(have you read "My Many Colored Days" by Dr. Seuss? You really should.)
This one page was, essentially, the entire basis for our Busy Bee party.
You see, ever since mini's first birthday, at which she received this pillow pet from Oma,
she has been IN LOVE with bees. She sees any flying creature and immediately yells: BEE! BEE! She sleeps with this pillow pet and what she calls her "baby bee" pillow pet every night.
Plus, she really IS a busy bee. So the party was all too appropriate.
I should probably mention at this juncture, that birthday parties around here are very low key things. We invite family over and that's pretty much it. When I was younger, there were a few "special" birthdays at which we had larger gatherings of friends as well - 8, 12, 16, 18... and our "golden" birthday. And that suits the mr and I just fine as well. Actually, the mr would be just fine with a piece of cake and that's it. But he's not getting off that easy...
So, it stands to reason then, that you will not find incredible birthday parties like this at my house. Nor will you find parties like this. Or this. Or this. They are beautiful and amazing and completely over the top. My parties are frugal and simple and mostly handmade. Maybe that means they're lame? If you're looking for ideas on a budget, though, you've come to the right place.
It began with an invitation.
I made this in picnik. I used the collage and only one picture on the bottom half. Then I just filled the text in the top using a few different fonts. I created each bee individually with the different shape stickers - each one is one big oval, three skinny rectangles for the lines, and two little ovals for the wings. That's a whole lot of shapes to manipulate into six different bees... like 36 shapes. Anyway, it took a while even using the handy "duplicate shape" trick. But look at that adorable mug.
Next up. Decor.
I made several accordion style flowers, following the same method as I did here. In the center of each I glued a yellow circle so they'd look like daisies. Then I made a BUNCH more of these fun zig-zag type flowers using different patterned paper - dots, stripes, diamonds, damask:
I set the favors out on our piano as kind of "decor" ish elements as well. Here they are in their yellow take-out boxes. (notice also that we had our Christmas decorations up, too... kind of didn't really go with the bumble bee theme, but it was December 4th, what are you going to do?)
Also, I don't have a picture of this, but thought I'd pass the idea along. I didn't know you could blow up a balloon INSIDE another balloon! We had a bunch of "Double" balloons as decor, too. Basically, you stick a balloon inside another balloon. You blow up the outside one a bit, then stick the hole of the INSIDE balloon out of the outside balloon hole and blow that one up all the way, tie it off and push it down inside, then finish blowing up the outside balloon and tie it off. It looks so fun!
Alright, so dinner didn't really go with the theme. But it was delicious, if I do say so myself. I made my original Taco Dip Casserole, which you can find here.
Here you can see the food "spread" - essentially just casserole, chips, homemade salsa and lemonade/water to drink. Back in the corner, I labeled those individual clear plastic cups with crayons because it worked like a charm... an obvious idea which is NOT original in any way that I stole from the restaurant circuit. Give each kid their own cup with crayons, set them up with a bee to color on, NO FIGHTING OVER CRAYONS! And it keeps them occupied. For like TWO WHOLE MINUTES.
I made mini a little "tutu" for the occasion. Unfortunately, pretty much ALL of the pictures of her look like this:
Because she WILL NOT sit still EVER. (Unless Blue's Clues is on)
And although we've already discussed the cake, I had to show you the candle pictures.
She tried so hard to blow them out on her own,
but in the end, needed a little help.
My gosh, she's getting big.
I think this is a pretty good representation of my methods:
1. I think of a theme and make sure it's represented in the invites.
2. I decide what kind of decor will match the theme that I can MAKE with my own two hands.
3. I figure out what things I have stashed away that would work with the theme/decor. Mostly, I pull out a lot of my fabric stash - and try to stick to fabrics that can be easily washed.
4. I decide on easy food - and since I only have to feed 12 of us, I try not to go overboard.
5. I buy only the necessities - generally.
6. I plan one or two activities knowing full well that the cousins are just going to want to run around like crazed lunatics instead of doing anything organized. (for instance, the bee coloring page)
So, you CAN make a cute party - albeit SIMPLE - with things you have on hand. For mini's party, I only bought:
napkins - $1.99, walmart
plastic utensils - $1.99, walmart
black balloons - $2.30, walmart
lemonheads - $1, dollar store
cake mix - $1, (pillsbury) walmart
candles - $1.99, (cakemate) walmart
decals for the cupcakes - $2.99, walmart (I know, I went all out for those...)
Everything else I had on hand, in my stash or just around the house. Even the favors were made by me or down in my stash.
So, I spent a grand total of $13.26... which would be different for a larger party or with more kids there, I know, but still. $13.26? Even mr can't shake a stick at that.
And in case you aren't familiar: