Sunday, June 14, 2015

Neverland Pirates Party



Thursday was the kids' birthday, so we had our second party.  This one had the theme of Jake and the Neverland Pirates, which is one of their favorite shows.

We invited the children in their Sunday School class, plus their friend from next door.  When they arrived, each child was offered a bandana, an eyepatch, an earring, and a hook so they could dress as pirates.  The adults dressed up, but the kids didn't want to.  Except mine.  Weeks ago, I made Tommy a Jake outfit.  He immediately rejected it, and has been declaring himself to be Captain Hook lately.  So finally I caved and bought a Captain Hook costume.  Of course, on the day of the party, with most of the Jake costume lost, he decided that's what he wanted to be!


Tommy dressed as Jake, and Ellie came as the Pirate Princess.  Of course. :)

Papa got in on the act, dressing as my favorite pirate, Sharky.
I couldn't ask for a better dad for my kiddos!

And Grandpa was a good sport, wearing a pirate cap, a hook, and even an earring.
What we won't do for love!
 Several of the kids were hungry, so we started our party with lunch.

Although they can't be seen easily, our lunch menu included Skull Sandwiches,
cannonballs (cheese balls), Cubby's treasure maps (string cheese), pretzels to hook
with your hook, Skully's crackers (Skully is a parrot on the show),
and the Pirate Princesses rainbow wands (fruit skewers).
After lunch, we started our treasure hunt.  We had the back yard set up as a treasure map, and the kids went from place to place, with a challenge at each location.

Our first stop was Pirate Cove, where Captain Hook told  the kids they had to walk the plank.  We had some cautious walkers, and they all made it safely across the pool.

Next, they went past the Tiki tree forest and climbed Neverpeak Mountain.
There, they were blindfolded, spun around, and sent through
the trampoline to place their stickers on a treasure map.
All but one child got their marker pretty close to the X on the map.

On to Crocodile Creek.  Our back yard is fairly level, so instead of slipping and sliding, we actually saw a few army crawling to the finish!  Even though it was a difficult challenge to get to the end, this was a big favorite spot, and several came back to play there again later.
Walking on from the creek to our next stop, Skull Rock.  I forgot to take a picture of that spot.


Skull Rock became the starting place for the seahorse race.
We re-purposed our horses from the princess party, and the trusty
 steeds became seahorses for our maritime theme.

This spot was Mermaid Lagoon.
No challenge here, the path, which was spray painted on the grass, just passed nearby.
There were mermaids swimming though, so the kids stopped by for a visit.

Finally, behind a nearby tree, the treasure chest was located.  Lots of prizes inside to play with.

Now that all the kids had some treasure in hand, we went back to the patio for the birthday kids to open gifts.

LOTS of new toys to play with, each more fun than the rest!
Here, Tommy has found Bucky, the ship he has been talking about for weeks.
We can never have too much princess gear!

When you're a kid, watching someone else open gifts is never too much fun.
A few slipped off to more interesting pursuits.  The seahorses got dragged
over to Crocodile Creek for a bit of play!  
Time for cake!
This year, I attempted Bucky, the ship that our puny pirates run around
in on the show.  Unfortunately, my Bucky melted in the heat!  Even full
of dowels for support, Bucky sank under the weight of the fondant.
Still, it tasted good, and that's what mattered.

Our Pirate Crew

Sister Lane, the beloved Sunday School teacher, came!
  
Piñata!
What better way to end a pirate party, than by smashing a pirate ship 
piñata?
It didn't hold up well, but the only thing that would break was
the hanging part.  After a few attempts at re-hanging,
I put it on the ground and let the kids hit it there.
It still didn't break, so finally we had them tear into it with their hands!

Papa helps Ellie get on her first 2-wheeler bike.
Well, 4 wheels if we count the training set.  Which we'd better!

What a fun day, mateys!   Arrrrrr!


Friday, June 5, 2015

Princesses and Shiny Farmers

My kiddos have reached the age where it is time to have birthday parties with friends their age, rather than just with family.  They've also reached the age where they each want a party with their own theme.  So this year, we are doing two parties.  Each party will celebrate both children.

The first party was Eliana's choice of theme, so we had a princess party.  We also had this one with just family.  In fact, just part of our family.  My sister Sandy graciously allowed the use of her "castle" for the event.  We had everyone dress in their royal best (okay, Sunday best) and had a royal gala.  I went with a princesses and knights in shining armor, or "shiny farmers" as my kids call them, theme to even up the girl-boy thing.


Before things got out of hand and clothes got too messed up, we headed out side to try for a family portrait.  We never did get everyone paying attention at the same time, but I kind of like this one.

Guests included: Uncle John...

Aunt Sandy

Johnny
Rachel and John

Megan and Cole
and Grandma Lux

The Princess Eliana cake was the star of the dessert table...
flanked by a castle full of cupcakes...
...and an army of shiny farmers.
We also had crown pb&j sandwiches, castle and crown cheeses, crackers, pretzels, popcorn...
...and fruit wands.
 
after our big fancy meal...
Ellie and Papa danced to some princess music.
Megan was the only other person to dance, and she did a great job of swinging Ellie to the music.

Then we headed outdoors for some more fun.  We started with horse races...
Megan had to use strategy to overcome Cole's fancy football maneuvers.

John learned that horses are faster than dragons.

Then we had archery contests.
Check out the look of concentration on my face!

We went back in to open presents and eat cake.
This was Tommy's gift to Ellie.

And we finished off the evening with a pinata.

Which our princess finished off forthwith!
This Thursday, on their actual birthday, we will be doing a kid party at home with a Neverland Pirates theme.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Cute Chicks and Darling Ducklings


Finally, a break in the weather, and a coordination of schedules allowed us to take a quick trip to Aunt Sandy's house.  Last week she bought a dozen chicks and four ducks to start her own little egg farm.  My kids were beyond excited to visit, and to play with the babies.

Right now the chicks and ducklings are staying in her guest room,
waiting for warmer weather to come and their coop to get finished.

Sometimes it is tricky to get little 3 year old hands to be gentle, but they were for these guys.

We got in a nice visit with Grandma.

We brought out a sampling of chicks and ducks for a photo op.

I think Jemima was Ellie's favorite of the flock.

Or maybe this little chick.

She loved being allowed to gently hold the ducks.

Tommy, once he saw the amount of poop little birds can produce,
was not as convinced that they are the greatest thing ever.

We also went to Countryside YMCA.  It is by far the largest Y I have
ever been to.  We played in a room with giant building blocks.

Tommy found a duck that didn't poop to sit on.

Then we hit the pool.

This Y actually has an indoor waterpark.

Surprisingly, we had the place to ourselves for the better part of an hour.

And we had tons of fun!