Sunday, October 9, 2011

A knight like no other

Sam celebrated his 7th birthday today with all the boys in his class. The four boys get along so well together - nobody gets left out and they truly enjoy being together.  It's a good thing since they are outnumbered by the ten girls in the class! Sammy settled on a castle theme a few weeks ago so I did what I do every year, I Google until I find all the elements I need to pull off the party of their dreams.

I'm lucky that they are easy to please because there isn't often much to be found in the theme they choose! In hopes of helping out anyone out there who decides on a castle theme for their child's next birthday, I've put together some collages of today's festivities. Be sure to click on the collages to make them bigger. (You can click on the BIRTHDAY label on the sidebar for more information on party themes from other years.) Julia also chose a castle themed birthday party so a recap of her special day is up next. 

Invites: (text found on an unknown website) In honor of his birthday, Prince BrotherBear decrees the 9th of October an official holiday.  To celebrate, all knights are invited to join him for an afternoon of merriment at his castle, at the stroke of one. Please RSVP to the king or queen by the 3rd of October.

We typed the invites on parchment looking paper, tied it with a red ribbon and hand delivered them at school. 

The tunics the boys wore were made for $2 a piece by using 2 yards of felt & one spool of ribbon for the ties. One yard of fabric can be cut in half and provides the perfect size tunic for 6-7 year olds. I have a large supply of felt pieces from other projects so I had Sam pick out colors and a design for the good guys and the bad guys.  Once they each had their tunics on it was time to...

Decorate A Shield.

PapaBear free-handed the design they chose from printouts I got from this website and then the kids decorated them with marker and glitter stars. The kids took this task very seriously and if I could do it again I would have had Sam take the papers to school and have the kids pick their design ahead of time so they could start decorating right away instead of waiting for their drawing. 

The shields are made from heavy duty cardboard I picked up from a business that had a huge bundle sitting out in their recycling dumpster. We spray painted them grey and then used duct tape to create handles on the back.

Then it was time for a scavenger hunt!
Clues on red paper for the red team and clues on blue paper for the blue team. The clues took them around our yard until the final clue brought them to the hammocks where we had hid a swords for each of them.  October birthday parties have the advantage of a huge supply of props because of Halloween costumes readily available. I bought plastic swords at Walmart for $2.97 a piece.  They were a hit! (Believe it or not, nobody actually got hit with them!!)

After the scavenger hunt we served snacks on the porch. The party was from 1-3 so we didn't have to worry about a meal. I kept it simple - pretzel rods (swords) graham crackers (shields) cheese cubes (fireballs) grapes (more ammo) and juice pouches.

We did dragon egg races next. I put 1 dino fruit snack in an egg for each relay team. If the egg fell off the spoon they had to make sure the baby dragon didn't fall out of the egg and continue on their way. Queen Julia handed out a pack of 'baby dragons' after everyone had a turn raising to the hammock and back.

What knight birthday party would be complete without a catapult? I searched and searched for an easy design for building a catapult and finally landed on this one because it was easy for me to get the supplies to make it. Only it didn't work. Good thing we started a week ahead of time gluing them together! After many failed attempts and building a catapult that wouldn't break after one minute PapaBear came up with this design.

The kids personalized them and then went to battle. Soon a bag full of stale marshmallows littered our front lawn.

Before we ran out of time we sang happy birthday to Sam, ate some castle cake, and opened gifts. Sam LOVED the glow in the dark football, car with a missile launcher, and the dinosaurs/dragon he received from his friends.

The cake really deserves a post of its own, but I'll try to summarize as best as I can all that I learned about cake decorating this week. Inspiration for the cake came from here. I know I'll be looking back at this post next year when I'm trying to remember what exactly to do to NOT want to pull my hair out during the assembly/decorating part.

First let me be very clear. We use boxed cake mixes. I'm not ashamed to admit that. Not one bit! French Vanilla flavored is YUMMY and SO moist!

Timeline for preparing a cake for a birthday party:
Days in advance - bake the cake layers, cool, cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer

12-24 hours before the party - remove cake layers from freezer. Keep plastic wrap on until cakes have thawed.

Trim and level cake once cakes have come to room temp.

Add crumb coat (a slightly thinned version of buttercream*) and let/set dry UNCOVERED

Buttercream can be left on the counter, covered well, for 12-24 hours ahead of time. A few hours before the party add final layer of buttercream and decorate with embellishments.

*Easy Buttercream recipe

4cups sifted powered sugar
1/2 cup room temp unsalted butter
1/2 cup Crisco (not buttered flavered)
3T milk
1t vanilla

beat until creamy. This makes about 3 cups of frosting. I use a big bowl so I can make one batch and then add the ingredients for a second batch right on top and then mix them both together. This is important if you plan to tint the frosting so all your frosting is the same color.

Ok, back to the party....
I was so proud of the boys for including Julia during their playtime! Everyone left after 2 hours of fun with their shields, catapults, and their tunics. I had so much fun planning and putting together this party! I wonder what theme the kids will choose next year?

Keywords:  Castle Themed Birthday Party, Knight Birthday Party, Castle Party, Castle Cake, How to make a castle birthday cake, Medieval Birthday Party Theme,

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1 comment:

  1. Another successful party. It looks like everyone was having fun. What great memories he will have.


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