I know sometimes talking about money is seen as a no-no topic, but the fact is, money doesn’t actually grow on trees and it is limited for all of us. What that limit looks like may be a little different, but regardless, I think we all want to find ways to stretch our dollar a little further. When it comes to our budget, Brandon and I think a lot about value, “Does this bring value to my life?” This isn’t a perfect question to fix all budget questions and we are far from perfect when it comes to answering it honestly. We both get sucked into splurge purchases and suffer from buyers remorse afterwards. We both have items that tempt us more than others, knowing we already have enough, but for some reason, in the moment, feel we need just one more. (For Brandon, it’s always cows – they’re always a great deal, ALWAYS) But for the most part, asking ourselves this question really helps in making smart purchases that bring value to our every day lives or help create lasting memories.
One area I recently had to continue to remind myself of our go-to budget question centered around Romney Ann’s second birthday party. She just turned two at the end of February. Throughout the planning, asking myself our value question lead me to two conclusions: 1. That the most important part of the party was for RA to be surrounded by the village that is raising her, our closest family and friends. And 2. Romney Ann won’t remember any of this.
That may seem a bit harsh, but for real, when I was looking for inspiration and getting lost in dreamland on Pinterest of these super fun, immaculate parties, I needed to remind myself of this. These parties were super cute and the way they brought together the finer details was so fun, but as I quickly started to think about replicating them, the party budget was getting out of hand and the focus was being lost. The focus became the things and not the people. So, I kept coming back to what the most important part was – being surrounded by friends and family and having a great time! While those details were incredibly clever and creative, keeping it simple was less stress on us, less stress one our budget, and made sure that throughout it all, the majority of our time was able to be spent with those there to celebrate our sweet RA!
If any of this sounds familiar and you’re looking for ways to keep it simple, I thought I’d share some ideas that I thought turned out really well for Romney Ann’s birthday and were great for the budget or had a high value.
Streamers! You just can’t go wrong! They’re less than $1 a roll, and with just two pieces of tape and some twisting, you have a really fun backdrop! Romney Ann’s party was loosely themed You Are My Sunshine so suns popped up in a few places, but mostly we just went with a yellow and pink theme.
Homemade Cake! For some, this may be way more of a chore, but for us it was fun and saved A LOT of money! We just bought two boxed cake mixes, Funfetti of course, and topped them with yellow icing, and it was perfect! They’re far from perfect, but they tasted delicious!
Cake Plate! The plate in the picture above was made on Romney Ann’s first birthday. Her handprint is actually under where the cupcake is sitting. I can’t remember exactly, but it was probably around $30 to make the plate at a place in downtown Columbia. It may be something we only use on her birthday, but it’s a fun piece and will be a really special keepsake. I got this idea from my sister-in-law who had a plate made for each of her three children and she has them displayed in their kitchen. I hope to hang RA’s at some point. Then they are only enjoyed on the child’s birthday but all the time as a decoration!
Pictures! I printed around 50 pictures of Romney Ann from throughout her second year of life. These pictures started from March 2019 and went through February 202. We hung them up around where the food was with just a small piece of tape. We also hung them up by month, so as you went around and got your food, you could see how she grew throughout the year. It was fun to pick out pictures of RA with the friends and family who were going to be there for the party. I forgot to take a picture before the party started, so this was from after we had already cleaned up, but it turned out great and was such a fun trip down memory lane. I haven’t done anything with most of these pictures yet, but you could then put them in a photo album for a grandparent or to keep in your house. We all know we have these wonderful pictures on our phones, but they don’t ever leave the cloud to be seen again, haha!
Fresh Flowers! Now I will say, the flowers were not cheap, the bouquet was around $40, but they were a decoration that, unlike the streamers that were taken down and thrown away, we enjoyed those for over a week after the party! They were a fun center piece, that served multiple purposes!
Guest Book! We did this last year for Romney Ann’s first birthday, and I decided to do it again. We love children’s books in our house and would plan to give Romney Ann a book for her birthday anyway, so why not have it be a guest book of sorts for those who are there. We had this set on the counter as people walked in and they could sign whatever page they wanted and write a note to Romney Ann. On her birthday this year, we looked back and read the notes from her book last year and it was so fun! I chose this book because it kind of went along with the theme – ish, haha!
Last but not least, the gift! We bought Romney Ann a Gimms rainbow. I have been wanting to get her one for the longest time. I check places to find them second hand all the time, but haven’t had any luck. The Gimms rainbow can cost between $100 – $150 BUT this is a toy that will grow with Romney Ann. It is a toy that she will use for many years, in many different ways and it is also a toy that will last much longer than just her. If we have more children or if we have younger foster children, I am confident that they will enjoy this toy as well! The first night we had it out and she playing with it, she stacked them up like you see in the picture, she made pieces of it a rocking chair for her baby-doll, and bath for her, and a phone. The beauty of these simple wooden toys are the ways in which they engage a child’s imagination which is so much fun!
I hope some of this might be helpful for you It’s so hard admitting you’re not a Pinterest parent or maybe you’re not on a Pinterest budget, but it’s ok. Figure out what’s most important to you and continue to remind yourself of that throughout all of the planning! Whether you are a DIY parent or not, know that you are doing a great job at this parenting thing! It’s hard. It’s soooooo hard! But you’re doing great! Your sweet kiddo won’t remember the decorations and the tiny details, they’ll remember the love they felt from a room filled with people who love and cherish them! You got this!