The first part of our day was spent on the lake - at the final day of the ice fishing derby. Normally we would have been in church, but we thought it was a worthwhile investment of our time to help his father and mother be able to get out and fish. This is a once-a-year thing, and given his dad's health situation, they wouldn't have been able to go without our help. We were glad to do it :) The birthday boy wanted to go to church, so we arranged for the kids to be picked up by a sweet lady in our church. They came home to the birthday boy's requested birthday meal - boxed mac & cheese - then went to work decorating his cake. When everyone came over later, we were treated to the 18 year old's homemade crock pot beef stew, cake and ice cream.
At the fishing derby, we won a $50 gift certificate to Half Moon Lake Lodge - where some of the best steak on earth is served - YUM. It was kind of funny, really. They announced what the door prize was, and I commented to my husband, saying, "We'll take that one." Then they drew his name! We were thrilled. We didn't catch any fish or win any fishing awards, so this was a nice bonus. My father in law also won a door prize - a survival kit to carry in his snowmachine.
When we got home, Papa and Bugga came over and we had the big seventh birthday party.
It was a big hit. In case you can't tell, this was a couple of packages of Snaps from Papa - a horribly yucky candy (in my opinion) which happens to be the birthday boy (and Papa's) favorite candy coated black licorice.
There were lots of presents to unwrap, and I'm quite pleased with the deals I got on all of them. The ones from us were all after Christmas sale bargains, or super deals with coupons or mark-down items. He ended up with a wide variety of items and was excited to have so many to open. Papa and Bugga spoiled him, giving him a new western shirt, along with the candy and bird nest. And he received a couple of cards with money, which always is a hit. We know there are two more packages on the way too, so he'll get to continue his celebrating into the week.
This monkey hat was one of the biggest hits.
Everyone had to try it on. And no, I won't be posting pictures of the rest of us in the hats!)
Here was one of the coolest, most unique gifts, which we will enjoy using in our homeschool lessons. Bugga gave him a bird nest, complete with one broken shell of a robin egg, and one in-tact egg. We're handling it very carefully! There is a pretty interesting story behind this gift. The mama bird built her nest on the track of Papa's snowmachine, which at the time was covered with a tarp, and parked in the big shed on the land where our house is going. We knew the nest was there, but left it alone. When they brought the machines into town, the nest was still there, and Bugga discovered the eggs when she moved the nest in preparation for the ice fishing derby. We were all excited to have it, and will probably use it in our decor, along with studying it in homeschool. This will be a very cool addition to our nature notebooks. We've been having a hard time coming up with examples of nature to draw - you can only draw so much snow - for our notebooks. His 20 year old brother called on Skype from where he is deployed and told him he will be getting a keychain from him when he returns home. The keychain has a scorpion in it. He is looking forward to getting that so he can see who all he can scare with it... BOYS! Last year the same brother bought him four acrylic bracelets with bugs, spiders, and bees in them - and they were actually very cool bugs if I do say so myself :)
The cake was a Candyland themed cake. The birthday boy and his 18 year old sister did all the decorating. I knew they wouldn't have enough room to get all the candy in place if we had made a regular 9x13 cake, so I baked a sheet cake from a recipe book my Grandmother gave me - one of those old church collaboration cookbooks, filled with everyone's best recipes. I had never tried this recipe, so I was a little worried that it wouldn't turn out. It was incredibly good! (The cake was moist and very flavorful. Next time I will need a little more flour to accommodate our higher elevation, but I will definitely make this again.) We did decide though that it might not have been the best choice for this application, though, because it was so shallow that some of the candies wouldn't stand up in it - like the lollipops that kept tipping over.
Here's the cake with the inspiration game board behind it. I left the decorating up to the kids while we finished up our fishing, and I think they did a great job. The scenes and candies are actually very accurate to the game board.
I'd say the birthday party was a success!