This past weekend I had a party for friends to come and bring items they wanted to trade (no not children) for a swapping party.  It was a smaller turnout but I had a great time and got some great goodies.  Even though we were different sizes we all had different size clothing to trade.  Some people have lost or gained weight and need to get rid of things.  We also traded home decor, lotions/soaps (new), books/magazines, games/toys, etc!

I can’t tell you how much fun it was and plus I got about 15-30 items for FREE!  I love that!

So gather your friends over and start swapping!  Plus you have people to tell give you opinions on how things look.

Have a “Reuse” Day!


Wednesday is a day that we can discuss ideas on ways to help others.  I would like to share an idea I read awhile back although I have made it my own with add’t details.


I have read about children who opt for no presents and donations for their favorite charity for their birthday.  Since most children I know may not choose this option they may be open to something just down a notch. 

Throw an “Art Party”.  I think this party is one that is great for both boys and girls if they like to draw, paint, color, and/or craft. 

You start with a paint palette for the invitation.  Decorate the party with as many colorful things as possible as this is an art party.    Layout pencils, ribbon, crayons, scrapbook items, fun scissors, markers, glitter, stickers, etc.  Make sure to have construction, or any other kind of paper, folded in card style.  Let the kids create their cards.  You may even want to print a few pictures of the party to put on them if you have the capability.

The kids have fun making the cards for the party and then as a group you can go to a close by nursing home or hospital to give to the residents/patients.  Make sure to call ahead to advise the group is coming.  If you can’t arrange transportation for everyone then just make sure the birthday boy or girl goes to take the cards there. 

For the dessert you may want do this as an art project as well. Bake some cupcakes and have each guest frost and decorate their own. 

If you choose to do goody bags you can have plain paper sacks that they can color and put in each sack a couple of age appropriate art supplies.  Sketch pad and a drawing pencil for an older child or coloring book and crayons for younger children.

This is a simple party but it teaches kids to think beyond themselves and that giving back can be fun.

Debbie aka The Real World Martha(S)

Ok, so I have orchestrated 15 birthday parties for my two boys over the years.  You would think by now I would be an expert.  Well in the real world it never goes as planned.  You just have to go with it.  My oldest son’s bike party, this past weekend, came with a storm in which we had to take cover (not much cover to be had).  We had it in a parking lot to avoid having the kids in the street.  Well I forgot to plan a bathroom location (I have had how many parties!!!).  We got very wet and the kids didn’t do too many crafts, but they had a GREAT time riding in the puddles.  The real world might not be perfect looking but it sure can be fun!

Here is a little birthday party info from those 15 birthday parties (I did learn some things): and (under party planning ideas) are great websites for party ideas

I keep a supply bucket of old party (non-edible) goody bag items left over to use for the next party as well as extra streamers, plates, goody bags. decorations, etc

Keep the party nutritious with only 100% juice and water.  Try and have veggies and dip with some cut up fruit for snacks as they will get enough sugar from the cake and ice cream.

Keep it simple…have games and activities planned only if the kids are bored or rowdy otherwise let them play

If you are budgeting, only purchase a few items of the theme.  The rest of the items can just be in the colors ($ savings) instead.

If you usually purchase a cake, try to make a box one (or two) or cupcakes are easy.  It is way cheaper and you can use any decorations you want.  One year my son had a skateboard party and he had some skate board ramps that we cleaned in the dishwasher and used on the cake..with frosting.   Or you can purchase items at the dollar store.

Goody Bags can make a dent in your wallet.  Try to use the dollar store.  Make sure to have a good count of the kids that are coming and have a couple of extras (I usually make too many and should have made less).  Purchase only one theme item as their gift rather than a bunch of cheap toys.  Do a goody-bag buffet…. get all previous birthday party goodies and let kids choose a few for their bag plus a piece of candy or two.  Hold onto extra meal toys from fast food restaurants.

I would like to know what others do to encourage parents to stay that you don’t know.  I have had kids dropped off at my house with siblings and parents use it as a babysitting service.  In the past I have written on invitations that parents are encouraged to stay, but that has not proved to be successful.  Any tips you can share?

Have an AWESOME day!