The Wee One is officially 4 years old! Can you believe it? She’s got some nerve, growing up this fast. When I started the blog, she looked like this:
Now, she looks like this: grown up enough to be slightly awkward and self-conscious in posed photographs. To me, it’s just another delightful way in which she and I are identical.
So on with the photos! This year went roughly the same as in years’ past, with a few speed bumps along the way. I meticulously designed invitations that I never printed – they were emailed, after I stopped holding out hope that I’d be responsible. I had some sassy guest issues which I am, yes, still mildly perturbed about – that is my way, people, and my intensity doesn’t allow for anything different. Also, when you are lucky enough to have a 4-year-old who is freakishly well-behaved, your tolerance threshold for misbehavior in other, oftentimes older, children (and adults, sometimes) is low. When those kids sass me? Well, friends, I don’t play that game. So that part was interesting, shall we say. We also had oppressive heat to contend with: no games outside this year, or we honestly would have melted. We set up games downstairs, but sadly, there are no photos of this: too much fun was going on and I was manning the prize station.
Speaking of, there it is, sitting on the floor to the right. If it looks vaguely familiar, it’s because I made it for her party last year, and dug it out for this year’s game time. It’s a great repeated-use craft for parties: I have instructions on how to make it here. This year, all I had to do was assemble some new trinket bags and off we went.
What the heck do I have going on behind the prize board, you ask? Oh, that’s just my version of the Kim and Kanye flower wall. The Wee wanted a “pink! tea party! mommy!” this year, so I thought a wall of flowers would be appropriate, and I made those yarn letters awhile back to hang in her room, and they fit in perfectly to the theme. I’ll do a little tutorial in case you have need for a fireplace-covering flower wall at some point in the future. And yes, it is still up. I don’t go to this much trouble decorating to take it down right away. Or until October.
My dog would disagree with this decision. He is unimpressed by tissue flowers.
We threw paper lanterns in front of the windows inside, which were also going to be duplicated in our trees outside, but with the heat, outside decor was nixed. They’re a great indoor decoration, though, especially to front windows; you get lots of colorful light flowing through them during the day, and if you add those battery-operated tealights, you get this at night:
It’s like fireflies! Really adorable. We turned them on while it was still daylight – you can’t see them, but as the sun sets, they start to glow, and it was magical.
The color palette was fun to work with: The Wee’s pretty big on pinks, but I threw some vintage-y blues and greens in for fun, with tiny bits of burnished gold to accent. Paperware matched (and mismatched) the tissue flowers, and get a load of that plastic white cutlery: if the lords and ladies of Downton Abbey needed plastic utensils, those would fit in perfectly at the estate.
This year, I went simple with gift bags: they were literal bags versus jars or metal pails, and they exceedingly practical (a rarity for parties in this house). I gave each of the kids their own personalized bag, outfitted that bag with a pack of crayons, and they used them to collect prizes they won from the games. Fun for the kids, fun for parents (because no one had to shove prizes in their purse).
But I know what you’re all waiting for…the menu.
Et voilà! The official rundown of what we had to eat at the party: always impossible to really capture on film, but take note of both the roasted tomato gazpacho and lemon dill campanelle: they were both exceptional. The roasted tomato gazpacho I made from this recipe on Savory Simple with no changes except a bit of extra basil, and the lemon dill campanelle I’m tinkering with for a future post.
No party in this house would be complete with me making something (or in this case, somethings) from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook; it’s just a given at this point because events provide the opportunity for me to keep my cake-making skills up to snuff and to mess around with their recipes a bit.
This, my friends, is the Momofuku birthday cake from awhile back, altered to fit a more classic tea party theme. Identical flavors, just stripped of some – not all – of the sprinkles to give it a polished appearance. The original has stark-white frosting, making it easy to dye a perfect powder pink. Look for a little tutorial in the near future about how to make the adjustments necessary to achieve this, plus a few more detailed photos of the cake.
It would only make sense to make the confetti cookies to go along with the cake, and those stayed sprinkle-filled. Because the corn cookies were so much fun to throw on sticks, I thought I’d do the same this year with these. These are a bit more challenging to make than the corn cookies were, for a few reasons, but I’ll detail all that out in the cake tutorial as well, because it can be done if you know what you’re doing.
My favorite bit of the birthday this year (and the Wee One’s favorite as well) was the appearance of these sweet ballerinas from Movita Beacoup. I know lots of you are fans of her blog (and if you’re not, what gives?), and in addition to loving her work, I consider her to be a good friend of mine (I like when I write that and immediately wonder if she feels the same, because if she doesn’t, awkward). I fell in love with these wee ballerinas the minute I saw this post; long story short, Movita flew these girls in all the way from Canada as a gift to my Wee One. How nice is that? Incredibly nice, that’s how. They matched the cake perfectly (I actually customized the frosting to match their outfits) and were the most perfect addition to the party ever. They even got little sprinkle-crumb stage lights.
And you better believe I snatched those ballerinas right off that cake post-candle blowout too, because I didn’t want anyone messing with them. I plan to keep them always. If you want ballerinas like this to delight your party guests, you can make them! Head over here to Movita’s post about how to create wee ballerinas of your own.
And that’s it, friends: the birthday this year. As always, I wish you could have been here to celebrate, because I know all of you would have had a lovely time, and maybe you could have helped with the food. Just saying, you’re food people, so I would trust you with that.
The cake and cookie pop tutorial is coming soon: first up, the Feast article for September. I talk about prickly pears this month: have you had those? If you live in Arizona and your name is Natalie, I know you’ve actually kicked them off peoples’ front walks (because of the abundance) and hurt yourself trying to eat them; a ringing endorsement if there ever was one. That’s coming up this weekend.
This August also marks the 3rd birthday of this little corner of the internet. Most of you know I began writing this blog in August of 2011, shortly after the Wee One’s very first birthday. I don’t always make a huge deal of my blog anniversary: for me, it becomes a time to reflect on where this space has taken me so far, and think about where I want it to lead me in the future. As my short history would suggest, this is nearly impossible to predict, but fun and exciting to think about just the same. I’m not much for surprises, but the ones I’ve been graced with because of you – awards and recognition for absurd baked goods, a regular writing gig, getting to know a pretty incredible group of people – I simply adore and am super thankful for. So thank you for reading, and I hope you like what I do in my fourth year of blogging just as much as you’ve liked the first three years.
♥ – Shannon