Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Caroline's 3rd Birthday Party

My sweet baby girl turned three years old last week (unbelievable), so we threw her a fun party to celebrate!  As I've mentioned on here before, Caroline loves to help me in the kitchen.  No matter what she's doing, if I ask her if she wants to help mommy, she drops everything and comes running.  So it seemed fitting to throw her a "Little Chef" Party.  Her friends could make their own pizzas, decorate cupcakes, and design their own aprons.  Everyone seemed to have a great time, and the party was a hit!

I was so excited to find these invites from Tiny Prints - they were perfect.  I loved the pink and green color scheme and the little girl holding the cupcake.  I think they set the stage for a fun and festive party.


Of course I wanted to highlight some of my favorite pictures of Caroline over the past year, so to tie the banner into the theme I interspersed the photos with pink measuring cups.  I also added some very simple arrangements of spoons and spatulas to the mantle.  And since I have several pink frames, I used them to display a few more pictures.


The kids' table was maybe my favorite part of the set-up.  We created an extra-long table by lining up 2 picnic tables and Caroline's play table, and covered them all with butcher paper.  I used pretty scrapbook paper as place mats, then Joey drew a replica of the little girl from the invite to give the kids something to color.  For the crayons, I just bought a big box of crayons and tied 3 together for each place setting with pink ribbon.

I also placed a juice box at each place setting, and scattered some cute dessert themed erasers along the length of the table.

But perhaps the most popular aspect of the table were these edible centerpieces.  I used grapes and strawberries to mimic flowers, and arranged the skewers in painted pots.  I then used kale to cover the Styrofoam blocks that held the skewers.  This gave the kids something to snack on while they waited for their pizzas to cook.  They loved pulling fruit off the skewers!  And just to be safe, I cut off the pointy end from each skewer.


Another popular activity was decorating the aprons.  I ordered small kid-sized aprons from amazon, and ironed-on each name prior to the party.  The girls' letters were pink and glittery, and the boys were blue.  I ordered Caroline a pink one since she was the birthday girl :-).  To decorate, they used fabric paint and fabric markers.  Sadly, the paint took much longer to dry than anticipated, so they didn't get to wear their aprons for the party, but they made a fun activity and favor to take home, nonetheless.


Caroline's masterpiece!


After they decorated their aprons, the kids made their own pizzas.  I prepared and baked dough for personal-sized pizzas ahead of time, so the only cooking required was to heat the toppings and melt the cheese.  I kept the toppings simple, and just offered sauce, cheese, black olives, mushrooms, and pepperoni.

With parental supervision, each child personalized their own pizza.

It was so fun to see what each child wanted on their pizza!  

And it was even more fun to watch them enjoy their creations!



For the food for the adults and parents, I kept things simple.  We ordered a big platter of various wraps from the deli - turkey with provolone, roast beef with cheddar, and veggie wraps with Pepperjack.  I then cooked up a few simple sides to accompany them.


 Spinach Dip with Feta and Roasted Red Peppers


Pizza Bites with Marinara Sauce.

We also served a simple fruit salad and some chips.  The pizza bites were definitely the hit of the party, with the spinach dip coming in a close second.

 Instead of traditional flower centerpieces, I opted to go the edible route for the food table as well.  Chocolate-dipped marshmallows and Oreo pops in a glass full of jelly beans.  These were obviously also well-received. :-)
One of the details I was (dorkily) really excited about was the colander.  I used it to hold the napkins and forks, and I thought it looked so cute with the rest of the kitchen-themed decor.


And finally, the center of every birthday party - the cake!  I built a cupcake tower, and topped it with a 6-inch "smash cake" to give her a chance to blow out candles.  Half the cupcakes were chocolate with vanilla buttercream, and the other half  were yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  They were all egg-free since Caroline is allergic, but to be honest I wasn't that thrilled with the taste.  I normally find a vegan recipe to try, but this time I just used egg-replacer, and I felt like the cupcakes were all a bit dry.  Luckily the kids didn't seem to mind though.

The ruffle cake was a big hit, and it was so easy it's almost funny.  I literally spent less than 5 minutes decorating it, and it turned out so cute!


Caroline was really really excited for everyone to sing happy birthday, and she was even MORE excited for cake!


 
She especially loved blowing out the candles.


Since most of the kids in attendance were ages 2-4, I opted to keep the cupcake decorating simple and easy.  I piped the frosting ahead of time, and had several different varieties of sprinkles for them to choose from to add to their cupcakes.  


Lots of cupcake-eating going on!
And finally, even though it's not really related to the theme and it's art that only a mother could love, I wanted to display some of Caroline's art projects for the party.  I used a piece of ribbon and clothes pins to hang up some of my favorite pieces of her artwork from throughout the school year.  

And since clearly you haven't seen enough pictures of Caroline, here are a few more that melt my heart. :-)

Overall, the party went very smoothly and everyone seemed to have a good time.  I am still a little bummed that the paint wasn't dry enough for the kids to wear their aprons, but in the grand scheme of things it's not a big deal.  The most important thing is that Caroline had the time of her life - almost 2 weeks later, she is still asking if it's time for another birthday party :-)


34 comments:

~Chris said...

Precious! I especially love the way you set up the mantle! :)

PharmaMom said...

I absolutely ADORE this idea! The pizza.. the aprons... I'm bookmarking it for the future! Thanks for sharing..
Nicole @ babyfoodscoops.com

Joanne said...

Aww happy birthday! She is so precious, Josie!

Cara @ The Boys Made Me Do It said...

What a fun party! Looks like everyone had fun!

themilkmanswife said...

Adorable! Love the edible centerpieces and fun cooking related details. Looks like everyone had a great time, the birthday girl included! :)

Shanon said...

Caroline is such a doll, Josie! Happy birthday to her! I love the concept of the party...the pizza station is such a great idea for the little ones....I'll have to pass this on for my little nephews...it's really apparent how much love there is in your family. :)

Caitlin said...

What an adorable birthday girl and party! I may have to borrow this idea for my daughter's 3rd birthday- she loves helping in the kitchen too.

Jessica said...

What a cute party idea! Looks like a great way to celebrate a birthday!

Miss Nirvana said...

What a great Birthday party! It looks like a lot of fun.

Anonymous said...

What a fun party! My daughter is asking for a cooking party for her 7th birthday this month, so I'm glad to have such a great example for inspiration!

shawnda said...

Beautiful job on the party!

Hailey said...

I would love to learn how to make this ruffle cake.... such a cute idea.... please tell me more!.... loving your blog!

warmvanillasugar said...

Oh my goodness, what a cute party! Love this!

Krystal said...

Oh wowie...I love everything about this party! Centerpieces, table settings, and the pink cake...I love it all! Way to go, everything looks sooo pretty in pink and fabulous!!!

Melissa said...

Such a great party! Do you possibly have the recipe for the pizza bites?

The picture of Caroline kissing Daddy is so cute!

Jessica {The Novice Chef} said...

Looks like little miss Caroline had a fabulous 3rd birthday party!

I love the centerpieces you did with the fruit! Super cute Josie! :-)

Nikki said...

Perfect party for the cutest little Miss Chef ever! :) And, no, it's not dorky to be excited about the use of your colander. Great idea!

Kelsey said...

Josie, this is adorable. I remember making my own mini pizzas at my fifth birthday party. By the looks of it, Miss Caroline had a wonderful time!

Jen said...

What a cute party! Caroline looks like she had a great time.

Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum said...

How fun! I can't wait to have a sweet baby girl of my own someday. :)

Natalie said...

This post made me smile and gave me great ideas for future parties some day! :)

Josie said...

Melissa,
I don't have the recipe on my blog, but here is the recipe I used: http://annies-eats.net/2010/02/01/pizza-bites/

kokolikes.com said...

This is SO impressive. What a gorgeous party. Looks like the kids had a great time!

BigBearswife said...

That is one adorable party!! I love that pink ruffle cake

Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) said...

Wow... you are super mom! This is the best party! I could have used your crafty and creative brain for my daughter's 8th party this year! I love the idea of letting kids make their own pizzas. It's simple, but it really gives them a thrill!

Rachel said...

Beautiful party! Loved all the girly decorations. We did the same type of party for our 4yr old son this year. To save on time, we used pita bread for pizza crust. I made a cupcake cake that was decorated like a pepperoni pizza for adults and the kiddos got to frost & decorate their own cupcakes. They had little aprons & chefs hats to wear. It's wonderful when little ones love being helpers in the kitchen.

Jade said...

What a fabulous birthday party idea. I love it!! It looks like Caroline as well as all her friends had a fabulous time.

Kennedy said...

great party!

Mary's Pastry Lab said...

the ruffle cake looks absolutely amazing! may i know which tip you used? your daughter is absolutely adorable too.

Josie said...

Hi Mary, Thanks so much! I believe I used Wilton 104.

Anonymous said...

Where did you find the iron-on letters for the aprons? So cute!

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