Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Very Peppa 3rd Birthday!

Indulge me in an overdue third {THIRD!} birthday recap, Por favor...

I'm kind of obsessed with small fry birthdays.  They make the most random requests and are dazzled by the simplest things.  There's nothing I love more than an easily impressed audience. 

L's request for her third birthday was a "fairy Peppa party with Little Brother George and his dinosaur ROAR."  And she wanted to bring purple cupcakes for her nursery school celebration. A girl who knows what she wants -- I like it! 

My plans to make class treats Wednesday evening were thwarted by impromptu pediatrcian appointments {thanks Croup!}, so we bundled up early Thursday morning and hightailed it to Tom Thumb 10 minutes before school started. I figured it was a bit of a Hail Mary pass to hope for pre-packaged purple goodies, but Mardi Gras totally saved my butt with the available color schemes. Given L was a Fat Tuesday baby, it was a very Full Circle Moment, right there in the bakery department! Purple, Green, and Gold Mini Brownie Bites for all!  Sister was so proud -- she carried that box all across the parking lot and into school herself. 

Her J and T-Pop arrived in time for pick-up, and we were regaled with tales of the entire class painting their faces with "cupcake lipstick"... you're oh so welcome, fellow parents!

Sister had been requesting a bounce house at her party for months, but we opted not to rent one as I am mean {or because dealing with generators and rain plans for a park birthday party is a pain in the rear}. So TPop and I took the almost-three-year-old to Jump Street on Friday as a consolation prize. There was lots of bouncing and panhandling for quarters for the race cars -- birthday acheivement unlocked!  After nap, L helped with her cupcakes {Madagascar vanilla cake mix from Trader Joe's mixed with a puree of macerated "very cherry" berry mix - also from TJ's - with cream cheese frosting from a can... I Sandra-Lee-ed it up this year -- no regrets}. 

Actual birthday morning dawned bright and early with a giant golden 3 balloon and a new doll bed. IKEA remains my favorite place for toys -- this sucker is adorable, sturdy, and rings in at $12. And it was super easy to put together {not always the case, as you probably well know}. I was going to get fancy and paint it and make a little bedding set out of L's old crib dust ruffle, but why set the bar too high, right? In my potential IKEA hack research, I did discover this bed is the perfect fit for full size American Girl dolls...so if you're inclined to stick it to the outrageously spendy American Girl man, here's a great avenue for you to do so! 

Lucky girl also scored a scooter and helmet {thanks to all who suggested Nutcase!} from her J and TPop and a few new books, her Boden birthday dress, and an Icecream Duplo set. Life is good when you're three! 

{the helmet is pictured pre-adjustment, 'lest you think we're safety idiots}

Post-siesta, it was Peppa Party Time! 

PDF invite from Etsy, printed on Vista Print. Naturally. 

The only Pinterest-y thing I attempted was "muddy puddle" dirt cake cups. And that's solely because I didn't care to make 4 dozen cupcakes to accommodate all those free-loading siblings and parents we invited ;) Plus they gave me an excuse to bust out the fairy wands {+ dinos} I originally ordered for the favor bags without checking the dimensions. Reading Comp Fail turned Cheap Adornment Win! 

Discovery: Dirt Cake remains as delicious as it was two decades ago when I last ate it, and it was a huge hit with kiddos and adults alike... Everyone might just get dirt cake for every birthday from here on out. I jotted down the recipe at the bottom of this post, because most of the ones I found online involved a ton of butter and powdered sugar -- while I'm not one to shy away from excess celebratory calories, those ingredients just really aren't necessary when you're already working with pudding, double stuff Oreos, and Cool Whip. Side note: have y'all eaten a double stuff Oreo recently? Good god they are yummy. 

The weather was a tad blustery, but it was warm enough in the sun, and I think everyone has a grand time outside before hunkering down for more miserable weather. We really, really lucked out in that department as it was either freezing or raining or both before and after party day... plus I did not have a great Plan B. After planning a completely outdoor wedding in March, I have a bit of a "if I schedule it, the sun will come" attitude when it comes to events and weather, but I think I was pushing my luck this go 'round. 

Chalk for favors {since the aforementioned fairy wands were Lilliputian sized}. Labels designed by me in about 20 minutes using the free Avery software online and a quick Peppa Google image search. I am unduly proud of these as cutesy label making is not a skill usually found in my wheelhouse. 

And that rounds out the festivities! It was such a fun weekend, and I'm thankful for all those who popped on an extra layer to celebrate our girl! 

Dirt Cake

- 2 packages Double Stuff Oreos
- 1 package instant chocolate pudding (I think I bought the "chocolate fudge" flavor)
- 2 cups cold milk
- big carton of Cool Whip, dethawed (or two regular sized ones)
- 8 oz whipped cream cheese 
- embellishments 

Pulse Oreos in a food processor until they resemble dirt (fine crumbs). 

Whisk together instant pudding mix and milk until a soupy pudding forms. Whisk in Cool Whip, cream cheese, and 1/3 of the Oreo crumbs (I found this easiest to do in my stand mixer -- an electric hand mixer would work well, too); stir until smooth. 

In clear Dixie cups, layer Oreos with pudding mixture -- Oreos, then pudding, then Oreos, then pudding, then Oreos. 

There's no exact science to the measurements -- we probably did about  2 T of Oreos and 1/4 cup pudding for each layer, which yielded 16 cups. You could definitely get closer to two dozen if you used a bit less for each layer. 

Refrigerate cups for at least 4 hours prior to serving (we made ours the day before). Add any enbellishments (gummy worms for dirt cake purists!) post-refrigeration.


  1. So glad that you went with a nutcase! I need to investigate these TJ's ingredients that you speak of...

    1. The Very Cherry berry mix is in the frozen section -- it's my favorite for smoothie making (black cherries, strawberries, and blueberries)! For the cupcakes, I just popped them in a colander over an empty mixing bowl, dumped a cup of sugar over them, and allowed them to thaw for several hours before pureeing (discard the liquid in the mixing bowl).

  2. CUTE! Genius move including "siblings welcome" on the invite. I have never thought to do that but will be moving forward. With two kids 18 months apart I always assume friends will bring their sibs but so smart to add it to the invite.

  3. My MIL loves to make dirt cake a lot at Easter in a flower pail with cute fake flowers, and she made it once for Trent when he had a truck party and it was in a dump truck. I ate it for breakfast for days. I LOVE dirt cake. Looks like y'all had a great time celebrating!

  4. This is probably a stupid question, but is there typical "etiquette" about inviting siblings when it comes to birthday parties? I see you included them on the invite (very generous of you!), but it never even crossed my mind. I still have 8 months before I need to plan a kidlet birthday party, but I guess it's worth figuring out how many people I should expect to show up beyond those invited!

    1. Not stupid at all! I actually read an article about this on a local parenting blog recently; the "expert's" conclusion was pretty much there is no correct etiquette-- just do what you want...so helpful, right?

      We included siblings because the party was at a park so all I had to plan for was extra food and drink. I would probably not include siblings (unless we were close to the entire family) if we were hosting at a place where you paid per head, like the trampoline gym, etc.

  5. What a special day for Miss L! And great note about the ikea doll bed. Filing that one away under future gift ideas :)

  6. when i was a kid, my mom made those dirt cup things but she put a flower in each. one of my friends started crying and refused to eat it b/c she thought we were trying to make her eat dirt. to be fair, i think i actually made her eat dirt one time.


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