Our Homemade Birthday Party on a Budget 

I can’t believe little s will be 1 year old, it’s crazy how fast time goes, I want it to go slower and my babies to stay little forever 😉 well maybe not forever I’m excited to see them grow and learn and enjoy life. These past few months have been a struggle financially, the uni years with children and with me still recovering from my pregnancy we just have to do the best we can, then our car broke, we scraped to pay for it, then it broke again with us all in it at night on the motorway…. That was scary! Luckily my mum was able to come and collect me and the kids so we were safe. But the car was too expensive to fix so had to be scraped. So for little s birthday we used a lot of what we already had, I’d collected things during the year, offers etc and birthday presents and Christmas we always get in sales and put them away, we don’t go overboard I personally don’t feel the need for them to have a mountain of presents from us. My eldest daughter made the owl cake with help from her hubby, little s loves owls so we went with an owl theme and as it’s Halloween pumpkins too. So this is what we put together.
Party Bags

The brown paper party bags were the cheapest kind of paper bag on Amazon, I then printed out the owls and stuck them on for the contents, as it’s Halloween the sweets are on offer at most stores so we got a selection that would also be for if we have any visitors at our door in the evening. I bought a large box of crayons from the £1 shop a while back a few colours were put in the bag and the rest used for a colouring activity. I made 3x Playdoh for the children to play with during the party and so they could take some home with them too, along with a play doh mat. I searched the Internet for some printable Playdoh mats then laminated them, there are so many free printable resources which leads me onto..

I bought a cheap plastic brown tablecloth from Amazon and a hessian happy birthday banner which I wouldn’t of got had I realised there was ample free printables on the internet that would of been great, I always have plenty of card for crafts and ink for the printer we get when its on offer, so I printed out little s name, some pumpkins, owls and photos from her first year to make into a number 1. Balloons seem to be much cheaper on Amazon I needed them for her photoshoot so used them for the party too,  I got a number 1 foil balloon and some pink princess and I am 1 latex balloons, we have our own helium tank as it works out cheaper plus we got it with a discount as my hubby gets 10% off at the craft store. We waited until close to the date and managed to get an offer on 2 large pumpkins which we didn’t have time to carve but they still looked good.


I wanted it to be mostly homemade because that is what we eat, and it’s cheaper so I put together a list of our favourite fall foods, little s loves chilli and little t loves baked potatoes and cheese. I made baked beans, coleslaw to go with the baked potato for those that didn’t want chilli and we got a big bag of chicken breast chicken nuggets from Costco, I never touched store bought until I tried these, they are proper chicken breast not minced, of course I prefer to make my own but with everything else I had to make I went with these, mainly for the kids with some homemade cheese and tomato pizza. We put together a section of salad and vegetables with dips. Now for the best part the desserts!! Pumpkin pie, pumpkin loaf, chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate owls and cinnamon rolls. For the chocolate owls I have a silicone owl mound and melted a large bar of galaxy and then did some green and blacks for my kids, green and blacks are expensive in my opinion but worth it, it’s what little t has always had and he loves dark chocolate it’s good pro biotic for him.


Cincinnati Chilli 

750g mince beef
3 medium onions

1TBS chilli powder

1TBS cinnamon

1TBS garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp all spice

Black pepper

3 TBS apple cider vinegar

3 tins chopped tomatoes

3 cups water or 6 if using crock pot

3 cups of cooked kidney beans


You can cook this on a stove top or in a crock pot

Brown the mince and onions add to the crock pot if using along with all the other ingredients except the kidney beans, add these in an hour before serving

On the stove add the spices and black pepper to the mince and onions and cook for about a minute

Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 20-30 minutes

Serve with rice or baked potato

Pizza base

I make all my dough in my bread maker it’s all I use it for.

This recipe makes one 12-14 inch pizza

1/2 cup warm water

1 1/8 tsp dry active yeast

1TBS  raw honey or sugar

1 TBS coconut oil

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour


Put water yeast and sugar in the bread maker and leave for 10 mins to make sure it’s activated, it should start to foam

Then add remainder of the ingredients in order and use the dough setting

If you don’t have a bread maker follow the same steps but instead knead and leave to prove until doubled in size approx an hour do t worry to much about the size or length of time, it is at its best if left but I’ve used it without even rising it at all and it’s still been totally fine.


Half white cabbage shredded 
1 large carrot grated

1/2 cup diced red onion 

2 TBS white vinegar

1/2 cup Mayonnaise

1/2 cup Sour cream

Black pepper
Mix Mayo, sour cream, vinegar and black pepper in a bowl and add cabbage, carrot and onion mix well and refrigerate.

Broccoli and Walnut Salad


2 medium fresh broccoli heads

1 large carrot grated

1/2 cup walnuts

1/4 cup red onion

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 Apple cored and chopped

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup soured cream

2 TBS lemon juice

1tsp sugar

Black pepper


Toast walnuts on a dry skillet for approx 4-5 mins and then chop them finely

Combine chopped broccoli, grated carrot, chopped Apple, onion, walnut and cranberries in a mixing bowl

Mix together mayonnaise, soured cream, lemon juice, sugar and black pepper then pour over mixture and stir until combined.

Chocolate Cupcakes

200g dark chocolate
230g unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/3 all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup milk


Melt chocolate and butter in a pan on low heat

Place in mixing bowl and whisk in sugar and eggs then vanilla

Stir in vinegar then flour, baking soda and milk

Lightly stir to make sure it’s mixed well

Fill cupcake cases 3/4 and bake at 180 degrees c for 25 mins

Chocolate buttercream icing

3 oz softened unsalted butter

6 oz powdered sugar

2 TBS coco powder

2 TBS milk


Beat butter and sift in icing sugar and coco powder adding the milk when needed

Spoon a dollop onto the cupcakes and place owls on the top

Pumpkin Pie Spice 

2TBS Cinnamon

1TBS ginger

1/2TBS allspice

1/2TBS ground cloves

1/2TBS nutmeg


mix well and store in airtight container

Cinnamon Rolls


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2tsp baking soda

2tsp apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup soured cream

3/4 cup buttermilk (make 1 cup using 1 cup milk with 1 TBS lemon juice or vinegar)

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup butter melted

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup golden castor sugar

2tsp cinnamon


4TBS butter softened

4TBS cream cheese

1tsp vanilla extract

2 cups powdered sugar (icing sugar)

Splash of buttermilk


For the dough mix the first 6 ingredients in a mixing bowl, then turn out onto a floured surface and roll out into a rectangle.

Melt the butter and spread over rolled out dough with a pastry brush.

Mix together sugars and cinnamon and spread over the butter evenly.

Roll up the dough and slice into 12 equal rolls and place them in a greased pan with room in between for them to expand.

Bake them in the oven at 180 degrees c for 20-25 mins as soon as they are done pour icing over them.

To make icing mix together butter and cream cheese, add vanilla, powdered sugar and milk and mix until creamy.

Sugar Cookies 

 1 cup softened butter

1 cup golden castor sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 egg

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp Apple cider vinegar

3 cups flour


Preheat oven to 180 degrees c

Cream butter and sugar

Beat in egg and extracts and vinegar

Add flour a little at a time bring together with your hands and turn out on a floured surface roll out and cut.

Gingerbread Owls 

 350g all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1TBS ginger

1TBS cinnamon

125g butter

175g light brown sugar

1 egg

4TBS maple syrup


Add flour, baking soda, ginger and cinnamon to food processor

Add butter and whizz until it resembles breadcrumbs

Add sugar

Lightly beat egg and maple syrup then add to food processor and pulse until dough

Roll out and cut

Pumpkin Spice Playdoh 

2 cups flour

1/2 cup salt

2 TBS pumpkin spice

2 TBS vegetable oil

2 TBS cream of tartar

1 1/2 cups boiling water

Orange or red and yellow food colouring



Mix the first 5 ingredients in a mixing bowl

Add the food colouring to the boiling water then gradually add to the mix

It will be sticky but keep mixing then let it cool

Once cool knead the dough until it’s no longer sticky if it’s too sticky add a bit more flour you don’t want it to go too dry so add a little at a time.

Store in an air tight container or zip lock for approx 6 months

Pumpkin loaf

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

2 eggs

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup golden castor sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 1/2 cups puréed pumpkin


Preheat oven to 350f/180c and grease a loaf pan

Combine flour, baking soda and spices and set aside

Beat eggs until lightened in colour approx 2-3 mins add in. The brown sugar and continue whisking for a further 2 mins then add the castor sugar and whisk till combined.

Melt the coconut oil and slowly pour in whilst mixing

Add pumpkin purée and mix u too combined

Add vinegar then gradually the dry ingredients and mix just till all are combined

Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and bake for 60 -70 mins depending on your oven. Insert a toothpick or skewer to test, it’s ready when it comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the pan then remove to a cooling rack

Whilst loaf is cooling make the frosting

Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup softened unsalted butter

2 TBS puréed pumpkin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups powdered sugar (icing sugar)

2-3 teaspoons of milk


Cream together, butter, cinnamon, puréed pumpkin and vanilla

Add powdered sugar a cup at a time

Add milk gradually until it’s at the consistency you like you don’t want it to runny

Spread over pumpkin loaf


26 thoughts on “Our Homemade Birthday Party on a Budget 

  1. Loving your birthday cake and the brown paper bags (I’m a big fan of them). Looks fab! It just goes to show that you don’t nee to spend loads to have a lovely party 🙂

  2. The food looks delicious! My daughter is turning 2 in just a couple of days and we are putting together a lovely little low-budget celebration for her. We decided on a fall theme which was super simple to decorate for and we were going to bake her cookies instead of doing cake this year. We didn’t go crazy on gifts but she doesn’t get too excited over gifts yet. Lol. Thanks for sharing and good luck to you and your family!

  3. I love how you are planning this birthday party. Honestly, birthday parties don’t have to be extravagant, you can have a great celebration on a budget (my experience for many years). Love your recipes, and the photos of the food definitely make me hungry!

  4. Wow well done you for doing all of this on a budget! Looks great, parties usually ending up costing the earth so this is really reassuring to know that it can be done! xx

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