Breaking the Ice and Other Fun Things

By Keith Fisher

Last time, I told you about the backyard party that I planned to throw at my house. My group of blog writers had been planning to get together forever and I finally offered to cook. When the guests arrived, I had been cooking for hours. I made roast beef to die for, and the easy baked beans recipe I posted a few weeks ago. Also the peach and cherry cobblers were great with ice cream. My guests brought a delicious pasta salad, watermelon, and drinks.

Needless to say, we ate a good meal, and the conversation held the interest of those of us who write. Our spouses, however, though patient, were probably bored. I realized I’m out of practice. I used to plan great parties with get acquainted games, guessing games, and other things to do, along with good food.

There are many things you can do to make your party interesting. It’s always a good idea to have a separate table for the kids. A piƱata comes to mind for a party with a lot of kids, but have you ever thought of doing one for adults? Instead of candy and kid’s toys, you could fill it with adult stuff. You’d be surprised how fast adults loosen up when greed is involved.

Have you ever tossed a water balloon into the middle of a circle of aged adults on a sweltering hot summer day? I did, last year at a family reunion. The old folks barked as you might’ve guessed, but I saw the look of relief, the hey that feels good look came on their faces and you’d be surprised how fast they were involved in a water fight. The trick got the old folks off their lawn chairs and gave them a refreshing activity while they waited for the Dutch oven dinner I cooked. A little warning though, you might really tick someone off, so you’d better make sure of your guest’s sense of humor before you try this.

I’m sure you can come up with your own activities for your backyard party, but let me tell you about one of my favorites. Find a decorative container. Use a clear glass one if you want to make it easier. Fill it with candy corn or something people are familiar with. Make sure you count them but don’t tell anyone. Ask your guests to guess how many, and write their guesses on a piece of paper. You collect the papers and at the end you give the container away to the one who was right. It’s cheap and fun and your guests will remember it.

Now that I’ve mentioned a few icebreakers for your party, I want to announce a contest. This is a 5-inch Lodge, Dutch oven, manufactured in 1988. It’s filled with Jelly Belly, jelly beans. Guess how many? Write your guesses in the comments section and I’ll announce the winner on this blog in two weeks.

If more than one of you guesses correctly, the person who posted first wins. The winner will get a real, 5-inch Campchef Dutch oven, with an evergreen scented candle inside. You must make your own arrangements to get it from Orem, Utah to where you live.

I’m going to put you on your honor. DON'T CHEAT! I realize you could get a 5-inch Dutch oven, and count jellybeans, but what would be the fun of that? Keep in mind, however, Lodge doesn’t make this oven anymore. They replaced it with a slightly larger size. On your mark, get set, go.

In the mean time send me your ideas for icebreakers and I may use one at my next backyard party.

Return to the Neighborhood.


Tristi Pinkston said...

Hmmm . . . five inches . . . Jelly Bellys . . . 1,253.

That's my guess.

I like jelly beans.

Now, for ice breakers . . . we did a fun one at Pack Meeting. Everyone gets five Popsicle sticks. You have to challenge people to the Rock, Paper, Scissors game. If you win, you get one of their sticks. If they win, they get one of your sticks. You play for however long you determine, and then see who ends up with the most sticks. You'd be surprised -- it actually gets a little bloodthirsty.

Heather Justesen said...

jelly beans. hmmm. pi r squared times .... carry the one... divided by . . . I think Tristi is way short. I'm going to guess 1467. I'll have to think about the ice breakers.

G. Parker said...

I figure I'm really BAD at these kind of things...so my guess is going to be the loss anyway...grin. I really feel bummed I missed the food and the company...oh well.. focus. um...I was thinking those two were too big. I was thinking more along 980.

Kim Thompson said...

Hmmm...how about 750. The food sounds fabulous.

Tristi's game sounds fun!

And by the way, Keith, you still plan great parties! :)

Randall McNeely said...


Great article. Boy, when I come back to the states and visit Utah, do I need to come see you. I've had a dutch oven for 4 or 5 years and, I'm extremely ashamed to say I've never used it.

My guess is 743.


P.S. Can I link to your blog?

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Hmm . . . I've never used a dutch oven. Although I saw the Alton Brown show about cooking with dutch ovens - does that count? If I win, I guess I'll have to take a class and learn (or just call you and make you walk me through the whole thing!). My guess . . . 1,115.

Rachelle said...

Fun contest! My guess is 389.
For ice breakers--Have you ever played Balderdash? That is the most hilarious game and with one round you could really get a feel for how people's minds work. :)

Anonymous said...


I love Tristi's idea! I may just use that for fun at my next get-together (yeah, right, like i have room in my apartment for get-togethers! ha.)

Then there's the one where you hold one end of a toothpick in your teeth, and pass a lifesaver along the line without hands. Once you've been that close to someone, there's no staying strangers. :^>

Connie Hall said...

You forgot to mention the yummy corn that Wendy cooked. The dinner was great and I appreciate your efforts in cooking for all of us bloggers. Thanks a bunch. I'm glad we were able to sit and visit with each other face to face.

Storm Mountain said...

So far, you lowest guess is 389. I'm going to say 387.


Nichole Giles said...


I would have guessed 573--but guessing officially would be cheating. You spilled the beans--so to speak--the other day. (And that is not the answer.)

When this is over, you should bring those to critique group--they look yummy. Kidding. Give them to Keisha, I know she wants them.

Ivo Enforcer said...

450 and not a bean more!

Keith Fisher said...

Thnaks all of you for stopping by. there are some pretty good guesses there.

I will announce the winner on September 1st. If you are having trouble posting your guess send me an email to bloghole57@yahoo.com

Yes Randal you can link to my blog. can I link to yours?

Thanks for stopping by Ranes I hope you like the info here.