(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

You know what the worst thing someone can say to you on the day of an outdoor children's party? There's a 60% chance of thunderstorms. It's basically saying it might be really, really bad out, but then again, there's an almost equal chance it'll be totally fine. In the end, I had too many visions of kids huddled scared under a pavilion, hugging the columns and staring out into sheets of blinding rain and lightning. To be on the safe side, we changed Lu's party at the last minute, and held it in our house instead of the park. Here's how her big day went down...

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

For entertainment (and their favors), I made neon play dough and sewed bean bags. There were also art supplies and balloons kicking around.

(Image credit: Dabney Frake)

There was also much screaming and running and drawing on the chalkboard placemats and wall.  

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

I made a janky bean bag toss game the day before. I cut the holes in thin plywood (leftover from this project) using a jigsaw, nailed some boards together then — in a final nod to child safety — nailed split rubber tubing around the holes. No splinters in this household thank you very much.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

Thankfully, it was a HUGE hit. Not only did the older kids hurl those poor bags at the target, it also made an impromptu photo booth for the younger ones. Unexpected bonus!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

Did I say the bean bags went over well? Well the cupcakes were an even bigger hit. Everywhere you turned, some toddler had a baked good smashed on their face, not saying a word as they basked in the glory that is icing.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

And speaking of icing...does everyone have Martha-style images of perfectly piped frosting, coiled just-so onto the cupcake? I haven't mastered that. 

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

This is real life, my friends.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

I delegated all real food (pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs, slaw, watermelon) to family. The kids were so hungry that, when they actually sat down to eat, it was complete and utter silence at the table. Not a peep for about 10 minutes.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

For dessert, there were cupcakes, popcorn balls, marshmallow pops, assorted candies, and pink lemonade. In other words, the stuff parents' and dentists' dreams are made of.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

Lu was a whirling dervish all day, running back and forth with her best friend Abby, eating tremendous amounts of sugar, opening presents, and being one happy camper. It was big.

And, by the way, there wasn't a drop of rain all day. 


(Images: Dabney Frake; pretty cupcake from Shutterstock)