Just a Little Fairy Tea Party For Lucy

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

For Lucy's fourth birthday, I decided to go with her current love of butterflies and do a sweet, girly, fairy/butterfly-winged tea party for her and a few little friends. She's not super demanding or opinionated, so giving her a party she enjoys is easy... And because she's more of an introvert than an extrovert, it always seems to work out better to keep the party small. Plus, HOT TIP: the less kids you invite, the more you can DO when it comes to favors or activities, etc. It's just easier to do big, fun things with fewer kids around. 

For Lucy's party this time, I decided to try to use things I already had, or could gather or make for not much money. I think that a small tea party doesn't need to be elaborate or expensive, though heaven knows I saw some pretty amazing ideas I'd love to try someday on another tea party maybe. But for this day, it was just about making a sweet little spot for 4 sweet girls to nibble silly snacks that 4-year olds would want to nibble.

I had the little chairs and stools already, from years of collecting them for my photography business. I also used to collect tea cups, so I was covered there as well. I bought the mosquito net canopy for this party ($20), and found a little table for the girls to sit at at my neighborhood thrift store ($5). The vintage tablecloth was a gift from a friend years ago. The various plates, cake stands, etc. are ones I already had. 

I added some dollar store fairy wings to each seat for the little ladies to wear/keep if they wanted to.

For the canopy, I made some tissue paper pom poms and strung a faux-flower garland. I brought my living room throw pillows outside to spruce up my porch chairs. 

This side table was for holding the food that couldn't fit on the tiny tea party table, and for holding the supplies for various crafts/activities I had lined up for the party. It's not pretty, I guess, but it really helped me keep the party running smoothly to have this right next to the action.

Lucy had just received a darling butterfly costume birthday gift from her aunt the day before, so it ended up being a big part of her party outfit on this day.

The way scheduling worked out, I ended up having to host this little tea party without Joe's help, so on the morning of, my poor kiddos had to flit around while I set things up. Lucy was content to be a butterfly and explore the violets and wait and watch. Quinn, on the other hand, could tell that strange things were afoot, and that he wasn't the focus... and he saw good and yummy treats starting to be set out and had to keep investigating. And keep getting told "no". So this was Quinn for much of the morning of Lucy's party:

But finally the party time arrived, and most of the goodies survived Quinn's curiosity. Lucy invited three friends to celebrate with her. Quinn got a seat at the table too, and I actually also bought him some wings just in case. He wore them for a tiny minute. :)

How sweet are Lucy's party guests? I invited them to wear a dress or skirt if they wanted, but made sure the mamas knew that play clothes were fine, too, since the girls might have a chance to run around and jump on the trampoline, etc. 

Some of the foods I assembled for the party:

cheese sandwiches and peanut butter/jam sandwiches, cut into heart shapes
grapes, watermelon, and raspberries
carrots and ranch
chocolate teddy grahams
dry fruit loops (also for necklace making later)
pirouette cookies
rainbow sprinkle tea cakes (so easy! Link to make them HERE)
lemonade and milk
tiny appetizer forks like these

We started the party with food right away. That left time to play and have cake afterwards. The first post-food activity was to have them design their own wand, then I glued them together for them. (Again-- SO easy with just four guests!) I had pre-cut all the parts and had it all ready to just have them pick while I hot-glued. Fast and cute! 

The ladies then took advantage of our roomy backyard and  flitted around with their wings and wands, jumping on the trampoline and playing in the little playhouse for awhile. 

After some playtime, the girls expressed interest in making the fruit loop necklaces I'd told them about earlier, so back to their tea table, now mostly cleared off, to string fruit loops onto yarn. 

After necklaces got made (then eaten), we did a couple of presents and had some cake. For Lucy's cake, I went with the easy-but-dramatic rosette cake style. Seriously. YOU COULD DO THIS. This is a good tutorial. I found the sweet butterfly to put on the top of the cake in the dollar bins at Michaels. I also found the pretty paper roses that I used on top of the cupcakes in those magical dollar bins.

My favorite cake size is to make a double-layer 6" cake. I can use a box cake mix and get both the 6" rounds and 6-8 cupcakes from one box. And a 6" cake is cute, easier to decorate, and looks so proportionate with the extra cupcakes that go along with it. It's the only size I've made for a few years now. I'm in love. (you can find 6" cake pans at your Joanns or Michaels or Hobby Lobby. Buy two. That way you can just bake everything all at the same time.)

Quinn is an EXPERT at singing "Happy Birthday" and attempting to blow out candles, so I had to referee Lucy's candle-moment very closely so he didn't ruin her moment. Ha ha! But we managed!

Finally, at this point, with all children feeling sugared out and getting close to naptimes, we finished the party with some kinetic sand and stamps. I'd decided that the main favor for Lucy's guests would be a little tub of pink sand, since the store FiveBelow sells 1/2lb boxes of the stuff for $5. I feel like favors that will actually get used and enjoyed are worth a couple of $$ more, and again, THREE GUESTS means better favors are possible. :) Lucy had gotten the princess stamps for her birthday the week before, so I pulled them out and set them on a plate for the girls to share and use in their sand. Seriously--- rubber stamps and kinetic sand is such a cute and easy toddler activity for ANYtime. Try it sometime! It doesn't hurt the stamps at all, and the sand holds the imprint so well! 

So by the time our little party wound to a close and Lucy got to a meltdown point, (no really, she did), the sand activity ended up being a good way to keep it mellow and keep them contained as we waited for parents. Lucy ended up too meltdown-y to say a proper goodbye to her guests, *sigh*, but the party really was so cute, and both Lucy and Quinn enjoyed themselves 95% of the time.

We do parties every other year, so it will be fun to see what a more grown-up and opinionated 6-year-old Lucy wants for her next party. For now, this tiny little vintage/fairy tea party was a sweet way to celebrate my now-4 year old girl.


Easter Duds

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

As it is for many folks out there, there is a tradition in my family of getting pretty, shiny, lovely new duds for the Easter holiday. It's one my mom had growing up, and one she happily carried on with my sisters, brother and I, often making our dresses for us (though not every time). It's a tradition I hold with fondness in my heart, and have had the joy of carrying on with my own little family over the years.

Like my mom, sometimes I take to the sewing machine for parts of the Easter clothing for the year, many times I let the stores do the work for me. One year I even enlisted my own mama to make a dress for Lucy because of my memories of her lovingly doing it for us as little girls. 

For fun, I have compiled as many Easter Duds photos as I could find on my hard drives, to put here in one post, an homage to this sweet tradition passed to me from my own mother. I wish I had more of my own childhood photos at my fingertips--but for now, this compilation will be more than enough to share. 

1. My mama (left), two neighbor girls (center), and my Aunt Juli (right), Easter morning sometime in the early 1960's. They are holding new kittens as they show off their new dresses. (Look at those Mary Janes. I die.)

2. Easter 1981, myself at age almost-4 (left) and my three sisters. This year was DEFINITELY a store-bought year, since you can tell my baby sister Beckie is still a total newborn. How fun to have four girls first, right mom? so fun to dress up! My brother came a year later, and two more sisters after that. I know my mom has Easter photos from all the other years, but this is all I have in my digital archives for now. 

 3. I don't remember getting Noah dressed up for his first Easter, in 2008... But I VIVIDLY remember when he was almost 18 months old. I had this "simple" vision of taking some formal Easter portraits of Noah with my sister's ancient pet bunny, while we were at my parents' house for the holiday. Let's just say that 18-month old + bunny + photos was NOT a walk in the park. I blogged it, way back when, here

4. I think I might have a 2010 Easter photo, but 2010 is my "lost year", all my personal photos locked into RAW format and not edited yet, and because they're RAW, there's no thumbnails to even see what I took that year... So maybe someday I'll find out if we did Easter clothes that year. Ha ha!  But here is 2011. Lucy was literally BRAND-NEW, less than two weeks old this year, so no fancy dress for her. But Noah gt some cute new clothes! And Lucy had a bow to match, and even smirked in her sleep for this one photo. 

5. 2012: This was the year I enlisted my mom's sewing help. She made Lucy the amazing dress, pinafore, and bloomers. I made Noah a tie to match (though I used too stiff of interfacing, so it was kind of a dumb tie and he only wore it this once) and I made Lucy a headband. No formal portraits... just a front porch photo on my parents' porch.

6. 2013: Just one year later and along came Quinn. Easter and Quinn's baby blessing coincided, so Quinn wore Noah's blessing outfit. Noah had a brand-new suit from his grandparents, complete with tie, so I just had to get Lucy something this year. I opted for a little ivory GAP dress with golden bunnies on it, part of their Peter Rabbit collection, which I swooned and mooned over for weeks before finally giving myself permission to just get the darn thing. And its matching golden cardigan. Never looked back, no regrets. And look! Mom and Dad in the photo! Hooray! 

7. Last year: I made Lucy's dress, made the boys some REALLY bad last-minute bowties that didn't work without safety pins, and dragged them to the gardens in Columbia, MO in the middle of the day on Easter to get some photos. There was no good shade spots except huddled in the side-yard of the old schoolhouse there in the gardens. And clearly Quinn was super into this whole thing. But can you even stand Noah's genuine, half-grown-toothy smile?? My heart.
8. And this year! I only had to make the boys' bowties this year, and I learned from my mistake last year and made them without trying shortcuts. And hey-- Easter Sunday ended up being Conference Sunday, so while I packed all their duds and brought them to my parents' house for that day, I never ended up dressing them up because we never went anywhere-- just sat in their home and watched the conference talks on their computer. And getting them all dressed up on such a weirdly-paced day ended up feeling ridiculous. So instead, we got them all dressed up the following Sunday and made them go take photos, and honestly, it all just worked so much better. Plus it was Lucy's birthday, so she was in a "party dress" for her birthday. So cute.  New shoes and shirts for the boys, new dress and sweater for Lulu, and a trip to the covered bridge in Manchester for the photos. So sweet. ♥


How about you? Do you have this tradition? Is it losing steam in today's world? Do you have any favorite Easter clothing memories? Maybe a pair of lace gloves or a little matching purse to go with your dress when you were little? I think I vaguely remember a little purse. I maybe need to go find one for Lucy next year. :)


Five For Friday: Stuck At Home/"Trio" Poem Edition

Friday, April 3, 2015

Five For Friday: 
All The Kids Are Home And Stuck Here Since Lucy Is Potty Training Edition

by Sarah Dunning Park

(pianissimo) Mama, 
pretend I'm a butterfly
named Lyla, a little
purple butterfly who
lives among the 
(mezzo-forte) Mommy, 
I learned the coolest
thing! We made it in
school today and you
need to come see how
(fortissimo) MAMA!
POTTY! (continuing 
in counterpoint)
Mom Mom Mom, 
come see, I'm gonna try
then get pollen, Mama, and fly
I folded on these lines
to my nest up high, 
actually now I'm a bird
named Ly--- (crecendo)
---la; chicka-dee-dee
-DEE Watch out, Mommy, 
watch out, here comes my airp---


Swap out that "made this in school" part for "Pokemon, this, Pokemon, that" from Noah.... Swap out the "wipe me" for the "I had an accident!!" as Lucy and I potty train all week, and just add Quinn's general penchant for mischief, and this lovely piece basically nails it. All of it. I'm totally in love with this whole slim volume of poems by Sarah Dunning Park, who subtitles her book, "Honest poems for mothers of small children." The book came in the mail mid-week on one of the longest mama-weeks of my life thus far, and it was not a moment too soon. There's something about feeling the kinship and empathy of others going through it alongside you that help you muster a second, third, fourth wind in the middle of this mayhem. This beautifully messy, complicated, hard, painful, frustrating, joyful, loving mayhem. 


Five For Friday, yo--- who's in? Message me, comment, Facebook me your link if you participate and I'll add it here. Fun times! Happy Easter weekend! 
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