How to make eclipse glasses “protectors!”





If you’re like me, you are so freaking excited about the eclipse that you’ve been planning it for months! Yes, I knew it was coming a while ago, because when i first heard about it, I noticed it fell on our 13th wedding anniversary! I felt like it was a lucky day for sure! But not only for that reason, but also because I’m a proud nerd!

I took astronomy in college as my science and I love to go to planetariums! We even had an outer space theme for one of Bella’s birthday parties, where I hung the solar system from our living room ceiling! So yes, I’m excited about this once in a lifetime thing (and by lifetime, I mean a TOTAL eclipse from a location I can actually get to)! It’s totally (pun intended) fine if you couldn’t care less about it, but no need to knock the people who are truly intrigued and excited about it ๐Ÿ™‚

However, as we get closer to the big day, more and more info is coming out about the risks of watching the eclipse. Now, I’m not trying to give you a ‘what’s an eclipse’ lesson, but the nuts and bolts of it are this…IT’S DANGEROUS TO LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN. We all know this and have been told this our entire lives, right? So here’s the deal, where I live (Charlotte, NC) is going to experience a 98% eclipse, which means, there will still be 2% of the sun visible…thus, you must keep your solar glasses on the entire time if you are going to stare at the sun! But, we’re going to Columbia, SC (to my SIL’s house) because she is in the path of totality, which means when the moon completely covers the sun, we can remove our glasses and look at it and be fine!

If you want to see what the percentage will be where you are located, click on this LINK, and type in your city!

Let me reiterate…the sun is no different on Monday than it has ever been any other day of your life. But because of the partial eclipse (depending on where you’re located), you’re going to get darkness, and there may be a false sense of ‘it’s okay to look up and stare’…and this is why eye doctors are worried about your eyes! However, if you don’t plan on looking at the sun (like just about every other day of your existence), then you don’t need any protection. You can be outside, and doing your normal life stuff, and just not look up!

But if you do plan to take in the eclipse, and especially if you plan on having your kids experience it, then you may be concerned about them keeping their glasses on. Let’s face it, the glasses are one size, but they don’t fit all ๐Ÿ™‚ And on little kids/people with smaller heads, there’s lot of room to look up, down and around. So I created a video to show you how to make solar glasses “protectors” out of paper plates and a piece of elastic cording! You’ll just need a pair of sharp scissors and a pencil or pen, and you’ll be good to go!

don’t forget to PIN IT!

I had my daughters, Isabella (10) and Lillian (8), join me on the project! They’re so cute and funny, and I loved having their help! If you have any questions, let me know!

The video is 10 minutes long, but that’s as long it will take you to make these, so it’s super fast and easy! I threw this one together, so forgive the quality, and overall haphazardness of it! You’ll at least get the gist, AND you’ll see my precious minis ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s the LINK to the video tutorial on You Tube!!!

Are you excited about the eclipse?! If so, where are you watching it from, and what’s your percentage of totality?!!! Leave me a comment below! Oh, and subscribe to my you tube channel if you end up like the video we made!

Do you need to send a little “HOPE” to someone?!




It’s hard in the blogging world to talk about something you love, because people may assume you’re only talking about it, because you’re getting PAID to talk about it. But that’s just not the case most times. At least for me. So far, I’ve only talked about things that I love, and haven’t gotten a dime from the companies to do so. And HOPEBOX is no different!

You haven’t heard of HOPEBOX?! Well, that’s because it’s BRAND NEW! It’s the brain child of some friends of mine, and I truly believe it’s going to become a household name!

What’s HOPEBOX?!

In the words of one of the founders…

“If you’re like us and most other people, it’s hard to know what to do for ourselves or others when difficult times come. After that initial week or two of concern and support, people generally move on with their lives. We know the hurting is still there, but what more can we do?

Over one, six, twelve, or more months, Hopebox provides a way to show loved ones you’re there and you’re not going anywhere. The beautiful handmade gifts inside are paired with a heartfelt note of concern, personalized to the receiver’s unique situation. Flowers wither, meals spoil, but the memory of receiving a beautiful Hopebox lasts a lifetime.”

And the thing is, as much as we don’t want to need to send these boxes, I have so many friends hurting right now (and I’m sure you do too). So I sent four Hopeboxes to friends who needed some encouragement, and they were so appreciative, shocked, and overwhelmed by how beautiful and thoughtful all of the products were inside. Here were their comments…

“Thank you for the sweet gift box! Um, it’s full of amazing things! I love all of it. Thanks for thinking of us.” ~friend in Texas

“I don’t even know what hopebox is but it’s pretty much the sweetest thing you could have done for me. The contents are so wonderful. Seriously don’t have mascara on now thanks to the waterfall on my face but they are happy tears. And grateful ones. Your note gets me ~ and so do you. And I love you for it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.” ~friend in Charlotte

“This sweet little box held some sweet stuff but best of all was the prayers and well wishes of our sweet friend Mandie and her family! Enclosed was an awesome hand stamped brass hammered Hope cuff, spa daze luxury soy candle, floral bath bomb, organic moisturizing lotion bar, herbal facial steam, crochet hope friend heart, vegan lip balm, sweet pop open ‘Hope’ cards, ‘Read this til you believe it’ gift book and two ‘yes, you’ cards to remind me to have hope. I feel like I got a hug from my friend in Charlotte! Thank you Mandie!” ~friend in SC
“I. Have. No. Words. Seriously. You’re so sweet. I can’t thank you enough for the Hopebox. It’s amazing and brightened my day!!!” ~friend in NC

 

Now let’s get down to the brass tacks right? How much was it Miranda?! To send a box one time was $49 plus tax and shipping. Just make sure to select “this is a gift” when checking out, and that will ensure that your card won’t renew automatically. If you’re ordering the box as a subscription for yourself (or someone) to receive monthly, the price goes down based on the amount of months you order, saving you up to $89/year! This was of course BEFORE the discount code is applied (which could save you another $50 if you order the 12 month one)!!!

Please consider HopeBox next time you want to send someone something they’ll remember forever! How awesome would this box even be for your kid who is away at college to get every month?! And just for my readers/followers, HopeBox will give you 10% if you use the code MANDIE10 ๐Ÿ™‚ Visit the website at www.hopebox.com to see their ordering options!

And if you’re confused by me going by two names (as mentioned in this post), you can read about it HERE. I know it gets confusing! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

How to go from a plain to personalized cake in less than 10 minutes!




When I had my cakery, I was known as an “expensive” cake decorator. I wasn’t; I can assure you of that.

Because if I was, I’d probably:

  1. Still be in business
  2. Vacationing in Tahiti
  3. Pay myself more than $6,000/year (no I didn’t forget a zero)
  4. Have taken a day off at some point

I digress.

Anyways, I completely DID understand that my prices for custom cakes weren’t in everyone’s budgets. (PS, just say that to your caker, instead of calling them expensive.) If you don’t know the expenses that go into running a business, then you probably don’t know if said product is expensive. The truth is either: it’s not in your budget, or it’s not worth the price to you. Both reasonable and truthful answers.ย Dangit. I digressed again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

In saying that, I WANT TO HELP YOU! But we’re going to start simple and small. The goal of these cakes is to show you a similar way to decorate a variety of cakes using THREE THINGS…a topper, sixlets candies, and ribbon. And everything can be bought at Walmart, for LESS THAN $20 per cake INCLUDING the cake, so it’s a one stop shop! Oh, and each cake will take you LESS THAN 10 minutes to decorate…REALLY!

DON’T FORGET TO PIN IT!

And listen, you can bake, fill and ice a cake til your hearts content if you want! Feel free to check out THIS post I did on my carrot cake (you do whatever flavor you want)! But the basics for those three things (bake, fill, ice) can be found there to help you along the way!

However, I promised simple, so I simply ordered the cake ๐Ÿ™‚

Yep! I asked for a 9 inch round, double layer cake (so it would be as tall as possible), covered in smooth white buttercream (knowing it wouldn’t be perfectly smooth was fine with me), and a piped round/pearl border (instead of a shell border), no decorations on top or anywhere else. Keep in mind, you can order this kind of cake from any grocery store/bakery you love, but the price may be different!

Then head to your nearest Walmart and pick up three things…ribbon to go with your theme, sixlets candies, and whatever you need for your topper! For the ribbon, the width depends on the height of your cake, but I used 7/8 and 1 1/2 inch ribbons, and both worked great! You can put wax paper under the ribbon if you are concerned about ribbon touching icing (I wasn’t). I bought three bags of sixlets ($4.97 each) to go on the five different cakes, and I think they’re worth the investment to have every color in pastel, primary, and black. And since there are so many in each bag, you’ll be able to use the bag again and again for future cakes! But obviously, you can do your cake with just one singular bag! I did the math, and it’s essentially ONE PENNY per sixlet!

The toppers totally depend on the theme of your cake as well! Many people go to the party supply section, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I think it’s cuter to look around the rest of the store to find something a bit more unique, and often times, they’re less expensive! You’ll see below what I decided on for the themes I chose, but I’ll also give you some additional ideas as they come to me!

Basically, each cake is made the same way. Ribbon around the side, candies around the base, and the toppers on top, obvi. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But each video has a cake tip or trick you may need to know about, depending on what you want to put on your cake! So check out each one…

Let’s start with the Frozen cake! I KNOW your kids are obsessed with some sort of cartoon character/movie right now, and want a cake in that theme. You may run in to a little bit of push back from a custom cakery about this because technically we weren’t allowed to do licensed character cakes. Why? Because copyright infringement is very real, and very costly. The reason why grocery/chain stores can do the cakes, is because they buy the rights from the company, and the company sends them decorating “packs” in the themes of what they can do. That’s all good and well, except all of the cakes look the exact same because they have to. That’s why I’m going to show you how to make a Frozen cake that you won’t see replicated at every birthday party.

In this case, the cake was $9.99, the tiara was $4.94, sprinkles $2.47 but I used half, ribbon was $2.97 but I used 1/4 of it, and a handful of sixlets was $.25! The tiara can be a gift to the birthday girl, so that won’t go to waste at all, and it even lights up ๐Ÿ™‚ I love when a topper does double duty! Other ideas…Lightening McQueen car on top, black and white checkered ribbon around the side, and black, orange, and red sixlets; Construction toy on top with crushed oreo dirt pile, caution ribbon around the side, yellow and black sixlets; Doc McStuffins toy on top, purple ribbon around side, pastel pink and purple sixlets. The possibilities are ENDLESS!

Next up is a sports-themed cake! Obviously, you’re going to customize this to your favorite team/sport, but since I’m a huge Carolina Panther’s fan, that’s what you’re going to see on my blog ๐Ÿ˜‰ย I found these car decals/stickers in the Panther’s section of our local Walmart, and I thought they’d make the best toppers!

Watch the video to see how I made the stickers into toppers for the cake (don’t peel off the backing), and how I assembled everything else…

In this case, the cake was $9.99, the stickers were $3.88, lollipop sticks were $1.99 for 50 (I used 3), ribbon was $2.97 but I used 1/4 of it, and a handful of sixlets was $.25! And the best part is the stickers can be used afterwards to go on a car, a cooler, a skateboard, journal, whatever! Again, always looking to reuse stuff. Other options: Golf ball on a tee (glue them together) on top, plaid ribbon around the side, green and blue sixlets; small plastic soccer ball on top, soccer-themed ribbon, black and green sixlets. But this is also a great time to tie in school sports/colors!

The next cake I made is great for any patriotic day (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day), a ‘welcome to America’ adoption/au pair/exchange student cake, or even a ‘congrats on becoming an American citizen’ cake (which I’ve totally made before)! In this video, I show you how to protect a cake from an object that’s not technically “food safe.” Watch to see how..

In this case, the cake was $9.99, the HOME decor was $2.98, the flags were $1.97 but used two, ribbon was $2.97 but I used 1/4 of it, and a handful of sixlets was $.25! And the HOME box has a hook to hang it on a wall after the party is over, and the flags can be reused in the yard even! Other options: Do this idea for any holiday! Tiny christmas tree on top, green and red plaid ribbon, green and red sixlets; little black hat on top, shamrock ribbon, green and black sixlets; plastic easter egg on top, pastel ribbon, pastel sixlets.

The next cake is what I prepared for my Mom’s birthday! Her favorite color is green, and she LOVES to garden, tend to her flowers, etc. So in this video, I show you how to put fresh flowers in to a cake, because believe or not, they shouldn’t just be stuck in to the icing! They are kept in dirty water, may have bugs on them, and grow in the ground. That’s not exactly what you want to stick in to cake! Watch the video to see how to protect the cake from the stems!

In this case, the cake was $9.99, the lantern was $1.98, the flowers were cut off of a bush but you can buy them from Walmart for $4 (or get silk ones), ribbon was $2.97 but I used 1/4 of it, and a handful of sixlets was $.25! I already had the straws, but you can grab/save a few from your next drive thru! If your flowers have thick stems, look for boba tea straws or milkshake straws in the freezer/ice cream section! The lantern can be decor after the party is done, but my favorite part about it, is I used the tea light that goes inside of it as the “candle” to blow out! This cake is perfect for anyone, at anytime, for any occasion…just grab their favorite color of lantern, ribbon and flowers, and voila!

I know everyone knows someone graduating in the next few weeks, and this cake is perfect, no matter the age of your graduate! I found the photo cap cube in the graduation section of Walmart, and you can personalize it with your own pictures and quotes obviously! There aren’t any new techniques to learn in this video per se, but just a re-CAP (pun intended) of the things we did in the other videos!

In this case, the cake was $9.99, the photo cube was $4.98, ribbon was $2.97 but I used 1/4 of it, and a handful of sixlets was $.25! This cube can be used again and again for future graduates…just switch out the pics! This also might be the only cake that goes over the $20 budget, because you can lift up the top part and store extra gifts inside…in this case, I put in $20! The option, I’d tell you for this cake, is to use the graduate’s school colors to personalize the cake! Although I love this arrow ribbon I found, tying the school’s colors together in through the ribbon and sixlets, would be super cute!

Let’s talk about cake stands for a hot second! Every person should have one at the very least! I have waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many to count, but that’s because I owned a bakery. If you are looking for a cake stand that goes with everything, I would buy a plain white one. If you’re looking to get two cake stands, then a white and a silver one should do the trick, no matter what kind of cake you’re going to display on it! It really does make a visual difference to have the cake elevated off of the table. Walmart sells stands, at a great price, so check them out!

Shop some of the products used:

 

 

AR Workshop COUPON CODE!!!

Channel your inner Joanna Gaines yall!

Yall know my love for AR Workshop based on the birthday blog post I did for Bella a couple months back! But when I saw that Maureen had recently released new skyline and watercolor designs, my exact comment to her on IG was…

“NEED. WANT. MUST MAKE. ASAP!”

Why was I so obsessed with these two designs in particular?! MY LOGO, #duh!!!

So Maureen said “come Tuesday night, and let’s do it!!!” I wasn’t quite sure if it would turn out the way I wanted to in my head, but I was going to at least try!

When you register for the class online, you pick out your design (mine was the skyline, obvi) and it’s printed out before you get there. Once you arrive, you start with the priorities: pour yourself a cocktail/mocktail, glass of wine, beer, etc! Then you get to work, which includes sanding down the wood pieces, and painting/staining all of the wood!

You’ll work on the vinyl part next, taping it off, and placing it on your board, and then painting it!!! Since I knew I was going to watercolor, I simply grabbed the two purples they had and some white, and mixed and blended til I got a few different colors.

From there, I just used the side of the big styrofoarm brush, and tapped it on my skyline, and voila!!! A watercolor Charlotte was born!!!

I knew in my head at this point that I had completely nailed this part ๐Ÿ˜‰ #humble

Then I pulled off the vinyl to see if it was a hot mess, or SUCCESS…

And the proof is in the finished product!!!

Now, I realize not everyone is trying to replicate my logo, so here are some other examples of the gorgeous designs AR Workshop has just released…

They can also do any city’s skyline, so keep that in mind too!!! I was talking to someone from Charleston at the workshop last night, and I told her the Cooper River Bridge would look awesome on the over-sized sign that I did! The possibilities really are endless.

So are you ready to tackle a project at AR Workshop Pineville?!!! I have an exclusive code to give my readers!!!

MIRANDACLT10

Type this code in at checkout to get $10 off of your class…whether you’ve been there before or not!!! All you have to do is register for your future class by April 30th (SO HURRY)! The class can be dated for after April 30th…just sign up for it before then, and the coupon code is good to go! This is for the AR Workshop Pineville location…the one that is very close to my old cakery on Main St in downtown Pineville!

As always, you better tag me #mirandainclt in your pics if you attend the class and make something!

~M

“You are my Sunshine” birthday party!

Sharing an oldie, but goody, on the blog today!

You guys. HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT. I’m back on Pinterest. LOL! Well, let me clarify. I’ve never left Pinterest; I simply fail to pin things for like, yearrrrrrs. But now that I’m a professional blogger (go with it), I know I need to be on it more. Most of the things that I talk about on my blog, lend themselves to pinning. And in my newfound time on Pinterest, I have realized that ONE of my pins has gotten pinned MORE THAN probably all of the other pins I’ve posted, COMBINED. Wanna see which one it is??!!!!! Great! Keep reading ๐Ÿ˜‰

The funniest thing is, it wasn’t a cake (I was at the time a professional caker). It wasn’t anything I did for my business (although we had been featured lots of places). It wasn’t even for my OWN kid (even though I threw them badass parties along the way too)!

So I guess I’ll start here (four years ago, mind you)…

My college bestie, Tina, who lives in Charleston, has a precious little boy, name Connor, and he was turning one!ย  She asked if I could recommend someone down there to make a cake, and I said, “why don’t I just come down there for the party, and bring the cake?!ย  I don’t think I have any other cakes that weekend!”ย  She was so excited, and so was I…I hadn’t seen them since Connor was just born, so it was a gift to be able to be a part of this big day!

Tina and I started bouncing around theme ideas, and we kept coming back to the fact that Tina’s hubby, Justin, is a meteorologist.ย  And I was OBSESSED with the idea of having a ‘weather’ themed party of some sort.ย  And when I have an idea, I have to follow through with it (which gets very exhausting for all involved).ย  But we still wanted it to be cute, young, and fun…enter ‘You are my sunshine!’ย  It was perfect, and I got busy with design.ย  After many emails and pictures and phone calls and texts, Tina and I finalized every detail together.

After the theme was decided, I ordered printables right away.ย  Listen to me people…I highly suggest you order printables for any party you throw.ย  They tie everything together, are affordable, and are just plain cute. I asked my friend, Rachel, at RV Parties to get busy on design, and oh yeah, she was about to give birth to her third boy!ย  I told her I understood if it was bad timing, and she insisted it was “perfect” timing, because she would have down time in the hospital?!!! Yall, she emailed me the final proofs 3 hours after giving birth.ย  Yes, she is a ROCKSTAR. And yes, I do kind of get what she means about down time in the hospital…nurses on call, a chef (I use that loosely, although I do LOVE some hospital food), everyone tells you to lie down, and you have a nursery for the baby with built in expert help.ย  Oh, and no other kids to chase! Rachel, Tina and I are so appreciative for your hard work on everything for this party.

In my opinion, everything starts with the invitation…

I’m so excited to share the party pictures, taken by Tumbleston Photography …ENJOY!

So here she is; the picture that’s been pinned more than 10,500 times, and exists on more than 12,000 boards!!! I gotta admit, I thought the umbrellas were genius, but I truly had no idea people would love them that much too?!!!

Clear umbrellas from a boutique uptown, but you can find them online, I’m sure!

I knew I wanted to hang umbrellas upside down, and when I saw these old-school, clear ones, I was giddy!ย  We put some tissue paper inside to mock rain, and add dimension.

I glued rain drops, tied with fishing wire, to the umbrellas, and put some into the ceiling with thumb tacks.ย  The backdrop was made with a sheet and some thick yellow ribbon…voila…we have rays of sun! Gotta admit that I wish I would’ve used a blue sheet with the yellow rays, but hindsight is 20/20. Grey fabric covers the table, and a pennant banner drapes across the front.

Use big flower cutters to make clouds!

Umbrellas sugar cookies with fondant and silver dragees!

Chocolate-dipped marshmallows…so easy and fun!

Cruffle pops (they were our version of a cake pop)!

Lemon cupcakes (you can even buy these from the store)!

Cookies were shaped like clouds (made with a flower cutter), and umbrellas.ย  Printed paper lined the serving tray.ย  Marshmallows were dipped in chocolate and two-toned.ย  Cruffle pops were placed on top of round printables, with flags on the lollipop sticks for added cuteness.ย  And the cupcake display was styrofoam rounds, wrapped in printed, chevron paper. All of the printed stuff comes with the package you buy ONCE!

I’m really mad at myself because I forgot to put the rice krispie treats, that were shaped like tear drops, on the final table.ย  Even though I had an extra empty plate, and an extra food tag, AND had made them myself, I *still* didn’t notice that they weren’t on the friggin’ table…sigh. But here they are from my Instagram feed, to prove I did truly make them ๐Ÿ˜‰

Chocolate-dipped rice krispie treats with sugar sprinkles!

Ready for a close-up of the cake?!!!

Cake design inspired by the invitation, and the top tier was used as Connor’s smash cake!

The printables really helped me with the design…I loved the repeating, staggered tear drop pattern, and well as the chevron.ย  A few clouds in the sky, and a sun with a C for Connor, completed the look!

Now, for the take home table!

Goody bag table!

Is it a party if there weren’t any poms or lanterns?!

Poms, puffs, and latterns, in our color scheme hung above it using fishing wire, and thumb tacks!

Yellow pinwheels look like the sun!

I love a white goodie bag that I can dress up myself.ย  Some coordinating ribbon hot glued on the front, and a printable in the middle…DONE! ย Michaels sells 13/$6, so it’s a good deal! I love that Tina purchased these pinwheels that looked like the sun…I propped them out of the top for added decor.

Use whatever glass jars/vases you already own!

Fill your own candy bags! Printables and ribbon personalize clear jars! Justin spray painted the O-N-E, and I love it on top of the fun fabric.

The presents table was covered in fabric, and had pictures of Connor through the 12 months. Tina used ribbons and clothespins to hang them…so cute!ย  This was at the beginning of the party…Connor hit the jackpot with his gifts ๐Ÿ™‚

I gave him the little tie stickers he’s wearing in his monthly pics!

Again, solid color fabric, with a patterned fabric on top! More economical!

I wanted a unique photo booth idea for the party, and again was inspired by the birthday boy’s daddy!ย  Enter, the green screen!!!ย  We draped green fabric on the wall, and had random pieces of velcro on it. Then we had big rain drops, suns, and clouds that the kids could move around however they wanted to create their own weather patterns!ย  A coat rack just happened to be hung next to it and had a suit jacket, tie, and umbrella on it.ย  Plus, we had a basket of microphones, silly glasses, and more props to use as well, in a basket on the floor.ย  “And now, for a check on the weather, we go to Bella…!” ๐Ÿ™‚

Our photo booth green screen!

Tina had BBQ catered for the party (YUM!), and a drink station set up on the counter…

Drink station with lemonade, tea, and sun drop!

SUNflowers and SUN Drop…we’re cute!

Yes, we are adorable with the Sun Drop ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  It was just too perfect for our theme!ย  And I love that Tina had fresh flowers throughout the decor…SUNflowers were such a great touch!
After we finished our food, it was time for CAKE, specifically the smash cake!ย  I simply removed the top tier of the cake, and that became Connor’s!ย  He wasn’t sure what to do at first…

He’s questioning our motives ๐Ÿ˜‰

But here’s the trick to getting them to eat the cake…move it as close to their face as possible..

NAILED IT

He got the hang of it ๐Ÿ™‚
Some action shots of the par-tay!

Yes, my girls’ outfits match the color scheme, and no, they never get sick of mommy’s cupcakes ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tina and Justin, thank you for letting me be a part of such a special day in your little weatherman’s life…I had a blast, and can’t see what we do for his 2nd!!!!ย  JUST KIDDING Justin! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Precious family!

Tina also matched the decor, like a pro!

Some of my #protips for decorating on the cheap…
~Use fabric!!!ย  It makes all of the difference in the world, and although I can sew, I didn’t for this party.ย  Just an iron on the turned up edges will do the trick!ย  Solid fabric is CHEAP…buy the majority of yards in solid fabric, and dress it up with the patterned fabric. You’ll see on the take home table…solid teal to cover and chevron for a pop! I buy a lot of fabric at Joann’s because you can use the 40% off coupon!
~Go the printable route with invites and decorations!ย  You purchase the package ONCE, and then print as MUCH as you want, and need!ย  So much more cost effective than an invitation suite that costs per print.
~Look around the house…use glass jars that you already have, and dress them up with ribbon to coordinate with your theme. We didn’t have to buy anything for the photo booth…Tina had everything already!
~Use less expensive desserts…rice krispie treats, cupcakes, sugar cookies and chocolate-dipped marshmallows are cheap in the grand scheme of desserts, and all are easily made at home.
~You don’t have to get a multi-tiered cake, but if you do get at least a two-tier, you can give the top tier to your 1 year old to smash, and the bottom tier(s) to your guest! Although I hear, some grocery stores do give a complimentary smash cake, so ask around!

And don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest! I’d love to get to 1,000!

Do you feel LUCKY?!!!

Do you want a fun DIY treat for St. Patrick’s Day that is affordable AND easy to make?!

It’s no secret that my kids are picky eaters (I mention it many times on this blog, especially on the EAT tab)! But one of the foods that they both like is pretzels! So for a fun St. Patrick’s Day treat, I decided to dip them in chocolate, but not stop there. Why?! Because when you put three pretzels together, you get a shamrock shape!!! YES, for reals! I know…I was delighted too!!!

So because it’s your lucky day, I’m going to show you exactly how to make these chocolate-covered shamrock pretzels, andย a super cute way to display them!

To start, you’ll need:

  • Pretzels…I grabbed a bag from Aldi, and I like the shape of their pretzel brand more than the Rold Gold ones, but I’m sure any will work just fine!
  • Green melting chocolates…I used Wilton, green and vibrant green
  • Lollipop sticks…I used Wilton, and they’re the 4in size ones
  • Rainbow sprinkles and gold sprinkles…I used Wilton
  • Ziploc bag…to crush the Oreos in
  • Oreos…just the chocolate cookie part (enjoy those cream centers, and don’t feel guilty about it one bit)!
  • Gold coins…chocolate or plastic ones will do the trick
  • Black terracotta pot…or whatever kind you can find (I found mine at Michael’s)
  • Flower foam…I got a round two-pack from Michael’s
  • Parchment paper, cookie sheet, vegetable oil, rolling pin

Step 1:

Heat up your melting chocolates. The trick here, is that more is more. I find that people typically struggle when dipping things in chocolate, because they don’t have enough chocolate melted to begin with! Put the whole bag of each color in a small bowl (or I used tupperware), and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave. Then stir, and repeat two more times. Usually, 1 1/2 minutes is the sweet spot (pun intended) for getting them fully melted, but not scalding and burning the chocolate. Do this for both colors, separately. I then got a third plastic container out, and mixed an equal amount of both greens to make a third, mid-range green color, simply because I love odd numbers ๐Ÿ˜‰

{Pro tip: If your chocolate is fully melted, but still seems a little thick, add a bit of vegetable oil, and stir it in!}

Step 2:

Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper, and get ready to get started!

Step 3:

Check out the video below to see exactly how I made them from beginning to end…the video is less than 1 1/2 minutes!

After you have your shamrocks done, put the tray in the fridge for faster cooling, but if you don’t have room, no worries! They’ll harden at room temp. If you have leftover chocolate, save it! That’s why I put mine in tupperware…a lid will keep it nice and sealed, and you can reheat it whenever you have another project!

The minis got a little sprinkle-happy with the one on the top right ๐Ÿ˜‰

Step 4:

Take your floral foam and cut it to fit your terracotta pot! You may not have to trim it depending on the size of your pot. My initial thought was to display the shamrocks in a traditional terracotta pot,like the ones below (they come in every size) with the oreo “dirt” and call it a day!

The best part?! These pots are so CHEAP!

But then I saw the black pots, and knew I had to make it a pot of gold shamrock “garden” of sorts, but they only came in the one size! Therefore, I had to cut down my foam a bit to fit in to the black pot! I did this outside because the foam can tend to get everywhere, and you can see I “peeled” it (much like you would an apple) with a knife.

{Pro tip: Don’t take off too much of the foam. You can always cut more away, but it’s hard to add it back on!}

The more narrow, but thicker piece went in first, and then the wider, but thinner piece, went on top of that , to fit the shape of the pot nice and snug! The foam doesn’t have to go all the way to the bottom, as long as it’s tightly in there!

Step 5:

Start placing the shamrocks in the foam! I used five, again because I like odd numbers, but you can add as many as will fit in your size pot! Think of the points of on upside-down star…that’s where I placed mine in the foam.

Step 6:

Put the chocolate cookie parts of an Oreo in a ziploc bag and crush them up with a rolling pin, or whatever you have that will work! Spread the cookie crumbles all over the foam so you can’t see it anymore, and garnish with the gold coins! The chocolate ones were a bit big for this project, so the plastic ones worked better for me, but certainly either will do!

The great thing about chocolate covered pretzels, is that they last a long time and don’t need refrigeration! So you can use this as decor, but also as a special treat!!! If you’re having a party, and need take home gifts, use the small/individual terracotta pots, and put one shamrock in each! If you’re hosting a party, and need name tags/place settings, use the small terracotta pots, paint them with black chalkboard paint, and then write the guest’s name on it with chalk!

Now’s the time where I torture my minis by asking for a photo shoot ๐Ÿ˜‰ They’re actually quite good sports, but I must’ve said, “is that your real smile?” ten times!

ย 

SUGAR SILLINESS!

If you happen to make these, or some version, please tag me @mirandainclt, or use the #mirandainclt hashtag! I love to see your projects so so so much!

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!!!