Spa Party for Pennies

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My 12-year-old daughter burst into the house after returning from a friend's birthday party.

"Look at how pretty my nails look," Brittany exclaimed, showing off sparkly pink toes and fingers."I had so much fun. I want my party there, too!"

Her friend's birthday party was at a local spa, where each girl got a manicure and pedicure. Now, she wanted her party there, but at $20 per girl, I knew it was too expensive for me to host her 15 guests.

I'd been hoping she'd want an at-home party. The girls would have fun and I wouldn't be out several hundred bucks.

But I knew I'd be haunted by sparkly-pink visions if I disappointed Brittany. So I brainstormed for a party that captured the best of both worlds.

When Brittany's birthday party guests arrived, I had 15 chairs set in a circle in our family room, a towel under each seat. Soothing music played under dimmed lights as I greeted each girl, "Welcome to Spa Brehm. Won't you please have a seat?"

On the towels were treat bags filled with mani-pedi sets from a dollar store, along with a nail polish, and scented lotion. In front of the chairs were individual plastic paint liners from Home Depot, filled with warm fizzing water for foot soaks.

Chattering girls began swapping favorite colors as my sister — who I'd recruited to serve as co-manicurist — and I got started. We buffed and filed, massaged, and polished, listening to the party talk.

"Brittany, this is so nice. I wish my mom did this for my party," one girl said, as I mentally patted myself on the back. It's not every day you get a compliment from a soon-to-be teen.

Three hundred fingers and toes later, we helped the girls put their hair in towel turbans before lying on the floor. My sister and I applied a face mask to each girl. Then, as a finishing touch, we laid a cool cucumber slice on each eyelid. As the girls quietly allowed their masks to dry, I gathered up the supplies and put them in the treat bags.

And I seemed to have gotten a gift as well. When the party ended, I was pleasantly surprised at my lack of headache, a usual result of entertaining a houseful of kids. In years of hosting parties for my three children, the spa party was the most peaceful celebration ever.

That may have been worth even more than all the money I saved.

How do you celebrate without breaking the bank? Click the comments link below to find and share solutions.

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Spa Party for Pennies

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