and why she was my favorite, that I would tell you. WOW! Who knew so many would be interested (thanks Julie!)! So for all of you (Julie), here is the story.
Katie was in the third or second grade (I forgot to add the date to the ornament) and her elementary school was having an ornament contest. There were no divisions or categories, just make an ornament, register it with the secretary, the teachers would judge and award a 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize. That simple. A homemade ornament and try to win a prize out of say, 250 students! No big deal, right?
Katie had never really been interested in crafts, but she wanted to make something to enter. I asked someone for suggestions and they gave me this bread dough recipe that would be easy for her to do. I ran it past her and she thought that would be great. How else could she get away with making a mess in the kitchen and get to use paints at the same time? So she went to work.
Now a lot of you may not know, Katie has a really difficult time finishing things, especially if it had anything to do with school. Luckily, this project went pretty fast. I put all the ingredients in the bowl but she had to do the rest until it was time for the oven, and then of course it is safety first. While she kept squishing the mixture between her fingers, I found everything in the kitchen I thought she could use to make her ornament; rolling pin, cookie cutters, garlic press, anything. Once the dough was all mixed she really went to work, rolling cutting shaping; she did it all by herself. Once she said she was done, I put it in the oven to bake.
It didn't take long for it to get hard and ready to come out of the oven, and once it was out she could hardly wait for it to cool before she started painting. Again, I found anything around she could use to paint; brushes, toothpicks, combs, I wanted her imagination to take off. It didn't take her long to get finished, remember she has a very short attention span. Once the ornament was finished, I sprayed it with a glitter sealer and she hung it on our tree until the day she was supposed to turn it in.
My grandmother usually took her to school, but that morning I had made arrangements to be a little late to work so I could help her with her entry, and I am so glad that I did. I went in the school with her to help her get her little angel registered. When we walked in the front door, she stopped dead in her tracks. There were so many ornaments on that tree in the front foyer. She looked up at me with big crocodile tears and said "Momma, they are all so pretty. Take mine home because it is so ugly." My heart sank. Yes, there were a lot of ornaments on that tree. Not only was the tree almost full, but ALL of the ornaments looked like they had either been made by the parent or that the parent had paid a professional to make them. What could I do?
I leaned down to my baby and said "Honey, you have worked so hard on this and you did it all by yourself. I want everyone to see what a beautiful angel you have made me to put on our tree at home. Let's get it on this tree until I can come back to pick it up." She agreed and we got it registered and hung on the school tree.
The teachers did their judging and the prizes would be given out the Friday of the Christmas parties. It was a long wait that week for the results. But it ended up to be well worth the wait. Katie not only one 1st place, they gave her a special best of show prize. I couldn't believe it! That little scraggly bread dough angel won!
That afternoon at the party, the principle pulled me aside and thanked me for not making that ornament myself! "Parents want so badly for their children to do well, that they end up taking over. We could tell that Katie worked very hard on that angel ALL BY HERSELF! Yes she did.
So in the end, we learned a very valuable lesson about following the rules, honesty, and doing your best no matter what. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder!