Monday, April 13, 2009

Princesses, Pirates, and puppies

Honor's birthday bash was a ton of fun. She had told me, months ago, that she wanted to have a Princess party, but she wasn't sure if the boys would like that. I suggested we add pirates to the theme. At this age, we really had no plans to structure a party with games and scheduled events, etc.... although I saw a couple of creative ideas on the web for theme games, like 'Walk the plank' (a balancing relay) and a 'royal' version of musical chairs, where the main/last chair is fancied up as a throne and each time the music stops, a small prize goes to the one in the throne, etc. Maybe for older kids. For these littler ones though, a couple hours of free play on a bouncer and playground, plus cake and pizza was enough. Although... as Honor and I were making arrangements for the party together, we saw a photo of a dog show. The price was very fair, so we added that too. Why not, and it turned out to be a great combo!

Finding a photo for an invite was tough. Honor, very specifically, wanted a pirate next to a princess on a horse. I couldn't find one anywhere and eventually gave up and drew it on the computer - and it turned out good enough for the birthday girl, so it was good enough for me! (The copy above is altered, I photoshopped photos from the party onto it today.)

It was much easier to find awesome party supplies - thank goodness for Oriental Trading Company! I was able to get plastic swords with eye patches, pretty paper crowns, piles of beads, a bag of 'gold' coins, and some sweet little plush pirate bears as favors. The swords, crowns, and beads, were for entertainment and craziness during the party... and they went over very well! For treat bags, I prefer to give a little toy, or something else the kids can use and keep, like sun visors, craft kits, or notebooks and crayons, rather than a bag of candy - they get so much candy as it is. Oriental Trading sells in bulk and they have good shipping rates. The only problem with this plan is you have to set the number of guests, which makes it hard to be flexible with the guest list later. Of course, you have to set a guest list anyway, in order to plan on food and drink for a certain number of people. The thing is, we never turn away extras... the whole idea is to have fun and unexpected siblings should come too. The problem is having a party bag for all the kids. We, adults, know its not technically necessary to have a party bag in order to enjoy a party, but that's like telling a kid that a burger, fries and drink off the drive-thru bargain menu is 'the same thing' as a McD's Happy Meal in a colorful box with a toy, eaten in the restaurant with an employee handing out balloons. Not needed, but part of the fun if you can fit it in. And, if big sister is invited and gets a bag, little sister tag-a-long ... well, her mom may say she doesn't need a bag, but you look into those little eyes and try to agree! I think my take-away lesson for this party is that we can plan a guest list, plan special treats for those on the guest list, but we should plan to have on hand a bunch of 'just in case' treat bags for surprise guests.

Anyway, we had pirates, boys and girls. Pirates with crowns. Princesses. Princesses who took up sword and eye patches to become pirates. We even had an Indian, and some regular kids - as costumes were completely optional. ... and the best thing is that it didn't get quite hot enough to melt any of our costumed guests (or non-costumed parents)! Good timing, as since then we have suddenly dropped into summer (whew!).

Here are my favorite pirates - Brian and his best friend.
A couple of very pretty (and very silly) princesses.
Pirate power! (aka an example of what this mom can do with a Sharpie)
When it was time for the show, Honor got a lot of special attention.
A parade even.
The hostess tried to make this a 'photo op' with the kids around Honor, but they see Honor all the time and were more interested in petting the dog! (and so was Honor!)
Isn't she regal?
A chance to perform
or at least to hold the props for the real performers.
There was much 'ooh'ing and 'awww'ing
Honor wasn't the only one to participate, although she did have the main focus. The ladies called a bunch of kids up to participate throughout the performance, which really made the show more special.

Honor jumps rope...
but is outshown by a puppy.
Then it was time to get dressed up.
And have a dance!
Of course, there was cake. Gotta feed the pirates or they get cranky.
Princesses like cake too!
I think it was a success :) Tiring, but kids had fun and that was the whole idea.


Christine said...

Happy Birthday Honor! What a pretty princess you were! You are growing up in to such a beautiful young lady! Glad to see your birthday was a special one!

marina villatoro said...

pirates, princesses and floaty-bouncy things are sooo international. the party looked like such a blast:)
The Travel Expert(a) and an Expat with a Twist

Mama Seoul said...

Happy birthday, Honor!