A Make-Do Ranger's Birthday

Our new 11 year old has been waiting for his birthday for months. Because of all the coronavirus panic, he couldn't have friends over or the party he wanted. But I'm so proud of him that he didn't once complain in the weeks leading up to it that things were going to have to look much different than he desired. Not even when we awoke to snow on May 9 and faced a day of thirty degree temperatures...

He had been asking for a Ranger's Apprentice themed birthday. Theme is a word we use very loosely around here, mercifully so. Some birthdays the theme has been strong in all elements - cake, gifts, decor, games, and more - and some, like this one, just a vague reference. Thank goodness that all that truly matters is that the celebrated feel special and seen, right?

We decided a few days before his birthday that we would put together a treasure hunt in the woods for all his gifts. This kid LOVES discoveries, mysteries, treasure hunting, code breaking, and all things related. He is convinced there are treasures just waiting to be unearthed in our crawl space. After breakfast we had him come to the living room where we had his surprise supplies laid out for him along with the letter of his mission.

I had completely forgotten that grandparents had planned to gift him their metal detector and they providentially came the day before to give it to him! He was absolutely thrilled with that gift and it made the treasure hunt even cooler.

Our normal M.O. is that I do the behind the scenes planning and ideas and then my husband takes care of execution (usually putting it over the top of anything I expected!). We now have older kids that can help, too, which is really nice.

The letter, property map, and some of the clues. My husband and my oldest went out the evening before to bury the three gifts. My oldest put together the Ranger-themed clues and I was pretty impressed with what he came up with!

Ready for treasure hunting. Toddler and I stayed back. 30 degrees, remember?

As you can see, the gifts weren't at all related. But ones he asked for!

Back with the loot.

He came back to a basket of quirky treats. He's our one kid that will try different types of food and has eclectic tastes and I love that about him!

He didn't want a fancily designed cake this year. He decided a few months ago that he wanted a "mango ice cream cake" with a Ranger's oak leaf on top. We turned that idea into a graham cracker crust, mango sorbet layer, and frozen whipped cream topping. I wasn't sure how that would actually taste but it was surprisingly good! 

The day was made complete by the gift from his oldest brother of a homemade cast Ranger pendant made from melted solder. 

I actually haven't read any of the books myself but they came highly recommended from several trustworthy sources and my boys have loved them. From what I can tell they are great books for grade school and older boys. 

We ended the day with the oldest kids viewing a movie on Saint Maximilian Kolbe, choice of the birthday boy. Not a light film by any means but the one he wanted. He's developed a devotion to Saint Maximilian over the last year or so which has been pretty beautiful and he really wanted to see it. As I said, his tastes and interests are very eclectic! He's been saving up for a remote controlled airplane for months so our only gift to him was an Amazon gift card, which I can't say I minded one bit.

I'm so grateful for this third boy of ours. He is such a gift to our family and his spunky, determined, thoughtful, adventurous, eclectic spirit are such a joy to watch and know. May this coming year for him be filled with wonder, beauty, joy, and more adventure.

1 comment

  1. Oh what a cool birthday, one he will never forget. And I loved big bro's soldering.
    I actually hadn't seen pictures of your new property, it's amazing! a creek and all!

    Happy Birthday Master 11!


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