Why I Don’t Throw My Kid’s Birthday Parties

No I am not a mean mom that doesn’t believe in celebrating my kids.  I love birthdays.  In fact, August is my birthday month and I pull the “it’s my birthday month” card the entire 31 days.  I love birthdays.  It is a day where we set aside to celebrate the special people in our lives and how much they mean to us.  However, what I think is a fun birthday party and what my kids deem fun has been different in year’s past.  I threw a couple of crazy themed parties for my kiddos (see below).  I spent a truckload of time and money – mostly time, to make it perfect.  Or so I thought.  I was stressed for a week planning and creating decorations. I came up with fun themed games, food and party favors.  And as my kids had post party let down they were always disappointed.  And to be honest, I was too.

why i don't throw kids birthday parties



It wasn’t that it was not fun, but I didn’t take into account or ask my kids what they wanted to do for their party.  Sure they suggested the theme and then momma bear took it from there and created an over-the-top event.  However, I often forgot about who I was planning it for, me or them?

Lego Ninjago Birthday Party

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Tangled Rapunzel Party

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So I don’t throw birthday parties for my kids anymore.  I hung up the party planner hat and passed on the baton – to my kiddos!  Last year when my son turned 8 my husband and I decided to try something different.  We offered my son $200 for his “birthday party”.  With that money my son had to plan the party, pay for the supplies, purchase the invitations, and that money also included his birthday gift from us.  We did the same for his birthday this year.  So do you want to know what a 9 year-old plans for his birthday party?  So this is how it went down.

In the beginning of April I reminded Isaac his birthday was coming in May and that we were going to again give him $200 to plan his birthday. I went over all the things he needed to purchase reminding him that whatever money he had leftover he could use for his gift from us. I asked him what he wanted to do.  Immediately, he said he wanted to invite his entire class to our house for a swimming party.  Now the first week of May is hit or miss in Ohio as far as swimming weather is concerned, but we have a heater and a pool cover so I figured we could give it a try.

So the first thing we had to do was invitations.  We priced out invitations and Isaac decided he didn’t want to spend money on paper invitations.  So I offered him the E-vite option.  He loved the price and ease of it.  So he helped me create a simple birthday invitation.

evite-birthday-invitation

The fun part was Isaac checking each day to see who RSVP’ed.  The next thing to decide was food.  I told him we had to provide an after school snack and dinner for the kids.  So he decided he wanted to have bins of his favorite snacks out for everyone.  So he bought Cheez-Its, Granola Bars, Peanut Butter Crackers and Animal Crackers.  He also bought Gatorades and Waters for drinks.

snacks-for-party

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He decided he wanted Little Caesar’s Pizza for dinner since that was an inexpensive option for his favorite meal. I told him we could save money by making homemade ones but that he would have to help prepare them.  He didn’t like that option.  He thought Little Caesar’s was the best option.  But then he really wavered back and forth on buying breadsticks.  He really likes them but that would cost an extra $10.  He decided he really wanted breadsticks so we got 5 orders of them.  The total pizza and breadstick order was $51.56.

DSC_0540bday party

Then the cake decision came.  I told him we could make a cake or cupcakes and that we could probably do that for less than $5.  But again, he would need to help me make them.  He really wanted a store bought cake because he likes them better.  I gave him cake options and he decided on a $14.99 one from the grocery store.  He also purchased vanilla ice cream.

We talked through party favors and goodie bags.  He felt like the goodie bags are just a bunch of junky toys that kids throw out anyway.  He just wanted his friends to come over and enjoy the pool and play “mad ball” in the backyard. (I have no idea what that is but it looked like a cross between kickball and dodgeball)  He didn’t feel favors would be missed.  I asked him about games and decorations and he said he didn’t want to spend any money on that.  He said Marco Polo and diving sticks would be fun games to play for free.

DSC_0535bday party

So that is what we did.  I helped by giving Isaac options and allowed him to plan and make the decisions.  Is it how I would have planned his party?  Well you all know the answer to that question.  But what it did was empower my son to make decisions, budget and get creative – a skill far greater than any party has to offer.  We had no fights, no grumpy stressed out momma, and no post-party let down.

DSC_0527bday party

I sat on the deck with the greatest joy in my heart opening up my home to all these kids and watching the joy on Isaac’s face to share his special day with all the kids in his class.  It was such a blessing to watch the kids playing and having a great time and knowing I had nothing to do with it – it was all my son’s doing.

Isaac opening presents

opening-presents

And guess what?  Not one kid complained that we didn’t have a candy buffet, piñata or theme.  And this week at school the party was all they could talk about.  They are all trying to convince Isaac to have an end of the year party too.  All in all Isaac spent $102 on his party.  So he has $98 to spend on a gift for himself.  Tim and I did buy Isaac something small to open up on his birthday – so we kind of broke our rule a bit 😉  But since there are no rules to parties I guess it is okay.

Update:  Many of you asked what Isaac bought with the $98.  He actually bought himself a tortoise complete with the sun lamp and chips you put in the cage.  His name is Rocky 🙂

So I know some of you are like “Well yah that is easy you have a pool in your backyard.” That is true for this year. But remember I told you I did this for Isaac’s 8th birthday too.  We didn’t have a pool then.  Last year Isaac bought a Groupon for a local fun place for $32 for 6 people to have a 2 hour wristband.  It only allowed him to invite 5 friends.  After buying tokens, pizza and cake he spent $75 total.  He had $125 leftover.  So last year he decided to buy three hermit crabs, a tank and hermit crab food with the leftover money.

So you might be surprised what your child might plan for their birthday.  But working through the process and allowing your kids to think critically is pretty awesome to watch.  They have such a huge sense of ownership of the party and they also appreciate how much goes into planning one.

Me and my birthday boy

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Now this might not be for all of you out there.  You party planners out there are cringing at my dollar tree buckets filled with Cheez-Its. HA!  But for some of you it might be something to consider.  Click here to read how my 7 year old daughter spent her $200 birthday budget.

How we Handle Chores

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My Daughter’s Health Story

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Comments

  1. Becki, what an great idea. I hate going to themed parties that are over the top and make me feel “cheap” for not doing the same.

    • Thanks for the comment, Marcie. You really have to do what works for you. Some people may live for planning a cutesy themed party, but I have found this just works better for our family.

  2. Stefanie says:

    THIS IS AWESOME! One of my sister does something similar with her kids. It’s nothing extravagant and they get to do something they enjoy with their friends. My younger sister started the themed parties but her little is too young to choose for himself. Great idea! It’s nice because you don’t spend all that extra money on themed items! Simple! I like it. Great job, Mom!!

  3. Constance W. says:

    Brilliant Beckie! Simply brilliant. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I love this idea. We have sort of done that with my kids but this sort of is the fine tuning. They will love the new ideas I have gleaned from you for implementation. Thanks.

  5. This is inspiring to me! My daughters love to give suggestions about their birthday parties, but I live the idea of not only giving them the opportunity to plan as they would, but teaching them money managing and prioritizing skills at the same time. AND it takes away the pressure we as moms put on ourselves. Thanks for sharing with us!

  6. I love this idea! My son is turning 10 this year. We don’t do friend parties for every birthday but I would like to this year and I think he would have a blast planning it himself. Teaches them a lot too about decision making and responsibility and budgeting and the time and energy that goes into planning.

    • I am glad you like the idea, Renee. Please check back with me after your son’s party and let me know what you all thought of the experience.

  7. Mandy S. says:

    I needed to read this today. I’m planning a HS Graduation/10 year old birthday party this weekend for my oldest and youngest sons. I’ve been obsessing, thanks in part to Pinterest, about creating a perfectly decorated, planned out event and they told me last night they really could not care less. They just wanted to spend time with the people they care about and enjoy the day. It took unbelievable pressure off me! And your post just re-affirms my thoughts. They, as young men, are learning valuable decision-making skills; and we, as moms, are learning that not every event has to be Pinterest Perfect. =)

    • Amen, Mandy! I am so glad this came at a good time for you. Just enjoy those boys of yours! 🙂

    • I too have let Pinterest get me down when all I wanted as a few simple ideas for a birthday party! My husband finally pointed out – “No one is going to do something simple and brag about it on Pinterest.” It made me realize that while they have some good ideas, it doesn’t mean that every average family does it. I’m so glad to see this post and something realistic for the Mom/family who doesn’t have the time or money to do a huge fancy party every year! Thanks Becki!

      • Hi Lindsay, While I love Pinterest and social media in general, it definitely contributes to the “comparison game.” I am glad you found my post and hope it relieves some party pressure for you!

  8. I LOVE this!!! As my kids get older I am thinking this would be fun to do. I am guilty of throwing elaborate parties, but my kids absolutely LOVE them, and all their friends look forward to coming each year. It is never my goal to “show people up” but strictly to fulfill a passion of party planning. My kids have 100% control over the design and plans, I just make it all come together. My oldest is now 12 and had a glow party this year, but I am thinking the approach you took would be more to his liking next year! Thanks for the idea! As for me, I will just keep throwing those crazy parties for the two younger ones. As a whole, and party for a child is just a way to make memories right?

  9. I love EVERYTHING about this Beckie! Planning in general stresses me out… planning a birthday party fit for Pinterest? NO THANK YOU! I think my kids would prefer me to be sane. And alive. I also love that this will teach them responsibility, financial planning, and will help them appreciate their party more in the end. Thanks for writing this! I’m pinning and sharing on FB 🙂
    Oh and PS! How old do you think kids need to be to implement this? My girls will be 4 this summer, but I don’t think they would understand or care yet.

  10. Beckie – this is amazing. I just shared with my sister who is a new mom. I love the responsibility given to the children with this plan. I’m a summer baby so as a kid there were always very few friends around to celebrate my birthday.

    My parents didn’t have a ton of money to dish out on birthday parties so they would take a similar approach. My favorite party to this day, and I still remember it so clearly, was a camp out in the backyard. My mom and I made a big sign that said Camp Maguire so everyone had to pass it on their way in. My dad set up a few tents that we already owned and he built a camp fire. We all just hang out, played lawn games, ate delish bbq and made s’mores.

    There was a massive thunder and lightning storm in the middle of the night and it was the talk of all my friends for the next week because my dad had to carry each of us individually back into the house since we were all sound asleep! It was 4th grade and it was the best. I think about it often (because it was so ME being laid back and frugal!) and hope to give my kiddos a fun, laid back, just as they want birthday party some day.

    Thanks for continuing to inspire!

    • That sounds like an awesome party. Love it!!! And thank you for your sweet comment. I am so glad you were inspired by this idea and could share with your sis!

  11. Laura C says:

    Greatest blog post EVER! You are a smart parent. These kind of kid birthday parties never make Pinterest but they should. In fact, I am going to pin it myself.

  12. What an awesome idea. This is such a great way to teach your kids about money and responsibility. It also shows them what it really takes to throw a party. Sharing this indeed!

  13. What an awesome idea! This is a great way to teach kids about money and responsibility. It also shows them what it takes to throw a birthday party! Def sharing this!

  14. What a great idea! I think my daughter will love this when she’s a little older. She’ll be 6 this September, and I think she might still be a little young. I really love that you’re helping your son learn the value of money and helping him understand that all those fancy decorations don’t grow on trees 🙂

    • Ha! So true. I love seeing him think about how much things cost and weigh whether or not it’s worth it to him. I hope you do give it a try when your daughter is older!

  15. Melissa Wilde says:

    This is great! My oldest daughter’s favorite party was the year she convinced me to buy water guns and a volleyball hoop and pizza on her birthday and invite everyone who happened to be free. When it got dark I broke out candy and popcorn and a movie and the kids loved it! That’s the party they all talk about! MY fav was the year we lived in LA, my 3 besties and I worked together to rent a bounce house and potluck for our 8 kids born between June and Sept 1. So easy when you have 4 moms working on 1 party This is such a great idea!!! Thanks for sharing!!!! I always feel like a severe disappointment in the party area since I’m “that crafty mom”. Those women should have killer Bday parties right? But they always stressed me out and then I didn’t enjoy them!

  16. We used to throw parties in a local park for Emma’s birthdays : we made our own piñatas, made our own cakes. Kids had so much fun . They all stilll remember her great parties and our spending was really minimal. 🙂

  17. Where’d you get the matching t-shirts? What is the significance of the wording? Just curious.

    • Hi Brenda, You can read all about them in this post. But, in a nutshell, we purchase them for Easter instead of fancy outfits, and the proceeds go to charity.

  18. Susanne says:

    where is your shirt from?

  19. Kathleen says:

    The time has passed for me to plan parties for my children but I will pass this on to them for my grandchildren. I think this is a wonderful idea and that your children are very lucky to have the parents they do.

  20. I love this idea, Beckie! My boys’ birthdays are in March and May so last year we told them we were doing a small, joint party for them in April and surprised them with tickets to Disneyland. I told my husband we would have spent that much on their parties so we agreed it was a good alternative. My husband talked me out of the theme parties because he said after all of the work and stress, I’m the only one that would end up caring about how things looked. We have a pool this year now too, so my soon to be 9 year old will be having his classmates over for a pool party and Little Ceasar’s at the end of the month as well. You can’t beat their $5 hot & ready pizzas! I think next year I will implement your idea. It sounds perfect!

    • Sounds like our boys’ parties will be a lot alike! They had such a blast, and you are right about the pizza. While we may have saved a little money with the homemade route, it was nice to be able to relax and let Little Caesar’s do the work for us. Ha! I hope you do give this idea a try next year and let me know how it goes!

  21. This idea rocks, Beckie! I love that they get to learn budgeting in real life too. Can’t wait to try it with my littles!

  22. Really great idea Beckie! It not only serves as a stress reliever and time (& effort) saver for Mom, it teaches the kids some awesome lessons. I work in a hunger ministry of a local non profit, and another wonderful way that I’ve seen some kids celebrate their birthdays is by asking their guests to bring donations of non perishable food items for a food pantry instead of gifts. Then after their party, the birthday child gets a field trip to the food pantry to donate all the food they’ve collected. We usually take the child on a ‘show & tell’ so they will leave with an idea of how their gifts will help someone in need.

    • Wow, that’s awesome, Angela! I love this idea – how rewarding and what a lesson for the kids. Thanks so much for sharing!

  23. Susan K says:

    So totally agree. Kids get so much more out of doing things WITH you, rather than having things done for them. Good job, Mom!

    • Thanks, Susan. You are so right – the planning is also a great way to spend quality time together while teaching valuable life lessons.

  24. Great idea but there is no way I would spend $200 on s birthday- including gifts!! I let my children help plan their parties and teach them how to be creative on a budget. But wow- how many people could actually afford this?

    • Hi Delina, It sounds like we have similar approaches, but, of course, every family has to decide what budget works for them. Like you, I just want my kids to have the experience of making decisions and thinking creatively within a budget, no matter what the amount is.

  25. What an awesome way to empower our kiddos and lessen the stress…. Thanks for sharing! When my girls get a bit older we will definately give this method a whirl!

  26. love this idea – and the shirts you’re wearing in the photo! Where did you find them?

  27. Love it! This year I gave my turning 6 year old the option too! We could throw a big party and invite friends or for the same amount of money, we could go to LegoLand for his Birthday. Just me and Hom. He chose LegoLand. We ended up spending WAY less than if I had thrown a party! ( yes, I had discount tickets to the park and a family member to stay with in California. But it turned Into a weekend he and I will never forget!

  28. My 8 year-old son and I co-planned his party last summer, and we seriously “met” to talk about it about 5 times for an hour each! Hilarious! We had a similar process, but I really like how you laid it out for Isaac and gave him a specific budget.

    Lewis’s 8th Bday party ended up very similar to Isaac’s — we had a Nerf Gun Fight Party in a local park with Little Caesar’s and a homemade cake that looked like a video game character. The kids LOVED bringing their nerf guns and having a fight. We just gave them nerf bullets for their favors.

  29. Michelle says:

    The teacher mom in me is geeking out over this! We’ve done options for lots of friends themed party vs. pick a friend to do something really cool with. My kids are still a little young to venture into every aspect of planning. (6 and 4) I’m glad to see that your budget of $200 has worked nicely two years in a row. And I won’t forget that the kids have to help with whatever we make at home or they’ll capitalize on my free labor! Good stuff here!

  30. Awesome! What do your teeshirts mean?

    • For the past couple of years we have participated in an initiative to raise money for charities by buying these shirts instead of fancy Easter get-ups. You can read more in this post. 🙂

  31. This is fantastic! I’ve always STRESSED over birthday parties. My Mom always gave us awesome homemade birthday parties and when my daughter arrived I swore I would give her the same amazing memories that I had from childhood. No matter the theme she has chosen…yes we did a Justin Bieber party for a 4 year old because she just loved him. So embarrassed but I gave her what she wanted including a youtube video of him singing Happy Birthday “girl” and she thought it was for her. This year she turned 6. Her idea of a party was completely different from mine. She picked the all popular for boys theme TMNT. A little of me was like OMG really?! But she loves those 4 nutty turtles. So I did my normal party planning. She absolutely loved it. Said it was the best party yet.
    She’s been our only child so going “all out” has never been an issue for us but we are now coming up on birthday planning for her new twin brother and sister. I am soooo excited! It’s a first birthday and we all know those are some of the best. Or at least to me. Our birthday party budget has now tripled and I have to work my “magic” with a budget cut. The “Pinterest Mom” in me can’t let this birthday come and go without most of the cute details that I’ve been planning since the moment I found out their were two new loves coming into our lives but this article reminds me that it’s ok to be “simple”. Most kids do not care that each snack is labeled with a cute themed name or that their cake has 3D figures made out of horrid tasting edible fondant. They just want to get wild and crazy, chocolate wasted, and have a great time with their friends.
    Next January when my daughters impending February birthday is approaching I am going to suck in some clean air, give her a budget, and let her decided. That will be the best birthday party ever!!! Thank you for this! 🙂

    • I am glad our approach offers a different perspective. I think there are some people who truly love planning parties, but for me, it was a stress, and my son could care less about all the cutesy stuff. It’s really been freeing to sit back more and just enjoy the birthday and party. It works for us. 🙂

  32. I love this! Although I think my son would take cash and skip the party! haha

  33. Great article. I have always included my son in the planning of his parties. He has never had the option of a store bought cake because the budget never allowed it but he has always enjoyed working with me to decorate the cakes. The only time he wasn’t involved in the planning was when I put together a scavenger hunt for his detective party at his request. Love the bonding time with my son during the process. I wish I had given him a budget for parties and had him do more of the work. Maybe this year.

    • I would love to know if you do give it a try this year, Katie. It sounds like we have very similar approaches to parties, and I sure do love the scavenger hunt idea!

  34. I love the t-shirts you and your son are wearing. Where did you find them?

  35. Jessica says:

    Ugh! I read this post about 4 hours to late!!! I JUST booked my kids party (at a swimming place)!!! I would LOVE to have had them plan it themselves!

    • Maybe they could still plan the snacks, decor, etc? Unless that’s taken care of by the swim place. Either way, you can always tuck away the idea for next year! 🙂

  36. We stopped parties for birthdays years ago too. My children get to pick a gift and then decide what they want to do. One year we went to a train museum another we ate out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ve offered parties as well as inviting friends but they opt to spend time w their family, sure it helps that I have all boys.

  37. Mary-Walker says:

    This is a little off topic, but I love your shirts! Are they available for purchase online or were they from something local?

  38. What a fantastic idea!! We did away with the big party thing a long long time ago. I ask our 8yr old what he’d like to do and we do it. This year he wanted to go bowling and invited only two close friends as well as my parents and sisters and their families. He LOVED it! He had a ton of fun bowling with everyone. Zero stress on my part esp having our Littles with us as well (2&1). When I sent out the invite I let it be known that we would cover all the games but everyone would be responsible for paying for their shoe rental. I decided to do that cuz it was zero stress on my part trying to get everyone’s sizes and then making sure everyone had the right shoes, etc. I bought cupcakes for everyone and was able to treat everyone at the bowling snack bar when the kids started to get hungry. My Dad is a retired
    Marine so I was also able to use his military discount (75¢ off per game – added up to $45 for 10ppl per game – cosmic bowling). Since we always budget high “just in case” it turned into a great get together and my son loved how everything went… it’s all up to him usually. He decides what he wants to do and where. But I like the idea of having him budget out his own party his way. He’s at the age where he loves to buy things with his own money and also loves to be able to offer to buy things for others. Thanks again for the awesome idea!!

  39. Brilliant idea! Thank you for sharing. My babies are only 1 and 2 years old now but I see using this idea in our near future!

  40. What a fantastic idea! I told my 7 year-old about this and he seemed into the idea for next year. As an added bonus, I have crafted and purchased bunch of reusable birthday decorations like banners and posters and have colorful reusable “party ware,” so if he wanted to help me clean up and do the dishes, he could use those for free. 😉

    • That’s an awesome idea to just have reusable party stuff that can be used year after year. Then if he really wanted themed decor, he would have to decide to use money from the budget.

  41. Jennifer says:

    This is an AWESOME idea!! More parents should try it. I might even try it with my soon to be 4 year old. Just tweak it a bit. I love the idea of no stress. how nice would that be! Thank you for sharing.

    • You are welcome, Jennifer. You could certainly make it more appropriate for a four-year-old and then add more responsibility as he gets older.

  42. I love this idea…and so wish I had thought of it long ago when our four children were young (now ages 27-30-33-35, with birthdays in June-July-August-September). We did move away from birthday parties as they got older and let them choose a favorite activity with a friend or two. However, with our grandchildren, I have taken on the role as party planner for them, because our children choose not to…shame on me. My thought has been, they had parties, I have the time, so it’s only fair…right? Wrong. I have learned and will share this idea with them, offering to help fund it as our gift to their children, if they like the idea. I know they’re all fans of yours, so I expect/hope they’ll love the idea as much as I do.

    On a related idea, we did something similar for Christmas the year my Dad passed away, 3 weeks before our oldest daughter got married on December 26. We gave them 3 small, inexpensive gifts, along with a note that after the wedding festivities, we’d take them shopping ($200 each to spend) and to their choice of restaurant. The wedding was our oldest daughter’s gift. I took the two middle ones, ages 17 & 14, since they were more serious shoppers, and it was so enjoyable shopping with them watching them select how to spend their gift. The youngest one, age 11 at that time, went with my husband and me to a fast food place, a movie (both his choice) and then shopping. The time spent together was like a gift to me, since that’s the most valuable gift that can be given. We plan to begin a version of this with our grandchildren as they become old enough.

    • Lin, I am so happy you can pass this idea along to your children to use for your grandchildren. You are right… the time spent together is a gift in itself, and I hope you can enjoy that with your grandchildren!

  43. Love this post Beckie! I am waaaay guilty of planning/purchasing expensive parties for my kiddos. (You may have attended one ) However with baby #3 on the way I knew I needed to cut back & just wasn’t sure how. I let Josh (my soon to be 6yr old) help plan his party this year & all he wanted to do was to have some friends over to play Star Wars & have a silly string fight lol!. I will definitely have to incorporate the budget idea for next years party. Thanks for the inspiration!

  44. You are right on the spot , Becky! I honestly got tired from trying to make a “perfect” birthday party. I think most of it came from the desire to receive praise from other moms, but at the same time the kid didn’t even enjoy the party itself because it wasn’t what they want. Could you imagine, I spent literally about 3 hrs / day over couple of days just to put together a memorable, not ordinary party favors that at end no one really cared about it (not too mention the amount of time to assemble it). Totally wasn’t worth it. My kid bday is coming up and this post is just in time to remind me again that what matters is whether or not my kid enjoy her own special day. I won’t repeat my mistake this year. I’ll let her plan her special day. Thx again

  45. That is perfect!! I too would spend loads of time making ‘Martha Stewart ‘ parties for my kids… And the the third one was born… And I was worn out… My mom bought an ice cream cake and we invited friends over- and it was perfect. The ‘easy’ way for me… Which was totally not Pinterest inspired, has really worked out well for us since then for the past three years!
    One year my daughter just had friends over to play and decorate cupcakes. I love that they can enjoy a simple party and be thankful for it! 🙂

  46. What a great idea! I have 6 boys and what we did for the first 3 is much different than what we do now but this really give THEM the control! I plan on trying this for our next bday party!! Thanks!!

  47. I have a date tomorrow with my recently turned 6 year old to plan his birthday party. He wants a “Chick Party” (his class hatched chicks this year and he was fascinated). We’ll go out together and look for ideas on Pinterest. Then we’ll sort out what we’re going to make for a cake, games and decorations. Last year he came up with an amazing Spiderman party in the backyard. I made a cake, he helped cut out bad guys to glue on bristol board that he and his guests attacked with webbing (silly string), spun webs on the play set with streamers and string and they all ran around like sweet 5 year old lunatics. I probably spent under $50 on the party and even I got to enjoy the party. Sometimes simple is best.

  48. Great article. However, I am a tad concerned about the hermit crabs. They are a hands off pet,and for 3 medium/small hermit crabs you’d need a 30 gallon tank for them to molt in. Also, no hermit crab foods from the pet stores just fruits and veggies from your fridge. Pellets are poisonous to them over time. Don’t want you to feel like I am preachy, but genuinely care about hermit crabs. Please go to the Facebook page Hermit Crab Owners, they can better assist you in their care. Online info, pet store info is wrong and out dated. Heat and humidity need to be at 80/85 at all times, and they need 6 to 8 inches of eco earth and outdoor play sand not the colored sands in the pet store, well mixed in spring water also they need fresh water again spring is fine and a marine grade salt water like instant Ocean. They do get in sets of three though. They’re a hands off pet because they have gills and need the humidity to breathe in. ☺

  49. crystal says:

    I like the idea for older children…mine however just turned three almost a month ago lol so planning myself is the only way to go for now…but going to totally keep this in mind 🙂

  50. I love this idea!! No matter how hard I try to keep it simple, I usually end up stressing myself out and/or spending more than I wanted. And I’m the only one who really notices the details and I end up focusing more on what I didn’t get to do rather than how nice the things I did turned out. I’m sure it’s no fun having a stressed out Mommy at your party.
    What age do you think is appropriate to start doing something like this?

  51. This is a great idea, I don’t have kids yet but when I do tho this’ll be what I do.

  52. Danielle says:

    We used to do the party thing, but we always had a limited budget, and I always felt like I was somehow failing my kids because their party wasn’t as fancy as their friends. One year we just stopped. We told the kids you can have a small party with around 5 friends or you can invite one friend to stay the night & go to a movie with snacks and a cheap meal. The kids also get to choose where & what to eat for their birthdays. Most years they choose the movie option & their favorite restaraunt. We let them have a bigger celebration on milestone birthdays like 13, 16, & 18, but otherwise it’s low key & simple, so we can focus on them.

    • I am sure your kids have really enjoyed their birthdays each year – big party or not. There are certainly more ways to make your kids feel special than a party, and it sounds like that’s what you’ve done. Thanks so much for taking the time to share!

  53. We did this with our kiddos too this past year. And then we gave them the option of doing a big themed party or they could do a special day with one or two friends. My oldest did the special day with her “bestie”….i gotthem cute matching shirts and took them for a makeover, mani/pedi, and lunch and a movie. She said it was the best birthday ever! And it was so much less stressful! (This coming from a momma who made owl meat, cheese, veggie, and fruit trays for a TWO year old party!!)

  54. What a great idea. We alternate celebrations for our kids. Our daughter gets a party one year, and the next year our boys have to share a party since their birthdays are ten days apart. I’d want to do a bit smaller of a budget because we have two so close together, but I bet my boys would love planning their own parties. Thanks for the idea!

  55. I think this is a fabulous idea! When our oldest was young, he started getting invited to these elaborate parties at Chuck E Cheese’s, McDonalds, etc. We just really didn’t have the money for that nor the space to throw big parties when our kids were little. After talking it over, we decided we’d just have big parties every five years, and although we planned the parties the years they turned five, we totally turned it over to them for their 10th….

    Our son chose to have a reverse-kidnap party so ahead of time we cleared it with all the parents of the boys, and showed up on a Saturday morning early when they were still in their pajamas and kidnapped them for the day. Our son, whose birthday is in December, had a few activities planned but was also flexible enough to change mid-stream when one of the other boys suggested something that sounded even better. They spent the day sledding, tinkering in the shop (under my husband’s supervision), playing games, and just being silly as 10 year old boys will do 🙂

    Our daughter, a party planner extraordinaire, went with a “commercial” theme for her 10th birthday party. She designed and made her own invitations, requesting that her guests come prepared with a 3 minute commercial complete with costumes and/or props if necessary. One of the games was actually a competition to see who could do the best (i.e., cheesy, over the top rendition) imitating a well known t.v. commercial for a used car dealership (think cowboy style). We found a bright plaid polyester men’s jacket at Goodwill, a cowboy hat and boots which the kids had to wear while doing their version of the commercial. Our son video taped everyone’s performances. It really was one of the most fun parties!

    Although it wasn’t planned, it just worked out that our kids turned 15 while traveling overseas. We were in Argentina when our son turned 15 and happened to be in Buenos Aires so he chose to go with friends to McDonalds (never underestimate the pull of something familiar when traveling overseas; we never ate at McDonald’s in the U.S. hahaha). And we were spending a year in Uganda, East Africa, when our daughter turned 15. We invited a few friends her age over for her favorite meal: pasta and salad. We’d actually managed to find a store in Kampala that sold frozen ravioli! It was a very special treat.

    I threw surprise parties for each of my kids when they turned 17. It wasn’t so much about decorating or themes so much as it was about the food and the friends. We kept it simply, within our budget, and everyone had a good time.

  56. This is so great! I wish I had read this 10+ years ago when my kids were younger. I think I’ll definitely be able to use these ideas in the future with my 6-year-old stepson! THANK YOU

  57. I love love love this idea!!! I’m also dying to know what the meaning of your shirt is!

  58. What a great idea. My daughter turns 7 in sept. I always did themed parties and I told her that this year she can’t have a party. I just don’t have the $or the time for it. I told her she could choose something special she waved to do, but I think she would REALLY love this idea. She’s all about planning things with her friends. 200 bucks is totally doable! I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. Thank you!

  59. Meredith says:

    I tried a similar laid back party for my 4-year-old last month. I planned a Little Tikes themed party at the local park. We set up under a small picnic shelter. We already owned the t-ball set and we borrowed a couple of things from his preschool. We had similar snacks to you all. Big Lots was my friend. We still have A LOT of leftover snacks that we’re still eating. Well you can’t count on the weather, right? We’re here in Virgina and the weather was in the lower 50s and rainy. They kids were SOAKED but even still had a great time on the playground. I’m glad it was warmish and sunny for your son’s party!! Did you have a back up plan if the weather had been rotten?

  60. I absolutely LOVE this idea. It really turns the planning into a fun activity to share with your kid! I also wanted to ask, what do the matching shirts in the bottom picture mean? I’m guessing it’s an outreach. Just curious. Love this wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing!!

  61. Crystal says:

    I totally can relate to your post.
    Last year I did a major minecraft theme for my 7 year old with all the themed finger foods, games and decorations and then matched the same level of stress to give my 6 year old daughter a frozen theme party. Ugh.
    This year we decided to spend 109 bucks for a bowling birthday package and my son invited his 4 bestest friends. It was sooo much easier and my son had way more fun. Definitely gonna give the reigns to my daughter in October when she turns 7 this year. Love love love.
    Thank you.

    • You are so welcome, Crystal! I have definitely been there before planning the big themed parties! I’d love to hear about your daughter’s party planning experience come October. 🙂

  62. Love this!One of my favorite parts is that your son said no to goodie bags. He is so right! Kids just throw them away when they get home. I hate for parents to spend that extra money. It’s nice to have a child’s perspective. My daughter turns 8 in August. We have discussed having a party visiting a local animal shelter and guest making donations instead of gifts. Last year was the first time we invited lots of children. The many gifts were appreciated but after a gift from us and then grandparents – she had way too many. It seemed bigger then Christmas. We will see.

    • I love the idea of giving to help others instead of gifts. Another reader suggested bringing canned food items to donate. Awesome ideas!

  63. Wow! My 10 yr old son nearly did this on his own this year. I wish I had seen this first!
    We have 7 kids and don’t throw big parties for each birthday. Right now, we have a lot more going on than normal as my father has recently moved in after his stroke so we can care for him, in addition to homeschooling. So, I was only planning the small, family, household nice dinner and dessert of his choice.
    Last week, the day before his birthday, I was out running errands (appointment for my dad, groceries, birthday gifts, including a bike we bought for him) when I got a call from his sister saying they had invited a few people over to celebrate his bday. Mind you, it was 3pm and I was at my last stop before coming home. How many folks did they call and invite? Over 50! And they told folks to come at 1pm, on a Thursday, when I have to take my dad to another appointment. I was SO shocked and embarrassed! Fortunately, most folks couldn’t make it on such short notice, and for many he left a voicemail. SO, he was required to phone everybody back and apologize for calling and inviting without permission. We went ahead and let 2 families come, after 5:30p, one that is very close to us and graciously helped provide food, since I hadn’t prepared for a crowd. We normally decorate the house for a bday with streamers and balloons, nothing themed, so this was done already. And the kids all just played soccer in the yard (whew! Good weather this year). Overall, the stress load for me was about the same as if I had planned a big elaborate themed party, just because of the last minute shock and forced planning.
    Now, THIS boy won’t be having a big party for a couple of years, but I’m delighted to utilize your ideas for each of the kids to plan their own on the significant years that they get to have a big party.

  64. I love this post! Where did you get the wonderful tee shirts that you and your son are wearing?

  65. I’m amazed at how “loudly” your post resonated with so many moms. My two are grown but I still find myself reading about extravagant themed childrens parties and feeling guilty and inadequate! Clearly a number of women are questioning the need for such heroic efforts. More significantly, I believe you’ve impressed us with a perfectly designed learning and skills development opportunity for your son. Clearly he did a brilliant job. Kudos all around!

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment. I am glad I can alleviate some of that birthday party planning pressure so many moms experience. It really can steal the joy of the occasion.

  66. I still remember my very favorite birthday “party” growing up. We didn’t do friend parties every year, and this particular year was going to be a no-party year. On my birthday, I was sad that I didn’t have friends to play with, so I asked my mom if I could just have a few friends over to play, and she agreed. I called a few friends, and within an hour, my mom was surprised to see people showing up. We just ran outside in the sprinkler and had fun together — no presents, no cake, or anything else. It was completely free, but it’s all I really wanted anyway — time to play with a bunch of friends.

    • It obviously was very special if you still remember it so clearly now. I definitely think kids take more pleasure in having fun with their friends than perfectly themed party decor!

  67. Amen…. love it! I am doing this in Sept. With my son to 10 year old. Thanks for taking time to share!

  68. Valerie Way says:

    The best party my boys ever had was a ‘game’ party. Their birthdays are both in February and only 5 days apart so always a joint party. That year, we told everyone to bring their favorite games if they wanted and we provided ours. We had popcorn and other ‘game night’ type snacks including sandwiches and fruit. The party was planned for 4 hours and ended up lasting nearly 8. Parents came to pick up kids and would join in on a game. A few parents went ahead and took their kids but for the most part they stayed …..and stayed. We had a blast! We have a small house and with over 30 kids we had games in every room including the kitchen.

  69. I love your idea about handling birthdays. I don’t have kids, but most of my friends do and I have watched them go thru the stress and experience the post party let down too, so I know what you’re talking about and I think your new method is perfect! The kids don’t miss out and they get to do what THEY want to do, and with budgeting and putting effort into it, I”m sure they are more appreciative of what they get versus if you did it all.

  70. How wonderful! Not only did he get exactly the party he wanted, but he learned valuable life skills such as financial planning, priorities, and deadlines. What a great idea!

  71. I like the idea of letting them help plan and make choices about their party, but including their present in the total seems to be teaching them to be greedy? With my sons last party I explained the options for his birthday and the costs of the different locations. I explained that if he wanted to invite all of his class and soccer teammates then he would have to go to one of the options that allowed more people for the same cost. I was so proud when he told me that he would rather choose the cheaper party so that he could have everyone spend his day with him. I wouldn’t want to teach him to make cheaper choices or to leave kids out, just so that he could keep money for himself. What’s the point to that?

    • Honestly, I have never witnessed that kind of attitude in either of my kids. They both take great joy and excitement in celebrating with family and friends – more so than getting to buy themselves gifts. If you feel its an issue though, you could certainly budget only for the party.

  72. As a teacher, it is my dream for all parents to be like this. You are teaching your child accountability, responsibility, and ownership. His actions directly affected others, and you showed him a positive way of doing that. Although I am a million miles away and will probably never see you or your son, I am very excited about the person he will grow into under your love and care.

  73. This is amazing!! I am totally on board. I just wrote about that exact same topic a few weeks ago (http://voiceboks.com/why-im-not-having-a-birthday-party-for-my-3-year-old/) My son’s a little young to understand the budget concept, but I’m definitely keeping it in my pocket for when he gets older. Way to go!

  74. Okay, you may pass the Mean Mom award to me because I am that mom. I hate the idea of throwing parties for my kids, so I’ve never done it but once. My kids are 8, 5, and 3. I despise party planning. But I do like this idea of leaving it up to my son to plan, which is a great lesson in responsibility, math, budgeting, etc. You’ve inspired me. I think my boys can have whatever party they like, so long as they plan it. Yay!

    • Woohoo! So glad to help, and I would really love to get your feedback if you do give this creative approach to party planning a try!

  75. We do the same for our girls. This year is both their golden bdays (10 on the 10th, 8 on the 8th) so we gave them a little bugger budget. We had my older daughter’s bday this weekend. She took 5 friends for pedicures and we came home and had pizza and DQ blizzard cake. they girls watched a movie and played wii. It was a ton of fun. Got a little loud for a bit but was good. For hr gift she chose an ipod.

  76. Chalyse says:

    I love this! We do something similar in our family. I ask the boys what they want to do for their birthday, then we plan it together. One year it was pirates. So we got a $1 bandana for the kids that came, and my boy helped me make an eye patch for everyone. We cut and cooked hot dogs to look like octopus, had fish crackers and blue koolaid. Then my son helped to set up a treasure hunt for him and his pirate friends to go on. After they found the treasure chest filled with gold coins and a few other little treasure like things, the kids ran around the back yard playing pirates. we also made the cake together. The favorite part was making a cardboard boat to play with at the party, my son and I had a lot of fun being creative together, he and his friends all had a blast, and it only ended up costing me about $30 for the whole party! Just goes to show it doesn’t need to be fancy perfect to be fun for the birthday kiddoes. 🙂

  77. Melanie says:

    This is random but what city do you live in?! I love your backyard!! I live in AZ so we don’t have huge backyards with green grass! At least not that I’ve seen =p haha

  78. Great Idea! We started something like this with our 1st son and the older he got, the more he realized he liked the money better than a party. I’ve been torn because our 2nd sons birthday is December 17th and I’ve yet to have a party for him. He’s 5. Sure he gets the family dinner and cake but I have tremendous guilt about asking parents to spend more money before Christmas. Plus, I know families are busy that time of year. But it’s not fair to Jak cause he always goes to theirs and he’d like a birthday shin-dig too. It’s wintertime so outside parties are no good and even the local bowling alley wants $14/kid for 2 hours. Any thoughts or suggestions.

    • If it were me, I would probably just use my same approach, whether his birthday is December or May or any other month. I don’t think anyone would feel upset about the additional expense or inconvenienced about attending a birthday party before Christmas. At least I wouldn’t. As far as what to do, you can always keep an eye out for Groupon deals to save money or plan something inexpensive at your house, like board games, scavenger hunt, etc.

    • Why not celebrate his 1/2 birthday in June? Three of our grandchildren’s birthdays are November 25th, 27th, & 29th…right during the Thanksgiving holidays, They have a small family celebration on their birthday, then we do something special for their half birthday & it gives them something to look forward to when the time is not as busy as it is during Thanksgiving & Christmas.

  79. Hi, Beckie.. You may want to blacken out what could be important information like your sons birthday and your last name… These days you never know who can so what with whatever information you put out there. You all seem like nice people id hate for something crazy to happen.

  80. lovely

  81. I love love love this idea! I am such a party planner and this is such a better way to get the kids involved! Definitely going to try this!

  82. Iove this idea! What an amazing idea! ❤️❤️❤️Thank You!

  83. I think this is a perfect idea! As a parent with kids under 5, I’m still going to throw their tiny family birthday parties, but as soon as they are old enough to have the slightest concept of money I am SO going with your idea! It’s perfect! And it is so empowering for kids to let them make such big decisions themselves. Thanks for sharing!

  84. Elizabeth Fulton says:

    The practicality behind this is simple genius. What better gift than allowing kids to learn life skills and allowing them their individuality.

  85. Wendy Y. says:

    Where do you live that you can spend $51.56 on pizza and breadsticks for an entire class of kids who’ve been burning off energy swimming?

  86. my son is turning 6 soon, and i’ve been throwing him theme parties since he was 2. That usually isn’t the exact birthday so on his real birthday we have no theme-no special simple cake, blow candles and have a little birthday just us. This year he told me his favourite bday party ever was the one 3 of us at home and whenever we talk about his party this year, he keeps sayimg he doesnt want a big party at the garden, he just wants the “us” party so, it proves i’ve been doin it all for myself

    • How sweet that he treasures that special family party, and it will definitely make things easier on your this year. Thanks so much for sharing!

  87. My oldest is 25 and I’ve been doing this for years. They could decide if they want to have a party and what they want to do. I found its much cheaper that way and my youngest daughter prefers money over a party LOL. My boys love to go to a theme park to ride roller coasters with their dad instead of having a part. And I love that they create wonderful memories and I don’t have to clean my house.

  88. Hi Beckie!

    This was a fantastic idea!! I loved the idea of the bins with the snacks, perfect.

    The theme parties are so expensive, grant it looks pretty, but does the kids care about it?

    Good job, Beckie!!

  89. Lindsey says:

    I love this idea I just think it would be hard to implement with the rule that my daughter’s school has. My daughters birthday is in January and where we live there are not a lot of kids her age, so her party’s usually consists of friends from school. The only issue is she has to invite all the kids in her class, it can’t just be her friends. (During school is the only time she see’s her friends) and people aren’t very good at rsvp.

    • Hi Lindsey, Maybe you could find a cheaper party option that allows for everyone in the class to come, or is it possible to invite just a couple friends if you send the invitations in the mail or through an evite, phone call, etc?

  90. Kashefa Merchant says:

    Hi just I read your post. Thanks for the essential oil tip. My daughter has a similar growth. I will try the oil.
    Also you mentioned your daughter has eczema. Have you tried Sudocrem for it yet?

    My son has eczema and it does get pretty bad. I applied
    Sudocrem and it improved significantly over days.
    It’s available at amazon. Here is the link.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_s?k=Sudocrem
    hope it helps.

    • My daughter has fortunately outgrown the eczema, but we never did try Sudocream. Thank you for the suggestion though, and I hope you have success with the oils like we did.

  91. marlene says:

    I do something similar, no party though. I give my daughter 200 and ask her what she wants to do on her actual birthday. Her bday is may 19th, so end of year. Our tradition is that i pull her from school at 1030 and we have a day FULL of events. This tear we did I Fly, build a bear and chuck e cheese with the few dollars that was left over. Sonic, bask in Robbins and a place called mountasia send us coupons for free stuff o her birthday., so we take advantage of those deals too. 🙂

  92. I love this idea because I am the stressing one trying to plan a themed party BUT I do have a problem….he will be turning only 4. What ideas do you have for handling birthdays for younger children?

    • I would just decide how much involvement he can have now based on his maturity. While your little guy may be too young to understand the budgeting component, you could still ask him what he would like to do and maybe provide options – invite entire class or do something special with one or two friends, bake a cake together or buy a cake from the store, etc… That way you are still involved in planning together and setting him for more involvement as he gets older.

  93. Brilliant! Just Brilliant. We have also scaled back parties and noticed everyone has more fun.

  94. So pleased to see this… When our children were growing up, they were told they had $200 for their birthday’s… “spend it how you want” …. Our youngest would usually choose a day out somewhere with friends and a party meal provided at wherever she chose – but Mummy always made the cake 😀 usually she would only have around $30 left to buy something, but that is what she wanted…. The oldest just took the money – teenager…. The middle one would usually split it on going out to movies and dinner with some mates and keeping $100 towards a large ticket item… no stress and everyone was happy….

  95. I LOVE throwing my kids birthday parties with elaborate themes…but… when my soon to be 3 year old already asked me for a “Knight in Shining Armor Fighting a Dragon Breathing Fire” party… I knew I had been pushing expectations a bit too much! I’d already decided that at either 6 o 7, the “themed parties” would end for each child, and a smaller scale celebration would be held… but I didn’t know what that would look like… thanks to this post, now I have some ideas for how to scale back while handing over control to the kids! 🙂 TY!

  96. Love this! I use a similar method for back to school shopping. I provide sneakers and undergarments then give my children a budget. That have learned to increase their budgets by taking too small or out of style clothes to a consignment shop and they keep well fitting basics. Letting them control the budget has made them more aware of the cost of popular brands and they do a great job sale shopping so they can get a few good pieces each year. No more arguments and whining. The first few years I did have to make a list of must haves so they actually bought all the basics but as they get older they have become excellent shoppers. We even started to include their school supply lists and all of a sudden they don’t need the expensive notebooks because they can spend any extra as they please.

  97. Gorgeous pool and huge yard! There’s a pool cover for a pool that size?

    • Yes, it’s an automatic cover. We turn a key, and it either opens or closes. The cover rolls up into the long box at the far end of the pool.

  98. This is such an awesome idea. It shows the kids how much is involved with throwing parties and teaches them valuable budgeting and planning skills. Love it!

  99. This was such a great idea! I love the life skills that you incorporated into this fun event that kids seem to look forward to! It also teaches kids to appreciate the work that goes into such an event. I don’t have kids yet, but I do help friends plan their parties for their own children. I commend you on the wonderful job you are doing teaching your kids such valuable lessons!

  100. I never ever comment on story’s i just read them think their great and move on. But after reading ur story I had to say. Awesome job mom. Love this, all of it!

  101. Clare Kennedy says:

    ohhhh i LOVE what your family did!!!! i’m all about this! <3

  102. I really love this idea! I might try it for my daughters next birthday!

    • Hi Julianne, Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I am thrilled you like the idea and would love to hear back from you if you do try it. 🙂

  103. I feel as if I have just discovered the meaning of life. I am currently the stressed out mommy in the midst of planning a party and I just discovered my first Gray hair. Coincidence? Anyway, thank you for sharing this. This information will come in handy for this mon of 5.

  104. I love this!!! What a great way to really make a birthday about your child. I have to say that I have dreaded birthdays (and all holidays really) in the last couple of years due to several deaths in my family. It’s just me and my kids now and I struggle with a way to make those days feel special – this seems like a great way to do that. Thanks!

    • Oh, Holly, I am so sorry about the heartache you’ve experience over the past couple of years. I hope you can get joy out of planning parties WITH your kiddos to make their birthdays special. I know my kids love being able to make decisions, and it’s fun to make those memories together. Hugs!

  105. This is great! I did a similar thing with my 6 and 4 year old this year, minus the budget (which you’d be surprised how little they asked for) but I love the idea of adding that to it as they get older.
    My 4 year old came up with the idea of having all his friends help decorate his cake! My six year old just wanted to dance around with glow sticks in the living room with her friends. It was so simple and it’s all they wanted. They each only named a few friends and wanted it at our house.

  106. We do something kind of similar. Our kids have a choice of having a party or gifts from us. The part that is different, though, is that we don’t do home parties – ha! Some who read this will think I’m a curmudgeon mother but I just don’t do 20+ young children in my house. 🙂 Too much prepping and too much cleanup. If they choose a party, it’s an all inclusive setup at a local place or an experience. One of our children chose to rent a boat for half a day at a local lake and invited two special friends and their parents (my favorite yet) and others have been LEGO parties at a local play lab, jump/bouncy parties, gymnastics, etc. Our oldest chose gifts last year and we had a small cake at home with just our family. Maybe as they get older I will be open to having friends over but for right now, it’s not an option we provide. And they seem to prefer to go out somewhere anyway – no clean up at the end!

    • I think you definitely have to do what works for you, regardless of what others think. I have no problem with the chaos of having tons of kids at my house. I like our house to be the hub, so it’s always a revolving door of friends coming over. It sounds like you have a system going in your house that everyone, parents and kids, are happy with, and I love the boating idea. Sounds like my kind of party!

  107. LOVE this idea. I love giving my 3 year old son choices and he loves being part of things. I don’t like throwing him birthday parties because I feel like he’ll be happier in a play groun (since he still has nap times and isn’t old enough to care about the details). All he needs is a cake with candles. This is something I’ll definitely incorporate into our lives when he’s older. Great life lesson, less stress and loads of fun for the birthday boy 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

  108. My son is 7 years old. His last few birthdays we’ve given him the options of a party or going somewhere cool for a weekend. Not that a party would be that expensive, but it seems more fun to us. One year he chose to go geode hunting. He had the time of his life!
    One year we went spelunking in nearby caves for a couple of days. It was fun!

  109. You lady are awesome!! My kid will be 2 and I am in no way interest in throwing a party! Stress, planning for what? A fun BBQ or some messy play with the family, laid back sounds so much more fun to me!

  110. This is a great idea! My son turned six yesterday and I told him this year he could invite sic friends to do something fun. I think next year I will follow your lead. You are so right the party becomes what the kids want and they learn so much I. The process! Great job Momma!

  111. I seriously love this! My son is only turning 5 this year but the idea of throwing massive, “Pinterest-worthy” parties every year stresses me out so much! I threw him one for his second birthday, and it honestly wasn’t worth the $200 I spent on it, considering he doesn’t remember it and he didn’t care at all about the party or his birthday. But I really do love this! Thanks for posting! Saving this for the future!

  112. Chelsea says:

    This was by far one of the most amazing blog posts I have ever read or come across (thank you Pinterest); as both a mom of two and teacher! Thank you so much for sharing and letting us steal your amazing tradition!! It really opens your eyes to what really matters and what’s really important, your kids and what makes them happy! 🙂

  113. You are one smart Mom! I am a grandma and I just love what you did! Thank you for teaching your child at an early age to be in control of their money, that fun stuff doesn’t have to cost a lot and to be responsible . Good job Mom.

    • Thanks Jackie, that means a lot. It works for our family and my kiddos love the way we decided to do birthdays. 3 years done this way and no complaints.

  114. Jodi Foster says:

    I love this idea. My eldest daughter turns 7 this March. I’ve told her she can have $100 dollars to plan her party at home. We’ll be buying a gift to surprise her with. Glad some other parents do this too. We’ve had other parties that I’ve planned for the kids and I end up completely stressed and not enjoying it, so hopefully by passing the baton I can just enjoy the party with them. Hugs from Sydney Australia.

  115. This is a fantastic idea. The biggest struggle for me is that my 7-year-old changes his mind within seconds – planning something in advance is a nightmare!! Their birthday is supposed to be a special day, and that can be done in a multitude of ways. Thanks again for sharing, I’ll be visiting this blog again 🙂

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