Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Minecraft Birthday Party

I love birthdays. To me, they're like a special holiday just for you. I really enjoy planning family parties for my children; I think I enjoy planning their parties almost as much as I enjoy being a part of them.

My son has been all about Minecraft these days. (Although World of Kefllings is running a close second.) So, of course, he wanted a Minecraft birthday party. What fun. Lots of kids love Minecraft, so I knew there'd be tons of great ideas out there.

We didn't eat anything fancy - just kid friendly hamburgers and hot dogs, but we did drink Creeper Juice, A.K.A. Diet 7-Up spruced up with new labels. I made them labels in photoshop, using this image as a starting point. Then I just added the "Creeper Juice" using this font. The image is sized to completely cover a Diet 7-Up label. If you want to use it, feel free. I printed three at a time in Microsoft Word. (The  image will appear cropped below, but the full-size image download.) I'm not sure if it will cover the labels for other brands. I suppose you could pull them off; Michigan has a bottle return law, so I didn't want to remove them. 

The table was tough for me because I didn't want to spend a ton of money on decorations what would just get tossed out after dinner. I bought one of those cheap plastic table cloths - brown of course, and then made everything on the table different shades of green. I did splurge a bit on the paper plates, but  when I saw the square ones, I had to have them. It worked out perfectly that scrapbook paper was on sale at Jo-Ann Fabrics the week before the party. I cut each piece into two inch squares and scattered them over the table. Each guest's place was marked with a name tag (free - made here.) My son loved how they they looked like they came right out of the game. I also printed out this wonderful (and free) Minecraft birthday banner

Of course, we had to make the dining room windows look like they were made out of glass blocks.

I was super excited to find the brown and green gift bags at Hobby Lobby - they were perfect for a Minecraft party We put the poppers on the table because in the game, Creepers (silent green monsters) sneak up behind you and explode. 

Since Allen is the cook of the family, he made cake. (He's an amazing cook. Although, if the challenge involves cooking a meal over an open fire or in an early American open hearth kitchen - I can cook him under the table!) While it may not look very cake-like to the untrained eye, trust me when I tell you that most nine year-old boys will immediately recognize it as a Minecraft Cake. 

I decided to do something different with my son's birthday shirt this year. Now that he's nine, the stuff I've been doing seemed rather juvenile. Plus, S and his dad both love tie dyes. Just look at those flowers! Can you tell, it's been a month or two since we actually celebrated?That garden is under two inches of snow this morning.

If you like the shirt, pop into this wonderful little shop over on Etsy. Cassie makes amazing custom tie dyes and can pretty much do anything you want. She was quick and even had shirt suggestions for my very skinny son.

It's hard to believe he's nine already - nine. It seems like not all that long ago he was off to his first day of kindergarten. My husband made sure to point out to me that our son's time living at home is (most likely) half over. Gasp!   It hadn't really hit me - we'll probably only get another nine years of  having him at home. Right now I simply can't imagine not having him around; I wonder if I'll feel different when he's 18...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I See London, I See France, I See Captain Underpants

See that belly? It's the result of the 16 pounds (about 7.25 kg) of candy my son and daughter brought home Halloween night. OK, her belly isn't really stuffed with chocolate, but the kids did bring home 16 pounds of candy - and we only trick-or-treated through a small part of our neighborhood. Believe it or not, one of my students managed to haul home 30 pounds (about 13.5 kg.) (I asked the kids to collect data on their candy so we could work on mean, median, mode and range. Averages are more meaningful to kids when they use data that is important to them. But I digress...)

While the Captain Underpants books may not be among my favorites, my daughter adores them.  She's only in second grade, but she has read them all. When she told me she wanted to be Captain Underpants for Halloween, I honestly had no idea how I was going to pull it off. I mean, we live in Northern Michigan, so going out in undies or even a swim suit wasn't really an option. So, I started searching and managed to find this "skin suit" on line. It wasn't quite right, but after pricing materials at the fabric store, I realized it was my best bet so I broke down and bought it. Be aware that at the store I linked to above, the child size medium suit was large enough to fit me, which ended up being OK since we were enlarging her tummy, but otherwise it would have been way too big. 

After removing the face piece, the gloves and the feet from the suit, I tightened up and shortened the legs and the arms. It fit fine and it was stretchy enough that even with the gigantic tummy K could wear long johns underneath to keep warm. (Luckily her rain gear also fit.) All Captain Underpants needed was new undies, a cape, a bald cape, stuffing for that belly, and she was good to go.

We knew we were onto something when strangers started coming up to us the day we trick-or-treated through town asking to take K's picture.

Of course she needed a treat bag, too. Just like I did for her brother, I found a graphic on line, reversed it, and ironed it on. The graphic is below just in case you might want to make a tote for your favorite little superhero. Now I'm hoping that we have "dress as a character from a book" day during March is Reading Month this year, because I'm certain K will want to wear this again.

Right click to download the full-size image.

Captain Underpants TM by Dav Pilkey.
All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Guess Who?

I have several big Dr. Who fans living in  my house, so I wasn't surprised when my son announced, back in August, that he wanted to be Dr. Who for Halloween. Specifically the Eleventh Doctor. 

The geek in me was thrilled and I thought, "Cool, that's a pretty simple costume to put together," and I started looking for a child size eight  tweed blazer at my favorite thrift shops. I found lots of navy blazers with brass buttons, but nothing even remotely tweedy. By mid-September I still hadn't found one so I had to go to plan B...

I found a machine washable jacket for next to nothing,

and used this pattern to make a lovely coat for my little Doctor. I'm glad the blazer I found was a lady's size 18; if it had been any smaller, a few of the pattern pieces wouldn't have fit. If you ever need to make a blazer for your son, I highly recommend this pattern. The directions were quite clear and, even with deconstructing the other blazer, I managed to finish it in one day (although since it's a Halloween costume, I did leave off the welt pockets.)

The best part of S wanting to be Dr. Who was he decided he had to grow out his hair. Back in August, S had a buzz cut - a very short buzz cut. But once he chose to be Dr. Who, he started to grow it out so he could have that little swoop of hair in the front - just like "the real Doctor." Every now and again he would ask me to style it, just to see if it had grown out enough.

If you've been around here for a while, you're probably surprised to see my son's face smiling back at you today. I started blogging in 2008 - back when my son was three and my daughter was two. At the time, it didn't feel right to put their faces out there. These days, both of the kids have been asking me if I will stop "cutting off" their faces in my pictures. So, after a discussion with my husband, and since they are a little older I've  decided to ease off my "no faces" rule.

I always try to make my kiddos treat bags that coordinate with their costumes. (Plus, later on they make a great storage bag.) Dr. Who needed a bag with a little bit of British flair and a Tardis (the time travel machine the Doctor travels in.)

It was easy to make with iron-on transfers. Luckily, I remembered to reverse the images first! I sized each one to print out on a standard size piece of  transfer paper.

If you have a notion to make one, I've included the reversed images below. They're big (about 8 in by 10 in) so only a portion will show in the post, but you'll get the full-size images if you right click and download them. I just inserted each one into a Word document and printed them out.
I was glad I made the blazer a tad on the big side since it poured here on Halloween. Luckily it fit over my son's rain gear...

Keep Calm original art here
Tardis original art here