3 Free Party Planning Resources

Planning a party big or small can be overwhelming. From the food to the decorations to the activities… there are a lot of aspects to cover. Today we’ve gathered some resources to help you keep organized while your plotting the details of your next soiree!

Party Planning Checklist by Handmade Charlotte. How cute is this printable?

Party Planning Checklist by Handmade Charlotte

Kids Birthday Party Planning Checklist by Catch My Party. This handy list is great if you are planning a party for your little one!

Kids’ Birthday Party Checklist by Catch My Party

Birthday Party Printables by delicateCONSTRUCTION. These four printables will have all your party prep bases covered.

Printables by delicateCONSTRUCTION.

Do you make a checklist when you are planning a party?

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Happy New Year! Looking Back to the Best of 2012!

Image from the Huffington Post.

Happy New Year to all our readers and supporters out there! It was a fantastic year in 2012, we were able to help bring joy and relief to hundreds of kids in San Jose during their birthday months. And in 2013 we hope to reach even more :). With 2012 behind us it is important to reflect back on what was good, so today we have our top 5 posts from this past year! You guys really like to craft don’t you ;)!

Make A Birthday Wishes Top 5 Posts in 2012:

  1. DIY Decorations: Paper Stars – A great tutorial for handmade paper stars perfect for a party or just because!
  2. DIY Party Decorations: Pennant Banner – Both fabric and paper options abound in this post!
  3. DIY Owl Crafts: Part 1 – Seriously adorable owl crafts at a variety of difficulty levels! Who doesn’t love owls?
  4. DIY Crafts: Button Bracelets – So simple and so cute. These make great little gifts or packaging additions.
  5. 3 Party Favor Packing Ideas We Love – And apparently you love these unique ideas too!

What was your favorite post this past year? And what would you like to see more of in 2013?

If you are interested in supporting what we do at Make A Birthday Wish or learning more you can go to our website by clicking here. Have a great New Year’s Day!

Make A Birthday Wish is Wishing You A Merry Christmas!

Tree1Hello fellow bloggers, readers, and supporters of Make A Birthday Wish! It’s been a great year, we’ve helped bring birthday joy to a lot of children in San Jose and it has been amazing to spend time with such special children. But there is so much more work to do and we are excited to be gearing up for another year of birthdays for even more kids in need.

We wanted to take the opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! And to remind ourselves and our readers to keep in mind what the holidays are really about. Presents, cookies, and turkey dinners are nice, but this time of year is about precious time spent with the people we love and care about. So today (and hopefully everyday) hug your loved ones tight, tell them you love them, and focus on the memories you are making. One way we like to remember the real joy behind these holidays is to focus on giving. Giving more than gifts, giving time, attention, and energy to those around us. Giving to those that are truly in need. What are you giving this year for Christmas?

DIY Christmas Ornaments!

There are a ton of tutorials out there for crafting your own ornaments. Handmade ornaments not only look great on your tree, but they also make fantastic (and affordable) gifts! Crafting a new ornament each year could also be a special holiday tradition you start with your friends or family. And if your family isn’t down to craft you could see if there is a craft swap nearby where fellow crafters get together and swap handmade ornaments. Check out these tutorials for dozens upon dozens of DIY ornaments!

25 Christmas Ornaments To Make

This collection of tutorials comes from The Ornament Girl and is full of really beautiful decorations.

The Best Handmade Christmas Ornaments

We would expect nothing but the best from Martha Stewart! These tutorials are really divine and the results are awesome!

20 Easy Handmade Holiday Ornaments

This collection comes from HGTV and several tutorials involve easy-to-find natural materials!

Do you usually make ornaments for your tree? Feel free to share pictures 🙂

Our Favorite Cookie In A Jar Recipes

Cookies are amazing any time of the year, but fresh baked cookies at Christmas time takes amazing to an all new level. If you are looking for great cookie recipes to bake up for a party or searching for a great gift idea we think you’ll love these recipes we have collected from around the web. Some of the recipes even accommodate special dietary needs (vegan & gluten free).

Cranberry Hootycreeks from All Recipes

Cranberry Hootycreeks – Recipe from All Recipes.

These cookies look great in the jar and taste delightful. You could even change out the cranberries, chocolate chips, and nuts to suit your personal tastes. Dried currants, walnuts, & white chocolate chips could be a lovely combination! This recipe would make a great gift for a neighbor, coworker, or as a hostess/host gift if you are visiting family or friends over the holidays.

Julia’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies – Recipe from All Recipes.

Chocolate chip cookies rank at the top of most people’s favorite cookie lists. Simple, chocolatey goodness. This recipe is very delicious and again provides opportunity for experimentation (different kinds of chocolate chips, or swapping chocolate chips for M&M’s etc..). If you aren’t sure what cookies your friend would want, chocolate chip is a safe bet.

Gluten Free & Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies – Recipe from Oh She Glows

This recipe promises thin, crisp, and chewy chocolate chip cookies that even those on the most restricted diets can enjoy. But don’t get us wrong, these cookies aren’t really a compromise. They are kind of amazing. Angela’s recipe uses a mix of almond & oat flour to create this crowd pleasing cookie. Scroll to the bottom of her post to see the recipe!

Vegan & Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies From Oh She Glows

Gingerbread Men Cookie Mix In A Jar – Recipe from Food For My Family

These gingerbread men are tasty and adorable. We love the idea of attaching cookie cutters to the jar to really complete the gift! We love this recipe for a holiday staple! Shaina even included free printables—holiday gifting can’t get much easier!

Gingerbread Men In A Jar Recipe from Food For My Family

Have you ever given cookies in a jar before? What are your favorite recipes?

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4 Handmade Gift Tutorial Collections We Love

We hope you had a wonderful and loving Thanksgiving! But with the next round of holidays right around the corner there is little time to catch your breath. Don’t worry, we’ve collected some links to great tutorials for you and your kids to make handmade gifts this year! Handmade gifts can save money and are so much more personal. Oh and there are a lot of ways to reuse materials or repurpose scraps—making the handmade option more green! If you don’t have time to hand make gifts this year you should think about supporting artists and crafters that do hand make beautiful things on sites like Etsy! These tutorials make great gifts for kids and adults alike! We love the blog Everything Etsy, and she has rounded up 101 Simple Handmade Gift Tutorials for Kids! These would be great for your kids to make for their friends, or for you to make for them!

101 Simple Handmade Gifts for Kids by Everything Etsy

The 36th Avenue Blog has a list of 21 handmade gifts for guys! Great for husbands, boyfriends, dads, brothers, or just friends! Definitely worth checking out!

21 Handmade Gifts for Guys from 36th Avenue

The Huffington Post even came out with a list of last-minute handmade gift ideas that is worth perusing! These are great small gifts that would be worth making to have on hand for those times when someone unexpected comes over for the Holidays!

Homemade Gift Ideas: Quick and Easy Last-Minute Gifts by The Huffington Post

The blog The Tip Junkie is another great go-to gift-making guide. We love her collection of hand-made gifts you can see here.

Tip Junkie’s Homemade Gift Tutorials

 

Are you trying homemade gifts this year? Need some ideas? Let us know what you want to learn to do!

What We Are Thankful For…

Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers and friends out there. We wanted to use today as an opportunity to give thanks and show appreciation. First and foremost, thank you to all the children in San Jose that we have had the opportunity to celebrate birthday’s with. You inspire and touch us every single time. All the planning and hard work are more than worth the smiles on your faces.

Thank you to all our donors and volunteers—the people that make Make A Birthday Wish so wonderful. Without you we wouldn’t be able to bring birthday joy to hundreds of needy children in the Bay Area. We appreciate your generosity and kindness, and so do all the children that Make A Birthday Wish helps.

Thank you to our readers and supporters here on our blog. We love reading your posts and hope that you find our mission and our messages bright, fun, and useful.

What are you thankful for on this Thanksgiving day?

Bring On The Pumpkin This Thanksgiving with Pumpkin Irish Soda Bread!

Pumpkin Irish Soda Bread – Image by Luxury Recipes

There are a few things we love here at Make A Birthday Wish. First and foremost we love giving, and anything birthdays comes in a close second. If you read our blog regularly you also might pick up on the fact that we love pumpkin! And not just at this time a year. Pumpkin is such a nutritional treat, and it definitely deserves to be in more than just pie this Thanksgiving. So today we have a recipe for Pumpkin Irish Soda Bread to share with you!

Pumpkin Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic white all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup organic whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp. organic brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup organic pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup organic dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. n a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and nutmeg.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree and milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until moistened, then add the dried cranberries and stir until combined.
  4. Knead dough a few times by hand, then shape into a loaf and place on the prepared baking sheet. Score the top of the loaf.
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Cool for at least 30 minutes prior to slicing.

What are your favorite pumpkin dishes for Thanksgiving?

3 Recipes for Fall Get Togethers!

Halloween is almost here and we are well into Fall! The cool air, changing leaves, and flavors of the season are some of our favorite at Make A Birthday Wish. Today we’ve collected 3 recipes that would be great to serve at any Fall birthday party, tailgate, or family get together. They are super yummy and we promise, they will impress your guests!

Give traditional hummus a fall makeover with pumpkin! It gives the hummus a lovely orange color and a long list of healthy vitamins & minerals!

Pumpkin Hummus – Recipe from Food.Com

Pumpkin Hummus – Recipe from Food.Com

Looking to mix up your traditional granola bar or cookie? Give these tasty treats from the blog My Baking Addiction a try! And yup, you guessed it, they have pumpkin in them!

Pumpkin Granola Bars – Recipe & Photo from My Baking Addiction

Pumpkin Granola Bars – Recipe & Photo from My Baking Addiction

If you are looking for the perfect desert for any fall gathering, look no further than this recipe for a decadent pumpkin roll!

Pumpkin Roll – Recipe from Pinch My Salt

Pumpkin Roll – Recipe & Image from Pinch My Sakt

We think these recipes are fantastic, and would complete any party menu! But we want to know what you think. Let us know if you try out any of these recipes! We’ve had great results!

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4 Colorful Birthday Party Inspirations

At Make A Birthday Wish we love color! And we love bringing color and joy into the birthday parties we throw for children in need in San Jose. This week we wanted to share 4 of our favorite colorful inspirations from around the web that you can use when you are planning your next party! So let the color begin!

Rainbow Cake Pop Display  – You could easily recreate this colorful and whimsical cake pop display at home. It is so cheery right?!!

Rainbow Cake Pop Display, Image from Pizzazzerie.

Tissue Paper Chandeliers – These are so gorgeous and would be pretty simple to recreate!

Tissue Paper Chandelier, Image from Style Me Pretty

Rainbow Layered Birthday Cake – This cake is gorgeous and we’ve linked the image to a how-to so you can make your own!

Rainbow Layered Birthday Cake

The Birthday Balloon Wreath – This awesome tutorial comes from Six Sister’s Stuff. It is so colorful and simple to make!

Birthday Balloon Wreath from Six Sister’s Stuff

Which is your favorite colorful birthday how-to?