United States of Motherhood

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Are We Judging People For Caring: Hashtag Wars #JeSuisCharlie #JeSuisNigeria #JeSuisAhmed #BlackLivesMatter #JeSuisJuif #BokoHaram



This may be stepping in it again, but stay with me...





Feeling compassion and anger for one act of terrorism, violence, wrong, or tragedy in the news and posting about it on social media does NOT mean you don't care about another act of terrorism, violence, wrong, or tragedy. I cannot believe I have to spell that out, but I do.


It just means you were touched by and focused on one issue
because you had a connection in that moment.


For instance, look at my Facebook post about #JeSuisCharlie #JeSuisAhmed #JeSuisJuis yesterday and the way the Paris March happened without a KEY US Senior-level leader. I watched the acts of terrorism unfold online, uncensored, and it made me both terrified for the French people and angry.

It hit close to home since it could have been me or my kids in that ordinary grocery store or at that kosher deli on an ordinary day. It made me hug my kids closer.

Yes, I disagreed with the way it was handled by the US--as did many politicians and political experts on both sides of the aisle. I felt an opportunity to send a message against terrorism was missed.  Then a picture popped up in my news feed that helped solidify that sentiment. So I shared it.



Source: Daily News


I then saw counter-arguments online which seemed to want to switch the focus of similar posts to another act of terrorism with perhaps an unintentional or perhaps (or maybe not) an implicit desire to shame or apply underlying underlying guilt all over the internet:

 "But how come you didn't talk about Boko Haram's attack on Nigeria in your post. 2000 died there."  #JeSuisNigerian #BlackLivesMatter #BokoHaram 

Today?  Looking at social media, the sentiment seemed if one didn't mention Boko Haram in the same post, one must care LESS about African lives. As if since the number of deaths was bigger, it was a bloody competition. Suggesting as if perhaps it was a subliminal, coded choice to mention western tragedies and ignore African ones. I saw this not once, but multiple, multiple times on Facebook and Twitter.




Honestly, my friends? In my situation, it was that I had just heard about Bokko Haram on CNN and my heart absolutely does go out to the Nigerians.  I was still learning about that situation. However, I had been watching non-stop coverage of the Paris attacks for days.

I watched police officer Ahmed Merabet,a Muslim, executed before my eyes in my living room defending the freedom of expression for people who disrespected and mocked his own religion.

It beyond touched me.

By the way, a few days earlier?  I had tweeted about Ahmed and here again, I was immediately countered with, "Don't forget #JeSuisJuif."





 I didn't realize feeling compassion for one tragedy
 or one victim was exclusive and meant 
I did not care or had forgotten about the other.  


Back to the Nigerian Boko Haram attacks and that counter argument?  I guess I could have come back with that same tactic.

 "Well then what about the 660,000 who died (90% in Africa) from Malaria EVERY FREAKING YEAR. Don't you care about them??
What about the 1.5 million people, mostly children,  who die needlessly of diarrhea??  You didn't mention them!!
How insensitive are we that we are forgetting about the 1.5 million who died of AIDS?? Why aren't we talking about that? "

...And I would be an complete asshole to do so.



Source: CDC

We can escalate.  We can switch from news story to news story.  From tragedy to tragedy. Discussing one news story does not negate the importance or attention that should be on another.


In the end, we SHOULD care about them ALL. 


Posting about one perhaps because you felt connected to the French culture, perhaps because you knew someone there, perhaps because you were Jewish or Muslim, perhaps because you identified with the victims and it hits home that could just have easily been your family victimized, or just because you were touched as you watched terrorism unfold on the television in your living room?


That isn't wrong.


None of that means you do NOT care about the other tragedies of our often entirely fucked up world or do not plan to post about the other once you learn more...

...or once a picture shows up in your news feed again that perfectly sums up your concern and you share it.

My point? Yes, the media coverage is messed up, but  I do hope we aren't judging people for caring?? No one should be shamed for caring about any tragedy and sadly I am seeing that all over my news feed this morning.


There's a "But what about..." trend. 


Tragedy should not be a competition. Body counts should not be a competition. The human heart can care about much more than we can ever fathom if we let it.





We do not need to draw away attention from one senseless violent act of terrorism to validate  the horror and senseless tragedy of another.  


ALL should matter, shouldn't they?



Friday, January 9, 2015

Use Tech to Connect: Make Your Teens Eye-roll...and Secretly Know They Are Loved #GetPocketAvatars #Ad #CollectiveBias @PocketAvatars

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions on the Pocket Avatar messaging app are mine alone. #GetPocketAvatars #CollectiveBias


Being Silly for My Kids: It's What I do Best

We are a texting family of three teens.  It's generally mayhem trying to wrangle everyone's practices, carpools, who need the cars when and who needs rides where.  So besides making online calendars for everyone, there are always the last minute changes, miscommunication and crossed wires, the rare confirmations, and even the where the heck are you's!

Remember when my kids looked like this?

Simpler Times in 2003

And then, THIS below around the time I started to blog...ALMOST a Decade AGO?? Sigh...

Starting to blog in 2006

Yeah, things might have changes.  They now look like this:


2014 Eldest's Graduation


And to my friends with younger kids, yes, the crazy schedule only gets worse as they get older!

Add to that, texts can get a little...yawn!  Some times....okay, a lot of the time, teens might even tune those texts out since they are business and details.

Arrrrgh!!

Nope, my kiddos aren't the fresh from the bath, wanting to sit on your lap and snuggle and read storybooks, awaiting your every word-types anymore.  Go figure! Heck, I am lucky to get eye contact some days.

Hugs are a rarity.

Teens are too cool/too awkward for that sadly and I respect their bubble...most days.  Every once in a while though, I still sneak in a hug. They awkwardly and stiffly hug back...but deep down, I know they smile. They know they are loved.


 Note: Because sisters...ewww! Notice "hover" hand. I promise your sister doesn't have cooties

Another method is when the whole family gets in the game when one kid is dropped off at school or work or a friends.  The remaining occupants in the car smile, look at each other, and then it is on. We all begin to howl loudly,



"We LUUUUUUVVVE you, ((insert name))."

"Have a grrrrreat day, sugar booger."



LOUDLY.  Until they leave our sight!  Ha!  Pretty much the only time I can get one kid to admit to the other that they love them!



Love sneak attacks work before teen barriers can be raised? 
It works, but you got to get creative!



Another opportunity I found recently was this cool little app called Pocket Avatars by Intel. I can keep messaging fun with the occasional silly, but positive message to make them eye roll in public, but you know they know you love them.

Take this one I sent yesterday. My teen daughter PB had been stressing about her PE 5k final.  Yes they run a 5k for time and they must improve.  HOWEVER...If they improve too much, they are penalized. Not enough?  Penalized. Ridiculous. Clearly, I would be stressed as well.  So around the time I knew she would be finishing it up, I sent her this:




Hehehe.  I giggled and snorted when I sent my middle school kiddo this when I knew he'd be on his phone on his bus ride home.





And finally. my college freshman was told, "Your Mom Thinks You Are Out of This World!!"






So my recommendation for kids of all ages?  Change it up! Use Tech to Connect.



Pocket Avatars is totally worth a free download to give your kiddos an eye-roll with a secret smile. You can create and send fun, unique messages to your friends and family.

FYI: Not just for texts!  You can email these, post them to Facebook, and tweet them too! So how does it work?


My "Use Tech to Connect" with Teens Pocket Avatar Tutorial


  • Go to the iTunes store or Google Play to download the Intel Pocket Avatars App for FREE. I downloaded mine from iTunes.



  • Register your app (13+), create a password, and verify your phone number via SMS or email.
  • Sign in
  • Press the blue, center "create" button.

  • A screen will open up to create your message.  In the corner will be your face displayed.  This will be your facial recognition box. The button on the center bottom will now be red.  

  • You will see a button on left button to "Select an Avatar." If you have created a message before, the last avatar will be on screen as well.


  • Touch the select an avatar dark blue button. A menu will appear . A line of avatars you have already downloaded will show as well as a now a light blue "Avatars" button. If you have not downloaded an avatar before, just the blue button will show up.



  • Click the light blue avatar button.  There are pages of free avatars as well as premiums avatars you can purchase. Choose one and download it.

  • Once you download an avatar, they will be there on a bottom each time to choose from or you can download a new one.

  • Now you have an avatar, you can play with your facial expressions for a while. My kids especially had fun with this when they got home.


  • Now on the bottom right is the audio effects button.  Here you can change your voice from high and pip-squeaky, leave it normal, or make it a low, deep bellow.


  • When you are done customizing and experimenting, tap the red center record button and record your message with lots of facial expression and moving phone closer and farther away.  



  • You  will know when you are recording when the timer in the bottom left corner starts timing your message in seconds.Stop recording when you are done. You have up to 15 seconds. 


  • From there you can preview your message by pushing the play arrow in the bottom right corner above the share button.


  • Don't like it?  Click the create bottom in the top left corner to try again.  

  • Like it?  From there, you can send to your contacts by clicking the center blue and green "Send" button.


  •   You can also save it to your phone for later.  



  • Finally you can share it via message, email, Facebook or Twitter.





That's it. Really simple and fun!  You can watch them on your laptop too!  See, sneak attack.  She's totally smiling!






So how do you sneak attack your kiddos with love? I'd love some more ideas!





You can check out Pocket Avatars on Twitter as @PocketAvatars!




Pssst!  Bonus?

You can also spice up your marriage by being silly too!  Might have any sent my husband a message.  He immediately texted back hopefully, asking if my message was NSFW.  Dream on, buddy!  Heheh!

It's also GREAT for bored kids.  Learn more here:





Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Homecrafted Siracha-Tabasco, Smoky Chipotle, & Garlic-Dijon Aioli Dipping Sauces To HomeGate in Style #GameTimeGrub #Ad

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GameTimeGrub #CollectiveBias





Hey guys!!

Yep second post on food for football in two days!!  Why?  Ummm well before I started to actually watch football here in Seattle for you know, football, it was ALL about the food.

Alexia Sweet Potato Fries With Sea Salt paired with Chipotle Aioli


...And it's kind of 50-50 today.  Half about the football shrieks for our Seattle Gridiron and half about the moans of delight as I stuff delicious noms in my mouth, foodie that I am. Is your mouth watering yet??

Alexia Chipotle Seasoned Spicy Sweet Potato Fried Paired with Garlic-Dijon Aioli

We tend to over do it with the spread at most games, which is not a bad thing.  You all know I eat clean and healthy, but I've found I am more likely to stick to it every day if I do NOT deprive myself on special occasions and at social events.  So 85-90% I am paleo and the other?  Let's grub!

Alexia Crispy Onion Rings with Panko Breading & Sea Salt Paired with Sriracha Tobasco Aioli

So part of the grub is always Alexia Sweet Potato Fries with Sea Salt.

Mmm Let's Get Dipping...Game?  What game? I'll Stay Right Here!

Seriously we eat a ridiculous amount of these at game time and often during the week too since they are some of the better quality sweet potato fries out there. So we skeddaddled over to our local Walmart to snatch those babies up!

Walmart Has' Em!

Back to the game, who needs tailgating at the game when you can homegate --the game with front row seat on the flat screen, a comfy couch, and hello, no cheaply made, but pricey on your wallet hot dogs and beer here.  Nope!  The Scouty household does this in style!!


Seriously?  There's a Game on When These Fries are Getting Cold?


MMMMM! So Alexia Chipotle Seasoned Spicy Sweet Potato Fries anyone?

 "Pass the ketchup," you ask? Ummm no!  No, no, no!

Get in my belleh!!


This year, along with our Alexia Sweet Potato fries, Spicy Sweet Potato fries, and Crispy onion rings? I have a trio of dipping sauces made with basics you probably already have in your pantry and refrigerator. Time to spice it up! . Each are sophisticated, but clean, homemade sauces that add a bite and complexity to your fries.

You are welcome!!





Trio of Homemade Aiolis Recipe

Smoky Chipotle, Sriracha-Green Tabasco &Garlic-Dijon Mustard

Basics in Most Kitchens

Ingredients

2 egg yolks
1/2-2/3 cup of avocado or olive oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt

1-2 Chipotle Chilis in Adobo Sauce, chopped
1 tbsp Sriracha
1/2 tbsp Green Tabasco
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic, chopped

In a mixer with whisk or in a  food processor, turn machine on high. Break egg yolks in a dish.  Slowly add egg yolks into bowl with machine on.  Whisk for 1 minute until egg take on curd like appearance with the incorporated air.  With machine still running, in a very very fine stream add olive oil over a matter of 4-5 minutes.  Once you get your mixture to a mayonnaise-like thickness, you can stop.  Depending on egg yolks size, that could be anywhere from 1/2-2/3 cup of oil.

Keep That Whisk Moving. Yes You Can Do This By Hand, But Stretch First! Heh!


Remove bowl and by hand, fold in 2 tbsp of cider vinegar, 1/2 tbsp of Dijon mustard, and 1/2 tp sea salt.

All You Need for Homemade Mayo-Ditch the Jar!


Now at that point?  You can stop there with those basic ingredients and you have a basic aioli.  A tablespoon less vinegar and it has a more mayonnaise feel.

Divide aioli equally into 3 separate small bowls.

Chipotle Chili in Adobo Sauce: Chop that Baby Up!


In first bowl, fold in chopped chipotle chili one at a time.  One for mildly spicy or more if you like.

In second, fold in 1 tbsp of Sriracha and 1/2 tsp of Green Tabasco. Again, add more Sriracha if you want.

Always Room for a Little Garlic in Your Life

Finally, in the third bowl, add chopped garlic and the extra 1/2 tbsp mustard.

Done! Three dipping sauce in about 10 minutes!  Be sure to refrigerate.

Toss in the Alexia fries in the oven 25 minutes before your guests arrive, pair with this trio, fire up some sliders with brioche buns and some carmelized onions, and they will think you slaved.

 Heh! I totally let them believe that!  I mean homemade aiolis and mayonnaises are super fast and easy, but since we've all gotten used to buying it, it seems fancy.

Yep...totally fancy football grub!  




By the way, if you are grilling?  You might want to double these up since they are not just dipping sauces, but work FANTASTIC as flavored homemades mayonnaises to impress your guests.

Check out more recipes and ideas at Alexia's Pinterest page and let's get grubbing!!



What do you like to dip your fries in?


Monday, January 5, 2015

12th Man Trifle: Don't Be Trifling with Seattle #BigGameTreats #Ad #CollectiveBias #12thman

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BigGameTreats #CollectiveBias




So Seattle football fans, this recipe and tutorial is made in heaven for you. You know we are all about those Skittles®!! 


My friends, growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was not a big fan of football in a family of red and gold fanatics. The game was on?  My nose was firmly in a book. It took having a son begging to play football 35+ years later for me to even learn the game.



...and I was still scratching my head how a family of swimmers and let's say it, techy geeks and bookworms, ended up with our youngest.



Still we learned.  Seriously I didn't even know how many players were on the field and all this 12th Man Bro-ha-ha in Seattle kept confusing me.  My little guy would roll his 4th grade eyes and would say slowly as if to a child, "No, mom eeeee-leeeev-en on the field.  The 12th man is the fans cheering us on."



A-ha!  So I we drove to practice after practice.  Game after game. watched and I cheered.


 I sat in pouring rain.  I sat through good years and bad.  And you know?  Somewhere along the way?  



We became that Seattle 12th man the news talks about all the time.  It's infectious. It has to be sitting out in our weather.  Rain or shine!  This town I call Seattle, MY town after a decade of living here. They LOVE THEIR TEAM and when they hit the BIG GAME last year and took it all?  

Whoa!  Crazy!! Rainbow Skittles® for EVERYONE on a cloud of football dream!!



So this year is looking REALLY good again!!  Did I mention this family also loves food??  Yep, I am getting the big guns out to celebrate this year, just like last.  I hear a ton of smack talk from family and friends back home and those transplants in Seattle from other contenders.

And what do I want to say to them?  Yer just Sour, baby!  Don't trifle with the Best...and the Beast! So let's make a Skittle trifle because we will not be TRIFLED with EVER!



So we mosied on over to our local Walmart to scoop up some Skittles® and SNICKERS® which are great to shape into footballs--stay tuned on that!



12th Man Trifle Recipe & Tutorial

Ingredients

1 box white cake (or homemade works too)
2 boxes white pudding (cheesecake, white chocolate, vanilla or make homemade)
1 bag Skittles
blue, neon blue and neon green food coloring
whipped topping (Cool Whip, Reddiwhip, or whip up your own)
trifle bowl or 6-8 glasses



Make cake batter according to box direction or recipe.  Preheat oven. Spray two 8 or 9 inch pans with non-stick spray. 



Separate batter evenly into 4 cups.  


Add 25-30 drops of blue into two cups each.  Stir in.  Add more if desired.  Add 20-30 drops of neon green food coloring to the other two cups.  Mix fully. 



Take  one green and one blue cup of batter for each pan.  Alternating color, add 1/4 cup blue.  1/4 cup green.  Keep going until you run out of batter.  



Leave a little time after each pour for the batter to spread.  You can also tilt pan to help it along. Repeat with second pan and two cups of green and blue batter.



Bake as directed in recipe. While you wait, make pudding as directed by box (or your own recipe) and chill.



When baked, cool completely.  Place two cakes on a plate on top of each other.  Slice with a serrated knife in 1.5-2 inch strips. 



Take nicest pieces with cut (not browned) edges outward and layer on bottom of trifle bowl.  Add 1/3-1/2 pudding and 1/3-1/2 whipped cream depending on how many layers you need to fill your bowl..  



Make another layer of cake.  Add pudding and whipping cream.  Continue until you run out of space. Top with whipped cream.  



Chill until ready to serve. Before serving, top with Skittles so everyone can Taste that Seattle Beastmode rainbow.



Optional:  If you do not have a trifle bowl, you can also make miniature versions with any parfait glasses, wine glasses, or martini glasses.  Make it your own.




The best thing about trifles?  They are fast and forgiving.  I've shared my game day dessert recipe with you!  I'd love to hear what you plan on making for the Big Game!  




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