Three day weekends are, without a doubt, the best thing in the whole world. There's nothing like that satisfied, contented feeling, on a Sunday afternoon, that you have one more day to go before the madness of the week resumes. Of course, by the time you read this, tomorrow will be the new Monday, and that content, satisfied, I-get-to-stay home feeling will be slowly but surely washing away. *********** I know you've been hanging on the edge of your seats all weekend about how T.'s party turned out. Did the snow globes work? Did I make that sugar cube igloo? Yes, and yes. Although, word to the wise, do not buy twenty-two baby food jars the week before the party, and then wait until the night before the party to prepare them for the snow globe craft. You can do this, of course, but only if you have some extra hands ready to help empty and de-label the jars, and only if you're willing to absorb some of the stress of waiting until the last minute. To make things even trickier, Scott and I had also slipped out to see Avatar at our local IMAX theater on Friday night, since my parents were in town, and while the film afforded us two hours and forty-one minutes of pure 3D escapism from reality (well, maybe not all of reality in its stark and depressing magnitude--just the reality of our week last week), when we got back from the film on Friday evening, and set out the baby food jars on the kitchen counter, I felt a tad overwhelmed, to be honest, and almost threw in the towel on the whole craft. The labels! Of course the labels had to go. What was I thinking? But we had lots of hands to help, and it was kind of fun to be playing with baby food again. It seemed so long ago since I had last held a jar of pureed plums in my hand, and popped the little lid open. We emptied the jars into freezer containers and ice cube trays (more on uses for all this pureed fruit later in the week), then soaked the jars in a pot of water so we could get the labels off. If you're doing this, cold water works better than hot water, even if it seems counter-intuitive. Sometimes it really pays to just listen to your mom on this one. The craft was a huge success! I did a trial run the night before and used a hot glue gun to attach the plastic penguin to the inside of my jar lid--even though I had read that hot glue wouldn't last. One of the websites I found with instructions on how to make snow globes advised using florist's clay to stick the plastic animal/toy to the bottom of the jar lid, but when I looked at the package of clay at the craft store it had lots of scary warnings on it about how toxic and harmful and deadly it was if you just looked at it wrong--not quite what I wanted for a kids' craft. My hot glue gun worked on the test snow globe, but I was so nervous about whether it would work for all the snow globes, that I sent my dad out for epoxy glue the morning of the party. He glued all the animals to the lids ahead of time, and we just let the kids pick the lids/animals they wanted at the time of the craft. T. had a snow animal theme, but you could use anything for the snow globes: plastic farm animals, small party favor toys, floaty fish--just tweak the contents of the snow globes to fit your theme. You'll need several adult hands to help--I found that the process worked best assembly-line style. I used hot glue around the inside of the jar lid, then stuck the lid on and twisted slightly to seal. You'll want to fill the jars up pretty full with water (keep a cloth handy to wipe up spills) or else you'll end up with too much space at the top of the jar. Some of the jars didn't end up with enough water, but I don't think the kids minded; perfectionist me cared, though. And the cake topper igloo? I made it! I loved it! The kids loved it! Even though we had to go to several stores to find sugar cubes, we secured them in the end. I made a "mortar" from egg whites and confectioner's sugar and had no trouble getting the cubes to stick together. When the igloo was done I sifted powdered sugar over it for a snowy look. I used blue sprinkles to create a little pond for the one diving penguin I had, and blacks sprinkles for the polar bear's footprints in the snow. It was my second venture into making a birthday cake (after a flop of a fish-shaped cake I made for L.'s 4th birthday) and I had so much fun with it I just might be inspired to try again. For now, though, I'm done with parties for a bit. Yesterday, I sat with T. in her room, amid the pile of new crafty kits and doll clothes, and smiling, big-eyed dolls and it hit me: my baby is really and truly six years old now. Six years. How can it be? Note: If you're having trouble viewing the photos for this post, you can also see them at my Flickr account, right here.