Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pirate Party

Today was Reid's Pirate Party. I did what I'm sure most moms do. I pinned a whole bunch of great ideas on pinterest, came up with a few genius ones of my own, decided most of them required more effort than they were worth (especially for a group of four-year-olds), and then threw together a mediocre party for my child who was so impressed he acted as though it was the best day of his life.

Not to knock the pinterest mom's who do throw fabulous etsy worthy parties. If that's your cup of tea, drink it! But lets just admit that most of us don't go overboard and our kids are still just as thrilled as we'd hoped. So, in honor of that mediocre, not pinterest worthy party that 95% of us hold, I'm going to share my successes and failures with you.

The Guests
I told Reid he could invite four friends, he responded with a list of five and I wasn't going to fight him on that. He invited two of our play group friends and three friends from Church. He also wanted his cousins to come, so of course we invited them as well as Grandma and Grandpa. I sent the invites to the actual children but included a separate note for parents that said they were welcome to join the party as well if they preferred. Only one parent took me up on that, but it's a good thing because technically when Reid made his invite list he included that particular friend's little sister. So it was nice that they were both there.

picture of invite

(For record keeping sake) The final guests included Reed L, Benny O, and Oliver and Evie (the sibling pair).

The Cake
I think it was the cake that inspired it all. I had a friend pin a "Buckey" (from Jake and the Neverland Pirates) cake and from that pin a whole party was born. I knew Reid would love it.

I'm 7+ months pregnant, so the actual cake needed to be perfect. Yellow, from scratch, cake with chocolate frosting (my Grandma Hardy's food has been my strongest craving for all three pregnancies). Per COBO's instructions I needed 2, 9X13 cakes. I ended up baking 3. The first one left the pan in several different pieces. My #1 cake making lesson learned is this: Butter + flour > Pam spray. I greased the pan with a healthy dose of butter and covered that with a couple teaspoons of flour for the next two cakes and they came out of that pan like a greased pig.

I froze them Friday evening and began assembly Saturday morning.

Reid wanted the Jolly Roger, not Bucky. I'd originally planned on making the cake without the characters, but Aunt Lauren sent Reid the character set for his birthday and I figured we might as well use it now that we had it. Also, this:

(pictures of Reid putting characters on the cake)

The kid was in heaven!

The Activities:
I had an elaborate scavenger hunt all planned out on paper. But the logistics of clues (for kids who can't read) and creating a pirate map of our house kind of helped me scale back the idea. In the end I simply printed out four blank maps and drew a picture of the place the kids were suppose to go. Here's a picture of one such map, next to the cake. 

The first adventure took the kids outside to walk the plank and swap the deck. But it was way too windy to swap the deck and the end result was a few littered balloons. Oops. Either way, the kids had fun chasing balloons (cannon balls) around our deck and walking the plank. 
Failed attempt at swapping
Getting ready to walk the plank

The second clue took them to our basement, where they played a game of ring toss. 

Next they came upstairs for pin the patch on the pirate. They all peeked, but I just wasn't feeling a forced do over, not when they were so eager to find their treasure. 

The final clue led them to their treasure, which was a box painted to look like a chest (here's the great pinterest idea I'd intended to go with, but painting brown paper was the much easier option). The treasure it's self was this:

I know it is kind of unconventional to give out party favors so early on, but I wasn't about to do party favors and separate treasures. Plus, they got to play with their swords for a bit while the adults prepped their pirate lunch. 

Pirate Lunch

This is the set up of the adult plus two toddlers table. We pulled out a little kid card table for the boys. We covered it in brown packaging wrap and had them draw us some treasures while we prepped their plates. 

Fruit = pirate jewels, carrots = pirate swords, olives = cannonballs, and (not pictured) we also had fish and chips (goldfish mixed with potato chips). 

After lunch we sang and cut into the cake. We let the boys enjoy it with some ice cream. 

Next, we opened presents. Then, with only about 20 minutes left I asked the little pirates if they wanted to go outside and play in the leaves. They all loved the idea. So my friend Jen and I headed out with the four boys and two little girls and they all just ran around like crazy until their parents arrived.

I have no intentions of holding such parties every year. But I did find a lot of joy in creating a special day for Reid. We have play dates with friends quite often, but something about a themed play date that celebrates your birth is just so magical to kids. Before his guests even arrived he was hugging me and telling me "this was the best party ever!" His happiness was the best present we could have given him. Totally worth it all!


Mom said...

Ahoy Matey!!! What a cute, cute, cute cake!!!! And birthday boy, of course! I would say that was one successful birthday party for one adorable pirate!

Mom said...

Oh yes, and those pirate plates are adorable. Loved the hot dog idea.

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