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Welcome to The Party Wagon! My name is Lydia , and I will be your hostess on this adventure through adorable children's parties. Get ready for all sorts of goodies, tips, tricks and hints on all things pertaining to entertaining your little ones and their friends!



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Copyright © 2011, Lydia Menzies. All rights reserved.



What began as a simple gesture to introduce my daughter to a wonderful book series has become a special evening ritual for us- reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books!  I must admit, I didn't realize quite how interesting these books would be to her, but she cannot wait to read all nine in the series.  It was only fitting that her birthday party focus around Little House on the Prairie!  Together, we had a ball planning all of the details of her party that related to the books in some way.  At Camille's request, we focused on some of her favorite parts of the stories... prairie flowers, covered wagons, tee pees, the colors in the drawings of the books,  and "pretty"...because "Ma" liked things to be pretty!

Our neighbors were kind enough to let us host the party at their horse farm next door to our house.  It was the perfect prairie!  Using old-fashioned goodness to set the tone, guests received vintage handkerchiefs with the invitation printed on them. 

Each hanky was folded and tied to a card that gave details about life on the prairie during pioneer days...

My mother drew the covered wagon art work for the invitation.

As the girls arrived, each chose an apron and sunbonnet~ similar to what the prairie girls wore!

I loved the mix of fabrics that were chosen to reflect the florals, ticking, gingham, and solids of the day!

 I loved how they helped each other!

The prairie was complete with a covered wagon where the food was displayed and tee pees depicting the "Indian Territory" from the stories.


 Each girl also had a "dinner pail" waiting for them so that they could use them throughout the party.  The tin pails had a crocheted tag with each initial to help them keep up with their own pail.  Crocheting was one of the many handcrafted activities that pioneer girls learned on the prairie...

 The desserts were beautiful- each like a little work of art!  I wanted to make sure that the food wasn't too excessive, and so we served cake, cookies, and popcorn...but, wow, the cookies and the cake were so pretty!  "Ma" would have been proud!

The cake was a wonderful collaboration between baker and fondant artist!  The blue gingham reflected the fabric of the time, and the flowers were chosen to represent all of the prairie flowers.  A simple wooden barrel of flowers was the perfect topper~



The cookies were gorgeous and such a treat!  Gingham cookies with wildflowers...

I asked Renee, of Bee's Knees Creative, if she thought she could make a "crocheted" flower cookie.  Wow!  They turned out perfectly!!

One of Laura's nicknames was "Flutterbudget" and so Renee also made bite-sized Flutterbudget flowers that I displayed on tin spoons tied with customized birthday ribbon~

I also wanted to tie in "quilted" cookies as quilts were another handmade activity and necessity in pioneer days.  Christine, of Better Bit of Butter, impressively crafted quilted cookies and created an exquisite "cookie quilt"!

The cookies came with directions on how to arrange them!  Christine thought of everything!

Christine made two sets of quilted cookies~ these I loved stacked on a "rusted" cake stand...notice the quilting technique hand stamped on the cookies!

I also love these button-stitch cookies that were served~ so beautiful and perfect!

I always like to make sure the "new birthday number" is part of the special day, and so the filigree vintage 9s were a perfect way to incorporate!  I surrounded the lollipops with hand-crocheted flowers and served them from a wooden box~

 Because candy was a very special treat in pioneer days, I wanted to have old-fashioned candy as part of Camille's party.  I loved being able to tie-in her name in vintage calligraphy at the same time!

Popcorn was another extra-special, very exciting, and rare treat for the children and adults on the prairie!  I wanted it to feel extra-special and so I put the popcorn in blue and white bags and then placed those bags inside paper bags that were tied with tatting (almost a lost art) and lace.

If you look closely in the photo above, you can spot the tatting- a delicate chain of hand-sewn trim that I found in an antique shop.  I loved the intricate way it was sewn.  I also used lace, as tatting is hard to come by~

I used crocheted flowers on the party balls that I made from muslin and ribbon to decorate the popcorn wagon...

A party was also a rare occasion and, in the book, Laura was invited to Nellie Oleson's birthday party.  At Nellie's party, Laura tasted lemonade for the first time!  Pure joy and excitement for Laura- very surprising to Camille!

I also had button candy to represent a traditional gift that mothers and young girls made for babies back then...button strings as toys for the babies and toddlers!

For the tables settings, I used mismatched lace tablecloths that I found in vintage shops.  I used a lot of muslin throughout the party- I covered the chairs in muslin to resemble flour sacks.  Each guest had a tin cup with a crocheted flower tied to the handle~

Napkins were a collection of different, hand-embroidered, vintage handkerchiefs tied with birthday ribbon~

My favorite part of the table setting was the hand-embroidered pillows in each chair.  Throughout the books, gifts were always placed at the table setting for family members or guests.  Camille's guests had adorable pillows with their names waiting in each place~

The pillows were another nod to handmade goodness that was a consistent part of prairie life.  Each pillow had wildflowers across the bottom and a bug motif along with the name. 

There was a grasshopper invasion that was a huge part of the story of the Ingall's lives, and so many of the pillows included a grasshopper (other bugs were butterflies, ladybugs, dragonflies, and bees)!

I can't say enough about how darling these little pillows were- each one unique with hand-embroidery and with a different fabric on the back. 

The girls were eager to try all of the cookies and to enjoy the cake!

 The cake was served on tin plates.  My daughter found a lace ruffle that she liked on one of our fabric store trips and she asked if we could use it.  I wasn't sure how I would use it at first, but we ended up adding the ruffle to the tin plates.  We did it together using Glue Dots, and it turned out to be a pretty little detail!  Here they are stacked...

One of the biggest sources of entertainment for Laura Ingalls and her family was Pa's fiddle.  Laura loved for Pa to play at night and they would dance and sing and have a wonderful time together.  I was lucky enough to find a wonderful fiddler for Camille's party!  She played from the moment the guests arrived and her music set the tone for a fun and lively party!  She also led the birthday song when it was time for cake!

A few fun details...

Old- fashioned good times continued after the cake!  Laura Ingalls and her sister Mary liked to collect beads from Indian Territory.  They would go with Pa and collect the beads, and then they would make jewelry out of it. We scattered beads around the tee pees so that the girls could have fun hunting for beads, too!

They also played "Blind Man's Bluff" (one of the favorites) and "Who Has the Button?"...

There was a sweet little pony for the girls to enjoy taking care of on the prairie~

Slates were scattered about for doodling and there was also the Clothes Pin Drop Game.

And, the absolute favorite of the day...jumping rope!!

At the end of the party, the girls were able to choose their own party favors!  An obvious choice of favors~books from the series!


 One of the most fun projects that Camille and I did together for her party was making candles for each guest.  We scoured many vintage shops in order to find enough teacups.  We then filled each with a wick and wax and tied a ribbon on the handle.  The best part was choosing each beautiful little cup!

We explained that the Ingalls family relied on candle light and later kerosene for light...

This was such a fun part of the planning!  We ended up making 30 tea cup candles to include the guests and the grandmothers- and we plan to give some as gifts for teachers!

Old-fashioned fun with my favorite 9 year-old!  It is hard to believe she is already NINE!!


Invitations and Paperie- Loralee Lewis
Aprons and Bonnets- Aimee Broussard Handmade 
Embroidered Pillows- customized- Yelli Kelli
Fondant Cake Topper and Flowers AND the gingham icing sheets/sugar sheeets- Sugar High Inc.
Cake Baker and Designer- My Sweet Things
Gingham, Crocheted, Mini Flowers, Personalized Cookies- Bee's Knees Creative

Quilt Cookies- Better Bit of Butter  

Button Stitched Cookies- BB Sweets  

Photography- Zoomworks Photography
Filigree Number 9 Lollipops- and Lettered Lollipops-  Vintage Confections 
Button Candy- Andie's Specialty Sweets  
Crocheted Flowers and Initial Tags (on pails)-  Q Spring 
"Happy Birthday" Ribbon customized-  Clutterbug Studio 
Silver Pails- Oriental Trading
Flowers- Always Always Florist

Party by Lydia at The Party Wagon

"quilled" flowers on cake inspired by KaylasKakes

Gingham design on cake inspired by Bijoux Doux Specialty Cakes, NY

A HUGE thank you to my husband, my parents, my in-laws, and my nieces for ALL of the help on party day!  If not for your help, I would still be setting up!  And, another huge thank you to Laura and Mike for letting us borrow your "prairie".  And, to Laura Pennington for the tee pees and covered wagon top!


References (8)

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Reader Comments (60)

Hi Lisa,
Your comment made me laugh! Thank you! It was a very fun day for my daughter and her friends, and I enjoyed watching all of the action! Thanks so much!
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Hi Sue!
Thank you! I love how Little House brings back sweet memories for so many people! I hope my little girl will feel the same way when she grows up. :) I have truly enjoyed sharing the books with her- especially knowing how quickly she is growing up! I treasure it more than she knows! ;) Thanks, again!
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Hi Alison~
Thank you sweet friend! You are too kind! I appreciate all of your sweet compliments- and I know you can appreciate all of the cookie and cake work- you sweets artists always amaze me with what you can do!! xo!
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Thank you, Leoni! You are a sweetheart! Thank you for taking the time to sift through the photos! It was a fun day!! Thanks, again!!
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Hi Jennifer @ Double the Fun- thank you, thank you! I am so happy to hear that it captured the simpler time! I appreciate all of your sweet thoughts and thank you for sharing on FB! I appreciate you!
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Keisha- I can't thank you enough!! So kind of you! :) I appreciate your stopping by to leave a comment! Thanks, again!
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Hi Holly! Thank you- your comments make me smile and I appreciate them! I really hoped to show a simpler time (with not so simple cookies and cake:), and I loved seeing how fun the simple games etc. were for the girls. Kids love to just run and play- no fancy toys needed! :) Thank you, again!!
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Hi Rose Marie- thanks so much for your sweet message! I appreciate it- and I appreciate the share!! Thank you!
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Hi Amy @ Living Locurto,
Thank you!! What a sweet thing to say! I agree- the cookies and cake were out of this world. The ladies behind the cookies are fabulous and they amaze me! Thanks so very much for stopping by!!
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Hi Brittany @ GreyGrey,
Thank you! You are too kind- I am glad you enjoyed it more than once! I appreciate all of your sweet comments- it was a joy to do and I would do it all again anytime for my sweet girl! :)) Thank you again!!!
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
This party is amazing! WOW! Every detail is thought out perfectly. YOU are an inspiration Lydia!!
December 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlisa- sweet pop studio
I love Laura's books and I am AMAZED with this party! I love every little detail of it! Wow! Ma would be very proud, and Laura too! I would like to say more, but I really have no words. I was looking for ideas for my girl's party and found you! Thank you!
January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAna McCool
Lydia- I am in LOVE with this party! As I am gathering my ideas and inspiration for my daughter, Sophie's 5th birthday I feel I could not even dream something as fabulous as this party! You are one talented mama~!
Wow. Lovely party. Especially for kids.
June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulli Smith
Lydia its really amazing party theme and ideas.
July 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulli Smith
Wow, wow, wow!! I am completely speechless at the splendor of this party.
Could you please share how you printed on the hankies? They look absolutely incredible!! Well done, girl. This party is the best I've ever seen.
August 22, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjami
That looks like a really amazing birthday, brings styling to a whole new level, well done.
September 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulia Norris
This is absolutely adorable and looks like a fantastic garden party too!
April 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul @ Creased Cards
Nice post! giving the beautiful information based on the daughter pics.
July 12, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterdell
nice post

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