Tag Archive: Minecraft

Last Hurrah

Vacation is coming to an end for the boys and I think we all have mixed feelings about it.  This has been a great break and we wanted to finish it off with a last hurrah, so to speak.  With that in mind we got up early (well, earlier than we have been) for a Cub Scout breakfast meeting.  This was a treat for the parents and the boys.  The boys were cooking breakfast for everyone!  Our guys set the table, cut up fruit and made pancakes for 27 people!  They did such a great job and breakfast was delicious.


Like true gentleman they served everyone else before they sat down to eat.


Finally it was their turn to eat.


It was definitely a special breakfast – we don’t often get to have breakfast with 24 good friends and the boys loved the responsibility of “hosting.”  A big thanks to Loren and John for having us all at your house so early in the morning!

Later in the day the boys each had a friend over to hang out.  Having four kids play together is sometimes easier than just three, as it turns out.  The fun did not end there though.  One of their friends stayed for a sleepover.

Sleepover 003

And more came later for an impromptu play date!  (I am actually not allowed to call it a play date anymore, but as you can see I am having trouble breaking the habit).  The boys love to “join” each other on their I products and play Minecraft together.  LOL.

Sleepover 007.JPG

Does this even count as playing?

Sleepover 005.JPG

They laughed and played and had a great time, so I guess it does.

So, I am wondering, are you ready for your kids to go back to school?

Outdoor Christmas Decorating

The weekend after Thanksgiving is the time for the boys and I to decorate for Christmas.  Sometimes we do it earlier if we get a warm weekend.  No such luck this year!  So we turn on Christmas music as we bring the boxes up from the basement and then head outside.

D.JPG We only had a few glitches this year with burnt out bulbs and I think it turned out pretty good.  This is just a small part.

house2 Of course it looks better in person.  I have a secret weapon that I found last year.  I used to put up a ton of lights on string and it took forever.  Then I found a laser light projector that covers the whole house in dots of green (well, we chose the green laser).  It is a pretty cool effect – different than the rest of the neighborhood.  I still put up the traditional lights, just not as many and I am done much faster!  Bonus.  One of my favorite outdoor decorations is a sign the boys made for me a few years ago out of wood.  Nana and Popop helped them with it and they surprised me for Christmas.


Sammy, our elf found a clever spot today.  The boys had asked him yesterday to tell them a trick that they could use while playing Minecraft.  LOL.  So he wrote them a letter giving them some new ideas for the game.

Sammy30 Dane made him a rainbow loom bracelet as a thank you token.  I am sure he will be wearing it when he returns tomorrow morning.  The boys are in for another surprise tomorrow morning.  December 1st starts our (and everyone else’s, I’m sure) advent calendar.  We have a tradition of using the Lego Star Wars advent calendar every year.  The boys alternate days.  This year I bought it in advance – before the secondary market got a hold of it and marked the price up.  I hate that.

advent So, I am wondering, do you open an advent calendar in your house?  Is it pre-filled, or do you fill it?  With what?

How to Make Minecraft Toys

Minecraft is making a comeback in our house lately.  This is partially because our Cub Scout camping trip this coming weekend has a Minecraft theme and partially because the coveted xBox 360 version of the game was received as a birthday present last weekend.  In the world of video games, I don’t mind Minecraft.  The boys build and create worlds.  They strategize, explore and even collaborate on the best way to find what they need when they are playing in the “same world” on their individual iPods.  They learn about geology and civil engineering.  Believe it or not, Minecraft is being recognized by educators for its potential as a learning tool in the classroom.  www.MinecraftEdu.com  MinecraftEdu (a version of the game designed specifically for teachers and students to use in a classroom setting) has been installed in thousands of classrooms across the country and is being used to make history, science and other subjects relatable to kids today.  http://www.gamesforchange.org/2013/05/qa-with-minecraftedu-co-creator-joel-levin/

With all of the Minecraft talk in our house lately, the Minecraft toys that I made for my guy’s birthday party last year are out and getting used.

Minecraft Blocks

The boys were so excited when I made them.  Minecraft toys are not that easy to come by and the ones you do find are not very well made.  I made our version from Perler Beads I found at our local craft store.  They took a little time to make, but they are perfect for Minecraft.  Here is how I did it.

Step 1: Collect the items you will need, including, perler beads in the colors of your toy, perler bead base, iron and iron on paper.

Step 2:  Make a pattern of the item you will be creating.  If you want to make a square cube, this website will help you lay out the pattern.  http://moonatnoon.com/projects/perler/d6.html  If you want to make a rectangular cube (like I did for the creeper and torch), copy these patterns:

Make creeper body

Make creeper top

Make torch

Once you have the pattern completely laid out on the board, it is time to fuse the beads together with heat.  To do this, you will iron over the beads.  Be sure your iron is on a dry setting (no steam)!  I used the cotton setting, but the beads may come with specific directions on temperature.  If so, follow them.

Step 3:  Place the iron on paper over the beads.  Hold the hot, dry iron over the beads for a few seconds, making sure to cover all of the beads.  This part is tricky.  Be careful not to melt the beads too much or you will not be able to put the “puzzle pieces” together.  Of course, all of the beads do need to be fused together – just not melted flat.

Step 4:  Once cool, remove the partially fused beads from the perler board and place them, upside down, on your ironing board.  Cover again with the iron on paper and fuse the second side together.  Again, be careful not to melt them flat!

Step 5:  Once all of the pieces have cooled, you can assemble your cube.  Since mine were going to be played with, I fused the edges of the cube as well.  To do this I placed the iron on paper over the toy while it was assembled and ironed the edges for a few seconds.

Depending upon how well your ironing went, your cube may have a perfect fit or you may have trouble getting it together.  If it is too difficult to assemble, you probably melted the beads too much with the iron while fusing.  You may need to try again if this happens.

Minecraft Tools

Perler beads can be used to make fun flat toys as well.  You can make these in the same way as the three dimensional toys, but with no assembly.

I hope you have fun making Minecraft toys with your kids!


So, I am wondering, how do you feel about schools using computer games such as Minecraft to teach traditional lessons?

Party Time…Almost

It’s party prep time at our house again.  Birthday parties are always a big deal for us and the boys enjoy the planning almost as much as the party itself.  They talk about possible themes for days and, as far as they are concerned, the sky is the limit.  They really are very creative.  I love the innocence involved in what they think is possible.  They are not held back by what we may think of as practical considerations.  As a result, they come up with some great ideas.  They are still young enough as well to think that mom can make it all happen.  No pressure.  This year we settled on a mixed theme of Plants (from Plants v. Zombies) v. Creepers (from Minecraft).  I feel pretty strongly that zombies are not a great party theme for kids parties.  The boys were upset that I was violating the integrity of the game for a bit, but then they realized they could combine two of their favorite games.  Bonus.

party bags

My son decided early on that he wanted a Nerf War party at our local children’s gym.  It is a great boy party, if a bit shorter than most other places.  So, it will be a shoot out between the plants and the creepers.  I just hope the war is won by the time the party planner tells us to move on for pizza.  Just to be safe, I am letting her tell the 20 armed children it’s time to go.


There is still much to be done.  Of course this is happening in the midst of a busy time for us otherwise.  Some nights when I am up late getting things done I wonder if I will ever get to sit and knit again.  So I found a quick knit for a cabled headband to work on in my down time.  (haha)  It is similar to one I have had my eye on in one of my favorite catalogs.  I just could not bring myself to order it knowing I could make it myself.  I wanted to write a pattern myself, but there is just no time for that right now.  So I found a great pattern on Ravelry.  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/crab-claw-hairband—headband  Here is my version so far.


One more thing.  I had to pick our first baby pumpkin from our garden today.  I am kind of sad about that because the boys and I really wanted it to grow big.  But the plant was not doing well and I didn’t want to lose it altogether.  So we have a cute tiny pumpkin.


So, I am wondering, what birthday party did you or your child enjoy the most?

Visions of Last Time Flash Inside My Mind…

I know you’re looking at that cave and you’re feeling kind of brave…Don’t Mine At Night.  Minecraft lyrics keep running through my mind today.  It might have something to do with the million times we listened to that song in preparation for our Minecraft camping trip with Scouts.  I have a feeling Minecraft will be very unpopular with me by the time we are done camping.

Today was a beautiful day for a pirate ride with the Jersey Shore Pirates.  www.jerseyshorepirates.com  My nephew had his birthday party there today and you really could not ask for a better party.  The kids loved it.



Admiral Aidan, Daring Dane and the rest of the young pirates successfully found the treasure, defeated Pirate Pete and celebrated with grog, pizza and cake.


Before we headed off to pirate adventures, our soccer team had another great win – 3 and 0 so far!  My little goalie successfully defended his first penalty kick today.  It was his first experience one on one with a direct kick, and as his mom/coach I was a little nervous.  It was a good kick, but he caught it!  This is the face of a proud kid!  It was an exciting and happy moment for us.


While we were at the game my other guy was making pumpkin cake with Nana.  I wish you could have smelled the house when we walked in!  Heaven!  Needless to say we got forks and dove right in.  My family has an affinity for pumpkin.  Pumpkin muffins, pancakes, pie, soup, we love them all.  The cake was delicious!  Mmm : )


Tomorrow is another busy day…  I can’t believe I have another race and I didn’t get to write about last week’s half marathon yet!  The pictures are in and I will eventually share them.  Tomorrow I am off to Run the Vineyards.  Wish me luck!

So, I am wondering, what is the best kids birthday party you have taken your child to?  What made it so good?


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