Planning parties can be a lot of work, and a lot of stress. Since making the decision to only throw parties for our kids milestone birthdays, it keeps the stress low and allows us to spend more time making memories together on fun birthday trips. This year was a milestone year for our little guy, but he expressed zero interest in a party. That is, up until five days before the date we had in mind. So, off to the dollar store I went! I had to pull off a party in just under five days, a piece of cake..right?
Luckily we kept it simple and let him come up with the guest list. Short and sweet, that was the name of our game. His closest buds from school and a few family members. Deal! Now to find a theme…
I delight in the fact that limited screen time with our boys has meant that our costumes and birthday celebrations haven’t been overrun by commercial products. We still have plenty of time before we are forced to throw a Paw Patrol party. I like to think outside the box and really tailor the party to fit our kids personalities. Our youngest is an artist like his dad, and can spend hours sitting with my husband painting. He’s held a pencil / crayon properly since he was eighteen months old. He definitely gets that from dad!
So we decided to throw him an Art Party in his favorite park. He loved it, and it was perfect. We keep plenty of art supplies on hand, so mostly everything we needed was already located right in their playroom. Bonus!
I’m working on practicing some conscious party etiquette, making some small changes that have been general practice over the years. This time around I eliminated balloons from our party decor. Aside from the production of plastic that only lends to our environmental troubles, balloons are often released and wind up in the bellies of defenseless sea turtles and birds. So I purchased these adorable paper lanterns. They are reusable, so I can only buy them once. I chose primary colors so they will go with all of my other basic party supplies. I also picked up a felt Happy Birthday banner a few years ago that I have been able to reuse time and time again. It saves on having to buy one every year, and cuts back on waste.
I was able to get some canvas’ on sale for each of the kids to create their own masterpiece. We set up an artist’s studio table with a few invitations to create. We had crayons, markers, and paint. As well as these quick and easy popsicle easels we made as favors.
To add to the favors, I found small notebooks and used some washi tape to attach a few crayons and add to the goody bags with their very own water-color paint set and a painter’s smock. It was a hit with most of the kids.. Four year olds are known for their candor and we enjoyed listening as someone proclaimed to dislike art. However, the moms couldn’t have been happier. Bonus!
I was convinced that these moms were either going to love me, for opening a space for their kids to let loose and get creative. Or hate me because of the mess they would have to deal with. Luckily I was surrounded by some art loving mamas! To be fair, I did include instructions to dress in messy play clothes on the invitation.
I set up a few different stations in addition to the main painting table. I wanted the kids to get a fun sensory experience out of it all, so we added some cool elements. We set up canvases throughout the park where kids could experience different ways to use paint.
Water color paint was added to bins where they could use “paint squirters” to create a splatter effect on a blank canvas. In hindsight, it may have worked better on paper, the water-color seemed to roll off the canvas. Nevertheless, the kids had fun!
Three trays were laid out with paint so the kids could dump their hands in it and go to town. I originally wanted them to all leave hand prints on this canvas so we could hang it in their play room. The kids ended up drawing images with their hands instead, it’s adorable!
This was a major hit with most of the boys. Creating tracks with paint has a therapeutic effect, and the boys just gravitate towards it.
A long time favorite for us, Spin Art is loads of fun for everyone (including adults). You simply pour different paint colors (the kids love choosing and squeezing) into an old salad spinner, and spin away. The end result is a beautiful piece of splatter art suitable for framing. It’s a good time!
This was a fun surprise. We set up a few marbles in one tray, and paint in another. We let the kids choose a color, dip their marbles and then roll the marble around the tray to create fun patterns.
I also set up an area for sidewalk chalk, and a spool of blank white paper. Having all of the different stations left the kids with plenty to keep them busy throughout the party. But nothing screams party like cake and presents.
It’s tough to find a good cake with only a few days notice. Every baker I reached out to was already booked solid. So I went to my local grocer and ordered a custom double layer quarter sheet cake with multicolored icing dripping down the sides to resemble paint. It came out great actually, it was a big hit.
In the end I think everyone was just grateful for the outdoor space where the kids could work off their sugar rush!
Happy Birthday to my little guy, may all your artsy wishes come true!
In the end we were very happy with the turnout. It was a great party, the kids and moms had a great afternoon and it was stress-free. Once the sugar wore off..
Holiday cards are rushing to my mailbox as we speak. I love watching all of the different photo cards that come across with young faces growing each year. People take a lot of time preparing for these photos, and often put a lot of thought into the cards. If you’ve read my post on How To Get the Family Holiday Photos You Wants, then you know we took a lax approach and just enjoyed the experience together. But most times, families work hard and put a lot of effort into these cards. So I feel they should be displayed and enjoyed for everyone to see.
Growing up we would always tape the cards to a mantle or use them to frame a sweet cubby we had in our dining area. So when I had a place of my own, I struggled with an attractive way to feature our friends and family and put them on display tastefully. Until I came across this lovely fir wreath each year at my local Trader Joe’s.
I decided this was perfect for my entryway, with plenty of greenery to hang my photo cards. It’s a lovely addition that greets our guests and myself as soon as I walk in the front door. The fir gives off an intoxicating aroma as though to remind you the holidays are here, and invites you to see all of our nearest and dearest.
Each year we order our cards from Paper Culture. A company dedicated to giving back and making a real difference. If you’re anything like me and make conscious decisions about how / where to spend your money, look no further. For every purchase made, a tree is planted in your name. Or, in the name of someone you love, it’s your choice, so you decide. I’ve chosen to dedicate my tree each year to those who are no longer with us in remembrance. It’s my way of including them in our holiday celebration. Besides, who wouldn’t want to pass by this cutie pie on the way in?
There are plenty of occasions to celebrate with Paper Culture, not just Christmas. In an effort to counteract the paper they are using to print, they plant a tree in your honor and give while you receive. It’s the ultimate gesture and one we will always participate in. They have a very helpful website that is well equipped to walk you through the entire process. Paper Culture will also pre-print the return address on each of your envelopes, or print and send directly to your loved ones. It’s the perfect way to be sure your cards arrive just in the nick of time! You can even share directly to your social media pages so your friends and family can see a tree dedicated in their name. It takes personalization to a whole new level.
My husband and I have been married for just about twelve years now. We have created a beautiful little family of four, and enjoyed twelve Christmas holidays together as husband and wife. As newlyweds, I can remember buying a bunch of holiday decorations to celebrate our first “married Christmas” together. I ordered photo cards with wedding shots imprinted on them, and I began my
hoarding collection of holiday decorations and ornaments.
Little trees, wreaths, decorative chachki’s, you name it. Each yer I’ve added a touch here, a smidge there, until (like any Christmas junkie), you couldn’t possibly fit another ornament into our storage closet. That is, until last year when I learned the art of purging. I began really widdling down my decor and scratching the stuff that bordered on tacky as opposed to festive. I became selective about what I wanted to introduce into our sacred space until I felt a balance that you only get from a home that is designed with intention.
But there were a few pieces I held onto for sentimental purposes. They were tied to a funny memory, or absolutely impossible situation that only my husband and I are privy to. Unfortunately over the years these pieces have taken quite a beating. They’ve been there through our newlywed phase, our pregnancy phase, our new parents phase, our baby’s in diapers phase, and now our young family phase. Having two kids a year apart can really set you back on your honey-do list and I’ve been meaning to tend to these babies for a few years now.
I thought I’d share just how easy it can be to spruce up some of your own holiday decor, instead of creating more waste for the landfill, and buying more unnecessary stuff to fill up that storage closet. As I’ve said before, a good can of paint / spray paint can take you a long way. There will be no exceptions here – it’s Operation Decoration Makeover!
I grabbed these babies and gave them a little once over to see if they were, in fact, suitable to make it back into our home. Turns out you can do a lot with one can of Rust-o-leum spray paint. With the rate that I’ve been using these products lately, it’s time to find a healthier alternative for the planet. If you know of any, please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments section below. I love a good eco-friendly alternative!
Just halfway through and I already am happy with the results. These babies needed a little TLC!
I’m happy to announce that these lovelies made their way back in and we will be donning them for yet another few years..