Tag Archives: birthday

Shark-Themed Party and Mini Shortcakes

Baby A turned 1. O. N. E…ONE! And just like every mom when her precious baby’s first birthday looms, I found myself wondering how it was even possible that he joined our little family almost a year ago?!?! After recovering from the shock, I turned my attention to planning a first birthday. How could we celebrate baby A and his first year of life?

I began thinking through what we could do to celebrate. Here is a summation of my thought process. I started by asking myself how we could host friends in our little apartment? We could have the party outdoors! How could we do something outdoors in the July desert? We could have it in the morning at the pool! What theme goes well with a pool party? An underwater theme! And it just so happened that A just got a new pair of shark swimming trunks. Sharks.  And just like that it was decided. An early-morning, shark-themed birthday party.

Next was the menu planning. Early morning party = breakfast food. Breakfast is easy, affordable, and has so much presentation potential. I focused on strawberry shortcake in different forms and added in fresh fruit and an egg casserole to complete the menu. Easy to prep the day before or morning of and so good!

One sheet cake of strawberry shortcake is all I needed to make the smash cake, mini cakes, and trifle. I simply baked a sheet cake of strawberry shortcake. I “cheated” and used the gluten free bisquick mix and recipe right on the box. So easy and delicious! 

I used round cookie cutters to cut out A’s smash cake and the mini shortcakes. 

The mini shortcakes were topped with a dollop of jam and then cream cheese frosting, a fresh strawberry slice, and shark fin cupcake topper made by the awesome Sonora Handmade

A’s smash cake was simply outline in piped cream cheese frosting and filled in with jam on top both layers and then lightly frosted on the outside to get a naked cake look (and also lock in the moisture). And topped with a laser cut number “1” also made by Sonora Handmade.

I crumbled up the leftover shortcake and topped with the leftover strawberry jam, strawberries, and whipped cream in a glass bowl to get a quick and easy trifle.

Three different presentations out of one recipe.

The decor was a mix of things I had and a few things I picked up. I used galvanized buckets, linens, and severware I already had. I purchased sharks (which doubled as party favors), plates, napkins, forks, and straws from the Dollar Tree. I also picked up some balloons for the backdrop from Party City. Cut out a few shark sillouhettes from blue bags. And, lastly, I added in fresh flowers. Fresh flowers are always such a nice touch for any party and I scored all the greenery and flowers for this party for $10 total from Trader Joe’s!

What do you think? I was pretty pleased with how everything turned out and how budget friendly it ended up being. It was such a precious time with friends celebrating our sweet boy.

Any ideas or traditions for celebrating first birthdays? Please share them in the comments below! If you haven’t already, feel free to subscribe to get all my latest DIY and money saving ideas. And, if you enjoyed this post, give it a like so I know to do more like this one. Up next week is an easy decor set-up for your next dinner party. 

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DIY Gold Magnolia Leaf Centerpieces

10991117_10152828422202912_5980700450068655316_nThis post is part two continuing on from the previous blog post regarding easy, trendy, and budget friendly centerpieces. If you missed the first post check it out here. That first post discussed the first of two different centerpieces used to decorate for a Valentine’s Day banquet. The second centerpiece is the one pictured above. It is so easy and budget friendly I had to share. All this centerpiece is is a bouquet of magnolia leaves spray painted gold and displayed in a tall, slender vase.

To make this you will need the following supplies:

1. Four or five stems with 6-8 Magnolia leaves on each stem

2. Gold Spray paint

3. Vase of your choosing

To make this you will need to:

1. Spray paint your Magnolia leaves gold. This will take a few coats of paint to get all the different angles but you may find, as did I, that the gold spray paint dries incredibly quickly so it doesn’t take long.

2. Once paint is dry, make your bouquet by bunching your Magnolia stems together.

3. Secure your bunched stems together with a rubber band or twisty tie.

4. Place your secured stem base into the vase and fidget with the leaves until you have the desired shape and fullness. It really is that simple.

Also, If you want to make the vase that I used then simply buy two vases at the Dollar like this these:

20150122_103510And glue the bottoms together like so:

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imageVoila, you have a budget friendly tall and slender vase!

I added in a few vases filled with berries and floating candles as well as berry details around the table, more candles, and more gold magnolia leaves. This whole setting it centered around a gold charger used as the base. All glass was purchased at the Dollar Tree. The Magnolia centerpiece costs around $3 to make. The total table decor (centerpiece, charger, glass candle holders, and candles) costs just under $12 total. Seriously, you can get this same decor for less than $12 a table.

Another thing that I love about these centerpieces and that must be said if you plan to use these for a big event like a wedding is that you can make these Magnolia centerpieces ahead of time. I made mine two weeks before the event and it was still standing tall the night of the banquet. Such a great way to add drama and height to any table for about $3 a piece!

What do you think? And don’t forget to please share what arrangements you come up with! Check back soon for more DIY ideas…on a budget of course. And, as always, if you enjoy what you are reading then feel free to follow my blog to get all my latest decorating and money-saving ideas and tips.

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Lilly Pulitzer Party Theme…on a budget

150749_10152938984396672_2571961327879828316_nBaby C is 1! What an exciting time it was to celebrate with friends and family. But, oh man, what an exhausting month December was. Between Christmas and Birthday party planning, I think my husband, baby, and I were ready for a relaxing and non-eventful January. Now that everyone is rested up and recovered from December I wanted to take some time to share Baby C’s party details, DIY ideas, and budget break down.

First off, what do you do for a baby’s first birthday? I had no idea. I had never thrown one before. I decided to go with a floating birthday party all decked out in traditional party decor but with a Lilly Pulitzer twist.

Why a floating party? I decided on a floating party to give everyone freedom to come and go as they pleased. The constant change up in the party guests made for a fun time. I also decided on a floating party for budget reasons. We had invited about 50 people by the time it was all said and done. 50 people! A floating party allows snacks instead of a whole meal. Snack foods such as donuts, popcorn, fruit, veggies, pimento cheese dip, crackers, cupcakes, and punch are acceptable forms of “nutrition”. Grazing food if you will. Plus, they are all budget friendly and quite tasty.

Why traditional decor with a Lilly Pulitzer twist? I decided on traditional, old school decor for simplicity and budget reasons but wanted to spice it up. Plain wasn’t what I wanted for Baby C’s first birthday. Happy, colorful, and girly were my brainstorm ideas. What encapsulates those ideas better than Lilly??? Still, Lilly can be very pricey so I was hesitant. After a bit of looking around, I was able to find some free Lilly Pulitzer binder cover downloads for free in various well known Lilly patterns from this website. Free! That decided it for me. A trendy, chic, happy, girly yet age appropriate birthday party on a budget? Yes please!

I used the free printouts to make DIY invitations, banners, letter “C” cutouts, a number “1”, and framed pictures. Here are a few pictures of the Lilly details I was able to add…for FREE!

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Lots of fun using the paper designs everywhere I could think of. The letters are cut out of foam and the Lilly design modge podged on. The number 1 is a painted wood cut out with a Lilly design modge podged onto the front. Easy and simple yet such a fun detail. The banner was so easy. I just cut out a bunch of triangles and glued them onto ribbon. The picture “mattes” are simply cut out out to frame the picture inside. That simple. And, let’s not forget these Lilly additions were free!

Let me take you on a tour of all the stations we had at Baby C’s party. Because it was floating I wanted to have different stations to keep our guests entertained and moving around mingling. After some brainstorming, I came up with 5 stations that would help keep our guests flowing and entertained.

Our first station was the coloring station.

20141219_125549At this station guests young and old were invited to color a picture for themselves, Baby C, and/or someone they loved. This station was by far the most popular amongst the little ones. The coloring station included construction paper, crayons, polka dot can to hold the crayons, stamps, ink pads, stickers, bubble gum, a Lilly memory board filled with pictures of Baby C over the past year, an engineer print of one of my favorite pics of Baby C, farmed picture of Baby C, and a photo album to hold all of the pictures made for baby C. I simply covered my coffee table with a plastic table cloth and arranged all the supplies on the table. Most everything was purchased at the Dollar Tree except for the following: Stamps are from Target’s $3 section, Bubble gum was on sale at Target ($2), polka dot can is from Target’s $1 section, ink pads are from a local art store ($1 each), picture album from same art store ($1), engineer print is from Staples ($3),  memory board from ebay ($11). This station also included a DIY Lilly banner made for less than $1. Total for this station was $29. The memory board was a birthday gift for Baby C that I wanted to display since it matched the decor, the stamps and ink pads were already purchased for myself (I use them a ton!), and the polka dot can was from Baby C’s room. Total I spent just for decor not already owned and not a birthday gift for Baby C…$12.

Next was the sign in station.

20141219_125556At this station I used a foam board from dollar tree and modge podged one of my favorite pics of Baby C onto the center. I also purchased some trendy pens in complimenting colors from Target’s $1 section.  I had everyone write a note of well wishes or a prayer for Baby C. This way she has not just a documentation of who was at her first birthday but also a heart felt note from each guest. Total cost for this station was $3 (+ modge podge I already had).

Next was the gift station.

20141214_180531A Lilly Pulitzer banner and letter “C” above a bench already in our living room made the perfect gift station. To save a little money, I cut the letter “C” out of Dollar Tree foam board and modge podged one of the FREE Lilly Pulitzer binder covers onto it. Viola. Total Cost for the gift station was $2.

Next was the picture station.

20141219_09380720141219_093857You all, this was so fun. Whenever there was a lull in the party, I would just send the guests over to the picture station to make some fun memories. Easy. All I did was use a plastic table cloth, taped it to the ceiling in a bare corner, and taped tissue cut outs onto the plastic table cloth for decor. I added some fun props and boom, picture station complete! Table cloth, tissue paper cut outs, and props are all from the Dollar Tree. Total cost was $9.

The picture station also doubled as the background for Baby C’s cake eating. She didn’t really eat any cake but I loved the cute background and pictures we got anyways.

150749_10152938984396672_2571961327879828316_nAfter taking pictures, the guests ended their party journey at the food station.

20141219_125531I wanted this area to be bright, fun, and inviting so everyone would naturally gather here. Above the table were paper lanterns and streamers. On the table was a white table cloth covered by a pink one. For decor I used framed pictures of Baby C with those free Lilly print outs framing each picture, a Lilly number “1” modged podged with another free Lilly print out, a DIY Lilly banner, and a Happy Birthday banner. After this picture was taken I also added pink letters spelling out Baby C’s name to back of the table. In all the excitement I forgot to snap a picture of the completed table. My apologies. Lilly banner was a DIY, the Happy Birthday banner was a sale find at Target ($2), Paper Lanterns were also a Target sale find (under $1 each), straws, again, were a Target sale find ($2 a pack), the number is from wal mart ($1.49), frames (I spray painted them), streamers, cups, napkins, plates, silverware, and tablecloths were all Dollar Tree buys, and serving platters were all already items I had. Decorations and eating and drinking items, total, cost me $32.

Food: I purchased one bag of mini, powdered sugar donuts ($2), one box of popcorn bags ($3), cupcake supplies (I made my own from this website) ($10), punch (one 2 liter of lemon lime soda, one pint of pineapple sorbet, one can pineapple chunks) ($5), water (free). The remaining food (pimento cheese, cheese ball, crackers, fruit, and veggies) were all brought by family. So food cost me $15 with the remainder items being brought by family.

Total cost of the party for 50 people would be $90. For me, since I had some of the supplies already and some “supplies” doubled as gifts, it was $73 total for a party serving 50 people.

What do you think? Have your own ideas? Then please share with us any budget friendly ideas and fun themes you have for your own DIY party. Check back soon for some fun Valentine’s Day decor ideas to spice up your home on a budget.

And, as always, if you enjoy what you are reading then feel free to follow my blog to get all my latest decorating and money-saving ideas and tips.

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