Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Gingerbread house party 2017 - toddler edition!

Whew. It's been a while, guys.* But I can't let December close out without documenting this year's gingerbread house party, which was pretty special. When I was looking at our guest list (um, two weeks ago, because this fall has been insane and I feel like I'm constantly behind) I realized that all our regulars have kids that are old enough to more or less work independently. So obviously it made sense to make this a toddler focused party, which is both much more fun and much more chaotic.

gingerbread house party 2017

gingerbread house party 2017

gingerbread house party 2017

gingerbread house party 2017

tuckered out

We had 7 toddlers (okay, one of them was a straight up baby, so he didn't participate this year) and 19 adults, which I was afraid was really pushing the limits of our house but it worked out so well. We only made houses for the kids, since even I am not crazy enough to try to tackle close to 30 gingerbread houses. Having a kid focused party was a little different than anything we'd done before, so I wanted to make sure that we had things set up for them.

The biggest adaptation we made was to set up a toddler height table, and this was a lifesaver. I had nightmares of trying to prevent kids from falling off of benches and chairs the entire afternoon, and bringing the game down to their level meant that we could supervise without having to hover anxiously. We just pulled out our long office table (which is just an Ikea tabletop) and temporarily swapped the hairpin legs for simple coffee table height legs which D picked up at Lowes for $30 ($5/leg, 6 legs needed for a table our length). The legs take up almost no space, so we can easily stash them away which is good because I think this is what our party is going to look like for a few more years.

I also ditched the pastry bags, because let's be honest, even adults have some difficulty managing those things and we didn't want to deal with royal icing explosions. I originally ordered a few squeeze bottles that have icing tip adapters (I ordered these ones from Michael's - I looked alllllll over to find ones that weren't teeny tiny, since most are intended for decorating sugar cookies and only hold a few ounces) but then realized that the kids don't really need fancy tips yet, so I also grabbed a six pack of condiment bottles from Smart & Final for way cheaper. The tips on these are pretty narrow, so I snipped them off a bit to get a wider opening. To fill them, I loaded the icing into a pastry bag and then piped it into the bottles (the necks are a bit narrow, so spooning icing in would take forever). These worked great! The kids still needed some help, but we had zero explosions.

We also covered our rug in plastic tablecloths, for obvious reasons, and put all appetizers (and the hot spiked cider) up on tables out of kid reach.

It was a little nutty in the best way possible, and I think the kids ended up having a really good time. I'm glad we managed to pull it off, even though it was a little last minute this year.

(See lots of details on past gingerbread house parties here, including the recipe I use, how I do the stained glass windows, and how we glue the houses together, and a general overview post of the party logistics)



* I miss this space! I miss you guys. Thank you for the sweet comments and concern. This year has been a little crazy and I'm barely keeping up with general life but I do want to make a point of getting back here more often. I'll have a few more posts up soon, on general holiday and life stuff.

15 comments:

  1. I followed all your directions from years past to the "T" and we had a great party this year. Thank you and glad to see you are still hosting!

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  2. glad to hear you that you're ok! I always love "hearing" your voice - wishing you the best.

    Also, I have reading recs for you -

    Jennifer Egan's Manhattan Beach
    Magpie Murders
    Young Jane Young

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    1. Totally seconded to Jennifer Egan's book! Saw her speak in Dublin a few weeks ago and she's awesome.

      Glad to hear from you Rachel!

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  3. This is amazing! What an awesome friend you are to host all these little friends!

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  4. As someone with kids who has friends who don't have kids - wow! This was such a kind decision you made, to make the gingerbread house activity kid-friendly. I was never as thoughtful towards my parent friends before I had kids. :)

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  5. So happy to see you back!! Happy holidays :)

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  6. So happy to see you're back! Good work, that sounds like it was hectic, but still fun. Your planning always helps! :):)

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  7. I hosted a gingerbread house decorating party this year too. I've been using your recipe for the past few years and it always turns out tasting great! So good that one of my former coworkers emailed me this Christmas because she remembered that I brought really good tasting gingerbread cookies in to work 2 or 3 years ago, so I directed her here.

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  8. I'm so glad you're back! This is my very favorite blog and I love your gingerbread house dedication - I'm still a little too intimidated to try myself.

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  9. Glad to see you posting again! You are a braver soul than I...gingerbread party with kids!

    2017 has been a whopper, here's hoping 2018 is kinder and gentler on us all. Happy holidays!

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  10. Agree with @Stella, this year, my goodness. Thinking good thoughts for you!

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  11. Yay! Glad you are back, long time reader. Happy holidays.

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  12. Happy new year! Always happy to see a new post up.

    My boyfriend and I are heading to Mexico City in February - heavily inspired by your trip, which looked fab ;)

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  13. Happy New Year! So glad to see you again. xo

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  14. Definitely going to try this next year! Also congrats on your soon to be little one :)

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