This past weekend, I made owl cupcakes with my 3-year old son. I think they turned out really well and my son enjoyed making them so much. Granted, I did make the cupcakes, frost them, and get all of the supplies ready for decorating while he was napping just to streamline the process. He was in charge of the eyes, which were made of mini oreos and Reese's Pieces. It was adorable. While he started by copying the picture in the book, he quickly decided that owls with two different colored eyes looked way more interesting. Then, the location of the eyes seemed to get a little wilder so that by the end of our baking adventures, we had some pretty crazy looking owls.
I found the recipe in Nerdy Nummies Cookbook, by Rosanna Pansino. This cookbook has been worth every penny spent on it and more. Both of my children LOVE (and yes, that deserves to be in all caps in this particular case) this book. My husband got it for me a while back because I enjoy baking and I am nerdy, so it seemed appropriate. Once my oldest son found it, though, it quickly became his book. The pictures are really great and it has helped teach my son the simple steps of following a recipe. Even though he does not know what half the nerdy references are, he thinks each one of them is the best thing ever. Because he loves the book so much, naturally my 1.5-year old loves it, too. My son got the Dinosaur Fossil Cake for his third birthday this past fall and the owls were my second creation from this book.
(As a side note, I try to pick the recipes with the least, and if possible, no food coloring. Some of the recipes in this book look amazing, but the amount of food coloring is a little alarming. I'm not against food coloring in any fundamental way, I just know, in large quantities, it tends to mess up the tummies of all my darlings in this house. I made a Thomas cake for my son's second birthday, which required a lot of food coloring, and people were not right for days. That was my first and last attempt at creating anything that colorful to eat. However, there are plenty of options in this book that use no food coloring.)
This was a really fun activity. While my youngest is still not really at the age where he could help in any significant way, he enjoyed eating the end result. The best part of the whole process was to see how proud my older son was of his creations. He beamed with true happiness when he gazed down at his flock of crazy-eyes owls. This, in turn, made my heart fill with happiness, too.