Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Cheapskate Tuesday

Exercises in extreme budgeting.

This week I'm organising Frog's second birthday! I love birthday parties, and I don't mean the hire a bouncy castle, laid on entertainment, with swavorski crystal encrusted party bags kind of party we are seeing more and more these days. I'm talking about good old fashioned fun!

Birthday parties for us mainly mean family. I have stuck to one big kids party every five years or so - at 5, 10, 15, 18, 21 and then if you want to get married you are big enough to pay for it yourself!

On the in between years we allow the kids to invite a couple of friends to a lunch or tea with our family. My family is quite small so all the extended family have become immediate family over the years and all of them together doesn't make for a reunion style dinner! 


I'm part of the WonderMan clan now...... and just his immediate family makes any family get together seem like an army exercise in tolerance, battle training and mess cooking! And even though they are spread out across the country.... there are still enough reasonably locally to have quite a party without even trying.

Frog has invited four friends, all of whom are BOYS. Apparently Frog thinks boys are much more fun.... an attitude which has WonderMan wondering if it's too early to put the rocking chair on the porch and polish his shotgun.....

Attempts to get her to name a girl she played with resulted in "Mummy!" well yes darling, Mummy does happen to be invited.....

And I made a rather silly mistake - I asked what kind of cake Frog would like.... "PIGGLE! MACCA! DAISY! DANCING!" Yep.... I actually dobbed myself in to make a flipping In The Night Garden carousel....

We are having an afternoon tea - which was my brainchild after looking at how tired 2 and 3 year olds (not to mention 89 year old great grandmas) can get, and as a way of reducing my workload by baking everything in advance! 

In my family everyone always brings their "specialty" to any parties or gatherings - cream puffs from my aunt, pasties from my great aunt, trifle from my grandma... This pretty much means that I can actually afford to have a party for my kids, as I only have to provide half the food I would otherwise.

PARTY BAGS always do my head in, because they seem to always ending costing at least $15 a child.... when you count the bags, lollies, treats, toys.... but this year I have found my own solution! I'm using paper party bags filled with homemade caramel popcorn, and a couple of treats, a mini juice box, and a mini cupcake buried within like treasure. Cheap, fun, and popcorn is a whole lot healthier than the lollies traditionally used!

If it was a big party we would usually play some funky games - and the most loved in our family is Toilet Paper Mummies. Simply pair off the kids, give them a couple of rolls of cheap toilet paper, and give them a time limit to see who can wrap their partner as the best mummy! The kids love lurching around trailing ripped toilet paper and groaning at each other. Then you give a prize to the children who pick up the most paper(because any way of getting kids to clean is a good thing!)

We generally play dress up freeze - with a big bag of dress ups in the middle of a circle, and a ball you pass with the music, each time to music stops the person with the ball has to close their eyes and pick something from the bag to put on. I always photograph the kids crazy outfits at the end and give them a print to take home!

There are tons of ways to adapt card games into party games for older children. My mother made up one with a small bowl of lollies (including one big lollipop or similar). She dealt one pack of cards between the kids, and kept another for herself. When she turned up a card the person with the matching card placed it down in front of them and took a lolly from the bowl. When the lollies in the middle ran out you could take from another player. This meant the lollipop went round and round until someone had the lucky last card! And everyone had a small stash of lollies to put in their party bag.

Seeing as Frog is only two hers will probably be more of a free range party, and will probably mean she and her friends disappear to her room to play trains while the rest of us crack out the wine  fizzy drink in relative peace and quiet! 

They are only small once so why not enjoysome good old fashioned fun, before they are asking for PS3's and rave parties?

What's your favourite party game?


  1. This sounds like my kinda party! I love the card game, it's so clever. And kids cleaning up after themselves? Yes please!!!

  2. Sounds devine!!!!

    I have 4 months until a 1 yr old party......which actually turns out to be more of an adult get-together / party for the 3 and 4 yr old!

  3. Ah yes, the one year old party.... where the birthday boy/girl has no idea what all the fuss is about and generally goes and has a nap while everyone else catches up :)

    And yes Glowless - KIDS CLEANING UP! Dangle a treat in front of a child's nose and they are but putty in your paws.... *evil laugh*

  4. We tend to avoid parties. We have family parties and basically leave it at that.

  5. sounds great ... i hate having to make party bags... so costly.


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