Yesterday we celebrated Quinn's 5th birthday at the Albany Art Room on Madison Avenue. This was Quinn's first "real" birthday party and I think everyone had a very good time. Quinn was as gracious as a 5 y/o can be, and there were no tantrums or crying - the definition of childrens' party success. If you haven't been to the AAR, you really should check it out. The party format was organized without being remotely rigid. As the kids arrived they decorated their goodie bags with crayons, markers and rubber stamps. Once everyone was there, they smocked up and moved into another room where they used handheld mirrors for inspiration as they drew self-portraits. These individual drawings were bound together into a birthday book of friends for Quinn to take home - very cool. Their next activity was to paint wood picture frames - there was some serious painting going on. The palette of colors had been selected by Quinn and turquoise was, of course, represented. As the kids finished up their projects, we got the cake and juice ready to go. We were a very manageable group of 9 kids with 10 or 12 parents. As the kids were occupied, the grownups actually got to sit down and relax without being concerned about beads, paint and glitter being generously strewn about. We had a little additional time at the end of the party and there was a final project involving pipe cleaners and beads being fashioned into bracelets. Everyone left with a picture frame and I think I managed to get a decent photo of each child to place in their frames. Check out their website for ongoing activities and classes. It really is the perfect place to kill a couple of hours, particularly in a winter big on cold and lacking in snow.