Since we are in the season of all things spooky, the kids and I took on a baking project this week with the theme of facing your fears.
Anxiety is something I know well. Despite having a wonderful childhood, I remember having anxious thoughts as a little girl, and not understanding where they came from, or more importantly how to overcome them and move forward. Now, as a mother of three, I can only hope my children don’t face the same anxious tendencies that plagued me for so long. Either way, our children are growing up in a crazy world, and I want my kids to know a few tricks that took me decades to learn for overcoming anxious thinking and stress. Had I learned these tactics as a child, it would have helped me maneuver through the stressful times in life with much more efficiency and ease.
While the idea of teaching my kids these little tactics seemed like a good idea, I had to think of a meaningful and appropriate way to talk to them about this fairly serious topic. So as usual, I faced the challenge in the only way I really knew how, IN THE KITCHEN.
I decided to have the kids help me make Halloween-themed vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. We used our favorite no-fail cake recipe, a frosting recipe from Martha Stewart, and tons of Wilton Halloween sprinkles for decorating. The cake recipe we use is excellent because it is easy and versatile enough for big layered cakes, sheet cakes, trifles and of course, cupcakes. The frosting was a breeze to make and tasted like something I would sneak to the kitchen and eat with a spoon at midnight.
As the kids were decorating their spooky cupcakes, I asked them to share with me the things they are afraid of, in hopes that it would help me passively share my tips on overcoming fear. Their answers threw me for a bit. Here’s how it went!
Me: “Since were are baking scary Halloween cupcakes, y’all tell me what you are afraid of?”
Molly: “Broken dolls. Definitely broken dolls.”
Madison: “Killer clowns, Mom.”
Brianna (friend): “I saw a zombie dog in my room one time, so I would say, zombie dog for sure.”
Me: “Um, who needs sprinkles?”
Then I shared the the five tips to facing your fears and overcoming anxiety:
- Take a deep breath and slow down.
- Turn toward your worry, not away. Often times we try to turn our minds away from the things that worry us, but that can make the looming thoughts worse. Take just a minute to think about that worry.
- Logical thinking. Use your smart little minds to apply logic to the situation. For example. “Kids, don’t you think that if zombie dogs did exist, that we would know about them by now? Wouldn’t we see them on tv, and find zombie dog bones in the forest? Also, don’t you think your mom would know if you had a zombie dog living in your house, or any dog for that matter? Wouldn’t that zombie dog go potty in your house ;)?” See, your logical thinking can untangle your worries.
- Get busy. You have given yourself a few minutes to process that fear, and now it won’t bother you the same way in the future. You faced it, you beat it, now go get busy!
- Don’t forget that if something serious is worrying you, you should always talk openly with your parents.
I then asked the girls what they would think of the next time they worried that there was a zombie dog living in the closet? Their response, “zombie dog poop.” Funny, girls. I suppose that’s better than being afraid!
I think our conversation as a whole was memorable, and that was good enough for me. If anything, our cupcakes were totally memorable! The cake recipe turned out incredible, and the cream cheese frosting was perfection. We hope you enjoy your fall baking, and beware of zombie dogs on Halloween!
Basic Pound Cake
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 5 eggs
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Combine sugar and butter
Slowly beat in eggs
Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add once combined
Beat mixture until smooth
Pour batter into pan
Bake until slightly golden on top and there is "no jiggle" on top! 20-25 minutes.
Wait for the cakes to cool all the way down before removing them from their pans. Once removed, you can decorate and serve, or slice the rounded tops and stack the layers with your favorite frosting!