Yesterday we celebrated my mother’s birthday. Birthdays are a big deal in our family and nothing was going to keep us from recognizing Nana’s special day, including COVID-19!
The pandemic caused Nana’s birthday celebration to look a bit different this year. Thanks to my daughter, Nana received a homemade gift made out of recyclables due to stores being closed and my daughter unable to shop for the perfect gift. When we went to pick up Nana’s birthday cake, we found our order waiting on a table outside the bakery and we simply picked it up with no human contact. Since Nana’s favorite restaurant was closed, Pops prepared an Italian feast for all of us to enjoy. And instead of blowing out the candles on her cake, Nana fanned them out with a homemade fan crafted by my daughter! This is defiantly a birthday to remember!
From drive-through graduations, birthday parades, virtual trivia nights and streaming church services, spring celebrations throughout our world have been altered due to the pandemic. New traditions are being established as we find creative ways to recognize these important life events. And through it all, nothing is stopping us from celebrating!
Lillian turned three on November 5, 2017. We invited family and friends to a Minnie Mouse themed birthday party the day before to celebrate our little princess. Lillian loves Minnie Mouse and had the opportunity to meet her favorite character in February when we visited Disneyland and again in July when we went on a Disney Cruise to Alaska. We chose pink, white, black and gold as the party colors.
I incorporated a fun photo from our Disney cruise to Alaska when creating the invitation. You will find a thrilled little Lillian holding Alaskan Minnie’s hand. I turned to Etsy for help and had My Celebration Shoppe design the invitation. After receiving a digital image I went to Fed Ex to print them out.
I found the perfect shop on Etsy (Kim’s Boutique) to make custom Minnie and Mickey Mouse embroidered t-shirts for the party. Mommy, Daddy and Lillian wore the special shirts that incorporated the birthday colors and theme. Lillian wore a gold tutu and sparkling gold shoes from Gymboree.
I always enjoy using a Cricut Machine to cut out themed banners. This year my friend Phil let me borrow his spare machine and I went crazy! I created Minnie Mouse banners that incorporated the design on the t-shirts and placed them in every room.
I borrowed some Minnie Mouse decorations from a neighbor friend. These included the “I am 3” banner, Minnie Mouse center pieces and photo booth props.
Photos of Lillian and Minnie Mouse that were taken in Disneyland and on the Disney cruise were placed in gold frames and positioned on the mantel and throughout the house. I also used some of the character photos on a wreath that hung on the inside front door.
Guests were greeted with balloons and a “Lillian is 3” banner made out of paper Minnie Mouse heads cut from the Cricut Machine.
Cake and Cookies
We love the cakes that J. Noto Bakery have made for us in the past. The bakery met our expectations once again by incorporating my design ideas into this stunning Minnie Mouse birthday cake! The cake was iced with buttercream and the top tier was decorated with a pink fondant bow with polka dots, mouse ears, large polka dots on the side and a #3 piped on a large polka dot. The bottom tier was decorated with Minnie Mouse silhouettes with pink bows and an oval name plaque with the birthday girl’s name piped on it. The cake looked amazing but tasted even better! The top layer was chocolate cake with chocolate Bavarian creme filling and the bottom layer was white cake with raspberry filling.
For the littles I made vanilla cupcakes iced with homemade buttercream icing and pink sprinkles and adorned with a black and pink Minnie Mouse head which I made with the Cricut Machine.
The yummy homemade sugar cookies.
Minnie Mouse cupcakes.
My mom baked homemade sugar cookies in the shape of Minnie Mouse. She decorated them with homemade pink buttercream icing and pink sprinkles and added a black number 3 to some.
My dad decorated a scoop of ice cream to look like Minnie Mouse. He used Oreo Cookies for the ears and made a bow out of gumdrops. The ice cream treats were a big hit with the birthday guests!
Games and Activities
I cut giant mouse heads and bows with the Cricut Machine and we played the game “Pin the Bow on Minnie.”
I ordered a personalized Mickey Mouse Clubhouse book called “Whose Birthday Is It?” from the company Put Me In The Story. The reader follows Mickey Mouse and the other Disney characters on a birthday treasure hunt filled with clues that uncover a special birthday party for “Lillian.” I read the story at the party and then had all of the guests sign the book.
When I was a little girl I had a Mickey Mouse birthday party and my dad made special birthday hats with mouse ears. It is a joyful memory that I will always remember. I asked my dad to replicate this idea for the Minnie Mouse party. The little guests looked so cute wearing the hats!
Months before the birthday party I began collecting items for the goodie bags. I found the fun miniature Mickey and Minnie stamp pad set and the Disney card games on clearance at Target. I purchased the Minnie Mouse bubbles, stickers and activity books at a discount online at Walmart. The hot pink necklace was leftover from our gender reveal party and the Minnie Mouse head filled with candy was purchased on clearance at Walgreens.
Flying home from Erie, PA on that chilly autumn evening I sat in the back of the plane and I wept. As tears stained my face I thought of the children I left behind. And I thought about all of those people making choices for their lives before they can make choices for themselves. Then I thought of Lillian and her little friends who are all celebrating third birthdays. Beautiful girls and boys leading joy filled lives with people diligently striving to make quality choices for them. They are sweet and innocent and too young to possibly comprehend all of the blessings they have been given. I thought about my daughter’s weekend birthday party. The pictures I took of laughing faces, the sweet taste of sugar from her Minnie Mouse cake. How we transformed our home with pink and white polka dotted balloons, sparkling Minnie Mouse banners and packages adorned with iridescent bows.
Beyond the themed birthday parties, fancy cakes and the toy filled room. Beyond the stack of books, the recent autumn adventures to the pumpkin patch, zoo and neighborhood trick or treating.
Beyond the enriching classes at the library, Kindermusik, Little Gym, and the swimming pool. Beyond the overflowing closet full of clean clothes, shoes, oversized hair bows and accessories. Beyond the quality dental and healthcare. Beyond the healthy food, clean water and opportunity to safely play outside.
Lillian, the best gift you received that day was the room filled with family and friends who took the time out of their busy, stressful lives on that November afternoon to celebrate you. People who love and care for you and relish in your accomplishments. People from far away sending you cards through the mail and virtual greetings via social media. Individuals cheering you on while you reach for a new milestone, reassuring you when you feel uneasy and setting high expectations for your future. Through their guidance and encouragement you will grow to be the best “you” a little girl could possibly be. This my dear one is a birthday gift that will last a lifetime.
Perhaps you are wise beyond your freshly turned three years. For after you opened your last gift on that monumental day your Godmother, Aunt Kay Kay, heard you whisper in a soft sweet voice, “Lucky Baby.” Lillian, you are my smart and stunning little “lucky baby” but I am the lucky one because you chose me am to be your “noteworthy mommy.”
Lillian turned two on November 5, 2016. We celebrated with our parents and friends by hosting a “Tea for Two” birthday party.
I have always enjoyed planning and hosting themed parties so when we selected the “Tea for Two” birthday theme for our little princess I eagerly jumped right in and began planning.
It all began with the perfect “Tea for Two” birthday invitation. The front of the invitation contained the party details and the back of the invitation gave the guests a glimpse of what the party would include…
Savories, sweets, cake and tea. Please come celebrate my 2nd birthday with me! Running late, don’t worry, join us when you can. The pleasure of your company is the best gift I could plan!
Decorations We chose pink and purple as the signature colors. My friend Phil allowed me to use his Cricut Machine and helped me cut out tea cup and teapot shapes and my dad cut out and helped me assemble banners that we hung throughout the house. The tables were adorned with pink and purple linen table cloths with a treasured teapot and tea cups carefully placed in the center. A miniature rubber duck (one of my daughter’s favorite things) decked out in a birthday hat sat atop tea colored raffia grass in each tea cup. Tea cups on each table also held mixed party nuts and chocolate candies for guests to snack on.
The Dress I wanted a classic look for my little lady to wear at her birthday tea party so I turned to Etsy. I really liked the smocking work on the dresses at The Classic Baby. The owner, Lucinda Taylor, made a customized dress for us that matched the pink and purple colors used in the decorations. She used a light pink gingham fabric for the dress and bright pink and purple thread for the smocked teapots. I purchased some light pink satin Mary Jane shoes and lace socks to complete the outfit.
Tiny Tea Cups The littles sat in child sized chairs at an old wooden kindergarten table I used in my kindergarten classroom. They drank milk or water from special purple or pink tea cup shaped sippy cups. I found the festive cups at Oriental Trading and built the color scheme for the party around the cups. They got to take their cups home so they could have their own tea party the next day.
The Menu I wanted our guests to enjoy an array of savory and sweet treats so they would feel like they were attending a proper afternoon tea. Food was placed on crystal and glass cake stands of various heights. The cake stands were embellished with decorative dollies and silver serving pieces. Little tea pot signs which described the yummy treats were strategically placed throughout. With the help of my mother (who made the homemade sweets) and my mother-in-law (who helped with the savories) our guests enjoyed the following…
Mini Cranberry Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Tea Pot Shaped Cheese Sandwiches
Mini Tea Pot Shaped PBJ Sandwiches
Goldfish Crackers (one of the birthday girl’s favorite treats)
Pumpkin with Maple Glaze
Iced Tea Pot Sugar Cookies
Pink and Purple Spritz Cookies
Strawberry/Chocolate Cake Balls
Birthday Cake The beautiful birthday cake was ordered from J Noto’s Bakery in St. Peters, MO. I didn’t have a photo to show them exactly what I wanted but the decorator matched my vision and the cake represented the “Tea for Two” theme perfectly. While the decadent cake looked fabulous it tasted even better then it looked! The top tier was chocolate cake with chocolate Bavarian cream filling. The bottom tier was white cake with raspberry filling.
Activities Since the children are only two years old I kept the activities simple and mess free. The littles enjoyed coloring tea themed coloring pages and had fun decorating teapot cut outs with shiny stickers. After the activity everyone moved into our great room where I read the book, I’m a Little Teapot, written and illustrated by Iza Trapani. The playful book follows the teapot as it dreams of going on exciting adventures. From a bullfight in Spain, to the opera, and through the jungle, the teapot ends up back home where it delights friends and family with a hot pot of tea! Each verse is written in rhyme and can be sung to the traditional song, “I’m a Little Teapot.” Every guest signed a special birthday greeting in the book for Lillian to read when she gets older. Before Lillian opened presents, I led the group in singing the song, “I’m a Little Teapot” and I shared a special verse I wrote for my little girl on her second birthday.
Favors Each child went home with a goody bag that contained a tea pot sucker, tea themed stickers, a small tea pot note pad, a birthday rubber ducky, Play Doh, and a bag of Goldfish Crackers. The adults went home with a “Tea for Two” goody bag so they could enjoy tea with someone special when they got home. The bags contained a tea cup and saucer or a mug, a biscotti, Milano Cookies, two tea bags, a chocolate spoon and two squares of Ghirardelli Chocolate. Since we selected the birthday theme months before the big day, my mom and dad helped me collect tea cups and mugs at thrift shops and yard sales. The bags were tied with pink raffia and purple ribbon and contained a custom tag with a picture of Lillian along with the special verse I wrote for her.
This is the special verse I wrote for Lillian and it was printed on the goody bag tags. It pretty much sums up the party which was enjoyed by all.
I’m a little girl named Lillian Clare. I’m wearing a dress and a bow in my hair. Today’s my 2nd birthday and I’d like to share. Tea for Two is the perfect pair!