Meal Plan Sunday

Here we are again getting ready to begin another week! But there is pizza to look forward to on Friday, so we’ve got that going for us, which is good.

Here are a couple of highlights from last week’s kitchen efforts:

Crockpot Thai curry and brown rice. Garbanzos, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers. They all hold up pretty well in the crock all day, especially if you cut the peppers a bit bigger. Cannot recommend strongly enough going to an Asian grocery for imported Thai curry pastes. The flavor is noticeably better.
Antipasto-ish salad. The protein was roasted garbanzo beans and I just went to town with artichokes, slow-roasted tomatoes, olives, peppers, and so on.

Sunday: Caesar salads (CW)

Monday: Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps à là PF Chang’s. These are super tasty but require a good amount of chopping. I like to make a double batch of the filling and repurpose some of it for another meal — see Wednesday.

Tuesday: chicken salad, maybe in sandwiches? CW is in charge of this one.

Wednesday: Rice bowl featuring sushi rice, leftover lettuce wrap filling as the protein, some other veggies, and yum yum sauce.

Thursday: BLTs (CW)

Friday: Pizza, New York Style. Will do one pepperoni and one veggie + Field Roast.

There you have it! Let me know if you’re making anything great this week, especially if it’s vegetarian or can be easily made to be.

Questions

Where is the best place to shop for twin size duvet covers in cute patterns that aren’t a million dollars? As an example, I like the Pillowfort stuff at Target, but they seem to operate more on a comforter model. As another example, Pottery Barn is cute but pricier than I’d prefer.

If you’ve read The Chronicles of Narnia or Harry Potter (the first 2-3, anyway) to your kids, at what age did you start? I remember reading Narnia with my dad, chapter by chapter, and I think I must’ve been around five, but I’m not sure.

Is there anything good on the new Apple streaming network? I apparently have a year of it for free thanks to a recent phone upgrade, but the app isn’t compatible with my old-ass original FireTV Stick. Is it worth trying to watch it elsewhere?

Related sub-question: the old-ass original FireTV Stick is a little slow and unreliable. Worth upgrading to a newer version?

Why do I always, always eat chips and salsa/guacamole/bean dip past the point of fullness? I feel so bloated and uncomfortable right now. Why do I do this to myself?

If you’ve got answers for me, feel free to comment or just @ me.

Friday Wrap

It’s here! It’s here! I wrapped up my longest run of the week — and the training cycle! — at about 8 miles. It has been raining for about the last 24 hours here, but I just got dressed and made it happen this morning. Running in the rain, and the cold rain — a real downpour — is one of those things I always forget is actually completely tolerable. I wake up and hear the rain and decide to postpone, or I look at the forecast and rearrange my schedule. But why? For no good reason, that’s why! Today was a lovely chance to be outdoors and connect.

And if you saw my menu plan from Sunday, you may remember (I mean OF COURSE you remember; why wouldn’t you remember my menu plan?!) that I scheduled grilled cheese and tomato soup for tonight and it could not have been a more perfect night for it. The recipe from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen is super simple (canned whole tomatoes, leeks sautéed in butter, veg broth, nutmeg, tomato paste), but I think the secret lies in the prep: you roast the canned tomatoes with a sprinkle of brown sugar before making the soup. Y’all, it’s so good.

I tied up some loose ends administratively at work and, as per usual, left several boxes unchecked on my to-do list. But I have come to be satisfied with that at the end of the week. Having a few un-done tasks leaves me hungry for more on Monday. (Side note: am I the only academic who doesn’t work weekends? Highly possible, if one believes what people say publicly about their workloads.)

I’m sitting in bed with my laptop and my husband and my dog and a glass of wine and I think in a minute we’re going to try to watch a movie or something, by which of course I mean flip through all our streaming services for an hour before we decide to just go back to puttering around on the internet. It’s! Friday! NIIIIIGHT!

A Thursday in the Life

Were you curious about how I spend my days? I am, actually. I’m mainly curious about how I’ve been going nonstop all day and feel like I’ve accomplished basically nothing. What did I do? Read on for the excruciating detail.

NB: Here’s a day in the life from back in 2014 — pre kids. I reread it and was astonished by the fact that we ate dinner at 7:50 pm back then. Wow. Otherwise, well, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, n’est-ce pas?

5:25 My alarm goes off but I snooze it twice before getting up to take a shower, get dressed, and do my makeup.

6:05 Oddly, it seems that the kids are still sleeping, so I start coffee. L hears me and gets up so we hang out and talk a little bit in the kitchen. He asks me how to spell words so he can try to write them down.

6:20 CW, Egon, and E are all up. I take Eegs to bathroom then help E&L pick out clothes while CW makes their breakfast, then I make my own breakfast (whole grain toast with avocado, a fried egg, and everything bagel seasoning.

6:45 I finally sit down to eat.

6:55 I do E’s hair (one ballet bun with a big black bow clipped below it).

7:45 I arrive in my office to find a new-to-me computer! My old Mac desktop (ca 2011) was due for replacement, but I wasn’t expecting the new one to appear until Friday, so this is a surprise. Kind of a nice surprise, but also Friday is a lower-pressure day and I would’ve had more time to get it set up. Today I have grading to do (on the computer) and students coming to see me. This adds an unexpected element of mostly benign chaos to my morning. Side note: I am non-tenure-track faculty and therefore receive hand-me-down computers at work. This one is circa 2013, so.

8:00 I get started setting up computer while waiting to see if students come by for help on their papers. Most of them opt to come by later in the morning, so things are pretty quiet for a while.

8:30 I’m still trying to get Chrome to install correctly and it will not. It simply will not. WTF, Google.

8:40 I give up and decide to use Safari for my tasks today and attempt to start grading.

8:40-8:55 I get distracted by an email, then reattempt to start working.

8:55-9:12 Students drop in.

9:29 I eat half a Clif bar (pumpkin spice) and drink a generic Aldi seltzer while grading. Aldi seltzer is just as good, FYI. Save yourself some dollars.

9:35-10:15 Students drop in.

10:15 Grading papers.

10:45 It’s the end of drop-in hours. I go downstairs to get a Diet Coke and head back to my office to eat a Sad Desk Salad while I start this post.

11:13 I’m still eating this stupid salad. So much kale and cabbage. SO MUCH CHEWING, SWEET LORD.

11:30 After lunch, I switch focus to providing some feedback on an ongoing group project for another class. Groups are working on the next phase this week, so they need feedback on the last phase. I’m able to work with my office door closed during this time, so I can get things done a little more efficiently.

11:56 Finish writing and sending feedback but Safari is about to drive me BANANAS, so I try again with Chrome and knock wood but I think I get it working this time. (See how this new desktop situation is filtering through my day? Sigh.)

12:04 Mess around on the internet while eating a mini-bag of Skittles leftover from Halloween.

12:15 Out the door for class.

1:57 Back from class and I’m equipped with a hot coffee to fuel the next couple of hours. I had planned on grading more essays during this time, but I realized a more urgent priority is creating some online content for one of my classes that needs to be ready for next week, so I’ll turn my attention there.

3:20 Wrap up work on this content, eat the other half of the Clif bar, handle a few neglected emails, and shut down my office for the day.

3:22 Head to the gym for a cross training workout.

3:43 Arrive in the locker room, unpack my gym bag, and realize I’ve forgotten a sports bra. Well then. I’m glad it’s not a running day, at the very least. I get changed and hop on the elliptical. I’m listening to the latest episode of the Road to the Olympic Trials podcast with guest Carrie Tollefson. Love her.

4:02 I’m finished with the RTTOT episode, so I tune in to Ali on the Run’s episode with awesome pro runner couple Nikki Hiltz & Therese Haiss. The elliptical is the worst, seriously. I manage thirty minutes and then switch to the erg, but it’s kind of bothering one of my right quads and I have a long run tomorrow, so I bail.

4:35 On my way to pick up the kids at daycare.

4:50 The evening chaos begins the moment I step into their classroom: both kids are climbing up me and shouting at me about various bits of Exciting Preschool News, and I’ve got to respond to them and speak to their teachers and get their coats on and empty their cubbies and get out the door without forgetting to sign them out. So! Much! Stuff! Then, in the hallway, they both insist on putting on their gloves, so I help L first and then E and then L turns to me and hands me his gloves back because he’s decided he doesn’t want them after all.

5:02 We’ve made it to the car.

5:25 Everyone is home and I’ve changed into a cozy sweatshirt. Soup is on.

5:45 Dinner.

6:04 Post-prandial chaos including a kitchen dance party. I am too tired to participate so I decide to chill on the couch for a few minutes. Eventually the children are just literally running up and down the hall screaming and kicking/throwing some cheap plastic firefighter hats they got at school last month.

6:30 Pajamas and teeth-brushing while CW and I chat on the couch for a precious couple of minutes. Then we all snuggle on the couch and read a few books.

7:05 We start getting kids to bed, which involves a lot of “discussion” about whether it’s bedtime or not. I need Alexa to handle this shit. The curtain calls begin literally four seconds after we walk out of their room and close the door. They run back out of the bedroom several times in 15 minutes, culminating in a stubbed toe and many tears.

7:15 I remember I need to wheel the recycling bin down to the curb and while I’m there I check the mail. The mail carrier has crammed a package in there that precisely fits the mailbox’s dimensions so I can’t fit a finger alongside it to pry it out. It’s cold and raining and I’m standing out here trying to remove a package from my mailbox like some kind of ding-dong. I wind up bending a fingernail backwards trying to bend it, squash it, and/or poke a hole in the side for purchase. Eventually I pry it loose, cursing the mail carrier and all of his descendants. It’s my Picky Club subscription box and yes that is a referral link.

7:25 I’m finally in my jammies and settling into bed for some reading time. I’ve got flannel sheets and cozy socks and the gentle sound of rain outside.

7:30 But hark! What is that other sound? Aha, the sound of my daily phone reminder to set up the coffee pot for tomorrow.

7:35 I’m back in bed again but guess who is not?!

7:52 I can hear them singing over the monitor. “Happy Birthday,” the alphabet song, etc. How the hell are they still awake? I’m signing off. I love you and good night.

Working from Home Can Be a Challenge

Things I Did Today

  • One hour powerlifting session (deadlift day)
  • Shopped at TJ Maxx without buying anything
  • Shopped at Target and bought a bunch of things but forgot one of the two key items I was looking for
  • Ordered the forgotten item on Amazon instead
  • Four loads of laundry, including new set of flannel sheets from Target
  • Re-made bed with new sheets
  • Read a few chapters of a novel for class
  • Tidied and organized the kids’ playroom, which was an absolute disaster zone I’m sorry why are there wadded up tissues on the floor?!
  • Sneakily put away a few annoying toys in my Monica Geller closet
  • Prepped/Cooked dinner (crockpot) (vegan red Thai curry)
  • Almost listened to one entire episode of the Rich Roll podcast, the Dean Karnazes interview (if you know, you know these episodes are long)
  • Composed and emailed birthday/Christmas wish list to my husband, including info about how to get discounts at specific retailers (I can be bossy about gifts at times)
  • Handled several work emails
  • Read and considered editing a (collaborative) work document but decided not to make any edits yet as no one else has and I don’t like to be the first one to take a pass
  • Opened the file of papers I need to grade in a separate tab
  • Browsed around online for some Christmas gifts for family
  • Updated my 10K training log
  • Started this blog post

Things I Did Not Do Today

  • Grade any papers

Frankly, I would love for someone to encourage me to go to bed at 7:30 pm.

Further to my post of last night:

How do you get two almost-four-year-old wild monkeys to stay in their bedroom after bedtime? I will list below things we have tried, in no particular order, and briefly explain why they did not work:

  • Following a consistent bedtime routine at a consistent time, making sure they have everything they need, asking them to stay in bed. A HA HA HA HA HA HA HA YOU MUST BE NEW HERE
  • Door Monkey (to keep door locked). Successfully keeps them in the room but then they just yell for us. We took it off permanently a few months ago to give them more bathroom independence but now they just run around and come into our room all the time, etc. Obviously. Why wouldn’t they?
  • Making a list of “Sleep Goals” (paraphrase of Weissbluth’s “Sleep Rules”) This involves, like, an actual decorated poster listing the goals, talking about the goals, rewarding them for doing the goals, gently reminding them of the goals every time they come out of bed. (Goals were: 1) stay in bed, 2) stay quiet, 3) no climbing, 4) try to fall asleep.) This sort of worked for a while but they don’t care anymore.
  • Begging, bribing, bargaining, threatening, screaming internally, silently weeping behind a locked door. Results pending.

Ironically, the most popular post on this dumb blog is “Sleep Training Twins Using the Ferber Method,” which worked beautifully for two six-month-olds. I’m at a loss as to how to handle the current reality. If you have any advice or commiseration for me, you can leave a comment or just @ me.