Thursday, June 26, 2008

Gingerbread in June

It was the weirdest idea for a party I'd ever heard of. Our friends wanted to know why we were doing it. Was it someone's birthday? Some event? Why gingerbread houses in June? We did it... just for the fun of it.

And fun it was, although there was a lot of work too. Case in point: If we invite 20 families, and 16 accept, we need materials for 16 gingerbread houses. There are 6 pieces per house, for a total of 96 pieces. That's a lot of gingerbread, folks. I went out and got larger bowls so we could make them three batches at a time, rather than one.

We cleared off the counters completely and set up five stations: two places to roll and cut dough; one to bake, one to cool, and one to store the finished pieces.

Now, the original plan was a cheery summer afternoon in the back yard, with drinks and tiki torches, and kids running around in the grass whenever they got a little too hyper on candy.


That plan was scuttled by a thunderstorm the size of Iowa. Then, our supplier of large folding tables called to say he didn't think it was a good idea to bring them over in the rain, as he'd have to put them on an open trailer. Oh. Now what? So... we improvised. A few phone calls netted us promises of four card tables, and we'd just do it all inside. No problem! The slightly worrisome part there is that we'd invited upwards of 40 people. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but... our house isn't all that big. But we're all friends, right? It'll be cozy!

The adults were having a good time...

Fiona was helping Grandma Kerr...

...but the other kids didn't seem to be having as good a time as I thought they would.

I thought the kids would be all over the candy and the houses, but they were mostly milling about aimlessly, unsure of what they could do.

It was a time for drastic action.

It was time to break out THE KID ENTERTAINER OF DOOM!!!! BWA HAHAHHAHA...
No, wait, that's not right. I meant, the Cart, a.k.a. "Santa's Summer Sleigh."

Man, this thing is great for picking up girls! I had one under each arm for what seemed like an hour or two, just cruising around the island. They were laughing and screaming whenever I rolled up to the door and having a great time.

Eventually, though, my posterior, and the batteries that sit underneath said posterior, were reaching their limit. (I've discovered that you can tell how the battery is doing by checking to see if you can accelerate and use the turn signal at the same time. If you can't blink, you're low.) My passengers weren't too concerned about such things. We had "one last ride" several times, and then "OK, these will have to be short," and then, "really, last time." None of us cared — we were all having fun — but electricity really was in short supply.

"Can we have ONE MORE ride?"
"Well, I don't know. The invisible reindeer are getting pretty tired."
They just looked at me.
"It's almost out of juice."
They wanted to know what kind of juice it needed.
I tried again. "The batteries are low and it needs to recharge."
"So where's the charger? Can we have one more ride?"
"Will you help push when it stops moving?"
That, they understood.

They still excitedly clambered in for the slow, hundred-foot crawl back to the carport to plug in, though.

With the cart exhausted, they set out to answer another question I hadn't thought to ask: How many kids can you fit on a porch swing?

Start with, oh, five or so.

(Every now and then, you snap a photo, and look at it later, and you somehow realize, "This is going to be important later..." — perhaps as a sign of things to come, perhaps important for some other reason. This is one of those photos. It gives me hope and joy about the years ahead.)

He's not heavy, he's my brother... well, yeah, actually, he's heavy. Oof, get off!
Can you spot all eight kids?

Meanwhile, back inside, marvelous creations were taking shape:

Lots of creativity going on.

Maybe once the party is over, Deborah and I can make one, too!

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