a peek inside the fishbowl

20 May, 2007

I think we deserve the party of the year award

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Photography

Emma's party

 1. Closeup of a clue, 2. Emma did well at the “dangling donuts” game, 3. Sarah, 4. Reading a clue for the scavenger hunt, 5. … and it all lead to this!, 6. Another view of the cake, 7. Emma’s plate, 8. Opening of the gifts, 9. Digging to find the clue

You can view the whole set on flickr here.

The truth came out as the kids happily ate their pirate cake.

“This was so much fun!”

“This was the Best Party EVER!”

“You know, I wasn’t sure if I really liked pirates very much, but now I do!”

Here’s what we did:

1) Visit the “armory” (the picnic table in our backyard) to make our own balloon swords and get tattooed. After the tattooing, each pirate also had to go through the traditional ritual of eating a pair of bloody dead lips (gummy hot lips) in order to become a true pirate. They all passed with flying colours, although a few didn’t like the gummy lips and deposited them in our compost bin. I’m sure real pirates did that sometimes too.

2) Then they had to walk the plank over snake-infested water to earn their eyepatch and mustache. (This was actually a 2 x 4 across two stumps with plush critters sprinkled underneath.) I am pleased to report no one fell to their death, despite the large number of flip-flop/croc-wearing pirate trainees.

3) Being a pirate isn’t easy. They have to work for their food. To illustrate this point we strung donuts to our lilac tree and had them try to eat them without using their hands.

4) Cannonball toss a.k.a. water balloons.

5) Pizza lunch. Squid bits & chips. Crocodile blood and seaweed juice to drink.

6) The treasure hunt.

This was the best part of the party.

Mark had designed the clues and printed them out, I aged them with a teabag and a candle and stuck them in bottles, and he hid them the morning of the party.

We had them running: to the mailbox, to the park up the street, back home again to climb a tree, to a friend’s backyard one block over, fishing in our rain barrel, digging in our leaf-compost, which eventually lead them to our garage. The treasure, which contained all of their loot bags, was strung up to the ceiling.

The kids were positively electric with excitement the whole time. Getting them running was a great idea. And they took turns reading the clues, which was sweet.

When they were done I was on my way to the kitchen to get the cake when I heard all of them shrieking “my fingers are stuck – my fingers are stuck!” This was the result of them all using the finger traps at the same time. It would have made a good photo, wouldn’t it? Ah well.

The cake was a big hit, which was a relief. I made it myself because I wanted to save some $$. It might have cost me more than a store-bought cake, what with the Playmobile and the over abundance of swedish fish I bought at the Bulk Barn. *sigh*

Anyway, I am glad it was a bit hit. I am also glad it’s over. As we picked up the last of the wrappings and the ribbons I realized how tired I was. Mark watched the hockey. I spent the rest of the afternoon drinking coffee and reading the paper in the backyard… a great way to end a great day.

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4 Responses to "I think we deserve the party of the year award"

1 | Hillary

May 20th, 2007 at 10:20 am


Will you plan MY next birthday party??? ;)

2 | a happier girl

May 20th, 2007 at 2:10 pm


Oh. My. Word. Was there anything you didn’t think off? I love the candles sticking out the side of the cake like cannons.

3 | andrea

May 20th, 2007 at 9:06 pm


It was fun. And I don’t think I have many superduper kid party ideas left. When do they start having sleepovers and watching scary movies?

4 | BeachMama

May 21st, 2007 at 6:11 pm


Wow, you did such a great job! I want to do a pirate party now, one day maybe.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). During the day I work as a writer at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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