United States of Motherhood: June 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sunday's Sundaes: Continuing a Love Affair & $100 Visa Giveaway

Those of you who have been with me a while know about my family's secret. Yes, it's a naughty, secret addiction...ice cream and frozen dairy desserts!

LOTS and lots of it!

Yep, it started early with my husband's first job, which crazy-spoiled us with the ability to bring home ice cream, fresh off the line. Our love of the dessert has never, ever abated--even after he went on to a less exciting (read no more ice cream) career path.

Fast forward to today, and we, the Scouty family, still cling to our long-standing love affair with creamy, dreamy desserts...

 ...and now a tradition of Sunday sundaes to start the week on a sweet note.

Enter Breyers: Oh my goodness did my teen, preteen, and elementary kiddo love to test a new flavor buffet, and Breyers did not disappoint. Thank you, Breyers, for making me "legit" in their eyes. Now their mom has the cooler job!

We happily reviewed (tasted, licked and dribbled) Breyers Blasts!® Chocolate REESE’S® - with chunks of REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup pieces and REESE’S Peanut Butter swirled in chocolate frozen dairy dessert. Then we moved on to Breyers Blasts!® OREO® Birthday Blast! - which featured OREO cookie pieces and rainbow sprinkles in artificially flavored cake-flavored frozen dairy dessert.

Mmmm a peanut butter/chocolate duo to die for...

Yep, it was a very hard job and I had to dig deep to get them to work at trying these products. All that scooping and cramped hands and sticky webs between fingers. You can tell it was exhausting, no?

It's a Tough Job, But Someone Has To Do IT!

We had a contest to see who could make the best sundaes...Darn tooting, we are competitive. It. Was. On.

But... I think we'll agree my addiction runs deepest and I have the most practice.

My Sundae: Winner, winner, chicken dinner, right?

The kids loved both flavors, but my husband and I loved the REESE’S best, with its thick, rich flavor and generous add-ins...Yum!

My teen's favorite was the OREO Birthday Blast! and he was more than happy to finish off the container in record fashion. PB didn't mind helping out the cause with the REESE’S. Yep, swimmers' appetite strikes again. Good thing they swim seven days a week, right? Heh!

Oh, to have the metabolism of a 12-year-old competitive swimmer!

Now want me to admit the irony? The utter ridiculousness of my brain? Don't tell my kids, but it turns out I reviewed the wrong flavor.

Come here, lovah!

Ohhh noes! Ohhhh yes. It turns out Breyers is such a fantastical confectionary that they have TWO REESE’S flavors. The flavor in my baby girl's hands? Peanut Butter Cups. This one?

Come to Mama!

The flavor I was supposed to review? Chocolate REESE’S. Oh, what is a girl to do but go out while the kids are still in school and snatch up a lovely, lovely carton of chocolatey, peanut-butterific goodness.

What a tasty, tasty accident

Have I ever mentioned chocolate ice cream with peanut butter was my favorite as a kid? But honey, this is waaay better than I remember it ever tasting. Waaay!

Come here, my pretty!

Why don't you come a little closer? 



Sorry, kiddos! This rich chocolate with generous peanut butter layers? This one is ALLLL mine! My new chocolate stash is now cleverly hidden behind the ice trays. Keep yo' paws out of it. Heh!

Now, tell me how you and your family would enjoy Breyers Blasts! Comment, tweet, or blog about this review and your family can be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card!
The Rules:
No purchase necessary. No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this promotion with hashtag #sweeps and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate free form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 6/28 to 7/26. Be sure to visit the Breyers Blasts! brand page on BlogHer.com, where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

I was compensated and provided free product for this post. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

On Marriage, Motherhood, and Caffeine: I'm Not Worthy

Believe me: I know I am spoiled!
My husband brings me coffee everyday.  


Usually before I am up and out of bed.  It's just his thing he loves to do for me.  

...Or perhaps he knows his chances of a level-minded wife increase with caffeine.

This last week, he got up at 4 AM more than once to take the kids to their morning swim practice and still managed to bring me that blessed steaming coffee.

Today however?  Today, while the coffee was ground and brewed on timer, he arrived home from practice--only to turn around quickly to grab an earlier van pool. He was rushed.

To be honest, I was still engrossed with the email avalanche that built up while I was at BlogHer Food, so didn't yet feel the siren call of good ol' Joe.

Nope, no mood swings, shakes or headaches...yet!  Heh! I do admit I am a java junkie.

One awesome little man
It turns out, I did not need to feel that urge as suddenly a steaming cuppa o' Joe appeared next to my laptop at the kitchen table.  

This li'l guy took a page from his Dad and took time out of packing his own lunch for school, after making his own breakfast, to make me coffee--fixed exactly to my specifications.

I'll I can say is I am one lucky girl and whomever marries my li'l guy is one lucky girl too!

Thanks, boys!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

On Motherhood: Letting Loose, Embracing Imperfect Parenting and Making Memories (Video)

Remember before kids you imagined the type of parent you would be?  I was amazing...in my head.  

However, then stress comes along, with a handful of frustration and a splash of attitude and all those happy thoughts go out the window?

Hello.  My name is Heather Murphy-Raines and I am about as imperfect as a mom can be.  You too?

Anyone who does not join this club?  They are cheating themselves.  I know this imperfection and doubting my convictions as a parent is what truly does make me march forward, adapting, and yearning to be better for them.

As for my parents, as always there is good and bad.  I truly believe my memories and experiences probably do not compare to what they remember or recall.  I have seen this as fact with my own kids.  They clearly point to shared moments--indicting me--that have me scratching my head and chagrined...hoping that 3-vs-1 does not make it fact!

Still there is one childhood memory that sticks with me.  My mother, when I was four years old, once let me play for hours in a spring outburst of rain.  My little neighborhood friend Kevin and I rolled in warm concrete gutters as the torrential rain sloshed down.  

We splashed, barefoot, stubbing toes and leaving gleefully bloody footprints.  Our dungarees dripped and our bright, colorful umbrellas were for smacking water--not for protection. We slid on green grass until mud appeared and picked everyone's limp, water-trodden roses. 

I am sure other mothers on the street judged my mom for allowing two 4-year-olds to be let loose in a warm spring storm, but for tow headed, lost in a shuffle of four siblings (but soon to be six) and another two (but soon to be five)  foster kids, me? 

It was heaven.

Fast forward thirty-odd years and every once in a while, I let my crazy-I-am-sure-I-will-be-judged-for-this-but-I-don't-give-a-fig mom out.  We eat cake for dinner.  We have rude day where we intentional try to break EVERY etiquette rule possible. Yes, I let my baby girl shave her legs at six and my son have a mohawk at a similar age.  And then there are the puddles...

My mom started something with the puddles.  When I was sixteen and licensed to drive, I spent an entire afternoon with a friend searching out and driving fast through puddles.  Spinning wheelies in puddles. Opening my station wagon's sun roof and trying to angle the puddle into the car. Yes, I obsess about puddles.

So imagine my inner-glee when my kids and I were driving the other day on a suburban street, close to Seattle, where torrential downpours are our middle name. 

There it was.  

THE puddle of all puddles.  

The kids, not knowing of my puddles obsession, look tentatively at me and then at each other.  Brows furrow.  Lips are chewed.  Then she asks, "Mom, can we drive through that puddle again.  Please?"

Oh, honey, you have no idea what you just started. Let the magic begin:

Over and over we drove through that puddle--trying to create a wave so big as for it to get in through our SUV's sun roof or even better, to drench her big brother who volunteered to video.

Oh yes, we embraced that puddle.  We hid when we saw a patrol car drive by, giggling, and then started again.  And again.  And again.

Yes, I revved that engine and we were wet as a water ride:

Yes, I am a bad mom.  This is something that is perfect in it's imperfection. Yes, I embrace it.  And yes, I hope this is a memory that lasts until her daughter looks up to her pleadingly one day and asks, "Again?"

So tell me your imperfect moments with your mom as a child or your child now that you are a mom?  What craziness imperfection have you enjoyed?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Criss Cross Applesauce: Oh My, Yes! Spiders Crawling UP My Spine

I had the distinct pleasure of having a case of the creepy crawlies all week.  An outbreak of lice in the school will always do that to one.  In fact, mention lice, ticks, fleas, crabs, mosquitoes or any disgusting manner of parasitic creepy crawly bits o' scary, and you will have the honor of seeing me magically transform into a Labrador.

Seb has waaay more control over his itch-i-tude than I will ever have!! 

Yes, a Labrador.  Scratch, scratch.

Ooooh so itchy.  Fluff hair.  Scratch some more.  Check auburn hair part in mirror. Remaining convinced I feel something crawling, my husband of 16 years once again endures checking my head.  And again.  And again.  Rinse.  Lather. Repeat.

Has he ever found anything? Never.  Neither I nor my family have ever  had lice, ticks, or the rest.  Does that deter me?

Abso-freaking-loutely not.  Nope, it never stops the insistence that he checks.

A well meaning preschool teacher of one of my kid's once taught me the power to stop any lice in their tracks.  The answer, my friends?  Braid your hair and don't shower.  LICE don't like dirty hair.  They are picky! Soooo...Yes, when there is an outbreak in town, you can smell the granola of my family coming.

Do I care?  Not one bit.  Nor do the boys. Heh!  Actually, now that they are older and competitive swimmers, the chlorine takes care of the task too.  Knock on wood...

So BACK to MY CASE of the creepy-crawlies, this constant body check, mirror gazing, and leg smacking was the situation last week as I drove the rug rats once again to swim practice.  Ugh.  Itchy.  Something crawling down my back and then up my arm.  Trailing along my neck again.

Huge breath intake.  Hold.  Hold.  No, it cannot be resisted.  Insert Labrador.

I shake my body and hair.  Any minute, I was going to start gnawing my shoulder off with my teeth. Finally, I pulled over and started a pat down more reminiscent of  a self-flagellating attack.

Must.  Kill.  All.  Imaginary.  Buggies.


Then I felt it.  A lump.  A crackly shell of a body.  I pull of my black sweater and underneath?  For the love that is all holy underneath???

The biggest FREAKING BLACK spider I have ever seen. Yes, I will admit.  My friends?


No longer Labrador, I scream, jump out of car, shake, smack, hit, kill, bruise even and now?  Now I am scarred for life.

Thank you spider for fulfilling my worst nightmare and instantly reliving the trail that your cold, vacant EIGHT black eyes had traveled over my body-- with my flailing palms.

I hate you and I usually like spiders.  However, spiders on my neck, down my shoulder blades....stop!  Stop!

I am feeling another Labrador situation coming on... I hate you!

Yes, I need a drink!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hater, Trolls, and Thank Yous: Oh My!

Got haters?  Been told you have man hands?  Gasped in delight when people wished you had cancer? If you blog, you've had them.   This video below is by the far the best response I have seen to date.  It's a delight! Go on!  Watch it!

And so I take her cue and say to the poison #$%@ of a blogger who told me in response to this humorous post last year that my husband should cheat on me?  Thank you!  Many, many thanks.  My husband of SIXTEEN years and three children completely enjoyed your charm.

...And no I did not link to her poison because she has drilled up drama, on purpose, for impressions FOR YEARS and the world has enough hate jocks in the media for me to ever send my traffic her way. I just loved that at a recent conference, everyone at the table unanimously agreed on the...errr... quality of her work.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Seattle Summer Outlook Sunnier Thanks To Michelob Ultra Light Cider and My Spicy Citrus Chipotle Steak Salad


Yes Mmmmm....

Can you feel it?  Yes, it is coming.  Something that anyone in the Pacific Northwest craves more than the strongest coffee, the darkest chocolate, the thickest cut of bacon, or any combination thereof...

It's the sun. You know that orb usually covered by clouds 10-3/4 months of the year...That sun!!

Hubs getting his frosty beverage on...

Sorry, I needed to get all exclamatory on you because with the sun comes those rare moments of warmth, bright light, squinting eyes that require sun glases, actually wearing shorts and flip flops without goosebumps-- although as a swim mom I wear them year round anyways-- grilling some spicy, spicy meat, and yes, even feeling the thirst-quenching need for a cool, frosty beverage.

Six pack this!

In my case, I lucked out and hit the mother-lode when both such a warm Seattle WEEK aligned with little ol' me enlisted to check out a six-pack of crisp, light, and refreshing Michelob Ultra Light Cider.

My friends?  It just doesn't get any better.  Making your husband be your beverage model?  Well yes that's fun too, but mainly I was talking about the cider. Heh!

So it's been a long hot day in the sun?  Get yerself a nice frothy, sparkly crisp apple cider to cool one down.  Normally I go for over the top, vibrant flavor, but sometimes when it's really hot? Sometimes a light and sparkly alternative just hits the spot -- with just a smidge of alcohol to relax that spot between your shoulder blades after a long day of angsty tiffs with my teens.  This cider did this for me with it's slightly tart and lightly sweet flavor profile.  Not too heavy.  Not too sweet.

Spicy, spicy, hot, and spicy citrus, chipotle, and black pepper marinade

Then a couple days letter, I'm really getting into to this Seattle sun?  We got our grill on with some added spice thanks to black pepper and chipotles.  Well maybe I was a bit heavy handed with the spicy--Ole!-- but I added another crisp, cool cider to the mix and balance was achieved.  

Perfectly paired with a tart and sweet cider

I've been assured that you can even put this cider over ice, but to be honest the bottle has never made it to anywhere, but my lips as soon as I twist the top off. Heh!

Heck yes, you better be drooling about now...

Guess what?  I am craving summer now...

Even tasted yummy with fruity desserts

And Michelob?  Hehe...you had me at cider!  Seriously, a nice light cider, made from hand-picked apples no less, after a busy late spring-almost summer day of driving my kids to swim practice and football practice, and after fitting in some writing of course,  was more than idyllic.

Get some!  Recipe coming soon...

An added bonus? Michelob's cider is a lower calorie, naturally sweetened, gluten-free, lighter version of tradition cider. With 1/3 less calories then leading hard ciders and 120 calories per serving? Yes my hips thank you already. :) 

No trust me! Cider hits the spot!

Even better news? Michelob Ultra light cider is now available year round, unlike the traditional  heavy ciders that show up on the shelves in fall/winter.  Cheers my friends!  Here's to another summery, sunny day coming your way!

Which favorite summer meal or activity do you think would go best with Michelob ULTRA Light Cider?

I wrote this post while participating in the Michelob program on behalf of BlogHer. I received product information to facilitate my post and monetary compensation for the time to write my post.

For more information, please visit Michelob:  


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