Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pop Leads a Wonderful Pirate Craft Night

My husband and I LOVE babysitting nights – and so does our four year old grandson.  We both just enjoy being with Zach and whether we go to the nearby park playground, play in our yard or do indoor activities we always have a good time. 

On babysitting nights Zach usually arrives around 4:30 PM and is picked up by his parents before 9 PM.  So we have a good amount of time together and plan for various activities.  There is playtime before dinner, dinner, playtime, bath, winding down which may be reading, TV or more play before his parents arrive.  We have plenty of indoor and outdoor toys here so I am fine with just playing it by ear.  Zach and I also enjoy playing board games together.  But my husband is willing to put in lots of preparation time coming up with ideas for craft project and preparing materials in advance.  I have never been the crafty or creative type so I don’t do this.  I do, however, get to reap the benefits. 
This is the story of the very successful Pirate craft project.

Hugh got the idea for this craft project while watching Peppa Pig with Zach.  You can see the inspirational video for this project here:

On Peppa Pig - Danny’s Pirate Party – It features “Granddad Dog”

Hugh pre-made craft pieces for us to complete together - pirate hats, eye patches, swords and a flag. 
We covered the kitchen table with newspaper and had a glue fest decorating the hats and flag.  Zach colored his sword and said that I could do mine.  When I jokingly asked if I could decorate mine with hearts he said “Yes, you can make a girly one."  “Girly one?"  He is 4 and he has a view of what is “girly.”  Apparently that includes hearts.  Well I decided on hearts on one side and stars on the other.  That’s bubble wrap at the top of the sword – to make for a soft and safe hit.  We played with it until it was time for a bath and then he carried it upstairs – but I made him keep it in our bedroom and not take it in the bathroom.   After his bath he wore the pirate stuff and nothing else and continued “pirate play."

This is a great craft project for a grandfather to plan, prepare and lead.  He proudly showed his parents the whole ensemble when they arrived and he wanted to take it all home.  I got a small Bath and Body Works shopping bag and he loaded it with his pirate treasures to take home.

Pop get an a+ for a great idea and the preparation work he put into making this successful.  We were rewarded with big goodnight kisses as Zach left for home and we were ready to turn off our lights too.
Oh and by the way the cost for this evening of fun together was virtually nothing.  We had construction paper, markers, glue sticks, used bubble wrap and some scrap elastic in our rarely used sewing box.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

An Old Fashioned Backyard Birthday Party for Zach

 This weekend we hosted our grandson, Zach’s, fourth birthday party in our backyard.  Lots of fun, lots of work and well worth it.  Zach is in a large preschool class and it is common to invite almost all of the kids and of course at this age each comes with a parent.  Then there are the families you are friends with and have multiple kids.  The first guest list was ridiculously long and my daughter whittled it down to 20 kids and 20 adults including us.  We always had at home and backyard birthday parties for our kids but when they were this young it was just a few kids.  The boys invited just boys and girls invited just girls.  Times have changed.  Kids all play together and everyone gets invited.   This was many more than I had in mind but we prayed for good weather and hoped for the best.  No wonder so many birthday parties are at venues away from home.

Fran, Zach’s Mom had chosen a camping theme with Zach and she was in charge of planning, decorating and hosting.  Josh, Zach’s Dad, did lots of the heavy lifting with set up and clean up. Check out the cool camping theme decorations and light - and mostly fresh and nutritious snacks available at the beginning of the party.  Food – other than grilling was my job.

The kids could choose among free play with tents, pirate ship, swings, fish in a pool, etc. and craft projects.  One Mom organized games of Giant Steps and Duck, Duck, Goose.  

While Pop grilled 25 chicken legs, 20 hamburgers and 24 hot dogs.  That’s right -  in the sweltering heat.  He’s a saint and our hero.

It didn’t rain but it was 90 degrees. Fortunately, the other grandparents called the day before and offered this shade canopy tent.  It made all the difference as adults stayed there and kids came there to eat.

Zach’s other grandma is a cake decorator extraordinaire and she pulled out all the stops with this cake with the camping theme.  She had the whole campsite including 4 kids in sleeping bags, tent, campfire, trees, lake with fish, a bear and a deer.  The cake was outlined in rock shaped candy.

The kids and adults were equally impressed by this amazing cake.  Zach looked at the cake in awe (arms crossed) as we sang Happy Birthday.

Everyone had a great time and people lingered passed the end time.  Then the big cleanup – over two days!  On Saturday, we cleared the food, washed down everything and when it was dry put away tables we didn’t want to be out overnight.  On Sunday Fran and Josh cleaned up the rest and Zach showed off all his birthday gifts.

My husband and I were exhausted when it was over. Have you hosted a grandchild’s birthday party or plan to?  Please post in the comments and tell us all about it.