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How to Make a Minecraft Cake

From the lootbags to the toppers, next up in the Minecraft-themed birthday party is the yummiest part… the cake!minecraft cake

Jakob turned 8 over the weekend.jk8

I know.  I don’t know where the time went.  I’ve been blogging since before he was born, and now he’s 8 and such a good kid.  Of course he wants a Minecraft-themed party too, but, um, I haven’t begun to do anything for it yet, so instead I’ll finish showing you what I’d done for Henri’s Minecraft party, back in January.

mc cake front

To be honest, it’s not my favorite-looking cake.  I’m a lot prouder of the loot bags and the toppers than I am of how the cake turned out.  But- and here’s the important part- HE loved it.  (And it was delicious).

I started out by baking 2 9×11 chocolate cakes.  My kids prefer vanilla but going for the ‘dirt’ look I knew it would be easier on me to have a chocolate base in case the chocolate icing didn’t fully cover everything.  I also filled an 8×8 greased dish with blue Jell-O prepared as Jigglers, and set that to chill.

When I sat down to work on it I didn’t have a plan.  I knew I’d baked enough cake to stack layers, similar to the grass in the forest biomes.  (Yes, I play LOL).  I knew I had enough chocolate icing to slap it all together.  I knew I had a finite amount of “water cubes”, so I started with that.

mc cake back

I turned the Jell-O out onto a mat and squared the edges, then cut it into 2″ sections.  Then, after leveling the cakes, I used toothpicks to divide the cakes into 2″ sections as well.  Then I began to cut.  I held my platter over the cake to figure out how much to cut off to make it fit along at least 2 sides, and then cut away enough of the ‘front’ to fit the water ‘cubes’.  Then I cut the upper layers, holding and testing until I had something that had as little waste as possible while still looking as ‘unboring’ as I could manage.  (Technical term).

I stuck the upper layers down with icing then dirty iced the whole thing before sticking it in the fridge a few minutes to set up.  Then I gave all the sides a thicker coating of chocolate icing.  The ‘grass’ was piped with a star tip and not-completely-mixed vanilla icing and green icing gels, so there’s a slight variation in the color.  I was hoping that the shading, along with the star tip, would help it look ‘pixellated’ like the game.  I also piped some areas, leaving others blank, so as I ran low on icing and mixed in more, the colors would be different even within those areas.  (Best seen in the overhead view, above).

mc cake good

I placed the Jell-O in only AFTER the cake had chilled for a few hours.  I was afraid one would leech water out of the other and that I’d end up with a gooey, dissolving mess.  Then, at the party, I stuck the figures on just before serving, including tucking Mr. Squid under a few water cubes.

Even though I wasn’t as crazy about it, the kids loved it, the birthday boy loved it, and there were enough fondant figures so everyone who wanted one got one to eat.  (Apologies to their parents for any resulting sugar-rush).mc cake 01The great thing about Minecraft is that it’s SUPPOSED to look boxy – it’s all squares!  So whether it’s by shaping a cake, cutting rice krispy treats into cubes, or cutting brownie squares and topping them with green-tinted shredded coconut, there are a ton of ways you can make an easily-recognizable Minecraft cake.

Up next- putting it all together for the party!

Henri’s other birthday cakes so far

——————————

More Minecraft fun:

How to make Minecraft Steve and Creeper heads


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i’m a proud crafty mama!

I’m so proud of Jakob!

For a while now he’s had “His Knitting” on the living room side table. It’s worsted weight, garter stitch and it’s red of course, and every few weeks he asks if he could knit and I remind him how and he does a stitch or two before getting distracted and then I finish the row so we can put it aside again.

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Last night after I picked him up from school we detoured at my LYS before going to get his brother. I had Spidey with me to find yarn to BO and work the spines. At the door I happened to notice a knitting nancy…a modern plastic version of the old spool knitters used for “French knitting”. Jakob saw it too, didn’t know what it was, but wanted it. When I explained it could help him knit but faster than the two needles for while he was learning, he really wanted it.

I think I have an old spool knitter somewhere but have no idea where to look, and this version, while modern and plastic, also has a nice hook, and 3 interchangeable heads with different post numbers, and is designed for working with beads so the central opening is quite large. It’s by Clover, and is quite easy to work with because they designed a really smart groove down the side if each post, making it super easy to get the hook down into the stitch to pull up/over.

Today is a ped day for the elementary schools so I sent Henri off to daycare for a rare one-on-one day with Jakob.

After lunch we’re going to the library to get him some audiobooks for bedtime, and then to Tim’s for hot chocolate. But first this morning I taught him to spool knit. And he rocks.

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lazy thursday

I HAVE to share this pic of Henri from last night:

This kid cracks me up with how he sleeps!  From finding him hanging half out of bed, to this…I’m surprised he doesn’t wake up when I walk in and start laughing, then rush out to get the camera!

Today was a lazy day.  Since Jakob is still contagious until 24 hrs on antibiotics, and we won’t know if Henri has strep until tomorrow, they were both home again today (and will be tomorrow too).  Nowhere to go and nothing special to do meant a nice, relaxing lazy day with all of us in our jammies.

I’ve said before that my boys are close, and they really, truly are.  They’re this amazing mix of brothers and best friends, the kind of relationship where they won’t go into their separate classrooms without hugging and kissing goodbye in the hallway first.  Before lunch, while watching a bit of Artzooka, they were like this:

That’s Jakob lying down with his head in Henri’s lap, while his brother absently strokes his hair.  I swoon, I really do.  I know Yannick and I are really affectionate with the kids, constantly hugging and kissing them and telling them all day and randomly how much we love them, and it’s so great to see them not only reciprocating with us (Jakob makes the ladies at the mall or hair salon melt when he comes up out of the blue to say “I love you Mommy”), but also with each other.  With two boys I don’t know if this kind of relationship has an expiry date so I’m try to record or at least witness and remember as much of it as I can.

Both kids were awesome (or sick, depending on how you look at it) and slept all afternoon.  I LOVE a 1-4:30 nap time!  I finished reworking my shawl swatch and got a good chunk of it done.  I finished up the rest of it tonight and now just have a stockinette part to get through so I can move on to the next bit of charting.  Just me, the yarn, and Excel…good times.


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and the results are in…

wed mar 7-boys home, back to dr tonight for them.  more swatching for shawl, blanket yarn pic

Kept the boys home again today.  They only had low-grade fevers last night, and I was thinking that they might be able to go to school today.  It was Yannick’s morning to get up with the kids, and when I got up I asked how they were doing.  He said Henri was acting fine, but Jakob seemed sick.  I took their temperatures and Jakob had no fever any more, and Henri’s was low-grade again (99.8).  You just can’t tell from how they’re acting!  I was debating sending Jakob to school but really didn’t want to go out if I didn’t have to, and right as I was thinking about it he had a mini coughing fit and sneezed a few times, and I realized it wasn’t worth going out to bring him there.  Plus we still haven’t heard back from his strep test, even the 24 hour results aren’t in yet.

Because they still weren’t well, and it has been 3 days since Sunday when we saw the doctor last, I called up to book an appointment.  It was 8:30 when I called (they open the phone lines 30 min before they open for booking “emergency” visits) and they were already booking for 2pm!  The entire day had filled up already!  I really didn’t want to bring them in during nap time, so even though it would suck to go out at night if it got cold, I decided to wait and call back a bit later when they had gotten closer to 5pm.  Sure enough, about 45 minutes (and 3 call attempts) later, I was able to book a 5pm appointment, meaning I could let the kids nap until the usual 4:30 then get them ready and leave and be there just on time.

They played well in the morning, and ate well even though I gave them a light lunch.  At nap time Henri fell asleep right away, and Jakob was still up and playing when I went in around 3:00 to ask him to be quiet.  I was DEFINITELY thinking that Jakob was feeling much better, and be able to go back to school.  Around 4:00 Henri woke up and asked if he could go play with Jakob, I said sure ‘cus I knew Jakob would love a partner to play with.  Imagine my surprise when 2 minutes later Henri came back saying he couldn’t wake Jakob up!  Huh?  Wake him?  I went upstairs to check- and sure enough Jakob was SOUND asleep across his bed.  Oy.

Before heading out to the doctor I took their temperatures again just to be able to tell the doctor what was going on.  Jakob had no fever at all (97.2 by the time I took it out).  His only current symptoms were a bit-more-than-occasional cough, runny nose and sneezing.  Plus the unknown strep results.  Henri, on the other hand, had gone up to 102.2!  The poor kid- his voice was “off”, his nose was really runny but thick, and he had the occasional cough/sneeze.

While we waited for the doctor I asked the lab if they had Jakob’s results- no.  They said to check with the doctor’s receptionists, which I didn’t do because I’d be seeing the doctor herself in a minute or two.  She took a look at Jakob first and said that his symptoms (fever and red throat first, fading to cough/sneeze) seemed likely that he had a virus.  If the strep test were to turn out positive, then he probably just had a cold on top of the strep, but assuming it was negative, he had a virus and once he’s fever free (which he is) and back to himself (which he isn’t) then he can go back to school.  Henri also seemed to just have a virus, though because his fever has been since last Friday or Saturday night, if it continued a few more days we’d have to do an x-ray to make sure it wasn’t a light pneumonia (even though he wasn’t coughing much).  Just in case, though, she gave us a strep test requisition paper and rx for amoxil so that if Jakob’s test were to come back positive, we could get Henri checked too, and then fill the rx without having to come back in.  She didn’t have Jakob’s results so she told us to check with reception.

That’s when it almost got comical.  We go out to reception and they say they asked the lab for the results, but she was busy and couldn’t tell them right away.  I asked if I should wait because should it be positive we’d have to test Henri, but the lab had just closed so they couldn’t even test him anyways.  They said that they were open until 7:30, so if Jakob’s results did come in before they closed they’d call me, and if positive I could come back with Henri the next day to be tested.  So I get the kids ready to leave and RIGHT as we’re about to walk out they say they have the results!  Jakob’s 5 minute and 24 hr tests were both negative, but the 48 hour one was positive.

Huh?  Now that the kid has no fever and only a cough & sneeze as symptoms, which are NOT symptoms of strep, NOW he has strep?  Okay…  Well, can they test Henri, since we’re still here?  Nope, she tells me, ‘cus the lab really is closed.  But another lab nearby is still open.  It was 5:45pm, the kids hadn’t eaten supper yet, and I didn’t want to feed them before Henri was tested in case swallowing food would slough away any bacteria from the back of his throat.  If I’m paying for a strep test, I want them finding any and all available bacteria!!

The rest of the next hour and a half was a “hurry-up-and-wait” blur.  First we drove to the other lab, near the local hospital.  After a short wait Henri had his test done, then we had to wait 15 minutes for their quick-test results.  I tried bringing the kids to a cafe next door for a soup and cookie, something for a light supper, but they were closed.  The only thing open during the wait was a depaneur, so the best I could do to tide them over was get them each a drink (no sharing right now!) and a big cookie for the 3 of us to share.  The 15 minute test was negative, so now we’ve got to wait.  Since Jakob’s test was positive after the long growing span, I won’t know for sure until at least Friday if Henri has strep or not.  Which means we’re home for the rest of the week.

We couldn’t go home yet, though, because we still had to fill Jakob’s amoxil.  I know from past experience that it takes about 10-15 minutes to fill that rx because they make it only once the order comes in (I assume), but I really didn’t want to get the boys home 10 minutes before bedtime and THEN feed them.  So we hit up a McDonald’s drive through for some nuggets and fries, and I fed them while sitting in the waiting chairs at the pharmacy.  Not the best meal in the best place, but the best I could do at the time.  By the time the rx was filled and we got home, it was 10 minutes past their 7pm bedtime.  Oy.

I think the rush of activity wore them both out, because once they were in bed, neither one got up again.  They both passed right out.

If I get back to the crafting, which is why most of you are probably here, I did more planning of swatches in Excel.  I did work up a quick swatch to test out decrease angles for a little motif I’m hoping to include in the pattern, but since I’m hoping to publish this pattern, I can’t actually show any photos here.

Instead I’ll give you this photo:

I figured it would be a good idea to have a group pic of all the yarns used in my sparkly woven blanket before they were used up in the blanket.  Because I’m striping them randomly it’s not easy to tell from the project what the yarns that went into it looked like, so this will be my reminder.

I hope you’re all healthy!


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two sick kids

sun mar 4- skip swimming- kids sick.  to dr, jakob maybe strep, internet store meeting.  jakob face pic, henri sleep

We skipped swimming this morning because of the kids’ fevers last night.  I wasn’t sure if it was worth bringing them to the doctor, and then I took a closer look at Jakob’s face, and saw this rash.

It wasn’t raised, or itchy, but bothered me, so we called up and got both kids an appointment at 10:30.  Turns out that Jakob’s fever and rash could be signs of strep.  Couple them with the fact that he had a very red throat, and even though he wasn’t complaining of it, he had to do a strep test.  (Weird that symptoms of strep are so different in kids vs adults!)  Henri only had his fever with a runny nose, so they said he probably just had a virus, and if he started coughing again I could give him his puffers before bringing him back in.  Though, both kids would have to go back if they still had fevers in 3 days.

The lab, unfortunately, was closed for the weekend, so we’d have to come back the next morning for the strep test.  Wonderful.

For 2 sick kids, they were in great spirits, and you couldn’t tell from their attitudes that they were sick at all.  At least- until bed time.  They both napped in the afternoon, and then when bedtime hit they crashed again.

Henri fell asleep so fast that he never even moved after I tucked him in- just put his hands under his cheek like this and fell right asleep.  😦  Little sweetie!


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7 months

By seven months, your baby
…should be able to:
-feed self a cracker WE HAVEN’T TRIED (all the commercially available ones have sugar as one of the first few ingredients, and I’m not making all his food myself just to load him on sugar with some crackers)
-razz (make a wet razzing sound) CHECK
-coo or babble when happy CHECK
-smile often when interacting with you

…will probably be able to:
-sit without support CHECK
-bear some weight on legs when held upright CHECK
-object if you try to take a toy away NO- he’ll tighten his grip but he’s not possessive yet
-work to get a toy that’s out of reach CHECK
-look for dropped objects CHECK
-rake with fingers a tiny object and pick it up in fist I’M NOT SURE I don’t give him tiny objects
-turn in the direction of a voice CHECK
-babble, combining vowels and consonants such as ga-ga-ga, ba-ba-ba, ma-ma-ma, da-da-da CHECK
-play peekaboo 50/50- he’ll laugh when we play, but he doesn’t cover his own face yet
…may possibly be able to:
-creep or crawl I’M NOT SURE does it count when he can get anywhere he wants to go by rolling and “scootching” his body?
-pass a cube or other object from one hand to another CHECK
-stand holding on to someone or something CHECK
…may even be able to:
-pull up to standing position from sitting WITH HELP
-get into a sitting position from stomach NO
-play patty-cake (clap hands) or wave bye bye NO but he’s started raising his arms to be picked up
-pick up tiny objects with any part of thumb and finger I’M NOT SURE (see above)
-walk holding on to furniture (cruise) NO
-say “mama” or “dada” indiscriminately ALL THE TIME!
Jakob turned 7 months yesterday, on the 17th of December. You know the drill…time flies, yada yada, he’s gotten so big, yada yada…but really…time does fly. And he has gotten so big! He sits by himself, he rolls anywhere he wants to go…and the best part is…he gives me kisses. He takes my face in his hands and presses his face up against mine for a second then pulls back and grins at me. Can I get any more in love with this boy?

And what would this be? Something not on the What to Expect list? Why yes…that would be

TWO TEETH!

My baby has two teeth! (I think you can click on the photo to see it larger). The first one cut through about 2 weeks ago, but we were waiting to tell anyone that he got “his first tooth” until you could see it when he smiled. We didn’t want people pulling down his lip to try to see it. Well, wouldn’t you know it, but the day it was out enough to be visible the one right next to it cut through!

In other news…I’ve been a lousy blogger lately. I don’t know what’s with me…all I want to do in the mornings is sleep in while Jakob naps, and all I seem to want to do at night is sleep. I’m the one who usually goes to bed at 1:00am, and lately I’ve been getting into bed by 10:00pm! Plus I’m stressed about 8 million things* and can’t seem to give my brain a rest, so whenever I get a chance to sit at the computer I think to myself “eh, I’ll do it later”, which somehow ends up the next day, or the next, or the next, and that’s why I end up not posting for a week until I feel really guilty. :/

I’m only here for one more week before the holidays so I’ll do my best to post often until I go on vacation, and keep it up once I’m back.

In knitting news: I have to knit 2 penguins by Sunday. I know, the self-imposed deadlines again. I’m a sucker for them, aren’t I?

Any ideas how this is supposed to look like a penguin?


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a boy in knits

Does anyone remember me talking about the Cabaret for the Cure? My friend’s leukemia fundraiser? Well, it is next week, so last weekend I got my tushie in gear and fixed the Montego Bay Scarf I’d knit for her.

Yeah. Um, no.

We won’t speak of that scarf again. I wove in the edge that got caught, and I spent 1.5 %&$^ hours carefully unpicking the part that had torn and ripped (of course it wasn’t the side that would unravel easily), and used new yarn to bind off, and wove in all the ends. Then I looked at it.

I had to admit that it was now a) a good 2 feet shorter, and b) still looked really fuzzy from getting attacked in the washing machine by some stray velcro. I did the only thing I could think of to tame the fuzz…I let it soak in Eucalan for 10 minutes, rinsed then gave it fresh water and a squirt of hair conditioner. I worked the conditioner through then put it in the dryer. Much of the fuzz was flattened, but even at this new, softer feel I had to admit that it still wasn’t good enough to be a charity-auctioned scarf. Hell, it wasn’t good enough to be a raffle prize!

I kept looking at another project I’m doing with the proper yarn, and realizing that I should never have skimped on the yarn for that project. Well, I didn’t really skimp to save money. I just honestly thought the sock yarn would be cute, since there was one in my LYS that was made with sock yarn and it was great. I should have realized that particular sock yarn was Regia Bamboo, which had a much silkier hand and feel than plain old sock yarn.

I didn’t want to leave my friend empty-handed or renege on my offer of knitted goods, so I looked around to see what I could offer. In the end I am giving them 3 sets of knitted goodies: all stuff I’d knit for Jakob. I don’t feel bad because a) I missed the boat on some articles that are already too small for Jakob, b) they have never been worn, c) they were knit with love, and d) they will go to make someone else’s child warm and happy, and that is much better than staying here and sitting in a bag.

Since they WERE originally knit for Jakob I took some photos of him wearing them, just to have for my records, and I will show them to you here.

This is the “Ice Cream Cardigan and Hat” knit from 2 balls of Regia Canadian Colors- Ottawa. I used my leftovers to knit “Christine’s Baby Booties” to match.
Jakob was all giggles that day and I can’t help but crack up when I see these photos!

I think this one (below) was my favorite of his silly grins. He looks like a roly-poly little toy and I just want to pinch his cheeks!
I will be giving away the Just Ducky Hat and Socks set. It is still too big for him, and I think by the time it would fit he would be too old to wear it.

I’m sorry…I think I’m going to gush here…but I LOVE this boy’s face!

The last set I will be giving away is the Froggy Hat and Socks set. I don’t know why but the hat is way too small but the socks are too big…it would have been cute when he was smaller but that would have been May and too warm…all in all I feel quite comfortable with giving it away.
More of his favorite face…sucking in his lip. (He didn’t stay that way for long, I think I tickle-bombed him right after this photo was taken).
Finally, some other knit photos to share. This is the Baby Cabled Cardigan I finally got around to finishing last week. I don’t know if this photo properly shows it, but the cardi is baggy and the sleeves are too long, which means it should fit for another 3-6 months- or until the Winter is over. But you can clearly see that the length is too short. Every time he moves his arms it rises, and since it has a hood the weight of it pulls the back down and the front rises up to about his mid-chest.
I’m going to fix it once I finish my secret project.

The hood however…let’s not go there.

Cute elfin look- yes. Practical and useful hood- no. In theory the hood would fit a normal head, but the cables pull it in too much. I really don’t feel like knitting a border, and I can’t pick up more sts at the neckline and work up since the hood already grows up from the front edges of the cardi. So the hood will be purely decorative. I’m ok with that.