Leah’s 2-Year-Old Birthday Party

Carousel cake

Happy Birthday Leah!

Since we didn’t do a party for Leah’s 1st birthday we decided to do something this year, to celebrate turning 2. It happened to fall on the same day as the University of Iowa Homecoming Game, and since we live in Iowa City, we figured it would only be appropriate (and fair to the parents) to throw a little toddler tailgate. I intended to have the garage and driveway all set up tailgate style, BUT the weather was chilly and drizzly on Saturday, so we moved it inside.

2 year old birthday party

Game on, streamers up…go time!

I am a minimalist aka I’m lazy when it comes to most things, and this was no exception. We kept the menu simple and with a nod to the tailgate we served Hot Dogs, Chili and invited everyone to eat either or combine the two to make Chili Dogs. And no tailgate (or party in my opinion) would be complete without dips. The star of the party was this triple dipper crockpot (couldn’t find the exact version for sale, but it’s similar to this Triple Slow Cooker) that I borrowed from my friend Claire. Seriously everyone commented on how cool it was! We made Tuscan Chick Pea Dip (From my favorite Ina Garten cookbook), Artichoke Dip, and Cheesy Bean Dip. All three were a hit!

party food

The Before Picture

To round it off we had pasta salad, veggies and fruit, and of course – Birthday Cake! My sister Kara offered to make Leah’s birthday cake and I accepted her offer without hesitation. Remember how my projects usually resemble nailed it memes? Yeah, her finished products are truly works of art.

Carousel Cake

Leah’s Favorite Things Carousel Cake – Thanks Aunt Kara!

She made a Carousel Cake Topper, complete with six of Leah’s current favorite things – m&m’s, Daniel Tiger, a dump truck full of balloons, makeup, puppies, and a horse, of course (hehe).¬† The cake itself was rainbow and so delicious. She even made 12 chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel frosting. YUM.


The adults got to snack, watch football, enjoy a few adult beverages, and catch up. We had so many awesome friends and family from near and far. The best part of the day was spending time with so many of the people who we love. And of course we had many special people who couldn’t make it as well, and we sure missed them all!



The kids ran around, got their faces painted, and then I gave all the parents a heart attack when I announced that the kids got to paint their own gourds, and popped open a bunch of acrylic paints. HA!

Toddler Birthday party craft, gourd painting

toddlers + paint = heart attack…but they had fun!

I should have also provided old TShirts for the kids to cover up with, but the bibs I grabbed after I saw the looks of horror worked out just fine… ūüôā The upside to this activity was that it kept BOTH the adults and kids busy for a while.


Thanks to the attentive adults for enduring my brilliant craft idea! LOL

Look at that smile, so genuine. HA!

Look at that smile, so genuine. HA!

Everyone was getting ready for nap time so before we lost any party-goers we hastily ate cake and opened gifts!

In awe of her cake.

In awe of her cake.

Uncle Steve & Leah goofing around...check out how pretty the cake was on the inside too!

Uncle Steve & Leah goofing around…check out how pretty the cake was on the inside too!


All the kids loved giving their gifts to Leah, and she loved the attention and dutifully gave hugs to all the givers after opening each gift.

Opening Gifts!

Opening Gifts!


My cousin brought Leah a cart so she could play OUR old favorite game – Restaurant! (The “Mystic Rose Cafe” was in my Grandparents basement and we spent countless hours waiting on make believe customers!

All in all I think it was a SUCCESS! And it was worth it to get to spend a day with so many of our favorite people.

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