Saturday, June 21, 2014

Because Pirates Aren't Punctual . . . Are They?

 I was pushing the statute of limitations for holding birthday parties, but we did it anyway. Over a month late! We decided to do our old favorite, the pirate party for Joss. If you look closely at the picture above, you'll see that the dining room is no longer red. It's blue. I was going to paint it a nice warm cream back before my birthday in April, but that is what life's like around here. You think you're painting something cream in April and you end up painting it blue in June.
Some of the food: wee fishies (goldfish), cannonballs (whoppers), peg legs (baby carrots), and a pirate's fruit salad (I am a big fan of the blueberry cannonballs).
 My decorating team really outdid themselves with this one. I loved the centerpiece.
 The birthday boy, working on his squint. I learned from this party that it's better to do something you know you can do well than to listen to the whims and desires of a 6-year-old, who wants to roll every birthday party he's ever attended into one marathon of festivities that staggers the imagination and vacuums out the savings account.
 More treasure. One of our guests is a savvy businessman already and he was fascinated with all the foreign money we had around and how much it might be worth at the currency exchange.
 So here is how this party goes down at our house. The opening activity is learning to make paper boats. Works well as the guests come trickling in. 
 K was not only a great boatbuilder, she also dressed up in costume.
Once the boats are made, we go outside and bomb them with walnuts in the wading pool. Use balls if that works better for you, but we have walnuts.
Then the kids all get onto the trampoline together with a bunch of black balloons. They have to sit, kick or blast the "cannon balls" to bust out the secret letters to find the treasure map.
 Here they are solving the puzzle: X A B S O N D
Which became SANDBOX, where they all ran and found another bottle with a message inside it. Also, a spider, which was very fitting and spooky since they were looking for spider rings as clues.
 Rob's map was a treasure itself (and a fine example of the spelling that Dave Barry rails against here, in his fine essay on English Grammar). To fynde ye treasure: Ye must gather ye spider ringges. First go ye to yonder birdhouse and to the secret sign o' the dandelion. From the end o' the cross-hatches finde ye a barrel and then ye find Dead Man's  Rock  and walk ye plank. Thence see ye the hidden boat -- the Black Pearl from whence ye preceede to the poop-house. Use ye telescope to fynde ye yeller/black gate and take ye hydden pathe to wee brydge. Wander 20 paces to ye lamppost and fynde three blue flowers. Turn ye heads and fynde Sea-Lyon Rock. 20 paces over a Brydge and then ye open it up . . .
 They ran off to the birdhouse . . .
 Past the cross-hatches
 Looking for ye olde poop-house (there is a Honey Bucket sitting outside one of the homes under construction right now).
 And a snake showed up along the trail, just to give it an authentic feel . . .
 There they are at the lamppost, looking for the seal rock. Only one or two kids nearly got knocked off the bridge in the excitement of finding the treasure . . .
Bonanza! They found the loot! I had asked Rob how long the treasure hunt would take, and he said "Oh, 10, maybe 15 minutes" so I had the lunch all ready. But they took a good 35 minutes racing around the neighborhood looking for spider rings (it really doesn't look like we live in the 'burbs in these pictures, but we do. There is just a sliver of wilderness in the middle).

Then they came back and ate lunch with pirate ale before their cake and ice cream and watched Pirates! Band of Misfits.
It was a great party, but we are now done with this one. Anybody want a Jolly Roger flag and pirate tablecloth? Let me know -- I'm happy to pass them on to the next band of pirates!

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