Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Birthday Without Treasure

Youngest always has a strawberry birthday cake
This is the first year since our son turned four that there has not been a single birthday treasure hunt. Eleven years of treasure hunts. No clues to think up, no story to invent around a unicorn, a pirate or a fairy princess. No suitable treasure to find and package, no chocolate gold coins to ransack Woolies for.

I don’t know whether to be relieved or regretful. Relieved because treasure hunts involve a lot of last minute winging it and running around in circles, regretful because my kids are growing up so quickly.

Youngest turned eleven a couple of weeks ago. What she wanted for her birthday was to go riding with her friends in the morning and come home for an afternoon of play and then a sleepover. I thought I’d have very little to do. Just sort out with their riding teacher to move their Thursday lesson to Saturday, so that there were only two extra lessons to pay for, lay on some food and that’s that.

Of course having six girls for a whole day requires just as much cooking, if not more, than having twenty little kids for a tea party, so it turned out to be a procession of cooking: from soup and fresh bread for lunch, when they came back starving from their ride, to a strawberry cake for tea, and home-made pizza for supper... and then pancakes for breakfast next morning. I was kept just as busy as of old.

Youngest was rather dismayed to wake up to wind and rain on the morning of her birthday. The forecast was for drizzle and clearing up in the afternoon, but the ride was at 11... and this was way more than drizzle. We drove through a downpour to collect her friends, but used willpower and positive thinking in spades and by the time we reached the stables the clouds were lifting and the rain had stopped. Phew!

They had a lovely ride – what could be better than all your favourite friends and all your favourite ponies gathered together however windy and un-springlike the day?!

Then it was an afternoon of the next best thing to real ponies – endless games with Schleich ponies, and luckily the older girls haven’t yet become too grown-up to play too.

Our strawberries have been so late this season with the long late winter, that we only just had enough berries for Youngest’s traditional strawberry cake, but there were plenty of mulberries and the girls just ate those straight from the tree.

The birthday finished off with pizza and the movie I’ll be There, with that classic scene of Craig Ferguson riding a motorbike through the upstairs window of a beautiful old country house into a pond. One of the lovely things about the kids being older is that they enjoy many of our favourite movies.

And even without the treasure hunt, there was a wealth of treasure in memories and wonderful birthday experiences - I think it was one of her best birthdays yet!


  1. Happy birthday to your youngest! I have always been fascinated by your treasure hunts (mine are somehow limited as I have to do them in German), so am sad that they are no more. I am sure your kids will remember them forever, though.

    1. Thanks, Charlotte. Who knows they may resurface next year or get reinvented for the whole family over Christmas. Treasure hunts are too good a tradition to let drift away forever! Hat off to you for coming up with treasure hunts in German!

  2. What a great party - you're a fabulous mom, Kit. You do everything homemade and heartfelt, and that will stick with your kids forever, while simultaneously teaching them the very important lesson of what's important without making it FEEL like a lesson. It just feels like homemade strawberry cake, and who doesn't love that?

    1. Thanks, Marcheline! I think they will all end up doing the same for their kids one day too. There have only been occasional mild queries about cakes shaped like something or other, but they know by now that fancy cakes aren't my forte and they are quite happy to stick with my tasty but plain round ones!

  3. What a wonderful birthday day! I think the kiddos love them, but for a Mom its just a meaningful day, a pause to say you incredible small person , "I have loved you without fear, fail or consequence for X many years." Congrats.

    1. Hi Sam, I agree, I guess spending hours thinking up treasure hunts or cooking for them and their friends is just a big I Love You!


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!