Sunday, 29 March 2015


Last weekend, we were finally able to have a birthday party for Jonathan, who turned 5 a few weeks ago. Of course, because for at least a month in the lead-up to his birthday/party he let us know in every single waking moment that he really, really liked LEGO... it was a LEGO party.

This post is to briefly share about the party that Jonathan himself claims was "awesome". To him, though, every day recently has been "the best day of his life", so I haven't taken it as a genuine compliment.


I am secretly quite proud of these. Using coloured cardboard, double sided mounting tape, and my friend's clever cutting device, the invitations were made, hinting at what the theme of the party was going to be:


When people are trying to find your house for the first time (in a suburb some GPS's don't acknowledge that your street even exists), balloons are a winner! And, because I really like themes, I drew two eyes and a smiling mouth onto 'LEGO head' balloons (well, without the top piece) tied to balloon sticks, and taped to our letterbox:

Also outside I stuck large cardboard LEGO bricks, made the same way the invitations were.

Inside there were more LEGO cardboard bricks stuck to the walls, but made the lazy way - with the circles drawn on, and not cut out individually and stuck on with double sided mounting tape... I wasn't crazy enough to do that with all of them!

... Just the ones the parents will see ;)

Activities & Games:

With my experience in hosting kids parties, I always plan to do too much. Like having too many games that we struggle to get through. Knowing that 4-6 year olds have a slightly limited attention span, I rounded it down to 4 games, and a couple of activities... Which still changed slightly to fill in time while I was organising myself, and to keep the many children entertained!

The activities included:

Colour in your own LEGO man. This was the first activity to do while children arrived.

Once they had finished, they were stuck to the LEGO man wall:

Be a Master Builder. Once their LEGO man colouring-in was finished, there were some 'giant LEGO blocks' set out on the table ready to be built:

Wear a LEGO hat! I was a bit proud of these, too. In my LEGO party research/planning phase, I saw a few LEGO themed masks, but had dismissed the idea due to complexity and the need to buy too many materials to make it work.

It was about that time I remembered that I have a terrible, terrible habit of collecting bottle lids! (I seriously have a stash of several hundred, I'm not joking). So picking out a few yellow ones, and hot glueing them onto some small plastic yellow plates, I'd made a LEGO hat for each child to wear!

Thus proving that it is totally worth collecting hundreds of useless items just incase an opportunity like this comes up...

Right, Husband!?

P.S. This 'activity' is best prepared completely before the party... Not just mostly prepared, like I had. I suggest attaching the elastic before the party, as it's too time consuming to punch holes, cut elastic, and thread/tie each one when you've got 15 children to make them for!

... Which was why we started playing Musical Statues while the kids waited for me to get the hats ready.

The games included:

- Musical statues to the "Everything is Awesome" LEGO movie song.

- Holding a LEGO head balloon between your knees and racing up and down the hallway (another impromptu time filler while I was still organising the LEGO hats).

- LEGO and Ladle race (giant everything FTW!). This idea came from seeing a LEGO and spoon race in my 'research', but altering it to make this one different.

I noticed that the kids were a bit too young to realise that (in the moment of panic when they heard the word "race") it's called "cheating" to hold the giant LEGO brick onto the ladle, but it was fun watching them try, and especially watching Jonathan practice before the party to see if it would be an enjoyable game or not! He walked so slowly and carefully, I was sure the game would take 20 minutes.

- LEGO piñata!

The last game was a LEGO brick piñata. Good friends had come over for dinner the night before, and basically did this part for me (among many other things to set-up and make!). I used an empty tissue box, filled it with lollies, they then wrapped it in yellow paper, attached string to hold it up, and all that was left to do was attach some more yellow bottle lids via a hot glue gun, and voila:

Piñata's are always a great success - even the adults joined in for a bit! :)

This is the queue to the piñata:


Food is another thing that often turns into too much at a party (and therefore lots of leftovers). Having the party in the afternoon, it was decided that it would be a really simple afternoon tea, with only a few items available.

Which were:

Cheese & fairy bread LEGO sandwiches. Though I was wanting more flavours, it became clear that the spreads literally spread out of the insides when making the circles, which were made using a plastic shot glass upside down. So fairy bread and cheese it was.

LEGO tim tams, mainly for the adults. These were Tim Tams with those Cadbury roll things attached with melted chocolate.

Fruit kebabs (so that there was something healthy!), and rainbow jelly:

I'm totally just making rainbow jelly next time. That was all they really wanted, and the "ohhhhh rainbow jellyyyyy!!" as soon as it came out was priceless.

Probably due to the limited menu, I actually remembered to bring them out this time, unlike at Ben's party.

And since the whole party plan took 1.5 hours, and there was still 30 minutes to fill in before parents arrived back to pick up their children, I was thankful that The LEGO Movie tied in with both the theme of the party and the interests of the guests, so we watched this for about 20 minutes before cutting the cake, and then for another few minutes while the kids were eating cake, and waiting until their parents arrived :)


The cake design had changed about 4 times before the party. It was definitely going to be LEGO themed, despite Jonathan wanting a Hulk cake (perhaps to match the Hulk jellies I'd made for him to take to school on his actual birthday), claiming that "Hulk is a LEGO Marvel Superheroes character".

Though I had originally been planning on making a Good cop/Bad cop cake, I did consider changing it to be Hulk so that he would be happy, then thought of just a basic rectangular LEGO brick, which I would have done, though it didn't really appeal to me as being very "wow."

Oh, the pressure when you have anxiety!!

But in the end, due to extreme exhaustion and an increasing lack of time, Husband assured me that whatever I wanted to make, Jonathan will love, because he loves cake, and he won't remember what he initially asked for when it's brought out anyway.

So the final cake was... *drum roll*

A really simple buttercream LEGO head, with melted dark chocolate as the eyes and mouth:

And Husband was right - Jonathan loved it :)

And so did we, as it was kinda breakfast/recess/dessert for the following 4 days after the party. Why did I make it so big again?? Oh yeah. Because I have anxiety, and was worried it wouldn't feed everyone at the party.

But it did, and was probably big enough to feed the guests' family and friends, all of our family and friends, our neighbours, the postman, and distant relatives, too.

Thank you so much to everyone who came and celebrated with my littlest boy.

Happy 5th birthday Jonathan!!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Like a Ninja!

Today I went to Google and searched for "ninjas".

It told me that "Ninjas could not be found".

Well played, internet... Well played!

I've recently made my very first Ninja cake. It happened so quickly, there was no time to take progress photos! And once it was finished, I couldn't actually see where I'd put it.

Jokes aside, I really did made a Ninja cake, and of course I got photos of it; and when asked if I would like to make a Ninja cake, I was sent this picture to use for reference:

Without intending to be a plagiarist, I think I did alright copying the cake... I will let you in on a little Ninja secret, though:

I totally cheated with the weapons.

But first, the cake.

It was red all over, with a black city on the bottom tier. Having made cities on cakes before, like this Batman cake, and this TMNT cake, I knew this was going to be the easiest part.

Then, using a method I only first tried a few weeks ago, I got a picture of what I wanted to be made in fondant (in this case, it was Ninjas-in-action), placed it on top of some rolled out fondant, and used a pin (or needle), to perforate around the edge of the picture into the fondant...

It's a bit hard to tell what they're doing without the weapons (I'm thinking the bottom left Ninja looks less like a Ninja and more like a dancing monkey), but the technique generally seems to work.

In between the city being finished, and the Ninja cut outs being attached to the cake, I made some Ninja stars. And I am totally a Ninja star master now!

With a couple of less-awesome ones that I'd made, I poked them (with wire) into the side of the bottom tier, attempting to match the reference picture.

And now for the 'cheating' part. Instead of spending hours colouring and moulding a sword and nunchucks, I found them both in a discount store and bought them. Admittedly, it was the 5th discount store I'd visited, so it may have taken just as long, but I was at least guaranteed that they wouldn't fall apart and crumble when trying to attach them to the cake, being left without a back-up plan... 2 hours and $4 well spent if you ask me.

The Nunchucks stayed as they were, and the sword, though I wanted to just stab the cake all the way through, Husband suggested I cut it in half, so that only a little bit needs to poke into the cake on each side.

I wrapped the inside ends of the sword in glad wrap for hygiene purposes, and stabbed them into each side of the cake... Yeek!

It looked like this from a small distance... 'Small' because I wasn't sure how long the sword would hold for, and I may have panicked.

But once I was confident the sword wasn't going to topple the cake, or fall out, I moved onto attaching the nunchucks, using wires poked into the top of the cake to stabilise them and stop them rolling off.

Next, the Ninjas-in-Action pieces were attached around the top tier...

And then, according to my 11 year old, I had made the most amazing Ninja stars out of fondant. Ben was definitely my 2IC for this cake! But, he told me that these were "perfect"! What a champ being so encouraging when I was starting to stress :)

The stars (which had been sprayed with edible silver paint once they were set) were placed atop the cake, around the nunchucks, cleverly hiding the wires... Like Ninjas!

The cake was now finished!!

Here's how it looked from the back...

And from the front...

Happy birthday Marco! :)

Friday, 20 March 2015

Fishers of Men.

A few weeks ago, I took on the role of being one of the Scripture teachers at school. I still remember when I first signed up to be a Scripture teacher at our previous school...

I was 37 weeks pregnant.

But now, with the baby I'd had soon after beginning that initial Scripture teaching adventure grown up and at school, I'm back into it, teaching one lesson a week.

I am really enjoying it, and I admit that I get excited about studying the Bible again myself, and preparing (hopefully) fun things for the kids to do.

This term, we've been working our way through the book of Luke. This week (today), the lesson was on Jesus' first disciples - the fishermen (Luke 5:1-11).

At the start of the week, I honestly was not planning on making presents for the students. But, as I was tidying my kitchen drawers and cupboards a few days ago, I found a silicone mould that I haven't used in years (if ever!). And just so happened that it was perfect for the theme of this week's lesson.

It was an IKEA fish-shaped ice cube tray. And mixing this newly found item with my small addiction to Pinterest, I know that you can melt crayons into shapes using a device much like what I'd found! Beauty!

So I did. I melted crayons into the shape of fish, and put them into little 'nets' (cellophane bags) for the students, with this quote from Jesus:

"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

N.B. There was a LOT of crayon wrapper peeling to make this craft/gift possible! ... It was tedious, and next time I may involve my kids to do that part for me! But it was worth it to see the excitement on the students' faces when they received them :)

As I only had one ice cube tray, I could only make 12 crayons at a time, but that was okay.

It was kinda cool (but perhaps I just did something wrong) that the fish crayons turned out to have this two-toned effect once they'd set:

There was enough for each student to have 4 different coloured crayons in a cellophane 'net' with the quote from Jesus. Just before the end of the lesson, they all had a turn in 'fishing' their arm into the bag full of these bags of fish crayons. Sadly, I had totally forgotten to photograph them all together! But here is the one that was leftover because a student was away.

This was part of my lesson:

Have you ever been to the fish markets? It smells! Our family doesn't eat fish, probably because Husband and Ben are both allergic to seafood. But, basically, a fish market smells. It's quite over-powering actually. This didn't stop Jesus from getting onto the boat with the soon-to-be disciples after they'd been working all night.

Jesus doesn't wait until we've had a good night's sleep and a refreshing shower if he wants to tell us something. He comes to us just as we are: Smelly, tired, overworked, and cranky. He might ask us to do something, and though we may not understand why he's asked us to do particular things, we must trust that it's because he has a great and wonderful plan that involves us - and what a privilege to be a part of that :)

I hope the kids enjoyed 'fishing' for these little presents today, and are reminded that we are to use the tools that he gives us to be Fishers of Men - the Holy Spirit, the Bible, our words, and our actions.

And now that I think further about it... Crayons can be messy, and life can be messy; but Jesus loves us regardless.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The circle of life.

Having a baby is exciting. You're becoming a parent (again, or for the first time), an aunt or uncle, a grandparent, or, you're watching your friend's life change and warp into something completely different and unique... Well, maybe not so much unique - I'm sure everyone gets vomited on by a baby at some stage in life.

Though the new life and development of a baby both inside and outside the womb is a miracle, it can also be scary, frustrating, and depressing... Which is why I made a cake ;)

It was for a baby shower, and the theme was the Lion King.

Of course, I immediately thought of baby Simba being held up to the sky by the weirdest monkey uncle in the Hollywood world.

Though I have made a little lion before out of fondant, I didn't feel repeating that same lion would be a) big enough, b) cute enough, or c) Lion King-y enough. So I started from scratch, using baby Simba as my reference. The fondant cub went from looking like a mouse, to a kangaroo, to finally... potentially... maybe... kind of... a baby lion.

Occasionally, you just have to be content with
"near enough is good enough"...

The cub was placed on top of a jungle cake (yes, that's what it's meant to look like!), with a collection of leaves on top, and some bunches of leaves around the base.

In this jungle, this mighty jungle, though, the lion is very much wide awake, to prepare for the many sleepless nights that are sure to happen in the near future.

The last thing to add to the cake, was some grass, and vines. Because all jungles need vines! At least that's what I hoped they looked like.

Happy Lion King baby shower! :)