Kael’s Minecraft Party

Kael’s 10th birthday was one month after we moved into our wonderful new home and there was no way we were going to be ready to have his minecraft party on his birthday. So almost two months later, we finally had it 🙂 And now, after finally figuring out photos and stuff, I’ve got the blog post up – only 2 months after the party!

A month before the party we looked at lots of different Minecraft birthday invitations on the internet. Kael’s invitation turned out to be a combination of two different invitations we found that he liked.

Kael’s invitation – a combination of two that we’d found on the web. Tim made it look good

Two weeks before the party we began preparing. Should have started months ago 🙂 We were going to make a Creeper and a Pig from leftover moving boxes and do a Steve cut out to have standing at the front gate. Like I said, should have started months ago!

Tim made the Creeper – it took several hours over several days! It was a lot of work!! It’s not quite full size, but not far off it. IRL a Creeper is about 2 metres tall, making it taller than Tim! Our Creeper ended up being shorter than me but taller than the kids 🙂 It didn’t take Tim all that long to build the Creeper out of boxes, but then we covered it in sheets of butchers paper (also leftover from moving) and when that was dry he ruled a grid all over it so we had lots of squares to paint in various shades of green. That’s what took the longest.

Modelling the side view

We decided that making a Pig or a Steve was just not going to happen. A pity, but we so didn’t have enough time. Now that the party’s over we have our very own pet Creeper standing in the corner of the lounge, in front of the tv that’s slowly dying and we no longer use. He takes up a considerable amount of space, so it’s a good thing that we only made one Minecraft creature!

Tim also customised our Creeper slightly by making it possible for the head to rotate (it fell off in the painting stage), now all it needs is to be remote controlled so we can make the head turn by itself 🙂 Kael wants it to be a motion sensor so the Creeper can rotate its head when we move, like it’s really alive, and kinda creepy! Of course, around this place I think the Creeper’s head would soon fall off again as it would be continually turning while watching boys run around the louge room! I said that to Kael who then promptly told me, ‘We’d have a switch on it Mum! We could just turn it off!’

Kael actually posing for the camera

In the week before we made two different versions of gluten free Brownies, testing which ones made the best dirt blocks. Both types worked, so we iced them with green icing and green desiccated coconut for grass and white icing for snow, giving us blocks that were reminiscent of the dirt blocks you find everywhere in Minecraft.

We also made blue jelly for the water and green jelly cut into cubes for the slimes. On the day, the jelly was pretty much inhaled by the boys – it was the first thing to disappear from the table. Chocolate crackles became lumps of coal, the kind of coal Bry said he’d be happy to find in his Christmas stocking 🙂 Packets of whizz fizz became gunpowder, while a variety of square lollies became TNT. And Aunty Sharon’s muffins became Minecraft cookies.

A glimpse of what the table looked like

Then there were the different fizzy drinks that we poured into interesting bottles transforming them into witch potions. Green fizzy became creeper juice – we took off the labels and added our own creeper faces. Lime fizzy will be forever known in our house as Creeper Juice!

Minecraft Potions of Strength, Healing, Harming, Fire Resistance…

And of course, let’s not forget the cake! I wanted a Creeper cake, but it was Kael’s birthday, so he got to choose 🙂 He chose a cake that was like a section of the Minecraft world. It had grass blocks, dirt blocks, sand blocks and water blocks. We also made small Minecraft models from papercraft printouts, a creeper, a pig and one of the skin Kael uses in Minecraft. It looked great. The only thing I’d do differently is a different cake for the dirt and grass blocks. Ours was too crumbly and that made it really difficult to assemble. Perhaps that was also because it was gluten free.

A Minecraft Cake of dirt & grass blocks, sand and water blocks

Green, black and white streamers were used to decorate the house and we also had a minecraft birthday banner.The loot boxes were green noodle boxes I found at Aldi and Tim used black electrical tape to make their faces. We did the same thing to green balloons and stuck them up with double sided tape around the house. We also used white balloons for ghasts. Ghasts have very simple faces so I drew them on with black texta and we attached white streamers to the bottom of the balloon for legs and stuck them to the ceiling so they looked like they were flying. Nearly three months on and the ghast in the photo is still attached to the ceiling and looking good!

Our ghasts were friendly and didn’t spit fireballs at the party guests

Originally we were going to use helium, but have recently discovered that the world’s supply of helium is getting low. Turns out helium is not an infinite resource and is needed for specialised medical equipment far more than it’s needed in balloons. We did our bit and didn’t have floating balloons! This Creeper balloon is still up too, but looking a little more worse for wear, slowly shrivelling.

Creeper Balloon Face

We also created a couple of games to play based on the Minecraft theme. The first was just a variaton on ‘Duck, Duck, Goose!’ Which we called ‘Hiss, Hiss, Boom!’ What a Creeper does if it sneaks up behind you. We also created a game based on a card game called Pit. It’s a stock trading game. We had the Villager Trading Game. Tim even created little cards for it.

Our customised Minecraft Villager Trading Game

But what made our Minecraft party really work was our Minecraft server that ran a Minecraft world. With some extra computers we hooked all the boys up and they got to Minecraft to their hearts content – which they did. I found it funny that I, the Minecraft Noob of the family, was guiding others who were even less proficient than me, showing them how to make crafting tables and different tools and helping them survive their first night!

Minecrafting Together

The boys all had great fun, and although in the photo it looks as though they are all in their own little world and being terribly unsocial, that was most definitely not the case! As they were all on the same world there was lots of interaction where they were trying to locate each other, asking questions, looking at each others’ screens. Aside from coming out and eating cake they also got off the computers to play nerf gun wars and pop balloons while bouncing on the trampoline.

More Minecrafting Together

The next day Tim’s family came up and we did it all over again. Although this time we needed to give guided tours as most of Tim’s family hadn’t seen our new place yet. This time it was for lunch so I had to actually provide some ‘real’ food! Especially as there weren’t that many leftovers from the day before:-)

Thatsss a very nice cake you have there… Not much cake left, looks like the Creeper exploded

We tried to stick with the minecraft theme here too so had what was going to be barbequed chicken and baked potatoes, both of which can be found in Minecraft. Sadly I couldn’t get the bbq to light, so ended up roasting the chooks in the oven. (I’d bought a couple of free range chooks from the Hook & Spoon Butcher, its tag line is ‘from paddock to plate’. No intensively farmed animals there! More on that in another post). More Minecraft was played and the day ended far too quickly as far as the boys were concerned.

Creeper & Kael Again

More Minecrafting

Tatong Tattler Post – July 2013 – Permaculture Adventures in Molyullah

This month’s been a busy one, especially with preparing for a Minecraft themed birthday party. Should have started making the props months ago! So between the usual running around and preparing for the party, not much else got done.  However, I’m happy to say, the party was a great success, running for two days over the Queen’s Birthday weekend. ‘It’s the best themed party we’ve ever done,’ said our eldest. He’s now planning his superhero and villain themed party. It’s a good six months away, so I guess we’d better start preparing now!

Despite being swamped with party preparations we still had Cary from ‘Smarter Green’ come and quote us on solar. He was great. Friendly and efficient. He checked out where the shadows were coming from, got up on the roof, checked in the roof, asked us what we were after, chatted about other ways we can reduce our energy consumption…

Turns out he’s a former* Benalla boy and after visiting us, is thinking about moving to Molyullah. Totally understand why. J He has fond memories of Molyullah having won his first blue ribbon at the Easter Sports on his pony Cinders! Thoroughly recommend him if you’re looking into solar. Jeff also put in a fence pole and gate between our place and our neighbours so we’ll be able to access their chook shed without me clambering over the fences, catching my foot in the wire and falling on my face, which is bound to happen at some point.

Capeweed is popping up everywhere! But as we’ll be doing everything organically here, I won’t be using poison. That said, I don’t plan on letting it run rampant either. One of the many things I have learnt over the last four years is that you can learn a lot from weeds; they can tell you a lot about the health of your soil.

The presence of capeweed tells me that my soil is not healthy and balanced. A quick scan through Pat Colby’s book ‘Natural Farming, A Practical Guide’ reveals that among other things, the presence of capeweed in my pasture is an indication of a soil low in magnesium and probably also low in calcium. Pat Colby says, ‘It is the norm in tired, exhausted soils, which usually have a low pH to match.’ Natural Farming, p.172. Dolomite should help, but to be sure, the next step is to take a whole lot of soil samples and send them off for testing.

And now, back to the chooks. Last Tattler I made it known that I was interested in rare/heritage breeds of chooks and that I thought I might start my flock off with Australorps and Wyandottes. I’ve since met with two passionate chook ladies and now have a stack of resources to work my way through. There are so many different wonderful breeds to choose from! So which chook to choose? So far I’ve come up with a list of about twenty different possibilities!!!

We’ve decided on a mixed flock which will give us the chance to experience a variety of chooks and discover which ones are best. We definitely want dual purpose birds so we get eggs and meat, with a few layers thrown in to up the egg production. On the list are the Barnevelder, Langshan, Australorp, Welsummer, Araucana, Minorca, Campine, Dorking, Wyandotte, Rhode Island Red, Light Sussex, New Hampshire, Leghorn, Ancona, Hamburgh, Andalusian, Faverolle, Legbar, Indian Game and Transylvanian Naked Neck. I can get day old chicks from a local breeder and through her I could get me ten of the different breeds I’m after. But what to choose?

According to the chicken coop and run size I could comfortably fit 12 birds and a rooster, giving them about 1m square per chook (not that we’ll be getting a rooster any time soon). Apparently I could squeeze more in, maybe even double it, but twelve girls should give us ample eggs,. We were going to raise them all from day old chicks, but as they won’t lay for 5 to 6 months, we’re now thinking of doing a combination of point of lay pullets and day old chicks. That way we’ll get some eggs sooner and have the joys of raising chicks. However we’ll have to get more chicks than we need as half of them will probably turn out to be cockerels. They’ll be good pure breeds though, so although a couple might end up in the pot, there’s a good chance we’d be able to sell off the boys to people looking for good purebred roosters. Dilemmas, dilemmas.

* Note: I changed this article slightly to the Tattler version with the addition of the word ‘former’ in an attempt to make what I was saying a little clearer 🙂