The Long Expected Party - A Middle Earthen Eleventh Birthday

This past Sunday we were finally able to have John Paul's birthday party!  
He had been planning for months for his Lord of the Rings themed party and the first date was frustratingly rained out.  Very thankful that all the crazy forecast changes for this past weekend didn't pan out and we had a beautiful (if hot) day to finally celebrate.

We realized a few days before how fitting it was to have this theme on his 11th birthday…I mean, not many people make it to their eleventy first, right?  (<---LOTR fan reference right there.)  It's pretty great once kids get to the age where they can really help out and he was so enthused and did most of the planning himself.  

(I feel the need to apologize for the photo quality.  Poor lighting plus poor photographer equals these.)

§ The Decor §

I was so very happy to simply reuse the banner that I printed out from Jessica at Shower of Roses and used for Michael's dwarven birthday!  

Along with her printables!
The birthday boy felt gold and black seemed to fit the theme best so we went with those for a few streamers and balloons, though green and gold I think would also work well.  I also had our huge Middle Earth map on display in the living room.

§ The Food §

The spread:

We had the party in the afternoon post lunch to pre dinner so I just provided themed snacks and cake which seemed to be more than enough.

John Paul used the elvish alphabet to write out the cards for each snack.
The specifics:

Our favorite
Homemade lembas!  John Paul used this recipe completely on his own and cut them in largish squares with an X on top.  We have a catalpa tree in our yard which just so happens to put out the perfect huge leaves for lembas wrapping.  Of course, for catalpa-less folks green paper cut to shape would also work just fine!

Tater Chips

The (onion) Rings of Power
(Pretzel rings also would work but there were none to be found at the store.)

(Gold)Fish for Gollum

Boromir's Bugles Horns

Conies - (Auntie Anne's Bunny Cookies)

And beer.  Ours didn't come in pints, though.

§ The Cake §

One of the simplest cakes ever to make and for that I was most grateful.  Inspired by Jessica's One Ring Cake.  I didn't have a ring pan like hers but a bundt pan with a bit of hole-widening worked just fine enough.

Dyed with the India Tree natural yellow dye.  Rather than the actual ring inscription, I used my best Elvish script to write out happy birthday John Paul.  If there are any Elvish scholars out there finding errors, please blame Google not me.

§ The Favors §

Homemade favors were provided upon entrance.

For the girls, Elvish circlets:
He used 12 gauge craft wire and a bit of construction paper.  

And homemade daggers for the boys:
He used…I don't even know.  Scraps from the garage, it looks like.  And cardboard.

§ The Costumes §

The boys wore their homemade costumes from a few Christmases ago with the addition of an Aragorn crown.

When not sleeping our little Gollum hung out on the porch ;)

(Requested action shot)

The party ensemble…we even got orcs!

And I did my best Arwen impression with a fifteen year old bridesmaid dress from the back of my closet.  Knew I kept that thing for a reason ;)  

But really, check out that handiwork.  Ha, unintended corny joke right there, folks.  I'll be here all night.

§ The Games §

Mount Doom Ring Toss

Stool + basket + plastic tablecloth + red streamers + painted cardboard ring

The Catapult 

John Paul made that thing.  I came out one afternoon and he was busily drilling away.  I think it is hysterical.  And a great addition to our lawn the last few months ;)

They had to catapult a rock to knock down the wall.

Which eventually was overtaken by battering ram...

The Orc Battlefield

Creepy paper orc heads were printed out online and mounted on sticks.

Heading out to battle

“Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.”  C.S. Lewis

“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”  G.K. Chesterton

Heading back from battle

Archery Practice

Just a simple target for an archery contest

The Eye of Sauron Piñata

Inspired by Melody's piñata, John Paul created this lovely eye that loved to glare at me every time I walked into the laundry room the last two months.

They were entertained a looong time by trying to knock it down catapult style.

But it eventually just needed Anduril.

§ The Gifts §

We didn't do themed gifts but for the sake of mom blogdom, a few pics of gifts.
David bought him a chocolate bar.

The Odyssey.  (Homeschool alert)

And more books (Horatio Hornblower, if you're interested).  

And the sweetest homemade baseball game from his cousin.  I love when they make each other gifts!
We gave him our gifts on his actual birthday - more books and a new (to him) bike (thank you, Craigslist).

And a faux blow for cake time because the wind wouldn't let us keep the candles lit.  
At this point the cake was melting but I, um, totally meant for that to happen because Mount Doom and all.  Ahem.

Happy birthday, Aragorn.  
May you always battle for good and rise to the heights for which you were created.
And don't forget your Arwen ;)


  1. I have no words for how awesome this is...

    1. Ha, thank you, Jill! John Paul gets most of the credit!

  2. So amazingly awesome! I am in awe in all the good ways. I have got to get my girls into LOTR.

  3. I don't even like LOTR, I think I read the books too young, but this was great!! I am seriously impressed by John Paul's creativity and skills. That catapult is very cool. I hope he enjoyed his party immensely.

    1. The catapult is ridiculous and awesome. I have no idea what to do with it now…I'm not sure he'll be cool with us taking it down!

  4. Everything was so fabulous! Great job, Mary and John Paul :)
    (and yay!! for Horatio Hornblower!)

    1. Is that the one you've told me about, too? I should probably read it, huh? It sounds like something he'll love!

  5. What an awesome party. And I loved that quote from C S Lewis

    1. Yeah, I feel like I need to give "expert" backup for why we let our kids engage in pretend violence ;)

  6. Everything looks amazing! I love that little Gollum. And I am seriously impressed that you could actually wrap your lembas in real leaves! We had to use green napkins. Happy Birthday to your son. It looks like he knows how to have fun!

    1. We definitely lucked out with those leaves and a summer birthday! That tree doesn't give leaves until late May! I guess it makes up for all the sticks, flowers, and seed pods we have to clean up from it all summer :)

  7. Everything looks fantastic! I showed my husband the pictures and he kept saying he would have loved a party like that as a child, probably still would! I bet everyone had so much fun! I can't believe your son made those crowns?! They look professional!

    1. Thanks, Kari. They were super simple to make and don't look professional up close…but certainly good enough for a birthday party and the girls loved wearing them :)

  8. Amazing! Great job and happy birthday, John Paul! I am blown away by the catapult. Going to show my boys asap. Someday maybe our kids can get together and plan the mother of all Tolkien parties (although I think you've gotten pretty close here) We'll give them a month of unrestricted planning and building time. Can you imagine??

    1. I would LOVE that! I'm still hoping somehow your older boys can mentor mine ;)

  9. This amazing Mary! I am most impressed by the party favors for the guests. My boys would LOVE this.

  10. WOW. All of my nerd senses are tingling. This is amazing. I'm 22 and I want to throw this party for myself!


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