Thursday, December 11, 2014

Klair Marie's 2nd Birthday


It has been birthday madness around here lately. Chaotic, and so fun :)  Klair's big day was the 29th, which happened to be the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Due to the undesirable closeness to a holiday that takes a lot of people out of town, I decided to postpone her party until the following week. Thus, on her actual birthday we simply spent the day together as a family and properly spoiled her.

The Actual Birthday
We woke up, I made breakfast (Klair requested eggs--her favorite--and I kindly obliged), and we headed out for a day of adventures.

First we took her to Target to pick out "one" toy. She walked up and down the toy aisles for what seemed like an eternity, excitedly exclaiming "I LOVE this!" or "This is cool!" for just about every toy. After awhile we realized she couldn't pick just one thing... it wasn't physically or mentally possible for her. She was never going to leave on her own. We let her take the next thing she admired--a broom set--and we also let her pick a few things out of the dollar section because they had Frozen books and we're kind of wrapped around her little finger. And then we finally left Target.

Next, we took her out to lunch. She told us with certainty that she wanted mac and cheese, so went to a local restaurant that serves the classic Kraft that Klair loves so much (I think she may have been more excited about the sucker that came with the meal than anything else).  Then we took her to the mall to ride the carousel--a favorite cold weather past time of hers. Had it been a warmer day we would have gone to a park, but when your kid's birthday is practically in December you have to get a bit more creative. Luckily the mall had other forms of entertainment, and we rented the cutest electronic cow and took turns riding it around the mall with her. She was the envy of all the kids (and some adults too) and you could tell she soaked up every minute of it!

Then we took her home and napped for a bit (she and I both needed it). Once we woke up it had really warmed up outside so we ventured to a nearby park. From there we took her on a little hike above the city so that she could see the sparkly lights. By this point we were pretty exhausted and we ended our birthday festivities with frozen yogurt from our favorite local fro-yo place.

It was wonderful day filled with all the simple things Klair loves. We really enjoyed spending so much quality time with each other to celebrate the fact that God blessed us with her exactly two years earlier.


The Party


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I think I must be cursed. If I even think about putting an event together, the universe bestows a gift of sickness upon me. I wanted to make Klair's party extra special (I think I love to torture myself or something) so I decided to have it at our house and make/bake all of the food. I figured I could space the baking out and start early in the week, freezing the goods until it was party time. Unfortunately we came down with a stomach bug, and even though it was gone in time for the big day I wasn't able to start my baking and preparing until much later than I had hoped. Fortunately it all came together, but I was definitely down to the wire towards the end of it. It seems like this always happens. My dream is to throw a party, and to have the universe cooperate enough to make me feel at least a little less frazzled. Maybe someday.

The Decor
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For the decorations I went with a simple color scheme of pink, yellow, and blue. You can see that our party decorations mingled a bit with our Christmas stuff, but Klair didn't mind--and the tree came in handy as a great place for gathering presents!
**also, just a tip--hanging lanterns are sooo much easier to put together than pom poms. Take it from me. I've done my share of both, and I love the simplicity of lanterns---no fluffing!!

Food (with links)
I made:
//french vanilla cake with buttercream frosting
//lemon cupcakes** with buttercream frosting
//brownies with chocolate frosting
//marshmallow pops (which were the biggest it with the kids and by far the quickest/easiest to throw together)
//Homemade rolls
//Sweet Pink Sparkling Lemonade

** I know the post says gluten-free cupcakes (because while I was pregnant and breastfeeding I had to eat gluten-free) but the same principle applies to regular cupcake mixes as well**

I also put out some animal crackers (one of Klair's favorites) and a big bowl of fruit to add a little health factor. My wonderful sister brought eclair cake (we call it e-Klair cake... get it?) and I put out some chips and salsa for variety. I also made some homemade rolls and offered meats and cheeses for some substance in case anyone was hungry for something a little more savory.

Oh and I threw together some Costco meatballs in the crockpot by adding a little barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's) and peach jam. They're so easy, and always a big hit.

Activities

//Bounce house-- we were going to rent one, until we realized that it was almost as much to rent one as it is to buy one on Amazon. After looking through various models and reviews, we found the perfect one for our basement. It became Klair's main birthday gift from us, and she is already obsessed with it. We told her we would set it up for her party, and for the week leading up to her get together it's all she talked about. It ended up being such a big hit with the kiddos! I'm so glad it's ours to keep.I have a feeling we will be using it a lot--particularly during the colder months to try and get some of her energy out in a productive way.

//Bubbles-- my original vision was to go out on our back deck with a bubble machine and let the kids have fun chasing/popping bubbles. Well, I bought a cute little Hello Kitty machine from Target and... it didn't work. I'm hopeful they'll let me take it back. We tried to find another bubble machine, but had no such luck. Instead, Sam just bought a bunch of bottles of bubbles and let the kids blow them up themselves. This ended up being a huge success--the kids loved doing it themselves.

//Unstructured Play Time-- I was going to come up with a list of specific activities--but then I realized that these kids are little... and they would have more fun simply playing. Thus, we just let them loose in Klair's toy room and in our basement where we scattered a bunch of toys--and they all had a blast! My little girl could not have been happier.

Overall the party really did go so well. We had a great turnout of both family and friends. Klair was surrounded by people that love her... it was enough to make my heart swell with love and gratitude until it felt like it was going to burst. We are extremely fortunate people to have so many loved ones in our life! And I'm incredibly happy knowing that my daughter is the recipient of so much genuine affection. She had the look of pure joy in her eyes, and it was more than worth any effort it took us to put it together.

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