I can’t believe it! My little Alexie is 2 years old! I honestly can’t believe it. It seemed like yesterday we were driving to the hospital to be induced (little did I know I was already in labour). A while you can read about Alexie’s birth story here, today was a day to celebrate her 2 years on earth.
Alexie was just starting to understand the idea of a birthday. Back in May, she thought we could only sing happy birthday to one particular aunt. She would get so angry with us if we tried to get her to say happy birthday to anyone other than “tante KiKi”. But after her cousin Kaden’s birthday and Canada Day (which Alexie called “Happy Birthday Canada Day”) she was starting to understand the concept of a birthday party. In the days leading up to her party, we talked about what was going to happen and who was going to come. Alexie could hardly believe that some friends were going to come and play. She got really excited about her party!
We went back and forth on what theme we do pick for Alexie. It was between a jungle theme and a farm theme for a long time. Either would have been great since she loves animals. But we eventually settled on a farm theme, especially after a visit to a relative’s farm. She ran after the chickens, petted the horses and loved every second of her little trip. It became clear that a farm theme would be perfect for her.
I really wanted to keep it simple. I focused on a red, white and black colour scheme, kind of like a barn. Balloons were key to this party. I got a whole bunch of red, black and cow print balloons which I grouped in little bunches and my husband hung them on our clothes lines over our backyard. I also bought 2 large mylar balloon, a cow and a pig which I blew up with air rather than helium. Alexie loved being able to play with and carry around these large balloons, even for days after the party.
I also made a barn for the kids to play with. I got a large watermelon box from my local grocery store. Together, hubby and I taped it together to have a roof and then we covered it with some red and black wrapping paper. It made for a cheap but really fun prop for the kids to play with. We kept it for the days that followed just to let Alexie play with it.
We gave our party guest a little treat bag on their way out. It included a mini tub of Play-doh, a mini Kit-Kat and a few gummy candies. I was going to get some little paper bag, but then I found these little canvas bags at the dollar store and couldn’t resist, especially when they ended up being the same price as the plain paper bag. A little tag was added with some twine and these little treat bags were ready to hand out and thank our guests for coming.
Food is the cornerstone of pretty much every celebration. I wanted to have a BBQ to keep the farm theme going but I also wanted to make it as easy a possible for myself. No one wants to spend their kids birthday in the kitchen. So we opted for an easy to do menu.
Pulled pork sliders were served with a side of roasted garlic potatoes. These were perfect because I could make them in the crock pot and honestly set them and forget them. I made my famous pulled pork and served it with little dinner rolls. The potatoes were just as easy. I just chopped and threw them in a second crock pot with some minced garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Some steamed corn on the cob and a simple garden salad were the perfect side since they could be prepped ahead of time and were super easy.
Every birthday party needs a cake! We actually had a regular cake and mini single-serve ice cream cakes. For the main cake, I used a giant cupcake pan to make a cute little farm. I just bake a cake like normal and then frosted the bottom with some red and white frosting. The top was then frosted with chocolate frosting and then sprinkled it with black sprinkles.
I also made mini ice cream cupcakes. I made them in some single serve treat cups I got from a party store, which made serving them super easy. Each little cake was topped with a dollop of whipped cream, yellow sprinkles and a little farm animal topper that I made by printing off some little images and glueing them onto toothpicks.
Every kid’s party needs games. It’s a must have. But since these were toddlers, I wanted to keep it simple and have games that were at their level.
We had an egg hunt. I pulled out our plastic Easter eggs and filled them with little treats like gummy worms and hid them around the yard. I let the kids go nuts trying to find them. They loved it! The kids ran around looking for the colourful eggs hidden in the grass and shrubs in our backyard.
We also “herded some sheep”. I blew up a bunch of white balloons and taped on a sheep face that I got off the internet. The kids had to “round up” the balloons and get them all into a coral. We used the barn that we had made and tipped it on its side. The key to this game is that you can’t pick up the sheep. You can only push them along. And since balloons are slippery things, the kids have to work together to get all the sheep in the coral and make them stay in the coral. It was a huge hit with the party guests and the kids really loved the game.
Alexie loved her party! She talked about it for days. She told me that she loved her cake, the balloons and her friends that came to visit. It was almost like she couldn’t believe that these people came and that she got to have a party! It made all time and effort we put into planning a party for a 2-year old worth it.
I look forward to what this next year will hold for Alexie, watching her grow into a pre-schooler and a big sister. I can’t wait to see her little personality grow and I’m excited to be by her side as she explores the world around her. Here’s to a big year Alexie! Happy Birthday!