Bella's 2nd Birthday!
To say I love planning and hosting parties would be an understatement. I get joy out of imagining ideas, scouring Pinterest & blogs for inspiration, sourcing out party products, hiring entertainment, and of course, pulling off the big event. It was probably even before my daughter Bella's first birthday, that I began coming up with ideas for her second...
Bella has developed a love for horses. I'm not sure where she gets it from, but I try my best to nurture her interests and watch her develop into her own little person. Not to say I won't (strongly) encourage ballet class and a love for pale pink, but if she has other ideas, hey, I'm open :) Although I'm sure a horse party could also be adorable, I decided to adapt the theme to be a unicorn bash, since unicorns are very on trend right now and easily accessible.
Side note, although my daughter usually has clear speech, the word *unicorn* really trips her up. Up until the last few days, she's been referring to them as "coo-news," which I thought couldn't be cuter, until she began calling them "corns."
We vacationed in Palm Springs this winter, where I began collecting decor for the soiree. I'm still not ready to talk about the fact that Canada no longer has Target (can we get back together, pls?), where I found cute and colorful rainbow unicorn banners, decorations, and plates.
I told myself, as I always do, that this year the party would be smaller; less extravagant, less people, stricter guest list ;) So while in California, I bought less party supplies (plates, napkins, cups, cutlery), with a plan to stick to the slimmed down shindig. And although I tried, I really did, the guest list remained about the same as last year (around 20 kids and their parents, so about 50 people total). I followed criteria of only inviting immediate family and friends with same-age kids; however, I think our friend group and Bella's friend group continues to grow.
Anyways, I'll try again next year, ha. The day before the party I realized we might be short on some party supplies, so I reached out to my friend and fellow party mama, Lindsay, who saved the day once again, by lending me some of her daughter's birthday supplies, left over from her unicorn party a few weeks earlier. Thank you Lindsay!
Live and learn! I didn't make the same mistakes as I did at Bella's first birthday. For instance, I didn't wait until the party started to cool down an already hot, people filled house. No. This year, I turned the AC on several hours before, and for the most part, the house was a comfortable temperature during the party. Patting myself on the back for that one.
More points. The weather has been on our side every May 3rd since Bella was born (that's three times so far). So this year we took advantage, and had our backyard set up for the party to be held inside and outside (the playhouse, swing set, sandbox, and water table kept them busy). This made for much more space and room for the kids to run around. Hallelujah. Last year, I had my husband construct an elaborate hanging backdrop behind the table and in front of the sliding door to the backyard, preventing people from entering the backyard. Whoops. Lesson learned.
To stick with the unicorn theme, I got the *brilliant* (if I do say so myself) idea of having unicorns (ok, ponies) show up to the party for the kids to ride/pet/admire. After running into Jim from J & S Entertainment (306)261-3458 at a few kid friendly events with animals in tow, I got his contact information and hired him to bring ponies to the party! I was hoping they would wear unicorn hats but Captain and Buttercup weren't overly excited about them so we didn't force it. Having the ponies there was so much fun for the kids (and even some of the adults). It definitely went over well! I just don't know how we are going to top it next year?!
I am beyond lucky to have a mother-in-law who is a baker extraordinaire, who always helps me pull of these crazy parties. You might remember the 3 tier Mexican wedding cake she made for Bella's birthday party last year? So far, none of my ideas have been crazy enough for her to refuse. She always doubts herself, then pulls it off, and it is always way beyond expectations. Janie baked the amazing rainbow unicorn cake that was the talk of the party, cupcakes, and sugar cookies. Everything looked and tasted like a gourmet pastry chef had made it, because, she pretty much is one.
Side note, Bella was adamant that Gaga (that's what she calls her Grandma Janie) bake her birthday cake and NOT mommy. When I was making cupcakes for her daycare birthday party she kept reminding me Gaga was making her birthday cake. Yes, Bella, don't worry. Thanks for the confidence, kid.
I stuck to the more simple stuff, and made the rainbow Rice Krispie cake (using Fruit Pebbles cereal from The States), chocolate covered pretzels, and unicorn popcorn. Instead of getting the savoury foods catered, we opted to go for charcuterie, veggies, dips, fruit, chips, and other munchies. Most of it was from Costco and it was a hit.
The last lesson we learned this year was to record Bella being sung 'Happy Birthday' and blowing out her candles. I'm still sad when I think about how we didn't get a video of that on her first birthday. So this year, we enlisted our friend Desiree Martin to capture photos and videos during the party. She did such a great job, as she always does! She also lent us the gorgeous show-stopping gold sequin tablecloth.
My husband Garrett also deserves a shout out for everything he did leading up to the party, at the event, afterwards, and pretty much everyday too. He didn't bat an eye at the long 'Honey Do' list I posted on the fridge in anticipation of the party. In fact I was woken up the day of the party to him outside, early in the morning power washing the exterior of the house and deck and inflating and anchoring the seven foot tall blow up unicorn (thank you Auntie Nicole). And again, the day following the party I woke to him vacuuming up the aftermath. Get yourself a Garrett, ladies. Just not this one ;)
A big thanks to my mama who also stayed laaaaate after the party to be the clean up crew. She may not always make it on time for things, but she always stays late and helps us put things back together <3
Hope you enjoyed checking out Bella's party half as much as I enjoyed pulling it off. Taking suggestions for next year. Husband says simple and not at our house. I do not comprehend. I was thinking 'CoaBella' (like Coachella), an outdoor music festival. Thoughts? Too much? Not enough?