5 Tips to Throw a Fun & Easy Party

blog july 10


5 Tips to Throw a Fun and Easy At-Home Birthday Party on a Budget


One of the challenges of parenting in the digital age is the worry about making everything “Pinterest perfect.” Kids’ birthday parties are no exception, but the reality is that our children just want a fun time to celebrate with their friends. When you get back to the basics with an easy at-home party, it’s not only budget-friendly, but it’s also less stress and more fun for everyone.


Start with a Theme
Planning around a theme gives you a focal point and serves as a springboard for other ideas. For younger children, loose themes that are gender neutral work well, such as fairytale characters or bugs and butterflies. Older children may already know what theme they’d like, or you can brainstorm possibilities together based on their interests. If you’re still looking for inspiration, we like these theme ideas that are broken down for different age groups.


Another option is to have an activity-based party, so you have the theme, activity, and sometimes even the food all rolled into one, making party planning even easier. Two activity themes we love from HuffPost are chocolate-making and scavenger hunt parties.


Make Low or No-Cost Invitations

Printing invitations can really bust your budget, but digital options are free or inexpensive and are more eco-friendly too. Going digital can give you the option to manage RSVPs online with services like Evite. If you’re tech-savvy (or have a design-savvy child), sites like Canva give you plenty of creative freedom to make your own special invitation.


If you decide to go the paper route, let your child help make homemade invitations. Use craft supplies you already have lying around, or grab some blank cards from a dollar store and let your child decorate them to their heart’s content.


Set the Scene


Decorations transform your home from the everyday into a world of wonder, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on them. One budget-friendly way to decorate is to keep store-bought decorations general and spruce them up yourself. A couple of DIY decorating ideas we like from Babble are confetti balloons and using printed washi tape to decorate plain cups. Try to get the best bang for your buck with inexpensive decorations that really pack a punch. Decorating with string lights is a great way to spice up your party, both indoors and outdoors, without spending much since they are inexpensive and kids usually love them. And when you’re finished with your party, you can use the string lights to add comfort and warmth to a space in your home!


Focus Refreshments on What Kids Want Most


Instead of setting out an expensive spread of food, focus on what kids really want, such as fun snacks like popcorn and, of course, the best part: cake and ice cream. You can get away with this by timing your party to start mid-morning or mid-afternoon when no one expects a meal. Most children would agree that the cake is pretty important, so consider making it yourself and starting a tradition by letting the birthday child help.


Play Classic Games and DIY New Ones


Planning a few activities is an absolute must because downtime leads to boredom and kids running wild. Classic games are just as fun as ever, so pick a few like freeze dance, hot potato, or red rover to keep kids entertained at no cost.


For something more current, one of the more popular party activities these days is to set up a photo booth. Scour the internet for photo prop templates that fit your theme, and print them yourself on heavy paper. To up the fun even more, use large cardboard boxes to make an actual “booth,” and let your children get involved by decorating it themselves.


The reality of modern party planning is that when you get back to basics, it’s easier to let go of stress and focus on what matters most. Children won’t remember (or even know) how much you spent on their party, but they will remember how much fun they had. Use these tips and your own creativity to pull off a memorable, fabulous shindig at home without breaking the bank.


Photo credit: Unsplash

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I guess I can say SUMMER VACATION is pretty much over!!!!!!! Some kids have already started classes, and teachers are back in the classroom.

Hopefully everyone had a great summer break either if it was traveling with the kids, or just simply staying home and relaxing.

My little one goes to daycare(school) everyday Monday thru Friday 7am-5pm yes I know he is there all day, but his momma and daddy need to work. I personally don’t think daycare is bad thing, a lot of them now have a lesson plan setup  every day for the kids.

Kevin is 2 and will be turning 3 years old in November !!

He already has down his ..

  • Number’s 1-10
  • Days of the week
  • ABC’s
  • Months of the year
  • Colors
  • Senses
  • Matching & Sorting

You name it he probably already knows it!

He basically is preschool ready which to me is an awesome thing.

He still has things he needs to improve on, but one more year in daycare and he will be good to go.

Singing songs that have movement  seem to help a lot.

He learned the months of the year by doing the famous Macarena dance !! Try it out with your kids

Reward Charts are going to be a  new thing with Kevin.


Stickers are the most coolest thing to him even if he just sticks them all over the place. Hopefully earning a sticker will encourage him to do the task  =) Let’s cross our fingers on this one !!!!!

Pinterest happens to be the best place to look for toddler learning styles & charts!

Let me know what you find.

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Organizing BreastMilk

The Milkies Freeze is a “first in, first out” breast milk storage system that fits in your freezer. Simply collect your precious breast milk in any milk storage bag, and place the bag on the metal quick-freeze tray at the top of the Freeze.






Milkies FREEZE Product Review-  The tray that lays on top of the storage compartment really sets this item apart from others!  Perfectly flat and frozen baggies every time. The tray is metal though, so the condensation that forms from a warm bag of milk on a cold metal tray can cause bags to stick. I just put a paper towel between the tray and bag. Great product if you go through your milk quickly. I recommend storing 3-4oz per bag to keep bags from getting stuck in the compartment and to keep them flat enough to store and remove easily. Easy way to stay organized.

Review by: Monica Black
BellyView 3d/4d Ultrasound
Mcallen, TX


What does Milkies Freeze Do:

  • Enclosed storage keeps milk storage bags protected from damage and prevents leaks
  • Efficient, space-saving design stores more milk in less space
  • First in, first out system ensures that oldest milk is used first
  • Can be used with any milk storage bag
  • Disassembles for easy cleaning
  • Stores up to 60 ounces of breast milk in any brand of milk storage bag
  • Metal “quick-freeze” tray facilitates rapid freezing
  • Prevents contamination of your precious breast milk

Milkies Freeze is $29.95 available at http://www.mymilkies.com or call 1-800-367-2837.  Winner of the Cribsie Awards!  Another Great product we found at the ABC Kids Expo!



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MOMin- Really Works!!

Mosquito and Bug Bite Relief SAFE for the whole Family!!


Here is another great product RGV Tots-Tweens found the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas:

Living in Texas we have a mosquito and bug problem. The bugs LOVE to suck our blood. While at the ABC KIDS Expo we found this product called MOMin Outdoor Shield, Herbal Insect Bite Relief, all Organic and USDA approved product line. The owners swore left and right it WORKS. So we took some samples and here are our findings.




My mom took the samples to Brownsville, and if anyone knows the Rio Grande Valley, it is MOSQUITOVille after a rain. Being the green thumb that she is, she decided to garden one afternoon. After being bitten she came in and applied the MOMin Outdoor Shield, Herbal Insect Bite Relief.  In less than 20 minutes all the redness, itching and swelling went away. She called me right up and said “It WORKS”!
















The other sample stayed in San Antonio, Texas. My husband after mowing the grass had numerous bug bites on both ankles. First night the bites kept him up. The next day he stopped at the local pharmacy and bought some cooling spray. That evening I mentioned the MOMin Outdoor Shield, Herbal Insect Bite Relief, he tried it and had a good night sleep.  The next day he had a few bites lingering, reapplied the MOMin Outdoor Shield, Herbal Insect Bite Relief and all the bites were gone that day. The results were amazing. This product WORKS!

For more info visit and to order:  http://www.mysmilebaby.com/


Register below for your chance to win a OutdoorShield® Organic Herbal Outdoor Repellent! 100% NATURAL and GMO FREE!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Potty Training

By: Melissa Honsberger Mom Squad Member

By: Melissa Honsberger
Mom Squad Member

When my 2 year old started recognizing she was wet and uncomfortable in her diaper, I thought to myself Hallelujah!! She is ready to start potty training. I started fantasizing about never having to change a diaper ever again. We ran out pronto to buy her the pinkest, sparkling, noisiest potty we could find. We rushed home to set it up, sat her on it and within three seconds she said “All done” and wanted nothing to do with it. I wasn’t going to let that stop my dreams of being diaper free. Every day I sat with her while she sat on her potty. I read her books, I sang her songs, and she played the IPad. After countless times of sitting there for what seemed like forever she never went and five minutes after getting her diaper put back on she would go. I felt so defeated. So I looked up ways to get her interested in her potty. All these sites had the most outrageous tips and tricks to accomplish potty training and I thought to myself who has the time to do all this…Not me that’s for sure. One of the tips said to just put your foot down and take them off diapers cold turkey, so I did. I bought Gerber Training Underwear that had an extra thick layer for absorption, those failed miserably. My daughter would just pee in them, peel them off and throw them on the floor. I thought what can I do to entice her? I thought about a prize every time she went but that would get pricey. So I thought why not just a simple treat. So I went to HEB and bought a $3.00 plastic jar and a huge bag of M&Ms. I told my daughter you get 3 M&Ms for number 1 and 5 M&Ms for number 2. Low and behold she ran to her potty shimmied her Pull Up off and peed in her potty! and after said “Mommy I want my M&Ms”. The jar has slowly dwindled down and she rarely asks for them anymore but always uses the potty. Moral of the story is this whole potty training thing doesn’t have to be like pulling teeth, or laying plastic tarps all over your home, or scrubbing pee out of the couches and rugs. All it took was jar of colorful goodness.

Melissa Honsberger

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By: Melissa Hosenberger Mom Squad Member

By: Melissa Hosenberger
Mom Squad Member

So I came across a product that I found pretty cool. It’s called the Filip. It is a wrist watch for kids that double as a GPS/Mobile device.  They come in four neon colors and two sizes and are shaped kind of like a fitted bangle. The purpose of this watch is what all parents want, piece of mind and safety for your child. The Filip’s features are actually pretty awesome. The Filip acts as a mobile device, an emergency beacon and a GPS system. It holds up to 5 contacts and can also receive short text messages but cannot reply to them. So if you call your kid they basically just talk into the watch like a cool secret agent, which all the kids will love. The Filip’s GPS tracks your child using GSM cell phone towers as well as Wi-Fi Hotspots to give the most accurate indoor and outdoor locations possible .When the Filip’s emergency button is activated, it automatically sends out your child’s location, starts calling all of the contacts programmed into the device until someone answers. The whole watch is controlled by the parent through an app used on their smart phone.  I find this product really useful because nowadays we give our kids cell phones for the main purpose of being able to contact them or them contact us in case of an emergency. In a lot of cases I feel these kids are too young to really need all of the functions of a cell phone so instead why not give this Go Go Gadget watch. I myself can see me buying this for my son who is about to turn 7. He’s too young for a cell phone but at least a product like this can give me piece of mind if he is at a friend’s or if at school and there is an emergency. They are in a price range of about $200$which I think it is a fair price. You can view and purchase these cool gadgets at their website at www.myfilip.com.

Melissa Hosenberger

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Spend $30 and get $10.00 back!

Join Children’s Orchard, McAllen, this weekend for a grand event!

April 11-13th , 2014!

Spend $30 and get $10 back!

For more information call Children’s Orchard At:

(956) 631 9600
5101 N. 10th St.
McAllen, TX. 78504

Sweet Deal!

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Pageant Panic

By: Lisa Lopez Mom Squad Member

By: Lisa Lopez
Mom Squad Member

This Sunday is the Rio Grande Valley Cinderella 2014 pageant in San Juan. It will be Lola’s fourth pageant. I was never in pageants when I was younger. I am not sure what caused me to start enrolling her in them. Every mom thinks their daughter is beautiful or son is handsome. But to me, she has a unique look, with her light-colored hair and green eyes. Her dad and I have brown eyes. My husband’s mother, however, is Australian with blue eyes, so Lola must have gotten some of her genes.

This pageant has three contests: beauty, western theme, and fashion wear. For beauty wear, we have a dress that actually looks Cinderella-y because it is light blue. For western, I ordered an outfit from an eBay seller, and she just shipped it yesterday. Yeah, I am kinda freaking out that I don’t have it yet. (I bought a dress from another eBay seller for a previous pageant and it arrived several days late. I had to run to Marshall’s to buy a $7 replacement. Somehow, Lola won that pageant!) For fashion wear, it can be anything you see in a magazine or runway. I am trying to have fun putting this outfit together, but Lola is in between sizes right now, so it is proving to be a challenge. I am still finalizing the look, but it includes clear jelly sandals and moxie peach lace leggings. If it were an 80s theme, we would nail it! 🙂

I hope she does well at this pageant, and I don’t mean for her to win. That’s always nice. I mean I just want her to behave! The older she gets, the more stubborn she is. In her last pageant, she decided she wanted to crawl up the stairs to the stage instead of walking up them with me. When I picked her up (because proper ladies don’t crawl in long dresses), she was not happy. This pageant occurs during her regular nap time (whee!). I’ll let you know how she does in my next blog.

Before I go, I want to let you know of a couple of Easter-related events in Harlingen. As posted on our Explore Harlingen page, Bass Pro Shops has activities from April 12-20. They will have photos with the Easter Bunny, free crafts for the kids, and egg hunts. Also, I just found out that Valle Vista Mall is having a Kidgits Tea Party with the Easter Bunny that we are attending this Saturday, April 12, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. They ask for the kids to dress in their Sunday best.


Lisa Lopez


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Life in Harlingen

By: Lisa Lopez Mom Squad Member

By: Lisa Lopez
Mom Squad Member


Hello! My name is Lisa. I was born and raised in Harlingen, Texas, but left in 1990 after high school graduation to attend college at the University of Texas at Austin. I ended up living in Austin for 20 years but recently moved back to Harlingen to be closer to family after the birth of my daughter, Lola. My parents are in their 80s, and I really wanted my daughter to get to know them before it was too late. Lola is now 10 months old. We have a full-time nanny, Heather, who helps watch Lola during the workday while my husband Javier and I work from home. It’s a nearly perfect setup and we count our blessings.

Because we hadn’t lived in Harlingen in 20+ years, Javier and I worried there was nothing to do in Harlingen (like when we grew up here). So we started a Facebook page called Explore Harlingen to prove ourselves wrong. We immediately immersed ourselves into the city’s social scene and promptly realized that Harlingen has a lot to offer, including fun activities for families. I will be posting this type of information in this weekly blog.

As for Lola, she is a 21-lb. green-eyed handful. She is currently teething (can you believe she doesn’t have any teeth yet? I don’t!) so the poor thing has been waking up screaming and I can tell she is all sorts of uncomfortable. I can feel one of her little daggers coming in at the top of her mouth. Besides dealing with her teething, I am finalizing her first birthday party in May. We are also preparing her for the state Sunburst beauty pageant in Houston in late May. She has been in three pageants since February and has been doing really well. But I don’t want to become one of those “pageant moms”: when she gets old enough to tell me she doesn’t want to do them anymore, we will stop. I want to be sure she enjoys what she is doing and never feels forced. But for now, she is cute and can’t talk so mommy says she is doing pageants. J

Lisa Lopez


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Free Craft Workshops for Kids

By: Melissa Honsberger Mom Squad Member

By: Melissa Honsberger
Mom Squad Member

Being a mom of two can be a handful on weekends. I get bombarded with “Mom I’m bored can we go to the movies” or “Mom I want pizza can we go play at Chuck E Cheese” and if you moms and dads are like me, you don’t always want to surround yourself with an extra 75 screaming kids at the local pizzeria, not to mention the 50 to 75 dollars it takes to entertain the idea. So instead, for days just like the above reference, I have always tried to find new, exciting and not to mention frugal ways to take my children for a special treat. One of those special treats is the free children’s workshop that The Home Depot offers. These workshops are extremely hands on for the kids and help to get them involved with other kids to construct and assemble and burn lots of energy building their projects. The projects change for every workshop, some being in reference to a new movie coming out that all the kids are begging us to see, in example they are offering a Rio 2 themed workshop on Saturday April 5th at 9:00am, in this workshop the children will be making a bird feeder/ bird bath. I have personally found that these workshops are so much fun for my kids, being able to work with tools, and glue and paint to make something that they can take home and use and knowing they made it themselves is so exciting for them and the fact that these workshops are 100% FREE is extremely exciting for us parents!! Another FRUGAL crafts spot for the kids is at Lake Shore Learning. They offer craft days every Saturday from 11:00am to 3:00pm. These workshops are 100% FREE as well! These workshops are great ways to get the kids out and to burn that energy and instead of bringing home a tummy ache from pizza and candy they bring home a token of their hard work. As well as boosting our kid’s creative skills, these workshops have mercy on our bank accounts.


Melissa Honsberger


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