Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ellie's Third Birthday Festivities + Mermaid Party Details

Ellie turned the big 3 on April 12th! It was a beautiful, fun-filled weekend. The day before (Friday) I took her to the musical, Pinkalicious, at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia. I was happy that Ellie and I both experienced our first musical there for her special day. Her friend, Madelyn, was there for her birthday, too (she turned 3 on the 11th). We got an adorable picture afterwards that will definitely be framed. The girls were so cute together. Ellie and I read the book for the first time the week prior to the musical, which was actually good-timing so it was fresh in her memory. It's a cute story in which the girl in the book eats too many pink cupcakes and turns the color pink. She eats lots of green veggies to become normal again. A good lesson in the end! Ellie really enjoyed the show and clapped at the end of each segment. She was all smiles. She wore her pink, too- a dress I had mentioned previously that I wanted to get for her from Gap. It was a morning show so afterwards we went to a restaurant I had been wanting to try, In Riva. It's across from the Schukill River so a pretty view. I had the most delicious Kale and Burrata salad and we shared a pizza.
Saturday was her actual birthday and my husband had to attend a workshop for most of the day so it was just the girls and I. My Mom came to watch Summer while I took Ellie for her first manicure. My Mom brought Ellie a bouquet of daffodils and Ellie was so happy. On the way to the nail salon I had thoughts of turning around and just taking her to the playground because it was such a beautiful day and I wasn't sure if Ellie would really enjoy going to the salon. At that exact moment Ellie says, "Mommy, I'm so excited to get our nails painted. I'm so excited for our mommy daughter date." It was perfect. Ellie picked out a pink color, as did I- my favorite pink, Fruit Sangria by Essie. Ellie impressed me by sitting still for the entire length of her manicure and she was so curious. She watched the technician intently and did everything she asked. She would look over at me and smile shyly. I melted. While we were drying our nails she mentioned she wanted to come back to get her toes painted with me. It was such a fun and special experience for both of us.
I dropped Ellie off to my Mom at the playground and drove to pick up the balloons for the party. I was able to nap both girls at the same time (my lucky day) and get a lot of things done for the party. I really had prepared well during the week, but just had a few last minute things to do. We bought most of the food, but I made my favorite Mexican Quinoa Salad and my Mom made a pasta salad. When Ellie woke from her nap (Summer was still sleeping) we made marshmallow pops together. Ellie had fun dipping them in chocolate and covering with pink sprinkles and white pearls. I wanted to use the cupcake toppers in some way since we were having a cake and these were perfect.
My in-laws came an hour early and helped set up outside while I dressed myself and the girls. I had bought a yellow smocked mermaid dress for Ellie to wear, but it was too big. Instead, she wore the pink tutu she had been wearing all day paired with a J.Crew star tee and her new Toms Mary Janes. It was the perfect birthday outfit for a three year-old girl!
We only invited immediate family and a few of her friends so not to overwhelm her. It was the perfect number of people. And, a beautiful day!! We really lucked out with the weather. It was sunny and 70 degrees. The kids played in the backyard and we had a pinata (Ariel, of course). The kids had a blast picking up all the candy. We brought the cake outside to sing Happy Birthday. The candles wouldn't light so we pretended they were so Ellie could blow them out. Ellie gets shy when all the attention is on her (only when it's out of her control- not when she is singing and dancing). During the song she turned toward me to give me a hug. So sweet.
Ellie insisted on an "Ariel" cake so that is what she got:
Summer had a blast, too. She wore a seahorse dress from Carter's and her metallic gold moccasins.
Me: Gap Jeans / Banana Republic Top / J.Crew bracelet
Everyone was impressed with the balloon wreath. It was such an easy, inexpensive, and festive item to make. It took about an hour to complete. I bought a straw wreath from AC Moore for $3 (keep the plastic on) and two packages of 75 balloons from Target (Spritz brand). I had about ten left over. I used sewing pins to secure each balloon (one per balloon). I kept adding balloons until I covered every inch of the wreath (except for the back). Then, I hung a white ribbon around and hung on our front door. I put bunches of balloons (not pictured) in the backyard tied to our front porch.
I searched all of Etsy for the perfect mermaid package for a 3 year-old party. This one, by Sugar Tot Designs, was definitely my favorite, and Ellie's, too. She refers to all mermaids as "Ariel" and as soon as she saw the one with the red hair she was happy. Plus, it was a great deal for only $22 for the complete party package. I printed the banner, menu cards, cupcake toppers, and favors at Kinko's using white cardstock. The water bottle labels I printed on regular paper to save money. I got menu item names from Pinterest (seashell pasta salad, sea sips, seaweed dip, pearl pops, mermaid kisses, mermaid rolls, and sea bites).
Of course we had beer and wine- much needed after a busy week! If you've never had the pink grapefruit Italian soda from Whole Foods you must try. It's delicious. I put festive straws in a Mason jar and labeled the drink station as "sea sips." 
The birthday banner was hung across the windows and sliding door in our dining room. I printed out pictures from Ellie's third year and created the number "3" on our wall. I bought the honeycomb paper decorations and hung two on the ceiling and two aqua ones outside. Favors included mermaid coloring books for the girls (Ellie's favorite) and pirate kites for the boys. Ellie's baby cousin, James, received whale bath toys for his party favor.
I made a tissue tassel garland in the colors of the party. I also made my first fabric garland using fabric swatches I purchased from AC Moore. These garlands make me happy! This chalkboard puts me to shame compared to all the fancy ones on Etsy, but it served its purpose. I used the same one (and a DIY project) for Ellie's party last year.
The party ended at 5 and we had some family stay and hang out afterwards enjoying the beautiful weather. Then, we cleaned up and ate dinner outside. We sang Happy Birthday to Ellie again and this time the candle lit. She had one of the marshmallow pops we made together.

 Happy 3rd Birthday to my silly, loving, caring, beautiful daughter! These three years have been the best of my life!

Paper package included:
Birthday banner, water bottle labels, menu cards, favor tags, cupcake toppers
Mermaid coloring books: Family Dollar
Pirate kites: Five and Below
Fabric (for garland): AC Moore
Balloons: SGS Paper Company
Honeycomb paper decorations: SGS Paper Company
Paper tablecloth (aqua): Spritz by Target
Paper Straws: Princess (Jane) & Striped (Target)
Pinata: Party Store

You can read about Ellie's first birthday party details HERE 
and see the party in photos here and here!

 And, her second birthday party HERE.

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