Birthday celebration for a 3-year-old

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A few days ago, my youngest daughter turned 3 years old, and I suddenly realized that I’m no longer the mother of a little baby, but a little girl. This realization combined with recently meeting one of my best friends’ beautiful baby girl for the first time (her third child) has planted a tiny seed of curiosity in my mind.

Alma turned three, and even though my husband couldn’t join us, we managed to turn the day into a nice and low-key birthday celebration that both my daughters really enjoyed. When you’re 3 years old, the concept of birthday celebration seems to include the following; presents, birthday song(s), cake including guests to eat the cake, playtime and getting to wear your favorite dress the whole day long. But going through this standard birthday concept, I realized that I needed to make a few changes to make it fit my birthday girl and my family.

First of all, our guests ended up arriving in the morning, and leaving right after lunch. Secondly, Alma doesn’t like cake, ice-cream, sweets or chocolate. Thirdly all presents have to be easily transported back to New York in our already over-stuffed suitcases and last but not least, trying to scale down the amount of presents that our children get (most of the stuff just ends up in a box somewhere anyway).

The day started with a lovely brunch with pancakes (you can check out our favorite recipe right here) scrambled eggs, bacon and sausages which are Alma’s absolute favorite. We started out by opening a few presents before eating brunch, played a little, ate, sang some birthday songs, then opened up a few more presents and sang a few more songs.

After a trip to the playground we baked some simple and traditional danish sweet biscuits that I knew Alma would like. Since there was no cake to decorate, we ended up serving the biscuits with candles and pink flamingos. The sweet biscuits, called Vanilje kranse in Danish (roughly translated as vanilla circles), are normally eaten at christmas, but it turns out that they taste delicious in August as well, and they’re really easy to make. I’ll give you the recipe at the end of the post.

As for the presents, I had decided to let our family know, not to buy any big toys or plastic things, and instead go for things that are of good quality and that I knew Alma would actually love and use. A week before her birthday I decided to make her a Waldorf-inspired doll, and so I spent most evenings for a whole week sewing, stuffing and crocheting. I am very happy with the result, and it definitely won’t be the last Waldorf inspired doll that I’ll make (Eleanor has already ordered one).

Other great gifts were a little pink backpack and a pink lunchbox from a gorgeous Norwegian brand called Blafre (they are worth checking out), a cube puzzle with the Moomins, an anatomy puzzle in 5 layers showing a human’s muscles, skin, bones etc. and the pink tutu dress that her eldest sister picked out all by herself. She loved and played with every single present.

We had planned to end the day with homemade pizzas but since turning 3 makes you very tired, Alma fell asleep long before dinnertime, and we postponed pizzas for the following night.

If you feel like baking the sweet biscuits called Vanilje Kranse, this is the recipe that we used;

 

500 gram (1,2 lb) of plain flour

1 egg

350 gram (0.8 lb) of butter

250 gram (0,55 lb) of sugar

1 pod of vanilla (or 1 tablespoon of vanilla powder)

250 gram of (0,55 lb) almonds

Toast the almonds in the oven,  chop them into fine pieces and let them cool of. Mix all the ingredients and form the dough into one long roll. Cut the dough into small pieces, roll them individually into small rolls and form into circles. Make sure that the hole in the middle of the circle is rather big, as the biscuits will run out a bit when baked.

Bake the biscuits at 180 degrees celsius (350 degrees fahrenheit) for 15-20 minutes or until lightly brown.

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