Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gingerbread Houses 2012

Despite the moving craziness, I decided to repeat last year's tradition of having a gingerbread house party for our friends.  This year was a lot bigger, so it was split into two groups to keep everything more manageable.  I still made all the houses at the same time, then we held the two parties on the same day, 2 hours apart.  That turned out to be just enough time to get the first group done, clean the icing off the tables, refill the candy bowls and start again.

Here is the before picture.  There were 9 kids at the first party, 11 at the second, and 2 that needed to pick up houses to do at home.  We had folding tables for bigger kids, and a shorter table for kids who couldn't reach the big tables.   I made sure to have some of every candy at each table so the kids would stay put and not wander too much.
As with last year, I started out the party by getting everyone's attention so I could tell them the one and only rule...try really really hard to keep their fingers out of their mouths so they didn't spread germs reaching into the candy bowls.   Beyond that, I just let them know the same candies were at every table and there was more icing and candy, so there was plenty to share.
After a few of the zip top bags I used for icing last year busted at the seams, I decided to play it safe and use decorator bags* this year.   They're disposable, so it's still easy clean up, and I just used a rubber band at the top to keep the bag closed.  I didn't put any tips on the bags, just stacked them on a tray before the party, then snipped off the tip with scissors and handed them out when I was ready for everyone to start.  Worked very well without any icing explosions.
I love this picture of Sedona.  I was walking around the room refilling candy bowls as needed and she suddenly said, "look Momma!! I remembered how you showed me to do icicles!!"  That was a full year ago, and she remembered and did it correctly all by herself.  I was impressed and she was thrilled with herself.
Some of the finished houses from session one.  As you can see, dots are still a favorite.  Last year, I didn't have enough, so I bought more this year.  Still not enough.  Final tally on candy used this year (so I remember what to buy next year!):
9 boxes of dots (7oz)
2 bags of m&ms (19.2oz)
1 bag peppermints (24oz...this one surprised me, they were quite popular)
120 mini candy canes
2 bags marshmallows (10oz)
2 bags gummy bears (24oz)
2 bags chewy sprees
about 1/2 box corn chex

Update 12/16/13: This amount of candy worked out pretty well again for the 2013 party.  I bought 12 boxes of dots and finally had enough.  I bought two packages of sugar wafers (which was not enough) and left out the chex.  

More finished houses.  I think mom was a little embarrassed about the roof of marshmallows, but I thought it was a good idea and marshmallows are cheap!

When session two rolled around, Secora had finally gotten comfortable enough with what was going on to get down and decorate her own house.  I was kind of surprised, she actually decorated.  I thought she'd just eat the candy, or do what Sedona did when she was 2 and lick every piece before she stuck it on.
 If I were going to give out prizes, this would have been in the running for one of my favorite houses this year.  One of our new neighbors did this one.  She's 11 and came up with the idea all on her own and then told us her house was an anachronism....messy on one side:
And neat on the other:
She even came up with the idea to crush some candy canes to put on the messy side.

I also liked this idea that one of the dads added to his kid's house...a chimney!
I didn't realize the picture was all blurry until later, but he built the chimney out of chex and made smoke from marshmallows. I might have to copy that idea some day.

Here are our three girls with their houses.  Secora (who is constantly sneaking candy now):

Sedona, who I told to smile:
And then I told her to act like she was really happy and I got this:
So I just gave up and took Sierra's picture:

A fun time was had by all.  If you want step by step instructions on how to host your own party, including how to make the houses from scratch and how plan your timeline (since there are several "waiting" steps on making the houses), visit the tutorial I posted last year. 

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