Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Frozen Pool Party

Claire's 4th birthday party was yesterday. For the first time ever (writing that makes me sing "For the first time in forever" in my head, but that isn't an accurate intro), Disney merchandise intruded into our lives and Frozen took over our backyard. Or took over as much as the very small Frozen display at Party City would allow (why isn't there more Frozen memorabilia? Isn't it like the highest grossing animated film of all time? And no, I can't believe I'm asking that.). So in the absence of things with Anna and Elsa's faces stamped on them, I took the main colors and the word "frozen" and ran with it in a way that involved as little prep work and pinterest as possible.

It was a pool party, which I love because it means all 15 kids and 20+ adults would be in our backyard instead of our house. This is the best part about a pool party- you clean your house for a party and don't have to clean it again after everyone leaves. But then the weather underground app (and every other weather app I immediately downloaded) showed an 80% chance of rain on Saturday all week. I became obsessed with weather reports and they were the first thing I checked when my bleary eyes opened in the morning. Luckily, while the skies greyed and looked threatening for a bit, the weather stayed dry and I didn't have to resort to my back-up plan of putting all the kids in the TV room on a big picnic blanket to watch Frozen while the parents drank beer around the perimeter. Actually, that wouldn't have been so bad.

Anyway, the Frozen pool party was on!

I've learned to keep snacks light for afternoon pool parties- the adults just want to hydrate and the kids are swallowing too much pool water to be very hungry. So for Saturday, I made "Sven's Reindeer Mix"- something I threw together with things Claire likes and the kids could snack on without throwing up in the pool: pretzel sticks, mini marshmallows, yogurt covered twist pretzels, rice chex, and little pink pearlescent sixlets (basically round m&m's; found at Party City). I tossed it all into a teal plastic serving bowl (party city clearance shelf!) with a silver scoop and a stack of Frozen cups (that did in fact have Elsa and Anna's faces stamped on them) and it was a HUGE hit.

I also made about 20 little baggies of the mix with a sticker label and put them in the gift bags, with a bunch of extras on the side for the siblings to take home too. The official gift bags also had a princess candy bracelet and some Frozen stickers. We kept it simple- I hate tiny plastic toys enough that I have a hard time buying them, even for other people to take home, and the kids all seemed super excited to bring Sven's snack mix home.

The snack table also had some yogurt covered stars (Trader Joe's! the colors matched so I threw them in the cart Saturday morning) and raspberry lemonade in my beloved water dispenser. Mini waters and much beer was in the cooler below.

My one allowance to googling recipes was these jello "ice cubes." They were pretty and easier to make than I expected, though the lovely layering effect of the clear gelatin and blue jello was mostly lost. But they were a bit hit when I brought out them out, so I'm upping jello on my list of pool party potential snack items.

As always, the cupcakes were my biggest project. Despite vowing last year that next time I'd just buy some cupcakes from Kroger, there I was at 10:30 pm on Friday night lovingly layering blue and pink cake batter into cupcake molds and swirling them in my own interpretation of the Frozen theme.

The purple homemade butter cream followed the next day (I found out it takes a lot of coloring gel to make purple) with some sugar crowns and/or birthday signs that didn't clash and- ta da, a Frozen cupcake!

But next year I'm buying them.

As always, the important part was that Claire had a TON of fun. She has been talking about "having my friends at my house" for FOREVER and she was thrilled (THRILLED!) each time someone new walked through the back door. She wanted to show everyone her swimming moves and I was impressed at how many kids were in the water (basically, all of them), particularly since they're still pretty young and the water wasn't very warm. But as many parents mentioned, most of them don't have easy access to a pool, so an opportunity to splash around to Frozen tunes playing in the background was already a reason for celebration- add in cupcakes and some reindeer mix and everyone appeared Very excited to be in attendance. The weather wasn't too hot and our backyard is super shaded (and all the beer was drunk), so I think the adults had fun too.

My favorite moment is always the singing of Happy Birthday and blowing out of the candles. As in the past, Claire took the huffing and puffing part very seriously but still took 3 tries to knock out her single candle. She'll get more practice on her real birthday on Wednesday.

And that's about it- a jambox streaming the Frozen soundtrack and then the Disney Pandora station when the adults couldn't handle hearing Let It Go again; light snacks and refreshments; vanilla swirl cupcakes; some plastic table cloths and a dozen balloons. And a pool. And no rain. Birthday party magic! Landon, who I just realized is barely pictured, had a marvelous time swimming around the deep end, retrieving the younger kids' swim toys for them. And Cora, Cora slept the entire party away, waking up in her party dress with seconds to spare and the last few guests walking out the front door. Some friends stayed behind to join us for dinner, so Cora was pretty sure the party was still happening (not that there isn't always one happening in her head anyway).

In a fitting compliment to the Frozen theme, we ended the day with frozen margaritas (and other food items) with our friends and their kids at our favorite Mexican place. I really can't believe our little Bear is about to be four, but I'll get to that in the birthday post on Wednesday.

Now I'm knee-deep in Queen Elsa thank you notes for Claire's friends and shark themed snack ideas for Landon's birthday pool party next weekend. And then I have to think of a non-pool-party idea for Cora's first birthday in November, but not now, because that is at least two years away and no one is allowed to tell me otherwise. For now, it's happy almost 4th birthday to Claire!

(She's getting a Queen Elsa dress from etsy and I can't WAIT for her to open it. Kids' birthdays are the best.)


  1. This looks glorious! You are of my own school of kid parties - decorate just enough to look like a bad-ass, but not so much that you fail to enjoy the party yourself because you are so stressed out by the decorating. I love it! Claire is a lucky girl!

    I am linking to my own blog on your blog because I had a shark themed party a couple of years ago, and I am very proud of my shark watermelon. IF YOU CAN DO ICE CUBE JELLO CUTENESS, YOU CAN DO SHARK-WATERMELON. Trust me. It was not very hard, and didn't take too long. Though my feelings will not be hurt if you don't do it. Also, if you attempt, you will certainly do much awesomer shark fin cupcakes than I managed (they were sugar cookies, iced in black, placed on a blue frosted cupcake, and they were clearly shark fins . . . once you were told that's what they were supposed to be.)

    1. RG I love everything about your shark party! Everything! Thank you for linking- I needed to put you in the links list on my blog anyway. I lost much when Google Reader disappeared from my life.

      The shark watermelon is particularly amazing and I really want you to come here and carve it for me. I make an excellent margarita as payment.

  2. Long time reader and fan. What Etsy dress did you go with? I was coincidentally researching the exact same thing last weekend for my 3 1/2 yr old in preparation for a fall Disneyland trip. Also, thank to your blog, I went to a barre class yesterday and it kicked my butt. So... thanks? :)

    1. I got this one: It is very pretty and fluffy (the owner put an extra layer of tulle in the skirt for free, which was awesome of her) and I think Claire is going to love it, but there were several I found that I liked!

      (And yay for barre! I went to a class yesterday that about killed me. The lasagna I made for dinner- and the red wine I had with it has never been so well deserved :).

    2. Thanks!!

  3. I totally did the same thing for Syd's party. Purple, pink, and tael accented by a couple Frozen posters I found at Walmart. WTF Disney? If I think about it too long I get a bit conspiracy-theorist. Your party looks awesome and I can't wait to see the Elsa dress!