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When is it time to press 'pause' on the No-Spend Challenge?

The reporter's son, FDR, who has a birthday

The reporter's son, FDR, who has a birthday this week, rides a horse at a free family fun event in Farmingdale on Saturday. Credit: Newsday / Daysi Calavia-Robertson

If I could describe this weekend in one word, it’d be: “fan-FREEking-tastic!”

On Saturday, I took the kids to another free family fun event. This time at the Village Green in Farmingdale.

The scene was a rich one — at one booth a man in a cowboy hat had his hands full making animal-shaped balloons for a long line of excited children, while at another booth two women were all brushes and paint, coloring orange and blue butterflies and black spiderwebs on kids' faces.  

FDR and Carolina cared more about the real animals, the small horses that gave rides and the goats, ducks and donkey over at the petting zoo. We made the line two times, and FDR was able to ride two horses, a white one and a black one. Carolina was amused by the animals but preferred to admire them from afar.  

As great as the event was, it did have one small flaw ... there were toy vendors there. I know! Can you believe it? Don’t these people know I’m doing the No-Spend Challenge? Ha-ha, I’m sure they didn’t, but they do now.

When FDR pointed at the cart full of PJ Masks figurines, bubble-blowing guns, swords and princess dolls, and said, “Mommy, can you buy me something?” I stuck to my own guns and said, “No, baby, sorry, but no toys today. You only get toys on special occasions.” At first he said, “Aw man,” frowned and looked down at the ground. Then he whispered, “Special occasion?” — and then it hit him. He looked up at me and asked, “Is my birthday a special occasion?”

Oh no! I thought. “Oh yes!” I said.

“Yay! Mrs. LaTasha said my birthday is on Tuesday. I’m gonna get a toy and a cake!”

And that’s the story of how tomorrow, I, Daysi Calavia-Robertson, on the No-Spend Challenge, will have to do the “S” word. Spend. Spend on a small toy and a large cake. Do we file this under "need" or "want," or a combination of both?

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