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Real Life in a Pinterest World: The Birthday Edition

Jenn from A Simple Haven and I are exploring what it means to live purposefully in a world that bombards us with a million good things.  Online, the message seems to be that we can do it all. The truth is we cannot do everything.

We’re two moms on a journey toward being ok with this and fully embracing the season of life that  we’re in–with all of its joys and limitations. 

Once a month,  we’ll share about our crafting fails, what we’re currently saying “yes”  and “no” to, and the beautiful reality of daily life. Will you grab a  warm cup of something and join us?


My big/little girl turned four a few weeks ago. Three days after Christmas is when she was born and that is when we celebrate her. I know we could host a party earlier in the month or maybe even this month, in January but so far we’ve celebrated right on the day and I like it that way.

It’s a little crazy planning a party three days after Christmas, and a birthday party nonetheless. It’s not even a gift exchange or something Christmasy. Last year, I pored over Pinterest in late November and early December. I pinned lots of ideas and texted all my thoughts to my sister and asked her opinions on the favours. It was a wonderful party but I knew I couldn’t do that again this year.

Kilmeny's 4th (10 of 39)

I didn’t want to be exhausted by all the ideas, all the stuff and all the prep for a party as well as Christmas. We were planning to go away for a few days before Christmas and I knew I would be doing well just to prep all the Christmas stuff before we left on a little trip.

I do love a good party. But I am also learning to slow down and listen to the people around me, to know their needs and wants and to be intentional with my time. I am also learning to listen to what is good for me, to know my needs and to know that life goes in seasons. I’ve been seeing Pinterest differently as well these days, I don’t see it as all the things to do but rather as a visual inspiration board. I love all the pretty details of parties and I am so inspired by moms who host those parties for their littles. (go read these posts to see such a mom) But I also know that in this season, simpler is better and a happier/well-rested mum is better for all of us. 


My Kilmeny is an extrovert, she loves people! All she wanted for her birthday was breakfast in bed and a houseful of friends as well as pink and sparkles everywhere. 

And that is exactly what we did. We emailed several friends and invited them over to share cupcakes and coffee for a couple of hours. We invited parents and little sisters as well and ended up with a houseful of nine little girls. It was marvellous.

Kilmeny's 4th (27 of 39)

I created a simple birthday banner using scrapbook paper and stencils and a favourite picture of my girls together. I used an empty frame and it made a perfect backdrop for the cupcakes. Pink flowers and a pink sparkly  ‘K’ picked up on clearance added some fun touches and made it a pink day. We served coffee and tea in fancy tea cups (because my wise friend says to use your fancy stuff). I filled a pitcher with water and added frozen berries- cranberries, strawberries and blueberries. Mason jars make the best glasses (in my opinion) and they are super trendy right now which satisfied my little stylistic heart.


It was a beautiful day. Simple and meaningful with conversations amongst all the grownups. My husband makes the best coffee and he made sure that  everyone had something to drink and was introduced to each other. The girls played as little girls do, not needing anything but their imagination to create games.


I was relaxed and even got to enjoy a hot cup of coffee while talking with some of our friends. It wasn’t something you would find on Pinterest and it wasn’t the detailed party that I want to throw someday but it was perfect for this season. 

How do you plan parties in your house? Do you have any December birthdays, when do you celebrate them? 

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Megan January 30, 2014, 9:26 am

    The party looks lovely and stress-free!Great job! We have a December birthday as well- my 2 year old boy turned 3 on the 15th. I am not a party person and we did no decorations – we simply made pizza, cupcakes (I did try to make them look like baseballs, his favorite), and then we invited family over. I wanted it to be as low-key as possible because he’s just a little boy and he had no expectations and birthdays tend to stress me out. Maybe in the future I’ll be more ambitious 🙂

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment January 30, 2014, 1:11 pm

      Pizza and cupcakes sound perfect! Birthdays can be stressful but it sounds like you know yourself and can keep it pretty low-key. Just the fun of a birthday is often enough for little kids. =)

  • Megan January 30, 2014, 9:41 am

    Would you mind sharing what you do about gifts, since I know you try to keep your girls’ toys and clothes to a minimum? I always tell my guests “He really doesn’t need anything, please don’t feel as though you need to bring a gift” but our families are always generous and gift him anyway. If they say they really want to bring a gift, I try to think of something he really does need or want but inevitably the house always has a lot more ‘stuff’ in it after a birthday.

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment January 30, 2014, 1:10 pm

      Yes, I know that feeling well! If friends/family ask, I try to direct them to things that I know my girls need/want – new crayons and colouring books. Hair stuff. Socks/shoes.
      One of my favourite gifts this year was a moulded cake pan, spatula and wooden spoon for helping in the kitchen. I also packed all the birthday gifts away and brought them out one at a time in January. =)

  • Stacey Loscalzo January 30, 2014, 10:00 am

    So pretty and so simple. Love the idea of this series!

  • Anna January 30, 2014, 11:00 am

    As usually I love today’s post. I feel for kids birthdays simple is often better. As I work, and my kids go to day home, when they have birthday parties the group of friends are simply excited to go play at a friend’s house. My son’s 4th birthday was our first friends party, and it was nothing that would end up on pinterest but it was a whole lot of fun. We played outside (august), ate cake and did one activity simply making ice cream in ziplock bags. At the end of the day the kids will remember their experiences and they only want to have fun.

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment January 30, 2014, 1:04 pm

      Thank-you so much, Anna! You are so right that kids remember the experience and the fun of playing with their friends or that special activity. =)

    • jennfromsimplehaven January 30, 2014, 4:25 pm

      I’m going to remember this wisdom when I start to get all wrapped up in planning activities for my daughter’s birthday party in April! So true.

  • Katie January 30, 2014, 12:04 pm

    I love your sensibility! My youngest has a Birthday on December 23 and we have a tradition of doing waffles with strawberries and whipped cream for dinner! Everyone appreciates the fun and simplicity of it – no birthday cake (too many sweets already!), although we have done a cupcake with candles.

  • Jenn @ A Simple Haven January 30, 2014, 4:27 pm

    Love how you kept it low-key and just did the stuff that she would want. We didn’t do a party for my little big girl last year, but I’m really looking forward to doing one this year. I’ve already enlisted the help of my favorite 3 year old party-planner 🙂
    And yay for using fancy stuff! 🙂

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment January 30, 2014, 9:32 pm

      4 years old is a much better age to start ‘real’ parties then 3, imo. They have a much better idea of what is going on and it can be more relaxed. Yay for party planners. =) And I seriously had your voice in my head when I debated over using the teacups, I knew you would approve. 😉

  • allie rasmussen (@allierasmussen) January 30, 2014, 5:04 pm

    It’s so crazy how birthday parties/showers have become such big productions! It’s so easy to fall into that trap. Your party looks lovely! Simple, pretty, and best of all, it was about the birthday girl and the people there 🙂 Need to take notes for my little guys birthday this summer.

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment January 30, 2014, 9:34 pm

      I love to pore over the details but I seriously can’t imagine creating/spending the money and hosting and all the other stuff…but others can,and I celebrate them. =)
      It’s so fun to make it about the birthday person. And summer parties are SO fun!

  • sarahkerner January 31, 2014, 12:05 am

    That sounds like a party I would enjoy! I am currently planning my son’s birthday party and I’m feeling a lot of pressure to have a “good one” since last year we had to cancel his party at the last minute due to a crazy snowstorm. I really need to let that go and just plan something he will enjoy, which honestly doesn’t take much.

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment January 31, 2014, 11:00 am

      I’m so glad to hear that, Sarah! Honestly, a good one is totally doable when you keep in mind your strengths, what your son wants and what’s realistic. Plan it and have fun! =)

  • ramblingtart January 31, 2014, 12:44 am

    What a beautiful day, my friend, and so perfectly suited to you AND your girl. 🙂 I like to use my fancy stuff too. XO We do parties very simple around here – special dinner, little pressies, time together. That’s enough. 🙂

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment January 31, 2014, 11:01 am

      The fancy stuff just made it for me, I felt so grown up drinking my coffee out of a tea cup rather then a mug. =) Special dinner, little pressies, time together- sounds perfect to me.XO

  • Rachel Friesen January 31, 2014, 3:45 pm

    I threw my first just-kid party for my six-year-old last spring. We had six friends (plus one extra little sister) over for an afternoon. They opened presents, decorated cupcakes with whatever sprinkles/candy were already in the house, and then just played until their parents came and picked them up. The cupcake creations were more suited to Cakewrecks than Pinterest, but they all had fun – and were old enough to do it basically without assistance. Play time was a big hit – especially with the couple girls who were really excited about helping the birthday girl break in the presents they’d brought her. And no one came looking for the big spread of snacks that had kept my husband and I in the kitchen for the first half of any party we’d thrown prior – the kids were happy with their cupcakes and juice.

    I was pretty impressed with my super simple party until my mother-in-law expressed surprise that I’d “gone through the trouble” of making the cupcakes from scratch instead of just using a mix. That sort of simplification never occurred to me – I have everything on hand for making cake already. Why go out and buy a mix? It got me thinking that there maybe other moms out there who see decorations as no big deal but see the baking as a challenge. For me, “just throwing together” some decorations would mean acquiring an entirely new skill set, nevermind a cupboard full of supplies from I don’t even know where. But cake and icing, that I can do. All the minimal skills involved in baking are so deeply ingrained from repetition that I don’t even think about them anymore. I just do it. Makes me wonder how many of Pinterest’s “easy” craft ideas that seem impossibly complex to non-crafty me are put together by life-long crafters who think nothing of whipping out a sewing machine or a glue gun. Maybe Pinterest would be best seen as a collection of beautiful things made by artists, be it oil on canvas, a perfectly plated meal, or an elaborate party hat.

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment February 2, 2014, 7:24 pm

      Great insight on how Pinterest can be seen- as a collection of beautiful things to inspire all artists. And that art looks different from person to person. You always have such good comments on these posts, I like it. =)
      I totally agree that one’s person strength can be a hurdle for someone else. I’m with you on the bake a cake from scratch, it honestly boggles my mind to make it from a mix but I’m not very good at small talk or engaging a group of people. =)

      Simple play time and simple cupcakes wins hearts every time. I love it. =)

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