jump house delivered. I called 30 minutes before the party.

And guess what?? They called back and said they could deliver it between 1:30 and 2!! So perfect. Enough time for everyone to eat lunch and than go out and play. This was such a blessing because the kids got to really get out their energy and then when we did cupcakes and sang “Happy Birthday” it started raining again. Then when the kids were all done eating and ready to go back the rain stopped!!

There were a LOT of kids in the jump house when it first went up and E got a bit overwhelmed. Add that to the fact that he didn’t nap at all before the party and that added up to a very overtired and emotional toddler. He had a bit of a breakdown. He wanted to be in the jump house but didn’t want to be bounced around by all of the kids in there with him so he wanted out but wanted in at the same time if that makes any sense. So we decided to get him out and do cupcakes!

This pleased him! He had also been singing “Happy To You” all week and even sang it with Aunt Louise earlier that day so he knew what was coming when everyone gathered around him. He got his very own cookie cupcake complete with a chocolate chip cookie in the monster’s mouth! And he knew what to do when we told him to blow out his candle. But I still had to help him a little bit in the end so he wouldn’t end up spitting all over his cupcake.

Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Carly posed for a quick picture before they took off. Aunt Carly’s birthday was the day before the party so I’m sure they were off to celebrate with Carly’s friends after our party.

Grandma Ann and Cousin Aaron enjoyed some time together as we ate cupcakes.

And Great Grandma Joanne enjoyed holding Molly for a bit. Brother always likes to know what sister is doing and quickly came over to say hi!

My messy living room after the kids came and played with everything. This is actually a bit cleaner than the mess that came with opening gifts later on (gift opening photos will be in a separate post since Grandma Ann took all of those photos). Do you see Ethan in the middle? Yeah, he’s watching Dinosaur Train in between playing with friends.

Uncle Jeremy took Molly outside for a bit to enjoy the break in the rain while E, Cousin Aaron and Joseph enjoyed the jumpy after most of the guests left.

Ethan was so thankful for all of his new toys, clothes, books and games!

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