I love throwing parties, but I tend to go a little over board. I make it stressful, I know that. But the results are so worth it! My sons birthday party was a perfect example of this.
My boy is an avid reader, and he has been devouring the Redwall series written by the late Brian Jacques. He decided he wanted a Redwall inspired feast for his birthday this year. In the novels the small woodland creatures act like medieval people, and Jacques made up some pretty elaborate celebrations for them. The feasts are one of my son's reasons for reading these books, he loves to talk about all their special foods. He also loves the epic battles they fight for freedom, and goodness. I wanted to integrate both those things into a medieval themed party for him.
So we picked up the Redwall Cookbook, sent out invitations sealed in wax, and planned some great activities. I downloaded and printed the beautiful free masks available from Jan Brett, the kids only wore them for a short time, but they were super cute so we tried them out after the guests left.
|A Mouse Family Portrait|
I made a map of our yard and some clues to help the kids find the lost armor, shield, and sword of Martin. This was funny to watch as the kids were all so full of energy they forgot they had a map for half the quest and just ran around searching. I can also say from experience, make sure they will not find the clues in the wrong order, this makes it extra crazy! But they did manage to find all the pieces.
Next we let each of them have a turn shooting paint balls at Cluny the Scourge with a slingshot. I got these items from slingshotworld.com, they were great, inexpensive, shipped right on time, and everything was just what I wanted. The paintballs in particular are awesome, they were easy for the kids to use and washed up with warm soapy water. I made the target with a bed sheet, see this post for more details if you like. Here is what he looked like when we were done.
We had amazing weather, the gods smile on me sometimes, I asked for better than the forecasted 80% chance of snow, and we got sun! Unbelievable, sunny, sun on and off, all afternoon. But it was still cold, so after these outdoor activities it was time to head in for the feast and hot drinks. The kids came in to see hotroot shrimp soup, squirrel bakes, stuffed springtide mushrooms, a roast chicken, and potato chips arranged on the table. We gave them our best china to eat on and I played the serving wench bringing mint tea, mulled cider, and ginger ale. The dessert table had a raspberry trifle, nunny molers, and huge fresh strawberries with powdered sugar for dipping.
But all of this fun stuff just doesn't compare to the entertainment! I tracked down a local SCA member to come over and put on a demo of armored combat for us. These guys were AMAZING, I can't say enough about how great they were and how happy they made the kids (young and old). They showed off wonderful homemade armor and weapons used in Full Armored Combat games, and had a few bouts with each other. Then they let all the kids hit them a few times to see what that was like. They brought along the kid-safe stuff and let our guests whack away at each other (and the guys in armor played too). Seeing my husband crawling around our yard like his legs had been chopped off was wonderful! These guys even stuck around for photos with every single guest, and they are smiling in every one.
So why would I work so hard on a party for a 9-year-old, look at this face! Worth it.