Saturday, April 28, 2007

Over the Top

This photo illustrates one of my most deeply ingrained tendencies: to overdo a creative project (especially when it involves my children). When faced with a creative opportunity related to my kids, I am likely to go completely "over the top" before it's all over. The thing is, so much of my life is not creative, so when I get a chance to do something artistic, I relish it and revel in it and just can't let it go until sometimes it's just a bit much (but in a good way).

Case in point, these little flowerpots I made for Scooter's birthday party. She wanted cupcakes instead of cake, and the theme was Spring. Well, it started out to be butterflies, then Scooter added bugs -- to appeal to the boys she invited, and then she wanted to add flowers. I decided I couldn't handle a three-part theme for the party, so I narrowed the focus by declaring Scooter's birthday party to be a Spring party, which left it open for me to include lots of different ideas.

So back to the flowerpots, which are actually ice cream cones with cake batter baked inside. (The hardest part about that was keeping the filled cones from falling while you transfer them to the oven.) The cupcake/cone/flowerpots turned out great, and I frosted them green. The flowers aren't flowers at all, of course, but jumbo gummy rings with six notches carefully cut (and somewhat evenly spaced) to make the ring look like a flower. (Yes, there are pieces of green gummy cut to look like leaves.) The blossom, stuck onto the end of a toothpick, is "planted" in the flowerpot.

I made 18 of these, and it was slow going. By the time I finished, it was past 3am and I was exhausted. But it gave me such pleasure to show them to Roo and Scooter the next morning. They thought the flowerpots were very cool, and later that day, I found a really cool holder for easter eggs, made out of bent colored wire. The cones stood up nicely where the eggs would go, and the birthday table looked really nice.

I had temporarily lost my camera, so I'll have to describe the party. To go with the flowerpot cupcakes, we had the Scooter favorite, mud pie (chocolate pudding with Oreo "dirt" crumbs, gummy worms, and bug-shaped graham crackers). We also had punch poured from a watering can. For the activities, the kids got to choose between bug stickers and flower stickers, and we decorated flower pots and played a version of musical chairs. I had to laugh when one of Scooter's grandma's later asked her what kind of party she had; she answered "um, it was a three-thinged party; I can't remember."

But she's still talking about the flower pots, and that's why I willingly and repeatedly go over the top when it comes to my kids. I try not to spoil them in any of the conventional ways that are bad for them: juice, soda, chips and other snacks, too much TV, expensive toys, etc. But when I'm old and they're on to lives of their own, I want them to remember something more than just how busy I was (and I am insanely busy sometimes). I want them to remember that occasionally, I went overboard just for them, that I made flowerpot cupcake cones when a store-bought cake likely would have been fine.

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