Betty Crocker “Bake Life Sweeter” Review & Prize Pack Giveaway {Ended}

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{Giveaway Now Ended}

For my daughter’s 4th birthday party this year, we decided to go with an Under-the-Sea theme! My daughter is just slightly obsessed with Ariel & Little Mermaid this year so that’s what she wanted for her party, but since we were going to have little boys & girls at the party,we thought it would be more fun if we went with a general Under-the-Sea themed party, but incorporating Little Mermaid into the party. It was perfect timing, too, because My Blog Spark & Betty Crocker contacted me about reviewing Betty Crocker’s party-planning ideas on their website as well as trying out their cakes & frostings.  {And yes, this was back in May, but unfortunately we misplaced our memory card with all the pictures & video & just found it a few days ago- whew! Glad those pictures aren’t lost! My husband had accidentally brought that memory card on a field trip to take pictures}

Once we decided on our Under-the-Sea theme, I check out (Under Menus, Holidays & Parties) & was  happy to discover that the Under -the- Sea Mermaid party was one of the parties they featured on their site for ideas.

I found some great party-planning ideas for the Under the Sea theme & here are a few of the ideas that we used from the Betty party-planning website:

  • Decorations – Used teal, blue & green colors to decorate the house/table to create a sea/water feel.  We also used glittery fish & shells to decorate (my mom has a “sea” themed bathroom so she brought down some fun shells & other fun sea items to use for decorating).
  • Craft – Had the kids cut out paper plate jellyfish or paper plate fish & then decorate with glitter glue, jewels & more.  We used colored paper plates, but  you could also use regular paper plates (which you can often find on sale w/coupons for super cheap) & then have the kids paint them.

  • Cake – We used a modification of the Mermaid cake since we’re not very skilled cake decorators & wanted to stick with a flat sheet cake. Here is the actual idea that we copied for the cake.  Loved the idea of using Fruit Roll-ups to decorate the cake.  My husband actually took over making the cake for the 2nd year in a row {I think he’s now set the precedent because he does such a great job decorating & adding his own unique touches! ;) } We used Betty Crocker cake & frosting, which was moist & yummy.  He dyed the icing blue to make it an ocean scene & then used the Fruit Roll-ups  (which I’d gotten free at Safeway a few months ago) to create seaweed & waves at the top.  We also found Swedish Fish, Sour gummy Octopus  candies &  candy rocks to use to create the Ocean theme. We then had an Ariel candle at the top for our little  4 year old “Ariel” princess!

I thought the site was a great place to start thinking of different themes.  Some of the other interesting themes were Out of this World Space theme, Firehouse party, Train theme, Magical Princess , & Robots Rule.

Here are some of the other fun ideas we used for an Under-the-Sea theme:


  • I actually found several blue-colored mason jars at a garage sale a few weeks before & my husband filled them with a teaspoon of Soil Moist crystals (found in any gardening section at Walmart, Fred Meyer, etc – typically used for adding to soil to increase water retention).  He then added blue food coloring & it worked as the perfect ocean for our little floating Swedish fish & other gummy fish.  The kids loved these special jars & trying to see how many fish they could spot.  {The picture above was at the end of the party when the gummy fish had gotten a bit waterlogged since we placed them too early in the morning}


  • Dolphin-shaped sandwiches – used a cookie cutter to cut the sandwiches into fun dolphin shapes
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Photo Credit
  • Hot Dog Octopus -You just take a Hot Dog & cut the hot dog into 8 slits up the middle, all the way up (just leave an inch or two at the top for the octopus head). Then boil the hot dogs to cook  & the pieces will curl up so it sits up nicely on the plate & looks like a little octopus. We then used ketchup for the eyes. This was a definite favorite with the kids (but I forgot to take a picture of the ones we made, so here’s another version up above)
  • Blue Jello in clear plastic cups (ocean)– inside were little gummy fish & octopus swimming in the ocean. The kids loved digging to find their hidden fish.

{We had other food, too, for the adults & healthier options, but  this was the fun themed food items}


  • Hunt for Buried Treasure – One of the fun games we had was hunting for buried treasure in a bucket full of beans. I got some fun ocean-themed items at the dollar store (like plastic fish/shark/whales, plastic coral/seaweed, shiny plastic necklaces & more) & we buried them in the buckets. The kids then had to search for the buried treasure  & keep anything they found.   This definitely kept them quite entertained for a bit!

These are just a few of the ideas we used for our Under-the-Sea themed party.  You can definitely do fun, themed parties without breaking the bank as many of these items were items you could find around the house.

Giveaway – Betty Crocker “Bake Life Sweeter” Prize Pack

Now, here’s the fun part – Betty Crocker & My Blog Spark have teamed up to offer 1 Thrifty NW Mom reader a Bake Life Sweeter Prize Pack for you to use for an upcoming party.  You’ll receive VIP coupons for Betty Crocker products as well as all the tools you’ll need to make your cake.  This giveaway will end up Sunday August 8th at 9pm pst.

The winner will be drawn using and the winner will have 48 hours to contact me, otherwise a new winner will be drawn. US residents only & you must be 18 yrs or older to enter the giveaway.

Here’s how to enter this giveaway::

1st Entry (required entry): Tell us a favorite birthday party memory or a favorite party you’ve given.

Extra Entries : (make sure these are all separate comments, with a comment for each entry)

2) Subscribe to the Thrifty NW Mom feed via a reader of your choice or email (must be verified) or become a Google follower.

3) Head over to the Thrifty NW Mom Facebook page & “like” the page. Leave a comment saying you did this. If you already “like” Thrifty NW Mom’s Facebook page, you can comment & say that.

4) Follow Thrifty NW Mom on Twitter and “Tweet” about this giveaway, with a link to this post (or my twitter name w/the tweet)! You must “tweet” in order to receive the extra entry (you can do this once per day) & leave your twitter name or link here.

Disclosure: I was given a Flip Video Camera, gift card, VIP coupons & prize pack  by General Mills & My Blog Spark as part of this  review.  A Betty Crocker Bake Life Sweeter prize pack also will be given to  a winner randomly chosen.  All opinions are 100% mine. See my disclosure statement for more details.


  1. For one of my birthdays, my mom made a “pool” cake that had Teddy Grahams “swimming” in it. They even had bathing suits on them. Gum stick for a diving board. Really stuck in my memory! :)

  2. My kids turned 5 and 3 this past month so we took them to Jump Planet. Had a ball watching all their friends run around and jump. Then we got home and they both took really long naps! Got to love that.

  3. My son just recently celebrated his 3rd birthday and is way into ToyStory. I have a subcribtion to Disney’s Family Fun mag (becasue of your tip awhile back!) They had a super easy recipe for the little green ailen cupcakes. They were so much fun to make and turned out so good. My son went nuts over them and has not stopped talking about those cupcakes and it has been a month from his party!

  4. My favorite theme so far has been spongbob – my sister helped me make an amazing cake and we even made his house out of a huge real pineapple!

  5. I don’t know how to link to it but I follow you on twitter – @sworley82 – and just tweeted the giveaway!

  6. we did a monkey-themed party for my 2 year old last year, with a monkey cake and monkey pinata. He LOVED it!

  7. My daughter’s 2nd birthday was the best, not because of a theme but because it was the first time I did everything myself. Cake and frosting from scratch with piping and other homemade goodies, it made me feel proud to be a momma!

  8. My fav party was when my son turned 7 and he wanted a Toy story party! it was so cute he dressed at buzz light year!!

  9. We do Halloween parties for my oldest every year since her birthday is Oct. 28. Every year is so fun since everyone wears their costumes

  10. My favorite party was my daughter’s 3rd Peter Pan themed one at a park! We had so much fun being creative and coming up with all the games and even had a surprise visit from Captain Hook.

  11. My favorite bday party that I threw was a happy 100 for my parents, who both turned 50 within 2 wks of each other. We arranged for friends to take them to dinner. As soon as they were gone, we got in their house and cleaned it spick and span and rearranged the furniture and got all the food ready. We had Happy 100 decorations all over and a giant Happy 100 cake with 100 candles (that it took 4 lighters to light and 2 of us to carry carefully to not singe our hair.) We ran a shuttle van between the house and a nearby parking lot so they wouldn’t be clued in by a bunch of familiar cars. It was a wonderful surprise for them and a joy for me to arrange.

  12. My favorite party was a Car’s theme for my 5 year old son. We ended up cutting out the characters from the wall mural and he has it up in his room now.

  13. I recently took my daughters and their friends to Great Wolf Lodge for a waterpark/spa party. We did the spa right in our hotel room, complete with paraffin hand dips, foot and hand massages, and foot soaks. It was great.

  14. My favorite party we’ve thrown was my daughter’s 4th birthday. It was princess-themed, but not just Disney stuff. We had all her friends dress up in their favorite princess dress for the party. Once there, we had a sort of assembly line where at each station the girls had their hair, make-up, nails, and jewelry done, while Disney Princess songs played in the background. (Thanks to tons of help from friends and sisters!) We then to their pictures in front of a castle wall decoration. While we decorated cardboard jewelry boxes and cardboard frames with “Princess ” labeled on them, my husband ran to the store to print the pictures off. During cake (generic princess cake celebrating Hailey) and ice cream, I glued all the pictures to the back of the frames. After opening presents, the girls got to take home their frames and jewelry boxes, which were now full of party favors. While parents gathered their stuff, I had the Disney Princess Party Sing-A-Long DVD playing on the tv so the girls could sing and dance to it. It was a huge hit!!!

  15. We have had some fun parties, The Wizard of Oz party was a ton of fun to do and the kids all looked so cute in their costumes!

  16. My favorite party was for my daughters coming home party. She’d just moved in and we were adopting her. We had a catapiller cake and had her name on it. She was super excited and we had decorations with the theme up in the dining room. It was a big hit!

  17. I have always loved to bake, and for my 8th or 9th birthday, I helped mom make a cake for me, and then decorated it to look like a hot air baloon. I thought it was so fun that I made my own cake :)

  18. My favorite birthday party memory is my daughters’ 3rd birthday. We had a Dora theme and they loved the cupcakes I made in the shape of Dora’s head.

  19. our son will be 4 on 8/21 and our daughter will be 1 on 9/4. my husband is taking his r and r from Afghanistan to be here for their first birthday together. so these upcoming birthdays will be our favorite!! :)

  20. My 27th birthday was on the same day as Mother’s Day, which also happened to be my 1st Mother’s Day with my oldest son. That was a fun birthday for a couple of different reasons!

  21. My daughter had an Easter b-day party where we had an egg hunt and the kids got to find the special prizes hidden in the eggs. Mine is also into Little Mermaid, so we had a pin-the-flower-on-Ariel game as well. I follow on FB and Twitter.

  22. My favorite birthday party was a suprise party with all my friends and family when i was 12. We had a scavenger hunt, bobed for apples, and had a strawberry cake with real strawberrys and whipped cream on it

  23. The most fun party that I have done was for my husband & daughter’s bdays (they are 1 week apart on the calendar) and it was Hawaiian Themed! SOOO FUN!

  24. My daughter just celebrated her first birthday and so we had a ladybug themed party. I made a large mama ladybug cake and a baby ladybug for her smash cake.

  25. One of my favorite birthday memories is my boyfriend’s birthday a couple years ago because I made him a cake that he really loved and I was really proud of how it turned out.

  26. My little girls DIVA party, we did makeup up, decorated crowns, pin the lips on the lipstick, candy jewelry.

  27. I think my favorite I’ve given was a surprise party for my husband’s thirtieth, and it kind of doubled as a going away party as we were moving across the country a couple of months later. It was so fun to see his face as he was genuinely surprised (rare, as I’m not a good secret keeper).

  28. My girls wanted a zebra and giraffe themed birthday so we went with a jungle theme…turned out very cute!

  29. My fave birthday party memory was my son’s 1st birthday last year. Seeing him enjoy the cake was priceless!

  30. We had a “Magic Treehouse” party for my son when he turned six. We had different games and activities from the different books (dug in the sandbox for dinosaur eggs, etc.). And I made the cake, but mine wasn’t as cool as yours!

  31. I still remember the Raggedy Ann birthday cake my mom made for me when I was little. She’s awesome!!!

  32. I love to throw parties!!! Some of my favorites have been: Daughter’s 4th: a wedding theme, complete with hot-pink wedding cake–from scratch! All of the girls dressed like brides, and we made bouquets and flower wreaths for them to wear. It was a lot of fun to see the girls really enjoy their time as brides!

  33. My mom made me an awesome school bus cake for my birthday right after I started Kindergarten. I don’t remember many other cakes specifically but I remember that one!

  34. Favorite birthday party was at Old Spaghetti Factory with several friends. We dressed up in Prom dresses and went out.

  35. I made a flower cake for my daughters first birthday, everyone loved it and it was so cute… even if it took quite some time!

  36. I made my niece a Curious George cake for her 2nd birthday and it turned out AMAZING! She loved it, and so did everyone else. I can’t wait to do something fun for my daughter’s 1st birthday in 6 months!

  37. I remember being 11 or 12 and my mom making me a jukebox birthday cake, it was so cute. I loved anything 50’s.

  38. I helped my daughter plan a “hat party” and made a hat shaped cake and had guests wear their favorite hats and had a ‘pin the hat on Mari” game where we drew a lifesize picture of Mari and guests all made hats to use for the game. It was one of my favorite parties.

  39. Last year my daughter had a flip flop party! Was super cute! We made cute little cookies from a Betty Crocker recipe.

  40. My personal fav birthday memory is my 8th :) it was a suprise party and i had a barbie cake :-) my fav memory for the girls is my 1st daughters first bday i baked her a 3D bear cake it was so cute watching her eat the nose :-D

  41. My favorite party memory was a surprise goodbye party thrown for me before I left the country for a year, I had NO IDEA, it was so fun!

  42. I follow you on facebook and e-mail! I did a flower theme for my 5-yr-old this year and even made a huge flower cake!

  43. My 13th birthday I got to do whatever I wanted. We went to this huge mini-golf place with water bumper cars and other games. Then we had pizza and a sleep-over. So fun and a ton of great memories!

  44. my favorite party was my daughters first bday party. we had a princess cake and her own little cake and she made such a mess with it, but it was adorable!

  45. My favorite birthday party was a princess theme. Everyone came in princess/price costume. Tons of fun.

  46. We made a great ‘very hungry caterpillar” cake for my brother’s birthday when he was a little guy. It was made of twinkies, and looked just like the Eric Carle original.

  47. My daughter’s last birthday (her 5th) she REALLY wanted a barbie cake (the kind with the doll in them)- so I told her I’d give it a try- but suggested we make cupcakes too so there’d be enough for everyone (and in case the cake didn’t turn out!)- she requested MOCHA with a choc. covered espresso bean- so sophisticated for 5!!!! :)

  48. My mom used to make the most amazing cakes for birthdays, she could do just about anything…seeing the results was always a favorite bday memory for me!

  49. Just did an “amazing race” party for my 13 year olds birthday in March. 16 pre-teen girls on a huge scavenger hunt – it was great!

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