Another year has flown by in what feels like an instant! Somehow our baby girl has turned four, and she is not much of a baby anymore. She is smart, articulate, spunky and vivacious. We are so thankful that she is ours!
We spend a lot of time doing art in our house. Both kids love to draw and paint, and we always encourage it. If Caroline were an artist, there is no question that the ongoing theme for her current body of work would be rainbows. This girl draws and paints rainbows 90% of the time that she sits down with a piece of paper. Given her love of rainbows and bright colors in general, and her bright and bold personality to match, a rainbow party seemed like the perfect way to celebrate her fourth year.
An extra special part of our celebration this year was that my wonderful friend Courtney and her daughter Clara were visiting from Virginia spending spring break with us, so they were able to join in the party! We had SO much fun with them (and I especially loved having Courtney around to help with party prep – two bloggers who love hosting parties is so much better than one! Seriously, she was a huge help.)
This is a matter of personal preference but sometimes with party themes, I see a tendency to get way too fixated on making every component of the party adhere to the theme. For a rainbow party, it does not have to look like a rainbow threw up on every plate, cup, napkin, and decoration. You don’t have to make rainbow fruit skewers or rainbow cake. It is fun to think outside the box! I wasn’t feeling the idea of rainbow foods, but I did think it would be fun to make a food for each color of the rainbow. This worked out beautifully and ended up being a nice spread with many foods that Caroline loves. The menu included:
Roasted tomato and mozzarella skewers
Classic mac and cheese
Blueberry brie crostini (recipe coming soon)
Blackberry chèvre salad
I loved all of the bright colored plates, cups, straws, etc. while I was shopping for party supplies so I ended up just buying a random assortment of bright colored things that I thought would look pretty together. I loved the way it turned out!
Also, let’s talk about the balloon arch/swag/whatever because I know lots of people will want to know how we made it! I nervously contemplated this thing for a looong time before deciding to attempt it. I was worried it would be really hard to make or that it wouldn’t turn out well. Wrong on both counts. Thanks to the instructions from The House that Lars Built, this worked out pretty well. These hand balloon pumps, and three adults blowing up the balloons, made the whole process go pretty quickly. My caveat is that there is a bit of a learning curve that comes with making one of these. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes. I assembled it the night before the party and for the most part, it held together. However, I think when I got near the top, I wasn’t connecting enough balloons to the supporting structure and instead was just sticking them to each other. The red/pink part fell apart overnight as a result of this, and eventually fell apart during the party (but we were having too much fun to really care.) We were able to rig it back together somewhat but next time I make one of these, I will be more diligent about sticking plenty of balloons onto the wire before building up and out from there. Still, totally LOVED the way this turned out and more importantly, so did Caroline. Every time she ran into the room before the party, she would shout “I LOVE MY BIRTHDAY PARTY!” So sweet.
The one really rainbow-y thing that I did for the party was this macaron tower. I have wanted to make a macaron tower forever, but wasn’t sure where to find the tower itself (obviously, Google found me one in 0.002 seconds) and also was wondering if it would be worth the effort. I did end up having to make several batches of macarons and do careful calculations to be sure I had enough cookies of each color, but this was actually a pretty fun project and everyone really loved this! Especially once they realized that each color was a different flavor. I may do a separate post with a little more detail about this and more macaron pointers if anyone is interested. After making so many batches recently, I think I have gained a few more useful tips on making macs.
I usually try to have one or two organized activities for kids to do at the party, but coming up with them is not my strong point. Eventually I settled on a super simple craft for making a rainbow using half a paper plate, finger paints, and streamers. The kids had a lot of fun with this and made all kinds of rainbows, some more classic and some more abstract. I loved watching them work!
After the craft was finished, we did what was arguably the simplest and most fun birthday activity ever – dumping balloons on the kids from up high. We had a huge number of balloons left over from making the arch (definitely better to have too many). I remembered one year when I was little, maybe three or four, my nanny woke me up from my birthday nap to a room full of balloons covering the floor and I thought it was basically the most fun and exciting thing ever. With that in mind, we (i.e. Ben and my brother Steve) gathered up the balloons in bedsheets and trash bags, we had the kids stand under the balcony, and then they let the balloons fly. Indeed, this was apparently the most exciting thing ever. The shrieks and laughter were deafening and chaos ensued for the next 15 or 20 minutes. It was hilarious.
So fun watching them go nuts over the balloons! Also, instant party favor.
Again, I just have to say how wonderful it was to have Courtney and Clara there with us. What a special treat. Courtney, you were ridiculously helpful! We make a great team. So glad we remembered to get a photo together this time! (Not usually our strong suit.)
Oh, and it wouldn’t be a party without cake, right? Caroline requested a cake “just like the one” I made as a past birthday cake for a friend. I have a huge canvas print of in my office (pictured in our old kitchen here) and she asks for that cake a lot…so, I made it happen. The cake layers are my funfetti cupcake recipe baked in two 9-inch cake layers and the frosting is my favorite whipped vanilla buttercream.
Shine on, sweet Caroline! We love you so very much.
Shop Sweet Lulu – plates, napkins, cups, straws, balloons, candles
Sucre Shop – spoons, forks (not pictured)
Simple Baker – macaron tower
Sur La Table – drink dispenser (mine was on sale in store – maybe try and see if yours has a sale as well)
Target – drink stand
Crimson Tate (my fave local fabric store – holla!) – Robert Kaufman fabric to cover the table – going to try to make a dress or skirt with it now that the party is over
Boden – Caroline’s dress
The House that Lars Built – balloon arch tutorial
Amazon – balloon pumps, glue dots, gel colors for macarons