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Double the Gifts, Double the Fun!

Recently I went to a Birthday pool party for two teenage girls and had a great time. Part of being a perfect hostess is knowing how to be a perfect guest. It sets a tone for how you expect others to act when they come to your own soiree. One of the best ways to show your appreciation for the invite is giving a good hostess or birthday gift. I like my gifts to be a statement about the other person, a statement about me, and a statement about my relationship with the person I’m giving the present to. Sometimes I get inspired for gifts by the person, the party, or an item. The one for Elizabeth I based on her and the one for Anne I based off of a fun mirror I found at Claire’s.

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I started off coming across this mirror in Claire’s the morning of the party and finally figured out the inspiration for Anne’s gift…Snow White! Anne is very quiet, reserved, and she has dark hair so she has always reminded me of snow white since I met her. Even though she was turning 17 girls are never too old to feel like princesses.

After I had my theme I had a better idea of what I wanted to get. I kind of wanted it to stay childish so while browsing through Hobby Lobby I found the perfect puzzle to go with the mirror

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And a girly fairytale-esque bag to put the princess gift in!

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Now as I mentioned I was putting this together the morning of the party so I was a little rushed. If I had more time I probably would have thrown in a cute girly tiara or maybe some sort of apple candy to tie it all together, but it ended up still being a great gift for Anne.

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The gift for Elizabeth was a little easier. She’s definitely a child at heart and she’s always the one to bring baked goodies to school or to parties. I based her gift off of these two qualities.

First, I grabbed an inexpensive basket. Some baskets can be pricey so choose carefully if you go this route. I really like using them because I think it can display the gift rather nicely and be useful to the receiver of the gift afterwards. I’m always on the look out for ones that are less expensive than they are normally.

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This one was only $4 from Walmart! : )

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I saw crayon rings while I was in the bookstore getting something for myself (a John Green book, of course!) and knew that those would be perfect for Emily. After that I grabbed a cute princess coloring book and some glittter glue that was on sale at Walmart. So the child part of the gift was finished. The only thing left was her love of baking. For that I bought a mason jar and then used my recipe for Triple Chocolate Cookies to make “cookies in a jar.”

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The finished product for Elizabeth!

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Happy Birthday to two sweet girls!

Triple Chocolate Cookies in a Jar Recipe

These are delicious and practical!!  I love giving gifts like this because the receiver of the gift doesn’t need to feel pressured to eat the cookies quickly. They can wait till a time that is convenient for them and it’s so much simpler to bake when most of the ingredients have been put together for you!  Be careful giving this gift though, if you know the person you might be giving them to hates baking and has complained about don’t think that taking out a couple steps is going to make them like it.  At that point just give the finished product instead.  It’s just as yummy and sweet!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

In a mason jar pour in the flour, baking soda, white sugar, and brown sugar. 

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Then push in all of the different types of chocolate chips and put the lid on!

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Only one more step! On a piece of paper print or write out the baking instructions for the cookies and attach it to the jar.

Directions:

Empty contents of jar into a large bowl. In separate bowl combine 3/4 cup of butter, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until creamy. Add to dry mixture. Drop by tablespoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Enjoy with a big glass of cold milk!

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Oh, and you should probably clean up the probable mess too ; )

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Happy Celebrations!!!

 

 

 

 

To DIY or just buy? 5 questions

Being of the penny-pinching variety I’ve always had a love of DIY. Sites like Pinterest and Etsy have now made DIY “hip” and made being crafty a skill often sought after. However, I’ve found that sometimes Diy is not the way to go. I’m not the only one whose discovered this as we can see by the “nailed it” meme surfacing around the web. I myself have pinned hundreds of projects that I want to do, but it is best to consider what should be done and what should be bought. To help me limit my projects I’ve come up with some basic guidelines.

1) Will it cost more to make this item than to buy it?

There have been a few projects I’ve wanted to do (such as homemade Christmas cards) that would’ve costed more to make than to simply buy. The other downside for this was that I could buy Christmas cards that I would like just as much which made the project totally pointless. This is fairly unreasonable unless the answer to question 2 is yes.

2) Is it unique?

Sometimes objects that are DIY will cost more than one that can just be bought, but the one that is created at home is perfectly unique or simply more fitting than the one that’s bought. For instance, once I get shoes it will work with I will be glittering the soles. I’ve never seen any that I could buy so I know I will have to make them and I think the money and time spent doing it will be well worth it when people notice the small but impacting detail.

3) Will it take you 2,000 years to make it?

Time is money and going with the same principle as question 1 we would never make anything unless it is unique. The key is to add money and time together. So if a lot of money is saved, but it takes a decent amount of time it may still be worth it to go through with the craft. Many place holders and napkin rings can be made for less than you would buy them for even if it takes a little longer to make. So those two items are ones I would almost never buy even if it does take some time. This is also largely based off of how much time you, personally, have to spare.

4) How much will you enjoy or hate this project?

As far as Diy goes I know there are some things I never want to do it again (I took up and put down the carpet in my bedroom all by myself last year and I can assure you I will NEVER do that again). We all have different dislikes and likes, so while I now hate carpet someone else may have had a much better experience with this. Have you ever seen a floor made with pennies? I love painting particularly when it’s small repetitive details, but I have friends that would have to be taken to an asylum if they attempted a task that had a lot of that. So before deciding on the project think about what it entails and if you will get joy out of it or be foaming at the mouth afterward.

5) Will it make a big difference?

This is sort of a difficult question because little things can make a big difference (i.e. candy serving trays, a spray painted soap dispenser, or doilies tied to glasses). It is more about deciding what is the MOST important and prioritizing before you start the projects. Which is going to make more of an impact at your barn party – a hula-hoop chandelier or farm animal placeholders? For me it would be the placeholders because I am known for being very young at heart and I would like the sort of childishness it would add to the party. I know that for a friend of mine the hula-hoop chandelier would be more important because she’s more about the glitz and glamour.

In the end it’s all about what you feel is important and what you can accomplish.