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We recently celebrated my youngest daughter’s birthday with a luau – yes a luau in February. Now as this was an indoor luau, certain essential elements – including a pool – are a little harder to come by in the middle of winter. Once we found an indoor pool with an attached party room, we had no problem pulling off bright and bold flamingo and flower adorned indoor luau with tropical-inspired treats. This party was filled with neat little touches. Some deserve their own posts, but as a start, here is an overview of the details.
You are Invited
We couldn’t resist this combination of the whimsical sunglass wearing pineapples and the sophistication of the black and white stripes. It was a perfect combination for a 10-year old girl (or ten-ager as she likes to be called). Downloadable printable coming soon.
Getting the Luau Look
We added touches of topical color around the room with honeycomb pineapples, aloha and luau banners, paper flowers, streamers, an inflatable flamingo, real palms and lots of balloons. I used ballon tape for the first time ever and learned several good lessons that I will put to use next time. It’s a great product, you just have to begin with the end in mind, so you don’t end up undoing and redoing your balloon clusters.
Flock of Flamingos Centerpieces
The centerpieces were literally a serendipitous combination that came together much better than I could have imagined. The cylinder vases are from Dollar Tree and they are the perfect size and weight for any number of uses. Anytime I need to create several centerpieces – I start with these versatile vases. The hot pink flamingos were a lucky clearance find in the party aisle at Walmart. I had planned on using the traditional outdoor flamingos from the garden department, but I couldn’t resist the price or the gorgeous color of these long-legged cuties. You can find similar ones here. I filled the vases with blue metallic shred.
The base of the centerpiece consisted of large silk leaves combined with collected seashells and highlighted with camellia blooms. Thank goodness my camellias bloomed late this year. The color was perfect, they looked tropical and best of all – they were free from the front yard.
Food Table Fun
I wanted a large, colorful and fun focal point for the food table that would not need to be adhered to the wall. I found the inspiration for this tissue paper initial here. This large L was created from the box our TV came in, and lots and lots of tissue paper squares. More detailed instructions coming soon.
I usually stick with solid color plates and napkins for kids parties because they go through so many of them. But my daughter had her heart set on these pineapple plates and they did add a special touch.
There are literally hundreds of pins for luau food for kid parties on Pinterest. I picked a few favorites and then mixed them in with some good ole stand bys.
The star of the table was Stuart the fruit shark. (We invested enough time in him that my daughter named him.) An upcoming post will detail the simple steps used to transform a watermelon into this smiley display.
Clamshell cookies were constructed from Nilla Wafers, colored icing and a white Sixlet as the pearl. Being able to purchase Sixlets and other candies in solid colors definitely comes in handy for party planning purposes.
Starfished-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were a hit, and easy enough to do the day before and freeze. Did you know you can freeze peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? I knew I wouldn’t be able to do all of the prep the day of so I found this trick: put peanut butter on both pieces of bread to keep the jelly from seeping out. It also helps to seal the edges a bit which I achieved when I used the cookie cutter to make star shapes. Simply wrap them well and freeze, and then thaw on the counter (or in the lunch bag) when you are ready to use.
The vegetable tray was dressed up with a simple carrot and bell pepper palm tree.
Since this party was 5-7 pm, I felt like I needed a few more substantial items. Pigs in a blanket were already requested so I did not want to repeat cocktail smokies. I found a simple recipe for Hawaiian meatballs. Simply add a bottle of barbecue sauce and a can of crushed pineapple to frozen meatballs and heat. The original recipe called for the sauce and pineapple to mixed together and heated on the stove with the meatballs added in. I was short on prep time so I literally threw a bag of meatballs in the crockpot and dumped the sauce and pineapple right on top. It worked just fine and these were a big hit.
We rounded out the offerings with kid-friendly favorites – chips and dips, cheese puffs, colored goldfish and Swedish Fish. These bright flower-shaped bowls were perfect and very affordable.
This party introduced my daughter to Pinterest and goodness did she enjoy that new-found world! She found several cakes that she loved and a very talented family friend created a version using this cake topper kit. It tasted as good as it looked, and thankfully we had leftovers to bring home.
Our blue lagoon punch was luau perfect and apparently very tasty because those thirsty little swimmers went through quite a bit of it very quickly. Basically, it’s just a combo of blue fruit punch, pineapple juice, and Sprite. I’ll do a separate post soon, so you can save just that out as it would also be perfect for a number of parties such as baby boy showers or even the 4th of July. By the way, if you do not have one of these large drink dispensers you should think about getting one. They store easily, are very versatile and make serving a large group very easy. You can find a similar one here.
We also offered bottled water, and of course, we added personalized labels. That printable is coming soon.
Of course, everyone left with a lei, but we also shared bags of blue Sixlets and mini Swedish Fish with a luau topper that matched the invitation. The printable is coming soon. This would also be a perfect favor for a Cat in the Hat party or Dr. Seuss Day at school.
Luau Lessons Learned
Needless to say, I have had enough pineapples and flamingos for a while, but I really enjoyed putting this party together with my daughter. She’s also a planner so it was a very interesting experience to work together. I had to explain the limitations of time and money a few times, but she was very happy with how it turned out. I’ll be doing a post soon on what I learned about the both of us during the process and offer some tips for involving your kids in planning their own parties.
Being the mom, the hostess, the planner, and the coordinator just reminded me of the importance of having an on-site coordinator. It’s hard to do it all and do it well. I feel like I should have spent more time talking to the parents while the kids were swimming and that I should have just done this or that small thing a little better or a little quicker. And most definitely that I should have taken better photos to share. I’ll also be doing a post soon on what an on-site coordinator is and does, and why you (and I) may need one.
Stay humble, work hard, be kind.