I have long acknowledged that I am an over -the- top Mom... o.k. I'm nuts. I am that Mom that you silently swear at when you send in the bag of chips for your child's class party. I'm sorry. I feel that it is fair at this point to admit that it's too much even for me! I began all of this craziness as the single mother of an only child. I felt like I had so much to make up to for him. When his Dad and I got back together I had already set an over- the- top precedent. I had already fully committed to being "That MOM". Then four more kids came along, and I could hardly stop, since I'd done it for their brother, and then sister, and then brother and sister, well you get it.
It is a lot of work being "that MOM". Last night it was after one o'clock in the morning by the time I finished up the over abundance of little jobs (class treats, sewing millions of halloween costumes that I had procrastinated on...). It's a lot of work, and at the end of the night there is not a part of my body that does not ache. There is not a part of my brain that is not screaming "Why do you do this to yourself ?" In the end the simple answer is that I do it for my kids. My kid's get a lot of positive attention from both their peers and their teachers, because I am "That MOM". It makes them feel special that I love them that much. It makes them feel important that everyone notices. When they grow up and look back at their childhoods they will be able to shake their heads that their Mom was crazy, but they will hopefully still feel the love of it. That is why I do it.
In past years I have gone with over-the-top cakes. I have done giant spiders, vampires, mummies, witches, you name it. This year I decided to go easy on myself. I still wanted maximum impact, but minimal effort. This year I decided to go with cupcakes. That sounds simple enough until you think about the numbers, there are 30 in Gracie's class, 26 in Riley and Rowan's Class, and another 20 in Elly's class. That's 76 cupcakes, 7 trays with 12 cupcakes. My oven was on most of the evening, and I had the kitchen window cranked open to let in some cool air.
I decided to make "Tombstone" cupcakes. I used lady finger cookies for their shape, but also because they are a soft cookie that would cut, but not crumble. While my last batch of cupcakes cooled I cut my lady finger cookies into half. A while back I found this great "Foodwritter" edible colour markers by Wilton. They work really great! I used the Wilton markers to write RIP on the top of the halved cookies.
Normally I make my own butter cream icing for cakes and cupcakes, but this year I decided to save that time and effort and buy tubs of ready made chocolate icing. I couldn't make the homemade icing for a fraction of the cost that the on sale tub of icing cost. Not only did it save me money, it saved me time and effort, things that I have to conserve at this busy holiday!
After the cupcakes had cooled I iced them (did I mention that I iced 84 cupcakes? I had to fill 7 cupcake trays, so why not make enough to share with the principal, secretaries and their teacher's). I iced them generously because I needed the extra icing to help the lady finger tombstones stand up, besides, cupcakes taste better with lots of icing.
After the cupcakes were iced, and the lady finger put in, I sprinkled cookie crumbs onto the top to look like dirt. I then placed dollar store bone candies in front of the tombstones. I have to admit they turned out really well, and were really easy to decorate.
So now I have a small reprieve from my over- the -top madness, at least until Christmas. The kids were pleased with their cupcakes, but more importantly their classmates were pleased. My kitchen still looks like an dirty icing bomb went off, but that's o.k., I can clean it.
Tonight after we have talked the kids down from their sugar high, and put their Halloween candy up so that the dog won't eat it, and the little monsters are nicely tucked into their beds, I will collapse. I may even treat myself to a glass of wine, I deserve it.