Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Critical Hit

This year we had a loosely themed party around gaming (choices of different games and consoles, along with tabletop RPG-ing). Above is the Creeper Cake (from Minecraft in case you're not up on such things), and below is the party gathered around the table doing a little adventuring, Dungeons and Dragons style.

I was more nervous about this one than I have been since they were kindergartners and we were throwing our first big Harry Potter bash. DMing for a group of 11 & 12 year olds, most of whom had never played D&D before, was no small feat! But with the DH's help keeping order, and my lovely sister Elizabeth holding down the kitchen side of things, we made it all work (+500xp for each of us!). The boys had an "AWESOME" time. E was so thrilled and hyped up on sugar he was gushing like a drunken prospector who'd just found gold, and L was so happy he took the sensory stuff in stride beautifully (12 year old boys are at least 1 year louder than 11 year old boys!).

So all the work (I'd be loathe to add up the hours and hours...) was well worth it. I can't go to school with them and point out which kids look friendly, and which aren't. I can't stand behind them when they're talking to a peer, and act as interpreter for tone of voice and facial expressions. I can't keep them from social blunders, like you would keep a toddler from a hot stove. I can't wipe away all the stress and hurt of day after day of facing a world that feels so alien and hostile to them.  But what I can do is plan a Kick Ass Birthday Party once a year that kids are practically lining up to come to, that shows my sons and their skills and interests in the best possible light, and that greases those social wheels. L has been struggling so hard with the friend thing lately, or rather the absence of, but The Kick Ass Party has given him conversation fodder and confidence. He has been able to reconnect with a couple of kids who were open to friendship before, but L couldn't see it, he needed something concrete like them coming to his party for him to feel comfortable approaching them, and being approached. Yesterday at school he was invited to be part of a group of boys (the ones he had invited to his party) for a project, instead of the teacher having to place him in a group, and he was willing to join (he often isn't). Yay!


  1. seems to me the creativity is alive and well.

  2. Oh well done!! Definitely worth all the work. E&L are so jaded, but I bet it blew the minds of all those other boys!! Look how rapt they are in the photo. Fabulous.

  3. Such fun... hope it continues.

    All is so quiet on the posting front, and I've been so very absent. Catching up now, miss my friends, sniff sniff. :)

  4. What a brave woman you are! I've never managed any kind of themed party for any of my kids...

    I'm so glad that the fun that everyone had at the party helped your boys to see the friendship possibilities at school. I haven't read enough to be sure but it sounds like maybe the social stuff is a wip (just like your dungeons and dragons world!)

    I'm over visiting from the Land of Lost Luggage--I'm betting the class helps unblock all that creativity!

  5. Thank you Karen, and nice to meet you. One of these days I will wander back over to Lost Luggage. Those classes are pure gold. Hope you enjoy them!

  6. Well fancy meeting you here again, after a google search for 'minecraft birthday' for my soon-to-be 9 year old Simon. Hope you and your family are all doing well :) And hope I can somehow replicate that cake of crafty creeper awesomeness!

  7. PLEASE, PLEASE tell me how to make this! I am trying to do a cool party for my son, Jack, and well the only thing he is really into right now is Minecraft. His party is in TWO days... was going to order from whole foods.. but would really like to make your cake for him... can you please help?? Jamie in ATX

  8. Hi Jamie,
    The cake was really simple. I made two rectangular cakes (9"x13" if I remember correctly), and used them to cut out the pieces. The head and feet are double layers of cake, and the body is single. I put it together and frosted the whole thing with green buttercream.

    I made the squares out of marshmallow fondant. Recipe here:
    I divided the fondant in three and tinted each a different shade of green, with one very dark (using paste food colouring). I made a small blob of black too.
    I cut the squares using wilton cutters.
    I think it was the smallest size for the body texture and second one up for the eyes & nose.

    Then we decorated as you can see in the picture. Cutting out the squares is the only time consuming part. The little minecraft cakes, are just a thick white glaze with squares of red fruit roll up on top of small squares of cake (leftover from cutting out the creeper).

    Good luck! And have fun at the party. My sons are still really into Minecraft. Right now they are working on setting up their own server. :)

    @ Caitlin Hi! Not sure how I missed your message. Sorry. I hope Simon's party was great!


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