Parties and sawdust do not mix

I like to think of myself as an optimistic and determined person: When I want to do something, I tend to ignore any obstacles standing in the way. Certain people (*cough*! Alfie! *cough*) might interpret that as being stubborn, leading to situations like driving for hours in a snowstorm. It's true that my enthusiasm often gets in the way of my good judgement -- but I'm hoping my kids see it as never letting a few inconveniences and a bit of hard work get in the way of accomplishing a goal.

My latest act of blind determination perseverance? Hosting a party without a kitchen.

To recap, I received some really cute American Girl party items to review about 2 months ago, and I suggested to The Pea that she might want to host a small doll's tea party with her friends. The idea ballooned into a doll tea party/holiday cookie exchange/gingerbread house decorating session -- quite an ambitious project, even with a kitchen, let alone without one.

In my defense, we had no idea the renovation was going to take this long. I scheduled the party to take place 2 full weeks after our contractors were supposed to have finished -- but I should have known, renovations always take longer than they're supposed to (double the time and double the budget, right?).

It became apparent a week before the party date that we would still be storing our food in the playroom and guest room, cooking meals in the microwave and toaster oven (located in the playroom and living room, respectively), and washing our dishes in the bathroom sink -- and I suppose I ought to have rescheduled the party at that point. But I didn't have the heart to. I know from experience that cookie exchange parties are tons of fun I, and The Pea really loves to bake. Besides, if we had held it any later, people would be gone for the holidays. And hey, we wouldn't really be using the kitchen all that much, since the girls would be baking and bringing their own cookies, right?

See what I mean about optimism and determination?

We forged ahead with our plans. The Pea was even more ambitious than I was, insisting on baking her cupcakes from scratch (I copped out and used store-bought cookie mix). I won't dwell on the hardships involved, but let me just say that they involved balancing a heavy mixer on a kitchen stool, switching from scraping paint off a window to spreading frosting on a cupcake (I swear I washed my hands!) and using way too many paper towels/parchment paper/paper plates/plastic bags.

In the end, I'm happy (and relieved) to report that the party was a huge success. The Pea and her guests baked up a storm of beautiful, delicious baked goods: cookies, cupcakes, whoopie pies and rice krispies treats. Everything looked too good to eat -- but that didn't stop them from nibbling on a few and washing it all down with a cup of hot cocoa.

They had so much fun decorating their mini gingerbread houses. I love this age (9-10), because the girls pay so much attention to detail. This activity kept them occupied for ages, and they ended up with some pretty nifty looking creations.

The dolls certainly had a good time. They got to dress up in their fancy holiday outfits and socialize with their BFFs at their own separate table, complete with a cookie for every doll.

Afterwards, each girl got to take a plateful of assorted treats home with them.

Everything certainly went splendidly, and everyone had a good time -- but two days later, I'm still knackered from the stress and the effort. The next time my enthusiasm gets in the way of good sense, will someone please send me the link to this post?


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Melanie said...

The picture of the dolls all lined up in a row, with their soulless eyes staring blankly into the camera, is CREEPY and made me laugh, albeit a little nervously. But I'm glad your party turned out to be a success!

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