How to throw a Minecraft Party

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Birthday parties have been consuming my life since February.  We had a little family party for my husband and then three days later we celebrated my four year olds birthday.  Two weeks later we had a Toy Story themed party for him with his friends.  I had absolutely no time to recover from that party because three weeks later my oldest turned nine.  I was a little panicked because I usually have a little more time between the two parties and of course, I was stressing myself out, but we managed to get it all done!

 Actual Birthday 

Like I have said before, birthdays are a huge deal in our house.  We take the whole day and dedicate it to the birthday boy.  And this was no exception for my oldest son, Greyson.   We started off the morning with a birthday breakfast.  The boys always get candles in their birthday meals.  And yes, we do sing at every meal!

After breakfast we were off to the mall to play at the soft play.  All of the malls have these huge indoor playgrounds, which are wonderful when it is 100 degrees outside!  We had a friend hanging out with us for the day due to his school closing for two days.  Our area was covered in a blanket of toxic smoke that was burning in a garbage dump 15 miles away.  It was awful!  The boys played for an hour and were a tired, sweaty mess after all that running around.

We decided to get lunch next at Greyson's  favorite restaurant, Sizzler.  All three of my boys just order the salad bar and usually have three full salads by the time they leave.  I had promise them ice cream for dessert, but they ate so much for lunch that I really did not think it was possible for them to eat any more, but they begged and pleaded and how could I say no on his birthday?  The boys all got Blizzards at Dairy queen.

We even were able to visit Egypt on our way out of the mall!  The malls here have huge exhibits all the time and we were lucky enough to see animals from Egypt.  We saw ostrich, Sphinx cats, fennel fox, Nile Crocodile, African bullfrog and tons of fish.

Once Ben got home from work, we had more to celebrate.  Presents, Greyson's favorite dinner, and cute cupcake brownies. (A friend had just given me these really cute birthday cookie cutters and Greyson wanted me to try them out for his special treat.)  We had a wonderful day.  Now it was time to prepare for his big Minecraft party.


Greyson lives and breathes Minecraft right now.  His whole day is consumed by it.  If we are talking about specific time period during school, he always says "I could build that on Minecraft."  He loves watching videos about Minecraft...really, anything that has to do with Minecraft and he is hooked.  So, I knew he would be having a Minecraft party.  There are so many great ideas on Pinterest, so it was a little overwhelming when planning this party.  There was just so much to choose from.  The invitations I made were super easy.  Just green construction paper with a cutout of a creeper face on one side and the party details on the other side.


I decorated with green, black, and white streamers and balloons.  The one wall was covered with different shade of green and brown construction papers to make it look pixelated.  I downloaded a Minecraft font for the birthday banner and just stuck those onto construction paper.  I made a huge balloon spider and a ghast out of a small box and covered it with white streamers.

I found a site where you would print off different blocks from the game and also a large Steve.  They were a pain to cut out and put together, but I liked what they added to the table. I also found a site that had a whole bunch of food labels for the table.  The food was so easy for this party.  I only had things that could be found in the game.  The menu included watermelon, apples, broccoli as emeralds, carrots, pretzels as sticks, cheeseball as gold, goldfish as fish, and red & chocolate as TNT.

Games & Activities

I wanted the party to recreate the experiences the kids have while they are playing the game, so we set up our own crafting table.  Each child received a green duct tape creeper wristband when they arrived. These were so easy to make and the kids all loved them.  We also passed out cards to all of the boys that had different crafting items on them.  We started out by asking the kids what they would need to make an axe,

After the boys crafted an axe, they got to decorate their own axe.  Now, I must say, I was thinking more along the lines of a cardboard axe, but my husband was not too thrilled with cutting out 12 axes, so he thought he would get thin pieces of wood at the hardware store.  Well, the hardware store did not have thin pieces of wood, only heavy sharp stick.  So, all of the boys got these crazy heavy sharp pick axes to decorate with duct tape.  I did have to give them all a little speech about not swinging them at each other and we never had any problems at all.  (I would recommend foam or cardboard though!)

Next, the boys had to mine for coal in order to get a torch.  We were planning on having a little mine outside, but the weather decided to have a freak rainstorm during the dry season. It also ended up knocking out our power 10 minutes before the party started.  Thankfully, it did end up coming back on as the guests started to arrive.

Then, the boys had to hop across our lava river on (cardboard) stones without touching their feet in the lava. Our river was heavy red wrapping paper and spray painted with a little black paint.   Now, the next idea was one of those ideas that sounded fun at the time, but really I have no idea what I was thinking.  I broke the boys up into teams of four and they all were given red jello squares. The goal was to see what team could stack the highest jello tower, which is really impossible.  The boys loved it, but you should have seen the absolute disaster of jello smeared all over my living room floor.

After our jello project, we headed outside to explode our TNT.  My boys love Coke and mento explosions, and I knew all the kids at the party would love it too. The TNT boxes were just wrapped in red wrapping paper and then I used white streamers to make it look like TNT.  I used the Minecraft font for the letters.  We had 6 mento explosions, and all the boys were a sticky mess.  But our street was full of giggles and it was totally worth it.


I saw some awesome cake ideas on Pinterest, but I decided to go with the stacked cake to make it look like a Minecraft scene.  I used chocolate cake, rice crispy treats, and blue jello for the cake and added a few print out creeper faces.  I also added Creeper faces to the extra cupcake that I made.  Grey loved his cake!

Goodie Bags

The goodie bags were really easy too.  I just bought green paper bags and cut out black Creeper faces. I added a list of items that the boys were supposed to try and find in their bag on the back of their bag..  The gift bag only had food in it and they were full of items that would be found in the game.

I also made a Creeper t-shirt for Greyson by dying a shirt green and then using fabric paint for the Creeper face. We packed a ton of activities into Greyson's two hour birthday party, and we were all exhausted afterwards.  It was so much fun and I think all of our guests enjoyed themselves.  I hope my big 9 year old enjoyed his special day.

Now, I get to relax for a couple of weeks before the last party of the year.  Lincoln has decided on a Ninja party, so look forward to that in May!


My Pinterest page for the Minecraft party:

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Moving Forward...and a little lesson on posting on Facebook

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I think it is time for a little heart to heart.  I got myself into a bit of an discussion after I shared an article about the Five Most Depressing cities in America. The last city we lived in was in that top five. Many came to defend the city, while others agreed with the article.  I thought I may need to clarify why I found this article so interesting.

If you knew me before we decided to move across the world, you would not have put me on any adventurous list.  I went to college an hour away from my hometown and after I got married, I moved to the largest city in our area, which is 45 minutes from my hometown.  I never saw myself moving anywhere else, except maybe to the suburbs in the future. I had only been out of the country  four times, which really did not appeal to me and I had never been further west of Illinois, or ever even been to the New England States.

We were a single income family trying to make it work.  I am sure I had seasonal depression, because every year after Christmas, I would have a breakdown about where we were in life.  I hated the cold and felt like I spent way too much time in doors with my three very active boys.  I was exhausted from being a stay at home/ homeschooling mom....needing to cook, clean, run errands, never getting a vacation or being able to really vacation, and not even really having the extra to go out to eat just to get a break from cooking.

The city we lived in did have some really great things to offer us.  They have one of the best zoos in America, a hands on science center, wonderful metroparks, playgrounds all over the city, great YMCA programs, and a wonderful homeschool group that kept us very busy.  But I couldn't help feeling depressed when I thought about where we lived.  I looked around and thought, "This is it.  This is all I will ever see."  Then, I started to panic a little and we knew we needed a change.  I will write a post about our decision to move another day, but here is the thing, I was not happy in our town.  It did not matter that our town had a long list of great things to offer, I was not happy.

Both pictures are before our move. I look tired and like I am forcing my smiles.

Since we have moved to Thailand, my attitude about life is just all around better.  I do not feel depressed anymore and I am excited about our future.  I do not feel stuck.  A friend of mine mentioned when she saw me on our visit last summer, that I had a whole new aura of peace and calmness to me.  She said I just looked happier.  And I really am.  Now, let me say that after living in Thailand for almost  three years, there are days that I am absolutely bored out of my mind.  I desperately miss playgrounds and wonderful museums and zoos for my kids.  Thailand was not a cure all for how I was feeling, but it did rescue me from the feeling I had in my chest about our life back home.  I could finally breathe and have peace in my life.

 Looking and feeling a lot more at peace since the move.

Moving did come with heartache from leaving our families and frustrations of navigating a new country and culture, but it is something I will never ever regret.  After I saw that article, I wondered if part of the reason I was feeling depressed where I lived in the States was due to the fact that it was listed as one of the most depressing cities to live in.  I'm sure I cannot be the only one that feels that way. I know the article was mostly based on job growth, but what struck me was the percent of people who were optimistic.  Only 35.2 % compared to Provo, Utah where 76.9 % of people are optimistic.

So, I posted the article and took some heat from it.  But, one thing I found very interesting, was that every person who defended the article had since moved away from that city, either to a suburb, small town, or larger city in our state.  No one actually lived in the city I was talking about.  I was not complaining about the whole entire state.  And honestly, when I think of moving back to that particular city and our old home, I start to get a knot in my stomach.  I am not really sure why, but I do know that I do not want the life I had before our move. I want to be really happy.  That might be living in Ohio again or maybe not.

I am so happy we live in a country where we are able to move freely.  No one has to be stuck in their current life and no one has to settle and be unhappy.  We are free to move and choose a life that will make us truly happy.  Again, I am very sorry if anyone felt I was ripping on our town. That was not my intention. This was just an article I agreed with. I am looking forward to seeing where our future leads us.  We really have no clue where we could end up!

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Throwing a Toy Story Party

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Birthdays are a HUGE deal in our house.  I love dedicating the whole entire day to the birthday boy. From meals, to having the day off from school, to special treats, the whole day is meant to make the birthday boy feel as special as possible. A few weeks ago, my littlest guy turned 4.  We spent the whole day showering him with birthday surprises.

We started off the day with birthday pancakes.  One rule in our house is that on your birthday, you get to blow out candles at every meal.

We took the day off of school and headed to a nearby soft play for the boys to run around. After playtime, we got a special ice cream treat at Swensen's.  Britton chose pizza for lunch and tacos for dinner.  We finished the night with presents, brownies, and yummy cake batter ice cream treats. I had to substitute a little with these.  I couldn't find cake batter ice cream or Oreos, so I added cake mix and sprinkles to vanilla ice cream.  For the crust, I mixed up butter and crushed wafer cookies and stuck it all in the freezer.  Delicious!

Now, I needed to prepare for his upcoming Toy Story themed party with all of his friends. I found this really cute invitation online, but it was only an image.


I wanted the whole house the be decorated with items from Toy Story. My background was simple.  I cut out clouds to resemble the wallpaper in Andy's room and pasted those onto blue paper.  I found a great site that had copies of the drawings that are also in Andy's room and glued them up to the wall.  I hung green balloons that I decorated to look like the Aliens from Pizza Planet.  

For the birthday banner, I found  few ideas online and merged them together.  I wanted the "Happy Birthday" to look like Scrabble pieces and "Britton" was to look like alphabet blocks.  I wrote out "Happy Birthday" with our alphabet blocks and also added army men and our own Woody, Buzz, and Jessie to the table to help with our theme.

I also found a great site that had a very easy tutorial on how to make a Toy Story Logo birthday shirt. They actually used this logo for a sign, but I copied it and had it made into a t-shirt for the birthday boy. Britton absolutely loved his shirt!


Once all the kids arrived they all were handed their own alien hat.  They used the hats as party hats, but also as blindfolds for our "Pin the antennae on the Alien" game.

The kids also had to find the five hidden Toy Story figures out in our front yard.

We also played "Keep the Alien off the Ground" with our alien balloons.  Each child got to take one home after the party.


Each child decorated their goodie bags to look like Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head.  I cut out pieces before the party and all the kids picked out what they wanted to create their own Potato Head.

Goodie Bags

I just used simple brown paper bags for the goodie bags.  On the front I added each child's name in the Toy Story logo and a thank you.  The bags had some Toy Story pens, markers, pad of paper, tattoos, and some candy in them. Here are the little figures we hid in the yard too.


For the adults, I made green frosted cupcakes and decorated a few of them to look like the aliens from the movie.

Each of the children received a brown frosted cupcake that was laying on the side.  I gave all the kids a cup of candy to decorate their cupcake with.  Once they put the pieces together, it was supposed to look like a Mr. Potato Head cupcake.  I used Wilton candy eyes, chocolate Twizzlers for the eyebrows and mustache, jelly beans for the nose, Gummy Life Savors cut in half for the mouth, and orange slices for the ears and a Hershy's Kiss for the hat.  The kids loved them.

I had so much fun planning and throwing this Toy Story party for my sweet Britton.  Now on to the next party.  We have Minecraft party coming up in 2 weeks.  Stayed tuned!

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