Friday, February 03, 2012

Budget-Friendly Birthday Celebrations

As I mentioned the other day, both L and E celebrate their birthdays in January. My life was just plain crazy last month with projects for work, a visit from the grandparents, and birthday celebrations. Time and budget just did not allow for elaborate birthday parties this year. As much as I love planning parties, I just couldn't do it. So, instead we had some budget-friendly celebrations with our local family. We followed a similar format for each celebration:


The Theme: Each of the girls picked a theme for her party. Both themes actually went along with some dress-up clothes that they received for Christmas. They both fell in love with the Barbie and the Three Musketeers DVD a few months ago. For Christmas, I made them costumes using these online tutorials for a Musketeer hat, skirt, and cape. I managed to design my own version for the shirt. So, Barbie & the Three Musketeers was a natural choice for Lucie's party. Ella chose Rapunzel (aka Tangled) and got to wear her dress-up nightgown and Disney's Tangled Shimmer N' Shine Wig that she got for Christmas. Dress-up always makes a theme come alive!


The Meal: Eating at home is definitely budget-friendly, but it doesn't have to be boring. To make it special, the birthday girl got to pick her own meal. Lucie requested her favorite pasta -- Lemon Noodles from Susan Branch's cookbook Vineyard Seasons: More from the Heart of the Home along with Shredded Chicken, and some mixed vegetables. Ella chose homemade pizza - a weekly staple at our house.


The Cake: I always make a cake for the girls. Although they love looking at cakes at the store, it is much more budget-friendly to make our own. The birthday girl picks out the flavor and we come up with some sort of theme to decorate it. I almost always use this and 5-Minute Buttercream Frosting recipe and dye it as necessary with Wilton Food Coloring. I embellished the cakes with homemade cake toppers. (You can see details about the cakes here.)


The Party Favors: Even though we weren't having a big party, I still wanted it to feel festive. I created inexpensive party bags with white lunch bags and labels that I created for the front. For the Three Musketeers Party, I used this Barbie Wallpaper image and this cool (and free for personal use) font called Jellyky Delicious Cake. For the Rapunzel Party, I used this image of Flynn, Rapunzel and Maximus. We put in simple gifts like a glow necklace, inexpensive plastic bracelets from Target, little bottles of bubbles, a little edible treat and some coloring pages. (I got Barbie ones here and Rapunzel ones here.)

Although the parties weren't elaborate, they were fun, and they made the girls smile. And that is what is important after all.

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For other budget-friendly ideas, be sure to check out Frugal Friday at LifeasMOM. For other birthday party ideas, check here.

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