Miss A Columnist

Tracy Brennan is a working teacher momma to her daughter Abigail, born Nov. 2009, and manages the blog Liberating Working Moms: One Voice At A Time. She was born and raised in South Florida, and studied Journalism and Mass Media at New York University. After college, she moved across the country to the Pacific Northwest. This move and giant change was spurred on after she became an eyewitness to the 9/11 attacks. She knew life could change at a moment’s notice and felt that she needed to make changes to find her true calling.

Once she fell in love with residing in Washington State, and fell in love with her now husband, she decided to go back to school to become a Secondary English Teacher. She began teaching in 2007 and has 1.5 years of working momma status under her belt.

DIY (Mostly) Children’s Birthday Party

When my daughter turned one, we decided to make it a small affair, especially since most of our family and friends don’t live nearby. And at one, I really didn’t feel that the children in my daughter’s daycare center were her “friends.” So alas, we went all out on cake and presents and added a few Abby Cadabby touches and called it good. And it was a good thing because it turned out for her birthday she got an unexpected present: RSV. But this year, for her second birthday, we are doing it up, in the hopes of making up for the bad sickness that ensued last year. And by that I mean the party will still be small, but friends will be invited, a thought-out theme will be had, and most of it will be of the DIY fashion. I’m calling it a Yo Gabba Gabba inspired DIY (mostly) party.

At first I was intimidated about taking on the DIY part, especially because I don’t consider myself crafty. But with advent of Pinterest, and tutorials galore across the internet, I knew I could do it. Plus, doing most of it myself would also lesson the costs. And what a better place to share with you some tips based off of what I’ve found, than here on AskMissA, where creating a Haute Mama experience for all of you is the ultimate goal, where you can get hands on to create a unique birthday party for your child.

1. Invitations: Store bought generic cards could do the trick, but for a little extra money, you can create your own by utilizing the great world of Etsy. Give them the information you need to be plugged in, and BAM! You get emailed a file you can use to print out your own professional looking invitations on cardstock. Invite Y’all is one such place where you can get your customized invitation for only $9.99 and print out as many as you need.

Photo Credit: http://www.cakejournal.com

2. Cupcake Toppers: There are tons of tutorials out there on how to make your own cupcake toppers. For most of them, all you need is some cardstock, a scrapbooking tool called a puncher, lollipop sticks, glue and you are good to go. And best yet, you can find these materials in one place at your local craft store. You can either find printables online, as I did to go along with the Yo Gabba Gabba theme I’m doing, or you could focus more on colors and design. I found a really easy to follow tutorial on Cake Journal. You could even go simpler by checking out this pinwheel cupcake topper tutorial over on The Crafting Chicks. And another route you could go for cupcake toppers is making Pom Pom Cupcake toppers using tissue paper. You can find a tutorial for this over at 6 Bittersweets.

Photo Credit: abutterflyinmystomach.blogspot.com

3. Birthday Banner: There are plenty of Etsy sellers willing to make a customized birthday banner for you, but once you check out a tutorial or two, you will realize there is no need to pay for someone else to do it for you. You can go as fancy or as simple as you like, utilizing cardstock paper, scrapbook paper, and ribbon. And really, a tutorial can just be a guide for you to pick and choose how you want to assemble it. One such great tutorial can be found on Katydid and Kid, where Kathleen even shows you how to utilize the scraps to create a pennant banner to add to the décor.

Photo Credit: http://nicolehill.blogspot.com

4. Activities: If you are like me, and you are planning a party for younger kiddo, activities can be pretty cheap and easy to put together. Line the table with butcher paper, and create centerpieces using mason jars packed with crayons, an idea featured on One Charming Party. In addition, you can find tons of free printable color sheets online doing an image search. And for other ideas, just think back to all those fun activities you loved as a child. Going retro and nostalgia are in these days to boot! Freeze dance, musical chairs, or making time for dancey dance (for those Yo Gabba Gabba parties of course), can be super fun, even for the adults as well.  Just pick what you think best fits with the theme and go for it.

5. Party Essentials: There is no need to buy fancy licensed party products to go with your theme. Any party store carries tons and tons of color varieties of plates, napkins, and cutlery. And if you are doing a Yo Gabba Gabba themed party like me, mix and match colors based on each of the characters. And to make the cups pop more, simply print out images onto sticker printer paper and affix to the cup. Again, online printables are your friend.

Photo Credit: http://crafts2cherish.blogspot.com

6. Decorations: To add more pops of color, a great idea is to create Hanging Tissue Pom Poms. There is an easy tutorial over on The Busy Budgeting Mama. And with some dollar store tissue paper, bead/jewelry cord and floral wire, you can easily assemble them for under $5. You could even get the older kids in on the action of making them!

7. Customized T-shirt: There is no need to pay someone to create a one of a kind shirt. Find an image that goes along with your theme, pick out a fun font you love to add some text, and simply print it out onto iron on paper. Simple as that.

8. Goody Bags: Party stores these days carry lunch bag style goody bags in all sizes and colors. No need to pay a licensing fee when you can customize these party treats yourself. Printing out images and text you like onto sticker printer paper can easily be attached to the bag.

9. Organization: The best place to help you find and plan out your DIY birthday party is utilizing Pinterest, where you can glean a look into what other mommas are pinning in preparation for their child’s birthday party. As well, you can pin all that you find on your own so you can easily go back to reference it. The key, though, is to start early. I’ve been pinning ideas for my daughter’s birthday party for about two months. And now, as her second birthday quickly approaches, this working momma feels confident she can pull off all of these unique touches to make a truly special day.

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