Sunday, August 15, 2010

Polka Dot Birthday Party and Chocolate Covered Pretzels

This year my youngest daughter chose to celebrate her birthday by having a slumber party with her two very best all her siblings! So I went to work planning the best slumber party I possibly could. I knew that my daughter wanted lots of pink, to play a few games, cupcakes for her birthday cake, to watch her favorite movie and to have a few scrapbook pages made to remember the good times.

With that in mind, I went looking for a theme. Wal Mart was calling my name. My inspiration was this beautiful brown and polka dot pattern gift bag by Hallmark. It was one dollar for each bag and the bag was not only stylish, but the perfect size as well. I did not want to spend a million bucks filling the gift bags up! I have other plans for that million bucks! ;-)

We decided to have the girls sleep in the sun room. The sun room is an easy room to transform into something special. First we made the daybed with white sheets and pink quilts. Then I used a bag of balloons from Wal Mart, a long piece of thick thread and a command hook and went to work to create this balloon garland. For a grand total of $4.50 I was thrilled with the results!

Also an important component was the cupcakes! We gave each child their own cupcake and sparkling candle to blow out. I would not do that with really young kids though. Overall, I think the cupcakes were pretty darn cute and my daughter loved them.

We served treats during the movie. We had specially designed polka dot inspired candy mix, popcorn and pink and green 7 Up drinks that any little girl would love. I covered a red and white popcorn tin with wrapping paper and I thought it looked great with the other treats.

The glasses are filled with frozen watermelon cubes and frozen slices of kiwi and then filled with cold 7 Up. I added some party umbrellas and that is my version of a kid cocktail. The girls loved the umbrellas and took them home. The boys used their umbrellas as swords. You could also write the kids' names on the umbrellas so they do not get all mixed up.

We also bagged up some of our polka dot candy mix to put into little gift bags for all the party guests. For more Tips and How To's, click here.

Also part of the kids' gift bags were chocolate covered pretzels. My oldest daughter and I made them the morning of the party. They are quick and simple enough to do at the last minute, but they are also a great thing to do in advance. We sprinkled white and hot pink nonpareils on the chocolate to go with our polka dot theme, but you can use any sort of nut, mini chip or candy decoration that you want to. We have served these pretzels so many times and whenever we make them, people just love them. They are easy to customize to any theme. They are super quick, super easy and beautiful to give as a gift.

The ingredients on the board are simple and easy to find. I bought Rold Gold Pretzels because the Wal Mart brand bags had too many broken pretzel rods.

I also bought this chocolate candy coating. There was another package of chocolate candy coating that was twice the price but it included a tray to microwave the candy coating in. I decided to provide my own tray and keep the extra $2.00.

Follow the package instructions to melt the chocolate coating.

The next step is the messiest, but the most fun. Dip the pretzels in the chocolate coating and roll the pretzels around a bit to get them covered on all sides. Sometimes I used a spoon to help cover the pretzels with the coating. After a bit the chocolate gets a bit stiff and I stick it back into the microwave for a few seconds to get it back to the consistency that I like best. When your pretzel is well coated, then just hold it for a moment and let the extra coating drip off.

Put the pretzel on a piece of wax paper to dry. Immediately sprinkle the candy coating with your decoration of choice. If you wait to decorate, the coating will dry and nothing will stick! We used white and hot pink nonpareils to color coordinate with the polka dot theme.

When they dried we put three into a treat baggie and tied them on top with four different kinds of ribbon.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Chocolate Flavored Almond Bark
Pretzel Rods

1. Melt almond bark in microwave according to package directions.

2. Dip pretzels into melted chocolate. Let excess chocolate drip off.

3. Place Pretzel rod on wax paper and dust with sprinkles immediately.

4. Let chocolate covering dry.

5. Package and enjoy.

Yield depends on number of broken rods in package, thickness of chocolate coating which is controlled by the temperature of the chocolate. Warmer chocolate will be a thinner coat of chocolate on the pretzels. As the chocolate covering cools, the coating will become thicker on the pretzel.

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