Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Staying In Touch With The Weather Channel

Outside my office last week
Our families are scattered around the eastern US like so many snow flakes in a blizzard. I spend a lot of time consolidating art work and printing pictures to send to relatives all over. It's worth it so my kids have some connection to our families.

My kids are at the age now where they'd like to start calling people. Our relatives love that, but have no idea what my kids are talking about when they go into the minutia of DS games or everything princess Elsa ever said. We've hit upon the secret for giving my kids something to talk about with relatives though, and you can find it too on cable TV.

It's the weather channel.

 They'll watch it for a half hour on a Saturday morning, and then make their phone calls.

"Hello Grampa have you noticed any coastal flooding?"

"Hi Auntie how are you doing with the lake effect snow?"

It's the cutest thing, and gives everyone a conversation they can participate in.

Talking about the weather is the oldest trick in the book, but it's working for us!

They closed school early for this the other day...

Monday, January 26, 2015

This Week's Menu & Goals

I took last week off for a much needed family vacation in Ohio, then to do the laundry that resulted! We had a great time playing in the snow and relaxing on our hotel's hot tub. It was the best of both worlds - my husband and I stayed at a hotel while the kids stayed with family. We slept in every morning, ate breakfast together, went a few places we couldn't take them, then would go pick them up for some family fun. Then we dropped them off again for someone else to take care of bed time, haha. I read an entire book in three days, it was glorious.

Anyway, back to reality this week. I did a bunch of freezer cooking after we got back, so we should have plenty to eat.

Mon -- Rice bowls with toppings
Tue -- Herb butter chicken tenders, mashed or baked potatoes (depending on how much snow we get and if the kids have school), veggies
Wed -- Minestrone soup
Thu -- Leftovers/Grab something from the stand at basketball game with son
Fri -- Pizza!

Breakfasts -- three grain cereal (similar to this recipe), banana bread, yogurt

Lunches -- Salad, leftovers, cheese and crackers

Linked to: Menu Plan Monday

Goals from two weeks ago:

1) Finalize appointments for check ups (me, kids, & cat!)
2) Finish office
3) Complete freezer cooking
4) Catch up on ironing

This week's goals:

1) Read & review one ARC book
2) Finalize spring break plans
3) Clean up home office
4) Start taxes

Have a great week!  Stay warm & safe!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Quick Lit January 2015

All through December I floundered, unable to really commit myself to any books, until Christmas came. Since then I've been absorbed by everything I've read to the point of being late for work because I stood outside reading. Here are a few favorites.

You know how sometimes people will recommend non-fiction books because they read like fiction? Well, Above All Things is a fiction book that reads like non-fiction. The descriptions are so vivid that you really do believe that this is the true narrative of what happened to George Mallory on Everest. When you add in the chapters told from the perspective of Mallory's wife on the day of the climb you have a real masterpiece. Is it too early to name my favorite book of 2015?

I listened to Glitter and Glue in December, and enjoyed it so much I knew I had to go back a read The Middle Place too. Both memoirs hit the mark -- they're funny and touching without going over the top -- and work well both as audio books and paper books.

I didn't expect to like Noelle Hancock, the celebrity blogger turned unemployed year long experiment writer, as much as I did in My Year with Eleanor. Her idea was to personify the Eleanor Roosevelt quote "Do one thing each day that scares you." She hit upon all of the obvious things, diving with sharks, sky diving, trapeze school, but she also went deeper into breaking her sleeping pill addiction and relationship problems. This was a good, relatable memoir.

I've read The Power of Habit the past two years as part of my New Year's Resolutions thing, and I think I'll do the same next year. It's a great book for evaluating what's working and what's not, as well as providing motivation.

My only reading goal this year is to bring down the size of my TBR list, either by reading books or by culling titles I am no longer interested in. I started with 331 books, and my list has grown to 360 books. Hmmm, I have a ways to go I guess.

Visit The Modern Mrs. Darcy's monthly reading link up to see what this is all about.  If you want to see all of the books I've read this year (3 so far!) check out my Pinterest page.

{Note: Links to amazon.com are affiliate links. Thanks for your support.}

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Don't Feel Like Writing

I got up at 4 today with every intention of writing, but then I read about this. I was so annoyed yesterday when I heard the station was closed, and I would have to take a lengthy detour home. I was disturbed beyond belief when I read that someone actually died as a part of this annoyance.

Just another reminder that in a blink of an eye everything can change.

Monday, January 12, 2015

This Week's Menu & Goals

Good morning! We are on yet another 2 hour delay. I of course want my children to be safe at school, but between you and me these random schedule changes are driving me crazy. We had three delays last week plus one early closing.

Enough about that. I'm trying to clean out the cabinets and freezers this month. That goal has made meal planning somewhat of a treasure hunt, but it feels good to get things more organized.

Mon -- Sausages with onions and peppers, mashed potatoes, salad
Tue -- Tacos with toppings
Wed -- Minestrone soup, rolls
Thu -- Scrambled eggs, toast, fruit
Fri -- Leftovers

Breakfasts -- three grain cereal (similar to this recipe), banana bread, yogurt

Lunches -- Salad, leftovers, cheese and crackers

Linked to: Menu Plan Monday

This week's goals:

{I pretty much bombed last weeks goals due to all of the school delays, and a particularly nasty 24 hour bug my daughter caught. I won't go into the details; let's just say laundry city and let your imagination fill in the rest, okay?}

This week's goals:

1) Finalize appointments for check ups (me, kids, & cat!)
2) Finish office
3) Complete freezer cooking
4) Catch up on ironing

Have a great week!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Am I?

It seems like everyone from President Obama, to moneysavingmom, to even Dilbert are talking about this limiting your wardrobe to avoid decision fatigue thing. Here's my thinking on the whole thing.

  1. I like my clothes. I use my clothes to express my moods. I refuse to give myself a uniform - decision fatigue be darned!!
    • In 4th and 5th grade my mom would only buy me sweat pants because they were easy to wash, matched everything, and were inexpensive to buy in bulk. Also I was a little chubby, at least compared to my size 2 family, and she approved of the elastic waist bands.
    • Finally she bought me a pair of jeans, but they were ugly jeans from the clearance rack. Mean girls at school called them farmer jeans
  2. I've often thought back to the sweat pants days because my kids are driving me crazy.
    • My daughter wants to wear all of her clothes at once, piling dresses on top of tights, on top of leggings, on to of sweaters, on top of accessories.
    • My son has a very complicated yet undefinable Venn diagram in his head that defines what t-shirt he should be wearing for each occasion. He has literally been in tears several mornings because something has gone wrong with his t-shirts.
  3. I'm ready to throw all of their clothes away and strip their wardrobes down to the basics.
    • Then I remember the farmer jeans
  4. Am I becoming my mother?
    • I'm getting out the iron and folding the laundry now. It's worth it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Two Resources For Performance Review Time

It's performance review time in my office  -- always a stressful month. It's stressful to receive a review, and it's stressful to give a review. For me, there's never going to be a way around that. I have found two resources that help reduce my anxiety a lot.

For your own review prepare by reading:

StrengthsFinder 2.0 is one of the few books that I recommend buying, because you get a nifty code on the back that leads to a skills assessment. This skills assessment is so helpful for clarifying your best strengths and identifying growth areas.

When you're writing a review for someone else:

If you're writing a review and you feel like you're writing the same words over and over again check out a copy of 2600 Phrases for Effective Performance Reviews: Ready-to-Use Words and Phrases That Really Get Results (I also have my eye on 2600 Phrases for Setting Effective Performance Goals: Ready-to-Use Phrases That Really Get Results -- I'll have to see if my library has it.)

What is your secret for getting through performance review time?