Tag Archives: big days

gumball party

Twelve days after the actual day we officially celebrated ten with a gumball party of E’s design. Her cousin came into town for the occasion, and we promptly put her to work on the cake decorating.

We planned to have the party on the playground of E’s school since it’s just ten blocks from our house and is a bigger space to play. But Saturday was so hot here that we decided to set it all up in the lunchroom. We broke the party into three sections: first, the kids arrived and decorated colorful water bottles and gumball machine pieces with paint pens before assembling them. Then they found a spot to park their empty vessels, and moved onto the next part of the party…

…game time! Time to earn some candy to fill those bottles and machines.

We started off with a serious round of Candy Memory. E and I had gone to Oh Lolli Lolli and purchased four of every kind of candy they sell there. (We filled a basket and it took the lady working there fifteen minutes to ring it all up – but at five or ten cents a piece it only totaled about eleven dollars). The huge variety made this game really fun – and challenging. One parent walked in while the game was going on and we joked that this might be the quietest party of sixteen ever. You can see the nail biting tension as one of E’s friends tried to remember where the other banana split candy was located. If they made a match, they got to keep the candy – we used the water bottles to store their candy prizes. We had enough candy to set up another round of this later in the party which was nice, since the game seemed to be a big hit.

Next, we divided the kids into three teams and did a series of relays where the team members could earn ten, five or three gumballs for completing them. First was a gumdrop pass with chopsticks. F managed to do remarkably well with this one. She learned early to crisscross her sticks and balance the gumdrop near the intersection. Next was a relay where the teams had to hold a gummy worm in their mouths, bite off the heads and swallow them and then drop the worms through the center of a fudge stripe cookie suspended over a plastic wrap covered bowl. (No hands, of course.)

Then we moved to an individual competition – the kids had to build structures as tall (and stable) as possible using gumdrops and toothpicks within a five minute time limit.

And then we did the final (MESSY!) game. While the kids snacked on chips and Gus’ pretzels and Izze sodas across the room, we put sixteen gummy worms on paper plates and mounded six cans of whipped cream on top, then placed them on two tables. With their hands behind their backs they had to locate the gummy worms and then chew and swallow them as fast as possible.

Even a couple of brave (and awesome parents) decided to join in on the fun. It was even better watching from behind a camera (and cleaner, just the way I like it).

F wasn’t so sure about sticking her whole face in, but she was plenty game to walk around with a cream covered worm dangling from her mouth. She wins the prize for youngest-participant-up to-any-challenge, and also the one for best-dressed-to-the-theme.

The third section of the party was cake time. Everybody gathered around while E placed her ten candles. I highly recommend the candles that burn different flame colors like these. The ten year old crowd was really impressed.

And there you have it – the season of birthdays in our house is over for another year. We pulled the paper gumball dotted kraft paper off the tables, cleaned down the stickiness and headed home for a sugar crash. A nice celebration all around.

the many faces of ten

I thought these faces I caught on the camera were pretty funny (and perfectly illustrate E’s personality at 10).

Fake drama / sarcasm when reading a touching sentiment in a card:

Complete joy at receiving a gift card to shop on her own. (Her little sister’s got her shopping arm ready too.):

And this knowing look she shot me when opening F’s gift to her. Not the fabulous Micron pen set (that we picked out and gave F to give to her), but the paper princess gift tag and pink crayon that F wrapped up for her sister all by herself:

summer berry pavlova with bourbon whipped cream

I spotted this recipe while lounging¬†being completely lazy at M’s parents’ house a few weekends ago. It was featured in House Beautiful, and the photos looked so gorgeous. I mentioned this to M’s mom, and she insisted that I tear the recipe out of the magazine so I did. I knew I could find it on line, but I’m still a magazine tearer at heart.¬†

If you feel the slightest inclination to make this then I strongly recommend that you do. It’s not hard, not at all. The ingredient list is short. I’ve got extra bourbon and chambord if you’d like to borrow some.

One tip that I have is to really watch the meringues as they cook, and stack them as far away from the heat source in your oven. No browning. Browning=bad. You cook them at low temps for 60-90 mins, then turn off the oven and leave them in overnight to dry out.

Stack and layer and stack and layer, and then say a silent prayer as you cut into it (with your biggest, baddest, sharpest knife. (I doubled the recipe, as suggested in the magazine, but not the online version – from two layers to four. Because if you’re going to go big, then really go big.)

Also, invite more friends over. It makes so much, and it’s a shame to let a good thing go to waste.

Interesting side note about the bourbon. Elijah Craig was the (sometimes disputed) inventor of bourbon. He was a Baptist preacher in Kentucky. My hometown, Georgetown, to be exact.