Makeover Monday: An “Under the Sea” 3rd Birthday Party

It’s been birthdaymania at our house this month. My husband and I celebrate birthdays 3 days apart, then 2 weeks later, we have the kiddo’s big day. In my life, birthdays have always been a Very. Big. Deal. My mom would bring us McDonald’s at school to have a special lunch with us on the day, and she always planned fun parties for us, regardless of our age. In fact, I just found the tape (yes, cassette) of MY 4th birthday party, where our favorite kidertainer, Audrey, brought her guitar and sang to us. Unfortunately, I need to hunt down a cassette player to hear it, but how cool is that?

On top of wanting to make it a special day, we weren’t able to have a 2nd birthday because kiddo¬†came down with some mysterious contagious rash/virus thing that caused a 1 1/2-week quarantine. We still baked cupcakes together and opened presents, but there’s something about having friends over, singing over candles, and just making the birthday girl feel special. So this year, I wanted to incorporate some of her favorite things into the party: the ocean, the color purple, and chocolate cake.

I did a lot of digging around and couldn’t actually find much information on activities for a 3rd birthday party. There’s a ton of inspiration out there (ahem, Pinterest) on setting a pretty snack table, but little kids don’t eat a lot, so putting that much effort into overdone treats didn’t seem worth it. So I’ll share our experience and hope it helps you plan your party for your little one(s).

First step: Design the invitation

3rd birthday party invitation

Teal, purple, and ocean for a little girl’s 3rd birthday!

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Gingerbread House Party Guide

It’s sadly belated, but I’m finally posting my guide to hosting a successful gingerbread house party for grownups.

As I mentioned in this post, I revived my mother’s holiday tradition of hosting gingerbread house decorating parties for me and my friends by creating a grownups-only version 5 years ago. I don’t know if it’s the nostalgia, the tradition, or the few uninterrupted ¬†hours of just-for-fun crafting and hanging out with friends that makes it something I look forward to every year.

2008 Gingerbread houses

First party: A friend and I pre-made all 16 houses and guests decorated. I’m never doing that again.

There’s quite a bit of prep, however, so I figured I’d share my tips and tricks with you in case YOU lovely readers decide to someday host your own version of this party. Now that I have 5 parties under my belt, I’ve got it down to a pretty efficient science. Continue reading

Gingerbread House Party Inspiration

A fond memory of my childhood is the annual gingerbread house decorating parties my mom would throw for me and my closest friends. We’d each get a preconstructed graham cracker house, some frosting, and bowls full of candy for decorations (and snacking.) It was fun to be creative, spend time with friends, and have a festive masterpiece to enjoy for the rest of the season!
5 years ago, I decided to revive the tradition with my grownup friends. Instead of sodas we drink bubbly and the themes range from political to whimsical. But before I share my Gingerbread House Decorating Party Guide, I’ll share some inspiration from Seattle’s Gingerbread Village.

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I’ve never seen jelly beans, ice cream cones, licorice, and mini Hershey bars make such a lovely castle.

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Keeping up with the Kidless

My husband and I are social folk, and we agreed before our daughter was born that we’d do our best to keep our friends! Parenthood has a reputation for decimating a social life, and that wasn’t an option for us!

Sleeping at last

I get it–new parents don’t go out because they are so. damn. tired.

While we have playdates, take Stroller Strides classes, and we have a wonderful PEPS group, I have an amazing group of friends who do not have children.

Luckily, they have created a few recurring gatherings over the years that successfully get the 2 (or 3!) of us out of the house. Here are a few of the outings. Most are free or cheap, and a great excuse to get together! Continue reading