A Homemade Happy Birthday

Homemade happy birthday banner
Originally uploaded by ShotSnaps

Somehow I managed to make it 3.5 years before actually hosting a birthday party for one of my children. They are usually just family affairs with cake. When John turned 2, we were in Texas and my mother-in-law organized his party. It was at a splash park and all I had to do was make the cake.

I have a really great mother-in-law. :)

James will be 2-years-old tomorrow and this morning we had a party centered around James’ favorite book: Goodnight Moon. Six little friends came to celebrate, and this is what we did:

The party started at 10:00am – snack time in Toddler World – so we had cupcakes soon after everyone arrived. A friend of mine told me about Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes, which are wonderful because they are really easy for small hands to hold and eat. The kids got to decorate their cupcakes with sprinkles and mini-M&Ms. Some of them really loved decorating, and some really loved getting to put the decorations directly in their mouths!

After cupcakes, the kids colored on the long pieces of craft paper I had taped on the table. After that I blew bubbles over them for about five minutes, which was hands down the most loved activity.

Rather than people bring gifts just for James, we had a present exchange. The first birthday party John ever attended was for a little 2 year-old boy, and this is where I got the idea. Everyone brings a $3-6 unisex gift (in our case appropriate for ages 2-4), and then everyone gets to open and take home a present. It’s nice because the birthday boy was really happy with just one present. And so many of these preschool age kids really don’t understand why one kid gets all the presents anyway.

For those keeping score at home, here’s how the expenses broke down:

  • Snapfish Postcard Invitations: $13.68
  • Postage: $2.52
  • Helium Balloons Party Favors (because you had to have the Red Balloon!): $10
  • Playdough Party Favors (that also served as balloon weights): $3
  • Two Presents for Gift Exchange: $6
  • Cake mix, ice cream cones, sprinkles, etc.: $8
    TOTAL: $40.20

I used paper plates and napkins from previous functions, and I’m not counting things like coffee or the ingredients to make scones. I also painted a banner using the kid’s craft supplies.

James had a wonderful time. I know both boys wish that every day was a birthday party day.



Filed under brother bears, how to..., milestones, money matters

9 responses to “A Homemade Happy Birthday

  1. Rachel

    that’s awesome that you only spent $40. one of my coworkers at the daycare (who makes minimum wage) spent over a thousand dollars on her 3-year-old’s birthday party!! (and that”s not including all the presents she got him!)

  2. rose

    Happy birthday, James! When Sevs is old enough for birthday parties I’m coming to you for advice…children’s birthday parties are not so much my thing.

  3. Sounds like a fun day for everyone! Hope everyone had a good time! Love the cupcake idea (and I’m so impressed with the budgeting)!

    • I’ve also read you can cover the ice cream cones with foil and put the batter directly down in the cone. It didn’t seem to come out as nicely to resemble actual ice cream though.

  4. Tabitha

    I love the gift exchange idea! I thought when I told people to “just bring their happy face” to my 3 year old’s birthday that they’d know not to bring a gift! Then we people would ask what would Adelyn like for her birthday, I’d say, she really doesn’t need or want anything, however, every guest still brought a gift and she was completely overwhelmed and didn’t even want to open them! I wasn’t really sure what to do! I ended up “making” her open them, when all she wanted to do was play. She’s really not a material girl! I’ll be using the gift exchange idea in the future! Cute pics! Love how you are creative and thrifty!

    • I seriously stress over what to bring to kid’s birthday parties. It seems so sour to put things like “please no gifts” on an invitation, but the gift exchange bypasses all that. I like how this way you can put a spending limit on the gifts, and everyone has a good time opening a gift.

  5. User2436

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