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A few months ago I told myself I wasn’t going to go overboard for Julia’s 5th birthday. When the day came I had made my whole family dress thematically, hired a princess, bought grass skirts for the kids, got Hawaiian catering, curated the perfect island playlist, and put out an ocean-themed spread. Like all well-meaning moms, the day before the party, I was pretty frazzled. But the party came together beautifully and my heart runs over with love and gratitude that I can be Julia’s mom. Five years old!

Moana birthday party ocean table spread

Moana birthday party hula skirts

I really do love throwing parties and entertaining friends. Julia loves parties too so when she gave me the theme (Moana) I sailed with it! I bought most of our party supplies from Oriental Trading. My tip is to shop a few weeks early to take advantage of free shipping codes. Check out their Luau section because that’s where I got all the cutest stuff like the grass skirts, tiki popcorn boxes, pineapple favor boxes, and sea life masks. We got our cake from Some Crust Bakery in Claremont, Calif. The sparkly aquamarine fringe backdrop is from Amazon. Julia’s romper is from Gymboree. I got my dress from ASOS.

For lunch we got catering from a local Hawaiian restaurant: barbecue chicken, kalua pork, rice, musubi and malasadas (which are donuts.) I made sure we had lots of veggies, fruit, and a seaweed salad to balance it out. Another party hit was a caramel and cheesy popcorn mix I found at Costco. We also got pizza for the kids as a backup.

For games and fun, we hired a princess from Wishing Well Entertainment. We’ve also hired Princess and Me in the past. We love both and recommend them if you’re in the Los Angeles area. The kids loved her! She did a dance lesson, temporary tattoos, storytime, general princess stuff. We also did the sea life mask craft, a backyard treasure hunt, and this adorable hula pig piñata.

Finally, here’s the Moana Playlist I compiled for the party. It’s full of Hawaiian vibes, Moana soundtrack favorites, and a few songs all about my little girl, but which you might love too, like my all time favorite, “Daughter” by Loudon Wainwright, which goes:

Everything she sees, she says she wants Everything she wants, I see she gets
That’s my daughter in the water Everything she owns, I bought her Everything she owns
That’s my daughter in the water Everything she knows, I taught her Everything she knows
Everything I say, she takes to heart Everything she takes, she takes apart
That’s my daughter in the water Every time she fell, I caught her Every time she fell
And that’s my daughter in the water I lost every time I fought her Yeah, I lost every time
Every time she blinks, she’d strike somebody blind Everything she thinks blows her tiny mind
That’s my daughter in the water Who’d have ever thought her? Who’d have ever thought?
That’s my daughter in the water I lost every time I fought her Yeah, I lost every time.