Monday, February 2, 2015

Argh! A Pirate Party

Mikus turned three last week, so as an interlude to the Costa Rica travelogue here’s a post on the pirate party.  I had way too much fun planning, pinning on pinterest and plotting with my party-planning pirate person (my mom, but that didn’t start with the letter p)!

We started off with snacks while the kids arrived, just goldfish and Pirate’s Bounty chips with the table covered by a giant map I had created the previous evening. Lunch was pizza ordered from our local pizza place, with salad and fruit on the side. Of course it wasn’t just a regular fruit bowl, it was a pirate ship! I had difficulties finding a whole watermelon this time of year, and when I finally bought one it seemed rather small for what I was planning, but in the end it was just the right size – not too much work, and not too heavy. I filled it with cantaloupe, strawberries and grapes, and set the boat to sail on a sea of blueberries. ¼ inch dowel rods and toothpicks held up the sails, and carrots provided cannons and the bowsprit. To secure the masts I used twine and shish kabob sticks in the base.

Once everyone had eaten their grub we handed out gear to the kids; a goody bag with a sword, hook, eye-patch and bandana. While getting decked out I steered their attention to the maps on the bags to get them started on their treasure hunt. X marked the spot, in this case next to a train. It took a little nudging, but finally they were off to the train table!

The pirate train was circling, pulling a freight car loaded up with a pirate flag, a key and a picture of the sandbox. Again, some nudging, and then shoes were hastily pulled on and the pirates headed outside. After some serious digging (and I mean serious, mom had to get in there and help!) treasure was uncovered: a pirate chest and little bags of jewels for each pirate. The boys gathered around and sure enough, the key fit the lock on the chest!

Inside were chocolate coins and ring pops, unintentionally enough to distract them from the task at hand…the treasure! Finally they did notice the picture placed in the lid of the chest, but much head-scratching and squinting was taking place. The final clue had been the last thing I planned the previous evening and as a result the poor kids needed a lot of help figuring out what it meant, but eventually we got them pointed in the direction of the living room where a pirate piñata was waiting for them. Hilarity ensued.

Don't forget the safety glasses!

The piñata was a party store find, and instead of paper mache the interior was made of cardboard – which explains why for all their trying (and big brother’s help) the kids just couldn’t bust it open. A little help to Mikus with wielding the stick and finally the contents were unleashed: pirate tattoos, plastic gold coins, Hershey’s nuggets, Rolos. While the pirates filled up their bags with loot I set up the dessert table: kliņģeris and pirate cake!

I got the idea for the cake while looking at pictures of watermelon pirate ships. One mom had set her creation to sail in a sea of jello jigglers and I took the idea one step further and bought a disposable cake pan with a plastic lid; it was the only food-safe clear container I could find big enough to create an ocean for my island. This recipe for butter cake with salted caramel buttercream frosting was chosen mainly because the icing was the color of sand, and I topped the cake off with palm tree cake toppers and figurines from the boys' toy collection: a pirate, crocodile and treasure chest, a dolphin and sea turtle in the water. The ocean required 3 boxes of jello, and I lined the cake with parchment paper to keep the cake from turning blue.

We sang happy birthday and as Latvian custom, lifted him in the air 3 times (plus once for good luck)! There was consumption of cake, sword-play, Playmobil pirate adventures, the opening of presents, more cake consumption, and finally the party moved outdoors to enjoy the sunny (if a little chilly) weather. When asked what his favorite part of the party was, Mikus answered “the piñata.” A lesson to all the parents planning pirate parties out there – a prerequisite for every pirate party is a pirate party piñata for a plethora of pleasure. Period.

The pirate crew and first mate!


  1. Oh, what a super fun party, Liene! So cute and creative!

    I have also been meaning to drop by and tell you how amazing your trip to Costa Rica looked!

  2. What a great party... Love the pirate theme, and you were very creative in planning it...

    I'm enjoying your trip posts also.

  3. Jums ir bijusi brīnišķīgi pirātiska ballīte! Man patīk gan noformējums, Tavs arbūzs ir unikāls, gan ideja, ka goody bags bērni saņem ballītes laikā un var pārtapt par pirātiem. Tu esi malacis! Tiešām!!!! Kur Tev laiks atrodas ar diviem puikām un mazuli uz rokām! Supermamma jeb Superwomen!:)

    1. Inese, paldies par mīļiem vārdiem. Man tiešām patīk plānot un organizēt šādus pasākumus puišiem, un zinu tiem paaugoties, tie vairs negribēs uzmanību... Laiks kautkā atrodās; Tu labi to arī zini!

  4. Oh my goodness - what an amazing party!! I just love the pirate ship fruit bowl, the cake is fabulous, and the party games you planned are perfection. I'm sure the birthday boy had a wonderful time, and no doubt you're slightly relived another year is over after all the effort you put in! x

    1. Oh Heidi, slightly relieved but as you very well know, in disbelief of where the years go!


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