Audrey's 4th Birthday
August 26, 2012
Birthday PartyOutdoor PartyKids Birthday
My sweet baby girl turned four years old last weekend. Four. As in, she'll be in Kindergarden next year kind of four. It blows my mind how fast life goes and how I just barely blinked my eyes and poof. I have a little lady. A sweet, kind, gracious, lovely little lady that I get to kiss until my hearts content day after day after day. And so when she looked up at me with those huge blue eyes and asked for a princess party...a princess party she received.
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I know. Upon first glance it looks a bit much for a small girl who probably won't remember it a few years from now. But if you look closely enough, you'll see that it's actually a whole slew of recycled pretties, tucked away every year after each pinktastic birthday party. The 3ft balloons were from her first birthday. The ribbon backdrop from her third. The costumes have been picked up along the way and are pulled out nearly every day as Audrey prefers to dress up than to wear boring old play clothes. You get the drift. I'm a believer in "use what you have then gussy it up a bit" which is exactly why this party looks a bit like parties past. But better.

Okay, so starting with the invitations. Cute right? Kind of a variation of a million ideas I saw online, printed on my home computer, tied with gold ribbon and stuffed into pink lined envelopes filled with gold sequins. Super love. And for those of you with your pretty little minds in the gutter, I am a mom and thus it didn't occur to me that "blow me up" would sound in any way dirty until my gutter loving husband pointed it out. But the invites had been mailed and the damage done. I decided that they were cute enough that I didn't care.

So as I was planning the party in my head, the one little pause that I had  was where to sit 15 four year olds so that they could have access to a table and stay relatively neat. I didn't want to rent a table because that seemed excessive (ha). I didn't want the kids to sit on the floor because I didn't have cute blankets and such and didn't want to splurge for new ones. And I didn't want to haul a big old table outside.

So, I went to the place every budget loving of girl goes to get her fix...IKEA. I picked these coffee tables up for $19 a piece and lined them with a couple yards of unfinished muslin that I painted messily with a modge podge + gold glitter combo. I found a bunch of milk bottles online, painted a swash of liquid gold on them and filled them with spray roses in Audrey's signature color. Lastly, I rounded up every pink or white pillow that I had in my house (which was a lot) and scattered them around the table for impromptu seating. The result? Total adorbs. The kiddos all got grilled cheese (cut in the shape of crowns), a bag of popcorn (that I painted gold crowns easy, I swear) and a few strawberries. They loved it.

The dress up theme came from the princess herself who insisted on wearing an Ariel costume to her party. I didn't want her to seem out of place with the other non-princes and princesses so I dug out all of her old costumes, filling in with a couple of new ones, and lined them up out by our big tree. We filled baskets and bowls with plastic rings, earrings, crowns and wands and bought a pair of shoes for each girl to take home. It was my favorite part of the day...seeing all of the happy little faces running around in tutus and all out pouf. Even the boys loved the crowns and cape hoopla. Which made it even sweeter.

The bulk of the party was spent watching a fun puppet show indoors (it was 90 degrees that day) and playing in the backyard. With smiles and smiles and smiles for days. The party ended with a bunch of sugared up four year olds chasing dancing balloons in the backyard and having a total ball and I'm pretty sure that Audrey has not had a day filled with so much fun to date . Each child was gifted a burlap bag that I painted sloppily with the same modge podge + gold glitter combo that I used on the popcorn bags and filled with a whole lotta junk. Just like every four year old wants.

So that's it. Her fourth birthday. Her first big girl celebration. She slept for 13 hours straight that night. Which in my book, translates roughly hell of a party.

Photography: Kari Herer / Birthday Cake: Amanda Oakleaf / Tables: IKEA / Burlap Bags: Save on Crafts / Fringe Scissors for Popcorn Bags: Martha Stewart / Pillows: IKEA, West Elm, Target / Milk Glass Vases: Kara's Party Ideas / Twist Lollipops: Kara's Party Ideas / Puppet Show: Pumpernickel Puppets