Birthday ideas on a budget: great how-to tips

My daughter recently had her 8th birthday, and although she’s a social butterfly, we struggled with what to do for her big day. I
didn’t have the time, nor the energy, to plan an extravaganza. And, honestly, I
didn’t really have the budget for it either. So what’s a mom to do? Birthday on a Budget, it is!
We decided on a camping themed slumber party. Since I am not a camper, I have no camping supplies. In fact, my idea of
camping is the Hilton closest to the woods. I love to sleep with the windows
open, and in theory, sleeping out under the stars is great! But I can’t do it. So I hit Pinterest. I searched for “slumber party”. I found a mom
who had transformed her back porch into a “tent”. It was gorgeous. She had
yards upon yards of tulle strung up with flowers made of out of tulle and all
sorts of lanterns. 
 photo IMG_20130907_221412_zps7bfe50ed.jpgThe bad news was, as someone who sews, I know tulle is not
only a complete pain to work with, but it’s also expensive.  The good news was I already have a screened
in back porch. A pretty decent sized one at that. So, the girls would be safe
and bug free. II substituted old sheets for the tulle. I
cut them into quarter panels and draped them down the columns and up through
the middle to meet at a point by the ceiling fan. I took strands of Christmas
lights and ran them down the middle of each section. The girls loved it! In
addition to that, my daughter’s Poppy bought some of those huge balloons with
the rubber bands on them, I think they’re called Punch Balloons. We blew those
up and had them all over the porch too. They were a huge hit and you get 3 for
$1 at the Dollar Store!

We had 12 girls total including my daughter. We took one of those big bouncy balls you can get at any store
(Target, Kroger, Meijer) for $2.50 and wrote on it. Favorite Food? Band? Singer?
Color? Dogs or Cats?, Cake or Cookies? Crush? Future Career? You get the point.
When the ball was thrown to one of the girls she had to answer whatever
question her right thumb landed on. It was a
huge success! The only downside was they all wanted to answer right away. So,
there was a lot of “pick me” going on. We even had a dare section so whomever
threw the ball got to tell the person who caught the ball what their dare was. One of the girls ended up running down our street
yelling, “I love Justin Bieber”. The rest of them thought this was hilarious so
they all joined in too. Good thing I warned my neighbors…
Next, it was time to feed them. We didn’t start the party
until 7 so most of them came fed, but as one of my friends warned me, they eat
nonstop. I made a popcorn bar which went over very well. I
popped real popcorn ($1.50/bag) and colored some of it blue and left some normal. I took bowls and filled them with various
additives: chocolate chips, Reese’s Pieces, Sno Caps, Twizzler bites, Goobers,
and honey roasted peanuts. The girls got to make their own popcorn trail mix.
Most of the candies were available at Kroger for $1 a box. So, I spent maybe $10
on the popcorn bar in total. They were all very impressed with the blue
After the sun went down I brought them inside to watch Teen
Beach Movie. On the invites, I had requested each
girl bring a bottle of her favorite color nail polish. I dug a spinner out of
one of my daughter’s  games and had them
all sit in a circle where we played “Spin the Bottle”. But not the kind we
know! They all took turns spinning and whomever the pointer landed on, she got
one of her nails painted with the favorite color polish of the girl who won.
Each girl let with 10 different colored fingers and toes! They all thought this
was fun, but it got out of hand very quickly. It definitely required the most
supervision. Not to mention, there were incessant dancing/singing breaks for
Teen Beach Movie.
After we watched Teen Beach Movie AND Pitch Perfect we went
outside to settle down. While I’m blowing up
my air mattress, I sat the girls
in a circle and we told scary stories. I started the story and when I stopped,
the girl next to me picked up and so on. They enjoyed doing this. My only
regret is that I didn’t record it somehow so I could type it up for them. After the first story I had them all get in their sleeping
bags for the next one. They started dropping off and a few of them, I had to
just cut off and tell them it was time to go to sleep once we got the story
over with.
 photo photo3_zpsa873d4a4.jpgI’m sure you’re wondering at this point, where in the hairy
heck is the birthday cake? GREAT question. My daughter doesn’t like cake. Hmmm…what does she like? Donuts. She loves donuts. Preferably
glazed. So, I called up Jeff of Jeff’s Bakery in Jeffersonville. Man, that’s a
lot of Jeff going on there… and found out that he does a Texas glazed donut for
$8. This thing is a behemoth. It was at least a foot in circumference. He
slathered it with chocolate frosting and wrote Happy Birthday, Katie Grace on
the top of it and it was only $8. And delicious. The girls thought it was cool
to see this huge donut.  I also had him
whip me up some donut holes, which I put on skewers and mixed with fresh fruit.
So we had a glazed donut and breakfast kabobs along with sausage bars. Sausage
bars aren’t actually bars of sausage, they’re crescent roll dough, sausage,
cream cheese, cheddar cheeses, and more crescent roll dough. They are
 photo photo2_zpse77a4d9c.jpgThe best part of breakfast however, and here’s where I
totally cheated, was the pastry plate catered by Adrienne’s. I am SO glad I
cheated, because come Sunday morning, I was one worn out mom. If you didn’t
know, or haven’t heard of, Adrienne’s & Co. in Jeffersonville, you are absolutely
missing out. They are well known for the masterpieces Adrienne creates
cake-wise, but most people don’t realize they not only serve a full breakfast
and lunch, they also cater. The muffins were bigger than my fist. The cinnamon
rolls were huge and delicious. The scones didn’t go over so well with the kids
(because they were all fighting over cinnamon rolls) but my grandmother loved
them. I cannot thank Adrienne’s enough for making my life simple and edible.
After breakfast was over the girls parents started picking
them. We had a lot of fun, but I was exhausted, KG was exhausted, and all the
girls from school had volleyball games that afternoon. It was definitely time
for a nap! However, we can’t forget the parting gift, now can we? We took brown
paper bags (left over from the popcorn bar) and put in a pack of crayons and
individual packs of marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers. On the
outside my daughter wrote: “Thank you for spending my birthday with me. I had a
colorful time! Can’t wait to hang out s’more. 
Love, Katie Grace”.
All in all, I’d say the Birthday on a Budget was a huge
success. My bank account is thanking me. When all
was said and done, I spent less than $75. I also created a Pinterest board
where you can see all the ideas that arose, but weren’t implemented. Need some ideas for a birthday party? Check out our list of the best options around Louisville here!

By guest contributor: Heather

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