Panda Party on a Budget

When I found out that pandas were going to be my theme for this family party, I was super excited. There is so much cute stuff out there for pandas. This is my take on it.

Chalkboard - Panda Party on a Budget | mamasbrush #panda #party #birthday #bamboo # China #chalkboard #black #white

We had the pleasure to throw a family birthday party for a girl we consider part of our family. She’s one of ours and her mom’s okay with that. They always join us Sunday evenings for our family movie night, but tonight, we added in a surprise birthday party for this newly 13 year old.

Now, for those of you who have been around a while, or who have looked through some of my other parties, you know that we do parties a little differently. I have 6 kids, with my mom and sister joining us, already, we are 10 people! So we don’t do guest lists and I try to keep things pretty simple in the way of activities. We do food, decorations, presents and cake (or pie or whatever the birthday person requests). We also don’t do expensive. I do 6-8 parties a year. I can’t do that times $100+. I just can’t! All I bought for this party was some Pirouette Wafer cookies and paper plates and cups. Everything else was done with what I already had or free printables.

So… pandas. I found some really cute ideas on Pinterest (see my Panda party board here!)

Panda Party on a Budget | mamasbrush #panda #party #birthday #bamboo # China #decor #decorations #black #white

Crafty Pammy has this really great free printable panda craft that I cut out and did with my older boys. Mine is on the bottom. They came up with the idea of actually having the pandas eating bamboo. In another party setting, this would have been a fun craft to let your little guests do, but since my birthday girl was 13, I just used them for decorations.

My pinspiration for the bamboo came from Super Festa Infantil where they have all sorts of panda party ideas. It looks like theirs is pre-printed or something, but I just cut green construction paper into 3 inch strips and then trimmed them up to have the little details at the ends of the segments. Then I taped them to the wall (with special wall tape my father-in-law picked up for me) on top of each other and added stems and leaves. The stems are actually scraps from cutting those out. Then tuck in the pandas and we were all set.

Chalkboard - Panda Party on a Budget | mamasbrush #panda #party #birthday #bamboo # China #chalkboard #black #white

And of course my chalkboard made an appearance. I was just going to do the bamboo since I was running out of time, but at the last minute I fit in a little panda. I just love him!

Cupcakes - Panda Party on a Budget | mamasbrush #panda #party #birthday #bamboo # China #cupcakes #black #white

The cupcakes were inspired by this adorable cake.

Cups - Panda Party on a Budget | mamasbrush #panda #party #birthday #bamboo # China #cups #black #white

And I got the cup idea here. Those are for sale, but a sharpie and white party cups got the job done for me. πŸ™‚

Done miss the other ideas I didn’t use over at my Pinterest Board! And don’t forget to…

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Panda Party on a Budget | mamasbrush #panda #party #birthday #bamboo # China #chalkboard #black #white

Gathering here.

Fall Harvest Birthday Party My {Young} Children Gave Me

For months my children (ages 4-12) have been dreaming up their birthday plans for me. I always make a big deal of their birthdays (in inexpensive and homemade ways) and they are getting old enough to want to do what I do… for me. It’s pretty cool.

They have help. My mom helps with brainstorming and shopping and any crafting. The day of, they kick me out of the house (I go down to my mom’s house [converted from a detached garage] and take a shower… ahhhh… happy birthday to me!) so they can decorate.

Pumpkin Cake - Fall Harvest Birthday Party My Children Gave Me | mamasbrush | #birthday #party #harvest #fall #cake #sweets #pumpkins

This year they baked a cake. Due to a flop the previous day, I helped the little kids make the cake that morning and the big kids decorated it with my mom in the afternoon when she was home from work. It turned out really cute!

Fall Harvest Birthday Party My Children Gave Me | mamasbrush | #birthday #party #harvest #fall #centerpiece #scarecrow #pumpkins #gourds #floralarrangement #decorations #decor

They colored pictures for the walls and put together a centerpiece according to the theme.

Fall Harvest Birthday Party My Children Gave Me | mamasbrush | #birthday #party #harvest #fall #chalkboard #kidart #pumpkins #handlettering

This year they even put my chalkboard to use! Isn’t it adorable! They all helped in some way. Keep in mind that the oldest is 12 and the youngest had just turned 4.

Thank you babies for a wonderful birthday!

[Most of this post was finished back at the end of September, but life got busy and the blog (as necessity demands) is the first thing to go. (I haven’t been painting either!) I just popped in to work on some new posts when I discovered that this one had never been finished. So here it is. Hopefully there will be another this week, and they we’ll see how life settles in. I miss sharing… and having things to share!]

Blessings,
Babychaser

A Turtle Themed Birthday on a Budget

Turtle Birthday Theme on a Budget       #partyplanning #party #birthday #turtles #diy #cake #chalkboard #breakfast

My baby turned 4 last week. Four! It’s hard to believe. But he loves turtles. Has for a while now. We were supposed to do a turtle theme last year, but it was the week my husband had off to work on the house (and make me shelves), so the kitchen was out of commission. We hung streamers and blew up balloons at my mom’s house instead.

This year was the year of the turtles. I started with my chalkboard (I love my chalkboard!)

Turtle Birthday Theme on a Budget              #partyplanning #party #birthday #turtles #diy #cake #chalkboard #breakfast

Breakfast was waffle turtles (Pinspired here, other ideas on my board) and pond water (apple cider). The kids thought the pond water was a mixture of funny and gross. It was perfect. That means they approved!

Turtle Birthday Theme on a Budget           #partyplanning #party #birthday #turtles #diy #cake #chalkboard #breakfast

The cake was inspired by one from Cake Adventures. I wasn’t bold enough on my colors and it’s a little messy, but the kids loved it and it wasn’t hard. I didn’t even have to bake the cake in a bowl. I used an 8 inch and a 9 inch cake pan, layered them with ganache in the middle and carved it into shape with a knife.

I rounded out the decor with green streamers, green balloons and green plates. It was the perfect family party (we even had friends over this time). Maybe $10 tops (beyond food/ingredients we already have on hand) for the whole thing and a memory they will cherish for years to come. That’s the important part!

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Turtles Birthday Theme on a budget              #partyplanning #party #birthday #turtles #diy #cake #chalkboard #breakfast

Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

A Simple Little House Birthday Theme
Hot Air Balloon Theme for a Gender Neutral Baby Shower
Ice Cream Parlor Party Theme

Simple (and cheap) Chocolate Theme Birthday Party

It’s a chocolate themed birthday party! Super inexpensive, simple and fun. The kids loved it and so did my mom (the birthday girl).

Mole Chicken - Chocolate Theme Birthday Party

So, a couple weeks ago we celebrated my mom’s birthday with a chocolate theme. We often go out for dinner on her birthday, but there is chocolate in Mole sauce and she LOVES her Mole. No question… I would be cooking. (We got our all-you-can-eat sushi a few days later!)

I kept the decorations pretty simple. I spent August trying to recover and catch up from the unexpected 10 days we spent in the hospital with my daughter in July. Only now am I starting to feel we’re back to normal.

Mole Chicken - Chocolate Theme Birthday Party

I made the Hershey Kisses by wrapping foil over upside down bowls of various sizes. The paper is just printer paper I cut into strips and put messages on. Are they perfect? No. But they were well received and did their job. The little ones in the next picture (on my shelves) can also use the top of a water bottle instead of a little bowl, but I forgot to keep the ones we had. If you do that, you can fill them with candy and give them as party favors too. Since it’s always just us at these parties, we didn’t need the candy or the favors. πŸ™‚

Chocolate Theme Birthday Party

The Chocolate Tuffles and Cupcake cards could have been framed, but I didn’t get to the store for the frames, so they were cute on their own. My mom has since framed them and hung them in her chocolate themed bathroom. They doubled as gifts.

The chalkboard frame is just a cheap white frame (my go to frame for all my artwork because of it’s simplicity) from Walmart with a black sheet of paper in it. I used a white water based paint pen to do the illustration of a mug and hand lettered “just add chocolate and cream please” on the side. I love that frame! Silly that it took me so long to pull it together!

Chalkboard - Chocolate Theme Birthday Party

As you know if you’ve been around for a while, I decorate my large (husband made) chalkboard for birthdays and events too. Everyone has come to look forward to it and uses it to help determine the theme for the day when I keep it a secret. This one says “birthday wishes and chocolate kisses.”

Brownie Cake - Chocolate Theme Birthday Party

This brownie cake on the back of a Ghirardelli Brownie box mix was the inspiration for the theme. This past spring, my mom saw the picture of that Ombre Brownie Cake on the box and declared that she wanted to try that. I decided that day that we would do it for her birthday.

I’ve never made ganache before and as you can see, my cake doesn’t look exactly like the picture. It was a good first run though, and I hope to do it again because it was yummy!

Note: Not all (or any) of your plans have to work out just right. The person or people you are celebrating will still feel loved that you tried to make their day a big deal! Don’t let fear of failure (or failure itself in my case so often) keep you from going all out!

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Cheap and Easy Chocolate Birthday Party

Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

Ladybug Birthday Party
A Jolly Holiday – A Mary Poppins Birthday
Ice Cream Parlor Birthday Party

Easy Chocolate Truffle Artwork – You can do this!

Easy Chocolate Truffle Artwork - You can do this!

Remember that chocolate themed birthday party I threw for my mom? The one I painted the Chocolate Frosted Cupcake for? Yes, the one I haven’t shown you yet. That’s the one! Good memory!

Well, I painted these cute little truffles for that party too. (Pinspiration here.) Again, part gift-part decoration! She actually hung them up already on the wall in her bathroom in little white frames! Yes… it’s adorable!

Easy Chocolate Truffle Artwork - You can do this!

I painted them with watercolor and added the white with Sharpie Paint Pens. Then I added a touch of black with my Faber Castel thin pen to add shadow and make the white pop. It really helped! Super easy!

You could do this with markers too! Just color in the chocolate with brown marker and then use the white paint pen (a couple coats would help!) and add the black lines at the end. (Keep the black on the same side of the white on all the lines so it has a realistic “shadow” look.) I think they would make adorable greeting cards! Let me know if you try!

Easy Chocolate Truffle Artwork - You can do this!

Looking at them now (I always notice details like this when I look at the picture of whatever I painted, not before) I think I would put the swirl one in the middle to make it seem more balanced, but that’s because I have issues with symmetry. What do you think? Would you switch them out to put the swirl in the middle? Or do you like them as is? Let me know in the comments!

Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

Custom Chocolate Wrappers
Some February Painting
Custom Conversation Hearts

Farm Girl Diaper Cake – Every Baby Needs a Party

Okay, you’ve heard me say it before: I’m a firm believer that every baby needs a party, and this little farm girl is no exception. Three older brothers already inhabiting the family’s homestead (plus rabbits and chickens), we really had to do something in pink!

Farm Girl Diaper Cake - Every Baby Needs a Party

Our church budgets for throwing a baby shower for all the first born babies, and I am the one so blessed as to be in charge of most of those. I understand that there isn’t room in the budget for every baby to have a full blown party, and it isn’t in our budget either. And I understand that not everyone thinks that second and third (and forth and fifth, etc) babies need a party. But I disagree!

When I say that every baby needs a party, I do not mean that we need to break the budget each time a baby is born or throw some elaborate gathering. What I do mean is that we should celebrate each new baby as the gift from God that they are! (I feel the same way about every adoption too by the way!) Every baby is special to the family receiving him or her, and it’s my joy to make a point to celebrate with that family… and to make sure they know about it!

Farm Girl Diaper Cake - Every Baby Needs a Party

A number of years ago, after years of wishing something could be done for all these *not first born* babies, I had a couple ideas. First of all, what if we just set up a table and invite the church family to bring gifts for the new baby. So that’s what I do anytime a new baby is born in our church. It’s not hard, and most of the time the decorations are super simple. This time it was a table cloth, a diaper cake (made at home), and a banner. It will be up for a few Sundays to give time for people to bring in their gifts.

{Planning to share my second “idea” about how to celebrate new babies in an upcoming post… subscribe in the sidebar so you don’t miss it!}

Farm Girl Diaper Cake - Every Baby Needs a Party
Usually I put the new family picture where the family drawing is, but I replaced it to give the family their privacy! πŸ™‚ [Artwork is NOT mine]

A week or so before it is up, I send out an email “invitation” to the whole church that is made in the same theme as the table. We call it a sprinkling. Most people bring diapers and wipes, but there are a few people who bring other gifts, gift cards, or a personal quilt. Gifts don’t even have to be wrapped… it’s optional.

Farm Girl Diaper Cake - Every Baby Needs a Party

I found the inspiration for this diaper cake on Pinterest (of course). Then I increased the size of the clipart I used in the invitation and printed it off. Some extra details from the dollar store, fabric store and around the house took it over the top. It turned out really cute (I think!)

Farm Girl Diaper Cake - Every Baby Needs a Party

Does your church do anything when babies are born??? It’s really easy to start this ministry… and it’s one that blesses families time and again!!

Keep a look out for the other thing I do for families to celebrate the birth of their new babies! (You can subscribe in the sidebar so you don’t miss a post!)

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Farm Girl Diaper Cake - Every Baby Needs a Party

Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

Gender Neutral Baby Shower – Hot Air Balloons
Every Baby Needs a Party
Woodland Animal Nursery Art (and a quilt)

Easy Wafer Cookie Pencils for Back to Homeschool

Easy Wafer Cookie Pencils for Back to Homeschool

These adorable Easy Wafer Cookie Pencils for Back to Homeschool were super easy to make and so fun for the kids on our first day of school!

With the the approach of the 4th of July and all the other summery goodness, comes the start up of a new homeschool year for us. But who has time to spend blogging in real time? What? People DO blog in June? I don’t know how you all do it. I actually did post 3 times in June and I’m pretty sure other more important things didn’t happen because of it. June is just crazy for our family!

Easy Wafer Cookie Pencils for Back to Homeschool

That’s right, we start school July 1st around here. (Pop over here to find out why.)

Easy Wafer Cookie Pencils for Back to Homeschool

I saw the idea originally on Pinterest here, but you can find her amazing tutorial directly, by clicking this link.

As per usual, I didn’t click over to read the directions until after I’d done my own thing. That means I used different means to a similar end. πŸ™‚

Instead of melting candies, I mixed up some powdered sugar and milk to make a simple frosting. I started with the white and dipped all the pencil tips. I then added the chocolate chip (mini chips would work better as Keri suggests, but I worked with what I had.) I put the sheet pan in fridge to set up after this.

A while later (30 minutes to an hour?) I added some powdered sugar and milk to the left over white frosting and then a bit of red food coloring. I had to go back and forth a bit on the amounts until I got the consistency I wanted, and even then it could have been thicker if I had been more patient.

I dipped the “eraser” side of the wafer into the pink and set them to dry on the lined cookie sheet.

Easy Wafer Cookie Pencils for Back to Homeschool

Then back into the fridge they went.

In the end I could have trimmed the run off of the pink frosting like I did for the white, but I figured the kids wouldn’t mind the extra frosting. πŸ™‚ They turned out so cute and the kids love this little tradition we do for the first day of school (two years in a row establishes tradition around here. Good thing it’s easy.)

Easy Wafer Cookie Pencils for Back to Homeschool

To be honest, I had a dozen other ideas I wanted to do for the first day of school, but it’s a busy time and this is the only one I actually carved out time for. You can find all my fun back to homeschool ideas on my Back to Homeschool Board. I hope you will find some to make your first day of school special… whether you homeschool or not! πŸ™‚

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Easy Wafer Cookie Pencils for Back to Homeschool

Gathering here.