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.

Hot Air Balloon Theme for Gender Neutral Baby Shower, Birthday Party or Event

Hot Air Balloon Theme Baby Shower | Party or Event | mamasbrush

A gender neutral baby shower, birthday party, or event just lends itself to an adventuresome and colorful hot air balloon theme. I started with my own design for gender neutral nursery wallpaper, and this is exactly what we did for an expecting mama in our church a couple weeks ago.

Food Table Decor | Hot Air Balloon Theme Baby Shower | Party or Event | mamasbrush

I know this post has been a long time coming. Not only did I promise it was coming, but I also promised detailed prep posts. Well, that didn’t happen. Between kid sickness and normal spring busy-ness, I should have been more realistic. I was just glad to pull off the party at all. πŸ™‚

Cake, Cloud Cookies, and Rainbow Fruit | Hot Air Balloon Theme Baby Shower | Party or Event | mamasbrush

One of the friends of the mama to be has a sister who makes cakes. When she volunteered her, my first thought was that I wanted to do the cake. Then I realized that if she made the cake, I wouldn’t have to and time was at a premium. I accepted and I’m so glad I did. Isn’t it beautiful. I tried to get a website for you all, but she only makes them for family and friends. If that changes some day, I’ll try to get you a link! The cupcakes are gluten free and that basket was completely chocolate! Yummm!

Cloud Meringue Cookies | Hot Air Balloon Theme Baby Shower | Party or Event | mamasbrush

The dish next to the cake is my take on meringue clouds. (Find the tutorial here.)

Centerpieces | Hot Air Balloon Theme Baby Shower | Party or Event | mamasbrush

I adapted this tutorial and borrowed heavily from several other pics on my Hot Air Balloon Party Board to create these cute centerpieces. I had my 7 year old and one of her friends spread the left over triangles around the tables for extra color.

I created these tags using my own artwork. Find my inspiration for them here.

Gift Table Under the Clouds | Hot Air Balloon Theme Baby Shower | Party or Event | mamasbrush

Pops of color around the room came in the form of these pendent banners and adorable paper hot air balloons. For the balloons I used these instructions from Karen Kavett and this template. At the end of the party, I cut them down and sent them home with each of the ladies who came. I suggested that they put them somewhere they would see them and remember to pray for the family and new baby. They also liked the idea to hand them from the Christmas tree to remember the event for years to come.

Party Decor | Hot Air Balloon Theme Baby Shower | Party or Event | mamasbrush

The whole event really turned out beautifully. My sweet husband helped me to blow up and hang all these balloon clouds. I used this tutorial to string them together and it was pretty easy, but this one with glue would have been even easier.

What was your favorite part of this event? Please let me know in the comments! And as always, please…

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Hot Air Balloon Theme Baby Shower | Party or Event | mamasbrush
Hot Air Balloon Theme Baby Shower | Party or Event | mamasbrush

Gathering here.

Baby Shower Invitation – Gender Neutral Hot Air Balloon Theme

A new baby is expected this summer in our church… the first for this family. And when there is a first baby, that means a full on baby shower (as apposed to sprinklings). For this gender neutral baby shower we are celebrating with a hot air balloon theme.

Hot Air Balloon Baby Shower Invitation

After my 10 day (unplanned) blogging break, I’m back and heading into a busy week of party prep. With no time to paint this past week, there’s not much to post around here, but, if I can swing it, I’m hoping to keep you up to date on the baby shower prep this week.

For church showers, I generally design invitations digitally and the church secretary sends it as a jpg embedded into the email to the whole church. The *cuteness* factor of a *real* invitation with the simplicity (and frugality) of email.

Mom and Dad are waiting to find out whether they are having a boy or a girl so I took my inspiration from my gender neutral wallpaper design last fall — Born for Adventure! It’s been fun to use something I designed for something real again!

Gathering here.