Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another Real Life Birthday Party: An Afternoon Tea

Our Lilly is almost 3.  For her birthday party, she had 2 requests, pink and a tea party.
I love to throw my kids birthday parties.
But my due date is 10 days before Lil's birthday, so I wasn't sure how we were going to work out having a brand new baby and hosting a birthday party.
In the end, I chose to do it almost a month early so that we could have a party for her before we began to deal with all the changes that are coming her way once the new baby arrives.
It was a good choice.
However, when you are planning a birthday party 2 weeks before your due date, you have to scale things down.
Especially when the night before you are walking through contractions in the hospital lobby.

So, here you go: 
Another Real Life Birthday Party: An Afternoon Tea

We set up small tables and chairs underneath the avocado tree. (some mine, some borrowed.  always ask around and borrow before you buy)
The tables were all set with our vintage, melamine tea pieces.  Melamine works so nicely for a little girl's tea party--it feels real, yet it is almost unbreakable.   You have to love those thrift store finds!
To dress the table, I used vintage table cloths or favorite pieces of fabric.  (un-hemmed--just folded and put on the table--works perfectly)

For napkins, I expanded on my "handkerchiefs as napkins" idea.  
My friend Alicia used vintage hankies for her daughter's tea party, (expanding on my idea as well) and when I found 10 gorgeous, vintage hankies at an estate sale for $1, I snatched them up and copied her back.  Imitation is the highest form of flattery, right?
They looked so pretty on the table.
All different patterns and colors, but still beautiful together.

Lilly's love of pink and the turquoise teas pieces I had became my color palette.
For decorations, I decided to use pom poms again, just like last year.
I knew they'd be perfect hanging from the tree for the little girls to sit under as they had tea.
Here is the tutorial for how to make them.
They are so fun and festive.
And easy!  Aaron and his mom whipped them up for me an hour before the party.

The table was very simple.
I used as many of my turquoise and blue dishes as I could.
Those are colors I have a lot of dishes in (perfect for baby showers!) because I like to collect in certain color palettes. It worked out nicely.
We borrowed Lilly's cousin's fancy silver tea set for decoration.  (boy did Lilly love it--i think i know what to get her for Christmas)
The table cloth is from Target.  I've been waiting for it to go on clearance, and it did!  Score!

The food was very simple too.
Since I literally began getting ready for this party the morning of, and had to go to James' 2nd to last baseball game at 10:30, I did not have time for lots of food prep.
I served strawberries, crackers and brie, pretzels for the little girls who aren't yet brie fans, meringue cookies (thank you Trader Joe's!) and pink lemonade.
There were no tea sandwiches or lady fingers and no one seemed to mind.
Just keeping it real, friends.

The girls took their plates to the table and sat and ate and chatted.
Watching them sit there together was my favorite part of the party.
It made me want to have a little girls tea party with Lilly and her friends every month.

I loved the way napkins were spread in laps and dolls and bears came to the table, too.
It was just very sweet and simple, like a party for a little girl should be.

The one thing I did make from scratch were, of course, the cupcakes.
Lilly wanted pink.
So I made strawberry.  
I used this recipe and I think they are the most amazing strawberry cupcakes out there. 
Seriously.  Made with fresh strawberries, they are moist and sweet; you can't get enough.

The frosting is a butter cream with fresh strawberries added.
You are supposed to puree the strawberries but I did not have time (made the cupcakes and frosting hours before the party), so I just chopped them small and added them to the frosting.
It was chunky and, not super beautiful, but no one seemed to mind.  
The taste was the thing.  
And they tasted good!

After tea and cupcakes, we just let the girls play.
I didn't plan games or crafts because at 3, the most fun thing is to play house and babies with your best girl friends.
To climb up the crows nest on the play house and to get pushed on the swing.
That's what they all did and they had a great time.

When it was time to go home. everyone took a Hello Kitty coloring book and a couple of little lollipops.  
My mother in law tied them up for me with the cute pink bow.
It was an easy but still fun party favor.
Who doesn't love Hello Kitty?

At the end of the day, it felt like just the right kind of party for Lil.
It was just what I had hoped it would be for her.
Honestly, I did not do any preparations until the morning of the party.
I bought the non perishables the day before (coloring books, tissue paper, crackers, etc) but assembled nothing until Saturday morning.
I just didn't know if I'd be spending Saturday at the hospital or at home.

With a lot of help from my wonderful husband Aaron, who just kept saying, "what can I do next?", from the grandmas, who came a bit early to frost cupcakes and make tissue paper pom poms and from the grandpas, who kept the kids busy, I was able to throw this party together at the last minute.
I could not have done it without their help.
But, you probably won't be wondering if you're in labor the night before your tea party, so this is one party you can definitely throw for your little girl.
It's easy!

To see more pictures of the fun, please visit my other blog, Lilly and the Brothers.
If baby doesn't come today, I'll be back tomorrow with another nursery tour.  
This one is amazing.  You won't want to miss it.
See you then!
Love from,


Vicki said...

Every little loving detail is just perfect. Such a sweet party for your little Lilly.

Zootsuitmama said...

Awww! Very precious..My Lilly turned three in February (granddaughter)!~

amy b. said...

just found your blog via Life made Lovely. Love,love,love your house!!I am also a huge fan of turquoise and actually just bought that same tablecloth from Target that you did! I am recovering some dining chair seats with it!!I am definitely becoming a follower-can't wait to see more!