Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Last Minute 4th of July Inspiration

A few years ago, our family started a new 4th of July tradition- visiting family over 4th of July weekend. There will be traditional 4th of July: fried chicken, potato salad, etc. (Yum!) We will relax and enjoy each others' company...and when it gets dark, we will go out on the porch and watch fireworks (we can see two shows!). It's such a fun time to spend with family. For those preparing to entertain this weekend, here are some very last minute deals and ideas to get your creative wheels churning:

Walmart has some cool patriotic stuff! I personally purchased a few cupcake holders, actually for a birthday party this week, that have a cupcake display built into the lid. They also have some neat plastic tubs, french fry trays (like the ones you get in a restaurant- I loved those!), among other things. Prices are not too bad either!

Dollar Tree has TONS of glowsticks of all sorts- you can get 5 bracelets/necklaces for $1!!

Make your own confetti lauchers. Learn how at familyfun.go.com!

Design a rosette banner- looks easy, and cute too! (Country Living)

Even your breakfast can be patriotic! Click here for a recipe for patriotic pancakes (the red ones are red velvet!)

Children's activities can include the following:

  • Classic games (three-legged race, potato sack race, water balloon toss)
  • Glow sticks
  • A giant game of "Capture the flag"
  • Patriotic Face Paint- we always just use water color pencils instead of face paints- they are easier to draw a precise line with as long as you don't press too hard
  • Let children create a parade of their own for parents to watch using decorated bikes and wagons

Saturday, June 26, 2010


A reader recently asked for some ideas for some ideas for a birthday party for all their children. Wow, it's a big challenge to host a party that will interest older children, while still including the younger ones. I have lots of ideas, so I thought a blog post would be the best place to put this list as opposed to a Facebook comment!

  • Since the party will be in autumn, host a harvest party at a local pumpkin patch.
  • Have a survivor party with different challenges for the kids to participate in. (No one gets voted off the island!)
  • Have a picnic in the park.
  • Celebrate with a fiesta!!
  • Host a medieval knights and princesses party.
  • Have the party at a skating rink or ice arena.
  • Compete in silly Olympics!
  • Host a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory party.
  • If all the children are interested in animals, have a safari or zoo party.
  • Write your own mini mystery and hold a child-friedly mystery party
  • Have a backyard barbecue.
  • Host a pizza party...mmmm....
  • Have an upside down party!

PiNk Ice Cream Parlor

1. Printable Invitations - jaymemarie at etsy.com ($9.00)
2. FREE Downloadable Labels!!! - eat drink chic by amy moss
3. Strawberry Ice Cream Cake Recipe - Real Simple
4. Foam Ice Cream Cups - Amazon ($5.75/25)
5. Cone Cello Bag Goodies - Cello Bags: Hobby Lobby ($1.99/25), Favor Idea: Bright Ideas (Instead of cutting the cello bags and tying ribbon around the cone, slip a cone into a bag, add the candy, and tie a ribbon around the top.)
6. Melissa and Doug Deluxe Ice Cream Playset - Amazon ($18.99- now with FREE shipping!)

Activitiy ideas:

  • Pin the Cherry on the Ice Cream Cone
  • Ice Cream Spoon Relay (similar to egg on a spoon relay, but played with cotton balls as "ice cream" instead)
  • Make ice cream in a bag (Kaboose)
  • Creat an "ice cream shop" out of a cardboard box
  • Sundae bar
  • Ice Cream Taste Test (sample a flavor of ice cream and match it with the name)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Choo! Choo! Train Party

1. Train Party Printable Paper Goods - greenapplepaperie at etsy.com ($17.00- looks like a great deal to me!)
2. Train Cake - familyfun.go.com
3. Train Engineer Costume - amazon.com ($22.95)
4. Rosette Banner Instructions - countryliving.com
5. Train Sign - amazon.com ($8.65)
6. Train Party Inspiration - projectnursery.com
7. Train Whistle (these things are lots of fun!) - amazon.com ($1.34)
8. Train Wall Sticker Set (lots of colors to choose from!) - amazon.com ($12.99)


  • Before the party, paint and decorate some cardboard boxes as a train for the guests to play in.
  • Set out wooden train sets to play with.
  • Include a train ticket in the invitation and punch the ticket when they arrive. Create tracks on the floor with tape that lead to different rooms in the house. (Idea from littleduckduck.com)
  • All Aboard

    Set some chairs out in a line. Have one person as the train guard and give them a special hat to wear. Have the kids run around the garden or party room and when you blow the whistle they must all rush and sit on a carriage chair without being caught by the train guard. If they are caught they also become a train guard and thus on the next round there will be two guards truing to catch the passengers. (Idea from kids-partycabin.com)
  • Read The Little Engine That Could.
  • Play "follow the leader" with the children touching each other's backs as if they are train cars.
  • Pin the caboose on the train engine.

Girly Puppy Party

1. Puppy Pillowcase Dress - CharlieandMeshop at etsy.com ($20)
2. Puppy Cupcake Wrappers - orange1 at etsy.com ($6)
3. Puppy Clip - AllThingsGirly at etsy.com ($3.75)
4. Scottie Cupcake Picks - Layer Cake Shop ($4.25)
5. Dachsund Cookie Cutter (poodle and scottie also available) - Layer Cake Shop ($2.50)
6. Puppy Cupcakes - iVillage.com
7. Puppy Party Ideas- Familyfun.go.com

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Picnic Party Inspiration Board

1. Ant Cupcake Toppers - Layer Cake Shop ($3.50 for 12)
2. and 3. Picnic Paper Goods - Tweetledeeaz at etsy.com ($15.00, $8.00)
4. Picnic Bow - BeaCreative at etsy.com ($5.00)
5. Picnic Apron Pinafore - peopodray at etsy.com ($22.00)
6. Watermelon Cookies - Taste of Home
7. Picnic Pennant- pamware at etsy.com ($25.00)
8. Picnic Party Hat - andjane at etsy.com ($18.99)
9. and 10. Watermelon party treats - This Journey Called Life

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pink and Aqua Flamingo Party


Recently, I ran into someone online who was looking for ideas for a pink and turquoise flamingo 1st birthday party inspired by this flamingo clothing line at Janie and Jack. It got me curious to see how much pink and turquoise flamingo stuff they have out there...and I was surprised by the amount! Some really adorable stuff, I tell ya! (OK, so I must admit, this is not exactly a budget party...it is a splurge party...but a first birthday party should be extra special, shouldn't it?)


Aren't these fabulous? And you know what the super-duper fabulous thing about them is? You get to pick your colors and font, so if pink and turquoise isn't your thing, you can pick your very favorite colors! Dots and Dahlias on Etsy ($10.00/8)


  • You know those annoying little flamingo lawn ornaments? Well, they'd be perfect for this party! (Available at Home Depot- $7.49 for 2)
  • Flamingo string lights- Target $9.99
  • Decorate with aqua and pink balloons, streamers, and tableware.


  • I love these vintage flamingo cupcake picks...(Layer Cake Shop- $2.50 for 12)

  • Some flamingo cupcake inspiration:

  • If any other food will be served, make it tropcial: goldfish crackers, fruit kabobs, and drinks served in pineapple or coconut halves!


To keep things simple, just decorate flamingo cookies, slip one into a cellophane bag, and tie with decorative ribbon.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Toy Story Party

Yesterday, I went to see Toy Story 3. I have been inspired. :)


For simple invitations, send guests an Action Paratrooper toy (Oriental Trading- $5.99/dozen) with party information written with a permanent marker on the plastic parachute.


Go with primary colors for your Toy Story party! It will be easier to find primary-colored party supplies at discount and dollar stores.

Dollar Tree:

  • Red tablecover
  • Blue plates, cups, silverware
  • Yellow napkins
Also use red, yellow, and blue bandanas throughout the party:
Hobby Lobby: 
Toy Story: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack 
    See if your library has a Toy Story soundtrack to play in the background.

    Make some giant toys to make guests feel like they are toy-sized! Paint and decorate cardboard boxes as a dollhouse, car, train, or bus. Build huge Legos with shoe boxes turned upside down (without the lid) and bottle caps (spray paint them after attaching the bottle caps with hot glue). Create big puzzle pieces out of poster board. (For some cool cardboard crafts, check out Parents.com)



      The Claw

      Galaxy Grabber Robot Claw 

      • Container
      • "Claw" (you can also use kitchen tongs)
      • Small prizes
      Fill a box or bucket with small prizes such as candy and small toys. Allow children to use a "claw" such as the Galaxy Grabber Robot Claw from Amazon (which your child can keep as a birthday gift!) to put out a prize. Use a blindfold for a greater challenge.

      Free time station

      Slinky Toy Story Slinky Dog Jr. 

      Put out toys from the movie such as Mr. Potato Head, a slinky dog, Woody, Buzz, and Jessie, a Barbie, etc. for children to play with freely. These can also double as gifts for your birthday child.

      Army Toy Hunt


      • Army action figures
      Those silly green army men have sneaked off again! It is the party guests' job to find the little green guys hidden throughout a room in the house. Allow children to keep what they find.

      Toy Story 3

      Toy Story

      Borrow from your library or rent one of the Toy Story movies for guests to watch as part of the party entertainment.

      Space Shooter Target Practice

      • Chalk
      • Water balloons
      Buzz Lightyear enthusiasts will love this cool summer game! Draw targets with chalk on a sidewalk, wall, or fence outdoors. Line up children and allow each one to have a three chances at hitting the target- with a water balloon! My brother has a summer birthday and we did variations of this game at several of his parties- always very fun!

      Lasso Lessons


      • Broom
      • Rope
      Learn how to lasso like Woody! Secure a broom in the grass outside at an angle, so that it looks like a practice lasso target. Tie a loop in a rope, then allow children to practice swinging it in the air and landing it on the "bull's" head.

      Poor Mr. Potato Head!


      • Poster board
      • Card stock
      • Scissors
      • Tape
      • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils

      This is a variation of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey." Draw the shape of Mr. Potato head (without detachable parts) on a sheet of poster board. Draw holes where hat, mustache, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, arms, and legs go. Draw all detachable parts on card stock, then cut them out and put a piece of double-sided tape on the back. Blindfold each child, then instruct him or her to place the part they have been given where it belongs on the potato. Whoever gets closest to the place where their piece is supposed to go wins!


      • Jessie's Bullseyes (cooks.com)
      • Buzz's Galactic Goo (green jello)
      • Hamm's Cream Cheese Roll-ups (cream cheese and ham rolled up in a tortilla and secured with a toothpick)
      • Mr. Potato Head's Chips and Dip (potato chips and french onion dip)
      • Rex's Dinosaur Dirt (cups filled with Oreo cookie crumbs, chocolate pudding, and gummi dinosaur "fossils"
      • Slinky's Dachshund Dogs (hot dogs) OR puppy chow snack mix
      • Army Guys' Mess Hall Chow (this could be just about anything- burgers, mac 'n' cheese- whatever is convenient!)
      • Barbie's Dreamy Pink Punch (allrecipes.com)

      Make these fun alien cupcakes for dessert! (family.go.com)

        Send guests home with these fun bandana party pails (Hobby Lobby- $1.49 each) Fill with:

        Since movie-themed party favors are usually a little pricey, get creative and choose generic favors that relate to the theme instead.
        For more great ideas like Mr. Potato Head Cake Pops, check out


          Friday, June 18, 2010

          Mermaid/Pirate Party


          This fun "message in a bottle" invitation will tickle the imagination of boys and girls alike:


          Design your Own Message in a Bottle invitation kit from Oriental Trading ($12.99 for 12)
          Craft sand (Amazon.com $2.95)


          Write invitation information on small slips of paper. Roll into scrolls and place in bottles. Add a bit of sand to each bottle for a special touch. Add the corks, then hand deliver your special invitations to party guests.


          Summer is the perfect time to throw a themed party with anything relating to the ocean because of all the luau party supplies:

          Island Door Curtain from Oriental Trading ($4.99 each on sale)
          Jumbo Palm Tree Decoration from Oriental Trading ($3.99 on sale)
          Shell Garland from Oriental Trading ($5.99 on sale)

          Tape a large sheet of butcher paper on the wall. As guests arrive, let them decorate the paper with crayons and stickers to create a beautiful ocean scene.

          Provide bubbles to blow or purchase a bubble machine for a magical effect.

          Purchase purple and turquoise balloons, tablecloths, cups, plates, napkins, etc.


           Treasure hunt

          Shoe box
          Tin foil
          Goody bags
          Chocolate coins
          Play jewelry
          Pirate eye patches
          Plastic fish

          Wrap a shoe box and its lid, separately, in tin foil. Decorate with plastic jewels. Fill the box with treasures of the sea: chocolate coins, play jewelry (for the girls), pirate patches (for the boys) and plastic fish, already in goody bags to prevent fighting.

          Write clues on blank index cards, then "age" with tea. Let dry.

          At the party, while the kids are otherwise occupied, hide the clues and the big treasure, then let the hunt begin! Let each child take a turn cracking a clue.

          Depending on the children's ages, you can use simply colors or pictures for clues, or make it a bit more difficult by using word scramblers, rhymes, or puzzles. 

          Mer-race (an idea from FamilyFun)


          Trash bags
          Duct tape

          "First outfit each child with a mermaid tail by having him or her step into a heavy-duty drawstring trash bag. Tie the bag loosely around each child's waist, then secure it in place with a belt of duct tape. Wrap a second strip of duct tape around the knees to create a fin effect, then lay the children down on their bellies across the room from your finish line. At the 'Ready, set, dive!' signal, kids squirm and flap their way to the rock, touch the finish line, then race back.

          Sandbox Search


          Rocks, shells, marbles and beads


          Before the party, hide special sea treasures (rocks, shells, marbles, and beads) throughout a sandbox. At the party, allow guests to dig through the sand and keep any treasures that they find in brown paper sacks.

          Under the Sea


          Blue sheet
          Plush tropical animal bean bags (Oriental Trading- $12.99/dozen)


          Gather all children around the sheet, instructing each to grab onto a piece of the sheet. Tell them that this is the "ocean." Place the sea life bean bags under the sheet. Tell the children to start waving the sheet, then begin chanting "Under the sea, under the sea, ________ is diving under the sea." The child whose name is called runs under the sheet, grabs a bean bag, and tosses it up onto the sheet, where it will toss around as if it were swimming in the ocean. The named child then goes back to his place around the sheet. This is repeated until each child has a turn.

          Sea Monster, Sea Monster, what time is it?

          This game is similar to "Mr. Fox, Mr. Fox, What time is it?"

          The "sea monster" stands on one side of the yard, back turned to the others, and the rest of the children stand on the opposite side. All of the children change together, "Sea Monster, Sea Monster, what time is it?" Then, the sea monster will say any time besides midnight. All other children take that many steps forward. This is repeated until the sea monster says "Midnight!" Then, the sea monster will turn around and begin chasing the children. Once a child makes it back to the starting point, he his safe. If the sea monster tags him, he becomes the next sea monster.


          Make this fun treasure chest cake from FamilyFun (video tutorial!).

          • Blue Koolaid with frozen Swedish Fish as ice cubes
          • Goldfish crackers
          • Try these fun squid dogs from FamilyFun!


          Use the gifts found in the treasure hunt as favors.

          Tuesday, June 15, 2010


          Oh my goodness! I just won the Penny Lane blog makeover giveaway! Lots of changes are in store for Birthdays on a Budget. I want to include more of my interests (such as baking, writing, scrapbooking, and organizing) on the blog. Look forward to seeing a new design (and name) soon!

          Tuesday, June 8, 2010