Kara's Party Ideas Milk and Cookies 2nd Birthday Party | Kara's Party Ideas

This COOKIES AND MILK 2ND BIRTHDAY PARTY, submitted by Jen Carver of Banner Events, has got to be one of my favorite cookies and milk parties to date. Oh the details, folks…just look at it all! Wow, I am so impressed. Of course, Jen never ceases to amaze me. So talented.

Party description & vendor list, along with tips on how to throw a party on a budget, at bottom of post…

Description and details from Jen-

“Do you ‘utter-ly’ love milk & cookies? My 2-year old son, Max, does! And what better way to celebrate our little cookie monster’s birthday than with a sweet milk & cookies party!

Ready for the best news? Using Anders Ruff’s darling ‘Vintage Milk & Cookies’ printable set, the party prep was simple & inexpensive, & the clean-up was quick! I gave myself a little challenge for this event & pulled off the party prep & planning in a matter of days and with a very limited budget. You can too!


I’m sharing some of my favorite tips & tricks for tying an event together with minimal effort, but without sacrificing style or breaking the bank.

First: Choose a theme! Choosing a theme early in the planning process helps to eliminate a great deal of stress as it narrows down much of the decision making process. Invitations, activities, decor, party favors, food & color scheme will naturally coordinate with the chosen theme. Once you’ve decided on a theme, a plan can start to take shape!

As you can see, I chose a darling vintage milk & cookies theme. With my son’s current cookie obsession, this theme fit perfectly! The printable invitation & graphics package I chose from Anders Ruff, set the feel of our theme & the color palette. That is the beauty of using printable graphics! They help stylishly and effortlessly guide both the overall feeling of an event & also help tie in the fun little details that will knock your guests’ socks off! Lucky for you, Anders Ruff offers printable invitations and party packages in dozens of very unique and popular themes!

‘Moo’-ving right along… After last year’s big ‘First Bee Day’ Celebration (seen here), it was nice to keep things simple. Max’s grandparents were excited to receive this adorable invitation, perfectly customized for his sweet celebration. The invitation sets the stage for your event & is the first glimpse of your chosen theme that your guests will have!

Second: Take inventory! With your chosen theme in mind, before heading out to shop for your event, look around your house to see what you already have that can be used as is or even repurposed. You will be amazed by what you already have that you can use. Here are a few things I discovered in my home:

    • An antique white farm style beadboard side table from my office was used as the focal point for our dessert display.


    • A cherry wood sofa table was used to display additional cookies.


    • Ikea jars with metal lids were dressed up with Anders Ruff printable flat labels and housed several yummy varieties of cookies.


    • Wood letters that spell MAX–leftover from last year’s party– got a fresh coat of paint and gave a nice pop of color to our main dessert bar.


    • Twine & clothes pins were used to hang our birthday bunting made by attaching printable banner elements from the printable ‘Vintage Milk & Cookies’ package to more handmade rosettes.


    • A round glass vase was transformed into a cookie jar (and provided the inspiration for my cookie jar favors) using custom chocolate brown vinyl lettering from A&E Design Works.


    • Tablecloths & serving stands/platters were all things I already owned and just had to be washed and set in place. {The gorgeous platter, cake stand and tiered stands you see here are part of a beautiful collection from Willow House by Angie Bytnar.}


    • Craft paper was used for wrapping gifts.


  • Leftover paper shred was utilized for lining cookie trays and embellishing a party hat for the guest of honor.

Once you’ve gathered things you may be able to use from your ‘at home’ inventory, make a short list of obvious supplies you may need to either borrow or purchase to carry out your theme. (Color coordinating paper plates, cupcake liners, napkins, etc…)

Third: Window Shop! I love shopping for party inspiration and am always amazed by some of the incredible things there are for purchase that can cut down on my prep time and help pull off my vision. Inspiration can come from just about anywhere! I generally like to start at the local dollar store to see what items from my list they may have. (I usually find quite a bit there!) Of course, craft stores, such as JoAnn, Michaels and Hobby Lobby are a must. Purchases made at these locations can be great, especially if you utilize the plethora of coupons that can be pulled from local newspapers or printed from online. Thrift stores, grocery stores and discount stores like Ross & TJ Maxx are also full of great party finds. Typically, I go from store to store with my notepad & pen & make notes about the things I see. I generally don’t buy anything on my first trip, and try to discipline myself into just jotting down specs about possibilities. This keeps me from overbuying and/or spending too much on items that I may find cheaper at other stores. (Of course, if there is an incredible sale or a must-have item that has low inventory, you may consider purchasing it on the spot, especially if there is a good return policy.)

For this particular party, I found the following things from the Dollar Store:

    • small glass bowls that would be fashioned into my take home cookie jar party favors


  • cookies (Famous Amos for filling the cookie jars, fudge striped cookies, etc…)

Fourth: Purposefully Shop.

 With your notes in hand, return to the stores where you found the greatest deals for the items needed. Be sure to consider which things best meet both your party vision and your budget restrictions. (It’s always a good idea to save receipts in case you don’t end up using something or find an unexpected deal at a future date.) Anything you couldn’t find locally, may now be purchased online.

I found several fun prop items already on sale at Michaels & JoAnns and was able to use additional money saving coupons. I also scored a few clearance items at Target. Things I purchased included:

    • Hay bales for the dining table centerpiece and dessert table.


    • Galvanized bucket and milk jugs for displaying cookies and milk.


    • Mini wooden crates for each place setting & for the dessert bar.


    • Large wooden crates for adding height/levels to my display & a rustic touch.


  • Ceramic cows & milk cartons for whimsy.

Fifth: Simplify Food/Dessert Prep.

 Unless you absolutely love slaving away in the kitchen, give yourself permission to purchase some of the food/desserts. It’s a good rule of thumb to opt for a few tried & true homemade items that are crowd pleasers & also make for a great presentation. Then, fill in the rest of the needed food/desserts with some prepared store bought items that require minimal prep & mostly need some simple styling/arranging. From those purchased items, I like to splurge on 2-3 specialty/gourmet items for that added WOW factor. These specialty items generally serve two purposes–they act as a dessert & due to their custom nature, also usually function as part of the decor too!

How did I do this for our ‘Milk & Cookies’ party? By sticking to a simple ‘milk & cookies’ theme, it meant I didn’t need to do a huge dessert table. I chose a couple of favorite recipes we’d make–my husband’s whoopie pies and my Oreo truffles.

From Costco & Walmart, I purchased some prepackaged cookies and found fun ways to arrange them. Our fun ‘splurge’/ gourmet items were these gorgeous cookies from Goosie Girl and The CookieXchange, as well as incredible fondant cupcake toppers from Fondant Flinger, all of which were custom designed to coordinate with both the colors of our event and the printable graphic package.

We kept our party favors simple & edible too, and by coordinating them with the party colors, we got twice the bang for our buck because they served as part of the decor until they were taken home by guests!


    • Milk chocolate bars were embellished with custom candy bar wrappers from Anders Ruff’s Vintage Milk & Cookies printable package.


    • Cute chocolate and white striped sacks with coordinating party printables were available for take away treats. Family members loved being able to select a few extra cookie favorites to take home for later.


  • Guests also got to take home the mini cookie jar favors from their place setting.

We had a wonderful day celebrating one sweet little boy.”

Vendor Credits:

Event Styling: Jen Carver, Banner Events
Printable Graphic Designs: Anders Ruff Custom Designs
Invitation here 
Party Printables here

Custom Shirt: Sweet Threads Clothing Co.
Custom Milk Bottle Cookies: Sweet Goosie Girl
Custom Monogram Cookies: CookieXchange

Custom Fondant Cupcake Toppers: Fondant Flinger
Custom Vinyl (for cookie jar favors): A&E Design Works
Striped Straws/Cupcake Liners/Polka Dot Balloons/striped sacks: Smidge and Pinch & Hey Yo Yo

Servingware: Willow House with Angie Bytnar 
Photography: Mi Vida Photography by Rebecca Pierce

Glass milk bottles, striped paper straws, jumbo balloons, regular sized balloons, paper sacks, burlap tablecloth, burlap ribbon, paper shred, napkins, ribbon, twine- All available in Kara’s Party Ideas Shop

Leave a Reply

  1. Kathy says:

    Owwwhh! Just too too cute!

  2. Vanessa James says:

    Love the party poster behind the table!

  3. Jill says:

    This is adorable! I love the brown paper fringe everywhere! An inexpensive way to dress up desserts and decor!

  4. jessie says:

    i love everything about this! and i LOVE that side table! please tell me where it is from! :)

  5. I look at your stuff for hours! You put so much detail and hours of time into it! I loved your planning tips, and don’t forget you can take pics with your phone if you have one as “notes”! And Hobby Lobby will take the coupon code right off of our smart phone at the register. And I agree, the Dollar Tree is a great place to start to get some basics and jazz them up for each party in different ways. Thank you so much for the tips!

  6. Jennifer W says:

    What a cute party! The printables are really cute too! Can you tell me where the party poster was printed? Or where’s a good place to print printables when you don’t have access to a good printer? Thanks!

    • Hi Jennifer~ Thank you! I got the poster printed at Costco (20×30″) for less than $10 and attached it to foam core board picked up at the Dollar Tree. (Other places are much more expensive for an even smaller print.) Staples & Office Max offer great printing services and often have online & printable coupons. Plus, if you join Staples rewards programs, you can save even more.

      • I forgot to mention that Staples also has the option to order copies from home. You can upload your printable files and submit your print order online for in-store pick up or home delivery. I use this option often. :) Office Max may offer a similar option, but if they do, I have not used it yet.

  7. Jennifer W says:

    Thank you for the poster printing tip! I always see printable sets but can never figure out how or where people print them and this one is so tempting. Are Staples or Office Depot the places you would recommend for something that is printed on cardstock? Like the milk cartons or food labels.

    • Hi~ If you are printing on cardstock, really any copy and print place is fine (so you can go with the cheapest place). But yes, Staples and Office Max do a nice job. I usually print on the glossy index (cover stock). It looks really professional and is thicker. It’s a great weight for printing banners, etc, so they don’t curl up, bend, etc… When I print from home, I buy photo paper from Walmart and print on that. Looks great too, but isn’t as ‘sturdy’ and is not water proof.

  8. dana chancellor says:

    where did you get the beadboard side table?

  9. Amy says:

    Your party was adorable. I’ve recently decided on milk & cookies theme for my sons 1st bday. Thanks for the inspiration.

  10. Lauren says:

    I LOVE this birthday party…perfection! Can you please tell me where you got the mini wooden crates from? I must have these.
    Thank you!

  11. Brea says:

    The links aren’t working for me…. Could you give me some direction as to where I can now find these ideas? Thanks!!! Love it :)

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