Mal’s Birthday: Isolation Style + Budget Friendly


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Crystal Paterson

I had a huge “Pinterest” party planned for his 2nd birthday. Balloons, decorations, themes, and everything. I ordered sugar cookies and had the cake in mind. Knew what and where decorations would be going. Who was coming. The whole 9 yards as they say. My big birthday, budget friendly of course was squashed. Obviously budget friendly, because as many of you probably know it can get expensive really fast. I planned to keep it under $50. I was splurging on his sugar cookies. But these cookies were so cute. His theme was “Sous Chef” because he loves cooking and being in the kitchen helping. So these cookies were in the shape of chef hats, mixers, whisks, and a cookie tray. It was going to be so cool.

Then Covid-19 hit. No party, no cookies and no people. Other than his direct family. I mean I think i was more devastated than he was, because 1 — he had no idea what was happening anyways, and 2 — he’s happy with just about anything. My whole plan had to be readjusted. Along with the fact that because I’m a huge procrastinator, I had no decoration, balloons or anything. And I was pregnant at the time and couldn’t go out in public according to my doctor. Oh and everything was sold out online. Or shipping cost a fortune and I was on a budget. Everything that could happen, happened and I was left with nothing a week before his birthday. 

I needed to take a minute, readjust my expectations and thoughts. I was the only one disappointed. Honestly, he would love it no matter what, and I really was the only one you thought everything sucked. So we sent dad and uncle to the store to get streamers, balloons and a happy birthday banner. The 3 things you need for a party anyways, right? And it all came in way under budget so my husband was thrilled.

I wanted to make sure he knew that this day was different. So we decked the whole place in streamers, balloons. So much so, it was less “Pinterest-y” and more like a party store threw up in my whole house. Uncle made his 3 tier birthday cake with blueberries, icing, and sprinkles. He got presents and had balloons to play with. We had crepes for breakfast, fondue for dinner (he’s a high style, high maintenance 2 year old.). And cake before dinner. He got to play outside almost all day and stay up late. 

Needless to say, he had the best day. It was me that wanted something “Instagram worthy”, something straight out of Pinterest. But once I grounded myself and managed expectations of what a party in isolation is, and what it means to my son, the one we were celebrating. Then really our little isolation style party was just that, “Instagram worthy.” Real, unfiltered and filled with love, laughter and family. 



Teal streamers ($0.04 at Superstore)

Cardboard (cut out the #2)

#2 candle ($2 at Superstore, Papyrus Brand)

Balloons (teal + multicolored; $4 each at Superstore)

Stuff for the cake – you know ingredients and all ($?, who knows, but it was good.)

My camera

Presents (everyone sent him stuff in the mail, so he had tons.)

Total Cost

Total Cost of Isolation Style Party – $10.04 for decorations + ingredients for the cake ~ $20 = $30.04

His cake had fruit in it which bumped up the cost, but he loves fruit so it was a must.

The streamers were on sale, like big time on sale.

Balloons weren’t anything special, just your regular latex balloons filled with the family’s mom hot air. 

Uncle – the cake baker, the best present buyer and pretty much his favorite person

Lessons learned; it’s not about me. Going big and watching him love it all is fun. But he also is happy with a small “party” with his family. We try to live up to what others show on their social media. Pinterest fails are a real thing, because lots of the time it’s hard to live up to what the picture is showing. We can only do our best and guess what they love it no matter what!

Love Crystal

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