Sarah was due to turn 9, and her nights when she should have been sleeping were filled with visions of senators, Princess Leia, brave and virtuous Jedi knights and padawans. That's right, for the Star Wars obsessed, she's a big fan of the animated series 'Clone Wars'. Our Friday evenings are reserved for 9pm viewings of Clone Wars. To avoid overfrequent exclamation of "Aww mom!" I am obligated to set the DVR to record on Friday evenings we are out.
Mom!! Let's have a Star Wars party and I'll invite.. and we'll ...... as I counted carefully our reduced income with FarmBoy's factory having Friday furloughs. Sarah's an illustrative child and I have been feted with sample after sample of drawings of everything she wanted for her birthday, and everything she thought was cool and praiseworthy and of good report. That's a lot of crayon drawings. Well, it's garden season, so they made good mulch, and I noted what her hearts' desires were. Five kids, all very artsy craftsy - you do the math. We have lots of paper mulch.
I pondered Sarah's birthday in my heart quite carefully. Some of her friends go to Chuck E. Cheese's, which is an hour's drive, and spend a couple of hours in the sugary pizza charged video game atmosphere. My personal idea of the 4th level of Hades. Our bathroom is under construction. Our kitchen is under construction. I balked at 9 8 year olds coming for 2 hours.
Sarah solved my dilemma with her creativity. MOM! Sarah always speaks in exclamation marks. Why don't we make our own Star Wars costumes and have a Star Wars party? Deal! Lest you have a common misconception, I do not sew costumes, so this was not a 'mom makes costumes for everyone out of nothing, and we all exclaim how frugal of a Martha Stewart she is'. That was very cathartic. Does Martha make goat cheese every other day and milk a small herd of goats? I don't think so.
My job was to help tie sashas, design hairstyles, and clap as they told me of their creation's name and role in Clone Wars. The pink bathrobes and recycled graduation gowns came out, a battle droid with a blaster appeared and even a navy blue pair of snow bibs were pressed into service for a one armed medical droid. Good times!
Pin the light sabre on the Jedi proved to be a rowdier game than you would initially think. It really does matter who you put in charge of the spinning of the blindfolded child/victim. Who knew I had vertigo? Andy kicked our clone hineys on that game. I was lucky to get the light sabre taped on the right wall of the living room, quite frankly.
Next came a Nerf inspired version of Bounty Hunter target practice. Apparently intergallactic bounty hunters need to keep their trigger finger limber. It was hilarious, foam missiles everywhere, and there was some accusation of stacking of teams, but Papa (FarmBoy) triumphed over all. He took the cake. Literally, the cupcake was the prize. Not just any cupcakes. But the ones we learned how to make here. http://www.bakerella.com/. She calls them cake pops and cupcake bites, and here's where you can see what I mean. I call them little bitty cupcakes in a peanut butter cup mold from the craft store. Cute!
Sarah was delighted with her gift card from Grandma B, and her handmade dress and matching ladybug head scarf from Grandma H, and her Pink Nintendo DS with Build-a-Bear game from her father, and her grown up rollerblades (size 6!) and Little Pet Shop stuff (and more accessories). We had a bbq outside with hot dogs and hamburgs and sausages on the grill, baked beans and corn chips and chili dip, cookie cake and icecream, and her best friend BreeAnna over for dinner and games. On Monday, her clothing order from the big sale at http://www.childrensplace.com/ came in. She scored two cute skorts (shorts/skirt combo) for $3.50 and a couple of adorable sweater tops to match. She wore a pink skort and pink and brown sweater to school yesterday, looking all pretty in pink and chocolate. Cutest little bargains in town!
This led to her gym teacher's inquiry at school yesterday. Sarah, where did you get all those scratches on your legs? Do you have a kitty you went to war with? Oh no Mrs. Lahue, my cats are very gentle. I like to climb trees and cruise on my new rollerblades. (cue laughter).
The bargains on Sarah's new clothing were made even better because I had a coupon code from http://www.shopittome.com/howitworks. You can use my email address for your referral if you like. firstname.lastname@example.org. Drop me a line if you have any questions. Bargains galore I tell you, and you get to choose the stores and designers you prefer.
A little creativity, a lot of serendipity and enthusiasm, and not very much money really made Sarah's birthday turned out great. The children went to bed happy, and delighted, and we weren't left with any debt or worry about overspending our tight budget. Coming here soon, a shocking side effect of the debt ensnaring families in America. And the unexpected and horrific cost to some families.