Saturday, June 30, 2012

Alex's Camping Birthday Party

My sweet Alex turned 8 years old on June 23rd.

For Zach's 8th birthday, we had an all boy spend the night birthday party so for Alex I felt that I had to do the same thing for him . . . in all fairness.

His birthday actually fell on a Saturday this year so I decided to have his party on Saturday.  Most of the boys we were inviting go to church with us so my plan was to bring them to church the next morning and they could meet up with their parents there.

I suggested a camping theme for his party and Alex was all for it!  I found lots of cute ideas for camping parties on pinterest. 

I decided that camping outside in tents would probably not work for me . . . I'm not much into sleeping on the ground . . . so I set up one of those tailgating tents in our living room.  We have a 10-foot ceiling in the living room so I had enough room to set it up.  It was a lot bigger than I thought . . . it took up almost the entire room!  I had to stash chairs and loveseat couches all over the house to make room for it   :)

I pinned sheets all around it and hung some flipflop lights on the inside . . . The boys loved it!  Especially Shane (the dinosaur)!  I put a green tarp on the floor to cover the carpet and put the boys sleeping bags in it.  The first step to creating "Camp Alex" was completed.  It was pretty cool -- and not too much trouble.  ;-)

I wanted to do this party on the cheap side . . . I'm not working this summer . . . staying home with the Ferrell boys which is great . . . it just doesn't pay as well as a real job.

Since Alex's birthday falls in the middlle of summer, he always has a swimming party.  So getting the pool set up became a major goal for me.  Unfortunately, Dave was working 12 hour days in the midst of a shut-down at work.  We had taken the pool down last year because it was too close to the house and was terribly unlevel. 

Luckily my parents were willing to help me out.  We had to get the new pool site level.  I have never done anything like that before, so I had to rely on my daddy's instructions.

He and Dave used a tractor to get the ground semi-level.  Then I used a tiller to break up the ground and then a rake to move the dirt in an effort to get it level using a 2x4 as a guide.

After much toil and sweat . . . the ground was level enough for my daddy's expectations.  We then proceeded to set the pool up.

Don't you just love the hat I have on my head!  The sun was killing me so I had to get some kind of protection.  After getting all the sides up on the pool, my momma got inside to spread the liner smooth.

 With my parents' help, the pool was set up and ready to be filled for Alex's party.  Whew!  Another item could be checked off my list!  I just wish there was some grass around the pool . . . :/

 Of course, I had to let the boys get in the pool to verify that it was acceptable for the party.  They couldn't wait for it to get filled up before they started begging to get in it!

I found some very cute  camping invitations on etsy by Amanda's Parties To Go.

I sent her the information and within an hour I had the invitations in my email inbox.  Awesome!   I also purchased the happy camper printables set from her too.

My daddy cut some bamboo poles from his backyard and made walking sticks for the boys  . . . for when we go on a hike . . . during camp. . . I added the bandanas (left over from Shane's cowboy birthday party). 

The boys loved the walking sticks and I loved how much they cost . . . $ 0.00 !

I also made each of the boys a pull-string back pack for hiking.  I had the blue canvas material packed up in my material stash, and I found directions for making the backpacks online here.  I bought the grommets ($4) and the nylon rope ($4) and Voila!  another party favor made on the cheap!  I added each of the boys' first initial to the backpacks using Wonderunder stuff (love it!). 

 Each boy got a flashlight ($4/piece) and a cheap magnetic compass (a dozen for $5.95).  The flashlights were the most expensive item I purchased for the party, but since we invited only 4 boys, I felt like I could splurge on the flashlights.

The boys loved the backpacks and flashlights!  One of the boys told me the backpacks were cool . . . :)

I try to make all my boys' birthday cakes.  I enjoy doing it and it seems to make their birthday more special for them when I make their cakes.

Alex found a cake online that he liked, and I tried to copy it as best as I could. 

 Alex loved the cake!  I decorated it after all the Ferrell boys went to bed so Alex didn't know I had finished it.  He was so thrilled when he saw it.  Alex added the howling coyote and elk to the cake.  I wasn't going to put them on it because they are so much bigger than the tent and trees, but he wanted them on there.  It was his birthday cake afterall, so I let him add them.  I used tootsie rolls for the beaver's logs . . . I was told by some people that the tootsie rolls looked like another kind of log . . . :/

If you notice the cute camping signs in the pictures, I got them as a part of the happy camper printables set.  I just loved that extra special touch they gave to the party.

I also made cupcakes and brownies for the boys.  I also had all the fixins needed for making S'mores!

I just love the cupcake toppers and cupcake wrappers!  I used the cupcake stand I made for Shane's birthday party to display the cupcakes.  The pattern and instructions for making the cupcake stand came from Martha Stewart and can be found here.  I added some woodland creatures and little trees. . . . .

The boys really loved the dessert table . . . and the freedom to indulge in the sweets . . . I may have given additional job security to a few dentists with this party. . .

The boys enjoyed hours of fun in the swimming pool.

Alex enjoyed receiving his birthday presents.  Dave surprised him with a touchscreen tablet.  But before giving him his real present, Dave first gave him a used knife.  Used because I think it really belonged to Dave.

Alex was so happy with the knife . . . he hugged Dave and told him it was exactly what he wanted!  Alex is so sweet!

Alex's sweet reaction to the knife really warmed Dave's heart.  Alex had asked for an iPad for his birthday so Dave was testing him with this pretend present.  Dave is sneaky like that.  It made giving Alex the cheaper version of the iPad so much more fun!

He was so excited with the tablet.  Dave had loaded some games on there for him and Alex loved it!

The boys took a break from swimming for ice cream and cake.

Happy Birthday To You!  Happy Birthday To You! 
Happy Birthday Dear Alex . . .

Aunt Penny (Dave's sister) came to the party and spent the night.  She gave Alex the perfect gift for a camping birthday party . . . a sleeping bag!

And it's blue . . . Alex's favorite color!

 But Penny didn't stop with just one gift . . . she also gave him some army men and a Nerf Super Soaker Water Gun!

If you've noticed the Christmas lights hanging down from the top of the patio . . . it's part of my decorating scheme . . .

As you can see . . . I didn't do a lot of decorating.  The boys loved the Christmas lights especially after it got dark . . . and if you've ever been camping at a campground . . . Christmas lights aren't that uncommon.  lol!

After the boys tired of swimming, they quickly gathered up some firewood and bricks and set up a great campfire.

It was as I was taking these pictures that I noticed that Alex had put on some pajamas and also noticed that several boys were gathering wood in bare feet! 

I made them go inside and get properly dressed!

They put on their "hiking" clothes and shoes and prepared for a nature hike. But unfortunately, the sun didn't wait on the boys and it started getting dark . . .

So Aunt Penny and I took the boys on a nature scavenger hunt. . . in the dark! 

The scavenger hunt tags came as a part of the happy campers printable set.  The boys loved it.   The boys had to use their flashlights to find the items on their list.  We divided up into 2 teams and worked together to find all the items . . . things like a pinecone, a large blade of grass, a piece of bark . . .  Fun Stuff!  The boys loved it and hunting in the dark with flashlights was especially fun!

By the way, Dave had to work the night of Alex's birthday party.  He couldn't get off.  I asked one of my friends at church to help me with the party and she generously agreed to come to the party AND spend the night!  Thanks to Myra and Aunt Penny I was able to survive the party!  I couldn't have done it without them . . . that's for sure!

Myra and Aunt Penny helped the boys roast hotdogs while I grilled hamburgers.

It was so funny to me . . . all of the boys roasted hotdogs but most of them didn't eat them!  They wanted the fun of roasting the wieners, but they didn't want to eat them!  They wanted hamburgers to eat!  Too funny! 

After eating hamburgers and hotdogs, the boys gathered up the ingredients for making S'mores and proceeded to catch several marshmallows on fire! 

Then it was off to bed for all the campers. . . . into the super cool indoor tent I had set up!  Aunt Penny made each camper draw a number to determine where each boy would sleep.  There was a little issue with who was going to get to sleep where . . . :)

Luckily Aunt Penny was able to get everyone situated . . .

The next morning, I cooked a yummy campers' breakfast of cinnamon rolls, bacon, and Pioneer Woman's egg-in-a-hole.  See my earlier post on this delicious recipe.

Part of the happy camper printables set was camping badges the boys could earn by their activities while at "Camp Alex".  When I handed out the badges the boys had earned, they were all disappointed that they hadn't earned a craft badge.  But we ran out of time!  Because I hate to disappoint sweet little boys, I pulled out the planned craft activity.  We certainly had a little time before church to make a camp bracelet!

The boys had fun making the bracelets and earning their craft badges! 

After breakfast and crafting, it was time to load the boys up and head off to church.  We received several sympathetic smiles from our fellow church goers when they saw us walk in with the boys!  However they behaved excellently in church and they all went to Sunday School before going each to their respective homes! 

Alex said it was the best birthday party ever!  It made my hard work and planning for it worthwhile! 

Happy Birthday Alex from . . .

                     the Ferrell Boys and me!