Maura's 2nd Birthday Party


We had Maura's birthday party on Saturday, it was so much fun! This year was a lot less stressful than last year because we only invited her close family and three friends (which made it 18 adults, 6 kids and 1 infant). Plus we had it inside, which is way better for being able to decorate/prep in advance (thanks for all your help, Mom)! I also used a lot of the decorations I had bought last year (which I looked at as kind of an investment - ha!) but used them in different ways and updated them with some new paper products.

I was actually ready enough in advance (like 4 minutes before people were supposed to come) this time to take some pics of things:)  (Sorry, this is gonna be long.) Here's the birthday girl!!

Last year I ordered one of these custom birthday banners from etsy seller Cow Country Creations. I even got to pick the ribbon color. Each word is a separate strand, and you can push or pull the letters closer together or further apart along the ribbon. This thing is awesome! Since I went with the rainbow colored assorted one, I figure I can use this every year for her, no matter what the color scheme of the party. Plus, I could use it for anybody else by just not putting up the Maura banner. At her first birthday party I hung it outside above the food, this year I put it on the mantel, and I even brought it to my parent's house to hang up for her pre-birthday party celebration when my family was in town.

We set up a spot for gifts on top of my Gram's bow front dresser. I used the chalkboard that I bought for her photo booth last year again but just redid the accident it ended up looking really cool in front of my vintage map! (Another good investment - used the chalkboard for both my Christmas and spring decor.)

If anyone's interested, I took in progress shots of the chalkboard as I went along, so I could post those at some point with more info.

Another item reused from last year are these cupcake/polka dot fabric buntings that I snagged at Target. For a few bucks each, you can't really go wrong with hot pink, turquoise and polka dots. I mean, that stuffs always gonna be in style:) So I just went crazy and hung them everywhere.

There's a big blank wall in our dining room (where we served the food) that gets put to good use for functions (I'm waiting to find the perfect hutch or buffet, but until then I'm not afraid to put a couple of thumb tack holes in the wall if it helps the party cause). So that's where I hung the monthly bunny pics I've been taking since Maura turned one.

I had them printed up as 5x7s at CVS and mounted them on some pink card stock I already had. I've used this jute twine and these little clothespins for lots of other things before too, so this was a pretty easy, cheap project.

 Remember when my sister and I made old school paper chains for Maura's party last year and then put some of them up in her room afterwards? I had the rest stored in the basement, so I broke those out again and hung them from the ceiling in the kitchen and dining room (last year they were outside strung between trees and cascading off the deck).

For food, we just kept it simple with hamburgers and hotdogs and lots of side salads, served buffet style in the dining room. I got flowers at Stop and Shop and put them in white pitchers for the centerpieces. Then I bought 2 wooden letter "M"s at Michaels and painted them a sea foam blue color (one was originally white and one was black).

Target has great patterned paper goods (which I think are hard to find) so the plates, napkins and tablecloth came from there. I found them early on and they were a great inspiration and way to pull everything together.

Striped pink straws from Pick Your Plum (bought as the deal of the day - sign up so you know what's going on) made all the drinks seem more fun, and people really used them:)

Maura's not a huge cake fun, but she loooves ice scream, so we had a DIY ice cream sundae bar.

Nothing elaborate, just threw 4 kinds of ice cream, 2 sauces, whip cream, cherries and lots of toppings on the kitchen table, but these ice cream cups (large rainbow-colored ones from Pink Lemonade Party Supply Shop and medium white ones from The Tomkat Studio) made it seem a lot cooler!

{Trust me, the adults loved it too. Man, the sundae I made for myself was awesome!!!}
She was so excited when everyone sang Happy Birthday to her!! I loved watching her face light up!!

Favors/goodie bags seem like the most stressful part of kids' parties to me. Do you guys do them? How do you keep it easy when there's kids of different ages? We only had six, so I wanted to do something special with the actual container the stuff came in. I ordered cotton muslin draw-string bags from The Cotton Bag Company and stamped each one with their name and a unique pattern. It was really fun and not hard at all (each one only took about 10 minutes). I also took some in progress shots, so I can share those later in a semi-tutorial post. Only thing I would do differently next time is get the next size bag up for more room and larger goodies:)

I hung them on the wall in our entryway, so that no one would leave without them (more jute and mini clothes-pins).

Maura loves the wind turbines that have recently gone up in our town (well, I do too, they are really fascinating!) so everybody got a pinwheel from Paper Polaroid. The other toddlers got stickers and some of Maura's favorite snacks and the 3 older kids got stuff specific to their likes.

I guess its a good party when you end up lying under the table with your uncle (my brother/Maura's godfather) and aunt (his girlfriend)..with your Crocs on instead of your pink ballet shoes and no hair bow!!


  1. Eeeek! So damn cute, all of it! Knox's birthday is like 4 weeks away and I haven't planned a thing! Like Maura's, we'll keep it pretty small this year but I still need to get my butt in gear. Thanks for the inspiration! Happy birthday Maura!

  2. Darling and well done! I found that over the years, simple is better so kudos for getting that down. Maura is too cute for words and I love the last shot with her uncle and his girlfriend! Of course it goes without saying that every detail is well thought out and executed!

  3. Happy Birthday Maura! What a fun party Sarah - you did such a nice job. And such great tips on all the shops/vendors you bought from - I'll have to pin away with those places. I don't like favors at all - I always keep them generic, cheap, and try to do something edible. This year we did mini soft pretzels (one of Sheila's favorites) in clear bags with a Toy Story sticker for closure. Not that original but super easy, cheap, and kids seemed happy with them. I'm the same with showers and other events - edible (or useful) all the way. I love the pinwheels - those are adorable. I'll definitely have to check those out. And I love the Maura photo timeline - that is so adorable. Can you believe your baby is 2? Great photos of you guys. Love the birthday updates! Oh and we need to do a book round-up - Sheila's getting back into books again(yay!) and I'd love to know some other good ones that kids her age like.

  4. Happy Birthday little girl! She looked so happy, and I love how much more grown up she looks from the first bday party (which is how I found your blog a while back while planning my Norah's first party!)Very nice party this year too!

  5. Ok so I thnk my last comment was eaten by blogger? Hmmm... weird! What a great party, Sarah. Everything looks so beautiful, stunning, but not overdone. Seriously amazing. :)
    I love that birthday banner, and that fabric bunting from Target (last year? Go figure! I was ready to hit up my local Target to grab it!). You look beautiful, and I every time you post a picture of Maura, I just can believe how much she has grown. What a sweet picture of you both to treasure!

  6. Hey, what a great party and a lucky little girl! Thanks, Sarah, for showing off your cute goodie bags and throwing in a shout-out to my Etsy shop.

  7. What a sweet party! Your house looks amazing -- so festive! And, it looks like Maura had a great day - the look on her face when you guys were singing is priceless. So cute! :)

  8. You are super Mom!!!! I can't believe all of the thoughtful little details you put into Maura's birthday. She's so lucky to have you as her mom.

    Happy birthday big girl!!! :)

  9. I love all the party fun!! And I love all the little extra details! Good job! Maura is just adorable. I love her sweet little dress. Happy 2nd Birthday, Maura!

  10. Happy Birthday little one!! Miss y'all and hope to see you soon.

  11. How adorable! You should be a party planner, Sarah. Loving all the cute details, especially the pink chair photo bunting :) Happy Birthday, Maura!

  12. Hey, It's a creative birthday party theme and decorated superbly. You put so many things to make is a successful birthday party.

  13. What a sweet party for Maura, the sundaes look like they were quite a hit! All your touches are darling, and the stamped bags are such a fun idea! :)

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