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Showing posts from September, 2012

Work, Home, and Family - What I Figured Out

I've figured out something since I've got sick a few years ago.  And it has to do with life and work and family and "balancing" all those pieces.

It all came to a head the other day when I opened a magazine that I receive and read a short article describing a day in a particular woman's life.  This half-page article is run every month and is designed to illustrate "balance" in a working-outside-the-home woman's life by giving a sample "day" in one woman's life.

The woman in this month's article woke at 5am to go to spinning class, came home and put her children on the bus for school, went to work from 9am to 8pm, ate dinner with only her husband (rarely her children), tucked her children into bed, and pulled out her laptop and worked until midnight (or later).  This woman freely admitted that her current schedule is 'exhausting' but that 'it works for her'.  

Really?  I wondered.  Does it really work? 

Is that a goo…

Frugal Friday - "I don't want to!"

Being frugal can be hard.
Especially when you haven't had to be frugal.

Fortunately, I grew up frugal. 

I remember having a conversation in high school with my mother that went something like this:

Me: "I feel so bad for Dee's family because they are so poor. They just don't have money for anything!"
Mom: "Lea! Mr.G. makes a much as Daddy does and Mrs. G. makes almost as much."
Me:  "What?  No that can't be right...."
Mom:  "I make minimum wage working 20 hours a week.  Mr and Mrs G. Make almost 1/3 again what we make. They certainly aren't poor."
Me: "Ohhh......"  (Thinking hard here....)

That was the first time I really realized that it really doesn't matter how much money you have on the top end of the scale.  You can be rich as Bill Gates and still be broke all the time.  You can have a nice, modest income and be perfectly comfortable.

I have a friend who was asking how I always manage to "look so nic…

Work, Home and Family - Fresh Corn Salad

This was a keeper along with many of the 12 recipes I tried this summer. 

Quite frankly, I was expecting more of them to be flops. 

For our first anniversary, my parents bought us a subscription to a cooking magazine. It had some great recipes - many of which we tried and kept.  There were  few - yikes!  Most were edible.  One was an entire pot that we had to throw out  - the ingredients looked great but the recipe was definitely not.  So, now I'm always skeptical when I try a recipe.

Fortunately, this one is a keeper! 
And, unfortunately, I don't have a picture.

Since corn season is almost over, I thought I'd post this before the fresh corn is completely gone.

Fresh Corn Salad Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, July 2012 Issue
4 ears fresh corn (you could probably use 1 1/2 c canned, drained if you'd like) 1/2 c finely diced onion (the original recipe called for chilled red, I used white because that's what I had) 1/2 c cucumber, not peeled and diced  (original…

Healthy Habits in 2012 - Knowing Your Limits

One of the things about fighting 2 chronic illnesses is that the limits of the body are more evident than they might be for the average person.

Before I got sick, I could get by on 4-5 hours of sleep 2-3 nights a week, as long as they weren't consecutive.
Before I got sick, I could eat pretty much whatever I wanted and, while I might gain a pound or two, my digestive tract worked just fine and I felt just fine.
Before I got sick, I could push myself to the point of exhaustion in a workout (or pretty much anything else) and know that I'd bounce back the next day.
Before I got sick, as long as I drank a cup or two of coffee in the morning I could pretty much gurarantee a clear head for thinking all day long.

Now... not so much.

Now, I need a minimum of 7 hours sleep a night when I'm not sick. When I'm sick it's 9 - 10 hours.  When I need to push for a night, it's 6 1/2.  No less.  Even if it's only one night that week.

If I eat junk food - any of it - my stom…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of September 16, 2012

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Our CSA has only one more share this season. It's hard to believe that fall is almost really and truly here.  My freezer is almost full, though, so I guess that's about right!  We have loads of green beans, peas, and other good things for this winter.  And I'm feeling mighty blessed!

What are we eating this week?

Sunday, September 16:
   Breakfast: Cereal and Milk
   Lunch:  French Toast
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Leftovers

Monday, September 17:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal
   Lunch: PB&J, Applesauce, Yogurt, and Tomatoes
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner:  Veggie Soup, Biscuits, Melon

Tuesday, September 18:
   Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
   Lunch: Hot for Children, Leftovers for Adults
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Pork Chops, Rice, Baked Butternut Squash, Melon-Grape Salad

Wednesday, September 19:
  Breakfast: Spiced Pancakes
  Lunch: PB&J, Applesauce, Yogurt and Cut Veggies
  Snack: Oatmeal Cookies
  Dinner: BBQ Chicken Legs, Sweet Potato Fries, Melon

Thursday, Septembe…

Goals - Week of September 16, 2012

This last week consisted of both kids and me getting one of the worst head colds we've had in this house in about 2 1/2 years.  Every time I get a head cold, well frankly, it scares me.  I mean, I should say, terrifies me. I see myself getting sick all over again - completely incapacitated, additional surgeries, the whole nine yards.  Such is my imagination when I'm tired and not feeling well.   

The kids bounced back with the speed of kids. John didn't start to get sick until Sunday night - and he doesn't get very sick.  I pushed through to the end of the week and then spent 44 of the next 48 hours in bed coughing, sleeping, reading and trying to snack and drink a little.  Needless to say, in the midst of all that, my to-do list did not take top priority!

Here's the results:

Work:
* Continue to keep up with grading  I actually did pretty well on this, all things considered. Only one activity that didn't get graded.
* Finish all the back-ground work for the firs…

Goals - Week of September 9, 2012

Is it just me or does the first week back at school seem to be about a zillion years long and go by in a flash all at the same time?    I was in class for a grand total of 8 hours this week and it felt like more like 60!  This week should be a lot better.  We also had a stomach bug, bad traffic (really bad), and what felt like a three-mile high pile of paperwork to contend with!  Whew.  Friday came as a relief.

So, what in the midst of all that, got accomplished last week?  Here's the review:

Work:
* First week paperwork (drop/adds, update class lists, copies, forms, etc.)
* Grading from this week

* Get web pages up and online before first day of class (My part of this is done - I have to wait for IT to get theirs done!)

School:
* Review statistics with a classmate who did much better in statistics than I did (will meet with the statistician later)
* Meet with my advisor
* Continue cleaning out my desk and filing cabinet


Jazzercise:
* Teach 2 classes, attend 2 classes I only attended 1 ad…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of September 9, 2012

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Last week was one of those odd weeks that seemed to go so very fast and yet drag on for eternity all at the same time!   We have been fighting some kind of fall bug here and getting used to our crazy new fall schedule.

Here's what we eating this week:

Sunday, September 9:
   Breakfast: Cereal and Milk
   Lunch: At Church: Rally Day Taco Feed!
   Snack:  Popcorn
   Dinner: Soup, Crackers and Watermelon

Monday, September 10:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Pecans and Craisins
   Lunch: Leftovers for Adults, Hot Lunch for Children
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner:  Lemon Pepper Chicken, Veggie Fried Rice, Watermelon and Cantaloupe

Tuesday, September 11:
   Breakfast: Spiced Pancakes
   Lunch: Crackers & Cheese, Yogurt, Cut Veggies, Applesauce
   Snack: Oatmeal Cookies
   Dinner:  Meatloaf, Roasted Potatoes, Tossed Salad, Grape-Pear-Apple Salad

Wednesday, September 12:
   Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal with Pecans
   Lunch:  Ham Sandwiches, Yogurt, Applesauce, Oatmeal cookie
   Snack: Yogurt

In the Refiner's Fire - Decisions

This season of life seems to be one of waiting for us.

Waiting to be done with my PhD.

Waiting to be done with John's Seminary time.

Waiting to find out if his endorsement for ordination will be met and made and celebrated.

Waiting to find out which district our call will be in.

Waiting to find out where friends will be placed.


Waiting to find out if our home congregation is going to stay intact or completely shred itself to pieces.

The last one is the hardest for me right now.

We have decisions to make about that congregation.

To stay there or transfer to the one where John has been working. 
To re-integrate back into the ministries at that congregation on a limited basis that we can at this point.
To have John continue to help lead or not.
To have our children become part of the children's ministry there again or not.

Right now, the only reason we're still there is because of the new staff member I had talked about briefly before.  He's wonderful. And so supportive of…

Work Home and Family -

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Overnight Pull-Apart Cinnamon Loaf (Adapted slightly from Better Homes and Gardens, April 2012 issue)
Ingredients: 3/4c milk   2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (1 package)   1/4 c melted butter (we used margarine here)   2 T sugar   1 egg, beaten   1/2 t salt (I used 1/4 t salt)   3 c all-purpose flour (we used bread flour)   1/4 c melted butter (we used unsalted butter here)   3/4 c sugar   2 t cinnamon (we used 1 T)
(Original recipe also called for nuts - I can't remember what kind - and glaze - we did neither.)
Warm milk to 105F-115F and add yeast.  Stir until yeast is dissolved and let rest 5 minutes, or until yeast is bubbly.
Beat together 1/4 c melted butter, 2T sugar, the egg and salt and add to yeast mixture.  Add half the flour and stir well. Stir in remaining flour.  (The recipe recommends using a mixer for this whole part but I just used my arm and a wooden spoon.)   Shape into a ball - dough will not be smooth.  Place in an oiled bowl and let rise overnight in the fridge or un…

Healthy Habits in 2012 - Attainable Goals

I haven't had a Healthy Habits post in a while.

Not that there hasn't been anything to write about. I just don't quite know what to pick!

My current thing is having attainable goals - goals aren't worthwhile if they aren't attainable, right?  And I'm going to be teaching some of my Jazzercise classes in a room with a mirror behind me, so getting my rear end particularly toned is something I'd like to do.

So my attainable goal for right now?  Making sure that I do glut routines that challenge me - really challenge me. As in I-have-sore-walking-the-next-day challenge me. 

Fortunately, we have several routines that fall into that category for me to choose from. So I make sure that I do them 5 days a week - even on the days I don't go to class or teach.  If I go to class as a student and the glut routine doesn't challenge me enough, I come home and do one then too.  My own students are groaning when the glut routines come on right now, but I just tell t…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of September 2, 2012

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We haven't had any more eggplant in our CSA box this year but I keep thinking about how well the Eggplant Parmesan turned out and wishing we did!  We have lots of other goodies so we can't complain and I'm enjoying our CSA.  This week is was more patty pan squash, zucchini, a watermelon, carrots, purple beans, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, rosemary, and green peppers.  Yummy!  I cut and froze a lot of the peppers and my son has been truly enjoying the tomatoes!  We now have lots of green and purple beans in the freezer for this winter and I think I might do a batch or two of carrots this week - we'll see how much time I can scare up.

I did a bunch of "Freezer Cooking" this last week - spiced pancakes, waffles, sliced zucchini bread for breakfasts and stir fry packets and some crock pot meals for dinners. I also made a large batch of oatmeal cookies and popped popcorn to have for snacks and put together some baking mix packets (oatmeal mu…

Goals Update - Week of September 2, 2012

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Another week come and gone. I officially start school - both for work and my PhD program - and John is the only one in our house not in school this week!  We're gearing up for kickoff for Church - both the congregation that we are members of and for the congregation that John works at.  Busy time of year right now!   We had a parade and a promo event for Jazzercise and we had a great turn out for both (Whoo hoo!) and we're so excited about the upcoming fall programming we have!  The first week that classes start is always hectic and we're on a completely different schedule than we have been the last two years, so we're in an a place of adjustment this week yet again.  I'm glad we can add things in layers rather than all in one fell swoop!  I'm also cutting back on some of the goals that I'm having since most of my "free" time is going to be spent on school or work related stuff until this dissertation is done!

But first, how did I do last week?

W…