Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tory's 3rd Birthday Ballerina Party

As a mom, I often worry I'm focusing too much attention on one child. (I can feel my husband rolling his eyes as I type that sentence.) I can't help it, I want life to be fair and fun and wonderful for both my kids and I find myself constantly worrying I'm taking too many photos of one child and not enough of the other ... etc.


Life lately is all about Tory. Third birthday. First day of preschool. Just when I was starting to worry my iPhone camera roll contained too many pictures of Aden, Tory steals the spotlight!

Tory turned THREE last Saturday and we celebrated her special day at the lake cabin with a ballerina birthday party. Months ago, I asked Tory what kind of birthday party she wanted and she quickly responded with one word: pink. "Can I have pink presents and pink cake and pink balloons?" she asked on more than one occasion. In hindsight, I should've done a Pinkalicious birthday party given her love for all things pink, pink, pink.

First, I made pink ballerina invitations borrowing an idea I saw on Pinterest. (Though, I'm hesitant to even link to the original inspiration because it puts my invitation to shame, but I suppose I outta give credit where it's due). My free-handed ballerinas looked a little too much like shirts, but in my defense there's only so much you can do when crafting with a baby on your hip. #goodenough I'm more inclined to make invitations vs. buy them when there's only family attending and most importantly, only a few people on the guest list.

I could've bought some pink balloons, pink wrapping paper and hung up some pink streamers ... but I had a hard time leaving it there. I needed a theme to the party. (Tory could've cared less.) I decided on a pink ballerina birthday party since she loves to play dress-up and had visions of all the girls at the party dressed up in frilly pale pink tutus and tiaras.

My parents and brother drove up from Nebraska for the party, and Andi's parents and sister joined us as well. Unfortunately, my sister and her family weren't able to join us this year so there was only one adorable pink ballerina at the party -- the birthday girl herself.

For Tory's party outfit, I bought a pink tutu from Amazon which came in a set of 6. (I bought several when I thought my nieces would also be attending the party). I made Tory's shirt by sewing a pink felt "3" and sequins on the front of a white onesie.

I whipped together pink tissue pom-poms and made pink and purple banners for decoration. Pink tulle, white lace, pink roses and pink balloons. Decorations, DONE. Easy peasy. I guess all of our family members knew Tory wanted a pink birthday party because they wrapped her presents in lots of pink paper and bows. Andi's parents and sister even wore pink shirts to the party.

Hosting birthday parties at the lake cabin are always a bit different because they're an "all-day affair" vs. one specific birthday party timeframe. I made a lunch platter of sandwiches and peach caprese salad for Andi's family who joined us at the cabin earlier in the day. Then, Andi grilled chicken breasts for dinner and we served green beans and a salad in accompaniment for everyone after my parents arrived later in the day. Andi and I joked about the chicken recipe I found on Pinterest because it claimed to be an easy recipe that would "blow your mind." Honestly, it was a easy marinade to make and it was really tasty. Mind = blown. BOOM.

Earlier this summer, my sister made a homemade cake for her step-son's birthday party and it inspired me to make Tory's birthday cake this year, too. I'd never made a birthday cake before (cupcakes, I guess, but I'm not sure that counts) so it was a little daunting, but I think the cake turned out great. I bought a pink cake mix and decorated the cake with homemade buttercream frosting rosettes. I'd never decorated a cake either (eek!), but I found a tutorial on Pinterest and followed instructions. I think it turned out cute, and the cake tasted great, too!

I worked my tail off baking pink ballerina sugar cookies with royal icing for the party. The cookie cutter was so intricate with skinny arms and legs so keeping all those in tact during the baking and frosting process, then transporting them to the lake cabin was challenging. I made royal icing for the first time and had good intentions of decorating the ballerinas with great detail, but I didn't have a small enough decorating bottle and by hour seventeen-million baking these cookies, I was over it. 

They were the most delicious sugar cookies I've ever made though, and I'd totally make this recipe again. Everyone at the party said so, it's not just me and my love for sugar cookies talking. Christmas cookies, you're on my radar ... note to self to start baking waaaay early.

After dinner, our regular crew of cabin neighbors joined us for cake and a round of "Happy Birthday." As you can see, the sun had set by the time Tory blew out her candles.

I had goosebumps as everyone gathered around Tory on the back deck and sang to her. A big group of people who all love Tory so much; that moment was everything I'd dreamed it to be. Andi and I were honored and thankful for everyone who took time over the Labor Day weekend holiday to celebrate with our little girl. We had a full day of birthday fun. Tory's 3rd birthday ballerina party was just perfect.


  1. I love how you love throwing parties.

  2. Looks like a fun and very PINK party!! : ) Happy Birthday Tory!

  3. What a cute idea for her party - love the tutu ideas!!