Monthly Archives: February 2016

Party on a Budget Tip #3: Use What You Have

Party on a Budget Tip #2: Edible Decor (and free printable)

I had very good intentions of getting this post out earlier, but this household has been hit with the nasty stomach virus, and I’ve been busy doing other not-so-pleasant activities!

Back to the more pleasant subject of party planning!  Did you know that one of the best ways to save money when planning a themed party, is with your food? Why? Food has to figure into your budget one way or the other, right? Well, here is a little secret:  You might be able to fudge on some of your other decor, if you make your food part of the theme, thereby saving money!


Edible decor has another advantage:  It gets consumed so you don’t have to figure out what to do with it after the party is over. Here’s another secret: I think this is why I enjoy cake decorating so much–I can be crafty, without having to figure out where I’m going to put it after I’ve made it!

Now, before you get overwhelmed, let me clarify.  If cooking and baking is not your thing, ordering pizza is not a wrong choice, or worthy of inducing guilt.  You can still have an epic party!  Your child would rather have a relaxed, fun mom at his  pizza party, than a frazzled Martha Stewart who is barking orders at his perfectly themed and executed party-of-the-century.  I know, because I’ve been both.

However, edible decor, does not necessarily have to be super fancy or even time-consuming, if you use a little imagination.

Edible decor CAN be simple.  Take the picture of the above veggie platter.  I always serve veggies at my parties, so I chose what veggies to serve and HOW to serve them in keeping with my Ninjago theme.  That “snake” is one of the bad guys.  Meet Pythor.  I spent no more money than I would have, but added a great decor element to the theme that my birthday boy loved!



Here is another great simple example:  Sandwiches cut with a bat cookie cutter to match the Batman theme.  It added no cost to the party, and maybe 5 extra prep minutes, and they got gobbled up.





The menu itself might be chosen based on the theme.  This Kung Fu Panda party menu featured mini egg rolls, “dumplings” (pepperoni & cheese rolls), chow mein noodles served with chopsticks, and “sushi” made with rice krispie treats and gummy candies.




This isn’t a great picture to illustrate my point, but sometimes I fall down on the photography job at parties!  Another easy way to use your food as decor, is to choose your food based on it’s color.  Here is party where I chose to do pizza, rather than making a lot of food, so I kept the rest of the food color-coordinated.  I only served orange and yellow food to go with this Nerf theme.  I had lemonade and orangeade (and Pepsi, but hey, black was one of the colors too!), yellow plain chips and orange Cheetos, and yellow peppers and orange carrots as veggies.  Simple, but it still tied into my theme (remember tip #1 about colors?)

12553048_10153808781575053_5058950187527923158_nStar wars label

Sometimes, all you need are printed signs with pithy names for your food. And if you are as unimaginative as I am in the name/title/labeling department, well, that is what Pinterest is for!  In our Star Wars theme, we had “Yoda Soda,” “Hutt Dogs,” “Vader Veggies,” and so forth. In fact, if you would like a ***FREE PRINTABLE*** of my Star Wars food labels, subscribe to my blog, and then let me know in the comments section that you would like me to send it to you.

And last, but not least, is using the cake to further your theme, but that is probably a post for another day, since that is a hobby of mine . . . this post is long enough!

I leave you with a few more pics of ways to incorporate your food into the theme.  How have you used your food to build on your party theme?

No cute way to serve your drinks? No problem. Just slap on a cute themed label in this Pixar “Planes” theme.
Car "tires" for a Pixar "Cars" theme
Car “tires” for a Pixar “Cars” theme
Lego guys heads made with marshmallows, and m&m and yellow candy melt.
Lego mini figure heads made with marshmallows, an m&m and yellow candy melt.
Captain America Shield Fruit Pizza.
Captain America Shield Fruit Pizza.



Party on a Budget Tip #1: Theme & Colors

Recently, I have had a few people contact me to ask me about party ideas and tips.  If you are friends with me on Facebook, you know that throwing birthday parties for my boys with full-on themes is a hobby of mine.  I LOVE to plan parties–from the basic theme to the cake, to the theme-related games!

However, I also have a budget to adhere to, so I have come up with a few go-to ideas and hacks that help keep me (somewhat) in check when I go shopping for everything I “need” to throw a party that will be “epic” (at least in my boys’ minds, and that is who matters)!

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting several tips, so if you want to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the tips, please subscribe to my blog in the sidebar!

This first tip, is pretty basic, and if you have done a few parties of your own, you might roll your eyes when you read it.  But for those of you who haven’t done parties, and feel a little overwhelmed at the thought of planning it, here is the FIRST basic step you need to take:

Tip #1:  Pick your THEME and your COLORS

So many themes and only one birthday per year per child!  But, at some point, in order to plan a party, you have to know WHAT the party is going to be about.  How do you pick your theme?


Look at your child’s favorite toy, TV show, activity, etc.  One of my boys was (and is) very attached to his “blankie.”  It started with his “Woobie” which was one of those soft blankets with a stuffed animal attached to it.  So for his first birthday, I made him cake with a fondant “blanket” and a bear head that was draped over his cake. If I could locate that picture, I would post it!

For another one of my children, I made a “3” cake, which he loved!10940582_10152980034865053_2731498027540527244_n

One of my children was born on 8/8/08, so he is tentatively planning on having an “8” birthday party them when he turns 8 this year!  That may change, but it’s a fun concept!

Does your child like Superheroes, Sophia the First, Mickey & Minnie Mouse, Dr. Seuss, dinosaurs, Legos, baseball, swimming, a certain type of doll, ballet, gymnastics . . .? Any of those make for a great party theme!


After picking your theme, you need to pick your COLORS.  Think 2-3 colors with maybe a 4th one thrown in for an accent.

Last year, I did a Chima theme.  When I googled “Chima,” the colors for my theme were pretty obvious, so I went with light blue and yellow.  Can you see 1782099_10152962829605053_301082132037931937_nhow the colors are repeated over and over in the background, the tablecloths, the paper goods, the cake, the drink, and even some of the food? Even the party favors were blue and yellow “chi balls” (gumballs).

If you are doing a theme based on a TV character, your color choices may be made for you–Mickey Mouse is red, black & white, Sophia the First is going to revolve around purple, etc.  But sometimes you can have a theme that doesn’t automatically lead you to your colors–Legos, Cowboys, etc.  Then you have a couple of options–go to the store and see what is available in that theme, and let the paper-goods, streamers, banners, etc., decide your colors.  Or just pick your child’s favorite color and work around that!

Does that mean you can never depart from those 2-3 colors?  Absolutely not!  You can’t do EVERYTHING in those 2-3 colors.  BUT, when someone walks away from your party, and they are describing it, you want to hear those 2-3 colors come into the description.

In the picture below, I had a double-birthday party–Royals and Star Wars.  Can you see, how at a glance, you can tell the difference between the two themes because of how the colors set them apart from each other?


Colors are a good way to narrow down your options and simplify the planning.  They are also a budget-friendly way to pull your theme together.