Birthdays as the kids get older

As kids get older, many things change. No longer do they need you to get them a snack or pick out their clothes. As you would expect, their tastes in TV shows and books change as do their friends as they grow up and experience more.

So it is no wonder that birthdays also change. Many parents throw birthday parties for their kids when they turn one. The party of course is more for the parents as the baby has no idea what all the fuss is about. They are all about playing with the boxes and smashing cake with their fingers.

We never did big parties when our kids turned one or two. In fact, they only had parties with us and the grandparents until they turned 5. Then it became parties where you invited their whole class. I use to like doing them at party places as they seemed to be less of a hassle, and I got to enjoy the party rather than run it. (I even wrote a post about that. Click here to read it.)

The inviting the whole class worked for a few years. And then we would just invite the boys or girls – depending on if it was Jase’s or Lexie’s party. And three years ago, we moved to having the parties at home. It gave us more creativity with their themes.

Jase did an awesome Army turned Lego party followed by a How to Train Your Dragon party. Last year, he just invited a couple of friends over for science experiments, video games and a water balloon fight. His birthday is tomorrow. We celebrated with family yesterday, but he is going with some friends to a bowling/laser tag place this coming weekend to celebrate.

For Lexie’s home parties, we first did a Minecraft themed party and this year it was Pokemon. Next year, we will probably try to scale her party back to maybe just a few friends. Or perhaps she will have a sleep over.

Jase next year will be in middle school. And with that, I imagine parties will end. Of course, Lexie is quick to point out that teenagers can have parties too. I just don’t think we will be making that a yearly thing.

I know college students and adults who still throw parties for their birthday. And if the kids want to do that, I am not stopping them. It just isn’t something I have every done. My last birthday party was when I turned 21. It was also my only surprise party. (And the day I got engaged.) I’m perfectly happy celebrating with a dinner out with the family. But we will see as the kids get older what they want to do.


A Minecraft Birthday party for my 8-year-old daughter

Lexie turned 8 this month. When asked what type of party she wanted, her answer was simple: Minecraft.

modloader-for-minecraft-02-700x406For those of you who don’t know, Minecraft is video game that allows players to build and construct a world out of textured cubes. Players can play in an open world where they can build and explore or opt to play in survival mode where players are required to build certain things such as a shelter to protect themselves and to hunt for food.  It is a VERY popular game.

Originally the idea was just to have Minecraft invites and a Minecraft cake at a party location as we have always done Lexie’s parties away from the house. But two years ago when Jase was in second grade, we started doing his parties (Lego and How to Train Your Dragon) at home so it seemed fitting that Lexie should get to do hers at home too now that she is in the second grade.

She was excited and had so many ideas of what she wanted to do. A quick look at Pinterest brought a plethora of ideas on everything from decorations to food to games and activities. It would be easy to go all out on this party.

minecraft inviteInvitation – Since I use to design invites on Etsy, I already had a Minecraft invitation done. Lexie had me change up the animals on the card. We then printed them out at Wal-mart. We invited her whole class plus 6 other friends. Thankfully everyone didn’t show up. We had 12 kids including my own two.

IMG_1824Decorations – Decorations for a Minecraft party are easy. You want everything to be square so square plates and bowls were in order. Decorating in lime green and brown would be an obvious choice but we pretty much just stuck with lime green. IMG_4272My husband also 3D printed some Minecraft Ore Cubes which he added lights to so they would glow. And Lexie insisted we have lava. (A red plastic table cloth cut to fit the floor of the arch between our living and dining room.)

Food – It was easy to get ideas online for food to serve based on Minecraft. I made my own food tents to let everyone know what they were having to eat.


Snack Bar – sorry the apples and watermelon were not out when I snapped the photo.

Snack Bar – We offered Minecraft themed snacks: carrots (Cheetos), sticks (pretzels), apples (sliced apples), melon (watermelon), IMG_4269water (blue jello), lava (red jello), obsidian (Oreos), cookies (chocolate chip cookies) and of course the drinks: Creeper juice (apple juice), potion of swiftness (bottled water) and potion of healing (Root beer).



IMG_1312Candy Bar – As part of their goody bags, we let each kid fill a snack size plastic bag with candy. Here is what we had: gold (Rolos), fish (Swedish fish), coal (Nestle Crunch bites), redstone (cherry Lifesavers), Diamonds (blue rock candy), Emeralds (green rock candy) and TNT (red licorice). I also had some mini-candy bars wrapped with a “Thank You for coming to my party” message.

IMG_1307Cake – You can’t have a party without cake. I looked at many online before coming up with this cake. It is two boxes of chocolate cake mix baked in 9” x 13” pans and then cut and stacked to resemble a Minecraft scene. We used Minecraft figures that the kids already owned for decorations. Since I wasn’t going to write Lexie’s name on it, my husband 3D printed her a Happy Birthday sign which she painted herself.

Games/Activities – Again, Pinterest offered a lot of ideas on games. It was tough to narrow it down.

Making Necklaces – My husband 3D printed some Minecraft swords and pick axes. We had the kids color them with markers. Add a bit of string and poof, you have a necklace. It was a simple activity but the kids loved it. (As a second craft, while we waited for all the kids to arrive, they decorate their own goodie bags using the markers or some Minecraft items I had printed out.)

Feed the Tamed Wolf – Lexie came up with this as a version of Pin the Tail on the Ender Dragon (which we had seen online.) I simply printed a large tamed wolf  (photo above with decorations) and some bones (with the kids names on them). The object is while blindfolded to land the bone perfectly on the wolf’s open mouth.

IMG_4273Creeper Bean Bag Toss – Again, something from Pinterest. It is simply a cardboard box painted green with a Creeper face cut out of it. The kids tossed bean bags through the openings to earn points. (The smaller eye holes were 20 points and the mouth was 10 points.)

IMG_4274Creeper Tower Block – This was made out of floral foam blocks that I bought at the Dollar store. I then drew Creeper faces on them. We stacked the blocks and had the kids shoot arrows to knock them down. (We had covered each block with Modge Podge to help protect them from the arrows.) The bow and arrow was from the Dollar Store too. This was the hardest game because most kids couldn’t shoot the bow and arrow. I probably would change this game to either a bean bag toss or get a better bow and arrow.

Creeper Tag – Lexie insisted on having a game called Creeper tag. I had to hone her ideas down into something that would work for a party game. In the end, we took the blocks from the creeper tower game and placed them at one end of the yard. The kids had to retrieve them without being tagged by one of the “creepers.” If you were tagged, you became a creeper.

IMG_1347Enderman Pinata – One of the best things about having a party at home is the option to have a piñata. I made my own – something I started with Jase’s Lego party. I simply take a 24 can soda box and cover it with crepe paper streamers. My husband created a wooden Minecraft sword for the kids to whack the Enderman. As always it was a hit.

The party went well. All the kids had a blast. Lexie declared it was her best birthday ever. Whew….