Caroline Turns 7: A Beach Birthday Party
PARTIES + ENTERTAINING
Bringing the beach indoors
When you grow up in Indiana with a winter or spring birthday, an outdoor pool party is out of the question. I have a January birthday and growing up, I always longed for a fun pool party or beach party (not that we really have a beach…but still.) The year I turned seven, my mom did her best to bring the beach to me with an indoor beach party. Even though it was freezing and snowy outside, she and her friend painted a huge mural of the beach and let us all wear summery outfits, play with beach balls, and listen to summery tunes. This year when I asked Caroline what sort of party she wanted to mark her seventh birthday and she said, “A beach party!” it seemed like fate.
Most kids wore dresses or shorts and t-shirts, but our sweet little friend Hazel was the most adorable thing ever in her little bathing suit! All the heart eyes for this spunky girl!
Over the years, our kids’ birthday parties have progressed from mostly parent-centric with lots of little kids who don’t understand what is going on to “drop your child off and pick them up in two hours” affairs. With that change, my food approach has transitioned from a more involved spread that would be appreciated by adults to a simple meal for the kids with a few stunning desserts. In addition to the food pictured here, I had a simple taco bar for the kids to keep things easy and semi-healthy.
Bright florals + pineapple vases
When gathering inspiration for this party, I came across the idea of turning pineapples into vases for flowers. I totally loved it but also worried it might totally become a Pinterest fail. Thankfully, this really was easy to create and I didn’t need to reference any tutorial. My talented friends at Blooms by Wildwood created these gorgeous arrangements with bright colors and a tight profile so that all I had to do was cut the stems to the appropriate length and pop them into the pineapple.
I sliced the top off of the pineapples as well as a thin slice off of the bottom to ensure that they sat level. Using a long sharp knife, I cut around the inside of the peel leaving approximately a 3/4- to 1-inch rim of fruit and then removed the center segment piecemeal. I placed a short drinking glass inside to create a more sturdy base and to hold water for the stems. I don’t think this step was entirely necessary but it added a bit of structural integrity.
Pro tip: this hollowed out pineapple also makes for an excellent cocktail vessel after the 20+ children finally vacate your house.
Coconut passion fruit cake with raspberries
I made a coconut passion fruit layer cake for my holiday party last year and of the five flavors I offered, it was by far my favorite. I have been dying to recreate it to share here and thankfully Caroline agreed it was a perfect choice for her party given the tropical flavor profile. This time I added fresh raspberries to the mix and a sprinkle of freeze dried raspberry dust to the top for a pop of color, and this ended up being a perfect addition. The colors were beautiful and taste-wise, this is one of the very best cakes I have ever made. Want the recipe? Here you go!
Peachy pink macarons
Caroline loves macarons and asks for them to be included in each party. I made pale pink macaron shells and painted them with two shades of edible metallic pink paint in a feathery motif. I ended up filling them with the same passion fruit buttercream that topped the cake tiers. They were delicious and I LOVED the way they looked!
Tropical motif sugar cookies
After a long while not making any decorated sugar cookies, I’ve been on quite a roll with them lately for lots of friends’ kids’ birthday parties and such. Since I am back in the swing, I made this combo of pineapples, flamingos, and palm tree cookies. They were such fun to make and I loved how they turned out!
Just another pretty view
Because I love it. That’s all.
Green leafy decor for that tropical feel
In addition to the pretty floral arrangements, I also ordered a variety of green leaves with a tropical look that I used throughout the decor to pull everything together. The large monstera leaves (next to the pineapples) were my favorite and I also loved the fern-looking few I added to my test tube light fixture.
Lemonade Bey would envy
Not really, but I had to laugh at how much the kids raved about “my” lemonade. I had two different girls ask me how I made it.
Want my secret recipe? Here you go. Find one container of Simply Lemonade raspberry lemonade in your fridge that you bought for cocktail making but haven’t used yet. Pour into beverage dispenser. Fill the rest of the way with Whole Foods store brand bottled lemonade. Throw in a few sliced lemons, limes, and strawberries to pretend you’re fancy.
My happy girl
Caroline and her friend Natalie. I love their spontaneous smiles!
Make a wish!
Remember that magical feeling of making a wish on your birthday candles as a kid? Oh, I love seeing it in my baby girl’s face.
My favorite smile
I’ll never get enough of her beautiful soul.
Lucky number 7
I know it’s totally cliche, but I feel like the luckiest person in the entire world that Caroline is my daughter. She is truly a special person and I’m so proud of her. I can’t wait to see what the next year with her holds!
Oh...and the picture that inspired it all
This is my best friend Amanda and I at my seventh birthday. Don’t be jealous of our amazing fashion sense. (LOL that the cold shoulder look is totally back!)
In the background, you can see the mural that my mom and her friend made, which inspired my own.