Keegan’s Doctor Who Party Part II (Food and Fun)

Click here for Part I where I introduce the cast/guests!  (The people are the best part of the party, and the guests were fabulous sports about getting in character and having a blast!)

We did two craft projects and two games.  I planned additional games, but the cousins were having so much fun playing, it seemed a shame to interrupt them.

One craft project, painting wooden, magnetic bow ties, remained unphotographed.  I was woefully neglectful about capturing action shots at the party.  (Fortunately, I predicted I’d be more engrossed in living in the moment than capturing, so I snapped all the guests on arrival and pre-captured many of the themed touches before guests arrived.)

The second craft was bleach-art shirts!  Each child made his or her own, using two sizes of bow-tie stencils, two sizes of Tardis stencils, q-tips, bleach, peroxide (to neutralize the bleach) and creativity.

Two messy crafts; one with paint, the other with bleach, and nothing damaged!  Thanks especially to my sister (pictured below helping Keegan) who faithfully assisted!

Create-Your-Own-Timelord-Shirt and Pin-the-bow-tie-on-the-Doctor

Create-Your-Own-Timelord-Shirt and Pin-the-bow-tie-on-the-Doctor

We played two games; one was simply Pin-the-bow-tie-on-the-doctor.  The other was pretending to be Jenny (The Doctor’s Daughter) and avoid the “laser beams” of a Chinese Jump Rope as everyone chanted the time-war-counting-rhyme.

Left photo: Keianna made that Police Box for Keegan for Christmas!  The children do amazing things out in the woodshop.  Right Photo: Time-War-chant for a jumping game

Left photo: Keianna made that Police Box for Keegan for Christmas! The children do amazing things out in the woodshop. Right Photo: Time-War-chant for a jumping game

Because Time-travel makes one hungry (and because the birthday boy is a very lean and hungry pre-teen!), food was an important feature of the day!

Top to bottom & left to right: Caramel filled dalek and tardis chocolates, crunchy bow tie pasta, Adipose pops (for dunking in hot cocoa), bow tie napkins/utensils, garland decor, Fez shaped candy (Rolos)

Top to bottom & left to right: Caramel filled dalek and tardis chocolates, crunchy bow tie pasta, Adipose pops (for dunking in hot cocoa), bow tie napkins/utensils, garland decor, Fez shaped candy (Rolos)

I didn’t get photos of the cupcakes with the edible ball bearings (chocolate-rapsberry deliciousness made by my mother-in-law) or my mom’s contribution of “jammie dodgers” (homemade linzer cookies).  Both were brilliant!  Each food item is a nod to some Doctor Who reference.  (References listed below for those who enjoy such trivia.)  I didn’t photograph the main dishes either, but you can read the menu below:

Lunch:
Fish Fingers
Custard
Bow Tie Pasta Alfredo
Fruit Salad With Bananas

Tea (and Cocoa) served by a Dalek:
Jammie Dodgers (Linzer Cookies)
Adapose Pops
Cruncy Bow Tie Snacks
Filled Chocolate Tardis and Daleks
Candy Fezzes

Dinner:
Baked Sontaran (Potato) Bar (topping options include cheese sauce, cheeses, sour cream, grilled chicken, maybe salsa…)
Veggie Tray with Celery
Chocolate Raspberry Cup Cakes with Edible Ball Bearings

Food References:
Peri: Doctor, why do you wear a stick of celery in your lapel?

The Doctor: Does it offend you?
Peri: No, just curious.
The Doctor: “Safety precaution. I’m allergic to certain gases in the praxis range of the spectrum.
Peri: Well, how does the celery help?
The Doctor: If the gas is present, the celery turns purple.
Peri: And then what do you do?The Doctor: I eat the celery. If nothing else, I’m sure it’s good for my teeth.
—5th Doctor and Peri, s. 21, e.6, “The Caves of Androzan”

“Always bring a banana to a party, Rose – bananas are good!”
—10th Doctor s 2, ep 4, “The Girl in the Fireplace”

“Did you ever have one of those little cakes with the crunchy ball bearings on top? Nobody else in this entire galaxy’s ever even bothered to make edible ball bearings. Genius!” [And later in the episode] “I can’t stress this enough. Ball bearings you can eat, masterpiece!”
—10th Doctor, s. 2, ep. 11, “Fear Her”

“An Adipose. It’s called an Adipose…. The fat just walks away”
—Mrs Foster, s. 4, ep. 1 “Partners in Crime”

“I know what I need! I need… I need… I need… fish fingers and custard!”
—11th Doctor, s 5, ep. 1, “The Eleventh Hour”

“Bow ties are cool”
—11th Doctor, s. 5, ep. 1, “The Eleventh Hour”

“Would-you-care-for-some-TEA???”
—Dalek, s. 5, ep. 3, “Victory of the Daleks”

“It’s a fez, I wear a fez now. Fezes are cool.”
—11th Doctor s. 5, ep 13, “The Big Bang”

“I’m going to need a SWAT team ready to mobilize, street-level maps covering all of Florida, a pot of coffee, twelve jammie dodgers and a fez.”
—11th Doctor s 6, ep. 1 “The Impossible Astronaut”

“Thank you Strax. And if I’m ever in the need of advice from a psychotic potato dwarf, you’ll certainly be the first to know.”

“I’m the clever one. You’re the potato one.”
—11th Doctor to Sontaran commander Strax s, 7 ep. 6, “The Snowmen”

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Guess WHO turns 10? Post I of II

Keegan turned 10 early this month and celebrated in Whovian Style.  In this post, I share the invites and introduce the attendants.  Food and activities will be posted later this weekend in Part II.

First the invitations!  Tardis-blue and styled after those the Doctor mailed in the episode Impossible Astronaut.

Invitations: (2nd photo is from my phone--I was behind-schedule getting them mailed!)

Invitations: (2nd photo is from my phone–I was behind-schedule getting them mailed!)

Invitations include date, time and GPS coordinates.  (GPS coordinates blurred here, as we might not have enough jammie dodgers for all of you!)

Below: The party cast–because the people are what make it all fun!

Left to right: Martha Jones (Kiffanie), The Tenth Doctor (Keegan, our birthday boy), Rose Tyler (my niece, KT), and  Dalek Caan (Kieran)

Left to right: Martha Jones (Kiffanie), The Tenth Doctor (Keegan, our birthday boy), Rose Tyler (my niece, KT), and Dalek Caan (Kieran)

Left Photo: Amelia Pond (Kendra) and Rory Williams(My brother-in-law, Jim); Right Photo: Ponds again. with River Song (me) in the middle

Left Photo: Amelia Pond (Kendra) and Rory Williams(My brother-in-law, Jim); Right Photo: Ponds again. with River Song (me) in the middle

Left to right: Wilfred Mott, Donna's Grandfather (my Dad), Jenny, The Doctor's Daughter (Keianna), Clara Oswald (Kaira), and the 11th Doctor (My nephew, C.J.)

Left to right: Wilfred Mott, Donna’s Grandfather (my Dad), Jenny, The Doctor’s Daughter (Keianna), Clara Oswald (Kaira), and the 11th Doctor (My nephew, CJ)

Left to right: Harriet Jones, Former Prime Minister (my mom),

Left to right: Harriet Jones, Former Prime Minister (my mom), “Margaret Blane” Slitheen (my mother-in-law), River Song (me), and the 11th Doctor again (my nephew, CJ)

Left Photo: Sarah Jane (my sister, Lorelle), and K-9 (Our dog Toffee); Right Photo: Sarah Jane and K-9 again with the 4th Doctor (My Father-In-Law)

Left Photo: Sarah Jane (my sister, Lorelle), and K-9 (Our dog Toffee); Right Photo: Sarah Jane and K-9 again with the 4th Doctor (My Father-In-Law)

The Master (Ken), and the 10th Doctor (Keegan)

The Master (Ken), and the 10th Doctor (Keegan)

Stay tuned to find out about the food and activities!

Keianna’s Birthday Party (Post III of III)

Two months later, I’m finally wrapping up Keianna’s birthday party posts!  To see the invitation, go to Part I, here, and to see the order of events, and photos of the various attendees, visit Part II, here! Guests arrived in time for second breakfast of scones (fresh from the oven) and tea.  Before they were allowed entrance Gimli (Kieran) greeted them at the front “Dorian” gates which bore an inscription that they must, “Speak Friend to Enter.”  I then took photos of the attendants.  I generally prefer casual, natural, action shots at parties, but I those can be random and I wanted to make sure that each character and costume was documented.  (You can see the “cast photos” in the Part II post.)  Then, the Lady Galadriel (Keianna) presented gifts to the fellowship for their journey.  The children each received a Lorien Leaf bracelet with a few starter Lord of the Rings charms.

Lorien Leaf bracelettes: Members of the fellowship will add charms through their journey.

Lorien Leaf bracelettes: Members of the fellowship will add charms through their journey.

Adults each received a small silver flashlight.  Around each was the message, ” I give you the light of Eärendil, our most beloved star. May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”  As she presented each gift, Keianna (er.. Galadriel) said, “Elen síla lúmenn’ omentielvo.”  (Which is Elvish for, “A star shines upon the hour of our meeting.”) (Yes, she actually said it in Elvish, but had to translate for most of us.)

We divided the group in to two teams.  Because we so enjoyed the friendly competition between Gimli and Legolass in the books and movie, we had a Gimli team and a LegoLass team.

After dividing into teams, we played Pin the tail on the Oliphaunt:

After each game the winner (or in some cases winning team) selected a prize from the prize board.  Most prizes were additional charms for their Lorien-leaf bracelet, but there were other items as well:

Prize Board with charms and other treasures (Click to enlarge to see the charms)

Prize Board with charms and other treasures (Click to enlarge to see the charms)

When a team, rather than an individual won a game, teammates drew numbers from Gandalf’s hat to determine who had first pick from the prize board.

Pinning tails on Oliphaunts is hard work, and we were ready for Elevensies, which consisted of tea and pumpkin, butterscotch muffins. Refreshed from Elevensies, we played Throne of Gondor.  (Similar to musical chairs.)  Aynwen (also known as Kaira) provided harp music for the game:

Throne of Gondor game

Throne of Gondor game

Next, was a hobbit foot race & ring of power relay around Mount Doom.  (Because the weather was unseasonably chilly that first week of October, we put the climbing dome in the barn/garage to represent Mount Doom.  Each team was given a ring of power, and “hobbit feet” to wear.  (Even the adults participated with adult sized  hobbitized flip-flops.)  The teams passed the ring of power through the line as each member shuffled and flip-flopped around Mt. Doom in turn.    We aren’t a flip-flop wearing family, so running in these things was comic.  Each participant got a pair of hobbit feet to take home.  (I’m sure they all wear them often.)

Footwear for the Hobbit-foot/Ring of Power relay

Footwear for the Hobbit-foot/Ring of Power relay

It was time to brave Shelob’s lair!  I didn’t get a photo of the complicated obstacle course of webs strung in the walk-through closet, but each child had to navigate the course, and lost points any time they touched the web.  Once through the web, each participant had to baffle Shelob by tossing decoy rings (so she wouldn’t get the true ring).

Shelob's lair and ring toss

Shelob’s lair and ring toss

Luncheon consisted of Tea (of course), Lembas bread, hearty mushroom soup, cheeses, a relish tray, and English toffee.  For the Lembas leaf wrappers, this blog provided inspiration. (Guests took home extra lembas bread too.)

Elvish Lembas Bread

Elvish Lembas Bread

After defeating Shelob and munching Luncheon, we returned to the barn and commenced to “Raid Farmer Maggot’s garden.” The two teams lined up on one end of the barn and tables of corn waited at the other end.  The first team-member would run to the end, shuck an ear of corn, then come tag the next person in line.  (Yes, it was all part of my clever plan to have guests shuck their own corn for the evening meal!)

In the photos below, you’ll see Bilbo (My Father-in-law, known as Grandpa S), Gandalf (My dad) and Merri (my niece, KT).  Grandpa S (Bilbo) deserves a huge shout out!  I was battling a terrible migraine on party-day.  Tending to the many meals, and facilitating the fun left me very little concentration for photographing.  I was much relieved when Grandpa S, an excellent photographer, agreed to take one of my cameras to record the festivities!  The best photos in this post are his.

 Raiding Farmer Maggot's Garden

Raiding Farmer Maggot’s Garden

Next was an Orc-shooting archery competition!  As I mentioned with the Oliphant picture, I don’t make great claims of artistry, but I actually thought my Orc was pretty good–until Keegan saw me finishing it and said, “Oh, that’s a cute Orc, Mommy.”  Cute?  Really?  Cute was totally not my goal.  A cute Orc is a total failure, but since we were only using it for target practice, I swallowed my pride and let it suffice.

Shoot the Orc

Shoot the Orc

The next relay, “Fill Gimli’s mug” seems to have escaped photo-capture.  Each of the two teams had a stein or tankard marked for equal capacity.  At the other end of the barn, were two “barrels” of ale. (water coolers).  The teams were given shot glasses, and each team member took the shot glass in turn, ran to their barrel, filled the shot-glass, then, trying not to slosh, ran back to their tankard and passed the shot-glass to the next person in line until the first team filled Gimli’s mug.

After filling Gimli’s mug, we had more Orc slaying amid the “Great Eagle Flight”.  I’d created a scarecrow-esque orc, and we attached a swing-seat to the zipline to represent the Great Eagles who carried the hobbits away from the burning forest.  As they rode on the eagles, each child tried to knock over the orc with his or her inflatable sword.

Great Eagle Flight/ Orc Slaying

Great Eagle Flight/ Orc Slaying

Slaying Orcs and riding eagles makes for hungry hobbits, elves and dwarves! Afternoon tea was set with tea, tartlettes, nuts and fruit!

Following tea was presentations to the Lady Galadriel; speaches, music, and gifts were given her.  Aynwen (Kaira) played, “Concerning Hobbits” on harp.  Gimli (Kieran) read, “Over the Misty Mountains” (accompanied by harp), Aynwen played, “In Dreams” on piano, and all the PrairieFrogs accompanied her in voice, then Éowyn (Kendra) echoed with “In Dreams” on dulcimer.

Gimli (Kieran) reads, “Over the Misty Mountains”

“In Dreams”

Galadriel received many lovely tokens!  Among other things, Aragorn gave her his pendant, Merri gave her a lovely necklace, and Gandalf gave her a magic book!

We didn’t get photos of the final games.  The children assembled Smaug Gliders and attempted to return Smaug to the Lonely Mountain (aiming for the climbing dome in the barn.)  Those who got their Smaug into the mountain won!

Smaug Gliders (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

Smaug Gliders (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

Next was sword fighting with the inflatable swords, then on to Dinner!

Our Dwarvish dinner consisted of ale (hot apple cider), tavern beef, baked potatoes with all the fixings, roasted corn, and seed cakes.

The children free-frolicked until the sun set and our guests departed.  It was a grand day in Middle-Earth!

Galadriel and Merri

Galadriel and Merri

Pippin

Pippin

Keianna’s Birthday Party (Post II of III)

Finally, the second (of what will be three, posts, I think) chronicling Keianna’s 10th Birthday party, which we celebrated in Middle-Earth style!

I shared the party invitation and a few introductory remarks in this post, and will share action shots of the games and frolics sometime this next week.  Meanwhile, here is the “cast” of attendees, the party schedule, and a few notes about the edibles!

LOTR Party Schedule

Hobbits:  Back row, left to right: Bilbo Baggins, Lobelia Sackville-Baggins Front Row, left to right Frodo (Keegan), Merri (my niece, KT), Pippin (my nephew, CJ.)

Hobbits: Back row, left to right: Bilbo Baggins, Lobelia Sackville-Baggins Front Row, left to right Frodo (Keegan), Merri (my niece, KT), Pippin (my nephew, CJ.)

Lovely Ladies: Elven and Human Back row, left to right: Aynwen (Kaira), Éowyn (Kendra) Front row left to right: Galadriel (Keianna), Arwen (Kiffanie)

LegoLass, sister to Legolas (My sister, Lorelle), and Gimli (Kieran)

LegoLass, sister to Legolas (My sister, Lorelle), and Gimli (Kieran)

Queen Melian (Me), and Nimrodel (My mom)

Queen Melian (Me), and Nimrodel (My mom)

Gandalf the Grey (My dad) and Nazgûl (Ken)

Gandalf the Grey (My dad) and Nazgûl (Ken)

Aragorn (Ken's brother, Jim), and Arwen (Kiffanie again)

Aragorn (Ken’s brother, Jim), and Arwen (Kiffanie again)

Tolkien Teas; From Andagio teas.  All delicious!  I kept changing my mind as to which is my favorite!

Tolkien Teas; From Andagio teas. All delicious! I kept changing my mind as to which is my favorite!

I didn’t get pictures of the many courses of food–not even a single photo of the seed cakes, but we feasted like Hobbits, and you can see the menu in the “Party Business” image at the top of this post.  Part of Keianna’s gift from us was a set of Tolkien teas, and for each meal she chose two, and I made up two separate pots for everyone to sample!

Stay tuned for action shots of the games and festivities!  I’ll share more about the games and activities in Part III as well!

Keianna’s Birthday Party (Part I of III)

I’ve been in a slump on getting photos and posts off my hard-drive (or in some cases even to the hard-drive) and onto the blog.  In addition to schoolish busyness, we’ve had a major celebration this month!  Keianna’s birthday is a week before Christmas, and she’ll be ten!  Tenth birthdays are big events for our PrairieFrogs–big themed events with cousins and grandparents getting in on the fun.  A huge celebration one week before Christmas just seemed cramped, and so we time-shifted Keianna’s party to October in the hopes of good weather for outdoor events.  Surely the first weekend in October would bring beautiful, autumn weather, right?  Bwaaahhaaa haa!  Wyoming doesn’t do predictable.  Two days before her party we were hit with a bitter snow storm.   By party-day, roads improved enough for guests to travel, but our yard remained a chilly, soggy, Northern Waste, requiring a few modifications to the activities.  It all worked beautifully though! I’ll share photos over the next week as time allows.)

Invitation to Keianna's Party

Invitation to Keianna’s Party

My Niece turns 11 in Wizardly Style

My youngest niece turned 11 this summer and we were invited to Hogwarts to celebrate!   She chose to be “Holly Potter”, a twin sister to Harry in a parallel dimension which is similar, but not an exact match for the world J.K. Rowling depicts.)

I hope other attendees captured great photos.  Migraine fog prevented me from being as intentional with my captures as I’d like.  (I doubt the distortive glasses I was wearing helped either.) (Distortive–it is a word right?)

I went as Sybil Trelawney–Ken said I even did well on the accent!  Maybe there are some practical (?) benefits to watching an insane number of Emma Thompson movies (Ken in turn did a great stuttering Quirrel):

Yours truly, as Sybil Trelawney

Yours truly, as Sybil Trelawney

The children always enjoy getting together with their cousins!

Left to right: Holly Potter (My niece, KT), Katie Bell (Kendra), Harry Potter (Keegan), Padma Patil (Kiffanie) Hermione Granger (Kaira), Ginny Weasley (Keianna), Rubeus Hagrid (Kieran), Ron Weasley (my nephew, CJ)

Left to right: Holly Potter (My niece, KT), Katie Bell (Kendra), Harry Potter (Keegan), Padma Patil (Kiffanie) Hermione Granger (Kaira), Ginny Weasley (Keianna), Rubeus Hagrid (Kieran), Ron Weasley (my nephew, CJ)

Everyone gets into the make-believe:

Left to right: Sybil Trelawney (me), Quirinus Quirrel (Ken), The nurse, Madam Poppy Pomfrey (my mother-in- law, Grandma K), Professor Albus Dumbledore (my father-in-law, Grandpa S), Professor Severus Snape (my brother-in-law, Jim), Minerva McGonagall (my sister, Lorelle)

Left to right: Sybil Trelawney (me), Quirinus Quirrel (Ken), The nurse, Madam Poppy Pomfrey (my mother-in- law, Grandma K), Professor Albus Dumbledore (my father-in-law, Grandpa S), Professor Severus Snape (my brother-in-law, Jim), Headmistress Minerva McGonagall (my sister, Lorelle)

Peeves, being Peeves, arrived slightly late (Professor Sprout was with him), and so they missed the main group shot:

Professor Pamona Sprout (my mom), and Poltergeist Peeves (my dad)

Professor Pamona Sprout (my mom), and Poltergeist Peeves (my dad)

Potions class was perplexing fun!:

Potions Class

Potions Class

Persistent Ginny (Keianna) tried the prescribed stirring pattern over and over again, but Sneaky Severous Snape secretly sabotaged the students solvents. (Say that three times fast!)

Studious Ginny

Studious Ginny

They played 8 rounds of Quidditch. (I think it was 8 rounds? The snitches all kinda blurred together for me by the end, but great fun was had, and each child got their very own snitch.)

Quidditch Players  (I love Hermione's hair!)

Quidditch Players (Great hair, Hermione!)

Ron and Ginny Weasley Guarding the Goal:

Weasley Siblings; Ron and Ginny

Weasley Siblings; Ron and Ginny

Padma Patil has the quaffle!

Padma Patil has the quaffle!

Katie Bell takes a shot

Katie Bell takes a shot

Madam Pomfrey treats players who are “out” before they return to the game:

Madam Pomfrey treats

Madam Pomfrey treats “injured” players

.

Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble

Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble

My sister throws amazing parties! She made delicious chocolate frogs, cauldron cakes, and delectable peasant stew (no actual peasants were used as ingredients).  We washed it all down with butter beer, sampled every-flavour-beans, then Wizards shopped at Eyelops and Ollivanders for owls and wands to take home!

It was a magically fun party–my migrained photos don’t do it justice.  Happy birthday to my niece, KT!  You make a fabulous Holly Potter!

Star Wars Party

My nephew turned nine, and celebrated in inter-galactic style last week!  We had a blast!
(My sister throws the most amazing parties!)
(If you are reading via feed reader, click through to see the images with the captions, as most  the post is in caption format.)

First, the Cast:

Left: Princess Lea and Luke Skywalker (Kaira and my nephew, CJ, the birthday boy!)
Middle: Two versions of Padme Amidala (Kiffanie and my niece, KT)
Right: The Droids: R2 D2 and SHE-3PO (Kieran and Keianna)

Left: Han Solo and the Wookie Chewbacca (my brother-in-law, Jim, and Kendra)
Center: Darth Vader and Obi-Wan KENobi (Keegan and Ken)
Right: Princess Lea and her foster-sister, Winter (Kaira again and my sister, Lorelle)

Left: Grandma Jewel and Yoda (Ken’s parents, Grandma Kay and Grandpa Stu)
Middle: Aunt Beru and Dr. Chew. T. Bacca (My parents, Grandma Bev and Grandpa Dave)
Right: Lady Dellirium (Me)

A few of the characters may be new to you:  The character “Winter” doesn’t appear in any of the Star Wars films, but my niece and nephew, experts on all things Star Wars tell me that she, along with more detail about Lea’s childhood and foster-family, are in the books.  Grandma Jewel, Luke and Lea’s grandmother,  isn’t featured in the movies, or even in the books and was an original inspiration for this party.  The Lady Dellirium is an “extra” as well, and intended as one of the ladies-in-waiting to Lea and Amidala.  I just aimed for a vaguely starwarsy look and called it good.  She-3PO is, of course, the feminine counterpart for C-3PO.  Finally, there is the unique character of Dr. Chew T. Bacca, my dad’s character.  Here’s what my dad had to say about the physicist he portrayed:

“When documentaries are made portraying epic periods of history, not all persons or events important to that period can be included. I wish to tell you of one of these persons, a great physicist who contributed much to the scope and magnitude of this STAR WARS documentary.

He developed and set into action a chain-reaction that would forever change some of the fundamental physical properties of a vacuum. This chain reaction spread thru-out the entire universe, allowing the vacuum of space to transmit sound. That is how, in the great battles taking place in this documentary of the great STAR WARS, the producers were able to capture the roar of spaceship engines, and the blast, rumble and reverberation of explosions. The inclusion of these dramatic auditory recordings gives those watching the documentary a greatly enhanced feeling of “being there”. He was the much revered half-human Great Grand Uncle of the Wookiee who was first mate and companion of Captain Han Solo.

Let us forever remember with gratitude for his legacy, the great physicist, Dr. Chew T. Bacca.”

That’s my dad!

Now, the fun:

Games abounded, from light saber duels, to pin the starship on the 3D Starwars poster, the children moved from one level to the next in their Jedi training, receiving a certificate of knighthood when they completed all their tasks.

Craft time! Star Wars theme snowflakes!

The children made up some of their own games: Here they are playing “Death Star”. The only injuries were minor.

Han burgers, and a variety of creatively labeled Star Wars snacks (and lots of healthful veggies and nuts!) were served at the cafe. The Wookie Cookies were delicious!

CJ was fabulous about opening his presents, thoughtfully admiring each hand-made card that my littles presented! Here, he’s wearing the Yoda hat Kaira knit for him. She made up her own pattern!

Happy birthday to my fabulous nephew, CJ!

Retro-Blogging: Kendra’s Turn!

Today is a great day to focus on Kendra.  Not only am I very remiss in posting her birthday post, (from… gulp…January!) but today I enjoyed her company for Lunch!   The two of us went out alone to celebrate her completion of her 5th grade work!  Congratulations to my newly 6th grade Kendra!  In this blog post, I’ll flash back a few months to her 10th birthday–the festivities were almost 4 months ago, on a wintry January day.

Most birthday parties at our house are quiet affairs, with just our immediate family, a special meal, and a few gifts.  We chose age 10 as the big party year, to honor a decade birthday, the birthday girl (or eventually boy) chooses a theme, and invites extended family, cousins, or other friends.

Kendra always takes the path less traveled, and it’s a delight to get glimpses of the world through her eyes.   She debated several ideas for her party theme; a mad-hatter tea party, a garden party, and I’m not sure what else, but finally announced her decision, a music themed party.  Music theme… hmmmm… music theme?  “What will we do at such a party?” I asked myself.   Well, like most Kendra’s ideas, it seemed odd at first, but turned out being fabulous!

Even the decorations ended up being more fun (and easier) than I initially anticipated.  Using a few old vinyl records and dollar store candlesticks, I made a tiered tray for cupcakes and a matching relish tray.  (Interesting note on the cupcakes: Kendra specified chocolate cupcakes with lemon icing.  It’s an odd combination, I know, but it’s her party, and… it suits her.  They didn’t taste as weird as it sounds–weird, yes, but.. not as weird as it sounds.)  I molded chocolates in note shapes.  We hung CDs from the light fixtures to throw light around the rooms, and I scattered Symphony bars around (these served double-duty as game prizes.)  The main living space is already decorated in musical instruments, so that didn’t take much doing.  We scattered music note confetti under the glass on our glass-topped kitchen and dining room tables, then I found a few music posters to hang, and that was it!

http://prairiefrogportraits.smugmug.com/photos/i-BJKSBbN/0/L/i-BJKSBbN-L.jpg

Music Party Decor

Every party needs games, so we played a musical version of “Go-Fish” in which players acquired notes necessary to fill their card with part of the “Happy Birthday” melody.  The children smacked at a musical note piñata, and we played Name that Tune with Boomwackers.  (If you don’t know what Boomwackers are, you are missing out; they are colorful, durable, plastic tubes, tuned so that each plays a note when bonked on something.)  The players drew the name of simple, well-known, songs from a hat, then picked the tune out by ear on the boomwackers while their team-mates guessed.   A few tunes were  “all play” Pictionary style, and either team could guess.   Pin the Middle C on the Staff seemed a natural fit.

Fun & Games

As we planned the party, Kendra suggested that guests desiring to bring gifts bring only “the gift of a song;”  They could offer to her only songs–no other presents.  It could be as simple as playing a YouTube video for her, whether it be funny, inspiring, or just something the giver thinks she’ll enjoy.  It could be a CD of special songs, or handwritten verses from a favorite and meaningful hymn. It could be a song performed by the giver; sung, played on an instrument, or presented as a dance.  Initially, this stumped her poor guests, but as the date drew nearer, they found inspiration, and it was the most beautiful presentation of birthday gifts I’ve ever witnessed.

She was given:

  • Piano sheet music that a Grandma had collected over the years
  • The presentation of beautiful dances, choreographed and performed by her talented cousin, who shines in worship dance
  • The performance of a fun sing-along song by a cousin with a great sense of humor
  • A CD of her Grandfather singing and playing guitar
  • CDs of music another Grandfather especially enjoys
  • Performances on bodhrán and limber-jim by Uncle  Jim (accompanied by my niece, KT, on piano)
  • Vocal performance of Puff the Magic dragon by Kieran (accompanied by Kaira on Piano)
  • Dulcimer performances by her daddy
  • Harp performances by Kaira
  • An action song (in which all the Prairiefrogs and their cousins participated) led by Grandma
  • A musical note necklace
  • And several other special music gifts

Most of all, she was given love, and special memories in the form of these very personal gifts.

Gift Giving

Below–two video clips (videography credits to my sister, Lorelle):
Boomwackers in action: Keegan did a great job playing the tune he drew from the hat. His team guessed quickly!

Here’s Kendra’s cousin (my niece, KT) performing her own choreography of The Battle from the Narnia movie.  The boys aren’t being disruptive, but are part of KT’s design–she requested they stage a sword-fight in the background as she danced.  (This is only a short clip of the longer piece.)

After the main festivities, Kieran and his cousin CJ had their own brand of boyish fun while the others enticed KT into teaching them dance–she managed to teach them enough in an hour or so that they performed–to the worship music CD of Grandpa singing and playing guitar!   It was a delightful, musical party, sucessfully turning Kendra ten.   (She’s been in the role of 10-year-old several months now, and it suits her well!  Kendra, you are a lovely 10!)

Into the Wardrobe

My sister hosts amazing parties.  This year my niece turned nine, and chose a Narnian theme!  Guests were invited to dress as friends of Narnia, and a day of food, themed games and activities, and sunburned shoulders commenced.  (I was the only one to get a sunburn.  I blame the reflective “water drops” draped around my neck.)

The attendants:

My niece as Lucy.

My nephew as King Edmund the Just.

My sister as Ramandu’s daughter/Caspian’s Wife/Rilian’s mother, the celestial Lilliandil.

Ken’s brother was the respectibiggle Marshwiggle,  Puddleglum.

Mr and Mrs Beaver attended.

And we met Professor Kirk, and Aunt Polly too!

PrairieFrog characters included: The Dryad(Treebeard),  The Naiad (Dellirium), Aravis, Hwin,
Queen Susan, Reepicheep, and High King Peter.

Kieran was funny.  Because we’ve enjoyed Lewis’ entire series as a family read-aloud, even at age 4, he’s well familiar with the characters.  The moment the party was announced, he declared that he wanted to be Peter.  I thought he’d be a darling Reepicheep, and suggested the role, but he declined, stating, “Reepicheep has to bow to Peter.  I want to be High King.”  That’s my Kieran.  The youngest (thus far), he’s always looking to reign when he has opportunity.  Fortunately Keegan, humored me and accepted the role of Reepicheep.

The children played games, defeating the White Witch, searching for Aslan, and other amazing activities my sister coordinated.  We had tea with Mr. Tumnus.  After further festivities, dinner was served by Puddleglum.  (He’s really an amazing cook!  The fish and rice was fabulous, and his muddy, pond water dessert quite refreshing!)

Naturally, we entered through the Wardrobe.  (Well, once we entered through a picture of a Narnian ship… it was a soggy entrance, but delightful, nonetheless.)

Impromptu jousts, and even a ball completed the fun.

 

Click the collage to see it bigger.  (You might have to click again after it loads small on the new page.)

Happy birthday to my sweet Niece!