Low Stress Low Cost Birthday Party

Birthdays have always been special to me because growing up my mom made them that way. We would pick a theme and off she’d go! Every other year I got a big party with lots of my friends and on the off years I got to pick 1 friend and an activity.

One of my most memorable parties was a Murder Mystery theme. As each guest arrived they were greeted at the front to create their “file” with fingerprints, detective name, etc. We played fun mystery games and had to figure out clues to find my hidden cake. I really love that my mom created these wonderful birthday memories for me. So now that I have a child of my own I’m passing on the tradition.

As much as I love throwing a good party, planning it can cause a lot of stress and end up costing more than you wanted to spend. So for my son’s 2nd birthday My goal was to keep it low stress and low cost. I’m happy to report it was successful! So here are some of the ways I accomplished that.

He is obsessed with Baby Shark right now so that was our theme. First, we took a trip to the party store to see what they had.

Tip #1-
Only buy what you’ll need

I knew the adults didn’t care if they drank out of a baby shark cup so I only bought enough for the kids attending the party. The adults got the regular old red solo cups that I already had stocked away in my pantry. Same with the favors.
I bought enough special themed plates for each person to have one and then used plain paper plates I already had as back up.

Party ware

Tip #2
Dollar Tree

I wanted a fun ocean backdrop to hang so I perused the Dollar Tree and grabbed a blue plastic table cloth, some colored poster board, tissue paper pom poms, streamers, & balloons. I was pleasantly surprised to see they have added quite a bit to the party section there! I won’t be winning any awards on this, but it was just to add a little fun to the decor and my son loved it 🙂 You can get much more creative if you want to!

Baby Shark Scenery

Tip #3
Make party time between meals

One of the big stress relievers was I chose to do the party between meals so I was only providing snacks and dessert. The pressure to feed everyone enough food for an entire meal was off! We had mini sandwiches (hawaiin rolls w/ turkey & cheese), goldfish, pirate booty, fruit, cucumbers, sea salt chocolates, gummy sharks, and of course cake & ice cream.

Tip #4

Hawaiin rolls at Costco are so cheap! And you get a lot! Pirate Booty and Goldfish are a great price in bulk as well. Select Costcos do cakes that feed 50 people for under $20. I chose to get our cake from a favorite local bakery BUT Costco cakes are also delicious and we’ve used them in the past.

Tip #5

I bought a baby shark sticker book and used the stickers for decorations and games. Cutting out colored card stock I labeled the food with fun ocean themed names and then added a sticker. You can see examples in my food pictures above. I also used the stickers to create a simple Baby Shark Scavenger Hunt. And when the kids found each character I gave them stickers to help mark them off so they knew which ones were left.

Tip #6
Fun but simple extra touches

I love Etsy. They have so many cute, unique, and specialized items! I didn’t want to go overboard with spending so I chose just a couple things for special party touches. One was the cake topper. So so cute! It was personalized too which made it extra special. The other purchase I made was matching family shirts. I had a mommy shark shirt, my husband a daddy shark shirt, and our little guy a baby shark shirt.

Other party details:

  • Shark Ice Cubes – put gummy sharks into ice cube molds for drinks
  • Pail & Shovel – purchased at Dollar Tree to use as snack holders
  • Ball Pit – blow up pool + ball pit balls + slide = so much fun!

Tip #7
Pare down the guest list

Start your list off with the family you’ll be inviting. Both sets of grandparents live near by so they of course were on the list. Then we knew the cousins were going to be in town so they would be attending. After the family, I would recommend choosing 2-3 families that your child is close with. Who do they spend most of their time with when it comes to friends? When the list gets long, the cost for the party goes up. OR you can do the party for your child’s friends only and have a small family celebration separately.

Hope this helps you have a party you can actually enjoy!!! Also, if you have any good tips, leave a comment below.


Difficult Times Call For Simple Measures

As Covid has us up, down, high, low, and everything in between, we can start to feel like our sanity is slipping away.

And though it seems like all our favorite things have been taken from us and been replaced with fear and cabin fever, I have put together a list (with help from family & friends) of life’s simple joys you can still enjoy!

>Take a hot, relaxing shower or bubble bath
>Eat warm cookies with milk
>Jam to your favorite songs
>Call or text someone you enjoy talking to
>Take a drive and treat yourself to a coffee, ice cream, or fun snack
(bonus if its nice out and you can roll the windows or sunroof down)
>Crawl into fresh, crisp sheets at night
>Have a movie night and snuggle with your family
>Curl up with a blanket, beverage, and read a new (or old) book
>Bake something new
>Look at funny memes or videos
(this usually helps me if I’m in a grumpy mood)
>Look through old pictures and reminisce
>Find a creative outlet
>Take a walk and listen to a podcast
(currently listening to The Office Ladies)
>Rewatch an old favorite show from the beginning
>Sit down and write notes, cards, or letters to loved ones
(The TouchNote app lets you create fun postcards and cards and then sends them for you)
>Play with your pets
>Color a picture
>Sit on the porch or patio on a nice day and soak up the sun
>Play a favorite game (Clue, Monopoly, Yahtzee, cards, etc)
>Take a scenic drive through the mountains
>Paint your nails
>Do something nice or special for someone in your life

What are some more of life’s simple joys? Comment below with your own favorites.

Fun With Chalk for All Ages

Trying to get the kids outside to enjoy the weather? As they get older free drawing with chalk doesn’t always sound as appealing to them. But here are a few game ideas that will get them on board with chalk fun!

  • Candyland – Draw large squares big enough for standing on to make a Candyland board. Let the kids help too! Make each square a different color from the one it’s attached to and don’t forget the special candy squares. There’s the gumdrops, lollipops, peanut brittle, and more. We pick 3 or 4 to use. We also add 1 or 2 shortcuts. You can download a die to your phone or just roll a real one.
  • Target Board – Draw a target circle with multiple rings and values. Then use a bean bag or whatever you can find to toss from a designated distance.


  • Musical Shapes or Colors – Draw shapes or circles of color in a large circle, play music, and have the kids walk around. Stop the music periodically and call out a color or shape. The kids have to find it and run to it.


  • Draw bike or scooter lanes – Make winding paths for the kids’ bikes or scooters to follow.


  • Chalk Painting – You can make your own chalk paint by crushing up chalk and mixing with water. Then have the kids use paint brushes and rollers to paint the driveway/sidewalks with.
    image                  image


  • 2 square or 4 square – Draw 4 (or 2) connecting squares and have players bounce a rubber ball (kickball) from their square to another person’s square. The ball must stay inside the lines and only bounce once inside their square.

Hide from Grime, Movie Time!(Streaming Recommendations)

Hey everyone! It’s an interesting time in the world to say the least! As most of us are home all day now, I thought it would be helpful to give you a list of movie and show recommendations from the different streaming services.

These are obviously my own opinions of what is good but as you scroll through the hundreds of options, it’s sometimes nice to have suggestions. I have it broken down into movies and shows and then which streaming service you’ll find it on.

But first some humor because how else are we going to get through this? lol

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  • The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society
    -Takes place shortly after WW11. A book club on the island of Guernsey writes letters to a London female author. She is so inspired by their story that she travels to visit them and ends up creating memorable relationships. (romance & drama)
  • Julie & Julia
    -A young woman who admires Julia Child decides to spice up her uneventful life by cooking up every recipe in Julia’s classic cookbook. (comedy & drama)
  • Tootsie
    -A young male actor can’t get work so he decides to dress up as an older woman named Dorothy. Dorothy gets a gig on a popular show and things get sticky as she tries to keep her real identity a secret. (comedy & drama)
  • How To Be A Latin Lover
    -An aging latin man gets the boot from his sugar mama. He ends up living with his sister and her son who he hasn’t spoken to in a very long time. He tries to pull out all the stops to find a new female financial supporter so he can go back to living his lavish life. (comedy)
  • Ryan Hamilton Happy Face
    -A stand up comedian who doesn’t need to cuss or be dirty to be funny. He shares stories from his small hometown in Idaho, life in New York, gym memberships, and hot air ballooning. (comedy)
  • Always Be My Maybe
    -Reunited after 15 years, famous chef Sasha and hometown musician Marcus feel the old sparks of attraction. However, they struggle to adapt to each other’s worlds. (romance, drama, & comedy)
  • The Hundred Foot Journey
    -A chef and his family leave India to open a restaurant in France. A highly rated restaurant just across the street causes there to be conflict between the 2 restaurant owners. A funny and heartwarming story conspires. (drama & comedy)


  • Under the Tuscan Sun
    -A recently divorced writer impulsively buys an Italian villa and embarks on a life changing adventure (romance drama)
  • Dog Days
    -This movie follows the lives of multiple dog owners and their fluffy friends. When their paths cross, their lives change in unexpected ways. (comedy)
  • Overboard 2018
    -Based on the original 1987 version, a single and hardworking mom of three and a selfish, spoiled, wealthy playboy end up in each other’s lives after he loses his memory from falling off his yacht.
  • A Simple Favor
    -This mysterious film features 2 young moms. Stephanie is a quirky vlogger and Emily is a posh career woman. After forming a unique friendship Emily disappears without a trace. Stephanie uncovers some interesting and disturbing things about the friend she thought she knew. A weird story but very intriguing -not for children. (drama, mystery, & comedy)
  • Instant Family
    -Inspired by a true story, Pete and Ellie end up fostering 3 siblings at once and must learn the ropes of parenthood as quickly as possible. (comedy & drama)
  • A Quiet Place
    -In this suspenseful thriller, a family must survive in silence to avoid alien creatures that hunt by sound.

    Amazon Prime

  • The Spy Who Dumped Me
    -After being dumped by her boyfriend who she finds out is a spy, a woman and her best friend become entangled in a hilarious conspiracy. Some strong language-not for children. (comedy)
  • The Birdcage
    -A flamboyant gay couple, Armand & Albert, who own a drag club have raised a straight son who is now getting married. He wants to bring his fiancee and her family to meet them but doesn’t want them to know the truth. Armand and Albert pretend to be straight, resulting in a hilarious performance. Some strong language-not for children. (comedy)
  • A Quiet Place
    -In this suspenseful thriller, a family must survive in silence to avoid alien creatures that hunt by sound.
  • Overboard 2018
    -Based on the original 1987 version, a single and hardworking mom of three and a selfish, spoiled, wealthy playboy end up in each other’s lives after he loses his memory from falling off his yacht.
  • A Simple Favor
    -This mysterious film features 2 young moms. Stephanie, a quirky vlogger and Emily, a posh career woman. After forming a unique friendship Emily disappears without a trace. Stephanie uncovers some interesting and disturbing things about the friend she thought she knew. A weird story but very intriguing -not for children. (drama, mystery, & comedy)
  • Instant Family
    -Inspired by a true story, Pete and Ellie end up fostering 3 siblings at once and must learn the ropes of parenthood as quickly as possible. (comedy & drama)

    Disney +

  • Three Men and a Baby
    -Roommates Peter, Michael, and Jack are all successful but unmarried men. Peter and Michael get the surprise of their life when a woman abandons a baby girl in front of their door. A letter reveals that Jack is the father, but he’s away traveling. They are forced to learn how to take care of her on their own but quickly find themselves falling in love with her. (comedy & drama)
  • Three Men and a Little Lady
    -The sequel to Three Men and a Baby. Mary is now 6 years old and Sylvia, Mary’s mother, is feeling it’s time for her to move on and give Mary a normal life. When Sylvia breaks the news she’s moving to England to marry her director, it’s a shock for everyone.
  • While You Were Sleeping
    -Lucy, a lonely transit worker pulls her longtime crush from the path of an oncoming train. While he’s in a coma, Lucy finds herself lying to his family about being his fiancee. Things get even more complicated when she finds herself falling for his brother. (romance & comedy)
  • Turner & Hooch
    -Detective Turner, an uptight and tidy man, inherits an elder’s dog resulting in household chaos and destruction. But the dog might be able to help him solve a murder case. (comedy)
  • Cool Runnings
    -Four Jamaicans dream of becoming olympic bobsledders, even though they’ve never even seen snow. With the help of their coach, a disgraced former champion, they set out to make their dream come true. (comedy)
  • The Odd Life of Timothy Green
    -An unexpected surprise arrives on the doorstep of a couple who can’t have children of their own.  (comedy, fantasy, drama)
  • The Three Musketeers
    -A man travels to Paris hoping to become a musketeer, one of the French King’s elite bodyguards. When he arrives he discovers that the corps have been disbanded. Fortunately, they refuse to lay their weapons down and continue to protect the king no matter the cost. He joins the rogues to expose a plot against the crown. (drama & romance)
  • Lady and the Tramp (live version)
    – Based on the animated version. A house dog and stray embark on an adventure and come to understand the value of a home. (romance, comedy, drama)

    TV Shows


  • Virgin River
    -A nurse practitioner moves to a remote place in northern California for a job with the town doctor. She’s trying to leave behind some painful memories but they seem to be following her. At first, things don’t go so well and she wants to leave. But she soon finds out there might be reasons to stay. (romance, drama, comedy)
  • AJ & The Queen
    -Robert, also known as Ruby Red, is dreaming of opening his own drag queen club. Unfortunately he runs into a big problem and finds himself on the run with an abandoned child who just needs someone to show her the way. Some strong language-not for children. (comedy & drama)
  • Call the Midwife
    -A moving, funny, colorful look at midwifery and family in the 1950’s East End London. It follows an eccentric, lovable community of nuns who are nurses at Nonnatus House.
  • Hart of Dixie
    -Dr Zoe hart from New York, feels out of place trying to adjust to life in a small southern town. But the town has its charms she’ll soon find out. (comedy & drama)


  • Bless This Mess
    -Newlyweds Rio and Mike decide to drop everything and move to Nebraska where Mike’s aunt has left him her farm. They quickly realize that becoming farmers isn’t as easy as they had hoped. (comedy)
  • Life in Pieces
    -Following 4 smaller families belonging to one big family, they discover that special moments add up to what life’s all about. Similar to Modern Family. (comedy)
  • Making It
    -A contest show for crafters! The best makers from around the country compete in a series of handmade projects they must complete in their own unique way. (lifestyle & culture)

    Amazon Prime

  • Chuck
    -A 26 year old computer geek has his life thrown into disarray after his friend, a CIA agent, sends him an email that results in the world’s secrets becoming embedded in his mind. (comedy & drama)
  • Parks & Recreation
    -Leslie Knope who works for her Indiana town’s Parks and Recreation department, is just trying to make her small town better. She runs into constant obstacles but builds friendships along the way. (comedy)
  • Downton Abbey
    -This historical drama follows the lives of the Crawley family and their servants in the family’s Edwardian country house. It begins in 1912 with the sinking of the Titanic. (drama & romance)

    Disney +

  • Pick of the Litter
    -Follow an adorable group of 6 puppies on their quest to become guides for the Guide Dogs for the Blind. (documentary)
  • Frank and Ollie
    -Find out the stories of famed Disney animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston who have been best friends most of their life. (documentary)
  • Be Our Chef
    -Angela Kinsey hosts this cooking competition between 2 families. The families cook up a themed Disney meal and a chef judges for a winner.
  • Disney Insider
    -Watch the magic behind the scenes of Disney stories like Mulan, American Idol, & the Animation Vault.
  • One Day at Disney
    -Discover the inspiring personal stories of the people behind the magic of Disney. Animal keepers, animators, and robotic engineers are just some of the amazing behind the scene stories.

Summer Science with Kiddos🔬


If you don’t know already, I am a nanny for 3 crazy, wonderful kiddos. The 2 oldest are boys and ages 5 and 7. So this summer I wanted to do some cool (but easy) science experiments with them. They were all pretty cool and super simple! And I enjoyed seeing the boys’ faces light up! Here are the ones we did.

Side Note: They all came from Pinterest so don’t hesitate to look them up on there



I think this one was their favorite! They asked to do it again several times lol

You need:

•Shaving cream

•Food colors


•Medium sized container (one for each child)

•Small cups

•Eye dropper or medicine syringe

What To Do:

1) Fill medium container(s) with water.

2) Mix up your food colors with water in small cups.

3) Squirt shaving cream over top of water filled container to make “clouds”.

4) Give droppers or syringes to the participants and let them fill it with a color, then squirt into shaving cream clouds.

5) Watch it come through the shaving cream and down like rain into the container.

6) Repeat with different colors





We did an airplane and a train shape but star shapes look really cool too. This one requires some patience because it takes up to 24 hours for it to be done crystallizing.

You Need:

•Mason jar/large pickle jar/something similar

•2 cups Boiling Water

•1/2 cup Borax

•Popsicle Sticks


•Pipe cleaners

•Cookie Cutter Shapes of your choosing

What To Do:

1) Wrap your pipe cleaner around the cookie cutter shape of your choice. Then twist the ends together so it keeps its shape.

2) Tie a string around the shape so it hangs from the popsicle stick.

3) Place popsicle stick with hanging shape on top of jar so that the pipe cleaner shape is now hanging inside.

Here is a great picture of how it should look from https://onelittleproject.com/how-to-make-crystal-stars/


4) Pour boiling water into jar (adults only) and then pour in borax and stir so it dissolves. Depending on the size of your jar, you might need to adjust the amount of water and borax. But it’s a 1/2 cup of borax to every 2 cups of water. You want your shapes to be totally submerged.

5) Now wait ….Within 6-8 hours you should see crystals forming on the pipecleaners. After 24 hours, remove and place on a paper towel to dry.


Hang them somewhere the light can glisten on them 😊



Putting pop rocks in soda creates a gas that fills up the balloon. I bought all the items at the Dollar Tree to save $. Yay for Dollar Tree!

You Need:

•Pop Rocks

•Unopened Soda Bottle



What To Do:

1) Fill balloon with bag of pop rocks using funnel.

2) Attach balloon filled with pop rocks to the top of the opened soda bottle. Be careful not to dump the pop rocks in yet.


3) When ready, tilt ballon up so pop rocks slide into soda bottle. Watch balloon expand!


I bought 2 sodas so we could do it twice. Then we blew up the extra balloons in the bag and drew silly faces on them lol



This one was fun! You take a muffin tin, put a different colored drop of food coloring in each tin, then cover it with a spoonful of baking soda.

I gave the kids a squeeze bottle full of vinegar.


When they would squirt the vinegar into each muffin tin, it would erupt into a pretty color!

They had fun guessing which color it was going to be before squirting it in. Super simple, super fun!




The supplies you need for this one are probably around your house! The only thing I didn’t have was q-tips but I made my own with toothpicks and cotton balls.

You Need:

•Shallow dish


•Food coloring (the liquid drop kind)

•Dish Soap


What To Do:

1) Pour a little milk in the shallow dish.

2) Drop different food colors in various spots on top of the milk.

3) Dip your q-tip in dish soap and then into the milk.

4) Viola! Beautiful swirling colors

If you pick up your q-tip and put it down again in a different spot, it will continue to swirl. We did this experiment 3x. The boys loved it!

And that was our summer of science experiments!

How to Say Goodbye to the Grumpy Grinch


Christmas is a time for holiday cheer, giving, and all around good spirit. However not every Christmas feels this way. It might be because we’re just going through the motions year after year. Or maybe life isn’t feeling very good right now so it’s hard to be in a cheery Christmas mood.

As the holidays were approaching, I certainly wasn’t feeling warm, fuzzy things. I thought, “Can we just get this over with?” I didn’t like that I felt that way, but there it was. I’ll be honest. My husband and I have been going through a lot of loss and grief. So being told it’s a happy time of year wasn’t jiving with how I felt.


I couldn’t be the only one who felt the way I did. I got the idea to start making a list of ways I might be able to bring some joy to others. Doing something (even small) could help bring a good feeling to someone’s heart. And in the process I just might enjoy the holiday I was hoping would be over quickly.

Here are some of the things I came up with:

•Pay for someone’s coffee in the drive-thru ☕️

Optional: Leave an encouraging note for the barista to give them.

•Bring cookies and a card to elderly friends/family members 🎄

•Give out cookies and chat with people in an assisted living or nursing home 🍪

•Pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child or another organization that does something special for those in need 📦

Note: you can pack a shoebox virtually online if the time has passed to drop them at an OCC location

•Plan some fun Christmas activities with the kiddos in your life ❄️

I’m a nanny for 3 children, so I have some fun activities and baking for us to do together on their winter break

•Plan a fun outing with your spouse, good friend, or a family member so you can make a holiday memory together 💚❤️

Some ideas might be ice skating, a Christmas train ride, a special show or play

•Bring goodies to a neighbor 🍭

Maybe pick a neighbor you haven’t had a chance to meet

•Try to go a more sentimental route for some of your gifts 🎁

Buying gifts can be stressful and hard on your wallet (which makes it more stressful). But if you know a gift is going to mean something special to someone, it’s a little more exciting.

•Invite someone over for hot cocoa and a movie 🎥

This time of year we will usually hear “Christ is the reason for the season!”

But the meaning behind that saying doesn’t always sink in. There’s a lot of people dealing with grief, loss, and sadness right now. I think its time I put more thought into how I can show others the love Christ has shown us, instead of grumbling about my To Do list.

Merry Christmas! May you find some joy this holiday season. Hugs ❤️


Shape Hunt & Scavenger Hunt

A few ideas for keeping small people busy! The boys are loving these 2 games right now. And the great part is there’s not much prep to them.

Shape Hunt – The object of this game is to find the shapes hidden or placed around the room. Draw some shapes, cut them out, add tape, and BAM! Endless fun 🙂

Try to “hide” the shapes at eye level for younger ones

I traced the shapes onto another paper so they could put them in their place as they found them. It helped them to see what shapes were left to find too.


Steps to Play:
1) Cut out shapes
2) Trace shapes on another paper
3) Add tape to cut out shapes (painter’s tape works great)
4) One person counts to 20 0r 30 while the other person puts the shapes around the room
5) Person counting finds shapes and matches them to their spot on the paper

Scavenger Hunt – The object of this game is to find the listed items. Here are a few examples. The boxes at the end are for the boys to check off when they’ve found that item.



I’ve found that this is a great way to talk about textures, patterns, shapes in everyday objects, and using your senses. Depending on the age the scavenger can be made easier or more difficult.

Have fun!!!!