Sloppy Teenagers

My teenagers’ bedrooms are a catastrophe.  It’s like there’s been an explosion.  How do they sleep in such chaos?  Why don’t they like order?  Why don’t they care?

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I really would like to get in there to change the sheets, it’s just I can’t cross the floor.  When I comment about all the clothes strewn across the room they just laugh and say, ‘That’s my floor-drobe’.

My father was over the other day and as he walked down the hall he happened to glance into Arabella’s room.  I should have locked the door.  He was in complete shock.  He handed Arabella $50.00 and said, ‘How about you keep this, but every time I come over and find your bed not made, you give me a dollar.’  She just laughed and handed him back the money.  And it’s not as if she couldn’t use an extra $50.00.  She must believe that in a deal like that she’ll go out backwards.

When I’ve finally had enough, I’ll have it out with both of them, starting with Archie.  ‘Do something about it.  I can’t even walk in here.’

‘It’s all good Mum, don’t worry about it’.

‘You left the window open and rain was pouring in.  Look at how wet everything is.’

‘Has it been raining?’

‘Only for three weeks.’  And then I’ll see a collection of bath towels.  “What have I said about wet towels on the floor?  They’ll have to go straight into the wash because they smell.’

‘No they don’t’.

‘Yes, they do.’

‘I can’t smell anything.’

‘Put them in the wash.  And I need to vacuum so get everything up off the floor’.  And Archie will kick the mess under his bed like that’s the perfect solution.

‘There you go, Mum.’

‘If you think that’s good enough you’ve got serious problems.  And any money I find lying around this room that’s not in a wallet I’ll be claiming as mine.’

And after dealing with Archie I then have to tackle Arabella.  In Arabella’s world, nothing is her fault.

‘What’s that uniform doing on the floor?’

‘I told you I needed new hangers.’

‘What are you doing with food in here.  We don’t keep food in our rooms, we keep it in the kitchen.  You’ll have rats in here next.’

‘You gave me the furthest room from the kitchen so I have to keep a supply of food.’

‘Get your schoolbooks up off the floor, the dogs will chew them.’

‘I told you I needed a bigger desk.’

‘What’s that?  Is that a stain on the carpet?’

‘It’s fake tan.’

‘How did that happen?’

‘Well I told you I needed a spray tan but you wouldn’t give me the money so I bought fake tan and I left it on the floor and then someone stepped on it.’

‘I don’t know how you can sleep in such a messy bed.  Make the bed now.’

‘I can’t.’

‘Why not?’

‘Cause I’m waiting for you to change the sheets’.

And then I’ll leave the room utterly frustrated having gone nine rounds and got nowhere.  But, Arabella will then tidy her room and pick all her clothes up off the floor but it comes back to bite you.  She won’t fold her clothes and put them away, she’ll just throw them in to the laundry for the washer-woman to deal with – and we don’t have one of those, we only have me.

At what age do teenagers come right?

Of course, bribery, in the form of baking, is one of my weapons for encouraging a state of cleanliness.  Baking a cake like this results in a marginal improvement in room status.

Carrot Cake

A slice of carrot cake for sloppy teenagers!

Serves:  10 – 12

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  I made this cake using ingredients I had on hand in my fridge and pantry.  This is a very inexpensive wonderful treat.

This recipe is from Delicious, Quick Smart Cook by Valli Little.  Valli says everyone should have a carrot cake in their repertoire.  This cake is very easy to make and tastes amazing.

  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 large carrot, finely grated
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 3/4 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 250g soft cream cheese
  • 2 tbs pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180C/375F.  Grease an 18cm x 25cm lamington pan and line with baking paper, leaving some overhanging the sides.

Place the oil and sugar in a bowl and combine using a hand whisk.  Whisk in the eggs, the sift in the flour and fold together to combine.  Stir in the grated carrot, orange zest and 1/2 cup of the walnuts.

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then use the overhanging paper to remove the cake.  Cool completely on a rack.

Meanwhile, for the icing, whiz all the ingredients in a food processor or beat using electric beaters until smooth.  Spread over the cooled cake, then sprinkle with the remaining chopped walnuts before slicing.



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  1. Wow, I would never have handed back that 50$ note! ;-P Aaahhh, teenagers…

    That carrot cake looks really delicious!



  2. Lol! I remember in my teenage years I had a ‘wade-in wardrobe’. 😉

  3. I’m lucky – both my “big ones” are naturally neat (even the boy!) – but I DO covet that carrot cake – it looks amazing! Question – how do you sub regular flour for self-rising? I don’t keep that in the house but have regular and cake flour – thank you !!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Hi Sheri. Good question! To make self-raising flour you add 2 tspns of baking powder to each cup of plain flour. I might go and update the blog with that info!

  4. In time, it will be interesting to see the homes of your teens. I say they will be neat … and I will take my piece of carrot cake NOW.

  5. Ahhhhhhh, someone I can completely relate to! I don’t get the clothes all over the floor thing either.

  6. What a pretty cake!

    I have one super messy kid and one super neat kid. I don’t know how that happened. Our daughter is a little obsessive with neatness. I have had to threaten her to keep her from rearranging my pantry to make it look better. I have everything right where I want it, darn it! So I guess I am a mix of the two.

  7. LOL K is exactly the same – right down to the floor-robe ! The difference is that I don’t go in to clean or change sheets – she has to do that herself and, if her washing isn’t there when I am ready to wash – she has to wash her own clothes or if she tidies up her floor-robe by dumping it all in the laundry – she does her own washing as well.

    I am lucky in that if she isn’t at uni or working, she will do the washing for me !

    Good luck with training them !

  8. Funny story about your teenagers! And, that’s a delicious looking cake!

  9. This makes me laugh, but mainly because it is truly universal. As always, as parents we have to pick our battles–food and wet towels? Maybe so!

    Great looking cake.

  10. The carrot cake sounds like a great bribe. Haha.

  11. You’re a patient Mom; my mom would have gone in by now and cleaned up. My brother’s room was disgusting, really repulsive. Wet towels everywhere, clothes on the floor, much the same as your kids and the smell. GROSS.
    The cake looks amazing, so light and fluffy and the cream cheese icing YUM.

  12. I’m all for baking bribery… but Charlie, you’ve also made me a little nervous of the teenage years :-/

  13. Are those my kids in your home??? Actually, once my daughter got her on apartment at college (not the dorm years) she became this very neat person…hmmm…I wonder where that came from!
    Love the carrot cake, that’s one of my favorites I’ll bake for my birthday!!

  14. Oh, did your discussion with your teens bring back memories! Mom would ask and ask and ask again. Then there would be a discussion, very much like yours. Then, around 6:00 am on a Saturday, she’d come charging into the room, the vacuum leading her way. Woe be the child that didn’t get out of bed and start clearing the mess! Even that didn’t “cure” us. We were back to our slovenly ways before the Sun set that same day.

    You carrot cake looks delicious and the cream cheese forsting is perfect!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thank you John for letting me know that I am not alone out there and that there is hope for my teenagers in the future.

  15. sigh, yes I know. Nice carrot cake though.

  16. Loving this post! Just do what my mother did to me and my brother growing up. Snap a couple of trash bags and start stuffing the you know what in and see how fast they react to their stuff being potentially tossed to the curb. It certainly got our attention at 13 & 15. She was also good at removing the IMPORTANT/FAVORITE things from our rooms when we became pigs. Have an AWESOME Weekend!!!

  17. they have an answer for everything dont they?!!!
    ‘That’s my floor-drobe’ Hilarius!! :))
    You all must have find some comfort in this cake..! it looks lovely, I’m definetly going to try it! Have a wonderful weekend!

  18. Haha fake tan on the carpet. Yuck. Did it come out?
    That is one beautiful looking carrot cake:)

  19. My answer is to remove important/ favourite items bit by bit from the bedroom secretly until there’s a frantic search made. I make all the right ‘oh dear, you poor thing’ noises and offer advice ‘maybe its under the bed?’ then when the room is fairly sorted, I pop the missing article out from under my jumper into a corner of the room. TaaaDaaa! Look what I found! This way I’m the hero, and the room is clean!……. Until the next time…Sigh….

  20. I don’t have kids, have a bit of stress reading this post. I envy you, glad bake bribery works for you
    Handing back $50, really? Maybe she’s thinking strategic, will be offered $100 next time. Many people would keep it, bird on hand is worth more than 50 in future:)

  21. And to think all Jen has to do is scoop the litter box and vacuum up the shedding fur. woo woo woo!

  22. I can totally relate on the teenager thing, and….Why do their rooms smell so funky? How can they sleep with that smell? it’s like a combo between gym socks and musk. Blah.

    Nice looking cake! Yum!

  23. hahaha, im truly sorry i find ur plight so funny, but u have such a cute way with words 😀 still chuckling bout ‘floor-drobe’, u must give marks for ingenuity… im sure the carrot cake must have worked as the perfect bribe!

  24. Oh I feel your pain, really I do – my husbands children (now adults – well in years) have not changed an ounce! I just closed doors so I didn’t have to see it.
    Lovely cake – could go a slice of that with a cup of tea.
    🙂 Mandy

  25. I think when I have kids baking will be a well-used form of bribery too. I can’t remember how mum got us to clean our rooms but I know there was a lot of debate. Maybe if she’d tried carrot cake it would have been sparkling clean all the time!

  26. So…you’re saying that the hideous mess in my four-year old’s, nine year old’s, and 12 year old’s rooms are going to continue for the rest of the forseeable future? Shoot. And I love carrot cake. Love it.

  27. Too bad my Firstborn is the baker in the house (and my husband the cook). I simply have no leverage, so must live in the mess! Maybe I can get someone to make the cake for me.

  28. Ha, this brings back memories. I remember a time many years ago when I had so much stuff all over my floor that you couldn’t even actually *see* the floor! Quite the little collection of mouldy cups and plates I had going on under the bed too 😀

    I love carrot cake – haven’t had it in ages. I just bought a bag of carrots today – maybe I should look into making one in the week 🙂

  29. I’m so glad to hear I am not alone with this! My teenager’s rooms are just as your describe – but a cake is not going to make them change it!!! Lucky you!

  30. Hahahaha I’m no longer a teenager but my room is still as messy 😛 Hopefully your kids will grow out of it and they’ll start keeping their rooms a little tidier hehe ~

    I love carrot cake ~ Thanks for the recipe ~

  31. As a teen I described mine as the “scan system”. ie. I just scan the floor and immediately find what I want without bothersome drawers or cupboards getting in the way. But now I am “tidy Heidi” as my husband calls me when I’ve put something of his away that he can’t find ! At some point we become a bit house proud and other people opinions matter. Long live the teen years I say.

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