As my daughter began to learn to speak (and read) more and more words, became more and more physically independent and started developing her own opinion more and more, these two chipper characters from the invitation above became what felt like permanent fixtures in my life. Around the time her infatuation with that cute Blue dog from her Blues Clue’s 3rd Birthday Party began to slow down her love of all things Dora the Explorer began! Now don’t get me wrong, I love Dora as much as the next person but my little girl became a walking, talking little mimic of Dora the Explorer, her little pal Boots and of course the Map!
“I’m the Map, I’m the Map” she would bellow at the top of her lungs anytime it got stuck in her head, which was on the daily because she rapidly desired nothing for her TV time EXCEPT Dora. I don’t know if it was the Spanish lessons that were incorporated into the show that made it more interesting to her or what it was, but she loved it. The catchy songs definitely stayed in her brain and on her lips better than the Spanish did though! [After 1 year of Honors Spanish 1 as an 8th grader, she couldn’t wait to move to French this year as a freshman! I had a good laugh to myself about that.]
So I began to plan my little girl a Mexican inspired Fiesta to celebrate her Quatro cumpleanos (4th birthday)! There wasn’t a lot to choose from in the party stores back then for themed parties so I had to get creative.
Now if you have read either of my first few blogs in this Kid’s Birthday Party Blog Marathon:
then the format I will use is familiar to you, if you have not yet read them be sure to use the links above to check them out! Below is my My Fool Proof 6 Point Party Planning Steps to use when outlining and organizing your party goals! Now let’s get to the details!
Yes, this was an easy one also, Dora the Explorer silly! Fiesta style of course! Mother Nature agreed with this as well giving us a beautiful scorcher of a day! The day of the party we had 80-degree temps which are rare for Northeast Ohio in early May!
Still living in the same quaint 2 bedrooms, 1 1/2 bath apartment that my mother had intended to lease just for herself before my little family crashed it, again my stepdad offered up his home for me to use saving party room rental fees. He was not yet my step dad but as my mom’s significant other of a few years still but it still made financial sense. (This is a recurring pattern until the Inaugural 5th Birthday Carnival Party blog that is coming next!) We planned in advance to have the party outside on the deck (due to one of the activities I had planned) and had prepared our guests to dress accordingly for the weather with a little note in the invitations.
We chose a Saturday afternoon again and looking back couldn’t be happier that we did because the weather was GORGEOUS!!!!
Though my party planning had begun to evolve at this point I still had yet to discover the beauty of creating an atmosphere for your celebration. I was good to go with the store bought birthday sign, latex balloons & that infamous crepe paper; for this event though I did add a pinata! It seemed suited to the Fiesta vibe we were going for!
Below are some pictures of the traditional retail selections that I used. I included some really cute, easy and affordable alternates for you to try if you feel creative.
Also keep a look out for an upcoming blog that details my Pro’s & Con’s of Store Bought vs. Creatively Led Kid’s Birthday’s.
If you try any of these ideas I would love to see pictures or hear stories about how they turned out! Please share!
Food & Beverage…..
So this is the department that I first began to evolve my party planning routine. Not coincidentally, it was about this point in my life that as a new mom to a little one finally eating regular food, I began to step outside of the box in the kitchen. It was at this age myself, early twenties, that I started trying to replicate dishes I had enjoyed out to eat at a restaurant, getting creative myself in the kitchen with new to me ingredients and all together stepping outside of the meals I had grown used to eating growing up. Thus for this birthday I threw away the sheet pizza, chips, veggie tray combo and got a little creative…
I decided to take on a quesadilla bar, with a “Fiesta Salad” similar to this one from The Food Network and chips, salsa & guacamole offered as sides. I also had made sugar cookie taco’s as a light alternative to the traditional cake & ice cream. I still had cupcakes planned for the candles to sit on & for the kids, but I thought this would bring a sweet, fresh addition. This isn’t an exact recipe but it replicates what I did perfectly. The only change I would make now would be to soften a little cream cheese & whip that with the heavy cream. Mmmmmmm, sounds yummy! The quesadilla bar was basically made to order quesadilla’s topped with their choice of dip or extras. The selection I offered was cheese, thin diced chicken breast, peppers & onions, tomatoes, sour cream & the salsa & guacamole too. I set up the toppings buffet style similar to this picture and was pumping out made to order quesadilla’s two at a time using an Electric Griddle like the one pictured below but an older model that my mother had given me for Christmas.
Here’s a fun take on this idea using an Open Face Mexican Pizza concept instead.
This Momma here had some cute alternative ideas for her daughter’s Dora Birthday food
For this birthday party, I had a cardboard Dora the Explorer playhouse that my daughter had been given as an early birthday present so we set it up in the grass portion of the backyard and let the kids all collectively create a full-size work of art and then play in it afterward. It was a perfect way to entertain them until we were ready to do the pinata & the presents. I had just purchased plastic goody bags again and filled them with party store plastic party favors but this is a super cute idea for some Backpack Goody Bags
These backpack goody bags could be done in orange for Dora’s cousin Diego’s backpack too in case you are looking for a little boy alternative!!!
Though I joke about her obsession and I am so very grateful that the phase only lasted a few years, I do look back on this birthday with a different kind of fondness. It was the first party that she had a fair amount of her own friends and playmates in attendance and she was really beginning to enjoy the celebration of her birthday in a new, interactive way. I also think back fondly on this party because I stepped out of my normal routine and ultimately took on a little bit of a challenge and it went very well. This party gave me just the boost of confidence I needed to begin approaching my events from a totally different perspective! So in your party planning, my best advice is to not be afraid to take a reasonable risk every now and then cause you may wind up surprised! I stress reasonable though because if you take too big an uncalculated risk it could be a disaster! Don’t jump on any idea, weigh the pro’s & cons and if it is really that intimidating then don’t try it for the first time at the party! Happy Planning!
Thanks for reading!