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Ivory's Blue and White Birthday

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Ivory Birthday The Prudent Homemaker

About a year and a half ago, I found a beautiful piece of fabric on Black Friday. It was just a little bit (a yard and 3/8) and there was enough to make a dress for Ivory if I made it while she was young.

This piece of fabric became my theme for her party--blue and white, which seems fitting for a blue-eyed girl named Ivory!

Ivory birthday dress The Prudent Homemaker

The dress is made from the Pascale pattern. This pattern is my absolute favorite pattern; I use it for everything! It has so many variations. I have a copy from the inside of Sew Beautiful magazine from years ago. It's a basic bodice dress with buttons in back. I used blue buttons I bought on a 50% off sale at JoAnn's. The collar is made from white muslin. The dress cost me under $9 in supplies.

Ivory Bracelet The Prudent Homemaker

I made her a matching bracelet with beads I bought on 50% off sale last year at Michael's. This was super simple; I strung the beads on a piece of clear stretch elastic that you can find in the bead section.

Ivory headband The Prudent Homemaker

Her headband is one I recovered (I cut off the original covering). The ribbon that you see is a ribbon that I bought on clearance many years ago. The bottom part of the headband is a navy blue grosgrain ribbon. I cut out two pieces for the bow and sewed it by hand, and then sewed it onto the top ribbon by hand. I then sewed both ribbons together down the sides, leaving the ends open. I slid this over the plastic headband. I folded the ends over twice near the inside bottom of the headband and sewed them closed by hand.

Ivory Imp The Prudent Homemaker

She loves headbands. I made her another one for her birthday too (not pictured) from white grosgrain ribbon. I put a bow on that one as well.

Blue and White Table The Prudent Homemaker

For decorations on the table, I went really simple: blue glass bottles I've had for years with a single stem of snapdragons cut from the garden, and the blue and white vase I found at a garage sale last fall (for $2) filled with more white flowers from the garden, all on a white table runner.

White Flowers in Blue and White Pot The Prudent Homemaker

Ivory giggles The Prudent Homemaker

Tagged in: Birthdays Flowers
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Elsa birthday The Prudent Homemaker

I have had a lot of readers commenting and emailing lately about unemployment and other financial difficulties. I know many of you are struggling to make ends meet. 

Everyday money challenges are difficult enough, but then a child has a birthday, and you're left wondering what you can do to make their day special, when you don't have a penny to spare.

Our own budget is very tight right now. For my five-year-old's birthday, I planned food, decorations, and presents using what I already had on hand.

My daughter is named Elsa, and I wasn't surprised when she wanted to have a Frozen-themed birthday party.

 Frozen Birthday detail The Prudent Homemaker

I put down a white table runner on the table. I used two mason jars with epsom salt and little trees in them that I made at Christmas. I found some ribbon in my stash that was just the perfect colors that I tied around the tops of the jars.

I repurposed some Christmas boxes that were given to my husband years ago with candy in them that were perfect for the theme, and I put her gifts in these.

I trimmed some branches that I have had indoors for forcing and put them in two blue mason jars that I have.

I had some pinecones left from Christmas (we gathered these for free before Christmas) that I used on the runner as well.

Frozen Birthday The Prudent Homemaker

I hung a white doily banner that I made a few years ago for my older daughter's birthday.

Winter, my 13-year-old daughter,  made Elsa a castle using supplies (paper, paint, scraps of foam board, and glue) that we had on hand folowing this tutorial

Winter also printed and enlarged (on our copier) an Olaf picture for the children to play "Pin the nose on Olaf."

She also made her cake, which was actually brownies topped with powdered sugar. (Warning: we have had cake with powdered sugar sifted on top before, but I won't do it again on top of a birthday cake; when the child blows out the candles, they also blow off a lot of the sugar!) Elsa requested brownies and I wanted something super simple, but if not, I could have made her a myriad of cakes using a large number of Frozen cake tutorials on Pinterest.

Winter styled Elsa's hair for the day like Elsa's coronation hairstyle in Frozen, using this tutorial.

Lollipops The Prudent Homemaker

I made some lollipops. Lollipops are Elsa's favorite candy. I had sticks that I had gotten for free last year using a $10 off $10 purchase coupon (plus the sticks were on clearance). I used this recipe to make the lollipops. I added blue food coloring at the very end. The sugar turns golden when cooked, so the color turned out perfect with just a few drops of blue. I sprinkled some sugar sprinkles on top before they hardened. If you don't have lollipop sticks, you can make hard candy in a sheet pan instead, and crack it for "ice."

A couple of things that I didn't have time for but thought about doing (and could have done with supplies on hand) were making and hanging paper snowflakes, and making snowflake sugar cookies. 

Elsa got to pick the meals for the day. She picked chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, and pizza for dinner. I made both of these from scratch. 

My parents took her out for lunch. They have recently started taking each child out, individually, for their birthday, as part of their gift to each child, though usually they do this later and put a note in their card about the birthday date (where they are going, which sometimes includes a movie). My mom picked a place for lunch that had a deal going right now that included ice cream for $6. My parents gave her their gifts there; an Elsa nightgown (bought on sale), a Frozen coloring book, a puzzle, a Highlights Hidden picture activity with stickers (this came in an advertisement in the mail) and a necklace.

I made her presents using fabric that I had on hand.

Elsa birthday skirt The Prudent Homemaker

I made a skirt for her. Elsa loves skirts and has been asking me for more of them. Watching her open this one was so fun; her eyes lit up, she gasped, and just like Olaf, she said with excitement, "I love it!"

Elsa Birthday doll dress The Prudent Homemaker

I made a doll dress for her baby doll, using a pattern, fabric, and thread that I had on hand.

Elsa Birthday Dress 2 The Prudent Homemaker

Elsa requested that I made a pink dress for her. We talked about what she wanted. I had almost enough fabric for the entire dress, and was just short the front bodice piece lining. I used a piece of white cotton for the that piece, since it is inside.

Elsa Birthday Dress Detail The Prudent Homemaker

I drew a tree on the front and embroidered it in bloom, just like our plum tree is in the garden right now.

Because I sew, I buy fabric on sale and have some on hand to use later, but even if you don't have fabric on hand, you can repurpose something (on old sheet of shirt) to turn into a birthday gift. A doll dress takes a tiny amount of fabric, and could easily be cut from another item of clothing.

Even if you don't have any money to spend, you can still make a wonderful birthday for your children using items you have on hand and a little creativity!

Need a good idea for a birthday gift? Read What Your Children Really Want for Their Birthdays.

Other gifts you can make for a little girl using what you have on hand include printing paper dolls, making homemade play dough, and cutting hair ribbons from ribbons you have on hand. Check Pinterest for a myriad of links for free printable paper dolls and play dough recipes.

Also check out my other Birthday posts and my Gift a Day series for ideas on inexpensive gifts to make.

Elsa Birthday Dress The Prudent Homemaker



Tagged in: Birthdays
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Mint Chocolate Frog Ice Cream 4 The Prudent Homemaker

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Cyrus turned 11 last week, and requested a Harry Potter birthday.
This is the second time I've had a Harry Potter birthday for him, and I've had one for Ezrom as well. With 7 children, I doubt it will be the last time we have a Harry Potter birthday party; in fact, Liberty has already requested a Harry Potter birthday for her birthday in September. With that in mind, I decided to invest a bit of time, as well as money, for items that we can reuse every time a child requests a Harry Potter birthday (as a bonus, a few of these items will be useful to make gifts the next time one of my children is invited to a Harry Potter birthday party for a friend!)

Using fabric scraps that I already had, I sewed a bunting in the colors of the Hogwarts houses. I had every color but yellow in my fabric scraps. I used a bit of yellow fabric dye that I had leftover from another project to dye some cotton muslin. I sewed the whole thing onto black grosgrain ribbon that I purchased by the spool at Michael's.

I swapped out our family pictures for some Hogwarts travel art. I purchased these on a half-price sale on Etsy from here, using money I earned from taking surveys. I had them printed at Sam's Club for $2.87 each (they are 11" by 14" each). I can use these again for future parties, and since the art is a download, I can print more as gifts for friends in the future, should I desire.

Since Cyrus turned 11, Winter made a Hogwarts acceptance letter for Cyrus (using a free font from here), which she put in the window with the snowy owl that I bought for him years ago. I sealed the letter with sealing wax I've had since I was a teenager, and this Hogwarts School Badge Wax Seal Stamp (which was $16 when I purchased it).

She included a Hogwarts train ticket that we found here.

Ezrom folded purple paper airplanes from construction paper and hung them above Cyrus' bed for some Ministry of Magic inter-office mail first thing in the morning.

Ezrom also made a howler that he hung from the ceiling with fishing wire over Cyrus' place at the table, but unfortunately I didn't get a photo of it. He did a fantastic job.

I used the seal on some white fondant, that I used to top several small cheesecakes and one medium cheesecake for him. My original plan was to put these on cupcakes, but he wanted cheesecake, so I made some adjustments. I brushed the white fondant with edible gold dust powder. I would love to do this for a future party with a darker color fondant, but I purchased the white as it was the least expensive. I have plenty left over to use for another birthday or some other treats. I purchased the fondant and edible gold powder from Michael's with coupons.

For the homemade cheesecake, I made graham crackers for the crust.

I also used Amazon credit to purchase this chocolate frog candy mold. I already had this larger chocolate frog mold that I had purchased years ago to make chocolate frogs for Cyrus' last Harry Potter birthday. I made him a large frog as a birthday gift, but I needed the smaller frogs to make some mint chocolate frog ice cream. I also used them to surround his cake.

Mint Chocolate Frog Ice Cream 2 The Prudent Homemaker

The ice cream was made with mint from the garden. The chocolate was purchased a couple of years ago on after-Christmas clearance at Sam's Club, but you can also find it on Amazon, here.

Mint Chocolate Frog Ice Cream The Prudent Homemaker

You can find the ice cream recipe here.

His gifts included a Harry Potter Wand Pen that I purchased with Amazon credit, and a water color set. I also gave him a set of Harry Potter Uno cards that I found at a garage sale for $1 earlier this year! Winter gave him the last Harry Potter book, which she found hardcover at the thrift store for $3 (wrapped with a Flourish and Blotts label that I made). He now has his own set of the books, all of which were purchased used over a couple of years. Wren gave him some candy, which we wrapped with brown paper and a Honeydukes candy shop label that I made. Winter made the Ollivander's paper, cutting some brown paper the right size to send through the printer. We used the Hogwarts seal on some of the gifts.

I printed some Hogwarts bookplates for him, and made him a large chocolate frog. I printed out the Harry Potter prequel for him (the one that J. K. Rowling wrote on a napkin). He didn't know about that, so that was a fun surprise.

For fun, the children played a couple of Harry Potter games that I also purchased at a garage sale earlier this year for $1 each (they are each worth over $100 on Amazon right now, as they are no longer being made!)

I had several other ideas in mind that we didn't get to do, but that's okay--I've got another Harry Potter birthday to throw in September, and it will be fun to have some new things then!

If you're looking for more Harry Potter gift ideas, check out some of the other Harry Potter themed gifts I've given him in the past:

Harry Potter pillow

London and Medieval Bookmarks

I've also made a Harry Potter Party board over on Pinterest with links to several ideas Winter and I found while planning his party. Some are ones I used and some I'll be using in the future.

Tagged in: Birthdays Harry Potter
Last modified on
We celebrated my son's birthday last week. I made him a blueberry pie (his request) using some cans of bluberry pie filling a friend picked up when Fresh N Easy closed down near us (She called me to ask if the prices were good prices, and then on her way home she dropped off some of what she got to me!)

His sister decorated the house with purple decorations (purple has been his favorite color after reading about how purple was made from sea shells and that it was for royalty in The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: The Middle Ages: From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance. I found the circle idea on Pinterest and my daughter cut out the foil circles  and sewd them together on my sewing machine.

I gave him the gifts you see above: a Cub Scout Bear hat, scarf, and slide that a friend sent to me after her boys were done with it, 4 used books that I bought at the library book sale in Janaury for .25 each (he had read 3 of them before and I knew that he liked them), 4 London bookmarks that I made ( a free printable for these will be available soon on my site), a new-looking shirt from a garage sale (.50),

nine chocolate frogs that I made using this frog mold, and chocolate that I bought 19 months ago at Sam's Club, an MP3 song that I got for free from Amazon with a free mp3 credit, and the gift that you see in the envelope.

The envelope holds the most important gift. I could have given him nothing else, and the gift in the envelope would have been enough.

What children really want is our time. The envelope contained the promise of time with mom:


Four cooking lessons and four dates with mom. My son wants to learn to cook, and he also wants to spend time with me.

Last Christmas I learned an important lesson. The best gift I gave was a subway-art style bookmark that had 10 things I love about each child on it. My 6-year-old could not read it, but he had me read it to him. He cried when I read it. He gave me a big hug. He asked me to reread it to him every day that week.

My husband gave the children 2 coupons, each good for a date with dad. The children have loved these dates with dad.

The dates don't have to be expensive, and you don't even have to leave the house.

Some of the things he has done with the children:

Stay up late (after the other children are in bed) and play a game with dad. We have several board games already, so this doesn't cost anything out of pocket.

Work on a project together.

Go to the library together.

I don't know what dates my son will pick to do for our dates, but I know that this is what he really wanted.

More than that, it's what he needs. It's what they all need.

I've made the gift I gave him available as a free printable on the website here, so you can make your own for any upcoming birthdays you have.

Last modified on

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