Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

Now That’s A Cupcake.

Posted on | May 16, 2013 | 8 Comments

Yeah, I used to be one of those moms.

I was home all day with my kids.  Every day.  All week.  All year.

So holidays and birthdays were big events to me.  Actually, anything that broke the monotony and menial labor of full time child care and housecleaning was a big event worth celebrating.  But not everyone appreciates a gala in honor of a child making it to the toilet to vomit instead of leaning over your bed in the middle of the night and saying, “Mom, I feel………blechhh.”

But everyone’s up for a birthday party and I spent weeks and weeks preparing for my kids’ parties when they were younger.  I even dedicated hours and hours to baking and decorating cupcakes to take to school for them and their little friends.

Despite my time-consuming creations, I never passed judgement on those working moms that settled for dropping off store cupcakes in the school office.  And I never pshawed those moms that paid outrageous amounts for special order bakery confections.  Well, not a lot.  Not out loud.

But before you get mad, you should know that all that judging and pshawing has come back to bite me in my back-to-work-after-Little-started-kindergarten-butt.  That with the hours I am working now I’m lucky if I’m home on my kids’ birthdays, never mind making fancy baked goods.  That I’ve gone from making a cake for their actual birthday and a cake for their birthday party and cupcakes for their class at school to just hoping and praying that they want to go to dinner at a restaurant that offers a free birthday sundae or has a dessert bar.

So I was taken by surprise when Middle woke up on his birthday and asked me if I needed him to write down his class’s lunch time.  And then asked me what kind of cupcakes I was bringing.

There didn’t seem to be a delicate way to ask, “Are we still doing that?” And it seemed like a slim chance that I could arrive with the mixed assortment of store bought cookies and minicupcakes remaining from my contribution to Big’s lacrosse party the day before.  I was pretty sure Middle didn’t want to celebrate turning 10 with the lacrosse team’s leftovers.  I could have put it all on a platter, added some of my secret stash of Pirouette Pepperidge Farm rolled wafers, and tried it pass it off as birthday fare.  But I really hated to share my Pirouettes.  ‘Cause they’re the really good chocolate hazelnut ones.

There was nothing left to do except this:

And write down his class lunch time.

Officially, it was my day off.  Which meant I was totally available to make cupcakes and bring them to school.  Of course, as working moms know, our “day off” is filled with all the house cleaning, meal making, and chores that don’t do themselves while we’re at work.  And that, for some reason, no one else manages to get done on their day off.  Go figure.

But I had to go into town for garden stakes anyway.  I planned to pick up some cupcakes and drop them off at school while I was out.

I couldn’t do it.  I just couldn’t.  The WalMart cupcakes were so…..WalMarty.

And the ones at Lowe’s Foods were WalMarty, too.  Just with a different label.

I almost convinced myself that it was no big deal.  That the kids were going to eat the cupcakes, not bronze them for perpetuity.

Until I saw the price tag.

It’s true that you can’t put a price on a mother’s love.  Unless you want $6.50 for 12 WalMarty cupcakes.  And then my love is priced out.  Which at least saved me a trip to a real bakery.  ‘Cause I’m betting 12 cupcakes that were actually baked within the last 24 hours and don’t have frosting made out of whipped Crisco and food coloring cost even more than that.

For under $6 I walked out of the store with cake mix, frosting, cupcake liners, sprinkles, and a special topping.  Plus, a plan to get 24 cupcakes made while simultaneously completing the garden and household chores.  All in time to be at the school lunch room by 12: 35pm.  Well, actually, by 12:25pm.  Because Little had lunch before Middle and he didn’t want to miss out on cupcakes.  So he made me promise to come early enough to give him a cupcake before he had to leave the lunch room.

Will the special requests never end?  Ever?

Which reminds me.   I need to ask my dad to take Little to baseball this week.  And I want my mom to save me a cutting off her clematis vine.

Huh.  I guess it really doesn’t ever end.

In any case, I baked the cupcakes while I finished the milking and mulched the perennial beds.  Then I let them cool while I folded laundry.  Then I used my years of stay-at-home mom baking experience to quickly frost them.  There’s a trick to frosting cupcakes.  It’s called “sprinkles.”

Please note the haphazardly arranged frosting.  Awful:

Apply sprinkles and voila!  Amazing:

But even WalMart can add sprinkles.  A homemade cupcake needs something more.  Something edible yet extraordinary.

Enter the special topping.  Yeah, baby.

Within 45 minutes I had a tray of homemade treats for the birthday boy and his classmates.  Although I admit the Oreo packaging slowed me down.  I’m not sure why people in product packaging design think this is an improvement.  Or “easy.”

Or why they’re so adamant about it.  There’s no sneaking around to the end to open the package without being reprimanded.  Who would’ve thought a bunch of Oreo engineers could be so authoritarian?  Perhaps they need a cookie break?

Although I hope they don’t want the cookies out of the corner.


There, that’s better.

I finished those cupcakes with a few minutes to spare.  And they weren’t a work of art.  But they were homemade.  With flair.  Now that’s a cupcake.

They were big hit with Middle and his friends at the round table at school.

The round tables are reserved for children whose parents have come to eat with them for the day.  Plus any friends that the child chooses to sit with them.  Also, the round tables are for the kids who have been naughty and are having “silent” (and solitary) lunch.  An odd juxtaposition, I know.  There can be a thin line between naughty and nice.  And sometime there’s only a chair or two.

Regardless, the cupcakes were perfect.  Mama’s still got it, baby!

Of course, “got it” is a relative term.  I realize in this picture I should have spent less time cussing the Oreos and left myself a few minutes to do my hair and make up.  Eh.  Something’s gotta give when you’re a working mom.

At least I changed out of my barn clothes.  And put on one of my good bras.  Plus, I wore the flip flops with the bows on them.

If the school expects more than that, they’ll have to put the teachers back into slacks and cardigans with apples embroidered on them.  Unlike the jeans and tennis shoes they’re all wearing now.  Besides, the day wasn’t about me.  It was about Middle.

Happy Birthday to Middle!  Here’s to 10 years of cupcakes.  And many, many more!


8 Responses to “Now That’s A Cupcake.”

  1. Annabelle
    May 17th, 2013 @ 7:25 am

    thanks for keeping it real! I will read ANYthing you write! seriously… I have a doe in labor, a bummer lamb crying for milk, sleeping human kids that need to leave for school in 30 minutes and I’m sitting here with a cup of tea enjoying your post:)

  2. Jennifer
    May 17th, 2013 @ 7:35 am

    So fun – and sweet! Happy birthday Middle!

  3. Jill
    May 17th, 2013 @ 8:33 am

    Lovely job for Middle; he looks SO happy to be with his mama on a school day!! Housecleaning should be outlawed when there are higher job a-callin’… Like buying special stickers for a 7th grade “France” project… at least that’s my excuse for today! Good for you and yours Stevie.

  4. Kelsie Aman
    May 17th, 2013 @ 9:18 am

    Ok you are now officially a super working mom…I work from home and could not achieve half you do…heck I can’t even find time for my blog these days….Happy Bday Middle, well done mom.

    Blessings Kelsie

  5. Lin
    May 17th, 2013 @ 6:04 pm

    Don’t ever feel guilty about cupcakes–as a mom who worked every single party at the school for my two kids from Kindergarten through 8th grade–I’m gonna be honest with you….kids don’t eat the cupcakes. Most just sucked the sweet stuff off the top and threw the rest away. I know all those moms with “real jobs” liked to drop off a box…guilt free…with a smug look on their faces thinking to themselves….”oh, she LOVES to do those parties…no need for me to help.” I laugh knowing that they just wasted their money as I was tossing the uneaten things in the garbage can. The real fun was just being with the kids–those moms missed out. I see you struck a happy medium. 🙂

    I think they would like your homemade ones, but for the most part, IF your school will accept them nowadays, I’d bet nearly half get tossed.

  6. Lisa D
    May 18th, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

    I am totally with you on the oreo packaging. What is the point????? They all end up breaking while you try to dig them out!

  7. Jodi
    May 19th, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

    You are soooo funny! I laughed the whole way through. Would you be my new BFF? And what a happy little memory for Little that you brought a little cupcake in for him,too. That made me cry.

  8. Tanya Lam
    May 19th, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

    Happy BDay Middle! I can’t believe tht he is 10!!! Great sorry. I also plan to bring homemade cupcakes or parties….

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