It's right in the middle of Winter, here in Australia, the days are short and the nights are very cold. It is most certainly a time of the year that I don't look forward to, except that all of my children were born in Winter. I have Adam in June, Julia in July and Marc in August, so, if anything, this is the best part of the season for me. Last week, we celebrated our daughter, Julia's, 4th birthday and lots of fun was had by all. This post is dedicated to our beautiful girl, who is growing up at such a rapid pace and really looked forward to her birthday so very much this year. I took some lovely photos of her, the family and our friends and I wanted to share these with you and write a memoir about her happy day, her gorgeous smile and her love of a good time. I often think of Julia as my little 'party girl' :)Julia's actual birthday fell on a week day, so having a party with our friends was not a good idea on this day, we saved this for later. But we had our traditional family dinner instead, on the day, so that she could feel special and most importantly, blow out the candle and eat cake! I started doing these family dinners, on the kids' birthdays, years ago and it kind of stuck. So now, a year can't go past without having my mum over, and sometimes my husband's family, to enjoy the night together.
No longer a baby anymore, Julia is certainly turning into a bright and bubbly young girl, with constant chatter, big, chubby cheeks and plenty of spunk to keep up with her older brothers. She has such a colourful personality and always makes me smile. Being the child I never thought I'd have, also a girl after 2 boys, makes her a special treasure.
Before dinner, her dad spent some time with Julia playing with her new play dough. She had several, new, bright colours of new play dough, but sure enough, they were all mushed up together to make a lovely, murky grey colour in no time. But that didn't bother her, she enjoyed squishing it between her fingers and making mystery objects with her dad.
I always like to get a couple of helium balloons on the day and this is another thing my kids have come to expect and look forward to. They usually fight over them, giving me a major headache and then they bounce them around the house playing games with them. Here we are sitting down together to enjoy dinner, nothing flash today, beef schnitzels, baked potatoes, green salad, garlic bread and of course, double layered chocolate cake. Mum enjoyed it and always likes to have dinner with us.
So Julia's actual birthday had passed, but now the following weekend had arrived and it was time to have a party with our friends. I have had a couple of birthday parties over the years for the kids at home and I was motivated to have one this year for Julia after not having had one at home for a while. This year, we had a small group of good friends and this worked out well because I could sit all of our little guests at the table for lunch. When I was a kid, mum always made me set the table and I'm sure that is why, to this day, I still enjoy setting the table and have a lot of fun with it.
I have always liked the idea of having a pinata, so this day we did. Here is a traditional, colourful bull pinata, hanging precariously outside in the back yard. I filled it with loads of lollies and it was so bright and cheerful to look at as it swayed in the breeze. I was sure that this kids would have fun with this later in the day!
Our home is not very big and I often think, just big enough for us. It is just the right size so that if I have to run around and do a quick tidy up, it doesn't take me long. Anyway, the more space you have, the more mess you clean up, so I am very happy in my home. Another thing I love to do is turn the place into a 'party zone' when we have celebrations. So I managed to pick up many more helium balloons and hang a few more streamers and the place instantly had a party atmosphere. If you haven't noticed, I love colour and lots of it, so of course, bright and varied colours were the order of the day.
Who doesn't like getting presents? Especially if you are a four year old! Julia couldn't wait to see her friends and open up her birthday gifts and she was certainly a very lucky girl on this day. With plenty of lovely gifts, all wrapped up in birthday paper and ribbon, her smile went from ear to ear.
By now, all of our guests had arrived and it was time to start the party games. This year, I chose very traditional games that I'm sure have been around for many generations and the first one was 'pass the parcel', always a guaranteed winner for this age group.
I had fun wrapping each layer and I added a small 'prize' in each layer so everyone would get a treat. Here it is Julia's turn to open a layer and I had to give her a hand because I think I was a bit too 'thorough' with the wrapping. All the kids enjoyed this first game and it was a chance to listen to some music and wait in eager anticipation for it to 'stop'.
You may have noticed that I love to cook, so preparing some party food for a four year old's birthday was lots of fun. There was plenty for everyone with lots of sickly sweat treats that all kids love.
Julia was loving her birthday party food as we don't often have sweets at our place. Today we had honey joys, chocolate crackles, jelly and chocolate frogs, cup cakes and much more. It was a bit of a sugar fiesta, I'm afraid, but considering, the children weren't too hyped up and were very well behaved all day.
The second game for the day was another standard, classic, 'pin the tail on the donkey'. Julia had the first turn and managed to pin the tail spot on in the right place, which made we wonder if she was peeking through her blind fold.
All of the children had a turn and weren't bothered at all with having their eyes covered up. I pointed them in the right direction and they all had a pretty good aim.
By now, we had almost finished this game and I have to say that this shot was a very honest one, but still on the board.
I thought this was cute, the finished product of our second party game. You can see that many attempts were pretty good and it was great so see the kids having a go.
Here is a beautiful shot of the party girl and one of my favourite photos. Julia is so happy and her youthful enthusiasm and bright eyes were a joy to watch.
I'm a bit of a 'party girl' myself, so I've been told and I couldn't resist but brighten myself up with some hot pink feathers and a shiny hat. I am here with my baby girl who is busy eating her lime green jelly. I love her and all of my children so very much and having days like this are very special.
Here is a quick shot of some of our guests with Julia and I, enjoying the balloons and streamers. I enjoy looking after children very much, I couldn't do it for a living and 3 is more than enough, but the beauty and vitality of children is something that I adore and I love to help them have fun.
Getting a load of helium balloons was a wonderful investment for Julia's party as the kids jumped around with them and made up their own balloon games. We had some young, cheerful music on so the kids had no trouble getting into the party spirit.
Here is another joyful photo of the birthday girl, with a big smile and a balloon in her favourite colour, blue.
Mmm, party food! What four year old birthday party would be complete without cocktail frankfurts and fries, now I ask you?
We had finished two games and dancing with our balloons and now it was time to sit down and eat. It was lovely having a full table, filled with such bright and cheerful little people and Julia was having a wonderful time.
After lunch, it was time to get stuck into the pinata. I like the idea of this, but after watching the kids try to smash it, I was beginning to be a little unsure. It is not a pleasant concept encouraging children to hit something with a stick and I'm sure it sends a pretty warped message, but they understood that this was a game and couldn't wait to see what was inside.
After all of the much younger children had a couple of turns trying to break the pinata, it was left up to big brother, Adam, to get the job done. This is the final whack that did the trick!
The pinata is finally broken to pieces and look at what was inside! The kids madly scrambled to pick up as many lollies as they could to fill their lolly boxes to take home.
Julia's fourth birthday party was now winding up and the afternoon had been full of excitement and good times for the children. The grand finale was ice cream cake and what a cake it was! Ice cream is always a safe bet and was enjoyed by all.
I like this photo very much of my family as I am lighting Julia's candles and sparklers. There is something so very special and rewarding about family and nurturing it on special days like today, is what it's all about for me.
We all sang happy birthday to Julia and she blew out yet another set of candles. We are happy and healthy and have had the honour of sharing her special day with our good friends. There is plenty of everything, all of our guests had a good time, we have played games, danced, eaten and most importantly, enjoyed each other's company. I have helped to create some special memories for my family and that I can't do enough of. Our daughter is now 4 years old and the apple of our eye. I couldn't really ask for much more in my life as we live a little and love a lot, as always :) xxx