For Ellie's 3rd Birthday, we had an Under the Sea Mermaid party. This was probably the most fun party ever to prepare for.
We made message in a bottle invitations together & had fun mailing them from Middle of Nowhere, OK while on a road trip. I did message in a bottle treasure map invitations for Will's 3rd birthday (pirate themed) too. They are so fun to mail - the postal workers get into the excitement. I think it's because they like breaking out of the envelope and box scene.
We filled the bottle with sand and seashells and a message:
Ellie used to think she wanted a Minnie Mouse party but then one day we suddenly began talking about mermaids. Ellie loves to swim and is really good at it so it seemed like a fun idea to do a swimming party this year.
Thankfully, Cookie & Lovie have a pool so their house was the party spot.
My mom and I spent Friday night decorating and, admittedly, I LOVE decorating for birthday parties with a theme.
We set all the food inside and went with a seafood theme.
Notice the goldfish in the vase as centerpieces. That was Lovie's fun idea.
I found fun seashell reusable plates online which were perfect.
The big conch shells I found on our anniversary trip earlier this summer.
These seashell planters were from my summer mantle. I filled them with goldfish and swedish fish
I made these reef treats based on something I saw online. Honestly, they were gross. And, frankly, my version didn't look so reefy. That'll teach me to try to do a pinterest thing.
For landlubbers, I attempted to make the fake sushi roll turkey sandwhiches. I filled them with honey mustard, turkey, cheese, and cucumber and carrot slices.
Ellie loves dips so for fruit, I served pineapple and mango and a fruit dip.
Interestingly, Ellie also likes sushi. What mermaid party would be complete without real sushi?! This was a hit among the adults too.
Also - shrimp and seashell pasta salad completed the dinner.
Outside by the pool, I had blue corn chips & mango salsa for appetizers.
As much as possible, I wanted the party to have a whimsical, under the sea feel. Around the back patio, I hung various shades of blue glittery sheer fabric. I made a curtain of tied up strips of blue and turquoise and sea green toile.
From the ceiling, we hung inflatable fish and I strung starfish garlands (again from my mantle) along the sides.
I had been looking online at mermaid skirts but not seeing exactly what I wanted for the price I wanted. I mentioned this to our wonderful college babysitter and she announced that she sews! So I hired her to make skirts for the girls as their party favors. Ellie & I picked fabrics out together and assigned colors. Then, Katie (the babysitter) surprised us with MONOGRAMMING each skirt & making coordinating headbands! I do love a monogram.
I loved all the skirts hanging around the girls' table and their cute faces as they tried on their new skirts!
(In case anyone is reading this for mermaid party ideas (I scoured blogs for ideas), for the skirts- we did a wrap style so that we wouldn't have to measure each girl and we made the tail a bit long on purpose to drag behind the girl like a train (because who doesn't love a dragging train?!) I wanted to make sure they were safe for walking (especially since Ellie has mobility challenges) so the front was shorter and made kind of a upside down V shape to give plenty of room for the feet to move. Also, Katie filled the fins with batting to make them poufy.
The girls have loved their skirts and I've gotten several text messages from parents as their girls have continued to wear them at home. Really fun party favor.
Since it was all about Ellie, I put kids tables in the center of the "sea" and moved grown up tables out. I wanted the girls to be surrounded by the whimsy.
For their tablecloth, I covered the table in kraft paper (Sand!) with a wide strip of that sheer meshy turquoise fabric ribbon. I topped it with shells and fish in mason jars.
I attempted to make BLUE tidal wave punch.... but apparently the BLUE label on koolaid does not imply that the kool aid is blue. I even sent my dad running to the store right before the party with very clear instructions to double check the label. He bought the same kind as I did.
So we had "Shark's blood" punch. This pleased the few brothers in attendance and the girls could have cared less how I labeled foods and beverages.
To make this "coral" look alike centerpiece, I cut off some azalea branches from a dead azalea back in our woods. I then spraypainted it oragne and pink (couldn't find coral colored spray paint in store). I mixed in some weird green sparkly sticks I found at craft store and called it coral.
These jellyfish were fun to make. I cut paper lanterns and then hot glued ribbons and strips of plastic table cloth (cut into 1-2" wide strips and pinch down the middle to get curly tentacle look) inside the lantern. I hung them with fishing line.
As the girls arrived (through bubbles!) to the party, they sat down for crafts. I provided strings and seahorse or starfish charms for necklaces, colored sand and sea life molds for sand art, and I made plaster of paris sea shells and had paint for decorating those.
To be honest, the crafts did not last very long. The girls were too excited to see friends and get to the water. In retrospect, I could have skipped the crafts (although Ellie does love to do art.)
Swimming was a huge hit for the little mermaids & sharks!
Eventually, the girls got hungry - I noticed these two enjoying the chips and dip...
and before long, all the girls were crowded around the now soaking wet bowl of chips.
So we fed them.
Then it was time for the mermaid pinata!
She was filled with some candy and mermaid stickers and bags of goldfish.
Finally, cake time! Ellie had been talking for weeks about everyone singing her "Happy Birthday!" She was so so so excited.
(And unlike earlier that morning with her birthday donuts, this time, she actually blew out the candles!)
The mermaids modeling their tails:
Mermaid Ellie was not a fan of the watergun spraying sharks
She did, however, enjoy opening presents!
As friends began to leave, a game of Hide N Seek broke out in the front yard. Ellie LOVES hide n Seek!
Cookie was the Seeker.
This was a really, really, really fun party. I loved setting it up and dreaming up ways to create an under the sea atmosphere. I loved sending girls home with dress up mermaid tails because we play A LOT of dress up here and it seemed fun to pass on something that would inspire imaginations for years hopefully. I loved watching Ellie get into the party planning and enjoy being surrounded by all of her friends celebrating her.
I will never never never get enough celebrating of this girl. Every birthday, I'm overcome as I remember doctors who predicted she wouldn't live til birth, or would't live past 7 months or later 18 months old.
My Ellie Girl is 3 years old.
We are so very blessed and thankful beyond words.
Happy Happy Birthday, Beautiful Mermaid Ellie!