A Ballerina-ish Third Birthday Party

I have to say that themes are not my strong suit, and I always try to steer away from overdoing the theme thing–maybe to a fault, so what started out as a “ballerina” birthday (if you remember, we’re currently into all things ballet) ended up more of a sweet, girly theme with some ballet touches.  Nonetheless I was happy with the way it turned out and She loved it, which is what mattered.

Did you know that Zurcher’s, the land of all things theme-y party has tons of cute, more subtle options, like paper straws, bags, berry baskets, banners, and those adorable punched mason jar lids you see all over Pinterest and Etsy?!  I was SO pleasantly surprised when I went in–I easily could have spent a small fortune.

I tend to totally over-commit myself to parties to the point where I end up a stressed out basket case the night before with all of the stuff I have to make, and in the end, it’s not exactly the way I want anyway, because I never get around to putting all of it together.  So this year I was determined to simplify.  We only had cake and ice cream, rather than a full lunch or dinner, and I bought a lot of the decorations and added my own touches.  It worked wonderfully!

I bought the cups, straws, and pennant banner at Zurchers.  This banner is 9 ft. long and cost me $5.00.  You’d be hard-pressed to make one from scrapbook paper for that much and I can reuse it for other parties later.  Definitely more than worth the $5.00!  I hung some lace ribbon from Hobby Lobby between the pennants, a few paper pinwheels that I did make, vintage sheet music, and some of my favorite pictures of Adelie.  The kraft paper pinwheel was originally plain, but I felt like it needed a little something, so right before the party, I drew a “3” on a paper doily and slapped in the middle.

I love cupcakes as much as the next girl, but they are so time consuming and can end up being such a hassle, especially since I always feel the need to make homemade buttercream (which never quite turns out right–does anyone else have that problem?).  So I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to make that oh-so-adorable rosette cake that’s taken Pinterest by storm.  I bought the cake mix and frosting and went to work.  I’m SO not a baker, or cake decorator for that matter, and this was the easiest thing ever!  It’s so forgiving and anywhere there ended up being a little hole between flowers, I just put piped in a little dot of frosting and you couldn’t even tell.  Lots of complements for something so incredibly easy.

Now enter the really stressful part: I was freaking out about what I was going to do to entertain a bunch of 2-4 year olds!  Like, seriously, stressing.  I was trying to keep the “games” a little more gender neutral since we had more boys coming to the party than girls and I just couldn’t think of anything that would be age appropriate and entertaining for my little crowd.  The party store actually failed me in this department, because they had just about every themed variation of pin the tail on the donkey that you can think of–including, I think, Justin Bieber, but not much else.  In the end, I opted for decorating party hats, since all of the parents were also coming and would be able to help.  And IT WAS A HIT!!
I just bought a package of party hats from the dollar store, opened one up to use as a template and then made my own party hats from heavy scrapbook paper.  If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, you know there was a little hiccup with the hats the night before.  I solved it by stapling the hats instead of the scrapbook adhesive I had started with.
I set up the table with a white table cloth and kraft paper on top so that if the kids weren’t interested in the hats, they could just color on the table.  I set out ribbon, stickers, and pom poms (sparkly and plain) in different, mostly thrifted, milk glass dishes.
For favors, I added paper doilies and twine to berry baskets.  I bought a few boxes of crayons and then gave each child a few, again, wrapped in twine, some coloring cards from the dollar store school aisle (again, in case they were uninterested in the hats), and for the ballerina touches a party blower with a ballerina on it, and a wand for the girls and sword and eye patch for the boys–I’m not going to lie, my ballet experience is pretty much limited to The Nutcracker, which is why the swords came to mind.

The crayons came out and the creativity flowed.  {Picture is blurred since I didn’t get permission from their parents to post}.

A few finished hats:

And one last time-saving tid bit:
Ice cream scooped into large nut cups, pre-party, for quick, kid sized servings.  I had seen the ice cream scooped into muffin tins idea in Pinterest, and an idea was born.  It was awesome to just pull out the ice cream cups, throw ‘em on a plate with some cake and hand it out quickly.

And I’ll just leave you with a little dose of keepin’ it real:

Notice the frosting all smashed up against the cake stand?  This cake gets a little thick when all of the frosting is on, so make sure it’s not sitting too close to the edge of the cake stand if your cake stand happens to have a lid you want to use.  Just sayin’.  {Luckily is was easy to hide.}And….then I smashed the front when I took the lid off.  And…maybe you noticed that it’s a little lopsided.  It had a good side, and that’s what everyone saw sitting on the table, so that’s all that matters, right?

I leave you with my favorite picture of my little birthday girl from one of my favorite new photographers–you can find him here {and his prices are amazing}.  I can’t believe how fast time flies and that my baby is three!

Linking At:
SNAP / The 36th Ave. / Live.Laugh.Rowe / Liz Marie Blog / Whipperberry / My Repurposed Life / Tatertots & Jello / Too Much Time / I Heart Naptime / Home Stories A to Z / 30 Handmade Days / 5 Days…5 Ways

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