Although my daughter's birthday was a few weeks ago, we were finally able to celebrate over the weekend. It was a two-part affair, made up of a sleepover with a few friends one night and family get-together the next night.
For the sleepover, we kept things super simple and unstructured. I didn't plan a lot of activities, and the girls really enjoyed just hanging out!
Since I was saving her cake for the family party, I made a fun cookie "cake" for her friends with simple sugar cookie dough, the alphabet cookie cutters that we used to use for play-doh, and icing.
Once the icing hardened over night, I was able to stack the cookies on a tray for a cute presentation.
Just for fun, I picked up some water shooters at Dollar Tree, and they had a blast filling them from buckets in the back yard and squirting each other. I also got some glow necklaces and bracelets that made a late-night movie a bit more festive.
The next morning, I did plan a little craft activity for the girls to work on. I bought some frames (also at Dollar Tree), pulled out a variety of craft supplies that I had on hand,
and let them have free reign decorating them.
The night before I had taken their picture all together and had it printed at the 1-hour photo shop, so when they finished their decorating, we popped the photo in and they had a sweet favor to take home.
I always make my kids' cakes, and while they are nowhere near perfect, we always have fun coming up with different designs, usually centered around their interests at the time of their birthday (previous girl's cakes here and here, and boy's cakes here and here). This year my daughter turned 12, and we didn't come up with a themed cake, but ended up decorating with her favorite colors.
I stumbled across color coated Sixlets in the cake decorating section at Wal-mart and thought they would be a cute accent. I used this recipe for the frosting this time, and it was delicious! The cake itself is a 4 layer made in 8" pans, and they always want the box funfetti mix... easy enough! For an easy topper, I used some scrap paper, letter stickers, and wooden skewers.
Everyone ate everything up, and both parties were a fun success! I hope this gave you a few practical party ideas that won't break the bank...