Buddies,  Bug,  party party

The Royal Fifth Birthday Princess Party

Princess Bug

The princess party was a smashing, over-the-top, regal affair. It was the perfect day for a backyard party! Blue skies, warm breezes…who knew!? I’ve always fretted about Bug’s winter birthday. I worry about the weather and people chickening out when the roads get slick, or choosing chicken noodle soup over cupcakes because it’s such a hassle to get kids in and out of the house to be somewhere at a certain time on their day off. What can I say, I’m a worrier by nature. Thankfully, I’m almost always proven wrong. Maybe because I worry so much? Who knows.


But I’m probably not going to stop being a worrier. It seems to be my good luck charm. The things I forget to worry about are always the things that go wrong! I worried about the weather; it was perfect. I worried about the tablecloths; they were perfect! That bed canopy thing that I bought for two bucks or something was the perfect table runner! I thought I was going to have to pull off some kind of crazy origami sewing project, so I allowed extra time just for setting the table and guess what? It was the exact right size to go over the cheap plastic tablecloths and dangled down just enough on both sides. I couldn’t believe it. Thrift stores, I love you.

bounce house collage1

Princess Hannah

The Royal Bounce House Ball was a bouncing success, of course. Those princesses bounced their little pink fluffy hearts out. The music, maybe not so much. We rigged up my Dad’s iPhone in an iPhone dock and played “joyful waltzes” from my very own personal Pandora station. It would have been perfect except I didn’t buy the party amp to make the music loud enough to hear over the bounce-house blower. I kind of forgot about that blower. It was a choice between the party dock or something that would look nice in my house after the party and unfortunately for the party, I chose the sleek smaller design with less boombox sound.

You could still hear the music, it just wasn’t as atmospheric as I had wanted it. Sometimes you gotta let things go though.

Fairy Godmother Great Grandpa King Coyle


One of the best things about the party is how even the older guests dressed up. I think they know me! It made my day. My mom was the best. She sewed herself a crazy purple sequined skirt in about two minutes and then flounced around the party bippity-boppity-booing and giving out fake jewels and necklaces to everyone. What makes it even more amazing is that she also sewed the Bugalicious Pink Party Flags the morning of and cooked the french fries. Now you know where I get my over-achieving party skills from.

me and my mom

I love my mom. And check out my dress! It fit!!!


I even sword-fought in it!

cling clang! I am victorious!

And was victorious!


Don’t mess with the Queen Mother.


And I bounced in it!

But who cares about me. This party was all about Bug!!!

one thing!

Except I didn’t take as many pictures of her as I should have because I was running around like a Queen Mother with her head cut off. Just call me Anne Boleyn, or was that Mary Queen of Scots? One of those queens. Queens do tend to get their heads cut off frequently. I’m pretty sure Bug still had a good time though, in spite of my headlessness. Maybe she was a sugar-powered blur that couldn’t be caught on camera. Yeah, that’s it.

I’m so glad Madge got this video because I didn’t get a single picture of her blowing out her candles. Shame, shame, shame on me. Note to self: next time delegate a photographer. Pay them if you have to! But Deb and Toby did get quite a few really great shots.

Deb and the cupcakes


Deb was my own personal Cinderella. She came out the night before and helped me so much. She made the icing, iced the cupcakes, made a pattern and cut out the princess crowns for the tiara craft (that got sadly neglected because the bounce house was just way more fun). She mixed us up some magical margaritas from the lemons and tangelos that I picked from my own backyard (to help keep me awake, she says) and helped me set up a light summery Italian wine station for the older royalty.

dessert and beverage bar

princess drinks!

They were so yummy! I recommend stopping by Trader Joe’s and perusing the Italian wine section if you want to get your hoity-toity midsummer-night’s-dream drink on. So cheap too—$5 and under!


Deb woke up with a stiff neck the day of the party (probably due to me pushing coffee on her the day before and making her sleep on a futon on the floor) but she powered through and kept on helping. I don’t even think anyone noticed she was in pain. She even jumped behind the barbecue at one point and flipped a few burgers when my Dad (who I had delegated way too many jobs to) got called away. She pretty much saved the day.

royal hamburgerettes

Speaking of hamburgers, we made little sliders or royal hamburgerettes as I like to call them. Bug’s favorite food is McDonald’s, sadly, so I did my best to fit that into the princess theme. We made homemade buns (I’ll have to blog that recipe someday, it’s easy and delicious) and tiny little patties flavored with powdered ranch dressing. They tasted pretty good, when they were hot. But I probably should have had somebody swing by MickyDees and to pick up 20 happy meals instead because no matter how hard I tried to get all the food on the table at one time, the hamburgers were about 20 degrees too cold by the time anyone got to eat them. It was sad.

royal curly fries

Even the fries were cold. Too bad. So sad. But they did taste good warmed up the next day. So there’s that.

pretty please with a cherry on top?

The cupcakes, however, were delicious! I made them too. They weren’t even a box mix! I actually followed a somewhat complicated recipe that Bethany emailed to me especially for the occasion. She’s blogged it here. If you bake and you like cupcakes, these are a MUST. Delicious and about a thousand calories each!

sitting pretty cupcakery

eating ketchup perhaps?

I think the little girls enjoyed the food. The ketchup and the candy at least!

new and improved princess packs

set for a princess lunch is served

All in all, the food didn’t really matter. It was just so great to be surrounded by so many friends. I was afraid they wouldn’t come, you know? I have a lot of family out here in the sticks but most of my friends had to make the drive from the OC and an hour and a half is no commute to sneeze at. Something funny happens when you live at the beach. Anything farther than 20 minutes away seems likes it’s days away. We like to stay put in our cozy little towns and save gas or something. I know this because that’s how I was. So I was super thankful that so many of my friends made the effort to come and spend the day with us.

Princess Calee and her little one Princess Madison

Of course some of them came from across the street, but still! It meant the world to me and Bug.

me and my best friend from 2nd grade

My best friend Tamie (she goes by Tamara but I get to call her Tamie) from SECOND grade was even there. It was awesome.

Tamie is singing me an aria

I think she’s singing me a serenade here…or just talking. With Tamie, you never know!

King Coyle and Prince Papa My Dad is home!

It was really sweet to have my dad home for the party, and my grandpa too since I am living and throwing a party in HIS house. He seemed to like how I’ve fixed up the place. Phew!

opening Daddy's presents

Even Toby was there. Bug is so loved. And blessed.

princess this, princess that such nice paper!

And spoiled rotten. I think next year we are going to have to have a no-present policy. First, because I want her to appreciate gifts more, and second, because we have reached the Disney Princess saturation point. Bug is in heaven. She loves it all and would take more but I’m starting to feel like I’m in fuchsia hell.

when the guests get bored, try paper bag tricks

Just kidding. You know I loved it too.


  • Ashley

    You seriously throw the coolest kids parties and I think you should go into business! Either throwing them for other peoples kids or selling the perfect kids party planning guide/kits….I’m just saying, I’d keep you in business :)

  • Yara

    After that awesome party, I’m not even going to have one for Lisa this month. Heh, just kidding. We have other plans this year. But that was an awesome party! And, Lisa is still wearing her crafted crown : )

  • Kelley

    Oh my goodness….fabulous party! In the background of the pictures where you are sword fighting there is even a building with a turret and a castle-like feel. You must live in a royal neighborhood! Pretty cool!

  • SAJ

    I do! That’s actually an old folks home that has a Camelot theme. My Grandpa lives there. Bug visits him regularly wearing her princess outfits. It’s an amazingly photogenic building.

  • Christine

    That looks so fabulous! You are so clever! You could easily get a job party planning, you know. I want to make those cupcakes! Glad my soon-to-be-five-year-old can’t read your blog. And isn’t a girl.

  • bethany actually

    Pink! Princess! Party! Wooohooooo! That is what this post makes me feel like. :-) I wish we could have been there! And I hope your calendar is clear for mid-May because I am totally hiring you and buying you plane tickets so you can come help with Annalie’s party.

  • Tresa

    I woke up this morning excited to see your post!! I squealed and my 4 yr old daughter AND my husband came over to see…. Everything looked amazing and fun! I loved seeing the grown ups dressed & participating! Very cool! It looks like Bug really had a great day. My daughter asked if her birthday could be a pink princess party…”of course dear!” I smiled. Why?! Cause we are so fortunate to have YOU, Brenda, showing us the way to party heaven!

  • Carrie S.

    What a beautiful party and smashing success! I too love how the older folk dressed up and got in the mood. What a fun person your mom is! And your dress turned out perfect. Bravo, Aunt Keren!

    Happy, happy birthday, Bug!

    Big hugs from your buds in Northern California.

  • Mrs. Wilson

    WOW. I think this is the awesomest fifth birthday party I have ever heard of! Bug is so blessed to have such a party-planner-extraordinaire mom! And I think the photos you took are pretty fantastic.

    Happy Birthday, Bug!!

  • Melissa K. in Nebraska

    Best. Birthday Party. Ever! She will be saying that forever. Or… until you top this one next year. Are the folding chairs around the table pink too??! It just all came together, didn’t it?

    I have family in ***** and totally recognized The Camelot turret!

  • anne

    Fabulous Fabulous!! I just made some great cheery flags for my bug’s birthday this weekend as well. Everyone raved. What an easy, fantastic thing to make! You definitely out-did my party though. Love the pictures! :) They are encouraging and inspiring. And they make me long for spring…

  • bethany

    Thanks for making us all feel like we were there, you truly have a gift … for parties, and for sharing them. Pinkalicious and perfect and I especially love the older ones who came dolled up! There’s something delightful about the wise ones anchoring the edges of something, isn’t there? Happy Birthday Bug!!

  • Janna

    Oh…and since you love fruity girly drinks on occasion, I highly recommend this easy sangria:

    1/2 bottle of pinot grigio (cheap wine is perfectly acceptable)
    1/2 bottle of ginger ale
    1/4 cup peach schnapps
    1 heaping cup frozen raspberries
    1 heaping cup frozen peach slices
    1 heaping cup frozen mango dices
    You could easily slice up some of those tangelos into rings and toss them in too. :)

    Mix all together and serve. No marinating required and it is SOOO good!

  • a chris

    Well, there is not much remaining to be said about the party favours and preparations; suffice it to say you and your crew did a superlative, really impressive job.

    There is some really impressive finery on the guests too. Tamara’s was especially expert!

    I am so touched for you that people came from the OC for Bug’s big day, and so happy to see Toby and Bug’s extended family.

    What the…? Is that a castle next door to your trailer?? How’d you manage that?

    Those margaritas sure look tempting. With fresh fruit too. Maybe I should get F to consider jobs in California.

  • Cat

    The bestest pinkalicious party ever! Happy Birthday, Bug! (And yeah, when I saw the Camelot Home in the backround I had to look closer – too cool.) Great job as usual!

  • Heidi K.

    OMG! SAJ you have out done yourself! Is that even possible? :) These are the times I wish I had a girl BUT I am blessed and happy with my boy. That looked like one Royal party! I wanted to go just because I wanted to act like a six year girl again. HA!

  • Ninabi

    You covered every detail and made it awesome. What a fabulous party! Your queen mother dress was lovely, too.

    I’m so glad it was a happy, happy day for Bug.

  • Miss Virginia

    ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! You should see me scouring the details of your pictures trying to commit them to memory to try and even re-create 1/100th of this fabulous party. I want details on EVERYTHING!! I love the way you set up the royal bar w/ the candy jars (where in the world would i find something like that?) and the labels and the straws. The yummy punch in the beautiful bowl and the hamburgers so beautifully displayed w/the pretty toothpicks on the glass platter. It looked absolutely perfect especially with your moms incredible flags! They completely finish the whole thing (they always do)…I have to remember to order some for my next (or actually, my FIRST) real party i throw…I’m somewhat of a party novice. I can’t pull something like this off, but I really, really want to! way to go! You gone and did good! :)

  • SAJ

    Thank you!

    The candy jars I’ve collected over the last year or so. The fancy one is from Michael’s. Wait until they have a big sale and pounce on one. But you can also buy them here: http://www.save-on-crafts.com/apothecary.html
    The labels I do because I’m a graphic designer by trade. It’s just what I do. (though I did make several typos so no need for me to feel too proud).
    The straws I ordered here: http://www.bakeitpretty.com/item_1830/PREORDER-Pink-Striped-Paper-Straws-50-Pack.htm
    The punch bowl has been in the family for ages (check thrift stores and antique stores) and the plate the hamburgers are on is the plate that goes under the punch bowl. I just didn’t use it there. Though I probably should have since the punch table was a bit messy.

    You can do it too! It’s super fun. :)

  • TexasLea

    It looks like the Queen Mother threw one heck of a good party! Lot’s of big ‘ol happy birthday wishes to Bug from more folks in Texas too! I am so glad she had such a good turnout and it was such a pretty day. Of course, the grown up drinks would draw in the crowd here, I may have to try that at my kiddo’s next party!

    I know what you mean about all the toys, I fight the same battle. I try to remember though that little girls only like toys for a few years so try to bite your tongue and let her wallow in all her princess paraphernalia while she still wants to. The days are long but the years are short. Mine is only 2 years older than Bug and it already seems like ages since she was “only 5”.

  • Kary

    Looks like a wonderful party! I love all of your creative ideas and it looks like the adults had just as much fun as the children.

  • Amy

    You really SHOULD become a party planner Secret Agent!! You do them so damned well :) I am sure the Bug appreciated as did all of the guests. You rock!

  • Gena

    EXCELLENT party! I found myself checking back all weekend looking for pics and details. Looks super fab! Looks like everything is going to work out in the sticks after all. And happy birthday to sweet Bug! Oh and happy birth day to you too mama. ;-)


    Looks like a huge success judging from the smile on Bug’s face!! Love your attention to details – might want to consider “party theme packs” in your shop! :)

  • Jaynette

    How, oh how, did you get a castle as a neighbor? So sad we live so far away. The teenagers texted her a birthday message. So, it you didn’t recognize a couple of numbers it was from them. Her card is in the mail tomorrow.

  • justJENN

    I always forget our kids bdays are around the same time. I was so busy planning my own party I haven’t had time to catch up on blogs. Mine was lot more LEGO and lot less pink. HA! Looks like you guys had lots of fun!

  • bonnie

    Oh I am even sadder we didn’t make it now. Will you plan my 40th birthday? There’s still like 7 years so no rush or anything.

    Margie made Bug a card. I will have to remember to mail it!

  • Kuky

    Oh looks wonderful! And so great Aunt Keren got the dress to fit. How did she do that? I have a princess dress that won’t fit me. I wanted to wear it on Halloween. And the video Madge got, love Bug’s confusion with the candles. :-D

  • SAJ

    She took the “hidden” zipper and completely exposed it. Which was fine with me. I don’t care if my zipper shows. It’s a costume! I guess that inch was all I needed because it fit perfectly. :)

  • gingermog

    Hi I’m not sure if I commented yet or not, I know I meant to as I’ve dipped in to the see the glorious photos several times. Looks like it was a wonderful day. Another succsessful SAJ party.

    Yep, I’m afraid Mary Queen of Scots and Anne Boleyn, both got their heads cut off, sigh, such a bloody history. At least the Brits don’t out their enemies heads on spikes anymore.

    I love the fact Bug can see her Great, Grandad and Grand parents all the time. I expect you miss CC and the family though.I oved your blue velvet dress, that is something I’d love to wear.