My mother always had a way of making fun themed birthday parties without spending very much money or using disposable things. Growing up, we didn’t have the money to have ridiculous parties with plastic banners and themed tableclothes, but she always made them special. I can still almost taste the homemade calzones I made with my friends one year, and I have some great pictures of a birthday party where she let us raid her closet and play dress up with all her things. It was the thought then that made it special, and I’d like to think that I am passing that on to my children. I enjoy making them pretty party decorations, as inexpensively as possible, and then reusing them throughout the house or giving them to friends. I think we have as much fun planning and prepping for the party as at the actual party itself.
This year, for Olivia’s fourth birthday party, we went with a kind of Tangled theme. Mostly because I could envision cute, homemade decorations. And I thought it would be cool to have a Flynn Rider “Wanted” poster piñata, which we had.
^^ After I made some of these tissue paper flowers for the girls’ room, I thought they would make really great party decor. These purple and pink ones won’t go to waste after the party, either. The purple flowers are going to Mallory’s new apartment and the pink ones will be added to the girls’ flower wall downstairs. The tissue paper for these cost $12, with a 20% off coupon at Michaels. And if you can believe it, those flowers are just taped up with what I am convinced is the greatest tape in all the world.
^^ I designed the menu for “The Snuggly Duckling Pub” and had it printed as an engineering print at Staples. We served all foods you might find at a German pub. (Because Rapunzel is a German fairytale. I really like to go with the theme): bratwurst, pretzels and a winter vegetable medley (which was a surprisingly big hit – it tasted delicious – but of course, most things taste delicious when they are baked in butter and garlic), royal fruit salad (this perfect fruit salad, using only yellow and purple fruits, in true Tangled colors), kettle corn and chocolate cupcakes with a buttercream frosting.
^^ This cake is possibly the best one I’ve ever made. It was amazing! I used this 3-tier cake recipe to make one 4-inch, 2 layer cake for Olivia and two dozen cupcakes for guests. (I absolutely love this recipe, which I also make my own version of here. It’s so good, and when you’ve found a good thing, why change it?) I frosted the cake and cupcakes in the morning so that by the evening the buttercream had a nice crunchy layer on it, which I love. Melissa was so kind to give me some just in time!
^^ I made these floating lanterns, a la “At Last I See The Light” scene out of tissue paper, string and battery-operated tea lights. They look so cute in person. These will stay up for a while, and then, sans tea lights, they will be part of the playroom’s new dollhouse scene. More on that later.
^^ I used a box to make this piñata. I cut off one end and paper-mached it to make a part that would break, because I didn’t have time to make the whole thing out of paper mache. It was wrapped in white wrapping paper with “Wanted” signs taped on. It was filled with gold chocolate coins as the reward and the kids hit it with a frying pan, just like Rapunzel uses against Flynn.
^^ And I can’t forget Steve’s favorite part of the party, this sign that hopefully says something about apple juice for kids and Logyard IPA in German. He was very excited when he looked up the word “logyard” on Google Translate for this. (If you actually speak German, please do not be offended at our inability to.)
As always, Olivia’s favorite part was the chocolate cake. It was my favorite part, too. Well, and the flower wall and floating lanterns. Those were also spot-on.
She’s one of the best people to throw birthday parties for. She gets really excited about all the decorations and the cake. When she saw the lanterns she said, “Wow! They are so beautiful, mom!”