We love a good gift guide. Especially one created WITH the kids and seeing as we've just celebrated Ava's 4th birthday we thought it would be a great time to share all the presents she's been enjoying and playing with the most! Maybe her TOP 10 will provide a few gift...
“TWO” cool for school 2nd birthday bash!
We’ve celebrated more than one 2nd birthday, and coming up with original themes is a bit more challenging every time… This year for Ava’s party, we decided to go with something completely different. Hinting to the fact that she’s still at home, and such a “mama’s girl”. A “TWO cool for School” theme seemed perfect!
I made a quick invite on CANVA.com (every mama’s best friend when it comes to designing your own stationary) and sent it to our nearest and dearest with an added note, this party was dress-up.
Now to make things pretty!
The colour scheme was inspired by our beautiful Migi Designs picnic blanket and the rest was easy…
Apples (affordable and edible decor for the win), brown paper lunch bags filled with fun bits and pieces, a few check tablecloths cut from a piece of fabric I found at a local fabric store, chalkboards, alphabet cards and good old school stationary that can be put away after the party, and used as needed by Eliana at school. It was kind of like buying school supplies in advance.
I grabbed up a beautiful photo display stand from Clever Little Monkey and added a personalised Ava’s ABC’s written on craft wrapping paper. The guests loved looking back on Ava’s past year, giggling at all the things we love about her. You’ll definitely be seeing us use it again and again for future celebrations.
Add a few strings of paper tassel bunting (recycled from a friend’s birthday party, just a few weeks before) and our backyard was set!
When planning our parties we always focus on the food. If people eat well, everyone is sure to have a good time.
We keep sweets to the minimum, for as long as we can. Still an easy task seeing as Ava is home with me most of the time, next year, we’ll have some more treats.
“Party food” included:
- Bran muffin balls
- Mini Toffee apples
- PB & J Macarons from Sweetly Detailed
- School themed sugar Cookies by Artful Biscuit Co.
- Homemade Giant Choc Chip Cookies
- Dried Fruit
- Oh My Goodness Fruity Hoops Cereal (The Gordon Ramsay brand Checkers sell.)
Lunch needed to be kid- and adults-friendly so, gourmet sandwiches! Choose what you like from a variety of breads, cold meats, toppings and sauces. Fournos Bakery always has an incredible selection of freshly baked loaves, buns and bagels.
The spread at our sandwich bar included:
- Low GI, Gluten-free, Wholewheat, French baguettes, Ciabatta, bagels, plain white and even charcoal loaves.
- Cold meats: salami, pastrami, chicken, ham and everything else on offer at the deli.
- Cheese – grated and sliced.
- Fresh Guacamole
- Tomato slices
- Fresh chillies
- Tomato sauce
- and don’t forget the butter.
We borrowed my mom’s panini press for the foodies wanting to make a toasty and had good old Peanut Butter and Jam handy for anyone wanting to keep things simple.
What about the cake?
Birthday cakes are expensive and as a non-baking mama, I understand why. Baking something delicious and making it look magical is an art. That’s why I’m grateful to have a sister-in-law that knows how to bake the tastiest cakes. Every time she bakes a cake, our friends notice and if you aren’t quick you won’t get a bite.
She baked a red velvet and dark chocolate layered cake covered in black fondant. What a surprise cutting into the cake.
The night before I used food gels and my best steady “teacher hand” to decorate the sides. Dusting here and there with a sprinkle of cornstarch. Artful Biscuit Co.‘s gorgeous sugar cookies and a number 2 cake topper (recycled from a previous birthday) was the perfect finishing touches to Ava’s cake.
Being winter this was an easy choice – a self-serve coffee and hot chocolate stand.
All we needed was an urn, our trusty glass beverage dispensers filled with milk. A few hot drink sachets, Milo, sugar, sweeteners, tea, honey, spoons and disposable coffee cups. These days you can find great compostable ones, so be sure to read the packaging. We also put out tiny porcelain cups for the kids to use, as well as glass drink jars with reusable straws (we use these for all our parties) and a huge water dispenser for a cool alternative.
Now for the “FUN”
Having the guest dress according to the theme already provided a good laugh whether you went all out or simply grabbed your old school pullover. Wanting to stick to our colour scheme, I borrowed a uniform from a teacher friend, she hooked up a few of us – just look closely.
Mr. Perfect simply added a tie. Lia and Eliana played around with pleated skirts they had in their closet and the birthday girl stood out in a Mika & Cebo Kids set.
We built a cardboard “Tuck Shop“. This doubled as a really cool photo prop and play area for all the kids. Everyone took turns buying and selling “treats” to each other.
Each “pupil” received a mini chalkboard and party pack filled with chalk, play dough, star stickers, crayons and a “homework book” to use at the “homework corner”.
The “Homework Corner” was a craft station. More stickers, glue, colouring pages and paper crafts to enjoy.
On the “Playground” we had bean bag toss – another easy to make cardboard game. The dads had some fun with this one too. And of course our home jungle gym and swings.
Saying “Thank You”
Mr. Perfect’s handyman abilities were once again put to the test as I asked him to build a cute, corner bookshelf out of cardboard boxes. I headed over to our local Bargain Books. They always have great books on sale. There were so many to choose from. I decided on a variety but also included a few of the same titles. Books I thought Ava’s friends would enjoy the most, with more than one friend wanting to take the same story home.
I made a library card / thank you note on CANVA and included it with every book. Just a tiny detail, coz I’m a sucker for details.
* If you like, download and use our Library Card HERE.
The library was a hit with little ones and their parents reading together, choosing a favourite story to take home and keep forever.
This party gets an A+ from all the guests.
Seeing everyone have fun, dressing up and celebrating with us was the best! Everything you want a birthday to be.
Looking back at Ava’s 2nd birthday party, we treasure the photos and video the most!
That’s why we’ve teamed up with Poppit & Finch.
GIVEAWAY CLOSED – CONGRATULATIONS Mia van der Linde (Instagram winner)!
WIN a 2-hour birthday celebration photo package to the value of R2500 for your little one’s next birthday party! This package includes 2 hours of coverage with 150 images delivered to you via an online gallery. AMAZING, right?
How to enter:
- Leave a comment below telling us what your next party theme might be!
- Follow Just a Mamma and Poppit & Finch on Instagram AND / OR
Liking Just a Mamma and Poppit & Finch on Facebook. (I’ll be checking so PLEASE make sure you complete this step).
Be sure to have a look at the T&C below and good luck!
- Competition only open to families residing in Pretoria and Johannesburg, South Africa.
- Prize must be used with 12 months and date of party photoshoot is subject to availability.
- Please enter a valid email and contact info. If we can not get hold of you within 48 hours a new winner will be picked.
- This prize is not exchangeable or refundable.
- You need to complete all the compulsory steps as stated above. Failure to do so will result in you being disqualified.
- Instagram and Facebook is in no way responsible or associated with this giveaway.
- Winner must be 18+ years old.
- Competition closes on the 2nd of October 2019.
Quick list of suppliers for Ava’s 2nd birthday party:
Birthday cake: Baked by my incredible sister-in-law, decorated by me. Sugar cookies added for WOW!
Sugar cookies: Artful Biscuit Co.
Giant choc chip cookies: Recipe available HERE on the Cookpad APP.
Macarons: Sweetly Detailed
Birthday Milestone board: Nectar & Ink
Photo feature wall: Clever Little Monkey
Letterboard: Fable Lifestyle
Photos and video: Poppit & Finch
Checkout our CELEBRATION PAGE for more party inspo.
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