My musings…


So the 3rd was a good day. I didn’t spend any money (woohoo!). To try to avoid temptations, I have been attempting to unsubscribe to all of the different email distribution lists I’m on. It has been a bit time consuming, but worth it in the end.

The 4th, I headed out to CVS to get some meds for my trip, I also picked up some chocolates as a gift for colleagues and some snacks for my trip. Total was about $15, but some of that will be covered by my per diem for my current trip.

I left that evening for a work trip, so all of my expenses for the next two weeks will be covered by work. Hopefully I will have some time to do some reading on this trip. I brought 2 books with me.



Ok. Today also was a fail in spending land. Ended up at the grocery store because it is my turn to cook for lunch group at work. Spent $35.50 which included a spiralizer for a friend and some cocoa truffles.

Didn’t read anything today because I am exhausted. Maybe cutting out coffee today was a bad idea?


Ok…so today might not have been the best start for accomplishing what I have set it to do this year. I headed to Wal-Mart this afternoon because I needed conditioner… I was 100% out. While there, I picked up some fruit, chocolate milk, yogurt, and a few other food items. I also walked through the Christmas clearance and picked up some bath sets the boys had asked for but I hadn’t purchased, some lights, Santa hats, a tree skirt and a few other things at 75% off. I spent $71 total which isn’t bad considering everything I picked up, but still is more than I wanted to spend.

In order to help me reach my goal of less spending, I unsubscribed from a bunch of sites that send me emails on an daily basis encouraging me to spend money.

I also spent some time on Facebook today. Granted, it was less than before, so I’m not super mad about that.

Currently reading: Silence in the Age of Noise by Erling Kaage

Meals: cereal, pork and sauerkraut, chicken enchiladas Guatemalan style

2018 is here. Although today doesn’t really feel all that different from yesterday, it is kind of nice to have a clean slate to start new things and stop some poor habits. A few things I would like to do this year:

1) Read more, use social media less.

2) Spend less money.

3) Use my vacation days from work. (I lost 4+ days at the end of 2017.)

I am going to try to blog about some of this, too. As we can all see, I haven’t been fantastic about keeping up with a blog in the past. We will see where we go from here!

Moms who travel

A quick Google search reveals very little about moms who travel for work, other than the associated guilt we all feel about it. There are resources for those who stay at home while the other spouse travels, but what about those of us who are the travelers? Some seem to think that it is a vacation to hop on a plane and come back days to weeks later feeling refreshed and ready to go.  For me, the experience is quite the opposite.

At the moment, I’m sitting in Nairobi, Kenya, 7,500 miles away from home with a 7 hour time difference. Getting here required 2 separate 8 hour flights with a 5 hour layover, 27 hours from the time I left home until I arrived at my hotel. I am hoping to never fly that particular schedule again.  I much prefer having a super long flight (much easier to get some quality rest) than maybe short 3-4 hour catnaps.

That said, I did sleep 11 hours last night at the hotel.  That is something I can’t do at home and one of the things I appreciate when I travel. My husband sleeps like a rock and is able to fall back asleep immediately after being awoken.  Me, on the other hand, I wake up when one of the boys sighs too loudly and it takes me an hour or more sometimes to fall back asleep.

Preparing for a two-week trip like this isn’t the easiest, either.  We are lucky to have my sister-in-law living with us.  As a stay at home mom, she is able to take care of my kids while I am on the road and my husband works. Before we moved into this arrangement quite recently, I sometimes drove one child 4 hours each way to my parents’ house so my sister-in-law only had to deal with one extra child, not two, in her 1 bedroom apartment. That wasn’t always a spectacular arrangement, either, as both of my parents still work, so they had to also have a babysitter available to them. My husband also got less time with both children because whomever stayed with my sister-in-law would sleep there overnight, since my husband works construction and his shift could vary.  Sometimes it was a night shift, meaning he needed to sleep during the day, or he needs to leave at 4 or 5 am, which is not a good time to be waking a child to transport him to a babysitter for the day.

Logistics for those trips were also complicated. One suitcase for each house – do I have enough clothing for each child? What about snacks? Do they have their favorite toys packed? Do they need a blanket? And just how many diapers do they need? If it’s fall or spring, do I pack long sleeves or short sleeves? I always tried to make sure laundry would only need to be done once while I was away, but there were always accidents or complications.

Then, sometimes my parents would only be able to keep one of the kids for one or two of the two or three weeks I’d be away. How do we plan logistics for pick up or drop off? Where can my parents and husband meet?  What happens when a trip is extended because of a coup d’etat? (Actually happened.)

My boys are very close in age, so my oldest never traveled with me when he was an infant, but my youngest traveled to Peru and Brazil before he turned two. I also traveled on a few trips without him while he was still breastfeeding. Logistics of either of those trips were also complicated. Either packing and trying to figure out the best way to carry a 1 year old on a plane (I recommend a wrap carrier!) or trying to find convenient times and places to pump (including waking myself up in the middle of the night) and explain to customs folks that yes, as a matter of fact, I can carry all of this breastmilk back on the plane with me. Maybe I’ll explore some of these issues in future blog posts, though.

I’m sort of glad those days are over as the boys are now 4 and 5, but it brings a whole new world of complications. C is now in school.  While it’s only kindergarten, he has “homework” sometimes and I want to be as connected and as involved as I can be with his school. He had only completed 1 full week before I left for this trip. I warned his teacher ahead of time (I’m hoping there are now behavior changes while I’m gone!) and I also asked if there was anything I could do while traveling to support her classroom in anyway which she did give me an idea for, so I’m hoping to do that as well.  I also packed his lunch for the majority of the days he has gone to school, but I don’t want to require my sister-in-law to do that, so I put enough money on his card so he can buy lunch for the next two weeks. If my sister-in-law chooses to pack for him a few days, that is up to her. He does get snack time as well, so I also made sure there were enough snacks and juice boxes (100% juice!) for him to choose from before I left.


C & G at their game on Saturday (which I missed). Photo by E.

C and G are both playing soccer.  Thank heavens that for this year they are on the same team, so at least there is only 1 practice per week and 1 game per week. My husband is able to take those on while I’m away. But then there are the surprises – like I learned on Saturday, while I was on my layover, that there are soccer pictures this week. On Monday. So that’s another evening that the boys have to be at the soccer field and their uniforms need to be ready to go after their Saturday game. Guess E (my husband) gets to deal with that!

Well that was a pretty long-winded ramble, but I am hoping to blog more regularly about this – what has my experience been thus far?  How do we stay connected? Where do we go from here. I hope I haven’t bored any potential readers and would love to have comments about your experiences have been or what topics you’d like to explore.

Dinner tonight was a win on all fronts – unstuffed cabbage roll skillet and italian green beans from my parents’ garden.

I’m not fantastic at following recipes, but here is more or less what I did:

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet

1 T oil
1 lb ground turkey
1/3 c chopped onion
1 minced garlic clove
1 1/2 t salt
1 t black pepper
2 t oregano
2 8oz cans tomato sauce
3 c chopped cabbage
2 carrots, chopped
2 c beef broth
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1.5 c cooked brown rice

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add in the ground turkey and heat until cooked through.  Add in the onion, garlic, and spices, cook until onion turns translucent. Add in remaining ingredients except rice. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until cabbage is cooked through.  Add in rice until heated through.

Serve with green beans.

Pantry Challenge Continued

Okay. So I’ve done a horrible job at keeping going with this thing. Going to try again!

Spent about $60 on groceries this week. I picked up chicken breasts thinking we were out, but we weren’t. Oh well, they’ll all be eaten. Also it’s supposed to snow this weekend somewhere between 3″ and 2′ so I stopped by the store yesterday to pick up milk and bread before all the crazies go out tomorrow.

Here’s what we ate:
B: bacon and eggs
L: salad for me, cheese and blueberries for S3. S2 and H were out fixing the car.
D: I had ratatouille (from the freezer) and rice. Boys had popcorn? I don’t really remember.

B: pancakes and bacon
L: pizza and salad
D: pumpkin, black bean chili and cornbread muffins

B: pancakes, eggs and bacon
L: leftover chili and muffins
D: sausage, white bean and kale soup

B: Turkey bacon and spinach mini frittata
L: leftover chili, salad, muffin
S: apple, pear

B: pumpkin mini muffins, bananas, pancakes, cottage cheese, blueberries
L: chili and cornbread muffins
S: mandarin oranges, apples

Dinner: chicken enchiladas, black beans

Today’s plan:
SIL is going to feed them

B: mini frittata, zucchini mini muffin, coffee
L: lunch bunch
S: roasted seaweed, pear, blueberries, carrots and cucumbers (might not eat all of this, just packed a bunch because I’m not sure what lunch will be)

D: leftovers