They are the two words that strike fear in my heart every school term and it's not homework because, technically that's one word! No it's the dreaded - Cake Sale! Am I the only mother on the planet who absolutely dreads the mention of these two words?
Especially when these words are uttered for the first time at 8 p.m. the night before the aforementioned cake sale is due to take place. 'What??!' I screeched incredulously after The Youngest informed me casually that she needed cakes for the school cake sale the next morning.
'Why didn't you bloody well tell me this earlier?' I asked. She shrugged her shoulders and said she forgot. Easy for her to shrug her shoulders. It's not her housekeeping reputation on the line. And we haven't got a very good record in the cake sale stakes. Two months ago we attempted chocolate chip cookies which ended up looking like cow pats. She didn't sell any.
The pressure was on. Now it's a well-known fact I can't cook so obviously it follows on that I can't bake either. I'm not good with recipes. I tend to start reading them diligently at first then get bored, skip out a few parts, reckoning it won't make any difference and the result is a series of culinary disasters.
'Could we not just go and buy a few cakes?' I pleaded. 'You can pick anything you like, it doesn't matter how much it costs. We'll take it out of the packaging and rough it up a bit. No one will know the difference.'
She was horrified. 'We can't do that! It would be cheating!' she said looking at me as if I was a monster. 'Ah you're allowed cheat every once in a while…..if it's for a good cause,' I informed her desperately. She would not be moved and I knew I was in deep trouble.
I wracked my brains thinking of the simplest recipe for cakes. 'What about fairy cakes?.' She shook her head. 'Too easy,' she says. Maybe for her. Fairy cakes to me is a challenge of epic proportions. 'What about Rocky Road?' No it couldn't be Rocky Road as Kellie and Isabelle were making that.
'Well what's everyone else making?' I inquire hoping for inspiration. 'Martina is making Mille Feuille and Eva is doing beetroot and chocolate brownies.'
'Jaysus! Have they no hobbies? And who puts beetroot in a cake? Beetroot is for salad,' I tell her emphatically. What kind of parents have they got? After much deliberation we settled on chocolate biscuit cake which was effectively the same as Rocky Road without the marshmallow.
And when I say 'We' I really mean them as in the end I handed over the reins to Himself on the understanding that I would do the homework for the next week in return.
She sold out. Sometimes you have to know when to quit!