Tips for Planning a Teen (or Tween) Birthday Party

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Planning a party for your teen or tween can be daunting.  Check out these party planning ideas - to help you have fun but still stay on budget!!\

There is a lot of information out there on how to save money when planning a child’s birthday party. In fact, there is a TON of it available.  But, what about your tweens and teens? If they want a party, you will handle things a bit differently.  Check out these ideas to plan your next party (and stay on budget).

VENUE:  As kids get older, they may not want a traditional party. That may mean you need to pay more to host it.  Why not opt for a larger party every other year?  That way, one year is smaller and you can save and afford something bigger the following year!

Here are some ideas you might consider for your next party:

  • Video Game Tournament.  Move TVs from other areas of the house into the family room.  Borrow additional game platforms and games from friends.  Then, create your own bracket and have a tourney at home – with a grand prize for the winner (maybe a gift card to the game store).
  • Go Bowling!  What is great about bowling is that you can usually get a package deal with food and drink all rolled into one price (which covers those costs and eliminates decorations all together).  It is a easy for parents to drop teens off at the alley and then pick them up a few hours later (keeping the mess out of your home).
  • Pamper party for the girls.  Pick up nail polish and supplies and have a pamper party.  They can all do get manicures and pedicures – and even facials!  If you have a bit more in your budget you might consider visiting a local beauty school for a pedicure (where you pay less than larger salons).
  • Roller Skating.  Have the kids meet at the local rink and pick up the tab for the rental of skates and even food.  Just a few hours of hanging with the friends is what most teens and tweens want anyhow!
  • Paint Ball.  If your kids are into this fun activity, it can be another way to get them together to celebrate.  Pay for a few sessions and call it a party!

Whatever you decide, make sure you know your budget and stick within it.  Don’t allow your kids desires for an incredible day cloud your judgment and result in overpaying.

If the event/venue is more costly, your teen may just want to invite one or two close friends, instead of a larger group.  Try to keep that number in check so you know how much it will cost before you get ready to pay.

 

INVITATIONS:  Ditch the paper and go for evites!  They are usually free and can save a lot of money.  Not on that, they are much easier for your guests to remember to respond, which can give you a better headcount when determining how many to count on attending.

If your child is much older and is on Facebook or another social media site, you could even use those to invite people to the party.

 

DECORATIONS:  Teens more than likely aren’t interested in balloons and streamers for decorations.  If you are hosting the party at home, you could pull out the christmas lights and set up a dance party layout.  Set up tables and chairs around the perimeter of the room and string lights from the ceiling.

Another idea is to ask your teen about his/her favorite colors and find items such as linens, vases or other items.  Dollar stores offer amazing deals on vases and dishes.  You could add some personalization with some spray paint.  Even with just a few splashes of color, you can turn a regular room into something amazing!

When it comes to paper goods, you can find deals on the colored items at Dollar Stores.  You might even skip the color and go with white or clear.  Stick with plain paper plates and cups — the colored items are the same.

 

MUSIC:  If you really can’t afford a DJ, why not download your teens’ favorite songs onto your phone or device and pipe it through your TV or speaker system?  That provides FREE music!  You might even flip your TV onto your teen’s favorite music TV station.

If you really want a DJ, but can’t afford one, see if you can’t find a friend to help. Now, if you must hire a professional DJ, just make sure you read the contract terms as you may pay less if they play for a shorter period of time (say 8 – 10 vs. 7 – 11).

 

FOOD  / DRINK:  Most teens seem to love pizza.  It is easy and can be quite affordable.  Sign up for all of your local pizza parlor’s emails and/or coupon mailings.  Ask family and friends to to do the same.  Then, as you get closer to the day of your event, you can collect the coupons you will need to save money.  If you can’t combine coupons on your purchase, ask friends to place orders too so you can save.

If you know someone who works at a bakery or grocery store, see if they can purchase items for you, utilizing their employee discount.  They might be able to help you stretch your food budget.

If you must go it alone, then start watching for sales a few weeks before your party and stock up when you can on items such as soda, chips and other party snacks.  Of course, make sure you pay close attention to expiration dates so that you don’t end up serving stale or flat items to your party guests.

You may want to go with cupcakes instead of a sheet cake as well.  These often cost less then a 1/2 sheet of cake at your baker.  If you on a very tight budget, you can even go with homemade options as well – such as cake pops, pie, cake and more!  Just ask your teen what he or she wants.

 

SUPERVISION:  Remember that these are teens and tweens and they do need to have adults on site.  While you don’t want to “crash” your child’s party, you do need to make sure you are there and that nothing happens you don’t want to — you know what I mean!  ;-)  You aren’t trying to ruin your child’s day, you just want to make sure everyone gets home safely and that nothing happens which could endager any kids.

Keep this in mind when hosting and when they are attending a party.  Ask those questions.  If they don’t know if an adult will be present, you may not want to allow them to attend and as a parent, that is absolutely your right.  I remind my kids all of the time that right now, I am their Mom and not their friend.

Remember that while you want your day to be perfect for your teenage, you certainly don’t want to still be paying for it at their next party!

Upcycle Old Leggings into New Shorts!

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Take those old leggings (which are short or torn) and upcycle them into shorts!

Leggings seem to be one of the most popular clothing pieces in our house. My girls just love to wear leggings everyday, under dresses, with tank tops, as play clothes, for church, really the list can go on. No joke my kids can find a way to wear leggings for every occasion.

I love that they are really not too expensive and honestly they seem to last forever. Well until they get holes in the knee’s that is. My girls have are known for being able to wear leggings 3-4 clothing sizes smaller than their current size. For instance, my daughter who wears a size 8 can still her size 4 leggings. The waste band seems to just keep stretching and as long as the pants are in good shape they just become capri’s instead of pants. :)

Now the problem is when she puts holes in the knees. She is known for that! I hate throwing away good stuff, especially when it can still be used and re-purposed. That’s why I love creating cute little legging shorts for my girls once they have outgrown or put holes in their leggings.

It’s so easy and seems like such an obvious solution! These shorts are perfect for wearing under skirts/dresses or even just for play clothes. Even better I LOVE that I can cut them to the length of my choice! Which means I can make them a little bit longer for play shorts and a bit shorter for under dresses.

Directions

  1. Take your torn leggings, lay them out flat on the floor. Make sure to rub out all of the wrinkles.
  2. Grab a pair of scissors and cut shorts to the desired length.
  3. Fold the cut side over top the full length legging and use as a guide to cut the other legging to the exact same length.
  4. Viola! Once you wash the shorts they will roll ever so slightly making the cut ends look finished. You can also buy some Stitch Witchery no -sew and attach some cute lace to the bottoms of the shorts if you would like.

Crockpot Spaghetti and Meatballs

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spaghetti 6

Looking for the worlds easiest, fail proof dinner recipe?!?! You are going to love this recipe for Crockpot Spaghetti & Al Fresco Meatballs. Simply put all the ingredients in your Ninja 3-in-1 cooking system and let it cook! (Or your crockpot!)

Ingredients

Directions

This recipe is crazy easy! Simple put raw spaghetti noodles, then water, meatballs and finally cover it all with your favorite pasta sauce. Put the Ninja 3-in-1 cooking system or crockpot or stovetop (high) and cook for 25-30 minutes. Check periodically to make sure the noodles do not burn to the bottom. If you want this meal to take longer to cook, put the temperature to low and allow it to cook for 2 hours.

 

Spring Cleaning Your Home (Includes FREE Printable Checklists)

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Spring is here!  Download these FREE checklists to help you tackle your spring cleaning project!It is finally here!  Spring has arrived!  Everything outside is new, clean and fresh.  We are all opening our windows to let the fresh air in so the house feels clean!  But, what about those cobwebs in the corner and the dust on the mopboards?  Now is the time of year when many of us would love to clean our house (as in a deep clean).

I actually LOVE it when I spring clean my house.  The house feels clean and fresh and I get a chance to get rid of those things I no longer need or use! For many of you, this may seem like a daunting task.  You may be thinking that it takes too much time and/or you don’t even know where to start.  I am here to help!

Below you will find several printable checklists.  Download the one(s) you need.  You can either just access them on your device or computer — or even print one to place in each room.  Then, give the time YOU have each day to take care of one task. If you only have 10 minutes, maybe you could wipe down the light fixtures and corners to get rid of the cobwebs.  If you have a couple of hours, you may be able to take care of everything on the list.  There is no rule that says you have to do everything all at once – just do it as YOU have the time!

Free Spring Cleaning Checklists

Free Spring Cleaning Checklists

Now, here are those checklists you can print and use to make your spring cleaning work easier.

 

Peach Cobbler Overnight Oatmeal

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peaches ppm

I just can’t get enough of these no bake overnight oatmeal recipes! They are all so amazingly delicious, healthy and convenient. Even better they do not require any cooking and take only minutes to construct. Checkout out the Maple Blueberry and Banana Pecan Recipes as well!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (oatmeal)
  • 1/4 cup plain or vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice (Almond, Soy, ect)
  • 1/4 cup peaches
  • 1 TBSP Chia Seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Dash of cinnamon

Directions

  1. In this order place raw oatmeal, yogurt, chia seeds and milk in a pint sized jar or container. Place the lid on tightly and shake until mixed well.
  2. Add peaches, vanilla and cinnamon. Tighten lid and place in the refrigerator to sit overnight. When you wake up in the morning the oatmeal will be soft as though it was cooked!

 

Strawberry Pineapple Sorbet Smoothie

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trawberries and pineapple - yum!  Put them together to make this incredibly refreshing Sorbet Smoothie!!!

Spring is here and Summer’s just around the corner. It’s time to get ready for some tasty refreshing drinks. Even more so, why not make that drink as low sugar, low calorie and as healthy as possible?!?! That’s why I love this Strawberry Pineapple Sorbet Smoothie. It has no dairy, no added sugar and is totally utterly refreshingly delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup ice cubes

Directions

Simply take all of your ingredients and put them in your blender. Blend on high until smooth. Pour into a chilled glass and top with a fresh strawberry (optional). Find a nice shaded place to sit outside and relax while you enjoy this tasty refreshing drink!

 

Strawberries and pineapple - yum!  Put them together to make this incredibly refreshing Sorbet Smoothie!!!

DIY Chalk Paint Mason Jar Centerpiece

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chalk jars ppm

Have you joined in on the extremely popular shabby chic trend yet? Have you tried using chalk paint yet? If not GO BUY SOME NOW! Seriously chalk paint is amazing! I absolutely love it. It’s super easy to use, goes on almost any surface and looks fantastic when it dries. I love the almost milky look and soft texture it provides.

These chalk paint mason jars make the perfect 1st time project. They are inexpensive, simple and make the perfect centerpiece for any table.

To make this centerpiece all you need is 3 jars, 1 can of Krylon Chalkboard spray paint, Americana Chalk Paint (you can do all three the same color or each a different color like I did), sandpaper and a paint brush. If you want to give your centerpiece a finishing touch pick up some fresh or silk flowers.

Now for the details…it’s really quite simple. First spray each jar with a nice even coat of the Krylon Chalkboard spray paint.

Once the paint has dried completely generously brush on a heavy coating of your chalk paint color of choice. You may need to do a few coats to fully cover the black, however chalk paint dry’s insanely fast.

Now that your jars and fully painted and the paint is totally dry. Take a piece of sandpaper and gently rub away some of the paint around your jar, allowing the black chalkboard paint to show through.

Finish with some pretty flowers and viola you have a new centerpiece for your dining room table, coffee table, or even for a dinner event or wedding!

DIY Burlap Curtains (no sew project)

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curtain 1
Oh how I love burlap. So easy to use, so inexpensive to buy and perfect for nearly every project! I have seriously found a new love for burlap and this curtain is just another example of why. I realized my kitchen window was missing something, a window covering! So I went into my craft room, found some left over burlap from a previous project, measured it and sure enough it was the exact right size for making a window covering for that window!

So I snatched up some no sew Stitch Witchery, the iron and quickly made up an adorable Roman Curtain. This project seriously took less than 5 minutes to complete, cost less that $5 total and looks fantastic!

Supplies

1 1/2 yard burlap
Stitch Witchery (approx 36 inches)
Ribbon or Burlap Ribbon
Iron and Ironing Board

curtain 2

Directions

First iron out all of the creases out of your burlap. To do this you will want to put your iron on high and use steam or a spray bottle. Don’t worry the burlap is hardy, it can take the heat.

Next make a 2-3 inch fold at the top of the burlap (the part that you want to make the top of your curtain), iron that fold down to make a defined crease. Fold that piece over one more time and again iron.

Take your Stitch Witchery and lay it down along the double folded pocket. This is going to be your pocket for putting a curtain rod through. Place your iron on the burlap atop the no sew Stitch Witchery. Hold your iron in one place for about 10 seconds, spray or steam the area while it sits. Do this all the way along the top of the curtain, until the entire pocket is created.

Lastly take your ribbon (I used chevron patterned burlap ribbon I already had) and cut 2 pieces to a length twice as long as your curtain. Drape it over the top of your curtain. At this point you can attach it to the curtain at the very top with the Stitch Witchery. I did not do this step, as I decided it was secure enough and was not going to slide around. Finish your curtain by tying the ribbon to the desired length.

 

Maple Blueberry Overnight Oatmeal

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This overnight Maple Blueberry Overnight Oatmeal is not only simple to make, it will make your taste buds dance and wake up!!!

 

 

This is truly heaven in a jar!  Love that I can make it up at night and it is ready for me in the morning (my kind of breakfast)!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Rolled Oatmeal
  • 1 TBSP Chia Seeds
  • 2 TBSP Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Almond or Coconut Milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/4 cup Blueberries
  • 1 TBSP Maple Syrup or brown sugar
  • Light dusting of Cinnamon

Directions

  1. In this order place raw oatmeal, yogurt, chia seeds and milk in a pint sized jar or container. Place the lid on tightly and shake until mixed well.
  2. Place in the refrigerator to sit overnight. When you wake up in the morning the oatmeal will be soft as though it was cooked!
  3. Now to turn your oatmeal in to an amazingly delicious Maple Blueberry Oatmeal, simply mix blueberries and maple syrup rogether in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave for 45 seconds or until blueberries begin to burst. Add blueberries to your oatmeal mixture and stir.
  4. Top with a few extra fresh blueberries and and a light dusting of cinnamon.

Turkey and Hummus Wrap

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What do you get when you put together turkey, hummus and avocado?  The BEST wrap ever!!!!

 

When it gets warmer, it seems that a light dinner is so much better than something heavy.  This Turkey and Hummus Wrap is the perfect solution!  It is not only easy to make, but won’t fill you up too much (so you can still get out and enjoy the evening weather)!

 

INGREDIENTS

 

1 pkg spinach and herb wrap
1 pkg roasted red pepper hummus
Fresh cut low sodium turkey breast
Lettuce
Roma tomatoes
½ of an avocado

 

Spread hummus onto one wrap.  Add 3 – 4 slices of turkey.  Slice the avocado and add to the wrap.  Add 1 – 2 leaves of lettuce.  Slice the tomatoes and add on top of the lettuce.  Roll and enjoy!