Have Fun with a Simple Birthday-$0 Summer

How to celebrate a simple birthday during a no-spend challenge

We began the week with Father’s Day. Although the boys are not being held to the no-spend challenge with their own money, I am encouraging them to be mindful of the experiment as well.  I suggested they reach into themselves and their own talents to create gifts for their dad. They embraced the idea. Magnus is (still working on it) making a comic. Rin wrote an awesome and funny story. Luigi made this and fixed the Dude’s knife sheath. We finished watching Colonial House.

I have been concerned about Luigi keeping busy. Well he worked it out himself this week. Paper crafts! He is currently designing a suit of armor (??) out of fiberglass, but the first step is a card stock mock up.

No-spend birthday fun-crafting

No-spend birthday-paper crafts

This project has been going on all week and is only at the beginning. He has found something to keep himself busy!

Simple birthday celebration

Wednesday was Luigi’s birthday. I did not buy him a present since we had given him a tablet a few months back as an early gift. Scaling back my own expectations of what a birthday should be was a big lesson of the day. I am someone who believes every birthday should be phenomenal! And I have failed as a parent when they are less than that. We aren’t into the bday party scene, so birthdays often equal trips to cities or camping or movie marathons. Something over the top.

This year I realized it didn’t have to be that and the kids are fine. It was time for a simple birthday. So, no extra gifts. He spent the morning working on his papercraft. In the afternoon, we took him to an art program at a library the next town up. The evening festivities included a cookout, strawberry shortcake, and a bonfire. Luigi hung out around the campfire with his dad. They bent copper, made campfire tea and biscuits, and talked about life. The night ended with camping in the backyard.

We spent many quiet days at home this week. It was a nice change. I am working on my thesis and the boys are working on their projects. Trying to keep them off the computer has been challenging. I punished Rin with the hammock in the back yard, a book, and a glass of lemonade. I am a tough mom. We have moved on to the Colonial House series. It was brought to my attention by Magnus, which made me very happy.

We have a beautiful park near our house and we spent some time there, feeding ducks the crusty ends of our bread and visiting the farm animals that live next door to the park.

No-spend beauty at the park

Cute pond, perfect for duck feeding

Boy petting horse through a fence

Simple birthday fun-visiting farm animals next to the park

Boy petting horse through a fence

He finds friends wherever he goes

Boy petting horse through a fence

Petting a sheep

Simple birthday-fuzzy sheep

We took advantage of free library events and park spaces this week. We had planned to take a bike ride, but needed to do stuff round the house. The Dude hung our screen door, worked on our car topper, and made a small water fountain. All in all, it was a nice simple birthday week.

Although we are not including food costs in this experiment, we are trying to bring the overall cost down. Tonight, I made tortillas for the first time ever. Although they were tasty, it took an hour and a half to make enough for dinner! That seems over the top to me! Any advice from the audience? I am also looking for a good vegetarian baked bean recipe.

Figuring out the rules of a no-spend challenge

Does Netflix count as a necessity? The Dude bought batteries and glue sticks and some hardware for the door. Does that count? We are voting that Netflix is a necessity. Our library doesn’t have really good selection of borrowing times. We only do the streaming plan. The things the Dude bought seem to be necessary and really framework basic building block type items, so we are not including them in the breakdown.

This week:

Iced Coffee (trying to stave off migraine while out, it failed): $2.50
Slice of pizza (The Dude): $1.25
Simple birthday fun: $0

Total: $3.75

And I will leave you with the free hat Luigi made for the little dog today. Paper cup, rubber band, duct tape. Cute dog. A simple birthday hat for a sweet little dog.

Dachshund wearing a paper cup as a party hat

Here are all the links to our no-spend summers:

No-spend challenge overview
No-spend week 1
No-spend week 2
No-spend week 3
No-spend week 4
No-spend week 5
No-spend week 6
No-spend week 7
No-spend week 8
No-spend week 9
No-spend weeks 10-13