Archive for the ‘Let’s Par-TAY!’ Category

For Addison’s sixth birthday last summer, we spent months planning a pirate themed buccaneer bash.  The time we spent together creating the party was all the more special because what we were really creating were memories together.

We spent countless mornings at the fabric and craft stores choosing supplies.  Afternoons were filled walking the yard, mapping out the perfect spots for activities such as a treasure hunt, a pinata, a puppet show, balloon animals, and face painting.  We planned swimming, playing, and interactions with a real pirate and mermaid.  Our evenings were spent cutting, sewing, gluing, and imagining.  More than once, he woke me in the middle of the night with another fabulous idea he wanted to add to our notebook filled with other such fabulous ideas.

In the end, my entire family came together to help us pull it off.  My parents, my sister and her whole family, Patrick, and even Hayden, all played invaluable rolls in helping Addison have the best Sixth Birthday Buccaneer Bash ever!

Here are a few pictures of what we came up with.  All photos are taken by Daniel Stagner.  You can find a link to his Facebook page here.  Want to see even more of our pirate party pictures?  Check out the rest in my public Facebook album:


We used pirate themed fabrics and colors to make the bunting that we hung above the cake table. The happy birthday banner in front was made with pirate scrap papers and LOTS of ribbon. Easily the most time consuming project!

The Pirate Shaped Birthday Cake.  We also adorned glass jars with red and white polkadot ribbon and then filled them with red and black licorice ropes, Hershey’s Gold and Silver miniature chocolate bars, and served Red Velvet Cupcakes.  A wooden placard read, “Silver, Gold, and Cupcakes…. A Pirates Best Treasure!

We used authentic fish net, net cork, coral, and decorative glass floaters.

With tons of help from Addison, we managed to make 36 of these gift bags for the kiddos to take home with them. They were filled with pirate themed treasure.  A wooden pedestal sign read, ‘Take One… If Ye Dare!’

Somehow I ended up without a decent shot of these, but we decorated our concrete flower boxes with fabric cutouts of waves. We attached sails to bamboo, and turned the flower boxes into little pirate ships.

In the background is a larger version of the cake table bunting. This one had larger pennants, and stretched 20 feet. Gifts and Balloons adorned the wine barrels for added decor.

A ‘Shipwreck Island’ Sign (complete w/ spinning arrow sign) pointed the way to the party.

The treasure chest dates back to the 1850’s. It may have belonged to a real pirate!

Kids and Treasure!

Arrr! Dang face paint stands in the way of an otherwise perfect picture!


Read Full Post »

We woke up yesterday morning to beautiful blue sky.  The leaves are finally starting to really turn here, and the sky made the most brilliant background for their crisp autumn colors.  The temperatures are still fairly mild, and a long sleeved shirt is all one needs to stay comfortable.  It was the perfect sort of day for trick or treating.  And trick or treat we did!

Our small downtown is just a few blocks long, but it’s quaint, and cute, and has that charming small town feel that always draws me in, and makes people feel neighborly.  It has great community involvement, and every season it is host to several celebrations, street fairs, and events.  Yesterday was the annual Halloween celebration called Boo Bash, to which thousands (really!) of costumed children and parents flock to the downtown core for some serious trick or treating.

Patrick and I took Hayden to pick up Addison from La Escuela, and then walk with several other school families down to the festivities.  Our boys were dressed as Cowboy Sheriffs, and had to have been a couple of the cutest kids in the west!  Once there, the crowds were jubilant and colorful, as kids hopped up on massive amounts of sugar went from storefront to storefront in search of more candy.  There was dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller in the middle of the street, and all sorts of other fun activities.

The air was thick with laughter, both young and old, and family fun was definitely the order of the day!

Now tell me, just how cute are these two?!

Read Full Post »

Here’s a great idea that I found on one of my favorite blogs, Penny Carnival.  Megan introduced this fun activity to her readers as a Park Scavenger Hunt.  I put my own western themed spin on her great idea, and used the pictures on the red sheet of paper below as an activity at Addison’s Pool & Pony Party last week.

Addison and his friends had so much fun that I decided to make another one for him to do in the car during our drive to school.  We live out in the country, and it is about a twenty minute drive between our house and his kindergarten, so I drew little pictures of the things we are most likely to see along our way.  Those are pictured on the brown sheet of paper.

Another idea if you aren’t sure your kids will recognize your drawings for what they are meant to be (I had to make several clarifications, myself) would be for you to cut out pictures from a magazine or coloring book, and paste them all onto a piece of paper.  Or, jot down different numbers and letters, and draw some shapes, or even more simple, scribble some different colors to find.  Just have a few crayons handy, and your little one can either color the pictures as he or she finds the real life counterparts, or simply circle or cross them out as they are spied.

I made several copies of each, so we can hunt again and again.  We made a rule that we can’t spy the same thing twice (once he spied the old blue tractor at the end of the pasture down the road, he can’t count that one again, so will have to spy a different tractor the next time).   This should help it stay exciting and challenging.

Read Full Post »

To The Races!

A fun and easy activity for these first days of fall is a Sack Race!

I made these bright and colorful sacks in no time at all, and the kids all had a ball!

Corinn with some major spring in her step!

This is soooo funny!

Maggie can do it on her own!

Now, where did everybody go?

Wait for me, I’m on my way!

Hayden begging Daddy to let him keep his sack on!

Sacked out at the end of the day!

Read Full Post »

For Addison’s 5th Birthday, we had a

Pool & Pony Party!

The front of the invitation (above) read:

“Saddle Up for a Splashin’ Good Time at

Addison’s Pool & Pony Party!

The Whole Gang’s Invited

So Wrangle ‘Em All Up!”

The back read:

“And Don’t Forget

Y’er Spurs & Suits,

& Towels, Too!”

Followed by party details

The kids had so much fun!  Have a look!

The kids loved riding Queenie!

They first got a quick lesson in caring for a pony, during which they all had a turn to brush her, and feed her apples and carrots.

We had two tables set up for the kids to work on little crafty projects such as making Pony Shaped Visors, Western Themed Book Marks, and Sheriff Badges.

The Pony themed cupcake cake was gone in minutes!

I think the kids wore as much icing as they ate!

We set up hay bales in front of our shed as a photo op for families.

Don’t get cuter than this!

‘Cookey’, our ever helpful ranch hand, served up the grub!  Classic PB&J, tons of assorted chips, cookies, crackers, and dried fruit, apple slices, carrot sticks, cheese sticks, gogurts, little water bottles, juice boxes, and of course, adult beverages.

The goody bags were red or blue bandannas filled with western themed toys and candy.  Each child also got their own cowboy or cowgirl hat and a star shaped sheriff badge.

We had Sack Races and a Western Themed Scavenger Hunt!

(Read more about them here here)

We used colorful balloons, western themed cutouts and banners, hay bales, and cowboy hats for some of the decor.

There was swimming, too!

And lots of really fun presents!

Each child took a few swings at a giant Cowboy Boot Pinanta

And then rushed in to grab the goods!

Party-goers ranged in age from under a year to 70+ times that, and all had a ball!

So much fun!

Read Full Post »