Derek’s 3rd Birthday Moana Luau Party

If you know me, you know that I love a good theme party.  I love having a 4 and now 3 year old because they pick the funnest themes for their birthdays.  Derek, the D of kd Closet, just turned 3 in July and wanted a Moana themed birthday party.  I could have just purchased the package that includes the plates, cups, balloons and goodie bags with a picture of Moana, but that would have been too easy. So I planned a luau…

My absolute favorite part of a theme party is the clothing.  Derek dressed as Maui and wore a leaf grass skirt (faux) and we covered his chest in temporary tribal tattoos.  Kayla wore a Moana inspired dress.  My husband and I wore tropical attire as well because I will make sure everyone in our household participates, even unenthusiastically.

Since most of the kids attending were between 2 and 4, we set up sprinklers and rented an inflatable water slide instead of having a pool party.  Obviously the waterslide was a volcano with water “lava” flowing. derek-3rd-bday-lava-slide.jpgWe have our own little bounce house, slip n slide and swing set so we held the party in our backyard.  We decorated with palm fronds and luau decorations that were mostly from the dollar store.  We set out leis so all of the guests could in the luau mindset and these doubled as part of the party favors.

Derek 3rd bday instax pics
Instax Pics

I love having photo booths at our parties, even though I think I use it more than any of the guests.  We used a tropical beach backdrop and set out a Fuji Instax camera.  If you are as old as me, you may remember using actual film to take pictures, except the Instax prints a mini picture on the spot instead of needing to take your roll of film to be developed.  The kids at the party however, were a bit confused, but loved having a physical picture to keep.

We served pizza, subs, Hei Hei chicken bites, Maui Onion dip, and a cupcake birthday cake that was circular (sort of) and decorated with the heart of Tefiti swirl.  We had a pineapple shaped pinata that we filled with candy and Moana themed favors like stamps and stickers.

Finally, instead of traditional goodie bags, our guests were given a Maui inspired tee shirt, the kd Closet Etsy shop bestseller. Click HERE to order your own Maui shirt.  Each shirt is custom made to order so you can choose a different color or size or personalize with a name.  Visit our Etsy Shop or send me an email to create your own tee.  I can even work with you to create customized favors like tees, bags or cups for your little one’s birthday party!

maui shirt x4

Celebrating My Kids’ Differences

My children are too young to know it, and it really shouldn’t make a difference, but they truly are unique. Of course they have their own personalities and quirks, but I doubt they will meet many people with backgrounds as diverse as theirs. My mother is Chinese, my father is Jewish and a mixture of Eastern European heritages. I grew up in an incredibly diverse town in New Jersey so though no one was exactly like me, most of my friends were of mixed races too.  In fact, I didn’t realize being bi-racial was unique until I went to college.  My husband is white, he is Irish and Italian and was raised Catholic, but grew up in the same small town and was exposed to a variety of cultures as well. This means our children are multiracial, which shouldn’t matter in the melting pot of America, but it does, especially in the small town in Florida where we live now.

We have chosen to raise our family by exposing them to their various cultures and religions. We have decided their differences should be celebrated, not hidden, and I hope that this remains the case when they are old enough to realize they are different than other kids. We celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah, Easter and Passover, Chinese New Year and St. Patrick’s Day. I know St. Paddy’s Day had real meaning in Ireland and is different than the green beer drinking fun we have in the states. But St. Paddy’s Day means the arrival of “Kiss me, I’m Irish” shirts in stores. Since my children are part Irish, I’ve always delighted in dressing them to “honor” their Irish heritage that one day a year.

It occured to me that because St. Patrick’s Day has become such a huge commercial holiday in the US, there is no shortage of Irish themed clothing and merchandise in stores, at least for that month or so between Valentine’s Day and Easter. But what about the other parts of my children? I have seen shirts from time to time celebrating Italian backgrounds, and there seems to be one Hanukkah themed shirt for every 20 Christmas ones, but  I had never seen a shirt actually celebrating Chinese culture. Yes, there are dragon shirts galore, but nothing truly embracing being Asian. So I decided to make one myself. And the idea to add custom shirts to the kd Closet boutique was born.

I began by designing shirts for my children, because of their unique cultural diversity and just recently added them to First I made tees for the kids that read “Mommy’s Lil Dumpling” with a pair of chopsticks. Is it a stereotype? Maybe, but I choose to embrace it and let my children be proud of being 1/4 Chinese.

Next I made “Mommy’s Lil Matzo Ball” shirts because it was spring and there was bunny and Easter egg merchandise everywhere,  but nothing to celebrate Passover, at least not locally in our small Southern town. So I made my own.

My kids call my mother-in-law Nonna, because she is Italian.  So then I made “Nonna’s Lil Meatball” shirts. I was having so much fun being creative and I love a corny pun, so I began making shirts inspired by Disney characters and hip hop music.

Adults liked my Wu Tang Clan inspired C.R.E.A.M (COOKIES Rule Everything Around Me) shirts so much that I began making adult sized tees too. I made a few Disney inspired ones that work both for kids and adults and make great matching tops for everyday or trips to Disney. The best part about making shirts is I get to have a creative outlet.  Every shirt is made to order, so custom colors, sizes and designs are all possible and I love working with people to design their ideal shirt!

Head over to and check out the customized section. Soon I will add bags, cups and other personalized items so you can find both made to order and designer fashions at a great price!