Cheap, parent-friendly kids' birthday party tips

As a mom to four kids, ages 24 to 14, I've planned a plethora of kids' parties. I'm also a teacher and I've hosted numerous classroom events. I've had some great successes and colossal fails. From those experiences, I've put together a list of tips for parents on planning kids' parties. These activities work for both gender parties. I did a lot of parties as a "single mom" as my husband worked a lot and couldn't help. I've written these tips with single adults in mind. Being a frugalista, these hints focus on cheap, homemade party ideas.  I've included some free printable party games and crafts, too. Cheap, parent-friendly kids' birthday party tips 

Easy, cheap kids fall birthday party tips

Got a child with a fall birthday? Autumn is a great time for an outdoor birthday party. Sometimes, fall outdoor parties are easier to manage because it's cooler. Here's an easy, cheap kids' birthday bash, suitable for preschool to elementary age children. I've included tips for food, crafts, games, activities and cleanup.  Easy, cheap kids' fall birthday party tips

My Cheap Wedding Reception Under $800

My husband and I paid for our own wedding and reception. We paid everything off in advance, incurred no debt and charged nothing. Our cheap wedding reception cost under $800 for 150 people, including food, cake, decorations, music, flowers, equipment and hall rental. This was 25 years ago, but I could still do it today and so can you. Just follow our frugal lead.  My Cheap Wedding Reception Under $800

Anti Halloween Alternative Party, Family Activities to Trick or Treat, Celebrate Halloween at Home

Halloween is one of the top three events (with birthday and Christmas) most children look forward to each year. Some kids plan their trick or treat costumes months in advance. So what happens, if, when the big day rolls around, the child is too ill to trick or treat? Here are activities you can do at home. These tips will work for parents who don't like door-to-door trick or treating, or who are religiously opposed to Halloween, too. Use these ideas for church harvest party Halloween alternative events, too. Anti-Halloween alternative games, crafts, candy and treat ideas.  Family Activities to Trick or Treat, Celebrate Halloween with a Sick Child

My Cheap Wedding Under $1,000 for Everything

My husband and I paid for own wedding, reception and honeymoon. We had a cheap wedding, charged nothing and paid it off without going into debt. We paid under $1,000 for a 200-guest wedding, including wedding dress, accessories, attire, tuxedo, invitations, stationary, flowers, decorations, church, music, minister stipend, rental equipment, hairstylist and pictures. Here's how.  My Cheap Wedding Under $1,000 for Everything 

Back to School Party, Labor Day Social Studies Lesson Plans

Labor Day makes us think of picnics, parades and the last vacation before school starts. It's important to remember why we have a Labor Day and what it's all about. Labor Day is a day set aside to honor the work that people perform to care for loved ones and keep our country functioning. We honor too those who have lost their lives on the job, in accidents, strikes, lockouts or in the labor organizing process. Here's a classroom party planner for Labor Day Social Studies Lesson Planner. There are career day ideas, a preschool occupations unit and activities to explore the holiday.

Creative summer slumber party for kids: Backyard stargazer bash

Summer vacation is the perfect time for kids trapped indoors during the school year to reconnect with nature (it's also an excuse for parents to knock off work and get some much-needed mental refreshment). Why not attend to both of those needs with a stargazing family slumber party, compliments of Mother Nature? Here's all you need for this easy, inexpensive (darn near free) family fest. Creative summer slumber party for kids: Backyard stargazer bash . For free printable star charts, night sky maps and astronomy activities, visit this link Free Printable Star Charts and Astronomy Lessons.

Easy Kids 4th of July Party Planners--History, Crafts, Games, Food, Fun

Here's a blowout of crafts, games, activities, coloring pages, food and fun for 4th of July.

Check out my friend Karen Barnes' printable coloring pages article. Karen is the goddess of cool printable crafts.

And for 4th-festival sweet treats recipes, here are tummy-yummies from my pal Linda Ann Nickerson--4th of July Desserts and Treats.

My buddy Marie Anne St. Jean shares pet-friendly 4th of July picnic ideas (I love the costume ideas!).

From food guru (and all-round fun gal) Debbie Henthorn, here are No Ho-Hum Burgers--Entrees for the 4th of July.

Crafty Kay Wittenhauer shares this crocheted patriotic wreath pattern (My hat is off to yarn divas. In my hands, needles become weapons of mass destruction!)

Sylvia Cochran provides links for 4th of July history lesson plans and crafts. I love how she groups them by age-appropriate level.

Music is a must for celebrating our nation's birthday. My gal pal Carly Hart shares patriotic play list for 4th of July parties.

How about throwing an America birthday party for a fun and educational 4th of July? Children and adults of all ages will love these inexpensive games, crafts, activities and food.  Easy Kids' 4th of July Party Planner with U.S. History Ideas.

However you celebrate the 4th of July, be safe. If you're working, thanks for your contribution. 

Top 10 Fathers Day Gifts for Dads of Any Age, Interest, Budget

Written for Christmas, this article offers appropriate gifts suggestions for Father's Day, too. Why is it that holiday shopping for women is so easy, but finding gifts for men is so difficult? Fathers are especially challenging to shop for. Got a few hard-to-shop for dads on your holiday giving list? Here are the top 10 gifts that are sure to please Dad.

One of the difficult parts about shopping for dads is that some of them say, "I don't need anything for Christmas." You and he both know that you are still going to get him a gift, however. So take him at his word. Buy him a gift that he doesn't need, just for fun. The secret to holiday gift-giving for anyone, especially Dad, is to buy something special, unrelated to work and a little frivolous. Most dads don't buy many luxuries for themselves. Spoil dad a little. I don't mean that you should give dad a useless gift. Remember "Billy Big Mouth Bass," the singing fish plaque? That's not what I mean; give dad a gift which will be a special treat and still useful. Read more at Top 10 Holiday Gifts for Dads of Any Age 

Costumes, Not Booze or Food, Are the Best Part of Mardi Gras

What's the best part about Mardi Gras in New Orleans? According to the Huffington Post, most people prefer the booze cruises. I disagree. For me, Mardi Gras is all about the parades, music and best of all the wonderful costumes. Would Mardi Gras be as fun without the alcohol? Absolutely; teetotalers get to enjoy all the color and flavor without the hangover or the unpleasant after-taste. I actually have more fun because I didn't miss everything in a drunken fugue. Read more at Costumes, Not Booze or Food, Are the Best Part of Mardi Gras

Free Printable Valentines Day Craft Activities and Decorations

Free Printable Valentines Day Craft Activities and Decorations Looking for cute free Valentines Day craft activities and party decorations? Here are websites full of free printable crafts, games, party supplies, greeting cards, valentines and holiday activities. Perfect for classroom valentine exchanges and parties. These are perfect for home and classroom use, day care, senior centers, craft clubs, 4H, scouts, church groups and more. Read on...


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Freelance writer, Top 100 Yahoo! Voices, Yahoo! News, Shine, Michigan, Detroit), blogger, teacher, mom of 4, happily married 25 years. Graduated GVSU 1986, psychology/general education and special education. continuing ed up to present. Certified MI teacher. Writing Michigan history mystery, children's Gothic fantasy. Areas of expertise: education, relationships, mental health, nutrition, history, world cultures. Passions: faith, Catholic church, sustainable living, interfaith initiatives, living simply that others might simply live. Working on MA in EI education. 

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