United States of Motherhood: January 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

Crossfit & Girls' Names for Wods: Why??

Yep, that pretty much explains it right?  Girls kick ass and today I am about to embark on Grace!!

For Time:

30 Clean & Jerks (95 lbs for females / 135 lbs for men)

This was the first crossfit WOD I rx-ed.  "Rx" meaning I performed the weight at the standard 95 lbs. Since then, I've hit it at 6:45 minutes.  Today?? Today, I am really hoping I go below 6 minutes.

If someone told me that even five years ago, I would be eagerly looking forward to throwing down some heavy weight? Free weights?  In a gym?  With chalk and calluses? That being strong and feeling my muscles would empower me like nothing else?

I would have said they were crazy.

Well call me crazy.  I have a rumble with Grace today!!



Boom!!! Just got a crossfit benchmark wod Grace personal record at RX weight !!! So excited. 

30 Clean & Jerks at 95# in 4:30!! 

Happy dancing!! My goal was to go under 6 min. Beat my best time by 2 minutes 15 seconds.  I was inspired by by awesome crossfit buddy Pat who did in some crazy 1:54 with 135 lbs!!

So just in case you have no idea what I am talking about, here's a video below of a pretty awesome crossfitter Karianne Dickson doing Clean & Jerks with the same work out "Grace."

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sweet & Tart Cranberry Apple Fruit Spread: Paleo, Gluten-Free & Fast

I can't help myself.  Every holiday, I buy the huge bag of cranberries at Costco.  It's cheaper than the small bag at the grocery store even though I only need a few cups. We make cranberry sauce from a 1/3 of it and then those berries languish in my produce drawer of my fridge. I swear cranberries are indestructible! I used to make breads with the rest, but since going gluten free, they sit.

So it's end of January, and there those berries still call.  Then it came to me. Silly me, why haven't I thought of this before.  Why not a fruit spread for the kids? Not being paleo, they eat jam, jellies, and preserves like crazy. PB&J are their lifeblood. So why not a healthier version with organic honey? 

See that.  I am always slowly trying to wean my teens away from processed and towards eating clean. Baby steps. 

So this, a combination of what I had on hand in my kitchen, is not your typical jam or preserve. Instead it's more of a thick chutney or relish-like base to spread on muffins or toast. It's can be a stand alone for those who like the solid cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving and of course, it's great on sandwiches. Finally, it's a perfect base for  smoothies. Best yet, it's a quick 20 minute recipe that yields a typical eight 6 oz jars of jam for half the price. $2 in cranberries. $1 each for a lemon and an apple . $3-4 in organic honey from Costco? A pinch of salt? Almost 3.5 pints of yum. That's about a dollar a cup!

Fast Paleo Cranberry Apple
 Fruit Spread

5 cups cranberries
1 apple, peeled and cubed
2 cups organic honey
1 large lemon, juiced
2 pinches pink Himalayan or sea salt
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp gelatin

Put apples, cranberries, and lemon juice in blender and blend until smooth as possible. Add to heavy bottom pot. Mix in honey and salt. Cook on medium high heat until the mixture begins to boil. Reduce to medium low. Simmer for 10-12 minutes stirring frequently. 

While fruit simmers, add gelatin to water until fully combined and let sit until solid. Take fruit off heat. Mix gelatin into fruit until thoroughly combined. 

In batches, blend fruit mixture again until smooth. Divide among two quart mason jars or in any reusable tightly closing Gladware.  Cool on counter 5-10 minutes. Refrigerate. Makes about 7 cups of spread.

For the record, I made this last night and we are already down a pint!


I am thinking of trying this on a peppery chicken breast for Valentine's Day...if there's any left!

Monday, January 27, 2014

How Bad Did I Mess Up??

Someone is really unhappy with the haircut I gave him. 


"Too short" he says, but believe me when I say these before pics are the best his old hair looked. 95% of the time he looked like a hybrid of straw and maltreated Barbie hair- the chlorine damage was so bad. 

He says I gave him a "douche" haircut. How bad did I mess up??

Monday, January 20, 2014

Warriors Not Statesmen: Richard Sherman's Rant

For those that just see Sherman as a caricature of an angry, classless (sooo sick of this word being thrown around everywhere) football player?  I see a warrior -- not only on the field -- but in life. You have to have a thick skin, intelligence, ambition, and amazing confidence to go from Compton to Stanford to the Superbowl. Stanford is one of the few places where you have to get in on academics--not just athleticism.

Now let's look at the game.  Football is brutal.  It is bloody.  It breaks bones and in this game, knees...and suddenly at the end they are supposed to eat crumpets and say cheerio, my dear?

No, they are warriors. Not statesmen.

I would also add we have all said things in the heat of the moment.  He was responding, with adrenaline still blazing, to his handshake to his opponent not only spurned, but being  smacked in the face by someone he clearly has personal issues off the field. Sportsmanship was not at it's best on BOTH sides.

We won't even go into the bad blood between him and the Niner's coach from his Stanford days. Other than I hear he feels the coach sabotaged his chances in the draft, so I am sure this was all kinds of emotional redemption for him. I say again-warrior!

Now imagine the last time you lost your temper in traffic or with a family member and then it being broadcast to the whole world.  I know they would have had to bleep a lot out of my broadcast. Yet, he didn't let one curse word fly. He was angry. He was WWE over the top. Soo what? Why aren't we lambasting the face smacker?  Or how about the player clothes-lined by someone on the 49ers sidelines? Honestly, I say we give them all a little break.

And in the end, football is a game.  It is not religion. Fans for whatever team they cheer for need to take a deep breath if a game makes your blood boil or epithets and insults fly. If it's no longer a good natured and fun way to pass the time--entertainment--perhaps walk away and cool your jets like Sherman probably should have.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Twelve: I Will Love You Dozens More

Twelve.  It's just a number.

Twelve.  A dozen years.


Today my youngest, my Li'l Man, is twelve.

How did this happen? I swear just yesterday he looked like this...

And yet, I blinked, and there my young man is. Too tall for me to put my head on top of his, but not too big to always inittitate a hug in the morning and before bed.

Caring. Compassionate. Combustible.  Oh yes, he inherited his Irish temper from the Murphy line.

Always offering the best shoulder massages and foot rubs in the whole wide world. I am not joking.  He is better than a professional and I tell him he could pay his way through college with those golden hands.

Lover of books and Minecraft and watching videos of people playing videogames on YouTube.  Don't ask.

Highly skilled in the ways of origami and King's Corner. Always begging me with those sweet blue eyes to play a game or two or three.

Yesterday a swimmer and crossfitter.  Today a wrestler and football. Tomorrow basketball and track. Always wanting to try something new and bucking the trend to specialize.

My honors student in advanced math and language arts who revels in finding the teacher's mistakes.  Ooops...

Unable to put into three sentences that which could be uttered in one.  He is like me.  No filter.  No editing. Ask him about his day and be prepared to converse for an hour. Heh!

Observant. Helpful. Loving.

And based on his picture above, growing up too dang fast.  I love you, forever and for always, my Li'l Man.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true.

There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

― Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

#Paleo Breakfast Burgers & The Whole Life Challenge

Simple and easy.

Season a 6 ounce 88%  lean ground beef patty with Montreal Steak Seasoning. Add to medium high heat pan.  Pan-broil for 5-6 minutes on each side.

Set patty aside.  In ground beef juices, fry egg and a pan-wilt a handful of baby spinach for 1-2 minutes.  Season with pink salt or sea salt.

Top burger with spinach then egg.The egg yolk when broken serves as a sauce.  Mmmm! Approx 460 calories and packed with 38 grams of protein.

This breakfast is perfect for the Advanced Level of the Whole Life Challenge which is a stricter form of Paleo than I have ever used:

 Specific Nutrition Rules (for the Advanced (Rx) level)

All Players choose their Nutrition Level before the start of the game in the player profile. The specific rules for each level are listed in their profile.
Once the WLC begins, players cannot change their level.
Any infraction of the specific nutrition rules costs a player a point. Will players “break the rules” and lose points during the challenge? Yes! This challenge is about choices, not perfection! Should players do everything they can to earn their points? Absolutely! That’s the game!
  1. Grains or Starchy Carbohydrates
    Allowed: You may consume sweet potatoes and yams. Vegetarians may consume brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, and fermented soy.
     Lose 1 point per infraction of:
    Any grains or starches, e.g. wheat, barley, rye, starchy potatoes (white, yellow, or purple interior), rice (white or brown), bread, pasta, quinoa, corn or soy (including their oils).
  2. Sugar or Sweeteners
    Allowed: Stevia
    Lose 1 point per infraction of:
    Any other sugar or sweeteners (organic or not), e.g., honey, agave, coconut sugar or nectar, evaporated cane juice, and any artificial sweetener.
  3. Dairy
    Allowed: Butter
    Lose 1 point per infraction of:
    Any milk, cheese, sour cream, fermented dairy (yogurt, kefir), or other dairy products.
  4. Alcohol, Soda, Juice
    Allowed: Kombucha, fruit puree (i.e. apple sauce, whole fruit pureed in a blender), any fresh juiced or store bought vegetable juice, lemon juice, and lime juice.
    Lose 1 point per infraction of:
    Lose 1 point per infraction of: beer, wine, spirits (of ANY amount/size), soda, diet soda or fruit juice.
  5. Artificial Ingredients or Processed Foods
    Allowed: Nothing
    Lose 1 point per infraction of:
    Lose 1 point per infraction of: just about everything that gets put in food that you wouldn’t find in your own kitchen. From guar gum to red dye #5, if it’s used to “process” food, it’ll cost a point.
  6. If you don’t know what is in a food, it is the same as eating a food that contains a not-allowed ingredient. This will cost you a point. Be smart. Plan ahead. Call restaurants. “Be that guy”.
  7. Portions
    Just like your workouts, the honor system is in place for all food reporting. Portions size does matter. 1 piece (or bite) of pizza counts for 1 point, 2 pieces counts for 2 points. A whole, unsliced pizza is not one portion, neither is a whole bottle of wine! The same rule applies for any drink alcohol, soda, or juice. One glass, shot, or portion counts as 1, two counts for 2. So it’s clear, ANY amount of alcohol counts for a loss of 1 point, even if it’s just a sip of wine or beer.
  8. Combos
    Food items like sandwiches, pizza, cake, milkshakes, etc. which contain more than one forbidden ingredients only count as 1 point per violation.
For the record?  I haven't lost a point yet and am topping the leaderboard.  Yes, competition helps!! I am also drinking over 100 ounces of water a day and am on a 5 day streak for taking my vitamins and stretching!! 

Need some help keeping honest?  Go to their blog to find out more!

Disclaimer: Since my gym was planning to participate in the WLC, I decided I wanted to do it.  I did reach out to WLC and was provided a free entry for myself and my husband.  As always, I only mention or review services and products I use and/or want to use.  Definitely happy to say I am loving this challenge for the structure and competitiveness it brings out in me. I mean what else could get me to give up BACON (sugar) and cocktails for 8 weeks, right?

Real Life Tough Mudders, Elderly Pups & The Whole Life Challenge

Someone wants a do-over!

You know those days where your elderly dog goes under the muddy pit under your trampoline after weeks of Seattle rain, and falls, then poops, then thrashes in it and can't get up so you crawl with a bad back and screwy shoulder cuff injury after him in the ooze. You drag him out awkwardly as he snaps at you because his arthritis hurts. You bathe him as your back seizes and he collapses because he can't hold his hulking 70 lb weight in the slippery tub. You carry him dripping to his bed in front of the fire only for him to poop again as you dry him. 

Rinse. Lather. Repeat. 

You eye the mud and hair in the tub and the paw prints on the doors and walls where you carried him muddy. You haven't even gotten to crossfit today or yesterday and yet? 

You. Are. Done. Kaput. Exhausted. 

You could insert toddler, elderly relatives or any of life's physical challenges for loved ones into that last paragraph. I have felt this exact way when I have been in those situations in my life as well, but now in my 40's, it's so much harder.

Honestly , I think there should be a Real Life Mudder for parents of rascally toddlers and elderly dogs like a Tough Mudder. Waay harder. 

My real mudder has been on-going for a week now. So for the record, I am totally counting this as my workout for the Whole Life Challenge because what is life if not for these clusters of hardship and heartbreak WITH your crossfit training synching in to help you care for your best buddy and family member of 16 years, right? I am pretty sure without the healthy paleo eating and the fitness I've gained over the past two years, I WOULD NOT be holding my head above water right now.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ooohey Gooey Salted Caramel Almond Pound Bundt Cake #Paleo & #Glutenfree

I like bundt cake and I cannot lie.  Those other brothers can't deny.  When a big plate of cake walks in, I get a tiny little grin and....

Oh, yes, my friends.  This is an ode to cake. Cake! Quite arguably the best word in the dictionary besides bacon.  Even better is the bundt cake.  I have fond memories of it's simplicity to make on the Sundays of my youth. No frosting needed.  Perhaps a drizzle of chocolate, caramel or the lightest dustings of powdered sugar.  Simplicity.

Now that I eat clean and gluten-free, rare is the time that I enjoy cake and my friends, that needs to change. Everyone has a little room for cake now and again, don't they? So I was inspired to make something we could enjoy with minimal guilt. As a two-fer, there is this amazing caramel sauce.

Ooohey Gooey Caramel Almond Pound Bundt Cake 
(Paleo and Gluten-Free)

Bundt Cake

1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup melted coconut oil
 + 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
5 room temperature eggs
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tbsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt coconut oil in glass measuring cup.  Brush a small amount (about a tablespoon) into every crevice of your bundt pan. Set aside.

Place 1 cup flaked coconut onto a baking sheet.  Place coconut in still preheating oven (should be around 200-250) for 5 minutes just to dry it out a bit.

In bowl, mix together 2 cups almond flour, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp baking soda.  Add coconut to the bowl and stir until well combined.

Pour 2/3 cup honey into glass measuring cup already full of 2/3 cup coconut oil. Pro-tip: This makes it easy to get the honey out. Add honey and oil to mixing bowl and blend on medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until the oil and honey is fully mixed together and opaque .  Add eggs 1 at a time to mixer.  If you cheated and your eggs were cold (like mine), as you add them, the coconut oil will chill and coagulate at the bottom of the bowl. Silly you!  Silly me! Just scrape it and mix it back in. At this point the batter should resemble a lemon-curd texture.

Add 1/2 cup almond milk and 2 tbsp vanilla.  Mix until combined.

Add flour-coconut mixture to mixing bowl.  Mix on medium for 1-2 minutes. Pour into your already oiled (Right?? Don't forget that step!) non-stick bundt pan and bake 31-35 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until a tooth pick comes out clean. The cake will be golden brown on top and the bottom will be well-browned toffee shade on the bottom. 

Let cool in pan 5 minutes. Invert upside down on to cake plate, or platter, or just straight into your mouth. Now on to the sauce!!

Homemade Paleo Salted Caramel Sauce

(No cartons of coconut milk-not the same )

1/2 tsp sea salt

Add all ingredients to cold, heavy sauce pan.Turn heat to medium high.  Whisk ingredients until combined and then frequently until the sauce comes to a slow boil. Immediately turn down temperature to medium low (I used the 4 setting on my stove). Stirring with whisk every minute, simmer/slow boil for 17 minutes. Take off heat.  Continue to stir sauce every 2 minutes until it is completely cooled. The sauce will be a rich dark brown. Be careful to stir or the sauce will scorch. It will still seem thin, but I promise it thickens as it cools.

Either drizzle sauce over cake, or individual slices. Cake can be sliced and eaten warm. Isn't that like the best part of bundt cake??? Wrap leftovers (Ha! As if there'd be leftovers!) cake and refrigerate. Yes, REAL food needs to be refrigerated.  This ain't no grocery store bakery or box mix cake. You might, if you don't have locusts like my kids, even have a few tablespoons of salted caramel sauce leftover to stir into your morning espresso.  Mmmm!

For the record, this cake is even good unadulterated with yummy sauce, on it's own. I might have just have had a slice for lunch today...might!

Disclaimer: I've provided links to most of the brands of products I used in the recipe through Amazon.com. Check them out. If you ended up purchasing anything, thanks in advance as I may get a few pennies to eventually save up and add to my bundt cake pan collection. Wooo hooo! My husband thanks you for enabling me. Heh!

Don't have a bundt pan??  Whaaat?  You need to fix that right now, by going and snapping up one of these dreamy Nordicware ones that are all on sale and available through Amazon Prime Free Shipping right now:

Or just hint to your family that they'd make a great Valentine's day gift!
Come here my lovelies...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Son's Concern

I found this on the garage door this morning after the kids had left for school. 

Our youngest heard us talking about cholesterol at the table last night. My husband has healthy range cholesterol while taking the lowest dose of statins (due to familial high cholesterol) but he wants off the magic pill crazy train. 

Looks like not only did SOMEONE pay attention, but they were reading labels at 6 AM before school out of concern for their dad. 

Sooo sweet!!

Feeling Down?

Friday, January 3, 2014

93 Million Views Can't Be Wrong!!

Here for your needed post-holiday Friday afternoon giggle, a new take on Miley...if you are one of the few losers like me who hadn't seen this yet.

Sooooooo freaking funny!!

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