Monthly Archives: August 2013

Homemade Vanilla Coke Recipe

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Recently every restaurant we go to my husband will ask for a vanilla coke. Needless to say he hasn’t had the greatest luck. If you are unsure of what that is, it is a Coca Cola with vanilla flavoring.

On one such occasion with the answer being no and me saying honey it can’t be that hard to make our own. After we left the restaurant he went to the grocery store and picked up a 2 liter of Coca Cola and some vanilla. Both of us thinking it was that easy to do. A little bit of vanilla and some Coca Cola. Well needless to say that wasn’t the case.  It was gross.

So I did a little research and found that you need vanilla syrup to mix with the Coca Cola. I went to the store and well that stuff was very expensive. Not very economical. So I pulled out my smart phone and started to look recipes up on the internet and I even called one of my sisters who works in bar to see  if she knew how to make it. She pointed me in the right direction for making our very own Vanilla Syrup. Who knew there were websites for making cocktails and other alcoholic drinks. We really don’t drink so that be why we had no clue. LOL oh well. The website  Drinks Mixerseems to be the place to go. The recipe was easy to follow and very economical to make. So here is the run down.

You will need the following:

  • Pan
  • Spoon
  • Sugar 1 1/2 cups
  • Salt 1/2 tsp
  • Water 1 1/2 cups
  • Real or imitation Vanilla flavoring *we used the real stuff! 2 Tablespoons
  • Ice
  • Drinking glass
  • storage container

Simple as that. I found while making this it reminded me of the Maple Flavored syrup I made a while back for all of you.

to start with this recipe put your sauce pan on the burner on medium heat with 1 1/2 cups of water, 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix until it becomes clear and starts to boil.

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Hard boil it for 5 minutes. Once it has boiled for the 5 minutes remove it from heat and add 2 tablespoons of vanilla. Stir it up and then let it sit until it cools down.

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“I stick it in the freezer for a bit to help the cool down process along.” Once it is all cooled down put 1 “shot” per can of coke. Now I will tell you that my hubby and I found that less is more in this case. You will have to play with the measurements to see what you like the most. We like it with 3 tsp of vanilla syrup in an 8 ounce glass of coke with ice.

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We were able to make the batch above for about .50.  This recipe will make about 500 milliliters. If you plan on buying the vanilla syrup in the store you will be paying almost $8 for a container. Also it only has about 750mililiters in the container. Leave a comment below and tell me what you think.

Have you ever had vanilla coke in a restaurant or heard of it? What were your thoughts on the yummyness of it?

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Party tips for throwing a birthday party for $50 or less

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I don’t know about you but I love to throw birthday parties for my little ones. Plus you can have a fantastic one for $50 or less. Not bad huh?
It might just be me getting lucky at this time of the year for sales.
That or I’m just starting to really learn how to be thrifty.
Now all of our kids birthdays fall within a 2 month period of time and 3 months for all 5 of us.
August, September and October are very busy when it comes to birthdays.
I love celebrating each year my children turn another year older. They only get to be that old once.
So I want to make it memorable every year.

Here are some tips for just how I spend $50 or less on a birthday party.

One thing to remember when planning a party is how many people will be attending. More people there are the higher the cost it will be.
A good thing to do is grab a piece of paper, set a budget and DON”T GO OVER IT!
Remember most people won’t even know that you forgot or didn’t have money to buy something.

Goodie Bags and or Treats

Do without the goodie bags. The average kid won’t even know that there are usually “goodie” bags at a birthday party.
They will be to caught up in the moment.
Some birthday parties have a pinata. To save costs you can make one yourself.

Venue

To save money on a “venue” go to a park or host it at your house or a family members house.
I love the park because the kids can play while the food is cooking and there is no need for entertainment because they are otherwise occupied.

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Food

To help save money on food keep it simple! Below is a simple menu an approximate cost for each.

Hot Dogs – .088 cents – First off you don’t need to spend a ton of money on food. stick to the basics. Kids LOVE hotdogs, it’s simple and easy and remember if adults complain about the food remind them the party is not for them it’s for “munchkin ‘s name”. The cost here can vary depending on how many kids and adults come. I usually can get a pack of hot dogs 10 in a pack for .88 cents on sale. Remember your average kid will eat between 1 and 2 hot dogs. So your one package will feed approximately 5 kids.

Buns – You can usually get a package of buns at your local Kwik trip or dollar store for about $1 a package. There are usually 8 in a package. Each package will feed 4 kids. “that is saying each kid will eat 2 hotdogs.

Chips – I will be honest here I love the taste of the potato chips at our local dollar store. They are made from all natural ingredients and they are only $1 a bag.  Each bag will feed between 6-10 kids

Watermelon – .99 – $1.49 a lb depending on the season. This is very cheap to buy and easy to dish up. I don’t know many kids who don’t like to eat it either.

Cake – I know it is easier and faster to buy a cake but this really is where one of the biggest costs come in for a birthday party. However it is cheaper to go buy a couple Betty Crocker cake mixes and whip them up yourself. I use about 1 box cake mix per round birthday cake and 2 box cake mixes for rectangle cakes.  They cost about $1.49 – $2.00 for a box sometimes you get them for $1 if you buy them when they are on sale. You can buy the frosting or click here for making some easy recipes that are really cheap to make and easy. If you have a little extra time you can make your own fondant. Click here for a how to.

Ice Cream – yes it is easier to go out and buy your own. but hey there is nothing like a little excitement in making your very own. This is also a great idea for kids to do at the birthday party themselves. Ice cream in a bag is the way to go. Click Here for a simple and easy how to.

When looking at food cost you can use the chart below to help you prepare a little bit for costs

Item                               Cost                                             Feeds
Hot Dogs             .88 – $1 a package                4 – 5 people “saying everyone has 2 hotdogs each
Hod Dog Buns    $1 – $1.49 a package           4 people – “saying everyone has 2 hotdogs each.
Chips                    $1 – $3.49 a bag                   6 – 10 people
Watermelon        $1 – $1.49 a lb                      12 – 15 people
Cake                      $1.49 – $2.00 a box             10 – 15 people
Ice Cream             $2.00 – $4.00                       15 – 36 people “depending on size of container”
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
$7.37 – $13.47                                          4 people approximately
$10.37 – $15.96                                        8 people approximately
$12.25 – $18.45                                        12 people approximately
$15.13 – $24.43                                        16 people approximately

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Now I love the dollar store when it comes to party supplies. Why? Everything is $1!!!!
Usually when I plan a birthday party most everything comes from the dollar store or is made from scratch.

Paper plates – $1 – $3 depending on where you buy and what style.

Last week we celebrated my daughters 1-year-old birthday. I had 15 people attend the party.
“We had more invited, not everyone was able to make it though”
So here is what it cost me

$15 for 3 dozen corn
$3.52 for 4 packages of 8 hotdogs
$4 for 4 packages of hotdog buns
$2 for 24 plates
$2 for 24 cups
$2 for 40 napkins
$1 for ketchup
$0 for mustard – We already had some
$3.99 for a large watermelon
$4.79 for Chips
$1 for cake mix
$1.29 for marshmallows
$1.39 for Powdered sugar
$4 for 4 2 liters of pop
$1 for party bags – I only needed 8
$6 for 6 different party favors and treats

My grand total
$52.98 for a party of 16 people

** Now I wasn’t planning on spending the $15 for 3 dozen corn.
My hubby went and bought that from a farmer and then told me he bought some.
We also never did end up using the watermelon** So without those 2 things my grand total would have been $33.99.
We also didn’t use ice cream since it was too hot that day. So that too helped save us money

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My daughter had a blast at her party. It was simple and didn’t cost us a fortune.
If you have questions or ideas as to also help make a birthday party as cheap as possible please leave a comment below.

Milk Makers Giveaway!

MilkMakers &

More Than Mommy

 

Have  teamed up to bring you a fun new giveaway!
MilkMakers are cookies that help to promote a mother’s milk supply while nursing. Not only are the nutritious, but they are delicious as well!
The ingredients are organic and nut free. You can read a full review from Renae at More Than Mommy HERE.
One lucky winner is going to receive their choice of MilkMakers or BumpBoosters (for expecting mama’s!).

Click HERE to ENTER this giveaway

 
Economical Mommy is not responsible for prize shipment. Must be 18 years or older,
and within the United States. The winner will be notified via email. They will
have 48 hours to respond, or another winner will be chosen. This giveaway will
run until 11:59 Sept. 2, 2013.

Blue Moon Activities

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Tonight is the first blue moon since November, 21 2010 and the next one wont happen until May 21, 2016.

To find out more about the Blue Moon and the hows and whys click HERE

 

Here our my TOP 5 memorable Blue Moon activities for you and your family.

  1. The Blue Moon is a great opportunity to keep your kids wide awake and take them star-gazing and look at the full Blue Moon. Pack them up in a vehicle unless you are already lucky and live on a farm or far enough away from city lights. Make sure to grab a picnic blanket or two and some blankets to lay under if it is too cold.
  2. If you love to camp take them camping or let your kids pitch a tent in the yard for your kids to sleep in.
  3. Make some sugar cookies cut them out in circles and frost them with white or blue frosting.
  4. If you are not up to camping or star-gazing take your kids for a walk in the evening when the moon is starting to come out.
  5. Have your kids color and decorate a circle “moon” on a piece of paper.

With any of the activities that you plan on doing make sure to tell your kids about when and why the blue moon occurs. Allow your kids to ask questions. This is a great opportunity to tell your kids that even though it is called a blue moon it does not mean that the moon is actually blue in color.

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For more information about the Blue Moon click the links below. 🙂

Blue Moon CalenderWiki Blue Moon
Science Lesson – Blue Moon

The Randomness of Vegetables and Fruit

For all you gardeners out there. Have you ever gotten into your growing season and have found some random vegetable or fruit-growing in a place you never planted it or even close to your garden? Well, I have. I find it on the funny side when it happens and I also see it as an unexpected blessing from God.

To talk about randomness of vegetables. Growing up on a hobby farm we had a compost pile. It was my chore to empty the compost out every day into the compost pile and on one such occasion I found a pumpkin growing up a tree. Yes a pumpkin growing part way up a tree. The crazy thing was it had my initials carved in the pumpkin. Which only meant one thing. My mom had found the pumpkin and had done that. Which by the way it made my day!

Pumpkins and many other “fruits” like it. Yes it is considered a fruit. Now if you want to surprise your kid or kids carve their name or a picture in a small pumpkin or other squash/gourd. As the fruit grows the fruit will scab over and grow with the fruit. It really is a neat thing to see. Also your kids will be overly surprised.

 

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Yes I snatched the picture from the internet. 🙂

two years ago we planted tons of tomatoes and some tomatoes fell to the ground because they were rotten. So last year we were really surprised that we had 15-20 yep 15-20 random tomato plants growing. Granted it was great since we started our garden a little on the late side and missed the chance to plant tomatoes.

This year 20 odd miles from our garden we find a corn-stalk growing by our house. Yeah a corn-stalk.

Conner came running inside a couple of days ago. Very excited. He was talking so fast because he was so excited. he kept saying mama, mama, mommy, mommy, mom, mom. “yes all of those variations” I found some corn-growing  in the yard. I found some corn, I found some corn. Come look mommy, come look. hurry mommy. I can’t believe my eyes. I a little on the skeptical side of things was like ok show me. I half expected to just some really tall grass. don’t know why I wouldn’t be surprised at the randomness of any vegetable or fruit by now.

However here it is.

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It is about knee-high which in this neck of the woods it is very much on the late side of growing. It is about a month late. Corn here needs to be knee-high by July 4th in order for it to be considered a good crop. So we shall see if we actually get any corn from it.

Conner has been very diligent in watering this corn-stalk. He will ask me every day if he can go water it’s roots.
So randomness in our gardens no matter the distance always seems to happen and I will always welcome it with open arms. 🙂

Have you ever found any random fruit or vegetables growing?
What was your response to the randomness?

Matilda Jane Back to School giveaway!

Go Back to School in Style with Matilda Jane!

Hosted by More Than Mommy

and co-hosted by
Mommy’s Craft Obsession and Simply Southern Couponers

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Matilda Jane is a wonderful children’s clothing boutique. They are the ‘Unpredictable Clothing Company’! From the style, to the colors and craftsmanship, you won’t find clothes like these anywhere else!

Matilda Jane reflects the uniqueness of each child who wears their clothes in a fun and fabulous way. You can check out a full review by Renae from More Than Mommy HERE.

One lucky winner is going to win 2 outfits from Matilda Jane! That is 4 pieces of clothing, which will make a great addition to your back-to-school wardrobe. Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below for your chance.

Enter HERE for a chance to WIN

*I have not received compensation in return for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own, and yours may differ. More Than Mommy and Economical Mommy are not responsible for prize shipment. This promotion is not affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest in any way. The winner will be given 48 hours to claim their prize, or another winner will be chosen. Entries will be verified.

Handkerchief Skirt and Bloomers

Handkerchief Skirt

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I made a cute handkerchief skirt and bloomers for my baby girl earlier this year.
I hope the instructions below are easy to follow and you have as much fun as I did making this skirt and bloomers

So I found these cute handkerchiefs at the dollar store for $1 for a package of two.
The packs I bought were light pink and light blue together and a dark red and dark blue together. Pretty colors huh?

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So let’s get started you will need the following.

  • Handkerchiefs
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Thread
  • Elastic
  • Safety Pin

So I started off by cutting the blue handkerchief in half and the pink one in fourths.
However if I were to do this again I would do the pink the same but I would cut the blue into 3rds.
You will see why. Here they are already cut and ready to be sewn.

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I sewed the two half’s of the blue together on both ends and then I sewed 2 pinks together on both ends to create the top part of the skirt.
As you can see in the picture I overlapped the pink to be on top of the blue and then sewed the two together.
“hint” make sure when you sew the top ruffle piece that it is a hair smaller than the bottom ruffle.

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As you can see the two pieces look fine now for the same size ruffle, however I forgot to take into consideration the waist band.

because of the “extra blue” I thought it looked funny so I hemmed the bottom of the skirt.
Otherwise if you cut the handkerchiefs just right you won’t need to do this step.

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Here is the skirt all hemmed up, “probably could have hidden more of that blue” but it is the first one I have ever made.

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Here is the waist after I put the elastic through.
I burned the ends of the elastic with a lighter to keep it from fraying.
I also left a little extra elastic for when I need to make the waist a little larger later.
This way she can wear it even longer then just a couple of months.

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Bloomers

First step I took a pair of my kiddos pants that she already wears. “you will need this to outline the crotch of the pant.”

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Here are the handkerchiefs cut, “you will need 1 handkerchief for each leg.”
When you go to cut make sure you leave LOTS of room for the waist and legs.
Bloomers are meant to be fluffy. So more fabric the merrier.

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Here is one leg done. After you have cut the legs out go ahead and sew the inside of the leg and the outside of the leg together.
It should like the picture above.

  After you have done both legs, go ahead and sew the crotch together.
Pin the two legs together in the crotch area.
I was able to tuck one leg inside another to help with bulkiness of sewing the crotch.

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After you have sewed the crotch together it should like this. “The leg is tucked inside the other.”

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I wanted to add a little extra length to the bloomers.
So I cut the blue handkerchief into fourths and sewed 2 of the thirds to match up with the bottom of the pink bloomers.
“I used the middle of the handkerchief”.
I thought that the middle would look better because of the pattern on the handkerchief.

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After I sewed the ends together I hemmed the bottom of the blue part of the legging.
Then I sewed the top part of the blue ruffle and I left room for the elastic to go through. that hem.

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Then Sew the blue ruffle to the inside of the pink part of the bloomers.
Make sure to keep both ruffles are the same width.
Now if you did the last 2 steps right the elastic should fit through.

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I took a break after putting the blue ruffle on and I put the elastic through the waist.
I did the same thing that I did with the skirt.
I left a little extra elastic to widen the waist later.

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Then put the elastic through the bottom part of the bloomers to create the ruffle of the bloomers.

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Here are the bloomers completed.

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The finished project. The bloomers and skirt.

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Here is my baby girl in her skirt and bloomers! Don’t you just love that smile?

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Have you ever sewn clothes before out of handkerchiefs? If you have questions about any of the steps lave a comment below.

Saturday FREEBIES 8/10

FREEBIE DASH

Today’s post is all about FREEBIES. What a better way to celebrate National Breastfeeding Month but to have freebies all in one place.

***Products listed below are  FREE However you will have to pay for shipping and handling.***

So let the FREEBIES begin!

Just USE the PROMO code WTE on all the websites below to get the items FREE. Just pay shipping and handling

  • Free Nursing Covers at UdderCovers.com
  • Free Breast Pads at UdderCovers.com
    ***Code WTE will ONLY work with one product from each store. If you want the Udder Cover and the Washable Breast Pads you will have to make two separate transactions.***
  • Free Nursing Pillow at NursingPillow.com***Does NOT include Minky fabrics*** You can use the promo code WTE to bring the Minky down to $5 plus shipping***
  • You can also get a FREE baby sling at SevenSlings.com
    However I wouldn’t recommend it. I have heard all over the place that they are not high quality products and are poorly made.
  • Get a FREE carseat canopy from CarseatCanopy.com
    They come in many different fabric designs. You can also add-on embroidery for only $6.95

If you are Pregnant and unsure whether you should breastfeed or not check out our post on Breastfeeding Versus Formula Feeding and see what will work for you and your family.

Don’t forget to share this post with your friends and let the FREEBIE DASH BEGIN!

What is your favorite FREEBIE?

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Make a Pillowcase Dress without the Pillowcase

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I have seen recent posts out there for how to make a pillowcase dress. but not one that gives in great details every step in how to make one. So here are the full complete instructions for how to make a pillowcase dress and how to make one without a pillowcase. So lets get started,
Items you will need:

  •  a light weight cotton
    ***half yard “for infant” 3/4 yard for toddler or a yard to two yards depending on how tall your child is.***
  • You will also need to buy another light weight cotton if you are planning on doing a layer inside the dress for finishing touches.
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Safety pin
  • Your child
  • Thread

Directions:

Take your measuring tape and measure your child from shoulders to knees or to however long you want the dress to be. write it down. Then measure your child from one side of the torso to the other. You will then add 4-8 inches or more depending on how wide you want your dress to be. Here you can be a little bit more lenient on.

Next you will want take the length that you just measured and place it on your fabric. You will want to add anywhere between an 2-4 inches on the top and 4-6 inches on the bottom. You will need this for hemming later

Next lay your fabric on a clean smooth surface

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Cut it to the size you would like to to make your dress
Here is what your pattern should look like
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Cut your fabric like so, with one of the arms holes cut out.
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Then fold your fabric in half.
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Now cut the other arm hole. Now your arm holes will be the same size.
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Next you will want to zig zag all the edges to keep the fabric from fraying
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Now take your fabric and pin it together.if you have 2 layers this will mean that you will be sewing 4 fabrics together I used a 1/2 inch seam.
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Once you have sewn them together. It should look like this.
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Now you will want to do a small seam for the arm holes I used a 1/4 seam
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Now fold the neck over to create a band for the ribbon to be laced through on the front and the back.
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Next place the almost made dress on your child and pin the bottom hem up as high as you would like it to go on your child. Then sew the bottom hem. I did a wide band because I thought it looked a little cuter. It will leave me room to lower the hem later when she gets taller.
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Here is the dress all ready for the ribbon to go through the top band.
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Once you have sewed your dress all together grab a safety pin and put through the end of your ribbon. and lace it through the the neck band. Once you have the length you need for the ribbon you want and you have tied a cute bow, go ahead and cut the ribbon diagonally to help prevent it from  unraveling. You can also use a special glue to put on the ends to prevent it from doing that too.
Now here is the finished product, Dress pictured here will fit a 3-6 month old.
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Please leave a comment and tell me what you think.

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Homemade fondant

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Not sure if you have worked with fondant or if you have ever bought a cake with fondant on it. After my experience yesterday decorating my son’s birthday cake  with my very own fondant. I will never buy the stuff in the store again let alone I probably won’t decorate another birthday cake with frosting from the store! It was so EASY and SO Cheap! Yes it did take time and patience. I started making the fondant and finished decorating the cake in a matter of 2 1/2 hours. Granted there a lot of disturbances and breaks to help kiddos and a few other things. In the end it probably took an 1 1/2 hours to make and decorate. Still not bad. I loved the end result and I loved the fact that if I cut something wrong or it tore while placing it on the cake I could remove it and roll it out again. Unlike creamy frosting where if you make a mistake it is harder to fix.

Here is this fantastic recipe and also a how to: Video on Youtube by Sweet art Factory

  • Grab a 16ounce bag of MINI Marshmallows
  • 2lb bag of powdered sugar
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of water
  • Shortening
  • If you want flavoring you can add clear flavoring. “I didn’t use any”
  • Gum Paste “Optional” I didn’t use it.

Place your powdered sugar in a large bowl and create a crater/well in the middle of the bowl. Next place your mini marshmallows in a microwavable bowl along with 2 tablespoons of water.

Put you bowl of mini marshmallows and water in the microwave until the marshmallows are melted. “NOT BOILING” Take out of the microwave. You can add your flavoring into the melted marshmallows

Next pour the mixture into the crater/well of powdered sugar in the bowl. Make sure it doesn’t touch the sides. Mix with your fingers. My recommendation on this try not to touch the marshmallow mixture AT ALL. You will find that it sticks a lot to your fingers. To help with this add a little bit of shortening to the mixture.

Take your fondant once it is all mixed and knead it on some powdered sugar on your table or counter top. Once it is kneaded really well divide your fondant into what colors you plan on using.

Sorry I did forget to take pictures for all of you. 😦

Once you have divided your fondant go ahead and start adding your food coloring, and Knead and knead until you get the right color you want. Add more food coloring and knead as needed. Just a reminder if your fondant is sticky add a little bit more shortening. . Continue this step with all colors you need.

Here is my first step in the batman cake I made for Conner. Make sure to roll your fondant thin but not to thin or it will tear really easily. I ended up having to do this step twice because it tore.

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After I placed the first color on the cake I cut around the edges to give it a more finished look. Than I did step 2 and added the next color, black,

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To cut the fondant make sure to use a knife that has a smooth blade not one with grooves in it. Here is step 3.

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The stars are not fondant. I used glow in the dark stars. 🙂 yes I know I cheated. 😉

Here is my little boy with his birthday cake.

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“Yes I know Spiderman is owned by Marvel and Batman is DC” 🙂

I had a blast making this cake and I hope you have fun making yours as well.

I would love to hear any experiences you have had with making or working with fondant. Please leave comments or questions below.

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Economical Mommy

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