Whew, I pulled it off – Another fabulous combined birthday party! I keep thinking that this will be the year that we will have to have two separate birthday parties. I mean, really it’s amazing that I have been able to do it 8 years! First year was a Beach Birthday Bash. We had my parents, my in-laws, my SIL, my sister + her family and her in-laws all together in Gulf Shores. It was amazing! 2nd year birthday was in Tuscaloosa at Jump Zone. 3rd year birthday was at Chuck E Cheese. 4th year birthday at Build a Bear. 5th year birthday supposed to be at Alabama Adventures, but got rained out and went bowling instead. 6th year birthday at the pool. 7th year birthday at Wilderness at the Smokies. So, we’ve been lucky. Lucky in that most of those parties didn’t involve lots of prep and pressure on me, the Party Queen!!! No pressure actually, it’s just a bunch of 8 year olds, right? Nine 8 year olds to be exact. Spending the night, here in our back yard. I revel in that kind of pressure, call me crazy if you wish. I just want birthdays to be looked back on years in the future with fond memories!!
I spent the week before the party planning the food and decorations. I can’t throw a party without a themed plan. This one was obviously a camping theme. The invitations were first up. I made a tent with rolled flaps, the Camp Anderson title on it and then the pertinent details on the inside. The funny part was when I was trying to write those pertinent details and get them perfectly spaced, I somehow left out the ‘E’ in Anderson. Lael saw that and decided that she would write the pertinent details on her invitations. I added a Camp Anderson banner to welcome everyone along with a Sign in station where the kids signed in with their real names, received their camp names, their flashlights, bandanas, cups and glow sticks. Lael helped me with the camp names. We had Laughing Striped Zebra, Running Wild Tiger etc. Some of the kids really got into the names, others were not so thrilled with theirs! Their flashlights and cups had their names on them and the plan was for them to use them all through the day/night. That plan didn’t work out perfectly, but I tried! Those were their party favors and I tied them up into the cutest little hobo packs for them to toss over their shoulder to take home. The food consisted of Dirt Cups with gummy worms, Campcorn, Campfire cupcakes and Bug Juice. They were not all that excited abut the Dirt Cups, I don’t know if it was the dirt or the worms that threw them off. The Bug Juice though was gone as quick as lightning!
For the actual party, I started off by trying to think of things to keep them busy. I came up with several group games that included a Relay Race through the Sleeping Bag Forest, Egg Spoon Race, Balloon Pop, Lifesaver Relay and a Silly String War. You can guess which game was their favorite!! Next I had to toss in a few crafty things, like tie-dyed t-shirts and Bottlecap necklaces. I was surprised that the boys were into the necklaces!! Both the boys and girls had equally dyed hands from making the t-shirts!
I also made them work for their dinner – we made Hobo Chicken. They each made up their own foil packets of food and placed them on the fire. It smelled delicious cooking. We might have overestimated the time needed to cook though, some packets came out a bit scorched. We ended the night by roasting marshmallows over the fire pit and NOT telling ghost stories. The girls were in their tent all crowded up into a bunch, the boys were in their tent, nicely spaced out. Apparently if you are an 8 year old boy you shouldn’t touch another boy at any point while sleeping. Todd and I had our own tent. Also surprising was the noise level in the boys tent was higher than the girls tent! Go figure! All in all, I think it was an amazing success. I hope that Camp Anderson will be a birthday for them to remember.