The most popular thing on my IG!





Okay, this is going to be the quickest post I’ve ever written because it all centers around a purchase from Amazon that is an “as seen on TV” product! I first laid eyes on this life-changing product on my cousin, Kirby’s, IG insta-story, and as fast as my fingers could type “milk magic tap” in Amazon’s search field, it was on its way to our condo!

See, my family goes through 3-5 gallons of milk a week, with the Stud responsible for at least 75% of the consumption. And he likes it COLD. And even when it’s perfectly cold, he needs crushed ice in it too. Needless to say, he doesn’t like it coming out of the fridge if he can possibly help it.

ENTER, THE MAGIC TAP!

It’s this battery-operated device that goes on top of your jug of milk, and you put your cup up to the lever and press it, and out comes the milk from the spout! IT’S FREAKING GENIUS!!! Part of me is pissed I didn’t come up with the idea, and the other part of me wonders where it’s been my whole life. But the other parts of me are just thrilled I’ve finally found it!

And guess what else?!

It’s $5.55

 

Yup. So there you have it. Start your 2018 on the right foot yall. And get this ASAP…Amazon prime will have it there for your new year! It even has a lock on it, so if you don’t want little hands pressing the lever, no worries! But it should keep them from spilling the entire jug of milk, so that’s helpful, right?!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ And if you have peeps in your house that like to drink out of the jug, this should deter that (please baby Jesus…backwash makes me gag like something whoa).

So it got in the other day, I put two double A batteries in it and couldn’t wait to try it! And yall, it was everything I wanted it to be, and more LOL! Of course, I did what you expect of me by now…put it on my insta-story right away, and the response was INSANE. “What is this contraption?!” “Why didn’t you get me one?!” “I need this, like yesterday.”

And get a few because it works on everything…OJ, fruit juice, tea, distilled water, anything that comes in/you put in a jug! A person commented and said she uses her brita to filter the water and then puts it in a huge jug with the magic tap because her kids were always spilling the brita! But it’s also great for those who struggle with mobility, dexterity, and lifting heavy things! Or maybe you just always have a baby on your hip, and thus the use of only one hand at a time #beentheredonethat!

And because I’m a giver…

…without further ado, here’s the direct link peeps:

Love yall so much, and cheers (with milk) to 2018! xoxo

PS. If you want to see how I used milk in my NYE fun with the kiddos, check out that post HERE!




Will you ring in the new year with me?!





Yall know by now I love a play on words and a theme! I mean, my bakery was named Got What It Cakes for the love! Since becoming a mom 11 years ago, New Year’s Eve has changed a bit, but in the last few years, we’ve gone to a hotel and rang in the new year with friends!

But when our kids were younger, we always stayed home and had the best time counting down to the new year with them. And even though they always had the next day off, we never let them stay up til midnight, yet still counted down (you’ll see how we worked around that below) and then Joshua and I had a few hours to ourselves before the clock struck twelve!

I can’t believe I found a pic from 2011 of us celebrating…blurry as can be because I probably had a flip phone and they were moving, but you get the gist ๐Ÿ™‚

If you want to do a few fun things with your kiddos to make the day/night extra special, here are some things we’ve done in the past, and I suggest throwing them a ‘Ring in the New Year’ party! And then continuing that ring theme throughout the night with food and fun!

Start with buying Ring Pops, and that serves as your “invitation” of sorts. You could even tie a little note that says “Ring in the new year with me?!” Or you could be super fancy and buy a clear box, fill it with sprinkles, put a ring pop in it, and do a printable that says ‘ring in the new year?’ It’s awesome and you can find a pic HERE, but that’s more than I could ever pull off FO SHO ๐Ÿ˜‰

For a fun party food idea, do make-your-own pizzas! You can be as homemade as you want, making the dough, sauce, chopping toppings, etc., but I simply bought a couple of frozen cheese pizzas, and then placed some black and green olive “rings” on them. I had each mini spell out 2018 in the toppings on each pizza…2-0 for one and 1-8 for the other! You can use mini pepperonis too! And you could have some Funyuns on the side since they’re also shaped like rings!

Of course we needed some desserts to sweeten the night! So I made some funfetti cupcakes (because it reminds me of confetti), iced them, and then put other ring-related/celebration toppings on them! Some examples: Wint-o-green mints, peach rings, ring pops, rainbow sprinkles, gold sprinkles!

For their “toast,” I would put milk in a champagne flute, and the smaller Entenmanns donuts on top (because donuts are in a ring shape). It’s a fun update to milk and cookies, and I’m a sucker for donuts ๐Ÿ™‚ In order for each kid to know which flute is his or hers, you could borrow the wine charm idea, but use rings with different decor on them. In this pic, you can see a ring I borrowed from Isabella’s science kit! The best part is that most kid rings have a gap in them anyways, making it easy to go around the stem of a champagne flute!

I wanted to make noise makers for the special night and of course, they had to have a ring theme as well. The best part is that you probably have everything you need already on-hand (see what I did there) ๐Ÿ˜‰ Take leftover small paper or plastic plates, and put dry beans in one of the plates. Hot glue a popsicle stick to the bottom of theย bean-filled plate, and then put hot glue around the outer ring of the plate and put the other plate on top!

Then have your kiddos decorate their plate however they want (we used puff paint)! You can even add a pipe cleaner to the top of the plate, bent in a way that it will resemble a diamond on the top of a ring! If you recognize the movie star plates, they’re from Bella’s 11th birthday!


Some other cute ring-themed games to play during your party: ring toss (you can buy a cheap set just about anywhere), or ring-around-the-rosie is FREE! But one of my best hacks (that I teased at the top) is to pull up London’s countdown (since they’re 5 hours ahead of us) on YouTube whenever you want the kiddos to go to bed, and use it as your countdown! Our kids were in bed by 8 or 9pm using this trick for years (change the clocks in the house if need be) ๐Ÿ˜‰ #protip

Whatever you decide to do for New Year’s, have FUN and BE SAFE! There is not one single reason why anyone should drink and drive. It’s not about you thinking you’re “fine” to drive; it’s about all of the other innocent people on the road that don’t deserve to have to dodge your death bullet. Okay, PSA over (very sensitive subject for me).

Here’s me on Charlotte Today talking about these ideas!!!


For things I’ve mentioned in this article, here ya go:




We wish you a “Merry Fishmas!”




You will want to make this mix every year!

Do you have a food that instantly reminds you of someone in your family? My Oma makes these seasoned oyster crackers that remind me of the holidays the second I pop them in my mouth. And I thought that they’d make a great gift idea for the upcoming holidays. ‘Tis the season for parties, get-togethers, teachers’ gifts, neighborhood pot-lucks, and so much more. I never want to show up empty-handed, and who doesn’t love a yummy snack?!
But I wanted to switch it up a bit, so I’m making the seasoned crackers using Goldfish instead!ย And because Goldfish taste amazing, come in super fun colors, and are always baked with real cheese, I can feel good about giving this gift to people I love and adore!
So without further ado, here’s the recipe for my version of Oma’s Fishmas Crackers (I did alter them slightly)!
Heat oven to 225
Put 15oz (half of the BIG container) of Goldfish into a big bowl
Melt 2T of butter (salted or unsalted) and pour over Goldfish
Add 1/2 packet of powdered ranch, 1tsp Italian seasoning, and 2T parmesan cheese to the crackers and mix well
Pour seasoned Goldfish onto a pan and bake at 225 for 15 minutes. Let cool completely and put into your favorite dish, gift tin, cellophane bag, etc.!
Here’s how I displayed mine for the perfect hostess gift! The multi-colored mix makes me think of Christmas lights…and actually it’s pretty neat how the Goldfish get their colors! Hint: it’s not food dye. Seriously, click here to see how they make the green color…I’ll wait!

My Oma also painted that tiny nativity scene next to the carton!

I love these cartons I found!

I couldn’t find the exact milk cartons I used, so I linked take-out containers I found which would work perfectly as well! I wrapped some Christmas ribbon around the side, and hung a tag that said “Merry Fishmas!”
But I also thought of another way to use these goldfish! Find the clear plastic round ornaments (I’ll link them below), and fill them halfway with the Goldfish. Using puff paint, markers, or even stickers, decorate the outside of the ornament to look like the ocean! It’s a fun craft project to do while the kids are home on Christmas break and you need to fill the time with projects they’ll enjoy (and can eat)! An activity that doubles as a snack=win in my book! For other awesome ideas, Goldfish has a Pinterest page, so check it out ๐Ÿ™‚

Try to find the fully clear ornaments to look like a fishbowl!

Have a very merry fishmas from my school (get it? a fish family is called a school ๐Ÿ™‚ ) to yours!
ย 




Halloween meals from breakfast to dessert!





I LOVE THE HOLIDAYS! I long for a reason to celebrate anything, and with any given holiday, there’s typically the extra promise of more family time! And Halloween is no exception in our house! I decorated six weeks ago, and have been coming up with fun ideas to play up the holiday with THIS post, and THIS one too! Please go check them out ๐Ÿ™‚

But this post is all about the actual day, from start to finish! You have to feed your family/yourself anyways, right?! So why not make each meal have a Halloween component, or theme?! I’m giving you some ideas, and I promise you they are SIMPLE, CHEAP, and EASY (otherwise know as my “happiness trifecta”) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Let’s start with breakfast…

We don’t always start our days with sugary donuts, but it’s Halloween, so we’re going all out! Take a chocolate Entenmanns pop-em (or chocolate donut hole), and place it in the center of a cake donut (glazed would work fine too). Then take a piping bag filled with black buttercream, and pipe four legs on each side coming out of the spider “body.” DONE!
#protip: you may need to make the hole of the cake donut bigger, so carve out a bit with a knife to create more room!

Moving on to lunch:

I’ve already showed yall how to make these cute Halloween-themed Babybel treats over HERE, but look how great they fit in the girls’ lunch cubes (link will be at the bottom of post for these)!
#protip: use these silicone cupcake liners to separate the food!

On to after school snack:

Knowing that they’re going to eat more sweets than usual tonight, I’m going to give the minis fruit for their after school snack! Pineapple, mandarin oranges and whipped cream make the cutest candy corn fruit parfaits! You could even put a few candy corns on top if you want!
#protip: use a martini glass to get that perfect triangular shape (I used a low-ball because there’s a less likely chance it gets knocked over than one with a stem)

What’s for dinner:

I’m not reinventing the wheel here, as you’ve probably all seen this one, but it’s a crowd favorite so I keep making them! Hot dog mummies are not only cute, but with three ingredients, I’m sold! Take crescent rolls and cut the dough into thin strips. Wrap them around hot dogs in any design you want, leaving room for the mustard eyes! Bake according to package instructions!
#protip: you can cut into the hot dog to make legs and arms if you’d like, but I love them either way!

Room for dessert?!

Maybe you’re hosting a Halloween party? Or have a Halloween birthday? “Make” this cake! Make is in parentheses because I bought this one from the grocery store (ask for double layer, smooth base iced, no border…it’s only $10), and decorated it myself with Oreos, M&Ms and Wilton eyeballs! Use buttercream to attach the Oreos on to the cake, and the candy on to the oreos. The grocery’s bakery will sell you spare buttercream yall!
#protip: TWIST your oreos VERY slowly in order to keep as much cream on the one cookie as possible

If cupcakes are easier, use the same technique as the cake!

And for every special occasion, we buy the Welch’s sparkling juice, and our minis absolutely love it (probably because they don’t have juice on typical days)! I found these plastic goblets at the grocery store, and they make the perfect vessel to hold the vampire blood, I mean red grape juice ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you decide to do all, some, or even just one of these ideas, please make sure to tag me at #MirandainCLT so I can see your creations! Don’t forget to check out my gluten free Halloween bark treat HERE!

Check out my segment from NBC’s Charlotte Today!

Some of the things I used in this post:

Have so much fun, be safe, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!




How to make gluten free Halloween Bark!





My daughter, Bella, recently went gluten free. Without getting too much into her personal body stuff, her stomach has been hurting for a long time. And with her aunt and nanna both having gluten sensitivities, I decided to eliminate it from her diet and see if there was an improvement. I knew it would probably be the first thing her pediatrician suggested too, so I figured I’d do this experiment before I paid a copay ๐Ÿ˜‰

My beautiful Bella!

Sure enough, she is feeling MUCH BETTER! She hardly ever says her stomach hurts anymore, and sure, it could be the placebo effect, but I’m thinking this really may be helping her for reals! But since she’s been gluten free for about 3-4 weeks now, she’s had to give up a lot of her favorite treats. And with Halloween coming up, I wanted to make her something special…to show her she can still indulge, and yet stay on track!

ENTER GLUTEN FREE BARK!!!

I’m a fan of making bark year round, for any occasion, because it is SO FREAKING EASY, but also because if gives me a chance to use up a bunch of random stuff I might have laying around in my pantry! For this bark, I honestly had put a bunch of gluten-free candy in my grocery cart, but then I started thinking about everything I already had on hand at home (that I’ve been putting in her lunches), and threw this together with only having to buy the chocolate at the store!

Start with melting the chocolate; I used this kind…

Remember our chocolate-dipped strawberries from Easter? I told yall to always save your colored chocolate, right?! That’s because you can reheat it again and again! So I grabbed my orange and got it all melted (add vegetable oil if it’s thicker than you’d like), and get ready to swirl!

Next, have all of your toppings ready to go! I used (always double check your packaging for gluten-free goods):

  • Gluten free pretzels sticks (love the ones from Aldi)
  • Mini marshmallows
  • M&Ms (orange)
  • Trail mix (peanuts, cashews, raisens, etc.)
  • Popcorn

Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper, pour the melted chocolate onto it, and spread it out in a nice even layer (edges do not need to be straight at all). Grab your orange chocolate and just drop it on the milk chocolate…no need to be perfect here either because you’re going to swirl it anyways! Take a toothpick, tip of a knife, skewer, butter knife, whatever, and start making figure eights all over the chocolate until it looks pretty!

Working quickly (while it’s still melted), drop the toppings all over the chocolate mixture! Once they’re all on there, press the pieces that are sticking up and not touching any chocolate, to make sure they’ll harden in it and stay put. Pop the cookie sheet in the fridge and let harden completely.

Once cooled, take it out, break it up (with your hands), and display/wrap them up however you’d like! I used clear spiderweb bags so the cute bark can still be seen through them, but use whatever you find that’s cute!

 

This treat is so perfect because it can be adapted to ANYTHING…any occasion, holiday, color scheme, etc. The possibilities truly are endless! These make a great hostess gift, especially with holiday season coming up. Because they can stay fresh in your fridge, you can always have some on hand, although you don’t have to refrigerate them by any means! You know what I would do if I were you? I’d take some of my kids’ Halloween candy and save it to make Christmas bark ๐Ÿ™‚

And guess who loved her gluten free surprise after school today?!

Poor girl busted her lip!

DON’T FORGET TO PIN IT!!

Check out my other Halloween post about how to use Babybel cheese as the perfect Halloween snack, and it’s also gluten free (plus I need your vote on something over there)!

What are you going to put on your bark?!




Cake isn’t my favorite dessert!

ARE YOU SHOCKED?!

Well, you shouldn’t be if you follow me on social media ๐Ÿ˜‰ Because I’ve admitted this a number of times! Don’t get me wrong…I like cake, but I don’t looooooovvvve cake. What I do love is sugar in general. I’m addicted to sugar (well I was until 6 weeks ago…more on that later). And since I owned a cakery for ten years, people assume that I must love cake the most! A fair assumption for sure, but nonetheless incorrect. I’m a pie, cobbler, crumble, cookie, ice cream, froyo, macaroon (NOT macaron), cheesecake, brownie kind-of-girl.




Which got me to thinking…can I make a tiered cake out of my favorite desserts?! And thus give people a different option to the traditional tiered cakes?!

Which led me to this precise idea…

A BROWNIE A LA MODE CAKE!!!

And I’m not gonna lie…I think it’s kind of brilliant ๐Ÿ˜‰ We have a restaurant we eat at often that has the best brownie a la mode (besides my dad’s), and it’s HEAVEN. So I recreated it in a tiered cake form, minus the chocolate and caramel drizzle (simply because I ran out of time), not because I didn’t want to do it ๐Ÿ˜‰

Watch the video! And even if you aren’t interested in a brownie cake per se, you’ll see other tips, tricks, and techniques used to stack/make a tiered cake in general! From how to use cardboard rounds and straws to support a tier to which piping tip is my favorite to how to make the perfect whipped cream!

And speaking of whipped cream…since it is used at the “icing” in this “cake,” make sure it’s not out of the fridge for longer than 4 hours at a time!

This would also make a great alternative to the “naked cake” trend right now, since brownie edges are supposed to be crunchy anyways #amiright?!

Without further ado, here’s the video!!!

Here’s the video I referenced on how to level a cake, or brownie ๐Ÿ™‚

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions, comments or concerns! And here are some of the products I used in the videos!