Friday, June 29, 2012

Mudcake Wars

Today is International Mud Day.  I've been looking forward to this day because I had what I thought was a fun and easy idea for the kids.  Mudcake Wars!

At our house we have what we call "girl shows", "mom shows" and "dad shows," meaning that we don't always agree on our television viewing selections.  But Cupcake Wars is something that we can watch and enjoy together.

For Mudcake Wars we invited a few friends over for a playdate, to play in the backyard, in the sprinklers.  And to make mud cupcakes - mudcakes.

On Pinterest I had noted the fun things that Growing A Jeweled Rose had in their mud kitchen, and their earthy toppings for their mudcakes.  I brainstormed on what materials would be fun and unique to use for our mudcake decoration, and that I wouldn't need to dig out of the dirt before dumping it on what will some day be our garden area.  I came up with pasta, sunflower seeds, rocks and weeds greenery.  

3YO Purple helped me find and wash the rocks.

Growing A Jeweled Rose noted that they used topsoil to create their mud.  Envisioning smooth, silky mud, I ventured to Home Depot to buy me some dirt.  Which seems silly considering the saying "dirt cheap."  Not only did I have to pay for the dirt, but it ended up not making the velvety mud I had in mind.  Nope.

So, thirty minutes before our scheduled Mudcake Wars playdate was to begin, it was on to Plan B.  I had pinned a recipe for Mud Playdough from I Can Teach My Child.  So I started mixing that up.  

On the kitchen counter I set out the book Mud is Cake.  6YO Yellow noticed it, grabbed it, and yelled to her friends, "Hey, wanna read this book?"  Love it when that happens.

So back to mixing.  And mixing.  And mixing.  Until the playdough was so thick I couldn't mix anymore.  It was still too sticky and needed to cook longer, but I could no longer get the spoon through it because it was so thick.  I wonder if a half recipe would have been more manageable and, therefore, successful.  I did my best to scrape out of the pan what playdough I could, mold it into balls, drop it into the cupcake pans, and meekly offered it to my 3YO, but only when she asked.

Purple loved it.  She loved it sticky, too.

And then a friend started watching her play.  And she wanted some.

So I humbly brought out the sticky cupcakes that I had fashioned, and offered them up to all the kids.  I had enough playdough to put two cupcakes in each foil cupcake pan.

I cannot believe how long this captured the children's imaginations.

After about an hour my 4YO Pink said she was hungry, so it was snack time.

Real cupcakes this time.  Chocolate cupcakes with sticky, fudgey frosting.  I set out a few toppings - chocolate chips, marshmallows, sliced almonds, M&Ms - and let the kids decorate and eat.

And then it was back to the mudcakes and decorating.  The kids not only decorated the mudcakes, but they also used the empty cups to create other arrangements.

A close up look...

Yes, this does look like a steaming bowl of..schtuff.

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