DIY Harry Potter Party: the best tips for throwing a party for your kids

Welcome back, everyone! I’m excited to share my tips for throwing a DIY Harry Potter party with you! We had such a blast celebrating our little man this last weekend, and I have had a ton of fun looking back through all of the pictures! I kept in mind mine and my husband’s budget while planning this party, so I didn’t get to do everything I would have liked to. However, I think all of the little things made a big impact, and it turned out to be one of my favorite days and parties ever! I absolutely love Harry Potter, and I’m so glad I got to geek out on these decorations, food ideas, and more! Here are my tips for throwing a DIY Harry Potter party!

What a first birthday means to me…

Birthdays are a big deal to me. There…I said it. I know most people hate their birthday and call it “just any other day”, but I think there is something really special about taking a day out to celebrate a specific person. For instance, I love celebrating my husband’s birthday because its a day I get to do a few special things to remind him how much he’s loved. I think that’s a wonderful thing to do! Don’t you?

So, you can image how I feel about the first birthday. I love baby Flynn so much and I know he’s just going to grow up wonderfully geeky like his parents. So, naturally, a Harry Potter first birthday party came to mind! More importantly…a DIY Harry Potter party! We didn’t have a ton of money to spend on this party so I did a lot of the little things myself. Made a few items and stayed frugal with others. This is how we got away with the whole DIY Harry Potter party in the first place!

It meant so much to me that this party went well. Not in a stressful way though. I just wanted it to be as much fun as possible for everyone! And luckily, it turned out to be just that!

Baby Flynn is mine and my husband’s everything, so this was such a special moment for us and our little one. And although I know he won’t remember it, at least he’ll see a ton of pictures and know he had one heck of a good first birthday! Now, I just have to top it every year- yikes! 😛 No…but really…it’ll be fun! I love doing stuff like this!

It’s important to remember that the first birthday party is more for the parents than anything. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all about the baby. But it’s also about celebrating you all as a family and that you’ve made it a whole year! Now, you get to spoil your little one with some cake and presents and that feels so good!

An important takeaway…

One thing that I really want everyone to take away from this blog post is that you have to rein yourself in. I know I mentioned it before, but it’s worth mentioning a second time and in it’s own section. I know myself, if I had an unlimited budget and enough time on my hands, I would have made this party ridiculously over the top. And while there is fun in that, I much prefer the way we did things. In fact, I think the things we did (which even seemed like a lot at the time), spread out nicely through the house and made exactly the right amount of impact.

This party was also kind of our housewarming shindig so we didn’t want to cover the walls or detract much from the everyday decor. And that also saved us a lot of money in the process.

I stuck with crafts and things that were relatively inexpensive and got creative by using some of the props we had from the local Theatre program that my husband works for as a professor. My point? I did everything I could to save money, get creative, and use what I already had around the house. If I was going to by something, I had to be very selective about what it was and really had to narrow down the most important items.

In my opinion…this is the way to go!

Not only did it save me money, but it made it so nothing looked too over the top, but it still was heavily themed for the party. It was truly the perfect amount!

I thought it would be helpful to include a list of things that you commonly think about when planning a first birthday party. I know, for me, it was difficult to remember ALL of the many things you need to think about when planning this big-ish event. Notice I say big-ish here. The biggest point I want to hit home with this blog is that you need to rein yourself in. You can’t do everything…you are a human…you will go crazy. So, here’s my list for…

Things you’ll want to think about when planning a first birthday party:

  • smash cake *Consider Walmart for a free smash cake!
  • cupcakes or Sheet cake (I recommend cupcakes! Easier!)
  • high chair banner
  • food
  • any condiments for food (Just go with pizza instead and make your life easier!)
  • plastic tablecloths (Dollar tree!!!)
  • paper plates
  • plastic utensils
  • cups
  • napkins
  • table decorations
  • decorations in general
  • balloons
  • invitations (e-vites, Text messages, and Facebook all the way! Save your money!!! I’m going to write a post about this. I’ll link it here when it’s ready.)
  • porch decorations
  • seating
  • present table location
  • guest list
  • parking
  • telling neighbors about party (and all the cars)
  • themed clothes for baby (and yourself if you want to have some fun!)
  • party location (Have it at home if you can to save some money!)

Can you think of any more items I should add to the list? Let me know in the comments and I’ll give you a shoutout!

 DIY Harry Potter party DECORATIONS

First, you’ll obviously need to pass through platform 9 and 3/4. I mean, how else would you want to get to Hogwarts? Best to take a running start if you’re a bit nervous.

Platform 9 3/4 Decoration for front door for a DIY Harry Potter party

Platform 9 3/4 Decoration for Harry Potter party

Platform 9 3/4 decoration for Harry Potter party

And make sure to watch your step in the bathroom…


Chamber of Secrets message on bathroom mirror

Make sure not to miss Flynn’s Harry Potter Birthday banner! I got it on Amazon for $10! Here’s the link!

High Chair First Birthday Banner and Smash Cake

Oh! And if you’re looking for a cute owl, this is the one I used. Super cheap and adorable! Couldn’t have turned out better next to my hufflepuff scarf and the luggage.

Harry Potter party decorations

It really set the scene.

We got the Harry Potter trunk when we purchased all of the Harry Potter books. Actually, my amazing husband got them for me for Christmas! I love how they came in the trunk and how it was a perfect party decoration!

I also added little details here and there.

Harry Potter Napkins

The cute little table cutouts came from this adorable etsy shop!

Harry Potter Table Confetti

I got the flickering tea candles from Amazon too (yall, we LOVE us some Amazon in our house). Even though the party was during the day, the flickering helped to set the Harry Potter mood!



A little sign to welcome our muggle friends to Hogwarts for the party! And my personal favorite! I got this Sorting Hat Candle from an adorable etsy store call flickering fandoms. They send you a white candle and then it turns a random Harry Potter house color. Thus, you have been sorted into your house. Flynn is a Ravenclaw! Just like his daddy! We’re so proud… 😛

Sorting Hat Candle

Sorting Hat Candle32280168_10160291978295612_4445445744412852224_n

DIY Harry Potter party FOOD

We had some delicious food at Flynn’s Harry Potter Birthday! Including:

  • Pizza- Muggle Food

  • Cheese Puffs- Huffle Puffs

  • Bugles- Ravenclaws

  • Gummy Worms- Slytherin Snakes

  • Jolly Ranchers- Gryffindor Droobles

  • Veggie Tray- Herbology Garden

  • Fruit Tray- Forbidden Forest Fruit

  • Cupcakes- Cauldron Cakes

  • Pretzel and Candy Melt Drizzle- Edible Wands

Harry Potter Cauldron Cakes

Forbidden Forest Fruit

Harry Potter party food32294667_10160291978945612_9119009537062338560_n32286669_10160391909030504_499903948094701568_nHarry Potter party table food

Shoutout to my friend, Sam for helping me make the edible wands! We had a ton of fun!

All we did was drizzle some candy melts over the pretzel rods, added some fun sprinkles, and dusted it with this edible gold dust spray. They were delicious!

Edible Harry Potter Wands

my nieces loved them too!



His first ever pizza and chocolate! Don’t you just love his face. He’s like, “That’s right…I’m cute AND i’m eating Pizza!”.


We also had Flynn’s smash cake that we got at Walmart! Did you know that if you buy a certain number of cupcakes for a first birthday party that Walmart will give you a free smash cake? A total score in my book! Some people pay a TON for those!



Friends and Family

So many amazing people came out to see Flynn (and us, probably :P)! Our best friend drove 19 hours just to get here for a day! That’s true friendship! If you haven’t already, read about our tattoos here. We also got to meet his girl friend, Heather, and we very much approve! 🙂


Oh! And you can order those awesome shirts here if you want!

Some of our guests were totally awesome and really got into the theme! I just love the Crawfords!

(Chris is my husbands boss, was our college professor, and even officiated our wedding!)


My brother and baby Flynn!32312946_10160392076905504_2608229228205834240_n


We are so grateful for the family and friends who came to support Flynn on his birthday!

Do you have any more ideas about what would make a fun Harry Potter first birthday party? I think it went so well and we had such a good time, but I know I had a TON more ideas! Would you be interested in hearing them?

Have a magical day, everyone!

Ellen 🙂


Healthy Lifestyle, Home Decor, And Lots Of Espresso

Welcome back to my little corner of the internet. I’ll be honest, it’s been hard to write lately. Well, I should rephrase. I’m actually writing so much for other bloggers that I don’t have time to write for myself! So, not a bad thing at all, but it’s hard to write even more after a day of writing.

I’ve been fueling up with espresso this week though! I am obsessed with the iced cinnamon almond milk macchiato! I got it with the sugar free syrup and without the drizzles.


This leads me to my next point. I’ve decided it’s time to cut the crap. I’ve been giving a lot of excuses for my eating behavior. I’ve told myself “i’ll start on Monday” and “Treat Yo Self!” too much in the last few months. No more!

For the last few days, I’ve been making a very conscious and difficult effort to eat healthy and start a new lifestyle for myself. I’m not saying I’ll be health 100% of the time, but I’m going to try to stop drinking so much soda and stop eating so much bad stuff for my body.

I haven’t had soda for a few days and I took a small sip today. I was SO surprised by how sugary it tasted. Needless to say, it’s time for a change and I’m going to make it. Here’s a list of reasons I need to lose the weight so I can come back to this later when I want to eat an entire bag of peanut M and M’s:

1.) So my wedding rings fit again

2.) To make my husband go “daaaaaaammnn girrrrrl.” 😛

3.) To feel like myself again and comfortable in my own skin

4.) To be healthier and in better shape for my son

5.) To prove to myself that I can

When ice cream calls to me…I’ll look back at this list.

So, this week has been a good one! We’ve started decorating our new house and I’m really loving the new home decor!

How much do you love that wheel?! Our awesome real estate agents got it for us!

We’ve spent this Saturday outside planting some new hanging planters on our front porch. Flynn is LOVING his new swing!

Can you guess what colors the 4 flowers are in the planters? I’ll give you a hint…Flynn’s having a pretty magical birthday soon! I CAN’T WAIT to write a blog post about his first birthday party!

And yes, Flynn did have a confrontation with our couch. Poor thing. He had one heck of a goose egg. Of course, I completely freaked out and assumed his brain was falling out of his head! Thankfully, our friend Sam was there calm me down and bring me back to reality.

Oh! And #oldheadshotday happened and…well…this happened too.


Oh 16 year old me. *sigh* What can you do? I look really street with those loose braids.


Finally, we carved our initials into a tree in our front yard. It really feels like home here now.


Make sure to check back to see my weight loss journey! I’m really excited to be taking this seriously and getting this weight off, but I did your inspiration and help!

I’ll write again soon!

Ellen 🙂

We Bought A House!

Welcome back to my little corner of the internet! Remember when I said I had an exciting announcement coming up? No…I’m not pregnant. 😛

As you can probably tell from the title of this blog post…WE BOUGHT OUR FIRST HOME!

This process was a bit of a whirlwind. We started off thinking it would be easy and quickly learned that was not how it was going to work. Luckily, we had the BEST real estate agents in the world!

You can check out Stephanie and Jim here. They weren’t even in our area but helped us out SO much! They went absolutely above and beyond the call of duty and are even throwing us a housewarming party!

Talk about amazing real estate agents, right?!


We feel so amazingly lucky to have worked with everyone that helped us buy our dream home. There are no words to express how truly grateful we are. Our mortgage team worked day and night to help us and they never stopped even when things got a bit complicated.

Eventually, when all the painting and furniture in is the house, I’ll do a house tour. For now, I want to show you some of the photos I took during the inspection (one of the most nervous times of my life! lol)

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Here are the first pictures of us after we officially bought the house!



Now, all that’s left to do is pick out paint colors! How do you like our choices? Any guesses as to where they are going in the house?


More on our new home soon! I can’t wait to give you all a house tour when everything is ready!

Questions for you:

1.) How was your first home buying experience?

2.) Any tips on painting your house? I know not to go with dark colors because it makes the room look smaller.

More updates soon!

Ellen 🙂


Our 10 Year (So Far) Love Story

Even from the very beginning, he was a gentleman. He introduced himself to me and we hit it off right away.

A few months earlier, I had seen him in a concert production of Sweeney Todd and developed a HUGE crush on him. I remember thinking, “he’s too attractive to be a nice guy. It would be too good to be true.”

Cut to the day we started dating. He asked me to be his girlfriend in the light booth of our Alma Mater. Then, and i’ll never forget this, he said, “if i lean over and kiss you right now, are you gonna slap me?” I tease him all the time about that. It’s so adorable. That’s one of my favorite memories of Zack. And it’s so true to his character- always wanting what makes other people comfortable and being super considerate.


We started dating and it was clear pretty quickly that this thing was going to stick. Here’s Wednesday Adams and Repair Man Man Man at the Halloween improv show!


I had a lot of fun digging all of these photos up…I think my husband will get a kick out of them too!

I’ll never forget the way I KNEW Zack was the one. It was so simple- we were meant to be together and we didn’t care what anyone else thought. Some people said, “date around before you commit.” We didn’t care, we were in love.

We dated the entire time we were in college and had the time of our lives! Always sticking together through thick and thin. And sweet Zack even let me get a puppy…yeah…I kind of wore him down.

Our sweet Willow:

On the night of my senior show in college (all Theatre majors were required to put on a show as their capstone), he gave me the surprise of my life by popping the question! Of course I said YES!

You can watch the proposal here on Youtube.

He proposed to me in the Theatre I grew up in. All of my siblings went to the same college as I did and I had practically lived there! I counted once, I saw 27 different shows in that Theatre and attended almost every performance. It’s a big part of why I love theatre today, and my husband knew that.

If you can’t hear him, he says,

“Over here is where we met.”

“Up there is where we had our first kiss.”

“But this is the one you’re really going to remember.”

SWOON!!!! <3 <3 <3 Am I right, ladies?!

Our engagement shoot…


Gosh, I love that man. And that puppy…

Our wedding was beautiful. It was very DIY and EXACTLY what I wanted (thank you to everyone that helped make that a reality!).

It was truly the most perfect day.


Our college professor performed the ceremony for us. It meant so much since he’s Zack’s mentor.


Can you guess where we honeymooned? We HAD A BLAST!!!

I have never eaten so much as I did on that trip. I mean, LORD! Those Disney meal plans act like you’re crossing the Desert the way they load you up. NOT MAD ABOUT IT!

My favorite ride is The Haunted Mansion.

Zack’s favorite ride is Space Mountain.

Soon after we got married, we moved to Tallahassee for Zack to attend Grad School for Technical Design for Theatre at FSU. That’s where we met our best friend Rada and got our friendship tattoos.


We stayed there and had the time of our lives for three years. While we don’t live in the same place anymore, we still talk to Rada all the time! He’s a part of our family!

Once Zack was done with Grad school, he got a job in the North Georgia Mountains as a Professor of Technical Theatre. We love it here. Everything moves a little bit slower and everyone is kind. We’re just not city people and we’re ok with that.

Suddenly, our lives changed. WE GOT PREGNANT!



Nine months later and our beautiful baby boy, Flynn, entered the world.


I didn’t think I could love Zack any more, and then I saw him with our son. Zack is an amazing father and husband. He is always working his butt off and continues to be our hero every single day!

Flynn is constantly saying, “DADA!”, and lights up when Zack walks into the room.

It was definitely hard when we were sleep deprived, but we worked as a team and it made us even closer together to learn how to take care of our little one.

Now, we are one small happy family and we feel so grateful and blessed.

It’s an amazing thing to meet your best friend. And when your best friend turns out to be your future husband, that makes it even better!

Zack, I love you. You, Flynn, and Willow are my everything.

I love forward to many more happy days, pasta nights, Flynn laughs, family hikes, Holidays, homes, and years with you. Thank you for everything you do for us. I can sum you up three words….





Ellen 😉