Bug,  party party,  the sticks

Operation Princess Party Begins

Princess Party Prep

The manic party planning has begun. Usually I start planning somewhere around October but I guess real life got in the way of that craziness this year. Now I know what party planning is like for the rest of you normal people. It’s crazy! And last-minute! Her party is this Saturday and I just now reserved the princess-castle bounce house today. I was so nervous that it wouldn’t be available but I guess I lucked out. Or maybe there aren’t that many outdoor princess parties being thrown in January.

Princess Party Invite

It’s going to be a chilly 65 degrees and sunny. Perfect for bouncing outside I say. I’ve never rented a bounce house before. I don’t know who is more excited about it, me or Bug. The woman who rented it to me said it would be a good idea to have it dropped off at 7am so that the kids won’t be underfoot while I’m setting up the rest of the party festivities. What a novel idea! Why haven’t I ever thought of that before?

Oh right. I’ve never had a backyard before. So how is that wild and crazy backyard, you wonder?

through the brambles

It’s a kid wonderland! Ahem. It’s getting some work done on it. The gardeners are coming Wednesday to clear away a bunch of brush and mow the weeds that we call a lawn. I have high hopes.

Mom assists with the chainsawing

My mom is also having a chain-link fence put in because the dogs keep jumping over the low brick wall. It’s been a regular three-ring circus with the neighbors calling animal control and tickets being issued, etc. Life is never boring out here in the sticks. I spent probably three days trying to track down a decent quote for a new fence. First we thought we’d add bricks to the top of the existing wall, that was two thousand dollars. Then we priced wood. That was eight hundred. We’re settling for my aunt’s recycled chain-link and I’m baking a lot of cookies for a family friend who is a handyman.

Actually, I’m not baking any cookies yet because I have no oven! Yeah. The thermocouple is broken and it was made in 1970-something, so the chances of getting a new part are pretty slim. We’ve already wasted too many days chasing that wild goose. I’m trying not to think about it. I’m outsourcing and using my grandma’s and my aunt’s oven and sometimes the neighbors’.

pretend chainsawing

Anyway! The yard! They chainsawed a bunch of brushy trees down today which prompted Bug to run around blowing raspberries and pretending that she was chainsawing too. I love how she is growing up exactly the way I did, minus stepping on a rusty nail and a trip to the ER for a tetanus shot, of course. There’s nothing like a crazy overgrown backyard to spark a kid’s imagination.

the fencing

This is the new-old recycled fencing. It’s not quite enough but it will save my mom a few hundred dollars. Mostly I’m showing you these pictures so that we can all be super impressed after the fence is up and the gardeners mow everything into submission. The bounce house will probably go here.


We also planted some new pretty plants. It’s going to look great.


GIANT treasure!

I can’t wait until I get everything sorted out and organized. I had fun working on some princess-pack party favors. There are some prince packs too since there will be boys at this party. It’s really hard to find princely goodies. I thought I’d find some little rubber swords or something but I couldn’t find anything like that anywhere. So the boys are getting plastic knights and dragons and some giant rings for their princely hands. The princesses are getting rings too, and of course candy. Everyone gets candy which should go over well.

Princess Packs Dude, I think I'm lost.

The plastic knights look like they’re lost in a sea of pink. Hopefully the little princes won’t feel that way. Boys like pink sometimes too, right? I might have to stage some cardboard sword-fighting or break out the face-painting kit that I haven’t used yet and paint a few dragon faces. I think we’ll manage.

pink stuff Pocky

royal labels

At least I’m having fun!


  • Grenda

    As always, it looks like your party (I mean Bug’s party) will be a blast. I love all the care you put in to the details. My Sadie would love a princess party with a bounce house. I’m sure Bug will be in heaven!! Enjoy!

  • bethany

    How will Bug ever pick a “my best birthday party was …” answer? They never cease to amaze, and are building the most awesome memories for her. Have a ball! :)

  • patty

    Who rents a princess bounce house in January? ME! Last weekend! Winter birthdays are both challenging and awesome! My older princess’ birthday is in late spring, which can get warm, so the kids get all sweaty. The younger princess’ guests never suffer such indignities. (And neither does their mama. You HAVE to go in! So much FUN!)

  • BeachMama

    So I need to start planning in April for Apples Birthday in September? I always have grand hopes for her but with school starting usually the same or next day it gets lost in the shuffle. Here’s hoping that this year will be different.

    I love everything that you did, can’t wait to see all the wonderful party goodness unfold.

  • brenda

    I love your parties. I’m so glad we have a friend with similar procilivities because I want my kids to witness this kind of creativity and talent. Wow.

  • MonsterAteMy

    Looks like a great party!
    You might want to keep some extra “girl” favors on hand — just in case. I know my 5 year-old little boy would be disappointed not to get the girly rings and such; he loves both the girl and the boy stuff and pink is one of his favorite colors!
    Hope it’s a blast!

  • Miss Virginia

    MY GOODNESS!!!! Just when I think you can’t top it…look at what you go and do! This party is unbelievable!! The invitations are beautiful and HILARIOUS ( “buffoonery to follow” “Kingdom of Far Far Away”) You are so creative, it’s not even funny. The stickers for all the princes and princesses with their hair color, etc are amazing. I could go on and on. You should really consider doing a party planning business. I wish I had one ounce of your creativity. Have fun at the Royal Party!

  • a chris

    Wow. A chainsaw-wielding princess. At least she’s not letting herself be pigeonholed!

    As always, my mind is blown by the party preparations. Sparkly and photogenic! I can’t believe all the energy you rustle up for party presentation.

    Sorry for not commenting lately. I fell off the internet during my visit to my parents. I’ve caught up on my reading now, though!

    Oh, I wanted to say: good move on the camera. Since buying my consumer SLR I have been a firm believer that if you have an interest in photographing anything that moves or anything that’s not sitting in full daylight, it’s worth moving up to an SLR, if you have the means. I’m sure a pro camera (and those expensive full-format lenses — which I can’t imagine Toby will be finished with when he upgrades bodies) would be fantastic, but the gain in going up to a modern consumer dSLR from a point-and-shoot is huge, in terms of noise, focusing speed, and exposure times (children who aren’t blurry streaks). As if you need anyone to tell you that now.

  • HB

    I know from past princess and pirate parties I have thrown that it’s very easy to make balloon swords. You can make them the night before and they’ll still be adequately blown up the day of the party. They are usually the biggest hit of the event. Your party looks beautiful.

  • Olivia C

    Looks amazing! Just an FYI for the princes…Walmart sells great foam swords in the toy department for ~$2. They have a sturdy plastic shaft inside but are very soft and foamy on the outside. You know, in case the princes need to exert some manly energy during the princess party. :)

  • Jeanete

    I had just about decided that we were done having kids and we didn’t need to try for a girl. Now I want a little girl so I can throw her a princess party! That looks like so much fun! At the very least maybe you can throw me my next birthday party? I want to be Belle and I will be turning 37 this year!
    Everything looks awesome and I’m sure all the kids will have a blast!

  • Jess

    I have a little boy that LOVES Princesses (and my daughter loves knights and dragons, too.) I agree with MonsterAteMy that you should probably have backups of each favors in case you have princess boy fans or knight/dragon fan girls.

    …or tell them to be happy with getting anything! :-)

  • Tresa

    ADORABLE! I agree that Bug is getting priceless memories from your love and talent! Happy Birthday Dear Bug! ….Brenda you are one Hell of a Super Mom!

  • bt

    I can’t wait to see the pics from the party, I’m soo jealous. I think that should be your full time job — just make and sell big kits for the rest of us who aren’t nearly as creative or organized.

  • Christy

    You’re party planning is an inspiration. I just hosted my daughter’s second birthday party and I kept thinking “What would SAJ do” It worked out pretty good but nothing compared to Bug’s birthdays.

  • Cc

    The girls and I are so bummed that we’re missing all the fun.

    We are planning a surprise party for Suki since her birthday got lost in the shuffle. I’m going to send the invitations to the teacher and have them put in the kids folders. Hopefully I can pull it off.

  • TexasLea

    You will LOVE the bounce house for the party and will be tempted to make all future parties bounce house parties. We have a hard time getting the kids to come out even for cake and presents. It is the only entertainment you have to provide. We had a castle one we rented 3 years in a row at the request of my daughter. It had a built in slide and I think every adult who came even went down that thing at least once. There is no need for any other games or activities. The kids just disappear into the bounce house and that’s where they stay until the party is over.

    I totally agree on getting it early too. Bug will be so happy!

  • bethany actually

    Annalie just went to a dragon birthday party this past weekend, and some of the party favors were cardboard shields (just circles cut out of cardboard with a strap on the back) that the kids decorated with crayons and stickers, and foam swords which were a HUGE hit. I wonder where you could find some foam swords, hmm?

  • mamalang

    Nate is having his birthday party this weekend, as his birthday is 9 days before Christmas and it just doesn’t work out. He’s been insistent for 3 months that he wants it at the Martial Arts place, and I’m humoring him. We did it two years ago, and it was the easiest party ever, and everyone had a blast. I wish I lived somewhere like Cali where I could get a bounce house, but they tend not to be too popular when we have snow on the ground and temps in the 20’s. Bahhh….boy parties in the winter are soooo hard.

    I love this idea though. Bug will love it!

  • Ninabi

    Oh, I was such a tomboy growing up but the beautiful things you have created for your daughter’s party are so amazing I want to turn back time and put on a princess dress and join the fun, too!

    I love the invitations. You do wonderful work and Bug will look back on her childhood one day and agree.

  • Ashlea

    LOVE IT ALL! Bug is so lucky to have such a talented and creative Mom!!! Her party is going to be so much fun! Enjoy!

    (btw, in the pic above…I think you left out the word *be* when saying when lunch is served on the invites. Hopefully you already caught it, not that it is a big deal.)

    Have a wonderful time!

  • Madge

    My girls, ahem princesses, are very excited to attend. They were very impressed with that invitation. I hope they don’t expect a horse and carriage to take them to the party :P

  • Sarah

    I wish Bug had more than one birthday a year – like the Queen! – I just love reading about all your party ideas and preparation.

  • Beverley

    Bug is going to have a fantastic birthday and everyone will LOVE the bounce house. We can’t imagine our birthday parties without them anymore :) Also, I’ve seen foam swords in the dollar section at Target (at least the ones here in Texas).

  • jill

    what a fun and fabulous party!! looks like everyone is going to have a great day!
    as a mother of 3 boys, cardboard swords would be a huge hit!

  • Heidi

    About the stove…my husband is a gas man a keeps some thermal couplers that are pretty universal on his truck. If you call your local utility company and tell them you think you might have smelled gas….ahem… they just might be able to fix it for ya!

  • Heidi

    And it would be for free! Also, offer the guy ice water or coffee…my hubby always does more for those people!

  • Saple

    Can it really be 5 years since Baby Bug was born and I won a mug for guessing the right date… wow.. The party looks amazing… I hope it’s a great time….

  • Mallory Sinclair

    Are those pink striped straws the old fashioned paper straws? And if so, WHERE did you get them???