Maura's Horse 4th Birthday Party



Hi! Me again! Yep, still here:) Maura turned 4 in September, and even though that means her party was like, ahem, 2 months ago, I still wanted to share it with you guys. She loves anything horses...My Little Pony, the pony rides are her favorite thing at any fair or festival, and she has even taken a real horseback riding lesson before and loved we threw her a horse party (real pony rides included - it was awesome!) with a cowgirl spin:)

I was without a laptop for most of the summer, so I went with the next best thing to DIY invitations, this guy that Louisa from the etsy shop "flipawoo designs" customized a bit for me. I love that it is not overly cowboyish, just the right amount of balance between general horse and the wild west:)

I think its fun to greet guests outside with a little something, so I grabbed a couple of hay bales at the local farm stand and did up our chalkboard again with a welcome to the ranch sign. Plans here also involved one of those giant horse shaped balloons (purchased from Amazon) attached to the hay, but there was a tragic accident when we got home from having it blown up and the thing took off into the sky never to be seen again:(

I try not to spend a ton of money each year on decor to go with the specific theme, but instead use things we already have around. In sticking to tradition, I hung Maura's custom birthday banner up on the fireplace, but added some DIY horse ribbons this year to freshen it up.

Just made these by cutting out some circles of scrapbook paper and card stock, then going to town on the back with wide satin ribon and the glue gun. Hand-painted the number 4 on them since I didn't have access to a computer at the time.

On top of the mantel, Maura and I had fun arranging some of her flocked ponies that she already had...and to amp up the cuteness factor we made them little fences/corals out of popsicle sticks:)

One thing I did spend some money on was fabric to make this super easy DIY bunting (totally stole the idea from my friend, she had made some for her little girl's bday party earlier in the summer) . Wanted it to feel a bit like a square dance in a barn or something, so Maura and I chose vintagey-looking florals in the colors that she likes (just those quilting squares that are already cut up at Joann's). I made a cardboard triangle template and used that to cut out a million of these and then hot glued them to some grosgrain ribbon (also ran ribbon along the back side so that they could be sort of two-sided). Hung them all over in the kitchen and dining room.

In my mind you can never go wrong with fresh flowers, they go with any theme! Plus in mason jars, they whisper "you're at a horse farm!" even more:) I grabbed a couple of bunches from the grocery store and mixed them with hydrangeas from our yard. This is the first time I've used my blue mason jars as vases and they looked so pretty!

I used burlap as runners on the tables and mixed in Maura's Schleich horse figurines (that she has a growing collection of) with the flowers as centerpieces.

For food, we went with a bbq kind of menu to hopefully tie in to the ranch feel...homemade mac-n-cheese, pulled pork sliders (in the crockpot), cole slaw, fruit salad, corn muffins, pigs-in-a-blanket for the little ones. I made these chalkboard signs by just removing the glass and photos from rustic, barn-wood type frames and replacing them with black card stock that I wrote on in white crayon. I tried to use hokey cowboy kinda sayings like "watering hole" for the drink station, etc.

This DIY trail mix bar was really fun! I bought a ton of random food goodies...kid snack things like Cheerios, TeddyGrahams, Goldfish, MMs for the little ones and threw in some healthier options like banana chips, granola and craisins for the adults...and got some small white paper bags from Michaels for everyone to put their trail mix in. (That way they could eat it then and there or take it home.) Everyone of all ages got into it, and it was a good activity to pass a few minutes if somebody seemed bored.

I also think its extra fun to add a little dress up to things, so we had cowboy/girl hats and bandanas for the kids to put on if they wanted and then take home after the party was over. (Bought from Oriental Trading Company here and here, just so happened they came in packs of 12 and we had like 11 kids coming!)

I set them out here on a dresser (at the "Saddle Up" station) with the other favors, these little flocked ponies, one for each kid, also from Oriental Trading.

Maura had fun deciding which of her friends/neighbors would get which colored horse, and then I attached little kraft paper name tags to each one.

I figured that if we were going to do a horse party, we might as well do a horse party, so we had pony rides for the kids (also figured this would save me on the money I'd have to spend on crafts and other activities to keep them busy). Ponies for Parties (out of Middleboro, if you're local) came and they were amazing, can't recommend them enough! Super nice, flexible, great with the kids and you could really tell they cared about the horses. I had signed up to do one pony for an hour, but the weather wasn't looking good and rain was pending. Derel Lee suggested going with 2 "ponies" for only a half hour to hopefully get all the rides in before the rain and this worked out so well. She also let Maura pick which 2 of the 3 horses she had with her that she wanted to use, and I'm so proud of my girl that she went for the large, full grown horse and the medium sized pony!! So this happened in the street right outside our house and blocked traffic for a couple of minutes but nobody minded! The kids (and adults) had such a good time watching the horses get ready.

When Derel Lee arrived, she just took a quick scan of our property and figured out where would be best for the actual rides. They ended up walking the horses up and down the driveway in a big loop.

Having both a horse and a pony was actually really awesome cause 2 kids could ride at once and there was never a line or much of a wait. The little kids/younger siblings could go on the smaller pony and the bigger kids (I had my nieces there too where were 9 and 11) could ride on the big horse.

I'm glad we did the shorter time span of only a half hour as well, because by the end of it you could tell the excitement of it was wearing off (not for Maura!) and that the kids were ready to move on to something else.

I made her a cake again with home-made frosting and we simply stuck another one of her horse figurines on the top (after I washed him).

{Why will this girl not keep her hair bow in?!}
We had such a fun day celebrating with family and friends! Can't believe she's 4 already!!

PS. I'm learning I really like planning kids' parties! Check out some other ones like Maura's 2nd birthday and 3rd birthdays and Ian's first birthday parties here:)

PPS. Linking up to my friend Danielle's Silver Pennies Sundays over at Finding Silver Pennies...a blog party with tons of DIY projects and recipes to check out over the weekend when there's not as much blog stuff going on:)


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