Sunday, November 29, 2015

Vintage Wonderland Unbirthday Tea: Zoe Turns 3!

Vintage Wonderland Unbirthday Tea to celebrate Z turning 3! I loved this theme and it was perfect for a 3 year old little girl. I wanted it to be girly and fun with some sophisticated garden touches. It was a big hit, and turned out beautiful. Here's what I did:


First things, first...the invitation to the party! I was so happy with these "message in a bottle" invitations." See the full invitation details here: Vintage Wonderland Un-Birthday Tea : The Invitation


I wanted a (mostly) traditional tea menu for the party. I wanted it to be something of a light lunch. I stuck with traditional items like tea sandwiches and deviled eggs. I pre-portioned the food as much as possible to make it easier to grab in a buffet-style set up.

Here is what was served:
Mad Hatter Menu
Eat Me:

Tweedle Egg
(Deviled Eggs)
White Rabbit Veggies
(Assorted Vegetables with Ranch)
Dormouse Cheese
(Assorted Cheese, Meats, Nuts, and Olives)
Bread and Butterflies
   (Assorted Tea Sandwiches)
Cheshire Chocolate
(Chocolate Fondue with Assorted dippers)
The Queen’s Toast
(Un-Birthday Cake)

Drink Me:
Flamingo Water
 (Spa Water with Fresh Fruit)
Caterpillar Tea
(Sweet Tea with Lemon)

Scroll to the bottom for specifics on food/recipes. 

I made the menu's using the kraft paper luggage tags you can find at most craft stores, and some gold paper. I tied them with some twine. I placed this menu in with each gold silverware set. I folded the napkins using this tutorial. It allowed for the cutlery to be an easy grab, along with a spot for the menu's. I placed these in a wicker basket next to the plates on a separate table as pictured. 

P.S. the cutlery and plates came from Target. LOVE!


I had a baby shower for a friend last year that I was able to save several items from, as the shower was gold, black, and white. I wanted to transform the dining room into a tea garden. Not sure that it necessarily looked like a garden, but we definitely achieved that fancy, girly, sparkly magic!

"Room Decorations": My daughter is obsessed with balloons so we HAD to have as many as possible. I purchased a helium tank from the party section of Walmart, and several bags of gold balloons. They hovered over the table tied with curly gold ribbon. I bought these floral fans. I also used some black one's I purchased from Hobby Lobby awhile ago. I hung them around the room and in the large dining room window. I purchased a glittery "Happy Birthday" banner from Hobby Lobby, along with the wobbly clock, and hung them on the wall with command
hooks. Finally, my husband built an A-frame sidewalk chalkboard sign a few weeks ago for a photo session, so I re-used it for the front to help "direct" our guests. 

"Table Top Decor": I used the main dining table, a wooden "card table," and our island for all the
food, drinks, and desserts. I covered each with some chalkboard wrapping paper to protect the surface. I was originally going to write on it, but thought decided it really didn't need any more "clutter" so I left it blank.  I spray painted several food cans and a few liquor bottles gold, and filled them with fake flowers and little chalkboard signs that I wrote things like "eat me" or "drink me" on. I put these all around the room and on the food surfaces as center pieces and decoration. I also collected some pine cones a few weeks ago that I spray painted gold and placed around the room. They held the playing cards well, which helped tie it in to Alice in Wonderland. I put them on beds of fake moss purchased from dollar tree to "green things up." I purchased two little chalkboard signs that I wrote some sayings from the book on. Finally, I made little food tags for each item using an avery product purchased from the craft store, and I tied them with twine. 


"Tweedle Egg": Simple deviled eggs. I kept them simple and kept out the relish. I used mayo, mustard, butter, and salt. Then I piped them into the eggs using a ziplock bag. Also, if you don't have an egg-cooker, everyone needs one. Such a life-saver when it comes to getting hard boiled eggs perfectly cooked (and easy to peel!).

"White Rabbit Veggies": Carrot, Cucumber, Red and Yellow bell pepper in shot glasses with ranch, So easy and I love the color it added to the table (and my plate!).

"Dormouse Cheese": We used a basket for the crackers and a cheese plate for an assortment of cheese and meat. We just picked two of our favorite blocks from the local grocery and pre-cut everything to make it easy to grab. I actually meant to label the cheese plate with the description of each item, but forgot! 

1 & 2
"Bread and Butterflies": An assortment of tea sandwiches. I used cookie cutters shaped like a teapot and tea cup, as well as just cutting them in quarters. I kind of followed my own recipes with these, but here's generally what I offered- 1. Salmon: Smoked salmon, cream cheese, and capers on pumpernickel bread. 2. Cucumber: THIN sliced cucumbers, whipped salted cream butter with small chopped chives on white bread.
3. Chicken Salad: I cheated and purchased gourmet from the specialty grocery down the street from us. It was delish, and included poppyseed, chicken, mayo, grapes and pecans. I was originally going to put these on mini croissants, but we had leftover butter rolls from Thanksgiving, so voila!
4. Sweet: These were my FAV! My Mother-in-law makes a peach butter from scratch every summer, and cans enough for the whole year. I put some on cinnamon swirl bread and spread with cream cheese. Oh so good!

Helpful tips- whipped butter and whipped cream cheese spread so much easier for sandwiches. Also, thin sliced bread helps keep everything in proportion. Too much bread takes away from the flavor!

"Cheshire Chocolate": I used this Pinterest Recipe in my fondue pot. I cut up green apples, grapes, and strawberries. It was SO GOOD! I included little mini forks so everyone didn't need to keep up with their own skewer. 

"The Queen's Toast": The birthday cake was the best part. My husband build a topsy-turvy cake stand very similar to this Pinterest tutorial.  I used white cake mix and whipped butter cream frosting. I
decorated with strawberries, blackberries, and cranberries. I also bought some organic flowers at the specialty grocery store (and cleaned them REALLY well). I added the flowers just before the party to make sure they didn't wilt, as they only live on a cake like this for 12 hours or so. 

"Flamingo Water": I purchased white plastic "tea cups" for the beverage service. My daughter was thrilled to drink from her tea cup! The flamingo water was just Spa Water in a glass beverage server. I put in sliced strawberries, cranberries, and mint leaf.

"Caterpillar Tea": Simply a jug of sweet tea poured over ice in a glass pitcher. My daughter didn't care for it, but all the adults loved it! And you have to have tea at a tea party, right?!


This year I wanted everyone to have a little something to take home with them. I found really cute gold foil gift bags, and filled them with Milano cookies, a deck of cards (purchased at dollar tree 2 for $1), and some Rolo's (because they are wrapped in gold).

I also had "party hats" for everyone to wear. I purchased little snowman hats from the Christmas section of Hobby lobby that are made out of felt. They look like little top hats and already had a red ribbon on them. I took stretchy gold string and stapled them to the hat to make a chin strap.


I wanted to create and outfit for Z that embodied the theme of her party. I didn't want her to look exactly like Alice in Wonderland,
but rather a steam-punk sparkly version that looked like she belonged at a Mad Hatter Tea. I purchased this dress, and these stockings. The dress was SUPER short, so I made a tutu with gold tulle. I created a head band from one of the top hats, a flower, and some feathers. It turned out perfect!

That is pretty much the party in a nutshell. There were too many details and elements to list every little thing! I'd love to hear your comments, so feel free to leave one! <3


Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Solution for Keeping Toddlers in Bed

I've heard it happening time and time again. You make the switch to a toddler bed because your little one is climbing out of their crib. Everything goes fine at first, but then they start to test the waters...they start getting out of bed. Once, twice... Over and over and over. After a few weeks/months you're pulling your hair out! How do you keep your child from roaming the house at all hours of the night?!

We came up with a solution that worked like a charm for us. We have had it for almost a month now, and our daughter has yet to get out of bed at night. Not even once. Meet my new best friend, the door alarm:

These can be purchased anywhere. Amazon has similar ones for around $5. See them here. What does it do? It attaches to the door (simple screws!) and can be switched from off to chime or alarm (we have it on chime now that she understands we will switch it to alarm if she gets up). When the door is opened, it emits an alarm or chime sound. The alarm is a continuous sound that does not stop until it is either switched off manually or the door is closed. The alarm feature is particularly effective because it is so loud and obnoxious. Your child will WANT to make it stop, and will promptly shut the door.

I'm sure at some point she will figure out that she need only step out of the room and close the door behind her to make the sound stop. But for now, she doesn't even test it because she despises the noise so much. She will stand at the door and call for me if she needs me. It puts my mind at ease to know she won't be roaming the house while I'm snoozing away in the other room. It's also much more safe than a baby gate or lock because she CAN leave the room in the event of an emergency (such as fire). It has also been effective in keeping her contained during time out's. Pretty nifty solution for $5!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Vintage Wonderland Un-Birthday Tea : The Invitation

We are having an un-birthday tea to celebrate Zoe turning three! The un-birthday tea will be a nod to vintage Alice in Wonderland, with lots of garden party touches. As always, I wanted the invitation to reflect the party theme, and I think it hits the nail on the head.

Parcel boxes were purchased at the craft store and stamped with a tea pot. I then free-handed "Open Me" in the bottom corner with a navy pen that matched the ink pad. The box was tied closed with twine.

The interior of the box was lined with artificial moss purchased in the floral section of the craft store.

The small cork bottles were purchased at the craft store in sets of 6. A company called "Small Parts" makes the miniature magnifying glasses, which I caught on sale for 1/2 off. I tied a tag around the bottle, and free handed "Read Me" with chalk marker. The magnifying glass is tied to the bottle using twine.

The invitation itself is made from pink and gold scrapbook paper. The front side of the paper is actually white, but I watercolored it pink before printing. It was rolled using a chopstick to help get a tight roll, then tied with a piece of twine. The twine was left a bit long, so that a piece of it could peek out through the top (from under the cork), which makes it much easier to remove the invitation from the bottle.