United States of Motherhood: March 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Morality and Life Lessons

Found in the trash by his older brother, here are some gems of wisdom from my 6th grader:

"Morality and Life Lessons

1. NEVER leave asthma untreated

2. Refill the toilet paper

3. Boys make the opening move

4. Don't take no sh$t from no one

5. Moms are valuable, and you only get one."

((Jaw drop for the 2nd time this week courtesy of a son)))

Wow! So what would you out on your own Morality and Life Lessons list?

I am kind of partial to #5. Hehehe! 

Someone trained him well! ;)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Teaching Your Child To Ride a Bike the No Tears Way! Pedalheads® to the Rescue #Spon

Source: Pedalheads®

Do you remember the day you learned to ride a bike?  Odds were a parent spent hours with you--neither side really knowing what they were doing.  Yes, there were smiles of triumph, but also lots of tears and pouts and skinned knees, right?  Crashes. Frustration and mental blocks on both sides.

Yep, that sounds familiar right? The same with my kids. They learned, but not without a lot of time on my part as a stay-at-home mom and their dad on the week-ends.   My daughter still bears a slight scar above her upper lip from her learn to bike days.  Of course, we were in a wedding with pictures a few days after.  Sigh...

Now fast forward to today's working mom.  I have had girlfriends lament finding the time to teach their kiddos to ride and, double unlucky, we live in Seattle.

Seattle = Hills and that scar I mentioned above?  Yep my daughter lost control on a  hill.  So scary!!

Seattle = Dangerous traffic even for the most experienced adult bicyclist 

So often, my working mom friend's little ones are not so little anymore when they finally pick up the skill. I learned when I was 4 as did my kids, but some of my kids' friends still don't know how to ride. Honestly even if you stay home it's a challenge to focus your attention on one child, if you have others vying for your attention.

I often have wondered why do we gets lessons for our kids to learn to swim?  Why do we schedule lessons in karate, dance, and soccer?  Yes, even skiing, unless you are brave, is a lesson left to the experts--I could tell you horror stories of trying to teach one kiddo to ski.  Heheh!  Just because we as parents can ski doesn't mean we remember or know how to teach the techniques at a pre-school level, right?

Source: Pedalheads®

Yet when my kids were younger, I never saw anything on bike riding lessons.  So why wouldn't we also have experienced experts teach our kiddos to ride like skiing or swimming? We could cheer their successes, but leave the frustrations to the experts. Heh!  I love that!

Source: Pedalheads®
Enter Pedalheads®.

They approached me the other day as they are expanding their successful program from Canada to Seattle.


So what is Pedalheads® about?

Pedalheads® is a 10 level instructional bike safety and skills program for kids aged 2-12. 
From training wheels to trails, each level includes 5 learning categories: safety knowledge, safety skills, trail riding, street riding, and bike maintenance.

Pedalheads®'s goal is to provide your child with the right level so he/she will feel safe, excited and challenged by all the skills and activities at camp. They have half-day and full-day camps for ages four and older as well as toddler camps and private lessons.  Listen this is from beginners up to 10+ year olds wanting to learn to tackle tough trails (steep up and down) log rides and ladder bridges.

From the reviews they are getting on their Pedalheads® Facebook page, parents are liking this...a lot! Here are just some of the FIVE STAR raves:

Source: Pedalheads®
"We couldn't believe the confidence they built in one day let alone the week. Thanks to Aimee for her enthusiasm, coaching and incredible patience. Kudos to all the staff at the Burnaby camp. You are all superheros!"
"My son has attended a Pedalheads camp for the past 2 summers and my daughter for 1 summer. The instructors are knowledgeable, friendly and patient! After a scary incident while bike riding a few years ago our son was very hesitant to ride but is now riding on 2 wheels and loving it!! Thank you to the Pedalheads staff in Edmonton and St. Albert! I recommend your camps to everyone!"
"Pedalheads (and instructor Julia) did in 2 days what we have been trying to do with our son since last summer. Take off his training wheels! In 2 1/2 hours his confidence went up 110%, and today he asked to have his training wheels taken off. And he still has 3 more days left. Amazing program, and great bunch of instructors! Thank you!"
"Pedalheads has done in four days what we couldn't do in three years. Our son isn't only on two wheels now, he loves biking so much now that we had to practically lock his bike up to get him inside for bedtime tonight. Great job, Pedalheads and Martin!"

Curious if they are near you?  Besides being all over Canada, camps located here in Washington are at:

   NE Seattle        

East Seattle        

NW Seattle                  

West Seattle

    Dahl Playfield
    View Ridge Playfield        
Miller Playfield                 
Soundview Playfield
Gilman Park                                
Hiawatha Park
Alki Playground            


    Cherry Crest Elementary             

Source: Pedalheads®
So busy Seattle and Seattle Eastside moms, dads, and grandparents? Here is an invitation to attend one of their open houses to get a better sense of what Pedalheads® is all about.

Open House Information:

Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 10:00 - Noon - Cherry Crest Elementary - Bellevue

Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 1:00 p.m – 3:00 p.m. - Soundview Playfield - NW Seattle

Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 1:00 p.m – 3:00 p.m.  - Hiawatha Park - West Seattle

Disclosure:  I was provided product, a service or compensation to review and write this sponsored post.  As always I only honestly review products, brands, and companies I love or think are pretty dang awesome. I turn down literally hundreds of products and services a year which I do not think are a good fit for my community or which I simply don't like. While I have not tried Pedalheads® because my kiddos learned to bike long ago, I think it's a valuable service that I would have used when they were younger and would definitely recommend to friends and family. Teaching a older kid with a toddler and baby in tow?  Not so easy hehehe!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Stages of Grief & Humane Euthanasia: Seb

Having such a hard time knowing in 3 hrs I will never see this face again. Making furious lists to remind myself why we made this decision. 

Pro euthanasia list 45 reasons long. Staying the course? Six. Still my mind keeps playing tricks on me. My heart screams, "No!" 

So I keep making myself kiss his soft ears, sing to him softly, stroke that furrow between his brow and then look at my list of reasons in black and white why this must happen. Must...

Denial is a stage of grief and losing my dog of 16 years is like losing a child. 

Just trying to get past the denial and into acceptance before the vet gets here...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Saying Goodbye is Heartbreaking: Seb

Giving my Seb as much love as humanly possible today. 

Breaking my heart, but we say goodbye to my almost 17 year old furry baby and best friend tomorrow..

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day: Green Eyes Count

Yeah this green-ed out husband of mine just came home and asked me if I was forgetting something. 

Yep, no green clothing on me, but screw that!  

This red headed Irish Murphy girl has green eyes so in my opinion I am covered for life, right?! 


I told him to kiss my arse because I am Irish!

Pro Tip to Keeping Kids Hydrated: PUR Water Pitchers at the Table

So this 11 cup PUR LED pitcher showed up in the mail last week from Influenster and Pur.

We have filtered water on our fridge, but we are all not good still about hydrating.

So? Umm I am completely shocked, but the kids are going crazy with it. Yep they even named it, "Christine the Pristine Water machine." 

Yep that teen swimmer above? His idea! 

Anyway for some reason having a cold, tasty and filtered pitcher at the table suddenly has my kids guzzling water whereas before I'd harp on them to hydrate and teens being teens, they'd ignore me.

So who knew! All I know is I have a pitcher that is awesome that I didn't even know I needed for my teen athletes! 

Some facts on the Pur 11 Cup Pitcher:
  1. PUR Water Filters are certified to remove more contaminants than any other leading brand - even bottled waters!
  1. PUR Water Filters reduce up to 61 contaminants including heavy metals, agricultural pesticides, industrial pollutants, pharmaceuticals, microbial cysts, and chlorine taste and odor.
  1. Why filter? Discover the quality of drinking water in your area with this tool and see first-hand how PUR improves the quality of your water.

Disclosure:  I was provided a product to review but opinions and reviews, as always, are my honest opinion.  I wouldn't review it if I didn't LOVE it!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cryo-Packed Pork Shoulder & Sulfur Smell: Help My Meat Smells Like Stinky Eggs

$35 down the drain...

Help!! Ummm so if you don't hear from me in a few days? Blame Costco! It was the Costco pork shoulder that did us in. 

Ok backing up, I bought a massive 16 lb pork butt last week. The "Sell By Date"--not use by date--was two days ago which means it should be fine. 

Today I opened up a the vacuum-sealed pack and it smelled. 

REALLY smelled. 

But not of  off   or  rotten meat, but more like hard-boiled eggs. Sulphur! I immediately was going to throw it out (ouch $35 chunk of meat) and call Costco. However I consulted the internet which said sulphur smells are really common with cryo-packed pork. 

Something about blood hitting air. Maybe something about bone saw and bone dust releasing sulphur. Eww!

Everywhere it was suggested I rinse the meat and let it air for 5-30 min. I never rinse meat because of bacterial contamination after listening to this NPR story:

And then watching this:

Heck, even the U.S. government says don't do it:

"Mistake #4: Washing meat or poultry
Why: Washing raw meat or poultry can spread bacteria to your sink, countertops, and other surfaces in your kitchen.
Solution: Don’t wash meat, poultry, or eggs." 

But I did this time. I mean come on, $35 in meat lost is not cool. I will bleach the kitchen later.

And 10 min later?  The smell was 95% gone.

30 minutes later?  If I put my nose millimeters close, it still smelled a little like hard-boiled eggs or the whiff of Yosemite paint pots in the wind. The color of the meat is fine. I've heard up to 3 weeks after sell by date is fine. 

I was still not 100% convinced though.

Consulting Facebook and Twitter, my super scientific (not!) poll gave an answer of a resounding NO! In less than 20 minutes, 26 people said toss, 5 said cook it, and a couple said maybe. 

So then I called Costco and I talked to their butcher. 

He said sulphur smells happen. 

He personally breaks down and packages their pork a lot in their Issaquah meat department. Although he commented several times that it should be safe and would be "fine," he also told me that they even they throw out pork if the sulfur smell is really bad. 

He did say airing it out helps. He reiterated that it would be safe if I chose to cook it, but that Costco would be happy to return it. 

Hmmm... the thought of wasting meat bothers me environmentally, but I also have an incredibly sensitive tummy. My husband's "Eat raw meat/Polish upbringing" would mean it would be probably be okay for his stomach of iron, but I decided to err on the side of caution for me and the kids.

Added to that? The former vegetarian in me? (I know all you guys are laughing at my paleo posts now!!) That former vegetarian just screamed. She feels horribly wasting that much meat for which a creature died ...Sigh!! Oh the guilt!!!

Still back it goes.  

That said, Costco has a very liberal return policy. Even so, one time I brought back a leg of lamb that was bad one day past it's sell by date and the Costco employee actually hassled me a bit. It was no use convincing her that the sell by and use by were very different. That was the first and only time I had been hassled at Costco, but I left feeling kind of like a criminal which I did not enjoy.

Had it not been Costco and the store I purchased it at wouldn't return it?  I admit, I might have been tempted to cook it and disregard all my Facebook friend's advice such as "When in doubt, throw it out," and "Having survived ecoli...it's not worth it" and the clincher, "My sister used to work at a grocery store and told me that sometimes employees will find refrigerated goods throughout the store and just put them back - you never know if a product was left out of the refrigerated aisle..." 

Sigh.  Maybe it's time to go vegetarian again? Heh!

Call me a rebel!  No, call me a cheapskate! Heh! Definitely call me a coward too.  I made my  teens take back on the way to swim practice.  Ha!  So question, my dear friends, would you have cooked it?

Friday, March 7, 2014

"Be a Man:" Do Your Boys Wear a Mask?

Whether it be , "Be a Man" or "Man up" or "Don't be a girl?"  

Just don't say it! Period.

Please Smile: Dogs as Depression Therapy & Rover.com

Are you smiling yet??

Yep, when I have rough days, I think of Ollie, ever optimistic Ollie humping every leg in sight and seizing every opportunity.  

Sometimes I think we should all live like dogs...

Shaking off disappointment.  Seeing every treat as a rainbow. Trusting first. Seeing the good in everyone whether they deserve it or not. 

And, when life treats you badly? You brush it off and keep wagging your tail. 

Dogs are my ultimate depression therapy.  What is yours?

No pups?  Need some dogs in your life?  Consider being a sitter for Rover.com. You make your hours, your rate, and you choose your clients. It's free to set up an account, but once you do, oh my, the awesomeness rolls in.  So many pups, so many characters, and so many wagged tails.  Bonus? Someone pays you to cuddle with these waggly tails.

In full disclosure, I netted $692 in November, $920 in December, $475 in January, and $1069 in February. I have another $1543 booked for March and more in April and June. I also donated over $90 to the Seattle Humane Society from my gross proceeds. I expect to make between $10k-15K while keeping my day job.  All while having cuddly bodies in my lap while I blogged.  Wiggly tails to keep me company on walks and runs. Little clowns that make my kids' faces light up with their antics. Knowing these cuties are soooo much happier here in my home than in a scary room full of dozens of barking pups, cold floors, with little attention. Honestly I fall in love with everyone of my clients and get so excited when they re-book.

Rover is a website that connects dog owners with local dog sitters.  As a Rover dog sitter, you can turn your love for dogs (and kitties too) into a way to earn extra spending money - whether you're funding your next vacation, paying down your rent, or even turning it into lucrative full-time gig! Make an online profile and post your dog-sitting services so that owners in your area can find you. Rover sitters have made between $300 - $3500 in their first 3 months on Rover. They even off insurance to purchase for 24 hour vet consults. It's perfect for those that work from home, stay-at-home moms, and even college students with their own apartments.

I would love to hear if you try it. Please please tell me in comments. I get a small referral fee for new sitters, but more importantly, I like to hear I helped someone find a source to smile while assisting with the grocery bills  or rent or in my case?  Helping gather up some funds for a soon to be hitting college kid (GULP) and paying off some bills.

And if you are looking for a dogsitter for a fuzzy family member? Look here for me if you are in the Seattle area. Even if not, it's a great place to start to look for a sitter in your area. Rover.com is nation-wide.

 Even better?  Use my promo code " SCOUTSHONOR20"  
to receive $20 off your first stay* with ANY sitter. 

Spring break and summer  is coming.  Wouldn't you like your pups to be on a cozy couch, next to a dog lover, rather than a cold cement kennel?

*Code Restrictions:  Codes cannot be used for discounts for existing Rover.com customers.  Code is valid for new customers only.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Ugly Cry: Disney Princesses, Claire Dane, Old Dogs, and Say Something

Raise your hand if you ugly cry?  No, not a Julia Roberts doe-eyed dribble or Rachel McAdams quivering chin simper... 

No ugly, beasty, #letitgo, make everyone in the room uncomfortable sob.



Yeah, me neither. Heh!



Okay, I'm lying.

Yep, I'd like to think I cry like a Disney princess, but I know it's more like this:

A couple weeks back, I got good news. After a night of worry, I thought we needed to once again call it with Seb, our 17 year old pup. It turned out not to be a stroke, but Idiopathic Vestibular Old Dog Disease.

Yep, fixable. My pup has nine lives for sure.

The vet actually gave me tissues and backed slowly out of the room because I started to sob.  UGLY sob.  Happy tears, but out of control, my friends.

Then today?

Dang it.  (Wiping tears)

I looked up this video since I like the song:

Holy crap!

The old couple in the video slayed me!!  Just totally LOST it!! Total ugly sobs after ugly sobs. Glad the kids aren't home to make fun of me. I am not even a Christina Aquilera fan, but oh my!

Ugly, ugly cry!

So was this just me and hormones or did it make you cry too??

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Carrot Pumpkin Spice Honey Muffins...errr Cakes...Maybe Bread #Paleo #GlutenFree #kidtested

The good news? I slept until 11 AM Sunday morning.  A combination of hurt back, exhaustion from averaging 4 hours a sleep, and a sniffle did me in. We scratched the kids' swim meet which let me take car of myself.  The bad news?  On Sunday night it was 1 AM and I was wide awake.

I know it's useless to fight it and  I realized there was pretty much nothing for the kiddos to eat before they are off to school the next day. So why not develop a recipe for breakfast with ingredients I have??  Shredding carrots at 3 AM? Yep!

So I purposely made a muffin batter that is a little less sweet because the honey topping brushed on top adds all the sweet you need with the additional texture of sliced almonds for crunch.   Heh.  Pro-mom trick!

Now to be honest, with the pumpkin addition?  I should really call these Carrot Pumpkin Spice Honey BREAD rounds or cakes.  Yes, these are moist and dense like pumpkin bread.  If you wait over night, in the morning, they will be super moist and have that dense pumpkin bread texture I love.

Result? My non-paleo kids inhaled them and I love that they are packed with nutrients, fiber and protein from the carrot, pumpkin, coconut, and almonds. My daughter did say she would call them cupcakes if we added frosting.  How is that for eating your vegetables, eh?

Paleo Carrot & Pumpkin Muffin Bread Cake-A-Majiggers Recipe

3 cups cup almond flour
1 tbsp ground flaxseed (optional)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves

6 eggs
4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 cup organic canned pumpkin
8 tbsp honey
1 tbsp vanilla
3 cups carrots, grated (about 10-12 medium carrots)
2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Drizzled honey on top to taste

Preheat 325.

In large bowl, combine thoroughly almond flour through cloves.  In separate bowl or mixer, blend together eggs, coconut oil, pumpkin, and honey.

Fold in carrots and coconut to wet ingredients.  Gently, add in dry ingredients and mix well.

Using an ice scream scoop/cookie scoop, place thick batter into paper liners inserted into muffin pans. Drizzle with a little honey on top of each. Top with a pinch of sliced almonds.

Bake for 30 to 32 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Drizzle honey again on top of muffins and brush while warm. 

Let rest on counter in muffin tins overnight.

Makes 2 dozen muffins.

Tell Me What You Think If You Make Them?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ode to Teenagers: LMFAO-ing My Mom Butt Off & Sniffling Too

It was a very strange night with teenagers this week-end indeed!  Strange & slightly creepy to turn around and see this...

Still, this is the material I hoped for when I dealt with tantrum-y toddlers and whiny pre-schoolers.  Yes, someday when I was whiny and tired, I would turn around and see this and crack up hysterically.  Never a dull moment. After my heartbeat returned to normal, I was and am always very entertained by my crazy kiddos.

By the way, Eldest called this low budget Daft Punk, but as many people pointed out on Instagram and Facebook, it also bears a striking similarity to LMFAO 's robot which seems appropriate since my teens have me LMFAO-ing all the time.

Yes, this mother's teens always has her party rocking. Heh!

Yes, they make my heart lose itself to dance and that's sappy as hell, so they will roll their eyes if they see this. Double heh! Yep, that's my job as a mom.

Yes, this often flawed mommy will keep them and cherish every one of their beloved flaws ... and we won't talk about how this kiddo is a senior and will graduate this year. 


It goes way too fast, my friends,  so do me a favor and hug that tantrum-y toddler or that whiny pre-schooler that you have now.  Kiss the cheek of that sassy pre-teen.  And yes, tell that enchanting sometimes, and infuriating most of the time teen that you love them EVER single day as they walk out the door. Time is fleeting. 


Now entertain me?  What crazy do you currently love about your kiddos?

The Difference Between 14 and 41: Sleep VS Nails

The difference between 14 and 41?

 Not feeling the best, so we scratched last day of swim meet. I slept. 

My teen? 

Pretty, but I will take sleep any day. :) Yep. The Difference Between 14 and 41.

If you had an extra two hours, which would you have chosen?

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