Jun 22: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

This week marks many milestones in the life of our family — Father’s Day, my husband’s retirement and my 65th birthday (really?). Also our granddaughter and her Moms will be in Toronto to celebrate her 3rd birthday. It seems like just yesterday we drove from the cottage in Muskoka to Ottawa to meet her for the very first time!

We’re planning an informal backyard barbecue for close family and a few friends with a home-made ice cream cake. But the cost of children’s birthday parties can really get out of hand with families striving to “keep up with the Joneses.”

This week we share links to articles and blogs that will help you manage the cost of kid’s birthday parties.

How to throw a great, cheap party for your child has great ideas like make your own pizza parties, pool parties, get crafty instead of buying decorations and sourcing balloons and other party paraphernalia at the dollar store.

On About Parenting, Megan Cooley suggests that you keep down the guest list, forget goody bags in favour of a simple gift related to the party theme like a cookie cutter or seeds for the garden and play traditional party games instead of hiring outside entertainment.

Six years ago, Lindsay Armstrong on babble.com offered 25 birthday party tips that still resonate today. I think throwing a costume party is a great idea. Award prizes for the silliest costume, the most colorful costume, etc. (just make sure that everyone gets a prize). If nothing else, the other parents will appreciate getting some extra use out of last year’s Halloween costume.

My suggestion if you own a photo printer or can borrow one, is to purchase inexpensive 4’ x 6’ frames in advance. Take lots of pictures during the party and print either a group or individual pictures that can be framed and sent home with each child. You can also have the children decorate the frames first using washable paint plus odds and ends they can glue on like shells or buttons.

And finally, how about asking guests to bring a donation to a charity instead of bringing gifts? Help your child select a charity that is meaningful. What does your child care about? It could be animals, the elderly, homelessness or hunger.  Instead of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, movies or kickball, consider an activity specific to the charity of choice. Be sure it is age appropriate and enjoyable for everyone attending.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere?” Share the information with us on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

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