Feb 28, 2012

Birthday Traditions

My husband and I have tried to establish special birthday traditions with our family.  We really like to spend our child’s actual day of birth with just ‘our’ family, those whom live in our home.  On this actual day of their birth we began one of my favorite traditions.  We take them to Build-A-Bear Workshop on their first birthdays.  They chose (Well we helped them to choose, let’s face it, is a 1 year old actually able to provide a lot of input on selection?) an animal and clothes for the animal.  Each year we go back to Build-A-Bear on their birthdays to select a new outfit for the animal that was built on their first birthday.  After the building or dressing is completed the birthday child selects where we shall dine for the evening.  The evening is topped off with cake and presents at
Brent, B, and Happie on B's 2nd
B with his Bear Happie on
his 1st birthday.

B and Happie, 4 years old.
B and Happie, 5 years old.

B and Happie, 6 years old.
G and his bear, Gator on his 1st birthday.

G and Gator age 2.

G and Gator age 3.

We do also have a birthday party that we invite family and friends to attend.  I have seen Blogs and Websites dedicated to children’s birthday parties.  Many ideas and suggestions are provided on these the sites.  People have displayed BEAUTIFUL parties with wonderful decor, activities, food,
etc. . . .  In all honesty these parties would put my parties to shame.  At times I am embarrassed and almost sad that I am not able to provide my children with such a lavish event.  Then reality sets in, first of all, these parties are not thrown by people like me.  I am a Mommy who lives in the mid-west with 3 children.  It is not financially practical to put on this type of an event!  Um, I think NOT!  I often wonder who those parties really for?  Do the kids actually know the difference between those parties and say a ‘typical’ party?  Most likely they do not. 

I am here to share my ideas.  I am not claiming that they are the best in any way, shape, or form.  My children have enjoyed their parties, this is the purpose.  Our guests have also enjoyed attending the parties, which I appreciate.   I have enjoyed putting forth the effort to create a special celebration for our children and I am proud of my accomplishments.  I would also like to add that as our children have gotten older they have provided more input to their party.  I love having their input.  I feel that this allows them to take ownership of the party and to make it their own.  It also gives my child and I the opportunity to spend some quality time together creating. 

 We begin the party planning process by asking our children to select the theme of their party.  After the theme has been selected I try to step up with my Mommy magic and create invitations along with matching thank you notes to coordinate with the theme.  I also make a coordinating cake and attempt to plan theme oriented activities.  I am sharing ideas (Under the Birthday Party Tab) that I have used for my 6 year old and 3 year old sons’ birthdays.  My daughter was just born in December 2011.  I will add her parties when they occur!

I would love to learn about birthday traditions that you have with your family.  Please share them!


3 Year Old Buzz Lightyear Party

My oldest son loves the Toy Story movies so much that he has had a total of 4 Toy Story themed birthday parties! I tried to make each of his 4 parties special in a new way. He selected a specific focus from the movies for each of his parties. After he chose a focus I created invitations along with matching Thank you notes for the parties. I also made a cake and came up with kid friendly activities to match the theme selection. I must be honest, by the time the 4th party rolled around I really felt as if my creativity was being pushed to its limits!

For his 3rd birthday he chose to focus on a Buzz Lightyear theme. At the time of his party Toy Story had not been re-released so I had a difficult time finding Toy Story items to use for his party.


I used lime green and purple card stock to create his invitation. I also used a rocket ship stamp that I was able to find. I used for it the outside of the invitation along with some silver and black striped scrapbook paper.

Thank You Notes

I used the same paper from the invitations to create the Thank You Notes. I always like to include a picture of the birthday boy at his party on the Thank You Notes. I have wallet size pictures made at Sam’s Club and they are inexpensive.

Email me at uniquelyerinnicole@gmail.comif you are interested in purchasing invitations.


For his cake I made a rocket ship. To create the rocket ship I used the Pampered Chef Classic Batter Bowl to bake the cake in.

A clear punch cup, Buzz Lightyear action figure, and 4 sugar cones were used to decorate the outside of the cake.


I mentioned previously that this was my son’s 3rd birthday party. Due to his age he only had 1 friend at his party so we didn’t have multiple theme related activities to coordinate with the party that year. The kids used English Muffins to make ‘moon pizzas’. We used the English Muffins because they have holes in them that look like the craters on the moon and because my son liked to make his own meals.

What you will need:

English Muffins

Pizza Sauce


Pepperoni (any other toppings that you like on pizza)

Putting it together:

Spread pizza sauce on top of English Muffin. Sprinkle cheese over the pizza sauce. Finish with toppings such as pepperoni. These steps are easy enough for a 3 year old to complete with little to no adult assistance. Finally bake the pizzas in the oven for 15-20 minutes on 350 or until cheese is melted. I like to turn the oven to broil and let them cook 2 minutes longer so that the cheese is golden brown and slightly crunchy. You have to be careful when doing this because they can quickly burn under the broiler.


  1. Since we moved to France last fall we haven't done birthday parties, primarily due to my own social anxiety about having one and Getting It Wrong. So we take the kids to grandma's house where they celebrate with about a million cousins. My big tradition is that instead of a gift (they get lots of gifts from the rest of the family), I take the birthday kid out ALONE for an outing of his choice. Which is something that I did in the States, too.

    This year both boys chose trips to the movies, which is kind of a big deal because the closest theater is an hour away. My oldest son turns 13 this year and I am trying to figure out how to take him to Pompeii, which is a little over the top, but it's a big birthday and he is a VERY good sport about always having to do stuff with much-younger siblings.

  2. It must be hard to have a birthday party with family when they are so far away. My family lives 3 hours away and Brent's live 6 hours away. They come, but they stay at our house . . . which makes it even more 'interesting' to try and get ready for a party and have house guests. I usually get all worked up and a stress myself out over things that seem little to others, but important to me!

    I love the idea of taking the birthday kid out alone! It's not very often that they get their individual gifts. Thanks for sharing!

    13 . . . oh that must be tricky. I don't even want to think about my kids being that old :( Sounds like you have a good plan :)