Eliza's 5th Birthday ParTEA
Our children only have/will have large birthday parties for what we have deemed “big” birthdays (1 [2 for Judah], 5, 10, 13, 16, etc). Don’t worry, we still do plenty of celebrating each year though - for instance, Hattie blew out candles on 3 birthday cakes this year between all the family celebrations. It just means that Eliza hasn’t had a large, themed, Pinterest-worthy birthday party since her 1st donut themed birthday party (read about that adorable party here).
At almost 5-years-old, she had tons of ideas on the theme of her party. In true Eliza fashion, most ideas surrounded princesses, fairies, and all things sparkly or fancy. Thanks to the book “Fancy Nancy Tea Parties,” her theme was finally settled.
This “how-to” book goes through all the steps of hosting a perfect tea party, and Eliza took every word of it as truth - down to gluing jewels on forks and folding napkins into fans. I had to talk her down on some things such as, “Do you really think your friends would like to eat cream cheese, bananas, and raisins on date bread?” But, we had fun planning her party together, even if we couldn’t quite make ALL of her dreams a reality. She decided to mix ideas from Nancy’s classic, buffet, and alfresco tea parties to throw the perfect 5th Birthday ParTEA. Thanks for your help and lofty goals, Fancy Nancy. What would we do without your over-the-top standards? This book also became her “guest book” for people to sign at the party - one of my favorite traditions. (Blame the teacher in me.)
When the invite went out, guests were encouraged to wear their “fanciest attire.” Eliza changed her attire 4 times before finally settling on an Elsa dress. (Hattie wore her Anna dress, go figure.) When friends walked into the backyard, we had the girls’ dress-up station set up in case anyone wanted to get EVEN fancier. They could borrow some dress-up clothes (Fancy Nancy suggested having some accessories on hand.) Then each guest received a tiara, wand, feather boa, and a strand of pearls. Oooo la la. The girls just ran around in their fancy attire and played for the first little bit while the moms chatted. They were adorable swinging and sliding and running around in their fancy dresses and jewelry. Thankfully, the weather was absolutely perfect for a tea party “alfresco!” (Because if it hadn’t been, the tea party would have taken place in the construction zone that is currently known as the inside of our house!)
After a while, we made a tea party craft. Paper bowls, paper plates, and pink ribbon made the perfect tea party hats. (Not-so-pro-tip: get bigger bowls and plates than I did if you want guests to actually be able to wear them.) I cut the center out of the plate and hot-glued it to the bowl ahead of time. I also hole-punched the sides and added the ribbon. Guests could add a variety of stickers, jewels, and feathers to their hats to make them even fancier. They all spent a lot of time on their hats and were proud of their final products. I wasn’t sure how long they’d work on them, so I had a paper fan folding lesson in my back pocket, just in case, but we didn’t need it.
After the craft was finished, I cleaned up and converted the table for the actual tea party while guests went through the buffet line. As Fancy Nancy suggested, we served various types of finger foods. I brought out all the fancy glassware - you know, those bowls and platters and pitchers that you get as wedding gifts but have no idea what you’ll actually use them for because you don’t host those kinds of dinner parties? Turns out, they’re great for 5th birthday parties.
There were peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, made a little fancier with butterfly and heart-shaped cookie cutters. Eliza picked out ruffle chips - because “the wavy chips are the fanciest chip” after all. Fruit cups were served in brightly colored cupcake wrappers, and a veggie tray was set out. We also had some chocolate drizzled popcorn. I mean, what is fancier than chocolate on popcorn!?
Drink options were pink lemonade (with strawberries and blueberries dropped into it) and bottled water kept cool in a metal bucket filled with ice. We used the same glass jars from Eliza’s first birthday party - we’ve used them so many times over the years. For some reason, it’s also not a real party for me without paper straws, so I chose pink to go with the theme! (If you know me, you know that I also really love hand-lettered chalkboard signs, but they just weren’t necessary this time, unfortunately. Maybe I should have forced it anyway...)
We also served tea, of course! To be sure that our guests had plenty of tea, I set out three teapots with cream and sugar. Two were from my grandmother’s teapot collection! (You should definitely trust 3-5 year olds with family heirlooms. You won’t be stressed AT ALL.) I also ordered the cutest paper teacups from Amazon. Seriously, aren’t they the best!? Doilies and fresh flowers made the plastic table cloth and paper plates a little more elegant. (Nancy suggested candy bouquets or flower bouquets on the table, and Eliza opted for the REAL flowers.) I pulled out all of our brightest vases for this special occasion.
After the table was set, guests were ready to (tea) party! Per Eliza’s request, I reminded them to use their best manners, shared some of Fancy Nancy’s fancy French vocabulary from the book (I probably butchered it), and let the girls take it from there. It was so cute to overhear their little conversations and see the excitement on their faces. I’m pretty sure their “tea” was mostly sugar, though!
We enjoyed chocolate cupcakes for dessert. I did my best to pipe buttercream flowers using a star tip. It wasn’t too terribly bad for a first attempt. They were bright and sugary, so they did the trick anyway.
Eliza stepped outside of the “Fancy Nancy Tea Parties” book and requested a piñata. Grandma found one that looked like a teapot and filled it full of all sorts of fancy, sparkly things. There were ring pops, smarties, 3 kinds of rings, necklaces, nail polish, stickers, bubbles, and lip gloss. Each guess received a small “purse” with Fancy Nancy’s signature butterfly glasses, a teacup sucker, and a party blower. They added all their piñata wares to their bag and went home with lots of fun treats. (Pro tip: When each child attempts to break the piñata 6 times, and it still isn’t busted…bring in The Dad to break open the piñata. Not-so-pro tip: don’t put bubbles in a piñata…just in case one busts.)
It was the perfect party for my fun, fancy, firecracker of a FIVE year old. We owe it all to you, Fancy Nancy.
P.S. Here is little brother’s thoughts about being the only boy at this tea party: