Author - HackMom

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Ending!

Anniversary Sale

There are still some amazing deal at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I can’t believe the Chloe Marcie handbag hasn’t sold out, although the thing is GINORMOUS it is such an amazing deal.

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/chloe-medium-marcie-leather-hobo/3790363?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=6007060&fashionColor=&resultback=226&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-searchresults-_-1_1_A

I'm pretty sure I could fit my car in there....and I love it!

I’m pretty sure I could fit my car in there….and I love it!

 

In fact, some of my favorite Anniversary Sale items are from the Designer Collections, because, let’s face it…I couldn’t afford them otherwise (or even on sale, really).

Love these Rag and Bone Moto boots. 35% off for just another four days!

Rag and Bone Moto boots

 

If you haven’t perused the Anniversary Sale, do it now! Most of the good stuff is out of stock already, but you can still find some great deals!

 

Veggie Packed Spaghetti

Picture courtesy of Mama Grubbs Grubs (http://mamagrubbsgrub.blogspot.com/2011/11/cauliflower-breadsticks.html)

While Natalie was still pretty little, I realized that I’d quickly have to find a way to sneak veggies in to her food. Picky doesn’t even cover it – if it’s not white, she’s not interested. In fact, she’d probably just live on vanilla ice cream and rice if we let her.

There are two meals that no one in the house will turn down: a) anything mexican and b) spaghetti with cauliflower breadsticks. Luckily, both of these are super easy to sneak veggies in to. I usually just shred the veggies on the smallest setting, cook them until they’re super soft and then smooth them out with a hand blender. Thrown in to taco meat, you’d never know they were there. Same with the spaghetti sauce! As for the cauliflower breadsticks, I think they’re delicious but I would never have guessed that anyone else would like them. The girls eat these like they’re trying to run away and even the ol’ husband likes them!

This is my own recipe, just what I’ve put together through trial and air throughout the years. These are approximate amounts, adjust everything to taste. We like it garlicky, so I tend to go heavy on the garlic. However, I’m not much of spice person so I go light on the red pepper chili flakes.

1 carrot, shredded

1 red onion, diced

1 zucchini, shredded

4 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced

1 Tbsp dried Oregano

1 Tbs dried chevril (italian parsley)

1/4 cup of red wine (stuff you’d drink, so nothing gross)

1 tsp of red pepper chili flakes

2/28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes

Saute the veggies together in a dutch oven (I use my trusty crusty Le Creuset) until they’re soft, then add everything else. Slow cook at 200 degrees for 4-6 hours. Put on stove top and use a hand blender to smooth out the veggies and tomatoes. Add cooked meat (I use frozen turkey meatballs) and boil down until most of the liquid is gone. Serve with Cauliflower breadsticks (recipe below) and a side salad for veggie overload.

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Adapted from Mama Grubbs (http://mamagrubbsgrub.blogspot.com/2011/11/cauliflower-breadsticks.html)

1/2 head of cauliflower – grated 

1 whole egg, plus one egg white – lightly beaten

1/4 cup 2% shredded mozzarella cheese

Dried basil,oregano and parsley

1 teaspoon olive oil
Mix everything together and then spread the mix out on to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, with the olive oil drizzled on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, then flip over and cook for 10 more minutes. Cute in to “sticks” and serve. Delicious!
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Camp, Flu and a Review

Germs_board_book

First, the review:

Both girls went to “camp” at our local drop and play center last week. If you’re in the greater Woodinville area, this place is the best – http://www.thenestkids.com. You drop the kids off for a few hours, they play, make new friends and you get to go grocery shopping with any screaming howler monkeys distracting you. Do you remember the last time you went grocery shopping by yourself? The quiet? The aisles you can just leisurely walk up and down in? It’s heaven. They also have music classes, preschool, etc.

Main room of the nest, there are a bunch of other rooms too

Main room of the nest, there are a bunch of other rooms too

 

Both girls took music class when they were babies with Ms. Beth, who is the owner. The woman seriously LOVES kids. Like one of those people that is just Mary Poppins rolling around. She’s a saint and we love her.

 

Look at that woman. She's amazing...and clearly having the time of her life surrounded by tiny humans.

Look at that woman. She’s amazing…and clearly having the time of her life surrounded by tiny humans.

 

So anyway, the girls were at camp there 4 days for 4 hours each day and they loved every second of it. Parker, who has an immune system like a little tank, is totally fine. But yesterday, Natalie (who picks up any bug at all) woke up with a 102.9 degree fever. Kid plague strikes again! Which is inevitable in a setting like that, but it makes me wonder how Natalie is going to do in preschool. I’ve heard good things about Elderberry Syrup, has anyone tried it? I need something to boost her immune system other than the usual Vitamin C and stuff.

Germs_board_book

Apparently not everyone has gotten this memo

Making anything remotely sauce or gravy oriented is not my special skill (just ask my Husband about my Thanksgiving gravy. Better yet, don’t), but to help Punkin’s little body fight off the onslaught of germs she’s going to come in to contact with in a few weeks, I think I’ll try it. I’ll keep you all (which I think is the one person in the Philippines who clicked my blog on accident once) informed on how it goes!

http://wellnessmama.com/1888/elderberry-syrup/

 

Finding a Dentist?

Side Eye Dentis kid

To me, there’s almost nothing I’d rather do than go to the dentist. Metal in your teeth, scraping, water guns shooting down your throat…and that’s only if nothing is wrong.

This kid knows what’s up. What are you doing there, Dr. Death? Can you see or do your glasses need to be bigger?

 

But in my family, I’m the minority. The dentist is a treat – something that everyone else is excited about. So why has it been so hard for us to find a dentist fot the girls? This must be “one of those things” that other parents don’t warn you about. Either that or my husband and I just suck at picking a dentist for the girls. We’ve been to THREE different places so far and although they’re all fine, none of them were awesome.

Look, I get it. This is definitely “first world problems” territory – the care we’ve received has been good. Nobody has done any permanent damage, at least that we can tell. It’s just that, if we’re going to be paying through-the-nose for our kids teeth (insurance covers essentially NOTHING), then I at least want someone who can knock it out of the park. I’m thinking the Patch Adams of Pediatric Dental here. Don’t just be a good dentist, be a GREAT dentist, have a fun office, a fun staff and nice equipment. Really, that shouldn’t be too much to ask.

The first place we went to was like walking in to a bank. It was quiet, grey and even I was bored being there. Natalie, who was 2 at the time, is one of the most well behaved kids I know (yes I’m biased) but she was looking for something to stick in a light socket or knock over just to liven the place up. We didn’t go back.

The second place we tried came highly recommended by a few people. The location was great and when we got there, the office staff seemed really promising. The dentist was nice and explained what he was doing to us – but not the girls. That kind of caught us the wrong way – “Hey doc, the kid down there? She’s your patient. Try talking to her.” Then, the super nice front desk lady gave us extra tokens for their little toy machine. How can you complain about that? You might ask. Well, think of a giant gumball machine filled with tiny, useless toys that you’ll be stepping on from here to eternity. And the girls had SIX TOKENS EACH! I was picking fake mustaches off of my foot for a year. The FINAL straw, however, was when we were packing the girls and their 2,000 little toys in to the car – the super nice LOUD front desk lady then calls us BACK in so they could get another toy from the machine. Have you ever packed two kids under 5 in to a car after getting through a slightly anxiety ridden situation? Do you know exactly what you DON’T want to do after getting them in to the car? You don’t want to TAKE THEM OUT OF THE CAR TO GET ANOTHER FREAKING BOUNCY BALL.

So anyway, that place keeps calling to schedule checkups for the girls. I just don’t call them back. I don’t like confrontation.

This last place we tried was the best experience so far. Nice, professional front desk and office, the dental hygienist was nice, equipment was new and clean, the dentist was great….but then, she pulled THIS out:

Creepy Dentist Elephant of Doom

 

Now, you get the idea. They gave my littlest one a tooth brush and started showing her how to brush the elephant demon’s teeth. P wouldn’t go anywhere near it and burst in to tears. This is the little girl who went with me on the SLIDING CARS of Mickey’s Fun Wheel in California Adventure and laughed like it was the best thing that had ever happened to her while I screamed like my life was over.
Mickey's Fun Wheel My A$$....more like Mickey's Wheel of Terror

Mickey’s Fun Wheel? More like Mickey’s Wheel of Terror and Torture. Those cars are SLIDING back and forth, not in a fun way but in an OMG I’m going to die! way.
So anyway, now we’re back to picking a dentist. I’m still going off of referrals from friends, but I’m wondering…how did you find your kids dentist and are you happy with them?

July 2014 Popsugar Must Have Box Review

dang

One of my favorite hobbies is shopping. I know that sounds terrible, but look…if I can’t be honest with a fellow mom/parent, then who can I be honest with? I like shopping, it makes me happy. However, since we’re a family on one income, my shopping doesn’t go over very well with our budget. So, I’ve discovered one of the ways to curb my shopping is through Subscription Boxes. For under $40, I get a box once a month filled with mysteries, most of which almost always scratch that retail itch.

If you’ve never heard of them, Subscription Boxes are put together by big department stores or in this case, the ever popular PopSugar – a site that is all about pop culture, fashion, beauty, fitness… you name it and they probably have a post or link about it. It’s also one of my favorite places to checkout when surfing the ‘net.

I discovered their Must Have Boxes last year and LOVED them – my husband got me a 6 month subscription for Christmas. They’re always filled with little things I’d never buy on my own, but are handy or fun to have.
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Take this month for example: one of the items was a jump rope, something I’ve been wanting to get forever but couldn’t seem to talk myself in to spending the $20 on. But here it is!

TKO Glacier + Ash Soft Grip 9 foot Jump Rope

Estimated value = $15

TKO 7_14 PS Jump Rope

It’s so hard to fit in some cardio while chasing the little ones around. Jumping Rope is easy, doesn’t take much space and best of all, SUPER effective. You can burn up to 1000 calories/hour jumping rope! Can’t wait to try this…

Next up is another item that I very rarely buy for myself but love. And while I’m usually pretty miffed when my PopSugar box doesn’t include something chocolatey, but I’m making an exception for these little snacks because they are so.darn.delicious!

dang Coconut “chips”.

Approximate value = $3

IMG_5608

These littls snacks are SO GOOD, not to mention non-GMO, vegan, no cholesterol, high in fiber…just toasted coconut. Coconut has a TON of health benefits that you’ve probably been hearing about, but beyond being healthy and good for you, it’s just tasty!

With an estimated cost of about $3, these aren’t necessarily wallet breaking, but still not something I tend to splurge on.

Since this is a summer box, PopSugar added a sunscreen that I haven’t tried before.

Sun Bum Sunscreen and After Sun Lotion 3oz tubes

Approximate value for both tubes = $20

As we’re usually on the run (literally) outside in the summer, sunscreen is always a welcome addition. While I haven’t tried the Sum Bum brand before, I’m excited to see that the sunscreen is 30 spf and water resistant. Both HUGE pluses in my book. Plus, the aftersun lotion, with Aloe and Vitamin E, is perfect when you get just a little bit too much sun. Say, when you put sunscreen on your kids, but forget to put it on yourself. Not that I do that….

IMG_5609

This next item is not something that would excite most people, but it certainly put a smile on my face! Again, not something that I personally would put money towards, but such a cute addition to my kitchen arsenal – salad spoons!

Ziggy Salad Servers by French Bull
Approximate value = $12

IMG_5624

These salad spoons even match my bowl set! Score!

Another cute “kitchen accessory” in this month’s box are these straws:

ACME Party Company multi-colored Chevron Paper Straws

Approximate value = $7

I’m already planning a brunch cocktail I can use these in! Plus, this is the first item the girls noticed and they each grabbed one and shoved it in their Frozen cups, drinking happily. I’m down for ANYTHING that will encourage these girls to drink more water in the summer (normally they’re too busy!)…

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Now, there’s always at least one thing in these boxes that I kind of scratch my head about and this month, it’s this hat.

Beach Hat from Michael Stars

Approximate value = $48

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I just don’t get it. It seems like it’s well made, it’s not flimsy at all and I think there’s a wire in the brim, so while it has a floppy look it’s not actually floppy, per se. Maybe it’s because I’m generally not a hat person, or a brown straw person but either way, this is one item of the box that wasn’t for me. Luckily, my youngest loves any accessory and as soon as she saw this hat, she plopped it on her head and happily took off with it.

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The final thing in the box is also not very exciting, but I do like trying out new mascaras. This also came with $1 off coupon, so there is some value in it as well. However, it seems like more of an after thought vs a featured part of this box. *Shrug* I’ll still use it…

Revlon Bold Lacquer mascara

Approximate value = $7 plus $1 off coupon

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So, there you have it. By my estimation, this box was worth about $110 – all for $39.99. All in all, I’m very happy with this box and I’m sure DH is happy that it saved us about $200 in a skipped mall trip or amazon.com cruising section. Thanks PopSugar!

*PopSugar isn’t paying me for this review, these are just my own opinions on a box I paid for.

So what do you think….would this scratch your shopping itch? If you’re interested in trying it, use this link http://popsu.gr/gAWJ - a link that includes a referral code – and there’s also a coupon (REFER5)  you can use to get $5 off on your first box!

Mom Hack #1 – Amazon Mom

amazon-mom

Since coming up with the idea for this Website, I’ve thought long and hard about what my first “hack” would be. Now, for the intents and purposes of this website, I’m using the term “hack” as in the cool, geeky way to take apart code in order to make something better vs the negative connotation of hack to either a) take apart code to break something or b) like a doctor who gives out fake medicine. So, as we continue, just think of me as cool and geeky vs malicious and deceitful. Actually, forget I mentioned any of that. :)

So anyway, my first Mom Hack for this website is….Amazon Mom. Now, you’d have to be living under a rock to not have heard about Amazon. Drones? Jeff Bezos? No? How about free 2-day shipping?! Prices lower than Target most times? Order from your computer?

Amazon Mom is THE BEST. Seriously. In fact, I seriously don’t know if I would have survived the first year of each of the girls’ lives without being able to order diapers last minute, never mind the dark chocolate for my sanity or shampoo, if I ever got a chance to shower.

If you’ve never tried Amazon Mom, you get a 20% discount right off of their list price for most anything kid-related. A lot of things mom-related too. In addition to that, you get access to Amazon Instant movies, music, etc. It’s pretty amazing. Finally, the best part – free 2-day shipping. There’s usually an option to get things next day as well for $3.99 per item. I’ve used that quite often after I realized I pulled the last diaper from the box 3 hours ago. AH.MAZE.ING.

At $99, it can be kind of pricey. However, with the discounts on merchandise and the 2-Day shipping, I figured that I’ve saved at least 3 times that already this year and it’s only July!

They do offer a 30-day trial so if you’d like to try it, click here: Amazon Mom Free Trial

*Full disclosure: I wasn’t paid by Amazon for this post, just offering my honest review. However, if use that code to sign up I do make a “commission” by being an Amazon Mom referrer. If you have any questions about it, feel free to send me an e-mail!

80+ degree days in Seattle

Seattle weather

I’m just going to say it – there is NOWHERE more beautiful than Seattle in the summer. The mountains, the lake, the trees…etc. All amazing and I’m so grateful to live in this area.

 

but (you knew there was a but, right?)

It is SO. FREAKING. HOT. People…it’s overcast and/or rainy here for 9 months out of the year. We are not used to this heat! Right now I’m laying in a kiddie pool in my worst mom bathing suit with a “cool hat” on my head. (A cool hat is a wet washcloth, term and invention coined by my Grandfather-in-law).

HOT. With no end in site. Luckily, the girls are happy to hang out in their bathing suits, playing with the hose in the yard eating Popsicles all day. I say thankfully because after 9am, I don’t have the energy to do much more than that.

That said, Vive le Summer!

INCESSANT Questions

Me too, kid

Remember that whole thing about me being worried about N going to Kindergarten? Nevermind…I take it back. I can’t get the girl there fast enough.

Now, it’s not because I’m not worried anymore, I am. In fact, I’m kind of petrified and excited all at the same time. It’s summer. Don’t get me wrong, we’re having a lot of fun this summer. The girls are close enough in age (19.5 months apart) where they play together well. They’re both pretty independent, so they don’t need me quite as much as they did last year. BUT DEAR LORD N DOES NOT STOP ASKING QUESTIONS!!

Example: I’m cutting up stuff for dinner and I cut my finger with the knife. There may or may not have been a swear. N (who is for some reason drawn to drama) runs in and says “MOM! What happened?” I respond with “I cut my finger”. Here is the rest of the exchange:
N: You cut your finger? (Q1)
Me: Yes
N: Which finger? (Q2)
Me: the ring finger on my right hand (I show it to her)
N: It’s bleeding!
Me: Just a little bit
N: Just a little bit? (Q3)
Me: Yep, I don’t even need a band aid
N: (quiet for a second, staring at nothing – we call this her “processing” face. It means that more questions are coming so put your helmet on)
N: Does it hurt? (Q4)
Me: It stings a little, but not much
N: What does sting mean? (Q5)
Me: It means it hurts a little bit in a sharp way
N: What does sharp mean? (Q6)
Me: The opposite of dull
N: What does dull mean? (Q7)
Me: The opposite of sharp (as you might be able to tell – by now, I’m getting a little annoyed)

And this exchange continues for a few minutes. Within the span of maybe 5 minutes, N has asked me 10 questions or so. Now, you might think “what’s the big deal? Kids are curious and curiosity is good”. I agree. Her questions are great and usually, surprisingly insightful. It makes me happy that she wants to learn and questions what is going on around her. But imagine this: you’re at work and there is someone who is within 2 feet of you for 90% of your day. They ask questions. About anything and everything. For 14 hours. What I’m trying to say here is that it gets OLD. QUICKLY. Unfortunately, I have to admit that I’m not the most patient person in the best of circumstances, but these questions would test the patience of the Pope, I swear.

So now? Bring on Kindergarten. Sept 2nd can’t get here fast enough.<p>

Kindergarten and dealing with bullies

bullies

This is the year where N will be going in to Kindergarten. For a few months earlier this year I was really worried about it, she’s my baby after all. Sending her out in to the world just seemed like such a big step, she’s only 5 for crying out loud. Eventually, I became more at peace about it, especially after talking with a friend who taught Kindergarten. Everything that she’ll learn, friends she’ll make, things she’ll experience. She’ll love it and will be a better person for it.

Last week the school sent us her supply list. And while that excitement about what she’ll be learning and experiencing was still there, doubt started to creep in. Is she ready? Will she be able to handle being gone all day? Of course, the biggest worry (for me anyway) – what will we do when/if she gets bullied or picked on?
All I can do is hope that we’ve made her confident enough to handle herself in those situations. She’s already asserting herself where usually she would just ignore things or laugh it off – she’s a very easygoing kid. At swim lessons, there’s an older girl who does everything she can to get everyone’s attention, much to the chagrin of her mom who, once the girl is dropped off with the instructor, buries her face in her phone until the very second our kids are released from lessons. Anyway, this girl has a tendency to splash the other kids, yell in their faces, etc. I’ve said something to the girl, the mom, the instructor etc but it continues so I decided to just re-iterate to Natalie that when it happens, it’s her job to tell the girl to stop. Yesterday, the girl was yelling in Natalie’s face and splashing her. Natalie looked at her and said, “please don’t splash me or yell at me, I don’t like it”. And you know what? The girls stopped! I almost did a cartwheel right there on the pool deck but somehow managed to restrain myself. Not only did Natalie stand up for herself, but she made the girl see that she was making someone uncomfortable…and she stopped!

So, while I’m still concerned about all of the obstacles N will be facing in school, I am once again excited for her to get started on her adventure!