First of all, I must say that once again, Charis proved her worth as a party helper! She and I worked on a lot of details yesterday afternoon, and I could not have pulled this event off without her help. Second, we came up with the pirate theme just over a couple of weeks ago. Tobin was asking for a dress-up party, but he was having a hard time deciding what kind. He just wanted everyone to wear some sort of costume. I suggested a pirate party and showed him some ideas I had found online, and he and Arden got very excited about it.
We printed invitations on vanilla card stock, tore the edges, and burned them slightly on the stovetop for good effect. Then we rolled them up and tied them with hemp. The boys loved getting their special invitations, and Tobin was so pleased to deliver them to friends at church and around the neighborhood. We invited a total of 13, and 8 were able to come--a fairly manageable number!
I borrowed heavily from ideas we found online for all the party activities...here's what we came up for the invitations:
Ahoy there, Mate!
It be time to celebrate
Tobin’s 9th birthday!
There be strange goings on at Pirate Bay, ‘n’ yer needed to save the day. In your pirate finery you'll be enjoyin’ some good eatin’ by the sea.
Meet yer mates at the 11th turn o’ the hourglass on the 16th day of April. Dock yer ship at (our address) in the town o’ (our town). Send a seagull or call with your RSVP (phone number) so we can be sure ta have enough grub and spoils fer all.
The weather forecasts were calling for thunderstorms, so we prepared for indoor activities--kind of a shame, because we had great ideas for a pirate relay race/obstacle course as well as other fun outdoor activities, but as it turned out, it was a good thing we were inside!
When the boys arrived, Charis gave them their choice of tattoo and handed them a couple of game sheets (a pirate trivia quiz and word scramble) to work on while we waited for everyone to arrive.
Then it was time to head to the basement for games. We played 4 games (had one extra planned, but decided against it when the time came).
1. Cannon-Volleyball, a team game, used foam swords and 1 black balloon. The object was to prevent the cannonball from falling on your side of the ship. The teams named themselves (the Cutlasses and the Ninja Squirrels) and did a couple of practice rounds. The boys used the swords to whop the cannonball to the other team's side, then passed the sword to the next person. We did the best 3 out of 5 and awarded "gold coins" (made from yellow card stock and punched with a circle punch--Charis even stamped designs on them!) to the winners.
2. Cannon-Volleyball Duels: This was one-on-one, similar to the team game, and we gave a gold piece to the winner of each faceoff.
3. Cannonball Pop: Ted had blown up black balloons ahead of time, and Charis attached yarn to them. The boys tied the yarn to their ankles, then had to run around popping other people's balloons. It was hilarious to watch them!
4. Walk the Plank: We laid a blue plastic table cloth on the floor and outlined a "plank" with shaving cream. The kids were blindfolded, spun around, and told to walk the plank. They got a gold coin if they could walk all the way across without touching the shaving cream! They also had a chance to turn around and come back, without taking off the blindfold. Hilarious!
We had a "Shoot the Pirates" game planned (trying to knock down pirate figures with waterguns), but since it was a one-at-a-time game, and we had just made the boys wait their turn for walking the plank, we decided we had better forego this one and move on!
So we moved upstairs, and I had Ted go over the answers to the pirate trivia and word scramble games (with Charis continuing to give coins appropriately), and I finished putting out the food. Before we prayed and ate, we let the boys choose pirate prizes based on who had the most coins, but everyone was able to get something. (I just got 4 pirate play packs at the dollar store and put the daggers, hooks, eye patches, telescopes, etc. down the center of the table for decoration, then the boys picked from these items.)
For our food, we had hot dog "ships," cannons (carrot sticks), cannon balls (black olives and Whoppers), lifeboats (apple slices), and planks (chocolate sugar wafers) plus chips. The planks and Whoppers were leftover items that I needed for putting the cake together, and I certainly didn't want them around OUR house! The guests polished them off, no problem!
We decided to go ahead and do the cake next and let the boys eat cake while Tobin opened presents. I must say, this cake went over much better than Kenna's did, HA! It looked AND tasted great, if I do say so myself! Here is the recipe I used for the cake. (I used 3 cake rounds, cut in half and "glued" together in half-circles with frosting, then cut just a bit off the bottom to help the ship stand up without rocking!) You can see more details in the cake album, but I just want to point out the Rolos and candles for the cannons, the Whoppers for the cannonballs, and the fun Playmobile figures. I used a skull and crossbones graphic I found online (warning: do NOT have children in the room when doing a search for skull and crossbones images!! yikes!) and printed it onto label paper so we could peel and stick to the card stock. I baked the cake and assembled the boat part with frosting yesterday, then did frosting touch-ups and added everything else this morning.
One boy thanked me over and over for letting him come to the "best birthday party ever!" Of course, I couldn't help but think maybe he doesn't get out much, LOL! But I was pleased that everyone seemed to have a good time, and while the two hours were considerably louder than the princess party Kenna had, the boys really were great kids, and everything was easily cleaned up. All the effort was definitely worth it! Ted and Charis helped make things flow smoothly, and having handed our camera to Eilene, one of the neighborhood boys' moms, I was really able to enjoy the party and help move things along. I think it was a memorable day for Tobin, and I'm glad we had the opportunity to give him a special time before Ted leaves.