ONEderland & Mad THREE Party Celebration

Anticipating that Stella’s birth was going to happen right around Luna’s second birthday, I had decided to host an “unbirthday” party early, before Luna’s actual birthday, so that my then-two year old would still get her special day before her sister arrived. I went into full Alice in Wonderland tea party (is there any better sort of tea party, honestly?) mode and started dreaming up and purchasing decor, party ware, favors etc. 

Well, with the pandemic, those very merry unbirthday party plans were paused (check out the super intimate space-themed celebration we opted for, here). 

As a result, I essentially had the next 15 months to hoard collect all things Alice and prepare for what would become a joint birthday celebration — Stella in ONEderland & Luna’s Mad THREE Party. Here’s how everything came together, once we finally had the opportunity to celebrate. 

The Inspiration

I have always loved tea parties — going to Victorian tea houses, high teas at fancy hotels, etc. — and knew I already owned a lot of things that would be useful, like cake stands. Additionally, our backyard has a whimsical English garden vibe, too, with koi ponds, statues and ivy. Layer on the playful, youthful Alice “unbirthday” theme, and we’ve got ourselves a party. 

I took inspiration for the event color palette from the 1951 (oh, did I mention it also happened to be the movie’s 70th anniversary?) Disney animated movie and the corresponding Mad Tea Party ride at Disney World. I tried to weave the colors from the tea party scene and ride throughout the setting. I picked up paints in colors in this palette and got to crafting. 

DIY highlights from the party include:

Wooden letters (from Michael’s) spelling out “Eat Me” and “Drink Me” to decorate the food and beverage stations. 

Ceramic tea cup planters (from Oriental Trading) that made the Alice Disney theme front and center. When painting the planters, I tried to copy the color pairs (e.g., mint with periwinkle, yellow with coral, teal with purple, etc.) and abstract patterns from the ride, then GirlDad hit them with a clear sealant so they would be functional. The day of the party, despite all the imagineering I had done, I simply hadn’t had time to execute on all of my ideas. So, off to the store went GirlDad to pick up some potted plants to plop into the tea cup planters.

Inspired by this Pinterest post, I also picked up a variety of terra cotta planters with saucers to mimic the look of the Mad Hatter’s top hat. I spray painted them forest green, hot glued red satin ribbon around the base and used a calligraphy marker to write “10/6 in this style” on cardstock before slipping the card into the satin and securing it with more hot glue. (For background on the Mad Hatter’s famous hat, check out this). We ended up using the planters to line the back porch steps, from biggest to smallest, with the largest holding pretty pink flowers my mother-in-law gave me on Mother’s Day.

Using spray paint in pastel shades that coordinated with the tea cup planters and tablecloths, we also recreated the iconic “This Way, That Way…” sign. I drew arrows on cardboard to show the size and shapes I wanted and GirlDad cut them out on plywood. I spray painted the arrows and wrote on them in black sharpie. Then GirlDad attached them to a wooden dowel in a way so that the arrows could be tilted or spun around if we wanted to confuse Alice, I mean, our guests, even more. GirlDad stuck the sign into the ground at our garden gate, showing guests into the party area. Similarly, I picked up this wooden Uncle Sam hat sign from the post-4th of July clearance section at Michael’s and had a vision to also paint green and decorate it with the same ribbon and cardstock as used with the planters. It ended up being a cute decor item to hang in what became an impromptu photo backdrop and gift area. 

Additional Decor & Games

I had been planning to paint my mom’s old croquet set using the same colors as the tea cup planters, then attach lawn flamingos to them, but ended up finding this adorable child sized wooden set with rainbow trim from Target. GirlDad drilled holes in mini lawn flamingos I found on Amazon and set them up in a grassy area with a couple large lawn flamingos we already had. (I had every intention of gluing oversized playing cards to the hoops, but simply didn’t get around to executing. Being a working mom with two under two is no easy task!). 

Larger playing cards lined our fence to add to the backdrop. Additionally, I slipped faux white and red roses into large topiary trees that flank our front door year-round and set little red metal pails and paint brushes nearby to suggest that the Queen of Hearts’ playing card guard had just finished painting the white roses red. 

For partyware, we used a variety of floral paper tea cups and plates, printed doilies on cake stands, and fancy silver plastic cutlery. I also used paper plates and napkins with Disney’s version of Alice (versus the original book illustration) printed on them that I found at Oriental Trading.

Tables were covered in light blue plastic tablecloths with the outer ruffle skirts and the kids’ table was covered in an Alice themed blue tablecloth (all from Oriental Trading). I used black and white check fabric table runners I found on Amazon. Brass, antique looking skeleton keys doubled as table weights and decorations. The tea cup planters also decorated the tables. 

Children sat on pale pink chiavari chairs I ordered off of Amazon (with two daughters and a niece, I am bound to regularly need 10 miniature pink ballroom chairs, right? That’s what I told my husband when they arrived in two GIGANTIC packages. Besides, they are an investment if I ever do start a kids party planning business.) Luna was given a seat of honor at the head of the kids table in a rose colored, velvet wingback chair that I found at Home Goods when she was an infant.

Additional seating and decor was found in the whimsical mushroom seats my aunt made for a theatre production (tutorial to come). Additional impactful decorations included the rows of colorful paper lanterns strung overhead. I curated a collection of paper lanterns in colors, patterns and shapes inspired by the Mad Tea Party scene and GirlDad assembled and strung them from the porch to the tree. I absolutely love how they looked and tied together all of the fun colors found throughout the party! 

What We Wore 


Post-Halloween, I picked up two reversible Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee accessories sets on clearance from ShopDisney. It took some convincing, but good sports agreed to wear them for a few photos. Likewise, other guests agreed to wear adorable Meri Meri paper flower bonnets. (Pro tip: Surround yourself with people who indulge your over-the-top interests ;)) 

The girls’ outfits included blue Alice dresses with white pinafores from one of my favorite children’s clothing companies, Only Little Once. Luna wore black ballet flats from Target that she still affectionately calls her “Alice shoes” and Stella wore black t-strap Mary Janes from Bird Rock Baby. For hair accessories, I got both girls black bow headbands as well as these darling lace and flower crowns, both from Etsy. Plus, our favorite comfy but fancy lace ankle socks from Baby Gap. 

I wore a white and blue floral sundress from Gap with the pièce de résistance being my  custom fascinator from “Amber’s Unique Boutique” which Luna’s Godmother gifted me for Christmas. (She also – thankfully! – offered to arrive early to babysit so I could focus on getting ready. Clearly, she is is a true friend that “gets” me ;))

What We Ate



Party favors included pretzel rods that I dipped in pink melting chocolate then drizzled with additional shades of pink and purple chocolate. These treats were inspired by the Cheshire Cat Tail puff pastries sold near the WDW teacups ride. I packaged them in cellophane bags with tea bag tag shaped tags that I printed “Eat Me” on using a stamp I also ordered from Etsy (can you tell I really, really like Etsy??). Additionally, my mom made blue and purple chocolate flower pops and decorated them with sugar eyes as a nod to the singing flowers from the movie. 

Dessert included, naturally, an “unbirthday cake” that was decorated in pink buttercream and decorated with blue sugar flowers. I had purchased white and purple fondant to make a striped candle, but again… where does one find the time? So my mom made a similarly cartoonish, oversized candle using a small paper cup and melting chocolates. (Yes, she is very creative!). We also used my Nordic Ware rose cakelet pan to make red and white cakes. Additionally, my mother-in-law made “Eat Me” sugar cookies with a stamp I found on, you guessed it, Etsy, and my aunt brought homemade scones with cream and chocolate strawberry jam (yum!). 


My mom, mother in law, sister in law, aunt and I frantically assembled a variety of tea sandwiches right before the party. These included butterfly shaped cheese on white bread and “party rolls” with ham and cheese for the little guests. For the adults, we had traditional cucumber and chive cream cheese on party rolls; butter and watercress; ham salad, chicken salad and egg salad (I used this Downton Abbey inspired recipe); and others. We had a variety of beverages including soda and Arnold Palmers as well and wine, beer and hard iced teas for the adults.

Kids’ goody bags included pink or purple plastic teacup shaped sippy cups that doubled as their cups during the party; the Cheshire Cat tail pretzels; flamingo-printed blow up beach balls; flamingo shaped water guns; and Alice in Wonderland sticker sheets. I packed the goodies in small paper bags I found at Michael’s that had quirky designs like stripes or polka dots in shades of pink, green or blue. 

Reminiscing on the party, the craft I am most proud of is the set of ceramic tea cup planters. Since I had been dreaming up this party for so long, they were something I worked while pregnant with Stella, painting a cup or two whenever I had a moment. They also remind me of trips to Disney, including Luna’s first “big girl ride” and how as we walked up to the line as a family of three while discussing what to name Baby Girl #2. 

Trader Joe’s Fall Haul

Before you read on, you must know I am one of those people. The pumpkin spiced this, pumpkin spiced that obsessed people. No regrets, no shame about it. So needless to say, when I go food shopping during fall at Trader Joe’s, I go all-in. 

Before embarking on my quest, I consulted one of my besties, Emily, who is also a pumpkin devotee to make sure I picked the best items from the proverbial (pumpkin) patch. We exchanged thoughts on must-haves and what to pass on and I set off on my fall haul mission (with Emily still on the phone line, so I could give her a virtual TJ’s experience 😄). While the majority of my purchases are pumpkin infused, I also took the opportunity to pick up other seasonal items. 

Here’s a recap of my purchases and if I would love it or “🍂it” next time:

Pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal cookie mix 🧡

When Emily casually said, “Well, you’ll have to get the pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal cookie mix, but you must have had that before, they have it every year,” I was stunned. How had I never purchased let alone seen this product before? After combing the aisles, I still could not find the canister. So while checking out, I chatted up the friendly cashier and told her about my dilemma. While the cashier had never had the cookie mix before (in case you’re wondering, her favorite TJ’s pumpkin product is the mini ice cream cones, which unfortunately was not in stock) she knew where to find it and graciously ran to grab me one. Phew! There is a reason TJ is known for its customer service…

The first time I tried these, I was underwhelmed. While I love pumpkin spice, at first bite these had, in my opinion, an almost savory, curry-like flavor versus a sweet and spicy cookie taste (and I love curries!). Just not something I desire in a cookie. I did love the chocolate chunks and seriously chewy texture, though. So after trying them again, my opinion started to change. I bought the mix a second time to have in the pantry when a cookie urge strikes.   

Spiced Pumpkin Madeleines 🧡

Buttery with a good texture and amount of pumpkin spice, these French style cakes are a great snack, especially with coffee

Pumpkin Brioche Twist 🍂

Would not buy again. I love the idea, but this was dry and not very flavorful. Would probably be a good base for French toast, as the package suggests, though. 

Organic Frosted Pumpkin Toaster Pastries 🧡

If Poptarts had offered a pumpkin flavor when I was a kid, I would have been hooked! These were nostalgic of the toaster pastry I grew up on but with the pumpkin spice flavor I crave as an adult. Two thumbs up. 

Pumpkin Rolls 🧡🧡🧡

THESE. ARE. SO. GOOD! I knew I would like these but I wasn’t sure about my husband, who loves cinnamon rolls but does not like pumpkin spiced anything. I popped these in the oven one Saturday morning and we devoured the pan together (ok, we shared one with our toddler). I ended up buying two more cans to have for easy fall breakfasts and brunches. 

Pumpkin Flavored Joe’ Joe’s 🍂

I’d buy them again but I’m afraid I’d eat the whole box and I’d rather save my calories for other pumpkin spice flavored goods I haven’t tried yet. Plus, I have a box of Halloween Joe Joe’s waiting for me in the pantry… 

Maple Leaf Cookies 🧡

Love these! My husband used to bring what I assume is the original version home from trips to Canada, so I was happy to snag a box from Trader Joe’s. These were a big hit with everyone, including my two year old. 

Halloween Joe Joe’s 🍂

Pretty much an Oreo, but cuter 🎃 However, not quite as tasty as an oreo. If I’m buying for flavor alone, I’d go with Oreos; if assembling a themed cookie platter, I’d mix these in.

Big Soft Pretzels 🧡

Instant Oktoberfest! Great to have on hand to elevate a German inspired meal. We like to eat them alongside wurts and sauerkraut…and beer 😉

Sweet Potato Gnocchi 🧡

Love these! I haven’t met a TJ’s gnocchi I haven’t liked.

Root Vegetable Fries 🍂

Interesting! We had these as a side with our favorite veggie burgers. I liked them alright and while my daughter liked the idea of purple fries, unfortunately she did not like the flavor. My attempt at sneaking in more veggies and eating “across the rainbow” didn’t work as planned. 

Rustic Apple Tart 🍂

I bought this for my mom because we have almond allergies in my house and she enjoyed it. However, if you’re going apple picking (and I suggest that you do!) why not just buy a package of TJ’s puff pastry and make your own rustic crostata or galette a la my girl Ina Garten ? It’s nearly as easy as popping a frozen dessert in the oven and you get a sense of accomplishment (plus you get to use up the oversupply of apples you inevitably picked, especially if you’re picking with kids…).

And here are some items I haven’t yet tried but couldn’t resist grabbing. I’ll report back once I’ve sampled them all: 

Haunted House Chocolate Cookie Kit 

A fun indoor activity – we will be making ours soon! 

Pumpkin Cheesecake 

Having missed out on this last year, I was determined to not make the same mistake twice!! Will be keeping in my freezer until Thanksgiving or another socially distant gathering)

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Ginger Brew 

Can you say autumnal dark and stormy??

Chocolatissimo Premium Harvest Collection 

Expect to see these atop a Thanksgiving dessert!

Cornbread Mix 

Because it’s chili season and I like to be prepared. 

Savory Corn Pie 

A potential Thanksgiving side, if it makes it until then in my freezer.

Pumpkin Empanadas

Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli

Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Bread and Muffin Mix

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix

Pumpkin Tortilla Chips

What are your favorite seasonal items from Trader Joe’s?