Monday, December 12, 2011

A slice off the old butter block

There is no question, I am a bit of a control freak. Especially when it comes to pastry bags and decorating cakes and cookies. My kids are always begging me to use them and up until this point, I have been uptight about it. My six year old had a cupcake contest at her school last week. The cupcakes were to be designed by the kids. She had two ideas that she wanted to do. I asked her to draw out what she was thinking and I would help her execute them. She wanted a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. For her first cupcake, she wanted a chalkboard, a teacher's desk and chair and an apple. Knowing that there is only so much room on the cupcake, I asked if it would be okay if we just did the chalkboard and the apple. Lofty ambitions! Where ever could she get that from?

For the second cupcake (why make only one?) she wanted a field of grass with a soccer ball and a flag that said the name of her school and the mascot. (Her school just won their league and was undefeated.) This is her design and what the cupcakes ended up looking like...

Ella piped the frosting all by herself!!! It turns out, she is actually quite good and takes her time. It is still hard for me to believe that a first grader can do this. But I was there and saw her do it! We made the apple out of a cake ball (one cupcake, crumbled, mixed with some frosting, rolled into a ball and then covered in red sanding sugar). Then she piped the leaf onto it and used a black jimmie as the stem. The chalkboard was constructed with black cardstock and we wrote the school's mantra in white. (The children say this each day at morning assembly, after the Pledge of Allegiance.) The soccer ball was a pick that I got at a local cake supply store. We made the flag, using the school's colors and attached the triangles to a skewer. Didn't she do a great job making the grass?

In reality, I probably could have gotten by without helping her at all on this task. But last year I let her "run with it" on her science fair project. And then we brought it to school and all of the other parents had clearly assisted their children and Ella's seemed to fade by comparison. In truth, I only helped her execute her ideas. And I let her have all creative control and decision making. And we had a bonding evening as we did it. (I found out who she has a crush on at school!!!)

This morning, they announced the first and second place winners of the competition. And Ella took the top prize!!!!! She pranced, proudly up on stage to accept her reward... a gift card to her favorite frozen yogurt place. This is the equivalent to me receiving a gift from Tiffany's. Guess I am going to have to capitalize on the talents that are before me. Maybe she can help me make that yule log that I had so much trouble with a few years back?

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