Buddies,  Bug,  coffee!coffee!coffee!,  crazy stuff,  heavy on photos,  party party

Rainbow Production

happy birthday dear Bug.... make a wish!

A great big color explosion went down in our house this weekend to celebrate somebody turning FOUR. I cannot even believe it myself. Where did my baby go?!! She’s FOUR and that means I’m OLD and stuff. Just kidding.

all in a row

I can handle four. I hear it’s the magic age. This side of three has definitely been fun so far. I think the rainbow theme matched her personality pretty well. Happy, bright, colorful with lots of rain and drama mixed in… If you’re looking for a way to liven up a dreary winter day, I cannot recommend this theme (or 3.5-year-olds) enough. It was really fun to put together.

rainbow balls!

rainbow of food

it's raining rainbows on the food! swirly

I tried to make this year’s party low-key and not go crazy like other years but somewhere along the way, I got inspired by rainbows and then went a little teeny bit over the top. But! I did keep it small and only invited nine little girls. Which didn’t seem like that many at the time (just cousins and girls that we have play-dates with regularly) but it probably wouldn’t be considered a small party-guest count.

No boys were allowed. Which was tough because Bug has a huge crush on a boy at school named Jake and she asked me nearly every day if Jake was coming. Bug hasn’t been in school for nearly half a year now (due to it being expensive and the fact that we’ve been out of town so much that it’s not worth paying for days she isn’t there) so getting an invitation to Jake would have been impossible. I don’t know him or his parents or his last name. Bug suggested I walk up and down the street knocking on doors until I found him but I convinced her that it would be super cool to have an all-girl party, like it was a secret club or something. I’m not sure she bought it but it did cut down on the guest list and my costs and possibly the craziness. From what I hear boys bounce off the walls and run around like wild turkeys. I could be wrong.

Anyway we got plenty of crazy without any boys in attendance. Rainbow-colored candy may or may not have been a factor.

sugar gang


toss game

There was a ball-tossing game—thanks to the marvelous rainbow balls that Bethany crocheted mere days before the party. You know you have a great friend when you randomly decide you need rainbow-colored hacky sacks to fit in your flower-pot party favors and she volunteers to make puffy round fiber-filled ones for you instead because the hacky sacks at the store were not acceptably rainbow-y enough.

There’s more to that story but it exhausts me just trying to think of a way to explain it. Just imagine a crazy inspired person realizing that her plan A was meh and this other plan B was super-exceptional, causing her to completely switch gears on the party favors one week before the party. That’s how inspired people work. You gotta be flexible and have friends who are very laid-back and understanding.

coloring! rainball

There was coloring, of course. If I’m going to go crazy making all these graphics, I might as well turn them to black and white outlines and make a coloring page too. Girls love to color! I’ll share that here if you’d like to play along at home. No contest this time. Just have fun.

seeds/beans for the mosaic craft

We also did a craft (because that’s what we do) involving seeds. (Beans are seeds, right?) We glued beans onto a paper plate to make mosaics. This was actually really fun and easy for all ages. I thought it would be a huge mess but all the little girls were quite meticulous, some of them spending a long time getting their plates just so.

selecting seeds Mols

Bethany crafts painting glue

The big girls were meticulous too. I think there is something soothing about sorting small beans. Maybe being a bean counter is not such a bad job after all.


Annalie Calee and A

My Mom (not pictured above, that’s Calee) headed up the seed-planting activity. She’s much better at that than I am. As you know, I struggled with the seed part of this party theme. I love it that my kid has her own original ideas and she picked something outside the box for her birthday-party theme but I really didn’t really want to have a gardening party.

While I like gardening, I’m not very good at it. But you can’t have a seed party without planting something so I let my mom be in charge of that. Thank the Lord for my green-thumbed mother. I think she did a great job because everyone was very happy and quiet while they planted (besides my kid who had a crying jag when I tried to rush off and do dishes while she wasn’t looking) AND there wasn’t a giant hose-water mud mess when they were done. Amazing, no?! Not that a muddy water-fight party wouldn’t be fun. That would be a blast. Just not so much in January. And not so much for me who might have to clean it all up at the end of the day.

planting seeds helping

Anyway, I think the seed planting went splendidly and everyone took home a nice little pot of freshly-planted sweet peas. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I wanted to share about the decorations.

dingle dangle mom

They were SUPER easy!!! All I did was cut out circles from some brightly colored construction paper with my handy dandy circle cutter. Then I sewed them together with my sewing machine and some white thread. I left this bit of the party to the last minute and I was so worried that my machine would just chew up the paper but it didn’t! It worked better than I imagined and within minutes my house was transformed into a disco of giant rainbow-colored dots.

If you’re looking for a quick easy way to decorate for a party and you are not afraid of a sewing machine I say get down with your circle-making self! I thought the candy bar I set up would be the biggest decorating feature but these simple cheap circles stole the show.

grouchy ladybug 18 cupcakes standing like soldiers

Serving a rainbow of food was pretty easy. Seeds were a bit trickier. We had lots of different kinds of nuts, bagels with seeds on them, peanut butter and Nutella for spreading (we made sure no one was allergic), hummus (of course) and even some rainbow-colored chocolate-covered sunflower seeds. I was pretty proud of myself for finding those.

Bethany made the cupcakes with this recipe. They were very yummy. I decided to be selfish and choose a flavor I liked instead of going for the wow factor of the rainbow batter since we’ve done that a few times already. The little lollipops came from here.

an Olivia book! dancing with Olivia

Of course there were presents. Toby and I wanted to say “no gifts” on the invitation since Bug is quite spoiled with every toy imaginable already but I knew that would ruin the fun for my mom who has been buying her stuff since last year anyway. So there were presents after all. And I have to say she got the most thoughtful, wonderful gifts. There are a few I haven’t taken pictures of but everything she got just melted my heart. You guys really know my girl.

rippity rip rip

sweater from Auntie Jaynette! Rainbow Brite!

And that’s pretty much it.

drinking my cold coffee

Party done! Now let’s get on with the rest of the year!

All photos taken by CC or Bethany. Thank you guys!


  • bethany actually

    Hey, you were very clear that the rainbow balls were optional. That was mostly my own crazy. But I’m so glad I made them, because the kids had such fun playing with them! Once again, you provided the inspiration for something I didn’t even know I wanted to make, but that ended up being my new favorite thing. I am already planning to make more.

  • Jummy

    Reading this entry was as much a treat as attending the party would have been!

    (Ok, eating the food would have been pretty awesome actually…yummy!)

    You outdid yourself, Brenda…what will next year bring?

  • Kuky

    Looks like so much fun! And nine little girls? Sounds like such a nice small party. I’d love to have a party like that but Alan’s family is so big there’s just no way. Hmmm…but if we did only girls then maybe it would work.

    The decorations, love them. I want some up right now just because.

    And I’m so drooling over Bethany’s cupcakes. They look so good.

  • LaurenC

    This looks fantastic Brenda…..so so colourful.
    I only wish I had still been in CA to join in the fun.
    Your parties are always awesome…..and I do think I shall have to hire you as a wedding planner if I ever get married!

  • Sarah

    What an amazing party. I’ll be 30 next year and my birthday will fall on a Saturday, so I’m pretty sure that makes having a party THE LAW. I’m trying to absorb all these fun ideas – things that would have never occurred to me, even something as simple as having a theme!

  • Carrie

    Happy birthday to Bug! She is so big! It looks like the party was fantastic, but I’d expect nothing less from you! I need you to come plan Erik’s next party. Just had to laugh at “From what I hear boys bounce off the walls and run around like wild turkeys.” Oh yes. They do. I suppose calm boys exist, but I don’t know any.

  • pinky

    yes, boys do bounce off the walls and run around like wild turkeys :-)

    but my boy loves girls of all ages, he would have wandered around your party saying “oh wow, oh boy” and had a fine old time :-)

  • Tracy S

    Wow, that looks amazing! I want that for my next birthday (do you think it would go over well at a 37th birthday party?). It is so cheerful and fun. Bug is a very lucky girl. :-)

  • Sam

    The party looks truly fabulous! I loved your comment about boys – oh yes – any careful theme is kinda wasted on boys. Unless it’s cars or whatever they’re into.

    I love the rainbow balls, and your cupcakes, and your circle decorations…just awesome. It really is fun to see you put a party together, because you love it so. Hopefully one day you can get paid for your passion! Bug looks so thrilled in every picture. So happy it was a great party for all of you.

  • Julie

    Brenda, everything was SO cute!!! You should hire yourself out to help boring mom’s design cool parties. I’d totally pay. Sorry we couldn’t make it. By the way, I finally got the invitation. Seriously, were did you come from?! SO CUTE!

  • tracy_a

    What a wonderful party! I was thinking of rainbows/April showers->May flowers for my daughter’s 6th bday – I think I might have to borrow a few of your great ideas!

  • Madge

    My three little girls and I had a fantastic time! The girls are still playing with their rainballs, they have put their newly potted seeds outside to be watered by the rain and their seed art is proudly displayed in their rooms.

    Fish says THANK YOU for his cupcake.

  • Melissa

    I absolutely love your post-party recaps. You’re so detailed and there is nothing that I love more than a detail heavy party! Looks like a wonderful time was had by all.

  • Kate

    What a wonderful party! Seriously, I wish adult parties were that much fun. And your Bug mostly likely will remember this party and how special you made it for her.

  • Leta

    I love it! So fun and colorful. It looks fantastic. Great job, Brenda! Oh, and I totally get all of your over-the-topness as well. It is so easy to go crazy with the theme. There was the year I made my best friend help me draw pink & green dots on styrofoam bowls, there was the year I stayed up half the night making an ice-cream themed bean bag toss game, etc. It does stress me out, but it is so fun.

  • a chris

    Gorgeous, gorgeous colours. I, too, love how the circles came out.

    I want the cupcakes. There is something magical about cupcakes, especially when they’re beautiful (except when they’re from the grocery store; they must use artificial beauty in those ;) ). Why do they taste different from cake? Sometimes I swear they do. And Bethany’s soft hacky-sacks blow my mind.

    Looks like the kids had a blast too, which is important!

  • Annika

    Yup, boys are crazy. Of course, most of the girls I know are crazy, too. Now that I have one of each I can pretend to be an expert, even though I suspect it’s mostly an individual personality sort of thing.

  • Maddie

    As usual, you throw a fantastic party! The rainbow theme is brilliant. Love the circle garlands. Love the lollipop cupcakes. Love the crafty games. Love the painted photobooth and how great are the last-minute hackysacks??!! Just awesome.

  • BeachMama

    Wow, that is an exceptional party. Looks like everyone had a great time and the joy on Bug’s face opening her presents is priceless, hope you guys felt good letting her get presents after that. We struggle with the present thing too as it ends up being just way too much but they go to other parties with presents and wait all year long for their own birthday to arrive. I have got to try those lemon cupcakes, I do love lemon cake so it should be a no brainer.

    Great job Mom, now you have a whole year to plan #5!

  • Ana

    Brenda, you amazed me AGAIN, what a fun party!!!!! I see lots of parties around the blogosphere these days that are more fun for adults or over-chic and boring but you come up with these great ideas that are TRULY fun for kids and (I imagine) fun for you to plan.

    Happy birthday to Bug?

    I started following when Lena was born, so it’s been 4 years of reading, cheers to that!

  • Starryprincess

    Gosh can’t believe Bug is four, have been reading since she was one, it’s flown by!
    We’re having a Very Hungry Caterpillar party and blessing for our Grub, those circle decorations will be used!!!!
    Happy Birthday Lena!!!!

  • Amanda

    The party looks like it was a smashing success! I love the rainbow theme, I might have to remember that one for future use. Totally inspiring, as always!!

  • Nila

    I can’t believe that she’s 4. I started reading your blog when you were still pregnant. Wow, that’s a lot of years of following your life. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful moments with your little bug.

    Happy Birthday Bug!

  • OMSH

    Whoohooo – that was a beautiful party – what a lucky girl! I’m totally stealing your construction paper circle idea for my bubbles – thank you for that one!

    And that mug?
    I’m making a puzzle mug next time I go to our pottery painting place!

  • Lisa J

    I LOVE the rainbow party theme!! It looked like such a fun time! I hope you don’t mind if I steal some of your ideas and use them for my daughter’s party this year! I especially liked those circle decorations – I would never have thought to sew them together and that looked so easy. Thanks for the inspiration!