Those who know me well, know that I can be extremely cheap frugal. Sometimes, to a ridiculous extent. Re-using aluminum foil and diaper packaging. Sharing a cup with my husband at dinner to cut down on the number of dirty dishes. Making sure each kleenex is used at least twice before throwing it out. (Was that last one a bit much?  Don’t worry, I fold it neatly and…nevermind. It’s gross, I get it. Fortunately I don’t have to blow my nose a lot.)

Anyway, you get the picture. I don’t like to waste and I certainly don’t like spending money on junk. I also happen to legitimately prefer hand-made stuff and the effort that goes into it, as an expression of how much I care about the recipient. Except “Effort” isn’t exactly my middle name.  Nor is “Tonnes of time on my hands”.

But, it’s Spawn #1’s birthday. His 4th birthday. His first “friend party” birthday.  So I gotta get off my keister and do something a little less shoddy than usual because people who are not related to me by blood or marriage will see it. And word will get around the daycare circuit…and if the cake is terrible or the loot bags suck, my son will be ostracized from the kiddie cult and be friendless forever!  Isn’t that the way it works?  No?


‘Cause my cake was terrible (tasted GREAT but looked like a pre-pubescent Hulk exploded on it because my butter wasn’t properly softened – even though it was on my counter for THIRTY-SIX HOURS before using it: damn you poorly renovated house and polar vortex!!).
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And the loot bags were kind of cool, but also a teensy bit sucky.

There are three other kids in his class who have birthdays in the same week. So I tried to send out the invites far enough in advance that we’d be the first one to secure the date we wanted, but late enough that most people would already have plans and not be able to come.

Guess what? I was too early. 12 out of the 14 kids RSVPed. Ugh. (What’s the standard notice time? Two weeks? Three? Help me out here, mamas! I want to be better prepared for next year.)

After my usual midnight troll on Pinterest, I found some cute ideas for superhero parties.  I also found the world’s most amazing dollar store in my neck of the woods.  Rows and rows of craft supplies and socks! (Seriously, I found superhero socks for the loot bags – and not the kind that fall apart after one wash.)

Once again, I called in Mr. Reinforcement (aka The Husband) to help me with the cutting and sewing (I really gotta work on my fine motor skills…) and in two nights we had made 15 superhero masks and pairs of wrist cuffs.  Shove them into a paper bag with some socks, stickers and tattoos and voila, loot bags for $2.63 each — not too shabby! Nothing pleases me more than mediocre results for less than the cost of a slice of pizza.Loot.jpgBags.jpgMy superpower is cuteness.jpg


I was glad that a few of the kids were no-shows, because (despite the impossibly cute photo of Spawn #2 modelling one of the more decent masks) some of the masks were pretty wonky and I was kind of embarrassed to hand them out. But there was no way in hell I was going to re-do them either.

Is this the norm for kids’ parties today or did I really cheap out?  I have no idea what I’m in for…what’s the most outrageous (good or bad) loot bag your kid has received?