Happy Thursday! My daughter’s birthday is coming up (October, which feels like just around the corner right now) and I have started to think about party plans. Birthdays and parties are a big deal around here – something we all enjoy and something I have a lot of fun putting together. I was trying to remember what her party theme was last year which prompted me to look it up on the old blog and once I started looking at photos and revisiting memories I couldn’t help want to share it here. My daughter turned 11 last year (hang on a second while I mourn the early childhood years. I will soon have a preteen on my hands!) and she had been helping me plan the party for months. She is definitely my child – she knows what she wants and is full of ideas, she wants it to look good, and she wants to Do It Herself. 😉
After all the horseback riding she did while we were in Utah last summer, it was almost a forgone conclusion that she would pick Horses for her theme for her birthday party. And her very first request (after specifying that she wanted a slumber party, of course) was that she have chocolate horses topping her cupcakes, and that she be able to do them herself. She saw a YouTube video about piping chocolate onto wax paper to make shapes and that was what she had in mind, but that sounded a little intense for her first attempt at real cake decorating so I found a chocolate mold online. With our lives as crazy as they are right now and the amount of time it takes each batch of chocolate to cool I did end up making most of the chocolate horses myself, though I did make sure she got to do a few on her own.
Once we started looking at ideas online (you can see my Pinterest inspiration board here) we decided to go with a Cowgirl theme in pink and brown with a few blue accents thrown in. The invitations, of course, came first.
Kaitlyn fell in love with the idea of a big wooden pallet sign with the outline of a horse on it, but I didn’t want to work on a project that big right now. Instead, I grabbed some scrap wood from the garage, distressed it and stained it, then used hot glue to attach some jute “rope” to spell out the word Howdy. We used this sign on the front door to greet everyone and set the mood for the party.
When the guests arrived they each received a cowboy hat.
From previous experience with birthday slumber parties I know that the girls are always super-hyped, loud, and anxious to direct their own fun. They spent most of the party playing Just Dance or playing with Kaitlyn’s fast-growing collection of Ever After High dolls, but I did set up a couple of stations to go along with the party theme.
The Photo Booth props were a lot of fun
I threw together a bucket of stuff for mani/pedis, though it didn’t get used. We also had the idea to YouTube some line dances (perfect for a cowgirl party, right?!) and would have done so if the party was lagging. As I said, the girls had no problem having fun on their own so I just let them do their thing.
Knowing that the girls would happily occupy themselves, I spent more time on the food and the decorations than I did on the activities. The bead board pennant birthday banner got some theme-appropriate fabric and ribbon and provided the backdrop for the dining table.
The longer I do this party planning thing, the easier it gets. I have a handful of Go To tricks that I can use for any theme – like dressing up the drink containers. For this party I picked up a 6-pack of cream soda bottles and added a vinyl horse silhouette (made it using a horse dingbat font and my Silhouette machine. I love that there are so many great fonts out there for free!). The plates are part of a stack of inexpensive plastic party plates we picked up at Sam’s club a couple years back – they work great for parties. The napkins, bandana, and tiny pink cowboy hats (aren’t they cute?!) were all fun finds at the party store.
On to the food! The cupcakes turned out great – though I suggest putting the horses on only at the last minute. It was a warm day and some of them wanted to tip over when their legs got a little soft.
For dinner, Kaitlyn had requested ribs and mashed potatoes. And you know what that means? That means the husband did most of the food prep because he is the rib smoker expert 😉
Side note – the rolls down there on the end of the island are in a pink plastic cowboy hat. I forgot to get a detail photo of that, but I wanted to point it out because the girls thought it was a fun detail.
Once the girls had a couple of hours to play and were ready to settle down a bit, I prepared a tray of goodies so they could snack and watch TV. Included: popcorn in brown paper bags (I had folded down the tops and fringed the edges), water bottles with the horse decals (I try to avoid having any colored drinks on the playroom carpet – it is horrible when it comes to stains), Cow Tales caramels, licorice “ropes” and rice krispie treat “hay bales.”
I went to bed around 11:00 that night and I’m told some of the girls stayed up only ’til midnight while the other half made it to around 2AM. But they were all awake and hungry by 7:30 in the morning. We did a full cowboy breakfast spread with pancakes, sausage, bacon, hash browns, and chocolate milk.
Party favors were their cowboy hats, more of Kate’s chocolate horses, some cute fingernail decals (in the closest colors/designs we could find to the party colors), a pen, and some more Cow Tale caramels.
If noise levels and chaos are any indication (naw they weren’t that bad – I didn’t even have to wake up in the middle of the night to tell them to tone it down), the party was a rip-roaring success. Yay!
Linking to: Pretty Pintastic Party, Link Party Palooza, Saturday Sharefest, BFF Open House Link Party, Pin Me Link Party, Sundays Down Under, Celebrate it Sunday, Snickerdoodle Sunday, Merry Monday, Inspire Me Monday, Lou Lou Girls, Made By You Monday, Project Inspired, Your Turn to Shine,