I’m like a lot of you out there in that I’m a BIG fan of parties! Especially themed parties. And it’s really convenient for someone like me to be married to a digital- graphics guru who owns a company with a lot of high-tech equipment to help me support my habit. Just give me an excuse to have a party, & I’m off & running to look for a theme. And the best excuse I’ve had lately was my son turning 13! (Yikes! Even when I read the words in front if me, I still can’t believe it!) I always love it when I find great entertaining ideas from other bloggers out there. So, if you’re planning a party & searching for just the right theme, you might want to try what we did Saturday for my son’s big day. It was a race. And it turned out amazing. Hence, it was appropriate that we called it The Amazing Race. And there happens to be a TV show with the same title that we have a slight addiction to, so that may have influenced us a bit. But, here’s how it went: For a couple weeks before the party, my husband & I did a lot of brainstorming, thinking about locations & challenges that would be appropriate for the age of the guests & the length of time, then we sorted out the clues & challenges in the best order. Then we made the arrangements with certain businesses & people who would help give out clues. We also hid some clue envelopes in the locations the teams would be led to search. We allowed 2-1/2 hours for the actual race, and had approximately 12 clues for them to follow. We had chosen a few landmarks in our city that we knew they could find with simple clues. Some of the challenges included getting the signature of a fireman, searching for a certain tombstone in a large cemetery, going to an observation deck at the top of a landmark & searching for the answer to a clue, then going to that location to receive the next clue. The teams also had to visit a store that sold candy by the pound & buy an exact weight given on the clue sheet. Each clue had to be followed exactly, or a 5-minute penalty would be added to the team’s time at the Finish Line, back at our house. We also provided a hint envelope for one location, but if it was opened, the team would have a 5-minute penalty. Part of each challenge was to have the teams take pictures with a digital camera at most of the stops. This is a great way to get your pictures for the scrapbook later!We ended up having 3 teams of 4 kids each, with parent drivers in each of the 3 vehicles. We equipped each team with maps of the city, some money for one of the challenges & parking meters, & the necessary envelopes for the first set of clues. Here’s where my husband dazzled me with stickers he printed with an adapted “Amazing Race” logo. The last clue may have been my favorite. We went to a local Asian restaurant while we were planning the race & asked for some fortune cookies & if they’d like to be part of the race. I took the fortune cookies & carefully pulled out the original fortunes without breaking the cookie. I then replaced it with our own message, carefully tucking the small paper inside. Then I re-packaged them & we returned them to the restaurant where the teams would later go to find them.The race ended at our house & was a very close finish between the first two teams. We kept the food very simple, just serving hot dogs, chips, soft drinks, & cupcakes with a racing theme. At the end, we announced the winners & presented them with trophies (also made by my husband) which doubled as the party favor. I think it was a pretty big success among the kids. And now all the adults want to plan one for ourselves! Hope this gives you some inspiration & a place to start if you’re looking for ideas for a party of your own. Be sure to come back & post a comment about it if you do an Amazing Race. And if you have other unique party ideas, I want to hear about those, too!Visit thecsiproject.com