"For I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made in You...You make it Beautiful Somehow"

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fabulously Frugal Birthdays

As I started planning my son's first birthday, I began to think about my own birthday parties growing up. My parents went out of their way to make it a special day just for me. We invited friends over to our house, played a bunch of fun backyard games, ate cake, and opened presents. It was fun. It was simple. It was so incredibly special.

While searching the web for ideas, I noticed that parties today are going all out with all of the decorations, additions, and special touches. There really are many fabulous ideas out there. But honestly...I simply can not afford to do them. As I scroll through each amazing picture on Pinterest, I almost feel that if I do not go all out, I am somehow cheating my kids out of a fabulous childhood.That maybe, I did try as hard as the mommy who has an entire candy bar, chocolate fountain, glass dishes and fancy labels for everything.

Then I started to think about my birthdays growing up. I honestly don't really remember the decorations or what theme we had. I do remember my mom creating all of these fun and crazy games that I got to play with my friends. I don't remember if we had tons of theme specific treats to eat. I do remember helping my mom make my cake, special, just for me.

Often times we think that we have to spend a ton of money to create memories with our children, or to let them know how much we love them. I know I can fall into that trap. But honestly, money doesn't matter a thing to kids. What matters is that mommy and daddy took the time to do something special, just for them and with them. I say all of that to say....you don't have to spend a ton of money on your child's birthday party to make them feel special! Going all out on their birthday party won't magically make you a "good" mom, just like doing a "simple" party wont make you a "bad" mom.

So lets all let go of the "I have to do this to be a good mom" guilt...ready...1.2.3..deep breathe in....exhale...

Good! Okay now that we have that over with lets talk parties! Here a just a few tips my own mom used over the years to give us fabulous birthday parties, frugally...

1. Guests....keep the guest list small. Invite family and 5-8 close friends (not 5-8 familes...5-8 friends). No need to invite 20-25 friends. Your kiddos don't need that many new toys any way. The more people you invite the more supplies and food you will need. The less people you invite the more quality time you will be able to spend with each of them.

2. Time....Plan the party around 10:00 am or 2:00 pm. Having it around these times will not require you to have lunch made for all of your guests. Trying to feed 20+ people can get very expensive! You can instead, serve small snacks if you wish, or simply serve cake.

3.Entertainment... Play classic games. No need to rent that huge bouncy house or petting zoo. Good old fashioned water balloon fight, a slip-n-slide (made out of tarp or even trash bags), relay races, or team games like capture the flag, are always tons of fun! This was honestly my favorite part of my parties. Mom kept it simple and added a fun twist to each game.

4. Details...Make it yourself. The cake, the invitations, decorations, the thank you's, do it all yourself. You will spend precious time with your child creating them and build tons of memories together in the process.

5. Decorations...Go simple with the decorations. Pick 2-3 things you love and do them. Honestly it is amazing the fun things you can do with streamers and balloons! You can find a lot of party stuff at the Dollar Tree and save a ton! Better yet...use what you have at home! Instead of purchasing new glass serving dishes cover a rectangular box in white paper and add some fabric or scrapbook paper to the top to make a stand for snacks, food, and cake.

6. Location...have the party at home, in your back yard, or do it picnic style at a park. No need to spend a bunch of money for a fancy location.

As I have been planning Luke's 1st Birthday party I have found a lot of really fun, creative, and inexpensive ideas to make your kiddos party fabulous. Here are some of my favorite ideas I have found on Pinterest...(some of these parties do fall into the "super fabulous" category...but remember just pick one or two things from them that are inexpensive to do. Don't feel like you have to recreate the whole party!)

Birthday invites - hungry catepillar

I loooove this DIY "Hungry Caterpillar" Invitation from Pottery Barn Kids. Guess what? The printable is FREE! I think I would make this with out the mason jar to save money though.

Balloon caterpillar

"Hungry Caterpillar" made from balloons! How cheap and easy is that?! Find this and more "Hungry Catepillar" theme ideas here.

birthday party decorations

Make a chandelier of balloons! See the full party details at The Pleated Poppy

These ruffled streamers are a completely fabulous variation on plain old paper streamers. Find the how to on Made.

Birthday decorations

This is another fun alternative to streamers...cut circles out of colored paper and string together. Adorable! See the entire Rainbow themed party at Homemade by Jill

Birthday decorations

I love this sweet and super sentimental idea of making picture garland. Fabulous for a first birthday! Check out full party details on The McClenahans.

hungry catepillar

This "Hungry Caterpillar" "cake" looks so fun. Pretty positive I can make this! Find it here. (I love the Hungry Caterpillar theme...can you tell?)

These would be a cheap and really fun snack for little ones! I know my Luke would loooove it! See the whole candy land party here.

Water PiƱatas

How fun is this water balloon pinata idea?! Kids would love this! Idea from Scrappy Happy Heather.

would be fun for an outdoor party

Fantastic idea! Simple. Easy. Cheap. Plus you are reusing something you might have thrown away (yogurt cups). Idea from La-La's Home Daycare.

Fun idea!

My boys would go crazy over this balloon and pool noodle game from Parents.com.

Are there any frugal and fun party games, ideas, food, or decorations that you love?  Share them below! Then get to planning that fabulously frugal birthday party! 

 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:15

Linking to Teach Me TuesdayFrugal Tip Tuesday


  1. Hello! I found your blog while looking for "denim maternity skirts" :) I'm pregnant with my 5th baby and my wardrobe needs some revamping...again.

    I liked this post. I don't think I've spent more than $10-$20 on any of our children's birthdays. At their age, we don't see the point. It really doesn't take a lot to make a child feel special, I think most spendy parties are more for the Mamas anyway. We did Hungry Caterpillar for one of my daughter's 2nd bday, very simple, she loved it, you can see it here:


    Good luck with party planning! Blessings to your family.

    1. Your Hungry Caterpillar party was adorable! and congratulations on your 5th pregnancy! What a blessing! That skirt I made is still one of my favorites and I can't wait to have a reason to wear it again ;-)

  2. What great ideas, the Hungry Caterpillar is so cute for a 1st birthday.

  3. Super cute! That noodle game would be fun just to play in the summer party or no! I think that we just might!

    Tara @ http://simplymadehome.blogspot.com/

  4. This is great!! Will definitely be using some of these ideas. I have several birthdays coming up with my eight kiddos.

    1. I just had to say your blog has been a favorite of mine for a while! It has been a great encouragement to me! Thanks :-)


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