A few days ago, I dug back into some family photos and posted about my daughter's Madeline-Dora the Explorer-Pirate-Princess-Pink 4th birthday party. I still love these parties--they're more simple, no large scale props or printables or dessert tables, but they were still so much fun. By age five, Ainsley had weaned herself from five themes per party down to just two: Rainbow Unicorn.
You'd think that with all-things-80s experiencing renewed popularity that I'd be able to find some sort of rainbow + unicorn themed party stuff. I mean, Lisa Frank practically defined the 80s for me. Well, Lisa Frank and jelly bracelets. Let's give credit where it's due.
Alas, no. Not a thing to be found in my local party stores or online. This is really why I got started creating parties: so I could make the party I wanted, without the limitations of what I could purchase from large commercial sources.
I started with a cake design. I still really love this cake!
I'm so glad I have girls. It gives me such a wonderful excuse to indulge in all of my childhood favorites.
And whipped up some sugar cookies. I still like these guys, too, but I've definitely improved my cookie technique since I made these! Remember, this was before I'd ever heard of a dessert table, or found other people like me online.
Miraculously, I did find this pinata at my local Party City! It was perfect for our theme.
(You can see that I had started accumulating materials for building my wood-fired pizza oven at this point. By the next year, we were serving delicious food from it!)
I made rainbow unicorn hobby horses out of a dowel, poster board, and rainbow yarn. And learned that five years old is a little to young to plan a relay race. Oh well--lesson learned, and they still had fun running around.
A scavenger hunt lead them all on a merry chase around the yard.
And ended with a pot of (chocolate) gold at the end of the rainbow, of course!
It wasn't elaborate and beautifully staged, but birthdays don't have to be to be wonderful. Focus on one or two special elements (like I did with the cake here), and just build around as much as you have the time, energy, and budget for. The memories and the joy will be there, as long as you're there to share them.