Last weekend was Mika’s 8th birthday Ancient Egyptian party. If you follow my blog, you can tell how much effort I put into this – from the invitations to the scavenger hunt. My major in college was Ancient Near Eastern Art & Archaeology (with a concentration on Egyptian Archaeology) – so I had reason to get really into it.
The party itself was a 26 hour affair. A bunch of little girls – ages 6 to 9 – came for an all-day sleepover and they were joined by other kids – ages 4 up – the next day for the party proper.
Both days I greeted the guests with healthy snacks of the type they probably had in ancient Egypt – or at least they have now (carrots, cucumber slices, grapes, strawberries, pita bread and hummus). I also set out ancient Egyptian coloring pages which I found online and which I copied from the coloring books which I got with the Exploring Ancient Egypt Fun Kit I got on Amazon. The pictures from the coloring books are very detailed, so they weren’t as popular. The four “stained glass” coloring sheets that came with the kit also weren’t as popular – probably because they also were more detailed than the ones I downloaded from the internet.
Still, I learned that children can get bored of coloring pretty quickly.
I had planned a full day of activities for the sleep-over girls on Saturday, but the schedule did not go as planned, both because I wanted to wait for all the girls to be there to do some of the more fun stuff, and because Mika was somewhat reluctant to do some of the activities. No matter, things worked out.
After drawing the girls spent some time playing with Littlest petshops and just talking. Then they went on to watch the Goosebumps: Return of the Mummy DVD, which I had planned for them to watch before going to sleep, but I guess they needed some down time then.
After that they were ready to finally decorate t-shirts with Ancient Egyptian stencils and spray paint. They LOVED doing it and were very pleased with the results. They had to wait their turn to do them, as I only had two cardboard frames for the stencils (which were small enough that, without the frames, would have allowed the spray paint to splatter the rest of the t-shirt), but that was good as it extended the activity. I’m very glad with the quality of the stencils, which withstood repeated sprayings, and I can’t believe how much spray paint I have left over!
I think after that was free playtime as well – Mika didn’t have any interest on the girls making some perfume as I’d planned and we also never got to do story time – though they did spend quite a lot of time telling each other scary stories (Mika is VERY GOOD at making up stories).
Meanwhile, I cooked dinner. I varied a bit from my dinner plan, in that I made an Egyptian lentil soup as well. I’m not one for lentils, but this was DELICIOUS – and I wouldn’t doubt the ancient Egyptians ate something like it as well, as both onions and lentils were part of their diet. Alas, only one of the girls really liked it, Mika ate some, and the three others wouldn’t touch it. I also made Ancient Egyptian chicken, but only one of the girls liked it (it wasn’t that good). For dessert, I’d plan on Egyptian Palace Bread, but the whole thing became a mess, sticking completely to the baking pan, and I gave them not-at-all-Egyptian sorbet-yogurt bars instead.
After a little cleaning up, and more chatting by the girls, it was spa time. We started with facials. First I had the girls wash their faces with an all-natural face cleaner and then I had them lie down on their sleeping bags and covered their faces with a homemade facial mask (ground oatmeal + sour cream + a little bit of honey). I covered their eyes with cucumber slices. At first they thought it was a little gross, but they believed my claim that that would make their faces really soft and the longer they had it on, the softer it would be so they withstood it for quite a long time. It was very cute. I finished the facials by rubbing a tiny bit of jojoba oil on their faces.
The next step was a manicure. Here I left Ancient Egypt altogether, and started by making a soaking gel with the “crystal mud” (aka sodium polyacrylate) I got with the Elmer’s Magnificent Manicure Kit which I bought a couple of weeks ago. Mika had loved the gel then, and I had a feeling the girls would as well. Boy, was I right. They had the best time soaking their hands on the substance and playing with it. I heard comments of how lucky Mika was to have a mom to give her a manicure and how this was the best slumber party ever. This stuff is basically a crystal powder that is able to absorb hundreds of times its weight in water – basically it’s the stuff that diapers have inside. When it has enough water it becomes a gel. I think this is the same stuff that the Insta-Snow you can get on Amazon (you probably need to add more water to make it jelly like, though). I would /definitely/ encourage you to get some of this stuff (in as small a container as you can) for manicure-pedicure use. I’m sure it doesn’t do much for the skin, but lord, the kids loved it.
By then it was pretty late, so we did not go on with other aspects of the manicure. Instead the girls got ready and went to sleep – they were out by 9 PM!!!!
The girls woke up around 7 AM, but they reasonably quiet and non-demanding, watching cartoons and talking until we woke up, after 8. I had plan to make fetter for breakfast, a type of Egyptian pancake which is likely to be very old. Alas, after I woke up I didn’t feel I had the energy to actually make them. So I figured I’d make buttermilk pancakes instead – not at all Egyptian, but very yummy (specially with real maple syrup).
After breakfast (well, after I had breakfast), it was time for putting on Egyptian makeup and dressing up in Egyptian clothing (well, back in college I bought myself a rectangular piece of gold fabric that I used to make an Egyptian style dress – now I used it to wrap the girls as well, one at the time). Mika, meanwhile, bought the galabiya we bought her atthe King Tut Festival last fall. All the girls LOVED their looks. I used sparkly eye-shadow that I got at Grocery Outlet, black eye pencil, a little bit of blush and lipstick. They looked gorgeous (I’m only posting the pictures of my girls here for privacy reasons):
After that I encouraged the girls to make bookmarks on papyrus-looking paper with the hieroglyph stamp kit I have, but I don’t think anyone did so. Unfortunately I had to get the house ready for the party and didn’t have time to do it with them (I did affix a large hieroglyph alphabet to the bookcase to make it easier on them).
Finally, it was time for the actual party. My friend and former Egyptian archaeologist Lola came over with a great handmade banner celebrating Mika:
st 8 hr Mika di ankh ra mi djt
irt n Michael mst n Marga mrt snt Camila
Year 8th of Mika, may she be given life like Ra for ever
begotten of Michael, born of Marga, beloved sister of Camila
Once again, we had snacks and coloring until the pizza came (yep, non-Egyptian, but there is so much you can get out of those kids). After that there was more free play and coloring until it was time for the mummy game. This is a fun game in which the kids divide themselves in teams and they get to wrap one another in toilet paper like a mummy. The team that finishes first, wins. The game itself didn’t work so well with this crowd. First of all, I bought the cheapest TP I could find, which proved a bad idea, as the squares kept breaking of. Second, all the kids wanted to be wrapped and they weren’t good at keeping with the task. So it became just a game of getting wrapped with TP, by one, two, four, whatever. They had a GREAT time, under Lola’s leadership. She even got them to clean up by challenging them to do it as quickly as possible.
After the TP game, it was time for the treasure hunt. The hunt was pretty complicated, a bit too much for the kids, but I think they all enjoyed it. I had a LOT of treasure for the kids – old necklaces and stuff I didn’t like, a few small toys, some candy and lots of handmade necklaces and bracelets (I love making them, but then I don’t know what to do with them). They took most of them 🙂
Then it was time for the cake, which Mika had decorated with Egyptian figurines. Everyone liked it.
And then there was free play until parents picked them up.
In all, it went as well as it could be expected. Mika mentioned that next year she wanted an Ancient Greek themed party – I’m not sure I’m up to that. This was fun, but exhausting!