2019 Vancouver Mom Top 30 Blogger

2019 Vancouver Mom Top 30 Blogger

Hello friends. I have some exciting news to share on the blog today:

I’ve made the 2019 Vancouver Mom Top 30 Bloggers.

To say I’m thrilled is an understatement.

For the last 10 years, VancouverMom.ca has conducted its Top 30 mom blogger search. In 2017, when I was in the early stages of developing and launching Mouse House Mom, the Top 30 list was announced and I remember reading each of the profiles and being inspired to carve out my little niche on the web. Two years later, I’m truly honoured to be included as one of the VMTop30.

I’ve always wanted my blog to reach others, build connections, and motivate someone to try something new. Without this blog I wouldn’t have connected with other mom’s that also love running, going to Disney Parks, and mommin’ it up with their kiddos.

Thank you for supporting Mouse House Mom.

 

 

Balance: Running & Donuts

Balance: Running & Donuts

Some weeks are harder than others and for me this has been one of the harder ones.

With my baby turning one on Wednesday it made me extra emotional. With a birthday comes a birthday party and we are hosting about 30 people in our house this weekend.

Every day this week I tried to tackle a cleaning and reorganization task to get my house looking its best for the party. Of course, this is the week I have my 20 kilometre training run!

I’m glad to say that while I’ve had late nights all week, I am no longer stressed about hosting. Last night’s late night was focused on making homemade donuts to see if they were as easy as they appeared. The verdict is in and yes, they are super easy!

life is about balance, like running and homemade donuts
Running and donuts are my kind of balance!

So while this is a short, reflective post, I think its important to remember that we need to try and achieve balance. Don’t do all the cleaning the night before, don’t calorie count and never indulge, don’t make a menu you’re uncomfortable with.

How’s your week going? Are you achieving balance?

Whole Wheat Pancakes Recipe

Whole Wheat Pancakes Recipe

I’m not usually a breakfast person, but I make an exception when whole wheat pancakes are being served. Whole wheat may sound crazy, but I actually fell in love with eating whole wheat pancakes when I was a teenager. If whole wheat pancakes can win over a white bread loving 13 year old, then I feel confident that you and your family will like my new take on whole wheat pancakes.

I’ve spent the past 20 years perfecting my whole wheat pancake recipe to achieve the fluffy goal, while still paying a slight homage to a crepe. I let my 4 year old stir my batter, which takes a toll on any leavening agent I use in a pancake. I take my leavening agents seriously; so seriously that in elementary school my science fair project was about finding the best leavening agent in pancakes. Too bad I can’t recall my findings!

I feel like the whole wheat flour provides an even better texture than using white flour. I’m not trying to convert you to whole wheat to improve your health – that’s just a bonus.

Shelby Hancock's whole wheat pancake recipe
Share this recipe on Pinterest.

Whole Wheat Pancake Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil

Method

Combine dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix ingredients together gently.

Combine wet ingredients together and stir until eggs are beaten. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Gently stir the batter with a fork. Lumps will be present when fully mixed and that’s ok.

I make small round pancakes using a laddle that contains approximately 1/3 cup of batter. Flip pancakes when bubbles are visible and cook on second side for a short while. I cook over medium heat on the stove.

You will make approximately 32 to 36 small pancakes, which consistently feeds up to 6 people.

How to Serve Whole Wheat Pancakes

I suggest serving these pancakes with a smear of butter and a spoonful of raspberry jam on top. My husband and daughter also enjoy them served syrup – sans butter.

I recommend making a batch of these pancakes on Sunday morning so that you can enjoy the leftovers during the week when mornings are more rushed.

Shelby Hancock cooks up a batch of her whole wheat pancake recipe
My pancake designs need some more practice!

Your Feedback

Please let me know what you and/or your family think of the pancakes in the comments below!

Take the Kids Fishing

Take the Kids Fishing

My daughter recently attended a fishing themed birthday party at the local fish hatchery in Abbotsford, BC. This was the same hatchery I visited throughout elementary school to learn about the salmon lifecycle. Truth be told, it wasn’t the coolest field trip to attend and there were no activities like fishing being offered in the 1990’s.

I’ve never been a fisher person, nor have I had any desire to take up fishing, until hitting the river this past week with the kids. The adults were learning, the kids were demonstrating patience, and while no fish were caught we all had fun.

Here are my 4 reasons why you should take your kids fishing:

  1. Educational
  2. Great locations
  3. Inexpensive
  4. Quality time

Educational

My little one fished under the instruction of the hatchery on Sunday and on Wednesday when we went to fish with our friends she actually remembered what to do. It isn’t rocket science to cast and then reel in, but I was really impressed that my 4 year old was learning and retaining a new skill. She’s also learning about fish and I’m finally able to drop those facts about the salmon lifecycle that I learned when I visited the hatchery as a kid!

Great Locations

This week instead of driving out to the Abbotsford hatchery, we opted to visit Derby Reach. The park has a big open field, picnic benches, fire pits for bbq’g, and a large rockey beach for fishing. The kids enjoyed in the field while the adults got the rods ready.

I actually run through this park on my long runs and I think it would be awesome for my husband to fish with the kids one morning while I run through. Aren’t you supposed to catch more fish in the weee hours of the morning anyway?

Inexpensive and Maybe a Free Dinner

Children under the age of 16 do not require a fishing license, which makes this a pretty cheap activity.

A fishing rod was purchased for $12 and a neighbours’ tackle box set the kids up with their bait. Obviously, this outdoor activity can get expensive and maybe that works for your family. If you’re already boating enthusiasts, perhaps some morning fishing trips off the back of the boat will be an easy add-on to your day.

I have low expectations that we will ever catch a fish, but if we did I’ll be making some homemade tartar sauce and cooking the fish for dinner!

Quality Time

Going fishing became an opportunity for my daughter and I to enjoy some calm outdoor time. Usually we are running through the park or scooting down paths, but rarely is an outdoor activity a calm lesson in patience.

I was able to wear my 11 month old in the baby carrier and have her nap while we were practicing casting and reeling.

I think letting the kids play before fishing helped them be calm and patient when we started casting and reeling in the river. It is almost like a carnival game; you cast and hope that you end up winning a prize and if you don’t you try again.

Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom details 4 reasons you should take your kids fishing
Fishing at Derby Reach in Langley, BC.

Upcoming Local Events

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC is offering Learn to Fish events throughout the province this spring. While the April calendar is rather sparse, there are lots of dates in May at local lakes. Most of these events are for children 5 and over, with rods provided, and the cost is by donation.

More Fishing Info

Take a look at the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC site if you are looking for more info on the hatcheries or about learning to fish. If you’re interested in a birthday party at the hatchery check them out here.

Seriously friends, this post is not sponsored at all. I’m just a mom that likes hanging outdoors with my kids.

Are you an avid angler? Do you fish for fun? Do you like catchy alliterations and may consider fishing in the future? Let me know in the comments below.

Refocusing Priorities on Parental Leave

Refocusing Priorities on Parental Leave

I’m currently on parental leave and it has been very different this time with a baby and a young child to balance. Being committed to my career is a priority. My number one priority while on “parental leave” is to be a good parent. I try to be supermom and focus on my kids – cooking for them, cleaning up after them, and going on adventures with them. Unfortunately, that’s a lot of focus on 2/3’s of my loved ones and not a lot of focus on my spouse.

My priorities going forward in no particular order are:

  • Quality time with kids (aka leaving the house)
  • Housework duties
  • Cooking for my family
  • Me time (training for a half marathon)
  • Quality time with my partner

I’ve somehow overlooked the importance of quality time with my partner. Watching a TV show that we both happen to enjoy isn’t quality time. It is a way for both of us to decompress from the day and I think it serves a purpose, but I’m fooling myself if I consider it quality time.

My Me-Time Dilemma

If you’ve read this blog before you’ll know that I am a runner. I train for half marathons and that requires 2 weeknight runs and a long run on the weekend. Running is when I have my time to myself to recharge my mind, share a laugh with my running buddy, and talk about something bigger than Fancy Nancy’s latest fancy word.

My husband and I usually watch a TV show at night and then go to bed. I’ve been really sick for all of March with a cold that I can’t shake. I realize now that I complain about my cold and use it as the excuse for going to bed early or wanting to sleep in after the kids wake on a weekend morning. However, my husband really shook me when he asked why I don’t make time for him. He pointed out that I complain about being sick, yet I still made time to run 16 kilometres. His point was that I’m to sick to stay up another 15 minutes to talk about something important that happened during his work day, but I can find the strength to run 90 minutes.

I’m really glad he did speak up and question my priorities. I think it shows our mutual respect for each other that we are addressing it. I truly believe that self love isn’t selfish. That said, I was living pretty selfishly by how I was making my priorities.

Why My Husband is a Top Priority

My husband is my partner and my best friend. Unlike prior relationships, I feel like we are equals. While we each bring different strengths to the relationship, we achieve a perfect balance. I think its important to state that because when I set my priorities today I need to make him a priority too. I decided 9 years ago to enter into a marriage with him. Entering into marriage was me acknowledging that I would always make him and our relationship a priority. We need to hold ourselves accountable to reset our priorities if one of our needs isn’t being met.

Refocusing Priorities

I’ve spent 12 years in my career and I know how to get my job done successfully. As a mom of two, I only have 11 months experience so I’m going to cut myself some slack and refocus my priorities. I think I’m going to dust off our chess board and challenge my husband to a game of chess instead of opting for a TV show one night. Last week, we made 80 meatballs after the kids went to bed and we had fun being in the kitchen together. Maybe we will even go for a run together with the baby in the stroller when our older daughter is with grandma.

Shelby Hancock discusses the need to refocus priorities while on parental leave

Let me know…

Isn’t being a grown-up fun? I’m thankful to have this blog to be able to express myself, especially this topic which is a lot more personal than normal for me. Have you made an effort to refocus your priorities or re-prioritize your marriage? Let me know in the comments below.

Is Trampoline Ownership a Good Thing?

Is Trampoline Ownership a Good Thing?

My munchkin has a birthday coming up and while she’s only asking for hugs and a piece of gum for her birthday, I’m contemplating lots of possibilities. She will be turning 4 and her sister will be 1 soon. At the top of my gift options is a TRAMPOLINE.

My Trampoline-Lovin’ Childhood

I grew up with a trampoline from 4 to some point in high school when I went in the backyard and it was gone. We never had any injuries to us or our friends. This was in the hay day of the green square trampoline. The one with pads only on the metal perimeter, exposed springs, and four open corners. Jumping off of the trampoline was almost as fun as jumping on it.

I don’t think we got lucky by not experiencing an injury. Instead, we had rules and we adhered to them. We weren’t allowed to do free flips, only flips from our knees. I later learned how to backflip but only at my friends house and it was near the end of my trampoline days. We just loved jumping and creating games. Now that I’m a parent, I realize that my folks must have enjoyed preparing dinners when they could see us out jumping.

Shelby Hancock shares her views on trampoline ownership
That’s 7 year old me living it up on the green trampoline.

Trampoline Skeptics & Basic Precautions

My husband is skeptical about getting a trampoline. He is nervous about injuries, liability, and law suits. In order to reduce all of those, we will need to:

  • implement rules,
  • supervise the children diligently, and
  • inform parents if their child comes over that we have a trampoline. Play dates with families we don’t know isn’t a thing for us right now.

As a parent, I expect childhood injuries to occur for my kiddos. While I hope they are bumps and bruises instead of broken bones, I know that accidents happen. Just today we were practicing riding a bike with training wheels and while we take precautions I know she could tumble over any minute and get hurt. She wore her helmet and running shoes and I made her show me how to use the brake before we went off on our ride. Setting yourself up for a safe experience is key and we will transfer that to the trampoline.

I have a brother in Ohio that lives in a town where nobody fences in their yards and they’ve opted for a lock on their trampoline zipper. We have a fenced yard and we know the kids in the neighbourhood.  The most likely injuries that us moms can agree on are those that the dad’s will likely get trying to relive their youth!

The Verdict

Since my almost 4 year old can’t read, I feel safe letting you all know that we are getting a trampoline! We still need to decide whether to buy from Amazon or Canadian Tire and if a 12 foot or 14 foot is a better for our backyard.

Bring on the bouncing, the crack the egg, and bum drop wars.

Let Me Know…

Have you jumped in with both feet and purchased a trampoline? Let me know in the comments of you think owning a trampoline is fun or if you see it as a law suit waiting to happen!

Princess Half Race Report

Princess Half Race Report

A couple weeks ago I ran the RunDisney Princess Half Marathon and it was amazing. I also completed the Enchanted 10k the day before the half. These two races are known as the Fairy Tale Challenge and are 19.3 miles of fun and fatigue. Below is my race report for the weekend.

The Challenging Part of the Fairy Tale Challenge

The Fairy Tale Challenge was really challenging and not because of the distance, but because of:

  • Early mornings
  • Tired legs from a week of Disney days
  • Racing on a diet of Disney snacks
  • Heat! RunDisney issued a heat advisory because of high humidity

To complete the challenge I was up Saturday and Sunday at 3 AM. I nursed the baby, ate some oatmeal, grabbed my water bottle and dashed to the bus in a quick 30 minutes. We decided to start our Disney World vacation the week before the race so that we could adjust to east coast time. Otherwise we would have been waking at what would have felt like midnight.

Shelby Hancock details her Princess Half Marathon Race
Anna and Elsa (minus their capes) finished the Fairy Tale Challenge!

Princess Half Race Weekend Recommendations

If you want a magical weekend of fun and fatigue then make sure you sign up for a RunDisney challenge. Here are a few of my recommendations:

  • After each race, go to the medical area and get ice packs wrapped around your legs so you can speed up recovery.
  • Try and have a chilled out day on the Saturday after the 10k.
  • Dress up for the races.
  • Bring some cash to your race for a Joffrey’s iced americano.
  • Be prepared to walk to the start line for the Half – my fitbit indicated that I walked 42 minutes from getting off the bus to stopping in my corral!

Enchanted 10km

I think the 10k race was probably my favourite of the two, but only because it was my first RunDisney race in Disney World and I wasn’t exhausted. I was also in corral A, which meant I started the race within 5 seconds of the start line. As seasoned RunDisney runners know, the closer to the start of the first corral, the shorter the line-ups to get character photos. In the lead up to the race other runners had been talking about 15 minute line ups and I was nervous about that. In my Tinker Bell Half Marathon a couple years ago there was barely any wait so I wasn’t sure what to expect in Disney World.

I ran both races with my mother and we decided to only stop for characters that we knew. This meant we skipped the photo with Stitch from Lilo and Stitch since I haven’t seen the movie. The first characters we came across were just passed the 1 mile marker and it was Belle and the Beast.

The sun began to rise at the 5 mile marker, but even some of our finish line photos look like it is still the middle of the night. While we ran through Epcot the PhotoPass photographers were hard to see because it was still so dark and I hate to miss a good photo op! Haha!

I was thrilled to see Mickey Mouse available for a photo as we were leaving World Showcase and transitioning into Future World. For a “Princess” race I found it a bit light on Princess photo ops, but I am more of a Fab 5 kinda girl than a princess.

Photo Ops

We got photos taken by PhotoPass photographers with:

  • Belle and the Beast
  • Pinocchio
  • Jasmine and Aladin
  • Goofy in his baseball uniform
  • Inside Out characters
  • Mickey Mouse
  • The Epcot ball
Shelby Hancock details her Princess Half Marathon Race and Fairy Tale Challenge
It was more fun to strike a pose!

I’m not sure where my Donald Duck photo ended up since we stopped with him too.

I found the 10k race route to be nicer, but I think that is to be expected with a shorter distance. I really enjoyed running along the Boardwalk since I wasn’t visiting that part of Disney World outside of the race on this visit.

Princess Half Marathon

I won’t lie, I was bummed to be starting in corral C and not A or B. That said, I ran my qualifying race 6 months postpartum and it was the farthest I had run in almost a year at that point. I really shouldn’t have had a pity party over this since before the race started I felt like a car running on fumes. I got caught up in the need for short character line ups. In the end I had an amazing race with my mom and we finished closer to our marathon times than our half marathon times. At the 4 mile mark we acknowledged that we were having lots of fun, we were tired, and that we didn’t care about our time enough to skip photo ops.

It took us about 32 minutes to run a kilometer through Magic Kingdom.
We stopped for a selfie near the castle on Main Street. In Tomorrowland, we stopped for Buzz Lightyear, which was about a 1 minute line. We waited in a very long line for Belle and Gaston and then ran about 100 metres and stopped for Cinderella which was probably 15 minutes. In front of the castle there were 5 PhotoPass photographers taking photos so this made for a fairly short line.

Shelby Hancock details her Princess Half Marathon Race and Fairy Tale Challenge
An INCREDIBLE experience with 20km done and 1 to go!

I was shocked that the majority of runners don’t stop for photo ops. Why not? With the bottle necks that occur when lanes on the road are reduced it would be difficult to run the race course for a PB so I would recommend getting your moneys worth and stopping for characters.

First Half vs. Last Half of The Half

The first half is exciting and fun – I felt like a puppy! It was dark out and fireworks were set off every couple minutes to light up the sky. The monorail would blare its horn when it passed by the runners. You’re on your way to Magic Kingdom and that made me feel like I was on a mission. Then you run through the Park and it is as magical as its name. However, once you’re in the back lot and making your way behind the Grand Floridian you still have another 10 kilometres to run. I felt like I’d accomplished what I wanted and suddenly on tired legs I had to run 10km. Even on the roads back towards Epcot there were a few character stops, which was fun. There were also a lot of water stations to keep us going through the humidity. Knowing my two girls, my husband, and my dad were all going to be at the finish kept us going!

Shelby Hancock details her Princess Half Marathon Race and Fairy Tale Challenge
Smiling and finishing the Fairy Tale Challenge!

Summary

It. Was. Amazing.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve done a RunDisney race or if one is on your bucket list!

Shelby Hancock details her Princess Half Marathon Race and Fairy Tale Challenge
Red Meals for Valentine’s Day

Red Meals for Valentine’s Day

It is already Monday and Valentine’s Day is this Thursday. My extra long training runs this weekend kept my mind off planning some fun on Valentine’s Day. If you’re like me, you’re still in luck! This post is all about red foods you can prepare for all your Valentine’s Day meals. Each meal is described below and be warned, this is oriented to kids and not to having a romantic meal with your partner. Best of all: NO FOOD COLOURING!!!

Breakfast

Breakfast is probably the easiest thanks to availability of berries. Whether you’re go-to breakfast is porridge, cereal, or pancakes, you can easily add some strawberries or raspberries on top to add some red to your meal. I’m going to serve crepes with strawberries and a side of watermelon.

Lunch

We’re in the midst of a cold snap and in light of this, I’ve filled my fridge with homemade chicken stock. I’ll put this stock to good use by using it to make a tomato soup. I never follow a recipe for soup. Instead I’ll wing it by adding pureed tomatoes and touch of cream to my stock. Add a few apple slices and we’ve got a red meal!

Shelby Hancock highlights Red Meals to enjoy on Valentine's Day for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Red Meals to enjoy on Valentine’s Day.

Dinner

For dinner I’ll be making tacos! I’m most excited for this meal and here is my menu:

  • Red hard shell tacos
  • Red salsa
  • Blade steak, bbq’d medium-rare (for the reddy-pink colour)
  • Red peppers
  • Reddish sour cream (add a touch of hot sauce for colour/flavour)
  • Red rice (cooked in boiled beet water)

I’ll be buying Fresh is Best hard shell tacos in the tri-colour pack since they make a red taco. My local grocery store also sells a sun-dried tomato soft tortilla shell that is red and would work for this theme. Salsa and red peppers are self explantory. As for the blade steak I’ll get my BBQ over 500F then throw on the steak for 3 mins, quarter turn, 3 mins, flip, 2 mins, quarter turn and off 2 mins later. I’ll let it rest for at least 8 minutes and then slice it up in strips for the taco meat.

For the reddish sour cream, I’ll only add a hint of hot sauce since I don’t want too much spice for the kids. Lastly, the red rice will be white rice cooked in leftover beet water. Since i’m making baby food I will simply boil some beets for the baby and save the water for when its time to make my rice.

If you use the hard shell tacos then this meal is actually gluten-free, as is the lunch!

My Super Bowl LIII Party

My Super Bowl LIII Party

Hi friends,

This Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday and that’s almost as exciting as Christmas in my house. My husband and I are big NFL fans and this year we are in the running to win our playoff pool.

Our Super Bowl party is different from others because we:

  1. Do not invite friends over.
  2. Get grandma to babysit.
  3. Eat foods inspired by the teams.

I’m a big New England fan and my husband is an “any-team-playing-New-England” fan. Last year my team may have lost, but I’m confident we will win again. I am also in love with Tom Brady – or as I call him, “my other Tom” since Hubby’s name is Tom.

I used to listen to sports talk radio on the drive to work so I was much more informed about the teams strengths and weaknesses and could annoy my husband by making Stephen A. Smith inspired remarks throughout the game. Now that I’ve been busy mommin’ two kids, I don’t stay up to date on NFL stats so I make Gisele Bundchen style remarks if New England has a bad game (e.g., “My man can’t throw and catch the ball at the same time!”).

No Friends

There are just too many distractions and not enough true fans if you watch the game with a big group. Some people’s priorities on Super Bowl Sunday are: (1) food, (2) commercials, (3) football. That’s just not us. We rank football top and this year while we’re calorie counting, food may be third. Also, [*TMI*] from our downstairs washroom you can still see the TV while you pee so you never miss a minute of the game.

So while we don’t invite people over, I also think people won’t want to come over after they read about our washroom door policy and that we’re calorie counting at the moment.

Grandma Babysitter

Our 3 year old is a good sports fan and has mastered her touch down dance this season. However, with a game of this magnitude, we need to call in grandma to help keep her occupied. I’m going to get the painting easel set up for her in the dining room. She likes it when I pencil something on paper and she can paint over it. For Sunday I’ll pencil in some footballs, goal posts, and some L’s and I’s for her to trace and paint.

I’m hoping for sunshine so grandma can play outside with the munchkin and she can practice her bike riding. Don’t worry, I’m not forgetting my baby – the plan is that the baby will nap during the game.

Ready for Super Bowl

Team Inspired Foods

We’re calorie counting to reach our weight goals for our upcoming vacation, but that won’t stop me from making foods inspired by the teams and the host city. Thankfully, California screams healthy foods unlike last year’s Philly cheese steaks! Below are my culinary plans.

LA Rams

My Auntarazzi [she is always snapping pics] lives outside of LA and I called on her for some LA inspired foods. I thought an afternoon kale and avocado smoothie was very LA, but thankfully she had some better ideas. My LA inspired food for Super Bowl LIII is:

  • Mini Fish Tacos with Guacamole

I am going to fill my tacos with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, squeeze of lime, and white fish. Add some fresh, toddler-mashed guac and these are going to be perfect. I can chop my veggies in advance and bake the fish in the oven so I won’t miss the game.

New England Patriots

If my mother is watching my toddler then it means my father will probably be on our sofa watching the game. He’s a vegetarian so for my New England inspired food, I’m choosing:

  • Boston Baked Beans [sans pork]

Boston baked beans have molasses and are more hearty than the beans I typically prepare with tacos. I’m going to modify the recipe so that these are taco-friendly baked beans.

Atlanta – the Host City

If a Super Bowl happens and you don’t eat chicken wings, did it really happen? Well, I don’t want to find out so my host city inspiration food is:

  • Lemon Pepper Wings

I am taking this inspiration from Rembert Brown who made a compelling case for lemon pepper wings as Atlanta’s signature food.

Have a Great Super Bowl

I hope you all have a great Super Bowl Sunday whether or not you’re a football fan or more of a commercial watcher. Let me know how you rank: football, food, and commercials in the comments below!