How We Celebrated.









She wanted to see sharks for her birthday. To go to an aquarium. So we packed up and headed to the Twin Cities for three days of swimming, adventuring, and city exploring. I hung her birthday banner across our hotel room and cooked her favorite breakfast in a slow cooker by the sink. We went to the zoo, had Ethiopian food, and enjoyed the contrast that the city provides to our quiet everyday. We had a blast.






The day after we returned home three of her "fanciest" friends came over for a small, simple party. We dyed playsilks together and for party favors the children took them home along with glass jars of homemade play dough, the recipe to make more, and the thrift-store fancy tea cups that Lupine had picked out for each girl.

It was lovely. (And I can't say enough about the small guest list. Three is a great number of guests – for a four-year-old or a forty-year-old.)

As for my bold and straghtforward gift requests (talked about here), I'm so happy I mustered the courage to ask. The things she received were perfect and will be enjoyed for a long time. Glitter, sequins, and ribbons from one friend, a handmade bracelet from another, and the girl who brought Lupine a Barbie doll last year (when I did not muster the courage to ask for specific gifts) brought her a bag of crafty treasures from her own collections – feathers, pipe cleaners, glitter glue, stickers, and all kinds of other magic. Perfect.

And today? We will rest. It's been a joy-filled and busy week.

16 thoughts on “How We Celebrated.

  1. sandi ratch says:

    What a lovely idea for a birthday. A couple of years ago we asked for food bank donations – and then bought Daniel a gift he really wanted. I just hate it when people bring over cheap plastic crap that’s made in China. Craft supplies are the best. And I love the thrift store tea cup ideas. But what to do for a boy’s birthday …. hmmm.

  2. Lynne says:

    I love that you asked for a specific type of gift. I have yet to muster the courage to do the same, but perhaps I will for my son’s second birthday. We have given some hints to our family members and friends, which have largely been well received, but we have still ended up with some things that no longer live with our toy collections. I admire you finding your voice on behalf of your little girl.

  3. KC says:

    What a lovely celebration. What do you do if some one gives a really terrible gift to your kids? I recently had a friend of my mothers gift this horrible noise making electronic dog to my daughter. She found it interesting for 10 minutes then forgot about it. Needless to say we left it at my mom’s house.

  4. Sarah says:

    That sounds like a wonderful birthday! And, I thought I recognized the Minnesota Zoo! That’s where we went for our daughter’s fourth (and third) birthday. We just moved away, so I guess we’ll have to find a new tradition. And, I think the gift request idea is great- I wish it would catch on!

  5. Marlo says:

    Love it! Did your kids like the Ethiopian food? This post is giving me courage to ask for different gifts this year for birthdays. And I am loving the short guest list. Did you make Lupine’s hat? Love. Looks like a lovely birthday, wish I could have sent my almost 5 year old. 🙂

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I just read your post about her birthday present requests. I feel exactly the same way. I like the way you approached it and would be thrilled if my children’s friends asked for those gifts.

    My little girl will be 3 next week and I really don’t even want to have birthday parties. Is that bad? I know she is just 3 but parents in my area start having big birthday parties for their kids at 1. I just want it to be an intimate celebration with my husband and our other child. We never had birthday parties growing up and I don’t feel like we were deprived.

  7. says:

    It all sounds wonderfully magical! I’ve been wanting to try making playsilks for a while now; where do you get the plain ones?

    I’m getting a little overwhelmed at the guest list for the kiddos’ party this year – but it’s only family! There are six cousins JUST from my brother- and sister-in-law’s family. 😛 And it’s a combined party since my their birthdays are two days apart.

  8. andrea says:

    that dress she is wearing in the birthday pie photos is fab-u-lous. did you make it? if so, please share what pattern you used! i might have to get my daughter’s gramma on top of sewing it!!!!!

  9. Rachel Wolf says:

    A friend gifted it to her (from her daughters neglected costume stash). Lupine has worn it weekly every since. We love it so much. I have seen some great McCalls patterns that are vintage styled. Check in their costumes line.

    Hi Rachel Wolf,
    andrea ( has left you a comment:

    that dress she is wearing in the birthday pie photos is fab-u-lous. did you make it? if so, please share what pattern you used! i might have to get my daughters gramma on top of sewing it!!!!!

    Status: Published


  10. Rachel Wolf says:

    At three all that most of them want is quiet closeness with you. I always did the wait-until-they-ask-for-a-party approach and the one child guest per year of age max. When you turn six you can have six or fewer guests… My kids never want as many as they are old. Its just too much.

  11. Rachel Wolf says:

    They loved it! But they have adventurous palates. They werent into the spicier ones, but I was so it worked out well with an assortment. SO yummy… And the hat. The hat! Lupine found it in a box of my grandmas hand knits (made for either my sister or me in the 1980s) just as we left for the trip. I kept calling her the snow fairy from the Elsa Beskow book. It warmed my heart to see her in it (the sweater I made. It was her b-day gift).

  12. Kika says:

    For my daughter’s sixth we didn’t have a ‘real’ party; she invited one friend and they went out for a treat and then to the park to play. They also played horses at home and on the trampoline. My daughter exclaimed, “this was the best party ever!” It was sure simple and inexpensive for me too 🙂 I think what she mostly appreciated was how low stress it was to only have one other person around. Still, for her seventh she wants to try a party with five friends again.

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