Pumpkin Spice Bars


pumpkin spice bar sm post


Parenting is hard.

This is not rocket science, though, is it? I’ve been at this game for 10 years. I thought that by now I would be a pro. When my kids were babies I would gaze in wonder at parents of older elementary school aged kids and long for the knowledge that they had no doubt accumulated through the years. I thought, in grave error, that they must have it all together, have the ins and outs of discipline, schedules, and parental responsibility memorized and perfected. 

And maybe they did. It’s quite possible that the people surrounding me at that time in my life were parental experts to the 100th degree. It is completely within the bounds of reason to assume that they never lost their cool, never forgot a major school function, always knew just when to press and just when to retreat, and just had this parenting thing down.

Let’s assume, for arguments sake, though, that they did not. 

Let’s assume, that just like me, they had no idea what they were doing on the daily. And let’s just assume that, also like me, they’re not prone to admit this to others for sake of protecting their vulnerability.

Because the further I get into this parenting thing, the more I come to believe that none of us really have it figured out. And the ones who sit next to you at school functions bragging about how they do….they’re either lying or plain crazy. There’s no in between.

The more I talk to people in close confidence, the more I realize we’re all struggling here. The issues that confront you as a parent come rapid fire some days, and there’s almost never a black and white solution close at hand. It’s all shades of grey. Parenting is one occupation that you knowingly (or sometimes unknowingly–no judgement here) get into where there is no guaranteed play by play that leads to success. What works for little Jimmy probably isn’t going to work for little Jane and you may not figure that out until it’s too late. I’ve got 3 kids, all very close in age, and they are so different that I have to be a completely different parent when approaching each. And it’s exhausting. 

I’m often guilty of parenting Connor with my Dillon parenting hat on because I’m just too tired to switch. And if you know my boys at all, you know this is a terrible idea. 

hated it I sent my oldest to school today after a nightmare morning containing lots of very premature teenage-like behavior with a stone of guilt anchored deep into my stomach. Despite my best efforts to keep my cool as he yelled and screamed over his hair and his outfit (yes. you read that right. his hair and his outfit. This kid has a thing with his hair. See?), I eventually lost it. I sent him off to school with a full-on In Living Colour-esque earful about how “no one cares what your hair looks like in your picture retake and you can’t talk to me that way because I am your mother and just wait until I tell your father; how dare you talk to me like that….” 

It was not pretty.

And if I had to guess I would say that there’s not a mom on earth who hasn’t sent their kid off to school with that same stone of guilt sticking deep within their gut.

And then there’s my youngest who is in most ways a sweet, kind, friendly girl. She’s tough and scrappy and doesn’t take anything from anyone, but somehow she’s staring to fall prey to the notorious first grade mean girl trend of “if you don’t do {insert stupid order only a first grader can make up} I won’t be your friend anymore,” or the “I won’t be your friend if you’re friends with {insert random childs name}.” And she’s buying into it and letting it break her, begging me through sobs to let her take her fidget spinner to school so her friend will stay her friend. 

And I want to grab her and explain to her that real friendship and love doesn’t have qualifiers and that she deserves better than that. 

But no matter how much I say it, I know she has to live it and probably won’t really understand this until she’s older. I have to watch her hurt. And that sucks. 

I can absolutely 100% understand how parents enable their children by doing everything for them. I believe that, for the most part, it’s not because these parents are total pushovers. It’s just because they’re tired and running late. If you’ve ever tried to get out the door while your 5 year old is trying to tie their own shoes, you know this. We’re supposed to parent them and teach them. But dang, why does it have to take so long to thread that bunny through the hole?  kids getting ready for school

I know why helicopter parents are always intervening. It’s not because they are just bored busy-bodies. No, I really think it’s because their hearts hurt to watch their kid suffer and they just can’t take it. So they step in. Sure, it doesn’t teach the kid anything, but the problem goes away and the heart stops hurting. 

Parenting is hard. We are all wlick the beater. orking with all the tools we have in our toolboxes each day to be the best parents we can to our kids. Some days we win. And some we days we lose. But as long as we love them I think we’re doing ok. Because love is the root of it all. If we didn’t love them, it wouldn’t be hard. So keep it up. Give grace to yourself when you need it and remember that love heals all wounds….even wounds left by a screaming mother in the carpool line.

So to help maybe make that guilt go away, make them something yummy to eat for an afterschool treat. That’s what I do. And today, I’m making Pumpkin Spice Bars. My mom made them for me, probably some days out of guilt just like I am today. They’re super easy, just dump, stir, bake and frost. They’re superb and seasonally appropriate. So make some. Eat them with your kids. Know you’re doing a good job. And lick the batter, just this once. 





pumpkin spice individual shot


4.86 from 7 votes

Pumpkin Spice Bars


For the Cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 16 oz. can of pumpkin
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

For the Icing

  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 6 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


  1. Heat oven to 350 degree. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. 

  2. Beat eggos, sugar, applesauce, oil and pumpkin together until smooth. Stir in remaining dry ingredients until combined. 

  3. Pour batter into pan and bake until light brown, roughly 30 minutes.  Cool. 

For the Frosting

  1. Beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla until combined. Gradually add in powdered sugar until spreadable consistency. 

  2. Spread icing and cut into bars. Refrigerate after serving. 

pumpkin spice bars



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