5 Free and Cheap Ways to Save on Your Child’s Party

5 free and cheap ways to save money on your childs birthday partyIt is one of the most heart-warming feelings to see the ear to ear grin of your child after they blow out their birthday candles. Another successful birthday party organized by mom.

Most people (unless they are other mother’s) attending a child’s birthday don’t realize all the hard work, planning and expense that go in child’s party. Decorations, cake, venue, favors… it can all run into quite a hefty bill once you add it together. But based on your circumstances, the time of year and your craft prowess there are ways to save money  and still have an awesome and memorable party for your child.  Here are some ideas to explore when trying to reduce the cost of your child’s birthday celebration.

Have a combine party

We did for the first time this year. Not only did it save a ton of money. It also reduced the amount of jealously and fighting between the children. Each opened separate presents instead of one watching the other open gifts while they sat empty handed. It halved the expense by only planning one party. I was afraid one of the children might feel slighted but to my surprise both children enjoyed celebrated the time together. Explore the idea of going in with a friend who has a child with a birth date around the same time as yours. This not only reduces the planning load, it also halves the bill.

Have it at home for free

Although it can be a hassle in set up and clean, it saves you a bundle over paying for a venue like Chuck E Cheese, or a bounce house center like Monkey Joe’s. If having it at home is not an option look into local clubhouses, church’s or parks that might rent space for a low price. I found renting a pavilion at a park near was only $25 for the day.

Make it a pot-luck

Homemade cake for my daughters birthday party. Don’t be to impressed Olaf’s head fell off

This will save you greatly in food costs and it also allows others to make a special and involved in the party by making a signature dish. We did this for my daughters first birthday and it added so much the party. It can make the event even more memorable when grandma makes your child’s favorite cookies, or her homemade chocolate cake. It also removes some of the expense and menu planning hassle. Also many hands make light work.

Choose a theme and DIY the decorations

Personally, this was the best part of party planning. There are a ton of sources all over the internet and Pinterest on how to do DIY party decorations for less money that still looks great. My son had a Star Wars birthday a few years ago and I had such a blast making Storm Trooper faces on white balloons and personalizing the party décor.ballon

Make it a travel/ experience birthday

This works great for an older child who has kind of out grown a party. Also this is an option for a child on the shy side that doesn’t like being the center of attention. Have them chosen a trip in honor of their birthday or an experience they would like to have instead of a party.

If you can combine a family vacation you might have been planning anyway with a birthday experience or trip, this will save you the cost of a party and still make the kid feel special. We have let our kids do this every other year to forgo the cost of back to back birthday parties. It has been such a wonderful experience. Our kids feel empowered and special in choosing the vacation. Plus the birthday boy/girls suggestions give us new vacation ideas we might not have considered.

Take a look at some of these sites for great party planning tips and ideas.



Hostess with the Mostess

You can also check out a recent post about creating a DIY Candy Buffet.

How To Get Back On A School Schedule

How to get back on a school scheduleAll around the United States the bathing suits, sunglasses and Nintendo DS’s are being shelved for textbooks, backpacks and school uniforms. Yes, summer break has come to an end here and with that us parents must face the re-establishment of a school routine. This is a tough one since summer days are longer, more casual and less structured than a typical the school year. It can be quite a challenge to re-establish proper bed times, study hours, and less playful activities.

In my household we are battling fiercely to get back into the school routine.  This week we have seen our fair share of tantrums and resistance. Every evening we are met with pleas for “5 more minutes,” at bedtime and kids who look like they are heading for a firing squad at having to put away their electronics in the morning.

To help them feel safe, connected and know where they fit and what to expect. Even thought at first they are resistant in time they will adjust. Here a few ways to help you kids adjust to reentering the school year routine.

Re-establish specifc mealtimes

(source WebMD) After a few months of a flexible mealtime schedule. It will be much easier to get into the groove of the school day by starting of with a good breakfast the same time each day. Most students lunch time will be at a designated time (mine are always early in the day) so the other meals should adjust to follow suit. This will also help student stay fueled for the more hectic pace of the school day.


Get back to the RIGHT foods


I will be the first to admit I have taken the easy way out for summer cooking this summer. Yes it has been a summer of hot dogs and hamburgers.  Tons of snacks, pops and ice creams. But with the longer school day kids need brain power in the form of more nutrition. So it is imperative that we reinstitute some proper nutrition.

Determine a set bedtime and stick to it

Between vacation travel, family events and just it being lighter longer outside. My kids bedtime had extended about an hour longer on than during the school year. Plus our bedtime routine has been totally thrown out of whack. No harm was done since they had a more flexible time to rise. However once the school year has begun, the alarm will ring and it is off to school we go. So in order for children to function and learn they need the right amount of sleep. See my post HERE on the right amount of sleep for each age.

Set screen time limits

During the summer I found myself being very flexible with the amount of screen time my kids had. Since it was so hot out and we mostly had to stay in doors I extended the one hour of screen time to a lot more. This week it has been a struggle to have then put down the DS but it has helped greatly in regaining their attention.

Homework comes first

It is great to have time to play and during the summer we had long stretch’s of uninterrupted play. Once school began kids need to understand that school work needs to come before playtime. Once the homework is completed, then you can play with your friends.

Getting back to afterschool movement

During the summer you have more time to play sports, outside, go swimming in the pool or head to the beach. Once school begins students spend the majority of the day inside, in a state of inactivity while learning. It is important to give kids a way to burn off this pent-up energy. This comes in the form of afterschool sports56 ways to get back to a school schedule. I agree it is much harder to fit this in afterschool. Mostly, this can take a toll on the parent who has to stand around during sports practice. In my view, this activity is necessary for a well -rounded child.

It is hard to let go of the carefree feeling of summer but it is also nice to get back to a set schedule and a bit of routine…at least until Holiday Break.

Gymboree Sale On Now!

Want to Create a Stunning Candy Buffet? Here’s How

Candy BuffetRecently I was approached by Sweet Services with the guest post idea of a Candy Buffet. As I have been planning my children’s birthday parties over the past month, this was very timely. Trying to balance party planning and working can be quite a challenge, so this idea intrigues me. I had seen this technique at a baby shower and a 40th birthday party I attended. It seemed easy to accomplish and the results were really attractive and playful.  The hardest part I’d imagine is keeping your kids from eating the candy before guests arrive!  This post contains affiliate links.

How to Create a Child Themed Candy Buffet

Guest Post provided by Wendy Dessler with Sweet Services

In recent history, it’s widely known that DIY candy buffets are currently the talk of the town and one of the latest and most exciting trends for all types of celebrations. The more you look, the more you start to see them everywhere you go. You’ll find candy buffets at sweet 16 parties, weddings, graduation parties, and children’s parties most of all.
The wonderful thing about candy buffets is that they serve dual purposes. First, they provide a delectable sweet treat for all of your amazing guests. Second, they make a fantastic addition to the beautiful decorations of every one-of-a-kind celebration.
Are you ready to take the candy buffet creation challenge? Maybe you’ve been dying to create one with your kids, but you just don’t seem to know where to begin. If that’s the case, you’re in luck, because we have a few excellent tips that will make it easy to get started.

Things You’ll Need to Create a Child Themed Candy Buffet

DIY Candy Buffett
Infographic provided by Sweet Services
Based on experience, we feel that you’ll benefit the most from the following supplies:
  • Glass or plastic containers (choose various shapes and sizes to mix things up)
  • Colorful candy
  • A buffet table decorated with attractive and/or theme related table linens
  • Candy scoops
  • Cellophane
  • Optional: ribbons for glass or plastic container decorations; labels for glass or plastic container labeling (i.e. sugar-free, organic, etc.)
Now that you know the best supplies to buy to create the most beautiful candy buffet possible, we’re going to share some of our favorite tips and tricks with you today.
Utilize these tips and tricks to make your child themed candy buffet look absolutely stunning. Before you know it, everybody is going to be talking about your delectable candy buffet and how beautiful it looks for days and weeks to come.
Tips & Tricks for Creating a Gorgeous Child Themed Candy Buffet
·        Use limited theme related colors – You do not want to go too overboard when choosing the candy color scheme. You’re better off only choosing one to three colors.
Otherwise you’ll be going too far and it will look confusing instead of attractive. If the birthday party has a particular theme, stick to the theme’s colors in order to make everything match.
Decorating around the candy buffet – Not only is it important to create an attractive looking candy buffet for a child themed party, it’s also necessary to decorate the area immediately around the buffet according to the same theme.
You can decorate the wall behind the buffet table and the ceiling above the table using paper lanterns, theme related banners, and paper fans to name a few options. Feel free to use your favorite decorative items to add a personal touch.
Choosing the right tablecloth – If your child is having a particular theme will for their birthday party (i.e. Angry Birds, Frozen, etc.), it’s probably best to buy a tablecloth with those cartoon characters on it. If they do not have a specific character theme, choose table linens specifically color-coordinated based on colors being used for the rest of the party.
Elevating glass and/or plastic containers – In order to make this candy buffet as attractive as possible, one thing to do is to elevate the containers being used to hold the candy. It’s simple to do. Place the candy dishes on books or colored boxes and make sure they are all at different heights.
Using labels – It’s easy to get confused about which types of candy were put in each dish. If you’ve displayed organic candy, create a label saying that the candy is organic. And if you’ve displayed sugar free candy, create a label stating that it is sugar-free.
It’s easy to create a child themed candy buffet following this system. Visit http://www.sweetservices.com/to take care of all of your bulk candy needs.






Over the Moon Link Party #37

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For People about to Blow Their Wad: 5 Ways Not to Spend Money

5 ways not to spend moneyI know what you are thinking. Is this girl nuts? We need food. We need clothing. How do you not spend money? I know that sounds weird. Eventually, we all need to buy stuff. There comes a time when we have to spend some money right?

But what if you didn’t have to always spend money. What if we worked to make spending less of a habit? What if you could change your mindset so that buying was not the first impulse. If you are trying to save for a large purchase, pay off debt or recover from some other large outlay of money this might be your a pretty good option.

I get it. It is so easy to need that instant gratification and want to loosen the purse strings. Society in general reinforces spending instead of saving. It becomes harder ad harder to watch new things advertised and talked about and not feel like you need them. See that’s the key…do you really need them? It is almost as if we can no longer tell ourselves “NO”. That not buying lunch out or not purchasing new is no longer socially acceptable behavior. Buying and spending has become so commonplace it has become the norm. But if we can shift our perspective the financial benefits could be great.

So how do we get into a saving mindset and not spend money? Here are 5 ways to shift your thinking and get away from a free spending attitude.

  1. Use what you have – In past generations this was the norm. They would never have gone out and purchased a new car for example, unless the old one just stopped working. Past generations didn’t feel the need to fall pray to the newest shiniest new toy on the block. Surprisingly, to us they lived perfectly happy lives without things we feel are necessities like TV, cell phones and programmable coffee pots.  If we really examine our possessions, most of the time we have more than enough items just lying around unused or even forgotten that we had even purchased. That shirt we bought months ago on sale, that electronic gadget we had to have, you get the idea. Look through what you already have and well…use it.
  2. Create something new out of something old – There has been a resurgence in creating new home furnishings out of driveway discards. There is good reason for this since most of what we throw away is still in good condition, we just want it to be new. Most of what we throw away can be transformed or reused into another purpose. This might take some imagination and creativity. Many people have found it fairly easy to refinish a piece of furniture and create a like-new functional item for their home. All you need to do is look at things from a different perspective and see if you can find a new use for something you already have instead of discarding it and buying it new.
  3. Clean stuff up – Often a bit of elbow grease will do the trick in. Instead of purchasing new, search Pinterest for a way to clean something old and bring it back to life. I tried this with my car headlights instead of having them replaced. You will be amazed at the results.
  4. Stay in – Sometimes we lose track of how much we spend when we go out to dinner, a concert or movie. There is more than just tickets and entrance fees, there is additional food and beverages, t-shirts and souvenirs. More often than not it is healthier, easier and cheaper to cook it at home or watch it on video. Plus you will get the best seat in the house.
  5. Remember people mean more than things – In our over-consumptive society, we feel an intense need to buy, shop and consume in order to feel connected to the latest trends, hottest events and newest things. What really matters is the people that we share our time with. Spending time with a friend over coffee means more than all the overpriced lattes consumed on our own. Sharing a walk with your family means more then the next complicated computer game. Making time to spend with the important people in your life has more value then working overtime to pay off purchases you never really needed in the first place.

Back to School Post Round Up

back to school round up

As I have mentioned last week, back to school is here is some parts of Florida. For many of us down south we are already trying to shake off the easy going, relaxed spirit of summer and get down to business. It’s been hard to get back into the routine of learning, adjusting schedules and managing school work. So to gear up and get back into the school swing of things, here are some fantastic school related posts from around the bloggershere. I also add a few posts of my own from last year that are helping me to get into a more studious mindset.


This is a fantastic post from one of my Beachbody mentors, Lori Miggins. It is about how she organizes her kids school lunches in a practical, easy and doable way. Genius! http://lorimiggins.com/organize/organizing-kids-lunches/

This is a post I wrote last year about my trials, tribulations and ultimately what I learned from over doing school lunch preparations http://inbetweenmoderation.com/balancing-school-lunch-prep/


I just love this site. Even if you are not a couponer they always have great posts about saving money, coupon deals and where to get school supplies on the cheap. I have followed these girls from the beginning and not only are they funny and savvy, they are mom’s just like us and know what limited time and energy we have. http://thekrazycouponlady.com/category/back-to-school/

This one is from last year but I thought it still had some great tips on thrift store shopping and finding deals for school clothes http://www.thepennyhoarder.com/how-i-bought-all-my-kids-back-to-school-clothes-for-38-16/


This is a post I wrote last year as I reflected on the feelings I had as my preschooler began Kindergarten. No joke this transition is a big one. It’s probably harder for mom then for child, but it also comes with an amazing experience of growth. http://inbetweenmoderation.com/first-day-of-school/

Get the tissues ready this post is going to make you cry. But it will also help you realize it is ok to let them grow. http://www.scarymommy.com/growing-up-saying-goodbye/



Nuff said!!! Have a great back to school everyone.




10 Ways to Tame Tummy Troubles

tummy troublesThe average diet of today’s adults causes more tummy troubles them we care to admit

Can’t button your pants after a big holiday meal? Stomach bothering you after that summer visit to the ice cream shop? Your body might be trying to tell you something. When the holidays hit, when we are on vacation, or when it’s a special event, we allow ourselves a bit more flexibility in our diet. Eating more of the things we know we shouldn’t and less of the things we know help our body function right. There is nothing wrong with this in moderation. (See how I did that!) Life is meant to be lived right?

There is one catch however. And it seems to sneak up on you a day or two later. If you are someone who has frequent digestive problems then a little overindulgence can have disastrous consequences on our systems. I know…I know ..am I really going to do a post about stomach upset, bloat and well, gross stuff no one really ever talks about.

Yes, because these symptoms are sign your body is giving you that something isn’t right. Something is not functioning well and it is out of balance. I don’t know about you, but after having kids my body has never functioned the same. It is more then just a bit of weigh gain. After kids I have to be a lot more attune to what I consume. Signs like this tell me when I have gone off track.

Since one of the goals of this blog is to get ourselves and our post baby bodies back into balance. It is important to practice self-care and address frequent stomach upset. As  uncomfortable as it is, this is part of the self care us mom’s need to do.

As always if your problems persist longer or shows more severity please consult a physician. Always remember your health is important for you and for your family. You cannot be all you need for them, without taking care of you.

Here is a round-up of some natural remedies to help deal with stomach upset, and bloating.

  1. Move around more
  2. Herbal Teas- Like peppermint and Chamomile
  3. Eat slower
  4. Be more attune to signs of fullness
  5. Use a probiotic
  6. Identify life stressors that may be causing the upset
  7. Add ginger, cinnamon and pumpkin to your diet
  8. Avoid carbonated beverages
  9. Drink more water
  10. Take some Apple Cider Vinegar

Resources used for this post include, http://www.health.com, http://www.everydayhealth.com,http://www.top10homeremedies.com, http://www.symptomfind.com,http://www.life-saving-naturalcures-and-naturalremedies.com/