Friday, July 13, 2012

First Birthday Party (Attempt)

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated Abraham’s fourth birthday!  A week or two before his birthday, Abe said he wanted a birthday party with friends.  I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised about that, but I was.  I didn’t have very much time to prepare for a party (who does?), so I wanted to make a fun, festive party, with little work. It was my first time throwing a birthday party, and I really learned a lot!

Because of Abraham's current fascination with all things Tintin and his sidekick Captain Haddock, as well as Pirates of Penzance, a sailing/pirate theme was the obvious choice. Below are some of the activities, in case they are of interest or use!
Flag Making--Very easy and cheap.  I already had perfect fabric.  I just cut it out, and sewed up one side and across the top so it would stay on the little wooden skewers.  I couldn't find my fabric markers, so we used permanent ones, which worked out fine.  The flags slipped off the sticks with all their vigorous shaking, so we ended up taping the bottoms so they wouldn't fall off.
 Fishing--Easy, and as cheap as you want it to be.  We cut out paper fish and safety-pinned them to an (oops, fitted) sheet.  We used bamboo garden sticks and yarn, with little paperclips.  This is where I spent too much time.  I made little plush fish to give as prizes. Turns out that sewing anything takes a long time for me.  I wouldn't do that again.  I also gave out more traditional prizes, and little bunches of Swedish fish.  If I had had time, I also would have found funny things around the house, like a sock or a carrot.
 Andrew teaching "how to speak pirate," definitely worth it!  It made it a lot of fun. What do you call an old pirate? A "salty seadog!" What about a young one? "Jim lad!" 
 Equipped with their new pirate-speaking skills, all the kids went on a treasure hunt.  I could have, should have spent more time on this.  Our treasure map really wasn't anything to look at, and all we had at the end of the hunt was Pirate's Booty.  However, the kids didn't seem to mind at all, so maybe I didn't need to spend any more time on it!
 The treasure hunt brought the kids back to the food table for lunch. 
We had a pasta salad, a veggie bowl with dip, a fruit bowl, goldfish and a fruit shark (which only took about fifteen minutes or so, definitely worth the time!  Sorry we don't have a better picture).  I also forgot serving utensils and plates :(
We made this cake, with less sugar and other modifications.  And as you can see, we just used chocolate flavored goldfish instead of making our own.  Andrew made it; it was delicious!  If you make it, you only need one or two recipes of frosting, not three!
The cake was no match for the hungry pirates!
Overall, it was a fun party--but I could have used my time better in preparation, and in the future I'll be more thoughtful about the projects that I spent time on. 


  1. Looks to me like an amazing success! Thanks for including all the do's and don'ts so I know how to prepare Aaron's party in a few years. Andrew is just the right dad to teach children "how to speak pirate." I hope you have video of that! Nice flag making idea.

  2. Very informative. I second Rachel's comment for sure!

  3. Have you thought of starting a party-planning business, Ariel?

    I would have loved to witness a bunch of 4-year olds learning pirate lingo from Andrew.

  4. Little mermaids clearly have talents when it comes sea-worthy parties!

  5. So many clever ideas, Ariel! Looks like all your planning and prep were well worth it! I'm a little daunted thinking about throwing a birthday party for Sammy, but you make it look so fun... Maybe we'll just do a pirate party and copy all these ideas (though recently he's pulled a switch to cowboys).