I pinned food, crafts and decoration ideas.
I purchased a bunch of crayons when they were only 50 cents each to give as favors.
I wanted to get tiny canvas's for all the kids to decorate but Rob was worried about the mess so he said no to that.
Then I thought about getting each kid a wooden cutout letter for their name but that required knowing exactly who was coming so we skipped that.
So I downgraded and bought plywood circles and squares (also stars but we didn't use those). The circles and squares were about $3 for a pack of 6 and stars were the same price for 4.
I did have my heart set on getting the paint palates and putting a cupcake in the middle and little candies/sprinkles to decorate them with as something fun for the kids. I searched stores for these because I was trying to avoid a shipping cost that was as much as the product itself (I think $8 for 12). I could only find them online so I ordered them here.. The candy/decorations I spent about $10 on.
I also ordered stickers that were clearanced out (as in under $3 for 300) in that same order for the plywood shapes.
I saw so many adorable invitations on etsy but lollygagged and ended up buying some fill in the blank ones from the dollar store that were rainbow colored.
While I was there I picked up a bunch of tissue paper fans (under $2 each- about $16 total) in different colors, a happy birthday banner (around $2) that coordinated with the invites, which were also around $2 each (I got 2 packs of 8) . I picked up 2 packs of goody bags that also matched. 8 in each pack for around $2.
I made cupcake toppers using scrapbook paper I already had. Circles punched out and glued together with a toothpick in the middle. Having the supplies on hand made this free.
I made the cupcakes using boxed mix to save money. I also pinned a bunch of recipes on how to make box caked mix better but didn't do any of that. I intended on getting some of those fancy piping tips and bags to make them look pretty but decided no one would really care, and I'm sure no one did.
I wanted to make these, but just ran out of time and felt like I had enough treats.
I also picked up store made cookies, and donut holes. My mother in law was awesome and made sloppy joes and got a veggie tray for us. 2 liters were bought on sale (under $10). A giant tub of vanilla ice cream and a small one of chocolate (which never got opened) and chocolate syrup - also never opened (totally probably $10). I used cups and plates leftover from a bachelor party Rob hosted earlier this summer and didn't even bother with bowls for ice cream. I had spoons on hand I think from her last birthday. I did pick up forks for a dollar something although I probably didn't need them since there wasn't any food that really needed them.
I ordered balloons for around $30 inflated (6 star shaped mylar and 3 circle mylar). We had some helium left in a tank from last year and I used that to blow up latex ones that I spend about $4 on for the kids coming).
So details aside, I suppose I didn't really save money. Next year I'll skip some of the decorations and use that to order cupcakes (since I burned the first batch and had to make 3 it was time consuming).
The problem I had was wanting to do all these great things like I saw on pinterest. I probably could have found the time, but I didn't really have the ambition and as the party date got closer I realized it did't really matter. I've never been to a party and been like ohmygoodness they didn't decorate? What were they thinking? Sure I notice and remember amazing decorations, but I don't think anything of it when there isn't. And if I as a woman doesn't care, than I'm sure other women don't and a man certainly wouldn't.
There is nothing wrong with buying store bought decorations and I had to remember to not feel bad about it. They were fun and a few of them I think I can re-purpose in Eleanor's big girl room.
So all in all, Pinterest was great for ideas (and that cupcake thing was a HUGE hit) but I shouldn't have stressed and felt guilt over it not being this perfect party.