A Cookie Decorating Party
For those of you who know me, you know I love to host a good party. Now that I have a delightful toddler living under my roof hosting children's parties has become my favorite type of party to throw. First and foremost, children are easy to please, they typically have flexible schedules, and they would never think to comment on how our couch is outdated or how our kitchen is a mess. And without saying a word the priceless expressions of wonder and delight on their sweet little faces make all the hard work completely worth it. If I have learned one thing this year it is how I live to delight and inspire my little one and further more all the little ones around me.
Jasper and I spend a lot of time together in the kitchen. I have learned over the past couple of years the best way to handle both the mess and our expectations is to lay out all the ingredients ahead of time and then call Jasper into the kitchen once I am ready. We always don this apron and grab our trusty cooking book. Even when we are using a recipe off of my phone he always insists on grabbing the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook and I am fully onboard with playing along. In the digital world we live in I not only have a husband who works primarily in print, but a boy whose mind has been enlarged and imagination ignited by books. I love the thought of Jasper in the future reaching for a book when we he has a question rather than the internet.
And here is where I have learned to step back and allow him to work his magic in the kitchen. He is a powerful whisker and a haphazard dumper and when he has it is his way he is covered in flour and throwing his head back laughing and acting as jolly as Santa Claus himself.
Last year we hosted a Cookie Decorating for two of Jasper's older friends. It was such a hit for everyone involved we decided to do it again this year. After hitting the jackpot on adorable Meri Meri Christmas party supplies we quickly got to the task of making the star of the show- the gingerbread. Over the past year, Jasper has turned into a very confident baker. Even though it always makes me a tad nervous when he uses the hand mixer he routinely shows me what a professional he is. He is focused, likes all the ingredients laid out ahead of time, his favorite part is whisking the dry ingredients and he always has dibs on the beaters.
As a mother instilling confidence in my children is priority number one so allowing Jasper to host, entertain and lead others are skills he will be able to use to his advantage in the future. There is nothing better than telling Jasper his friends are going to come over to do something fun with him and then spend the ensuing days planning, prepping, shopping and cooking. Sure I could do it all myself and it would be faster, but I have learned over the past couple of years precious time together like this is fleeting. Jasper is at a fun age where he notices everything and if there is a detail needing to be tended to he is going to remember it. We might be at the store and he reminds me we need cinnamon or we might be at Target and he tries to convince me we need M&Ms. (We use the word "need" as a relative term)
Sporting his new Christmas slippers. It wasn't until one day when he commented how both Mommy and Daddy have slippers that he decided he needed a pair too. Shortly thereafter we were off to the store to look for something suitable for him. I thought the dog slippers were cutest, but he deemed these were "the best" and then snagged himself a pair of Christmas jammies too. It is moments like these I will thoroughly admit to giving into his every whim, but I am still feel very mixed about what is spoiling verses taking very good care of someone you love.
Keeping watch for his friends.
I like to think of our home as health conscious place, but when it comes to parties we tend to shower our guests with sugar. Donuts and cupcakes make the perfect side treats for a gingerbread decorating party, don't you think?!
Trophy Cupcakes had the appropriately named "Gingerbread" and "Chocolate Candy Cane" cupcakes which were just perfect for the party.
I always like to load up our guests with lots of take aways. This year I had individual letter cookie cutters along with a little bag filled with a few other cookie cutters for each guest. Initially, I thought it would be fun to make the gingerbread together, but I decided it can be hard to engage a small group in baking and would leave a lot less time for the most fun part- the decorating.
Little hands are always trying to sneak a candy canes this time of year.
Since we were using royal icing which can dry pretty hard and fast I had the children work on making the icing once they arrived. There might have been a bit of a struggle over who was going to operate the hand mixer, but covering your guest in frosting is one way to determine if they are a close friend or not.
I recently read somewhere a squeeze bottle was the perfect tool for icing cookies. (The verdict: it keeps the royal icing soft for longer than the pastry bag and proves to be much less messy for little hands. It can be a little hard to maintain a constant stream of icing due to air) My friend also gifted me this little hand held icing ball pen which was a total hit with both the kids and moms.
After the cookie decorating we moved onto snacks and story time. Don't worry it was not the story, but the braces which were boggling Jasper in this photo. The whole time she read he kept staring at her mouth and moving his tongue across his teeth. Ha! I don't think he has ever seen anyone with braces before. Having older friends is definitely a learning experience for everyone.
And who says cookie decorating is only for kid? My friend, Kristi, and I had every bit as much fun as the kids decorating our own cookies.
Once I have wrapped up one party I am always eager to plan another one. Sure they can be a lot of work, time and even money, but playing hostess will always be one of my most favorite roles.