source list: rainbow painting party.

Mari was a huge little helper for her fourth birthday, and it was so fun planning it with her. Like her mama, she had a very clear and simple vision for her celebration: painting party with friends. With rainbows.

Twist my arm.

Like we always do, we started with some favorite items from Shop Sweet Lulu, designed some fun invitations and plucked all of the art supplies from Jo-Ann, much of which we had on-hand at the house, which saved some $.
Here's the full list of sources:

+ Paper Source: plum invitation cards / blossom envelopes / liner / 100% white cotton savoy for the watercolor paper
+ Shop Sweet Lulu: party hats / stripey strawscandles
+ Jo-Ann: paint / brushes / paint palettes / kraft letters / mini-aprons / iron-on monograms / rainbow ribbon
+ Party City: napkins / rainbow face tattoos / rainbow dash face tattoo for the birthday girl
+ Old Navy: mint party dress; Etsy Shop Once Upon A Design: rainbow iron-on letters
+ Food trays: leftover from last year
+ Becker's Bakery and Deli: donuts for the win!

By the way, Eddie's actually the real inspiration behind the kraft letters. Months ago, he took Mari and her cousin Carson to Target and for an afternoon activity, picked up acrylic paint and some wood letters. Mari loved painting "M" so much that she wanted to do it again with her friends.

For the party, we did prime the letters with white tempera paint in advance so the kids could paint with light colors. It was a quick project, and because it was just a messy base coat, Mari actually primed all the letters herself. All I had to do was really minimal touch-up. Also: sponge brushes rock.

This party was easy on the prep and fun to host. And, we still have paint leftover for days. A repeat play date would not be out of the question.


rainbow party of five.

Let's get back at it, shall we? I wanted to share a few snaps from Mari's fourth birthday celebration, but before I do, I'll let you in on my secret sauce that has put some peace back in the planning process: small parties.

When I was pregnant with Mari, one of my favorite people in the world tipped me off to the rule of 1:1, when it comes to kids parties. Meaning, for every birthday, you get to invite as many friends, and therefore, this year, Mari got to invite four.

We started this tradition last year for the third birthday, and so far, so good. To make just four little invitations vs. the alternative gives me some serious serenity, and freedom of time to get creative with personal touches, like hand-watercoloring and DIY envelope linings.
Small party planning also keeps the cost down. This year, we got the girls painting on kraft paper mache letters, which was an easy, quick and fun activity to bring them together before lunch, using lots of supplies we already had on-hand at our house.
With just five girls (well, 6 if you count Jenna), lunch and a play date party is very do-able in our tiny beach house. After exercising our right brains, we ate some of Mari's favorite things off of last year's lunch trays.
And, really, all the girls really want to do when they're together is tear apart the dress-up clothes, dance around the house and eat cake, and that is exactly what Mari had in mind. Her pick was a rainbow sprinkle donut tower and homemade strawberry milkshakes to top-off the gathering.
What a fun little group! Later this week: party sources. I promise that this source list, I will post!