Cowboy Birthday Fun!

Grab yer boots and yer hat,

saddle up yer horse,
 and ride on over for Will & Ellie's Rodeo Roundup Birthday!

We had a great time at the Rockin' C Ranch celebrating Will & Ellie's birthdays recently!
I attempted to save my sanity by combining their birthdays this year.  I'm not sure it saved any sanity.
It was nice to do just one party and therefore one theme (if you don't count the individual birthday dinners I hosted for them with family which each had a theme.)
I did it in September so that we could invite Will's new classmates - we thought this would be good for helping him transition to new friendships... but it also kind of just drug the birthday month out longer.
Also, I didn't want people who were just friends with Will or with just Ellie to feel like they needed to bring a gift for both or to wonder who in the world that other kid was so I did three sets of invitations:  those for Will's buddies, those for Ellie's buddies, & then one with their joint picture for family and friends who have kids each of their ages.
I also did three sets of party favors - big kids, little kids, & family favors.
My motto is:
If it can be more complicated, why make it easier on yourself?
Ellie's group started a little later -just to add to my mental confusion.
Finally, I struggled as their mommy to fully engage with each of them at the party - I wanted to watch both of them enjoy themselves but I felt constantly torn and that was hard.
So hmmmm... for using an awesome location and including a variety of friends and family and purchasing just one set of decorations, cake, etc - a joint party was perfect.
But for those other little pesky details like invitations and favors and being fully present it was a little mind boggling for me.

So.  The party.
It was cowboy/cowgirl themed and a BLAST!
Driving into the Rockin' C Ranch the morning of the party, this is what I saw:

and I started to get really excited!  
Because how perfect is this for a welcoming committee to the cowboy party?!
I grew up hanging out at the Rockin' C Ranch.  In recent years, our family friends Matt & Janie have turned it into a "Christian youth camp on a working ranch."  So basically my kids had their birthday party at a real ranch that also serves as a youth camp-
(You may have heard of Janie from Janie's Cakes - they were featured as one of Oprah's favorite things!  She made R & I our wedding cakes too! :)
Cowboy Matt & Mrs. Janie have been longtime friends & have always offered the use of their ranch for a birthday party.  This year, we took them up on it.  Thanks, Janie & Matt!  It was PERFECT!

Back to the party:

The cake (not a Janie's cake as she no longer makes birthday cakes.  I just wanted to clarify because if you are old school friends of the Clapps you may remember her very creative, awesome cakes from the 80's & 90's... this does not even begin to compare to how creative and talented she is!)

Party Favors for Families:
trail mix in mason jars

Little Kid party favors:
(toy horse, toy snake, cow shaped cookies, cowtails candy, and farm animals bath spongie things)
Big kid favors:
(foam guns, sheriff star, toy snake, toy horse, cowtail candy, "golden nugget" gum)
You know what is awesome about a cowboy party on a ranch?
No need for decorations!
The food table already had that awesome skull & snakeskin hanging above it!

I did bring some flowers in jars & my mom had some leftover little boots and flags I borrowed.
Lunch table centerpieces
Cowgirl Ellie

Cowboy Will
I put the kids's pictures on some homemade wanted posters.

(That was a huge ordeal.  I had to make 3 trips to Walgreens & actually argued with three employees there including a manager.  How the heck does one prove that they created something originally when a store demands a copyright release?!?!  I couldn't provide a copyright release because I used my own computer, my camera, & my photoshop to make the posters of my children! Also- there is a basic general format for a wanted poster.  The format is not copyrighted because it is a standard format.  Man, that was a frustrating disagreement at the Walgreens photo counter!  arrrgh.  It was very frustrating - in part because I hated being accused of breaking a law!  (I am a big rule follower.)  Finally, they pulled up my designs on their computer and compared it to another set to prove that the fonts were my own.  It was slightly redeemed by the fact that I was flattered they thought it was professional.)
The posters were a big hit with my kids.  Will loved how I burned the edges.
I also made some extras without photos & cut holes in them for people to take their own pictures.

The early arrivals piled in a truck to head to the stables for our first activity (for big kids)...
Horse Riding!!!

The big kids got to ride horses & had so much fun!  The weather was perfect and for several kids, it was their first ride!

The little kids were invited a half hour later as they weren't going to be able to ride horses...
but Lovie popped Ellie on a horse for a photo
(this is her "cheesy" face)
(I promise she was happy.)

And because she is the birthday girl she got to take a very short little ride
We then took a nature walk across the lake to the lodge for more activities
Sweet friends
(I love this age)

I had a list of cowboy themed games to play...
which I promptly got rid of.  I didn't realize that the lodge was surrounded by awesome games and logs and places to explore & play.
The little cowboys and cowgirls were very busy.
Ellie & G-Dad
Checking out the turkeys & roosters
Checking out goats & HUGE hogs
Cowboy Matt surprised us and brought buckets of feed and allowed the kids to feed the goats!

Ellie chased after a hog.  That hog is huge!
Then we headed to the "Hen Hilton" and collected eggs!

Ellie practiced walking with Lovie
Then Cowboy Matt really surprised us with bottles of milk to feed the calves!
There were about 6 calves so everyone got a chance to feed them.

Ellie even stuck her finger in the calve's mouth to feel him suckle.  He was quite hungry!

After feeding the kids and calves, it was time to feed our kids!

Will kept climbing on the logs to make announcements
Relay on Stick Horses

Ellie is a huge fan of ice water.  
At the party she discovered juice.
Ellie & Honey
Ellie & sophie playing bean bag toss

Such a fun day to be outside and explore a real ranch with friends!
Thanks, Clapps, for opening up your home for us and our friends!
Thanks friends and family for driving so far to celebrate!

(That finally concludes the birthday posts!!! yahooooo!)

3 thoughts:

ywilbur said...

Wow I wish I had your planning skills. I'm always a wreck when having to plan my kids' parties. Thankfully my eldest I can just take out for Lasagna now. I just caved and booked JK party at Chuck E Cheese. He loves that place but going to Waldorf school now and not supposed to encourage media inspired parties so just inviting his non-school buddies: he chooses not to watch much TV so media is not an issue (but still we do watch our movie every weekend). He seems made for Waldorf school and is loving it and to my relief is learning a ton. I'm still not sure if I'll be committed in upper grades but so far so good.

Miles said...

Looks like your cowpokes had a great party. Too fun!


Heartsong said...


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