Archive for the ‘Motherhood’ 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.

Kids Want the Strangest Things

October 17, 2007

The other night as I was putting my son to bed he wanted to take the strangest items to bed with him — magnets. He’s formed a new friendship with these old, colored button-shaped magnets that have been on our refrigerator since before he was born.

The first night I almost (read, ALMOST) let him take them to bed. I didn’t want to deal with taking something away from him right before bed, causing a tantrum which could result in me loosing my evening “free time,” or worse, sleep. But, I thought twice about it (actually, my husband thought for me, but I am sure I would have had this same second thought if he hadn’t been home) and realized that it could be horrible if he swallowed them. Especially if he swallowed two of them. So, we took them from him and he went to bed.

Last night I didn’t have to think twice. I knew immediately to take them away, but that is soooo much easier to say than to do. It was like not letting him take his stuffed teddy to bed. I made him put the magnet (earlier, I had sneakingly, narrowed the group of magnets down to one, kitty-shaped magnet) and asked him to leave it on the dresser. Then, I put him in bed and left the room.

Crying begins.

Crying continues as I jump on the computer and write an email to a friend.

Cut the email short because he’s still crying; back into the room I go.

He’s standing up, pointing to the dresser. I get him out of the crib, discretely steal the kitty-shaped magnet and take him out of the room. He quickly became more interested in what was going on in the living room that he forgot about the magnet. After about 10 minutes he went back to bed — this time with three extra stuffed animals. And, THAT I don’t have to think twice about!

Can You Have it All?

September 25, 2007

Families have such a difficult time these days trying to do everything — work, school, activities, meals and still have some leisure time. Is it possible to really have it all? has a section dedicated to this topic. Here’s what its opening page says:

“Americans are working longer hours than ever before, taking a big bite out of their personal lives. Add economic pressures and technology that ensures a 24/7 connection to work and you have the line between job and personal life blurring.”

It also states:

“A stressful work life can affect your home life as well.”

The latter statement is quite a big message. If your job is causing you stress, you can’t possibly have a balanced life at home. It just doesn’t work like that. You’ll end up taking our your frustrations on your spouse, children or friends. I’ve found that if your job is that stressful, you need to reevaluate what you do or where you work. How you feel about your job definitely seeps into your home life.

Take its quiz, “Are you off balance? and see how you rate. I scored a 47 percent; it says I’m “in harmony.”

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.