Monday, July 31, 2017

Frugal 7th Birthday!

Our youngest has recently turned 7, and even with all the over-the-top birthday parties these days our family followed the frugal path.  First there was the party with kid friends at our house.  Why pay for a venue when you have a finished basement.  We hired a former preschool teacher who is a certified art teacher, purchased modeling clay on Amazon, and it was "Art Night".  Classic French sounds acquired on CDs from our local library provided the background music.

The food was pizza from the locally loved Rocky Rocco's -- coupon for $26.99 got us two huge cheese pizzas.  We added apples, grapes, water and lemonade.  Dessert was homemade cupcakes.  Now that we are done with that #7 candle we'll be passing it along to a family with younger kids -- still plenty of burn time left, and no immediate need here in our home.

 Kiddo energy was burned off out back with a short but lively water balloon fight.

Her actual birthday involved opening gifts from friends and family, breakfast featuring her favorite, Morning Buns (acquired at Classens with a buy-one-get-one free coupon), and the most precious gift of all - time.  My husband and I, both self-employed, take the day off for each child's birthday (both summer babies) and simply spend it as a family.  Given our demanding work life, this is precious time.  Below the birthday girl explores the ins and outs of her Rock Tumbler; a great gift for an science curious child.

The afternoon involved time spent together in nature.  Once again we used on Wisconsin State Parks sticker and enjoyed the beach at Gov. Dodge State park.

A final key ingredient to keeping it simple, we had a budget. This year each child has $500 for his/her birthday.  That money has to pay for the party and parental gifts.  Anything not spent is given in cash to the birthday child.  Wow, my kids were looking for bargains knowing that a trip to the Party Store was coming out of his or her wallet.  Watching his younger sister put together a fun party for a fraction of the price a local venue might have cost encouraged him to plan a home party for his 9th coming up later in August.  This has proven to be a great lesson in passing frugal mindsets onto our children.  They don't just put things on a list and hope it will show up, and there is no tossing this and that into the cart with no regard to cost.  We loved this approach and will likely follow it next year.  For the record, those morning buns and birthday meal did not factor into the birthday budget, they were part of our normal grocery expenses.

How do you keep frugal on birthdays?  Leave a comment and inspire.  Thanks for following along.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Composting Again!

Unearthed!  And back to composting we go at our frugal home.  Vines cut down, a small tree sawed and hauled to the curb.  Throw down and old rug (from says when an elder cat had litter box challenges), and there you go.  We can compost again.

Our garden experiment has gone better than expected.  Sited on a slight sloped along the side our house, the recent downpours have not caused flooding.  Harvested so far: 2 hand fulls for green beans, 3 zucchini, and 1 cucumber.  Peppers are not doing well, but we may have a record number of tomatoes along with pumpkins.  All in all the garden is a reason to go outside and putter after a week at the office.  There are small toads and other wonders to greet me after a hectic week of client meetings and transporting kids to summer camp.