School Lunches

Saturday, April 11, 2015

My {daughter's} Barbie Birthday

As a group of preschool girls entered into our redecorated pink/black living room you would assume that they were here to celebrate my daughter's 4th birthday. But I, and my family, knew that this party was for me. I am a Barbie lover at heart and from the moment my daughter announced that she wanted a Barbie themed birthday party my mind hasn't slowed down. It was no secret that I was equally, if not more, excited for this party as my daughter. 

I love how the decorations turned out but I also loved that almost all of it was upcycled from materials I already had around the house and was therefore incredibly inexpensive compared to previous birthday parties. However, I will admit that I have a very well stocked craft room and 3 daughters who own plenty of pink. 

One of the things I remember most from my childhood Barbie party was playing 'pin the earring on the Barbie'. The main difference between this one and that one is that I used page ripped out of a Barbie coloring book. Also, I feel the need to stress that although my daughter's Barbie party may be more 'updated', it is in no way better than the one I had as a child because my childhood party was awesome. 


I already had this pink frame and used some silver sequin fabric from my scrap pile to create the base. I printed out a silhouette and cut it out of black card-stock and used some adhesive rhinestone trim for a necklace and a scrapbook bow in her hair. Price - free (entirely upcycled)

I did 'splurge' and get a 3-pack of adorable sleep masks I found at our local hobby lobby for the girls to wear as a blindfold. I also had my daughter pick out large rhinestone stickers to use for the 'earrings'. Price - $5ish (with a 40% off coupon, of course)


I rummaged through my daughter's Barbie shoe collection she got weeks earlier for her birthday and 'borrowed' three pairs of shoes. I found these three small frames for $1 each at Michaels and used glittery silver/pink/black craft paper I already had. Price - $3

I mounted glittery craft paper in an extra frame I had. I hot glued some rhinestone trim and used it to display a barbie outfit I purchased for $5. Price - $5

To create this paper garland backdrop I used a 1.5" circle cutter and punched circles out of 8 pieces of 12x12 card stock. I spread all the colors around attempting to 'shuffle' them. I then just started feeding them into my sewing machine one by one (don't try to make a pattern, random is much quicker and I think it looks better). It might seem labor intensive but once the circles were cut, sewing them together took about 10 minutes from start to finish (and that included replacing an empty bobbin). Then I just measured how long I wanted each strip and cut the long strand into sections.

**TIP - The paper garland also is great for gift wrapping - it looks wonderful around a solid wrapping paper or kraft paper.** 

I also already had these apothecary jars and the pink Styrofoam glitter balls. I did purchase one bag of the black that was about $4.


My favorite part of the party was the giant Barbie box photo booth. We used a small clothing rack for the girls to use for dress up and then take pictures in the Barbie box. I used a grand wardrobe box from Uhaul ($12), painted it with leftover paint from refinishing my armoire and I lined the inside with polkadot wrapping paper I already had. Price - $12


Handmade Barbie silhouette sugar cookies. I followed this tutorial from SweetAmbs for the icing transfers. 

Barbie purses
Digital printout purchased from HERE on Etsy. Price - $3.50 

The purses were the perfect size for a sugar cookie and a little DIY bracelet set (pink/black/white beads and a elastic cord).


I kept the cake pretty simple, possibly too simple. Whenever I showed it to my daughter she said "It looks great so far", suggesting that it didn't look complete. I used round candies to decorate around the cake and made a large Barbie silhouette chocolate transfer for the top. 

My personal party supply shopper (my mom) picked up these small disposable wine glasses that were the perfect 'fancy' ice cream cups. Then, I added some adhesive rhinestone trim to the top for some extra sparkle.  


Sparkling Cotton Candy

Of course, for my little 'Barbie girl', this wasn't quite enough. She ran into the kitchen to grab a practice gum paste sweet pea I made a few nights ago and used it to garnish her cup. 


My daughter was very proud of the gift opening area that she helped decorate. The pink and gold stool was a gift from the Easter Bunny this year. Smart bunny bringing something that would work perfectly for her party. 

And the most important decorations of all.... my daughters artwork she has been making all week to tape up in the entry way.

Thank you for coming to check out my party!   

Visit my tutorial for how I made her birthday outfit. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Everything's Better with Sprinkles - Royal Icing Sprinkles

We may not all agree how to spend our time, but we all have the same hours in the day. You may spend your time outside, at the gym, in church, or putting in some over-time at the office. You may find relaxation in running, yoga, reading, or watching TV. Me? It comes as no surprise that you'll usually find me (surrounded by children) in my kitchen either crafting, cooking, or baking.

You may spend the hours before bed cleaning the house and getting ready for the following day. I usually spend that time working on a spontaneous project for no real reason other than I want to. We may disagree on what is important and what is simply a waste of time. But, most people can agree that everything's better with sprinkles.

Like most moms I struggle with comparing myself to others as well as being judged. We all want to highlight our strengths but when that's all we see on social media it's easy to forget that everyone has their weaknesses. My husband would love me to spend more time cleaning or putting away laundry (he'd even settle for keeping my crafts in one space instead of all over the house). My kids no doubt would love me to spend more time away from the computer/phone. I would love to not lose everything. I'm constantly doing something, but rarely feel productive. I think that's why it drives me crazy when people say "I wish I had the time" or "how do you do it all?" because they assume that I actually do it all and I don't. Moms are all busy whether you work outside the home, from the home, or your job is being a stay at home mom. We are ALL busy doing what we do. We all have 24 hours in the day. We all sacrifice some things to do others. So when I'm up at midnight making homemade sprinkles (because yes, that's where this post is going) for no reason at all other than I have some left over royal icing to use, there are other things that aren't getting done (most importantly sleep). But, most importantly EMBRACE what you do best! Don't be afraid to show it off. Learn from each other and support each other. 

Now that I got that out of the way, let's focus on what is really important - SPRINKLES! If you've ever bought specialty sprinkles (because you needed one specific color for example) you may know how crazy expensive they can be. However, these royal icing sprinkles are SIMPLE and CHEAP!

These sprinkles use the same royal icing that you would use to decorate cookies. I prefer using meringue powder instead of egg whites (but that is entirely up to you). Here is the recipe I use.

3 Tablespoons - Meringue powder
4 cups - Powder sugar 
5 Tablespoons - Water

I first mix the meringue powder and water then slowly mix in the powder sugar. Once it is all combined turn the speed up and mix for about 5 minutes (some recipes call for you to mix up to 10 minutes, I don't find it necessary). 

*NOTE* - This recipe makes about 3 cups of icing. You will be making sprinkles for DAYS with that. I used some leftover icing after decorating cookies, but if you are just making sprinkles I would recommend making half (or even less). 

Once your icing is mixed, separate it into bowls to make as many colors as you want. I mixed all of it light pink then piped some sprinkles, then added more pink, piped some more, then added more pink and finished piping, to create an ombre effect. 

I used a Wilton Piping Tip #134 to pipe rows of icing onto a silicone mat. Do not worry about making these perfectly straight. It's okay if they have breaks in them. Trust me, it doesn't matter at all! 

Let the icing sit over night. By the morning they should be dry and easily release from the silicone mat. Gather them all together and begin cutting/breaking them. You can make them as long or short as you want. Again, don't worry about being too perfect with these. 

That's it! Simple, right? 

I'm not really naive enough to think that most people are going to read this and think "of course! I will make my own sprinkles tonight!" But, I do hope to show that just because something is homemade doesn't mean it is difficult or time consuming. Also, you can make custom sprinkles to match any party without having to spend the money. 

Let me know you like your sprinkles! On ice cream? Cupcakes? Chocolate covered bananas?