Oh, the invitations. Ethan's invitation was initially a source of pride turned utmost frustration, but I'm still glad we went with them in the end! I found the bottles and corks for cheap on eBay and Amazon -- whoever had the best price! -- and had our invitations printed at Office Max. My only issue with the bottles was that the opening was so narrow that I had to have the invitations printed on standard paper rather than a thicker card stock or they wouldn't fold properly (especially not without getting stuck!).
Each year, we include a little paper asking for donations to the Breathe Hope campaign by Global Links in lieu of a gift and I usually include a stamped envelope for anyone wanting to send a check. What I learned the hard way after stamping and labeling the little envelopes was that they didn't fit. My mental breakdown only subsided because this year we added online donations to the mix so no one actually ended up even needing or wanting to send in a check. Still! On top of everything else, two of our bottles never made it to their destinations and are still MIA! I was a little worried that they'd all arrive at their destinations crushed or empty but other than the two invites lost in transit, they all arrived safely! While I'm definitely sticking to envelopes in the future, the bottles were really cute and I'm glad they (mostly) worked out in the end!
The actual invitation was designed by Paper Fox Design and was so super cute!
THE ONE-AND-UNDER FAVORS:
A lot of Ethan's friends have baby siblings and I just like to include the babies in all of the fun! All of the kids in attendance who were one and under received a cute Sesame Street pirate book as well as a little bag of special baby snacks!
(Cute little pirate treat bags came clearance from Wal-Mart!)
BIG KID BAGS
All the "big kids" (the over-ones!) got the same favors. I'm pretty determined to stray away from filling the party favors with candy or junk, even if it means making myself crazy making things for hours on end. This year, Ethan asked me to include slime and play-dough. Months ago, I had started melting down crayons in chocolate molds to make coin shaped crayons and I couldn't be more thankful I started those so early. I definitely underestimated the time it took to make so much slime and play-dough.
Each favor bag also contained a bag of Pirate's Booty. A couple of days before Ethan's party, Pirate's Booty sent a gigantic box of Pirate's Booty to our front door. Each one of Ethan's little friends was able to take home a bag of Pirate's Booty which totally made his day -- he got a kick out of helping me stuff each favor bag with the Pirate's Booty. I cannot tell you how touched we were to have received this gesture from the company solely because they know of our situation in losing Wylie as well as how much Ethan loves pirates and their product. We have always loved Pirate's Booty but now we will most definitely be customers for life. In a dark time, it always amazes me how certain people (or, in this case, companies) come out of the woodwork to stand behind you and help you out. So very grateful to Pirate's Booty for helping make Ethan's special day even more special!