Monthly Archives: October 2017

Together Tuesday: Halloween Round-Up

Happy Halloween, Y’all.

Since I will be busy with work all day and then my Baby Girl’s first trick-or-treat experience this evening, I wanted to keep this post super simple. Pop on over here to read about my Baby Girl’s first Halloween or here to read about her second.

If you’re interested in thematic planning for Halloween – especially with regards to navigating the holiday with a little one –  revisit (or check out for the first time) my Thematic Thursday  post on Halloween.

And finally, if you’re looking for recipes, yesterday’s spooky favorites should get you inspired!

Have a fun, safe, and spooky Halloween everyone, and we’ll see you again tomorrow when things (hopefully) return to normal!

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Menu Monday: Spooky Favorites

Once upon a time, when I did not have a daughter or a husband, I threw a Halloween party that was decently attended. And when I threw this party, I made some really awesome food (because of course I did; I wasn’t even working at the time, IIRC, so what better use of my time was there than to make Halloween treats?). And since then, I’ve made some pretty awesome food for Halloween parties at work, too. I’d like to share some of those recipes with you today. I won’t be able to make it to our Halloween party at the main campus this year, sadly, but I will be there in spirit. 

First up, some amazing pumpkin cream cheese cupcakes muffins at Thrifty DIY Diva. I’m pretty sure when I made them, I skipped the candied pumpkin seeds and frosted them with a vanilla frosting.

And also: some dark chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. This isn’t the original recipe I used but it’s a close approximation: Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling

 

Savings Sunday: Budgeting on the MicroScale

We all know we need to have a budget, right? Track spending, set limits, etc. But that’s on the macro scale. What about the micro scale? When you have an event, a holiday, a trip, or a desperate need (such as winter clothes for the kids), do you do a budget work-up for that, or do you just try to shove it in wherever it will fit?

I have tried my best to budget these things separately. Obviously, I have the main budget, but usually, unless things are really dire, there is some money left over in the budget for “other.” And at this time of year, there is SO. MUCH. OTHER.

Last month, the other was Baby Girl’s birthday. This month, Halloween AND my anniversary. Next month, Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping (if I don’t start it this month.)

So, I find or develop planners. For Halloween, I use this one, which I devised myself. (It’s a rather large file and may be difficult to handle for some older model printers. If you find there are printing errors, try splitting the print job into pages 1-8 and 9-13.) For my anniversary,  this year it’s just been a sticky note on one of my regular budget pages, because we didn’t plan much for this year. Thanksgiving … Well, in the past, Thanksgiving has been a nightmare amalgamation of many different planners. With any luck, I’ll have time in the near future to streamline that.  I have planners for trips and birthdays and all sorts of other events. And, of course, I have a giant Christmas planner that could damn near be its own binder entirely.

What things do you find yourself planning on the micro scale? Have you been able to find or make a planner to suit your needs?

Self-Care Saturday: Clothes

What do you like to wear?

I have heard … well, I believe I’ve heard every single woman in my life tell me that they take off their bra as soon as they hit the door.

I don’t do that. Or at least, I didn’t until I had Baby Girl. Even now if she isn’t scrambling to nurse when I get home, I’ll leave it on until she does. Some nights I’ve actually managed to forget I was still wearing it until it was time for bed…

I also don’t change into my pajamas when I get home. That one comes up less among my friends and colleagues, but that does still come up.

So what do I like to wear?

I like things that make me feel pretty or  cute. Obviously nothing too terribly uncomfortable, but I have been known around my workplace as the girl who wears heels. People will literally  stop me in the halls and ask if I’m feeling all right if I’m not wearing heels.

I like things that match. I don’t know if it’s OCD or just a weird obsession with symmetry and balance, but if I’m wearing pajamas, they had better match. I will dig through my drawers for the right pieces for forever. It drives my husband nuts. Even if it’s something no one will see (like my bra and panties), if I can get them to match, I’m much happier.

Some things you won’t be able to get away from. For example, you pretty much have to wear clothes of some description. And some of you may have dress codes or even uniforms. But today I challenge you to find something you can do that makes you like the clothes you’re wearing better – even if it’s just an new pair of pretty, frilly underwear.

Flashback Friday: Halloween 2.0

So, last year at Halloween, Baby Girl was still too young for trick-or-treating. I’m not sure I’d even let her have sweetened applesauce yet! But we still had a family set of costumes- we were the Flintstones!  The costumes were actually super simple to make; Baby Girl’s was just a green onesie and a pair of shorts, though I did have to dye it because I couldn’t find a plain green onesie. I also painted the triangles on with fabric paint.

The other thing that was awesome about last year’s Halloween was that we got to go to my work Halloween party. Every year the library I work for has a Halloween potluck and I decided that since no one at the main campus had seen my daughter (other than my best friend who happens to work for the same university that I do), it would be a perfect time for everyone to see her. There aren’t many occasions where the 100+ employees of the library gather at one time, and it certainly is the most relaxed event we would all be at.

Everyone adored her, of course, and the marketing coordinator even snapped some pictures of us as a family. Which turned out to be great, because we ended up not getting any other pictures of us altogether. I was very relieved that she had taken them, especially after we’d taken something like two dozen for Baby Girl’s first Halloween.

Let that be a lesson for you – make sure you budget in/schedule some time for pictures, even if it’s only a few. Don’t be convinced (like I was) that because you have your picture taking device with you at all times, you’re going to remember to take them in the course of the evening.

Thematic Thursday: Halloween!

I almost didn’t write this post because today is my anniversary, and I was going to cop-out and just write a two-sentence post about that and be done, but it looks like I beat that horse to death already, and anyway, I’ve already confessed to post-dating my posts, so instead we’re going to talk about one of my favorite holidays: HALLOWEEN!

Yes, we’ve already talked about the beginning of the holiday season, and we’ve talked about Baby Girl’s first Halloween (and a post on her second Halloween will be tomorrow),  but we haven’t really talked about Halloween at my house this year.

I got my decorations up the first weekend of the month. During Baby Girl’s nap on the 1st, I put up my gravestones and hanging ghouls and goblins and put my skeleton and brooms on the porch. I have a pressure sensor that screams when you step on my welcome mat (that says Enter If You Dare, by the way), but I won’t turn it on until Halloween  night, after the littlest kids have trick or treated – they’re usually done by 5 pm.

We’re also going trick or treating ourselves this year, as a family. We’ll be dressed up as the Addams family (sans Pugsley) and I’m super excited about it. Baby Girl is still a little young though, so we’ll be going as soon as trick-or-treating starts (we have official start times in our area), going through as many houses as we can in 30 minutes or so, and then back to the house to hand out candy for the rest of the trick or treat time.

I’ve also been waffling back and forth about whether to decorate my library for Halloween. My students are all grown ups, so I probably shouldn’t…. On the other hand, I’m going to miss the big Halloween potluck at the main campus…. So… maybe just a little?

We’ll see!

Working Wednesday: It Gets Better

.. And then worse again, and then better for a while, and then… Well, that’s life, isn’t it?

I have had what feels like a rollercoaster of a semester. If it’s not new policies and other announcements from the administration, it’s frustrations over my employee and her suddenly inflexible schedule. I’ve tried my best to come up with a couple of projects that are completely independent of the university and all the inherent issues (aka, no need for travel or time off, like article proposals), but mainly I’m at their mercy.

I am here to say, though (and to remind myself) that it does get better. Every job has growing pains and there’s no reason to think otherwise. There will be new bosses and new employees, budget crunches and budget surpluses (oh, one can dream, can’t they?) and you just need to try to ride the wave. For the most part, these things will happen with you or without you, and the every day functions of your job won’t change much. (A friend of mine calls it white noise.) Take a deep breath, practice self-care, and let it all happen.

That being said, I don’t want you to think that means that you have to stay there if you feel like you’re undervalued or underpaid. It can be scary to try to venture into something new even when you don’t have a family relying on you, but remember: if you do things politely and professionally, there will not be any hard feelings if you decide to move on from your job. At least here in the U.S., it is almost expected that at some point you will work for someone else; that’s why we have things called “entry-level” jobs. I have gotten a lot of strange looks from people when I tell them I plan to stay working at this university until I retire, especially because I don’t have family in the area.

At any rate, looking at job listings isn’t going to hurt anyone, and it might even help – you can get a feel for what it means to stay current in your field and brush up on those skills even if you aren’t planning to leave.