Sunday, August 29, 2010

Meal Plan 8/30-9/4/10

Meal planning is working for us! We have also saved money this month by packing our lunches most days.

We have discussed having three set meals each week: tacos, stir fry, and spaghetti. We'll rotate in some other quick or make ahead meals. I have some new cookware to try out from the Pampered Chef.

Here's the plan:
Monday - Veggie Enchiladas
Tuesday - Stir Fry
Wednesday - Tacos
Thursday - Spaghetti & salad
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Chicken Fajitas

The veggie enchiladas are from a Six O'Clock Scramble cookbook. I am going to make them ahead and freeze half for another dinner. We have a new Ginger Wasabi sauce to try on stir fry night from my Pampered Chef order. I am going to make the chicken fajitas in the microwave with a recipe that I tried at a Pampered Chef show. It only takes about 15 minutes to cook. Toddlers are not patient, so right now it is all about quick dinners.

At some point, I am going to purchase some supplies to make this dry erase menu board. I think there is a spot for it in my kitchen.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

First Class

I taught my first class (COR 1203: Freshmen Seminar) on Thursday, and it went well. Twenty-three out of our twenty-five students made it to class. The students asked questions and seemed to be willing to talk and share. I am glad that they are not too quiet because I do not want to have to "lecture" too much. We have a nice mix of majors in the class.

I am finding a couple of challenges as I teach for the first time. The big challenge is timing. How long will things take?! We did let the class out fifteen minutes early on the first day. I met with the co-instructor (another advisor in my office) on Friday, and we talked about how to time the class. We are going to try to have a "schedule" for the next couple of classes to see how that goes. (We have an hour and fifteen minutes, twice a week.) The other challenge is balancing teaching with the rest of my job. I still need to advise and see that as my main role.

Our class has a peer leader, who is a sophomore and serves as a mentor for our students. She took a freshmen seminar class last fall. On Friday, she asked if we had taught before. She could not tell that we had not taught before. I am taking that as a compliment.

Here are the two book that we are using for the class: Farewell, My Subaru by Doug Fine and On Course by Skip Downing. It was fun to see Doug Fine speak on Monday afternoon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

one weekend 2 shots (August 20-22)

The weekend was enjoyable but went by even faster than usual. I worked a half day on Saturday, so Alex and John spend some quality time together. I also had lunch and some time with friends on Sunday. I was able to recharge my batteries for the week ahead. Work has been extra busy with the start of a new semester.

I did not use my camera as much as I had planned,but I did get in a few shots on Friday evening and Sunday evening.

I had not taken a picture of Alex with food all over his face recently. Most evenings, Alex goes straight from the high chair to the bath tub. You might remember the cute high chair cover from past photos. It has gone into storage since we could no longer keep it clean. We would have needed to wash it daily once we hit the messy toddler phase.

I took a close-up as Alex ran around in his diaper after his bath Sunday evening. This is the evening ritual between bath time and bedtime.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Blog Roll

I have been added to Dedra Long's Blogroll for one weekend 2 shots. If you have recently stumbled upon my blog, please leave a comment and say hi. Sometimes I wonder who reads the blog besides my parents. (Hi Mom & Dad!) Maybe I should figure out how to add Google Analytics...

Meal Plan 8/23-8/28

I am planning ahead for the upcoming CRAZY week! Work is busy with freshmen still registering or finalizing their fall schedules. I will be teaching my first class on Thursday. I go back and forth between being excited and nervous.

Monday: Stir Fry and Rice
Tuesday: Mom's Birthday Dinner
Wednesday: Free Dinner @ UTSA
Thursday: Taco Night
Friday: Hosting Bookclub - Salads from HEB
Saturday: Pizza or Pasta

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New Alex Pictures

Ok, I took more than just two photos this weekend. Here are the new photos of Alex:

Alex goes to the back door when he wants to go outside, which is often. The heat does not seem to phase him. He was crying shortly before I took these shots because he wanted to go outside, but then he "hammed it up" for the camera.

Alex loves playing with the piggy bank, which is a new to him toy. Thanks Kat & Toby! (And I think that both of the shirts in these pictures also belonged to Toby. Really, I do buy some things for my child...)

one weekend 2 shots (August 14-15)

For the last couple of years I have heard interesting ideas about taking a photo a day to document your life. Some scrapbookers and photographers have done a great job with this. Some call it Photo of the Day (POTD) or Project 365. Check out Becky Higgin's website for a product called Project Life and The Fugal Girl 365 to see how one blogger documents here life in a daily photo. I knew that I would struggle to take a photo everyday, but I might try out Project Life at some point since it is a flexible system. I am a sporadic photographer even though I try to keep my camera handy. Even Ali Edward's A Week in the Life album seemed like too big of a task for me at this time. (Maybe I'll try that one in the future.)

I was listening to my favorite podcast, The Paperclipping Roundtable, when I heard about an idea that might work for me. Dedra Long, scrapbooker and blogger, has started one weekend 2 shots, and I am going to jump in and try this out. I already take most of my photos on the weekend. I love all of the time that I get to spend with my family (and sometimes friends too) on the weekends.

Here is my first installment:
Saturday, August 14, 2010

I had been reorganizing Alex's toys to move out the baby toys that he has outgrown. Even with some toys removed, they were still overflowing the bins that I had in the family room. I stumbled upon this toy shelf on sale at Target, and it has been a great purchase. I enjoy my home more when things are picked up and organized.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It has been hot all summer, but now it is really hot. This is how the dogs are coping with a hot afternoon. This is Paddy's first summer in San Antonio.

Not a Onesie Kid Anymore

August 6th was my last Friday afternoon off for the summer. (We work a flex schedule during the summer due to orientation.) I went shopping that afternoon and made sure that I enjoyed the time off.

One of my stops was Babies R Us to look for pajamas for Alex. I stopped to look at some onesies and had a realization. He had outgrown the "onesie" phase, and we now have him wear t-shirts and shorts. He is such a "little man" now. It was a subtle change that took me a while to realize. I enjoy watching him grow and change, but it is all going by so fast.

Meal Plan 8/16-8/21

Having a meal plan worked well last week. I had to work late one night, and John had dinner on the table when I got home. The meal plan also helped me lose 1.4 pounds this week.

For breakfast, we continue to have cereal. John will pack a sandwich and an apple for lunch, and I bought some frozen meals for lunch this week. (I had my fill of salads for a while...) Alex will be home on Thursday and Friday, so I have planned out extra meals and snack for him this week.

Here is our dinner plan for the week:
Monday: Grilled chicken and steamed veggies
Tuesday: Sloppy Joes (leftovers from Saturday)
Wednesday: Taco Night!
Thursday: Stir Fry and Rice
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Paninis

My mom makes dinner on Sundays, so I do not have to plan that.

I hosted a Pampered Chef show yesterday, so I am looking forward to getting some more recipes and tools to prepare quick dinners.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Meal Planning 8/9-8/14/10

Yes, you read that correctly. I planned out a week of meals.

John and I are working on eating better and exercising more. I have been doing Weight Watchers Online for over a year now and needed a push to get back on track. I am finding that eating more fruits and vegetables is helping me to stay full. My goal for August is to exercise at least twice a week for 30 minutes or more.

When we do not eat well, it is usually a combination of bad habits and poor planning. I decided to try to plan some quick and healthy meals instead of having the daily question of "what's for dinner."

Our breakfasts mainly include cereal and bananas. During the week, Alex has breakfast, lunch and a snack at daycare. He has entered the picky eating stage of toddlerhood. At least the dogs are enjoying the food he throws on the floor. John and I are packing our lunches most days and keeping it simple with salads, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (you are never too old for pb&j), and apples. We also have some healthy options on campus including Subway, Chick-Fil-A, and a salad bar. We are trying to keep healthy snacks around including yogurt, fruit smoothies, Kashi bars, and rice cakes.

Dinner this week will include:
Monday - Grilled Chicken and Steamed Veggies
Tuesday - Panini Sandwiches
Wednesday - Tacos
Thursday - Stir Fry and Brown Rice
Friday - Leftovers (aka "freelance)
Saturday - Sloppy Joes and Roasted Sweet Potatoes

We'll see how this goes. The Frugal Girl posts weekly about grocery shopping and meal planning, so I have found some good information there. I am also hosting a Pampered Chef party to stock up on some new cooking tools. You can order online through 8/16/10 if you could use some items from them too. (shameless plug!)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New to Alex

One of the first books I bought when I was pregnant with Alex was Baby Bargains. I knew that this parenting gig would be expensive! I followed the book's advice and bought a new crib and new car seats (to avoid unknowingly buying a recalled item). In addition, we have been fortunate to receive nice gifts and hand-me-downs for Alex, and I try to "pay it forward".

When I do need to purchase other items for Alex, I lean towards used items if possible. One of my favorite stores is Kid-to-Kid, where I consistently find good quality items there. I've also had some success at yard sales and Goodwill, but you have to look through more items to find what you need.

My recent good deals have included Mega Blocks, pajamas, and other toys. Alex seems to be enjoying his "new" toys. If I can't find the item used, I try to find items on sale or use a coupon.

I have found another benefit to used items besides saving money. It also saves me some stress. Toddlers get messy! Between art projects at daycare and food, stains can happen. If an item of clothing is ruined, then I don't worry about it. As Alex grows out of his clothes and toys, I am happy to pass them along instead of worrying about the money spent on them. Ok, I'm off to check the laundry...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Podcast That Made My Day

I am a fan of the Paperclipping Roundtable podcast. You can listen to this free podcast about scrapbooking on their website or through iTunes.

Tuesday was a long day at work. On Facebook that evening I noticed that one of my favorite crafty bloggers, Kristina Werner was on the podcast that week (PRT 31). I looked forward to sitting down to listen to the episode. In the middle of the show, I realized that the host was responding to questions that I had posted in the comments section of a previous show. This made my day! I was happy that the panelists thought that my questions we were worth discussing. I now have a new connection to the show.

Here is my comment from PRT 23:
"I enjoyed the segment on craft shopping and noticed changes on a recent trip to Michael's. I also read about the segment on Kristina Werner's blog.

In another recent episode, Nancy talked about how the scrapbooking, cardmaking, and rubber stamping industries are all connected on the business side of things. A possible topic for a show could discuss how scrapbooking, cardmaking, and rubber stamping are connected on the creative side of the industry. Why do some people dabble in various paper (and other) crafts while others stick to a very specific craft? What kinds of products have started in one area of crafting and made their way into other areas?

I think that Kristina Werner couple be a possible panelist for this type of discussion. I am a fan of both her blog and this show. :)"

I enjoyed listening to the panel discuss their own crafting evolutions. Since this is my blog, I will share mine here:

I started scrapbooking in 2005 to scrapbook my wedding photos. Unlike some other scrapbookers, I was not into art or crafts as a child. I did some in Girl Scouts and at other activities, but I was not "into" them. I was critical of my artwork or crafts and did not consider myself to be creative. I expected scrapbooking to be a short-lived hobby for me. I was wrong; after a few classes I was hooked!

I credit scrapbooking with helping me to realize that I am creative. Now I enjoy crafts and have expanded beyond scrapbooking into rubber stamping. I took a stamping class at a local scrapbooking store in 2005 or so. I did not enjoy it much at first and thought it was messy. I decided to join a "stamp" club in the fall of 2008 and my thoughts on stamping changed. I only joined the stamp club with the intention of buying scrapbooking kits and punches. I love stamping and making cards now! I find cards to be a faster way to try out new styles and techniques. I enjoy giving my cards to others. I still scrapbook but find myself making more and more cards. Now I like finding products that work well for both cardmaking and scrapbooking. I am still (pleasantly) surprised when other describe me as "crafty" or "creative".


I am co-teaching a freshmen seminar class this fall semester with another academic advisor. Our class filled today at Orientation! Next we have a few more things to add to the syllabus. It is still surreal that I will be teaching a college class, but I am excited.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Alex @ 17 months

Alex is 17 months old today and getting more and more independent. Now that he is comfortable with walking, he no longer wants to hold your hand.

Alex is excited to go to school in the morning. Once he is dressed, he heads for the front door. He is happy to see me when I come to pick him up after work. Most days I get one of his slobbery kisses. He is still teething, and we lost count of his teeth. The larger molars are coming in now.

He loves to play outside and the South Texas summer heat does not seem to bother him. He will head to the back door when he wants to go out to play.

He has learned some new words recently including Grover, Elmo, and tickle. He picked up Grover and Elmo on the drive home from the coast when we were reading one of his books. Elmo comes out more like Mo-mo though. He has been saying tickle for a little while, but we did not realize it. His teacher noticed him saying it with one of their songs.

He eats more and more "adult" food, and the need for separate Alex meals in decreasing. He continues to enjoy fruit and yogurt. Sometimes he throws his food on the floor, which the dogs appreciate.

He continues to be a happy, easy going kid.

(Alex is pictured on 8/1/10.)