An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

The number of foods my kid will eat just increased to five

Saturday morning we woke to a slow drizzle, cloudy skies and temperatures I’d like to stick in a bag and drop kick to the arctic where they belong. I know how to do that, the drop kicking part because I played goalie on a soccer team when I was ten years old. Yep. ME. All 40 pounds of 10-year-old Heather B. Hamilton. I was actually pretty effective because I looked just like the pole on the side of the goal and when I ran around the other team thought they were hallucinating.

A few attempts to schedule a play date for Leta failed, and for a moment I thought her sorrow would create a black hole big enough to interrupt the orbit of communication satellites. It’s just the worst, you guys. And I’m only poking a little bit of fun because I was exactly like that at her age. I have to remind myself that I used to get just as upset at the prospect of being bored because my urge when she starts to pout is to go get her box of Lucky Charms, pour a jar of pickle juice into it and say, “This is exactly what life is like when you’re an adult.”

I listed off some things we could do, but she dismissed each one. We’ve already been there and that place is boring, and so forth, and why couldn’t we just walk over and see if our neighbor was home? I had to explain to her that it’s rude to show up unannounced at someone’s house and knock on their door. You guys! Those words came out of my mouth! AND THEY ARE TRUE! Think about it. When someone rings your doorbell, what is the first thing that goes through your head? Does it involve a firearm? See! That’s what I thought.

So I asked her if she wanted to help me christen the kitchen. We were going to have to hit the grocery store anyway, why not spend the afternoon using all the appliances I haven’t yet touched? What? Yes, I’ve been living in this house for over a month. No, I haven’t used the oven once. Yes, that’s megaton of cold cereal for dinner.

“Is there something you would eat that you and I could cook together?” I asked.

“Like, a frozen pizza?” she answered. Seriously. I looked around as if all of you were standing in my kitchen and I took a bow. What a quintessential dooce® moment.

“No, I was thinking something with ingredients that we have to measure.”

She slowly shrugged and said, “I… don’t… know…?”

I was totally joking around when I poked her in the stomach and yelled, “MEATBALLS!” Because how gross is that? If my kid won’t eat a chocolate cupcake, you think she’s going to eat balls of meat?


“You… wait…” I looked furiously around the room to see who was watching. “Where on earth have you even seen a meatball sub?”

“School! I love it when they have meatball subs on the menu!”


Meatball subs it would be! I quickly looked up a meatball recipe online, a Paleo meatball recipe because neither of my kids would know the difference:

1 pound ground beef
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup onion minced
1 small garlic cloved minced
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup almond flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Form mixture into two inch meatballs. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Holy crap, almond flour is expensive! Those paleolithic humans must have been rolling in cash!



When we got back from the grocery store and lined up all the ingredients, Leta was so excited to get started. That excitement lasted all of four seconds, up until Marlo grabbed her stool, hopped up next to the counter and squealed, “ARE WE HELPING?!” Suddenly cooking meatballs was totally not cool.



And oh my, the helping. She measured and poured salt.


She poured minced onion that I had leftover from a guacamole recipe.


She wallowed when I wouldn’t let her mince the garlic cloves (have you ever tried to get the garlic smell out of a three-year-old? Like, she breaks the washing machine every time it gets to the spin cycle.)


She measured oregano and reluctantly let Leta pour it.


And then she reluctantly let Leta whisk the egg.


She measured and poured flour.


And then she stirred.


And stirred even more.


Initially I wasn’t going to let her help me roll the meatballs, but when she saw me start the first one it was like I had just thrown a stick for a golden retriever. MUST. ROLL. RAW. MEAT.





And then… the best part… the part she had been waiting for… CLEANING UP. I told her, “Marlo, my ad network approached me and asked if I’d partner with Clorox at some point this month for a post on my website. And you know what I said? I said, ‘My kid’s favorite thing in the world is cleaning things up, so if Clorox wants to put a tattoo of its logo across her forehead, I’ll hold her hair back while they do it.'”



When I pulled out that tub of wipes I thought her glasses were going to crack from the vibrations of happiness shooting out of her body. I’d been saving them so that she could help me clean the bathrooms (her favorite room to clean, of course), but here was this mess and the opportunity to surprise her with an unexpected present. Clorox, I’m getting her disinfecting wipes for Christmas.



I made the mistake of briefly turning my back to check on the meatballs in the oven because when I turned back around she had used every wipe in that container. Every single one. When I asked her why she needed to use all of them she looked up at me with the most innocent eyes and answered, “Becausth the counter wasth stho dirty I needed to clean it.”

I used some of the less dirty ones to wipe the raw meat off of her hands, and then called her back when it was time to mix the meatballs with the pasta sauce.




Clorox has culled a list of what’s called ick-tionary terms, words formed when you combine regular terms with the messes that accompany parenthood. For instance, the stains running down the side of the toilet are referred to as “trickle treats” and you might not think I’d have that problem since I’ve got girls, but did you know that waiting to get off the toilet until after you’ve finished peeing is not a basic human instinct?

Going forward we’re going to describe this meal as Meatball Scrubs because of the mess and also because of the epic over-cleaning Marlo did when it was over.


And behold. Leta ate food that was not artificially colored.


Do you guys have any special words or phrases you use to describe messes or things that go wrong in your house?


This post is brought to you by The Clorox Company. I have partnered with them to spread the word about Clorox’s Ick-tionary program. To share Ick-tionary terms and real life messes, visit All opinions and stories are my own.

  • Kodi

    Hear you on the almond flour. We use it all the time and live in the middle of nowhere. When I find it cheaper than $10 I stock up!

  • Maria

    My husband lovingly refers to the mess our kids make by saying (to me out of their earshot) “it looks like a shit grenade went off in there”. But I suppose Clorox can’t use shit grenade in their ad campaign very effectively, huh?

  • SR

    Oh, haters! So judgy! So much free time! You are up for free entertainment, but not up for having someone (completely transparently) compensate the provider? I vote you move on to a paid site with your complaints. Or perhaps you are a secret advocate for E. coli…

  • sfox

    My issue with this post is how it started off being about Leta, and how Leta was super excited to do something with her mum, and it turned into an event where Marlo was doing almost everything. That’s why it felt forced and “setup” to me. I don’t pretend to know dooce, but based on what I have read over the years, she’s not the kind of mum that would let that happen.

  • A reader of sorts

    This is getting close to what I’m having difficulty putting words to, about these sponsored posts. They feel off. I’m not knocking the sponsored post – go nuts! I’m saying there’s something in the sponsored posts that feels off. My 2 cents: my guess is that the author (Heather) is still trying to write these naturally, and somehow trying to work in the sponsor’s name comfortably and still fulfill the agreement between her and the sponsor, which doesn’t come naturally unless the author would have included the product in an un-sponsored post. It’s kind of like those 50’s shows where the actors stop and perform the commercial themselves.

    As well, finding out at the end that it’s sponsored, it’s like what? did you just trick me into believing what I was reading was a naturally born post? and then at the end I go, huh? I’m out of sorts. Would it be better to put the sponsor comment at the beginning of the post? Not at all?

    I notice that the sponsored posts don’t say whether she likes them, they merely note that the product was used by the family in the course of whatever.

    An evolving way advertising, still being worked out.

  • trish

    I started to read the comments because I thought there were going to be a lot of comments about nicknames people have for messes and was honestly surprised to see people grouching about ad placement and how Heather has basically sold out. Whatever. There’s a little plugin called Ad Blocker that will block those pesky ads, and if you don’t like how Heather is writing posts, it’s called Unsubscribe.

    We don’t have any nicknames for messes, but we do like to laugh when someone farts.

  • Mrggy34

    Yes but then she couldn’t sell us things.

  • Online Film izle

    Reading this from Boston, and really appreciate the much needed laugh. Thank you.

  • Al from Newport

    The thing about the ‘haters’ – who seem to be well-behaved and articulate – is that they are providing feedback. If people just drift away from reading the site – as I am doing, because I don’t feel the spontaneity of the early ‘Dooce’ is still there – without providing a reason, how is Heather to know why she is losing readership?

  • REK

    Because Tolstoy sucks. Also because this doesn’t even compare to a full length novel. Newsflash – if you are reading a blog then there is profit being made somewhere. Get over it.

  • REK

    There is no bleach in a Clorox or Lysol wipe. Also, a sponge, ew. Dirty…

  • Poinskinator

    My boyfriend calls a sinkful of dirty dishes a “disshue” (like issue) and if it gets to the point of overflowing he calls it a “dishaster.” He is usually the creator of such things because he must use every single utensil in the kitchen when he cooks.

  • JS

    Not to speak for New York Bird, but I don’t mind ads, as long as they’re clearly identifiable and not intrusive. What I don’t like is reading a blog post that starts off like the kind of story I come to this site for and then morphs into an ad for Clorox. It’s gross, like those advertorials in papers — there’s this icky element of deception to them. Yes, it’s Heather’s blog, yes I don’t have to read, but I WANT to read, I hope to KEEP reading, so I’m providing feedback in the hopes that I will be able to continue reading here.

  • elizabeth ribak

    just fyi- we use plastic gloves in our house when we cook with raw meat/chicken; it makes clean up wayy easier and prevents salmonella germs from touching EVERYTHING in the kitchen before I can disinfect/clean sticky little hands. 🙂
    they look delicious and the pictures are beautiful, as always.

  • Amanda Curtis

    Winco also sells several types of gluten free flour in their bulk bin area at great prices.

  • Diana

    Yes, but you have to pulse it so it doesn’t turn into almond butter. And it takes a lot of time to get an even, fine texture (be sure to mix periodically). Unless almond flour is priced like gold, I say keep buying. I’ve lived places where you can get it cheaper at middle eastern markets. But I’ve never lived in Utah.

  • Gladys

    This blog is becoming just like Pioneer Woman’s.
    And good lord, I’m not even a dooce fan, and yet I would come back here a gabillion times just to irritate the “quit using sponges you mother earth hating whore” contingent. Also the “stop advertising crap” contingent. Like any of this crap matters to anyone, anywhere.
    I like chuck.

  • Alexia

    oh god, use common sense. change your sponge, use it only on counter tops, squeeze it out after cleaning it out, etc. you’ll live. other people won’t live if we continue to dump this trash into our landfills because people keep using clorox wipes in large plastic containers.

  • jw

    100% agree! Went to read comments, found a lot of complaing and opinions that are just that and aren’t really going to change a single thing especially when the easiest thing to do is NOT READ IF YOU DON”T LIKE. Totally disappointed to not get a good laugh out of a bunchy of funny nicknames for messes. 😉

  • dak


    Uh, you kind of have to see it first, to decide whether you like it or not – otherwise how would you know?

  • Can’t help but admire that look of concentration on Marlo’s face! Kudos on the over-cleaning part! It will all pay off someday… 🙂

  • Allie

    What makes me really uncomfortable about this sponsored post is: Heathers daughters in the pictures with the product. It makes me uncomfortable that essentially we all know she is using her daughters to advertise a product to pay for their living. That the blog used to be painfully emotionally honest and therefore relatable… and now, while it is still pretty and all, it is more superficial, more advertise-y. The readers were used to an honesty that doesn’t really seem “there” any more. That was lost shortly after Heather’s separation from her husband. There must be stuff going on in her head and heart that she isn’t telling us about? Which she has every right to, of course, but it gets difficult when the selling point of the blog, to the readership, is the.. um, stupid word, but “raw” emotional honesty? And now we, the readership don’t get that much anymore… frustrating. Instead, we get sponsored posts featuring her daughters using disinfecting wipes. Man, these wipes don’t even seem to fit who we the readership think Heather is? I would have thought her to be green enough to not see the need for presoaked-in-chemicals disposable wipes in a giant plastic box. And yet, she writes “I have partnered with them to spread the word about Clorox’s Ick-tionary program”. Wouldn’t old Heather have joked about thatht Kind of the elephant in the room, for me.
    It can be quite uncomfortable to “have to” blog for a living, I suppose.

  • BUT WHY would you let your daughter clean up a raw meat juice mess? You’ve just exposed her to cleaning solutions AND our first world cleaning anxiety! Don’t you realize that raw meat juice is NATURAL? And also totally paleo. And also messes are totally paleo, so meat messes are, like, PALEO paleo. Do you think paleo man used Clorox wipes? Uh, NO. He lived in his meat mess and HE LIKED IT. Or he just licked it up. Saliva is a natural solvent, and also totally paleo. It’s cool and all that you earn money from your blog, but why does it have to come from a first world neurosis-driven chemical company? If I check back here tomorrow and don’t see a post sponsored by Saliva: Nature’s Natural Solvent, I’m totally going to UNFOLLOW.

  • much love to you and yours!

  • Blaux

    Don’t try anything new.
    Don’t let anything in your life change the voice or viewpoint you had at 24.
    Don’t you dare do anything that I’m too terrified to do myself.

    Just keep saying donkey balls.

  • I don’t know what is more comical… Your writing or these blog comments about Clorox wipes! Thanks for making my meatball recipe and thanks for making me laugh this morning. This was a great post 🙂

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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