Don't let anyone tell you that birthday parties have to be expensive and elaborate to be fun! I try to let the kids have a special birthday party each year, usually here at our house, although we have brought cake & ice cream to the bowling alley for a party on a couple of occasions, and missed having a party a couple of times altogether due to ....fatigue and lack of planning??? Oh well, hopefully the successes will blot out the memory of mom's birthday failures.
The secret to a good birthday party? I would say lots of play time! And a little bit of planned activity.
And lots of play time. And some good party food. And play time. And not TOO many kids! haha
Jason invited 5 friends to come over for a backyard camp-out Friday night for his 10th birthday. Amanda invited a friend to sleep over as well, to give her some company amidst all these little boys! The first thing we did was carve rubber stamps! Each child received half of a white vinyl eraser ( found in any school supply aisle ) They used pencils to draw a block letter of their initial on the eraser - only a tiny bit of assistance was required for a couple of the boys. Since I didn't think it wise to pass out X-Acto knives to this group, I made cutting tools by plucking the eraser out of a pencil with a pair of pliers. The empty metal eraser holder easily sliced through the vinyl erasers, letting the kids shape their initials. When finished, the boys practiced inking their stamps with watercolor markers and stamping onto small notebooks!
Now, the reason for needing the stamps was that we were headed out on a Letterboxing adventure.
Letterboxing is an activity that combines treasure-hunting with rubberstamping!!! People hide plastic boxes containing a rubber stamp, notepad, and pen, carefully wrapped in ziploc bags, in a public location, and then post clues on Letterboxing websites, such as http://www.letterboxing.org/ or http://www.atlasquest.com/ . I printed off the clues to a couple of local boxes, piled the kids in the car, and headed out in a light rain shower. The boxes we searched for were located in 3 different town parks, which gave the kids a chance to run around a bit and burn off some energy... a very nice side benefit! Once a box was found, the kids took turns stamping the enclosed notepad with their initial stamp, and then using the enclosed rubber stamp to mark their own notebooks.
Everyone was hungry when we got back home, so we whipped up a supper of grilled hot dogs, green grapes, and Mexican Layered Dip with tortilla chips. Jason opened his presents, and then he next thing on the agenda was wiffle ball, so since our backyard is full of deep holes dug by our crazy canine, the boys again jumped in the van, this time with dad and Amanda, and headed to a local ball field. A little over an hour later they were home, ready for a big pitcher of lemonade and slices of Snickers Ice Cream Cake. After that they were back outside for flashlight tag, and then they finally settled down to watch "Fat Albert" before trooping out to the back yard to the pop-up camper to play a game of Catch Phrase, and then when dad came out a little later, to go to sleep! A couple of these boys apparently have "city-folk" for parents, because I heard a couple of comments about lack of AC in the camper, BUT I think they all had a good time. :-)
It is killing me not to have a camera! Sarah took hers back to college, Eric was away for the weekend with his, and Amanda's is broken! Agh! Oh well, use your imaginations.