A Fun Party Idea – Tea Party with Dolls!

I had a reader write in to ask what “just because” party she could do for her daughter. Her daughter is in the 2nd grade. They’re newer to their area, but they have already made several friends. I couldn’t think of a better party than a doll tea party!

While it’s still spring, you could take advantage of the warmer (but not hot) days by having the party outside. Have all of the girls bring a doll or stuffed animal with them. You could even lay out a blanket like a picnic for the dolls. If you have plastic play plates, set those out. If not, paper is perfect! It definitely doesn’t have to cost a lot.

For food, think easy-to-eat foods.

If your daughter loves PB&Js, go with that! Make the food your own. An easy-to-make craft is to have each of the girls make their own paper plate party hat!

You can find lots of tea-centered games and craft on Pinterest, too! If a little girl in your life loves tea and the classic 18″ dolls, this American Girl – Beforever Rebecca – Rebecca’s Teatime Traditions is amazing!

American Girl tea set

American Girl-brand items are always more expensive than their counterparts (Our Generation, My Life, etc.), and *surprise, surprise,* I don’t always like the American Girl items better. However, I do love the above tea set. My daughter has the 18 Inch Doll Tea Party & Dessert Food Set, Two Complete Doll Sets for Your Favorite 18 Inch Doll | Includes 64 Pieces of Pretend Doll Food & Accessories, which has plenty of items to share. It’s definitely a bigger bang for your buck, and, as often as we have friends over, it was the better choice for us!

18″ Doll Tea Party Set

Hospitality is very important to me, so I’m thankful that she is so willing and eager to entertain! If this isn’t something you’re comfortable with, I highly suggest the book Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation. I first heard about this book from Money Saving Mom.

I feel like Garrett and I became overly busy at one point in our lives, and we’re getting back on track for making time for what’s important to us. Afterall, when we say yes to something, we’re saying no to something else.

I hope you feel inspired to have a party or get-together of your own! I’d love to hear about it if you do. 🙂


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Affordable Entertaining

Unfortunately, just like the myth that etiquette is for the elite is perpetuated, the myth that you must serve a seven-course meal anytime you want to have friends over is also perpetuated. I’m here today to help!

Entertaining does not have to be a super formal event, and potlucks are completely acceptable!

Here are my top 5 tips for keeping entertaining inexpensive and affordable.

  1. Cook with eggs – frittatas are beautiful and inexpensive. Bonus – you can use up leftover veggies!
  2. Have a one-pot meal. Soups and casseroles are well known for stretching meat further. They’re also delicious and filling.
  3. If your guests offers to bring dessert, let them. This is most appropriate if you’re having close friends or family over.
  4. Limit choices. If you want to make the evening feel special and have appetizers, limit the appetizers to one or two options. Much less with go to waste. Likewise, don’t feel pressured to have multiple drink options.
  5. Limit the number of guests. This is the one that surprises people the most. However, by limiting the number you invite, you’re not only saving money, but you’re also getting more quality time with those there.
  6. Bonus Tip: Entertain at an off time. Have a coffee or a tea instead of a full meal!

What other tips would you add? Thank you for reading!

How To Make Your Home Feel Welcoming On A Budget, Part 2

Can I tell you a little secret? Entertaining doesn’t cost a lot. Procrastination does. Every time I’ve gone over budget for a party or spent more than what I felt like it was worth (because what’s the point of spending more than you have to, right?), I’ve always regretted it. It’s also always been because I had too much on my to-do list.

For the past several years, I’ve been a big fan of Money Saving Mom. Not only does she have great money-saving tips and coupons, but she also promotes time management. Why? Because not only can procrastination eat up our time, it eats up our wallet, as well. Seriously, y’all.

We all have the same amount of time in our day. Something I’ve struggled with over the years is busyness. There’s just no point in being busy just to be busy. I’d much rather streamline my time to be productive. Think of our day as a budget. We all have a choice in how we use our time. Are you making the most of it?

Here are a couple of my tricks for entertaining while not spending a lot of money or time.

  • Pare down the menu – Stick with a protein, veggie and a carb. Add a bread if you really want to. Added tip – Utilize your crock pot!
  • Don’t overbook your day – This is especially true for the day of an event. Don’t have it where you’re coming home just 15 minutes prior to having people over for dinner.
  • Plan in advance – If you aren’t waiting until the last minute, you won’t overspend at the store for food. You might find some great deals a week before your dinner party that you’re able to freeze. Or, instead of buying a pre-bought dessert, you can use low-cost ingredients to make one yourself.

Check back for Part 3! What are some tips you use to help yourself not procrastinate? Thank you for reading!!

How To Make Your Home Feel Welcoming On A Budget, Part 1

I’ve had several emails from people who want to entertain but are afraid it will cost an arm and a leg to do so. I hope this post helps you feel encouraged that that’s not the case! This first post will cover the basics of having a welcoming home. To me, that is the foundation of entertaining etiquette. There’s no need to rent a venue or take people out to a restaurant, especially if you can’t afford it. To be 100% honest, I wish we did MORE in-home socializing than we do today.

To begin, nothing is more important to having a welcoming home than it being clean. Nothing. In the kitchen, this means having the sink clear of dirty dishes, counters should be wiped down, etc. In the bathroom, there should be a clean guest towl hanging, the toilet and sink should be clean, at a minimum. In the living room, the coffee table should be clear from clutter and should be wiped down, as well. Now, let me be clear. If someone randomly stops by your home, don’t let dirty dishes stop you from asking them in if you would like to. If, on the other hand, you purposefully invite someone into your home, it should be clean for them.

                         Clean, welcoming home

Another inexpensive tip is to have glasses set out when guests arrive. It helps immediately helps them feel comfortable and welcome. It also adds a special touch letting your guests know you purposefully thought about them and their visit prior to their arrival. If you’re not having a meal, you can place the glasses on your coffee table or on a tray. Sometimes the little things add up.

Along the lines of having glasses out, I also encourage food set out if you’re eating. Appetizers such as olives or cheese and crackers don’t have to cost a lot and they’re usually items most people like. Don’t feel like you need to have more than one appetizer, especially if you’re on a budget, unless you’re having a cocktail party. Most of the time, I find that I have SO much leftover food after parties.

If you’re entertaining for an evening only (as in, no overnight houseguests), make sure you’re completely ready when your guests arrive. There’s nothing more awkward than a host running off to get ready for a party that’s already started.

These are my absolute MUSTS for entertaining. Don’t forget to check back later for low-cost ways to add to your low-cost entertaining!

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thank you for reading!!

Entertaining On The Cheap

In response to a reader’s question, today’s post is over entertaining inexpensively. This is an area I’m very passionate about. I never want someone to think they can’t “afford” etiquette. Etiquette isn’t for the elite – it’s for everyone. Entertaining doesn’t need to be a big show. We can get together with friends and family for birthdays, holidays or just because without it costing an arm and a leg. Let me show you some of my favorite inexpensive ways to be the perfect host.

1. Don’t Forget About Pinterest!

I nearly went the other way on this one simply because for a while, I got very caught up in Pinterest and how I wanted things to look. I would go ALL OUT for birthdays because it looked like that was the new norm. No more. Instead, I use pinterest for inexpensive homemade ways to have fun while stretching my dollar a little further.

2. Host a Game Night.

You could have a snack supper (my absolute favorite) or you could keep it small to reduce costs. Never feel obligated to host more people than you can afford. A big pot of chili or soup can help feed many for just a little, as well. My favorite games are simple ones, such as cribbage or 42.

3.  Have a Potluck!

I’ve actually had several people ask if having a potluck goes against etiquette. It doesn’t, unless you’re using it as a way to essentially get out of entertaining your guests. It really isn’t appropriate for a wedding, regardless of what the current trend is. However, for a casual evening, it is 100% appropriate. It also allows for people to try new foods and showcase their top recipe. 🙂

4.  Don’t Worry About the Joneses.

If you’re having a birthday party, don’t worry about having a thousand things to do to keep the kids entertained. They’ll have more fun playing with each other anyhow. You also don’t need to worry about having a 5-course meal. Truly, just cake is perfectly fine.

What are some ways you save on entertaining? Thank you for reading!