In the next few days, we have a couple of great milestones. Sam turns ten! (I truly, truly can't believe it's been ten years). And, I turn 40! I feel so lucky - I'm extremely happy & blessed, & life is absolutely fabulous.
How do we celebrate in our family? We used to let each of the boys have the big "class party" thing, that was a total Must (cough, keeping up with the Jones) when we lived in Seattle. Each party would run about $500.
Spending on what matters:
Since we moved to California, the boys have just one wish for their birthdays - they want to celebrate & have a "family" party. So, Nick's birthday is the month after Sam's, and we combine them. It's definitely not cheap, but here's what we end up doing:
We fly to Portland on Thursday & crash with my sister. We wake up on Friday & spend Friday afternoon, evening & Saturday morning at an indoor water park with my nephews. This was another fun tradition we had to give up when we moved. It's around $300 for this part of the trip, including food, the hotel, etc.
On Saturday, we stay with my parents & hang out. My dad takes the boys biking, and we usually just spend a lot of time drinking wine & talking. It's lovely.
On Sunday, the boys will have a big "family" party, which they are thrilled about. My mom makes a cake, everyone brings an appetizer, and my sister & mom make soup. It's a family tradition. :-) I pay for the beer, wine, and also give my sister "extra", as she ends up bringing a lot to help out my mom. She's an amazing rock star, and I can't imagine my life without her! We fly back on Monday (we have the day off for President's Day, and the boys don't have school).
So, the cost of the full trip is typically about $1,800 (majority of it spent on air fare & hotel). As you can see before we moved, we were spending a minimum of $1000 on birthday parties that no one remembers. We also don't need to use our nanny on Thursday, Friday, or Monday, which saves about $150. It's not a huge difference in price to visit the family instead of having big giant class parties, and it's something we all appreciate much more.
What about the lady who is getting really old (aka, me?) :-)
And, for my 40th? I'm working on the actual day, and then going to dinner with my three favorite boys. The only real "frugal" choice we'll make is to bring our own wine (no corkage fee) & we'll use a work gift card for a free ice cream afterward. I am taking Thursday off & spending the day alone, before I pick up the kids & head to the airport. .. I'm getting a fabulous massage! It will not be frugal. But, I've been skipping my budgeted hair cut & pedicure in order to offset the cost, so it shouldn't be too impactful.
As for gifts, I got the boys a set of colored pencils, colored markers & a gift card each. I bought the gift cards before the holidays when their was a Rite Aid deal, and the pencils/markers were from Amazon. They will also get to have a friend "sleepover" in a few weeks. I'll get a Papa John's pizza (free work coupon) & I'll make popcorn & brownies. It will cost next to nothing.
I'm really looking forward to the time with my family. My mom has had pneumonia for the last three weeks and been really sick, so it will be nice to see her & spend time taking care of her.
What about you? How do you celebrate milestones in your family?