Monday, September 30, 2013

Jackson's 3rd Birthday - September 2013

We celebrated Jackson's 3rd birthday with friends and family the second weekend in September. Jackson chose a Knight theme and I found this super cute dragon cake on Pinterest that I thought I could handle making. Thank you to everyone who helped make Jackson's day special! :)

 Grammy made "dragon" sugar cookies and I found castle/knight Pepperidge farm cookies to match our theme as well.
 To compliment our Medieval theme we had all finger food. We had baked cheesy dragon legs (chicken legs), dragon eggs (specially died deviled eggs) and watermelon among some other less creative food. :)
Jackson requested red dragon juice (fruit punch) to match his red dragon cake
 Grammy sorting gems for our princesses to decorate their crowns with
 The girls decorated princess crowns as well as bags for collecting goodies on Sir Jackson's Quest
The boys decorated shields in order to become knights. Here is "Mr. Frank" with Uncle Dan.
 Jackson decided he didn't want to participate in the craft activities and opted for playing with the new Imaginext ( toys he had received from us and Grammy & Grand-Dad earlier in the day.

 After all the kids arrived and had an opportunity to finish decorating their crowns, shields and bags we began "Sir Jackson's Quest." Tim spent quite a bit of time (I was so impressed with him!) coming up with the clever clues (included below) and this was a super fun activity! We began with finding a chest of swords and scepters to help our knights and princesses on their way.  
 The big girls took turns reading the clues
 And away our fearless crew goes to find the next clue!
 Tim did a great job of getting the kids to look all over the house and yard including Ring Pops in the mailbox.

While we had multiple clues we ended with the "Dragon's Hoard" (obviously guarded by a fierce dragon) where the kids found dragon eggs with money, jewelry and other fun goodies to fill their bags with.
The poor dragon's lair was thoroughly raided!
Next our knights and fair ladies took part in a "Jousting" event where they took turns participating or cheering from their respective castle (we had a blue and red team) for their hero or heroine.

  The object was to hit the red star with the sword while galloping on your horse towards your opponent

  We finished our activities with a "Water Balloon Seige" of the castles. I was definitely channeling my inner Aunt Jolene and Aunt Arla by the time I decided it was necessary to sort through 1500 water balloons to pull out the reds for the Red Castle and blues for the Blue Castle. You can see a video clip of our siege thanks to Grand-Dad at the following link on YouTube: or just enjoy a few more birthday pictures of our battle. :)
 The brave Red team ready for battle!
 The ferocious Blues were ready to go too! :)
 The kids loved this and it turned out better than we even thought as they truly used the castles (made of boxes and then painted) as a base and place to regroup. We may have had a little confusion and couple of defectors but fun was most definitely had by all! :)

 Jackson was a little uncertain about getting in the thick of things to begin with but decided it looked like too good a time to be left out for long! :)

 Miss McKinley hung out with her birthday buddy, Lauren, during the festivities :) 
After the games and dinner (which I just realized I posted in reverse order of which they occurred) we were ready to sing "Happy Birthday" and enjoy Sir Jackson's b-day cake! :) Thanks again to Grand-Dad for the video which can also be viewed on YouTube:

 Missy K was very hungry for cake and ice cream!
 We didn't manage to get through the gifts before our guests had to leave but we did get to a couple. Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Dan gave Jackson an awesome indoor castle sandbox he can play with while we do school work. He has been loving this and I will include pics in a future post. The Veloudis' gave Jackson a Dragon Slayer outfit along with knight toys which Jackson also loves!
 The Hesslers gave Jackson a super fun bathtub toy for Hot Wheel Cars. We are all about cars here so I told Amy the only problem with this gift was we didn't have 3 of them to avoid fights in the bathtub! lol :) We have more pics of fabulous birthday gifts that I will do my best to post soon. Thank you to everyone for all the wonderful gifts and for making Jackson's day so special!
 Jackson ran out of steam pretty quickly into the gift wrapping and just fell asleep on Daddy's shoulder. It is hard work turning 3 and being a Birthday Knight!!! :) 
Thank you to everyone (especially Grammy and Grand-Dad who helped get everything together and ready for the party) for such a fun 3rd birthday for Jackson! :)
For those of you who might be interested, here were our Quest clues. Tim made sure to match the clues up with whatever treasure they were finding at the next stop. To show his cleverness, I've added the treasures in parentheses at the end of each clue but they obviously weren't there for the kids to read. Thank you so much to my amazing husband!
Sir Jackson’s Quest
(1)       Before the group can start its quest, first find the weapons that suits you best -- look in Jackson’s chest! (swords and scepters outside Jackson's bedroom)
(2)      Weapons alone won’t win the day, you’ll need brains to find the way – go to the room where music plays!   The place you sit is where the party, will find a treat to make you a smarty !  (Smarties candy by the piano)
(3)       Now that you are thinking better, search the box where you would get a letter.  It doesn’t matter which one you pick, just make sure you do it quick -- its magic protects you from the dragon’s trick! (Ring Pops in the mailbox)     

(4)       You truly are a royal bunch, but miss a clue and you are dragon lunch!  You must dig beneath the sand, if you want to save the land.  (pencils in the sandbox)

(5)       With these things you can make a map and avoid the dragon’s trap.  Seek out the garden - behind the wire, eating this potion is like breathing fire! (Pop Rocks hidden in the garden)

(6)       You are powered up and near his lair, but that dragon does not play fair!  You will need a crystal ball to beat the dragon for once and all.  Seek it out where you jump high and give the final riddle one last try. (balls that light up when bounced on the trampoline)

(7)      Bounce the ball to make it light, the dragon’s cave is as dark as night.  If you’re ready to find his lair, look behind the nearby rocking chair! (M&M's behind our glider/rocker) 

(8)      Grab a treat quickly, you’ll have to race, to find the dragon’s hiding place.  Climb the ladder or the slide and you might find where the dragon hides! (miscellaneous things hidden on the swing set under the inflatable dragon)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Celtic Warriors

We had a lot of fun learning about Britain's Celtic people. We traded in our positions in the Roman Army and changed sides as we became Celts who overthrew the Romans and expelled them from Britain. At the end of the week we decided to paint ourselves blue and have a reenactment of our own. :)

 Of course my warriors needed some Celtic Double-Headed War Axe's so we followed the instructions in our Story of the World Activity Book. We started by cutting out the template and then making duplicates so we had enough axe heads.
 We glued the paper axe heads on cardboard before cutting it out again and using tin foil to make the axe heads look more realistic.
 For our axe handles we used wrapping paper tubes and painted them brown to replicate a wood look.
 My smallest Celtic Warrior with completed Double-Headed War Axe
  Another fierce Celtic Warrior
 Reagan really wanted to be authentic and be ENTIRELY blue (although we had read they painted swirls for their magical powers so I'm not sure who was more authentic). From what we read the Celts were also completely naked so Reagan was disappointed when I insisted on at least wearing underwear (I tried to convince them to wear blue leotards but that was completely unacceptable because they also had red on them...). While the Celts were already tall they stood their hair on end to look even bigger and wilder so we did our best to accomplish some crazy hair for Miss Reagan. Here she is ready for battle with her fiercest look!
 We decided to pretend Daddy was the invading Roman Army so we hid in the garage and waited for him to try and land on British soil.
 Daddy was pretty surprised by this Celtic attack!
 All three of my Celtic Warriors with War Axes

 Grammy and Grand-Dad were also treated as invading Romans. We painted McKinley's nose blue so she could participate too. :) She may not be quite as fierce as her three big sibs yet, but I have a feeling it won't be long until she is just as wild and crazy! :)
This was such a fun week and project. The kids loved becoming Celtic warriors! As far as a book recommendation they really enjoyed reading about Beowulf. There were a couple of different options and I can't remember what our favorite was. One suggested reading was "Beowulf the Warrior" by Ian Serraillier (Ignatius Press, 1997).