A Tea Party

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I woke up early Saturday morning, fetched my coffee and tiptoed across wet grass to the back woods where a blank canvas awaited. In the gray haze of dawn, I began stretching twine from tree to tree, dangling tissue paper blooms and sweeping pine needles aside to create a welcoming place. As the sun rose higher and friends arrived to help, I scurried more quickly–in and out of the house, dragging tablecloths, hoisting chairs, calling for Brett to “Grab an extention cord!” “Bring me my scissors!” “Move that table!” …”Please.”

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But I love it. Set-up and tear-down is miniscule compared to the sweet moments in the middle. Thank you to Gary for helping set up, and thank you to Kaity who arrived early, stayed late and helped take many of these pictures so I could sit back and enjoy the party.

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Nella’s dress was made by my dear friend, Rebecca, who recently said “I’ve never sewn clothes.” That was a week before she handed over Nella’s beautifully detailed, fully lined dress…and then she made two more dresses the same week. Check out Vintage Giggles, her brand new website and her collection of handmade baby quilts, towel sets and burp cloths. Sister’s on a roll. My other friend, another Rebecca, made Nella’s fascinator. I’m convincing her to open an Etsy shop, stat, and I’ll drop her link when it’s done.

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Party and vendor deets at the end of this post.

With no further ado…Tea for Two.

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Thank you, Jen, for bringing that amazing flower display. It made the table!

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Thank you, Poppa, for the tea cups!

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I’ve done enough kid parties now to realize where I’ve gone wrong and what works best for this age group. I started out thinking the more activities, games, crafts, the better, but oh how wrong I was. I’ve found no matter how many things I plan, the kids just want to play together. So, we do one easy craft and one quick game (usually a scavenger hunt because it’s free).

Our tea party craft was a “Make your own tea hat” station at the entrance to the party. Mamas manned the glue guns, and girls decorated pre-constructed paper plate hats for the party.

Pre-construction:

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Girls chose from an assortment of silk flowers and feathers to create their hats.

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Voila.

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Our tea party game was simple. Throw 60 packaged tea bags around the yard and set the kids loose to find them.

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And the little girls took over the rest of the party.

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Dress-up in the woods

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And the tea-sipping part of it? Be still my heart. Nella knew exactly what she was doing.

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And so did the rest of the girls.

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We told stories on the “magic carpet” which ended up being a favorite part of the party.

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I don’t know how it happened but one story led to another and soon we were all chasing an imaginary elf whose character became topic for heated discussion. Half of the girls argued that he was a nice elf. And the fiesty ones decided the party would be far more fun if this hypothetical elf was naughty. Some even went so far to demonstrate the ferocious noises he made and described his appearance. “He’s blue with claws and he looks like a mean dinosaur,” Leah informed us. Thank you, Leah. You will go on to make blockbuster monster movies someday, I’m sure.

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Nella finally couldn’t take any more fun, so she slept through the end of her party in Laura’s arms.

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Party Favors for girls: They got to take their tea cup and saucer home and a little bag of goodies.

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And for Mamas: Two notecards tied with twine and a shabby chic pen.

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It was a special day indeed, and we’re still smiling.

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*****

Party Deets:

All decor, linens, curtains, etc. we already had or borrowed from friends., so there isn’t much to list there.

Tea Cups: My dad bought the girls’ tea cups from this great eBay store, Roses and Teacups. They offer a fantastic collection of inexpensive tea sets, and their customer service is impeccable. Their shipment of the cups we ordered didn’t arrive to their warehouse in time, so the day before the party, they e-mailed “what time is your event tomorrow?” and, within five minutes, informed me they were overnight shipping a new selection of cups to arrive in the morning. Sure thing, they were there.

Stamped Favor Bags: Jennifer’s Cookies Etsy Shop

Tea House Sign: I painted on a thin sheet of plywood, available at craft or hardware stores.

Nella’s dress and headband: handmade by friends.

Tags, all party favor goodies and cupcake papers: Michael’s Dollar Bins.

Menu: mini cheesecakes (Easy!: recipe here), cupcakes with buttercream frosting and pink pearl beads, blueberry scones, flower-cut ham & cheese sandwiches, crackers with brie, coconut macaroons, pink lemonade “tea”

*****

With gratitude, we wrap up Nella’s 2 for 2 Fund.

*Since our first fundraiser, you’ve helped us raise: $202,993
*This year’s fund included 2,632 donors
*$77,311 specifically dedicated to Nellaโ€™s 2for2 (since 1/10/12)
*Largest donation = $10,000
*Second largest = $1,307
*Average gift = $10
*Donors are from 24 countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, England, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, United States
*Donations also came from US Territories and Military Bases
*Overseas donations were from 230 donors โ€“ Canada had the most and Australia had the second largest number of donors
*At least one donation came from every state, including D.C

And all this? Reading it makes my throat tighten. What a powerful thing, this Internet, and the way people can truly move mountains. We sincerely thank you so very much for what you’ve done. Big things, friends. Of course, you can still give to Nella’s Rockstars throughout the year by clicking on the button on the right sidebar. And to see where your money goes, check out the NDSS Milestones video.

*****

Finally, introducing returning sponsor One Delightful Button. Shop owner, Katie, makes unique jewelry and accessories using both vintage buttons and buttons she hand creates. Everything is affordably priced and whether you’re buying for yourself or a gift for a friend, One Delightful Button offers a variety of styles and colors to accessorize your look.

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Red and White Stripe Button Earrings

Use Code NELLA for 10% off your order.

*****

Happy Monday!

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Comments

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  1. You did it again! Another A-MA-ZING party! Happy Birthday, Sweet Nella!!!

  2. You know how to throw a party. The end.

  3. Looks like a beautiful day!

  4. What a charming party!! You did an amazing job!!

  5. wow amazing tea party.i seen something like this only in movies, sooo beautiful. amazing ideas, i hope i can create something like this for my little girl at summer

  6. Absolutely adorable! I was already planning to do a tea party for my daughter’s next bday… And now I have even more great ideas! Thank you! And Happy birthday Nella!

  7. Amazing. Wonderful. Beautiful. Happy birthday, sweet Nella.

    http://www.ournoblepursuits.blogspot.com

  8. Awesome! I want a tea party but my little girl… now a teenager and three little boys now have I! So we’ll have pirate parties and the like lol!

  9. This is just the cutest darn party I’ve ever seen! You have quite an eye for making things fabulous. I may have to steal this idea when I have little ones of my own. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. You throw the most amazing parties ever!!! So creative!

  11. It’s a little girls wonderland! How fun!

  12. Amazing!! The party turned out beautifully & Nella looks gorgeous. Great job & so much fun

  13. Oh finally!! Was checking all day yesterday for this beautiful post, and as per usual, you delivered girlfriend. Just amazing!! Keep scolling back and forth at all these little beauties ( and mama beauties too..) in their tea party finest. I am totally blaming you for my causing me to start planning my sweet girl’s 1st b-day back in January—that doesn’t happen until June. Really…is there anything better? well done my dear, well done.

  14. What a beautiful party!

  15. Sweetness!

  16. WOW-AMAZING!!! It looks like Nella had a fantastic tea party! Great job- you are truly an inspiration!

  17. One word…shit.

    And this is a compliment to you, and a “I had better get planning for Isla’s birthday” to me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Where to start? The details kill me. Your outfits, the hat station, the mirror in the woods, the magic carpet, the dress-up clothes, the tea set, the table, the choice of food…the list goes on. I also think Heidi looks magnificent…she must be getting so excited to meet her new little wheel.

    Well done, Kelle. Magnificent, in fact. Are you interested in flying to Regina in July to help me pull this off? xo

  18. Beautiful, beautiful. I love the magic carpet in the woods storytime! Despite knowing how much work must have gone into the planning and setting up, you all looks so relaxed and happy. Really lovely.

    Happy Birthday once again to Nella!! Two is an utterly magical age!

  19. Oh what a happy happy day! Love Nella’s picture at the end, like she’s saying, “Chill out guys, I’ve got this being two thing down to a science!”

  20. This is the cutest party ever ever ever!! Amazing work and happy birthday to Nella!

  21. you’re such a great person…really!! And your pics are always the best :)!

  22. Also, the link you have to Vintage Giggles doesn’t work – check it out! (…I was able to find them anyway!)

  23. Gorgeous party and amazing attention to detail, as usual. Sigh. I want to come to a party! LOL

  24. Totally blown away, the way you rock kids parties! I have a 6 year old’s fish themed bday party to plan for saturday, and i am wondering what we are going to do to entertain and feed people. Could use some kelle inspiration, stat!!

    Happy birthday, Nella!!!

  25. oh my stars! this is so ethereal and lovely and just PERFECT! i have chills and tears in my eyes. so perfect! (and i’d have gone for that tea set from michigan, too–incredible!).
    WOW. just wow-wow-wowsers.
    well done.

    laura
    http://www.jtandtheob.com

  26. Oh how i love your parties, AND your little girls.. I have boys, and a surprise on the way (I have to admit, I hope it’s a girl). How much fun does that party look?

  27. Gorgeous as always.

  28. Stunningly beautiful.

  29. WOW!! Just WOW!!

  30. Nella looked so adorable on her special day. Looks like a fun and great party.

    I love the hat craft idea. I’ll have to remember that for my girls.

    Happy Monday to you.

  31. What a beautiful party. The picture of Nella sleeping in your friend’s arms with the sun on her face brought tears to my eyes.

  32. BRAVO!!!!!!!!!
    fantastic and incredibly special party. i love every single photo, but the ones of nella sipping her tea, well, they make my heart flutter.

  33. AMAZING! The details and charm this little party had is amazing. You never cease to amaze Kelle. Lainey and Nella are lucky little girls. And beautiful little loves too! Great job!

  34. What an adorable party!! Everyone looks so happy and all the decor is GORGEOUS!!! You’re incredible. I don’t know how you do what you do!!

    Happy birthday, Nella! :)

  35. What a lovely party. And Nella’s 2for2 fund! Wow! Did you ever think that your blog and Nella’s experience would have such a far reaching impact on the world?!?

  36. Oh my, everything was PERFECTION!! Just beautiful!!!!

  37. Happy Monday is right – what a fab looking party! My December-born-heart is jealous of sun and fun, but in the loveliest way!

  38. I am almost speechless. I would have remembered this day for the rest of my life had I had this party as a child. You are one super momma! I hope I can always refer to this post if I were to have little girl for inspiration. The details are amazing. The photos capture all the right things to get a feel of how special that day was for everyone invited. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Blessed lil’Nella!

  39. What a wonderful birthday party! Nella looked beautiful in her dress :) And that is so awesome that she can drink from a cup all by herself. We’re still working on that one over here ๐Ÿ˜‰

  40. What a wonderful birthday party! Nella looked beautiful in her dress :) And that is so awesome that she can drink from a cup all by herself. We’re still working on that one over here ๐Ÿ˜‰

  41. Ohhh, Lila and I had such a wonderful time. Thanks again, so much, for creating such lasting, sweet memories for these girls. (“Well now, this is awkward.” heh) Kisses to Nella, but especially to Lainey for helping out my girl when she needed a friend. Love you guys. xo

  42. Awesome tea party!! And all the stats for Nella’s 2 for 2 fund, almost made me cry!! Well done everyone!

  43. Just beautiful!! I adore these parties, and your girls. So precious! :)

    A perfect little tea party.

    ~Tabitha

  44. You rock! The day looks like a wonderful celebration for a very special little girl. I love the transformation of you woods, and the details…seriously?! You should create a book teaching all of us some of your magic with these parties.

    I love Nella’s ensemble, and Lainey’s dress is adorable…glad y’all had such a good time. Thanks for sharing!

  45. Darn – my first comment didn’t post!

    Anyways, it went something like this —- You are probably the coolest mama I know!! I hope one day to be able to plan these amazing parties for my little Cameron. I may need to ‘steal’ this idea from you, I hope you don’t mind. It was a goregous day and Nella was beautiful in her dress. I’ve been waiting for this post all weekend!

  46. AMAZING!!
    Saw the photos on facebook, but the post makes them all come alive!
    LOVED all the party ideas; the ‘hats’ made from plates and bowls, the game, the dress up dresses.
    What a fun and unique party, and what a wonderful party and way to celebrate Nella!

  47. Magical. Simply magical. Love it.

  48. Wow! That is amazing! You missed your calling as a party planner, but I have a feeling you would succeed at anything you set out to do. I love the party hat crafts -so adorable! Happy 2nd Birthday, Nella!

  49. Happy Monday indeed! That last pic of Nella is priceless! It’s like she’s saying, “Well of course my party was awesome, cause my Mommy is awsome!!” Wonderful, elegant, yet simple party! Perfect party for a perfect girl<3

  50. It was worth the wait Kelle… Love it all the vintage… the mirror in the woods.. the girls faces… Nella drinking from real china… YOU rocked it … maybe you should be a party planner in your next chapter… LOved it..
    LIsaRenee
    1 Wasabi mommy

  51. simply magical. love Nella’s dress & hat. thanks for the constant inspiration, Kelle!

  52. ive been waiting for this post. i just knew this was going to be a great party and it did not disappoint. you always throw amazing parties. nella looked like she had a blast and knew just what to do. such a big girl :)

  53. It looks like all the girls had a wonderful time. Nella looks so cute drinking out of a tea cup. You throw the most amazing parties, however the picture with the beer bottle on the table had me laughing that was too funny.

  54. I couldn’t wait to see the pictures from the party. What an amazing party you had for her. You come up with the best ideas. Simple yet elegant!! Beautiful!!

  55. You absolutely knocked it out of the park. Let me know if you want to plan Ellie’s first in a few weeks! This is lovely, the girls look fantastic. LOVE the dress up in the woods with the pretty mirror!

  56. excellent party!! Loved all the delicate details and the hidden in plain view detail… Coors Light. LOVE IT!

  57. be still my heart! As the mother of two…almost three boys, THIS is what I crave!! Think I can convince my husband to throw my son a tea party?!

  58. I save bookmark these posts so that one day when I have little girls I can use some of your idease. I wish somebody around here would throw a tea party for me (even at the age of 27 haha!)

  59. Hi Kelle! I was waiting all weekend for this post to publish! :) I knew it would be magical… what a FABULOUS idea to have the party in the woods. Your girls looked just precious. Nella–breathtaking. Love the one of her with the cup tipped all the way back… girlfriend is making sure she doesn’t leave a drop! :) Happy birthday again to your sweet girl. XO

  60. awww— im breathless… seriously. gorgeous!
    i am a missionary in mexico, and am planning a valentines day party for some poor community girls. your post has given me so much inspiration!
    thank you!

  61. I just found your blog this morning and am really without words. This party you threw is just beautiful. But even more inspiring is your attitude. Your family is beautiful. I am looking forward to following going forward and digging a little into what you have already posted.

    MC

  62. Just gorgeous, Kelle. It’s like a little tea party in heaven, if you ask me.

    I know I’m an adult but I would like to be invited to a tea party :)

  63. This is gorgeous and looks like so much fun! When/if I ever have children, I hope to be as creative in making things special for them : )

  64. Considering Copy Catting Nella for my 24th birthday. I love it!!! You are a rockstar creative momma. I’m gonna do the party hats & everything! the only difference will be that the tea will be spiked!

  65. Oh my stinkin’ heavens. This is lovely. You did it again! Another fantastic party!

  66. Love it! I want you to be my kids’ Momma!!! You do so much of a better job than I do.

  67. Another awesome party! It looks like everyone had a great time. So many fun details! My daughter turns two in July and I want to do something just as special for her!

  68. Oh Lordy! I can’t decide if I should stop reading your blog (I could never!)…the amount of girlyness breaks my heart…(as a mother of two boys)…but I also love it…I live vicariously through your sweet babies. Nella’s chubby fingers around that teacup is divine!

  69. Simply amazing! Nella looks so angelic in every shot, wow!! I have a tea party planned for my 7 year old’s upcoming March bday, I have been hitting up thrift stores for Vintage peices of everything and now i need to get to creating, thank you for some much needed inspiration!

  70. What?? Girl seriously you need your own magazine. You are like Martha Stewart of kids parties. Love the sweet pics…all of them. Nell a with her face in that tea cup was precious!!

  71. My sons 3rd birthday party is in two weeks and I wish it could be as good as the parties that you throw! You have one special talent.. Your girls are very lucky! xxx

  72. This has to be the best child’s birthday party I have ever seen. It looks amazing! … I hope Nella enjoyed it :)

  73. Oh I was catching peeks on instant am but these are just fabulous!!! You make great babies and parties. Lifting my cup to you!

  74. what a great tea party … i thought for sure i would see alice & all her friends from “alice in wonderland” peering from around the trees or something. too cute!! nella’s dress is just too cute!! everyone is all dressed up. i’m in tea heaven. what great memories indeed. (:

  75. Congratulations on Nella’s 2for2. Happy Birthday Nella you and Lainey are 2 lucky girls to have an amazing mom.

  76. Oh my goodness! That party was spectacular! Have you ever given a thought to becoming a party planner? You are so crafty and know how to pull it all together. I am also absolutely amazed at what you were able to raise! You are such a wonderful person. How lucky your family is. Your defiantly a force to be recconed with! One fierce momma!

  77. I adore all the photos and the hard work you put in to making such special memories for your girls. Your creativity inspires me. What a magical party! Thanks for sharing, Kelle! :)

  78. Okay..my day has been made..thank you very much:) I’ve waited all weekend to see the pictures of what I knew was going to be an awesome party. You delivered…again. Have a beautiful day, Kelle–you and the girls. I do have a question. I’m confused about Gary…Is he your dad?

  79. I’m sorry about the “cousin Cindy” thing. I’m not sure how to get rid of it or change it. I’m not really your cousin..:)But, you knew that.

  80. I so might have to steal that party idea for our next birthday…I think my girl’s birthday is on teddy bear picnic day. Of course we don’t have any charming woods nearby which is what made your party so amazing, but still might have to steal! Happy happy birthday Nella!

  81. absolutely enchanting! You know how to throw one h*ll of a party!

  82. Pure Bliss……one of the most Magical Birthday party’s I have ever seen.

    Happy 2nd Birthday Princess Nella!

  83. Kelle,
    your willingness to share all that you do has helped heal many wounds, seeing the depth of love, how it is lived out is just so very healing

  84. Simply amazing! She sure knows how to hold her tea cup! I am not sure how you or anyone can read the donations and where they came from with your music going and not shed a tear cuz honey Im bawling!! What a beautiful, amazing birthday Nella had! Thank you so very much for sharing!

  85. Nella looked so adorable.

  86. These are amazing photos. What a magical party!

  87. How amazingly wonderful! One day i hope that I have granddaughters for precious little tea parties. You did a wonderful job!

  88. I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago.. Oh how I loved this post!

    My fairy princesses are now 16 and 19.. and enjoying the small things are what memories of those early years are all about..as they still are today.

    I grew up in the 70’s and had the good fortune to be surrounded by people who taught me to enjoy the small things all around- your tea party brought even the smells back :-) Nella warms my soul.

    Diane :-)
    http://mitochondrialdepletionsyndrome.blogspot.com/

  89. What a fantastic party- I love all the details and a very happy birthday to nella.

  90. Fabulous party! What great ideas!

  91. Thanks to the internet, you have shared your own mountain-moving ability to me. This post is absolutely, totally enchanting!

  92. I stumbled upon your blog a few months ago and am just in love with your photography! You do such a great job of capturing the little moments with your family. Such a great party idea! Nella looked beautiful.

  93. Okay, i am thinking i would love you for a Tea for Forty Something Something ๐Ÿ˜‰

  94. I knew it would be ducky.

  95. Beautiful! I love your party posts – so crafty!!! Happy Birthday again to Nella!

  96. absolutely stunning!

  97. love the party more then words can say!!! I have been wanting and waiting for the day I can give my baby girl a tea party. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Happy Birthday sweet Nella

  98. what a beautiful celebration! nella looks so happy. she knew this party was just for her. happy 2nd birthday, nella!

  99. Nella’s party looked amazing! Glad it turned out well :)

  100. Absolutely beautiful! Everything: Nella, you, all the details, all the girls playing dress-up, Heidi with her beautiful belly….Just lovely. What a special day!!!!
    You are soooo talented!!!!
    XOXO

  101. I love this. I’m sure the the girls will look back on this with fond memories : )

    Amanda

  102. I am usually a quiet reader, but honestly: these pictures of Nella´s Tea Party blow me away. Incredible! Your next book should be about your parties. I will buy it, I promise !!!

    Happy Birthday to Nella, one of the most beautiful little girls I´ve ever seen.

    Love, RALV

  103. your parties are always so amazing and dream-like :)

    what an incredibly fun time for all :)

  104. Lovely. Now – I know I promised to call the Naples po po on you and have you arrested for excessive cuteness if you posted a pic of Nella sipping tea w her pinky raised….so you’re off the hook but I did spy a couple of raised pinkies on a couple guests……….way cute! Funny how girls know about sipping tea even w/o instruction. Love it all. Great labor of love! xoxo

  105. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this post and you did not disappoint! Love, love it all!

    P.S. If your children delight and amaze you now, there’s not a reason in the world you shouldn’t expect that they will always delight and amaze you. Anyone who suggests otherwise is, well, wrong.

    Happy Birthday Nella! You are an extraordinary and beautiful 2 year old angel. Blessings to you and your family!

  106. Nella knew exactly what she was doing, indeed. The way she held that sandwich with her pinky finger pointed just so…..DEVINE! All the attention to detail was incredible. Thank you for sharing Nella’s party, and for continuing to inspire this Mama :)

  107. Adorable Party-Happy Birthday sweet Nella!

  108. Happy birthday sweet Nella! The last photo is precious!

  109. Another AMAZING party. Nella gets more beautiful by the day!! :)

    http://www.missbmrsm.blogspot.com

  110. Kelly amazing job like always. I am most envious at your ability to put the party together and still find it in yourself to enjoy the party in between all the chaos of setup and cleanup! That is not a task I have mastered yet. I also want to put it out there your friend with vintage giggles nailed it! what a fantastic website and her quilts are sooo unique and beautiful. I must say I have started my week off inspired! I shared Vintage giggles on facebook!
    Have a great week

  111. wow, what an awesome party. I LOVE everything. Great company and sweet birthday girl. Have a great week

  112. this is the cutest thing, ever. i want to have little girls so i can have tea parties. so fun :)

  113. Stop! This is the cutest and most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen (and I feel that is not an exaggeration!)! I would love to the throw a party half as beautiful as this for my girls. Outstanding! And I love how Nella was serious about her precious tea cup. Gorgeous!

  114. I finally found time to watch your interview on DS – I’m sitting at my computer with tears running down my face. Beautiful.
    Loved the party pics. Please tell Heidi she looks gorgeous – love her maternity dress.
    With admiration from MN. Sara

  115. Love the pics and I’m in awe of your parties! I’ve never seen anything like it!!! Wow!

    There’s a whole lot of love here, it’s plain to see.

    Nella is too cute in her dress, sipping her tea <3

  116. Kelle, simply stunning! What a beautiful day you prepared for your precious daughter. What a gift.

  117. Presh, presh, presh!!! I love the pics and all the little details!

  118. Just gorgeous!!!

  119. This is the sweetest thing! Love for your girls just oozes out of you. I love that. I hope to have the same relationship with my little girl as she grows. Congrats on a beautiful family!

  120. I’m new to your blog and have just fell in love with your entire family – especially Nella. I have twin girls (one with DS) who are 15 months old – this gives me such great ideas for their 2nd birthday :). Simply beautiful.

  121. Wow! What a beautiful party!! I am so glad you were able to enjoy the party and have a friend capture you in many of these photos. It looks like it was a wonderful day :) Well done mamma!

  122. Oh my!! What a lovely party! It looks so magical – straight out of a fairytale!!! I love the picture of you and Nella in the beginning – when you’re fixing her hair – skip ahead 20 or 30 years to her wedding day :) Beautiful!!

  123. Yet another enchanting memory you’ve carved for your girls, I don’t know how you do it. Much love clever mama x

  124. What a great party! You’re amazing. This whole thing should be in a magazine. Heck, you should have your own line at Target or somethin’.

    That bit about Nella’s 2 for 2 at the end totally made me cry. You are such an amazing woman, what a gift you have with words to touch so many hearts. I love what you are doing with your one wild and precious life. Why, oh why can’t we be neighbors??

    XOXO,
    Angie from Ohio

  125. Yay Go Australia!!! So pleased 2 for 2 has gone so well :). Wonderful party. I think you really know how what little girls like. So looking forward to planning girls parties for my little one. Was immediately transported to favourite party of all time of dressups when a child. One musn’t have favourites but I thought the little girl in the blue polka dot dress was divine and the expression in the little girls face of such pride and wonder wearing the flamenco dress was PRICELESS. All women should keep that expression when looking at themselves throughout their lives :) Especially post-baby!!!

  126. Looks like a lovely day…one that would hit it big with my British family. Everything looks gorgeous. Happy Birthday Nella -from England xoxo

  127. Oh, my. Simply magical. How wonderful it must have been for Nella and all the lucky attendees. What a special, beautifully orchestrated party! Way to go, Kelle and friends!

  128. You are amazing! What a beautiful way to celebrate your Nella!!!

  129. Oh my loving God, the two of you make me cry! The pic of you helping her get ready, her holding the tea cup, the two of you at the “entrance”…..ACK, my heart can’t take it!

    I LOVE your forrest parties….so dreamy & magical.

    Love to you all ~
    Kelly

  130. You’ve done it again :) Look at this darling party! I am SO stealing this idea for my daughter’s 5th birthday party (not ’til December…haha). The paper hats are awesome. Heidi looks like she’s gonna pop! She must be so excited…

  131. My 10 month old son kept touching Nella’s picture…he likes pretty girls!

  132. I just love that little beautiful nella!! And your blog and you!!!

  133. Stunning! I saw this post come through on FB this morning and had to wait 5 hours til I got home to read it – I have been looking forward to it all day!

    And I literally sat crying as I read the stats about Nella’s 2 for 2 fund. What a difference you are making in the world for our special children! WOW! I am so proud to have been one of the 2,632!

  134. OMGosh! That is so beautiful. Simply delightful! Man, I wish I could have a gorgeous tea-party like that. Maybe for my sweet sixteenth? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    (www.katieskornerhere.blogspot.com.au)

  135. I’m sure it’s the case, but I hope your friends are aware how cool a friend you are and your kids are aware how awesome a mother you are. This party is the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. Xo Jenna

  136. Is there a picture of the four of you? As you say how amazing that the internet reaches so many people and compels them to make a donation to a cause they might not donate to otherwise. xx

  137. Oh please can I be a little girl all over again!!

  138. Beautiful party. Nella is truly stunning! You have inspired me to have a tea party birthday party for my little fairy princess, too. :)

  139. It all looks heavenly, so sweet, love all the details, and sounds like Nella and all the girls (young and old) enjoyed themselves!

  140. Awww! Happy Birthday to sweet Nella and so happy to see the party was such a hit! So much fun!

  141. Those pictures look like they’re straight out of a fairy tale. Magical and heavenly. What a beautiful celebration. The picture of Nella drinking so perfectly out of her teacup needs to be life size in your house somewhere. So beautiful!

  142. KELLE OH MY GOODNESS! You know how to throw a party!! That looked like seriously so much fun. You are such a wonderful mom.

  143. This is all so magical. Everyone looks so lovely. Happy birthday, again, to sweet Nella! Btw, did you get the birthday picture I emailed to you for your birthday (of you and the girls)?

  144. So adorable. Love the pictures of Nella sipping her tea.

    And she looks several inches taller in those full-length shots. All that walking must be making Sister grow!

  145. So sweet, nella looks so beautiful ~ the Coors beer bottles on the tea table cracked me up!

  146. FABULOUS birthday party idea- I absolutely LOVE it! I enjoy the glimpse into your life you allow us to see- thank you!

    Happpy birthday Nella!

  147. I started reading your post earlier today while taking a quick break from two demanding, tired kids–and I didn’t finish reading it (until tonight), because I thought we should have a tea party, too. So we whipped up some scones, poured some orange-juice-tea, set a table, and had a little party. It got us through a long day! Thanks for the inspiration.
    Nella’s party looked like such fun, and she is an adorable 2 year-old. Congrats to you all on two rich, full years, and many more to come.

  148. Happy Happy Birthday, little Nella! Thank you for sharing the pictures from her party…what a special day. You can just feel the joy and love right through the computer screen!

  149. I don’t know what to say other than AWESOME! And Nella drinking tea is just so darling!

  150. You and your crafting skilz did it again! It was magical, lovely, beautiful. And Nella looks the most beautiful of all.

  151. Swoon. Everyone looked so beautiful!

  152. very magical xoxo

  153. I love the setting of the tea party. What a fabulous event and it looks like everyone had a blast. I love how you are writing the memories of their lives. I think of this often and looking in from the outside, you’re doing a smashing job at it. Well done!

  154. I am mesmerized. Absolutely so. A writer who is short of words. Sigh.

  155. Seriously, could that little sweetie be any cuter????

  156. Magical~ unforgettable ~beautiful ~joyful~ sweet
    Mama you did better then good… this moment will live in their hearts forever…
    I have happy tears and my heart is skipping beats.

  157. I absolutely die from the cute. So beautiful!

  158. KELLE! Fab party. I’m stil healing from car accidnt – will take time, but had to check out Nella’s party. Such fun! BTW, dont know if i have just missed the posts here, but have you seen KWQR or FEAS— (Beth) here lately?? Havent noticed them here in a while. Love from your Blog Mama (Lgravis2@aol.com)

  159. OH, this is so dear of a post. And what a treat to have someone else take the pictures for once so that you could savor every moment with these little girls. And it looks so effortless. You are an inspiration and obviously surrounded by many talented friends.

    I do love those last 2 shots of you and Nella. She has a smile that just forces everyone to smile. There is joy.

    I hope that you have a relaxing week.

    -Jennifer

  160. Hello beautiful girls! Love the photos of the enchanting party so much…I love the idea of the paper hats with flowers and feathers…and satin ribbons. So sweet! The pics of Nella are precious! I love that last one…that magic unicorn moment of mom & baby girl all wrapped up in a moment of love and kisses. Oh my dear, how I miss those moments. Hope ya’ll have a great week! xo

  161. Wow. You created a magical place for those girls! I would have loved to have a tea party like that when I was little. I’m so amazed at everything you did to bring the party to life. The decorations are phenomenal. Of course, the first thing that drew my eye on the table was the set of old books. :) You have definitely inspired me and, I imagine, many other moms, moms-to-be, and future moms in your party planning. Everything looked so beautiful. :)

  162. That is a beautiful party! I might have to try that hat craft–I love your ideas. :)

  163. What a beautiful magical day for Nella, Lainey, and their guests…and the Mommies. So so cute.

  164. Such a lovely party! Nella is a beautiful, magical little girl.

  165. what a beautiful party (moments in time) and I would expect no less from a wonderful mama like you <3 Everyone looks beautiful and glowy especially the Birthday Girl!

  166. P.S. I’d love to be a guest at such a tea party!

  167. Gosh you throw thee most AH-MAZING parties EVER, not too mention you have a very magical backyard(or where ever it is that this wooded area is located:)LOVE it!

  168. I had happy tears in my eyes looking through all the photo’s. What an amazing 2nd birthday party for sweet Nella.

  169. DEVINE!!! I’m in awe. Way to go mommy :)

  170. Her party was precious- I love me some little girls and you are right we went to so much trouble at first with huge craft tables and jumpers and all they wanted to do was run around and play on our swingset! that last pic of nella by herself, she looks so old- maybe bc her head is to the side and you dont see her body so you cant tell her size, she loos like she is 3 or 4…crazy!

  171. This is beautiful. Your girls will ALWAYS remember this.

  172. brand new to your site, what a beautiful party and 2 beautiful ladies. Amazing!

  173. I have been reading your blog for almost 2 years and I think one of the biggest reasons I love it is because you make me want to find ways to enjoy more in life! I have 3 boys (3.5, 3.5, & 9 months) and I know tired, but when I read your blog I learn how to find joy and feel it more in my life. I also think Heidi looks awesome!

  174. What a beautiful way to celebrate. The picture of you sitting on the carpet surrounded by little girls takes my breath away. Beautiful.

  175. Cutest party ever!! Being a mother of two boys its always refreshing to see such a girlie party!! LOVE IT!!
    Happy Birthday pretty Ella!

  176. Your blog is one of the only things in this world that make me want to have children. Adorable.

    http://www.existation.com

  177. Hey, Kelle…

    I LOVE the tea party in the woods. LOVE IT!

    I love the hat craft.

    I love the tea bag scavenger hunt.

    I love the full-length mirror propped against a tree with little girls wear dress-up clothes in front of it.

    Nella is a precious birthday girl, and she looked like she had a ball (even during her birthday party nap).

    I sent my readers to your Party at the North Pole post in December (they loved it)… and I hope you don’t mind if I direct them to your blog this Thursday on my Blog Linkage! Expect some Alabama visitors!

  178. Posted at 4:48 am? Oh my goodness!

    Kelle the party was simply gorgeous. You make the most of every day and especially of these big days in the girls’ lives. Thank you so much for your inspiration and for sharing your life with us. I simply adore you and am inspired by you every day.

  179. Awesome Awesome. You, Nella. Love you.

  180. job well done!! what a beautiful celebration. and those hats…brilliant!

    xo

  181. Breathtaking, Kelle. There’s no other way to say it. That special little sweetie of yours is quite the gift, isn’t she?
    Congrats on 17,000. I get so excited for you when your “followers” number climbs into a new thousand. You continue to inspire us. You go girl.

  182. Seriously?! Girlfriend knows how to throw a party! So beautiful and magical. I do love how your group of friends helps each other out. Also, I want to hire Gary and Papa Rik to be my party assistants.

    Happy birthday, Nella!

    Jill B (Overland Park, KS)

  183. I love how feminine and sweet this tea party is.. just like Nella. Nella Cordelia (please tell me I didn’t make up that middle name) sounds like a perfect tea party name :)

  184. cutest party EVER!

  185. What a beautiful party Kelle!! And YAY for Australia being the 2nd largest donators for overseas!! Us Aussies rock!
    x

  186. Kelle-what a beautiful party you put on! It looks like something straight out of the “Anne of Green Gables” series.(I mean that as the highest compliment!)
    You all look lovely, particularly the birthday girl in her pale pink and white dress and her fascinator and her big sister looking gorgeous. I love the pink tea and the pearls!
    xo

  187. I love your blog and read every post. Not always I have the time to leave a thoughtful comment, but you are always in my thoughts.

    You throw amazing parties for your girls! Making me feel a little jealous of living a place where one can count on nice weather and plan outdoor parties in Feb. No such thing here in cold Norway and even in spring/summer one can never count on the weather to play a part in the planning of an event. I am inspired though to do something special for my little girl’s 3 year birthday in May. Thank you Kelle!

    You are amazing!

    Kristin:-)

  188. Just beautiful. Nuf said..

  189. I am lost for words…this is simply stunning! Love your blog! Thank you for all the inspiration!

  190. so amazing! inspirational for all of us!!

  191. I admire you so much Kelle, you are a most energic person i have ever known :) the party and the pics are just spectacular! God Bless You, and Your Family. And Happy-B day for Nella, she is beautiful!

  192. How magical! You’re amazing. You make it look so easy. What a beautiful little girl Nella is and what a beautiful sister Lainey is. I almost wish I had little girls again.

  193. Seriously beer bottles at a toddler’s tea party…very classy!

  194. Happy sigh. It all looks heavenly.

  195. What a sweet party! How is it that little girls just instinctively know how to have a tea party, like it’s in our blood or something? That picture of Nella with her face engulfed in the tea cup just steals my heart (as do the stats from the Two for Two fund…amazing stuff!).

  196. Your party is simply delightful, Kelle. :) We’ve got a Valentine’s Day ‘Hot Chocolate’ party planned for 5 girls from our church set for tomorrow. It’s going to be so fun, I can’t wait. :)

  197. I cannot stand how cute this party is! You are the coolest momma ever! And then you are the magical lady with all the lovely little princesses around you – precious and wonderful. Nella with the tea cup, I am calling people into my office today just to look at how amazing that was. And the fundraising – your are POWERFUL! Seriously – I am a fundraiser for a living and I cannot do a fraction of what you just did. Crying tears of celebration.

  198. i love the celebration of Nella, and feminine girly things. Good for you to celebrate so lovely.

  199. Bravo to another amazing party (which I especially adore reading about)! I can see the magic sparkle throughout every photo.

    This is my first comment, though I am a loyal reader, but I just had to tell you how inspiring your posts are — how inspiring YOU are. I aspire to be an amazing, loving, and FUN mother, just as you are. Your girls are so lucky to have you.

    Happy Birthday, sweet, sweet Nella <3

  200. What a wonderful teaparty. I love all these pictures, the beautiful dresses, especially Nella’s.
    I’m sure you had an awesome time with all the girls :)

  201. What a beautiful, magical party! I love your creativity and imagination. Thanks for sharing.

  202. How fun! I really love how to create your own party ideas! I always end up at a party shop browsing familar characters my kids might like. Absolutley magical, amazing, mesmirizing! I love it!

    Happy Birthday Nella! <3

  203. My oh my how I live sometimes vicariously through your life! This is lovely, absolutely lovely! What a grand memory this will be for you and Nella!

  204. So, I may be the only person in blog land who never heard of you before today. Don’t take it personal!

    WOW – gorgeous pictures! I felt like I was there. I wish I was there – it looks like so much fun!

  205. First time commenter, long time reader…(I don’t have children – yet – but I love reading your blog! You are great!) I found myself looking forward to this post. I thought, “She is going to write something amazing and post equally amazing pictures and it will be, well, amazing.” And it was. Thank you.

  206. AMAZING! LOVE! Beautiful job!

  207. Hello?? You should start a blog just about your AMAZING party planning ideas. Cuz i would read it. You are the Party Goddess!! I declare it!!!

  208. I know you are a professional photographer (and a great one), but I think you have a second calling as a party planner. Beautiful!

  209. BEAUTIFUL Party! Nella, you always make me smile!

  210. seriously, can she get ANY sweeter???? i think i got a cavity on this one….shes is just too adorable for words!

  211. PLEASE please please ask Heidi to share where she got her maternity dress – it is GORGEOUS and I need it! Thanks!

  212. My daughter turns 4 in August, and instead of our usual water-toys-in-the-backyard party, I decided to do a Cupcake: A Journey to Special (it’s a cute book) party. And then I had to see this! Maybe we’ll be doing a tea party. :) If only we had some woods…

    Please tell Heidi that she looks beautiful. You already do, but now she can hear it from a stranger, too. I can’t wait to see her baby! Be sure to share.

    -Lela

  213. Tea party hat craft..best idea ever!!!! Makes all the crafts I do with my kids seem lame.. you can see them here: http://www.taketenagain.blogspot.com

  214. Totally awesomagical Kelle…(do you like my new word?
    And as for the birthday girl – I get tears in my eyes every time I see her – what a gorgeous child and how absolutely beautifull did she look in her finery on her special day.

  215. Simply beautiful…all of it….

  216. I love that picture of you getting Nella ready for her party. She is just willing and ready for it all. I loved all of it! Now I want a tea party! Just beautifully done!

    :o)

    Jennifer

  217. BEAUTIFUL! And looks like it was so fun for the girls. Nella is such a doll.

  218. I love the hats! I will have to try that with the kids I work with at the library!

    lifeinterlaced.com

  219. What a magical party! Elegant.
    Love the hats – what a great idea.
    Your post is inspiring and full of ideas for crafts and fun that can be achieved for little to no money. Thank you for sharing all of these details!

  220. Nella looks like the happiest 2 year old I’ve ever seen :) Kelle you’re so blessed. & that was one heck of a party.

  221. You girls are just TOO MUCH. What a fantastic party… When I grow up I want to be a Mummy just like you!

  222. “Our family remembers the way my grandma turned ordinary occasions into memorable ones…” – this sounds like my Grandmother too! It’s wonderful having such great woman in our lives.
    I thought of you when I saw this product: http://www.epiphaniebags.com/#/home/
    Check it out – cool purse/camera bags.

  223. WOW. Just wow. Beautiful.

  224. This is my absolute favorite blog. You are just so elegant in your writing and pictures. Nella is just the most adorable creature, her smile just melts my heart. Lainey makes me smile and laugh. I have 2 daughters and can relate to everything you say and feel with your daughters but you say it so much better. You are an amazing mother and human. Thank you for sharing your life with the world.

  225. Oh.my.goodness! Your party looked sublime! every detail, the ideas for the hats, the hunt-the-teabag game…Happy, Happy Birthday sweet Nella. Your children’s lives are a like a magical fantasy full of surprise and whimsy. I bet you even have unicorns grazing on the lawn at night ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m going to go to sleep and try to dream that you flew out to Northern California and threw me a crazy party for my fiftieth birthday (this fall) I never had a birthday party as a kid so I think I should throw myself one this year. Love your blog, thank you for sharing your family with the world. Can’t wait for your book to come out – I pre-ordered and I’m waiting patiently! Love from Northern CA ~ Heather

  226. Very informative, thank you. I’ve been blogging on and off for almost 3 years, but have never had much of a focus –
    I tend to just write about whatever is on my mind when I feel like writing.

    http://www.allindiainstitutions.com

  227. I want to send you a gLOCKET for Valentines day. I love your style and eye for the real beauty in things. http://www.glockets.com I know you will love theses glass lockets with birthstone charms of you, hubby and baby girls inside. I love love this blog.

  228. amazing, WOW, awesome, FUNFILLED …..

  229. So precious!

    I was resigned to the fact that I wouldn’t really get to celebrate my 21st birthday this summer, since I’ll be teaching at a camp for children with special needs in another state. However, you have inspired me with the perfect idea: a through-the-looking-glass, unbirthday tea with friends before I leave! With copious amounts of (tea) drinking, of course ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thank you for the inspiration, and the tea cup link!

  230. What an amazing party! Everything was gorgeous…the decorations, the pictures,Nella! Love it all!

  231. Amazing party…I love EVERYTHING about it! Where did you get the invites & Nella’s banner? Did you make those as well?

  232. This was a beautiful post to wander through. I am a mom of 3 girls. Tea parties are one of favorite events to host and enjoy. Way to go!

  233. Oh. My. GOSH. Absolutely STUNNING!

  234. This made me smile. Happy birthday, Nella!

  235. Simply beautiful! I have a question. What did you use for the table and chairs setup? Is it regular sized or kid sized? And if so… where did you get your white holding chairs? Did you rent it?

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  236. I am planning a tea party for my twin girls. These beautiful pictures inspired me and blessed me today. Thank you so much for sharing.

  237. Such a beautiful party for a beautiful girl! Can you share where your dress is from? i absolutely love it!!

  238. Lovely! So…….very lovely!

  239. Such a lovely tea party. My friend is going to make tea party for her daughter, and please share where did you take those dresses? I need a costume for my nephew, I am sure your advice will definitely help me.

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