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Thirty Percent Discouraged


I have to admit I’m solar-powered. You always wondered why I’m full of enthusiasm and great ideas. Well, that’s my secret. It’s the sun. When the sun goes down so do I. So I get plenty of sleep which is awesome. I’m like Wall-E when I wake up. I have to situate my face so that the sun can fill up my battery reserves and then BVrrroooong! I make that sound a mac makes when it starts up and you forget to turn off the volume before shut down last time (Don’t you hate it when that happens at the library?).

This also goes for my moods. Sunny = Happy. Cloudy = Sad.

It’s great that I live in Southern California where it is sunny 90 percent of the time but when it’s cloudy I suddenly become like the rest of you sad people on anti-depressants and I don’t know what to do with all this gloom! It’s so murky and, and…awful!!! How do you cope?!! How do you get anything done? Ugh. I feel like I’m wearing cement shoes and my arms are stuck to the ground with strings of chewing gum. I just want to go crawl into a hole and die.

30 % discouraged

This is all not very fantastic when you’re planning a birthday party for a little girl who is turning six and birthday parties are what you are good at. There is no failing at birthday-party-planning in this house. No sadness allowed! We eat obstacles for lunch. Bring on the challenges!!! Fifty people in a small mobile home with muddy feet?! I can do it!!!!

sad yard

As you can see, my winter-wonderland of backyard fun with stumps for chairs and bedspreads for tents might not be happening. My visions of tulle strung from the trees and girls sipping lemonade is vanishing before my very eyes. All I can see are freezing cold fairies with muddy feet running in and out of my house and tracking mud all over my peach-colored carpet. Which I hate anyway so I guess it’s not that big of a deal but I’m still getting hives over it. Ugh! Mud! Kids! Hyperactivity! The bounce house people won’t deliver the bounce house if it’s going to rain!! What am I going to do?!!!!


There is a thirty-percent chance of rain predicted for Saturday. I know in Portland that would be a perfect day for an outdoor party. You might even throw a pool party on a day like that and wear a bikini but here? We are weeenies! We are freezing our butts off!!! We are seriously shivering and moaning. It’s sad and pathetic and majorly cramping my party-planning style.

Well, until the sun comes out. When the sun shines I can think of all kinds of crazy ideas. I can do this. We can have an indoor party. I am excellent at crafts! But when the sun goes back behind a cloud again I shrivel up. The obstacles! It’s too hard! I just want to cancel the whole thing.

Such crazy talk.

fairy de-wonderland

So here’s my plan: The bounce house people said I can decide on the day of the party whether or not to have a bounce house. If it’s raining we’ll just move on. If it’s not really raining we will move the bounce house to the front yard and put it on the driveway where there is no mud. I don’t know where people are going to park but that’s their problem.

Inside: I’m going to move all my furniture to the side and create a big open space in my living room/office. Maybe I’ll talk Toby into letting me borrow the giant heirloom Persian rug that he has rolled up in Bug’s room at his house that is not getting used. He won’t mind too terribly if it gets chocolate cake ground into it, right? Hmmm…that probably won’t fly.

Then I’ll use all that tulle that I was going to put in the trees outside, inside. It will be like prom night! I’ll just hang it from the ceiling from an old hula hoop or something.

I bet you wondered why I have a whole bolt of tulle. That’s a good question. I’m weird. I used to do flowers for weddings back in the 90’s and I had a much bigger budget back then. I guess I just bought a whole bolt of tulle and I still have it to this day. I have a whole shed full of floral supplies leftover from those days. It’s coming in very handy.

oh my stars!

So with the tulle and these stars it could be magical, right? Bug and I made silver stars the other day with card stock and glitter. I was going to hang them from the trees outside with my fairy orbs but now I think I’ll just hang them inside. Maybe I’ll get crazy with some sheets and make fairy tents inside too. That will be super fun when the kids pull them down along with the sheetrock from my ceiling. Oh boy.

I wish I had a man around the house who liked to build things. That would be so awesome. I could probably install a giant branch in the middle of my living room and bolt it to the ceiling. The cats would go crazy. (Note to self: If ever dating again make sure to date someone handy.) But I have no man around the house and my dad is working until Saturday so I’ll probably have to scale back my visions. That’s okay. It’s gonna happen. We’ll make it work. It always does.

ugly kitchen

Ugh. How am I going to make this work? You see this kitchen? Charming you think? Shudder. The wallpaper offends me so badly that I think I’ve blocked it out. It’s like a weird vibration in my head that makes me only see white where the little flowers are. But then I got this idea that I would rip off a part of the wallpaper near the sink. It had some water-staining and was really driving me crazy. I thought I would do what I did in my bedroom and go with the whole I-live-in-a-run-down-Parisian-apartment look where the ripped wallpaper reminds me of an Anthropolgie ad.

It did not work. Now I have a big blank spot over the sink that is still water-stained and your eye is drawn to it because it is NOT wall-papered!!! I might as well install neon signs pointing at all the ugliness. This would not be a big deal if the weather was great. I would just route everybody straight to the backyard and they would avoid the kitchen but now all my guests are going to be filing through my kitchen and silently judging me. I just know it.

If I had a man around the house I would ask him to paint all the wallpaper red for me or maybe pistachio green to match the cupboards. (Boy, don’t I seem like a catch?) I would do it myself except all those shelves would have to be removed (and the screw holes are puddied) and there is this light fixture contraption near the sink that my Grandpa installed that is bent on electrocuting me. I already tried to de-install it once and it zapped and ker-powed at me like a comic book villain. I’ve decided to leave it alone. So I don’t think this kitchen eyesore is going to be magically beautiful before the party. Back to blocking it out.

Did I mention that we went to one of Bug’s friend’s party this last weekend and they had a huge perfect house where they regularly host weddings in their living room? Yeah. No pressure. None at all. How does one go about canceling a party at the last minute again? Can I just board up my house and pretend I don’t live here?

fairy house kits

Let’s talk about what is working. The craft ideas for the party are going along swimmingly. I know it’s hard to tell when I’m being sarcastic and when I’m not but here I’m actually happy about something. I decided to use Momfluential’s idea for fairy house kits. All those floral supplies I have on hand totally saved me. I didn’t even have to buy one thing to make all these bags up. It’s kinda scary that I have that much crap on hand but hey, it works out. I get to get rid of a lot of stuff and the kids get make fun fairy house with odd bits and bobs. I hope they are into it. I know I will be. I am all over this kind of craft like a fly on…nevermind. You get the picture. It’s going to be fun.

fairy house kit

I think I’ll give each kid a stump disc and maybe some putty to stick things into. I was going to be on glue-gun duty but I decided with thirty-some kids they’d probably all want me to glue something and one of them was bound to get burnt. Since I don’t know every kid as well as I usually do I think I’ll pass on all the possible lawsuits. I think they can manage with sticks and putty and chennile stems and string. It’ll be fun.

flower tops

The next thing that is working are the fairy drinks. I bought a whole bunch of canning jars and covered the printing on the lid with some silk flowers.

it can be done

Then I punched a hole through the metal lid with my trusty metal hole-puncher and my super human man-hand strength. Actually, I only did one. It was pretty tough but it can be done. I’m leaving the rest of the lids for Saturday and I’ll let my Dad do it. Or any other random strong person who comes around.

fairy drink fixings

Then I filled the jar with ice, a lemon slice and some delicious homemade lemonade from my backyard. I screwed the lid back on, stuck a pretty striped straw through the hole and presto! A perfect fairy drink!

fairy drink prototype

So I’m making it work. When the sun comes out I’m pretty positive.


  • Melissa K. in Nebraska

    Bounce house people… That sounds funny.

    I totally have faith in you and know you will come through with a fabulous party. Can’t wait to see pics!

  • Katie

    first off – breathe. You got this, the party will be amazing, I will be in awe of your awesomeness and then in two weeks when I have to throw my sons birthday party (here in Michigan where it’s cold and icky and most days not sunny at all) I will be even more insanely jealous of your amazing party throw together abilities because mine will suck ass. just sayin. also – you are a single mom. give yourself a crap ton more credit. So you can’t figure out how to attach a tree trunk to your ceiling… You have a happy little girl in a home of love and you are successful (even on the days when the sun isn’t out and you just aren’t feeling it). No one is going to look at your house and judge you poorly because of it. If it makes you feel any better I have epically ugly wallpaper in my kitchen/dining room.. I have a handy husband but there the wallpaper sits for the 9 1/2 years we’ve had this house.. all I’m saying is just breathe.. you are beautiful, smart and amazing, the birthday party inside/outside/upsidedown/whatever will be beautiful and amazing and the sun will shine again :) it will all be ok :)

  • OMSH

    I’ve been in the house (as have so many others) and you are soooooo exaggerating. People come to see YOU and BUG and not the house – nope, not the house. The kids will hardly notice it, the adults will think it is quaint and vintage. Your parties are the absolute best – everyone knows. I’m just jealous I’m stuck here in Texas while y’all are always partying out there in CALI!

  • Ninabi

    I see the makings of an amazing party, rain or shine. I think your fairy house kits look like so much fun.

    I think your kitchen looks cute. Okay, I know I’m not there in person, but you know what I see first? The soothing green color on the cabinets followed by the cheery, tidy arrangement of red accessories.

    Your house is so tidy and the party activities so much fun everybody is going to have a grand time.

    Here’s something to put it in perspective- years ago my daughter was invited to a birthday party at a friend’s house and parents were asked to come along, to supervise all the kids. The theme apparently was “cake amid laundry”. The parents were a touch off. Bright people, but stuff was everywhere. Unfolded laundry was heaped on every available surface. The wife asked if I’d like to sit down on the sofa and with a sweep of her hand, pushed aside wrinkled shirts and underpants. EWW. To this day I wondered, How could people throw a party and not worry about even putting their undies away but have them out for all the guests to see?

    It’s funny looking back on it and then comparing that party to the creative, wonderful event you have planned for Bug. I can wait to read more about the big day. It’s going to be fine. Better than fine, even.

  • Meghan

    I know what you mean about the sun charging your batteries. I have a really hard time with winter here in Chicago, it’s a huge reason why I’m trying to relocate to somewhere southern & coastal (FL, CA, etc).

    One idea for the drink lids: Try using a battery powered hand drill with a small drill bit. It will be MUCH faster than the hole punch, and 1. won’t trash your hole punch, 2. doesn’t require a ridiculous amount of hand strength.

  • a chris

    Your preparations look fantastic! Anyone worth retaining as an acquaintance will be blown away by your creative skills and will forgive the kitchen decor in your temporary house. The kids, as OMSH points out, will not be worried about it.

    I have to say, though, it’s a good thing you don’t live in Paris if you need the sun to charge you up.

    If you use a drill on your jar tops, please be careful not to leave any swarf around the holes! I’m sure you can handle it though. On that topic, I don’t know why you think you need a man for handiness. You’ve done big, useful crafts before. That’s all being handy is. Well, electricity, gas and plumbing are a slightly different matter.

    Mist is perfect for a fairy garden, isn’t it? Good luck with the rain. Where I live, the forecast for a few days ahead may as well be selected at random. (Well, almost.)

    PS Is that link to “KINDLE 3” in your footer supposed to be there?

  • beth

    Ditto OMSH. I have the same exact freak outs, about my massively dusty kitchen shelves full of old coffee cans and a hodge-podge of jars, peeling walls, etc … and they come in and say how they love coming over because they feel right at home. There are no fairy drinks or kits here, just boys running rampant with guns and paintbrushes. It’s always about people in the end, and your heart is big enough for every single one that comes through your door … and so is Bugs. Praying for sun for you though!!

  • Patty

    I’m sorry your are feeling low. I know that feeling well. I’m sure you are going to have a smash hit of a party no matter rain or shine. Remember who the party is for; the KIDS! How could then not have a blast. Don’t worry about the parents, if the kids are happy, the parents are happy. Comparisons serve no good purpose. Happy Birthday to your Bug! My first baby turned 16 yesterday. I know the “curse” of a January birthday. My first three were all born in the first month of the year :o)

  • Katie

    Do not EVER move to Vancouver if you are solar powered.

    Party looks like it will be awesome, inside or outside.

    Kitchen is cute – you have a double sink, always a good thing. And you have RED stuff. I love red. My blender is red, my kitchen timer is red and my ladybugs on my wall? Yup, red.

    Maybe peal and stick tiles for the bare spot above the sink? Swing through the hardware store and see if they have any sales on. It helps that you have vision and creativity – what others walk by you can make look amazing!

  • Peggi

    Oh heck, I’d come just to see what the kids come up with for fairy houses. And for the lemonade. Who cares what the house looks like. People who come to see the house as opposed to the people IN the house are doorknobs. Am I allowed to spike my lemonade?

  • Peggi

    I almost forgot – January birthdays actually rock. My birthday was yesterday, and it sure does help to have SOMETHING to celebrate in these long, dark, cold days of winter. November has Thanksgiving, December has Christmas, February has Valentine’s, and March has spring and crocuses (croqui? lol) going for it. Poor ol’ January’s got nuthin’ except us capricorns.

    Now, what I want you to do is put on some music that you love, turn it up, and dance. Smile and ACT happy for half an hour, even if you don’t FEEL it. I promise you, after half an hour, you WILL feel it. People think first you feel it, then you act it, and it’s actually the other way around.

  • Amy

    The whole in the Mason jar lid idea is awesome! I’ll have to file that away for another day. I’m looking forward to the post-party pictures–they always look so fun!

  • Madge

    I sooooo wish we could be there this Saturday. Don’t worry at all. Nobody is going to notice all the things you don’t like about your kitchen. I promise! I never have. I’m not just saying that either. Everyone will be busy having FUN FUN FUN.

  • Erin

    People will be too distracted by all the fun stuff going on, the crestive things you made, and hilarious daughter to notice the little things you fret about. They’ll be thinking, dang – I wish I were as creative as that mom.

  • Rachel W.

    I think even your worst ever party plan in a horrible location (which your home is not) will be an amazing party. Six year olds will not judge your wallpaper. The parents of six year olds will just be happy to have their kids having fun.

  • bethany actually

    So funny…you are the larkiest morning person, and I am the owliest of night owls; and you are solar-powered and shrivel up in the rain, while I find the sun hot and annoying a lot of the time and am happiest and at my most creative when it’s gloomy and raining. Explain to me again HOW you are one of my best friends? ;-)

    Just kidding. I know exactly why we are friends, differences notwithstanding. I’m sorry the rain is messing with your plans! Grrrr. Go away, rain! Even I don’t want you to be in the Sticks on Saturday.

    And dude, please stop worrying about your kitchen and your carpet. Most of the world does not notice one-tenth of the stuff you do when it comes to houses and decor. And at least half of the ones who do notice are just noticing, not judging. By my calculations that means 95% of the people in your house won’t see anything besides the kids having fun. Especially if you dazzle them with tulle and fairy orbs and pretty mason-jar lemonade.

    I wish we could be there! We’ll be there in spirit, or at least in LED-candle form. :-)

  • MintTea

    That lemonade is gorgeous and the fairy house kits are professional-grade. You are making such wonderful memories for Bug. No one will care one whit about your house, and the party will be fabulous regardless of the weather. Can you come up here to Canada and do one for my girl when she turns 6? She’d absolutely love what you are planning. Way to go!!

  • chiara

    De-lurking to write that this all looks AMAZING! Bug is so lucky to have you as a mom. No one will notice or care about the state of your house. Most certainly not your daughter! Wishing you guys gorgeous weather for a gorgeous girl’s 6th! birthday!

  • BeachMama

    Yeah, I can totally understand how you get all your energy from the sun! I think that we are very similar, with the exception that I don’t live where it is sunny 90% of the time and if I did, I could only imagine how much more positive and creative I would be. Just visiting you for those few days at our darkest time of the year was pure energy and enjoyment. Now that being said, your house ROCKS!! I can say that because I have been there. I would never have noticed the paper gone by the sink if you hadn’t pointed it out. If you are really worried, lean a mirror back there or a painting or something funky, just don’t tell people and they won’t see it. The lemonade glasses turned out perfectly and I am only sorry I can’t lend you my strong man muscles to punch holes ;).

    Will pray for the sun to come out and shine down on you, but know that you will host a fabulous party either way! If you have a portable heater, set it up under the carport and host some activities out there.

  • Jen

    As someone who has lived in places where there is no sun for awhile (Alaska), a light box is absolutely essential for folks who find themselves reacting to the gray. There are a lot out there right now… and they aren’t too expensive. You could also try full spectrum light bulbs (a lot cheaper) and see if that helps.

  • Kuky

    I think when I play catch up I usually start with the older posts first but this time I’m going the other way. It’s funny already knowing how your party turned out then reading this post. Makes me feel like a psychic.