Birthdays are kind of a big deal in our family. We quickly formed fun traditions that can now, never be broken (even for mom and dad!). And a birthday party is one of those big traditions.
Before K joined our family birthday parties were family only. With such little kids they didn’t have enough friends to justify a “real” birthday party. But nonetheless the party was made into a big deal.
I’ll admit much of the birthday hupla is my doing. I love birthdays! I love the celebrating, having a party, the planning and of course the decorating! This is why I started my Etsy business Baby Stay Little.
I have so much fun coming up with themes and designing decor for each party. In earlier years I was in control of the themes… and my type A personality loved it. However as the kids are getting older they have really expressed interest in certain themes themselves. Even though I am not in control it is fun watching them think up ideas and get creative.
Peyton is our princess. She is obsessed (or if possible greater than obsessed) with all things Disney princesses! Last year she wanted a princess party. We included all the Disney “movie” princesses. Not to be confused with Sofia the First and Elena of Avalor who are merely “tv” princesses. Hey we had to make cuts somewhere! This year she still wanted something to do with her beloved princesses.
I suggested we pick one princess to focus on. After weeks (yes weeks!) of back and forth trying to pick her current favorite royalty she still was undecided. Meanwhile for Easter she received the Moana movie. Since the movie was not out last year Moana was not included in her “Every Princess Party.” I pointed out this little detail in my attempt at a suggestion and she was on board!
Moana Birthday Bash was a go!
My first step in party preparation is Pinterest! Normally I like to keep my inspiration boards on my personal page secret. This allows the fun to remain a surprise for our family and guests who may follow me. But now on my new Four and Maybe More Pinterest you can follow me, and specifically my Birthday Party Ideas board to get a look into my planning! I will be sharing all my inspirations as well as how I translate them into my decor and party planning. With four kids we plan lots of parties and have a variety of fun themes to decorate!
My second step is usually a trip to our local JoAnn Fabrics. Once the birthday child has decided on a theme and I have my ideas and inspiration from Pinterest I like to see what I can come up with for materials. What fabrics jump out at me? Can I find fun card stock? What textures and colors are available to me? I also like to search online for any further resources. My favorites are Amazon and Etsy!
Once I have my inspiration, my supplies, and ideas, I set to work and the visions slowly become reality. Here is a look inside Peyton’s Moana Birthday Bash!
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Along with the party itself, the birthday party outfit is a big deal too! If she was to have a Moana birthday party Peyton insisted she need to be Moana. This made gift shopping easy this year! Dad and I gifted her the outfit and necklace as your birthday present earlier in the day and completely transformed her into Moana for her party!
With a busy househould I am getting worse and worse at gift shopping! Insert Amazon Prime!! I found her costume and singing necklace easy and without the hassle of how to shop without Peyton and looking at multiple stores! I even found this lei set for her “birthday crow” like Moana wears throughout the movie.
Our Peyton is hands down the most into birthdays. I don’t know if it’s the age or her personality. But she had so many ideas and was beaming the entire day! One of her ideas was to have everyone “dress up”. I knew this was not practical. However we were able to settle on a fun favor for our guests that would make them look and feel like they were in Hawaii like Moana… leis! Having “Gift giving” as one of her top love languages Peyton was totally excited about giving her party goers a persent!
Back to decorations! I found some adorable Moana fabric at Joann’s and the same day was able to find the perfect coordinating fabrics as well! Pulling from my inspiration photos I decided a mix of text banners and scrap banners would be perfect.
For our house we have three ideal places for decor banners. The entry table for gifts + favors, the fireplace for photos, and behind the “special chair” in the dinning room for cake/candle photos.
I always try and have one of the banners read “happy birthday”. The entry banner was perfect for this! I found a free downloadable Moana font (go to my Pinterest inspiration board) and cut the letters using my Cricut Explore Air. The text banner itself was simple and plain, so I added a scrap banner behind with left over fabric to add a pop of color. We set the favor leis underneath on our entry table and exampled where to put the gifts as well. As the guests arrived Peyton matched them with a lei and gratefully took her presents!
When building our home I knew the family room was going to have a focal point fireplace. I always dreamed of family photos on a fireplace for holidays and birthdays. With a raised hearth it is the perfect sitting spot for opening presents and group photos. This also makes it the perfect spot for a photo prop banner!
I love scrap garland banners! They are shabby chic and casual but add so much fun color and texture. I thought this look worked perfect for our Hawaiian theme and feel.
The last banner I created was for the dining room. For birthdays we move the birthday royalty to the head of the table so they are the focal point in the room. Behind is a window that is a great hanging location for some more decor!
Using the same Moana font I spelt “FOUR” to personalize for our little girl. With a mixture of flags and scrap pieces I felt this banner tied the other two together making a cohesive package throughout the party.
With decorations done and Peyton’s party outfit prepped, along with party favors for the guests, it is time to turn towards food! Party time was 2:00pm. I didn’t want to serve a big lunch, so the afternoon time frame provides a great time for just snacks and treats!
Fruit kabobs (birthday girls favorite!)
Spinach dip + Hawaiian bread
Heart of Te Fiti cookies
Hawaiian Raspberry Sherbert Punch
My kids have pretty plain taste buds. One thing they do love though is fruit! Fruit kabobs are tropical, healthy, and so easy to make. For this party I tried to mix colors as well as think of common “tropical” fruit. Pineapple was a must as well as kiwi (which is Peyton’s favorite). Strawberries are a family favorite so I knew it was something everyone could pick off and enjoy. Finally the grapes added more color and made great stoppers on the ends.
For the meat of the menu (pun intended) I wanted something simple and an appetizer. These BBQ meatballs are so easy and devoured by all. (We also make them for dinner served with mashed potatoes and corn for an easy weeknight meal!) I felt the BBQ taste fit with our Moana Hawaiian theme too- win win!
3 Ingredient Slow Cooker BBQ Meatballs
1 (32oz) bag frozen fully cooked meatballs
1 (18oz) jar grape jelly (I like the squeezable because it is cleaner to pour!)
1(18oz) BBQ sauce
Place all ingredients into slow cooker, stir well.
Cook on high for 2-3 hours. Easy peasy!
If you thought that was easy the next item on the buffet is even more busy mom approved! Kings Hawaiian bread (bun size) cut into bit size pieces + store made spinach dip= simple, delicious, Hawaiian themed appetizer! Also it looks so professional put into a appetizer dip tray right?
Moving onto the sweets, really the main event at all kids’ birthdays right? I outsourced all of the baking to a family friend + neighbor. She is starting up a baking business and reached out to me for the party. I weighed my personal cost of time and effort and quickly realized it was money well spent! Plus she did amazing work and way better than I would have ever been able to. Know your limits. And at the end of the day if it makes you enjoy the party more… spend a little more!
As I mentioned I love getting my inspiration from Pinterest. As the girls get older it has been helpful to include them on my searches! We scroll through together on my phone and they pick what they like. I really love when they see something that interests them but add a spin and make it their own! Peyton mixed two ideas together she found incorporating the Heart of Te Fiti. She invisioned cookies with green frosting and green sprinkles making the shape of the Heart of Te Fiti. Our friend delivered perfectly! These were my favorite part of the menu for both looks and taste!
She also baked cupcakes, that I decorated with homemade tooth pick toppers. Easy but effective! I love doing cupcakes for parties because they are easier to grab for the guests and left overs are easier to manage.
Whenever we have a party there is a must have beverage for me. Hawaiian Raspberry Sherbet Punch. It is so good and so simple! Just three ingredients. Pour and mix to taste. No measuring. No hassle. No problem! Plus if Hawaiian is in the name it was needed at this party!
Hawaiian Raspberry Sherbet Punch
Scoop all sherbet into bottom of punch bowl.
Mix equal parts of Hawaiian Punch + Sprite until happy with taste.
Stir well working in sherbet but do not fully blend.
Dinnerware is an easy way to add to any theme for a party. Plates and napkins we go with disposable so the kids can pick out something fun, whereas cups I like to use what we have but add fun straws or toppers (this time we added drink umbrellas!). I hopped onto Amazon and they had what I needed. The Moana napkins and paper plates I ordered were perfect. They were big in size, which is good for having a variety of food and mess. They also had both Maui and Moana which made our birthday girl happy.
The last detail of a birthday party is the cake. This was Peyton’s hardest decision. In our family we typically do cupcakes for parties because of the ease like I mentioned. However for actual birthdays we let the kids pick out a cake to share for family dinner. This year Peyton’s birthday and party day landed on the same day. So she got both! We ate the cupcakes for her party and saved the cake for dinner that night. However she got to blow our her candle twice (which she LOVED!)
In the end she found a simple inspiration photo on Pinterest. Turquoise blue water inspired cake with “sand” on top. She had one request that varied from the photo, and that was to have the cake topper include Moana’s boat. I found this one on amazon and we made it work! We also doubled the cake topper as her final birthday present from us.
The party went swimmingly and the party princess could not stop smiling the entire day. Decorations or not she had all the attention and that made it so special. I loved getting to plan the party with her help. I look forward to much more birthday party co-planning with all my kids, and sharing our ideas and outcomes with you!
Have any further questions or more ideas to share? Comment below, I’d love to hear what you have done different or could do!
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