Like so many young girls, my five year old is obsessed with all things Frozen. So naturally, it was her requested party theme this year. As I started researching ideas for this theme, plans started coming together in my head for a post on pulling off a Frozen party. It truly requires planning ahead and a bit of creativity, given that none of the local stores I checked carry any Frozen specific party supplies. Party City has some of the themed supplies on their website, when it isn’t shown as “Out of Stock.” The three locations I checked here did not have a single Frozen party item. The big box stores don’t have it either.
Planning the Party
I’ll talk about ideas for a Frozen party; but as I recovered Sunday, began truly reflecting on the planning that went into it, and the party itself, my mind wandered. Instead of the party theme, the thoughts in my head all kept revolving around managing expectations for pulling off a kids party. Because in the age of what I’m calling “Pinterest Pressure,” it is easy to get lost in thoughts of perfection.
Pinterest is now my go-to source for inspiration. It is wonderful. I can get lost for hours in pins, with links to blogs and images of perfect party favors, themed food and decorations. So of course I logged on and started pinning.
- Feel free to browse my Birthday Party board for a ton of Frozen ideas. You can also scroll down for a little general princess stuff, and a large selection of Lorax ideas from our party two years ago.
Now I work outside of my home just over 40 hours a week, homeschool the oldest of my three kids, and take two online courses each semester. That leaves me about 13 minutes of spare time each week to do things like plan parties. Logic and reason should send me to a party place where they handle everything. But I like being creative, and easily get lost in the romance of the handmade tissue snowflakes and cool homemade theme party favors. So I rented a hall (clubhouse at our neighborhood country club) and planned for a spectacular Frozen party.
- You must shop early or make things yourself. I did find a decent selection of Elsa and Anna party supplies online – Oriental Trading actually had a decent selection, and had these great life-size cardboard cutouts, my favorite find. With Elsa, Anna and Olaf placed in front of a snowy mountain backdrop and we had a photo booth with favorite characters! But the rest was a lot of work. By Saturday morning I was rather stressed and my blood pressure was rising. I’m sure that if a medical professional took my blood pressure, they’d want to send me to the hospital. The Pinterest Pressure was building.
- I’d probably spent more than I should on the photo booth idea, so I figured I would save some money on the cake by baking it myself. I’m not great at baking and am certainly no decorator. I found something that looked easy enough. If you take a look at my Pinterest board, there is a white “snowy mountain” cake with blue shards of ice (sugar “glass”). I figured that with our humidity, the sugar “glass” wouldn’t hold up. But this picture gave me the idea to bake and decorate the cake myself. I mean it is just a pile of white icing. I purchased rolled fondant, snowflake cookie cutters, and glittery sugar crystals. I’m no cake decorator, but that is easy, right?
Actually, it was. The decorating party, anyway. But in between getting my daughter to dancing in the morning, baking the cake and trying to put together party favors, I left the cake in the pans to cool too long. Two of the three layers broke apart trying to get them out of the pan. One couldn’t be salvaged and the second had to be held together with a lot of icing. There were tears. And more than a few choice words that maybe should have led to a bar of soap in my mouth. Maybe just a bit of yelling too. The pressure kept building, and I think some steam may have been seen escaping from my ears. Thankfully, icing fixes a lot. And a snowy mountain isn’t perfectly flat and neat.
- I had my two teenage sons help with decorations. It was then that I realized that the hanging snowflake decorations I purchased online did not come with the fishing line needed to hang it from the ceiling. I should have checked this ahead of time, but didn’t (13 spare minutes a week, remember?). Instead of a snowy wonderland with snowflakes falling from the sky, we had tissue paper snowflakes assembled and tossed onto the tables as a centerpiece. It actually worked and those that were not told had no idea that they should have been hanging from the ceiling.
- My daughter wanted a castle (Elsa and Anna’s castle) that they could color and decorate. I grabbed some child-safety scissors and some printer paper and set up a “snowflake table.” My thought was that the kids could color the castle, and then cut out paper snowflakes to cover the castle with snow. I had everything for that. One guest made a snowflake, no one else was interested in making snowflakes, but they loved coloring the castle.
- The big event of the party was going to be watching the movie. We set up the TV and blu-ray player, then discovered that I left the remote control at home. (Need more stress??? Sent oldest son to run the two blacks back home – he called from there because he couldn’t find it … I drove home to find it and get a call that they got the movie started).
- I made cute “snowman” cups to hold the popcorn for the movie. Just plain white paper cups with eyes, arms and an orange nose drawn on with a Sharpie. They came out cute! Better than the Pinterest pin where I found the idea. But guess what happened – I forgot to pop the popcorn and use the cups. We now have a big stack of paper snowmen cups to use at the house.
- The pin-the-nose-on-Olaf game came out really cute! I enlarged a “build Olaf” free printable from Disney (that link is also found on my Pinterest board), cut it out and glued it to the poster board because I just can’t draw. I forgot a blindfold, and then forgot to give out prizes for the winners. Though picking a winner was rather difficult anyway. I’m convinced most of the 5 year old contests peeked given the precise location of the carrot noses directly over Olaf’s nose on the poster.
- The goody bags and take-home gift did come out cute! Each child got to make a foam magnet photo frame to hold the picture they took with the characters on the snowy mountain. We had a table set up with glue and the craft that I got from Oriental Trading (under $8 for a pack of 12 – it was a party activity AND the take-home gift). The rest of the bag had a blue & white lollipop, a clear rock candy stick (icicle) and a “build a snowman” treat. In clear plastic bags, I put three large marshmallows, 2 small marshmallows, 2 pretzel sticks, 5 raisins and a sliced wedge of orange candy (nose). I found an Olaf picture online and used some “snowy” fonts to make a little label to staple at the top of the bag.
Did the party turn out like I planned? I had a cracking cake, forgotten popcorn, decorations that couldn’t be hung like I’d planned, a long list of food, and decorations that I pinned and wanted to use but just couldn’t get done. Oh, and a reflection on Elsa’s face from the bright ceiling lights in the hall we rented. I had the 13 year old using the “easy to use, anyone can do it” point & shoot camera (leaving my good camera at home) to take pictures. I have a memory card full of shots such as this:
Many of the things I planned didn’t happen, and only a fraction of the ideas pinned were utilized. So, the answer is no. The party did not meet my original expectations. As I reflected on this with aching feet on Saturday night, I realized that it was not about my own expectations. I asked my daughter if she had a great time. She did. She’d been beaming all day (well, except for that overly tired, too much sugar, too much excitement meltdown just as we were finishing cleaning up).
I had to remind myself that the party wasn’t about my idea of perfection. It was about Chloe and her friends, celebrating a special 5th birthday. It was about her and her expectations. She had no clue what I’d pinned or what really cool and elaborate decorations I failed to execute. What she knew was that she had a group of friends come celebrate her birthday with her. She got to have fun, and she had her Frozen decorations and cake. It was perfect after all. The flaws were in my “Pinterest Pressure” expectations.