Category: frugal living

A Hobbit Birthday Party LOTR Party ideas and free printables

I love parties. My husband loves the Lord of the Rings. How did I decide on a Hobbit party when I can’t even stay awake an hour into the movies? WELL, my favorite part of those movies has always been the SHIRE. Could it be because it is in the first 20 minutes of the film? Possibly. My simple brain can’t handle complicated plot lines, blue filtered battling/action sequences or keep track of too many characters with unusual names, but it has always appreciated the tranquility and simplicity of the green pastured Hobbiton.

That and those Hobbits know how to party!

Dancing, music, food, fun, speeches, paper lantern decorations, Squeeeeee!!! That totally caught my attention and excitement watching the film with the hubs this time around (or my attempt to watch it). And in that moment was born the idea that it was absolutely NECESSARY to celebrate our birthdays in Hobbit style (our birthdays are one day apart, or I guess technically he’s exactly a day short of a year older than me. We have had joint birthday parties every year since we started dating. This is our 6th year. I know. Sappy cuteness.)

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The best and most surprising part about putting this party together was the keen interest and involvement the Mr. suddenly seemed to have about the party. I’m the party girl, he usually (typically reluctantly) just goes with it. But not this time around. This was a LOTR party. You should have seen him the night before the party whipping up Lembas Bread and seed cakes as if he were trying to save middle earth from starvation. paper-lanterns

He seriously went NUTS with the food part of it. It was utterly awesome. Which left me some time to do a bit of decorating. Here is a great tutorial for paper lanterns that I used.  Here is a download of patterns I used to cut the shapes:

[Download not found]

 

You may have gotten hints from this and this and other posts that I’m quite cheap, or we’ll say.. resourceful. Here is a pennant banner that I came up with using wrapping paper that I had around.create-easy-pennant-banner

Some signage to welcome guests… Here is the DOWNLOAD.

Download “speak friend and enter” speak-friend-and-enter.pdf – Downloaded 292 times – 2 MB

 

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This was fun. We thought it proper that we use mugs for the drinks but we didn’t have enough in our stash to serve the masses, so we headed to Deseret Industries (thrift store) and bought LOTRish looking mugs. Thrice washed and rinsed, it became the drink holder for our guests and the party favor. Here are the tags I designed for the mugs. It also serves as a way to label them with names during the party. Here is the download

Download “Hobbit party Tag” hobbit-party-tag.pdf – Downloaded 283 times – 96 KB

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The Lembas Bread has a hit! It was cute to even hear our little ‘hobbit’ two year old request, “Mo Lembas peeze” after he gobbled piece after piece. It was quite the delight of my LOTR loving hubs. Here is the lembas bread recipe used.

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It would be tricky to have a Hobbit party without Bilbo’s favorite snack! Seed Cakes. Here is the recipe we used. 

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Food, food and even more food!  Ahh, everything was so so delicious. Did I mention the husband went crazy with the food?? He did amazing, if I say so myself. The Hobbit’s delight (top right corner of picture series above) was my favorite…Bacon and mushrooms, how could you go wrong?? Here is the recipe used.

flower-hair-garland-for-hobbit-partyI  There was a little little corner set up to let the Hobbit ladies make some sassy hair garlands. I hung up some instructions that explained how to make a tissue paper flower, here is the link.hobbit-party-costume

I was more than excited to see our good friends go all out with their costumes!!  They looked specular don’t you think?!?!lembas-in-mallorn-leaf

Not only that but they even surprised us with our very own Lembas Bread pouches to take on our adventures!!! Can you believe my friend MADE these??? HOLY AMAZING. She’s so creative. Here is a tut.

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Here is the download for the ‘Happy Birthday’ Signage (without our names of course)

[Download not found]

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Here is the cake. Nothing special, just used a cake mix and this frosting. I decided  this is my new favorite frosting recipe!

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Happy Birthday to us! YAY!!!!

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Little hobbit man helping blow out candles.

LOTR-bilbos-party-fireworksCan’t have a hobbit party without fireworks!  Good thing I had some sparklers stashed around…paper-lantern

Paper lanterns at night.

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And we even had (borrowed) a fire pit to cozy up and sing us some LOTR songs. Ooooh, it was so fun!

I’m happy with the way everything turned out, for a hubby that helped make it happen and friends that made it simply AWESOME. Thanks!!!

Checkout more party ideas and printables on this bloggity.

3 ways to repurpose a baby wipe container (w/ free printable labels!)

repurpose-baby-wipe-containers

If you’ve wiped enough little bums in your life, you likely have a lotta those plastic wipe containers laying around (or regrettably them thrown away now that you’ve see this post, ha! No worries, start collecting now or steal them from your little-bum-wipping neighbor :D.)   With enough of them around I realized that I could ingeniously reuse them for other things my life needed beyond the wipe holdin’.

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1. Grocery bag dispenser.  I use this a ton! I can finally use up those piles of grocery sacks that we get each week by stuffing them in my wipes containers.  I keep a dispenser under my bathroom sinks to line garbages and next to baby changing stations to take soiled diapers out and line diaper waste baskets. Ah. Simply awesome. And because I want to you enjoy this trick of the trade as soon as possible in the most fashionable way I created a printout of the label for your dispenser.

Download “Baggies PDF” baggie-wipes.pdf – Downloaded 191 times – 145 KB

 

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2. Crayons container.  Round up all those crayons in this niffy box. See a straggler crayon lying around? Slip it back in place one-handedly with the pop of an easy-to-openlid. Want your littles picasso’s to doodle up some crayon art, take of the main lid and let them have full access.

Download “Crayons label” printable.pdf – Downloaded 177 times – 2 MB

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3. Cars box. This is insanely popular with my little boys (1 and 3 yr right now). It solved the problem of little matchbox cars with no homes and eased much of the “That’s my car!!” fit since they each get their own box with cars that they can call their own. Oh, and it is hours of entertainment for them just pushing the that pop lid open and stuff their cars through the hole. Then they open the main lid dump the cars and start over.  I let my dude go crazy and put stickers all over his but I also created a free downloadable printable ‘cars box’ label that even has a space for you to personalize your little dues box with his (or her!) name.

 

Download “Cars label for wipes box” cars-wipe-container-labels.pdf – Downloaded 154 times – 1 MB

 

If you think of any other brilliant ways to use a wipes container or just want a generic label (don’t want ‘baggies’ on your  labels for some reason) that you can use this blank printable to your hearts content.

 

Download “Blank Label” blank-wipe-container.pdf – Downloaded 176 times – 282 KB

 

Tell us your brilliant ways to repurpose wipes containers in comments below, we all want to hear!

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Top 7 things I love and have learned about living on a small student income

love-living-smYes, you read right..things I LOVE about NOT having too much money around.  Sure it can be sometimes frustrating pinching pennies, passing up wishes and outings because the bank account doesn’t measure up but living like this my entire married life has taught me that I can still be extraordinarily happy with the little money we have and make what we have totally sufficient for our needs.   And a human’s needs financially are actually much more minuscule than what most of us think.
Here are my 7 top reasons I love being about “poor” (even though quite honestly I know we really aren’t) .

Living simply: Although there are plenty of things I see that might be nice to have it is almost refreshing to know that I won’t get it simply because we can’t afford it (and because we actually don’t really need it). It almost immediately excludes me from the trend race, you know, the one that makes me feel like I should compete in getting the greatest and latest things all the time. In the end I find that I’m totally content with what I have and what I felt I needed wasn’t even necessary. In fact, I’ve found that diving into that empty trend race really only makes me want MORE. There is ALWAYs something greater, cuter, more convenient, faster, smarter, always making me feel like what I have is never enough. Choosing to be happy with what you have is the ONLY way that you will ever feel satisfied.

Smaller quarters. Being able to only afford a small place to live has also helped us live simpler.  It is easier to clean, keep and maintain a smaller space and smaller amount of things. We don’t have that much room to feel like we need more things, because we honestly don’t have room to put it, not to mention afford it. We live in just about every square inch of our place and try to use it to the fullest. I strive to make it as functional as possible (definitely a work in progress). It is rewarding  when you feel like you are making the most out of what you have. Which brings me to my next point

Making the most out of everything: Since I know that I can’t just run out to the store to buy whatever I want or need when I want it encourages an extra push of creativity, upcycling, repurposing and thorough use of most everything.  Two simple examples: I wanted to tackle the mail and paper mess in our house. My friend had a very cute wire file organizer on her wall from potty barn and I wanted to mimic the same concept. I found a long sturdy box that I cut in half to make two boxes, wrapped them with wrapping paper, added labels, stapel gunned them to our wall, filled them found cute folders I already had in a filing box and now we have any organized way to contain our mail and papers.

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The second example is I wanted a place to organize our shoe explosion by our front door and was thinking of getting a shoe shelf but before I ran out with cash in hand to get one I had to think…”hmmm, what do I have already that might work for what I want here? Something flat like a shelf: piece of wood here. And something that would help it be just slightly above the ground. Nail empty tin cans?? Sure, why not. And in just a few minutes I went from a shoe mountain to sweet little organized ‘shoe corner’, as we say  to our kids, for a home to the tender little shoes of my wee ones. Some might say total ghetto, but I LOVE it. It’s functional, was so simple to make, and it warms my mother heart to see those little shoes all lined up like that.

Budget and careful planning:  As things have gotten progressively tighter with the growth our family and less time for me to work we have learned it essential to budget our all our expenses since frivolous spending is just not an option anymore. We carefully evaluate purchases and really use whatever it is we get. We are still learning how to improve our spending habits, budget and how to allocate our money get the most out of it. It is not just about what stuff you can get with how much money, it is more importantly the discipline learned with budgeting and the reward of being able to control your money and not let it control you.

Career push: To make ends meet I do some freelance on the side. I love what I do but had we not been as tight as we are I would have felt less need to carefully plan out my time and energy to squeeze in a few hours a week. It has not been easy trying to bring a few extra bucks but it has helped me develop my skills, learned use my time wisely, and brought a lot of satisfaction.

Home cooked meals and meal planning: Going out to eat is rarely an option and with the necessity of having to eat and feed a family starting right at me I had to buckle down and get organized (whaaaa??) to get us some meals on the table. Since I really struggled with it I deviced a meal plan that has been working quite fabulously for us. And guess what?  Family meal time is SO valuable. Chatting, giggling, sharing, eating healthy home cooked meals, what could be better for your soul!??

Finding joys in the basics: I’m finding that we don’t really need much to be happy.  The basics that keep us alive can also bring us plenty of happiness. When we don’t have much to spend we can’t really afford to be distracted by things to get and do beyond the basics. It keeps us humble, grounded and growing. It helps us keep love and God near. I’m not saying the lack of money equates goodness nor I’m not saying money it is of its self is bad. Of course it is great and can help us and others do great things but I think if I can learn happiness now and remember how full our lives were with little and all the joys and things are learned from it then I can remember to be happy in the future when money might come more freely. My ultimate hope is that I can learn to live a rich enough life living simply so we can freely give help to enrich the life of others. Now that is happy.

What tricks have you found to help make ends meet and cherish what you DO have?.