Monday, October 18, 2010

Quesy Bake Fun

This year is the first year that I have signed on as a Room Parent. I prefer to be in a role where I play a supporting part. But after volunteering for this post, I discovered that I'm IT ... the sole parent in charge of the Fall and Spring classroom parties.

In the past, this really wouldn't have been a problem. I have loads of experience planning Halloween parties, since Bryce basically had a Halloween party every year from age 3 to age 9. It really began as a fluke. A friend had called to say that she was miscarrying her twin boys and needed to head to the hospital, but didn't want her young daughters to know what was going on (she had previously lost a baby that they had been aware of). I jumped into rescue mode and told her to tell them that I had invited them to an impromptu Halloween party. Those three kids had a wonderful time that day (although my friend, sadly didn't). We had so much fun that the following year, we decided to do it again ... and again ... and again.

So, really, planning this year's party for the Kindergarten class should feel like no big deal, right? Well, somehow it has been hanging over my head and filling me with dread. There are 25 students. I am not guaranteed any help (in fact, I only recently met two of the other parents at the Muffins for Mom event last week). The suggestion (from the Room Parent coordinator) was to send a letter requesting donations for the party.

I have been dragging my heels, not sure exactly what I want to do and loathe to ask for monetary amounts before I'm sure what I might be spending. Finally, today, I had a chance to talk with Trevor's teacher and share a few of my ideas.

I figure these kids are going to be loaded up with a sugar high the whole weekend, so I wanted to steer clear of snacks like cupcakes or sugary cookies. So, I came up with the brilliant plan to make Jack-O-Lantern pizzas using my oldest son's old Queasy Bake Oven.

The Queasy Bake Oven is a boy's dream. Bryce did have loads of fun (back in the day) preparing concoctions like Chocolate Crud Cake, Bugs 'n Worms, Delicious Dirt, Cool Drool and Crunchy Dog Bones. Of course, the extra mixes I had purchased for him eventually became outdated and now we merely have the oven.

I figured we could have the kindergartners rotate between five stations (like crafts, math activities, games, and the snack). When they came to the snack table, they would be given an English muffin topped with a thin layer of pizza sauce. They could select pepperoni eyes, cheesy mouths, green pepper warts, etc. Then, they could take turns baking their treat in the Queasy Bake Oven. The teacher also offered up her toaster oven, to speed things along.

So, tonight, I decided to give it a trial run with Trevor. I headed to the fridge to look for our English muffins. Alas, the last one had been eaten. No pepperoni either. No worries! I pulled out a package of square strip crescent roll dough (I usually use this for my Salmon Wellington recipe).

I prepared a Spinach/Mushroom Calzone for myself and used the third rectangle to cut out three circles (from the provided pans in the Queasy Bake Oven box). We baked the dough circles first for about 7 minutes and then I barely coated them with pizza sauce. I handed Trevor a piece of cheese and he cut out eyes and a jagged-tooth mouth.

The difficulty came when we attempted to slide the treat into the oven. The slot for the baking chamber is extremely narrow (in fact the pan depth is the size of one finger). Immediately, I could tell that pizza sauce and cheese were going to adhere to the insides of the oven.

We set the timer for two minutes and allowed the pizza to cook. After pushing the pan into the cooling chamber, we waited another two minutes. Trevor had the thing eaten before I had begun to cool Sean's pizza (for this one I merely cut eyes and mouth out of the cheese).

In the end, Trevor ate all three pizzas. The other boys had to have something else for dinner (they were otherwise-occupied, so weren't concerned). As far as he is concerned, we should certainly bring the oven to school and allow his friends to experience Queasy Bake Pizza.

I'm thinking we may have to stick with the toaster oven since the English muffins would be even thicker than the baked crescent roll dough. Perhaps I'd better come up with a different plan altogether ... waffles individually decorated by the kids with frosting faces???? I also have a feeling we'll be doing lots more Queasy cooking in this household in the coming months.


cardiogirl said...

Sweep the Leg, I feel your pain on being the sole mother handling all of it. I'm now the Junior Girl Scout leader and I DON'T WANT TO BE!

I feel like the three of us stood in line and they said, "Whoever wants to be the leader take one step forward." And then the other two took one step back.

I know you don't want to bring sugary stuff, but what about providing a plain sugar cookie that they can decorate with frosting in a tube (you know those pre-bought ones?) so it's not too messy. You could also have a plate of sprinkles so they could dip the cookie, frosting side down, into the sprinkles.

With supervision you might be able to keep the sprinkles in the plate instead of all over the table and floor.

Strips of fruit leather or skinny licorice could make smiles and you could "glue" it with frosting.

Good luck!

Wendy said...

CG - Love your description of how you acquired the job.

I know I'm stressing over this far more than I need. In the end, it will go off without a hitch. I guess the thing that I find troubling is that I can sense a complete shift in my personality from what I was like four or five years ago.

Trevor wanted a Halloween party instead of a birthday party. Back in Sept. I said yes, but now I am back-paddling daily and fearing the tears and consternation he will express. He has already decorated the porch and drawn a sign stating "Party Here"!

If I don't do the pizzas, I may try waffle faces, since Kroger has a great price on frozen waffles this week and I do have those Pampered Chef frosting tools. Hey, I even have some fruit leather that my boys rejected after the first try. I don't think I'll venture into sprinkles, though. As I said, I'm no longer able to handle living dangerously.