Category Archives: Parties

Birds of a Feather: The Twin’s 3rd Birthday Party


If I were to count how many of my parties have been inspired by random clearance buys…I’d probably keep going until I included every party I’ve ever thrown.

That’s just how I roll. Start with something cheap. Add a bunch more somethings cheap (or free), and end up with a hodgepodge that’s good enough for me.

In the case of the twins’ EXTREMELY loosely themed “Birds of a Feather” 3rd birthday party, the idea came to me when I spotted these cute cupcake picks in the deep discount bin at Marshall’s.


(PSA: the red and blue velvet Duncan Hines cake mixes are the best I think I’ve ever had. They call for butter rather than oil, and the texture/flavor is so good, even with all of the food coloring that must surely be in them to produce such vivid colors. Swirl a little homemade cream cheese buttercream frosting on top, and everyone will think you went to all the trouble to make the cake from scratch too!)

So…funny story. After I posted a bunch of furniture to that Facebook swap ‘n shop that I’ve mentioned a few times, I had several people ask me if I was a decorator and offered my services at large. My response was, of course, no. But then a couple more people asked, and I responded to one lady that, if she was serious, she could message me, and we could figure something out.

So, she did! And I went to her house and helped her decorate her dining room. And it was so much fun. Not only that, but she paid me in cookies. Which…sounds weird, I realize. But when you take into account the fact that she’s a highly sought after professional cookie-maker in our area and pretty much stays solidly booked, it was a pretty legit payment.

ESPECIALLY when the cookies looked like this!


Seriously, they were like little pieces of artwork. I sent her pictures of the cupcake picks from above and told her that I wanted some black/white polka dots mixed in, and then she worked her magic. I almost felt bad eating them because they were so stinkin’ pretty. But the second I took a bite, I didn’t feel bad anymore because they were also delicious!  If you’re ever in need of some custom cookies in the East Texas/Tyler area, you totally need to give Robin a shout. You can find all of her info on her Facebook page.


After I got my themed desserts set, I contemplated bird-themed outfits for the girls, but honestly, the second that I saw these adorable sets from The JimmieLee Boutique, all ideas of themed outfits flew (ha. ha.) out of my head. party17

If you recall, these are the outfits that the twins wore when I took pictures for their 3-year-old update, and several of you asked me where they were from. So, now you know! Kayla is also local to me, but she can ship anywhere in the U.S., and I just love giving shout-outs to sweet, hardworking mamas. You totally need to go check her out (or give her a like on Facebook or a follow on Instagram @thejimmieleeboutique) Her stuff is adorable, and her prices are really reasonable!


Last year’s party for the twins was almost a complete bust in terms of attendance (that’s what happens when a stomach bug starts making the rounds the weekend of your party). But this year, we had gorgeous weather and a great turnout.


In lieu of one big cake, I threw together some easy pudding + whipped cream parfaits (because cookies and cupcakes couldn’t possibly suffice), and they were the biggest hit of the party!


Seriously. They were there when I went inside to grab some more ice, and by the time I got back outside, they were gone, gone, gone.


(Second PSA: sprinkle just about anything with chopped up bits of heath/chocolate and Andes mints, and people will go gaga for it)party9

Oh, and while I’m being all bossy about party instructions, can I just encourage you to buy you flowers from Sam’s or Costco? I bought all of the flowers you see there for about $25 and split them up into 5 different mason jar bouquets, which I scattered throughout rooms in my house when the party was over. $25 for gorgeous party decorations plus fresh flowers in your house for a week afterwards is totally worth it in my book.


I joked on Instagram about how sometimes I try to go for neutral themes, and it never works out, and one person commented that if that’s what I was going for here, it was a total fail.

She wasn’t lying.

But the thing is that I always end up decorating a party table with things I have in my stash and recycling the same serving pieces over and over. And since I tend towards colorful staples, then the results tend to be kind, well, loud.

And I’m good with that.


There’s this really cute shop in Riverside, CA called Mrs. Tiggywinkle’s that I’ve stopped into every time I’ve been there with Shaun, and they have an awesome collection of decorative papers. I always come home with at least one, and this time it was that “celebrate” party-themed one in the background. Ultimately, I think it would be fun framed for a little girls’ bedroom, but for now, it made for great impromptu party decor.


And it wouldn’t be a party (as far as I’m concerned) without patterned straws and napkins. I pretty much have a stash leftover from all past parties, and I just pull out a handful and stuff them in a mason jar for some instant/functional cuteness.


Oh, and just in case you thought that all we ate was sugar…nope. There was a subway sandwich bar too. I highly recommend this idea! I buy my bread/cheese/meat in bulk from Sam’s, then throw the meat/cheese on at the last second and set everything out with a huge platter of veggies, condiments, chips, and drinks. Et Voila! Dinner for a crowd in no time flat. And so much cheaper than ordering from a sandwich shop that there’s really no comparison.

Oh, and just so I don’t leave you with an image of a heap of sandwiches.


We had so much fun celebrating the twins and hanging out with friends and family. Sometimes, I feel a little bad that the twins are the ones who most consistently get a birthday party because it just so happens to fall at a convenient time, but when I see all of my other kids chasing their friends through the yard and squealing in delight over getting to share cupcakes with cousins they don’t get to see as often as they’d like, it’s a good reminder that, while they may not be the ones getting the presents (as if they really need anything more), but they’re still having a ball.

And that’s a wrap! Stay tuned for Friday. I’ve got a killer #mamalifehacks tip that you’re going to love. Or at least find marginally useful. I hope.

Ahem. Should’ve ended with confidence.

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Twins Are Twice as Sweet 2nd Birthday Party

I wasn’t sure until maybe a week and 1/2 before the twins’ 2nd birthday party materialized a) whether we were even having a party and b) what it would be like if we did.

Last year, I planned a big outdoor shindig for their 1st birthday...

And then it rained, for like the first time in 2 months…pretty much exactly and only during the hours of their party.

So, we moved everything and everyone upstairs to our big room, which I am so grateful to have. But, I’m not going to lie: it was crowded, nothing was particularly cute (despite hours of prep for several days ahead of time), and I was borderline pouty about the whole business.

This year, I didn’t have the energy for that kind of pressure (cough, pregnant, cough), so when I finally did decide on a semi-applicable “theme”–which then meant that there needed to be a party  to accompany it–I knew I didn’t want to go big. At all.

Of course, I also wasn’t planning on going quite as small as we ended up being after two of the invited families ended up with sick kids on the day of the party. What a bummer!

The plus side? The weather was absolutely gorgeous (which only slightly lessened the grudge I’m still holding against last year’s thunderstorm) and we got to eat yummy food and play with family and friends. Which is really all that little kids (should) care about.

The boys and I had fun making no-bake treats as a supplement to our homeschooling (um, hello? fractions, measuring, reading…it’s practically a flippin’ SAT prep course!) several days in advance, and the rest I did a little at a time throughout the week (up until the ultimate all-day-long, can’t-sit-down, too-much-to-do push of the day of).

The results were pretty much what I’d hoped for: cute, simple, and–you guessed it–very sweet.


The best part was that I already had almost everything you see on the table here (which was the only thing I decorated, so be prepared for shots from every angle). The wrapping paper I used to cover the ugly folding table…the striped bags for the favors…the party cups…the napkins. Practically all of it, I had either collected on super-clearance over time or had leftover from another party, and it felt pretty good to just toss all of it together in one big, sugartastic explosion of color!


It’s hard to get much more on-the-nose with a “Twins are Twice as Sweet” theme than pretty glass jars full of very sweet things–in this case, chocolate-dipped pretzels, jelly beans, Lemonheads, caramels, gumballs, and homemade caramel popcorn. twinparty2


I had ordered a grab bag of items from Pick Your Plum months before, not having a clue what I’d get. But several cute party accessories were included–like those yellow cookie-holders. Okay, so I don’t know what they’re actually intended for, but they were the perfect size for the chocolate-dipped morsels of death by marshmallow fluff cookies that the boys and I made, so I went with it.


Another fun item from the same PYP haul was these cupcake wrappers/embellishments. They fit perfectly in with all the bright colors and candy-related theme.



I already had a pretty decent stash of pretty paper straws leftover from bygone parties, so I tucked them into those white laser-cut holders from the Target Dollar Spot.



You’ve seen this chalkboard make several appearances already, including in my family command center and my fall-themed buffet reveal.


I didn’t really do much with the chalkboard trend when it first started, but now that’s it’s been going strong for a while (and is probably petering out, honestly), I’ve been having a lot of fun playing around with different fonts and embellishments. Although I’m not much good at coming up with the pretty stuff on my own, I usually have a design in mind and am decent at hodge-podging together elements that I scrounge from Pinterest or Google searches. At least, I’m happy enough with the results. twinparty8

I borrowed the small candy jars from a sweet friend, but the large apothecary jars were my one big splurge for the party, since I knew I could use them again and again, both for future festivities and for decorating/useful purposes in between. They were 1/2 off at Hobby Lobby, but they still cost about $22 each. Honestly, though, after doing quite a bit of looking around both online and in stores, I couldn’t find a better price for something of this size and quality.


Those little double mint cookie balls were a major labor of love (AKA: a pain in the bohonkus) but I kind of adored how cute they were when all the fussy parts were done. Oh, and they were YUM-MO! (I’ll share more about some of these treats soon).

Of course, pretty-looking treats can only serve as (forgive me) eye candy for so long…


Eventually, they must be eaten.


Not too surprisingly, none of the party guests complained too much about that task…


And the birthday girls seem happy to do their part as well.


Not that I didn’t try to do my fair share. (This is the plate I made for me and Shaun, but I was so tempted to caption it: “It’s for the baby”).

It was such an enjoyable evening right up until the moment that I crawled into bed and realized that my raging allergies from the week leading up to the party had morphed into something else entirely (evil).

But, after spending the weekend downing Echinacea and Vitamin C and taking as many naps I could cram into a 72 hour period that was already pretty full of schedule obligations, I feel a whole lot better. At the very least, I can breathe out of one nostril at a time for longer than 30 minutes. And that, my friends, is progress.

Ultimately, I’m happy that I made the effort to do something fun for the twins’ birthday, but I’m not so sure they’re getting another one until they’re at least five!

Do you guys throw a party for your kids every year? We don’t. But neither do we really have a system for when we do. Simon and Della get somewhat gypped every year because their birthdays are so close to Thanksgiving (Simon’s is actually on it this year). But we did manage to throw them a mega-bash a couple of years back. And Ezra has gotten something resembling a party every couple of years or so since he was born. I suppose some day, we’ll have to figure out something that makes it more “fair,” but, for the most part, my kids don’t seem to notice too much if one gets a party and another doesn’t. A cookie, though? Well, that’s another matter entirely.







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