It's hard to believe, but our sweet girl turned eleven last week! We take parties pretty seriously around here, so planning actually started in early summer. We kicked around a few possible themes - but I came up with the winner...Camp Jewell! (This is a big deal coming from someone who considers roughing it a four-cup coffee maker at Holiday Inn Express!) Jewell loves camping, so this was right up her alley.
I found the perfect invitation on Etsy. I printed them myself on cardstock. I think they look precious!
I used to plan party activities down to the minute, but I have learned that kids just like to be kids! So we had a few things in mind, but let it develop on it's on. When there was a lull in the action (not very often!), I'd have something ready to go.
The girls arrived around 5:00. It was still pretty warm, so they hung out in the house - mostly Jewell's room or the playroom. (You can imagine what my house looks like right now!)
We ate around 6:30. One of Jewell's favorite things in the world is a Costco hotdog, and I have to say, I agree. (Can I get a What-What!? I mean where can you fill up on a buck fifty these days, and actually enjoy it? Betcha' end up getting one next time you stop in to pick up your 83-roll pack of TP...) You can buy their all-beef wieners on the refrigerated meats aisle and I even talked the deli lady into selling me a couple of packs of their yummy hotdog rolls. Believe me - it makes all the difference. I also had chili, onions and cheese for the toppings. I made my famous baked beans and opened a couple of bags of chips and dip. I made lots of lemonade to go along with it. I know this was a girls' party, but it wasn't a "girl-y" party! We chowed down on some dogs!
Jewell opened gifts after dinner. Someone had the idea to play "telephone" as she opened the gifts. The gift-giver whispered her gift to the person to her left and passed the gift. As the un-opened gift made it's way around the circle, so did a description of what it was. By the time it made it to Jewell, everyone had squealed and laughed, and Jewell just about couldn't wait to open it! It took a little while, but it was fun.
After dinner and gifts, the sun was down and it began to cool off. The girls headed out to play while I cleaned the kitchen. I found them outside playing games like Duck, Duck, Goose! and Red Rover. It made me smile to see these girls acting like, well, sweet young girls! Not concerned with boys, or clothes, or TV...Just having FUN!
Jewell didn't want cake or cupcakes this year. (Did I ever tell you that I took ALL THREE Wilton cake decorating classes when she was a baby? I also bought so much of their decorating supplies that I single-handedly put them in the next tax bracket in 2003. Seriously, if anyone wants to buy a character cake pan at a deep discount, I've got you covered. From Dora to Disney Princesses to a John Deere tractor, I've got 'em all! And here's the kicker - neither of my kids even like cake or cupcakes. Oh well...) Anyway - we roasted marshmallows and made S'Mores instead!
The girls told ghost stories while we ate. I'm not sure if Gerald really scared them every time he jumped out from behind the tree or if that was just the standard 11 year old girl response to scream each and every time!
We also played Chubby Bunny where you stuff mini marshmallows in the sides of your mouth and say "Chubby Bunny" three times. Whoever can get the most in and not have them fall out while saying the magic words (and laughing) wins! We had three standouts. Madison and Emily both got in about 40 marshmallows before losing it, but Anna cheeked an amazing 50 plus marshmallows! (I know their mothers are SO proud!)
The girls also played a game that was new to me called "Little Sally Walker". They sang and danced and played it for over 30 minutes. I.Can.Not.Get.It.Out.Of.My.Head! Ask your daughter to teach you to play. Share my joy! ;)
They ran around, played on the swings, climbed up in the tree house and made more noise than would be allowed in the city limits!
About 10:30, we started to settle down in the tents. (Note: I said "started" and "settle down". Never did you hear me use the words "quiet", or especially "sleep"!) The coyotes were really active that night and while the girls were a little unnerved, I think it added to the excitement of the evening! I finally fell asleep around midnight, and since I didn't wake back up, I assume so did they!
Jewell absolutely loved having all her favorite girls with her for the night! All her old ACA friends were there, as well as her cousin, her Tallassee BFF and her homeschool best-ie. A good time was definitely had by all!
(Just in case you're wondering - poor Brack was banished from Camp Jewell. No boys allowed! He spent the night with my parents along with his cousin (and BFF) Ann Welch. They actually roasted marshmallows and made S'Mores on the grill with Mimi and PaPaw! Pretty creative Mimi!)
Probably the most amazing part of the evening was that I, your humble correspondent, slept in a tent. Yes, I have successfully avoided the experience for 44 years now, but it finally caught up with me! Gerald and I had our own tent (someone called it the honeymoon suite, but the only action going on in there was me yelling for the girls to quit prank calling boys and go to sleep!) and I can actually say that I enjoyed it. I even suggested that we sleep out there Saturday night since the tents were up but I was vetoed. Can't say I didn't offer!
Well - another party is in the books. Jewell had a ball, and so did her guests. Jewell's friends are such good girls, and I am so glad she has them in her life. I feel so blessed to be able to watch these precious girls as they are on their journey to becoming young ladies. It sometimes seems like they grow and mature in the blink of an eye. I was so glad to see them be little girls this weekend. They giggled and told secrets. They played tag and got their feet dirty. They piled up - all twelve of them - in one tent and laughed and laughed until they couldn't hold their eyes open. They made wonderful memories, and so did I.
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