Savings Sunday: Work Snacks 

Do you ever get the munchies at work? What do you do? Hit up the vending machine? Maybe go down to a corner shop? 

I am notoriously bad about spending money on snacks, especially while I’ve been nursing. And honestly, with the nursing, snacking has actually been necessary. Sometimes my workplace has snacks in the breakroom – I’m often the one bringing them – but that isn’t always the case.

So eventually, I wised up a little and started bringing my own snacks to work. I try to be good about portion control, so if I get a big bag of something, I’ll divvy it up among some Ziploc bags or my tiny Rubbermaid containers (the smallest size in my set is great for snacks!) 

I talked about this before, when referencing how much the whole family snacks. But, thinking ahead to the new school year (and back to work for me), I’ve wondered how I can be more efficient and maybe even a little healthier in my snacking choices.

So far, I’ve thought about:

  • veggies and dip (again in my Rubbermaid containers) 
  • Peanut butter and crackers, pretzels, apple slices, or carrots.
  • Nuts in general (this tends to be my weakness from the convenience counter anyway)
  • Trail mix, either pre-prepared or mixed by me.

My regular work week doesn’t start until next Monday, but I may try to implement some of these ideas this week as a trial run. I’ll report back!

Self-Care Saturday: Video Games

Do you like to play video games? I do. So does my husband. Yes, we’re those millennials. 

I also really haven’t played them since my daughter was born. My husband plays every chance he gets. He has made it much more of a priority, because his friends – especially those from home, who I stole him away from- play a lot and he uses it to keep in touch. I’m cool with that, but I’ve been super jealous because Baby Girl will leave him alone and let him play, but throws a fit if I even sit down at a computer.

Until this week, that is! It has taken almost two years but I have finally convinced this child that I am still watching her and can still play with her even if I’m at the computer. 

Now my husband and I can actually take turns being at the computer and I can play my video games again! 

She’s actually even a little bit interested in watching me play now, though she’s a bit young still to understand. I am thrilled about that – some of my first and best memories are of playing Nintendo and Sega Genesis with my mom!

Flashback Friday: Last Summer

My first summer with my daughter should have been quite lovely; her birthday was at the right time for her to start being really active around the same time I went on vacation – she started crawling a little bit before it started, and she was pulling herself up on furniture before it ended.

Unfortunately, things beyond my daughter made last summer extremely uncomfortable for me. We were still paying off hospital bills, so a real vacation was out of the question. And we had my mother-in-law temporarily living with us, which complicated matters.

I don’t talk about my mother-in-law on here, and for good reason. Our relationship is strained because of bad choices she has made, mainly of a financial nature.

But, back to last summer. We had a very quiet, uneventful summer, which was probably a good thing, given everything else that was going on. I didn’t even go to the big annual conference I usually go to, because I was out of travel money.

Despite it being for the best, I definitely regret not doing more. This summer has definitely been much better, though a little more stressful, and next summer promises to be even better – I have a new committee appointment that requires me to travel to New Orleans next June.

Time To… Thursday: Time to Go to Meetings

And so it begins. Technically, I am not required to report to work until August 15th; that is the official start of the semester for faculty, as told to me when I started this job. But… things aren’t always as cut and dry as that. Once I was in the job, I quickly realized that things drag me back to work before the semester begins. And today is the first of those things.

This evening, I’ll be attending the regional campus faculty orientation. We have a lot of adjuncts, so we have an orientation every year just to refresh everyone. I will be there, begging them to let me into their classrooms to teach information literacy.

I did a trial run of being out of the house on Tuesday. Baby Girl was … not pleased, but my husband said she calmed down fairly quickly after I left.

Since this event is happening in the evening, I have a secret weapon: homemade pizza. I needed something easy for my husband to pop in the oven while I was gone, and Baby Girl loves pizza.

Hopefully it’ll distract her while I’m gone. And then on Monday, I’ll be gone four or five hours, and then Tuesday, I’ll be gone even longer then I typically am, for our all day retreat.

Wish me luck!

Working Wednesday: The Side Hustle

So, I suppose someday this blog could be considered a side hustle, but for right now, it’s not – it’s just a fun place for me to jot my thoughts down and put up the recipes and planners and strange parenting ideas I have.

I don’t have a real, consistent side hustle, even though it feels like everyone and their mother has one these days.

What I do have, however, is opportunities to make a little money during the course of my normal work. You see, sometimes my presentations or publications (or in one case, a book review) come with compensation called an honorarium.

Obviously this is something that is probably confined to the realm of academia, but consider your own career. If you aren’t ready to step into the added responsibilities of another job, is there anything related to your career that you could take on a case by case basis? 

I do advise you look up your employer’s regulations on this kind of activity, but perhaps there is consultation you could do? 

Or, failing that, is there a hobby you have that could help you make extra money?

The goal here is to not add to your stress, while still adding to your bottom line.

Together Tuesday: Vacation Round-Up and Debriefing 

I managed to wring a lot of posts out of this vacation (before and after), but I promise this will be the last post about it.

First, let’s review the planning stage of our family vacation. As I mentioned in this post, I used a now-unavailable planner for planning our trip. Though I have used it successfully in the past, I found it to be somewhat lacking now that I have a toddler. I had hoped to have a new planner available for you all today, but life has gotten in the way, as usual. I hope to update this post with it when I’m finished, so stay tuned.

The hotel planning went well, though we did get a tad lost in the fog and missed where we were originally going to stop- it didn’t make us miss a reservation, but it did make me book our reservation later than I expected, and we overspent by about $35. We learned from our mistakes and booked an inexpensive hotel on the way back. My husband’s friends also helped us save money by letting us crash at their place one night.

..  Priceline did let me down a bit. The hotel may have been a Sheraton, but it was rundown. I certainly wouldn’t have paid full price for that room.

The actual trip was amazing. Baby Girl hit many milestones directly before and during the trip, and we had a blast. She got to ride on her first carousel, and we got pictures and video. She also loves seafood (no allergies!) and the ocean (no fear!).

Returning home was really nice, too, unexpectedly. It was good to get Baby Girl back into a routine, one augmented by her newfound love of zucchini bread. The second recipe I’ve made is , in my opinion, the superior one, but we have two more weeks and two more recipes to try.

This will definitely go down as a great memory, at least for the adults. But now it’s time for mommy to resume her work duties.

Menu Monday: Zucchini Bread Redux

Getting a little behind on my blog as I gear up for the new semester!

Yesterday I tried a second zucchini bread recipe. My mother sent me home with three large zucchinis when we came to visit, and when I shredded them, they produced eight cups of zucchini, which was enough for eight loaves.

It’s a good thing, too, because we went through two loaves of bread last week. Because Baby Girl is a toddler, in sure a great deal of it ended up being thrown on the floor, but we still ate a ton of it! And with an approximate toddler sized serving of veggies in each slice, mommy is happy.

There is a lot of sugar in the recipe (every recipe), but I’m still fairly pleased, and the new recipe I used does have just slightly less sugar.

The recipe said two or three loaves … I didn’t have the bulk of the (optional) nuts, so I split the batter between two of my Pampered Chef stoneware loaf pans. I did need about 5 extra minutes of cook time, but that could have easily been my oven’s fault. Either way, the recipe turned out great!

I’m thinking that when we run out of zucchini, I’ll make banana bread.