Do you have little princesses in your life? If so, a Princess Palooza will probably happen to you at some point in your little princess’s life. Disney on Ice – Dare to Dream was heading our way and I have very fond memories of all the wonderful traveling ice shows I went to in my childhood. So, this past December, I suggested to Tiffany we have a party in January. And after the party, all of us, including our guests, go to see Dare to Dream . So, we did.
But, between the time that we purchased the group tickets for the show and the day of the event, life intervened and my father died unexpectedly. Now, on top of planning a funeral, the Princess Palooza was scheduled to happen exactly a week after his death. Should we cancel, Tiffany wondered? We couldn’t postpone because the ice show was only in town for a few more days.
Throughout my eldercare journey, rearranging my schedule has been a consistent theme. About 2 years ago, I made the decision to do my very best, no matter what was happening, to keep my scheduled appointments, outings, and visits with friends. I made this decision because my life was consumed by the needs of my elders and my own life was spiraling downward. Without the connection to friends and other family members, I felt my life was not my own.
To some readers, this may seem like a selfish and harsh statement. If you are my age and close to your elders, chances are you will have some responsibility for one or more of them at some point in your life. And, with only one elder, helping to manage their physical, financial and emotional needs while having your own life, is doable. But, I’ve had 5 elders in my life, all at the same time. Since they are all around the same age, their needs bubbled to the surface all around the same time and I was living from crisis to crisis. Thus, the decision to work on keeping my scheduled appointments, etc.
So, when Tiffany asked the question about canceling, I said no. I needed princesses in my life and I needed Disney and the Disney magic in my life, so stood firm on the party date. And, my focus became concentrating on the joy in my life while honoring the grief enveloping me. My father loved all of his little girls – his 3 daughters, his 7 granddaughters, his 3 great-granddaughters, his adopted (in the heart) daughter and granddaughter. He would have approved that we have a party for little princesses that celebrated joy, fantasy, and the magic of Disney.
But, even though I stood firm on the party, I was in no way ready to have a party. That’s where the magic of family came together. I was not alone – several family members had come to town because of my father’s passing. My brother, Glenn, flew out from New York immediately and stayed for 2 weeks. My cousin, Scott, came to town for a few days, and my sister, Dawn, and her children (my nieces and nephew) arrived from Yuma. Of course, my local relatives, Tiffany, her mom (and my sister), Gail and Tiffany’s sister (my niece), Samantha, were already here. So, with this power team, the party came together.
I had bought nothing ahead of time. I hadn’t even planned a menu. I ran around my house and got out everything that looked even remotely “Princess” and started decorating the table a few days before the party. I had pink tablecloths, a brown and cream polka-dot tablerunner, made by Samantha a few years before for another party, plus I had a pink guest bedroom full of things that little girls love.
Since we were also having a few boys at the party, “Princes”, I set places for them with blue chargers and places for the girls with pink chargers that I already owned. The beautiful centerpiece azalea plant was a gift sent to me by my work colleagues to honor the passing of my father and I thought there was no better way to display this beautiful basket then on this Princess table.
I have a collection of carousel horse music boxes that I’ve had for years. Why not use them for a party all about fantasy? So, out of the cabinet they came and onto the table.
I had two beaded flower bouquets in moss-covered pots from a previous Easter celebration. These, too, lived in the cabinet in the pink guest room. Out they came, but they were a little small for a big table, so I elevated them by placing them on top of a collection of children’s books about the Disney princesses.
I also had a collection of birdhouses that live in the cabinet in the pink guest bedroom. Yes, that cabinet is full of wonderful treasures! Out came a few of them to bring more color and fantasy to the table.
Princess Sweetie Pie was gifted the entire collection of Cinderella dolls by her grandparents at her most recent birthday. Tiffany brought them over and we added them to the table. Cinderalla and Prince Charming went into the wire coach I already had (of course, it lives on top of the cabinet in the pink guest room!), the Fairy Godmother went into the basket of azaleas, and the wicked Stepmother and the wicked Stepsisters went into bird cages (a little symbolism!).
I already had pink paper napkins and pink plastic utensils from an earlier party, but I did end up buying the princess paper plates and the Thomas the Train paper plates for the boys. But, lesson learned on that: the sign at the party store said the plates were 50% off. I got up to the cash register and the bill for these plates and the cupcake toppers was $38! When I said to the clerk that I thought they were 50% off, she said that was 50% off! I bought 40 paper plates – 32 princess ones and 8 Thomas plates (so 4 packs) plus cake toppers for $38! I’ll know better, next time!
Earlier in this post, I mentioned I hadn’t even planned the menu for this party. Even though I’ve not thrown a party for small children in many, many years, I knew the food needed to be kid-friendly. I scoured my pantry, refrigerator and freezer and found several possibilities that I thought would work. I had Hawaiian sweet rolls in the freezer plus hamburger meat and American cheese and ketchup. Hawaiian Sweet Roll Sliders seemed like the perfect choice. Small, they are the perfect size for little hands.
I also found packages of mini-sausages. These happened to be filled with cheese, plus they were small enough to be finger-food. I had avocados that were ripe and Samantha made GuacaMolly plus I had tortilla chips in the pantry. I had the breadsticks in the picture below leftover from a Christmas celebration. Tiffany made her famous Baked Mac & Cheese with a Crunchy Sourdough topping and brought both a bowl of fruit and a platter of crunchy veggies with dip. Gail bought and made a delicious salad.
What better way to get adult men engaged in a Princess Palooza party then to have them make the sliders? I relegated that task to my brother, Glenn, and my cousin, Scott, and they were in grillmaster heaven creating somewhere between 40 to 50 sliders for the hungry crew! I anointed them The Slider Kings!
With the help of this crew of serfs, the food for the party came together in a flash!
Then, the Princesses started to arrive!
Princess P, with pink cowboy boots, and Princess Sweetie Pie were the first to arrive!
Next came Princess Sweet Heart, who wanted to show me her sparkly hair!
Princess Sweetie Pie has a knack for making funny, sweet little faces and I captured a few in the photos above!
More princesses arrived, but in the throes of the on-going party, I didn’t get a group shot! These 4 princesses are the closet thing to a group of princesses that I was able to photograph together!
What would a Princess Party be without pink princess cupcakes and pink lemonade? I purchased both at the grocery store (along with the cupcake toppers at the party store) and we had dessert fit for princesses!
These princesses spied the cupcakes right away and wanted them desperately! I convinced them they had to eat lunch first.
I conned them into a group photo by the cupcakes and Princess Sweetie Pie put on her grumpy face!
After much hard work, all the serfs got to take a breather and start their own party!
Oh, the serfs weren’t actually serfs! They were kings, queens, princesses and princes in hiding! In the photo above are more Princesses, but in disguise. Clockwise from top left: Princess Tiffany, mother of the Princesses P; Princess Nicole furthering her disguise by adding lavender hair (she’s the aunt of Princess Sweet Heart); Princess Samantha using her hair as a disguise (she’s the aunt of the Princesses P); Princess Carolina using a baseball cap to shield her princess identity (she’s the “aunt-in-waiting” to Princess Sweet Heart); and silver-haired Princess Melissa, mother of Princess Sweet Heart (and Prince Charming below).
Here are some of the queens in residence, also shielding their identity by dressing like commoners. Clockwise from top left: Queen Gail of RB; Queen Dawn of Yuma; Queen Rosa of the Valley (with homage paid by her subjects).
In the photo above: Slider King Glenn with Prince Kyle in full disguise with a baseball hat and red beard. Prince Charming is below – he’s the big brother of Princess Sweet Heart and son of Princess Melissa and grandson of Queen Dawn.
And, mother of all, Queen Mother Jo, widow of King Chuck (who attended in spirit and in our hearts); Queen Mother Jo is stealing a kiss from Princess P.
The party in full swing with Princess P holding court. The serfs (Queens, Princesses and Princes) helped with crowd control, serving the little Princesses, clean-up as well as encouraging the little Princesses to stay in their seats (you know how it is with little Princesses – all they want to do is play; eating is an after thought!).
A fairy princess checks out all the enchanted wonders in the magic cabinet in the pink guest room.
The princesses decided to play a game of hide-and-seek. These are some of the cute moments I captured.
Princess Sweetie Pie all worn out and we haven’t even left to go to Disney on Ice! Here’s a link to Disney’s Dare to Dream website. I loved every minute of their magical show and the show is just exactly as portrayed on their website. Even the skaters you see on the website are the skaters that performed at our show! Chock full of many much beloved and recognized characters, Disney’s Dare to Dream includes wonderful & inspiring music and song, fantastic lights, colorful staging, beautiful skaters in magnificent costumes, smoke and fireworks, skaters flying through the air, pageantry including a horse, alligator, mice – it delivers on every level. In two hours, it covers the stories of Cinderella, Rapunzel (Tangled) and Tiana (The Princess and the Frog). If you have a chance to take your prince or princess to this show, I don’t think you will be disappointed!
I know this post is a long one full of pictures and my ramblings. I thought about making it multiple pages or even separate posts. It spans over multiple Toot Sweet 4 Two categories:
- Sweet Eats – for recipes that I decided NOT to create: you don’t need a recipe from me on how to create Hawaiian Sweet Roll Sliders! Plus, the recipes for GuacaMolly and Baked Mac & Cheese with a Crunchy Sourdough Topping are already on our blog.
- Sweet Home – The Eldercare Diaries: because I told you about what was happening in our lives during this party, I could have done a post separately on that subject.
- Sweet Ideas – Parties and Tablescapes: I thought about, briefly, doing a separate post on how the tablescape came together as well as a separate post on the actual party.
- Sweet Life – Family and Memories: this party is indelibly etched in the hearts and minds of all of my adult family members who came, helped, participated, shared in our collective grief and understand why the “show must go on”.
- Sweet On – Reviews: I thought about writing a review of the show, but Disney doesn’t need to be reviewed. They are a company that always exceeds expectations bringing joy and happiness with every endeavor.
As in life, all of these “categories” are interrelated into this one event and rather than writing separate posts under each category, this one post is filed under each of those categories. Because, they are all connected – as are we…
I hope our Princesses brightened your day; they always brighten mine.