Sunday, March 31, 2013

Kinley's Cowgirl Party

This will be the first of a few celebration posts coming up!  We have celebrated all weekend over here and it has been totally a blast and totally exhausting.  
I just couldn't wait to go through the party pics so I am posting those first.
 I had intended on posting updates about party planning for some time but this season of the year is so busy for me that blogging sometimes takes the back burner for a couple months. I will catch up someday.
The long and short of it is....Kinley didn't decide what kind of party she wanted until just a few weeks ago. For months she had wanted a fairy party. I searched blogs and pinterest and started to get inspired to turn my house into a woodland fairy wonderland when she switched gears on me suddenly and decided on a Cowgirl Party!!  She was super inspired by the new pink and brown boots that Honey & Boss recently got her at the rodeo.
I loved the new idea and was so excited to start planning. I found so many cute cowboy and western theme parties online. We weren't set on much except for live animals. She for sure wanted a pony at her party. Fortunately, we found an amazing company, Coalson's Corral, that will send a petting zoo and ponies to your house for birthday parties!  Susan Coalson was great to work with and they were very reasonably priced. I was very excited about the animals coming but knew that expense would eat into my birthday budget quite a bit. So, I had to get creative with how to maximize the rest. I decided to make my own invites, save on stamps by hand delivering them to most people, not have the party during a meal time so we could just have snack food, and to combine the party favors with a party activity.
I love how the invites turned out. It's amazing what cute western fonts are out there for free!
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Of course I wanted my snack food to be in theme so we had trail mix, horses apples, on the ranch dip with veggies, wild west popcorn and jalapeno ranch popcorn.  Katie came over the night before the party to help me make the apples and we used this tutorial to make the fringe popcorn sacks. They were super cheap and easy and were cute on the table.
  IMG_2927 IMG_2946 IMG_2925 IMG_2929 IMG_2921 IMG_2949 IMG_2956 But, the total hit of the party was this incredible pink ruffle cake that my SIL, Mendy, made. She is amazing. She can pretty much do anything. She makes every cake for all my birthday parties. I just texted her randomly one night with a picture of a ruffle cake with a horse and mini bunting on top and said "Are you up for this?" and she said "I have been dying to try one of those!" I did I get so lucky. It turned out beyond my vision!
It was beautiful and I feel like she could charge a ton for one of these!
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Since we were having animals, I knew the majority of the party had to be outside. Well, we live in a pretty small house on a very small lot and in March....I was super worried about the weather. After talking about the weather and the possibility of rain multiple times, Kinley just looked at me and said, "Mom, stop talking about the rain. We will just have to wait and see if it's raining."
So, true Kinley.
I looked into third party locations but when I asked Kinley, she said she wanted her friends to come to her house. So, we just made it work. We set up all the activities in our front yard and went for it. The weather turned out amazing and I counted after the party and we ended up cramming 40 kids and 55 adults into our tiny space.
But, it was all worth it.
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The petting zoo and pony were a little late to the party so we started off by doing some other activities. I set up a photo booth with a 'Wanted' poster cut out so every one could take mug shots and earn their sheriff badge. I made the wanted poster out of cardboard and black paper cut from my silhouette. I love how these pics turned out. IMG_2903 IMG_3102 IMG_3091 IMG_3015 IMG_3014 IMG_2981
Then...thank goodness for the sand. This kept kids busy for hours. Throw some sand in a baby pool and the fun doesn't stop.
Basically, we set up the sand as a gold mining station. Kinley and I took some rocks from our backyard and shook them around in gold paint and gold glitter a couple weeks ago to make lots of golden nuggets. Each kid would use pie tins and "mine" to find 4 golden nuggets (4 because Kinley turned 4).
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When they had enough golden nuggets they could buy their own stick horse from the stick horse corral. 

Oh...the stick horses.
 I really thought these would kill me.
 I thought about quitting multiple times but just could not shake it. I had seen these on other blogs and really wanted these to be an activity and the party favors for all the kids. I want to tell you that these are quick to make but, that would be a lie.
 This was absolutely where the majority of my time spent party planning went. I spent hours just prepping the horses to be put together. The manes are really what took the longest. Just cutting, folding, and grouping the yarn for manes for each horse took multiple hours.
 I prepped for one massive craft night a week before the party. I seriously have the best friends. Multiple people jumped on board to help me prep for this party. Allison, Kristen, Mendy & Ashley helped me assemble all the horses.
In all, we made 35.
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They also helped me that night make Kinley's name out of rope. I had read that a good way to do it would be to stick floral wire through a rope to mold it into a name but there was no way that would work for us. It took all of about 5 minutes and Mendy and Allison had found some recipe of cornstarch, elmer's glue and water. A few minutes of soaking the rope and a little fishing line later we had Kinley's name.
It was perfect. I love it so much, it now hangs in Kinley's bedroom.
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At least 2 other nights I had friends come help me craft. Jen and Mindy Fogle came to help me one night with the Wanted Poster, water bottle labels, and my happy birthday bunting. Loved hanging out with those sweet sister in laws.
  IMG_4069 IMG_2902 IMG_4078 And the night before the party Katie came over to help me make the carmel apples, finish some last minute details on the horses, and make the fringe popcorn sacks. I mean, this party really could not have happened without all these girls.

But, in the end...all the hard work was worth it. The stick horses turned out adorable and were a total hit. Kids were galloping around all night. IMG_2907 IMG_2979 IMG_3109

Thanks to the sand and the stick horses everyone had plenty to keep them busy until the real animals arrived. And man, was that a sight. Those poor animals had to have been traumatized by the excitement. Those kids were jumping up and down and smiling ear to ear when the animals arrived. There were so many cute photo ops for every kid.
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Kinley was a little timid of the pony at first...even though that was the whole prerequisite for her party. But, in the end, she pulled through and rode the pony multiple times and loved it.
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Kinley was beyond thrilled that her BFF, Eden, was in town from Illinois for the party!

The weather was so nice we ended up singing Happy Birthday outside. The cake was as delicious as it was beautiful.
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It seems totally excessive the amount of people that we would invite to come to a 4 year old birthday party but really everyone that came is really a part of Kinley's everyday life. The main circles of people she runs with are school friends, playgroup friends, gymnastics friends, and family. That just ends up being a lot of people. Because we live near so much family we are so thankful to have almost everyone gets to come to every event. And because my best friends and I are fiercely intense about raising our kids together as friends and family, we come from all over to every event possible. It tends to be somewhat chaotic and not everyone knows each other but we couldn't ask for anything more.
IMG_3002 IMG_3001 IMG_3131 IMG_3134 IMG_3178 Sweet brothers...
IMG_3120 IMG_3174 IMG_3167 Honey & Gram IMG_3168 IMG_2938 IMG_2939 IMG_2933
high school friends IMG_3166 IMG_3020great grandparents Pepa & Momma Gay IMG_3164 IMG_3138 IMG_3153 IMG_3088 IMG_3023
playgroup dads...aka...Ben's Tuesday night bible study. I am so thankful for all these men in Ben's life. Such an amazing group of husbands and dads.
IMG_3128 IMG_3162 some school friends IMG_3035 IMG_3024
And I just love pics like this....all the moms of twins chatting it up about having twins. So fun!
IMG_3147 IMG_3145 IMG_3116 IMG_3170 IMG_3189 Her besties at gymnastics Tatum and Aslynn IMG_3017

A few friends and family stayed a little after the party and we chowed down on some pizza. And, its not really a party until everyone ends up naked or in a princess dress. IMG_3200 IMG_3205 IMG_3203 IMG_3191 IMG_3184 IMG_3183

It was just the best day!  Kinley had so much fun. But, I think my favorite part was just seeing so many instagram pics of the party that my friends posted. These are all stolen...thanks guys!  So many cute pics.
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Thank you SO much to all who came to celebrate Kinley and especially to all who helped me prepare for this party. It is a crazy time of year for me and I could not have done it by myself.
Kinley, you are our biggest joy and the love of our lives. We are so thankful for you and who you are. It is such a blessing to celebrate you and to be your parents.
  IMG_2969 IMG_2972 IMG_4085 Stay tuned for another 4 year old update post soon!