Posts Tagged ‘pinatas’

I always find the best way to unwind from hosting a Ben 10-themed party for 14 screaming kids is to take a trip to the local monster mall. Yes: on a Saturday. 

To help you out a little here: imagine my mind is a little like a snowdome where my thoughts gently float around in the liquid. Now, the Ben 10 party was just a little like shaking that snowdome to fuck. And the monster mall? Like taking an AK-47 to said snowdome, blasting its contents into a million trillion pieces and embedding many of them in a nearby wall upon which some teenage punk seems to have tagged their name but upon closer inspection turns out to be a picture of their penis. 

Just sayin’. 

Look, of course I’m being a touch melodramatic. The party was just a normal kids party: you know, kids running around high on sugar and food colouring, screaming and whacking each other with sticks. And the mall was just the usual Saturday arvo consumer bitch-fight. But chuck in a visit from the silent red ninja, a headcold and the promise of a migraine and you’re starting to get the picture. And it’s of someone’s penis on the wall, apparently. 

Still, I feel suitably removed from the whole experience now to share some highlights of the Ben 10 party with you all. 



This cake was a labour of love upon which I worked late into the night before the party. When I proudly showed my husband my masterpiece, his informed opinion was that it should be “more green” and “perhaps have a bit of white somewhere”.

At which point I grew exceedingly irate and shouted at him “What is WRONG with you? Don’t you know the difference between a Ben 10 Alien Force Omnitrix cake and a Ben 10 Original Series Omnitrix cake?? Have you never discussed the finer points of differentiation between the two with our firstborn child? I mean, have you even met our son??”


Luckily I was able to jump onto Twitter and show off about my creation. And there, I felt the love that I was due. Of course, while I was busy showing off and feeling the love, I heard the tell-tale jingle-jangle of bells and stormed into the kitchen just in time to see the cat jump up on the table and get *this close* to licking the cake. What was that old saying again? Was it “pride comes before a cat with an rectum-coated tongue”?



For those of you who have read “The NDM Guide to Making Piñatas” and are curious about where this Jetray lay on the NDM Piñata Spectrum (upon which all piñatas should measured, if only it actually existed), let’s just say Jetray ended up being the love-child of the Impenetrable Shark and The Bad, Bad Butterfly.

You see, I had somewhat overestimated the whacking power of the average seven-year-old boy and had built the piñata to withstand a direct nuclear blast. But somewhere in the painstaking paper-mâché process, something had gone terribly terribly wrong. When the pinata was finally cracked open (thanks to some king hits from my husband), there were cries all around of “Ewwwww! These lollies are all soggy!”. Oops, I did it again. 



Nothing to say here except the the age-old question of how to serve fairy bread to a bunch of seven year old boys bearing makeshift weapons has finally been answered. 



What you see here are Mr Justice’s brand new presents, all ripped out of their wrappings, tossed around the room and firmly ground underfoot with a few handfuls of party food thrown in for good measure. In the cleanup process, I found a grand total of three frankfurters hidden in very surprising places. Which literally put a twist on the adult party game “Hide The Sausage”. 

But when I asked Mr Justice which was his favourite part of the party, it wasn’t the cake. It wasn’t the piñata. It wasn’t even the lame-arse game where I got them to squirt warm water at a plastic alien frozen in an icecube (true story).

It was “hanging out in the bedroom playing with the presents”. 

This, more than anything, sent me a very clear message and that message was this: Next year, don’t be the über-mum party planner, NDM! Just cheerfully usher the guests straight into the bedroom… chuck in a packet of chips, a bottle of lemonade and a bucket to pee in…  And then lock the door for two hours.

Now that’s a party plan that I feel that even I, utterly destroyed as I feel right at this moment, am willing and able to get behind.

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It’s hard to imagine what possible good could come out of letting a child beat the crap out of a paper-mâché object with a stick in order to get to the sugary treats inside. Let’s just flash forward fifteen years for a minute to that same child smashing a pharmacy window with a baseball bat to get to the sudoephedrine inside… Hmm. That old myth that marijuana is the gateway to the hard drugs has been blown right open: it’s the piñatas, people! 

But hey, it’s all just a bit of fun, innit. Piñatas are de rigeur at any pre-school birthday party these days and we certainly wouldn’t want our children to miss out on vital training for when the world’s banks crumble and everyone takes to smash’n’grab looting on the streets.  In any case, so many of the pre-made piñatas available in the shops where I live, are fashioned in the shape of well-loved TV characters such as Dora The Explorer – and it’s a very rare parent indeed that hasn’t harboured any violent thoughts towards Dora. Yep, it’s all good clean healthy fun. (“Whack her, kids! Whack her!“)

For those DIY parents who want to make their own piñatas from scratch, here are a few tips I’ve picked up in my own forays into this Magnificent Art Form. 

TIP ONE: Resign yourself to failure

With most paper-mâché projects where the finished product is going to be smashed open, there’s always a very fine line you walk between having too many layers of newspaper & flour-glue and having not nearly enough. Basically your piñata will EITHER:

A) crack open as easily as a sparrow’s egg – as in the case of C3PO, the Big Girl’s Blouse who spilled the (jelly) beans after just three whacks (see Fig. 1);

Behold, the head of C3PO!

Figure 1: Behold, the head of C3PO!

B)  it will withstand any manual force applied to it and you will have to get out the power tools – as we did with that Alcatraz of the Paper-Mâché world, the Impenetrable Shark (see Fig. 2). 

The Impenetrable Shark

Figure 2: The Impenetrable Shark

Do not fool yourself: there is no middle ground. The sooner you realise that, the happier you will be on the day of the party – though I  do not need to add that alcohol can help you with that, too.


TIP TWO: Do not let your child bond with the piñata

In the lead-up to The Pixie’s 3rd Pink Fairy Ballerina Birthday Party, she and I spent many happy hours together pasting and painting a beautiful Pink Piggy Piñata (Fig. 3). Uh, NDM… duh! It doesn’t take a genius to work out where all that was going to lead. Because the minute Mr Justice took the first swing at that Beloved Piggy, The Pixie basically started screaming and threw herself in his path. We had one of those classic impasses – between one little girl’s love of a pig and a baying crowd’s need for sugar. We ended up having to perform a swift c/section on said pig and everyone was happy. 

The Beloved Pink Piggy

Figure 3: The Beloved Pink Piggy

The post-surgery Piggy then convalesced beside The Pixie’s bed where, every night, The Pixie would say to me “Is the Piggy smiling at me, mama?”. Yes, darling. The Piggy loves you.

But a few weeks later that smile was wiped off the Piggy’s face forever more when it somehow found itself outside during mothers’ group and was promptly decimated by a 5 year old guest wielding a cricket bat. And of course The Pixie, who watched on the sidelines, took every blow to that beloved Piggy as if it were to her own flesh. All I could do was to remove the body and immediately transfer $100 into her psychiatry fund. 

TIP THREE: The night before is FAR TOO LATE to start making a piñata from scratch

For one thing, it will look stupid. (Fig. 4)

The Bad, Bad Butterfly

Figure 4: The Bad, Bad Butterfly

No-one, not even The Pixie’s future psychiatrist, could blame me for not making another piñata for her birthday this year. But of course, when it was discovered there wasn’t going to be one the night before, there were tears. Lots and lots of tears. I tried to suggest we buy a Dora piñata from Big W, somewhat relishing the idea of having a swing at her myself, but The Pixie wasn’t going to have a bar of it. Her reason? Because she “wasn’t pink enough”. 

And so I ended up making the Emergency Butterfly – and for the record, I used an empty Vitawheats box for the butterfly’s body and NOT, as some suggested, a full carton of cigarettes. 

But because I filled the body with sweets at the very beginning rather than half-way through the paper-mâché process (when a few layers had already fully dried), the result was less than appetising. This is what you get when you mix marshmallows and flour-glue, kiddies (Fig. 5). 

The Butterfly's Innards

Figure 5: The Butterfly's Bad, Bad Innards

TIP FOUR: Find an alternative

At the end of  the day, unless you’re extremely bored, a frustrated artist or just plain scratchin’ around for material for your blog (or, in my case, all three), there really is no point.

You see, the fundamental problem with the whole piñata thing is that you need to get the kids to work OFF the sugar, not work FOR it. So here’s one alternative: give each of the party guests a super-sized Whizz-Fizz and then give them a stick to beat your carpets with. The kids get their sugar fix, they still get to indulge in a spot of violence (but for Good, not for Evil) and no piggies get hurt in the process. Perfect!

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