12 July 2010

And the winner is...

Wow, not a huge response but that only made the odds higher for the entries!  The winner is Jane!  Jane has good luck round these parts, it is the second giveaway she has won at My Many Colored Days!  Jane, look for an email from me. :) :) :)

08 July 2010

Bella Sara Giveaway!

You may have seen Bella Sara™ products make their debut last month at stores like Target and WalMart.  Their marketing manager, Johanna, contacted me about reviewing one of their products  - the Moonfairies card series.  Each card pack includes a secret code, that when activated at BellaSara.com, unlocks magical adventures for you to play.

Since I have an 11 year old daughter who loves this fantasy world type stuff as well as horses, I jumped right on it.  Adriana's review was that it was user friendly.  She thought the online game was "cool".  She liked being able to take care of her horse - brush it's mane, feed it.  And as I watched her play I thought back to the unicorns and pegasuses I was obsessed with when I was 8-10 years old.  And I would have LOVED this kind of thing!  Also, for what it is worth, it is a "safe" virtual environment for your child.  I worry about games where there are chat options and that kind of thing because anybody can pose as a kid on those sites and prey on your children.  We did not notice, or that at least was not a prevailing feature of the game.

More About Bella Sara™ (from the manufacturer)

Bella Sara™ is a magical world of horses where girls can expand their imaginations through play. Originally launched in Denmark by Gitte Odder Braendgaard, Bella Sara inspires and empowers girls with positive messages and the magic of North of North. First introduced to the North American market in 2007 by Hidden City Entertainment, Inc., Bella Sara quickly expanded into an international entertainment property. Since its introduction, Bella Sara has broadened its family of products from trading cards and a virtual world (BellaSara.com) to DVDs, toys, books, video games, arts and crafts, games and puzzles, apparel, and back-to-school items in the North American and international markets. Select Bella Sara products include secret codes that expand girls’ imaginations with play while unlocking a magical experience into the world of North of North. By entering secret codes at BellaSara.com, girls can discover the world through fun games, adventures, and adopting their own horse.
Bella Sara has given me one card pack to give away.  If you have a little girl that is into anything like this - Free Realms, the Warrior Cats book series (both of which my daughter also enjoys) - all you have to do is leave me a comment below and you will be entered to win one of these fun card packs!
Winner will be announced Monday, July 12!

05 July 2010

Pirate Birthday Party

Jonah is 8!  And this year's request was for a pirate party.  I've seen so many awesome ideas for this theme, so I was really excited to plan one of our own.  And the birthday boy and his friends had a blast!

Here is what the invitations looked like:

To make this simple message-in-a-bottle you will need plastic coke bottles, sand, jolly roger flag clip art (the image I used was found on google images - there are several varieties to choose from), scrap paper, raffia, a burning candle and either old document looking paper or just plain white paper.  Assembly is pretty simple... the invitation, which is rolled up inside of the bottle, looks like this:

I singed the edges with the flame from a candle.  The advantage to using a candle is no thumb cramps or burned fingers. :)  Roll up your invitation and secure with raffia (I used black).  Place in side of bottle - it should fit just right.  Then pour in a little sand.  Peel the coke label off the outside of the bottle and replace with your own.

Decorations were pretty simple.  This party was more about the action!  But I made a simple birthday banner using white cardstock and twine, and hung one of many jolly roger flags:

Here's the cake table.  My cake was so freaking cute and then it began to fall apart!  Before I'd even gotten a picture. :(  I think it was too moist because it just collapsed in the middle.  Anyway, I used whoppers for cannonballs, piroulines as a cannon and to border the top of the deck, a sugar wafer for the plank, bamboo skewers as flag posts and left over labels from the invitations as flags.  Around the base of the cake I poured gold and silver wrapped candy such as Hershey's treasures, rolos and gold wrapped dinner mints I found at Party City.  I added a plastic palm tree (which kept swaying to one side) and some crushed graham crackers to look like sand.  Other snacks were gold fish and gummy worms. 

I added a pirate map to the centerpiece, a leftover invitation, some red and white striped napkins and solid black and red plates, and taped simple streamers and a balloon to the back of each kids' chair.  Black balloons also scattered the floor.  Outside the periscopes were decorated on a table draped with a fisherman's net, and all their periscopes and supplies were in a cauldron.

We had a lot going on during the party, and as the sole photographer and planner I missed a few photo ops.    One of them being the first planned activity.  As people were arriving, the boys decorated periscopes outside.  I saved paper towel tubes (for weeks), covered one end in clear cellophane to simulate glass, and wrapped them in black and white striped wrapping paper.  Decorations included pirate stickers from party City.

I got the boys lined up with their finished product, though!

Next we all came back inside for pirate make-overs.  The boys got to choose whether they wanted a goatee or mustache (or both).  They also got eye patches, hoop earrings (both found in the $1 section at WalMart) and tattoos (matched the stickers from Party City).  Once they looked the part we taught them to act the part.  Big sister Adriana instructed them in Pirate-ese.  I printed this list of common translations off the Internet from www.coolest-kid-birthday-parties.com:

Ahoy, me hearties (Hello, my friends)
Thar she blows! (whale sighting)
Heave ho (give it some strength and muscle)
Buccaneer (a pirate)
Bucko (friend)
Swab the deck (clean the deck)
Savvy? (do you understand?)
Blow me down/Shiver me timbers! (expression of shock, disbelief or surprise)
Dead men tell no tales (leave no survivors)
Sea-dog (an experienced sea-man)
Avast! (Hey!)
Aye (yes)
Me (substitute for my)
Lookout (someone posted to keep watch on the horizon for signs of land or other ships)
Shark bait (enemies)
Grog (a pirate's drink of choice)
Grub (food)
Cap'n (short for "captain")
Sail ho! (I see a ship!)
Shipshape (well organized)
Booty (treasure or loot)
Jolly Roger (A pirate's flag, indicated by skull and crossbones)
Yo-ho-ho (just an expression)
Fair winds (goodbye or good luck)

The birthday boy:

Tattoos (purchased from Party City):

Now that the boys were all set in their roles as true pirates, it was time for a treasure hunt.  I got the ideas for the wording directly from a map I bought at Party City.

They started at the Stormy Seas, which was actually a wading pool they all had to walk through.

They arrived at Sea Dog City once they'd made their way through the pool, and found a clue that said:

"Seek out the shade of the Hall of 7 Fountains.  There you'll find which way to go to get the Broken Skull Mountains."

The Hall of 7 Fountains was just silly Daddy with a hose. ;)

They all ran under the spray and screamed with delight.  Then they saw a big arrow telling them which way to go to get to Broken Skull Mountains.  I wish I had a collection of halloween skulls to set out here.  It would have been fun for them to have to walk through.  Alas, I did not.  Skulls aren't my thing, but maybe this year I'll buy a couple for when and if I do this party theme again.

Next they came to a sign that said "Beware of savage scalliwags!"  At which point I was going to have some parents hang back and toss black water balloons at the kids from the porch.  I didn't get around to filling the water balloons, nor did any parents stay to help!  Lol!  But it would have been such a nice touch!  So if you use this idea, stay up and extra hour for me and pull this one off.  M'kay?

Beyond Broken Skull Mountains came the Valley of Eternal Rest, which was a just few sleeping bags lying on the ground. One of them had an old skeleton key hidden in it, and here was the clue as to why:

"Through the Broken Skull Mountains is the Valley of Eternal Rest.  You must find the key to open the chest."

Jonah posing in a sleeping bag:

Drew finds the key!

After finding the key the boys came to a sign that said (and this is so you can see what the signs looked like - they were inked around the edges with a black ink pad... I got tired of burning paper and setting off my fire alarms!):

The Dead Man's Bluffs was our big trampoline.  So the kids had to walk the perimeter of it.  

Next came a sign that read:

"When you reach the Isle of Plenty your journey's almost done... Take 40 paces north and face the setting sun.  You'll be close to a treasure once forgotten, now you're getting hot... this be the place where "X" marks the spot!"  And the treasure chest was hidden in a black garbage bag back in the corner of our yard.  Under the snack table or in our case the table where they decorated their periscopes would have been better, but that is not where Daddy put it. ;)

Inside the treasure chest, which was a styrofoam cooler covered in kraft paper and decorated to look like wood, was a goody bag for each friend that had a few gold plastic coins, a shark shaped water gun and compass inside.

The boys held onto their goody bags (which display a jolly roger flag on a toothpick!) and continued on to a pinata, where they then got to fill their bags with candy.

I got the pinata from Target.  I think it is so cute!

When you are an 8 year old boy, you tend to move quickly.  So - believe it or not - we got through all of this in about an hour.  *I* couldn't believe it.  I had planned for it to take up at least an hour and a half.  But it was just as well, because it began to rain shortly after we finished, and if we hadn't gone so quickly they'd have missed out on something for sure.  Blessing is disguise I suppose!  Because I'd have been a little miffed after putting in all the prep time I did just to accomplish half of what I'd planned for.

So we came inside after it started raining and sang happy birthday and blew out candles on the cake and all that, and turned on "Pirates of the Caribbean" for the remaining 30 minutes or so left over while Jonah opened his gifts.  They were totally happy with that so it all worked out fine!  Can't wait to do this one again!!!

This party has been linked up at C.R.A.F.T.'s MMM!


Stay tuned for a give away in the next few days!!!