Lunch and a Movie and a Dinner, Too

On Saturday, we got to experience something my kids had been looking forward to for weeks: the second Despicable Me movie. My youngest choose it as his birthday outing. Normally, we let them choose between going out to eat or going to a movie. Nine times out of ten, they choose the movie. We had planned, as we usually do, to take in the movie at the local movie theater for the matinée showing, which is the least expensive way to do it. Instead, though a misunderstanding with some friends, we wound up driving 45 minutes away to a movie … Continue reading

How to Save Money at Oriental Trading

Oriental Trading is my go-to for supplies when I am planning a big birthday party, as I am doing this year. They have a ton of stuff, from decorations to crafts to goodie bag items. It is easy to find items to fit practically any theme. The spending could quickly get out of hand, unless you know the Oriental Trading money-saving secrets. My youngest, who usually gets short-changed in most things, by fortune of his birth (hand-me-downs and a much slimmer photo album) is finally getting his do with an elaborate (for us) knight-themed birthday party. He is inviting all … Continue reading

One Year Came and Went

Sometimes I think the first birthday comes in the blink of an eye. Other times, I think it takes forever to get there. That’s what having a baby is all about. Time is either dragging slowly or speeding by so fast you want to cry. When my baby turned 1 last month, I felt like crying. I think it’s because he has been such a little love. So sweet. And, he is my last baby. My last baby is one. That breaks my heart. But, at the same time, it makes me so happy. I look forward to all the … Continue reading

Our Dysfunctional Family

Today we are celebrating Hailey’s graduation and 18th birthday. At no time is it more apparent that we are not a normal family than during these celebrations. We defiantly put the fun in dysfunctional. The party will be at our house, Hailey will be surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, in addition to her core family. I will be there, of course, as will her father. Also in attendance will be her two year old sister and her mother. Hailey’s current stepmother will be there, as will one of her father’s ex girlfriends. My daughter loves these people. No … Continue reading

Toddler’s First Birthday

One of my daughter’s young friends officially entered toddler-dom. Today my daughter and I went to our friends’ house to celebrate their youngest turning one. The venue was perfect for the seven toddlers in attendance. The bounce house should have been a big hit, but the toddler pool and sprinkler held far more amusement. I couldn’t help but remember my daughter’s first birthday party. Jessie joined our family two months before her first birthday. We invited all of our friends over to the house and ate pizza. All the children played together with Jessie’s toys. Jessie and a friend’s three-year-old … Continue reading

But It’s My Birthday!

Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday dear me! Happy birthday to me! Yep, you guessed it: It’s my birthday. Another year gone, another year older. Birthdays used to be so exciting. I remember looking at the calendar in anticipation when I was younger, counting down the days until I got to eat cake and open presents. It was nearly impossible to go to sleep the night before. I’d wake up early, go into my parents’ bedroom, and the entire family would gather around for gift opening. I would be freed of my morning duty of making … Continue reading

How Much Did You Spend on Your Child’s Last Birthday Party?

I know it wasn’t more than $360,000. We can’t all roll like Daddy Diddy, but as parents we do want to make our children happy, and celebrating a milestone like a birthday with a big party, often means digging deep. But how deep do you dig? My five-year-old is dreaming of a huge bash to commemorate her sixth year of life (which thankfully doesn’t happen for a few more months). She has been begging for a safari-themed party at our local children’s museum. For three hours, up to 20 kids can dine on lion-shaped cake, make toilet paper roll binoculars, … Continue reading

Kids’ Birthday Parties—How Much Is Too Much?

Recession? What recession? The economic crisis, which has battered and bruised many Americans, is apparently a non-issue if your name is Diddy. The rapper with 1,000 names–he was born Sean Combs, but later morphed into “Puff Daddy,” then “P. Diddy,” then the artist known as “Diddy,” then “Straight up P,” and now just “Diddy”—-is showing the world that money really can buy love. And that goes double if you are a parent. Daddy Diddy recently made headlines when he threw his son an insanely expensive Sweet 16 party. The ultimate birthday bash took place at one of New York City’s … Continue reading

Miley Cyrus’ Super Sweet 16

Did you really think that teen queen Miley Cyrus wouldn’t have a blowout bash to mark her 16th year of life? After all, she is competing with far less famous teens featured on MTV’s “Super Sweet 16” and she wouldn’t want a virtual nobody to out do her momentous milestone, right? That’s my thinking anyway when I learned what the “Hannah Montana” star has planned to ring in the big 1-6. For starters, in October Cyrus’ bosses at Disney plan to shut down Disneyland so the birthday girl can “go wild on all the crazy rides” without having to wait … Continue reading

Whose Birthday Party is It, Anyway?

Ah the birthday party! Organizing and coordinating the perfect party has become an obsession with the average family—at least it can seem that way. We want our child to have a great day, sure, but we may also get caught up in trying to give the standard party for our socio-economic level, meet neighborhood and peer group expectations, and make sure that our child doesn’t feel slighted. What can get lost in the whole quest for the perfect party is just exactly who the party is supposed to be for anyway! There can be so many special interest groups influencing … Continue reading