Better late than never?

Do you ever put something off for a few days, then the next thing you know its been a few weeks, then maybe a few months? Well if you've been a follower of this blog, you may have noticed that I've been a bit late - about a year, to be exact.

Whoops.

What can I say? Life happens. Its been a busy year, as I'm sure it's been for most of you. Work, kids, more work, household stuff, kids, some medical things, work. You know how it goes. I'm also on dayshift after over 5 years of graveyard and, while its a very welcome change, its been a big adjustment. Trying to figure out when to do things is a challenge when your body and life have been programmed a certain way for half a decade. With all of that, I'm not baking (or drinking) nearly as frequently as I'd like, and the blog (and drinking) kinda took a backseat to everything else. Lame, I know.

Today I decided to get back on track with this thing. It seems silly to write about a party I put together a year ago, but I had fun with it so I'm gonna do it anyway. Besides, Minecraft is just as popular now as it was then, so why not?

Disclaimer: Minecraft in general makes me insane.

"MOM! the diamond armor is sooo much stronger than the gold <whatever>... and if you <blah blah> iron ore........ and plant the <SHUT IT>....... then you can make fire using the <kill me now>..... and the pick axe <I DON'T CARE>..... and sandstone can be used to <FFFFFFFFF>...."

All y'all with Minecrafters know the struggle. I don't mind at all that they play it, I JUST DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT 24/7/365 BECAUSE I COULD NOT CARE LESS ABOUT DIAMOND PICK AXES THAT'S ALL I'M SAYING JUST STOP. Please.

That said, it's 1000x better for them to play Minecraft than most of the other games out there, so I try (really really hard) to keep my mouth shut about how much I loathe all of it. And when the kid wanted a Minecraft themed party, I pasted on a smile and said "sure, Stinker! That would be fun yayyyy!"

And so the Minecraft party happened.

Chocolate cake, pre-made rice krispies, blue jello, fancy sprinkles and Minecraft toys. Put them all together and you get a hell of a cool cake for a 9 year old boy.

The cake came together easier than I thought it would. I started with a big huge rectangular pan- I think it was 16"x24", but the nice thing about Minecraft is that you can make it any size you want. Just make it a square or rectangle.

I used parchment paper to make a pattern, then cut, frosted and stacked each of the 3 layers. I used parchment under the edges of the cake while I frosted it so the frosting wouldn't stain the cake board foil.

(Sorry for the sideways pictures, people. The website is being temperamental today.)

The general cake idea was based off of various things I'd seen on Pinterest, then I just went my own direction with the details. A quick, and honestly very inexpensive, trip to Michaels provided flower and leaf sprinkles and candy gemstones. Graham cracker crumbs gave me "dirt" for the farm. A leaf tip gave plenty of grass. The chocolate frosting made perfect dirt for the sides of the cake. Vanilla buttercream frosting tinted green and 2 sizes of grass tips gave it lots of color and texture.

The jello "water" was a bit tricky. I used 2 boxes of blue jello mix and tried to make it fairly close to the same thickness as the cake. I made it in a much bigger pan than necessary in anticipation of it being tough to cut out... and I'm really glad I did. I messed up quite a bit, but the kid was happy to eat the scraps so they didn't go to waste.

I failed to take a picture of this step, but I used parchment paper to make a rough template of the shape I'd need for the "water" and cut the jello out to fit. Once I set it on the cake board, i built the rice krispie blocks around it.

The krispies were sticky and kind of a pain to work with at first, but after a few pieces I started to get the hang of it. The warmth of my hands melted the marshmallow just enough to get them to stick together.

It came together nicely with a nice smooth finish, so I promptly jammed a Minecraft octopus thing in there to mess it all up.

A few more sprinkles and little details later, I had a finished cake.

Is it perfect? No, but it was a huge hit with the kids! This was a labor of love, and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of making this cake.

Minecraft may be annoying as s**t in everyday life, but it was actually really fun to do the cake and other party thingies. And the best part? None of it was expensive! I got the cake toppers in the toy department at Walmart, along with big pretzel sticks and candy melts to make edible "torches."

I started with white candy melts and coated the pretzel sticks about 1/3 of the way down and let them dry in coffee mugs.

(Why yes - that IS a Nicolas Cage National Treasure mug. I know you're jealous.)

Once the white was dry, I dipped them a little way down into some yellow melts. Once that dried, I dipped the tips into orange. I realized pretty quickly that they looked like crap with just an orange bulb on the end, so I changed them up a little. I ended up using a wooden skewer to drag the orange down into kind of a melty shape all the way around. I did this step when the orange was just starting to solidify - that way it was pliable but not drippy.

Before and after.

Realistic looking? No.

Cool looking? Yes. And they taste delicious!

Once the cake and torches were done, the rest was super easy. Especially since I had adorable little label printout things that I downloaded from Etsy. I can't remember the exact price, but I'm positive they were under $3.

First I wrapped Red Vines in candy bags to make TNT.

A variety pack of Hershey's chocolates made gold, iron and chocolate bars, and individually wrapped caramels made great sand blocks. Swedish "fish" from the incredible Winco bins and pretzel squares for trap doors.

The printouts included labels for all kinds of foods - even oranges and carrots.

And the goodie bags... I LOVED those things! I lucked out and found them on Amazon. I filled them with various little things, many of which I can't remember a year later. I know there were Minecraft stickers from Hobby Lobby and Minecraft pencils & erasers from Walmart. The rest? Who knows.

Walmart also had little photobooth masks, which were completely adorable.

Top it all off with a giant (Pinterest-inspired) Minecraft spider made out of a balloon, black streamers and a little bit of red paper, and you have one joyous 9 year old.

Did this party make me love Minecraft? No. Did it make me better able to tolerate Minecraft? Also no. But the party itself was incredibly cool... kind of like my kid.

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