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Thirteen years ago when Willa turned three I made elaborate treats for each of her classmates at the Learning Tree Preschool. It wasn’t the last time I went overboard—does anyone else remember the ridiculous flower fairy skirts I made from German crepe paper when she turned four or five?

For Willa’s third birthday, I baked miniature chocolate cupcakes from scratch, used a piping bag to swirl a perfect mound of chocolate frosting on each little cake, and then topped them with a tiny chocolate cookie in the shaped of a dinosaur sprinkled with red sanding sugar. I’m pretty sure the children were unimpressed.

I wish I could say that I learned my lesson from that adventure. But the truth is that I often overdo it. I spend too much time on some ridiculous task and in the end it just makes me grumpy. No one else really cares about the extra course of creamy butternut squash soup at Thanksgiving or the layer cake at mom’s fiftieth birthday. I suspect that everyone prefers it when I bring something simple or store-bought, and just show up relaxed and happy.

Offering: A high-quality mini muffin tin, used once.

1-MuffinTin

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