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A Princess Tent

I love buying presents for my family. 

I also love to save money, so I often find those two passion are in conflict.  Saving money and buying presents don’t always go hand in hand.  When I can get a great deal on the “perfect gift”, it is a great experience for me — but not always for other people 😊.

Last weekend, we celebrated my granddaughter, Ava’s, second birthday.  As I looked around for a gift that she would LOVE for more than a day, I found a lovely princess tent.  This was not just any princess tent, this one was big enough for both her and her sister, and it had lights in the shape of stars.  Yes, lights in the shape of stars!  It was as if they designed this with Ava in mind.  It looked magical.

I love buying presents for my family. 


As a savvy bargain shopper, I read all of the reviews to find out if this was indeed as wonderful as it appeared to be in the pictures.  YES!  Everyone who reviewed the product shared how delighted their child was with the tent and stated how surprised they were with the quality of the product. The only negative comment (which was recurring in most posts) moreover was that the instructions were terrible.  One buyer actually warned, “Do NOT buy this if you are not mechanically inclined.”  My son is very mechanically inclined, so I bought the tent.

moms blog princess tent

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to purchase this tent!

We just knew little Ava was going to fall in love with it and, as a bonus to my somewhat warped sense of humor, my son was going to be challenged to put it together.  I could hardly wait to watch him tackle this tent.  I also decided I would videotape his struggle so I could share it with my other son who could not make it to the party.

After Ava opened her gifts, I insisted that Brandon put the tent up so she could see it.

I warned him that the instructions were not going to be helpful.  I had read some “helpful hints” in the reviews, but I decided to hold onto those until he asked for my help. (OK—coming clean here, I KNEW he would not ask for my help)  He jumped right into putting the tent together. He looked at the picture and instinctively knew how to put the frame together.  Within 10 minutes, he had the entire frame put together.  After all, it was just missing the materials around it and it would be transformed into a glorious tent fit for a princess.

If it were only that simple. 

The frame actually had to be built inside of the material!  There was an attached floor to the tent, so there was no way to add the fabric after the frame had been constructed.  Brandon called upon another father to help him slip the fabric over the frame.  They twisted and turned the fabric trying to figure out how to get it over the frame.  I started laughing so he looked up and asked, “What am I doing wrong?”  I explained that the fabric could not be put over the frame since it had a build on the floor. The only way to get it together was to build the frame inside of the fabric. 

Brandon enlisted the help of Ron at this point. Now, there were three men inside of the princess tent fabric trying to figure out how to insert the frame without completely disassembling it.  All the moms in the room were laughing so hard as they talked about how duct tape and zip ties would be so helpful to complete the job. After much maneuvering, and some taking down and rebuilding, they got the tent put together!  To be sure, the only thing left to do was to add the lights 😊

I knew what they didn’t know; this was not going to be what they expected. 

This step was actually much easier than most people thought. In fact, the men climbed into the fully assembled tent and began weaving the string of lights through poles—again asking for zip ties.  We refused to get them the zip ties because they really did not need them. After getting all of the lights in place, they stepped out to admire their handiwork.  All the moms immediately noticed the same thing.  The lights were consequently dangling down all over inside the tent, causing a huge safety hazard for the kids.

cathy and ava blog

At this point, Brandon’s wife pointed out that on the picture the lights were simply laying on the top of the tent and glowing from the outside.  Back into the tent went the men to disengage all of the wiring and lights.  Brandon brought them out and triumphantly laid them on the top of the tent, added the batteries and stood proudly admiring the result of his crazy-amazing tent-making skills. Ava beamed and ran inside of her glorious princess tent.

Our family will never forget Ava’s 2nd birthday and the making of a princess tent.  We made some great memories and created a family-bonding experience that will keep us growing together, laughing together and also investing in each other for years to come.


Check out the link to see the time-lapse video of Brandon, his friend and his father building a beautiful princess tent and wonderful memories that will last even longer than the tent.

I am rooting for you!