Archive for the ‘Mom’ Category

To Bake or to Buy? Should You Make or Buy the Birthday Cake?

November 26, 2007

Editors note: I recently moved my blog to a new server. You can find this same post (and all my others) at the new location:, where I post daily.

For my son’s second birthday I struggled with whether or not to make the cake myself. Last year it was an easy decision: You need something special for the first birthday. I need to make the cake, I thought. Months before the event, I took a cake decorating class. Not knowing that I had to bake and frost a cake every week for a month, I endured the class and learned the basics of how to frost a decorative cake.

The night before my son’s first birthday I was up past midnight, with yellow icing up to my elbows. It was worth it. (The wine helped.) The cake turned out so cute and I was very proud.

This year, I wanted to do that same thing. We matured from a duck cake to a car cake. He loves cars so how could I not make a cake in the shape of a car? If you’ve never made a specialty cake before, it takes a lot of work. And I mean a lot of work. And, it’s not that it’s cheaper than a store-bought cake. Even though I had all the supplies and I’d already purchased the cake mold a few months ago, I was still dreading the baking and icing of the cake. Shouldn’t I just call Publix and order the Disney Cars cake?

I was about to make the call, but finally decided that I wasn’t going to let myself fail. I want to make this cake and have him point to it and say his favorite word, “car.” So, I forged ahead; made a plan, baked and frosted that cake. Even as I was making it, I made mental notes to think twice about doing it for birthday number three.

Finally, it is complete. The little blue car cake is sitting on the table in all it’s splendor. It is adorable. The kids love it, the adults are impressed and Mommy feels great for doing something special for her son’s second birthday.


  • Take a class at your nearby craft store. It really helps to learn the techniques to make the perfect cake.
  • Make all your frosting several days before you are ready to decorate. Store in air tight containers.
  • Make extra, white frosting. You might need to dye it for a color you didn’t plan on needing.
  • Buy the specialty gel coloring dyes; regular food dyes only make pastel icing.
  • Bake the cake a day before you want to frost it.
  • Keep a bowl of water on the table to clean the icing tips and to use on your frosting spatula to smooth the surface of the cake.
  • Frost a layer of “flat” icing before you pipe the star shapes.
  • Leave plenty of time to frost the cake. Do it the night before or early, early in the morning, depending on the time of your party.


car cake


People Find ‘Balancing Motherhood’ Using the Strangest Search Words

November 9, 2007

In WordPress (the software I use to write this blog) there is a great feature that tells you all the search keywords people use to find your blog. Most of mine are pretty normal: they are about kids and being a mom, but some of the keywords are strange. Here’s a sampling:

  • magnets to go to sleep
    I did write about how my son wanted to go to bed with magnets, but I find it odd that someone would search for magnets to go to sleep.
  • moms need money
    Amen, Hallelujah sista’-friend. Yes we do need money! We can have more money if we manage our finances properly. Read my financial posts here.
  • sad about motherhood
    This one really struck me. I just hope that what I write here helped this person. It’s a tough job and can be sad at times, but overall it’s the greatest job on earth.
  • what women carry in their purses
    Yes, this one is very popular. I’m not sure if it’s women trying to find one of the articles that was written in “O Magazine” or in “Real Simple” magazine, but I get this one a lot. Read my post about what’s in women’s purses and get a link to view photos of strangers’ purses.
  • goodie reverse trick or treating
    OK, I thought I coined the phrase “reverse trick-o-treating” in my Halloween post, but I guess some other brilliant person thought of it too.

Reverse Trick-or-Treating

October 31, 2007

Today I went with a few moms and our kids to a local nursing home to visit with the people who live there. We thought it would be nice for them to see the kids all dressed up in their Halloween costumes. Boy, did I underestimate the welcome we would receive.

We planned on handing out some goodie bags to them, kind of like a reverse trick-or-treat. We did not anticipate the kids trick-or-treating around the facility; the employees hadn’t planned for it either — but it’s exactly what we ended up doing. An employee pulled out a big bag of candy (I suspect to be used at the resident Halloween party they had planned for later in the day) — before I knew it, they had distributed the candy to residents so that they could hand our kids the candy.

Up and down the halls we went. There weren’t even that many of us; 4 moms and 6 kids, but it seemed like an army. I could feel the warmth and see the welcome in their smiles. We even made some residents smile, that apparently “never smile.” That’s the power of a toddler for you. It’s the power of giving. Today we gave time.

We were repeatedly thanked by so many people there, but we are the ones to be thankful — for the experience of putting smiles on so many faces today.

Bumbo, My Beloved Bumbo

October 26, 2007

Dear Bumbo:

Bumbo seatI remember looking for you in stores. You were impossible to find, literally sold out in every Target, Babies R Us and Wal-mart in the tri-county area. Oh, how I wanted to find you. We needed an alternative to tummy time. The swing was great, but it kept our baby laying on the back of his head. Bumbo promised to elevate baby’s head. Keep baby upright. We longed for a few minutes of hands-free upright time. We finally found you, online. Yes, it’s true, people can find love online these days.

This was back in 2006. Now, every family in America has a Bumbo, but I guess that some parents are putting you on high, horizontal surfaces (with their children in you). Shame on them. Your label clearly states that you are to stay on the floor. And, babies do wiggle their way out of you — this is not news. You are a seat to use while I am watching my baby sit in you. We all play together, on the floor. We don’t need you anymore since our baby is a big guy now, but we remember you fondly and hope new parents find you as useful as we did.

I’ll still wear my “I Heart Bumbo” T-shirt and I’ll keep you for one day when we have bambino #2.

Thankful Mama to have a Bumbo

Related links:

Trust the Mommy Sense

September 20, 2007

I recently wrote about how mothers have a sixth sense, a gut instinct, when it comes to our kids. While watching yesterday’s “Oprah Winfrey Show,” actress Jenny McCarthy mentioned this same sense, she calls it the Mommy Sense. She used this in diagnosing her son with autism.

When a doctor told her that her son had epilepsy, she knew the diagnosis was incorrect … from her gut, she knew, she explains. She pushed forward, with another doctor and got the correct diagnosis — autism. Had she not listened to her Mommy Sense, who knows when she would have received the correct information.

We all need to use this as a reminder to trust our Motherly instincts, our guts, our hearts. Even when you can’t explain why you know; if you know you are right, press on.