When Jacob told me he wanted a Ninja Turtle party, I totally did a happy dance. The Turtles and I go way back. WAY, WAY back. In fact, I was a Ninja Turtle for four years in a row. No. Not just for Halloween. I was a Ninja Turtle EVERYDAY for four years in a row. Not just any Turtle. I was Raphael. The coolest, most sarcastic, smart-ass of a Turtle that there is. I wore green sweats and Ninja Turtle shirts and hats (to cover my hair and resemble the baldness of a turtle). Yes, I was a fashion nightmare. But I was totally oblivious...until a mean third-grader bumped into me in the school hallway and told me I needed a sex change (for the record, I didn't even know what that meant).
One time, when I was in fourth grade, my cousin asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Without a moment's hesitation, I blurted out, "Raphael." I mean... Duh. She laughed, told me I was ridiculous and announced that it could never happen. I told her, in total seriousness, that I would make it happen. I would find a way! And I seriously believed that.
Anyway, the point being, I was more than thrilled to relive my Turtle fantasies....er, I mean, throw Jacob a Turtle party for his birthday (Go ninja, go ninja go!).
Aside from send out some invitations, I did absolutely nothing to get ready for the party until the day before. Saturday, the day before the party, I stopped at Party City and got all my party favors and some giant wall posters for décor. Then I buzzed around town for food supplies and streamers.
Highly daunted by ridiculous birthday party photos from Pinterest, I donned my "working mom with no time" badge proudly, flew by the seat of my pants, and pulled together a haphazard but mostly successful party.
Ready to party! Five-year-old Jacob and 17-month-old Ryan.
Jacob illustrated the invitations:
Decorations were simple: I bought some green globe decorations and made them into Turtle heads. I hung store-bought banners and posters on the walls, covered the table in a neon green table cloth, and strung some streamers around the house (literally, in the last five minutes before guests arrived). Jacob was IN LOVE with the turtle heads. I thought they were pretty cute too (even though I was horrified to find out that I didn't have red streamers for Raphael's head...poor Raph- is it weird that I have a strong attraction to a fifteen-year-old humanoid turtle?).
Gigantic Turtle wall posters didn't make it in the picture but hung on the door.
The food was equally simple. The night before the party, I pre-ordered six gigantic pizzas from our favorite local pizza place. I put a bunch of fruit and cheese on skewers for some fruit-kebabs. I also made green "ooze" juice for the kids. I found several online recipes for green punch but they all seemed really complicated. I was determined not to use more than three ingredients. I eventually mixed green Hawaiian punch with sprite and lemonade concentrate. No recipe. I just poured a little here and a little there until I ended up with a taste I liked. And....OMG....it was surprisingly AMAZING! I wish I had gotten a picture. The color was a fantastic neon green.
When the kids arrived, we all went outside to play some games in the backyard. My husband and I were so excited to share our lawn with everyone. About a month ago, we finished our backyard project (we had leveled and hydro-seeding). The back lawn is now the most-prized possession of my husband. My husband is so in love with his lawn that he refuses to let me put things on it because he doesn't want to make indents in the grass. In fact, he is totally obsessed with the lush, green grass. I have a couple theories to explain this obsession. They all involve a comparison of the thinning of his hair to the thickness of the grass....I have decided not to share this with him. You know, for the sake of our marriage.
First, we played Pizza Bingo! I created pizza cards (thank you online stock photos and Kinkos!) and put five pizza ingredients on each one.When I called out an ingredient, kids put a square on their pizza if they had that ingredient. The first kid to get five squares won. We, of course, played until everyone was a winner.
After Pizza Bingo, we played Splinter Says (Simon Says) and Pizza, Sewer (Red Light, Green Light). I was just about exhausting my game ideas when our star attraction showed up! Through our local YMCA, we got a karate instructor to come over and give a mini karate lesson. I was really nervous about how this would go since most of the kids were pretty young and had short attention spans. But it was a crazy success! The parents even joined in and, honestly, I think they had more fun than the kids!
The sensei, taught us how to punch, kick, and block.
Then he sparred with his partner and passed out real Ninja Turtle weapons for us to hold. The kids were so excited to hold real nunchucks and sis.
For the grand finale, we all got to break blocks! I can't even tell you how much the adults loved this. At the beginning everyone else seemed skeptical, especially after the demonstrator said, "ouch!" during the demonstration. I "took one for the team" and jumped to the front of the line. But in the end, every single person took a turn!
My inner Raphael came out.
Then we came inside for food. Please forgive me while I take a second to brag...but... check out my cake! I borrowed a Ninja Turtle cake pan from a friend but the face looked kind mean. So I decided to make my own, totally from scratch, and without any instructions. Thank goodness frosting can hide a lot of imperfections.
Blowing out the candles:
The quiet observer, waiting to make his move:
My favorite picture from the day-- proof that we were all happy :)
After cake, we opened presents and then I sent the loud kids outside to play again. Everyone wanted to keep the boards they had broken. So I brought down the markers and we colored them. This turned out to be a very cool party favor.
The babies, just hanging out:
I was so busy running around during the party that the whole thing went by so fast. I barely had three seconds to chat with the guests. When they all left not too long after cake and presents, I was very sad to see it all end. I felt a little bit let down, but when I saw how happy Jacob was, it was easy to put those feelings aside and just live in his joy.
We survived another one. Phew!