Saturday, September 4, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Are You My Mother?

This week had no theme, so I frantically brainstormed some theme ideas. Since I have to have a theme. Otherwise it's just lunch in a muffin tin! And why wash a muffin tin when I don't have to?
So I found one of my favorite childhood books; "Are You My Mother?" by P.D. Eastman. I actually like his stuff more than Dr. Seuss, even though the good Doctor gets all the press!
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In this story, the Mommy bird leaves her egg to go find food. And while she's gone, the egg hatches! Well, he wants to find his mommy, so he hops out of the tree in search of her. He finds a kitten, a hen, a dog, and a cow. Then he calls out to an old car, a boat and an airplane. But they are not his mommy. Then he finds a Snort! (steamshovel) While trying to discover if it is his mommy, the Snort takes him back to his nest and drops him off, just in time for Mommy Bird to get back!
It's not (yet) one of Little Z's favorite books, but she doesn't hate it or anything.

I decided to make an egg, a nest, a cat, dog, cow (no hen. I'm not making another hen until I get a chicken cookie cutter. Bite me.) a car, boat, airplane, tree, Mommy and Baby birds and a Snort!

"...I know who you are," said the baby bird.
"You are not a kitten.
"You are not a hen.
"You are not a dog.
"You are not a cow.
"You are not a boat or a plane or a Snort!"
"You are a bird, and you are my mother."

I would need to go to the store to get broccoli for the tree and maybe something interesting for the Snort's arm. But we swung by the library first and were distracted by the Farmer's Market that I had totally forgotten about, but was blocking the street to the library. So we walked through, bought some fancy produce (a pluot, 2 huge gala apples, 2 different kinds of apricot or nectarine or something, and a purple pepper! What a find! All for around $3.50. No clue if that's a good price or not.)

We ended up wandering and shopping at the Farmer's Market before and after going to the library, so we didn't have time for the grocery store. But we (okay, mostly just she) had 2 roasted corn-on-the-cobs ($2.50 each,) and I tried a salsa dog (some kind of long hot dog with cream cheese and a mild salsa. $5 with chips and a drink.) It was okay. I hate hot dogs. But I didn't want to walk to the nearest restaurant, and I was thirsty and the corn and hot dog vendors were the only non-produce-stand foods there. And there was no way she was sharing her corn with me. Either of them. And I got some blackberries and strawberries ($3 per little green cardboard box. A pint?)

We sat on the curb right next to the roasted corn trailer, and she was apparently so adorable and eye-catching (and made the corn look so appealing) that people who had walked right past the corn vendor stopped and went back to buy some.

She fell asleep on the ride home, and I carted her into the bed and started on my MTM!
It took me a bit to decide how I would arrange it, since the birds and tree are in the beginning and the end of the story, and the Snort is kind of large. So I decided to mostly go in order of appearance, except I had the egg and nest above the tree.

I had cutters for the cat, dog and cow, so they were easy. I had planned on using my Colby Jack and my cheddar cheeses, but the larger cutters were all too big for my cheddar block, and I wanted the baby bird to be the same kind of cheese as the mommy. I didn't have bird cutters, but the ducks from my Easter cutters and mini-Easter set looked okay.

I had toyed with just making a chick and calling it a hen, but decided not to bother.
I used cream cheese to glue on eye sprinkles (and whisker midgies.) Normally I would just have used PB, but there were so many, it was worth digging out the cream cheese! Sadly, the PB is much easier to work with and more effective, so I'll probably stick with PB in the future [pun intended.]

I made the mommy's kerchief out of fruit leather. I just cut it freehand, using the cookie cutter's head as a size template. This one was my 2nd attempt. The first one wouldn't have covered her head, so I stopped cutting and started over. I had planned on putting yellow sprinkles on it, since the Mommy bird's kerchief had white dots, but I was SO done with sprinkles at that point! I might have tried cream cheese dots, but I couldn't think of a way to do it easily.

I used one of my new huge gala apples and cut it into lengthwise slices and used my mini vehicle cutters to make the shapes. I hadn't planned on using juice to prevent browning, but they started turning brown before I was done cutting up the rest of the apple for a later snack, so I juiced them all together (it's the vitamin C that prevents browning, so I used apple juice instead of lemon, like most of the store-bought pre-sliced ones use.)
I made a PB and honey sandwich (I prefer honey or Nutella to jelly, since they're not as gloopy and don't tend to squirt out the sides.) I had drawn a rough basic picture of the Snort from the book and eyeballed it as a template.

I used one of the corner scraps almost as-is (I trimmed the sides to make it a little shorter. And ate them before taking the pic!)
I had only a vague idea of what I was going to use to 'connect' the base and the shovel. Popsicle sticks? Celery? I ended up using pretzel sticks, which had originally been slated to make the nest. I had been planning on using Ritz crackers as the wheels (the one in the picture had a track, like a tank, but there was no way I was going to bother with all THAT!) but they were waaaaay too big. So I decided on olives, since we still had some in the fridge from when she found the can and made me open it, and ate over half of them in one sitting! Not perfect, but good enough for me!

Tree and Nest:
I had planned on the tree being a stick of string cheese with some broccoli on top, but I never got to the store for the broccoli. And we were already fairly cheese-heavy on this MTM. While digging around in the fridge to see what I did have (I was almost ready to just use some blackberries I had purchased at the Farmer's Market,) I found some celery left over from the chicken salad cooking class. I had sliced some up in case anyone had wanted to make Ants on a Log. I thought that would make a great tree trunk! I found some lettuce and just ripped off a little, since I knew she wouldn't eat it. (Sometimes she will, when she's in the mood. And she likes to dip it in Ranch.) I also found leftover spaghetti, and thought that that would make a great nest, instead of the pretzel sticks. And I got to use my cheddar with the mini egg cookie cutter. Hooray!

I decided to have the baby bird in the Snort's scooper, being put back up into the tree.

The Princess seemed to enjoy it, once she calmed down from a hard wake-up. It was her first experience with celery and she did fairly well. She ate about half of it, and the other half had all the stringy bits still on it, so she managed to chew out most of the pulp. Surprisingly, none of the sprinkles survived. Sadly, she was still a little cranky, and distracted by her post-nap Go, Diego! Go! and I had to stand there for about 5 minutes begging her to smile, or even just TOUCH the food so I could get a picture and sit down and start posting! I got a fake smile, with her eyes never leaving the screen. And a one-fingered poke at the Mommy bird that didn't last long enough to be captured on film. If I took this to the park, I would be SWARMED with little kids wanting to cadge my food. But not my little Princess. "Look! Olives! Will you eat an olive? Please? See? SPRINKLES! EAT THEM! CanYouAtLeastTouchItPleaseSoICanTakeAPicture?!" I finally stomped off for a few minutes and came back to find she'd finally started on it.

[Added later] During her bedtime snack tonight, I asked her to tell Daddy what we bought today. Her answer? "Money. We buy-ded the money." Haha! I had her give the money over for each thing we bought, so that's probably what she was thinking of. Either that or she's remembering our trip to the ATM, but she wasn't very focused and was ignoring me and playing on the raised planter areas and fell, so you'd think THAT would be the part she remembered!



  1. HOLY COW! This is ADORABLE! (and we love that book too)

  2. This is amazing. I love it all. The detailed plans are wonderful.

  3. How cute. My daughter would have loved it.

    Have you tried the whipped cream cheese it's much more easy to spread and dot. You can buy it next to the regular cream cheese or whip your own with a tiny bit of milk added (about 2TBS)per. 4 ounces.

  4. holy moley: that kercheif is sooo adorable! fabulous job and thanks for linking up to MTM on facebook!

  5. My goodness - how wonderfully creative you are! We love that book, too. I think I read it once a week to my son. May have to "borrow" some of your cool ideas :)

  6. I am so excited I found you on MBC! I can't wait to check you out some know what I mean! =D


    Come say hi at

  7. apparently my comp is angry with me...this is the second time today it won't let me click on "follower" so I will be BACK to join!


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