Monday, January 21, 2013

5th Birthday Tea Party

My friend Rachael recently threw this FABULOUS Tea Party for her cute daughter. I asked her to Guest Post today. This girl knows how to stretch a dollar! Be sure and check out her cute tea party hat tutorial at the end of the post!

I am so excited to do this guest post today. I love this blog, so to be featured on it, is amazing!

It wasn’t long ago that I was speaking with a crafty friend of mine and I had told her that one day I wanted to throw some sort of party and only use items from the dollar store. I envisioned a thrifty décor with guests wearing wife beaters, cut off jeans, and drinking soda straight from the can. What I didn’t realize at the time was that one can actually use many items from the dollar store to throw an awesome party for little money!

Apparently, my husband and I weren’t thinking when we planned for our last two children. One was born 6 days before Christmas and the other was 8 days after Christmas. You can only imagine the energy I have this time of year to throw Pinterest worthy parties. Let’s face it, if I can get presents wrapped and under the tree before Christmas Day, it’s a good year! So, with the help of too many diet Pepsi’s and maybe even one or two Rockstars, a Tea Party theme was chosen and Carly’s 5th birthday party was in the works.

The invitations set the tone for an elegant party. I used paper, fonts, and swirly graphics from Lettering Delights. I love how they turned out:


I am a big believer that less really is more. The dining room table was the main focus of the party and I was able to dress it up tea party style for just over $65! Here’s how:



~Pink tablecloth from Hobby Lobby, $3
~Pink and Lavender flowers in a vase for the centerpiece and pink and white decorative food plates from Walmart, $13 (vase was mine)
~Tissue paper pom poms hung from the ceiling made by my oldest daughter, $3
~Gloves, necklaces, bracelets, and boa’s for 8 girls from the dollar tree and 99cent store, $24
~Tea cups, saucers, and tea pot from Eco-Thrift, $11
~Tea Hats for 8, $11.44 (Video tutorial below)
~Pink and White Organza chair bows, Free (borrowed from a friend)
~White Food platters and towers, Free (borrowed from a friend)

The food was in true tea party fashion. We had:

~Apple juice for tea
~Triangle sandwhiches, Pb&J’s as well as ham and cheese.
~Jelly filled scones


~Vegies and dip:


I didn’t go overboard on the food. We are talking 5 year old little girls. They hardly eat anything anyway.

I usually do cupcakes for dessert because it’s cheaper. You don’t have to have forks and plates and I just like the way I can use the cupcakes as part of the décor. I hired our old babysitter to make the cupcakes. She charged me for the supplies which was only $10. I gave her $20. Those cupcakes were the best cupcakes I have ever eaten. Homemade frosting that just melted in my mouth. They were seriously gourmet quality. I would have had to pay an arm and a leg and perhaps my first born child for cupcakes as good as those and they came from a teenage girl!


I made these cute little strawberry ice cream hearts:


Here’s the how to:

~One tub/box of Strawberry Ice Cream (ice cream that comes in a box is much easier to use for this project)

~One tin foil brownie/lemon bar disposable baking dish (the really shallow kind)

After letting the ice cream thaw on counter for about 30 minutes, cut the box off of the icecream and while using a spoon or your waxed paper covered hand, smoosh and reform the icecream into the tin foil pan. Make sure the ice cream is evenly spaced and tightly packed. Place wax paper over the top and refreeze overnight. The next morning, use a knife and score along the edges of a pan. Carefully remove the ice cream from the pan onto more wax paper. Use any shape cookie cutter like you would for sugar cookies and Voila! Cute shaped ice cream treats! Please note that depending on how many people you are expecting to serve, you may need to adjust the quantity of ice cream boxes and foil pans.

The party was scheduled for an hour and a half. The girls made beaded necklaces, then we did our tea party. After that, we opened presents and had cupcakes and ice cream and then it was time to go. I had also planned a cookie decorating activity, but we never got to it and both Carly and I were ok with not doing it. I loved how short and simple this party was. I didn’t stress over it and it was seriously Pinterest AND Chocolates for Breakfast worthy! The girls got to take home their jewelry, gloves and boas as well as their tea cup and saucer. I also threw in a pair of princess socks I got for $1 at Michaels. I enlisted the help of my 13 year old daughter to clean the cups and put the bags together using the name cards I used on the table while presents were being opened. The best part about planning this party was that I was able to pull it off for just over $100! Not too shabby for entertaining 8 little girls and a few adults at a tea party fit for a 5 year old!

I loved making these hats:




I looked everywhere for hats to use for this party, but no one sells them this time of year and if they did, I’m sure they would have been more money than I wanted to spend, so I made my own, and after a few different models were made, I created such an awesome hat, that I just had to do a video tutorial for it!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tile "Cup of the Day" holder

If your kitchen is like mine there are always multiple cups all over the kitchen throughout the day. No one wants to take the chance of "brother or sister cooties" by drinking out of each others cups so instead they opt for a new cup.
I was talking to a couple of my crafty friends about a home made Christmas gift that she made for her sister and as soon as she told me about it I thought of my messy, cup filled kitchen.

Fast forward to this week:
It was Craft Day again and my friend Candice came over to have a play date! She has two babies and my kids are all in school so we can only get together once every couple months to get our craft fill! She and I are both always on the lookout for new ideas. 
We started by geting a pre-cut board from Lowe's - Mine is 5 1/2" by 24" - It only cost about $3, Candice's was a little thinner and cost a little more.

Next we got 4x4" tiles from Lowe's - These tiles were only .33 cents each! My hope was to get some really cool tiles but all the "cool glass" tiles were special order so I decided to go with black. Candice went with white.  
We spray painted the boards and then cut the Vinyl out on my Sillhouette. I decided I wanted more decoration so I cut out the chevron stripes to adhere to my board and to the tiles in addition to the names.
Candice's is more modern with the teal blue and white. I also love that she had room to put "family cups" on her board:
This craft is super easy and only took a few hours.
Now my cups will be orderly and no sibling cooties for anyone! 

Monday, January 14, 2013


Below ZERO and the weather forecast calls for even colder. Today I had planned to visit with some friends in the neighborhood.  Brrrrrrr! Didn't take us long to decide that inside phone calls and texts were just fine for today.  The school bus and car pools picked up the kids and we're hunkering down with quilts and hot chocolate...for breakfast!
Feeling a bit guilty for ditching my friends I decided to brave the cold for 5 min. and dropped a little something off in their mailbox. I figured they would come outside to pick up their mail sometime today...or tomorrow and it would be nice to say hi and offer a little "I'm glad you're my friend" treat. 

Just a few chocolate covered pretzel rods, an after Christmas sale mitten ornament and a note made for a warm, wonderful little mailbox surprise. 

We attended a Parent Teacher Conference on a snow storm.  We decided it would be fun to bring a SNOWMAN inside to Kate's teacher.  She appreciated the yummy not-so-cold treat.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Just a few of My Favorite Things

It’s an inside day today!  The kids are home from school—some kind of teacher development day, the snow has been falling all night and it continues still.  The snow plows have not been up our mountain road yet and it looks quiet and beautifully untouched.  My daughter exclaimed, “Mom, I think it’s an inside day today.”  I’m good with that.

I thought this might be my chance to get a bit caught up and take some time to reflect on just a few of my favorite things during the holidays.

The Polar Express
Church Christmas Breakfast

Every family received a Polar Express ticket as their invitation to this Christmas breakfast.  Upon arrival the Train Conductor (Bishop) met them at the door, welcomed them and once everyone was settled cried, "All ABOARD!  The train stopped at several depots; the Humanitarian Depot, Reindeer Games Depot, etc.  Once all the activities had been attended and their tickets were punched a meal was provided along with a family photo and Polar Express bell ornament for their tree at home. 

Santa's Workshop
Youth Group Activity

Kids played pin-the-nose on Rudolph, wrote thank you letters to Santa, made Snowman cupcakes, played games, read Christmas stories, created a Christmas craft then...Santa arrived.  While children were playing parents enjoyed a night at home with their feet up or a kid-free shopping trip.  

Neighbor/Friend Gifts
Better to Give then to Receive!  And so much more fun!

Our teachers LOVED this gift:  We bought a blanket for under $5 (they are everywhere), and then added a tag and some candy cane sticks or a gingerbread boy cookie.  Takes 10 min. at the most to create!

Neighbors warmed up to this gift:  Hobby Lobby jar with a nob screwed in the top, fill with a favorite goody or hot chocolate mix.  Then add a tag, a little baker's twine and all for under $5.
Here's just a few more examples:

Filled with Peppermint Oreo Truffles

Filled the bag with all kinds of goodies including Kiss and M&M pretzels.

Filled with Chex Munchie Mix

My 11 year old daughter gave this gift to her friends:

A homemade felt flower hair clip attached to a festive Christmas tag.  Slip it into a cellophane bag with a little Christmas treat and Kate had a beautiful, handcrafted Christmas gift for all of her cute friends...all for less than 50 cents a gift.

One of my most favorite gifts to give at Christmas is the gift of Family History.  I've been recording stories and personal histories of my mom and dad and was not quite ready to document the history in a book yet.  I decided to take a few of the favorite stories, print them out and then found these tubes at Rod Works, slipped the stories into the tubes, wrapped in cello with Kneaders candy canes and wrote a little note to family members that this was their first installment of the family history stories.  More to come next year!

In all the giving and all the getting our families most priceless memories of Christmas are the times we spend serving others.  This year we started a new tradition of a Cousin Service Project.  We scheduled an afternoon with the local Food and Care Coalition and spent several hours serving the homeless and hungry.  The people we served were gracious and loving.  The gifts we received while serving were priceless and will be remembered for years to come.

January brings a little reprieve from the holiday bustle but also seems to bring about new resolve to do better and to be better.  We look forward to new and wonderful things for 2013, both for our family and yours.

Happy New Year!