Secrets. We all have them. Some of the best kind happen during the holidays. We had one for Sam this week and our entire family had the best time. You can too!
Sam has been my kitchen buddy since he could hold a big spoon but since he’s busy with school activities now, our baking escapades don’t happen so often. That made baking cupcakes together the other night even more fun.
I didn’t decorate them until the next day, while he was at school. I had a plan.
You see, in addition to being my kitchen buddy, Sam is also my movie buddy. This summer we saw The Secret Life of Pets … twice. It’s an adorable animated comedy about what your pets do when you’re not home.
We both loved it. The Secret Life of Pets is one of those clever kid movies that has fun lines for parents to catch too. No surprise—it’s from the team behind that blockbuster, Despicable Me. The movie was just released on Blu-ray and DVD — just in time for the Christmas season. Appropriately, it even has some gifts included: nearly an hour of bonus content, including three hilarious mini-movies (Norman Television, Weenie, Mower Minions).
The movie stars two of my favorites right now: Kevin Hart and Jenny Slate. I’m obsessed with both. As well, it has a line-up of comedy ROCK STARS including Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress and Albert Brooks. Seriously amazing.
Back to those cupcakes and surprises though.
I received a copy of The Secret Life of Pets DVD and decided I couldn’t wait until Christmas to watch it….ahem….give it to Sam. ?
Enter family movie night. It’s one of the best holiday ideas for special family time.
Add popcorn and cupcakes with themed toppers and you’ve got great entertainment. But we didn’t want just any old cupcakes, a Secret Life of Pets family movie night deserves Secret Life of Pets themed cupcakes as well.
Sam and I have debated long and hard about who is our favorite character from the movie. I naturally assumed he would pick Max, the easy-going Jack Russell who is the main character (voiced by Louis C.K.). But he says he can’t pick, he loves them all. (I will forever pick Gidget, the Pomeranian voiced by Jenny Slate. She has a MOMENT in the movie that I love.)
Since this was Sam’s night, we were having cupcakes with all his favorite characters. I picked up some adorable mini figurines of the movie characters as well as cupcake liners with grass images on them and an idea was born.
I used one of my favorite “cake mix hacks” to make the cupcakes themselves – by adding eggs and oil to the mixture, not just water.
I added green gel food coloring to buttercream frosting to get the grassy color. Then I used a number 233 tip to create grass for the little pets to sit in.
The trick when you’re trying to pipe grass is to hold the bag at a 90 degree angle, squeeze so the strands are about a quarter of an inch long and then make sure you STOP squeezing the piping bag before you lift it away.
Since a critical plot point in the movie is the misadventure the pets get into outside their home, I loved the idea of having them on a bed of green grass. The fact that the cupcakes were delicious also didn’t hurt.
Family movie night turned out to be a success for us. The movie was just as adorable the third time around and it was a great punch-out to balance hectic seasonal events that have been ramping up.
Sam has been over the moon about Christmas coming but he wishes “it didn’t take so long to get here”. When I was little, I remember the anticipation seemed to stretch out forever too.
This family movie night was the perfect antidote for that. I just might space out more surprises during the month to multiply the merry at our house.
Of course, if you can keep secrets, you could wrap up the disc and keep it for Christmas… check out the trailer below and be sure to pick up your copy of The Secret Life of Pets today!
This post is in partnership with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.