Countdown to Jesus’ Birthday ~ Activity Calendar

As I pulled out my Advent Calendar with daily Scripture verses about the anticipation and birth of Jesus, I thought of so many other things that I wanted to do to get ready for Jesus’ party  that we all know of as our Christmas Celebration.

So, I made an activity calendar and thought y’all might want to jump on board and remember WHO this month is REALLY all about.



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Click HERE to get the calendar! 😉

Birthday on a Budget

July 19th is my oldest son’s 6th birthday – OR as I like to call it – my 6th anniversary of becoming a MOM!  Birthdays are a BIG DEAL to us mommies, too – mostly because of the HUGE milestone ::tear:: of our babies becoming a whole number older – and partly because of the huge expense on the bank account of throwing a birthday bash.  And with 3 kids ::YIKES!:: it can be downright brutal to the piggy bank labeled, “parties.”  This is why I spaced my kids out evenly throughout the year (joking… I mean, not even I could have planned that one out)… but we do save up for each party… February-April for Baby Girl’s spring birthday, May-July for Big Bear’s summer birthday, and August-October for Little Man’s fall birthday… so, yup… we spend all year SAVING for birthdays, yet we STILL party plan on a small budget.

Now, let’s see… 5 + 3 = 8 boy parties (plus that one year where my oldest got two parties… so make that 9 boy parties and this year I got to throw my very first GIRL party… but before I share with you the details of the latest party I just threw, I want to give you a great way to plan on a BUDGET!  You ready?

Plan around what you already have!

Now sometimes it takes a little bit of creativity to see trash around your house and figure out a way to turn it into an awesome party detail, but open your mind and you’ll be surprised what you come up with!

Here are a few examples:

I introduce to you, the magical party power of trash!

Cardboard Boxes

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Cardboard Box turned Sailboat High Chair



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Cardboard Box Piggy Fort for an Angry Birds Party
(Notice all of the FREE diaper boxes on that fort!)



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Contact your local appliance store for extra large boxes
for a Super Why Super Readers Book Club!

Plastic (dollar store) Table Cloths

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Black table cloth + masking tape = road for snack trays cars!
(Cars were found at a local diner that serves kids’ meals in cars)

table cloths

Plastic table cloths can add colorful, weather-proof decor to your outdoor party!

An Unused Croquet Set

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Add some pink paint to a croquet set and you are ready to go for an Alice in Wonderland themed party! (the giant cards for wickets were purchased at a local party store)

Brochures



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I used a John Deere brochure to cut out pictures and put them in dollar store frames to use as decor around the food and cake tables for a Tractor-themed party.

and my personal favorite,

Weeds!!!

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Having a broken lawn mower for a few months led us to discover that hundreds of tiny oak trees were growing in our yard – perfect for a Wall:E party!

Speaking of the Wall:E party, we reused the colorful watering can decor from the Angry Birds party and planted the trees inside (seen above).  Recycle what you can from one party to the next!

backdrop

I painted this backdrop for my husband’s company picnic and for some reason it found it’s way back home with us. A month later, I was able to reuse it for my son’s Angry Bird party by just painting a few Angry Birds on it and changing the words on the banner! It was easier than making a whole new backdrop!

Last week, we celebrated my baby girl’s FIRST birthday!  (Fastest year of my LIFE, I’m telling you!)  The day could not have been more perfect!  And though I wanted to do every single little thing I saw on Pinterest for her first birthday, I had to stick to a strict budget.

I kind of lucked out, though.  See, a few years ago when my sister and brother-in-law got married, we decorated the whole wedding with BURLAP, so what do you do with BOXES of burlap lying around your house?  You throw a Southern & Sophisticated party for your daughter!

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I always make my own invitations on the computer and upload them to Walgreens.com. 4×6 prints are .19 cents each regularly and sometimes they have sales for .10 cent prints or 20% off all photo orders! Easy and cheap!

And a special THANK YOU to all of my friends who collected white and pink Mardi Gras pearls for me… and to my mom who collected all of my grandmother’s old doilies and crocheted table cloths… along with my sister who donated mason jars and burlap from her wedding… I was able to use the money I had budgeted for decorations to buy flowers to really make the party beautiful and southern and sophisticated!

And it helps to have incredibly talented friends like Natasha from Natasha’s Cakes, Brooke from Hails Angels Custom Creations and Jess from Barefoot Photography!

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The cakes were made by Natasha’s Cakes in New Iberia, Louisiana!

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Brooke from Hails Angels Custom Creations and I handmade burlap bow ties and hair bows for the party favors!



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Jess Roberts of Barefoot Photography photographed the entire party and my daughter’s 1 year photo shoot, and made the incredible storybook sitting on the table! She is located in Opelousas, LA, and I HIGHLY recommend her!

The Birthday Party Whirlwind

If you have ever planned a birthday party then you know why it has been so long since Casey and I have posted…. We have been planning birthday parties for our kids 🙂
Well, we survived them and I’d like to share a great resource with you if you need some help planning a party for your little one….
Lauren Haddox Designs Etsy shop and her facebook page will have you in awe of all the beautiful themes and graphic designs that are perfect for all you pinterest peeps.  She has sooo many great packages & files of DIY printables for parties.  I loved her train theme that I used for my 3 year old’s party yesterday and she took some great shots of her design in action.  I want to share and I’m hoping super-mom AkA Casey will share her pics from her party here soon too.


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Getting ready for the party was fun too.  Sean Patrick helped me paint cardboard boxes the primary colors which was great teaching him how to paint on something that would be used at his party.  We cut black circles for the wheels and used the cute play on words “chew chew” to decorate each cart.


My 8 month pregnant self having a paint party with my birthday boy before his big day.



My 8 month pregnant self having a paint party with my birthday boy before his big day.

I got to teach him more about environmental print when we made the railroad crossing signs.  Making kids aware of “writing” on signs is a great pre-reading reference and geometry lesson too as you observe the shapes all around.
The Party favors: Sean Patrick loves my school whistle that I wear on my lanyard so I got whistles for the kids that I wrote their names on with a sharpie and passed out as soon as the kids got to the party.
And the highlight of the party: the train!!! The kids had so much fun riding on the trackless train that Sean Patrick has been telling everyone about his “super-fast” train at his party.  Adding an expense like that can make a party overwhelming unless, like me, you let all family members know that if they want to chip in a little for the train in lieu of presents then it makes it more affordable (and then you don’t end up with lots of extra plastic in your house ).


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Please comment with a link to your blogs if you have cute kid parties to share because I love the inspiration now that I have been converted by my friend Lauren to a party-planning mom… which is a small miracle because I avoided it like the plague for so long 😉



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