Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cousin Camp 2010 in Review: Tuesday

Welcome to Day Two of Cousin Camp 2010 in Review! You're in for a treat today, but I'll warn you that this post is pretty photo-intensive. I tried to whittle down the number of pictures I wanted to share, but this is the best I could do.

On Tuesday, we went to our local free zoo and play park. While we were there, we got a group picture of everyone just inside the zoo wearing their new Cousin Camp t-shirts. From this distance, you can't see the t-shirts' imperfections, and that's just as well.

At the zoo, we saw all kinds of interesting creatures. I was completely grossed out when we saw the humongous flying bugs just inside the reptile center. (Thank goodness they were dead!) I told my group that I would have an instant nervous breakdown if one of those things ever landed on me, which is probably why God never called me to Africa as a missionary. :)

But we saw other interesting creatures, too, including little boys pretending to be sloths ...

We had a scavenger hunt through the zoo. We divided the kids into three teams and gave them each a kids' digital camera to use. They had to find an animal for each letter of the alphabet. I researched ahead of time and marked the ones that didn't have an animal to go with them. For those, they had to find something else that began with that letter, and they had to take a picture of each animal/thing.

Fortunately for us, one group of the cousins' last name begins with a "Z," so each group took a picture of one of those cousins. Otherwise, we might have had to resort to pictures of animals sleeping. As for the "X", my team found two tree branches that formed an "X" and took a picture of that one.

The kids loved all the animals, and I got to see the new ocelot for the first time.

After the zoo and play park (which is fabulous, but I had to cut out some pictures), everyone was thoroughly hot and sweaty. It was the perfect time to break out the octopus water sprinkler I got last year for $1.39 when Rite Aid was clearancing their summer toys (90% off). You can get a pretty good picture of it here:

The kids loved it! They had contests to see who could stand in front of it the longest. I'm pretty sure my youngest nephew won that contest, although they never did determine who won.

While the kids ran through the sprinkler, and then dried off in the sun afterward, we adults started getting the party ready inside. This is the annual Cousin Camp birthday party that has morphed into a giant birthday party for five of the nine cousins who have a birthday within a month of Cousin Camp.

This year I went with a luau theme. I got the decorations from Dollar Tree, and I really loved how it all turned out. (The kids really seemed to like it, too!)

Here's a view of the table settings at the kids' table with the main course of octopus on a bed of seaweed (i.e. cut and boiled hot dogs over ramen noodles). You can also see that we made blue Kool-Aid to mimic water and added umbrella picks to the drinking straws. Also at each place setting was a straw hat (for the boys), a floral hair barrette (for the girls), and a lei (for everyone).

Since you never know what might go on at the kids' table, we put the birthday cake in the middle of the adults' table. It's really easy to make, even if you don't decorate cakes. I got it from Family Fun's website - it's called Towering Sand Castle Cake.

And here's an overall view of the adults' table:

Speaking of centerpieces, we certainly can't forget our monkey friend that guarded the candy in the middle of the kids' table.

After we were done eating, I insisted that everyone have their picture taken in front of the palm tree backdrop (also from Dollar Tree and a very impressive size). We won't say which of the cousins this was ...

Let's look at a few of the more interesting pictures, shall we? Here my niece decided it might be a good idea to chop down the palm tree. Let's hope there are no coconuts in it, or she might regret that decision!

If you're ever stranded on a desert island, you just might want to take this guy along with you, since he always seems to come prepared with his gun, even to a luau. You never know when wild animals might attack!

We certainly can't skip the cutest hula girl ever! Don't you love the grass skirt? I got two of them at Dollar Tree and had all the girls wear one for their picture. (More on why I bought two of them in just a minute ... )

And lastly, to be fair, here's a picture of me with an umbrella pick in my hair and a "local" on my shoulder ... and no, it's not my husband! I had mercy on him and didn't post his hilarious pictures. :)

After the pictures, we had the pinata. I had planned to make a fish pinata using a balloon and paper mache, but it ended up looking like a giant brain (gross!), so I threw it away. After debating for several days, I finally got the idea of using one of the inflatables from Dollar Tree.

I bought the parrot, cut a slit big enough to insert the candy, and then used packing tape to seal it back up when I was done. This particular parrot held roughly 8-1/2 pounds of candy, and he held up great. He wasn't so flimsy that he broke apart from the weight of the candy, but he wasn't so heavyweight that we couldn't break him open with a few whacks of a bat.

In case you want to use the idea, I recommend you buy candy that won't turn to powder when it's whacked with a bat. This method doesn't protect the candy as much as a traditional pinata, and some of our powdery candy was broken to bits by the time the parrot spilled all the candy. That was okay, though, because there was plenty of non-powdery candy to go around!

I promised my dad that he could have as much candy as he wanted, but apparently he didn't believe me ... Just kidding! He decided to clean up the yard after the kids pawed through the candy that was still edible. :)

Before I forget, I made treat bags for each of the kids to collect their candy. I used my new Cuttlebug dies and embossing folders, and they turned out really great. I was surprised at how durable they were, too. I used Aleene's Tacky Glue to glue the die cuts to the bags, and they stuck like they were a part of the bag.

Lastly, we had a Tropical Relay Race. First, we split them into two teams. They had to start by putting on each item in a bag (supposed to be a beach bag, but we used what we had): grass skirt, lei, funny sunglasses and straw hat. Then they raced to the beach chairs we had set up a little distance away. They had to sit down on the chairs and take off the items they had just put on, shove them in the bag, and race back to hand off the bag to the next person in their team.

It was completely hilarious! When they were done, I announced that I now had blackmail pictures for each of their first dates. :) Check out these pictures:

Now that you've picked yourself up off the floor and wiped the tears off your cheeks, don't you think we had a lot of fun? I hope they still think so when they see these pictures in a few years! :)

Stay tuned tomorrow for Day 3 ...


Shore Girl said...

Looks like LOTS of fun! You did a great job with that party --- fun fun!

jemilyea said...

I do so enjoy reading all about each year's Cousins Camp. It's also good to see updated pictures of your family.

Sophia said...

Isn't it amazing how much the kids have grown? It's hard to believe, but my oldest nephew turns 16 in two weeks. He's the one you would remember as a baby/toddler! :)

As for the rest of them, I still can't get over how much my sister's boys look alike. At certain angles, I had trouble telling them apart.

Kristen Bieber said...

Looks like so much fun! I love the A to Z zoo idea, I think I may borrow it! I love the idea of cousin camp when my nephew gets a little older.