15 Aug

Raising four children, all born within 5 1/2 years, can bring a lot of stress to a young, stay-at-home mom. I know.  I lived it.

It often surprises me, though, when I consider the thing that stressed me the most.  It wasn’t trying to keep up with all the dirty bottles.  It wasn’t trying to find 3 minutes to shower.  It wasn’t even trying to wrangle 4 children and a cartload of groceries in Walmart.

It was dinner.

Dinner stressed me out every single night!  Not the actual sitting down with the kids, ’cause that was fun.  We’d all tell the best part of our day and catch up on stuff.  But deciding what to make caused a level of stress I hope never to experience again.

The perfectionist in me wanted it to be healthy and balanced and yummy, so I’d work hard to pull something together while making sure the little ones weren’t tearing things apart.   And then we’d sit down and inevitably one of them would say, “I don’t like this!”  And my feelings would be hurt, and I’d wonder why I work so hard at something they didn’t want.

Eventually, I just made what they wanted.  My stressed diminished and they finished their plates.  No more stress!

Until today….

Today I felt a little of that stress again.  I’ve been asked to bake cakes for my co-worker’s daughter’s quinceañera.  The only flavor she specifically asked for was coffee, and beyond that, I was to decide.


What’s making it even more difficult is all the icing has to be white, which means the flavors of the icing can’t vary too much or the color might change.

For the past month, I’ve been going over flavor options in my head, and pinning different ideas to a board I created specifically for her.  That part was fun.  But now it’s getting to the point where I have to make a decision and bake the cakes.

And for a minute I was brought back to those days long ago when the kids wanted supper.

So I took a breath, got out a pen and paper, and forced myself to decide.

Here’s what I came up with:

Three of the cakes will be 2-layer strawberry cakes with strawberry buttercream filling and vanilla buttercream frosting.

Then I’ll make 4 2-layer mocha cakes.  Two filled with coffee buttercream and topped with a hazelnut cream frosting, and two filled with Oreo cream and topped with vanilla frosting.

The last two will be white wedding cakes with vanilla buttercream filling and frosting.

At least that’s what I’ve decided on for now.  I’ve dedicated all of tomorrow to baking, so you won’t have to wait for long to find out if I stuck with my decision.

And after I’m done with those….

I have to decide how much to charge.

Shoot me now.

(kidding Lotta Joy.)



Posted by on August 15, 2013 in Baking, Family, Parenting


Tags: , , ,

17 responses to “Decisions

  1. lottajoy

    August 15, 2013 at 3:27 am

    ON MY OWN, my cooking can’t be beat. But I totally avoid having people over for a meal. I get so stressed, then start trying to remember HOW to fry a pork chop, or make mashed potatoes. Then I end up apologizing the entire evening.

    Now, where your cakes are concerned. If you make your own icing, I DEMAND to know how you make the buttercream. Or I’ll respond to your wish and shoot you.

    It would seem to me that $12 for any small cake, and $20 – 25 for anything larger would sure beat what the stores charge. (if you never want to do it again, make them more expensive) PUBLIX down here charges $21 for one cake.

    But for the AMOUNT you are having to cook…..$18 sounds more reasonable. Didn’t you clear this up BEFORE you agreed to make them?

    • shadowrun300

      August 15, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      Yes! It’s cooking for others that stresses me out! So when I find something that works, I make it every night.
      Buttercream icing (and cream cheese too) is phenomenal! I will never go back to store bought, even if I make a box cake. I generally follow a recipe online, but the key is to really cream the butter, sift the powdered sugar, and add the powdered sugar a little at a time. Problem is… once you’ve made it, you KNOW what’s in it. 3-4 sticks of butter and around 6 cups of powdered sugar.
      And no, I didn’t clear up the pricing before I agreed. I usually use my co-workers as guinea pigs when I try out a new recipe, but when they started asking me to bake for them, I began charging. Then when I got more requests, I charged a little more – mainly because now they HAVE to be good, so I have more stress. This time I’m baking for 250 people. YIKES! I was thinking about $20-$25 a cake (2-layer 10inch)… $150 – $200 total. A lot to ask of a housekeeper. But if I charge too cheap, I’ll get more requests. Ugh. I don’t know.
      But your suggestions have been very helpful, so thank you! (And if you like coffee flavored things – I have the BEST coffee buttercream recipe ever! I can send it to you, if you’d like.)

  2. Jessica

    August 15, 2013 at 3:39 am

    I can NEVER decide what to bake. There is just too many options! Your flavor combos and cake ideas sound wonderful though and I am sure they will all turn out beautiful, divine, and delicious. 🙂

    • shadowrun300

      August 15, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      Thanks for your vote of confidence! It really is a difficult decision since there are so many great recipes out there! My pin boards are full of them. But the decisions have now been made, and I’m stickin’ to them. 🙂

  3. Rock Chef

    August 15, 2013 at 7:27 am

    We went through a stage where meal times were like running a restaurant, with everyone wanting something different….

    The cakes sound perfect to me. I will blog about the cake I got for my birthday this year but these sound MUCH better….

    • shadowrun300

      August 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      Exactly! When you have a big family, it’s hard to please everyone unless it’s pizza, burgers or tacos.
      I really am excited to hear about your trip, and your cake too! In fact, I’m gonna head over there now to see if you’ve added something new….

  4. Abby

    August 15, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Oh, MAN, how I feel the pain in this e-card. Still! This has become the worst part of my day. It’s like the family would just sit around and waste away if I don’t put dinner in front of them. Still!!
    But I did recently let it be known that I’m resigning to at least a part-timer

    BUT, onto your real dilemma, I think the pricing that Lotta Joy and you have mentioned seems reasonable. Anything cheaper and, like you say, others will take advantage, and you don’t need the stress.

    • shadowrun300

      August 15, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      I knew you’d relate to that e-card! When I started back to work full-time, the cooking stopped on my end. Occasionally I cooked up a bunch of something and froze it in containers so they could heat it up when they were ready, but even that has stopped now. I’ve begun taking them shopping with me so they can pick out what they would like to eat or try making. And I eat the same thing almost every day, so I’m pretty easy to please.
      I feel so much better about what I’m going to ask for the cakes. The ingredients don’t cost much, but the amount of time it takes to make the cakes, the icings, and then fill and frost and decorate them is a lot! And I only have so many days off to devote to it. (Besides only having a few cake pans to work with…) I think $25 a cake is not too much to ask, but times 8 or 9… that number seems high, so I’ll probably round down. Okay. Now I’m stressin’ again.

  5. llcooljoe

    August 15, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    I’m not surprised you are stressed. I admire anyone that bakes and cooks anything. I can’t or won’t. Your cake suggestions sound amazing! Good luck!

    • shadowrun300

      August 16, 2013 at 1:42 am

      I love to bake! In fact I baked 12 cakes today and made 2 different kinds of icing. (The frosting of the cakes will take place another day.) What stresses me is wondering if she’ll feel like her money was well spent – after all, I’m not a professional. It worries me so much that I doubt I will charge her very much at all.

      • llcooljoe

        August 17, 2013 at 1:09 pm

        Hmm, you sound like me when I dj. If she is expecting you to charge her for making the cakes then you should. But how much to charge is always a tricky one.

  6. territerri

    August 16, 2013 at 2:40 am

    What to make for dinner is a constant topic of conversation among my friends and coworkers. Why does it have to be so hard? I find that I’ve won half the battle if I just plan a few meals ahead of time. And my kids have never been all that picky, so I’m lucky in that regard.

    The cake decision sounds stressful, but I know you and you’ll come through a huge success! I can’t wait to see your creations!

    • shadowrun300

      August 17, 2013 at 1:38 am

      The pressure of getting it right is what gets to me. And now I’m feeling the pressure of getting her cakes right. I’m enjoying the challenge but I’m overly concerned with what she’ll think of them. In fact I’m so worried, I’ll probably end up giving them to her. That way she’ll feel like she got her moneys worth.
      Oy vey… sometimes I wish I hadn’t said “yes”.

  7. The Thin Lady Inside

    August 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Well… it sounds like you’ve made a yummy and beautiful decision! 😀 Those cakes you described sound awesome! ah! Quinceañeras…. what a stressful event for most parents… I don’t like the whole “big quinceañera thing”… I am a Mexican (as you know) and grew up with that tradition but never loved it… I did like a “quinceañera” but small… and without the huge, huge dresses most wear, something simple, something pink and something within the financial possibilities of the parents… nothing crazy… now that I have daughters I know I want them to have a “quinceañera” when they get there… but again, within our resources… ok… I got off topic here… I am sure your cakes will be amazing! and you will make a young lady very happy in her special day! … Dinner… OY! I am right there! What to make? EVERYDAY!??? 😀

  8. agg79

    August 17, 2013 at 3:01 am

    Wow. I want me some of that. I am sure whichever flavor you come up with will be your typical out of the world hit. Just stay away from the flan recipes. Good luck. I know how those quincineras can be pretty stressful.

  9. shadowrun300

    August 18, 2013 at 1:19 am

    Thank GOD she didn’t ask for flan. Although I would have easily said ‘no can do’ to that.
    I think the flavors will be alright. I’m a little worried about freezing them first, although from everything I’ve read, they should be just fine. What concerns me the most is decorating. She wants them to look good. I think looking tasty should be good enough.
    If I post pics I’m proud. If I don’t… well… I’m probably tucked in a corner somewhere crying from the pressure I put on myself to be perfect.

    • agg79

      August 23, 2013 at 12:26 am

      I love it when you post foodie pictures, good or bad. I imagine that no matter how it turns out, it will turn out delicious. I wouldn’t turn up my nose at it.


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