Sunday, August 10, 2014

Alya's 5th Birthday Party: Unicorns and Rainbows

It is that time of the year again, it is Alya's birthday and she was very adamant about this year's theme: Unicorns and Rainbows. Indeed, we are still stuck in the horse like theme. The theme last year was Horses and Cowgirls. You can read about it here. This year, I tried to convince her that instead of throwing a birthday party we can take her to a farm and ride on real horses and ponies. She insisted on having a birthday party. After last year's birthday party, I was so tired that I vowed not to throw another party at home, well this year, not only did I throw another party at home, but I doubled the size of the invitees and again, I made everything from scratch: nvitations, decor, food, desert and favors. I would like to remind you at this point that the definition of crazy is repeating the same actions and excepting different results. Well the party was a success and the attendance rate was 100 percent which makes me happy...I meant Alya happy. My husband keeps telling me that I throw these parties for my own pleasure; I secretly agree!
The Invitation:
The idea behind this handmade card is to involve Alya in the process. I designed the picture of the unicorn and drew it by hand on every invitation card. A tutorial is in the making for a future post. I also designed the inside part of the invite. Alya colored each invitation card depending on what she thought her friends would like. She used colored pencils and she enjoyed personalizing every card. 
The Decor:
Making the party decor was one of the most satisfying part of planning this party. I originally sketched how I want the set up to be, just like I do for any party that I throw. It was a pure thrill to see my vision come to life. I must thank my husband at this point because he put up with my demands that seemed unrealistic at time, but I had a vision, I knew what I wanted, I was not willing to compromise and I was satisfied at the end. 
I recently started taking sewing classes and I was really eager to use my sewing machine so I decided to make these paper garland by sewing colored pieces of thick paper. I cut every piece using a paper trimmer and sewed all the pieces through the middle. I also sewed some paper horse in between the paper strips.  I found the paper horses at Michael's to which I added multicolored paper horns that I cut out of left over paper. Sewing the paper onto one thread created a twirling effect and I must admit that I had a lot of fun making the garland. I will also post a detailed tutorial about making those multicolored garland.
Balloon Banner:
I also made a ballon banner with the help of my husband. It is not hard to make but you need many balloons and a very patient person that is willing to assist you without making any remarks about how crazy you are. Some of the balloons popped as the hours passed but you can always add some more, I did not have any time left to do that. A tutorial is also in the making. Stay posted! 
Table Set up:
I used the buffet table to present the savory food. I put some chairs for the parents to sit down. As for the kids table, I placed two banquet tables, covered them with white oblong table cloths and used all the chairs that I had, but I made sure that I placed the chairs in a pattern: wood chair, red chair, wood chair, red chair etc. I attached a clear balloon filled with confetti on every chair. We know how kids feel about balloons. Success!
Party Food:
The original plan was to get store bought pizza and make some dips but I could not get myself to serve store bought pizza. I decided two nights before the party to serve burger sliders and my compromise was to use store bought dinner rolls instead of making the burger buns forms scratch, which I have made several times.  For Homemade burger buns recipe, click here. I also used 85% ground beef instead of grinding the beef myself and a made around 40 2oz sliders. I cooked them on my griddle which left grill marks, always a good sign when it comes to burgers. To see how I grind my own meat, click here

I also made Spinach Artichoke dip, homemade Lebanese Hummus with fresh Afghani naan squares. I bought the Afghani Naan from a nearby bakery that bakes them fresh every day. I also served vegetable with my homemade low fat Ranch dip. The kids especially loved the Pesto Pasta Salad that I made. I served some cheese on the side for the sliders and store bought chips. 
  • Grape Tomatoes and Broccoli with homemade low fat ranch dip
  • Homemade Lebanese Hummus with fresh Afghani naan squares
  • Spinach Artichoke Dip with Soue dough baguette
  • Pesto Pasta Salad
  • Beef burger sliders with cheese on the side
  • Store bought Chips
  • Ketchup, yellow mustard and spicy brown mustard

I made the usual yellow buttermilk cupcakes with homemade rainbow swiss meringue buttercream Frosting. For the Yellow Buttermilk Cupcake and Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting click here
I made the cutest cookie cupcake topper from the leftover cookie dough.

As for the rainbow coloring of the frosting, I tinted the frosting with different colors and just filled each piping bag with the different colors.
I served fresh organic strawberries and Sprinkled Marshmallows that I made using store bought marshmallows.

But what made the kids go for seconds and thirds was the cotton candy. I bought a cotton candy machine, I rolled the regular printing paper into cones and we covered them with some cotton candy to give us a head start. I used plastic piping bags to store the cottons and when it was the time the kids lined up and my husband was adding more to each cone. We made cotton candy holder from wood. 
  • Yellow buttermilk Cupcake with Rainbow Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
  • Sprinkled Marshmallow
  • Fresh organic strawberries
  • Cotton Candy
I thought a lot about entertainment this year and I insisted on having the kids to play together instead of just diverting their attention with external sources. While waiting for everyone to arrive, I put beads and bracelets so the girls could make beaded bracelets. I found at Michaels' simple bracelets that can be used for beading without a needle and can be fastened and unfastneded if you want to change the design or reuse the beads. I also printed unicorn and rainbows colored pages and placed colored pencils and markers. The best entertainment was delivered by an automatic bubble maker, all you need is to put some bubble solution. The kids had a lot of fun trying to catch the bubbles. Finally, the kids discovered the balloons attached to the chairs and played with the them. The best fun ever!
I decided this year to say no to every parent's nemesis: the Favor Bag! Instead of giving away favor bags filled with little nothings that drive the parents crazy, I decided to make very special hand decorated rainbow cookies with the a number 5 cookie glued. These cookies took around 19 hours of work but I believe that they are worth all the time and effort. Alya was very excited about those cookies. Needless to say, these cookies like all my decorated cookies taste as wonderful as they look.  I packaged each cookie in individual clear bag with thank you tag. For the recipe, click here. I will post a tutorial on how to make these adorable cookies!
Happy 5th birthday Alya!

Alya's 5th Birthday Cookie: Click here
Horses and Cowgirls 4th Birthday Party: Click here
Homemade Hamburger Buns Recipe: Click here
How to grind the beef at home: Click here
Yellow Buttermilk Cupcake and Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe: Click here
Sugar cookie Recipe, Click here


  1. Adorable birthday party!! All this party food is just fantastic. Thanks for sharing the recipes too. Last year I had reserved one of my son’s favorite party halls in Boston MA for his birthday party. But this year I’ll host the party at home and will make all the party food myself.

    1. I love Boston! Lucky you! It makes sense to invite few friends at home. At this age, all that kids care about are balloons and cupcakes!