Mr. C told me awhile ago that he thought a Boot Camp theme would be fun for his tenth birthday. I agreed and set out directly to plan it...for that is what I love to do.
I wanted to incorporate the "I Want You" poster for his invitation and to base the decorations around. The ladies from Paging Supermom designed the invites for me (and all the printables) and they turned out just like in my dreams. They were completed with envelope wraps that read, "Deployment Orders" and "Open Immediately". Kraft envelopes would have looked awesome, however I already had large cream envelopes on hand and couldn't justify spending the extra cash...because I like to be as cheap as possible and use what I already have or can make.
For decor and food, I used the flag, camouflage and green. I wanted a vintage feel (as I always do, I suppose), so I gathered old buckets, bins and crates as well as a collection of old pie tins for plates (I've been buying them for months at thrift stores). I love the old-school glass bottles of Sprite and also the teeny little cans, so I bought some of both thinking the small cans would be good for the boys. I also bought Pringles because they are green, plus they have that vintage labeling like I wanted. I used tin cans covered with twine and patriotic ribbon for the utensil holders and my knock-off Pottery Barn cupcake stand that I made for this very purpose. Q and I assembled cups of strawberries and green grapes so they could have a little fruit goodness. And we had Sloppy GI Joes for our main course. Mr. C thought it was so very funny even though he doesn't know who GI Joe is.
I made cupcakes in foil liners to match the rest of the aluminum elements and just topped them with dirt (brown sugar), army men and toothpick flags that I got at the party store. I wanted them to be very rugged and not frilly at all...just cake with dirt and army guys. Tough. That is... if cupcakes can be tough. Tough Cupcake is probably the biggest oxymoron there is.
I made some cute cupcakes for me just because I like cute cupcakes.
After all the boys arrived, and Mr. C distributed their personalized dog tags, I gathered them together, handed out Obstacle Course Maps and filled them in on the course (I may have spent a good portion of one afternoon drawing my precious map in Photoshop and may have got quite the kick out of it). Then we set the timer and watched them go. It was a riot. They were bound and determined to be fast and furious (I took most of the pictures after the fact when they weren't in such a hurry). My favorite part was the jumping jacks on the trampoline. Have you ever tried to do jumping jacks on a trampoline? Ten to be exact..and do it fast? Apparently it is difficult. Plus it's super funny to watch. Mr. C and one friend were totally disjointed with limbs going every which way and doing nothing whatsoever resembling a jumping jack. Miss B did the teeniest jumping jacks you have ever seen, barely reaching her hands above her shoulders and jumping about 2 inches off the tramp in order to be super speedy. Dennis did perfect jumping jacks and in slow motion, while smiling. It was very humorous. There were all sorts of hoots and hollers as the boys maneuvered the course. The whole event was a riot. Boys are hysterical.
I made the obstacle course out of things I already had or borrowed from friends. It was a fun challenge to come up with enough ideas to keep the boys entertained. I am happy with how it turned out. They had to climb under things, jump over more things, run through tires, climb up and over a ladder, pull a heavy wheelbarrow full of bricks, etc.
A friend gave me a long half-of-a-box and I couldn't figure out what to do with it because my original plan had been to use large boxes as tunnels. I decided (by accident) to lay boards across it and have them step between each board. It ended up being pretty tricky and slowed them down a lot.
After the obstacle course (and during), the boys ate. And ate. And ate. Apparently boys eat more when they get bigger. The term "Mess Hall" became very fitting after a few short minutes. I had a bucket of apples on the table, mostly for decoration, but they EACH ate one whole apple, a large cup of fruit, a giant Sloppy GI Joe, some Pringles, a small can of Sprite and, AND a cupcake and ice cream. I loved it. Usually I have lots of food and they just pick at it. But not this time.
They also had an epic burping contest...in true boy fashion.
After eating, I let them run around and play with water balloons (grenades) for a bit and then we broke out the marshmallow guns that Q and I made, along with their ammo and they went to town. Also, I finally remembered to pass out their bandannas...that I almost completely forgot about. In no time at all, marshmallows dotted the back yard. It was good times. I loved watching them reconfigure their guns into different arrangements such as missile launchers, etc. Creativity abounded.
I have an authentic ammo box so it was only fitting that it housed the "ammo".
I sent them home with medals (stickers) for various accomplishments, ie. Biggest Burp, Fastest Time, Most Creative Way to Pull the Wheelbarrow, etc. I had plans to print out certificates, but ran out of time and just told them what their award was for as I stuck their medal on them, handed them their tiny take-out boxes full of army men and camo bouncy balls and made sure they had their bandannas, marshmallow guns and dog tags. Phew. After everyone was gone, we discussed the party and Mr. C told me how awesome it was because they just got to play and have fun. And I silently patted myself on the back because that is just how I planned it and I love it when things go the way I plan.
The Free Boot Camp Party Pack comes with:
"I Want You" Birthday Invitation
Boot Camp Birthday Banner
Mess Hall Sign