In 17 Exceptionally Sticky Steps...
You will need:
One 10-year-old girl
One Roald Dahl cookbook
One bag of perfectly good caramels
2 egg whites (Hint: 1 dozen eggs yields 1 1/2 egg whites.)
As many baking sheets as you have
Food coloring - as much as you have
1/2 cup of sugar.
2. Encourage "creativity" in children at the expense of home furnishings.
3. Allow 10-year-old daughter and 11-year-old sidekick with a long history of food-based performance art to choose a recipe.
4. Shop for ingredients for Stickjaw for Talkative Parents, from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."
5. Give in to girls' demands for unsupervised kitchen access.
6. Call out "is everything okay in there?" occasionally, but provide no other interference, no matter how many times you hear "oops," "uh-oh," or "whoopsy daisy."
7. Explain to skeptical husband that encouraging independence is an important part of parenting.
8. Explain to skeptical husband that they have promised to clean everything up themselves.
9. Insist that teenage brother "leave the girls alone" in very firm voice. Repeat.
10. Remind girls to be sure that they have preheated the right oven.
11. Baking time: 1 hour, plus one extra hour for the time in which the Stickjaws sit in bottom oven while empty top oven bakes at 250 degrees.
12. Repeat until all ingredients have been spilled or used up.
13. Remove from oven and cool on every available kitchen surface.
14. Clean "meringue" from every available kitchen surface.
15. Engage in futile search for caps to food coloring bottles.
16. Feign smile while cautiously biting into oddly-colored meringue-encased caramels.
17. Arrange several oddly-colored, meringue-encased caramels on a plate, while surreptitiously disposing of as many as possible.