Monthly Archives: May 2017

Working Wednesday: Back to Work

Yesterday’s post would have made a half-decent Working Wednesday post, if I had been thinking of it. Unfortunately, I’m still kind of winging this whole blogging thing, so I didn’t think of it. I also still haven’t identified a good theme for Tuesdays, hmm…

But on to this week’s Working Wednesday. As you all know, I’ve been on my first summer vacation of the year, but tomorrow is June 1st and I have to go back to work.

At 7 am, there is a Chamber of Commerce breakfast. I’m not required to attend, but the campus is hosting it. I didn’t go last year, because Baby Girl was still pretty small and I couldn’t schedule her feedings around it. I could probably manage to go this year, but I haven’t been involved in any of the preparation because I’ve been on vacation, so I’m not sure I should show up. I did attend the first two years I worked at this campus though.

I don’t exactly feel like I’m shirking my duties – faculty are only “encouraged” to attend and I’ve only seen one of the others with any regularity. But it is a reminder that things have changed for me, and that is something that I am still dealing with.

Also on the agenda is 5 hours at work, working on my webinar that is coming up in the middle of the month. 5 hours is how long the library is open daily in the summer. I also have another project to work on – a presentation I’m giving at a conference. I’m going to need to make good use of my time at work to get them done, but the second half of the month will be focused on getting my tenure portfolio together.

For the uninitiated, tenure is given to faculty members to protect them from retribution for research that might be controversial.  While most research in the library is probably as bland and banal as you can imagine, there can be controversy within the library, in the form of book challenges (which, yes, does happen at the university level) and general politicking.

To get that reward, I have to prove that I have followed the department’s guidelines for tenure and promotion. To get it early, I have to prove I’ve done more and better than my colleagues did at this stage.

It’s daunting, but I have excellent colleagues who have been guiding me and I know I’ll get tenure – even if it isn’t until next year.

I’m glad to get Baby Girl back on something approaching a schedule, too. We’ve gotten a bit off track with me home all day. We’ll see how well it sticks when I’m back on vacation in July.

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Letting Go of Things

I am really terrible at letting go of stuff. Mainly control, but other things, too. I have, for lack of a better term, a responsibility complex- I feel that I have to be responsible for everything at all times, from the state of my house to the state of the nation ( why didn’t I campaign for Hillary?!) and it is overwhelming.

But today, I slept in after Baby Girl had me up not once but twice last night, and when I got around to checking my email (which I still do on vacation, as we talked about here) I had two angry emails from a coworker , both of which were timestamped for before our branch even opens. Though I felt she was being unfair,  I politely apologized and explained that I’m out of the office until Thursday . Then, I got down to the business of sorting out the actual problem…

Only to find out my employee had already taken care of everything. It was weird.

So I was forced to let this thing go, just based on timing. And really, my coworker needn’t have involved me in it at all. 

Do you have things at work you could let go of? What’s stopping you?

Menu Monday 

I can’t promise that every Monday here will have to do with food, but food is on my mind today. We had a neighborhood cookout yesterday that we didn’t get to go to because of bad nap timing. I was going to bring coleslaw, so we’ve got the ingredients for that. So, I’ve stuck a pork loin in the crockpot with BBQ sauce and we’re having pulled pork , baked potatoes and coleslaw for dinner – a great Memorial Day meal.

Meanwhile, there is still lunch to sort out. Baby Girl had two breakfasts (first with me , and then with daddy) and a snack so she didn’t want lunch before her nap. That just left the grownups.

I decided to make tostadas with leftovers from last week’s tacos, so head on over to Butter and Whisky for the directions!

Savings Sunday: Budgeting Snacktime

Up until recently, I did not think much about snacks. I’m not a big snacker. My husband is, and so we get him snacks and I’ll usually grab a little bit of whatever it is sometime during the week. 

That changed with first the pregnancy, and then nursing – and now we have a third person to be accounting for, and she certainly likes to snack.

When I was pregnant, I found myself grabbing snacks from the vending machine or the concession area of the university bookstore. Those options weren’t super healthy for either me or the budget. But they were sporadic! Some days I would want a huge breakfast and not care about food until lunch. Other days I would barely eat and be starving long before I could go home. If I bought something to take into work with me, it might get smushed in my purse or go stale before I ever ate it. I also spent the vast majority of my time at the reference desk, so there was no good place to stash snacks. So I ended up just giving in to the craving and hitting the vending machine.

While I was nursing, I wised up a little and set myself an actual snack time. I was pumping at work anyway, so I brought snacks for the week packed in with my pump and milk storage supplies. The snacks I brought were sometimes pricey (which I will talk about during a flashback Friday someday) but they were still better priced and better for me than the vending machine. I’d pair them with water to stay hydrated and that seemed to work.

These days though, I’ve also got to think about Baby Girl’s snack time. And last week, I spent a ridiculous amount of money on what was mostly snack food. Some of it was for myself and some of it was for my husband, and all of it was a good deal. But we’ve all been running rampant with the snackage because of it, and I have realized two things I need to do if we’re going to stay on budget and not waste any food.

  1. We need visible portion controls. We spend too much time just grabbing handfuls of whatever snack. I prefer using Rubbermaid containers for this (or Tupperware, or your preferred brand – this is not an endorsement, paid or otherwise) because they are reusable. The littlest ones are a great size for snacks.
  2. We need to plan our snacks. I don’t mean scheduling snack time with a set menu (though that’s okay and lot of kids prefer it!)  I just mean that I need to think when we’re grocery shopping about what I need to provide more balanced snacks. It’ll help us not run out or waste food – opposing problems that I somehow manage to create simultaneously.

I think if we follow those two rules, we can get our budget under control, and so can you! 

Self-Care Saturday: Take Time to Do the Little Things … For Yourself

This post was inspired by the following:

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Yes, what you are looking at is a grilled cheese sandwich on a paper plate. Not my finest cooking, I assure you, but it got me thinking about self-care. You see, that is my grilled cheese sandwich, made after I had already made one for Baby Girl, cut it, cooled it, and given it to her.

Still confused? I don’t blame you.

Normally I cut the sandwiches I make for Baby Girl in half, diagonally. It’s silly, but my husband and I agree that this little act of love makes a grilled cheese (or really, any sandwich) taste better, even when I am subsequently tearing her sandwich up further into more manageable bites.

I never do this for myself.

I don’t know why. It doesn’t take more than a second, and it not only make it taste better through psychological trickery, but it actually makes it easier to eat. And yet I find myself skipping it. Well, no more! As part of my self-care, I am vowing to do more stupid little things for myself, because if I don’t love myself well, how can I expect anyone else to?

I want you to spend this weekend while you are ostensibly home with the family (maybe you’re even lucky enough to have a long weekend?) thinking about the little things you do for your family, and whether or not you do them for yourself. If the answer is no, then I have another question for you to answer: why not?

Flashback Friday: What to Wear When You’re Expecting

This post is coming to you live (well, as in, I’m going to write it and immediately post it, instead of scheduling it) because I needed to be on my actual computer to write it. You see, I’m about to link all over the place!

Today’s Flashback Friday is all about the clothes you should wear when you’re pregnant. These days, we have a lot of choices on what to wear, and I am here to talk to you about professional(ish) clothes that look great. I say professional-ish because I dress strictly business casual, and I really like dresses and skirts. Your requirements may vary.

First up, of course, is Motherhood Maternity. They can be quite pricey, as I found out when I needed a dress for a summer wedding. My husband was the best man, so not attending was not an option. But I found a dress for $35. Not a great price for a dress I wore three times (it was near the end of my pregnancy), but it worked well and wowed the other guests at the wedding. If you have the luxury of time, I would recommend shopping their website, rather than their storefronts – there is more selection and better sales.

Second, and this is honestly where I got most of my maternity clothes, is Kohl’s. They are forever running sales, and their clearance section tends to be robust Some of what they sell is a secondary label of Motherhood Maternity called Oh Baby! but I have also seen other brands there. Plus, if you time it right, you can snag Kohl’s Cash and use it to dress your little one!

Third, is Zulily. This one is a little more hit-or-miss, and I have to admit that though I saw plenty of things I liked from them, the timing was never right for me. They cycle through collections frequently though, so you should definitely give them a look.

Lastly, there are yard sales and consignment shops. Your town is full of women who have vowed that they are never having more kids and are ready to get rid of their maternity clothes. I would recommend stopping anywhere that advertises they have kid’s clothes – more  often than not, there will be a small selection of maternity clothes. I got my favorite maternity dress – the one we took my pregnancy photos in – from a massive fundraising consignment sale hosted by the Boys and Girls Club here. Even if you’re newly pregnant, I would take advantage of the summer season and get to shopping – you can always fill in gaps in your wardrobe later as you discover them.

One slightly negative thing I have to add: I would stay away from Macy’s. What I saw was over-priced, incredibly similar to other things I had seen elsewhere, and pretty much never went on sale.

Time to… Thursday: Dinner Time!

I am still playing around with what I want to title these Thursday posts (as should be plenty evident by the title of this post) but I’ve had three posts in a row on Thursday dealing with time, mainly with how to manage time. I decided not to break that trend and talk to you about dinner time!

I love to cook, especially for my family. I try to cook fairly healthily but I don’t always manage it. I also try to give my daughter a variety of different foods for her to try – and so far she has not refused a thing. She has her preferences of course (if she had her way she’d live on Goldfish crackers and strawberry-banana yogurt) but I’ve never seen her not try something, provided she was the least bit hungry. So I cook from scratch, and often international food, at that.

But, we don’t always have time to spend an hour and a half in the kitchen just to get dinner on the table, do we? That’s why I want to share with you some of my favorite quick meals. These have all been tested by me and only take about 30 minutes in a real kitchen.

  1. Chicken Parmesan from Chef Savvy
  2. Quick & Easy Creamy Herb Chicken by Cafe Delites
  3. Glazed Pork Chops by Budget Bytes
  4. Tuscan Pork Chops from MyRecipes.com
  5. Mexican Beef Skillet by I Wash You Dry

There are, of course, more – but these are recent meals from my household that I hope you will try out in yours!