Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Birthday on a Budget

Kids' birthday parties have exploded in the past couple of decades. I can remember the parties my mom threw for us as kids. We never had a bounce house or costumed characters. We had simple homemade cakes, a few friends, and got to run around doing our own thing. Sure, we may have had a pin the tail on the donkey game or something, but nothing extravagant. And you know what? We had fun. It didn't matter that there weren't gift bags at the end worth $10 apiece or whether the cake came from the best bakery in town, we had a good time regardless! Now don't get me wrong, if you want to take the time to go all out with your child's party there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, I have done it myself. I have just chosen in the last couple of years to downgrade a bit to save my own sanity!

My youngest son had the unfortunate luck to be born on December 22nd. It's a bad time of year to throw a birthday party. Everyone is in full holiday mode, and there aren't too many people who want to take time to go to a child's birthday party. Nonetheless, it is still his special day and I never want to overlook his birthday. This year I asked him what he wanted to do to celebrate. He decided to have his two best friends from preschool over to play and have cake and ice cream. He loves Legos and Star Wars and so I made his party into a Lego theme with Star Wars undertones. I didn't spend more than about $10, and he had a fantastic party! Here's how I did it...

Project: A Lego Birthday on a Budget
Time: Maybe an hour
Skill Level: Easy Peasy!

The cake: I used one cake mix prepared using the instructions given, and poured 4 cupcakes, then put the rest of the mix in a well greased 8x8 pan. Bake according to the instructions on the box. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Slice the tops off of the cupcakes. Sample the tops. After all, you need to make sure they are fit to eat. :)
Put your square cake on a platter, slide strips of waxed paper under the edges. This will keep your plate clean while you frost. Coat the square with frosting. My son's favorite color is yellow, so we had a yellow Lego.
Add the cupcakes to the top and frost completely.
I used a tube of yellow gel (found in the baking aisle at the grocery store) and wrote 'Lego' on each cupcake. I am obviously not a professional cake decorator, but my son loved the final effect which is really all that matters!
Carefully pull out your waxed paper and throw it away and you are finished!
Next I decided to carry the Lego/Star Wars theme through in the favors. I found these puzzles at the Dollar Store and got one for each of the two boys coming to the party.
I wrapped them each in solid color paper. What do you think, looking Legoish yet?
Next I used a circle punch to punch out six circles for each box.
Then I adhered them to the boxes and used a red marker to write 'Lego' on each circle.
Add in a couple of small candy bags and we had a complete Lego/Star Wars birthday for under $10. The cake wasn't perfect, but the kids thought it was cool and knew what it was, they loved the favors, and they all had a great time at the party. I'm going to go ahead and call this birthday on a budget a complete success!


  1. Love the Lego theme! The cake and wrapped party favors are awesome. I hope Greg wants a Lego party :)

  2. Cute ideas! Children's birthday parties don't have to be expensive and overblown to be fun! Here's another cool, frugal party idea from my friend Nikki (for a bigger crowd):

  3. That is a great idea. My 9, 7 and 5 year olds are all lego nut's as well as my husband. I think that will have be a birthday idea for the coming year. Thank you so much.

  4. Very cool! I have 3 boys who LOVE lego's, I'm definitely bookmarking this post! Thanks again!