confessions of a modern mom

Fifth Birthday: Bella (aka Alice) in Wonderland

Fifth Birthday: Bella (aka Alice) in Wonderland

I cannot believe my little baby is five. FIVE! I still remember holding her as a little lump when she was just born, marveling at this life form that we had just created. Now, she’s a fully formed, smart, talented, funny, sweet and good kid. I am so proud of who she is and the way she treats other people, the things that interest her and how she approaches life. She amazes me each and every day. She’s not perfect (she IS a child) and sometimes I can’t believe the things she does – sprinkling foam balls all over the couch and floor??? REALLY??? Luckily, the maddening and annoying stuff is far surpassed by the wonderful qualities that make up her being.

So, when she requested an Alice in Wonderland themed birthday party, I was more than happy to oblige. OK, I took it seven steps further and truly tried to transform our backyard into a mini Wonderland. I had super grandiose plans, but only had time to accomplish 35% of my ideas. Still, the day turned out pretty magical, if I say so myself.

Here are some highlights of the day:

Down the rabbit hole!
Down the rabbit hole!

Originally (in my head), I had envisioned a forest of these trees with gigantic flowers through which the guests would enter and get the feeling of going down the rabbit hole. In reality, it took me 3.5 hours to make this one tree! So, it turns out I’m a one-tree-gal…But I made a ton of those giant flowers!!!

Welcome to Wonderland!
Welcome to Wonderland!

At the entrance to Wonderland, I hung directional signs and placed a table where people could write notes for the birthday girl. Here’s a detailed shot:

Notes for the birthday girl
Notes for the birthday girl

The food and drinks were all set out on one big buffet table. We also had pizza for the ids (yeah, that’s where we veered off theme):

A looooong buffet
A looooong buffet

Here are the details:

How can you have a tea party without a tea bar???
How can you have a tea party without a tea bar???
Lots of bottles with "Drink Me" tags
Lots of bottles with “Drink Me” tags
Alice's chair at the head of the table
Alice’s chair at the head of the table

I set the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for the kids with real tea cups, real plates and real silverware. I have a bizarre addiction to dishware…Luckily, I have all this stuff in my house, so all it took was a few trips across the yard to set it all up. The centerpieces are a mix of books, tea sets, rabbits, mushrooms (aren’t these Home Goods mushrooms divine???), flowers and knick-knacks from around the house. I even had all the chairs! Except the “Alice” armchair. I found that at an antique shop, buried under 35 chairs…Since it has a tear in the velvet back, I got it for a steal! The gash didn’t bother anyone at the party, but the chair was just perfect!

Detail shots:

 

Ribbons, keys, cards, bird cages and tea pots hang from the tree above the table
Ribbons, keys, cards, bird cages and tea pots hang from the tree above the table

 

Different angle
Different angle

 

Table setting for the kids - Table #1
Table setting for the kids – Table #1
Tablescape for Table #2 with view to Alice's chair
Tablescape for Table #2 with view to Alice’s chair
Detail of centerpiece
Detail of centerpiece
Tables for the adults
Tables for the adults
Centerpiece detail
Centerpiece detail
We had a costume area so ids could get into the theme. The trunk was filled with hats, rabbit ears, headbands, tutus, dresses, etc.
We had a costume area so ids could get into the theme. The trunk was filled with hats, rabbit ears, headbands, tutus, dresses, etc.
And how could we NOT have Queen of Hearts wands???
And how could we NOT have Queen of Hearts wands???
There were two crafting tables - at the first, ids painted their own tea cups and tea pots; at the second, the kids stamped and colored their own masterpieces.
There were two crafting tables – at the first, ids painted their own tea cups and tea pots; at the second, the kids stamped and colored their own masterpieces.
There's my little Alice, riding her new pony - her aunt and uncle really love her!
There’s my little Alice, riding her new pony – her aunt and uncle really love her!

I made the Alice costume using a blue leotard, blue and white tulle and some ribbons. The shoes, I found at Old Navy.

Perfect, right???

Here are some action shots of the actual party:

Running to Wonderland
Running to Wonderland
Anyone for tea?
Anyone for tea?
Lunch is served
Lunch is served
Let them eat cake!!! I made a three tiered chocolate confection, decorated with marzipan fruit. I topped it off with a cupcake filled tea cup. The green grass is made of paper, to give it all a woodland feel.
Let them eat cake!!! I made a three tiered chocolate confection, decorated with marzipan fruit. I topped it off with a cupcake filled tea cup. The green grass is made of paper, to give it all a woodland feel.

 

Detailed shot of the cake
Detailed shot of the cake
Each guest left with a Queen of Hearts balloon in their choice of red or pink
Each guest left with a Queen of Hearts balloon in their choice of red or pink

I always have a hard time with favors – I like to give away something meaningful. With this theme, it was so easy!!! Depending on their age, each child got a different version of Alice in Wonderland – from BabyLit through Step into Reading all the way up to Dover’s condensed edition with the original illustrations. Each guest will have a lasting memory (I hope) from our birthday party.

 

Books as favors...from youngest to oldest
Books as favors…from youngest to oldest

 

After the guests all left, I took the girls down to the scene of the party to have a little photo shoot. The tables were covered with dirty dishes and garbage and plates and stuff…it was all screaming to be photographed! So, here are my two favorite shots of the “after” table:

Up on the chair
Up on the chair
My little modelistas!
My little modelistas!

It was such fun planning, creating, decorating and enjoying this Mad Hatter’s Tea Party celebration. The birthday girl had an incredible time and all the effort was well worth it. I don’t think I’ll be able to do something this elaborate every year, but five is a pretty special age…Gee, she’s already half a decade old! The time really does fly.

Here are some great quotes from Alice in Wonderland:

“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

“How puzzling all these changes are! I’m never sure what I’m going to be, from one minute to another.”

“Curiouser and curiouser!”

“Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.”

 



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