November 26, 2016

October Birthdays

We had two really big birthdays in October: Charis turned 16, and Arden turned 13! Since Arden got a big party last year (an Amazing Race run by 4 teams of 2 each throughout our small town and ending at the house), it was Charis's turn for a big birthday bash. (Not to worry, though...Arden got a party the following weekend doing what he requested: swimming and football with friends at the Y before chowing down on pizza and chocolate cake!)

For Charis's sweet sixteen party, we borrowed an idea from friends who did a murder mystery party for their daughter, Charis's best friend, when we were in Italy together. The party was such a hit that the moms later had a moms' night out to do our own grown-up version! I tucked away the idea for later, thinking it would be fun to do with teenagers at our house sometime. Charis agreed, and together we picked the theme "A Knight of Murder" from an online mystery party service. Invitations were issued, costumes were found (hooray for a dress-up party close to Halloween, lol), and arrangements were made for our younger 5 children to enjoy an evening with friends so we could focus on serving Charis and her guests, who included Tobin and Arden along with a number of friends from youth group and our homeschool circle.

It was such a fun evening! I honored Charis's request for a pasta dinner, even though we agreed it wasn't terribly medieval, but the homemade ragu and Bolognese sauces were a hit along with French bread, grapes, and apple cider punch. Only one person guessed the murderer correctly...Arden was our victim, and the murderer was none other than Charis herself! It was so funny...she and I had discussed who should play which character, with neither of us knowing any details until after I began looking through and printing the hostess materials. (I dressed up in my Renaissance festival dress, which has gotten much use since purchasing it in 2008, but I did not play a character so that I could focus on the details of the party.)

After the characters had cast their votes for who they thought the murderer was as well as best costume and best actor/actress, we awarded prizes and enjoyed ice cream cake, and then Ted went to pick up our littles and hustle them to bed while the teens hung out for awhile. I think it was a very memorable experience for all involved, and Charis seemed to have a wonderful time. Hard to believe our "baby" is Sweet Sixteen now! We are so very proud of her!

And as an aside...she finished her online driver's ed course and we jumped through all the hoops so that she can finally take her driver's test this coming Tuesday. She is very excited and has been a bit impatient as you can imagine to hurry up and get through all this red tape!

Here are some party pics...

Tobin found this hilarious banana costume at Goodwill...we thought it was perfect for his jester character, "Joking Jerry!"

Wyatt as a baron and Charis as Lady Diana

Ted's character was Willie the Watchman, which he played up as a Secret Service kind of a guy!

Two characters have a private conversation! (These girls are twins in real life!)

Charis with two of her BFFs

Poor Sir Rufus! He met an early demise...

Lord Taylor speaks with Queen Genevieve

Examining the evidence and casting votes

Lovely ladies!

The whole "cast" of the evening!

We printed a number of signs like this for decorations...that's about as decorative as we got, but it worked!