When Eloise asked for a rainbow birthday party a number of months ago, I wasn’t sure it would stick. But as party time got closer, she kept up with rainbows and pointed them out everywhere. I was so thankful for a simple theme in a season when throwing a party at all was going to be a little more of a stretch than normal.
It isn’t hard to find rainbow colored items–not especially as the 80s have made their comeback and Lisa Frank type styles are everywhere. I didn’t buy much, but a few cute things that would be fun for details and some rainbow crafts for entertainment for our younger guests. I opted for an email invitation to keep things as simple as possible, and found a cute one on Minted’s beta evite site. As it’s in beta, the invites were free to send. Perfect.
With invitations out to Eloise’s requested guest list, I didn’t fuss around much with planning until the party got much closer. Pregnancy and a busy summer just didn’t leave room for fuss, and that worked out well. I picked up Crayola school supplies (so easy to grab at this time of year) and stumbled upon packages of blank notebooks in a rainbow variety pack at Target for favors. I love making favors, but that plan was out this time around. These did the trick quite nicely:
For food, a rainbow theme is amazing. Tons of fruits and veggies in rainbow order on trays are just about the simplest, healthiest option available, so I ran with that. I had a saint of a friend stand in my kitchen, slicing and chopping, for three hours the day before the party. Thank heavens for amazing friends and willing hands to help. Throwing a party for thirty takes a small village even if it’s a simple party, but especially when I’m this pregnant. I love how colorful the table was, and how easy to plan, too.
Besides the fruit and veggies, I wanted the food to be all things Eloise likes, so I decided on salami and turkey sandwiches, rainbow pasta salad, pickles, chips and salsa, and popcorn (clouds) to round out the menu. I almost always do drinks in large dispensers, but that calls for cups and drink prep and often, messes the day of the party. Canned Izze sparkling juice, juice boxes and bottled water (with some rainbow unicorn Duck tape for fun) made the drink menu a simple, colorful one.
When it comes to birthday parties, one of my favorite parts is planning a centerpiece worthy cake. I’ve only made a few myself, and this year, when Eloise requested rainbow pies, I was a little stuck on how to make that happen. Then, last week, she changed her mind and asked for rainbow cake and ice cream, making things a little easier to implement (minus the last minute change and searching around for a bakery that could accommodate a dairy free cake on late notice). Eloise and I ran through photos on Pinterest briefly and took a handful of Eloise-approved designs to the bakery. They thought this design was most doable, so we ordered it up (“with pink where the red is”-Eloise). I’m so happy with how it turned out, and equally as thrilled with how it tasted. Turns out everyone loves a good DF/GF cake! We went with vanilla ice cream and vanilla almond milk ice cream for the DF crowd, and everyone was happy. Simplicity for the win.
For decorations this time around, I planned on bright flowers from the farmer’s market (our Saturday morning market makes this an easy choice every time), balloons, buntings reused from Elle’s first birthday, and some rainbow lights I’d grabbed for $3 a strand at Target. I always decorate our easel with a birthday sign, so that was on the agenda, and then Eloise spotted some stick-on gems at Hobby Lobby that inspired a sparkly number “3” for the food table.
When we figured out mid-week that the party would likely have to shift from an outdoor affair to an indoor one, I started brainstorming on simple ways to add more color inside. I kept most everything the same, but added two simple buntings at the last minute that were super easy to implement and ended up looking really fun. I’d stopped at Lowe’s with the kiddos earlier in the week to pick up paint chips for a possible indoor party craft project, and after cutting them for the craft, decided that some would be relegated to bunting status instead. I would do this again in a heartbeat. SO easy and colorful!
Indoor activities were a little more challenging in my head at first, since I’d planned on a piñata, a ball pit, bubbles and a few other large muscle activities for our outside event. Not all of those would fly inside, but we improvised and managed to make things work. Our non-adult guests ranged in age from 1-9, so I thought indoor entertainment would be more challenging. Turns out a craft table, a mess of ball pit balls in the playroom, an indoor piñata extravaganza and a highly entertaining balloon artist/face painter do the trick. The party lasted about two hours, and the kids were amazing. No one seemed overly bored, few tears were shed, and best of all, no one got hit with the whiffle ball bat as it swung in tight quarters through the living room.
Our crafts were super simple and not at all messy: scratch off rainbow hologram sheets from Hobby Lobby (24 for $3.99, or less with your 40% off coupon), paint chips turned bookmarks with rainbow stickers, crayons for decorating, and rainbow washi tape, and best of all, Wikki Sticks in rainbow colors. The kids had a blast with these, and they designed shapes and creations that went up all over the house throughout the party. The wax sticks cling to just about anything, but leave no color or residue, so they were a fun addition to the decor and a breeze to clean up. I would order them again any time (thank you Amazon Prime for filling this last minute, rainy party need).
I have to say, of all the parties we’ve thrown for the kids, this one turned out to be one of my favorites. In spite of the rain (and let’s be real, the two tornado sirens that went off during the party as well), everyone seemed to have a good time. The birthday girl was happy, our friends were gracious and accommodating about the space and the rainy weather, and it truly felt like a celebration, which is really all I could hope for for our sunshiny, rainbow-y girl as she turned three.
I learned a thing or two about simple being best (you’d think I’d know by now), and also learned the value of a good entertainer when you have a house full of kids on a very wet day. Balloon animals and pink kitty cat faces for the win, I tell you.
There are traces of the party still coloring up the house in corners, and I love that. Lingering birthdays are the best kind of birthdays, and go with the flow parties are the best kind of kid birthday parties, too. I’m so thankful for all of the many hands that helped to make the day a smooth one, for the friends and family who came to celebrate, and for the chance to rest well at the end of the day, with plenty of great memories to last for a long time to come.
Rainbows and unicorns were not on my radar, but Eloise was as sure as could be. And I’m so very glad
celebrating another red letter day for the books,