Zee is FOUR. I guess I should get some kind of prize for every single day that I managed not to totally screw up this whole parenting deal. It’s a good thing I don’t do to kids what I do to plants.
AND HEY, guess what? I did win! I won the love of my life.
This party had it’s bumps, honestly. We had to switch dates one day before the party, lost our original picnic spot, and half the guests were no longer able to make it because of the last minute change. Also, the cake fell apart and they completely forgot about the cupcakes. However, in the end, we made it all work and it came together pretty nicely. Just look at my kid’s face. I mean, that’s the whole point, isn’t it?
We made sure the kids and parents had enough to do to keep them entertained.
Aside from the leis that we handed to everyone that came, we provided the materials for anyone interested to make their own floral necklaces and bracelets.
We also filled a wooden planter with sand and seashells for kids to find their own “treasures” and take them home. The planter was a handmade gift from my father-in-law.
I found some Moana-themed temporary tattoos online and the ever prepared Moana brought her own blue colored water and a sponge to apply them onto the kids’ wrists.
Obviously, the star of the party was Moana herself.
Moana was able to do so much in 1.5 hours. She chatted with the kids, told a story, did some magic,
put the temporary tattoos on the kids, played some simple toddler games like “Maui Says,”
and then guided everyone (parents included) in a group hula dance. There was definitely a lot of giggling.
We found these great beach buckets with shovels at the Dollar Tree and decided they would make great party favors. We also bought bubbles and blow-outs then stuck homemade Moana stickers on them to have them match with our basic theme.
My daughter’s birthday party is the one day per year that she gets to eat a bunch of sweet treats without some sort of compromise or extensive negotiation. And we had plenty of options for her.
For food, my visiting mother-in-law bought teriyaki chicken and Kalua pulled pork from Ono Hawaiian BBQ, cooked Jasmine rice at home, and bought 3 pizzas. I also made a pineapple cole slaw to go with the pulled pork and Hawaiian rolls. The chicken teriyaki was a favorite so we ran out of it quickly. There were also rainbow fruit skewers (not pictured).
We made jello “boats” with graham cracker sand (not pictured).
And upside-down pineapple cupcakes.
After a bit of a mix-up and a 40min delay at Safeway, lesson learned: pick up this kind of stuff the day before.
BUUUUUT, look at these awesome Kokomora cake pops!
A lot of the themed decoration was printed at home on cardboard paper or on full sized label paper, including the banner. However, we also did the standard balloons, plastic table covers, raffia table skirts, and a tiki bar.
My personal favorite purchase was the teepee. It’s $95 on Amazon but I managed to get it in practically new condition from a Dad on Craigslist for $30. And yes, I am completely aware that teepees have nothing to do with Moana or Polynesia, but hey, they’re awesome.
It’s been 5 days and she’s still talking about her party multiple times a day. I meaaaan, she was talking about her 3rd birthday party until the day of her 4th. Parties like these are a ton of work for everyone involved, but I was lucky to have had assistance with set-up from my Mom, her husband, their friends Ernie & Connie, and for the first birthday ever, my in laws. I wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without help. Zee’s genuine appreciation and joy makes it all worthwhile though. Plus, I’m going to be milking this period of her life where she’s still so enchanted by the sheer magic of themed birthday parties for as long as I possibly can.
You know, just in case she goes through that phase where she decides she’s too cool for everything in a few years.
Yep, bugs are pretty darn magical too.
Photos taken by Ross Marlowe.