Monday, October 7, 2013

The Birthday Girl Roundup

Normally my posts are very spiritually focused, and I am purposeful about using my blog as a ministry outreach.  This week, though, I want to relax a little bit and share something just for fun.  After all, the most important ministry I have is my family, and FUN is an essential part of helping our family thrive.

My daughter loves horses more than anything in the world right now, so when it came time to start planning for her birthday this year, I knew there was no better idea than a Birthday Roundup.

It all started with the idea to ask a family friend if we could bring my daughter and a few friends out to ride horses as the "Mane Event" of her party.  (Bad joke, I know...)  Once she agreed, I dug in and started planning.  I had a minimal budget, so I had to think "thrifty," but I was so tickled by the results that I just HAD to share them!

The invitations:

I bought bandana print paper from Hobby Lobby and explored Pinterest for some ideas for the wording (I ended up combining a few of my favorites).  I had to download a couple of fonts, but was able to print this super cute invitation:

I experimented with a few things to get the burned edges, and I have to confess...I burned up more than I created successfully! (My firefighter friends would NOT have approved of my methods, I'm sure!)  I ended up just using a butane lighter and barely scorching the edges before I glued the papers to the decorative paper background.  I had a spool of twine that looked like miniature rope, so I added that for a little something extra.  I simply punched two holes and used a short piece of the twine to tie the loop of rope from the back.

Unfortunately my timing was a little off, so some of our guests got an emailed picture of the invitation instead of the real thing!  But maybe I'm onto something there...

The Party Favors:

I'm not big on trinkets that end up on my floor or that the girls would just throw away, and I'm even less a fan of bags full of candy, so I wanted to give our guests something fun but useful.  I know it was a little risky with a group of seven-year-olds, but I decided to go with drinking jars.  I had a flat of pint-sized jars left over from my summer pickling, and I made "straw holes" in the lids by inserting large rivets.  I cut strips out of an old bandana and tied them and a little of the rope/twine around the top of the jar for decoration.  I simply love how they turned out!

I also splurged a little and bought each of the girls their own purple or pink bandana to wear during the party, again from Hobby Lobby, and I bought pony beads to make bracelets using the same rope/twine I used on the jars.

The Treats:

I really wanted to get miniature galvanized steel buckets to put individual cakes in, but I just couldn't find what I wanted for the price I was willing to pay.  Instead, I used little red bowls that I found at Target for only 50 cents each.  (Those also became party favors, as the girls took their uneaten cake home in them.)

I baked one sheet cake and then cut out circles with my biscuit cutter to layer in the bowls.  I piped my should-be-famous fudge frosting on top in a simple pattern and added cowgirl hat and boot picks that I bought... why at Hobby Lobby, of course.

Homemade trail mix (a simple mix of peanuts, raisins and M&M's) gave the girls something salty to munch on, and they had lemonade to wash it all down.

The Decorations:

When it came to decorations, I called on my friends for their help.  I borrowed a checkered tablecloth and bucket, and my daughter offered her toy horse collection as the finishing touch.  I used leftover paper from the invitations to cut out her name, then taped it to a string of the twine.  It ended up fitting perfectly across the front of the basket that held the cakes.  The jars of lemonade sat beautifully in the bucket of ice.

The Party Itself...

We started the party by riding horses, of course.  The girls spent about an hour riding around the corral.  We only had three guests (and we only invited six!), which ended up working great because no one had to spend much time just watching.  They were nice enough to let my boys have a few turns, too.

Of course, the girls did a little "horsing around" between rides.  (Sorry, I couldn't resist...)

After they finished riding their horses, we headed over to the local nature center, where we were allowed to use a picnic table and play area for no cost.  The girls played while I set up the table, and then they ate cake, made bracelets and my daughter opened her presents.  I had hobby horses for races, and a homemade beanbag-horseshoe game ready to go, too.

They're weren't terribly interested in the games and opted for the play area instead, but we were almost out of time anyway.  I was really surprised how quickly the time went!

All in all, the party was a HUGE success.  The fall weather provided as beautiful a day as you can ask for in Kansas, and most importantly everyone had fun and my daughter felt like a true cowgirl.

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