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

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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

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Recommended Reading:

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

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

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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

Simple Wine or Vinyard Theme Birthday Party or Event

Chalkboard art - Wine Theme Birthday Party for Daddy

We plan parties in our family. Events. Each of the children gets a detailed theme for their birthday each year and each year is special, though some are simpler than others. Even my mom and my sister get a full theme for their days. Daddy, however, rarely gets a full thematic party. Frankly, he doesn’t care, so often I let the busyness of the impending Women’s Retreat (check out our Cozy Mountain Lodge and Sweet Life Cafe Retreats) and two approaching kid birthdays take my energy away from him. This year, however, we had a Wine Theme Birthday for Daddy.

It was simple. Super simple! But the important thing was that the kids and I set aside some time to honor Daddy by making him a party.

I decorated the chalkboard. Note the spelling of “Whinery”. A detail not lost on Daddy, I assure you. We should probably rename our property from Claystone Family Farm to “Whiney Vinyards” or something. But I digress.

I served one of his favorite dinners and the kids drank juice out of stemmed glasses.

The touches were so simple and took very little extra time, but it was fun to dress up Daddy’s birthday a little.

Gathering here.

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!)

Ice Cream Parlor Birthday Party with Food and Artwork to Match

This one’s late, sorry.

Ice Cream Parlor Birthday Party Theme

Last summer, one of my middle kids really wanted ice cream with his birthday cake. It was a big deal. He had been talking about it for months.

Ice cream with the cake. Got it.

As the months of reminders continued, I decided that an Ice Cream Parlor theme would be perfect for his 8th birthday. Then I had to ask him how important the cake was. πŸ™‚ The theme was a surprise, but when I assured him that his dessert would match the theme, he decided that the cake was optional. The ice cream was not. No problem.

Bacon Cones for Ice Cream Theme Birthday

Somehow there is no pic of the finished result, but we started the day with Scrambled Eggs and muffins in Bacon Cones (though mine didn’t work great, they were still fun) and 4 ingredient chocolate banana “ice cream“.

Balloon Decorations for Ice Cream Birthday Party Theme

I decorated with balloons with and without cones around the walls. (Pinspiration here.)

Ice Cream Parlor Chalkboard for Ice Cream Birthday Theme

And, of course, I decorated my chalkboard (I changed his name in photoshop.)

Tacos in a Cone for Ice Cream Birthday Party Theme

For dinner we had taco cones and ate them out of hand just like an ice cream cone.

Ice Cream Cone Cookie Dessert for Ice Cream Birthday Party Theme

For dessert I made a huge round cookie with a pizza pan and cut it into wedges. I put two scoops (size dependent on the age of the person eating) of ice cream, Reddi-whip, and a cherry on top. It was a hit. And oh-so-good!

Ice Cream Watercolor Illustration Card

I try to paint a little something for the kids on their birthdays in place of a card. They love it. It doesn’t always work out, but this time, I painted a simple ice cream cone and signed it “mommy”. He put it in the clear cover of his school binder so he can see it all the time.

Ice Cream Parlor Birthday Party Theme

Find more ideas for your own Ice Cream Parlor Party on my Ice Cream Party Board on Pinterest. I’m continuing to add more ideas all the time, so click follow while you are there. And, while you are at it, feel free to follow all my boards for other creative inspiration! (Shameless plug.) πŸ™‚

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