Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pirate Birthday Party

A few months back I stumbled across this old ship at a thrift store.  Since we were in a pirate phase at our house, I couldn't pass it up.  A couple weeks later I was at Target looking for invitations for another event and found pirate birthday invites in the clearance bin.  Add in a refrigerator box, a mom and a grandma with wayyyy too much creative energy, and that's how a pirate-themed 4th Birthday Party is born!

We had a great time getting ready for this party.  My mom was visiting and she helped me to create the centerpiece - The Dragon Wind - a fairly elaborate ship we fashioned from a refrigerator box:

I have to admit that it got more complicated than I intended... we got a little carried away.  But we had so much fun - it was a family affair! Finley helped us paint the waves, and my boys played in it for several days before the party.  The mast is a pole from a broken sun umbrella, and some old, torn sheets that I had been using as a painting drop-cloth.  Inside the ship, we used our bathroom step-stairs so the kids could get up to the 'lookout'.  Add in some flags, portholes, an anchor cut from cardboard, and a duct-tape steering wheel, and you have heaven for a troupe of little boys.   

Just in case you decide to make your own refrigerator-box creation, the hardest part was reinforcing it because the top tended to sag in.  We decided that if we ever make another one, we would get two boxes and just double them up.  Also of note - duct tape doesn't like being in hot, direct sunlight very much.  We were having a crazy Colorado heatwave, so we learned this the hard way!  If you can build the ship out of the sun, and then let the tape sort of "cure" or stick to the cardboard for a while, that helps.

Sadly, my son decided to jump on the boat at the very end of the party, so it ended up looking like this:  

The other main party activity was a treasure hunt.  We had a couple maps (one they found in a bottle floating in the 'ocean'), a plastic treasure chest (that I picked up at a thrift store, months in advance), and they hunted for various jewels, marbles, gold coins and other baubles that hopefully looked like "treasure" to little ones!  My mom even wrote a picture book all about the treasure hunt led by "Captain Quick Jack Finn" (aka Finley) that we read to the kids as we started the hunt.  They ran to and fro finding the treasure tied up in the tree, buried in the sand box, hanging from the curtain rod in Finn's room, and various other places around our house.

I have decided that cupcakes are the best way to make fun cakes if you know nothing about cake decorating - like me!  Anything I try with frosting is generally a disaster... but this treasure map cake was fun and easy, and didn't take me very long. You can see the instructions here.

My main priority was giving Finley a party that he LOVED.  I think we succeeded!  He was so excited to give each of his friends an eye patch, a pirate bandana and an eye glass (which was actually just a pipe my dad cut into 12" pieces).  He even drew  his own treasure maps for each child, that we included in their favor bags.  Today we sat down and he worked so hard to write thank you notes to his friends and family members.  Happy Birthday again to my amazing little boy! I had such fun celebrating your precious life!

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