Brady’s Third Birthday Party – The Year I Gave Up On Pinterest

Brady’s third birthday party was so much fun. As his birthday started to creep up on us, I started to get that itch that I always get to throw a birthday celebration extravaganza, invite all of our friends and show off my best Pinterest-inspired party planning skills. But the thought of it made me tired. And uncomfortable. So this year… we went for easy fun and all about Mr. B.


bsparty-01 BradysThree-5 Canvas-8



Now, some of you veteran mamas are probably laughing at me because every Mama has to figure this out on her own… but I’m sure glad I did. This year’s party was all about Brady and celebrating the joy he brought to our family when he arrived three years ago on February 16, 2011. I worried I’d hurt the feelings of our friends with older kids and sent a few awkward text messages explaining that this year we were opting to keep B’s party small and for his little playgroup (those mama-friends of mine were so sweet and understanding and probably all “got it” a lot more than I realize because they too have travelled these roads) but it was a good choice. Instead of having older kids and friends we wanted there, we just invited B’s two and three year old friends and our families.



We asked him what kind of party he wanted to have and he, naturally, said he wanted a fire truck party. We’re lucky to live in Tampa where we were able to have a vintage fire truck and actively serving fireman swing by. The kids crawled all over the fire truck and even got to go for a ride. Afterward we had lunch and cupcakes and sang to our sweet boy. Most all of the favors and fire truck things were ordered with my Amazon Prime account because, well, that’s easy.


Clean up was minimal. Party prep was minimal. But birthday fun was overflowing for everyone. I wasn’t stressed about decorating or DIYing myself to death. And Brady had. a. blast. It was perfect. This whole get-back-to-what-matters thing is pretty awesome. Happy birthday, sweet boy. And thanks to all our friends for celebrating with us.

Oh and if anyone wants to just sit and sob with me. . . how about these comparisons. I can’t even handle them.



See B’s first and second birthday parties here and here.



  • Cupcakes: Cupcakes by Dusty
  • Banner: I made it when B turned two in gold and white so that we can use it over and over and over…
  • Fire hydrant cups: Amazon
  • Fire extinguisher favors: Amazon
  • Fireman Hats: Amazon
  • Favor tags & fire man hat tags: I made all these in Illustrator. The favor tags had Brady’s little face on a firetruck and the fire hats had little white “badges” with each kiddo’s face on a firetruck (got them from their Mama’s Facebook pages) :)
  • Invitations: I made these. :)
  • Food: Publix Deli :)
  • “3” Balloon: Amazon
  • Fireman Tee: PersonaliTEE Shop on Etsy


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  1. Stacy Tucker commented:

    Everything looks festive and pinterest worthy without even trying. I applaud your efforts to simplify the whole process. Mr. Brady Ley looks like he had a ball. Kudos to you and yours.

  2. Christi commented:

    Ok, I have been SO convicted about “over-doing” the birthday party thing…it is my love language ya know. And I want to show those little rugrats that I love them to the moon but…I believe I may just be conditioning entitled little minions :( pray for my strength to minimalize this year!! Your party was still so cute and super sweet…so that helps!

  3. Lissa commented:

    LOVE IT!!! My little one wants a firetruck party… Will definitely be ordering those cool favors and hats from amazon!Thanks for the idea!:)

  4. Laura commented:

    My sons 1st birthday party is today. My husband and I have been overly busy past few weeks. I just told him let’s not stress and just focus on everyone being together. So much easier this way! This post was a confirmation before my guilt settles in to focus on what matters most!! Thanks Emily!

  5. Nancy Ray commented:

    Oh Brady Ley. What a little heart-throb you are! He is so handsome and big, Em! Cannot believe it. Love the comparison pics – he is turning out to be quite the dapper little gentleman!

  6. Shayna commented:

    I love it! It all turned out so cute still! Happy Birthday to Brady!!

  7. Stacia commented:

    I had no idea you were in Tampa! We’re just across the HF in St. Pete :-)

  8. Elizabeth commented:

    Happy Birthday, Brady! He’s so handsome. I understand what you mean about keeping it simple. I plan parties and this year for my daughter’s 6th party we had it at the skating rink. I printed off free invitations from TomKat studio and bought cupcakes. That’s it. The skating rink provided pizza and drinks, and we had cupcakes. No favors or cute table settings. It was the easiest party I’ve even done. Basically show up, party for two hours and leave. With a new baby and her bday being a week shy of Christmas it was necessary in order for me to keep my insanity! lol