If you had asked me a couple months ago, So Beth, any interest in building a castle out of Rice Krispy treats? Well, I’m afraid I would’ve laughed at you and given you a resounding NO. See, I’m pretty sure that the only semi-creative bone in my body atrophied long ago. I am not a crafter. Nor am I always on the lookout for the next way to express myself artistically.
I AM, however, a mom. And a youth ministry volunteer. And when our youth director asked if anyone would be able to create a rice krispy castle for the medieval-themed youth group kick-off party…my hand just kind of spontaneously raised itself before I could stop it. I said, “I can totally do that!” Then I spent the next few days alternatively forgetting that I had signed up to attempt creating a masterpiece and kicking myself for it.
So, if you ever find yourself in my shoes… If you ever find yourself needing to create architecture out of cereal… Here’s the real-life version of how it goes in 21 easy-to-follow steps.
1 — Go to Walmart to gather all of your supplies. Mainly because you want to do this as cheaply as possible, but also because you HATE Walmart and feel like a little self-mortification is good for the soul.
2 — Grab the absolute wonkiest cart ever known to man and get an arm workout trying to push that beast through the store.
3 — Buy the biggest boxes of crispy rice cereal they’ve got, along with 4 bags of marshmallows and a whole bunch of butter. Hope that what you’ve bought will be enough because you really don’t want to have to come back.
(Note: Some things I over-bought, some were right on the money. I’ll let you guess which was which.)
4 — Turn on some tunes while you get your cooking on. Personally, I’m on a Lin-Manuel Miranda kick, so I cranked up In the Heights. Feel free to choose whatever works for you.
5 — Trace out your sand castle design (yes, use actual sand castle buckets) on a big piece of foam board. Keep moving the pieces and changing your mind about 14 times.
6 — Have your engineer husband ask if you’ve calculated exactly how many times you’re going to need to make the recipe so that you have enough. He should also offer to do a volume analysis for you.
7 — Ask him if he even knows you at all and tell him to remove himself from your kitchen.
8 — Make a butt load (yes, that’s a technical measurement) of cereal treats.
9 — Wonder how many times you’re going to have to make the recipe so that you have enough. Think that figuring that out beforehand might have been helpful.
10 — Apologize to your husband in your mind. Not out loud, of course, as that would just be the height of silliness.
11 — Fight with cling wrap as you try to line the insides of the sand castle molds.
12 — Realize after attempt #112 that spraying the inside of the mold with cooking spray first makes it WAY easier because the cling wrap sticks to the mold that way.
13 — Smoosh treats into the molds.
14 — Repeat steps 8 through 13 three more times over the next two hours. By the way, you’ll need 3/4 cup of butter, 40 ounces of marshmallows, and 24 cups of cereal!!
15 — Call it good for the night and hope they survive until decoration day tomorrow.
16 — They survived! Do the happy dance because no one in your house ate them when you weren’t looking.
17 — Use some gel and some flags on toothpicks to decorate your castle pieces. Because, let’s be honest, right now they look like tan blobs and just not very special.
18 — Transport all of the castle pieces and the display board to the youth ministry party venue. Pray that they make it there without being destroyed.
19 — Spend the whole drive telling your 15 year-old, who is holding the trays for you, to hold tight EVERY SINGLE TIME you press the brakes or turn a corner.
20 — Assemble the pieces of the castle and bask in the glory of your handiwork.
21 — Revel in watching it get completely demolished by hungry teenagers.
The Moral of the Story
So, there you have it and there you are. If you ever find yourself volunteering to do something you’ve never done before…take courage! Keep your expectations realistic, have a little fun, and be prepared to impress yourself. And remember, if you’re making any sort of food for teenagers, they’re most likely going to love it. No matter what it looks like!