Buddies,  Family Matters,  Niece-com-poops,  painting,  party party

Rapunzel’s Bento Box Birthday Bash

little geisha girl

Rapunzel’s Bento Box Birthday Bash went off with a fantastic bang. It was thrown together on a shoe-string and a prayer but you’d never know it. I don’t know why I find this remarkable since every party my family ever throws is like this and every time I fret about it for nothing. I only bring it up because the party was more amazing to me because I know all the back story.

When I showed up at my mom’s house a few days before the party to help with the preparation, I was filled with fear that they’d never pull it off. Money has been tight, everyone has been super busy and didn’t we just have a big birthday bash last week? I was genuinely worried that Rapunzel might get the shaft this year because really, who in their right mind throws an elaborate party when they are having trouble makings ends meet? My brother has been out of work for three weeks due to a mystery illness. He seems to be fine and has since gone back to work but times are tough when you miss a paycheck or two.

What can I say? Where there is a will, there is a way. Of course it also helps that we have very helpful friends with fantastic homes that are perfect for throwing parties. And by fantastic friends, I mean Bethany of course. We had the party at Bethany’s house because Rapunzel requested some pottery-painting along with an Asian theme for her birthday wishes. Bethany happens to live near our most favorite pottery painting studio and of course she was into the whole idea because she loves painting as much as we do!



The painting went swimmingly as you can see. Everybody got to paint! After about an hour we shuttled the littler ones home. Their attentions spans weren’t quite aligned with some of us other die-hard painters. Thank God for Bethany’s very patient and long-suffering mother who stepped in and offered her day care services while us moms painted for another “forty-five minutes” that turned into an hour or more. I love Bethany’s mom.

bento decorations mosaic

We could have kept the party simple—maybe had some Chinese take-out at the pottery studio and called it a day but you know how my family rolls. Nothing is complete without lots of food, fun games and decorations out the wazoo. I come by my crazy party-planning ways naturally.

My mom and CC had been hoarding away supplies for months. They had take-out boxes filled with candy for goodie bags and some bubbles for prizes My mom made a paper crane mobile to hang from the ceiling and of course her famous flags hung around. I designed the bento box lunch cover but that was really a last minute detail that I whipped up the day before because I felt like I had to do something to contribute.

bento box lunches

My mom came up with the idea for bento box lunches but really it was just a cheaper-ware box with some chopsticks tied onto the top for decoration We didn’t even really have any Asian food inside (besides the sesame seed candy). It was just an easy way to satisfy the kids with their usual peanut butter and jelly and chicken salad for the adults while we painted at the pottery studio. But I think this is a really cool idea if anyone else wants to fly with it, please do!


After we were done painting, we went back to Bethany’s house and made rice-crispie sushi. It was really fun and tasty! CC had seen the idea a while back on mommyknows.com blog. It was a huge hit. So much better than real raw fish I say.


We killed some time playing silly cotton ball pick-up games with chopsticks. Some of the kids were really good at this. Others were really frustrated by it.


Between the painting, the sushi-making, the cotton ball games and then some paper fan making we kept busy. By the end of the day we were ready for the best part: FOOD!


CC and my mom went all out. They made broccoli beef, sweet and sour chicken and a chicken and green bean stir-fry. Bethany (who loves a challenge when cooking) even made spring rolls. Everything was delicious. Maybe even more tasty than a real Chinese restaurant.

fancy cake

And of course Bethany made the cake.


Bethany let Rapunzel and I decorate the cake—which might explain the radio-active colors. Have no fear, this cake does not have a half-life. It was actually quite tasty. The inside was marbled strawberry and chocolate and the frosting was vanilla cream cheese.

wolverine hands

Everything was very colorful. Perfect for a very colorful eleven year old. I wonder what she’ll want next year? Good thing we have a year to rest in between. Or do we? When is the next birthday party anyway? Mine in July? I’m thinking after this crazy month we should take a break. Maybe my birthday party theme will be a-day-at-the-spa. Ha ha.


  • Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com

    What a wonderful birthday celebration! I love that rice krispies sushi idea, but also? I just think it’s awesome that you guys were able to pull something fabulous together for Rapunzel =) I’m sure she appreciated it!

  • sizzle

    You throw the best parties. Seriously! Your creativity knows no bounds.

    SAJ says: Thank you but I can’t really take much credit for this shin-dig. This was all thought up by my sister-in-law and mom. I just like to share it here because you all know how much I love theme parties.

  • Manda

    You are the party-planning QUEEN!! Everything was just so … SPECIAL!! Rapunzel must have loved it (who wouldn’t love bento boxes with their FACE on them!!).

  • Clover

    I am definitely going to have to ramp up my party preparing skills! After seeing these awesome theme parties (and the whole orange soda idea!) my usual party decorating modus operandi (tape 3 balloons to the ceiling fan and try to remember to put the pointy hats on before we sing) seems pretty pathetic! Awesome pics, and the cake looked good and sounded yummy!

  • Jen

    I so want to party with you guys. You make it look like SO MUCH FUN!!! You amaze me more and more with every one.

    I love the Chinese handcuffs in the last photo!!

    ps. Happy Birthday Rapunzel!

  • Jennifer

    The girls and I thoroughly enjoyed the birthday bash! Hopefully one day I’ll be able to paint pottery without my kiddos in tow. I can’t wait for Emily and Audrey to see their creations after being fired.

    Happy Birthday Rapunzel!

  • Jackee

    Is your niece really named Rapunzel? Happy Birthday to her! What a cool party idea – I can’t WAIT til your birthday in a few short weeks.

    Loved the Sushi – could you post the recipe/directions?

    SAJ says: Nope. Not her real name. It’s just a nickname from when she had really long hair.
    I’m working on a rice-crispie sushi how-to. Not sure if I’ll do it or CC but you can find the original instructions over here: http://mommyknows.com/birthday-party-candy-sushi. Sorry the link wasn’t working earlier. Eeeep!

  • Kandace - One Crazy Chick

    First of all, Rapunzel’s new hair cut is so stinkin cute!! (Maybe it’s not new but I just noticed, sorry)

    Second, holy mother of bento birthday parties!! I wish I would have attended. Have you ever considered being a party planner? Seriously, ya’ll should start a business!

  • Kuky

    It looks like it was a blast. I wish the people I knew around here would throw parties like that. I want to go to one.

  • Sarah

    Ok, I’ve got two and a half years before my 30th. So I’ll be absorbing all your blogs about your parties between now and then for inspiration. It’s about time I had a themed party. Though of course when the time comes I might just hide away with a bottle of gin to cope with the trauma of reaching such an advanced age ;-)

  • Ninabi

    You have the gift of creating technicolor life from a world of black and white.

    I looked forward to these happy, crazy, amazing parties. Even more impressive was what you come up with on a budget.

    You make all the difference between truly living life and merely existing. I think joyful get-togethers are essential. I loved all your great ideas.

  • BeachMama

    Ahh how could you guys not have a themed party, poor Rapunzel would have been devistated! As always you know just how to throw a party and I can think of a wonderful Spa Party for you to enjoy in July. We have companies here that come to your house and do Pedicures and Manicures for large groups. They are super fun and you get to enjoy your birthday while being pampered.

  • Kayce

    What a fantastic party! I love giving elaborate and creative parties – I especially love reading about others. Bentos are a favorite in this household so I’ll have to file that idea for a future party.

    My son once asked what I wanted the theme of my party to be (I don’t like having parties for myself)… so I told him a library theme. He didn’t like the idea. He knew immediately I was going for quiet :)