Garden-themed birthday party
Andrea Bellamy |

cupcake with bugs!

For Lila’s second birthday, we had a garden-themed party. Of course. What two-year-old doesn’t prefer gardening to Dora or dinosaurs? (Actually, Lila is way more familiar with turning the compost (she loves worms. Parenting success!) and picking greens than she is with cartoon figures. She still refers to her preferred (Dora-branded) toothpaste as the one with “that girl” on it. (Another parenting success!).)

But seriously, until she has a strong enough opinion on such things, I get to choose. And so she’ll go out for Halloween dressed as a beneficial insect, and her loot bags will include soil.

more party favours

Yep. I gave a bunch of kids dirt.

party favour close up

Here’s the close-up, and a recipe for a garden-themed “loot bag”:

1 small container (we used biodegradeable Fiskar’s Eco Pots, which come in really nice, muted colours.)

2 children’s gardening tools (we bought a couple sets of five tools from Lee Valley and broke them up. These are great kid’s tools – plastic, but really sturdy.)

1 bag of container soil (packaged in a plain, 1lb coffee bean bag – ask your local coffee shop for some.)

1 packet of seed (we used purple bush beans – easy and fun to grow – and packaged them in pretty paper envelopes made using a template found online.)

1 wood tongue depressor, stamped with child’s name.

cupcake overview

The cupcakes were fun to make too. I love to bake, but rarely get beyond my basics: cookies, scones, muffins, and biscuits. Birthday parties offer a nice change, and a challenge. I made simple chocolate cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream or chocolate frosting, then topped them with fondant flowers.

Now, I am not the type of person to casually whip up a batch of fondant. In fact, fondant – which is basically really, really stiff icing that can be rolled out or molded like plasticine – has always seemed out of reach for a kitchen novice like myself. It’s supposed to be difficult. Tempermental. But I have a two year old, I thought. I can work with that.

fondant flower cupcakes

Now, if only I could master child-rearing in an evening.

Lila, me, and Helena

We held the party at Little Nest, an awesome child-friendly cafe in our neighbourhood.

Lila and Tayler

A good time was had by all.

Birthday girl

Happy birthday, sweetheart.

Thanks, Naise, for the photos.

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