Eleanor’s Fourth Birthday Party

Eleanor is Four Years Old

There’s the birthday girl, approving of the party decorations before her guests arrived.

Birthday Table Play Dough Stations
Party Animals
Window Decorations

Eleanor requested a Play-Doh party this year. Brandon’s mom, a former preschool teacher, came through with some fantastic ideas for pulling it off. She whipped up homemade play dough in several colors, and also came up with the idea to create little chef’s hats for the kids to wear (which they did all wear at various points). Everyone had their own station to work at.

Eleanor is Four!
Play Dough Stations
August Playing with Play Dough

The Play-Doh birthday cake was Brandon’s genius idea. He asked a couple of local bakeries if they could pull it off, and most of them replied that they don’t do custom cakes (what?), but Reuter’s Bakery came through. It was pretty spectacular.

Play-Doh Birthday Cake

I told the kids that we needed their help to make the birthday cake (they hadn’t seen the real one yet), so they each made their own out of play dough. I gathered their creations, thanked them, and they went off to play in the living room while we cleaned off the dining room table. We called everyone back over after their places were set, we brought the real cake out, and everyone sang Happy Birthday.

Play-Doh Birthday Cake

Four-year-olds are awesome, because they’re still young enough to fall for a cute trick.

Brandon and I are glad that we had the party at home. It was fun to have Eleanor’s friends over, and later, family came by too. We made one long day of it!

(Hope you had a great birthday, kiddo.)

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  • Kris T
    May 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    we LOVE Reuters Bakery! They did an amazing job on my son’s cake and not only was is beautiful, it was one of the best tasting cakes I’ve had in a while.

  • liz
    May 14, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Darling party! What a great idea! LOVE the cake! Also love the the party was at your house! I have some of the best memories of childhood parties at home… I hope that’s a trend that is coming back!

    • Making it Lovely
      May 15, 2013 at 9:11 am

      I hope so, too! All of the other kids’ parties that we’ve been invited to have been held elsewhere though.

  • Kayla aka Kilo Bravo
    May 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Love this birthday party idea! And it’s nice to see you were brave enough to do it at home…love the gold animals too :-)

  • Ashlea Walter
    May 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    So great! What a wonderful idea and nicely executed. Wren will be four in less than two weeks too. Where did the time go?!

  • Mandy @ This Girl's Life
    May 14, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    What a fun party! That cake is phenomenal!

  • Chloe @Ergo-Blog
    May 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    That is one amazing cake idea!! Aww the kids must have all felt like they really helped! So cute! Happy birthday to your lil girl! =)

  • wendy
    May 14, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    WOW such a cute party! And that cake was amazing!!! Happy birthday Eleanor: )

  • Bliss-ologie
    May 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    That cake its amaze balls!!!

  • Sarah from a fine line
    May 14, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Really cute party idea (way to go elanor)! Very smart to give each kid a separate station (way to go mom). I’m in the midst of planning my almost three year old’s “southern-style bbq birthday picnic” and feeling the urge to go absolutely bananas. My husband keeps saying that she’ll never remember the purple stripey straws, but I just can’t help myself. Any advice on keeping a child’s birthday party reasonably prices but still really really adorable?

    • Making it Lovely
      May 15, 2013 at 9:15 am

      My parties are probably pretty formulaic, but it works for us. The dining room is central in our house, and it’s where most of the party happens, so that’s the room I concentrate on the most. The window gets banners and paper daisies, the built-in buffet holds gift bags, presents, and yes — stripey straws. The table is set, obviously, and that’s pretty much it. I might put some balloons around the house, and usually some flowers in the living room and kitchen. I keep it kind of simple.

  • Sarah from a fine line
    May 14, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Sorry Eleanor for misspelling your name!

  • Megan
    May 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I love the idea of having them “make the cake”. This is actually something that I distinctly remember from my first grade class. We were each given an item to bring from home to make a mud cake – things like sticks, leaves, rocks, etc. What a surprise when our teacher brought out a real cake at the end of the day for us to eat.

  • Paula |
    May 14, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    That cake is really fantastic! Great party idea!

  • Katrina
    May 14, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Her party is darling! Homemade play-doh is the best! My mom was a preschool teacher too for many years and recently gave me her recipe! Along with three batches of play-doh so much fun!

    • Making it Lovely
      May 15, 2013 at 9:16 am

      We gave the recipe out in each gift bag for the kids to make at home!

  • Christina W.
    May 14, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Super cute party! I am dying for the dress she’s wearing, though. I would wear an adult version!

    • Jayne
      May 15, 2013 at 6:04 am

      I agree–the dress Eleanor’s wearing is adorable and I would wear it! Very cute party and so nice to have it at home.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 15, 2013 at 9:20 am

      Isn’t it cute? It’s a tunic that my mom gave her for Christmas.

  • Robin M
    May 14, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    I can’t get over those plates with the striped rim! Where did you find them? Darling party idea too :-)

  • Ash
    May 14, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    How lucky are your kiddos – totally robbing your play doh party! Have been following your blog since I was pregnant with my first baby – he’s going to be 4 in September – and we have a 2 year age gap between our two little ones as well so it’s so cool to check out how you do party’s (and life!) – your kids are going to have so many beautiful memories to look back on. Give yourself a pat on the back mom as sometimes we don’t – you’re doing a beautiful job.

  • Jami Murphy
    May 14, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    My Lydia just turned four also. She wore the same shirt as Eleanor at her home party – and- looks like we had similar decorations! Lydia’s birthday craft was animal focused so I had all those fun plastic animals wearing party hats too! Have to say, the play doh idea was genius. Maybe next time for us! I’ll have to check back and see if we match again next year ;) jami

  • Lauren
    May 14, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    That cake is amazing:) I love how you went with the play doh theme, certainly not easy to make into a party. But it turned out awesome:) I love birthdays!!!

  • jackie jade
    May 14, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    looks like an awesome party! and how doesn’t do custom cakes? isn’t that what bakeries do?

  • julia-lifeonchurchill
    May 14, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    I love the play-dough idea! Happy Birthday to Eleanor!

  • Korin
    May 14, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    Sooo, where did Miss Eleanor get her sweet little 4 year old dress!?

  • A. @ Hello Door Seven
    May 15, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Happy birthday Eleanor!
    oh, and I love the cake! :D

  • D
    May 15, 2013 at 1:54 am

    Love Eleanor’s idea! Guess she’s got the creative gene :) And love that you could follow it through so creatively!

    Happy Birthday, E!

  • maja @modchalet
    May 15, 2013 at 2:37 am

    She is so adorable! And so creative. Whenever I ask my boys for a birthday theme it is always the same… trains! I also really love that haircut :)

  • meenal@maison marigold
    May 15, 2013 at 5:41 am

    What a lovely idea for the party and the cake! looks like your pretty girl had a awesome wishes to her..xx meenal

  • Denise
    May 15, 2013 at 7:13 am

    The gold animals, are they diy?

    • Making it Lovely
      May 15, 2013 at 9:27 am

      The big giraffe with a party hat was sent over by The Land of Nod as an invitation to their store’s 10th anniversary party, and the swizzle sticks were from Gnome Sweet Gnome.

  • Jen @ RamblingRenovators
    May 15, 2013 at 9:02 am

    What a cute and colourful party! And oh my gosh, that’s the biggest birthday cake! Eleanor must have been in heaven.

  • Christine
    May 15, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    That cake is bananas!! Amazing.

  • Erin
    May 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    I don’t have kids, but now I want to rent one so that I can do a Playdough party with a cake like that. Absolutely amazing!

  • First House Spouse
    May 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    This is the most organized kid’s birthday party I’ve ever seen…and it looks fun! Skills – you’ve got them.

  • Olivia
    May 16, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Oh fantastic! I’m glad you were able to use the drink stirrers from my Etsy shop! They look adorable!

  • Christy
    May 16, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Happy birthday to Elanor!
    Brandon is a genius! What a fantastic cake. The bakery did a great job.

  • Stephanie
    May 17, 2013 at 6:21 am

    Brilliant cake! They did such a good job! Looks like all the kids had fun, too.

  • Nicoletta
    May 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I like how you kept it simple! I think it’s easy to go overboard with games and such at a party but at this age keeping it simple is best. Love the theme! My son is turning 3 soon and keeps saying he wants a spiderman party (shutters) he doesn’t even watch spiderman! Hoping he changes his mind before August! lol

  • Erin @ The Great Indoors
    May 20, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    What a lovely party idea, and fun memories for Miss E. And I love the cake trick- I’ll have to keep that one in mind!


  • Kristen
    May 24, 2013 at 9:31 am

    This is the perfect party. I have a daughter who just turned five and my two year-old boy is August’s age. I get a lot of inspiration from you! Are those big pink stars on the table the same ones that you decorate with a Christmas? I went on a quest last Christmas trying to find a star like that for my tree, all I found were ornaments:) Would you share where those are from?

    • Making it Lovely
      May 24, 2013 at 9:32 am

      Yes, they’re Christmas decorations! I picked them up at Target a few years back. The little spikes attach to the center, and then pop off to make it easier to store.

  • Julie
    January 22, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    I came across this post as I am thinking of a play-doh party for my daughter’s third birthday in few months…I’m just wondering what you did for the party invitations.

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