Saturday, July 30, 2016

Minecraft Birthday Party

Like many kids, my son LOVES Minecraft.  This year we even started a Minecraft Club at our house.  It was a huge hit and the kids are asking if we are going to do it again this fall.

So, when my son turned 11, we just had to do a Minecraft-themed birthday party.  This year I really got my kids involved in helping with the party preparations.  They had a ton of fun!

This "cake block" cake was a request of my son.  He thought it would be neat if we actually ate the same sort of cake they eat on the game.  My plan was to make a chocolate cake with with the recipe on the back of the can of Hershey cocoa, but my son really wanted vanilla.  So I went with a simple Duncan Hines box mix.  We used two boxes for this cake.  I poured the batter from one full box into a 9x9 square pan and baked it.  I then mixed the other box and did the same.  There is a layer of frosting between the two cakes.

For the frosting I used buttercream frosting colored with food coloring.  For the bottom layer, in addition to food coloring, I added cocoa to achieve the brown color.  Check out this post for a great buttercream recipe!

These are some creeper and snow golem head marshmallows on sticks.  We used the rectangular s'mores marshmallows, but regular marshmallows could also be used.  To achieve the green color, my son dipped marshmallows into a cup of water dyed with green food color.  A tip I would recommend is to stand them up to dry by poking the sticks into a box or piece of styrofoam.  They take about 10-15 minutes to dry.  Ours got a little overlapped when we layered them on a plate and the color came off in a couple places.  Still not too shabby!  The faces were made with buttercream frosting piped on with a writing tip.

I wasn't going to do any planned games this year, just let the kids have fun playing together and swimming in the pool.  But my son really wanted to do at least one game.  This is what he came up with.  He made an Enderman out of construction paper and we made the grass blocks together.  We called it Pin the Grass Block on the Enderman Hand.  It's a bit of a tongue twister!  The kids enjoyed it and he was very proud of himself!

What's a Minecraft party without a Nether Portal?  This was one of the kids' favorite parts.  We all worked on this one together.  The kids and I hung the paper around the portal, my husband drew the sign and he and the kids hung the streamers.  My daughter asked for days before the party how long it would be until we could hang this up.

It's a Snow Golem.  I'm not sure about the pumpkin head, but it's in the game so I went with it.

Here is a picture of the ghast my son created.  We started off by covering a box with white paper and then he drew on the face and taped streamers on the bottom.  It was so great to see the excitement in his eyes when we made all these things together.  He was so happy!

This is the sign we had from our Minecraft Club earlier this year.  My son made it for the most part, but I helped him finish things up as they got tedious. He was happy that we got to re-use it for his party.

So there you have it!  This Minecraft party was not magazine-ready by any means, but my kids enjoyed helping out so much!  I hope it gives you some ideas for your next Minecraft themed party.

To see some of the places I got inspiration, check out my "Party" Pinterest page!

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Best Buttercream Icing
Rose Cake

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Summer Squash Casserole

Image found here.

Are you looking for something to do with all that summer squash you have from your garden?  Look no further.  This is an easy and delicious recipe.  There are several versions you can find online and in cookbooks, but this is the one found in the Light and Tasty magazine from June 2007.  Ruth Peterson of Jenison, Michigan says of her recipe for Summer Squash Stuffing Bake,"it would be a easy accompaniment to chicken or pork entrees".

(In the parentheses, you can see the ingredients my mom uses in her version.)

Summer Squash Casserole


3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 medium yellow summer squash (but zucchini work just fine)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 8-ounce package stuffing mix
2 tablespoons butter, melted (for a richer version use 1/2 cup)
1 10 3/4-ounce can cream of celery soup (or cream of chicken), undiluted
1 cup fat-free sour cream (full fat if you want!)
2 medium carrots, finely shredded

In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil.  Add squash and onion.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until squash is crisp-tender.  In a small bowl, combine stuffing mix and butter.  Set aside. 
In a large bowl, combine soup, sour cream and carrots. Drain squash mixture and gently stir into mixture.

Place half the stuffing mix in a 3 quart casserole coated with nonstick sprays.  Layer with squash mixture and remaining stuffing mixture.  Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until heated through and golden brown.

Image found here.

Try serving with:

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken and Chicken Broth

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Multicolor Crochet Scrap Blanket

My friend, Amy, gave me a trash bag full of yarn not too long ago. Getting yarn is always a small celebration!  Some of the yarn in the bag was started into projects but I knew it would be perfect for a project of my own.  I took some time and untangled and sorted and organized.  After looking at it, I thought it would work nicely into a scrap afghan.  I sometimes don't like calling it scrap because it sounds like it's just leftovers, but in reality, it's like a little piece of everything.  It's not leftovers, it's creativity inspiration.

Either way, I took a lot of the yarn she gave me and combined it with some yarn I already had.  This blanket is the result!   It's eclectic and fun and I hope someone loves receiving it as a gift!

Instructions on how to make a double crochet scrap blanket here!

You might also like:

Boyish Stripes Double Crochet Blanket

Striped Double Crochet Blanket