A Really Fun and Frugal Double Birthday Party In A Teeny Tiny House

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A Minecraft cake birthday cake for my  Minecraft loving boys
I totally believe in the mantra "better late than never", which is why, despite my boys having birthdays in September, I made them both a joint birthday party today. I wasn't able to make their party around their birthdays, because it was a crazy hectic time for us where I was barely managing to keep afloat, but things have started calming down a bit lately, so I finally had the time and energy to make them a birthday party, but no, I didn't have the time or energy for two separate ones.

Usually I have a theme for my kids' birthday parties, which allows me to figure out low cost party games, which don't end up having a cheapskate feel to them because they all go together with the theme. These themed parties usually take place outdoors due to our 484 square home being small for a family of 6, let alone an entire party. However, today's party couldn't take place outdoors because, unlike September, when it gets dark later on, by 4:30 pm, it's already getting dark here and we can't have a birthday party in the dark. Add to that that it was supposed to rain and results are that the party had to be indoors.
So then I had to come up with some fun party ideas that would be able to be done around a table- since we'd be able to just fit all the guests around our dining room table plus a folding table, but there wouldn't be room to run around. So essentially the theme was- sedentary activities that would still be enjoyable and frugal.

What I came up with was this- and while not the lowest cost birthday party ever, it cost $40 total (and could have been cheaper had I had the energy to do some bargain hunting... but I didn't), and that included supper, crafts, games, etc...

First everyone came and we sat down to some snacks- vegetable sticks, some gluten free pretzels, and a puffed corn snack that I bought super cheaply at a discount supermarket.

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Then we played pass the parcel, and in each layer I had put some fun stickers, but in order to keep the stickers, the person who opened that layer had to do the task written on the stickers, such as sing a song, talk non stop for one minute straight, count backwards from 20, things of that sort. The final layer revealed a bunch of jump ropes that I'd bought for 50 cents each- so the lot of 12 was only $6. Each kid got their jump ropes which had wooden handles, and then they decorated theirs with markers. I wasn't sure at first if we'd do that as an activity, but I put out the idea and everyone liked that idea, so that kept them busy for a long time- even when it was time to move on to the next activity kids said they'd wanted to keep on doing it.

Then we all made pita pizzas. I bought multipacks of gluten pitas on sale cheaply at the local supermarket, as well as a 5 pack of gluten free pitas from a discount store- only $1.40 for the package. I'd made homemade pizza sauce with cheap tomato paste and spices, and bought cheese on sale as well. Everyone had a choice of toppings available- tomatoes, onions, olives, corn, and mushrooms, and they had fun doing that.

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After a quick bake in the oven (only long enough to melt the cheese, since the pitas were already cooked), everyone enjoyed their pita pizza dinners.

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The next item on the list was balloon twisting- I bought a bunch of balloons which I then blew up for each kid, and then demonstrated to them how to twist their own balloon sword- it is actually super easy! Some kids attempted to make their own balloon sword, but the ones that didn't manage to do so got assistance from me.

Once everyone got their own swords, balloon sword fighting commenced. This was the wildest part of the party, but the kids really had a great time!

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I had to pry them away from the sword fighting, because it was getting late and I wanted to wrap things up and serve the cake.

My boys love Minecraft, so I made them a Minecraft birthday cake. This actually was the hardest part, because finding a vanilla gluten free cake recipe that didn't require a mixer was challenging- last night I made a triple batch of a recipe, hoping to frost it in the morning, but that triple batch failed and it was really frustrating. I then tried two more batches of vanilla gluten free cake recipes, and the one I finalized was this one, but I doubled it for each layer, used melted coconut oil in place of the butter, and used some pineapple juice instead of the milk. Vanilla cake was necessary because chocolate cake was the wrong color for the base of the cake, but vanilla would be the correct color.

For the frosting, I made my no bake not so unhealthy (other than all the sugar) fondant, and made the red squares on top out of fondant colored with my homemade beet food coloring. It didn't come out perfectly, but I was trying to do it while my toddler was trying to make trouble so I was pressed for time, and even though it wasn't perfect, I think it definitely was good enough.

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I decided to skip the candles, what with it being a joint party for two kids with two different ages, and instead I bought these sparkler type things that I put on the cake, and it wowed everyone and was super cheap also- maybe 50-75 cents for them?
Everyone liked the cake, and that was despite the fact that it was gluten free and there were quite a lot of picky eaters at the party who usually wouldn't go for gluten free cakes, so that was awesome.

After the cake it was time to go

Everyone had a great time, and my kids said that it was their favorite party yet, and all the guests agreed- party was a hit. Best of all- I was able to prove to myself that just because we have a small house doesn't mean we can't throw a great party indoors, without breaking the bank.

Have you ever thrown a party indoors for kids, in a small area? What are your favorite games and activities that are fun and frugal and don't require a lot of room?
Thrown any fun frugal parties for your kids in general? What did you do?
Have you ever thrown a birthday party 2 months late? 
(P.S. Just had to share- this past year, Mike and I went on our annual birthday date... in May. Our birthday is in February. Lol. This seems to be a tradition. And we still haven't gone on our anniversary date... and that was also in September.)

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Looks like fun!

    At this rate, my birthday party is going to be 2 months late! My birthday was four days ago but we are in the process of moving, so who knows when I'm going to have time/energy to throw myself a party.

  2. Why go to all the trouble of making a gluten-free cake? Just so you could have a piece? You could have bought a regular cake mix and it would have been much easier and cheaper. Your guests were gluten free eaters, and It wouldn't have killed your kids to have one gluten free cake.

    1. The birthday party was for my sons Lee and Ike, and Ike can't have gluten. He also gets eczema from it, as well as having really bad behavioral issues when he eats gluten- he literally goes crazy from eating even a little bit of gluten, hence making a gluten free cake.

    2. Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize one of the birthday boys was so sensitive to gluten. I thought the boys were OK with gluten. Of course he should have a birthday cake he can eat.

    3. Yea, he is so terrific about not complaining when he goes to all sorts of parties and events where he cant eat most of the food because it has gluten, so when it comes to events that I make in my house, even if it wasnt his birthday, i'd make it gluten free, so at least he doesnt have to feel left out at events in my own home. Ike is the most sensitive to my kids to gluten, though Anneliese and Rose do better without gluten. Ike is actually the reason that I figured out I was sensitive to gluten- i was nursing him and went off gluten to see if it would help his eczema, and it made a world of a difference to how I felt...

  3. Love your creativity! Surprised that you got kids to enjoy pizza with mostly veggie toppings instead of traditional stuff like pepperoni. Most little kids I know don't olives due to the strong taste. Were the invitees used to eating things like that?

    1. Pepperoni pizzas arent standard where I live- these are the actual standard toppings, and the kids enjoyed all these toppings- some kids liked olives, some didnt, etc... and whatever the kids didnt like, the parents who accompanied them also made pita pizzas and used those.

    2. It seems strange that you allow your very young boys to play video games.

    3. At first I used to be very opposed to the idea of video games, but then i realized that despite the social stigma, kids can learn a lot from certain video games, and minecraft happens to be super educational, to the extent that many teachers are starting to use it in school to teach kids.

    4. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/11/dont-worry-if-your-kids-played-minecraft-all-summer.html

  4. We are doing a cheaper birthday party this year. First of all, my b-day and my daughter b-day are the same day. And I am off work and school is closed. So I'm taking her out for a day of free adventures. Some places around here offer free stuff on birthdays.
    We will go see a movie at the theater for free, then we will go eat at a all-you-can-eat buffet that will also be free except for tip (3$), and we will go skating using our yearly city pass costing us 4$/month for the family. At night, we will eat at home (hubby making lasagna and box-cake), surrounded by free helium-filled balloons (with a coupon). We will then give her her gifts, that I got cheaply (suitcase for free, 2 notebooks for 0,60$ each, colored hair extensions for 2$) and a play ticket to go with a friend of hers (22$). Then a little later we will throw her "birthday with friends", which will be bringing her, her sister and 2 friends to a inside amusement park (most expensive at 70$), then frozen pizza and cup cakes at home. So all and all it will be about 100$ for both our mother/daughter birthday and her birthday with friends. Considering this is for two birthdays, it's pretty good.

  5. I really can’t believe that cake is gluten free. Everything looks so delicious that I am dying to serve all these cuisines at my party. Well, I need to book one of the best Chicago venues and this planning sound great for that party!!

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