Sunday, 25 January 2015

Welcome to 2015 & Minecraft Party

The holiday season is over for another year; I hope yours was everything that you wanted it to be and that you're starting 2015 on a positive note.

The last month of the year is always crazy in this house; with a couple of birthdays, the end of the school year and Christmas it can seem a bit frantic and 2014 was no exception. I managed to get 3 weeks off work during this time and made the most of it with equal measures of running around like a headless chook and times where I did absolutely nothing at all - it was wonderful.

Now that I'm getting back to some semblance of normality its time to catch up on  some of the blog-worthy stuff I've been up to over the last two months.

First up was the monster's birthday party.  She had decided on  a sleepover with a few of her friends from school. Because the monster's birthday is after school finishes for the year  I usually send out about double the number of invites than I would for an event at any other time of year  because I know that so many families get out of town as soon as school is finished for the year. But with this year being a sleepover (we've never done a kids sleepover at our place before), I didn't want to risk the possibility of a dozen or more tweens showing up and not having enough space for them all so we deliberately kept it very small. We ended up with 3 of the monster's girlfriends for the party - a very manageable number to feed, entertain and provide mattress/floor space for.

Minecraft Birthday Sleepover Party

The monster had decided on a minecraft theme (is any one else's child as obsessed with minecraft as the monster? Seems shes always either playing it or watching youtube videos about it at the moment).


Of course being a minecraft themed birthday I decided at the last minute to supplement the gifts we had already purchased for the monster with a themed stuffed toy. And so I found myself sewing a creeper the night before the big day. 

In case you are not familiar with what these blocky little bad guys usually look like here's a reference pic.

In putting my creeper together I was reminded yet again of why I should not be crafting in the early hours of the morning after my brain has shut down for the night.

My creeper with the sideways head

You'll note that mine has its head on sideways. I was so annoyed with myself for not noticing this faux pas until I had sewn 3 of the 4 seams on the neck that I almost threw the whole thing in the trash but Jack the (seam) Ripper came to my rescue as usual!

In the end it turned out really well, and has probably been used more than any of the other gifts she received. All's well that ends well!


Entertaining the girls ended up being much easier than I had imagined. The classic, simple activities (including some that I was worried that would be too childish for my tween who would like to think she's all grown up) were huge hits.

Creeper Frisbee
There was lots of screen time and minecraft played, but we also kept the girls entertained outside for ages drawing on the concrete with a big bucket of jumbo chalk and throwing around a minecraft themed frisbee - a cheap green plastic frisbee with creeper stencil in black permanent marker.

Once the mozzies came out it was time to move indoors where the girls played a parent approved version of spin-the-bottle. This was a lot of fun and had the girls in fits of giggles.

The results of playing nail polish spin-the-bottle
The idea is that the players sit in a circle around a ring of nail polish bottles. They each take turns in spinning a bottle in the middle and whichever colour nail polish it lands on they paint a single nail in that colour. The game continues until each player has all 10 fingers painted (or all 10 fingers and all 10 toes in our case). Then of course we need take take photos of the crazy manicures!

After dinner it was time for movies and popcorn - I had set up a TV and DVD player in the spare room and all the girls piled onto the queen size bed in there to watch movies, giggle and chat into the early hours of the morning.

The final activity that I thought I would mention, because I was really unsure about how it would go down with this age group but seemed to be a hit, was colouring-in! I had printed out a heap of minecraft themed colouring pages and left these along with a bunch of pencils and markers in the room where the girls were to watch movies and sleep. I didn't mention them at all, and didn't push the girls to take up the activity but when packing up after the party I noticed that pretty much all of the pages had been used. I honestly thought the monster and her friends would think they were too old for colouring in, but obviously not.


Minecraft cake 
What's a sleepover party without pizza? Rather than ordering pizza to be delivered I home made individual pizza bases (using my favourite 2-ingredient pizza dough) and laid out a selection of toppings, allowing the girls to each add their favourites before putting them into the oven. Because the other half and I were also eating the same meal I also laid out things like baby spinach, feta cheese and fresh basil that the monster would balk at normally if I ever tried putting it on her pizza; I was a little surprised at just how eager a couple of the girls were to have some of the less commercial /traditional toppings on their pizzas as well. The individual pizzas went down a treat with barely a crumb left over.

The monster's (slightly disappointing) minecraft cake
with sparkler candles
In keeping with the theme we had a minecraft cake - A simple vanilla cake with a cream cheese / whipped cream frosting and pieces of red roll-ups. 

Although it looked the part this really wasn't my finest moment as far as baking goes - the cake was really heavy and bland and the frosting was lumpy  :(. But it was cake and had candles so everyone tried at least a small piece before moving on to the left over roll-ups that I had used for decorating.

The monster had asked for pancakes for the morning so I cooked up a big batch for brunch, set up a pancake bar and again let the girls add their all their own toppings. Again I was surprised (and more than a little pleased) at the volume of healthy toppings the girls opted for - almost all of them chose fruit toppings (with squirty cream from a can) rather than the syrup or lemon and sugar.

Pancake bar - pancakes, syrup, lemon juice & sugar, jam, whipped cream,
bananas, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, grapes and watermelon.

All in all the whole sleepover party didn't really take that much effort to throw together and the girls all seemed to have a good time. I know the monster had a ball, and all her friends are great kids so it made it that much easier on us. It's certainly made me more willing to allow occasional sleepovers when the monster starts lobbying to have friends sleep over again.

What did you get up to over the holiday season? Did you throw a birthday/ Christmas / New Years party? Did you manage to get away for a break?