We took on the Pillsbury Baking Challenge and went technology free for one full afternoon– it was an afternoon full of easy filled cupcakes, memories, laughing, learning, and fun. I would do it again in a heartbeat. You just don’t realize how much time you spend looking at your phone or devices until they are turned off and put away. It had a far greater impact on me than I was expecting. We reconnected by DISconnecting.
*** This post is sponsored by Pillsbury Baking but all activities, ideas, and opinions are my own**
When planning our “Technology-free” afternoon, we tried to come up with an idea completely centered around the kids. We decided that we wanted to do an afternoon full of baked treats and family memories. Planning a tech-free afternoon, believe it or not, actually takes some PLANNING. I was completely dedicated to this challenge. I was 100% in. There would be no “just checking my phone real quick” for ANYTHING so if there was anything that needed technology it needed to be done ahead of our blocked out time.
A few days before our no-tech day, I let my girls look through all of our photos on our computers and let them pick out their favorite memories from the last year. They each picked out dozens of their favorite moments and sent them in to be printed. After we picked pictures, we went to the craft store and I let them each pick out a binder and some printed paper and stickers that they thought would go along with some of the memories.
We had been talking about the tech-free day all week so when the day came the girls were BEYOND excited to get going on it. I was actually surprised how excited they were. More than once, just during the planning, I thought, “We really need to do this more often”. They knew that for this one afternoon they were going get get our undivided attention. No stepping out to take calls or looking down to answer texts. No distractions. Just us and the kids. It doesn’t seem like much, but to them, it meant more than I realized.
The afternoon started with the kids choosing what treat they wanted to make. They both wanted to do the Funfetti Cupcakes with Funfetti frosting. Oh, and they wanted them filled with “Whoop Cream” (as they both call it haha).
First you bake the cupcakes according to package instructions and prepare frosting:
FROSTING TIP: Did you know you can DOUBLE the frosting from a container using one EASY trick?
Just place the container of frosting in a bowl and using a hand or stand mixer, WHIP at HIGH speed until the frosting has doubled.
This just whips air into it making it lighter and fluffier. If you want to make even more, add a little milk and powdered sugar a little at a time until you get the amount and consistency you want!
Ok back to the cupcakes. Once the cupcakes have cooled, cut a cone shape out of the top of the cupcake by placing the knife at an angle into the cupcake top and cutting a circle, leaving the tip of the knife at the center of the cupcake.
Remove the cut-out “cone” from the center of the cupcake and fill the hole with whipped cream (you can also use pudding, jam, berries, pie filling or frosting). My kids wanted the whipped cream so that is what we went with.
Place the cone back on the cupcake over the filling with the flat side DOWN.. so it looks like your cupcake is wearing a party hat.
Place your whipped frosting in a piping bag, and pipe frosting around the cone and work upwards until the cone is covered.
Add sprinkles and you’re done!
See the printable recipe below:
- 1 box Pillsbury Cake Mix prepared using cupcake directions (we used Funfetti)
- 1 container frosting
- Whipped cream
- Prepare cake mix according to package directions using the "cupcake" directions (should make 18-24 cupcakes).
- Scoop frosting into a medium-sized bowl. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, mix on high-speed until frosting amount seems to double (you are whipping air into it to make it lighter and fluffier). Don't whip too long or it will flatten again.
- When the cupcakes have cooled, cut a cone shape out of the top of the cupcake by placing the knife at an angle into the cupcake top and cutting a circle, leaving the tip of the knife at the center of the cupcake.
- Remove the cut-out "cone" from the center of the cupcake and fill the hole with whipped cream (you can also use pudding, jam, berries, pie filling or frosting.. my kids wanted the whipped cream so that is what we went with).
- Place the cone back on the cupcake over the filling with the flat side DOWN.. so it looks like your cupcake is wearing a party hat.
- Place your whipped frosting in a piping bag (or you can use a Ziploc bag with a corner snipped off), and pipe frosting around the cone and work upwards until the cone is covered.
- Top with sprinkles and enjoy!
We turned our kitchen into a “fun zone” and let the kids go crazy with their cupcakes. I showed them how to do it, helped them on one or two cupcakes and them let them go hog-wild on the rest. It was a little tricky at first but they got the hang of it and actually made some pretty decent looking cupcakes!
It was fun seeing their inner “Doughboy” shine as they made their cupcake creations. I gotta say, they are naturals.
After cleaning up the cupcake mess, we moved onto the next part of our tech-free afternoon. We got out all of the pictures and even got out our cameras to document our fun activity. The girls LOVED taking pictures with their Instax Mini 8 camera!
They would ham it up for the camera for each other and use the pictures that printed out INSTANTLY to make their scrapbooks and photo albums. They loved the instant gratification of seeing their photos appearing before their eyes.
It is so easy to use and such a quick way to document those little moments. It is so easy to take pictures with your phone and camera and then just forget about them. This way they are printed and ready to go. You can hang them up in a matter of minutes. Really, my girls LOVE LOVE LOVE this camera.
For the scrapbooks, I gave them very little guidance on how it needed to be done and then just let them have at it. Being the control freak perfectionist that I am, this was a little difficult. I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to jump in and say “That picture isn’t straight” or “Those stickers don’t match that paper” or “You spelled that wrong”. I just had to take a step back and let them create. The more I accepted their little scrapbooks as THEIR own creations, the more I loved them. The imperfections made them perfect and looking through them now, I wouldn’t change a thing.
They are SO proud of their work and have loved showing them to everyone who walks through our door.
This Pillsbury Challenge was SO much fun and definitely an eye-opener. We realized we need to not just put down, but turn OFF our devices every once in a while and really be present for an hour, an afternoon, a DAY… whatever you think you can handle. It was such a success, we decided that once a month we are going to do a “picture album day”. My husband and I will print out pictures from the month and put them in physical albums for us to look through as a family and the kids will add to their “scrapbooks”. We had such a great time talking about the pictures and re-living the memories. Nothing quite brings the family together like baking and reminiscing on the good times- technology free.
So even though this started off as a challenge from Pillsbury, it ended up being a kick-off to a new family tradition that I am SUPER excited about! It will be something our whole family will look forward to each month, so thank you Pillsbury Baking, for letting us be a part of your fun challenge.
Now we would like to challenge YOU to the same challenge! Are you up to it?? It is SO easy and I PROMISE you that it is SO WORTH IT. Reconnect by DISconnecting from technology. Here’s what you gotta do:
Step 1: Pick and afternoon or evening to go “technology-free”. No TV, no tablets, no phones… nothing. We didn’t even use our phones for pictures. We used digital cameras and the Instax Mini 8 to document our fun day! If you need to use your phone for pictures, put it in “airplane mode” or “do not disturb” mode so you don’t get distracted by any possible notifications.
Step 2: Using convenient, delicious Pillsbury Baking and Frosting mixes, whip up a treat as a family.
Step 3: Have FUN and document your experience!