Category: Holidays

How to Throw the Perfect Bowling Birthday Party

bowling birthday partyIf bowling’s your thing, why not throw yourself a bowling birthday party?

It was great fun when you were a kid. It can be even more fun as an adult!

And don’t think it has to cost a lot of money. It’s not uncommon for bowling party invitations to include a flat contribution to offset the cost of renting the lanes.

Will that reduce the fun? No. Like any party, it’s people having fun that makes it or breaks it.

With a bowling party, the key is to help party-goers know what to expect and feel comfortable. Especially anyone who hasn’t bowled in a while. Or ever.

All you need is a theme. The rest will fall into place. From the paper or electronic invitation, food served, recommended style of dress, and decorations, you’ll have an easy plan for throwing a memorable party.

To get you rolling, here are a few bowling birthday party ideas and tips.

Retro

What’s your favorite bowling era?

Is it the 1940s and 50s, which many people consider the golden age of bowling?

If so, asks guests to dress in poodle skirts and sweater sets (for the gals) or casual trousers and button-down shirts (for the guys). Serve burgers, soda in bottles, and traditional french fries. Offer yo-yos or hula hoops as prizes for a top score or player most likely to improve.

If the 70s are more your scene, break out the disco ball!

Encourage guests to wear their best spandex and platform shoes. See your favorite venue has a neon or psychedelic night, which would be perfect for your 70s bowling birthday party. Have prizes of pet rocks and macrame plant hangers.

Or maybe The Big Lebowski is more your style.

In that case, send invitations that incorporate The Dude. Ask everyone to wear their best (or rattiest) bathrobes. Make sure that canned tuna is the menu and beverage options include white Russians.

Milestone Birthdays

Will your bowling party be a celebration of a milestone like sweet 16 or the big 5-0? There are lots of ways to underscore the milestone.

If you’re throwing the party for someone else, give the guest of honor a bowling shirt with their age incorporated in name embroidered on the front.

Offer a prize to the first player to get the exact score that represents the age being celebrated.

Friendly Competition

An appealing aspect of bowling is that it can be a relaxed, friendly game or be fierce and competitive. A successful birthday bowling party strikes a balance between the two.

To keep things light and party-like, design the teams like you would seat people for a dinner party. Place couples or BFFs on different teams. Mix high-scorers with novices. If you have some intense players, don’t put them all one team.

Give prizes at the end of each game instead of a “best of” series.

Most people’s interest and energy wane after three games. Keep things lively by rearranging the teams after each game.

Don’t play elimination style. The point of a bowling birthday party is to bowl, not sit on the sidelines watching other people bowl. Nothing can make the party fall apart faster than dividing guests into camps of active and inactive participants.

At several points during play, remind people that it’s a friendly game. You know which of your guests is competitive. Do what you can, as host, to not let their intensity spoil the fun for others.

Special Rules

One way to take a birthday bowling party up a notch is to implement unusual rules. You can apply them to the whole game or specific frames. It’s a great way to break the ice and level the playing field if guests have different skill levels.

For the best outcome, keep special rules simple to understand and follow. A few suggestions are:

  • Odd frames are played right-handed while even frames are played left-handed
  • Players must dance, never walk, toward the foul line
  • Players predict which pins they’ll knock down before they throw the ball
  • Sitting at the foul line and pushing the ball down the lane (This one might work best toward the end of the party!)

Give them a try.

Make It Easy

You might be a bowling enthusiast with frequent shopper status with equipment retailers like BowlingShoes. But some of the people who want to go to your bowling birthday party might not be so familiar with the game.

Make it easy for newbies or the less confident among your guests to enjoy the game. Offer links to the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) page with video tutorials. Remind them to wear comfortable clothes and wear or bring socks to wear with rented bowling shoes.

At the start of the party, outline if you’ll be using any unique rules for the game. And offer all kinds of prizes to encourage skilled and novice players alike.

Give people time to find the right ball in terms of weight. Help newbies understand how their choice could affect speed and control, not to mention hand and arm muscles they probably didn’t know they had!

The Bowling Birthday Party Invitation

Invitations do more than tell people when and where the party is. They also set expectations.

With bowling parties, there are aspects that differ from your ordinary kind of party.

For example, make it clear on the invitation that guests don’t have to be expert bowlers to attend. Keep the tone light to reinforce that it’s about having fun, not perfecting one’s game.

There’s an additional way to reinforce the expectation that everyone is welcome. Ask people to state their bowling comfort level when RSVPing ‘yes’. Keep it fun and simple with three choices such as Total Beginner, Know My Way Around the Lane, Bowling Is My Life’s Purpose.

If you need contributions to make renting the venue affordable, say so in the invitation. Give people three options such as $10, $20, $30 per person to not exclude anyone.

Also, tell people how to get the money to you. Electronic transfers and cash at the event are the two most common ways.

At the Party

A final tip about bowling parties is to focus more on the people than the game. Mingling and chatting between frames doesn’t cost anything extra. Yet, it boosts the value of the experience for everyone.

Now that you know how to throw a great bowling party, there only one thing left to. Get ready to have fun!

For other frugal living ideas, check out more blog posts!

5 Tips to Better Organize Your Holiday Storage

holiday storageThe holidays are an exciting time to decorate the house and fill it with a little extra joy.

But, a poor organization can sometimes turn this into a stressful task.

Thankfully, there are few simple holiday storage tips every mom can master. These include the best-kept secrets for anything from messy wires to tricky trees.

Check out the top five ways to keep all your holiday decor in order.

1. Separate Your Storage

As you’re pulling things out, or packing them up, try to think about where to store them in your home.

Group all the big, outdoor decorations together. Do the same for tree decorations versus tabletop details. Lastly, make a separate group for stockings and trimmings you may have hanging around the house.

This takes a little extra time as you’re setting up or breaking down.

But, once you have everything separated, you’ll be saving plenty of effort in the years to come!

2. Cut Down on Packaging

There’s no reason to keep using the bulky packaging everything comes in when there are closet organizers and simple holiday hacks available.

This is as simple as wrapping lights around pieces of cardboard so they don’t tangle. It also means taking the time to wrap fragile ornaments in tissue paper, which is less bulky than bubble wrap.

Don’t forget to keep all the hooks in one place, either. Consider putting them in a small pencil case or makeup bag.

3. Get Rid of What Is Old and Broken

If an ornament is cracked or a set of lights isn’t working anymore, you won’t have a use for it next year.

Make a little trash pile as you take everything out at the start of the holidays, and when you’re going through it all again at the end.

This makes a significant difference in the amount of space decorations take up.

4. Go Green

Trade the old fake tree you have to pull out every year for a family outing to get a fresh tree.

Or, consider getting festive holiday flower arrangements instead of putting little reusable decorations everywhere. This is a bit pricier, but nothing is worth more than your time.

Getting fresh, natural decorations each year means there are fewer things to store.

5. Wrap with Care

The less you worry about holiday storage, the more you can focus on buying gifts and wrapping them! Unless your festive packaging materials aren’t organized.

Don’t leave this out of your cleaning process. Go through all the old wrapping paper you have, as well as tape, ribbons, and tissue paper.

Designate one drawer or bin to keep everything together – big families might need a little more space.

But, the point is to only keep wrapping materials you will actually use, and to keep them tidy in one place.

Holiday Storage, Hosting, and More: How to Relax This Holiday Season

Storage is just one thing to worry about when the holidays roll around.

Between cleaning the house to have guests over and preparing big, fancy meals, it can be hard to take everything in.

We know you want to create special memories for your family, but you should be able to enjoy them too!

Click here to discover how to relax during this year’s holidays.

5 Toy Storage Ideas and Tips to Prepare for Christmas

Are you ready for the Christmas season?

Worried you won’t have room for all of your child’s new toys?

It can be difficult finding room for new toys when your home is already full of them. While it may be time to donate or get rid of some of your child’s older toys, some toys may be difficult to get rid of.

If you’re trying to prepare for the Christmas season you’re going to want to improve the way you use your space. Luckily, these five tips will help you master the art of toy storage once and for all.

1. Love Those Labels to Improve Toy Storage

You may already have plenty of toy containers and boxes around your home. You may even sort different types of toys into different boxes. But are they labeled?

Labeling your storage boxes can really seal the deal and make things much easier for you and your children when it’s cleanup time. By clearly marking a box as “Legos” or as “Barbies” the process of cleanup will be much easier and simpler.

You may want to use printed labels, creative labels written with crayon, or simply a picture which signifies the category. Whatever you choose, a well-used labeling system can really help to facilitate the cleanup process and keep things more organized.

2. Don’t Leave Room for Monsters Under the Bed

If you find that you’re running out of room in the closet or other areas you may want to consider storing a few boxes under the bed.

While under the bed storage can often be a haphazard mess, you may consider getting a bit more organized with it.

Use DIY storage bins with wheels or add in a custom, short set of drawers to maximize your use of this space and keep it organized.

3. Dual-Purpose Furniture is Your Friend

When you find that you have too many toys around the house, it’s an excellent time to start looking around for new solutions.

Many types of furniture exist that can help with your storage needs. Dual-purpose furniture can provide extra storage space while also serving another needed function in your home.

Chairs that have hidden compartments or ottomans with storage space inside can all be lifesavers when it comes to decluttering your home.

4. Shelves Aren’t Just For Elves

You may also consider finding ways to display your toys on shelves. An entire bookshelf dedicated to your child’s books or to several types of toys can be a great addition to your child’s room or another area of the home.

With the proper setup, this can actually have a very stylish look and allow your child’s most popular toys to never be out of sight or too far out of reach.

If you have extra space on a normal bookshelf, you can also add a space for a few select toys or stuffed animals along with those encyclopedias and dictionaries.

5. Worst Case? Rent Some Extra Storage Space

If you simply don’t have enough space in your home, you may be in a really tight spot. You or your child may not be ready to part with some of those old favorites for good. In this case, you should consider using self storage services.

With your own storage space, you will have plenty of room for any toys you need to set aside for a while, without being forced into taking them to the thrift store before you or your child is ready.

Final Thoughts

Creating some new storage solutions in your home is an excellent idea and can be a big part of keeping a clean house. However, don’t forget that the best way to keep things tidy is to develop consistent toy storage habits and routines.

Your kids need to know to put their toys away when they’re done playing. They also need to know where everything goes.

By creating a good system and organizing things well on your end, things will be much easier for your child as well. They can easily follow in your organized, tidy footsteps.

Looking for more tips on making your home cleaner and more organized? Click here to read more of our cleaning tips and tricks.

How to Choose the Perfect Halloween Costumes for Your Kids

costumes for kidsIt’s that time of year again.

There’s a chill in the air. The days are growing shorter.

And everywhere you turn candy is available in industrial size bags.

There’s only one thing left to figure out — Halloween costumes for the kids.

The problem is there are so many choices!

For the past couple of years, Americans have spent nearly $3 billion annually on Halloween costumes and almost $8 billion total each year on the holiday.

That’s billion with a B.

Ready to join the masses on the hunt for the perfect Halloween costume?

Keep reading for a closer look at how to find the best Halloween costumes for kids.

Let Them Help

We’ve all been there.

You’ve picked out something for your kids, thinking they’ll love it–a toy they’ll love for life or an outfit they’ll never want to take off.

But their reaction was… somewhat different.

When looking for costumes for your kids, don’t forget that they have minds of their own.

If you don’t want to give them complete free-reign here, then give them a couple choices and let them decide.

Keep Them Safe

Many Halloween costumes for kids are made with somewhat questionable materials and quality–especially some of the choices at the lower end of the budget spectrum.

Make sure your kid’s costumes meet basic safety standards, like being flame-resistant and don’t present choking hazards.

It’s also a good idea to make sure costumes fit properly and are bright enough for your kids to be seen on dark streets and other areas.

Make sure your kids can see also and that no part of their costume blocks their eyes.

Be Smart When Picking Halloween Costumes for Kids

Like we saw above, the costume industry is doing quite well. It’s easy to spend a small fortune on a costume if you’re not careful.

Retailers know this.

That’s why they stock out their shelves with costumes months in advance.

So if you want a nice costume for your kids, start your shopping early and be sure to look online, especially if you want something popular like Star Wars costumes.

Because who doesn’t like to find a good deal?

Be Original

Halloween is such a fun season, why choose a boring costume?

This is the perfect time to really let your kid’s personality shine. Don’t be afraid to let them choose something a little outlandish.

Getting a little crafty and going with a DIY costume is always fun too, even if you just make part of it and buy the rest.

Don’t Throw Comfort Out the Window

Don’t forget that your kids actually have to wear the costume.

If it’s going to be cold, make sure your kids will be warm enough in the costume or can comfortably wear a coat with it.

Picking something that’s not too uncomfortable is a good idea also. If your kid is uncomfortable after 10 minutes, they’re not going to have a fun night.

Putting It All Together

Now that you’re an expert on Halloween costumes for kids, it’s time to get out there and find the right get-up (or get-ups).

Already have a costume picked out? Still looking for ideas?

Let us know what you’re doing for costumes in the comments.

5 DIY Games for a Spooky and Silly Kids Halloween Party

kids in halloween costumesThere is nothing worse than hosting a Halloween party that’s a dud. But the best moms know you can be both thrifty and fun when it comes to having a blast with your kids on Halloween.

And while there are a bunch of family-friendly scary movies that might be perfect for both you and your little ones, it’s a lot more fun to play games on Halloween.

Kids Halloween party games are the difference between staring at the screen and lots of laughs for the whole party. You don’t need to break the bank either.

Here are 5 DIY games for a spooky and silly party:

1. Zombie Tag

A variation on the game “tag you’re it” involves all the kids making zombie faces. Without touching anyone, can the “it” person get another kid to smile or crack?

The next person to crack is “it.” For something so simple you’ll be surprised at the laughs.

2. Scavenger Hunts

One of the most fun parties you can have for kids includes Halloween Scavenger Hunts. You can do some searching for costume elements, candy, and even solve riddles along the way.

Sprinkle in some goblins and zombies, and the kids will be laughing up a storm.

You can even include hidden treats on the hunt! What about a stop at some delicious candy apples?

3. Balloon Pop

Have you ever jumped with fright at the sound of a balloon popping? Me too!

A way to have great fun and a lot of laughs is a Halloween Balloon Pop game with the kids at your party. A great way to prepare is to have both orange and black balloons at your party.

You can also use blue or purple– so long as there are two different colored balloons. Make two teams and start popping, using only body parts. No sharp objects allowed!

Watch the giggles erupt as the squishy balloons move and squirm around the room. Whichever color team pops the most balloons wins!

4. The Mummy’s Tomb

Break out the toilet paper and make two teams. Choose one person to be the mummy on each side. Which team can wrap the mummy faster?

It’s a mess of toilet paper and good fun!

5. Eyeball Hunt

Cook a huge spot of spaghetti and drop in a marble or two after the gooey pasta cools. While blindfolded, find out which kid can find “the eyeball” fastest in the pot of brains.

This one is popular, so you’ll want to make and cool a lot of pasta beforehand for the squishy fun.

Kids Halloween Party Costumes Add to the Fun

Just because you saved on the games doesn’t mean you need to overspend on the costumes. Your kids can look great, and you’ll save a bunch with my costume tips too!

Let all the other parents know too. They don’t have to throw money out the window to get their kids ready for a fun party at your house!

And you don’t have to sew either! Take a look at my frugal living no-sew Halloween costume tips for great ideas to wear at the party.

Enjoy Your Party

Get the camera ready for the fun and costumes! Kids Halloween party pics are some of our family’s favorite memories of the whole year.

Combine a few of these games and your party will be the best in town for kids.

 

 

 

Awesome Sweet 16 Party Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

sweet 16 partyIs your daughter about to turn 16?

She might imagine stretch limos and pop stars at her party, complete with 200 of her closest friends.

You as a parent probably have a more realistic vision. You certainly want to celebrate her big day in style, but you don’t want to break the bank doing it.

Don’t worry. Planning an awesome sweet 16 party doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With a little research and creativity, you can throw a party she’ll remember forever.

Here are some tips for planning a sweet 16 party on a budget.

Prioritize

If you’re on a tight budget, a surprise party probably isn’t the way to go. A better option would be to sit down with your daughter and find out what’s most important to her.

Does she want a big guest list or just a few close friends? Would she like the party to be at home or a different venue? What type of food, music and decor does she want?

Depending on her preferences, you may be able to pick one area to splurge while saving in another. If you need help estimating costs, try downloading a free event budget template.

By talking openly about the party, you can plan an event that will thrill your daughter without draining your bank account.

Take Advantage of Technology

Back in the “good old days,” throwing a birthday party often meant hiring a professional photographer and a live DJ.

But this is 2017, and times have changed. All your daughter’s friends certainly have cell phones, and they’ll probably spend most of the night snapping selfies. Then everyone can upload their pictures to a photo-sharing site or a Cloud folder after the party.

There’s no need to spend money on a DJ, either. Have your daughter create a playlist of her favorite songs or use a streaming service like Pandora to pump music into the party.

Sweet 16 Party Invitations

In today’s age of electronics, traditional paper invitations are becoming a rare sight.

Impress your daughter (and her friends) by creating beautiful custom invitations for her sweet 16 party. Use fun scrolling fonts and bright colors to match the decor and festive spirit.

Not only will this turn the party into a proper event, but it makes a great memento for a scrapbook.

Get Crafty

For party planning on a budget, there’s no better way to save money than to roll up your sleeves and get creative.

Why order an expensive cake from the bakery when you could bake one yourself? Cupcakes are another popular, easy-to-make option.

Rather than ordering centerpieces from a florist, why not make a colorful “candy bouquet” instead? Cover a floral foam box with colorful wrapping paper and make a bouquet of lollipops and suckers. Pop it into a bright box with some tissue paper, and your centerpieces are good to go!

Party favors don’t have to break the bank, either. You could make up a batch of mint lemonade lip scrub for the girls to use during the party. Better yet, divvy it up for them to take home afterward.

With a little ingenuity, you can host an awesome sweet 16 party for your daughter. Check out my craft blogs for more great DIY ideas!

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