Tips & Tricks

5 Tips for a Clean Move | The JavaCupcake Blog

5 Tips for a Clean Move

If you’ve sold your house to a first-time buyer or to a company like we buy houses Sacramento, everyone knows that moving to a new home after selling your current one can be a very stressful life event. However by keeping these 5 Tips for a Clean Move handy, the transition to your new life will be spic and span!

5 Tips for a Clean Move | The JavaCupcake Blog

This post is brought to you by Proctor & Gamble, a brand I trust. I was provided with the products seen in this post, but all the thoughts and opinions are mine. Thanks for supporting the brands that support The JavaCupcake Blog.

Over the last six months, I moved from Grafenwoehr, Germany to Fort Belvoir, VA to Dumfries, VA. Two huge moves in a matter of months meant a lot of planning and a lot of cleaning. Being a military family, I have mastered the art of preparing for a move and unpacking once I’ve reached my new home. Although, I must admit it would have been much harder without moving van hire. I genuinely don’t understand how people can move without getting a van, it makes everything so straightforward and simple.

Preparing for the move includes everything from purging of all the things I had collected at that duty station (making easier for a moving company like BR Moving to move my stuff) to cleaning every inch of the house. Unpacking on the other side means making sure everything is clean before it gets put away and that our new house becomes our home.

None of these things would be possible without these 5 Tips for a Clean Move.

Watch This!

Check out this video from Walmart and Proctor & Gamble about the products I used for my move!

5 Tips for a Clean Move

1. Toilet Paper

5 Tips for a Clean Move | The JavaCupcake Blog

I know this may seem like an unlikely choice for a list of essential cleaning supplies, but let me tell you how important making sure your house is fully stocked before and after you move is.

In the military, a moving company is hired to pack your house, deliver it to your new house and unpack it in the new place. This means at any time I could have 2-10 extra people in my house. 10 extra people means a lot of extra cleaning of the nether-regions going on… if you know what I mean! Charmin® toilet paper is the first thing I buy when moving to a new house allowing me to use up to 4X less than the leading bargain brand.

The worst thing is having to pee while waiting for movers to show up with no toilet paper in the house!! Keep this stuff stocked!

2. Paper Towels

5 Tips for a Clean Move | The JavaCupcake Blog

Paper towels are an essential part of cleaning in my house. My family uses them for almost everything we clean! During a move, they become even more important!

When packing up the house for a move, I don’t want to leave out a box of rags just so I can clean and then have to pack it in my suitcase later to take to the new house. Instead, I keep out at least 2 rolls of Bounty® paper towels on hand and use them to clean the counters, windows, bathroom sinks. Really, anything that needs a last-minute touch up after the cleaning crew has come and before the inspectors come to final us out of the house. My favorite part about these paper towels… they you to select the size of sheet you need for all your messes!

When we’re in the new house, before all our rags are unpacked, I use the Bounty® paper towels for all my cleaning needs! Especially in the first days after moving in to make sure that the house is extra clean and free of any dust of debris left from the previous tenants or moving crew.

3. Swiffer® Wet Jet

5 Tips for a Clean Move | The JavaCupcake Blog

I hate mops. They are such a pain in the behind to prep, use, and clean. Especially since I only have a few small areas of my home that aren’t covered in carpet. Using a Swiffer® Wet Jet is my savior when it comes to keeping the floors clean.

But let’s be honest here… who I am I kidding? I don’t swiffer the floors, Emily does. She’s in charge of making sure the kitchen floors are swept and swiffered after every meal.

When we moved, the Swiffer® was a lifesaver cleaning the high traffic areas where the movers tracked mug and dirt onto the vinyl flooring breaking up and dissolving the tough mess giving my floors a powerful clean.

4. Laundry Detergent

5 Tips for a Clean Move | The JavaCupcake Blog

Laundry is the last thing on my mind when I’m getting ready for a move which means that on the other side in our new house, I have a ton of it to do.

The first load of laundry I always do in every new house is my aprons. Using Tide® Pods makes life so much simpler when all I have to do is pop one in the laundry with my aprons. A couple of hours later, my aprons are clean and I’m ready to get into my new kitchen and bake! I love these pods because they dissolve in any temperature and can be used in all types of washing machines meaning no matter where we move to, I can always use them!

5. Air Freshener

5 Tips for a Clean Move | The JavaCupcake Blog

The first day in our new house I couldn’t help but notice a musty odor in the house. The house had been vacant for several months so I knew it was due to being empty.

After the majority of the our boxes were unpacked, furniture set up and my Polish pottery displayed it was time to spray the Unstopables™ Febreeze air freshener. The fresh, clean scent of the Unstopables™ gives me long-lasting luxury that smells like the lifestyle I deserve.

5 Tips for a Clean Move | The JavaCupcake Blog

This post is brought to you by Proctor & Gamble, a brand I trust. I was provided with the products seen in this post, but all the thoughts and opinions are mine. Thanks for supporting the brands that support The JavaCupcake Blog.

Top 12 Essentials for Home Bakers | The JavaCupcake Blog

Top 12 Essentials for Home Bakers

Some of my favorite things in the kitchen are tools that make baking simple and easy!  These are my Top 12 Essentials for Home Bakers!

Top 12 Essentials for Home Bakers | The JavaCupcake Blog

  1. Mixing bowls

    I have 7 mixing bowls in various sizes that I use every time I bake.  Whether it’s to mix the wet and dry ingredients in before adding to the mixer or to make the batter in… I must have a set of mixing bowls.  My favorites are these KitchenAid Mixing Bowls Set of 3, Assorted Colors.  Cute colors and the perfect sizes.

  2. Mini spatulas

    I never knew I needed these mini spatulas until I had them… and now I use them ALL. THE. TIME!  They’re perfect for getting in the bottom of the peanut butter or jam jar or mixing food coloring into a bowl of buttercream.  The possibilities are endless.  My favorite is this Core Kitchen 5 Piece Crete Mini Utensil Set.

  3. Cake stands

    Obsessed may be an understatement for me.  I love cake stands.  In fact, I don’t hide them away in a closet, yet they are prominently displayed on my sideboard in my living room.  Not only do I use them to display cakes, cupcakes, and desserts… but they are also home decor!  I am especially in love with cake stands like this one… Now Designs Tin Cake Stand, Aqua.

  4. Aprons

    Not only should you wear an apron to keep your clothes free of sugar and flour when you bake, but you should wean an apron because it makes you feel good!  I own about a dozen aprons and this one from Kate Spade is my absolute favorite! Kate Spade Diner Stripe Apron, 33 x 33″, Vivid Snap Dragon.

  5. Spoon rest

    With the amount of scraping the bowl and mixing wet ingredients I do, if I don’t have a spoon rest to set my utensils on, the counter gets dirty… quick!  I currently have a Polish Pottery spoon rest, but I’d love this mason jar one too! 1 X Mason Jar Ceramic Spoon Rest

  6. Pot holders

    My favorite pot holders are these small square washable holders.  I like them because they fit in my small kitchen drawers easily and don’t take up a lot of room. These DII 100% Cotton, Machine Washable, Everyday Kitchen Basic Terry Potholder Set of 3, Aqua are especially cute!

  7. Measuring cups & spoons

    My favorite measuring cups and spoons are the orange Tupperware set that came from my Grandmothers kitchen.  I love them because they’re simple, sturdy and can be tossed in the dishwasher.  They don’t make them like my Grandma’s anymore, but I’m certain the quality is still the same from Tupperware! Tupperware Measuring Cup and Spoon Set in Rain Drop/Salt Water Taffy

  8. Dish towels

    I keep a dish towel over my shoulder when I bake because I am constantly needing to wipe my hands off.  Keeping a clean, dry kitchen is important to me while baking… makes for easier clean up in the end and makes life so much easier! DII 100% Cotton, Machine Washable, Everyday Kitchen Basic Windowpane Combo Dish Cloth Set of 6, Aqua

  9. Cookie dough scoop

    Making cookies an even, uniform size can only be done with a cookie dough scoop.  It’s been a game changer for me when making cookies.  My favorite is the OXO Good Grips Medium Cooke Scoop.

  10. Parchment paper

    Whether I’m lining a baking sheet for cookies or lining, greasing and flouring a pan for cake… parchment paper is a must have for almost everything I bake.  My favorite is Reynolds Parchment Paper, 75 Sq Ft

  11. Stackable cooling racks

    Everything you bake must be cooled.  In my kitchen, counter space is limited so my favorite cooling racks are the ones that are stackable.  I don’t lose space and I can still use have access to the counter space under the rack! I am currently using Baker’s Secret 3 Tier Cooling Rack.

  12. Baking canisters

    I never really gave much thought into what I stored my flour and sugars in… until I bought these baking canisters from Sistema.  I love them because they are square, which means they take up less space in my cabinet… the tops lock on them which means no spilling if I drop it… and they stack easily!  The set even comes with a leveling knife for the flour.  Love this set so much! Sistema 1214 Bake It Storage Multi Piece Container Collection (Set of 15), White

Top 12 Essentials for Home Bakers | The JavaCupcake Blog

Flower Pot Cupcakes | The JavaCupcake Blog

Flower Pot Cupcakes

Spring is here and these Flower Pot Cupcakes will make the perfect dessert for a garden party or Spring soiree!

Flower Pot Cupcakes | The JavaCupcake Blog

I subscribe to Cake Style on YouTube and one of their recent videos featuring piped cosmos flowers placed onto a layer cake inspired me to make these cupcakes!

So, I taught myself to pipe cosmos flowers and made these super cute Flower Pot Cupcakes…

With a video too! (Scroll to the bottom)

Flower Pot Cupcakes | The JavaCupcake Blog


These cupcakes aren’t for beginners, unfortunately.  You’ll need to know how to use a piping bag and a some experience working with buttercream.


Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 dozen Sweets & Treats Boutique Bake Bright cupcake liners
  • 1 dozen cupcakes made with Pillsbury Funfetti Vibrant Green Cupcake and Cake Mix (8.25 oz. pouch) + the ingredients needed to bake them
  • Vanilla buttercream – I used this recipe
  • Wilton dyes in – green, yellow, & two other colors of your choice for flowers
  • Disposable piping bags & small couplers
  • Wilton tips #102, #3, #233, #67
  • Flower nail
  • Parchment squares
  • Baking sheet

Flower Pot Cupcakes | The JavaCupcake Blog

I really love how the Sweets & Treats Boutique green dot liners really add to the overall look of the cupcake! I’m a firm believer that the cupcake shouldn’t just look pretty on top where the frosting is, but the it should be cute from top to bottom!

Flower Pot Cupcakes | The JavaCupcake Blog


  1. Prepare the green cake mix as instructed on the package and bake them in the Sweets & Treats Bake Bright green dot liners.  Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
  2. Separate the buttercream into two… 2/3 in one bowl and 1/3 in another.
  3. Separate the 2/3 buttercream into three equal parts.  Leave one white and color the other two any color you want for the flowers.
  4. Separate the 1/3 buttercream in two parts, 2/3 and 1/3.  Color the 1/3 yellow and the 2/3 green.
  5. Fit the piping bag with the #102 small petal tip and fill the piping bag with the first color.
  6. Place a dab of frosting onto a parchment square and place it on the flower nail.  Pipe 7-8 petals onto the square, spinning the flower nail as you pipe.  (See the video for more details)  Place the flower onto the baking sheet.  Repeat with the other two colors of buttercream until you’ve made at least 3-5 flowers per cupcake.  (For more details on how to pipe the flowers, see the Cake Style video that inspired me to make these cupcakes)
  7. Fill a piping bag fitted with the #3 small round tip with the yellow buttercream.  Pipe 6-8 dots of yellow into the center of each flower. (See the video for more details)
  8. Freeze all the flowers until they are firm.
  9. Fill a piping bag fitted with the #233 grass tip with the green buttercream.  Pipe little shoots of grass onto the top of each cupcake.  (See the video for more details)
  10. Fill a piping bag fitted with the #67 leaf tip with green buttercream.  Pipe dabs of frosting onto the top of the grass.  This will act like the glue to hold on the flowers.
  11. Working with 3-5 flowers at a time out of the freezer, gently peel each flower off the parchment square and place it onto the cupcake.  Place as many as you like in whatever way you feel looks best. (See video for more details)
  12. Pipe leaves with the green buttercream around the flowers.
  13. Repeat until all the cupcakes are covered.

NOTE: The flowers get soft very quickly, so keep them chilled until you are ready to place them on the cupcake.

I am so super in love with how well these cupcakes turned out.  Piping the flowers first, chilling them and then placing them on top created the perfect little pot of flowers!

When the buttercream flowers come to room temperature, they meld onto each other making it impossible to tell how they were place on the cupcakes! I had people amazed and how I made these!

Flower Pot Cupcakes | The JavaCupcake Blog Flower Pot Cupcakes | The JavaCupcake Blog

So whether you’re hosting a garden party, a bake sale or just want to make something adorable, these Flower Pot Cupcakes are perfect for all your cupcake needs!

Happy Baking!

Bake Bright Grease Proof Liners – See the Difference!

Why settle for cupcake liners that allow the oil and grease of your cupcakes to soak through?  Why settle for a beautiful cupcake liner that you can’t enjoy after you bake in it because the design has disappeared?  You don’t have to settle any more!

Wilton Liners vs Sweets & Treats Boutique Liners - Whose are the best? Find out on

I have tested hundreds of liners over the last 6 years of baking cupcakes and I have come to several conclusions.  Not all cupcake liners are made the same!  The past weekend I made my rich dark chocolate cake in Wilton cupcake liners and in Sweets & Treats Boutique liners.  I wanted to see the difference side by side and really compare the pros and cons of the two liners.

Wilton Cupcake Liners:


  • The Wilton cupcake liners come in hundreds of colors and patterns for all holidays and occasions.
  • They are sold in almost every grocery store, craft store and baking supply store.


  • The Wilton cupcake liners are NOT grease-proof.
  • The grease/oils from the cake seep through the paper making the outside greasy and messy.
  • The color and design of the liners do not stay bright and/or visible when baking a dark color cake batter because of the oils that have seeped through the paper.Wilton Liners vs Sweets & Treats Boutique Liners - Whose are the best? Find out on

Sweets & Treats Boutique Cupcake Liners:


  • The Sweets & Treats Boutique cupcake liners ARE grease-proof.
  • When baking dark colored cake, these liners keep their color and pattern with little to no oil soaking through the paper.
  • The STB liners come in a large variety of trendy patterns and colors.
  • These liners are priced reasonably for the amazing value of the product.


  • The STB liners do not come in many floral or holiday patterns.  (This is just my personal preference – although it doesn’t take away from the awesomeness of the product.  I’d just like to see some cute snowflakes at winter or eggs at Easter, etc).


Personally,  when I purchase cupcake liners that have colors or patterns on them it’s for a reason – to coordinate with the theme of the cupcake and/or party they are for.  I hate spending money on a product that is useless.  And that’s how I feel the Wilton liners are… useless.  You can see the difference in the photo above.

The Wilton liner on the left is wet from grease and has not maintained it’s color or pattern.  However, the Sweets & Treats Boutique liner is almost completely dry and it’s color is bright!  Why would you ever want to bake your cupcake in anything other than STB after seeing this?


I met the owner of Sweets & Treats Boutique, Shannon, online a few years ago through a fellow baking blogger and we instantly became friends.  Shannon has sent me so many of her liners over the years to try that I’m pretty much stocked for life, but let me reassure you that our friendship does not change the fact that I think her liners are better than any other on the market.

Shannon has a passion for her business and she works every day to make it better.  Shannon saw how dark my chocolate cake baked in her liners and she was determined to come up with a product even better than what she already had.  A cupcake liner that could stand up to even my chocolate cupcake recipe.  And guess what… Shannon did it.


Wilton Liners vs Sweets & Treats Boutique Liners - Whose are the best? Find out on

The cupcake on the left is baked in a mini Wilton cupcake liner and on the right is the new and improved grease proof bake bright liner from Sweets & Treats Boutique.  ZERO grease comes through this paper leaving 100% of the color and design visible.  How amazing is that?

Don’t worry… the cupcake liners will be folded and formed when they’re ready to be sold to the public… I tested the paper out for Shannon with my chocolate cake recipe and giving her feedback on the results.  But seriously though, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…

Sweets  & Treats Boutique Bake Bright Grease Proof Liners time and time again prove to be the best in the industry at keeping their shape and color, even with the toughest of batters like my chocolate cake!

And one more awesome thing… all the new liners in the new #BakeBright Grease Proof liners will be made 100% in the USA! How amazing is that!?


Wilton Liners vs Sweets & Treats Boutique Liners - Whose are the best? Find out on

Sweets & Treats Boutique provided me with the mini cupcake liners to test but all the opinions are my own.

Glitter and Gold Glam Gift Wrapping |

Glitter and Gold Glam Gift Wrapping

When giving gifts, the packaging should be just as special as the gift itself.  With just a little preparation, the right supplies and these Glitter and Gold Glam Gift Wrapping ideas, you can make your gifts beautiful inside and out!

Glitter and Gold Glam Gift Wrapping |

For the last few months, I’ve partnered with Tiny Prints to create some amazing things.   First, they helped me host My Favorite Things Party and now I’m using their products to create these beautifully wrapped gifts.

I’ve put together some basic tips to planning your gift wrapping and it’s being featured on the Tiny Prints Blog today!  Head on over to Tiny Prints to see the full tutorial and get some ideas for create your own Glitter & Gold Glam Gift Wrapping!

Glitter and Gold Glam Gift Wrapping |


DIY Paper Bow Tutorial |

DIY Paper Bows

Paper Bows add flair and charm to gift wrapping and create a fun touch in home decor.  Use this simple tutorial to create one-of-a-kind  DIY Paper Bows! DIY Paper Bows - A Complete Tutorial by

I love giving the gift of baked goods to friends and family.  Since I take so much time and care into making sure what I’m gifting is perfect,  I really want to make sure the outside is beautiful too!  These DIY Paper Bows can dress up any gift with just a few supplies and simple steps.  Any color paper can be used which makes them so versatile!

DIY Paper Bow Tutorial |

See how amazing this package looks with the addition of a gold paper bow?  It’s super easy, you just need a few supplies and about 5-10 minutes to make your own!


DIY Paper Bow Tutorial |

Here’s what you’ll need…

  • Thick card stock paper
  • DIY Paper Bow Template (download here)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Pencil


DIY Paper Bow Tutorial |

  1. Cut out the pattern from the template.
  2. Trace each piece on to the card stock.
  3. Cut out each piece of the pattern.DIY Paper Bow Tutorial |
  4. Squeeze a dollop of glue onto the center of the largest piece.
  5. Fold over each end until it meets at the glue in the middle.
  6. Using your fingers, hold the ends together until the glue has dried and it doesn’t fall apart.  (If you want to make more than one at a time, you can secure them with a paper clip and set aside to dry while you work on more)DIY Paper Bow Tutorial |
  7. Squeeze a dollop of glue onto the center of the other large piece.
  8. Press the folded bow down onto the glue and hold until it dries and doesn’t come apart and is dry.  (Again, if you’re making several, secure with a paper clip and make more while it dries.)DIY Paper Bow Tutorial |
  9. Flip the bow over and squeeze a dollop on the center.
  10. Wrap the smallest piece around the center of the bow until it meets at the glue.
  11. Press gently and hold until it dries.

DIY Paper Bow Tutorial |

Coming Wednesday I’ll be sharing a complete tutorial to create an entire gift wrap presentation with the DIY Paper Bow as the star!!!