The moment I walked into the rec room where my friend Richelle was throwing her son Fox’s 4th birthday and saw the awesome photo backdrop, I knew I had to share this party with anyone and everyone. Of course, I knew a super hero birthday was going to be a hit with my sons when I first got the invitation. I mean, what little boy or any child for that matter does not like dressing up as their favorite super human character and acting out the cool moves unique to the hero. But I was not prepared for the creative ideas she concocted at this party.
For the details, I must first coo over the backdrop that makes even the most conservative adult want to become a super hero. She used Baby blue plastic table cloth to create the sky. She created clouds in the shape of her son’s name (genius!). Construction paper was used to craft a sun and the absolute best part was the cardboard boxes used to make buildings. The secret was that these boxes are actually turned inside out so one can make use of any box without having to worry to worry about concealing the original packaging. Talk about a time saver! And of course, no photo set up would be complete without props. There were several handmade options from the vintage action word signs to hero masks.
For activities, there was coloring available with, appropriately themed, super hero pages. One of the best and original games was the Candy Snatcher Villain. Richelle created an original game where the kids get a chance to fill a bag with candy until the “villain” comes and snatches it away. The kids waited in a single file line and went one at a time to prevent the havoc that would inevitably ensue if they were allowed to run free. Finally, my favorite part, each homemade cupcake was topped with a cool super hero logo. It was an awesome party and the kids were in super hero heaven. I was very grateful to be invited.
Please tell me I am not the only adult who gawks at the premade Easter baskets in the stores during the holiday season wishing I could have one. Am I really the only one who starts drooling watching children anxiously peel away at the decorative wrapping on their baskets? Well, just in case I am not, I decided to share an idea I had while perusing the aisles at Target. I was purchasing items for some kid’s Easter baskets when I, once again, started desperately craving some of the pastel and egg-shaped candies I was placing in the cart. But this time I decided “what the heck”, we do all the work. We pay for the baskets. We dress our kids up and take them to church, parties, blah blah blah. We deserve an Easter basket too, damn it! So here it is:
My mind ran wild trying to figure out what to put in it, I mean with adults there are essentially no limits. I also wanted to be more environmentally friendly so instead of store bought raffia/filler, I just cut up the paper the store clerk used to wrap the candle. It would be easiest to pull paper out of your shredder if you have one. The basket cost about $10:
Basket: $5 (50% off at Michael’s)
Pink Picture Frame: $1
Quirky Contact Lens Holder (I thought it looked so cool and could be used to hold any little thing): $1
Homemade Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies: >$0.50
Pictures for the frame (I actually have two more behind the front one in case she wants to change the pics): $0.51 (for 3)
The main idea here is to create a personalize basket unique to whoever is the lucky recipient. It would be a great gift idea to give to a host/hostess of an Easter gathering. And if you haven’t let Hallmark consume your holidays like the rest of us, you can even make a more religious based basket. Instead of the cutsie kiddie goodies, it might be good to go with more mature treats. But let’s face it, I love a good box of Peeps. O.k. I am done with baskets and basket posts…..for this season.
Despite the fact that I have no idea of the origins of the Easter basket as a gift for Easter, I have long since succumb to this long standing tradition. They can be insanely extravagant with enough candy and sweets to put any kid into a sugar high for days. I, on the other hand, prefer to keep it simple and, most importantly keep costs low. These baskets are the other baskets I purchased with the Target deal ($3 each). The usual theme of my basket gifts are make sure most, if not all, items are reusable. This year I was trying to be even more waste conscious as there is a movement to try to recycle and reduce plastic Easter eggs. Every item in these baskets is either consumable or things that will be used over and over again. There is also a very small amount of candy. The individually wrapped chocolate was just thrown directly in the basket and there is just one bag of candy pre-wrapped in plastic shaped like a carrot which can be recycled.
Some other ideas for waste conscious or even health conscious baskets are shelf stable fruits like apples, oranges, pears, etc. You can even throw in homemade sweets where you can control the sugar content, not to mention it is cheaper. I even thought of cake pops or chocolate covered pretzels, muffins, etc. The total cost of these basket were $12 each, it could have been $9 if I bought the basket at the Dollar Store. They actually had some nice looking baskets.
Other budget friendly ideas include:
small box games
mini stuffed animals
small packs of crayons/markers
$1 coloring books
Call me cheap…no really, call me cheap, because I am not one to shy away from a good “two for one” deal. Which is why it should be no surprise that I decided to combine an Easter basket with a birthday gift for my son’s friend’s 4th birthday party. Honestly, it is really just a cute gift idea for a 4th birthday that happens to be the day before Easter. Target had these cute buckets in the Easter section along with a sign saying “buy me, I come with a deal” so I bought one for the birthday boy and a few others for the many kids in my life (post to follow). The thing with basket gifts is that you have to get creative. So beware anyone thinking of trying this (I do recommend it), you will have to come up with how to fill it and I know for many people that could be a daunting task.
I raided the dollar bins at Target, the dollar store, and I found a Michael’s Arts & Crafts with $5 or less bins (Jackpot!). Since I am not a big fan of giving kids too much candy, my creativity was in full affect. I found some cute basketball band-aids, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle puzzle, a monster truck, markers, Leap Frog learning pad, and some water balloons. For an extra bonus I threw in a pair of cute Carter’s brand shorts from Costco for $6.99 and yes you do see SOME candy. I think with all that is said and done, I spent maybe $20 on the whole basket including the bucket itself.
A Spring celebration couldn’t be a more fitting setting for little Miss Daisy’s 2nd birthday. The pastel colors, the flowers, the beautiful insects all a perfect setting for an adorable little girl. This is most likely why I had a brief (let’s emphasize brief) desire for a little girl when my bestie Dione called me to throw ideas back and forth for her daughter’s party. This planning was a little different for me as Dione is also very creative and skilled in the art of crafting so she had her own ideas of how she would handle the celebration. It started off with us spewing out any and everything that has to do with spring and eventually scaling it down to just butterflies and flowers.
True to her nature, Dione did all of the work. I added a backdrop of tissue paper flowers and assisted in setting up a deliciously colorful dessert table. I hung some lanterns which I adorned with butterflies all purchased at two of my favorite frugal party planning locations, Party Barn and Fabric Barn (in Long Beach, CA). A girl could shop there for hours and still have money left over.
These cake pops were my favorite. Dione cut flowers out of pink and purple cardstock with her Cricut and inserted them into the stick. A very easy way to turn a simple cake pop into an adorable bright flower.
Being a childcare instructor (yeah, not sure of her official title), Dione knows exactly how to entertain children and with the super low cost, it was my kind of entertainment. She set up tables/stations with leggos or drawing materials, and even a soil digging station which, by the way, was the kids’ favorite. Oh and what would a Spring celebration be without an Easter Egg Hunt.
All of the food, except Buffalo Wild Wings, was catered toward the children although if an adult decide they wanted a butterfly sandwich, who were we to judge.
The party was fun and bright and ended up being an awesome way to ring in the Spring season.