Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Pirate's Life for Me!

(Get ready for a wonky, picture filled party post! Like, really wonky. Because getting pictures to line up where they are supposed to be is dang hard!)

Both the Hubby and I grew up only getting birthday parties on "special" years (i.e. 5, 8, 12, 16, 18...and 14, if your parents are going to be out of town on your birthday, and you are totally bummed out about that). We both approved of this, and so we have implemented the same party-throwing structure for our family.

2 weeks postpartum pirate.
Argh! My salty dog of a husband.

 This year, Bug turned 5. It was finally time to throw our first party! Bug requested a pirate themed party. So about two months prior to party-time, Bug and I started browsing Pinterest for ideas. I let Bug pin the things he liked....and I grew increasingly worried that he was going to be super disappointed. There was no way in heck I would be able to make a pirate ship cake nearly as cool as the ones you can find on the Internet. But party throwing is in my blood (right, mom!?), and I was going to plan an awesome...and hopefully for my little scallywag. Unfortunately, Jedi was born the morning of the party, and we had to postpone it two weeks. But we did eventually have that party. Here is the breakdown:

Grandma Marty, Bug and Gizmo

I formulated the wording in as pirate-y a fashion as I could. You know, throw in an "ahoy matey" and a "be ye warned" and you're basically gold. To make it really awesome, I downloaded a free "treasure map" font. Instead of printing on regular paper, I wanted to make it looked aged and I wanted to do it cheaply. Luckily, I had some brown paper lunch bags in my pantry. I cut them open, cut them to size, iron out the wrinkles as best as I could and ran them through the printer. Then I tore the edges and burned them on the stove top. They were pretty awesome.
Invite with letter in a bottle deco.

Way awesome treasure map, that I drew!
I pulled out the most pirate-like scrap fabric I could find and sewed up a pennant banner. It was super simple, I didn't bother to hem the edges, and I strung it on twine. I also had some rough, natural color muslin fabric that I draped around (and had laying on the table). It was perfect for looking like sails. Then we added some balloons in red, yellow, white and black. (I also bought one birthday pirate Mylar balloon for the mailbox.) Grandma Marty brought us a giant Jolly Roger flag to hang up; the perfect touch! On the food table, along with the muslin, were a few glass bottles with rolled up "messages" (brown paper from the lunch sacks), fake gold coins, and bead necklaces.

We had 5 games to play. We had maps (those lunch sacks got used a lot for the party!) that I printed and aged treasure map style to guide the kids through the games. Of course, they didn't really use them, but it was a fun thought.
Cannonball fight-I acquired a large appliance sized cardboard box and turned it into a pirate ship with holes in it. I also acquired, by complete chance, a large cardboard tube, which we turned into the ship's mast. I made half a dozen round, black bean bags. The kids then got to throw their "cannonballs" at the ship, trying to make it through the holes. The ship wasn't as sturdy as I hoped it would be, but luckily we had tape and both grandmas around to man the ship (and return fire). The kids thought this was a ton of fun!
Cannonball fight! (see my pennant banner?)
Pirate ship, with tons of tape to keep it together.
Pin the Treasure on the "X"-I bought a white posterboard, printed out a bunch of pirate-y/island/ocean clipart pictures and used my mad drawing skillz to create the coolest treasure map. Ever. I almost wish I had kept it, it was so stinkin' cool. Then I printed out little treasure boxes to pin on the map's "X". Add some pirate bandanas, a few spins, and you have your classic party game, pirate style. Bug was the first to play this game, and he cheated and got his treasure box right on the "X". That little stinker.
Swab the Deck-Outside (luckily it didn't start raining until right after we were done with the party), I put out 4 bins (stolen from the toy organizer), two of which were filled with water, and two sponges. The kids had to fill a sponge, run to an empty bin, and squeeze out the water. I was actually on the couch breastfeeding Jedi during this game, but the Hubs said the kids really had fun with it.
Walk the Plank-We bought a 2x6 board and tied it to two empty plastic window planters that we had already. Then the kids were able to walk across the plank as many times as the wanted. I originally wanted to fill our kiddie pool with water to put underneath, but that didn't happen. Of course, the kids didn't care.
Here Be Treasure!-We got a long, shallow Rubbermaid bin (with a lid, hallelujah) and filled it with play sand. then I added fake gold coins, bead necklaces and toy rings. The kids had to dig for their treasure. They played in the sandbox for a good portion of the party! Bug and Gizmo have been playing in it ever since. (And I have decided I hate sandboxes.)

Mini pirates, walking the plank.
I really thought about buying pre-made pirate party favors. (Inflatable sword!? How awesome would that be!?) But, I finally decided that putting the favors together myself would be the smarter, cheaper option. Especially since most favors only last a few days before everything is totally trashed. So, I pulled out those brown lunch sacks again (I love that I used those so much, especially since I didn't even buy them! They came from Grandma Marty's pantry to ours when she moved across the country.) Inside each bag: a foam pirate hat, a plastic pirate eye patch, a skull/crossbones stamper, and a page of pirate stickers. And then the kids were able to put their treasure from the dig in the bag, too.

Ocean water...for your refreshment?
Table set up
I was more excited about our cake/cupcakes than anything, so the rest of the snack foods were pretty simple. A bowl of Goldfish. A bowl of potato chips. (Fish and chips, get it!?) And a fruit salad (with mostly tropical fruits). To drink, I mixed Sprite with Ice Blue Raspberry Koolaid, for an ocean-y looking drink. To make things a little more festive, I bought a set of pirate plates/napkins/cups.

I totally made this cake, and I am proud.
And now, my pride and joy...the cake(s)! We made two dozen cupcakes. Half of them were frosted blue, the other half light brown (chocolate and cream cheese frosting mixed). On the blue cupcakes, we placed chocolate marshmallow fondant pirate ships (really just triangles, for a basic ship shape...heh, ship shape). I cut down bamboo skewers to a good size for a mast and added a small rectangle of paper, stamped with a Jolly Roger, for the sail. On the brown frosted cupcakes, I sprinkled some brown sugar to look like sand, then added a fake gold coin. Then, to make sure there would be enough cake for everyone, I made a 9x13 cake (which actually didn't get cut into at the party, but it was so cute, it was worth it!) I drew, with brown frosting, some land/islands, sprinkled with brown sugar. Then frosted the ocean with blue. A larger fondant boat went in the corner (on the ocean). And, finally, I used red frosting (from an easy-to-use tube) to make a dotted line across the cake to an "X" on the island. The candles went along the dotted line.
So excited!
Bug was so excited when it finally came time to sing "Happy Birthday" and blow out the candles that he blew them out before the song was even over! And after the song ended, we all wondered what to do, and whether or not to relight the candles. Uhhhhh...let's just dig in!


Michelle Collett said...

You're amazing!! Everything looked so cute and fun, and you did most of it from scratch. That would have been impressive by itself, but it is magnified because you did it all pregnant! So cool. :)

Hercules Family said...

That looks like so much fun! What a great party! You are awesome:)

Megan Garner said...

OH MY GOSH!!! So fun!!!! Wish we could've been there. Can you come plan squeaky's 1st birthday party for next week? ;)