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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

caroline turns three: a bunny birthday party

A year ago this past Christmas, our sweet girl received a small stuffed gray bunny in her stocking.  In truth at the time, it was more an after thought than anything else, but from the moment she laid eyes on that toy, it was love at first sight.  Now, so many months later, she and Little Gray Bunny (crazy name, eh?) are rather inseparable.  What better way to celebrate our darling girl’s birthday than with a bunny-themed party?  I floated the idea with her and she was ecstatic.  Sold.

With the bunny theme, I tried to make use of a lot of floral and garden elements in the decor.  Though we have avoided the pink/girly phase with Caroline as much as possible and we try to buy her neutral colored things in general, she has reached the pink phase all on her own.  I decided to just embrace it for this party. After all, Bunny did have a pink nose once upon a time.  I bought a grapevine wreath and a few coordinating florals on sale from the craft store and stuck them all together at random.  It turned out to be a super fast but cute craft and made a nice decoration for the entryway.  (Side note – my extremely talented friend Courtney designed adorable invitations for the party, and I forgot to get a pic before I sent them all out.  Fail!)

On the left – the first photo ever taken of Caroline and Bunny on that special Christmas morning.  On the right – It turns out that Bunny has appeared in SO many photos of Caroline, it has become a bit of a phenomenon. For Christmas this past year, I printed a few of these custom storybooks as gifts for our family: The Adventures of Caroline and Little Gray Bunny: Vol. 1 (because additional volumes will clearly follow.)

The party was held at lunch time so I wanted to provide enough food to make a substantial meal, but also be fruit and veggie-heavy…mostly bunny food, you know.  Here’s what we had:

Savory
French Onion Sliders
Mac and Cheese Cups
Creamy Cucumber Bites
Assorted Veggies with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Crostini
Roasted Veggie Chickpea Salad

Sweet
Assorted Fresh Fruit
Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies
Marshmallow Bunnies
Blackberry Shortcake Trifles
Strawberry Birthday Cake

To make the food labels, I printed out the names of each dish on craft paper card stock and cut them into tag shapes. Then I taped the tags to a toothpick.  The base is actually a wine cork cut in half lengthwise, covered with a bit of moss from the craft store (hot glued on top).  Once the glue dried, I stuck the toothpicks into the base and had the finished product, which reminded me of labels used in garden plots.

I always love looking back at photos from the past year and choosing some favorites to display at the party.  I didn’t have a lot of time to do anything fancy this year so I just covered some foam board with bunny print paper and added the photos.  Quick and easy.

A quick pic of me and my girl from the party.  (Sorry for the blur, but she’s a constant blur these days! No time to hold still for a photo.)

While everyone enjoyed their cake, we decided to continue our tradition from last year with a short story time by some fabulous readers.  Caroline’s Uncle Steve (a teacher and very excellent story reader) read Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems, one of our very favorite books.  Andrew, extremely proud of his newfound reading proficiency, didn’t want to be left out, so he also read a book aloud to everyone.  I love this boy.

I wasn’t in the mood to do the usual sugar cookies with royal icing, and I have long been wanting to try my hand at painted cookies. I finally decided to give it a try to make these bunny tails with watercolor effect (yes, totally edible) and I loved the way these turned out.  I can’t wait to play around more with painted cookies!  The kids especially loved these.

We are indescribably grateful for our sweet and spunky girl.  It is incredible to see how much she has grown and yet how small she still seems (at least when she sleeps).  And of course, we are also thankful for her well loved Little Gray Bunny that brings her such happiness.

Vendor Information
Floral “C” – Hello Charlotte James
Felted miniature bunnies – Bondurant Mountain Art
Floral paper garland, boxwood wreath – The Blaithin Blair Shop
Custom photo book – Artifact Uprising
Trifle/parfait glasses – Pier 1
Cups, plates, napkins – TomKat Studio Shop
Spoons and forks – Sucre Shop
Bunny print paper, craft card stock, pink polka dot and cupcake wrapping paper – Paper Source

  • AB

    This is such a lovely birthday party! And makes me want to try something similar one day … Thank you for sharing.

  • http://www.onasweetsugarrush.com/ On a Sweet Sugar Rush

    How many beautiful ideas and the picture of you and your girl is just adorable! I’m hoping for a painted cookie tutorial soon :)

  • Jen

    Such a beautiful party!! I’ve been looking for a water dispenser like the one you have. Any idea where it’s from?

  • Kerry Cooks

    Happy Birthday Caroline! She is just such a lovely little girl, and looking so grown up now! The party decorations and food are all beautiful, well done Annie!

  • Shari

    I am truly in love with your website, I have a question did you use your carrot cupcake recipe for the whoopie pies?? Thank you and you inspire all Moms out there with your hard work and dedication, I often wonder how does she do it all??!! Thanks again

  • Emma

    Oh I love the idea of making a layer cake out of your strawberry cupcake recipe — that recipe is amazing. I’d like to make this as a layer cake for my own birthday coming up.

    Do you mind sharing how you converted the recipe? I’m guessing that you made three 8-inch layers? Was that from a single batch, or did you multiply it by 1.5 or something like that?

  • Shelly

    You are amazing! Happy birthday Caroline!

  • Jaime Szajna

    I see you also picked up one of the new drink dispensers from Target. I grabbed 2 to replace my plastic ones. I’m still undecided on the stand, but, seeing it in action, I’m thinking I might need to pick a couple up!

  • Liz N.

    What a beautiful party for Caroline and LGB! In true Annie fashion, no detail goes unnoticed! It’s obvious how much love and thought went into every detail. I love the marshmallow bunnies (is a recipe/tutorial coming?), the decorations and of course, the food. The pic of you and Caroline is just precious! Where did you find your gorgeous earrings?

  • Amy

    That is so sweet and beautiful…perfect for spring.
    For you lime-aid type beverage in your drink dispenser, how did you get the limes to sit perfectly in a ring around the sides like that? When I try to achieve that look with mine, they just float around everywhere.

    Or, are they cucumbers? That would make more sense with your theme.

  • Jenna / Eat Drink Pretty

    This party is bunny perfection. The food looks delicious and beautiful. Happy 3rd birthday to your adorable girl.

  • Ali @ Solano’s Kitchen

    what an adorably sweet party! I’m always so impressed with your party execution!

  • Liz @ FloatingKitchen

    Everything looks beautiful, Annie! Even the worn, loved bunny!

  • annieseats

    Yeah, they are cucumbers. I wanted to add mint too but we were out so oh well :) I actually wanted them to go all over the place, but I didn’t add enough ice – I think the ice is what determines where they go. The more ice that is in there, the more surface area the mix-ins will have to be pressed against the side, I think.

  • annieseats

    Ha, I was the same! I kept the receipt for the Target one and actually bought a galvanized one from Pottery Barn that I liked better, but unfortunately it didn’t fit. Oh well – I ended up liking it anyway.

  • annieseats

    Thanks Liz! The bunnies were kind of a pain but I’m going to try to find the best tips to give so I can do a tutorial. Hopefully next week with Easter coming up!

    My earrings are an old Anthro find – sadly they don’t have them anymore. I do love them and wear them all the time!

  • annieseats

    You can’t use a regular cupcake batter for whoopie pies – it would spread all over the pan. I had some issues with the particular recipe I tried this time but with some tweaking, I think it will be blog-worthy. I’m going to try to do that soon, hopefully this week!

  • Jaime Szajna

    Well, I guess a trip to Target might be in the plans for this weekend … like anyone really needs an excuse for that. ;)

  • annieseats

    It’s a Target find – a new addition for spring/summer, they should still have plenty!

  • annieseats

    I will make sure to share one soon!

  • Maria

    Hi Annie! Beautiful party, so creative and thoughtful! I love the painted cookies! As another reader said, I’ll hope for a tutorial soon.

    You probably get asked this all the time, but where did you find that colored milk glass cake stand that the Floral “C” is sitting on and the white milk glass stand holding the strawberry cake? Looking for colored milk glass stands for my wedding :)

  • Kate Sawyer

    This is lovely! I am so glad to see a child’s party that didn’t take the theme too far. I am always baffled when people pay thousands of dollars to have a themed birthday party for their little kids. This, however, is beautiful without being over the top.

  • Lindsay

    Oh my goodness Annie, what an incredible party! You and your little girl are both adorable. Happy birthday, Caroline!

  • Helena

    You always find such an inspiring balance – your parties are beautiful yet never fussy or OTT and are always about the birthday child. Thank you for sharing!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape

    This is too cute!! And Caroline looks JUST like you!

  • http://www.melskitchencafe.com/ Mel

    Annie, you are amazing! Not that you have any speck of time, but seriously, you would be the most incredible party/event planner ever. I’d hire you to manage my life!

  • http://www.melskitchencafe.com/ Mel

    P.S. Caroline is the cutest, sweetest little girl (and I love, love her little gray dress).

  • Melissa Brooker

    You are super mom Annie! What a gorgeous party and 2 incredibly adorable children!

  • Linda Drury Freeman

    Caroline’s dress is adorable! Where did you find it?

  • Lindsay Weaver

    Beautiful Annie! I was wondering…what is quality of the photo books from Artifact Uprising? I LOVE the simple style of them and was browing the website and noticed people have done hardcover wedding albums and they look beautiful..is the quality of the pictures good? Thanks for your opinion!

  • stephanie

    Happy Birthday, Caroline! Love the photo of the two of you– two peas in a pod! Can’t wait for the carrot cake whoopie pie recipe– genius! I love freezing chocolate whoopie pies– have you tried that with the carrot cake? Could be amazing!

  • Stephanie

    Simply stunning!

  • Lakeisha Bing

    Beautiful party Annie! You can see the love in all the beautiful details! I love it, your the best!!!!!

  • Jenn

    Annie, what a beautiful, sweet party for your beautiful, sweet girl! You are such an inspiration and a wonderful mommy. Both of your children are so beautiful! ~Jenn

  • http://www.spoonfulofflavor.com/ Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor

    I always love reading your party posts. Again, fabulous job, Annie! Every little detail is so precious. Love the bunny cookies and marshmallows.

  • http://www.mrsregueiro.com/ Krystal R.

    What a beautiful party and a perfect bunny day for little miss c!! I love Caroline’s grey dress, where is it from?

  • Tara McLaren

    Your children are beautiful and the party looks like it was fun and fanciful! I have to ask about those marshmallow bunnies though, did you make them? If so, would you please post a recipe/tutorial on how to do that? My little girl, same age as yours, would just love those. She too has a well loved bunny and her favorite treat ever is marshmallows. I would love to make them for Easter.

  • http://www.workingthroughnaptime.blogspot.com Sara Hynds-Scates

    She is so beautiful! I especially like the photo of the two of you. She looks so much like you.

  • Jamila Basharat

    What an adorable party! The decorations (and of course the birthday girl) are so cute! I can’t wait to see the painted cookie tutorial. :) Where did you get your lace dress(or shirt.. can’t really tell in the pic)? It’s gorgeous!

  • Jessica Wuensch

    Happy birthday to your darling daughter! The party looks beautiful!

  • http://www.pink-parsley.com Josie

    Gorgeous, as usual :) Love it all! Happy birthday sweet girl!

  • http://kristineskitchenblog.com/ Kristine @ Kristine’s Kitchen

    What a beautiful party! As always, you do such a nice job of making all of the little details come together. Caroline is adorable and that is such a cute photo of the two of you, even with the blur. :)

    By the way- I love the earrings you are wearing in the photo. Do you mind sharing where you got them?

  • http://kristineskitchenblog.com/ Kristine @ Kristine’s Kitchen

    Of course I submitted my comment before reading the others and I now see that you’ve already answered the earring question. Never mind. :) Too bad they aren’t available anymore!

  • http://foodfamilyfinds.com/ Cat Davis

    So much sweetness. Happy birthday to that sweet little girl.

  • theniftyfoodie

    I just love how this turned out. You are so incredibly creative!

  • Steph in Lex

    What a lovely party! My boy is a few weeks older than your girl is…I can’t get over the fact that he’s already 3! Time goes by so fast.

  • Diana

    Beautiful! You always do such a wonderful job with all the details! Love the idea of blackberry shortcake trifles. Is that coming on the blog? If not I’m sure I can figure something out. =)

  • Amy Grossman

    What a lovely party! I really like how you served the veggies for the crudités where did you get the holders?

  • Cs

    Hi! Wondering where you got the green cake stand. Love it. Thank you

  • http://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/ Joanne (eats well with others)

    Such a cute theme for such a sweet girl!! Remembering this for (very) future birthday girl parties!

  • Joelyn Wong

    Time flies! Happy Birthday to sweet Caroline! Totally love the bunny theme and her bunny too :) I remembered that you announced the news about Caroline with strawberry cupcakes, is this the same one? :) Cheers, Joelyn

  • annieseats

    Yep, same recipe! Good memory :)

  • annieseats

    I don’t recall exactly where I got this particular one, but you can find it in a lot of online party supply shops, I believe including TomKat Studio (linked in the vendor list at the bottom of the post).

  • annieseats

    Those are also from the TomKat party shop. I will update the vendor list to reflect that. Thanks!

  • annieseats

    Possibly but if not, you’re right, I’m sure you could figure it out. It’s basically just the main elements in trifle form. I may post soon – something to keep on my list for sure!

  • annieseats

    Thanks Amy!

  • annieseats

    It is from Anthropologie. I think it is the Elysian lace top (or something like that). Not sure if they carry it right now – seems to come and go, and is sometimes on sale. I was lucky to snag it during a sale because it’s kind of expensive otherwise!

  • annieseats

    Thank you :)

  • annieseats

    I’m going to try to get that posted very soon :)

  • annieseats

    Her dress is Mini Boden :) We loved it too.

  • annieseats

    Thank you Lakeisha!

  • annieseats

    Oh, that does sound good! Ben loves to freeze desserts that don’t require freezing so he especially will love that idea :)

  • annieseats

    Oh gosh, I ADORE them. I think I’m actually going to talk more about that next week in “Things I’m Loving”. I have ordered photo books from most of the main vendors out there, and they are my favorite by far.

  • annieseats

    It’s from Mini Boden :)

  • annieseats

    Thanks Melissa!

  • annieseats

    Ha! You are too sweet, Mel. I feel the same about you – no idea how you manage all of your kids, your home, and such a wonderful blog!

  • annieseats

    Thank you so much! I strive for that balance so I really appreciate your comment :)

  • annieseats

    Thank you so much Kate!

  • annieseats

    I don’t recall exactly where I got this particular one, but you can find it in a lot of online party supply shops, I believe including TomKat Studio (linked in the vendor list at the bottom of the post).

    The brand/type is Mosser glass, so usually I have good luck searching that if there is a size/color not readily available in the places I would normally look.

  • annieseats

    The week was such a blur as we left immediately after the bday party for a family trip in Seattle, and I can’t recall for certain whether I altered the recipe at all. My gut feeling is that I did not. I believe I just made the regular recipe into 3 8-inch layers. I used leftover cream cheese frosting from the whoopie pie filling between the layers, and then a single batch of the strawberry SMBC was used to frost the cake (*just* enough).

  • Emma

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I hadn’t considered using cream cheese frosting between the layers, but now of course I have to do it. Yum! I’ve been wanting to try the “cloud” technique to frost the outside, so I’ll probably just whip up some extra SMBC to be on the safe side.

  • annieseats

    Yeah, if you are going to do any actual frosting design, I would definitely make more – maybe a 1.5 batch. I went for messy because I didn’t have time or energy to do more that particular week :)

  • Meghan Jenson

    Happy Birthday to your sweet girl. I love the flowered C!

  • Mercedes

    Annie,
    I have been following your blog daily/weekly for four years, and can’t believe your baby girl is 3!! Happy Birthday to sweet Caroline! :)
    I remember the announcement post you did of your pregnancy.
    I feel like we are long-time friends, and I love the video you posted Christmas-time of your beautiful family.
    There are so many recipes of your that I have loved and many more I’m going to try.
    Thank you so much for being so amazing! :)

  • annieseats

    Aw, thank you Mercedes! I so appreciate it :)

  • http://www.cooklikeachampionblog.com/ Courtney

    Love this party for sweet Caroline! I think a FaceTime date for her and Clara is in order soon.

  • Stephanie

    I have tried searching for Caroline’s dress, but I can’t find it anywhere. Do you happen to have a link? Thanks!

  • Chrissy

    How did you get the floral c to stand upright? I emailed the etsy seller and she said she doesn’t know how you got it to stand. How did you make it stand? I plan to use it in the same way (stand on a table). Thanks!

  • annieseats

    I just used a couple of old pillar candles and propped it up against them. I’m sure you could do all sorts of things to stand it up though.

  • annieseats

    You’re right, I don’t think they carry it anymore. I bought it last fall.

  • Chrissy

    Thank you! I’ll have to try something like that. It looks great that you can’t see the pillars behind the C. :)

  • annieseats

    Yeah, they were totally a last minute idea because that’s pretty much how all my party set ups are. I’m sure you’ll find something that works :)

  • Melissa Hogarty

    You throw the most beautiful parties! I love looking through your posts for inspiration when I am planning for special occasions!

  • gailwerner

    Ooooh this party was ADORABLE!!!!! Love how much you pour your creative heart and soul into these special moments for your kiddo. You’re pretty incredible, Annie! And I know when Caroline looks back on these photos some day, she’ll realize it all the more!

  • annieseats

    Thanks Melissa!

  • annieseats

    Thank you Gail! That means a lot coming from you :)

  • sweetsugarbelle

    This is the most beautiful party I’ve ever seen, Annie!!!

  • annieseats

    You are too sweet Callye!