We told our children that themed parties would end at age 8, but we had to make an exception for Jack’s 11th.
Jack is almost as big a Harry Potter fan as his parents. He’s read the entire series almost twice through and loves the movies. So, naturally, Corey and I planned a surprise party for him this year. After all, “It’s not every day yer young man turns eleven!”
Jack actually brought up the fact that he was turning eleven and that if he were magic he’d be receiving his invitation to Hogwarts (well… Ilvermorny actually, but he didn’t know that because he’s just ALMOST as big a fan as his parents). I played it cool like “Oh yeah? I had forgotten about that. Hmmm.” The Saturday morning before his birthday Dad went to get the mail and found two special invitations for our eldest boys, and a package from Aunt Dee Dee with an awesome Gryffindor scarf! Corey made the invites from Dumbledore and I delivered them to his friends earlier in the week. To keep it a secret we had the parents all give the invites to their children that morning in similar fashion. I wonder if any of them were as confused by it as Jack was? He thought the card was awesome, particularly the wax seal, but he just thought someone sent it to him as a birthday card. It took us a few minutes before we realized he hadn’t got it. When we explained we were throwing him a party… and that it was happening that afternoon… and that it was Harry Potter themed… and that his friends were all coming…he flipped!
Activity no.1 at the party: Quidditch Practice! Corey made a “Quidditch Cannon,” (air compressed cannon made out of pvc pipe and a ball valve) to launch Snitches (also made by Corey…ping pong balls spray-painted gold and embellished with gold sharpie so they really looked the part) for the boys to catch.
Corey launched them at the kids in our long backyard and they showed off their Seeker skills.
Corey let the kids have a go launching the snitches too:Dorothy was so excited by the cannon! She loved watching the snitches fly and loading the snitches back in after they had been caught. Daddy helped her launch a few too.
While it has nothing to do with Jack’s birthday I couldn’t resist inserting a picture of her gorgeous golden curls in this collage. My other favorite pic is the bottom right. We have to be pretty careful around that curious girl!Activity no. 2: Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Bean Challenge. Disgusting, but fun!Don’t worry, we didn’t let the horrible flavors sit in their mouths for too long. Immediately following the gross-out challenge we sang to Jack and partook of my biggest contributions to the birthday party, Chocolate Frogs (I got a mold and made them dark chocolate with caramel and pecan centers) and Butterbeer Cake. I’m not going to lie, this cake was good. It was a double layered Butterscotch Cake with Browned Butter Frosting (I’ve never browned butter before… it was fun!) and a Spiced Molasses Drizzle. It was incredibly rich and tasted exactly as I imagined Butterbeer would taste… only in cake form! Success!Activity no. 3: A trip to Diagon Alley for wands! Corey is the coolest. The. Coolest. He made these wands for each of the kids coming to the party and for each member of our family. The cards beneath detail the wands wood, length, core and pliability. Birch, Black Ash, Oak, Cedar, Willow…Pheonix Feather, Unicorn Hair, Dragon Heart String, Veela Hair… Swishy, Springy, Rigid… etc. He thought of everything!The kids loved them. See the bottom left pic? That’s what happened when Corey asked who wanted to go first. The kids didn’t choose their wand because “the wand chooses the wizard.” Corey had made specific ones for our family and then he let Jack decide before the party which of the other wands each of his friends would get.I was a little concerned that these 11 year old boys would feel too old for wands, but I needn’t have worried. They had a grand time running around and cursing each other 🙂After opening presents we let them outside to play. They ran all over our yard playing a game they call “Infection.” I didn’t quite catch the rules but it felt similar to sardines only with a lot more running! Aren’t they a cute group?I loved having Jack’s little buddies over. It was the first time we had met some of them. By the end of the party I was full of gratitude that he has chosen such good, good kids to be friends with. They were polite, kind to Alaster, Truman and Dorothy, and so much fun! I noticed a lot of little things about how they interacted with our family that told me they come from good homes with parents who are teaching them well. What a blessing!
Last collage today comes from Jack’s family party. Jack requested we have Gram, Grampa and Tyler over to roast Hot Dogs and S’Mores. Considering he got a bunch of Scout paraphernalia for gifts I’d say it was appropriate! Bottom middle pic: Corey handed down his Swiss Army Knife. Special!Happy Birthday Jack! We love you!!!