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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?

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!

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!

2018 Year in Review

2018 Year in Review

2018, you were very good to me!

Shelby Hancock 2018 Year in Review
2018 Best Nine

The 1st quarter I was preggo and soaking up last moments as a family of 3.  I  stopped running in January as I entered third trimester and the sidewalks iced up. We celebrated Malia’s third birthday with a Moana party. I was healthy enough to work until the end of my pregnancy. I learned that a healthy baby in your belly doesn’t mean momma isn’t tired, sore, and uncomfortable!

The 2nd quarter was sleepless nights and fun filled days with a new baby. Born on a Tuesday and off to the trampoline park on Friday and swimming lessons the next day. We never slowed down when Abbey arrived and we still haven’t. I started running again at the end of May with a podcast and friend.

The 3rd quarter brought sunshine and playing outside with the neighbour kids all day long. I ran a 5km race in July and that accomplishment felt as good as running a marathon. It reminded me of my mantra: respect the distance!

The 4th quarter brought the start of 3 yr old preschool, a vacation to Palm Springs, and Abbey’s first trip to Disneyland! I could live in Palm Springs and float in the pool every day. The relaxed feeling of floating on my back and seeing palm trees and blue sky staring back at me is my new happy place. I still mentally visit that place a few times each day! I also ran two 10K races – 1st with hubby and next with my mom.

Christmas was magical (yet exactly like the Matt Damon SNL parent Xmas day skit) and today we are excited to say goodbye to 2018 and hello to new adventures in 2019!

To Black Friday or Not to Black Friday

To Black Friday or Not to Black Friday

The unofficial start of the Christmas season is fast approaching. As a Canadian, I have no attachment to tomorrow’s American Thanksgiving festivities. However, the American tradition that has migrated north in recent years is Black Friday.

My inbox is being bombarded with soon to be savings and deals and the paper delivered to my door is 90% flyers.

Do you get in on the Black Friday madness? I can understand being opposed to lining up at the mall, waiting in hours long queues, or skipping a family holiday to buy a TV. However, doing some online shopping in my PJs seems perfectly fine to me.

Last year I bought my parents and in-laws instant pots and cookbooks so they’d understand what their instant pot was. Had I not purchased on Black Friday there’s no way I’d have been able to stay within budget.

I say bring on the holidays!

Mouse House Mom is ready for the holidays!
Mouse House Mom is ready for the holidays!

 

Let me know in the comments below what you’re hoping to find on sale this Black Friday.

One Year of Half-Hearted Devotion to the Blog

One Year of Half-Hearted Devotion to the Blog

Hi peeps,

Happy 1 year anniversary to Mousehousemom.com, my blog!  This isn’t really a cause for celebration since it wasn’t long after I began the blog that I got pregnant and wanted to sleep every minute when I wasn’t at work.

This past year we celebrated our first born’s 3rd birthday and a few weeks later we welcomed our newest addition, a baby girl, into our family.  I’m now 8 weeks in on my 18 month parental leave.

Shelby Hancock newborn babyPhoto credit: Cradled Creations cradledcreations.com 

 

In the weeks and months ahead, stay tuned for more frequent posts on the blog.  I’m in the midst of planning a Walt Disney World vacation, learning how to get back into running, and trying to figure out how to entertain a 3 year old while I nurse a baby during the day.  You’re fortunate that you can follow along on this journey without having to smell the inevitable spit-up in my hair or the horrible diaper changes that fill my days. Unless of course this is my own mother (who makes up 75% of my site views) reading this, then I apologize for the smell.

See ya’,

Shelby

10 Reasons It Will Be Easier With Baby #2

10 Reasons It Will Be Easier With Baby #2

Below are 10 reasons I’m telling myself it will be easier with baby #2. With only a few more months to go until baby #2 arrives, I’m getting nervous for how I’ll adapt to parenting two kiddos instead of one.

1. I’ve already seen every shade of poo.

I’ll never forget Googling baby poo colours and being really scared for what the results might yield. It wasn’t just the colour it was frequency, consistency, etc. Having seen it all before I think I won’t be such a worry wart.

2. After 2.5 years of breastfeeding I feel like I know how it works.

This was a major challenge as a first time mom, but I relied on our Public Health Unit nurses to help me through it and in the end I got the hang of it.

3. I’ve got mad diapering skills.

Before my daughter I had only changed 1 diaper and that was 1 diaper more than my husband’s record.

4. No need to watch YouTube videos to figure out how to swaddle.

Maternity ward nurses can swaddle like pros, but it took me and the hubby a bit longer to figure it out on our own. Now we can turn my daughter’s dolls into burritos with their blankets in a flash.

5. Sleep deprivation isn’t something new – that’s old hat the past 3 years.

I was a 10 hour per night sleeper before kids and the sudden reduction was probably the biggest shock to my system.

6. I now have Netflix installed in my bedroom.

This has nothing to do with baby #2 other than I can lounge in bed with a good show while baby #2 naps in the bassinet.

7. I can put my Ergo Baby Carrier on with my eyes closed.

Wearing your baby means freedom for you. While I won’t fry bacon in my Ergo (or in the nude), I will vacuum, grocery shop, and maneuver airports like a boss. It’s not just freedom, it’s a close intimate cuddle with your love bug!

8. As freak-out first time mom, I bought every 0-3 month style sleep sack so I’m ready with options.

My daughter ended up liking one sleep sack (free leg style), but that didn’t stop me from buying every style out there while we searched for the holy grail.

9. Car seats no longer scare me.

I’ve joined multiple Facebook groups on Car Seat Safety and consulted Car Seat Techs and manuals.  I know the do’s and don’ts and follow them religiously.

10. My toddler is happy and healthy.

 I didn’t totally screw up the first one so I must be doing something right and this is giving me confidence I never had the first time.

Mouse House Mom's 10 Reasons why it will be easier with Baby #2
Mouse House Mom’s 10 Reasons why it will be easier with Baby #2

Thanks friends for reading! Do you have any tips on how to balance a toddler and a baby? Please let me know in the comments below.