I Am The Baker. Kookookachoo.


It’s the annual spring carnival at Shorty #1’s school. We’re new to the school so we (this of course means I) would like to try and make a good impression by helping as much as we (I) can. So we’ve donated items for the silent auction, have volunteered for a shift in a booth and tonight made cupcakes for the bake sale.

It’s probably more accurate to say “attempted to make” as the results are somewhat lacking. I’m not 100% sure where it all went wrong. Was it because I hoped to make the cupcake baking an activity by enlisting the Shorties to help? Was it because we began the whole process at 7pm on a school night when J was out at a late business meeting so I was flying solo in the parenting department? Was it because I let les petites sample the chocolate before we started? Or was it because I tried to get fancy and try something new?

Ah yes, I created the perfect storm.

It all started ok. The batter was mixing nicely. #1 in charge if the cupcake cups going into the tray, #2 at the controls of the stand mixer. Everyone suitably satisfied with their role. But soon enough it was time to spoon the batter into the cups. #1 – the sole beneficiary of said bake sale in the household was taking the responsibility of ladling the batter. I was preoccupied with #1’s progress and completely missed #2 with the beater from the mixer in her mouth. When, I took it away she was clearly pissed. Cries of “No fair” rang out across the kitchen.

Finally the cupcakes made it into the oven. And this my friends is where the real folly took place. Personally I blame Martha Stewart, Nigella Lawson and all those other Food Network domestic goddess-types that get all fancy with things like cupcakes and make non-baking, non-culinarily inclined types like me feel pressured to try something fancy. Oh yes! Why not create a hybrid of two recipes – roasted marshmallows instead of icing! A revelation!!! These revolutionary cupcakes would be easy, charming and the hit. Until we actually tried to execute on my brilliant plan for bake sale domination.


Now we are left with 18 (okay 17 – we HAD to try one) crappy looking hockey pucks of melted goo and drippy butterscotch sauce (the latter a last minute attempt at a save) and nothing remotely presentable for human consumption least of all to sell to strangers! Shorty #2’s reaction was to wipe out her mouth with a paper towel after she tried hers. Me – I’m battling a little nausea.

I think I need to accept my inner undomestic self. Baking is not my thing, least of all with 2 Shorties assisting. Next time I’ll know better and offer to do the selling instead of the baking. Or will I????

File Under: Blatant Self Promotion


A great big thanks to VancouverMom.ca for selecting The Rock and Roll Mom as one of the Top 30 Vancouver Mom Bloggers.  I started this blog because I love to write and everyday life just doesn’t provide enough opportunity for that creative outlet.  Before I started the R&R Mom, you should have seen the notes I wrote to the Shorties’ teachers.  Seriously, its amazing to me that all of you actually read what I write (and come back again to read more).  Now to be honored by my fellow Vancouver Moms, its really kinda sweet.

So thank YOU for clicking though and having a read (and I hope having a laugh here and there) and thank YOU VancouverMom.ca for caring enough to acknowledge the genre of Mom Blogs!



Road Wardrobe

Overpacking... again.

Overpacking… again.

I spend a lot of time on the road.  Airplanes, hotels.  I am admittedly an overpacker but I am also a pro at laundering clothes in hotel sinks.  Clothes on the road can be tough – how to look presentable and be comfortable is always the challenge.  I thought I might share some of my favorite tips on what to pack.

Disclaimer:  all of these items I either bought myself or covet.  No one has paid me to tell you that I like/ love them.

1. JEANS – In my opinion, THE best jeans for traveling are AG‘s Jegging.  They are real jeans with a button and a fly and pockets that work (read: they have structure) but they are SUPER stretchy and feel like pj’s when you’re wearing them.  I have 3 pairs and always travel with at least 2 of them.  On long trips, these are the only clothing items I send to the hotel laundry.  I’m not the kind of girl that will wear yoga pants in public, so these are a great alternative on the long haul (and even short haul) flights.

2. BLAZER – I love a good blazer and have a few that travel with me a lot.  They give you a polished look and with a pair of jeans offer an ideal blend of casual chic.  On a recent trip to London, I picked up a little black blazer with a faux leather collar at Zara.  (why are Zara’s in Europe SO much better than here in North America?)  This jacket has literally traveled around the world with me.  I’ve definitely recouped the £100 odd it cost me and I love it!  I am also a mega fan of the super luxe Smythe jackets (as you’ve heard me lust for these before).  The cut and fit mixed with some incredibly fun fabrics makes Smythe a great investment and a unique wardrobe piece.  PS – Buy Canadian.

3. SCARVES – LOVE a good scarf.  Have a pile of them and always travel with at least 2 or 3.  They give some variation on outfits, cover up spilled soup and keep you warm on the plane.

4. SWEATER – I have a black v-neck cashmere sweater that I love to travel in.  Its cozy and comfortable and usually looks pretty good.  I picked it up at a very exclusive boutique called Costco.  Seriously.  I am also partial to a good, drapey cardigan because why wouldn’t I be.

5. BOOTIES – Ankle boots are good for the road.  They pack small (hello Frye Motorcycle Boots, I’m looking at you and your 5lbs per boot), go with everything and can roll in warm or cold climates.  Mine are from Steve Madden, relatively cheap and cheerful and get the job done.  The ones I really would love are these from Rag & Bone.

6. SNEAKERS – Of course you need sneakers.  Non-white, super-comfy.  Preferably they are stylish enough for the tooling around, but sensible enough for the gym.  Or they’re Converse Chuck Taylors because they are just freaking awesome.

7. BLACK DRESS – Every girl on the road needs a great black dress.  Mine is called Black Magic.  You may recall my love letter to this favorite and perennial wardrobe item.  A great black dress can work for dinner out or as a pool cover-up.  Just make sure its in an easy to travel fabric.

8. BLACK ANYTHING – Working in the entertainment business, black is standard issue.  When following an artist on the red carpet or standing in the wings on stage, black is a must.  My job is to blend into the background and black does the trick.  PLUS, it goes with everything (except maybe brown) and it doesn’t show the dirt.  Black is ALWAYS the new black.

9. TOTE BAG – When on airplanes a lot, you need a big purse.  The Longchamp Shopper is a perfect example of the ideal travel bag that holds everything – iPad, ziploc, spare t-shirt and a laptop.  Plus it folds up small, so you can pack it away if you don’t need it.

And here’s what not to bring on the road:

1. ANYTHING THAT WRINKLES – as if you’ll have time to iron with 18 hr days.

2. EXPENSIVE SUITCASE – go mid-range on the suitcase.  Spend enough that it won’t fall apart on the first use but not so much that the nicks and dents will make you cry.

3. HATS – because, why would you unless you’re Johnny Depp.

So there you have it.  Another bossy R&R Mom post, telling you what to do.




Hipster Hood

Moving Day

Moving Day

You’ll recall the old real estate adage – when looking for property to buy its all about location, location, location.  What are the factors that determine whether a location is good?  Proximity to public transport, walkability perhaps the potential of increase in property value in the foreseeable future.  When looking at property for the investment potential – ie; how much will it appreciate over the next several years – you need not look at the long term mass transit plans or city development strategy.  Just look for the hipsters.  Hipsters mean you are on the cusp of being the next hot neighborhood in town.  I give you THE prime example – Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  This should be your real estate strategy.

All you followers of The Rock and Roll Mom know we just moved into a new house.  We moved a little closer to the heart of Vancouver’s eastside – more affectionately known as East Van.  A rapidly gentrifying part of the city, its a colourful area filled with an eclectic mix of old and new houses and lots of people on the same game plan as us (ie: professionals with young kids).  More importantly, I think we have stumbled upon a little Hipster hotspot.  Could we be on to something here?  I’m not sure but here are some of the signs that your neighborhood might be moving into Hipster territory:

1. Your neighbor likes to play banjo/ mandolin/ harp on the front porch.

2. Your other new neighbor has an experimental art project synth band that rehearses daily at 4pm.

3. The local coffee shop only plays vinyl and the decor theme is Crow.

4. Part 2 of the local coffee shop – you can bet that those are ethical crop beans and that the coffee is brewed in those fancy single serving glass carafe-y thingys.

5. Gluten free everything, everywhere.

6. Vintage store is picked clean of anything worth buying or anything plaid.

7. Tacos tacos tacos.

8. Most of the local girls where their hair in big donut buns on the top of their heads.  The donut hair buns are not to be confused with the maple bacon gluten free donuts available at the aforementioned coffee shop.

9. The local drug store always seems to have a surplus of shaving cream, razors etc.

10. More and more neighbors are dressing in skinny jeans, hats and ironic (but is it then unironic??) t-shirts.

All of these signs are excellent news for the neighborhood.  It means you’re about to get more and more great restaurants that serve organic vegan thin crust Neopolitan pizza.  It also means that you are bound to get several Urban Outfitters inspired shops where you can buy kitschy patio lights, and the aforementioned ironic/ unironic t-shirts.  Once you’re overun with the retail haunts of Hipster-hood, you are well on your way to increased property values.  Congratulations!  The question then becomes, will you sell or start a neighborhood bluegrass band?




You Say It’s Your Birthday

Shorty #1 Turns 7

Shorty #1 Turns 7

Shorty #2 is about to turn 3.  For the past 2 months she has asked me every day “Is today my birthday?” and every day I get to let her down.  The good news is that its soon, next week and we’ve planned the party for this weekend so she’ll actually get to celebrate the big day as more of a season with a few events along the way.

The Birthday Party has grown into a big deal these days.  The scale is in some ways bigger than my wedding.  The venue, the catering, the entertainment, the party favors.  It adds up.  And for the love of God, make sure that venue is safe and inviting and hasn’t been used by anyone else in the class yet.  For the catering – make it healthy, organic and something kids will actually eat.  The entertainment should be fun and appealing but not too commercial please.  And finally for the ubiquitous loot bag – it better be environmentally friendly.

Gone are the days of the McDonald’s party room where many of my own birthdays were held (and truth be told where I hosted plenty as a fifteen year old employee).  The cheap 5 cent plastic baggie full of candy will no longer fly.  Kids these days turn up their noses at such pedestrian pastimes as Pin the Tail on the Donkey – which I’m quite sure is in no way a politically correct activity as this could be considered animal abuse.

No, the birthday party is now festooned with costumed princesses singing “Let it Go” to a room full of toddlers dressed in their finest princess regalia.  Bouncy castles and cupcakes, full catering for the parents.  These things are a big deal.  Mom the party planner has taken on a whole new meaning.

What do we do?  Is this an every year (x 2 kids) event?  How do we manage expectations as these things get bigger and bigger?  What do we do for a birthday gift when we’ve already dropped a wallet-full on hosting the party of the (or THIS) year?  We’ve been smart enough to plan some vacations around birthdays so we can skip a year here and there – but what do we do when we are forced to GASP, celebrate at home?  Break the bank every 12 months?  We need to nip this in the bud.  But how?

I am as much to blame.  I LOVE to see the wonder in my daughters’ eyes when they are surprised by the different aspects of the event.  I want the kids to have fun and remember their 3rd (4th, 5th, 6th, 7th) birthday fondly.  I know, I know.  How does each year stand out in their memory?  Hell, how does it stand out in my memory?  Was it #1’s 3rd birthday when we did the music class?  Or was that her 4th?  Was it her 2nd when we catered for an army and the flu ran through the guestlist and we only had 5 people show up?

This year, I’m trying to dial it back.  Less is more.  Perhaps we can wean them (and us parents) off the gala event of the year mentality?