Confession: Since Alyvia was little, I have gone overboard with birthday parties….and I’m not sorry about it, not even a little. Some moms cook dinner every night to show their love. Not me. My cooking does not scream, “I love you and would do anything for you”. It’s more like, “I hope this doesn’t poison you but I give no guarantees”. I can throw a heck of a theme party though and I love it! My kids know they get to choose a party each year and I’ll give it my best to transform the space. They talk about their themes all year long so I think they love that I do this for them too 😉

Livi chose the Kentucky Derby this year. I can get a little out of control planning….I tend to have perfectionist tendencies. I shopped smart this time though and was really proud of my party budget. Here is a glimpse into our Derby Darling birthday party!

Our invitation from Etsy

Truth be told, I borrow most of my party planning ideas from Pinterest. I occasionally have an original idea that I throw in too.

As you stepped on the front porch, my chalkboard sign was there to welcome you to the party. I purchased this board from Hobby Lobby years ago and I use it for every single party that I host. It was a great investment and I used the 40% off a single purchase coupon that Hobby Lobby always has running, just google “hobby lobby coupon” and it pops up!

As you walk into our house, the sunken living room is immediately in front of you. I decorated here and in the dining area. The second photo shows my living room coffee table. The table runner was one of my most proud decorations. I copied the color scheme from a Pinterest post. I went to Hobby Lobby (notice a trend?!) and purchased 1.5 yards of the striped fabric. I have iron-on fusing web tape from altering the girls dance costumes and I made 2 runners for about $10.50 instead of the $10.99 each on Amazon !! I’m not usually a big budget girl, so this was a huge win for me 😉 The box sitting on the table was a find at Gordman’s for $8.99 this week. I have been looking for something to sit on the coffee table. Not only did this little box fit my decor scheme, but my budget too! I took silk roses from Dollar General ($3/bunch-6 rose stems) and placed them inside to keep with our theme. The fireplace banner was a free download from searching, you guessed it, Pinterest. I printed the letters on cardstock that I already had, cut them out with my paper trimmer (that’s 15 years old!) and hot glued them on some left over ribbon that I had lying around. Boom! Banner done. I have had my letter board (maybe from Homegoods?) for a few months and switched it up for Liv’s day. I hot glued a rose bud to the corner to make it pop a bit and placed it where we had gifts.

I try to keep the food with our theme, but reasonable. I spent way too many years over doing the food and having tons of left overs! Alyvia requested Kentucky hot brown sliders, but since my husband is a pork farmer, pulled pork sliders were our version! Add some “betting chips”, “filly fruit salad”, “derby dill dip” (left over from a gathering I had earlier this week) and we had a delicious lunch. I made Junior Julep punch for the kids and we had lemonade, tea & water for the adults. Junior Julep punch is my go-to kids punch recipe: 2 liter bottle of sprite + your choice Hawaiian punch+ frozen lemonade mixed together. The kids love it! I did splurge a little on the mason jar glasses for our guests. They were all from Dollar General or Dollar Tree though and the total was $24 for all. Chalkboard stickers from Hobby Lobby (that were 50% off this week) gave me the perfect way to add names of Kentucky Derby winners! The paper straws were also a Hobby Lobby grab at 50% off this week 🙂

Our dining area is smaller in this house, but perfect for our family & easy to decorate. I started with a $1 plastic table cloth from Dollar General to not only go with my theme, but protect my wood table! The other striped runner was used on the table also. I borrowed another idea from Pinterest with the “Rose Bowl Trophies”. 2 plastic pots ($1 for both) + silver spray paint, taped to upside down glass vases that I already had and filled with silk rose buds- all from Dollar General! The 3 small horses were good finds at Dollar General as well. Another Derby Darling banner hung above the window-same download as our Run for the Roses banner. The cake and cookies were my biggest cost-and worth every penny! We have a bakery in our small town called Frosted. Not only do I prefer to support local small businesses, but they actually have the BEST cake and frosting. They did the basic chocolate round cake and white frosting for us. Alyvia and I decorated the top with rose buds, a happy birthday stick banner (Dollar General again) and the gray horse. The sugar cookies were frosted like red roses and had metallic gold glitter sugar on top, SO cute! For the cake and cookies, the price was less than $60 so I still think it was a bargain.

Finally, as our guests left out the front door, the back of the chalkboard sign had a goodbye message. The balloon tied to the sign was actually my biggest splurge! I noticed it on our way out of the grocery store and walked to the cashier without checking the price tag…much to my surprise, I left with a $10 balloon!!! It fit so well with our theme though, we had to have it 😉

That’s it. This party was actually one of the most simple parties that I have put together. The space in our new house lends itself to decorating on a budget while still having an obvious theme. I hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as we enjoyed the party! Now onto Colson’s birthday in 6 weeks!

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