A Camping Style Birthday for the Sweetest Eight Year Old in the House

Our second born turns eight today!
We celebrated yesterday with his choice of a camping-themed birthday.  He's the king of random themes but camping is cool, even if we haven't done it as much as we'd like, so we went with it. 
Michael helped decorate the cake and it turned out to be one of my favorites (and SO easy which makes it even better!).  He was over the moon loving it and was so excited from the minute he got up in the morning to celebrate the big day.  I absolutely love seeing my bordering-on-melancholic like that.

Camping cake!

The frosting was dyed with mostly spirulina powder (I tried the India Tree colors first and they weren't nearly strong enough).  The brown is with cocoa powder.  Ice cream cones, a graham cracker, pirouette sticks, a chocolate bar, a marshmallow, and a couple flames cut from fruit leather for the fire.

Michael helped with cutting the logs, tent, flames, and crushing the graham cracker for our fire base.  He was such a joy to work with while doing it!  Eight year olds are good like that, I suppose :)

That's his "camping shirt" he picked out from the drawer…

Poorly lit but clearly he hated it ;)

And ever known for our fancy decorations….

When our guests came we played a fishing game which they seemed to love as evidenced by the fighting over whose turn it was.

Even the biggest had to get it on it.

Simpler is often better, eh?

So much concentration in the room.
John Paul also made up a little trail map of the house that led to a message (super creative "Happy Birthday, Michael") for the littler ones to follow.  I didn't get any pictures but it was pretty cute.

And gifts.  Do you know how hard it is to find a "boy doll"?  Not one that's a baby but looks like a little boy?  Very hard.  I found one used off of Ebay finally as part of a set.  I'm hoping to resell the little girl that came with him to recoup some of that money!  He was immediately dubbed "Michael Jr." and all three of the littler ones have been enthralled.

A guitar case from Grandma

And new pants because you saw those other ones up there, right?  Every single pair he had was holed and he was genuinely hoping to get some new ones!

Lots and lots of perler beads.  To be kept far far far from The Luke until they can be better contained without risk of spilling 11,000 (literally) little beads all over the house.

David raided the free table at church to gift Michael with a little standing crucifix.

And from John Paul and Luke a really nice tool set

The special gift from Brian and me...
A papal blessing commemorating his First Holy Communion at last year's Easter Mass with the Pope!!! 
We've been hanging onto this for a few months waiting for his birthday :)

All three other boys had papal blessings from their Baptisms and I was so thrilled we were able to get one for Michael, too.

And he loved getting a new tent from other grandparents.  He and John Paul have some Serious Plans.

A "camping" dinner of hot dogs, sausages, baked beans, fruit, and salad that totally whetted my appetite for summer!!!

Lots of man help to start the fire :)

I think he felt pretty special which is exactly what we hoped for.

Today he's off from lessons and chores (but not so the other boys, much to their chagrin).  We plan on getting to Mass with Papa to celebrate and then his choice of dinner…which I should probably start planning.  With leftover cake, of course.

Happy birthday, sweet boy.  You're going to be an awesome eight year old, I just know it.  
We love you!!


  1. What an awesome party. I am in awe.

  2. I love this party. It's so great!

  3. Happy Birthday Michael. I was glad the guitar case came in a rectangular box. Thanks for the picture of him opening it. Cake and party all look great.
    Love and hugs.

  4. That's an awesome birthday! Let me know how he likes the tools - I've got my eye on a set for John Paul but I'm not sure when I'll trust him with a real hammer!

    1. He's already using them a bit! Only allowed outside or in the basement. They're surprisingly nice…it was a huge set clearanced at Tractor Supply for $10!

  5. Happy birthday sweet Michael - I love how simple, but fun everything was. Eight is my favorite age so far.... Love that I have another 8 year old right now!

  6. Oh my gosh, your kids just exude happiness and light! Mary-love it.
    And the Blessing for his FHC? The best!!
    Happy birthday again to your honey...and I know we talked abt this on FB but I have to say again how much I LOVE your theme and the cake...gotta share my campfire-ish cake from my son's Panem et Circenses party, if you have time to peek at it. We're always having kids over to enjoy the firepit, so I may steal your cake idea in the future--birthday or not just for a get together!

    I hope things are thawing up there for you and get more spring-ish....Down here, we're actually starting to see a little receding snow and the edge of the lawn! yay.

    Great post....birthday blessings to the new 8yo!

    1. Thank you, Chris! Love your cake, too! I saw a few cakes online that were just the fire…I was rooting for that but he wanted the whole scene :)

  7. I love that last picture with the black and white and color. Your cake is amazing. Smart idea to use the fruit leather.

  8. The cake looks amazing! What a great party, Mary.


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