September 4, 2016

DIY Birthday Gifts, Food, and more!

Hey everyone, it's Lizzie! So today is my birthday, and so for today's post, I decided to do birthday DIY's (food, gifts, and decorations.) Let's hop on into it!

Okay, I don't know about you guys, but I am a pretty big procrastinator when it comes to gifts. I also never know what to get my friends. To help you guys stray away from the typical nail polish, candy, and other things you could find at a dollar store, I've got a DIY gift you guys can make for your friends.

This DIY Memory Jar is something that is inexpensive, customizable, and will mean a lot to the receiver of the gift. All you need is a Mason Jar (with lid preferably), something to decorate the jar with (personalized to the person you are giving it to), and of course, memories. Keep in mind, it doesn't HAVE to be memories. You could also do quotes, put little pictures in the jar, momentos, or any other little thing you want to put in the jar. First, I would decorate the jar. This is the part where you get creative. You could decorate the jar with washi tape, spray paint, string, all up to you. I chose to tie this ribbon around the top of the jar, and spray paint the outside of the jar gold. I cut out a heart from a lint roller and stuck it to the jar, and spray painted around it (I chose the paper from a lint roller because of the one completely sticky side, but you could also use a sticker or something). Once the spray paint dried, I took the heart off, so you could see through the glass in that spot. I've also seen a jar decorated like a pineapple, which was adorable! Then, cut out slips of paper, and write whatever you chose to do on that paper. Fold it up (if you want) and stick it in the jar. Screw the lid on and you're done! I love this gift because it is so cute, personalizable, and you made it yourself!
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(If DIY's aren't your thing, Marshalls and Target are great, inexpensive options for cute gifts.)

I love cake batter flavored food! Annnnd I love cookies. Put them together and it's basically a match made in heaven. You could make these cookies as an add on to your amaaazing gift from earlier, have them at a party, or make them for yourself. (Disclaimer: I did NOT come up with this recipe, nor did I perfect the instructions. I got this cake batter cookie recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction. You can check out her page with that link, and see her extra tips. My instructions are a simpler version of her's.)
First, get your ingredients out. You need:

1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 and 1/4 cup yellow (or vanilla) boxed cake mix- needs to be dry mix

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup (1 and a half sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg (room temperature)

1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate chips (you can do white chocolate, semi-sweet, or a mix of both)

1/2 cup sprinkles
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                                                   (sorry for the sideways picture)

Mix the cake mix, flour, and baking soda in a large bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter and the white and brown sugar together (using a mixer) until smooth. Add the egg and mix again, about a minute. Add the vanilla, and again, beat until combined. Add  the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Mix that on low until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and sprinkles and mix slowly until they are dispersed evenly.
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Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate about 2 hours. (Yes, you do need to refrigerate it.)
Once your dough is done chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Scoop your dough onto the pan using a tablespoon. Put a few chocolate chips on top to decorate.  According to Sally's Baking Addiction, your dough balls should be taller than they are wide.
Bake 10-12 minutes (edges will be slightly brown. The center may look soft, but they set as they cool. Let them sit on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to the cooling rack. Our's were a little overdone, so they should look lighter colored than ours.
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These cookies are delicious! They are easy to make and can add a lot to any birthday!

Lastly, you'll need some decorations of course! Personally, I'm not a big decorator for birthdays, but one thing I like to do is blow up a ton of balloons and just scatter them everywhere. Its cute, festive, and of course fun. Another thing you could do is make a paper chain. These are soooo simple, and you can customize them however you want. All you need to do is get some construction paper (customize the colors to whoever's birthday it is), and cut out about 1.5 inches by 6 or so inches strips of paper. The chain will look better if you make sure each strip is the same size.  Then, start by making a loop with one strip, and glue it together. Thread the next strip through the first loop, then glue that strip together, making a chain. I'm making it sound way more confusing than it actually is. All you gotta do is make a chain out of the strips of paper. You can write Happy Birthday, or any other little message on the chain. Then just hang it up somewhere! I like to hang mine in doorways but that's completely up to you. Combining these two decorations is super cute, and it is seriously so simple.
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I hope you guys liked my first post, make sure to come back Saturday for a new post by Maddy! We would love feedback from you guys, so don't be afraid to leave a comment or send us an email! Also, go check out my profile to learn more about yours truly!
Lots of Love,