The top priority when throwing a birthday party is that the birthday kid has a blast, right? Following close behind is that the guests enjoy themselves, too. If I’m only rating this party on fun and good times alone, then this was a huge success! Mia, the birthday girl, was on cloud 9 all day and had nothing but fun with her friends (until bedtime when she tried to raise hell). But, because of my attention to detail, love for color and art and creativity…I’m not just rating the party on fun and good times. I had such a bigger and more involved picture in my mind for how I wanted the party to look and I totally fell short of it this year. I think I bit off more than I could chew and I didn’t give myself enough time to chew it in. Because of Mia’s love for the movie The Wizard of Oz, I decided that theme should be “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I wanted lots of color with only hints of the movie. Now, if I had never made this clear to everyone…the theme wouldn’t have been known at all. I’ll go into a bit more detail later on about what else was supposed to have been done to bring out the theme.
In the days leading up to the party, I did my best to prepare Mia for what was to come. I would tell her “8 more days until your birthday party!”…”7 more days…6 more days…etc,” to get her as excited about her big day as I could. I think it worked. She’d always reply with “Yaaay! Party! Bounce House! Let’s go!” and would then try to lead me out the back door to the backyard for “the party.” When the day actually came, well…you should have seen her face when she realized it was actually here. That moment made all of the preparations and money spent, worth it.
The party began at 11am with temps in the low 70s (there was a small chance of rain in the forecast that day) but warmed up to a perfect (according to me) temp in the mid to high 70s in the late afternoon. I had scheduled the bounce house to arrive an hour before the party began but due to an unprepared customer prior to my drop off (they didn’t have cash on hand), our driver was late and arrived closer to 20 minutes before the party began. It didn’t negatively affect the day, but it did make me crazy nervous that they wouldn’t show up. I’m very glad I scheduled them an hour early. Mia’s been in a bounce house once before, and she loved it (but not at first, remember I wrote about it here?). Well this time, she wanted nothing to do with it again until my mom forced her in and climbed in with her. Once she got a feel for it, she loved it until the hour it was taken down (7pm). THANK GOODNESS!
I used blue and white gingham tablecloths to match Dorothy’s dress. I made the rainbow triangle flag bunting from felt and string and I made crowns from silver pipe cleaners and silver star wands for all of the “good witches.” I used yellow cups, plates and tableware to match the yellow brick road. The desserts were decorated with rainbow sprinkles to support the rainbow theme. I decided to go with donuts this year instead of cupcakes for the sake of doing less work. I made the right choice because these donuts were AMAZING!!! Two weeks before the party, I spent a Saturday morning driving all over town to multiple donut shops just to buy one single rainbow sprinkled donut from each. At home, I held a little blind taste test with Daddy Dom to choose the best tasting donut from the group. The winner was clear, the best donut without question was from a nearby shop called Bud’s. The guests agreed with so many “mmmmmmm’s” and “where did you get these?!” And because I hate eating donuts without milk, I served some small plastic jugs filled with milk and striped straws over ice. This was such a great idea, the kids were all over the milk.
We grilled hot dogs for lunch and I made this menu to encourage guests to get creative with them.
I forgot to snap a photo of the food before it had been devoured. I served a rainbow veggie and rainbow fruit platters to fit the theme along with animal crackers to remind everyone of the famous movie line, “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” I also served (hard to see in top left photo) a bowl of cheese blocks to represent bricks from the yellow brick road. I completely forgot to put out the bowl of Hershey’s kisses labeled “Tin Man hats.”
And here she is, Dorothy’s lookalike, Mia the birthday girl! I found her dress from Zulily for $8!!! What a steal. I made her crown and I’ve had her “ruby slippers” (red glitter Vans) for some time now. I think I found them at Nordstrom’s Rack months ago and we used them for her Little Red Riding Hood costume on Halloween, too.
I wrote about this moment already, HERE. What a sweet, heart melting moment.
Yay! Mama is actually in a few photos! This is such a rarity around here. I know I need to get in front of the camera more.
The kids really loved splashing and playing with Mia’s water table. If you don’t have something like this (from Babies R Us) you should really look into it. I had a gift card AND a coupon for $10 off when I bought this. It keeps my water lover entertained for hours and was totally worth it.
There was a lot of interest in our chickens. We didn’t let them out to save everyone’s shoes from gross chicken poop.
At the end of The Wizard of Oz, the wizard floats away in a green hot air balloon. I had a great idea to create my own for photo op purposes. My mistake was making a weak “harness” or “net” to keep the balloon sturdy. We made it work the best we could but the fact that it’s filled up with a combination of helium and regular air (the first balloon we filled up was accidentally released into the air and we ran out of helium for the second balloon) kept it from rising to its max height. Mia couldn’t have cared less about it, but her pal Jameson loved it!
I didn’t have any intentions on opening gifts during the party. But one of the kids handed Mia a gift for her to open and once we started on that one (you try taking a birthday gift away from the birthday girl and explaining to her that we’ll open it later), the gifts kept on coming our way and we had an impromptu gift opening right then and there. Mia sat on my lap for all of them and did a great job at helping me tear into them all. The gift in the picture below was actually hand made by one of her most favorite friends who is only 8 years old. It’s a felt dog that she sewed (for the first time) and decorated with buttons. Mia loves it and continues to keep it in a safe place (to this day) so the dogs won’t get their paws on it (could easily be mistaken for one of their toys). How thoughtful and sentimental is this gift, right??
Mia couldn’t have had a smoother day. We had no behavior issues with her and she skipped her nap that day due to all of the fun. She stayed up until our last guests left around 9:30pm and was furious (or just overly tired) that she had to go to sleep. It took a lot of soothing and rocking and holding to calm her down enough to fall asleep. I mean, I was tired and I’m an adult. I can only imagine how tired her little body must have been after a day packed with fun and so much jumping.
And yes, I said our last guests stayed until 9:30pm. The adults were drinking beers during the day and feeling pretty good. By late afternoon, Daddy Dom had busted out the giant bottle of tequila from Costco (only $20!!!) and was passing out shots like candy. And by nightfall, Daddy Dom set up a fire outside in our fire pit. The grown ups were feeling damn good by that time. A big chunk of the guests had left before night, but we had enough to keep the party going until the kids were too pooped to hang. The best text we got the next day from our neighbors was “what happens on (insert name of our street here), stays on (name of street here).” They also said that we threw the best 2 year old party they’ve ever been to. Success. Just wait until next year.
Now for a few details that I didn’t get around to creating: I didn’t have time to put together a “pin the heart on the tin man” game that I had made, I didn’t display Mia’s 2 year old update poster, I wanted to display photos of the movie characters in the yard, I printed out photos of Mia (one from each month) from age 1 to 2 and meant to display them in order but didn’t, I had purchased rainbow streamers that were supposed to hang from the white tissue balls in the tree and I had made a “Happy Birthday Mia” sign that was supposed to hang from the tree as well. Ugh, what a waste. You can check out all of my inspirations on my Pinterest board HERE for rainbow/Wizard of Oz parties.
Overall, the party was great. I’m so thankful for actually getting to enjoy it. Last year, I was stressed out and running around like crazy trying to get everything in order. I didn’t get the chance to sit back and take the day in. This year, I was part of it all. I got to watch Mia interact with the other kids, I jumped in the bounce house with her (I even jumped into the pool fully clothed to save a 15 month old that fell in but that’s neither here nor there), I hung out with the grown-up guests and I took so many more photos of her than last year. It was such a special day and I couldn’t have made it happen without the help of our family (you all know who you are). THANK YOU! And another thank you to all of the guests that came and made Mia’s day all the more special.
Until next year…
(for which, btw, I already have ideas for a theme!!!)
And p.s. I’ll be posting little tutorials on how to make some of the decorations I created for this party. I’ll update this here post with links to them. Following me on Bloglovin’, Facebook and/or my Pinterest page will definitely keep you in the loop.