Category Archives: Birthday

DIY Birthday Party Decorations

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DIY birthday party decorations, gone fishing party decorations, first birthday party ideas, gone fishing party theme

For our little man’s party I ended up creating most of his decorations.  I searched on Pinterest (you can check out my board of inspiration) for tons of ideas.  Then I went to start looking at buying the decorations.  Whoa!  Those prices were big, at least in my book.  I knew if I wanted to provide lunch for everyone then I wouldn’t be able to afford all of those fancy decorations.  So I took what I saw on Pinterest and made it myself.  You can make your own party decorations, too.  All you need is a little bit of planning and some creativity.  I swear you can create most of the decorations for a fraction of the retail price.  

I want to have an Honest Abe moment with you…. If I had the extra room in my budget and wasn’t worried about saving money then I would have just purchased everything we needed because it would have been easier.  I didn’t spend but a few hours making everything, but it would have just been easier to buy it all; however, that is not my reality.

Before I go any further I need to say… 

I am not the most crafty person in the world. I lose my patience easily.  I am all about progress not perfection.  Also, after looking at the party pictures I realized that I did not do the best at taking pictures of my decorations.  I was so pressed for time and then when the party came I was enjoying my son and our family and friends.  

Now with that being said let me share with you my DIY birthday party decorations. 

gone fishing birthday, diy smash cake, first birthday party, birthday party on a budget, meredith rines

I created a photo wall using a net I ordered off amazon for less than $6.00.  I took a gamble ordering this decorative net because I couldn’t specify which color I wanted.  But after reading the reviews and seeing the prices of the other nets, I decided to roll the dice.  I was so happy I did!  I ended up with a yellow one, which was perfect.  Honestly any color would have been fine and I would have made it work.  The net was huge and I wound up cutting off a portion I needed.  I didn’t use the rest of it and now I have it tucked away for a future party.  

I used clothespins that I already had on hand to hang the pictures and then used some leftover fishing line from when J went fishing a few weeks ago.  I found these bobbers on amazon for around $4.00 and had my friend help me string them to the net.  

The pictures were part of the package our photographer gave us from our family shoot a few weeks ago.  

I then placed our kitchen table in front for a place to gather the gifts.  This wall cost me about $10.00 to do.  Not too bad.

Then over on the food table I ordered a table cloth from amazon (because everything comes from amazon!).  This striped plastic tablecloth was perfect.  I actually ordered two, but since it was windy we decided not to cover the tables outside.  They were only $2.99 each (the price actually has lowered when I was writing this post!).  Since it was so cheap, I decided to hold on to the one I didn’t use and the one we used was still in perfect condition, so I wiped it off and folded it up.

I made a few food decorations using canva and some construction paper.  I already had the dowels and the papers so after I printed them in color, I cut out the images, glued to the construction paper and taped to the dowels.  I think they turned out perfectly!  I even created them as PDFs so you can download them yourselves.

I purchased a tackle box from walmart for about $8.00 and used those to place the gummy worms, Twizzlers and Swedish fish in.  Now that the party is over J has a new tackle box he can use!  I’m the best wife ever!

gone fishing birthday, diy smash cake, first birthday party, birthday party on a budget, meredith rines

The smash cake was probably the easiest decoration I made.  Two pieces of construction paper, a dowel and tape was all that was needed.   I even shared how I made his smash cake for only $3.00.   After we took our family photos a few weeks ago I learned just how much our little guy doesn’t like cake.  I think the icing is too sweet for him.  So I didn’t want to spend too much on his cake, including decorations.  In the smash cake pictures, the cake topper (the one I spent over an hour creating) was the first thing destroyed and ripped.  I learned my lesson!  For the party I kept it simple.  

I took a red and white piece of construction paper.  Then using my compass from the 6th grade (yep, I still have my compass that we used in beginning math class with the original pencil!) I drew a circle on each piece.  If you size the circles correctly you should be able to get 2 circles from each color, and I used the second one for the high chair.  I then cut the white piece in half and using a very old glue stick I put it together.  After I was finished I realized I forgot the top part of my bobber, so I used red scraps and made it work.  After it was glued, I took a black marker and wrote “the big one”.  I used regular tape to stick the dowel on and that’s it.

gone fishing birthday, diy smash cake, first birthday party, birthday party on a budget, meredith rines

For his high chair pennant, I took some orange tissue paper I had on hand and cut it into strips.  Then I tied the strips to some blue gift ribbon (I couldn’t find my twine and I was tired of looking so I improvised).  I then cut out a circle using red and white construction paper, glue it together and took a black marker to it.  I think it turned out wonderful!

gone fishing birthday, diy smash cake, first birthday party, birthday party on a budget, meredith rines

Outside we decided to not do any decorations since it was windy.  We had two canopies set up and our little kiddie pool for the kids to play with.  The kiddie pool was a huge hit!  I bought a magnetic fishing set which came with 2 fishing poles, 2 nets, a blow up pool (that we didn’t end up using) and tons of fish, sharks, and food (weird, but they were probably the favorites) pieces.  Now the party is over, little man has lots of new bath toys to play with.  I bought the pool for about $8 from Wal-Mart and the set was about $25 on Amazon.  

That’s it!  That’s the DIY birthday party decorations we created for our little guy’s first birthday.  I was all about keeping it simple, doable and within our budget.  To keep you on track, I talked about how I stayed organized by using this handy checklist.  

DIY Smash Cake for the First Birthday

gone fishing birthday, diy smash cake, first birthday party, birthday party on a budget, meredith rines Please, please don’t try to look up smash cakes on Pinterest.  You will see some of the prettiest cakes ever created and then you will get it in your head that you can be that talented.  It’s a lie!  You can’t.  At least I couldn’t.  A few weeks ago I attempted to create my own smash cake.  I baked the cake, I made homemade buttercream icing and I pipped a design onto my cake.  It was awful.  The icing was drooping, the color was more mint then blue and it looked awful.  I asked J for his honest opinion and he said “maybe you should save your homemade cake for the party and order one for his pictures.”  I knew right then and there my cake was a disaster.  

I ordered a cake from the local bakery for our little guy’s pictures.  The cake was beautiful and so simple.  

I knew it was going to be a big deal if his party cake wasn’t as nice as his picture cake.  I still wanted it to look good and decided to take a different approach.  I went with easy instead of making it hard on myself.  That way if it didn’t turn out I could blame that.  Instead the cake turned out great!  It was a lot better than my first attempt.  Not as pretty as the bakery made cake, but not too shabby either.  

As he O-Fish-Ally turned one last weekend, we celebrated!  I wanted to make sure we saved money where we could and one of the best ways to do that is by baking your own smash cake.  Trust me!  There is no need to go out and buy a made cake that your little one is going to destroy in 2 seconds.  Unless of course you want to and have built in your budget.  I’m all about saving time and money, but I also know that not everyone enjoys baking.  So if it’s not your thing, then please go right ahead.

gone fishing birthday, diy smash cake, first birthday party, birthday party on a budget, meredith rines

Here’s how I made a DIY smash cake on a budget:

I purchased a boxed cake mix that was on sale for $1.00 (gasp! boxed cake mix!… I know, I know).  I also purchased two cans of icing that were on sale for $1.00 each.  I already had the oil, eggs and water.  So my DIY smash cake only cost me $3.00.

I used two round cake pans to bake the cake, after they cooled I then took a bowl to cut out a smaller portion of each layer.

Once I cut out the portion, I popped the cake into the freezer so it would be easier to ice.

I took one can of icing and used it to do the crumb coat and the layer between the cakes.  I then popped it back into the fridge for about 10-15 minutes.

The second can of icing was the one I added some blue food coloring too.  I had about 6-8 drops to get the right color blue.  I then iced the rest of the cake.  

I added my DIY cake topper and that’s it!

gone fishing birthday, diy smash cake, first birthday party, birthday party on a budget, meredith rines

Super simple.  I baked the cake on Friday night so it would be nice and cool on Saturday.  Plus I knew how hot it was going to be on Saturday and I didn’t want to have the oven running in the morning heating up the house.  So I opted to bake on Friday night.

DIY Gone Fishing Birthday Party {free planning checklist}

first bithday checklist, party checklist, gone fishing birthday party, baby's first birthday party

 

Well as you can probably tell from all of the birthday posts lately and over on Instagram, our Baby Boy turned one a few days ago.  I swear Sunday morning I woke up and felt as if I had been hit in the head with a baseball bat.  I was so exhausted by the end of Saturday night and am so grateful our man slept amazing.  But seriously, I was dragging so bad Sunday.  I just wanted to nap and drink all the coffee.  But here I am, fully recovered and the house is back in order.  

I like to be prepared for just about everything, so when it came to planning a party during tax season I had to rely on one of my favorite tactics – the checklist.  I created a to-do list and checklist to help me plan our son’s DIY gone fishing birthday party. I wanted to make it memorable without going broke. So we created a lot of the decorations ourselves and made most of the food for the big day. I even made his smash cake. It probably wasn’t the prettiest cake around, but it served its purpose!

A few months ago I talked about how I was starting to plan for his party. But in reality I started planning the first week of January. I put together a very detailed to do list that encompassed everything from the big stuff (like mail invitations) to the small stuff (like buy ice). I didn’t want to forget anything. I also figured if I had a to-do list then I could rope in a few extra hands to help me put it all together.

Now that the party has come and gone, and we’ve barely survived it. I think it’s time to share my trusty checklist with you. I wanted to put together something that work great for the everyday planner and for the last minute planners.

I also had it broken up by what needed to be bought so we weren’t shelling out a huge chunk of money right before the party. I wanted to space it out so it was around paydays and times of the month where our bills were a bit lighter.

 

Here’s what we wanted from his first birthday party:

We wanted to have it at our house

We wanted it to be on a Saturday afternoon so it would be easier for out of town guests

We wanted activities for kids to play

We wanted family and friends there to celebrate with us

We wanted it on a budget

gone fishing birthday, diy smash cake, first birthday party, birthday party on a budget, meredith rines

I think we more than met our goals!  I started planning weeks ago for this party.  I am such a planner and a list maker that I created a checklist to go off of.  I wanted to share my DIY party checklist with you so you can use it for your next party.  It really helped me stay on track and not get overwhelmed.  Plus, we were able to split up the stuff we needed to buy so it wasn’t one big chunk at one time.

first bithday checklist, party checklist, gone fishing birthday party, baby's first birthday party

I kept the checklist with me at my office until about a week before the party.  Then I stuck it in my purse so I could keep it with me.  I’m sharing how I created my own decorations later this week, so check back.  You can download your DIY birthday party checklist here.
gone fishing birthday, diy smash cake, first birthday party, birthday party on a budget, meredith rines

For the kids’ activities I decided to keep it simple.  We purchased a kiddie pool for $8 at Wal-Mart and filled it with fishing toys.  I found this amazing magnetic fish toy on Amazon that was filled with 50 pieces (I added a picture below).  It came with nets, a basket, two fishing poles and tons of objects for the kids to fish for.  There was even a blow up pool that came with it, but we opted for the kiddie pool.  It was about $25 and it kept all of the kids occupied.  We may have had a few take a dive, but no one was hurt and they had a blast!

For food, we kept it simple.  J grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.  I had my office tax season party for clients the day before so I was gifted pulled pork, cowboy baked beans (the kind with hamburger meat, bacon and peppers in it… yum!) and a veggie tray which saved us some serious money.  The hot dogs, burger and buns cost about $10 thanks to things being on sale.  

I also added a few snack items like chips and dips (which were gifted to J so we didn’t have to buy them), candies that I bought on sale and a fruit tray.  I had the fruit tray made by my local bakery and it cost $40… what?!?!  Let’s just say I learned my lesson of asking about price… 

I should have asked how much it was going to cost because I could have saved over half of it by making it myself.

Lesson learned.  

I also had the bakery make cookies for the party.  I ordered 2 dozen iced cookies and 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies.  Both of them were a huge hit!

I say overall the food cost less than $100 and decorations cost about $50.  The only other item I purchased was matching t-shirts for us to wear.  I got them on Etsy for about $40, but after I ordered them I found a local girl who could have made them a lot cheaper.  I guess I should have done a little more research on Facebook and asked around before ordering.  I really like them though and the quality is great, plus they came in record time.  So it was a win for sure!

The total cost of our party was about $200.  We have more than enough food left for about 3 other meals, which will save us more money.  Plus it was so great to have all of our family and friends (well the ones that were able to make it since it was Easter weekend, it was a bit difficult for everyone) at our home to celebrate our little man reeling in the big ONE!

 

 

How To Recover From Your Kid’s First Birthday Party

gone fishing birthday, diy smash cake, first birthday party, birthday party on a budget, meredith rines

Well we survived.  Baby Boy’s first birthday and party was a huge success.  We went with the Gone Fishing theme and had so much yummy food. Now that it’s over I feel like I need an extra day just to recover.  I spent months planning this party and then just like that it was over.

A great thing that worked out for us was having his party on Saturday.  That way anyone who was traveling from out of town could come for just the day.  The party started in the early afternoon so most of our out-of-town travelers came down that morning and we able to be home by 7 or 8 that same night.  We also wanted our guests to be able to have a day off before going back to work.  I like having parties on Saturdays.  Usually J and I are the ones having to travel to see friends or family and being home late Saturday or early Sunday morning is the best.  Then I feel like I have a full day to get things done around the house.

We also planned a Saturday party so we could have a full day to get the house back to normal and take lots of naps.  Genius!

gone fishing birthday, diy smash cake, first birthday party, birthday party on a budget, meredith rines

Here’s what we did to recover FAST from our Baby Boy’s birthday party:

Cleaned up first thing.  As soon as the party was over we started cleaning.  Threw away trash, put dishes in the dishwasher and put away and left over food.  I didn’t want to procrastinate and then be left with dirty plates and trash laying around.  It may not be a perfect clean up, but try to get the bulk of it before going to bed.

Deep clean the next morning.  I woke up early and finished cleaning the house.  I swept, cleaned the floors and hauled back the tables we borrowed.  If you need extra hands then I would recommend taking your little guy to his grandparents’ for a few hours to give you an opportunity to clean.  

Find a place for all of the new stuff.  I had a feeling that his first birthday was going to be bad (as in a lot of stuff).  But I had no idea.  

TIP:  Hide a few new toys in a closet and then in a couple months when all of their toys have lost their excitement, then pull out a hidden toy.  

Nap time.  Naps are important for your little one and the day after his party might be pretty hard.  So make sure you build an extra nap time in your day. 

I’ll be sharing how I threw his party on a budget and what tricks I used to save money… and what I splurged on later this week. 

Happy First Birthday To Our Little Guy

first birthday, boy birthday, southeast missouri photographer, first birthday photo

When I was younger I would always hear my parents say “this year flew by” or “it’ll be over in a blink of an eye” and honestly, I didn’t get it.  I just couldn’t relate.  Sure the school year seemed to go by fast, but not that fast.  But since the birth of our son I feel like the days are zooming past us.  Days turn into minutes kind of fast.  

I feel like it was just yesterday we were being escorted out of the hospital by the nurse telling us to enjoy every moment because he’ll be turning one before we realize.  I didn’t believe her – I was too excited to think about his first year going by that fast.  But here I am on the eve of his first birthday with tears coming to my eyes.  

My baby is no longer a baby.

We are celebrating his first birthday tomorrow with family and friends, cookies and lots of yummy food.  

His first birthday…

It just doesn’t seem possible.  I have a toddler.  It was hard enough when he was no longer a newborn, but I coped with the fact he was still a baby.  But today, right now I no longer have a baby.  I have a fully walking, energetic toddler who is a force to be reckoned with.  He has a full personality and the deepest belly laugh I’ve ever heard.  He loves being outside, love swimming and has three best friends who follow him everywhere hoping he’ll drop a piece of food.

first birthday, boy birthday, southeast missouri photographer, first birthday photo

A few weeks ago we hired Josh DeFord to shoot some family snaps and some first birthday pictures.  They turned out so, so, so good!  Look at those baby blues, people!  

My Mom said something to me right before my little guy was delivered in a dramatic fashion.  “I know that he’s your baby, but remember you’re my baby.”

You know what, she was right (I hate to admit it though).  Even though he’s no longer this squishy newborn who I cheered the first time he rolled over, he will always be my baby.

 

I’ve been planning his first birthday party for a few weeks now.  I can’t wait to share pictures from tomorrow’s party and exactly how I did it on such a tight budget.  So come back next week for all the details!

Birthday Recap

birthday recap

You see this is why I always want the whole month of July to be about my birthday. It’s over after 9 days… then what? I go back to normal life? Boring!

HA! I kid. I kid.

I had a really great 30th birthday. I got to do exactly what I wanted.

This year my birthday was on Saturday so J took care of the baby Friday night AND Saturday night so I could sleep. It was glorious!

I shared lots of birthday snaps and videos over on Snapchat.  Make sure you add me @meredithrines for more behind the scenes.

The one thing I wanted to do for my birthday was head to the town’s 4th of July parade.  It had been postponed because of the rain and I hadn’t been to the parade since I was in it back in the 6th grade.  We took the baby with us and he loved it.  Especially the police car’s lights that were blocking the street.  He stared at those forever.  He wasn’t a fan of the fire truck’s sirens though, he about jumped out of his skin when that went off.  Oops!

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After the parade J and I headed out of town for lunch.  You’re probably thinking – out of town…for lunch?! But yes, we did.  The nearest bigger city is a little over an hour away so we drove up there to have hibachi.  Then after lunch we went to the mall for a bit.  Then we spent the evening doing one of my favorite things – nothing.

We sat on the couch, watched tv, played with the baby and went to bed early.  It was wonderful!  

I love a quiet evening at home with no commitments. Those are the best.

Now it’s time to start planning and packing for our next big adventure – vacation with J’s family. I learned some valuable lessons on our last big trip with Baby and can’t wait to put them into practice.

30 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Me

30 things you don't know about me

This is it… tomorrow’s the big day! I turn 30.

When I was a little girl, I used to dream what my life would be like at 30. I would just think of everything I would accomplish, the goals I’d reach, the life I would live… and you know what?

Real life is so much better than my dreams.

I have an amazing family, a husband that I adore, a child I couldn’t imagine my life without and a pretty awesome career.

Today I wanted to share 30 things you probably don’t know about me. Some of these are random and some are pretty direct, but I will admit that I started this list back in March and it has taken me this long to come up with 30 things.

Now for the list:

1) I broke my elbow in 3rd grade after flipping over my bike’s handlebars. I thought I could fly or was just really bad at stopping…

2) In elementary school, my dog literally saved my life by stopping a would-be kidnapper/bad guy/creeper from getting me in his car. My dog jumped through a car window to stop this attacker when he started opening his door, which gave me enough time to run away. **This is why I plan on having a Rottweiler walk my son to the bus stop every. single. day.

3) I went to prom on crutches.

4) I only wash my hair 2 times a week – don’t judge me.  My hair is super thick and doesn’t get oily.

5) Watching surgeries or blood/guts does nothing to me.  I don’t mind it at all – I actually think it’s pretty interesting!  But add an insect and I’m so over it!

6) I’m obsessed with ghost stories and the paranormal.  Whenever we travel, I like to look up the history of the place.  I did that once on a cruise ship and then couldn’t sleep the rest of the week after finding out the history.

7) I’m very passionate about helping stray animals and think everyone should #adoptnotshop for their next pet.

8) I have a strong attraction to any body of water – lake, ocean, river.  I would love to be somewhere near water every day.

9) I love Thousand Island dressing – it’s my jam!  But when J mixes Ketchup and Mayo together it makes me want to throw up.  No clue why since that’s what Thousand Island dressing is.

10) I could eat sushi every day of my life and be perfectly happy!

11) I like living by structure which is why I have 3 calendars to plan my day – Google Calendar with J and my personal, Outlook for work and a paper one (Purposeful Planner) on my desk.

12) I love graphic design and am always taking on projects to design friends’ invites and images for online.

13) My biggest fear is disappointing those I love.

14) A fountain Diet Coke is heaven in a glass.

mommy and baby

15) I plan on taking a photography class this fall so I can learn more about great pictures

16) I stabbed myself in the hand when I was in the 3rd grade because I burnt brownies, but was determined to still eat them.

17) I love organizational products and worked at an office supply store in high school and college.

18) I am highly, highly allergic to cats.  My eyes swell and I get a rash on my neck and chest when I’m around them.

19) I’ve always wanted to be a business owner.  In high school my dream was to own a clothing boutique that utilized personal stylists as associates.

20) I was in a sorority in college and that experience helped shape me into the woman I am today.

21) I am a social media enthusiast. I love Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest – love it all!  I’ve started getting into Periscope (@meredithrines), but haven’t made too much progress yet.

22) I’m a tornado cleaner – once I start cleaning, nothing in the house is safe from being cleaned, de-junked or thrown away.

23) Budgeting is probably one of my favorite things to help families with.

24) I’m terrified of roller coasters and the last time I rode one, I cried the whole time – I was 25 years old, too!

25) My photo is in my elementary school yearbook for coming in 1st place in a typing competition.

26) I was the stage manager for almost every drama production during high school

27) I had a car bought back under the lemon law and I had to take a taxi back to my house after turning over the keys

28) My favorite movie of all time is Gigi.

29) When I was younger, my parents let me enroll in an art school because I loved to draw and paint as a kid.

30) As a little girl I was able to celebrate my birthday a day early.  My sister was born on the 7th and I was on the 9th. So we celebrated on the 8th. Which meant I was so special, I got to party a day early. HA! 

 

30 While 30

30 while 30

It seems that every year I come up with a birthday to do list. I’ve been doing it for awhile, even before documenting on the blog. This year my goals might be a little different since I’m a new mom and I’m still working on completing a few designations (Hello Certified Financial Planner!) for my career.

Here we go, my 30 while 30 list:

1. Listen to God more
2. Document our son’s first year as best as I can
3. Spend time with my three dogs to make sure they know they are still a priority
4. Pay down even more debt (this past year was amazing for J and I on knocking out debt and I want to keep it going)
5. Finish my CFP designation
6. Start my accounting degree
7. Become more active – lose the baby weight!
8. Learn to calm down more and let things slide
9. Organize my kitchen (sounds silly, but it’s a big goal of mine!)
10. Take a weekend trip with my little family
11. Eat healthy… most of the time
12. Share my stories of being a new mom with others
13. Take more time to be with my friends
14. Relax more
15. Start creating videos for my top financial tips
16. Go to a Blues game
17. Plan to see at least one concert
18. Try to encourage others more
19. Pray harder
20. Enjoy every moment with my new family
21. Take a photography class
22. Learn to side hustle a little better
23. Support J more – emotionally, spiritually, etc.
24. Be a good mother
25. Take more risks
26. Don’t be afraid of adventures
27. Volunteer more to charities I am passionate about
28. Become a better health-conscious baker
29. Smile more
30. Worry less

List of Birthday FREEBIES

list of birthday freebies

I think I say this every year on the 4th – this is my favorite holiday. Not only do I love celebrating this country (with fireworks), but it’s also the start to my birthday week.

This year I turn 30. So I am going to be celebrating all week long until the big 3-0 on Saturday.

I wanted to start my birthday week off right with sharing how to score some free or discounted goods.

I love free stuff! But, who doesn’t?

Now I have signed up for quite a few deal programs and restaurant perks over the years. Every year about this time I start raking in the goods. Free dinners, free desserts, discounted meals, discounted merchandise, etc. I compiled a list of some of my top birthday deals, but there may be more in your area. I stuck with what was around southeast Missouri and around St. Louis since that is where we spend most of our time.  Just search out rewards programs or frequent diner programs for your favorite places.  You never know, they may have something special just for your birthday.

These birthday deals are great for date nights. I’m not someone who gets easily offended when you pay with a coupon, even if it is my birthday. I like it better because I know we’re being responsible with our budget.

Deal Tip – add the expiration date to your calendar with a reminder that pops up about a week before. You don’t want to miss out on a freebie because you forgot, right? Most companies start sending birthday freebies the month of your birthday so you have some time to use them all.

birthday freebies

Food Birthday Freebies

Applebees – Free dessert.
Arby’s – Free 12oz. milkshake with any purchase.
Auntie Anne’s Pretzels – Free pretzel (that’s what I received last birthday.)  They also send monthly coupons all year long if you sign up for their newsletter.
Baskin Robbins – Free 2.5 oz scoop of ice cream on your birthday plus other promotions when you join the Baskin Robbins Birthday Club.
Bob Evans – Free dessert and/or free kid’s meal.
Boston Market – Free kid’s meal coupon for kids under 12.
Buffalo Wild Wings – You either get a free dessert straight up or with a $5 purchase, depending on your location.
Burger King – Free kid’s meal to all kids club members.
Chevy’s – Free dessert.
Chick-fil-A – Free meal, good for two months!
Country Buffet – Join the Mega Bar Meal club and get a free meal on your birthday AND a free meal just for signing up!
Country Kitchen – As long as you have valid ID, you get a free dinner entree up to $8 in value.
Cracker Barrel – Come in on your birthday and you will get a free dessert.
Culver’s – Free sundae.
Dairy Queen – Free BOGO ice cream coupon via e-mail.
Denny’s – Free original Grand Slam breakfast, but only on your birthday!
Dunkin Donuts – Free Coffee!
Dutch Bros. Coffee – Stop in on your birthday and get a free coffee as your birthday freebie.
Einstein Bros Bagels – Free bagel and shmear
Famous Dave’s Barbeque – Free birthday surprise and free kids lil’ wilbur meal.
Fazoli’s – Join their eFamily and get a coupon for a free dessert.
Firehouse Subs – Sign up and get an email for a free sub.
Great American Cookies – Free cookie!
Hard Rock Cafe – Free dessert.
Hometown Buffet – Join the Mega Bar Meal club and get a free meal on your birthday AND a free meal just for signing up!
Hooters – 10 free hot wings.
Houlihan’s – Free coupon for an entree during your next visit up to a week after your birthday.
HuHot Mongolian Grill – Free dessert and free kid’s smores
IHOP – Come on into IHOP and get a free meal (a sundae at some locations) on your birthday. (May not be available in all areas.)
Jack in the Box – They have a printable coupon for a free dessert valid only on your birthday.
Krispy Kreme – Free half dozen glazed donuts and a coffee mug with either coffee or soda in it! You might want to sign up ahead of time (only at participating locations).
Logan’s Roadhouse – Join their Nut Club and get a coupon for a free slice of cheesecake.
Lone Star Steakhouse –Free Appetizer!
Maggie Moo’s –Free Birthday Surprise!
Marble Slab Creamery – Kids can join the Marble Slab Kids Club and get a free ice cream cone on their birthday up to age 12.
McAlister’s Deli – Free birthday surprise.
Mimis Cafe – Free entree with purchase.
Moe’s Southwest Grill –Free Entree! and Free Kid’s Birthday Meal!
Noodles & Company – Free meal coupon for your birthday when you signup for their newsletter.
Old Chicago Free Pizza!
Old Country Buffet – Join the Mega Bar Meal club and get a free meal on your birthday AND a free meal just for signing up!
Old Spaghetti Factory – Free Kid’s Birthday Meal!
Old Spaghetti Warehouse – Join the Warehouse Club and get a coupon for a free meal on your birthday.
Olive Garden – Free birthday surprise.
Orange Julius – Free birthday drink.
Outback – Get a free dessert.
P.F. Chang’s – Free cake or cheesecake via their e-mail list.
Papa Murphy’s – Sign up for their e-club and get a coupon for a free cookie dough on your birthday.
Qdoba Mexican Grill – Free burrito on your birthday, as well as free chips n’ salsa just for joining up.
Quizno’s – Join their mailing list and get a free cookie on your birthday. You’ll also get a coupon for a free Sammie when you sign up.
Red Lobster – Join the Overboard Club and they will email you a surprise for your birthday.
Red Robin – Free Gourmet Burger if you pick up a Red Royalty Card at your local restaurant and then register it online. You also get a dessert when you say it’s your birthday in the restaurant!
Starbucks – If you have a gift card to their store, register it and receive a free coffee on your birthday. If you shop there often, it might be worth buying a gift card just to get the free coffee!
Steak ‘n Shake – Free steak burger with cheese and fries.
Texas Roadhouse – They send a coupon for one free appetizer or sidekick of ribs.
Waffle House – Join their Regulars Club and get a special coupon.
Wendy’s – Free kids meal for the little ones and a free frosty for us adults.
Zio’s Italian – Come in and get a free dessert on your birthday.

Retail Birthday Freebies

CVS – If you have an Extra Care Card, register it online and get $3 ECB on your birthday.
DSW Shoes – $5.00 On Your Birthday.
Famous Footwear – Free Birthday Surprise.
Hallmark – 20% off coupon for one item and a free card.
Helzberg Diamonds
 – Sign up for free email updates and receive a coupon for free pearl earrings for your birthday.
Journeys Kidz – 15% off gift card for your child’s birthday.
Kmart – Children get $5.00 Birthday Bucks, a birthday crown, happy birthday certificate, and birthday Fun Pack with surprise goodies!
Missouri Lottery – Free-play ticket.
Old Navy – Get a coupon on your birthday.
Proctor & Gamble – A batch of BOGO coupons for various products.
Sephora – Sign up as a Beauty Insider and get a free gift from Sephora on your birthday.
Swagbucks – 50 free Swagbucks
The Children’s Place – Register for their Birthday Club and receive 15% off on yours and your child’s birthday + coupons during your birthday week.
Toys R Us – Sign up ahead of time and once your child’s birthday rolls around, they’ll get a personalized letter in the mail. Plus, bring your child into any Toys R Us and they’ll get a hat & balloon before having their birthday announced over the loudspeaker. You’ll also get a $3 gift card in mail.

Ulta Beauty – Free Birthday Surprise!
Walmart PictureMe Studio – Free Birthday Portrait Collage!
World Market – Free Birthday Gift!

I told you there were quite a few birthday freebies to sign up for.  If you don’t want you inbox to be overflowing with promotional emails then you can do what I did.  I created an email account specifically for these freebies.  That way I can go in and check them on a regular basis, but it’s not overwhelming my other inbox.

 

It’s My Birthday Month

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That’s right this month I’m turning the BIG 3-0! I really can’t believe it. I feel like it was just yesterday I had my car loaded down and was driving to college for the first time. Now here I am over 10 years later.  Crazy!

My 30th year is going to rock in comparison to all my others. I think I say that every year, but this time I’m serious. I have a little boy now and he makes my world so much brighter.  Not to mention the sweet, sweet husband I have.  He’s been such a trooper these past few months.  Really helping me with our little one and just being there for me.  I can’t imagine going through all of this without him.

This year, there won’t be any flashy parties or over-the-top celebrations for my birthday.  And I’m okay with that.  I’m happiest with take out food, J, our baby, the dogs and a nice Rom Com on.  Every year I try to convince J to celebrate the whole month of July for my birthday. And every year he tells me no. He gives me a week and then usually does something really sweet on my actual birthday, but I just can’t get him convinced that I deserve a whole month.

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I have some really great posts coming up next week (my actual birthday week) to share with you all.  A list of birthday freebies is coming up first.  One great thing about letting business owners know it’s your birthday is all of the free stuff you get.  So I’m sharing my favorite places to sign up at for the deals.  

I also am sharing my annual to do list – each year the list gets longer because I get older and each year I work hard to get stuff done.  Last year for my 29 While 29 list I had a blast crossing things off.  This year is going to be just as great.

Finally, I’m sharing something interesting tidbits you may not know about me.  These are my deepest darkest secrets that I have never released (well some of them are anyway!).  I can’t wait to get this party started.