Buying a store bought cake is not something that I normally do. Store bought cakes are so expensive and I find that homemade cakes taste better. Homemade cakes also offer a personal touch to the event.
When my children were very young, I was very fortunate that my mom would make their birthday cakes for me. Here is a Cars Movie cake that my mom made for my son’s third birthday.
My son wanted a Lightning McQueen cake for his birthday. I looked around in the stores and tried to figure out what I was going to do. Then I decided to buy the car figurines from the toy section. At $12 for three cars, I thought it was a bit pricey but it was cheaper than buying a cake and then at least he would have the cars to play with later.
First we started with a 9×13 sheet cake we made. If I remember correctly, we chose chocolate, but any flavor will do. We iced the cake with homemade white icing. Since I had a Lightning McQueen car that had mud painted on the side, we thought it would be neat to create a mud scene on the cake with chocolate icing. We even smeared the icing a little to make it look like Lightning McQueen slid through the mud.
Next, we dyed some of the icing green and used it to pipe grass on the cake. My mom used the rest of the brown icing for the border.
Finally, we placed the other two cars on the cake. My husband looked online and found a Radiator Springs sign to print. He taped it to two toothpicks and inserted it into the cake as a sign.
I thought this was a pretty cute cake and it wasn’t hard at all. I don’t have any cake decorating experience and I feel that I could recreate this cake myself. Sometimes all it takes is looking around for inspiration to trigger ideas.
Do you enjoy making your own cakes?
images (c) Karen Weideman
Back in 2010, I showed you the teddy bear luau cupcakes that I made for my children’s pool party. They were cute, easy to make, and way cheaper than a store bought cake. The do-it-yourself luau cupcakes have been a top read each month since then so I thought I would show you the ones I made in 2011.
I was a little hesitant to show these because they’re not as cute or creative as the teddy bear luau cupcakes. I finally gave in to the idea that we’re all in need of different ideas, no matter how easy they are. Alligator Girl had her first sleepover and since there were just a few girls and no adults I didn’t have the pressure to produce something anything time consuming. These cupcakes were super fast and went along with the pool party/luau theme. They also tasted great.
As you can see from looking at the pictures, there are a few different styles of cupcakes. I mostly used pink and orange to decorate with but I also had a can of rainbow chip icing in the cabinet. Most kids like rainbow chip, so I used that too.
I put piping on some of the cupcakes. I found the paper toppers at the dollar store. You could probably find some cupcake toppers at an arts and crafts store or party supply store.
As you can see, these are nothing extravacant. They are simple, easy, and cute. They are perfect for a girls’ luau party sleep over.
I attended a baby shower and they had some really cute pacifier favors and pink confetti spread across the table for decoration. I thought the pacifier favors were so cute (and inexpensive) that I had to share them with you. The candy pacifiers simply consist of two Lifesaver candies and a jelly bean that are held together by frosting or melted chocolate.
You will need:
- Lifesavers (These are made from peppermint Lifesavers.)
- royal frosting or melted white chocolate
- miniature jelly beans (probably Jelly Bellies)
- Unwrap your Lifesavers and set aside.
- If you are using chocolate then you will need to melt it. Follow the instructions on the package for melting the chocolate. Please note that you should be using chocolate candy that will harden after it dries. This is the kind that is sold in most craft stores or in the cake decorating section of Walmart.
- Put a small dab of chocolate or frosting in the center of some of the Lifesavers. To make your finished project more attractive you should make sure that the Lifesaver words are facing the handle and that the jelly bean side is plain. For best results, only work with a few Lifesavers at a time.
- Attach the second Lifesaver to the first. The second Lifesaver should be on its side so that it acts as a pacifier handle. It will make a “T” shape. Hold together for a few seconds to allow icing or chocolate to set.
- As you complete these steps, set them aside to dry. After they have dried add the ribbon to the pacifier handle. The ribbon should be about four inches long.
- Add a small dab of frosting to the other side of the lifesaver (the plain side) and attach the jelly bean. Let these dry or harden. You may have to hold the jelly bean onto the Lifesaver for a minute until it sets.
You may find that you want to make the pacifier handles first, attach the jelly beans, and then let the whole thing dry before adding the ribbon. Feel free to modify the instructions to meet your personal preference.
Uses: These candy pacifiers can be spread around the tables for decoration or placed on a cake. You can put them in a bowl on the tables or spread them around a centerpiece or the base of the cake. Put them in small candy boxes and send them home with your guests. You could also have the ribbon personalized with your baby’s name. There are many uses for them.
Money saving tips: You know that I am all about saving money. Save your craft store coupons to purchase these items while they are 40-50% off. Ask your friends for their craft store coupons. If you know in advance that you will be making these you can watch the weekly sales flyers for sales on these items. Check the dollar ribbon area of the craft store for ribbon deals.
This post was originally written by me in 2009. The content has been rewritten and modified to put on my own website.
Image (c) Karen Weideman
My two youngest children’s birthdays are in the month of July. For now, while they are young, we combine their parties into one. (FYI: They are also best friends.) It also works out to combine the parties because some family members drive a few hours to attend. Sorry if you didn’t need to know all of that. The information just helps to set up the story behind all of this.
With a combined party, I try to come up with a theme that will work for both of them. One year we did Dora and Diego. Another year we did the princess and the frog. This year it was a luau. The luau theme was decided because the kids wanted to have a pool party. And who doesn’t like a pool party?
A few months back I found these nice beach themed supplies at Walmart. The large plates, napkins, and small plates were on clearance for only $.50 per pack for a set of 20. At Walmart I also found a box of 30+ leis on clearance for $3.
Later I found some luau straws at Walmart for about $2.50. They had little flowers around the top. For music, I found a two-pack of Luau cds at Walmart for $5. Yes, Walmart was my go-to store for the party theme.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the way I cut back on the party expense is to make my own cake/cupcakes. I surf the internet looking for ideas of easy things that I can do. I ended up making these cute beach/luau themed cupcakes using miniature Teddy Grahams, fruit rolls ups, candy, and tiny umbrellas. I even found a $1 tear-off coupon for the Teddy Grahams at Food Lion. You can see more pictures of the luau themed cupcakes and also some links to other luau/beach themed cakes and cupcakes.
Of course, a Luau needs to have a cookout. As you probably know, July is the time to get cookout supplies on sale.
Here’s approximately what I spent on this party:
- paper plates, napkins, leis, table cloths, straws - $9
- luau cds – $5
- cupcake supplies (I made two batches.) – $9
- hotdogs and buns – $10
- chili - $0 (my aunt brought this)
- potato salad – $0 (my aunt brought this)
- chips – $3 (bogo)
- veggies (carrots, cucumbers, celery) and dip (used triple coupon sale for the dip)- $4
- sodas – $3
- pasta salad – $3
All in all, I spent less than $50 on everything and fed lots of people, plus we had leftovers to eat. By taking advantage of clearance deals, July cookout savings, making the cupcakes myself, and taking advantage of other sale promotions, I was able to give a nice party for a small fraction of what others might have paid.
How do you save money when throwing a party?