Birthday parties · Lane · Parties and Entertaining

Lane’s Avaloran Fiesta!

It’s been a couple of weeks since Lane’s 5th birthday celebration, and as excited as I have been to share allllll the deets of what was a super-fun party, I feel like we are just now coming up for air!
My girls L O V E Elena of Avalor (let’s be serious – who doesn’t?), and Lane has been planning to ring in the big 0-5 with this theme for months! Luckily for me, Elena’s world is filled with vibrant colors, Latin-inspired food, and fun, festive music, all of which provided endless inspiration for a fabulous fiesta!  Here are some of my favorite details from what Lane told me was her “best birthday ever!”

Elena of Avalor cake.  Elena of Avalor birthday party inspiration.

The cake.  Oh, the cake.  Try as I may have to get her to choose a simpler cake, Lane spotted an Elena doll cake on Pinterest and had to have it.  (What?  Your 5 year old isn’t into Pinterest?)  Now, I had made one other doll cake in my time (the Merida cake from last year’s fete), so I thought this would be fairly painless.  Not this time.  Turns out, the Elena doll is taller than the other princess dolls (&*%$!), so the pan I used didn’t create a deep enough cake to cover her up to her waist.  I was short for time and ended up at the grocery store buying a pre-made cake, scraping off all the frosting and decorations, and sticking it to the bottom of my homemade cake, to add height.  Once I did that, I re-frosted and attempted a fondant dress.  It looks pretty good from the front, but I promise you, the back was a mess unimpressive.  I did my best, and Lane was delighted with it, as were her little party guests.  Now I’m praying that Lauren doesn’t want a doll cake come May.  I don’t know if I can handle the pressure!

Elena of Avalor birthday party inspiration.

The dessert table, to me, is always the star of the party (aside from the birthday girl, of course!), so I was sure to stock Lane’s with yummy Avalor-inspired sweets, such as candy scepters (these were a huge hit with the kids and are so easy to make – Lane and Lauren helped:  marshmallows + candy melts + blue crystal sprinkles), cupcakes topped with Elena and Isabel cutouts, chocolate dipped pretzels, and candy that fit with the red, blue, and yellow motif.  Avaloran chocolate was a must for Lane, but since we couldn’t figure out how to make or get the authentic stuff (Hello?!  Can we get on board with an Elena of Avalor cookbook?!), we went with chocolate coins (U.S. currency only at Party City, no Avaloran money – don’t tell Lane).  A hanging sombrero, yellow floral garland, and a DIY Feliz Cumpleaños banner completed the look.

For food and non-dessert snacks, I really wanted to stick with the Avaloran theme as closely as possible.  Cue Charoca‘s Chili (an easy recipe I adapted from the South Beach diet years ago: ground turkey, black beans, corn, brown rice, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, onion, and chili mix), pan dulce (sweet bread – bakery bought, because I can’t do all the things), Jaquin snacks (Lane and I googled: jaquins are part macaw parrot and part jaguar, so they are omnivores… we went with fruit salad for this one, even though Lane said she saw a jaquin eating a chicken leg once), Arroz de la Abuela (Spanish rice), Avaloran Ambrosia, ensalada, and of course, chips and salsa, served in a sombrero!


For decor, I decided to incorporate fruit where I could.  A few painted pineapples, lime wedges as stands for the food labels, and painted mini maracas on the tables added a festive touch.  I also found these adorable scene setters (I don’t know how I lived without these for parties before I stumbled upon them last year) that feature a mariachi band and flamenco dancers!  All that was missing was an Avaloran flag (I’m crazy enough that I actually asked the show’s creator via Twitter where I could find one of these, but his reply was that the only one was in their office!)

But all the food and decorations in the world couldn’t compete with a surprise visit from Elena!  We had the Elena of Avalor soundtrack pumping, and the kids had an absolute blast dancing, chatting, and taking photos with Elena.  Storytime, a piñata, and a coronation ceremony for Lane was the cherry on top for this birthday girl!

On their way out, Lane gave each of her friends a personalized bag filled with Elena-inspired goodies such as rings, pencils, mini maracas, and noisemakers.

This was one of my favorite parties yet, and of course, the most important thing is that Lane had an amazingly memorable birthday!  Be sure to share and pin ideas if you’re inspired to plan your own Avaloran fiesta!

 

Parties and Entertaining

Lane’s First Birthday Party: Bubble Guppies!

 

I guess my first colossal parenting fail happened when Lane was about 4 months old.  Despite having vowed she wouldn’t look at a lit screen until age 2, Lane caught a glimpse of Bubble Guppies and was mesmerized.  Needless to say, from that point, Molly and Gil were ever-present in our house (dinner wasn’t going to make itself).  I know that people always say that the first birthday party is actually more for the parents than the baby since the kids won’t remember it, but I scrapped my own plans for a 1920’s/Gatsby-themed first birthday bash for a Bubble Guppies theme – it was her party after all!

The challenge for me was to create a party that was pretty, while still embracing the Bubble Guppies theme.  So, I passed on the character-branded glossy paper plates and cone-shaped paper party hats and instead found inspiration in the colors of the characters and undersea setting and added in a little DIY.

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Easy, easy!

I found my inspiration for these yummy marshmallow pops on Pinterest, and they were super easy, adorable, and tasty.

You’ll need:

Wilton candy melts

Goldfish crackers

popsicle sticks

graham cracker crumbs

Wilton sugar pearls 

Make this easy on yourself.  Before you start melting and dipping, set up your space.  I have a bad habit of getting overexcited and starting right away, and it always causes aggravation and a mess.  I recommend lining a cookie sheet with either parchment or waxed paper (you’ll need somewhere to put these things once they’re dipped), and pouring the graham cracker crumbs, Goldfish, and sugar pearls each into separate bowls.  It’s way easier and less messy to work with the ingredients when they’re in bowls rather than in the boxes and containers they come in.  Also, stab all your marshmallows with the popsicle sticks before you start dipping.  You don’t want to have to keep reheating the candy melts if they cool down too much and thicken.  Huge waste of time, which we know is precious!

Once you’re organized, microwave the candy melts and start dipping!  I usually roll the marshmallow around in the bowl and use a spoon to smooth it out.  Resist the urge to overcoat it – it will just get clumpy.  Next, dip the bottom into the graham cracker crumbs and kind of dust the edges to create the look of beach sand.  Then, stick on a Goldfish cracker, a couple of pearls for water bubbles, and that’s it!  Place your masterpieces on the lined cookie sheet and toss them in the fridge to harden.

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These pretzel treats were also a hit (who can really pass up the salty/sweet combo?) – painless to make and actually really addictive!

You’ll need:

a bag of small pretzels

Rolo candy

Goldfish (again!)

Line up rows of pretzels on a cookie sheet, top each with a Rolo candy, and pop them in the oven for a few minutes, just long enough to soften the chocolate.  As soon as you take them out of the oven, just squish a Goldfish cracker on to each Rolo.  Cool completely.  You may want to make extra of these, because you’ll definitely be tempted to snack on a few of these!  So good.  For non-Bubble Guppies fetes, try replacing the Goldfish cracker with a pecan.

As far as decor for this party, I kept it simple and decorated with lots of colorful balloons, a photo banner with pictures from each of Lane’s first 12 months, and some simple printables I found on Etsy.  Some cute cupcake toppers, candy circles on the bottoms of Hershey Kisses (warning – these are a HUGE pain.  The hole-punching and sticking took forever), and a dressed-up high chair was about all I could handle as a nursing, sleep-deprived, working first-time mom.

Before the guests would arrive, we planned a first birthday cake smash with our favorite photographer, Krista Photography.  She came to our home with a fabulous gold sequined backdrop and captured Lane’s first taste of cake (homemade – just a plain chocolate cake frosted with pink buttercream rosettes).  Lane barely tasted the cake, but had fun checking it out – until she knocked it over.

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I also wanted to capture her favorites in a cute way, and I love this picture of us together with the chalkboard.

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Overall, the Bubble Guppies theme was easy to work with and ended up being really cute.  If you’re planning a party like this, search also for “mermaid” or “under the sea” party inspiration on Pinterest, as many of those ideas work really well with a Bubble Guppies theme, too.  I’d love to see how others incorporate these ideas, so definitely let me know in the comments how this all works for you!  Looking forward to sharing more of Lane’s parties soon…

xo Lori

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