Not Martha

Birthday Treasure Hunt (an idea you should borrow)

This past weekend was my birthday. Scott was in New York for a gig but before he left he set up a little treasure hunt in our own house to keep me amused since I had some work I needed to get done before Monday. He left me a card labeled “1 of 2”, inside was a perfectly normal birthday card and this mysterious piece of vellum offered with no further hints:

a blank sheet of velum marked with nine X-marks the spot points

I knew it was a location map but it didn’t line up to anything I could find. I tried seeing if it fit over the card to mark specific letters that would spell something, or maybe a book or magazine that had recently appeared on the dining room table, or something. I figured perhaps it was locations in the house but it didn’t seem to correspond with the layout. Nothing quite fit. Later that night I had dinner with friends and at the end of the evening they presented me with card #2. Inside that one was the other half of the map, the layout of our house:

a rough layout of both floors of our house, and our car in the driveway

Putting one on top of the other reveals, a ha!, locations:

points in our house

It’s hard to tell from the photo but one spot is located out in the car. I slipped out to there close to midnight in the pouring rain, still wearing my birthday dress, to retrieve the treasure he’d slipped into the glove compartment.

nine toy capsules containing rings

And what did I find hidden in those spots? Like tiny Easter eggs I found colorful capsules containing toy rings. One was in the planter for our huge rubber plant, one tucked behind a picture on a shelf, one in waiting inside a cup in the cabinet, one inside a box of kleenex. All (well, almost all) sat unnoticed by me for two full days.

nine toy capsules containing rings

(Why toy rings? They echo my engagement ring.)

Scott you’re the greatest! And thanks to go my dear friends who were all in on the secret and managed to keep it all the way through dinner.

· comments [27] · 10-11-2010 · categories:things I think are neat ·

27 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mim // Oct 11, 2010 at 3:29 am

    That is just the sweetest! HaPpY BiRtHdAy!

  • 2 TPS // Oct 11, 2010 at 3:52 am

    So great! Totally stealing the idea.

  • 3 Amanda // Oct 11, 2010 at 4:57 am

    The best part (nearly the whole point, in our house) about gift-giving is the element of surprise/mystery. Makes it so fun! This post is inspiring me for somebody’s upcoming birthday…

  • 4 kelli // Oct 11, 2010 at 6:38 am

    what a fabulous idea and happy birthday

  • 5 Sara C // Oct 11, 2010 at 7:37 am

    Awwwwwww! You and Scott are so cute! Happy birthday.

  • 6 Joanne at Frutto della Passione // Oct 11, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Absolutely brilliant. Not only am I going to steal this once, but I am going to steal it twice! (once for my son and once for my husband!)

  • 7 Jen // Oct 11, 2010 at 8:29 am

    What a neat idea!

    I used to make little treasure hunts for my brother when we were really little, leaving a series of little rhyming clues around the house for him to follow. Of course, the end prize was usually to find a toy I had taken from him, so Scott’s hunt is way better.

  • 8 Jennifer // Oct 11, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Neat idea!

  • 9 Michelle // Oct 11, 2010 at 10:21 am

    You guys are so great. Happy birthday, hope Scott will be home with you soon.

  • 10 sprizee // Oct 11, 2010 at 11:12 am

    That’s adorable! My husband proposed with a toy ring too.

  • 11 Elsa // Oct 11, 2010 at 11:13 am

    How marvelous! What a sweet and thoughtful way to be with you on your birthday, even when he was elsewhere. Lovely!

  • 12 Mastermo411 // Oct 11, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    That’s so great! I love it. I love treasure hunts and I found this cool idea for them. I wish something like that existed (check out Good luck with everything!

  • 13 Liz J in Central Illinois // Oct 11, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Now THAT is true love! A man with a sense of humor and adventure like that is definitely a keeper!

    Happy Birthday to you! :-)

  • 14 sweetandcoolval // Oct 11, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    He’s RAD for making your birthday fun while he’s out of town. My boy isn’t that creative, I’m a little envious. :) I’m looking forward to having this one in my back pocket for someone in the future.

  • 15 koren // Oct 12, 2010 at 8:23 am

    aww how cute Love the idea!! I found you thru bakearella so cool!!

  • 16 Jennie // Oct 12, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Happy Belated! What fun. :-)

  • 17 redmenace // Oct 12, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Sweet and incredibly romantic! You’re a lucky girl! xo

  • 18 Anne-Marie // Oct 12, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    What an awesome idea – love the map, love the celebration and love the idea of such a sweet man. =)

  • 19 Star // Oct 12, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Just found you thanks to (yup!) that old Blogs of Note citation. Kudos to Scott. I’m going to forward your link to a friend in Seattle, too. Thanks for sharing.

  • 20 Cara dB // Oct 13, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    That’s the most romantic thing I’ve heard of in a while. Totally stealing it! (but I’ll use guitar picks for my husband’s treasure hunt)

  • 21 megan // Oct 13, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Thanks so much everybody for the sweet notes — I hope it inspires many more treasure hunts in everybody’s lives!

  • 22 Tsoniki Crazy Bull // Oct 15, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    That is so awesome! I am definitely going to use this idea at some point.

    I thought of doing a sort of treasure hunt for my kids using my friends houses, but never actually did it. This is a fun way to do it without having to coax my friends into helping. LOL

  • 23 kaylen // Oct 15, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    LOVE this idea!! I have done many a treasure hunt for my son throughout the years. He LOVES them!!

  • 24 regan // Oct 18, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    This is just such a sweet idea.

    And happy (very belated) birthday!

  • 25 Link roundup | weeklypop // Oct 28, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    […] Awesome idea for a birthday treasure […]

  • 26 Karen // Oct 29, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    We love treasure hunts at our house, but I’ve never done one like this. Great idea! I have some other treasure hunt ideas on my blog if you want to try something different.

  • 27 DLS // Mar 23, 2011 at 12:06 am

    Wow – what a creative and thoughtful gift adventure. Where does one find an available ‘Scott’? :)

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