Kendall’s 3rd Birthday Party or Why I’d Never Make it as a Wedding Planner

Party Planning Psychosis was in full effect last weekend for Kendall’s 3rd birthday party. I’m only now getting to blog about it because I had to spend quality time with family following the episode to make up for my insanity and ensure that they will attend future celebrations under my rule.

The thing is, I have this website, Party Like A Kid, where my team and I spend all this time researching and featuring cool kid’s parties. I was actually inspired to start the site after planning Kendall’s 2nd birthday party. I see all these amazing ideas, fantastical parties, all seemingly pulled off effortlessly. The proud moms pose with perfect makeup, baby on their hip, in front of lush buffets and beautifully homemade cakes. The details are flawless.ย One may think that I, someone so passionate about sharing such events, would be able to pull one off on her own without morphing into Evil Mommy-wife-sista-child of Doom, but, as has already been established, I can’t.

Oh, I do still try, though.

So on Saturday, after many hours the days before and that morning of crafting and, well, not really cooking (cupcake pull-away cake from Super Target FOR THE WIN!), I arrived at In-Sync Exotics in Wylie, Texas (a seriously kick ass wild cat refuge in the Dallas area) for Kendall’s Animal Rescuer party. Of course, I also brought my trusty slave sidekick, my sister Kelly, who I don’t even want to know how many favors I owe when she gets around to having kids.


I made Kelly stay up until the wee hours putting these trail mix bags together with toppers designed for me by Charlotte from The Paper Cupcake.

Look how close you get to the cats there! The zoo is so boring after visiting this place. We've been going since Kendall was a year old.


I'll admit I was ticked these sack lunches would not stand in straight lines. They performed perfectly on my counter at home. Tiger bags had PB&J whole wheat tortilla roll-ups and leopard bags had cream cheese, honey and mashed banana tortilla roll-ups.

My desires to keep the party as eco-friendly as possible lost out to the convenience of Oriental Trading Company and the enthusiastic pleas of a nearly 3 year old set free in Party City. Also? Time and the bank account ganged up on me and made me give up my vision of reusable bamboo party ware and homemade cupcakes topped with fondant lion faces.


Rescue Pack favor bags full of cool stuff like headlamps, and crap like binoculars and bandaids.

To put it another way, I was SMART ENOUGH to recognize that I could spend all week making those adorable little lion faces to set atop cupcakes made from sugar-free hippy hair and fair trade organic nuts gathered by local squirels, but nothing would make my kid as happy as the high fructose corn syrup puddle of frosting poured over a pile of not so freshly baked cupcakes made to look like a jungle and savanna with freaking DIEGO on it. I would say I’ve successfully completed step one in the Party Planning Psychosis recovery program.


Possibly a gallon of frosting on this bad boy.

In my defense, my Party Planning Psychosis tends to flare up when other people *cough* my husband *cough* don’t do what I tell them. Like bring the juice. I simply wanted the man to pack the damn car with everything I so thoughtfully purchased and made, everything part of ย my master party plan. I just wanted him to GET IT TO THE PARTY.


Don’t worry, I forgave him. I will not, however, forget. Next year there will be procedures in place to prevent such a slip up.

At the end of the day, all was well. The party went great, the guests were only slightly parched and a touch sunburnt by the end of it.ย I, on the other hand, was completely drenched in sweat and dehydrated because I refused to drink any of the precious few water bottles we managed to bring with us so none of our guests would die of heat stroke. Naturally, that would be the perfect time for a family photo. Notice the healthy red glow I’m sporting from my brief exposure to the sun. There is vampire in my lineage, I’m sure of it.

Note to self- take family picture BEFORE the party next time. Ha! That's implying you actually get to the party early. Riiiighhht.

Kendall is 3 and Leyna is 4.5 months. Time to start planning her 1st birthday!



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  1. “cupcakes made from sugar-free hippy hair and fair trade organic nuts gathered by local squirels”


    girl, you’re still my hero. the party looked amazing. i only wish we were closer so i could help you. i’m a party cookadoo magoo as well. it would be…fun? interesting anyways.

  2. That looks like such a fun party! Congrats! And I really want a cream cheese, honey, & banana sandwich right now!
    I’m glad I’m not the only one that goes insane before a party. Right before out last party, I was going nuts because I didn’t like where Hubby put the chips. The only way for him to break the tension was to through the bag of chips at the wall, breaking it, and sending chips flying all over my house. It was a disaster, but all we could do at that point was laugh.

  3. You didn’t seem frazzled at all. We had a great time and the party looked fantastic. I do feel like writing a letter to insync to tell them it would be totally worth their investment to get those collapsible tents for the picnic tables. I bet it would help the amount of parties booked during the summer months!

  4. I was curious what you were going to do for the party. I like the trail mix bags with the toppers. I also get that crazy party planner stress, even if I try and plan really hard to avoid it. It drives my husband NUTS!!

  5. Thing is, you look like one of the moms with baby on the hip who just pulled it off seamlessly………just proves they are all fakers, too! ๐Ÿ™‚ Looks like an awesome 3rd birthday party!

  6. I tell ya, husbands are so useless in this department. Would they ever, EVER, take the time to put goody bags together (I wondered, as I was stuffing Julesy’s goody bags two nights ago?) No, they wouldn’t – not unless you married a fashionable gay man. In fact, I think gay men might make the perfect husbands (they would never forget details like bringing the juice) — But, then there’s that whole grossed-out-by-vaginas part. Eh, you can’t win ’em all.

    I’m having Julesy’s party at Chuck E. Cheese this year because A.) it’s cheap B.) they take care of everything and C.) that’s all the kid wants anyway. I, too, let him run loose in Party City so we could put together some Dora/Diego goody bags to go with his purple Dora/Diego cake as he’s requested, but that’s the extent of the planning I cared about doing this year. Two years ago, I had a Beatles themed birthday party for his 1st birthday, complete with a fondant cake fashioned to look like the cover of Yellow Submarine (it was awesome) along with my favorite local Beatles cover band. But I get lazier as the years go on. Kudos to you for doing anything at all!

  7. I say this with all love: the only psychosis you have is the way you view pictures of yourself. You look LOVELY in that photo. I see no red face or whatever the hell you’re talking about. Your skin looks perfect, you look skinny – my gawd woman I would not show you what I look like in pics if you think you look bad.

    • Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ I really do think I have some weird perception of my self image, especially the first time I see photos. They have to grow on me over time. You’re probably on to something there.

  8. Oh wait, maybe you are a bit crazy when it comes to guest list – how many kids were at that party? It looks like 20 bags. Whatever happened to birthday age = number of guests? Makes everything much saner if you only have to make 3 of anything.

    And I’m with you on the cake. Definitely time to throw the rules out and go feed the child crap that makes him happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Actually, there weren’t *that* many. I cut the guest list wayyyyy down this year and only invited local playgroup friends and our niece (and one of my PLK contributors came with her little girl). Really, there were only 7 big kids there. I made baby rescue packs (with Baby Mum Mums and puree pouches) for all the little sisters and brother since our playgroup had quite the baby boom this year. That’s why it looks like so many.

  9. I think you did a bang up job! Very creative!

    Here’s the deal. I’m a wedding planner on the side. But I don’t really specialize in the theme and/or decor of the event. What I specialize in is bossing everyone around so the day appears stress-free and seamless (it never is) but that’s what I plan. I’m the itinerary, the point person, the one who has to yell to get her way. That part I’m good at.

    But decorating? I can come up with a theme although it never ends up looking quite like anything on Hostess with the Mostess.

    Still everyone expects me to have these huge indulgent parties and I generally try to satisfy. But this year, with all the stress of the house, I nixed the big 1st birthday party and bought everyone dinner.

    He’s one and we’re done. He’s not loved any less =)

    • The stress of our floor renovation was enough to drive me over the edge. I can’t imagine planning a party while MOVING (and we all know your move was probably the most stressful ever). I didn’t know you’re a wedding planner!

  10. Super cute and great job!!! Looks like lots of fun. Can I ask where you got the Diego cake topper stuff? I’ve been searching for some Dora cake toppers to no avail.
    Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks! It came as part of the “Diego” kit from Super Target’s bakery. You could probably convince them to let you buy the toppers from them, or you could just have them do the cake for you. I was really impressed with what they did for us. All that, including 3 dozen cupcakes, was only $29.

  11. “cupcakes made from sugar-free hippy hair and fair trade organic nuts gathered by local squirels” <---This made me snort. I can't believe how big he is! OMG our kids need to stop growing. I get it though. I run around like a crazy person at her parties too, maybe I shouldn't wait till the last minute... I don't know how some people pull it off AND keep composure. You look fantastic and K looks like he's having a blast.

  12. HA, I also had to send little love/apology notes to most of my family after having a little meltdown at my little guys 2nd birthday party. Nothing as fancy as yours but surprise surprise, stuff was still forgotten and I freaking LOST IT! I go back and forth between rationalizing the crazyness that is my emotions (especially when it comes to the kiddo and him growing up) and telling myself to “man up.” Glad to hear that I’m not the only one!! Also, I agree with early comments. You look great in the above picture.

  13. You just reminded how much work went into my daughter’s 3rd birthday party — a pirate party — 3 months ago. And now I remember why I blocked it all out — because otherwise I’d never let her have another party again.

    Like you, I had big plans to make ours much more eco-friendly but also made the fatal mistake of taking my daughter to Party City with me too. Yeah, we weren’t leaving w/o plastic pirate hats, tattoos and gift bags for all. And their giant packages of plates and napkins are just so dang cheap.

    At least you have awhile off until Leyna’s birthday! The Diego party was adorable and I love the sandwich bags. Very cute.

  14. Dying laughing. Dying. So funny. I know just what you mean. There are some AMAZING parties out there. How they do it? No idea. Especially when it is a real party, vs. just a photo shoot. You can’t plan weather, how the kids will act, and you WILL forget something. Love the part that you didn’t drink for the entire party.

    Happy birthday K!

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