17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

3 cakes? Really?

I keep coming upon this problem as my kids are getting older. Birthday cakes. One for the family on the actual birthday, one for the friend party (which usually can't be on the actual birthday) and cupcakes to take to their class. Are you serious?

I have dodged this once by sending cookies to class. I have also given the family leftover party cake on the actual birthday (which was a day or two after the friend-party). And yes, the family is always at the friend-party too. It just seems wrong to not have cake on your actual birthday.

So, this month I've got "birthday snack" for preschool the 21st, actual birthday the 22nd, and the friends come the 24th. 3 cakes (or some form of cake) and candles just seems excessive. I mean, one cool cake seems the most meaningful for the child. So if the friends get the cool cake, do you have cake on the actual birthday? Sigh. What did my mom do? She never sent stuff to school (too many kids I guess--she had 9, and not all the moms did it back then--seems more prevalent now), we had friend parties every other year, and the "on" years...I just don't remember. Maybe she made two cakes.

What do you all do?


  • I'm boring. I send nothing to school (or if I do, it's gogurt or something), and I make one cake. If the friend party (which is only every other year) cannot possibly fall upon the real birth date, than I will yield to two cakes. The cool one (usually store bought because I don't bake very well) for the party, and the easy version (from a box) for the family.

    I'm just all about making everything as easy as possible for myself, because who wants a crazy-stressed out mommy on their birthday?

    P.S. To those of you who go all out for birthdays and birthday parties, I applaud you and give you my utmost respect. I just can never be one of you...sorry!
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 5/14/2008 06:44:00 PM  

  • katie, we had birthday sundaes for parker for his family b-day (actual b-day) and let him pick out the toppings. put the birthday kid's sundae in a special dish and voila! A LOT less work...and you can still stick candles in it! he loved it!
    posted by Blogger Michelle at 5/14/2008 08:53:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.
    posted by Blogger Azúcar at 5/14/2008 09:54:00 PM  

  • We are no longer allowed to send sugar to the school for birthdays. I worship the people that made this law. Now if they would just ban bringing ANYTHING altogether, my life would be complete. As it is, I send nothing. (I used to do doughnuts).

    One cake for the party. I don't care which party. If you're having multiple parties, then yes, you need multiple cakes, because every guest will expect it.

    As for the actual day, if you're not having a party, stick candles in your dinner and call it good. Or do multiple ice creams.
    posted by Blogger The Wiz at 5/14/2008 09:58:00 PM  

  • Well, I'm a baker, so I'm not a representative sample...

    the more cakes the better!

    I wouldn't say we go 'all-out' for our parties but I fully intend on throwing an actual friend party every year for kids.

    I feel no pressure to make it fancy. I'm not renting out anyplace, I'm not hiring a clown, and I'm not going to spend more than $50. Kids have fun just running around being kids, throwing in a little extra cake for kicks.

    And no cake from a box either.
    posted by Blogger Azúcar at 5/14/2008 09:58:00 PM  

  • I haven't really had to deal with this yet since my girls have summer birthdays and we do even year friend birthdays starting at age 4 (which means I have only thrown one party so far. I think the year of the party, we had a cake at the friend party and some other kind of treat with candles at the family birthday dinner.

    As a child, I never liked cake, so my mom got me donuts with candles and I loved it.

    But you are right, 3 cakes is too much.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 5/14/2008 11:37:00 PM  

  • It seems to me that now more than ever kids are having friend parties, and some of them being big, lavish and expensive. Maybe I just haven't been around the kid scean for a while since it has been a long time since I was a kid, and I just had one of my own (is there any way to escape friend parties all together?) Growing up we always had cake on an actual birthday and the birthday kid got to choose what they wanted. Sometimes there was extended family there, sometimes there wasn't. And rarely growing up were there friend parites, I think I remember having maybe 2 or 3. And I can't remember if there were ever things sent to school...maybe because I have a december birthday. I believe that birthdays are a special time to celebrate the childs birth and that there should be cake. But I also know (for me), that as you get into adulthood that birthdays just seem like they are not such a big deal as when you were a kid, so I am glad that my mom didn't always do friend parties every year.
    posted by Blogger Jeannie at 5/15/2008 04:53:00 AM  

  • Just wondering what the deal is with the whole every other year thing? Why, unless have like 10 children, would you only allow your child to celebrate with friends every OTHER year? A few people have mentioned it and I was just wondering if that was a thing a lot of people do. As for school, I would say bring munchkins (donut holes) - kids love em and they're easy and relatively cheap. For the friend party, you definitely need cake - as for the family party if they've all been to the friend party then they probably won't miss cake, and chances are if you stick a candle in a dessert of any kind on your child's actual bday they will love it.
    posted by Anonymous Rachel at 5/15/2008 08:50:00 AM  

  • Since we homeschool, our "birthday snack" is leftover cake. :)
    posted by Blogger Kim Siever at 5/15/2008 08:53:00 AM  

  • Rachel-
    To save my sanity. Because who ends up going crazy with the invitations, party favors, cakes, games, clean-up...? Yep, mom.

    The funny thing, though, is that we end up having much more fun when we just do something with our family. We have dinner out, or go on a hike, etc. and the kids learn that their birthdays aren't about their friends.

    Plus, I want my kiddies to learn gratitude for what they have, and this is just another way for me to do it. Others may disagree with me, and that's okay. It's just what we've decided is best for our children...
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 5/15/2008 09:51:00 AM  

  • I'm in the same predicament as you. I usually send cupcakes or donuts to school with my dd on her actual birthday. We have a store bought cake or cupcakes at her friend b-day party and then for the family party we will either have another cake, cupcakes, or ice cream sundaes. The sundaes are a huge hit because I just buy a variety of ice cream, toppings, & whip cream and everyone can make their own. My dd's school had enforced a no sugar rule this year, so I will probably just send in granola bars on her birthday this year.
    posted by Anonymous MKC at 5/15/2008 10:06:00 AM  

  • rachel, I'm guessing my mom did the every-other-year thing as a sanity and money saver. (remember, 9 kids) I never once felt neglected or that it was unfair. That's just the way it was. It sounds like birthday PARTIES are a hot topic...but I better stick to talking about cake for now. :)

    Just to clarify, when I talk about family on the actual birthday, I'm just talking about cake/dessert after dinner with my dh and the kids--not lots of relatives.

    I love the ice cream sundae idea. Or whatever cake alternative one might choose.
    posted by Blogger Katie at 5/15/2008 12:00:00 PM  

  • I remember one year for my little sister's birthday my Mom had an artfully-arranged tray of twinkies and ho-ho's with candles in them.

    And I'm only 22, but I don't remember ever taking anything to school for my birthday.
    posted by Blogger Emily C at 5/15/2008 12:18:00 PM  

  • My daughter's first grade teacher had each child give a book to the classroom for their birthday rather than celebrating with snacks. She had a birthday book basket that the kids could use for independent reading when they had free time. At the end of the year she gave all the kids their books back. Inside the cover was a picture of the child taken on his/her birthday (or at least the day they "celebrated" their birthday in class) along with a cute little poem or something. I thought it was a great idea.

    I usually try to just do one birthday cake. If I'm having a family party with extended family on a different day than the actual birthday, I'll wait and have the cake then. I'll have some other favorite kind of treat (like my child's favorite cookies) on their actual birthdays. They like blowing the candles out on their cookie towers as much as the cakes.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 5/15/2008 02:32:00 PM  

  • Yikes! Glad mine are under three and I haven't had to deal with this yet.

    My rule? Do whatever YOU think is fun and good for your family. You're the mom, you know best. Who cares what people expect?
    posted by Anonymous Tally Girl at 5/15/2008 05:07:00 PM  

  • Our school recommends non-food items for celebrations at school. I've enjoyed this alternative. For my 9-year old son I made arrangements with the school store and purchased gift certificates for each child in his class. For my 7-year old daughter I went in and did a small craft with the class. Many parents send in items like pencils or small toys for kids to take home. This eliminates one cake and can be as simple or elaborate as you wish.

    When my children are younger than school age, they get a big family party as they have 25 cousins in the area. Sometimes we invite a couple friend's families. One ginormous party... one ginormous cake. DONE!

    My school age kids get a friends party with cake and then some sort of treat, like their choice of ice cream, with our immediate family on the actual day. Once again, ONE special cake... yay, I'm all about ONE cake!
    posted by Blogger lainakay at 5/20/2008 07:03:00 AM  

  • Ooh just read through the comments and I'm loving the birthday book idea. I may recommend that to some of the teachers at our school. What a great idea!
    posted by Blogger lainakay at 5/20/2008 07:08:00 AM  

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