Thursday, March 13, 2014

immy's 3rd birthday

My sweet little baby girl has turned three. And is no longer a baby - she is now a "big little girl" and "Pop is a tiny baby, not me." Pop, of course, is my fourth child due... tomorrow! (Most likely today if you're reading this on Friday). Immy's birthday was on Saturday and being sooooo close to the end of an exhausting pregnancy, I did debate throwing some candles on a ice cream cake and calling it a day. But then I felt bad and decided Immy needed to have a little more fanfare - so I kept it sweet and simple: family only, no theme, easy decor I could make while resting my elephant feet (they're swollen and dry and awful and I can't reach them to do anything about it), and popular activities I didn't have to supervise or be involved in. 

My lovely mother-in-law took care of all the food, so all I did was wriggle one tenth of a massive bowl of butter cream I made around a double sponge cake, shoved some sprinkles on top and stuck in way too many candles. Everyone had a great day and Immy was thrilled. Here's what we did...

Tent fun: I put my cranky pants foot down for presents this year and sent everyone a message demanding they steer clear of soft toys, plastic, big or noisy things. I gave them a few suggestions that would keep with our new "careful purchasing" rule where we have to be mindful about what we are bringing into our house - nothing too big, badly made or unnecessary. So sticking to that theme, I bought her a book, a pair of sunglasses, some Duplo to add her very-much loved collection and made her a tent. I used these instructions as a guide but cheated with the sewing as I did it late the night before her birthday and just wanted something for her to have in the morning. I also think it needs a few extra bits of dowel on the bottom connecting the two A-frame parts, but that again is for another day. So far, it's been a big hit with everyone.

Crown decorating: I almost can't recall a party where we didn't have crown or hat decorating - it's always so popular and sooo easy to do. You can buy premade strips of paper crowns from craft stores or you could do it even cheaper and buy a piece of white cardboard and just cut it into strips, then cut a zig zag down the centre of each strip creating two crowns. This is all I do! Then I stick a strip of double-sided tape all the way along the bottom and lay out a table of crafty stuff - feathers, glitter, paper dots, diamante stickers - and let them at it. I also put out a watercolour set this time and they enjoyed the easy painting too. Then you wrap the hat around their head and use a piece of double-sided tape at the end to stick it together to fit their head.

Treasure hunt: Bless his stinky little boy socks... Zak asked me what games we were having at the party about 10 minutes before people started arriving. I said "um, none". He looked at my like I had three heads and declared HE would make up a treasure hunt for everyone and would look after everything. So he did. He wrote out some clues (they even rhymed! "To find clue number 4, you have to do through a door!" "Four is not enough, you need to find a chair with lots of stuff!" and the kids went looking for them and found the treasure chest filled with extra lollies that didn't fit into the balloon pinata. He's my party planner in training.

Jelly playdough: This is the yummiest smelling thing - made with jelly crystals it's also super-soft and nice to play with. Everyone loves playdough so this went down well with them all. You can find the recipe here.

Shady picnic spot: Umbrellas and tents went up, pouffes and cushions came outside and tea sets and real party food ended up being scattered throughout the yard as everyone pulled up a pew in the shady spot. Casual and simple is always good!

Giant balloon pinata: Normally, I will make a pinata of some kind. But there are other times when I just use balloons - mystery balloons are fun and messy (several large balloons filled with cream, confetti, lollies, silly string, goo, water); or there was the balloon darts of several parties where each child gets to throw a dart at a board of lolly-filled balloons and grab the contents once it pops. Then there was this year's cheat: one large balloon, lots of lollies inside, one birthday girl and one dart. We gathered the kids around, Immy popped the balloon and the kids scattered to find their lollies. The coloured balloon banner above the pinata was meant to be a giant number 3 made of balloons, but that was a major fail so we just stuck to a balloon garland!

Ruffle cake: The birthday girl loves sprinkles and icing so I grabbed a Coles double sponge cake and smothered it in buttercream. A few too many candles nearly scorched her little face, but she was chuffed with the pink candles. Cake stand from Emerald + Ella.
Tissue paper tassel garland: Instantly makes a party place seem prettier and special. Easy to do and very effective (though likely done to death now!) - I followed these instructions.

Magazine cut-out banner: I dared to part with several pages from my fave magazines for this - but most of the pages were double-sided ads so all is ok. I just cut the letters out and taped them to the wall with washi tape on the underside.

Bouquet of lollipop bonbonnaire: I was even lazy with gift bags this time - Kmart lollipops were dressed up with a bit of twine and a watercolour circle thank you card. They doubled as faux-flower decor after I placed them in a jar on the sideboard! Am sure the parents LOVED my sugary parting gift :)

 And finally, have I mentioned on here that my two sisters AND my sister-in-law are all pregnant? My sisters and I like to do belly progress pics when we get together - I'm on the right, due tomorrow with my fourth child (a girl); Gretchen is in the centre, due six weeks after me with her second child (a surprise); Kristie is due six weeks after Gretchen with her third child (a boy). And Cass, my sister-in-law (not pictured as she was working) is due six weeks after Kristie with her first child (a girl). Can you believe the timing?!?!?! Next time we're all together my baby will be on the outside!

And one more picture of the birthday girl. Because she is just so cute. And funny. And sweet. And crazy. And curly. And clever. And loud. And THREE. Already!

FYI: If you follow my Facebook or Instagram you'd no-doubt have already seen a lot of similar pics. If you're curious about previous parties, you can check out my hashtag #happyhomeparty to see invites, pinatas, decor, food and ideas that I may not have previously blogged before. 

And also... A HUGE thank you to everyone's comments on the blog/Twitter/Facebook/Instagram about my previous post. It is SO nice knowing I'm not the only one feeling overwhelmed. Or the only one who yells at her kids. Or who freaks out about childbirth at the last minute. Or... everything else. I loved hearing your own confessions and stories and I have no doubt I'll have some more to share once this baby makes an appearance and life changes for us again! Again, a million thank yous xxx

{All images by Belinda Graham for The Happy Home}


  1. Happy birthday Immy! Soon to be a big sister too (maybe already!! I hope so, B!). x

  2. thanks Bron, but nope. no baby yet! :( xx

  3. That must mean I have been following your blog for more than three years. It seems like yesterday that you announced Immy's arrival. All the best for the coming days. Nina

  4. How lovely ! Those kids sure will never be no short of playmates :)