When I was a young girl, I had a hot pink, Barbie-themed Easy Bake Oven.
Everything about it was beyond wonderful in my eyes ó from the palm-sized baking sheets and pans to the miniature cake and frosting mixes.
I wanted to be the girl on the box ó the one featuring the numerous colorful and delectable treats spread out in front of her, eyes aglow, with baking bliss.
And for a while after we got it, I was. I used that thing constantly, more than my parents or grandfather (who was mainly in charge of keeping the device working despite numerous mechanical failures) probably wanted.
And when I handed them the barely edible fruits of my labor, they smiled and somehow choked them down, just like I did this week for my son.
Yes, my son now has an Easy Bake Oven. Itís blue, by the way ó a change from the previously pink-only toy oven. Last year, a 13-year-old girl wrote to Hasbro, the company that makes the ovens, and organized a 30,000-strong petition because she wanted to buy one for her brother for Christmas, but she didnít want pink.
And I sure am grateful of her hard work, because that oven helped us get through a long, snowy week.
Like many parents, we too spent the week trying to keep our young children, who had four days off from school in less than a week, occupied and happy inside the house.
The first two days, we pulled out the standard stops to prevent boredom ó including movies and popcorn, coloring and Play-Doh, but when Round 2 came Monday, I knew Iíd have to start getting creative.
So out came the Easy Bake Oven, which I had been waiting for a special time to introduce.
After we made our concoction Wednesday ó a miniature red velvet cake with vanilla frosting and gobbs and gobbs of sprinkles ó I can confidently say that he enjoyed both the cake and the experience of making it. Probably not as much as me, though.
To me, that oven took me back to wonderful memories, baking up a storm with my family. Isnít it great when our kidsí toys can do that for us as parents?
Meagan Patton-Paulson is Herald Connections Editor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org