Birthdays are kind of a big thing in our house. A birthday here is a day full of family tradition and special treats for the birthday person. And when that person is a toddler who loves horses, well… its even more fun!
Now when I say loves horses, I’m not exaggerating. If we pass a horse, read a book with a horse in it, mention the word horse or see something that even resembles a horse (like a deer), then the whole world must come to a stop. She gets so excited! And since birthday themes are so fun, we decided to make it everything horsey!
Also, in the spirit of encouraging traditions, as well as minimalism, our family has made the decision to spend the majority of birthday funds on an experience rather than a bunch of gifts and a party. Its a personal choice but one that we have done for several years and have NEVER regretted. We’ve done many fun things such as painting classes, zoo memberships and even driving exotic cars (my husband’s gift last year!)
So I’d like to invite you to share in our special birthday celebration for a very special little girl. Its minimal, simple, special and thoughtful. My hope is that you enjoy celebrating with us and maybe pick up a few ideas for your own birthday celebration!
It all starts in the morning, the moment she walks out of the bedroom, groggy eyed, rubbing the sleepies from her eyes….
And there it is! There’s something magical about a table spread with an assortment of your favorite items! Oh, the way her eyes lit up!
I wish I could tell you she was most excited about the handmade farm play mat that I spent HOURS on, or the stuffed horse that I knit for WEEKS or even the cookies that I spent the entire day before working on, but, nope, her initial favorite? The gigantic horse balloon. She spent probably a good hour playing with that. What can I say? She loves balloons! I’m generally not a big fan of balloons for a variety of reasons, but every so often exceptions are ok.
Although she did quickly discover the cookies! Yes, we absolutely had cookies for breakfast! It was her birthday after all! Even weeks later, she continues to ask for horse cookies and is always disappointed when I hand her a plain round cookie.
I made a gluten free, dairy free version of these magical cookies, including the icing! I exchanged the flour and milk for Bob’s Red Mill 1-for-1 GF Flour and almond milk, cut them with this cookie cutter and then I naturally dyed the icing with chocolate (for the horse mane) and condensed cranberry juice (for the pink twos.)
We took a quick break from playing with the horse balloon and eating cookies to have the official celebration and blow out the candles on her birthday ring. I originally saw the idea of a birthday ring in one of my Waldorf groups and instantly fell in love! There are many ways to celebrate a Waldorf birthday and even various ways to use the rings (you can see some ideas here), we chose to set the ring up with 3 candles – one for each year of her life and one to bring blessings into the next year – along with a handmade ornament representing her birthday celebrations (a giraffe for last year, a horse for this year), which is a sweet way to remember some of the things that were important to her at those times in her life. We gathered around, lit the candles and she blew them out. Next year, I will add in a little story of her birth and the adventures she’s had already in life. It was every bit as magical as I was hoping!
After that, she was most definitely ready to change into her 2 year old horse shirt that we custom ordered from Ooe and Auti. The quality is fabulous! And since its still cold, I also ordered a pink long sleeve t-shirt from Primary.com to layer under it. It was my first purchase through them and I am very impressed! (Click through my link to save $10 on your first order)!
Being the avid book lover that she is, she was elated to find a horse book awaiting her on the table! And it has mama and baby horses at that! Hush Little Horsie (I got the board book) was recommended in one of my mommy groups and it did not disappoint! Wonderful little rhymes about baby horses and their busy days playing until they curl up and go to sleep as the mama horse watches over them. Wait til the sweet twist at the end. Its the perfect book for a small child, horse lover or any child who could use a little reassurance of a Mama’s constant love. Its adorable!
And last, but not least, the piece de resistance, her new, hand knitted stuffed horse and farm playmat! I will be making a separate post with instructions on how to make these two items but they took up my evenings for a good 3 weeks. Definitely a labor of love! She loves them both, although I don’t think she’s quite figured out just what the play mat is for. We already had the barn, trees and wooden Anamalz.
We kept the entire day very simple but special for her. We spent the morning playing with her new horse and mat, reading her new book and trying not to eat all the cookies until we took a little walk down to Mimi’s house (she lives close!) It felt a bit like a parade as we pulled our red wagon with that giant horse balloon behind us!
Remember I mentioned our emphasis on experiences? Well, there is only one experience that can be done for a little girls horse birthday….. an actual pony ride!
After doing a bit of searching, I found a local ranch who offers that very thing, plus a petting zoo! I was able to book a 20 minute ride for her and we all visited the little farm petting zoo while we were there. She enjoyed petting the goats and sheep, watching the chickens and laughing at the pig antics but of course, she was drawn to the horse pens. We found her pony already saddled and waiting for us! She was beautiful! And her name? Princess! Could that be any more perfect?
I was super worried that my daughter would be afraid to actually ride Princess. I’ve tried to get her to pet horses before and she wouldn’t, but those were also full size horses, not cute little ponies. Lucky for us, a pony seems to be much less intimidating than a horse, and she was totally ready to ride! She rode like a pro, one hand on the horn and the other hand at rest. Like she had ridden her whole life! When the 20 minutes was up, she kept signing “again, again!” and the handler let her go around a little bit longer. The only way she was willing to get off is when we pointed out that there was another little girl that had booked a ride and needed the pony. She’s always happy to share!
Overall, it was a COMPLETE success! She had a blast, we celebrated some wonderful traditions and created some incredible memories! I look forward to continuing these traditions and our super special birthdays.
Thanks for celebrating with us! We’re so happy to have you!