Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Minecraft Birthday Party!

This year, the kids had decided on a Minecraft theme party. This worried me a bit. I really didn't know anything about the game other than the 3 other family members played it, it was becoming an obsession with kids everywhere, and they didn't carry themed items for parties in stores. I must admit, I was dragging my feet on this one. I found free printable invites that we handed out or mailed out. There are some great free printables, and I tried to use what I could find, but in some cases they just didn't work for me so I needed to create my own. To do this, I was able to use some of the printables from the link above, then I needed the food icon pictures. I headed over to the Minecraft Wiki, searched for what I needed, saved to the desktop, and then printed out the correct size in word and made my own labels for the treat bags, and also the food table. Yes, yes, yes, it would have been easier in Photoshop, but that is Adam's job, I am not really versed in it.

Our treat bags were green paper bags, and then I filled small cellophane bags with different candies to represent the items from the game. We had blue rock candy for diamonds, licorice for TNT, Rollo's for gold, gummy melon slices for melon, and shiny green sixlets for emeralds.

 For decorations, Adam made torches. These were made from cardboard boxes cut to size, taped up, and then covered with construction or bulletin board paper. We stapled them up to the trees or picnic shelter around the party.
 I let the kids choose what games to play and they really liked creeper toss, and pin the snout on the pig. We were also going to play Minecraft bingo, but we forgot to grab it as we walked out the door. For creeper toss, we used cardboard again from a box. Adam covered it in paper and cut flaps in the eyes and mouth. We filled blue plastic Easter eggs with rice, tapped those closed, and that was what they tossed at the board. I know the creeper is suppose to be green, but we ran out of that paper. The pin the snout on the pig was again cardboard covered in paper, and again Adam took care of the design of it. I really think he did a great job!

The day of the party was super duper hot, which usually happens. I always pick the same park to have the party at, it has a giant playground mostly in the shade, 3 large picnic shelters, and normally is not crowded at all. Plus it is relatively cheap! Some day when we have a house again we can have home parties, but for now, we have the park.

I forgot to mention that as a blindfold for the pin the snout of the pig, Adam made a "Steve" head for the kids to wear. Once again it was just a cardboard box covered it paper (sensing a theme?), and he added a strip of blue paper down so the kids couldn't see under the box. Here is Adam showing the kids what they need to do.

Next up was the creeper toss. I think all the kids had fun trying this one, but only a few actually made it in. I know that after the games were played, some of the kids came back to try on their own.

The Birthday kids!

The kids looked at pictures of cakes online and came up with these two since they couldn't agree on just one. The creeper cake is 3 layers of chocolate cake baked in a 8x8 square pan, with frosting in between each layer. We found the different color m&m's at the candy store and I worked from the black ones for the face outward. The Steve cake is 3 layers of vanilla cake, with frosting in between the layers and just tinted frosting for the outside.

I normally give out the treat bags while the birthday kids open gifts. I find that it keeps little hands busy while the gifts are being opened. All the kids had fun finding all the candy in the bag!

I had found green tablecloths, large green square plates, green napkins, small black square plates, black napkins, green silverware, green paper straws, and green snack cups at either Party City or Hobby Lobby. Our menu consisted of hot dogs, 7 layer dip, watermelon, green grapes, pretzels, Jello jigglers, chocolate Rice Krispie Treats, Iced Tea, Lemonade, Green Apple Kool-aide, and water.
Green Grape slime balls
Pretzel trap doors
Jello Jiggler water

Cocoa Krispie Treats as dirt

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Birthdays Part 2

As some of you know, my children were due the same day exactly a year apart. The fact that D was a day early and L was a few days late means they are the same age for 4 days each year. We always celebrate with family and friends together, although this year we did it a little different and next year will be way different.

D's birthday comes first in the week, and this year my baby turned 7. How the heck did that happen?!?!?! This year it also happened to fall the day after Father's day, so we did major celebrating in 1 week. She woke up to her gift on the table and donuts for breakfast. I had found birthday cake flavored Peeps on clearance at Walgreen's just days before, so both kids got a package of those. D is a major artist, any thing art or craft related she can get her hands on are big hits. I had picked her up a kid artist kit from Target that included paper, brushes, paint tray, and tubes of paint in a wooden box that also has a built in easel. We have tons of things by this brand, and love everything. Well it turns out she was disappointed because the night before she told her brother she wanted the Twilight Sparkle Build a Bear (wish she would have told us!).

She did end up getting her paints out and painting a wonderful flower and beach picture for us to hang on the wall.

Her cake of choice this year was this "Jackie special", 3 chocolate layer cake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache. Yum!!

She also insisted on her annual hair cut. She LOVES it this short in the summer.

The activity that she picked to do on her special day was to go mini golfing. We tried out a new to us place just over the state line in Michigan. We really liked this one! The course was a bit of a challenge for all of us at times, we cooled off with really inexpensive slushies, and played some video games in the small arcade. The kids collected any tickets won and saved them for the next time.

Later in the week was L's birthday. He turned 8 this year, and we took this picture on his last night being 7. He is so super big to me now, and found out that he is already 4'5"!!!!

My science and math loving boy got his first snap circuit set. He is really loving figuring it all out and seeing what he can do with it.

Both kids get to choose a meal for their special day as well. D and Adam wanted the same place so her meal was actually the day before. L really wanted either pizza or a buffet, and then he remembered Cici's is a pizza buffet!

He also decided that mini golf and video games was too much fun on his sister's birthday so he picked to head back to the same place. The only problem was that on the way there was a crazy rainstorm! So after we waited it out in the car, the kids had fun with the impromptu water traps.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Birthdays Part 1

We started out the kid's birthday celebration with a nice little cookout with a few members from Adam's side of the family.

I made a lemonade cake for this celebration. I have tried many lemonade type cakes and cupcakes and this one was by far the best!

Present time!

A badminton set that just had to be set up right away and used! We have all really enjoyed playing with this one.

Books and Legos. You can't really go wrong with those!

Little cousin was excited to see what was in the bag.

Gel Pens!!!!

Kayaking as a family

A few years ago, Adam fell hard for the kayaking bug. He researched boats and finally used some of the extra money we earned to buy a small red sit-in kayak. He took it out many times that first year in rivers, lakes, and basically any where he could. He even got a few friends to kayak all the way to Lake Michigan in a 2 day trip! The kids were equally excited about these adventures, and so he would take one at a time in the boat, and go together for a little paddle around. Getting stuck on the shore with a bored child is no fun for me, but I also didn't want to get in the boat. I would bring my knitting and book and just enjoy that while they all took turns out on the water. This year, Adam has purchased a larger sit-on top kayak, and we have found the perfect spot for kayaking. It is a wonderfully large sized park with a large stream that runs along the side. Tons of trees for nice shade, not many people other than fishermen. The large stream feeds into a larger stream that then feeds into the river. There is no danger of being swept away and down stream in the large river, in fact there is barely a current at all. The kids have been learning boating safety now for the past 2 years, with of course gentle reminders every summer, but they had never been out by themselves. This past week, we headed out as a family after work one night. The kids are finally old enough and responsible enough to give it a shot. Each kid went out in the boat with Adam to get used to what it feels like again. Then one by one they got to go out in their own boat, with Adam in the other boat right along with them. The kids loved every second! They loved it so much that we went back on Sunday afternoon. This time we brought a small picnic lunch to eat before heading to the water. This time we let the kids go out by themselves at the same time. They listened pretty well, a few reminders had to be given, and Adam was ready to jump in to swim to them at any time. I have to say that even I got in the boat both days this week, and it wasn't half bad! I actually enjoyed it!!!! So now of course Adam is talking about adding at least 1 more boat to our fleet, but I think that needs to wait until we are out of apartment living.

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