Max's 7th birthday is fast approaching. 21 October. Lately he's been insisting that his birthday is October 1st, brushing aside my insistence that I remember the day very clearly and it most definitely wasn't the first of the month. Lately he seems to have accepted reality, I think that setting the party date was what did it.
Instead of listening to the VP debate last night, Max and I had a great time making invitations. I think it was a good decision.
In contrast to last year's huge party, this year the party will be smaller and simpler. We alternate, big and small. Every other year it's a huge exhausting thing, after which we say "never again" by which we mean "not again until 2 years hence".
We're having this year's party at the local (no-kill) animal shelter. Their setup for the animals is really nice. The cat room is a free-range set of 4 connecting rooms with all sorts of kitty divertissements. The dogs get to go to outdoor runs during the day and play with other dogs.
We'll have a separate party room with crafts (provided by them! I don't have to plan it!) and a tour of the shelter. Max also gets to have an animal "guest" at his party, he picked the tortoise. Other choices were bunny, hamster, rat, guinea pig, ferret, and snake. He was really torn between the tortoise and snake, but finally decided on the tortoise as it's something he hasn't interacted with much. I was pulling for the bunny, but didn't say anything.
The base cards are a robin's egg blue scallop-edged, textured card over a plain red card. Max got to work the glue roller and stick these two pieces together.
Aren't the die cuts cute? Every time I go to Michael's I drool over those die cut systems but they're so expensive. Plus, if you've ever seen my craft room, you'd know that I'm being reasonable by not bringing more stuff into it. So instead I searched on etsy and found these from Beth at BethMarie10. She was so wonderful to work with. She had these listed in her shop and popped them into the mail really quickly for me. There are two different sets used here: one with cats, dogs, and mice, and another with party hats, cupcakes, and presents. The party hats and cupcakes were used here, the presents will be used for thank-you notes. I also did a custom order for some coordinating gift tags and a set of spiders to put up around our house for Halloween.
Now I "just" need to finish making the party favors and talk myself out of making kitty/puppy ears for all the party guests. Wish me luck.
I found these this morning in the kitchen. Cranberry-lemon scones, made by the sweetest husband last night when I was asleep. They were delicious!
Edit: this afternoon Max and I were at the Barnes & Noble cafe for a little snack. He asked, "how old are you now?" "43", I answered. "43? You were 42 yesterday and today you're 43. 43. 43. 43." The lady at the next table was amused at how much entertainment Max was getting out of saying 43 over and over and over. I remarked that I wished he would just stop saying it. I've never been sensitive about my age, but when faced with it on continuous loop, to my surprise I got a little antsy.
Update: Anamaria is offering to post a tutorial for her fabulous elf/Peter Pan hats!
"Last night, someone saw a bunch of elves in the woods around here. They heard them say that they knew there was a birthday party here today, and they were going to hide some presents in the woods for everyone to find. And they left us some clues, here's the first one..."
The birthday party yesterday was a lot of fun! (I can say that now after a good night's sleep.) We went on a treasure hunt as a group. Thanks to your suggestions, I had thought about various ways to keep the group together, such as cutting the picture clues up into pieces and having the kids put them together to figure out the clues, but after a last-minute surge in planned attendance, it seemed like there were just too many kids to do that with. Cutting an 8x10 picture into 26 pieces? Well, it could be done, but the image of 26 kids trying to put together a puzzle at the same time, that seemed like a bad idea. So instead, I just instructed the group that we were going to stay together, and that I was going to read out all the clues. This mostly worked, toward the end it got a little chaotic, but at least no one jumped ahead to the next clues. It was a bit frustrating for some of the kids because the two older kids kept on finding the treasures, so finally I had to ask them to hang back and let the other kids find the treasures.
Unfortunately I didn't manage to get a group photo of all the little elves. But here are a few photos of my little elf. First, the elf hat, idea and directions courtesy of the wonderful Anamaria.
I made them in heathered blue and forest green. In a variety of sizes, including a mama elf size. I added a ribbon loop to the top and pockets on the side flip-ups. And now, the post-treasure-hunt version. (My elf is playing with grandma right now, so I had to settle for just a flat-hat picture.)
To the hats we added long flowing ribbons, little bells on ribbon loops, bird pins, a feather, safety pins with beaded names, skeleton keys, and a necklace with a little dragonfly charm and a small bell.
This was followed by carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, made by Dad and frosted by Max and Grandma.
Today is Max's actual birthday, we'll celebrate again, much more quietly and much smaller scale. And tomorrow is his birthday party at school, so today we'll be making dairy-free, refined-sugar-free cupcakes. I hope they turn out ok, I've never made these kinds before, but these restrictions were requested by his teacher. I think I'm going to try this vegan chocolate cake recipe, but I might add an egg. Although it seems that it worked well for people without the egg, so maybe I'll just leave it out...
First the question. I'm planning a treasure hunt for Max's party. Has anyone ever done one with a sequential, partial participation clue search? I'm not sure how to explain this... I've been to parties where kids are given the set of clues, and then they run all over looking for the various treasures. Very fun, but I'm planning ours over a fairly large space and I don't want kids getting lost so I can't give them a randomized list of clues. I could do a treasure hunt where everyone gets the same clues in the same order, but then the older/faster kids always find the treasures first.
Instead, I was thinking of picking 2-4 names out of a hat for each clue. Those 2-4 kids would get the clue and try to find the treasure together. (Each treasure is something used to adorn their elf hats.) Then they would pass out the treasures to the other kids and everyone would put them on before picking the next set of names and moving to the next clue/treasure.
It seems to me like it could work. But I know that many times, things that seem reasonable to me turn out to be very unreasonable when real children are involved. I could imagine kids getting impatient. Or perhaps not realizing that the 2-4 whose names were picked are the ones to search for the treasure while everyone else waits. I guess that's the problem, making everyone else wait.
If you've ever done anything like this, or been to a party where such a treasure hunt scheme was employed, please let me know. Especially if it was disastrous. Even if you haven't been to such a party, please let me know what you think of the idea! TIA!
And now, here's this year's invitation:
We're having a big, outdoor party at a local non-profit that has a very nice campus with party space. And in keeping with our new status as a Waldorf family, it will be a kind, gentle party based on mythical forest creatures. (It's not that we've had wrestling and gambling parties for him in the past, it's just that I'm more aware of some things now.) I've spent the last year feeling very guilty for not allowing him to invite his preschool class to his 5th birthday party because we were having a very small party at our house, so this year it's wide open. He invited his whole kindergarten class, plus other friends. It will be in the afternoon, not coinciding with any meals so we'll provide only drinks and cake. Hopefully it will be a fun afternoon of playing outside with friends, with a little treasure hunt thrown in for a bit of extra excitement.
Invitation details (fonts and such):
Front: picture is "One Aloof Stand Sentinel" by Arthur Rackham, #084 in this book. Overlay added in Adobe Photoshop Elements. "Treasures..." in Bilbo hand bold. Leaf motif (#1243) from here.