Amelie’s Panda Party that she didn’t want

You guys, Amelie turned three! Last year, I planned a dinosaur party for her and this year, I decided on PANDAS.

Because! Pandas are so cute! Because “Panda Party” alliteration! Because black and white everything is chic, accessible, awesome and easy! Because I’m brilliant!

Amelie did not want a panda party though. She wanted a “Katarina Kitty Cat/Monkey Party”. Oh, silly toddlers. I forged ahead with the panda theme because surely she could be easily swayed just by using my excited voice: “A panda party, honey! Pandas are awesome! Won’t that be so super fun!?! Everyone loves pandas! Let’s watch panda videos on Youtube and get excited about them! Weeeeee!”

You know what? Amelie is not one to be swayed. She stayed true to her initial request to the bitter end. I had already gotten aboard the panda train (ie buying stuff) and it was too late to bail so I went ahead with hopes the magic of the day would change her mind. It didn’t really and this Mom fail is totally going in her memoir.

Her Panda Party invites:


We purchased the invite file from Etsy and I doctored it up with my crooked handwriting, black and white baker’s twine, black glitter paper baking and, of course, pretty black glitter for the nose.

My recipe for party day decor was simple. Buy die-cut pandas from this awesome Etsy shop. Add black glitter. Put them everywhere.

To this day, I’m still finding black glitter in places you would never imagine…

Remember my pro-Mom tip about doing as much as you can ahead of time? It came in handy again because three major things happened two days before the party: Cade came down with an ear infection resulting in a surprise trip to an after hours clinic and endless hours of me holding him and trying to accomplish everything one-handed, Zack’s original flight home was cancelled and for a frantic evening we thought he wouldn’t make it home for the party at all, oh and lastly? Another snowstorm.

After shoveling for an hour the night before instead of cleaning the house, I woke up to this on Party Day.

snowstormIt’s kinda hard to prioritize last minute party prep when your guests literally cannot make it to the front door. So, another hour of shoveling happened while Zack worked on the food and then I had to take a second shower and redo my hair – another detour I didn’t expect. I’m glad I played around with decorations beforehand so all I had to do was put them up!

Where were we? Pandas?

Ah, yes.


(Don’t get me started on that open cabinet door in the background. I’m a bad picture taker blogger lady.)

I ordered cupcakes from a bakery and sprinkled edible glitter on top (leftover from Amelie’s party last year) and it was totally worth it because I doubt anyone even noticed. I also taped a few die cut pandas to striped paper straws to decorate the cupcakes (more shown later).


I made a wonky pom poof thingy, added two black honeycombs and a big sweet panda to the cluster. Isn’t she cute! Then I strung them up with black and white baker’s twine.


The birthday banner I made! I bought the banner on clearance from Target, then added the die cuts and embellishments. You can’t tell but lots of black glitter was involved.


Detail shots to waste your time:


Turning three!


Plus my go-to tassel garland, which turned out kinda wimpy.


Even our golden stag was in the mood to party:


The party set up:

setupZack served his delicious pulled pork, tater tots, and coleslaw. It’s what we served at Amelie’s first birthday. Always a great party food! Recently, we pulled the trigger on new white dishes from World Market because we were literally chipping away at the old set and it was getting slim. For the party, we used paper plates (Target clearance!) but the reason I mention it is because along with the dishes, I ordered three matching serving pieces to add to my serving collection. I’m glad I did because we always needed an extra service piece so Zack would pull out some mismatched plate for the hummus or whatever and then my eyes would twitch. White servingware makes me happy! Don’t have what you need? Borrow from friends!

Up close, because you have time for this nonsense.

setup2The flatware caddy packets that I put together solely as excuse to use black glitter washi tape because obviously that was a grand use of my time.


Moving on to the hutch! It housed the panda party treat cups and panda crowns!

hutchEach guest got a panda crown (purchased from here)  as part of their party favor. This was taken after the party but aren’t they adorable?


Here are the treat cups up close:


I adorned the pandas with bows: hair bows for the girl treat cups and bow ties for the boys because yeah, I used gender stereotypes to keep myself organized. Probably another topic to add to the memoir!

Inside the treat cups:


Knee high panda socks and panda washi tape. I know! ADORABLE. Just like last year, I kept the guest list small so these didn’t break the bank.

After they pulled out their goodies, a note to thank them for coming:


The reluctant Panda Party Princess. She’s giving me her best fake smile.


She was tired. She’s been skipping a lot of naps since moving to her Big Girl Bed. She started to warm up once her friends arrived.

Little man got panda eyes too – even though he probably had them naturally because he had an ear infection and wasn’t sleeping well either.


Unlike last year, I skipped doing stations. The only thing I offered was to do “panda eyes” for the other kids but no one took me up on it. Ha! I don’t blame them, it wasn’t easy to get that eyeshadow off…

The birthday girl did come around when it was time for cupcakes and the happy birthday song!


To beat the theme to a pulp, of course I had to add pandas to mini thank you cards:


We have so much to be thankful for. It was a sweet snowy day celebrating Amelie, despite the chaos leading up to it. Everything all worked out!

Happy birthday, beautiful. I love you so very much. Next year, I promise I’ll honor your birthday requests. I’m pretty sure I will, anyway.

13 thoughts on “Amelie’s Panda Party that she didn’t want

    • Aww, thank you. Please steal away! Most good ideas are stolen. In fact, I was browsing around Valentine’s day and they had the cutest panda valentine and that’s where I got the idea for Amelie’s party in the first place. Stolen! I love talking shop if you ever want to! Michaels has a whole party/craft section now organized by color, with one of the “colors” being black and white. It makes it a one stop shop almost – they have banners and everything.

  1. Don’t ever feel bad for planning ahead. Because you did, Amelie had the best panda party ever! You do the right amount as well. Bravo. Loved the cupcakes. Loved the new dishes. HOW FUN IS THAT! Bowties and Hair Bows! So darn Cute. I can’t stand it. I am beaming. Surely all that you do reflects back on me, your sweet mamp? Since you have such good ideas, it isn’t necessary to ask the little one what they want – you have some pretty sweet ideas yourself. Lv Mamap

    • Of course, I would be nothing without you! Next time, I’ll compromise and give Amelie a few options to choose from – that way we both have some say. Amelie’s panda party decorations were so cute, I left them up for my birthday! Kidding. Well, kinda kidding.

  2. Though she resisted the idea, Amelie ended up loving the panda party and “her” (really Cade’s) baby panda is now her preferred stuffed animal!

    • Poor Monkey was left behind in the Panda Party wake! Does loyalty not exist anymore with this generation?!

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  4. I’m with AQ. Love em’ and leave em’ is mamap’s new motto. out with the dinosaur, in with the monkey, out with the monkey, in with the panda. Well, our tastes do change as we age ::)) Lv mamap

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