Nora is 3!

posted by Andrea | 11/24/2014
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It’s official, Nora turned 3 over the weekend… and although she is not magically bigger nor does she seem instantly older, I cannot believe how much she has changed over the past 6 -12 months.

I alluded to some of those changes in this post a few months ago, but even since then, she has grown and matured.

She can climb the climbing wall on our swing set… and she’ll actually go down the slide by herself now (that took a LONG time!)

Her helpfulness in the kitchen has actually been more ‘help’ than not lately 🙂

She can fold her own laundry (Nora is strangely “domestic” for a little girl and loves doing household chores!)

She can occupy Simon (when she’s not otherwise bugging / annoying him).

And she’s just an overall silly, smart, spunky little girl (emphasis on the ‘spunk’) who knows just how to push her mama’s buttons!

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Nora’s Party

Nora requested a Curious George birthday party this year — both because she love the TV/Netflix shows and also because she’s addicted to the massive collection of Curious George books at our local library.

Here’s the invitation I sent out to our family via email (I made the invitations using PicMonkey).

Nora was SOOOO excited to dress up in our borrowed monkey costume (one of the perks of having a birthday 3 weeks after Halloween). However, I think I was most excited that Dave agreed to dress up as The Man With The Yellow Hat!

a man and his monkey

Fabulous, isn’t it!

We borrowed the pants, used tall socks to look like boots, I found a white shirt for $0.50 at a local thrift store and then dyed it yellow, and I purchased $4.70 worth of felt at Field’s Fabric to make the hat and tie… not bad for about $5!! And yes, Nora was thrilled when she saw Dave in full costume — of course, our guests thought it was pretty fun too 🙂

I think this is the first year she really understood what a birthday party was, and the excitement of turning one year older. She can also count now, so she kept asking how many more days until her birthday.

I figured she would like doing a “daily countdown” so we did a little birthday countdown craft about a week before her birthday. You can’t tell, but the picture she so beautifully colored is a picture of Curious George I printed from this website.

Every morning, she would rush downstairs to rip off another link and then count how many days were left until her big day.

She told everyone we met about her birthday countdown — and was ecstatic to rip off the very last link the morning of her birthday. Small pleasures my friends! 

We gave her one present when she woke up — the Curious George and the Birthday Surprise book. We read it right away (and then about 15 more times after breakfast). It was definitely a fun way to start off her day!

FUN NORA QUOTE: the night before her birthday, when I was putting her to bed, she asked if I was going downstairs to set up the tree. I was somewhat confused and asked why she thought we needed a tree. She said that the presents go under the tree and she knew she was getting presents so she just needed me to set up the tree.

Apparently she’s getting Christmas mixed up with her birthday 🙂

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We had a really simple party this year — just cake, ice-cream, and a few other snacky foods (like banana Runts, nuts, and chocolate covered bananas to go with our monkey theme).

Yes, I was SO happy with how the cake / cupcakes turned out!!

And as always, we only invited our immediate families (Nora’s aunt, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and great grandparents). That rounded our party out to 16 people, which is definitely a manageable number.

She was fully spoiled with all her lovely gifts… including a Curious George matching game, more Curious George books, Curious George stickers and coloring books, several handmade items, craft supplies, dress-up clothes, and more.

Noras gifts

all her presents

We ended the party with a big surprise for her — a shiny new red bike (just like George gets a “shiny new red bike” in one of our books).

curious george rids a bike

Her current bike was purchased for $5 on Craigslist this summer, and it’s a little rickety. So, since she loves riding her bike and since we’ve heard such great things about Burley’s MyKick Balance Bike, we figured it would be the perfect gift for her 3rd birthday.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that I have a great contact person over at Burley who graciously offered to send us this bike to help celebrate with Nora (thanks Burley — we love your stuff!)

Normally, it’s not snowing in Michigan yet, but due to the insane amount of snow we’ve had already, we might just have to ride it around the basement this winter!

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Oh, and we made sure to measure her height on our growth chart… she has grown almost 5 inches since last year!

my growing girl

I know several of you have mentioned you’re interested in throwing a Curious George Birthday party as well. If so, here are some of the resources I used — as well as a bunch more helpful links that I didn’t personally use, but figured some of you might like them!

Resources:

GENERAL PARTY IDEAS:

Curious George party ideas, printables, games, recipes, etc. from PBSkids.org

More game and party ideas

One of the most elaborately decorated, totally WAY over-the-top Curious George parties I’ve ever seen (please don’t try to recreate this; you’ll drive yourself crazy. However there are good ideas you can probably take from it and use in your own, more simplified way!)

Boatloads of Curious Geoerge products on Amazon.com

Curious George and the Birthday Surprise book (we gave this to her right when she woke up on her birthday)

CAKE / CUPCAKES / and other FOOD:

Here’s where I learned how to create the Curious George body out of icing, freeze it, and then place it on the cake

This is the buttercream frosting recipe I used (the cake was just made with boxed mixes!)

How to make a very simple Curious George Face Cake (this was my back-up plan if my cake flopped).

Here’s a little more “fancy” Curious George Face Cake — but still relatively straight forward

Another really cute chocolate, peanut butter monkey cake.

Yet another cute cake idea.

Super cute Curious George (or any type of Monkey) cupcakes.

Chocolate Chip Banana Cupcakes

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (recipe from my blog — and these are amazing!!)

“Monkey Tails” (a.k.a. the recipe I used for chocolate covered bananas)

FREE PRINTABLES:

FREE Curious George printables, coloring pages, and party ideas.

Printable Curious George color pages (I used the balloon one for my cake idea)

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Happy 3rd Birthday Miss Nora!

happy birthday nora

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29 comments

  1. lydia @ Five4FiveMeals

    11/25/2014

    Dave wins dad of the year! That is too cute.

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  2. Carolyn Thompson

    11/24/2014

    I have been following your blog for about a year now & feel like I know your lovely family. Thank you for sharing Nora’s birthday celebration. I always leave your articles with a smile on my face & for that I am forever greatful. Keep Blogging!! X

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Carolyn! I really appreciate it 🙂

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  3. lily

    11/24/2014

    Happy birthday Nora! Such a sweet and smart girl!

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  4. Leia

    11/24/2014

    What a fun party! Thanks for including a link to my Curious George Sprinkle Cake. 🙂 And happy birthday to your little, Nora. What a cutie!

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  5. Martha Lawson

    11/24/2014

    I loved the post!! So cute. Happy 3rd birthday, Miss Nora!!!

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  6. JoAnn C.

    11/24/2014

    Happy Birthday Nora! Thanks, Andrea, for sharing such fun pictures.

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  7. Jenny C.

    11/24/2014

    Andrea, thanks so much for sharing! So fun to see little glimpses of your family 🙂 It’s a blessing to “know” you!

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  8. Linda

    11/24/2014

    Happy Birthday to Nora! I have to leave a comment about your husband. It is so wonderful that he dressed up for Nora. Such a sweet spirit for a dad. She will be able to look back years later to see the pictures and I am sure it will bring smiles to her.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Linda — Dave was a really good sport about it 🙂

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  9. Trudy

    11/24/2014

    Love the construction paper link count down!!!! My grand wants us to make them for Christmas, never thought of them as a countdown.

    My grand’s birthday is December 15…..so we have one of those Chocolate Advent calendar that we are using….we started on Friday so the days match with the date of her birthday…..having a lot of fun with it….

    [Reply]

  10. Kimberley

    11/24/2014

    As usual, I am super impressed with your crafty-ness! Great job! And happy happy birthday to your beautiful baby girl!!! Love the theme and love that your husband was a sport and participated….he looks just like the man with the yellow hat!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Kimberley!
    Although I still don’t really consider myself “crafty”. I looked up a tutorial on how to make the Curious George figure on the cake — and then just doctored up my boxed cake mix 🙂
    I suppose the hat took a bit of creativity, but mostly just LOTS of hot glue!!

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  11. Lynn A.

    11/24/2014

    Looks like it was an awesome birthday party! I am in awe!!!

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  12. Lauren Dekker

    11/24/2014

    Love the relaxed yet put together feel of your parties! Hoping to re-create that when I host my first Thanksgiving this year! Happy Birthday Nora!!! Love the pics!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Lauren! This party was actually relatively relaxed because I made the cake the day before and didn’t have a big meal. All I had to do the day of was get the balloons and clean the bathrooms 🙂

    Good luck with your Thanksgiving Party!

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  13. Gigi

    11/24/2014

    I just have to say I love the photo at the bottom of Nora opening presents and you laughing. These natural moments are beautiful and what a gift for our children to see us enjoying them! That’s my favorite kind of photo. Enjoy your sweet kiddos!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Gigi! That’s one of my favorite photos of the night as well 🙂

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  14. LoriB

    11/24/2014

    Well done!

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  15. Amy O

    11/24/2014

    What a perfect party! Simple and not too over-the-top.

    I’m curious about the photo of the little handmade stuffed bears and pillows?

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Amy — those are just the pictures of all her gifts. I forgot to include some of the items in the first picture so I took a second picture to show everything. Dave’s mom made her the bears and pillows (Nora has been obsessed with using tiny pillows for all her dolls, animals, etc.)

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    Amy O Reply:

    Adorable! I wondered if that was the case. That is too cute!

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  16. Michele D.

    11/24/2014

    Nora is a lucky girl to have such thoughtful, loving parents. Your site is one of my favorites. You make special occasions the way they should be; simple and sweet. Love the Curious George theme and you sure found a keeper in Dave!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Michele — and yes, I agree with your comment about Dave 🙂

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  17. deborah

    11/24/2014

    Nora has grown so much! She is such a cutie.

    And what a fantastic birthday party! I love parties and all the fun details!

    How fun that your gift “fit” the party theme so well.

    Wishing God’s blessings on Nora’s new year.

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  18. Summer

    11/24/2014

    You have a very special man! My husband dressed up as a clown one year and had to do it more than once for the rest of them. It’s amazing what you do for the little ones you love so much! Very creative on ALL of it, loved the outfit, loved the desserts and the robe is fantastic! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! So much to be thankful for!

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — the robe is from my parents and so far, I think that’s the most-used gift. She’s been begging for a robe since Dave and I often wear our robes around the house at night or in the morning. Now we all “match” according to her!

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  19. Emily

    11/24/2014

    Happy Birthday Nora! 3 is such a fun age!!

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  20. Deni

    11/24/2014

    Happy Birthday Nora!!! Such a fun, creative party for her. I love hearing about Nora, thanks for sharing 😉

    [Reply]