What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Bean

This Sunday is The Bean's birthday. The Bean will be fourteen. He can get his Driver's Permit at some point. It is getting scary - he's growing up much too quickly for my taste.

When he was little, he never went to preschool or daycare. He was always home with me. But, I was the Mom on the block that let all the neighborhood kids converge at my house. So, he always had kids around and lots of little friends. I would bake a cake and make up some goodie bags, then tell one kid to bring everyone else over at 2:00. Word would spread up and down the block and suddenly, I would have about fifteen kids at the door for his birthday party. I never expected him to get gifts, but occasionally someone would bring down one of their lesser loved stuffed animals or a Hot Wheel car and give it to him as a present.

Once he started school, he made a lot of friends and he had big parties. He started Kindergarten and a mere two weeks later he had his birthday. We gave out invites to everyone in the class, but only expected a few to come. I think 17 kids came. It was crazy! We did a Pirate theme complete with a treasure hunt, hooks on their arms, eye patches and the whole kaboodle.

Kindergarten and First Grade were unique because it was the same kids and the same teacher - so they all became great friends. That year nearly everyone in the entire class showed up for his party. That year we did a Steve Irwin Crocodile Hunter party. Before the party, I hid plastic Easter Eggs filled with rubber snakes all over the park. I also threw giant rubber snakes up in the trees (heaven help any random people that decided "let's go to the park today!"). The kids had to wrangle the snakes down and find the eggs. The Bean had a Steve Irwin costume that he wore and they all followed behind him in Safari hats searching for wildlife. After the hunt, they sat down in a circle and split up the spiders and snakes to take home (I still need to apologize to a few Mom's for that...).

His party in the Second grade happened to fall on the first anniversary of September 11th. We did a whole American theme, complete with flag t-shirts scored for 49¢ each at Target, flag frame crafts and a flag shaped cake.

Through the years we a Luau party and lots of other fun themed parties. I miss those days. I still had grand plans of a Carnival Party and a Circus party, but the boy does not. I mean, I know he doesn't want those things now, I just wanted the little kid stuff to stick around a bit longer. :o(

Today we went party shopping for a 14 year old birthday party. A party for a 14 year old boy that loves skulls and vampires. Eye yi yi. Luckily, there was a pretty good selection between Halloween and Pirate themed stuff. But, we did not wanted it to look Pirate-y or Halloween-y.
Here's what we gathered up at five different stores. Black paper goods, some pricey skeleton cake plates, black glittery candles, black forks, black party hats and horns and cool skeleton paper lanterns.
I love those paper lanterns. They are at the Dollar Tree if anyone is interested. They have little light bulbs and use AAA batteries.
The black glittered candles were in the "Over the Hill" section. Never rule out any department!

It doesn't matter how old you are - you gotta have a goody bag! Chocolate vampire teeth, skull suckers, gummy pirate teeth, chocolate eyeballs, gumball eyeballs and skull whistles.

I suspect next year will just be a friends out night - no party. I'm a gonna miss those parties. And that little boy of mine.


  1. They do grow up quick don't they. Kate is almost 16 and Ben will be 18 in April - crazy how fast it has gone. Love the birthday parties...those are the kind of things that kids remember. We did a scavenger hunt one time where the prize was cans of silly string. It was all over a tiny local park - the kids had a blast with it (and I did come back to the park later to clean it all up). Happy birthday to the Bean - !

  2. Happy Birthday T.B.!!

  3. ((((Shara)))) Growing up is hard to do, isn't it?

    (That first photo reminds me of all my pics of Jack in those rabbit ears. I just know I will be so glad to have those one day.)

    And Hapde Early Burfday to the bean!

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  5. Wow, Shara! You sure are a great Mom! You've had alot of amazing parties for The Bean! While this might be the last theme party, I'm sure you'll make the next ones fun and memorable too. Happy Birthday Bean!

  6. I love kids' parties too. Hope the Bean has a great birthday!

  7. Looks like the makings of a FUN party there! :) The Bean is such a photogenic kid--every picture of him just can't help but make you smile, right? What a sweet boy! :)

  8. Happy Birthday to the Bean!! Have a great party!

  9. Happy birthday to The Bean! they do grow up to quick:( SNIFF I received the giveaway on Monday I think, thanks, Gwen took it over and is using parts of it for school lunch!

  10. Happy Birthday Bean! You are growing up into a very special young man. Although I'm sure that your mom will always see the little boy. Moms do that.

    Sharra, my daughter will be 18 next March and we're already having difficulty with the idea. It goes so fast, doesn't it?

  11. Gosh they grow too fast.

    I love planning parties. Mike says Blake is getting too old for themed parties. He's only turning 8!


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