Moxie Mom On Life and Kids

MOXIE MOM on Life & Kids

Über Cake

This is the cake I baked for Leah’s 12th birthday party this weekend. It’s out of Leah's cakeFamilyFun, the “Wonderland” cake that is supposed to be topsy-turvy, and which I think would be more aptly named the “Dr. Seuss” cake.

I don’t consider myself one of those super mom types. I hate crafts and I never cook gourmet meals. But I do come from a family who has always prioritized birthday cake—the birthday person’s favorite, always from scratch, with fillings and icings, and very nearly always ringed by fresh flowers, my mom’s personal touch. A lot of work went into those cakes.

In my twenties, my job of choice turned out to be, uh, baker. My first job, when I was nineteen, included being promoted to bakery manager and frosting a birthday cake, rosettes and all, on the first day of my new promotion with no absolutely no idea what I was doing (I practiced a lot on the counter). The cake was a success. Everything after that was…well, cake.

And here I am carrying on the family cake tradition. But this cake, it was intimidating. Not the design, but the work involved (including buying three new cake pans, it turns out, and enough ingredients for a vat of cream cheese frosting) and the time it would take to put it all together.

But when Leah asked, well, I love a good cake challenge. How else can I explain my madness?

I did take a shortcut, though, not revealed until Sunday afternoon, after all the party-goers had gone home (sleepover party), and my just-arrived sister was eating a piece of said cake.

“This is great,” she remarked.

“It’s a mix,” I admitted.

Sitting beside her auntie, Leah stared at me, eyes wide, appalled. “It’s a mix?”

My kids do not do mix cakes. Unlike my childhood self, who didn’t mind a good mix cake because I liked light rather than dense (and our family’s cakes were good but always dense), my kids shun mixes. They recognize color and taste from a mile away and consider mixes the ultimate birthday insult.

And I don’t go for them myself these days, but so many kids grow up with these kinds of cakes and don’t appreciate scratch cakes, that I have shoveled way too much uneaten cake into the compost. So I have been known to resort to mixes for parties. When I could get away with it. Like once. Maybe twice.

Then last year I found an organic brand I could buy that my kids liked and never suspected was a mix. Really, the mixes are that good. And the perfect solution for the three, yes, three, batches of batter required for this cake.

Leah never knew until that moment. I think she forgave me. She’s still eating cake every night for dessert.


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Spring Cleaning

The other day I read an article on budget home improvements. Really budget. As in free. One suggestion was to move your furniture around to give a room a new look.

You know what my free makeover is? Cleaning the house. Not just wiping the kitchen counter, which is often all I get done, but actually wiping down trim and vacuuming dust bunnies. I would rather do almost anything than clean the house, and so it goes many months between deeper cleans, but I’m always amazed how much more I like our living space when it’s a little bit shiny. I get this urge every spring as we emerge out of the depths of darkness to see just how grimy our houses are. (I think our house would benefit from this urge hitting more often, but there’s no pregnancy in my future.)

Yesterday’s big step: I called the carpet cleaners to clean the upstairs carpet. I freely and sheepishly admit I can’t remember these carpets have ever been cleaned. Like in 15 years. Not free, carpet cleaners, but worth every penny. I also washed the curtains when I discovered the tops of them had a nine-year-old layer of dust. (I made them before Ty was born.) I mean, really, how hard is it to throw the curtains in the washing machine once in a while? Sheesh.


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Modern Motherhood

A couple days ago, Leah asked me if she could start shaving her legs. On Facebook.

Is this the girl equivalent of playing alongside your boy so he’ll talk to you? (Shoulder to shoulder, I believe is the phrase.) Or is it that our children—girls—are now relying to screens, as they rely on texting friends, to communicate with their parents?

My first thought, when I got the message—one of those pesky little emails you get whenever someone writes on your wall—was that she’d alerted the rest of the world with her request. I asked her if she’d meant to go public with such a personal question (which begs the question why am I blogging about it? More on that in a minute.).

“It was just to you, Mom; no one else knows.”

Ah. And indeed, when I checked, she was correct. I think I need another Facebook tutorial, so challenged am I with this popular communication tool.

So we talked about the issue at hand, in person, which she didn’t seem to mind, although I couldn’t think of much to say except yes, and who else in her class was shaving her legs, and was this popular now?

There is that whole argument that my mother gave me at that age, which is that leg hair will grow in thicker and darker once you start, but it didn’t stop me—is this even true?—so I figured why go there? Also the argument that she just doesn’t need to, too young, etc. But the reality is we’re here. At the leg-shaving stage. Everything is at hand these days.

Which leads me to reassure you I won’t be giving pubescent updates when milestones are reached. Privacy at stake and all that.

But Facebook… I couldn’t resist this latest development. (You know, if it gets the conversation rolling, I’m all for it.)

I wonder where the parents of today’s infants will be in ten years.


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Boy Thoughts

“Mom, do you know what foxy means?”


“Well, today C. told me that his neighbor thinks it means the same thing as being a trickster and he thinks his dad is foxy. His dad is ‘foxy.’ Can you imagine a dad being foxy?”
Ty cackles as he tells the story.

Do kids still use this word? Were boys foxy in my day or was it just girls? I think both. (And, yeah, I can think of some foxy dads.)

“What do you think foxy means, Ty?”

“Well, you know.” Ty smiles mischievously and pumps his eyebrows up and down.

“Like cute?” I say. “A pretty girl?”

“Well, you know, not pretty.”

“What, then?”


Ahh. “Can’t foxy mean pretty?" I say. “What’s the equivalent for a boy?”

“Hot,” says Curt, walking in on our conversation.

Oh yeah. Hot.

“A girl can be hot, too, though,” I say.

“But a boy can’t be foxy,” says Ty. He laughs again and swivels his tiny hips. “Foxy.”

Apparently when you're nine, boys can't be sexy. Just girls. Titillating stuff, I tell you.

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District Budget Crunch

If you’ve been paying attention to the school district’s woes, you know we’re facing a major budget crunch, and the district is looking at all kinds of ways to save, large and small. It’s not going to be easy.

We have a little more time to make comments on the proposed budget, so if you’re a district parent and you haven’t taken time to review the plan, take the time now. Now is the time to voice your concerns. Bear in mind that this process wasn't easy and many folks put a lot of thought into it. Please be respectful. 

Budget Savings Plan, click here.

Online Listening Board, click here. 

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