Harry Potter Party on a Budget

(This post contains Amazon affiliate links.)

ERH MA GERD, HEGWERTS! You know the meme I’m talking about.

I transformed my apartment into Hogwarts this weekend for my daughter’s birthday. When I say, “I”, I mean a very lovely group of humans helped me transform my home into Hogwarts. I try to pick themes for my daughter that are her latest obsessions. Last year was Moana and that as of late it has been Harry Potter.

Once the theme is in place, I spend hours, and I mean HOURS, on Pinterest looking up what all the other cool moms are doing. I then almost always go overboard with ideas, which is why a budget is NECESSARY for me. I mean, you’re only going to use these decorations for a couple of hours and then you are done, so why spend an exuberant amount?

LET’S DIVE IN.

9 ¾ Platform

I absolutely was committed to having a platform coming into my home. I used fadeless bulletin board paper, a sponge, and a mixture of red and brown acrylic paint since I already had these items. In efforts to save money, this can be done on craft paper, backside of wrapping paper or a tablecloth that can be purchased at Dollar Tree. Seriously, this project was my favorite and I spent nothing on it.

Hogwarts Acceptance Letters

Another SUPER EASY craft was the acceptance letters. I saw so many ideas on Pinterest where you could easily spend too much. I had some envelopes on hand and already had the red paint, so I cut the sponge I already was using into a circle to make the red wax stamp. I only had to purchase the clear nylon thread to string them up. If you need envelopes, get them at Dollar Tree.

Chamber of Secrets

I have never decorated the bathroom for a party before, so this was definitely extra, but so worth it. I bought a red bingo marker, you guessed it, at Dollar Tree. I also just printed out the Ministry of Magic Logo and Moaning Myrtle to add some minor details. NOT PICTURED, but I also strung up my daughter’s stuffed animal cat, like Mrs. Norris. TOO FAR? My guests thought it was hilarious.

Hogwarts Photo Wall

Let me just explain this, I went OVERBOARD. I honestly took down all my home décor and put up something more in relations to Hogwarts. I have a family photo wall and I just printed out my favorites. Everyone questioned my placement, but I’m sorry, Snape is a HERO. If you don’t have a photo wall, any frames will work. If you need some frame, these can easily be purchased at Dollar Tree, or just hang up the prints on an open wall. I did not print these through a photo service, just my home printer, which if you can’t tell, I was running real low on red ink.

Daily Prophet Photo Booth

I found a bunch of copies just by searching the internet and formatted them to print on a regular size of paper. I will say I had a nice shortcut and was able to print the quantity I needed over at our leasing office for free, but these can also be printed super cheap at home or at Staples. I created the prop for the photo booth with a foam board that I bought from Dollar Tree and then just printed out the wording.

General Décor

I used several of my own home décor items, but I also asked family and friends for random vintage items. I was able to collect a very random assortment of candle holders, skulls, trunks and bottles. It may not always be the case for everyone, so try your local thrift shops. I had the best luck at Good Will and walked out with some AMAZING finds.

Like this make shift cage for my little Hedwig I bought on Amazon. (Also, that is a wrapped broomstick with plastic bags on the end, again, SUPER CHEAP.)

I made potion bottles out of liquor bottles. I asked my friends to hold on to their liquor bottles and came to collect way too many. If this is not an option, DOLLAR TREE. I saw a bunch of random bottles that can be used in place of this. I do not really want to get into the science experiments we put inside these bottles, I will just say this, milk, lemon juice, and hot sauce. I also got a packet of glitter from Dollar Tree to add some extra magic.

SIDE NOTE: I didn’t have a chessboard so I got one from Dollar Tree.

Flying EVERYTHING

Since I already purchased the clear nylon thread, I hung up some floating LED candles I had and I purchased skeleton keys to hang up. I definitely failed to get a picture of either of these so just really use that imagination, or go over to Pinterest and you will see that I just copied what a hundred other mothers already have done.

Minor Details

I also REALLY wanted some chocolate coins for an added detail. I searched high and low for them and found them to be cheapest at Party City. I also wrapped some mini chocolate bars with these prints to just make a tiny detail that everyone loved.

Happee Birthdae Sign

I just stopped over at Michael’s and got some scrapbooking paper. I literally threw this together for only $3. I printed the letters on the yellow cardstock and then just cut them to shape. SUPER EASY, SUPER CHEAP.

Wands

I don’t think you can away with this party without a few wands. I made some with a hot glue gun, but it did not go well, so then I made them with modeling clay that I purchased at Dollar Tree. NOTE: I did not realize this modeling clay would never harden, so my wands were still a little squishy, but at the end of the day, they were only used a few times and were mostly there for décor.

Hogwarts House Flags

POSTER BOARD + PRINTED SIGILS = DONE. It’s that simple. I also thought about doing these on table cloths which would still be very cheap if you shop at Dollar Tree like me.

Blue Slime Pensieve Bowl

I made some blue slime, which was by far my daughter’s favorite part. It is super easy to make and a lot of fun for kids! Also, I found the perfect bowl for it at Good Will.

Honey Dukes

Now, I have mostly been detailing the décor because that is my favorite department to budget, but here a few treat ideas that can add to the décor. I would say my favorite detail was the chocolate frogs, which I did “splurge” and get this mold on Amazon.

Sorting Hat Cheese “Ball”

I saw this idea on Pinterest and knew I had to have it. It was so much easier than it looks and honestly a favorite to all guests. It’s not super expensive to make, but just a food detail that adds to the decorations. I just used my favorite recipe for a cheese ball (you can use whatever you’d like) and added bread crumbs to the outside.

Overall, this was a BLAST for me. I may have had a minor meltdown during the process of decorating, baking and cooking, but it all came together with a few helpful hands by my side. SHOUT OUT TO MY MOM, she’s my hero in the kitchen. Seriously, do not try this alone, but if you are capable of doing it all on your own, can you please tell me your secrets?

Mila’s Second Birthday

It has been over a week and I still cannot believe that my little one has turned TWO. In celebration of her second birthday, we chose a theme based on her favorite movie, Moana. It was an absolute blast putting it all together and seeing it unfold. Even though I went a wee bit overboard with the planning and had a few sleepless nights, it was all worth it for her and the memory.

She has always been a bit shy in a room filled with lots of people, but she did a great job coming out of her shell and dancing to her favorite music. I know that while others may be completely bored watching a toddler run around, I could not take my eyes off of her. I was completely mesmerized by how many people came together to celebrate my daughter. It was an absolutely heart warming experience.

I decided on an even bigger balloon arch this year and in total needed around 200 BALLOONS. I strongly recommend getting an air pump to tackle this project or just do what I did and have several friends blow them up. WARNING: LIPS MAY TURN BLUE AFTER BLOWING UP NEARLY 50 BLUE BALLOONS.

I have to say, while I enjoyed every aspect of this party, I absolutely loved the baking that we did. I obviously did not do it all alone, I would have failed miserably if it were not for my mother. I did however come up with several of the ideas so I like to give myself some (very minor) credit.

It was a very different experience with the “cake smash” this year. I set the cake down for Mila to go to town, but she immediately began to fuss. It was eventually discovered that she was demanding a fork. I am raising such a lady.

I mean, how adorable (and affordable) is this little costume?

It has been an absolute treat watching her personality come to life. I have heard numerous times that “the terrible twos” are a year to remember and while she has already begun the tantrums, I cannot explain how gracefully she goes through them. I mean, even I threw a minor tantrum last week when I accidentally shrunk my favorite shirt and there was NOTHING graceful about that. I am so excited to see what the next year has in store for my little one.

Christmas Traditions

I cannot believe Christmas Eve is already TOMORROW. I have been counting down the days just like when I was kid because I am overly excited about celebrating Mila’s VERY FIRST CHRISTMAS! It’s been something I have thought about since I found out I was pregnant. I love Christmas that much. I have been considering what traditions I wanted to start for my family and cannot wait to see how the weekend turns out.

I was overwhelmed by the success I had with all of her pictures, so I decided to share quite a few of them. I mean, I could not just pick of them, she’s just TOO CUTE.

Look at that cute little baby butt!


Now that we have had a cuteness overdose, back to our family traditions! Since my very First Christmas, my mom would buy my sister and I a unique ornament and now I have an awesome collection on my tree. I absolutely had to do this for Mila since it is by far one of my favorites. Something new that I have always loved and wanted to do was matching pajamas for the entire family. Connor’s family celebrates Christmas Day in their pajamas all day so I thought this would be a fun way to continue that tradition for Connor and our new family.

Tomorrow, we will be spending the day with my family, which will include lots of movies, baking, cooking, and presents in the evening just like usual. I cannot remember when we started this tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve, but I believe it was because my parents were so eager to gift us our presents. Christmas Day we will be celebrating with Connor’s family which, like I mentioned, we will be wearing our pajamas all day and have friends and family over to celebrate. I can already imagine that Mila will be the star of the show this weekend.

It’s exciting to begin some new and old traditions with both of our families combined. I am eager to see our family traditions expand over the years to come!

LET THE FESTIVITIES BEGIN!

Connor’s Graduation


I cannot believe I got to watch my boyfriend graduate this past weekend from Metropolitan State University of Denver. He graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, which is literally rocket science. I definitely do not brag enough about how lucky I am to have such a hard working companion by my side. I mean, not only has he been working to complete this degree, he also works full time and continues to be very active in his family life.


I would simply like to say, CONGRATULATIONS to my man and his hard work. I cannot wait to see where this takes our family. I know that whatever Connor ends up doing with (or without) his degree he will be amazing at it.

Someone in one of Connor’s group projects this past year actually gifted this adorable onesie to him when he returned to classes after Mila was born. It was the perfect fit for his graduation ceremony and she may have stolen the show a bit from all the graduates!