Gabi’s 6th Birthday Minecraft Party!

On 4th July our biggest boy and beautiful, minecraft-crazy aspie, Gabs turned a big 6 years old!!! I can’t possibly have a 6 year old! I don’t understand it at all. But I pretended I accept that he really is 6, did his bidding and threw him a full-on Minecraft Pool Party. It was the hottest week of the decade so far in London, hitting 32 degrees and one of the school mums said, “Pleeeeease can you let them have a paddling pool party this Saturday?! It’s so hot!” With 4 days to go to the party and having zero activities planned for twenty Year One children, let alone anything minecraft related, I cried, “HELL, yeah!” without accounting for the fact we didn’t actually own a paddling pool.

The invitations were downloaded for free from a now defunct graphic-designer’s blog. Feel free to grab the jpg.

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The party started at 2:30 (which I correctly guessed was precisely the earliest minute I could get the party ready if I got up really early and worked all day.)

I basically planned this party by stealing ideas from other mum’s blogs found on pinterest. I plan all my kids’ parties by making a pinterest board, couldn’t do without it:

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The main feature of the party (apart from the pool) was probably the incredible grass-block cake made by the inimitable Michelle from May The Cake Be With You.

 

IMG_4704It looked amazing just as it was, but we also put some of Gabs’ minecraft figures on top and it was perfect. Michelle has made three cakes for me now and every single one exceeds my expectations. I heartily recommend her.

For the birthday boy we got this minecraft t-shirt to wear from Argos (but cheaper, through hotdealsuk) and the torches came I think from Amazon, from his Aunties Tara and Jen.

 

As we didn’t have a paddling pool, we had to nip out to ToysRUs for one and spend all night putting it up and then returning it for another one in the morning when it, of course, turned out to have a hole in it… We got it inflated and ready only just in time – man, those things take an age to fill! 5 hours to get it to the top. I don’t want to think how many gallons of water that is. But it was totally worth it:

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I had tried to give everyone warning to bring costumes but just in case I filled a tub with the boys’ spare costumes and another with dry t-shirts and shorts, and two big tubs for wet and dry towels. I also had a creeper bean-bag throwing game set up which was really easy to make with a load of green poster paint and a black marker and some minecraft beanie-toys to throw.

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Probably my favourite feature of the party was the playlist of minecraft songs I made for Gabs on YouTube. The most-requested by the whole family was “It’s All About My Base”, which we played so many times while I set up the party it became like the official theme tune for Gabi’s 6th Birthday:

It took me a while to figure out how, because I’m not very tech-savvy (hoping Gabs will step in and teach me sometime soon now he’s six) but I managed to link my youtube account to our TV in the living room and have the playlist of minecraft parodies of loads of current/recently popular hit songs with some really great animations playing when people arrived. It came in handy once they’d got cold and tired of the paddling pool as the living room became a bit of a dance floor. 

Most of my ideas for this party came from various blogs that I found via Pinterest, on my new favourite party-planning website Catch My Party. I had really hoped to link to the individual blogs that helped me but they all seemed to have moved around since I pinned them. If you browse Catch My Party you’ll come across them all.

One of the most useful was the free printables from Printabelle where I got food labels, a Happy Birthday Banner and some other small signs.

For the other decorations including the creeper-face cups and balloons, I used a template from My Sugar Coated Life. At first I tried the black marker like she suggested but this was a disaster probably because I had ridged cups and had only used paper instead of card. Instead, I used the template and black sugar paper from a local art shop and stuck the faces on with double sided photo stickers.

Possibly my favourite craft bit of the party was making the TNT party favours (which I just used as part of the party food) and they were probably the most popular “food” item too.


The party food was kind of random. I had already downloaded the food labels and went along with the general premise of only serving foods they actually have in the world of the game. Luckily the party was between mealtimes so it didn’t quite matter and the kids loved it. We had watermelon for minecraft melon, chicken nuggets, strawberries as redstone, carrots and apples, chocolate matchsticks as “sticks” and silver-coloured plastic cutlery as “diamond tools”. We had a sign from the free printables over the table saying “Party Food, Nom, Nom, Nom!” which my four year old found hilarious and parroted all day long. I still don’t quite get it.

The kids’ drinks were different cordials poured into empty water bottles with “healing potion” labels. I left the kids to mix their own with the water as a “Mixing Station” and served my parent-friends prosecco (never, EVER throw a kids party without it!), beers, juice and coke.

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Inside, I set up a “crafting table” with printouts of minecraft pictures for colouring, glue and loads of different gems and “ores” for sticking on and a minecraft lego set. I really added it just to have something “mine-crafty” indoors to carry the theme and was pleasantly surprised to find a few of the girls actually staying there a long while and making some arty stuff.

Once everyone had gone crazy in pool (oh, the screaming!), eaten all the food and had a dance to the minecraft songs, we did the cake.

The party bags were meant to have creeper faces on but I ran out of steam! At least they were green, and aswell as cake and sweets, had some crayon blocks that looked vaguely minecrafty and some plastic toys.

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And then since the kids were all having a pretty great time and we mums were getting pretty merry on the prosecco and it was a gorgeous sunny evening, we just kept the party going for a few more hours until it started to go dark and the kids were sleepy! It was a brilliant day. A lot of work to set up, but totally worth it. Gabs absolutely loved his party and all his friends ran up to me at school on Monday to tell me what a great time they’d had, so we might do it again next year!

 

 

Look What Love Can Do!

Readers of my blog might know that it was named by a very special lady and friend of mine, the amazing Jennie Henley, she of the award-winning and inspiring Edspire blog. Jennie lost her beautiful 9 month old daughter, Matilda Mae, to SIDS on 2nd February this year and since then she has selflessly and tirelessly channelled her grief into raising a quite incredible amount of money for and public attention to The Lullaby Trust, a wonderful charity devoted to both raising money for research into the causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and supporting bereaved parents and families.

 

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Today is Jennie’s birthday and in her usual giving style she has asked that people who would normally buy her a card or a present instead donate to Baby Tilda’s Starlight Fund via her Justgiving page below. If you know and love Jennie, or you’ve just read her blog and are moved and inspired to help, please click on the picture below and consider making a donation as a special “Happy Birthday!” for her:

 

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Look What Love Can Do!

THANK YOU!!!

xxxxx

 

 

 

Gabriel’s Space Party

On the Saturday after Gabriel’s birthday, 6th July, we threw a Space Themed Birthday as promised, for our astronomy-obsessed little boy. It was a lot of work but totally worth it!

I’d planned everything weeks in advance on Pinterest (what a perfect party-planning tool that is) but somehow I was still up into the wee hours the night before, mostly blowing up and hanging giant planets around the living room in the correct formation for our very particular Solar-system expert:

 

The paper chains were made the day before, from huge strips of coloured card, cut and stapled. We had personalised pages for the colouring station which I found at Twistynoodle.com:

 

The solar-system cake was spotted on Pinterest by Gabs himself and re-created by the wonderful people at Dunn’s Bakery in Crouch End:

 

 

I’d bought space-themed party plates and table covers etc. on ebay and stocked up on prosecco and beer for the parents and the usual party foods for the kids. But the best feature of the day for me was the amazing Natalie from West End Bubbles. For what I consider a very reasonable price for such a thing, she rocked up early with all her equipment, speakers, sparkles, props, bubbles and facepaints, tucked herself neatly into a corner of my flat and for the next two hours proceeded to create a great party atmosphere and keep 10 preschoolers and a toddler totally absorbed and happy! Not at all deterred by the fact that it was one of the muggiest, hottest days of the year and my flat was like an oven, she smiled, leaped, danced, sang and generally did all the work for me while I sat back with a glass of prosecco and enjoyed watching my birthday boy enjoy his party.

I don’t know how she did it because I felt tired just watching her, but the woman is a hero! I found Natalie by accident on a facebook mums group. Someone recommended her when I needed a last minute facepainter for Lucian’s birthday. She was already booked but managed to move things around to fit us in which I so appreciated and after seeing her in full party-entertainer mode I cannot recommend her highly enough. (Disclaimer: She didn’t tell me to say that and I’m not getting any money or deals for saying so! I’m not that good a blogger yet 😉 She really is just that good!) I do, however blame her for my prosecco-head the next day as I didn’t have enough to at the party…

To round off, we had the cake with those flame-shooting sparkler candles which looked like rocket-boosters (or a comet!)

 

By which time, we were all pretty much pooped:

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Gabriel’s 4th Birthday – a very belated account

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This is going waaaay back to July now but it being such a crazy Summer I never did have a chance to blog about it properly. Our lovely eldest boy, Gabriel turned  4 years old on 4th July and had … Continue reading

July

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So July was crazy and has created something of a blogging backlog. I still haven’t blogged about Gabriel’s Space Birthday Party, Reiki, my Cornwall holiday or The Big Move. But we are in the new house, and we love, love, … Continue reading