Friday, October 28, 2011

The Fall Event (and Marshmallow Popcorn Treats Recipe)

These seasonal "events" are a HUGE deal for Ernie.  Huge.  We started a year ago, hosting other kids once a season to celebrate all that season has to offer, make a huge mess, (and do everything I thought Ernie might be missing by not attending school class parties.)  Oddly, the majority of my friends have switched to home schooling the past year or two, so we get a really great mix of ages.  This time we had 13 kids, ranging from Wonder Boy up to a 3rd grader.

I think this event was our best yet, and I'll tell you why.
  1. We had it in the afternoon, instead of the morning.  No over due naps, and no rushing!
  2. The girls helped decorate.  (The pipe cleaners.  They're "crazy candy canes" and Ernie was having a blast making them up in bulk and finding places to put them.)

3.  Marshmallow Popcorn treats.  Yes, it's your favorite rice crispy treats, but made with popcorn.  And yes, it's amazing.  (Plus, I always have popcorn on hand- cereal, not so much.)  I think some of the toddlers spent the bulk of the party just noshing on these.  I subbed shortening for the butter to make them dairy-free, and added a splash of vanilla.   Thanks Wonder Daddy for snapping this picture! (Recipe is at the end of this post.)

marshmallow popcorn balls

4.  We chose 2 of our favorite-of-the-moment crafts and had them set up on the table.  We had paper sacks to decorate, for kids to put their candy in after Halloween, and we had supplies for q-tip skeletons.

craft supplies, set up on the table

5.  The moms, for the most part, sat in my sunny school room and watched Wonder Boy-- and whichever toddlers were there at the moment -- play.


6.  The moms were able to sit and gab, BECAUSE I set everything up and then turned the kids loose.  The kindergarten boy who loves to build things?  He lugged enormous rocks from the woods, and dead branches, and built a tee-pee on the lawn.  The toddlers who just want to orbit around Mom?  They played with baby toys and ate snacks.  The kids who never get hungry?  Had a hey-dey in the playroom downstairs.  (Seriously, I think they dumped out every single box of toys...and then their moms "helped" them put EVERYTHING away before they left.  Best thing ever!)  


playing with eggs

Ernie made what she called "homemade bracelets" for everyone before they came- they were pipecleaners, twisted at the ends to make a loop.  I thought she was pretty thoughtful to do that, and we turned the girls loose on our beads-n-beans sensory bucket, to fill up their bracelets with beads.

Making bracelets

This party was so relaxed, and so easy to get ready for.  Everyone did exactly what they wanted to do, without me cajoling kids to line up for a game, or leave the toys to come have snack.  (WHY has that been the normal for every party before this??  No more!)  More importantly, everyone had a great time, the kids were all fantastic, and I can't wait to do our Winter Event.  I feel so lucky to have friends close by we can gather with, who are such good friends for my kids!

Marshmallow Popcorn Treats

Makes two 9x13 pans- can be halved

Pop one cup of popcorn.

In a large pot over medium low heat, melt 3/4 cup shortening.  (You can certainly use butter here- I made these dairy free on purpose.)  Add 1 large bag of mini marshmallows, about 10 cups, and melt them, stirring occasionally.  You want to keep the heat low, so the sugar doesn't cook too much and make your treats crispy!  Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

Pour the marshmallow mixture over the popcorn, and mix quickly before it cools off too much.  I did this in another large pot, or you could do it in batches in a big bowl.  This is a LOT of popcorn!  The easiest way is to grease your hands and just dig in and mix it around- wait just a minute or two for the sugar to cool enough to handle.

Press lightly into two well-greased 9x13 pans and let cool.  Turn onto a cutting board and cut into squares.


Aunt LoLo said...

First off, the kids had a blast at the "event." Second, and this is going to sound stupid, I could never figure out why my marshmallow treats were so darn crunchy. haha. Guess I need a little more PATIENCE in the kitchen!!

Anonymous said...

We had a fabulous time. Thank you for inviting us!

Teresa said...

Sounds perfect.... a home full of children and treats =)

Su said...

Sounds wonderful! Thanks for the recipe. I never have rice krispies in the house, but always have popcorn!

T.J. said...

stumbled over here from Catherine Ann's. What a fun site! Your children are adorable- especially in their Halloween costumes and I've already copied down your popcorn treat recipe and bookmarked "Papermart". Thanks for these great tips!

molly said...

This looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for the idea...and the Sugar Rush!

l.vanderkirk said...

Adorable kids and who couldn't love marshmallows and popcorn! I followed a sweet trail from this Sweet Sixteen collection to your blog, and I'm glad I did! Thanks for sharing!