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

Easy Hiking Theme Birthday on a Budget

I wasn’t sure how I was going to make this “Hiking” themed birthday different from the “Camping” theme we did a few years ago, and let me tell you, inspiration was not coming. I had only general ideas going into the evening before the big day, but hopefully that is just proof of how easy and budget friendly this whole theme was.

Birthdays are a big deal around here, and if you’ve been around a while, then you know that there is always a theme. I was really struggling with what the theme would be this time around since the interests of my now nine year old haven’t changed much over the last few years. I’ve done all the themes already. What he really wanted was a hiking theme, but I kept fighting against it since we just did a camping theme a few years ago.

Added into all that, my husband and I spent 10 days during July in the hospital with our oldest daughter and, while she is in full health now, the week we got home was full of recovery and catching up from being away from home and the rest of the kids for so long. That left only a few days to figure out what I was going to do for this birthday.

Finally I gave in. Hiking theme it was… but I had no idea what I would do. Pinterest is always a huge help, but most of the “hiking” searches brought up tons of great “camping” themed party ideas. Or “national park” themes. Still not exactly what I was looking for. (See my Pinterest board for more ideas!)

One thing I did find was cute hiking signs I could print… but my printer wasn’t working at the last minute, so we didn’t have those.

So what’s a girl to do with no balloons, no streamers, and no idea what to start with? I headed upstairs to to the attic for the Christmas/winter decorations. Yes I did! You may recognize some of these from the Cozy Mountain Lodge Women’s Retreat I decorated for earlier this year too.

I put some of these decorations on my much loved shelves.

Adventure Awaits Hand Painted Card -- Easy Hiking Theme Birthday on a Budget

And I try to paint/illustrate a little card for each of the kids on their birthday. It’s become something that is really special to them. This time I thought it fit nicely in the decoration. You could totally do this painting. I painted the green part of the tree loosely, leaving gaps here and there in a light green. After that dried, I did it again with the same paint, but not going all the way to the edges. Then a third time after it dried again. Once it was all dry the fourth time, I added the brown trunk. Sometimes I simply use a tall triangle for a pine tree. It works great!

The mountains I put on a pedestal in the middle of the breakfast table. (Excuse the wrinkled tablecloth… the epitome of last minute.)

Birthday breakfast was cinnamon roll mountains. Super easy! Two cans of cinnamon rolls from the refrigerated section of the grocery store (though you can make your own if you have the time and inclination). I just unrolled each one and re-rolled it in the slightest cone shape. A little tip: don’t go too high with your cone or it will topple over… but I just made that one mine. πŸ™‚ No big deal.

I made little flags out of scrapbook paper and glued “take a hike” circles on to them. The stick is a skewer I cut into three parts. I hand wrote the “take a hike” but you could use something printed off the computer or even stickers if you can find something you like.

Life's An Adventure... Go Hiking! Chalkboard -- Easy Hiking Theme Birthday on a Budget

The chalkboard was really easy to do. Honestly, the hardest part was the lettering. Again, you could even use a simple tall triangle for the tree if the scribbled lines are too much. I found that the orange chalk gave enough of a brown feel over the black of the chalkboard that it worked perfectly.

Hiking Trail Cake -- Easy Hiking Theme Birthday on a Budget

The cake was the most last minute of all. I baked the cake the night before… but I used too high of a temperature and it was dry. So my daughter and I remade it that morning. That afternoon I was assembling my cake unfrozen (freezing them first makes it super easy to assemble and frost!!) and with no real idea of what I wanted to do. None of the 2-3 pins I found were what I wanted/had time for, so I was on my own. The cake has it’s own post! Click over to find out how I made it! πŸ™‚

And that’s how we did our easy hiking theme birthday on a budget! To top it off, we recommended some hiking themed birthday presents to family who were looking for ideas, so the back pack, nature journal and compass really added to the excitement! πŸ™‚

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Easy Hiking Theme Birthday on a Budget

Gathering here.

Recommended reading:

Take a Hike: How I made a Sloped Birthday Cake
Ladybug Birthday Party Theme
Every “BUG”ys Welcome Adoption Party
Mary Poppins Birthday Party Theme

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

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Ladybug Birthday Party Theme

Chalkboard Art - Ladybug Birthday Party Theme
I try to use my chalkboard for each event I do (my sweet husband built it for me!)… It’s something I am still working on, but it’s a fun touch for our birthdays. πŸ™‚

My youngest daughter loves ladybugs (she’s 7). I am glad for her sake that they always seem to be in the house. She get so excited, carries them around, and then, begrudgingly, lets them go free when it is time.

It wasn’t hard to pick a theme for her birthday. A ladybug birthday for my little ladybug!

Tea Party Lunch - Ladybug Birthday Party Theme

She wanted a tea party like her sister (and her brother for that matter), so we made lunch into a tea party complete with flower shaped pb&j. We had pink juice int he tea cups.

The children loved getting to make the paper flower and ladybugs on the table. (pinspiration here) It may not be as cute to us moms as the pin, but the kids had so much fun and the birthday girl loved that they made them for her.

Other foods were ladybug apples, ladybug bruschetta, and ladybug cheese and crackers.

I made the cake with red “dots” inside as a surprise. There are several ways to do them. I just made mini-muffin cupcakes and shaped them with a knife. They also make sphere pans for making them, but we couldn’t find one last minute.

Ladybug Cake - Ladybug Birthday Party Theme

I followed this tutorial for making the little frosting ladybugs. I did it all with frosting instead of edible pen, but it worked too.

Ladybugs on grass Hand lettered Psalm 150:6

And I made this for her also. (I told you in that post that I’d share this party, but never did. Sorry you had to wait so long! πŸ™‚

I try to illustrate and or paint something for the kids birthdays when I have the time and inspiration. She loves this one and put it in her school binder to see everyday. Makes my mama heart smile.

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Ladybug Birthday Party Theme

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Kitty Cat Birthday Party Theme on a Budget

Kitty Cat Birthday Party Theme on a Budget

The other day I shared a how to on making a Kitty Cat Cake, but today I want to share the rest of the party. When I say “party”, please know that it’s nothing big. It’s just us (we are 10 people when my mom and sister join us, so we are a party already!) And the budget isn’t big either. This whole thing took a shopping trip and an afternoon to put together. Not too bad. And with more help, it could have been even faster. (My sweet husband did blow up all the balloons for me… that was a huge time saver!)

I’ll be linking to my Pinspirations throughout the post, but you can find a bunch of Kitty Cat themed ideas (ones I used and ones I didn’t) on my Kitty Cat Party Board. I would have done more if the week weren’t so crazy already.

Kitty Cat Chalkboard - Kitty Cat Birthday Party Theme on a Budget
Pink and grey balloon “ears” on top are a good example of how things don’t always work out but kids like it anyway. πŸ™‚

I didn’t have a lot of time for the chalkboard this time, but she thought it was the best board ever because it had a kitty face on it. (Another perfect example of how things don’t have to be purrr-fect for them to love it.)

Kitty Cat Nose and Whiskers on Balloons and Tableware - Kitty Cat Birthday Party Theme on a Budget

I found the idea for the Kitty Balloons at Best Friends for Frosting. Looking at them just now, I realized I forgot the ears, but they were still really cute and no one missed them. Hers may have been cuter, but no one here noticed. πŸ™‚ The cups were Martha Stewart inspired, and again, not exactly the way I did it. Hers had eyes. The plates were inspired by a cat party from Writing about the Journey. Jump on over there to see more of their ideas!

When she told me she wanted “Mama Made Pizza” for her birthday dinner, I was very excited. Full sized kitty pizzas jumped into my brain. I did some “research” and found Pinspiration in a Cat party by My Paper Crane. (Her cake was a litter box cake… you have to see it!) But I think the mini Kitty Cat Pizzas I pinned were just as cute.

Easy Kitty Cat Cake from a Box Mix and Standard Pans

And then there is my Kitty Cat Cake (Don’t miss the how to I posted earlier this week!)

A Simple Little House Birthday Theme for my 11 year old

Simple Little House Birthday Theme for Tween Girl from Mama's brush - chalkboard art, centerpiece, cake, meals and more

There are a lot of ideas out there for cute cute cute Little House birthday parties! Believe me, I pinned some of them. But I ran into two problems (if you can really call anything in the party planning world a “problem”). First, we don’t really do “parties”. We don’t invite friends and we aren’t looking for activities most of the time. For our family, we are a party already! When my mom and sister join us (the most local family we have), we are already 10 people. I do choose a theme for the day, though, and we try to keep as much of the day on theme as possible. “Problem” 2, most of the little house parties I found online were for little girls, not tweens. While I did use many of those parties as inspiration, I wanted something a little older… and simpler.

Baby's Breath and Checked Cloth Centerpiece - Little House on the Prairie Birthday Theme
I brought home the baby’s breath from the women’s retreat and put them in a canning jar to use for our centerpiece. I set them on a red check napkin to tie in Ma Ingall’s red check table cloth.

I picked the Little House (or “Laura and Mary” as my kids call it) theme for my daughter. This past fall she told me she wanted a “homemaker” theme for her birthday. While I found that precious, you may be surprised (or not) to hear that there is just about nothing on Pinterest under “homemaker birthday party theme”. I found all sorts of tricks for cleaning my house and for being content as a homemaker, but nothing for party decorations or cake themes. (Shocker, right?) When I thought of the Little House books, it seemed a perfect fit. Laura and Mary were little homemakers in training from the time they were little, and while the theme did become more “Little House” and not as much “homemaker” specific, it still worked.

Prairie Girl Chalkboard Welcome - Little House on the Prairie Birthday Theme

Birthday themes start with decorations the night before, but because a birthday in the Ingall’s family would have been pretty simply decorated, I stuck with the flowers and red check cloth on the table and the chalkboard sign I made. I had worked on sketching the prairie girl while I was away last weekend, but the “Have a Prairie good birthday” came to me while I was working on it Wednesday night. I wanted something to help her know what the theme actually was if she was up before we were Thursday morning.

Pancakes for breakfast - Little House on the Prairie Birthday Theme
I used a squeeze bottle to make some shaped pancakes like this “cake” shaped pancake with candles on it. I also did bonnets and her name.

Breakfast is the next big thematic moment… when a theme and time allow for it. Pancakes were the sure decision. I mixed up the batter the night before so I wouldn’t have to get up too early after my late night. Most of the pancakes were normal ovals (rather than circles to fit more on my skillet), but I did do some “picture” pancakes as well.

"Log Cabin" made from Bananas - Little House on the Prairie Birthday Theme

And my sister decided to make a banana “log cabin”. I figure it’s a lot like the way their cabin in Kansas looked before the roof was on. πŸ™‚

Daddy always comes and takes the birthday kid out for lunch, so that isn’t themed. Sometimes we do a thematic activity, or coloring sheet. This year, I let her work on one of her sewing projects on my machine. It seemed appropriate.

And she and her sister get bonnets. They have been asking for them for a while now and I figured this was the perfect time. Because of the women’s retreat being last weekend, I didn’t get both finished, and even this one still needs it’s ties, but she is pretty excited about them none the less. I used this tutorial from Jamie Sanders at Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom.

Simple cake with pennent banner - Little House on the Prairie Birthday Theme

Dinner was very thematic too. We started with a recipe for Oyster Soup from the Little House Cookbook by Barbara M. Walker. Then we had rotisserie chicken (instead of me roasting one), corn bread and baked beans. And a simply decorated cake for dessert. I know that to be completely accurate the cake would probably have been dusted with powdered sugar or something instead of frosted with buttercream, but this was a compromise. πŸ™‚ It was also supposed to have a layer of ice cream too, but it wasn’t working and it never did fully recover after I took it out. I am grateful that the children see my intentions more clearly than the end result!

Have you ever had a Little House birthday?

Simple Little House Birthday Theme for Tween Girl from Mama's brush - chalkboard art, centerpiece, cake, meals and more

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Old MacDonald’s Farm Birthday Theme

Just after Thanksgiving, one of my little guys turned 5. He wanted a tractor birthday… but not a construction tractor, a farm tractor. And if he had anything to say about it, there should be a barn and a pig. Well… I had to see what I could do.

I try to do a little painting to go along with the theme of each birthday. The kids love them and have come to expect them.

I think this was my first pig. And barn and tractor and hay pile actually. I was pretty happy with them. I love that art can be art even when it’s not perfect. But I’m pretty sure my son thought it was perfect.

Hint: if you are just starting out, make stuff for your kids. They will think you are great even if you don’t! πŸ™‚

For example… the cake. While structurally sound, it’s not the most attractive cake I’ve attempted. But, except that it was supposed to have a man on it (who went missing at the last minute) and that the cow was “supposed” to be in front of the barn (my bad), he thought it was great!

Breakfast and dinner went much better. Missing from this post is the pic of “pigs in mud” (baked beans and dogs) that we had for dinner. A nice and simple meal.

And there you have it… our Old MacDonald Birthday.

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