Enjoy St. Thomas on a Budget!

I just returned from an incredible three day trip in St. Thomas with my mom and my two sister-in-laws.

While I have told everyone that the four of us could have gone anywhere and had a great time this was a fabulous location for so many reasons.

First of all it’s the Caribbean so it’s gorgeous.

Also, when it comes to tropical islands it’s one of the more economical options. You don’t have to have a passport. You can spend money on all kinds of activities or you could just go to the beach for free.

Everything on the island is going to be pricey so we brought our own snacks and breakfast items.


We ate out at several different restaurants and aside from terrible service at one (which I believe was a fluke) all the food was DELICIOUS. If you are searching for a good place to eat I have a few recommendations.

Iggie’s beach bar and grill was the first place we ate at. It was walking distance from where we stayed and, as with all of the places went, it was open air with a gorgeous ocean view!

We also had pizza at Sapphire beach bar. There were a few wild chickens roaming around which was fun and it really had that relaxing resort feel.


Lanai at Limetree beach was my favorite restaurant. It was soooo good!!! If you go, you have to save room for dessert. We were a little more dressed up because we went in the evening and most people around us were too.

 

 The Airbnb at Bologna Bay comfortable fit all four of us and was reasonably priced for all that was included. I would give it five stars! We had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, dining room, multiple TVs (which of course we didn’t need) and a pool (which we also didn’t need).

 

It also had crazy amazing views from the master bedroom and main room and patio area.

Every time my eye caught a glimpse of the view I was reminded of where I was and it was blissful!

 

There are several scenic overlooks on the island and plenty of nature to discover.





We saw so many fish, crabs, snails, and more .

The coolest sighting was the sting ray and two sea turtle we saw. I will never forget it. Brewer’s Bay is perfect for snorkeling.

When we arrived my sister-in-law rented a car and while we knew she’d be driving on the left side of the road we were all shocked that the steering wheel was also on the left.

So basically it’s like having an American car in Europe. Lindsey did phenomenal, but you may want to opt for an uber  if you don’t feel confident with that scenario.  So that’s the whole trip in a seashell (get it? instead of nutshell).  I wouldn’t change a thing!

By | April 19th, 2022|Frugal Living|0 Comments

Effective Ways Your Family Can Earn Some Extra Money

Boosting your income can enable you to achieve your financial goals and enhance your quality of life. Whether you want to pay down debt, save for a luxury holiday, or support your kids as they reach the next stage in their lives, increasing your annual income now will give you the flexibility and funds you need. To get started, take a look at these very effective ways your family can earn some extra money:

Start Driving

If you have a license and a vehicle, you’re already on your way to becoming a professional driver. From signing up as a cab driver with companies like Lyft and Uber to winning hot shot trucking jobs and delivering goods, there are a variety of ways you can turn your driving skills into a budding startup or side hustle. Just make sure you have the right type of insurance in place and you’re good to go. 

Become a Consultant

Whatever professional experience you have, you can optimize your income by sharing it with others. Setting yourself up as a consultant allows you to work with companies or individuals and share your knowledge and expertise. Whether you mentor new graduates and teach them how to succeed in your industry or provide advice to established businesses, capitalizing on your own hard work and professional success can be a great way to boost your income. 

Use Your Home

Your family home is probably your largest asset, so why not make the most of it and use it to generate some income? If you have a spare room, you could rent it out on a long-term basis or make it available to temporary residents via sites like Airbnb. 

Alternatively, unused space, such as garages or outhouses, can be transformed into handy storage units and rented out. If you have a large driveway and live near a town, city or event venue, you could even boost your income by making it available for parking. 

Pet Sitting

Not only is pet sitting a lucrative way to make extra money, but it’s also extremely fun! When you become well-known as a reliable pet sitter, you can be sure that your services will be in high demand. Whether you take pets in while their owners are on vacation or you walk the dogs in the neighborhood while their owners are at work, there are a variety of ways you can earn extra money and get all the benefits of having a pet without being an official owner. 

Sell Items You No Longer Need

If you could do with a little extra space at home, this will help you to declutter your living environment, as well as bringing in some extra cash. Decide which items you no longer need or want and get them listed on online marketplaces or local advertising portals before exchanging them for cash. 

Transform Your Family’s Finances

When you find fun ways to bring in some extra money, transforming your finances becomes a family effort. By getting everyone involved, you can teach your kids about financial management and protect their future at the same time.

 

By | March 18th, 2021|Frugal Living, Uncategorized|1 Comment

How to Keep Your Roof From Leaking

A roof can sometimes be a daunting project to attend to – but it doesn’t have to be. But, your roof is one of the essential features of your entire house – without it, you’d basically have four walls, and no coverage from the harsh element nature throws at us from time to time. Luckily, there are easy things to look out for when you want to check your roof and repair a few things. There are also easy steps you can take in order to properly maintain your home, thereby preventing any leakages that may cause severe damage to your home. By following the below steps, you’ll rest easy at night, knowing that your roof is in top shape and your family is safe and sound under it.

Keep your gutters clean

This is one of the most important things to remember when maintaining your roof. Clean gutters ensure that there will be proper drainage when it rains, seeing as clogged gutters can cause water to store on your roof, leading to leakages through any cracks that may exist on your roof. Gutters can get clogged very quickly if there’s a lot of foliage around or if you live in an area where weather storms are a frequent occurrence. Cleaning gutters properly can sometimes be a tricky project, seeing as one doesn’t always have the proper tools to remove all the debris from the drainage pipes as well. If you feel like it would be safer to hire a professional, it would be highly recommended to get the Best gutter cleaners near Greensboro, NC – they do a fantastic job and even go the extra mile by sweeping away all the extra leaves on your driveway to enhance your curb appeal!

Check your roof’s shingles 

The best time to check your roof’s shingles would be especially after the stormier weather season. The sun’s harsh rays can also do some damage over time, so when inspecting your roof’s shingles, ensure they are still functioning correctly, are still where they should be, and are not cracked or chipped.

Look out for ice dams

If you live in an area where heavy snowfall occurs, ice dams are something you should monitor closely. Ice dams are what happens when the warmer attic’s air rises to the roof and melts the snow that’s gathered on top. The water from the melted snow then runs along the roof, reaches colder parts, and freezes all over again. These ice dams trap any further melting snow water and cause the water to seep through the roof, causing damage to your ceiling and peeling of the paint inside. The vital step to take here would be to check your attic for appropriate insulation and ventilation – this will ensure your roof stays cool during the winter months and doesn’t cause ice dams on top.

 

The above steps are just some of the easy ways to maintain your roof and ensure it stays in optimal condition. Not only will you feel better and more prepared for anything nature might throw your way, but you’ll spare yourself a lot of trouble and money in the future!

 

By | March 17th, 2021|Frugal Living|0 Comments

Cow Under-appreciation Day

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First off let me say that I love Chick-fil-A. If you read my blog then you probably already know that I am HUGE fan. However I do want to bring some attention to how Cow Appreciation Day has made some changes that I’m not too sure about just yet.

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This will be our 7th year to participate in Cow Appreciation Day. I finally broke down and ordered a full blown cow costume for myself this year, but I am a little concerned that the tradition is starting to fizzle out. I do realize that this is going to be the goofiest thing I have ever gotten riled up about but here goes.

Cow Appreciation Day 2016 is taking place this Tuesday July 12th.

Cow day used to be on Fridays but they switched it to Tuesday last year. I remember because my bloggy friend at Little Dove was the one who noticed the date changed. I understand that Fridays are the busiest day and Tuesday are the slowest so it make sense to drive more traffic in on the slow day.

The thing I am disappointed about is that they are no longer giving a free meal to anyone dressed in a “Head to hoof” cow costume. Instead they are “simplifying” things by giving a free entree to anyone wearing any kind of cow accessory at all. This includes the paper hats that they give out for free at the restaurant. They are very clear on their website that you can dress up or just wear the hat.

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To which I go from saying moo, to saying boo.

Now hear me out, I am not being greedy. I am thrilled to get a free sandwich or shake, plus the kids still get a free kids meal so I think that’s super generous. The thing that chaps my hide is that there is no longer any incentive to get all dressed up.

Why would someone go out in full blown costume in the heat of JULY to get free food when all they have to do is throw on a paper hat provided by the store?  The campaign went from dress like a cow, to simply wear anything “cow like”. Does this mean we will continue to see more and more patrons dressed up cute like this

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or this?

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I hope so because that’s my favorite part to see all the creative costumes.

I do understand why they streamlined it because I am sure there were people showing up with a dot here and spot there demanding a free combo meal and complaining when they didn’t get one. I just think they should at least have a photo contest to keep some buzz going for this event. 

So I emailed Chick-fil-A, because yeah I am that serious about this dilemma and I say Please tell me there is a photo contest. If there is a photo contest then I’m in. They sent me an automated response stating that they would eventually really reply. So, for now I guess I will begrudgingly go through with the original plan to wear my  cow suit. I suppose I could just have a good attitude and do it for my kids, but it’s a really hot costume. Really hot. Seriously.

Aside from my oldest child who started at age 2 all of my kids have been participating in Cow Appreciation Day for their entire lives.

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I’ve been a pregnant cow twice.

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I had a daughter and a niece wear the same cow dress which will now be passed down to my youngest calf who I also by the way have a cow cloth diaper for.

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This is big stuff in our family! I would hate to see the tradition dwindle away.

Let’s keep the dream alive people and show our appreciation for cows all across this land! Come on Chick-fil-A. Please don’t let us down.

By | July 5th, 2016|Creativity, Frugal Living|3 Comments

The Big Six

SJ turned 6 years old on Friday. If you have spent any time around MessyMom.com then you probably know I like to party. SJ has had a Cupcake Party, Green Eggs and Ham Party, Donut Party, and Tea Party. However as I said in my blog post “How to avoid overboard kid parties” I don’t do theme parties every year and this is an off year. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have fun though! SJ still had a fabulous birthday and I still got to cherish all those gigantic smiles with FOUR teeth missing.

I started the day by sneaking in her room to hang some streamers in the door and throw some pink balloons on her bed. This might sound fancy, but trust me it was nothing you are going to see on pinterest. She woke up late so all 5 of us snuck into her room to surprise her (not hard to do with a deaf girl). We sang happy birthday as a family and she was beaming!

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Her birthday outfit was a shirt I got from a yard sale that had a number 5 on it, but I covered it with a pin that said “I am 6” and she also wore her cupcake headband from last year which was from a conisgnment shop.

No slaving over the oven this year. The cupcakes I sent with her to school were store bought and the 13×9 cake that we ate that night was all from a box.

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My parents and nieces and nephew came over for her “party”. It worked out great because they were going to come over anyway because their mom just had a baby and needs to rest. It made for a really great surprise birthday slumber party though.

Decorations $2

Birthday accessories $6

Birthday desserts $10

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So as you can see it was definitley a low budget simple year and I know SJ still loved it just as much as the years I go all out.

The fun continued on Saturday since the family was still around to hang out and ride scooters.

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Then Sunday she graduated to the big girl class at children’s church and yesterday she had her first daddy/daughter date.

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That’s the last of it though. The birthday festivities are officially over until next year, which may or may not be a theme party. I’ll warn you though, if an idea sparks, there is no stopping me!

 

By | March 8th, 2016|Frugal Living, Motherhood, Parties, Uncategorized|5 Comments

Dramatic Haircuts on the Way

Everyone has different priorities and it just so happens that in this family we don’t place a lot of value in haircuts. Some of you are probably thinking and it shows. I have a lot of respect for my friends who are stylist and someday when I have more money I’ll take care of my hair, but for now I’m just kind of meh about it. It’s dead to me (because hair is pretty much dead).

So the guys in the family get haircuts at home. Evie recently had a big change actually.

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It was even longer than it was in this picture. It was really shaggy and in his face. I wanted to get it done before baby Elle came, but we all know she came before I was ready. So J cut it.

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and here he is with his big brother do.

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I’ve wanted to get SJ’s hair cut for a long time, and at one point she agreed. Except come to find out she wanted her hair cut to be “long and yellow”. In other words she wanted Rapunzel’s hair.

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When I explained that hair cut means her hair would get shorter she protested. She was not interested UNTIL… I said I was going to get my haircut short. Now she’s on board. I always chop my locks after having a baby because I shed SOOOOO much. There are long hairs tangled up in the baby’s hands, in the shower, in the dryer (all wadded and knotted up) hair all over the back of my jacket, hair in my food.

HAIR. HAIR. HAIR everywhere. I can’t stand it.

So If I am going to loose that much hair I would rather it be a little shorter. My plan is to go from this

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to this

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SJ’s cut will be about the same. I tried to get her involved in picking what she wanted, but even though she understands about the length it seems she still thinks she gets to choose the color which is odd because I don’t color my hair. So as we are looking through potential hairstyles she says very matter of factly with a serious face that she wants this one. 

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I say That one? as I point to the colorful pixie cut on the screen and she looks at it and nods yes. I asked her if it was because of the color and she said yes. She was not laughing she just wants My Little Pony hair and it’s not that strange to her.

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I made two separate appointments for Tuesday so it’s official. The hair is going to go. I will be sure to post the after pictures next week. I don’t plan for either of us to get rainbow colors, but we’ll see.

By | December 4th, 2015|Frugal Living|4 Comments

Why You Should Renovate Your Bathroom


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It’s most likely the first room you head towards when you wake up and potentially the last room you leave before going to bed at night. It’s the bathroom.

With the Holidays upon us and New Year’s resolutions right around the corner it’s the perfect time to think about sprucing up your home with some remodeling projects and what better place to start than your bathroom?

Why should you renovate your bathroom?

Several reasons.

  1. It should be a sanctuary. Whether it’s a steamy shower on a cold winter day or a relaxing bath, everyone deserves to have a bathroom they can consider a spa or a retreat. That’s hard to do if it’s outdated and not functional.
  2. It’s a fairly small space to tackle. The average bathroom is typically one of the smaller rooms in the home. This makes a major remodel a little more realistic.
  3. It increases the resale value of your home. When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck bathrooms and kitchens are going to be your best bet as a renovation investment. Updating these two rooms will help increase equity. What’s not to love about that?

Once you’ve decided you’re ready to take on the bathroom renovation then you need to come up with a bathroom design plan.

Think about your bathroom lighting, fixtures, and furnishings.

Dream big. There is nothing stopping you at this point from having fun with your design. Once you’ve got an idea of all the things you want for your bathroom design then you can narrow it down to a more concrete plan. This is the part where you can decide what really works for you and the specific space that you have to work with.

You’ll need to figure out how much you want to change, how much you can spend, and what you can realistically do on your own according to your skill set.

As someone who has remodeled multiple bathrooms watched my husband do multiple bathroom remodels I wish we would have known about PlumbTile.com sooner. This is the place to get all of those must have dream items on your bathroom wish list.

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Not only do they have a huge selection, but shipping is FREE, there is no sales tax (outside of California), and they have guaranteed price matching.

I got really excited about this website and so did J once I showed it to him. Seriously, you need to go check it out!

I am really looking forward to our next bathroom remodel now and I think you’ll feel the same way after you see all that PlumbTile has to offer. They are an authorized retailer, with exceptional costumer service available online or on the phone, and I already mentioned the low price guarantee. You can’t go wrong.

Go to PlumbTile.com and start designing your dream bathroom today.

By | November 23rd, 2015|Creativity, Frugal Living, Projects|4 Comments

10 Ways to Save Money on Your Costume Stash

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In my dream home there would be a play room with a costume closet and I’d have a little stage and dress up area. For now a box full of costumes and a big dose of imagination is just as good. Our stash includes a variety of characters in each size from youngest to oldest, but it’s taken a while to get to that point.

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Our first Halloween as parents. Z was less than 2 months old

I have gone into some of those speciality stores and found really simple kids costumes for 50 bucks! I am way too cheap to invest that kind of money into play clothes. Instead I have tried to get deals when they come up.

Here are 10 ways to stock up on costumes without breaking the bank.

1. Buy used

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This one is obvious! I buy almost everything used anyway, but always keep an eye out for costumes at thrift stores, consignment shops, and yard sales. That’s where you are going to find the best deals. Some of them have hardly ever (maybe even never) been worn.

2. Shop Babies R Us

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I know that is so randomly specific, but almost all of my toddler costumes came from Babies R Us either right before Halloween or right after. They are so stinkin’ cheap when they are marked down. I am talking like three dollars! Of course now that I make that announcement they won’t have any deals this year and you guys can throw tomatoes at me for leading you astray. I hope that’s not the case though.

3. Consider a cow costume

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One of the costumes I got for $2.50 at Babies R Us was a baby cow costume which has gotten us several free meals on Chic-fil-A cow days. So if you know you are into that it doesn’t hurt to have a few cow costumes in your stash because kids love ’em and they pay for themselves. In our case we have gotten almost $200 worth of free meals over the past 6 years thanks to dressing like a cow.

4. Make your own

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I am not that crafty in this area. My mom is the one who does all the sewing and she has made some super cute costumes. The one of SJ as a gnome will always be a favorite of mine! She also made all but one of the cow costumes above. It doesn’t have to be that elaborate though. There are so many ideas on pinterest you could just go crazy with all the cheap and easy options.

5. Christmas gift costumes

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One good thing about giving costumes as Christmas gifts is that you get them on clearance the month before! You save money by killing two birds with one stone when you get a Christmas present and Halloween costume all at once. 

6. The child pays for their own costume

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Seriously! If you have chores or jobs for your kids (which I highly recommend) that doesn’t mean they should just blow it all on junk toys that will end up lost or broken within weeks. I often have my kids earn things that I would have otherwise paid for like a birthday present for their friend’s party, or a book from the book fair, or their HALLOWEEN COSTUME. When Z was 5 he saved up for a mario costume that he wore several years in a row. This helps kids learn the value of things rather than just having it appear via mom and dad. They feel proud and accomplished and it saves money because you get child labor out of it (I’m joking).

7. Pajamas

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Costume pajamas are so popular right now. You can’t go anywhere without seeing pajamas that look like a super hero or a princess. And then there are those huge onesies that look like animals and all that. I saw several people wearing those for halloween last year and we’ve done this too. It saves money when your costume can double as pajamas.

8. Borrow

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Borrowing a costume will not help you build your private collection, but if you have an idea in mind for a special costume don’t feel like you have to go purchase all the pieces! Z’s school had a mother son costume night last October and we were able to borrow all this western wear. It worked out perfectly and we didn’t have to spend a dime. If it’s not something you think you are going to use over and over then save your dough!

9. Repurposesj tea party

Remember dressing up in stuff from the old trunk in grandma’s attic? Me neither, but it happens in the movies. Anyway, if there is an old neck tie, dress, hat, or sunglasses etc. that you are thinking about throwing out consider whether it could work for the costume box before sending off to goodwill.  Same applies to old dance or sports uniforms.

10. Pass it along

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When you have multiple kids then you can get multiple uses out of each costume. It’s been fun to watch Ezie wear some of the costumes that belonged to Z. We’ve had other people bless us with some of their old costumes too and I plan to pay it forward with anything that is left in decent condition once my kids are all grown up. Although, that’s really, REALLY far away and I don’t want to think about it right now!

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Those are all my tips for accumulating a costume collection on the cheap. It doesn’t even have to be for Halloween, but this certainly is a great time of year to be thinking about it.

 

 

By | October 9th, 2015|Frugal Living|12 Comments

Family Friendly Fun for FREE!

It’s October! Unfortunately that means dodging creepy-bloody-death decorations everywhere, but it is also one of my favorite times of year because I LOVE fall and I love costumes. I almost can’t even handle all the imaginative creativity and cuteness every year when I see kids dressed up.

There are also so many  activities going on that you can wear your costumes to. Here are three of the free family friendly dress up activities we’ll be participating in again this year.

Chucktober

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If your child wears a costume to Chuck E. Cheese ANY day in October you get 50 free tickets. That’s 150 free tickets between my three kiddos. We went over and over again last year. The kids wore different costumes every time (we’ve accumulated a collection which I’ll talk about tomorrow). I bought a handful of tokens ONE time that they used very sparingly throughout the month. The fun of Chuck E. Cheese is only amplified when you get to make believe!

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Ikea

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Our local Ikea is hosting their trick or treat event on a Tuesday October 27th (the day kids eat free in the cafe!) You can get more use out of your costume while going from station to station collecting candy and doing crafts and having a free meal. Check your local Ikea, mall, and retailers for events like this that could be happening throughout the month.

Church

Our church does a trunk-or-treat fall festival every Halloween. It’s always a lot of fun. I’ve lived a lot of places and no matter where we are there are always tons of free church, school, library, and community organized activities available at no cost. So I’m sure that there is something near you. Some of these options are also great if the weather is bad, which seems to happen a lot here in Ohio!

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So even though you may not have the same exact events available in your area, check online (or click the links above for more details on the three I’ve mentioned here). Between that and all the farms and pumpkin patches there is sure to be something going on all month long that lets you have some super frugal family time.

Why not get more than just one use out of those costumes?

 

By | October 8th, 2015|Frugal Living|6 Comments

I Dream of Pig Parties

“I think I’ll combine the boys birthday this year and just keep it really simple because it’s going to be so close to when the baby is due.”

I distinctly remember having that conversation with my family. Z and Ezie’s birthdays are less than a month apart and I DO have a lot going on, but what can I say? I love to party!

Here are some behind the scenes details about the Ezie’s third birthday this weekend.

The original idea was Three Little Pigs theme which I thought of last year (these are the kind of things I think about when I can’t sleep). Since Ezie is turning three it seemed fitting, but the idea has evolved into more of a full blown farm theme with some 3 Little Pig touches.

First I inquired amongst friends and family for hay, costumes, decorations… anything farm related that I could borrow (trying to keep costs low here). It was looking pretty bleak, until I called my aunt who is not on Facebook and she had so many awesome things that I will be integrating.

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Not to mention I got to visit her in the country while the leaves were falling AHHHH, and Ezie got to feed a horse and pony and pet some other animals. It was like a mini surprise before his birthday even started.

Next I looked everywhere for farm theme party stuff. I spent the day going from Party City to numerous craft stores with Ezie in tow and I was exhausted. I made one final stop at a random Dollar Store and JACKPOT! I found farm theme party paper goods and for $1. I was stoked.

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One of the 3 Little Pigs idea I had was to have a “House Building Contest” where families team up using cardboard boxes. So I called up my local Kroger which really came through for me when I needed free boxes for packing. This round was a little small than I had hoped, but I was grateful and hauled a load home. Then J told me they have tons of huge boxes where he works (the place he started this week) and he brought some home yesterday.What are the odds!?

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Lastly, my aunt had an old saddle that she just wanted to give to us. So J joined in with his creativity by crafting a wooden “saw horse” so that the kids can sit on the saddle.

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Needless to say I did not keep things simple this year, but it’s all coming together and I feel great about it. Ezie didn’t have a party last year and he is about to loose his status as baby of the family so what better time to celebrate him. Not to mention I just love autumn and farms, so this is very therapeutic for me. I am just really looking forward to the family time. I think it’s going to be fun for all ages. After this I’ll be ready to get down to business because before you know it our latest addition will be arriving!

By | September 25th, 2015|Frugal Living, My Life, Parties|5 Comments