Tag Archives: packing

I’m Dealing With Some Stuff

Readers, I am quickly learning the value of a good schedule. When the quarter ended, I had three weeks before my new job started. Three weeks when my daily life looked a bit like this:

8:30AM–Wake up. Sort of
9:00AM–Realize that I had not actually woken up. Panic and start yelling at Mike to get out of bed and get ready for work.
9:15AM–Make Olive and Mike some breakfast.
9:20AM–Convince Olive that YES, her hair does need brushing.
9:30AM–Realize I have not packed Mike a lunch. Panic and promise myself to pack his lunch tonight before bed. (I won’t remember).
9:40AM–Throw Mike out of the house with a baggie of veggies, a piece of fruit, and a leftover I’m pretty sure he’s only been eating the past few days to make me happy. Kiss him goodbye and thank my lucky stars he’s polite enough to at least try to eat it.
9:45AM–Realize that he’s probably been getting subway every day, since the leftover comes back mostly untouched. Become filled with rage. Resolve to punish Mike for this later (I won’t remember).
10 AM–Eat WHATEVER I WANT FOR BREAKFAST. Usually this is a delicious fruit and veggie filled smoothie I made during my panic to get Mike out of the house, with a piece of toast. I then savor at least one cup of coffee.
10:30-11:30AM–unspecified internet time. I tell Olive I’m doing important work. Important work often includes reddit. Hey, I gotta keep the routine.
11:30-12:30PM–Gardening/miscellaneous chores/whatever I feel like doing. Sometimes that means laundry, cleaning the bedrooms, or weeding. Sometimes it means Olive and I get fancy and have a tea party, leaving the dusting for another, unspecified occasion. Sometimes this means I take a shower and think about things I could potentially do. Sometimes I have another coffee and doodle for a little while. It’s a very productive time.
12:30-1:00PM–COOK AND EAT WHATEVER I WANT FOR LUNCH. Remember I am lazy and opt for PB&J again. Yum.
1:00–3:15PM–Remember that I’m an adult and am supposed to do things. Freak out, clean the kitchen, clean myself if I haven’t already, and try really, really hard to remember if there was something I was supposed to do. I completely forget until Mike gets home.
3:15PM–Mike gets home and I remember that I was supposed to go to the grocery store. Hey Mike, wanna go to the grocery store?
3:15-5:00PM–Miscellaneous Mike’s home stuff.
5:00-6:00PM–Dinnertime stuff. We eat whatever I want to cook. It is glorious.
6:00-8:00PM–More miscellaneous stuff. We often sit around talking about what we want to do. This sucks up most of the actual free time. Usually, we let Olive play outside for a bit or run errands. What am I saying? Usually, I forgot that I Was supposed to do something, uproot everyone from what they were doing, and go do the other thing instead. This is also a very important part of the routine.
8:00-8:30PM–Olive’s bedtime. This often involves stories, songs, and pleas for more goodnight kisses. I can not stress the importance of routine enough, people.
8:30-10:00PM–I drive to the gym and get in a decent workout. Sometimes. Other times this part of my day involves me bargaining with myself to go tomorrow instead. This time can also be facebook time, movie time, or eating vegan ice cream from the pint time. It’s pretty versatile.
10:30PM–I start to get sleepy.
11:00PM–Convince myself that I’m not tired. Whine to Mike that I still have to do the dishes. Do the dishes with Mike, and then whine that I’m tired some more.
11:30PM–Tearfully apologize to Mike for whining so much.
11:35PM–Wait, wasn’t I mad at Mike about something earlier?
11:45PM–Pass out, if I haven’t already. Remember as I’m falling asleep that I had intended to read/sew/write a letter/call someone. Tell myself I’ll do it tomorrow.

Repeat.

Readers, I was bored. Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored. That’s why I had scheduled so much “miscellaneous” time. I mean, I could have come up with something constructive to do, and eventually I tried to a little bit, but when you’re broke, burnt out from school, and completely unfocused, it’s nearly impossible.

Anyway, a few weeks of this went by and before I knew it, I was employed again, and my schedule starting looking like this:

6:00-6:30AM–Hit snooze button every ten minutes. Bargain with alarm clock to turn back time a little. I know it can do it and is just keeping the technology from me. Please?
6:30AM–Give up on the alarm clock. Wake up, get dressed, and pack gym bag.
7:30AM–Commute to gym.
8:15-9:30AM–Gym/shower/get dressed for the day.
10:00AM-4:00PM–SPREADSHEETS.
4:00PM-5:00PM–Commute home.
5:00-6:00PM–Hug family, cook dinner, thank god I am not staring at a computer screen.
6:00-6:30PM–Eat dinner, tell Olive that yes, she does need Mike’s help brushing her hair tomorrow morning, and no, I don’t think I’ll be able to teach him french braids.
6:30-8:30PM–Family time. This still occasionally involves panicked errands. Old habits are hard to break.
8:30-9:00PM–Olive’s bedtime routine. It hasn’t actually changed, it’s just a bit later.
9:00-10:00PM–Dishes and lunch packing for tomorrow. This includes me, Mike, and three days a week, Olive. Yes, I do pack them little notes. I have yet to find a note in my lunch bag, though. I resolve to give Mike what for about that later (I won’t remember).
10:00PM–Insist that I’m totally down for watching a movie or playing a game with Mike, as soon as I’m done with my blog/reddit/facebook/stalking Edward Norton.
10:30PM–“Actually, can we watch it upstairs, instead? I’m kind of tired.”
11:00PM–“No…no…I’m…I’m awake. I swear.”
11:05PM–/transmission

Now, you may have noticed that a large chunk of my day once devoted to panicking, using the internet, and whining, are gone. They are now completely devoted to spreadsheets. So. Many. Spreadsheets. This has caused me to organize things a little better in order to manage things, and to appreciate my evenings with my family. As a result, I go to the gym before they’re even out of bed (the lazy jerks) and eat my breakfast afterwards. This means that my delicious breakfast smoothie and toast are a no-go. The smoothie doesn’t pack well guys; please accept this as a fact and do not go through the process of learning this heartbreaking lesson for yourself.

I had a few go to foods initially. Sometimes this would be a cup of cheerios, some nuts, and a piece of fruit. A few times I packed a peanut butter sandwich with fruit. These are all fine and dandy, but lets face it, when you’re used to waking up and having your only dietary limit being what’s in your kitchen, they’re just plain boring. I needed something awesome and quick that would pack well and give me the nutrients I needed after a really hard workout.

Yogurt Oats
1 cup plain non dairy yogurt (omnivores and lacto–ovos, get what ever you’d like, but please check the ingredient list for gross stuff.)
1 cup of fruit (Any and all are fine.)
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
A handful of nuts (optional)
maple syrup, honey, or jam to taste

Ok guys, do you have a thermos? No? Go get a small one, they’re $2 at Walmart or target and infinitely useful. Mine even has it’s own little spoon hidden under the cap. So convenient! Anyway, to pack this, you’ll need a thermos, and I recommend putting it in your freezer for about ten minutes beforehand to get it cold.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Please pretend that the froggy ice pack you see in my freezer is Olive’s and not mine. Or accept that adorable cartoon frogs are a very adult way to keep your lunch cold. Whichever.

To sweeten the plain yogurt, I usually use about a teaspoon of maple syrup. I was in the mood for berries this time though, so I added a tablespoon of my favorite jam.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Add the yogurt.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Yeah, you could buy flavored yogurt, but the big tub is cheaper, and do you really want to commit to one flavor for an entire week? I don’t. Besides, I like being able to control the amount of sugar and omit sweeteners. Aspartame for breakfast? Or ever? No thank you!

Add the fruit, oats, and nuts if you want them. I lift weights at the gym, so I like to get a teensy bit of extra protein. Besides, I’m also a big fan of healthy fats, and it’s not like I can get to a fridge to spread avocado on a piece of toast anymore.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

You can’t see it, but I added both berries, and a banana. Mix and match whatever you want. I have my suspicions that raisins and apples would be pretty awesome in this, too.

Mix it up, and let it hang out for a little while. If you’re making this at home, just put your bowl in the fridge and eat it an hour or two later. If you’re on the go, keep it in your thermos, and when you get to eat it after your workout, it will be delicious!

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Letting the oats soak in the yogurt makes them very chewy. Some of you may have had muesli the traditional way by soaking it in milk overnight. This is kind of like that, but with yogurt and less nuts. It’s porridgy, and really filling.

Now, I’m not saying it’s best to eat your breakfast at your desk. I love sitting down with my family for as many meals as possible, including lunch and breakfast. Still, if I worked out at night, Mike wouldn’t see me, and if I worked out in the evening, Olive would start to miss me. This way, I get my day off to a great start and they get more time with me. If you have to pack your breakfast, this is an awesome way to get something that is tasty and healthy without spending your hard earned paycheck on something sub par. Everyone wins!

Plus, now I don’t have to deal with those two monsters in the morning. Of course, that has nothing to do with why I leave the house so early.

…I lied, it’s a huge a perk.

I mean it. They’re horrible. Remember the three bears?

Still, they’re my bears. And those bears are far, far away.

Eat something good today, readers!

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Money Saving Monday–You Need to Buy a Lunch Box

Readers, I’m not going to lie, I hate buying lunch if I’m not going to eat it with other people. I have no idea why this is, though I have some theories.

Theory One: As a former overweight child, teen, and adult, I always assume that people are watching me eat. Judging me. Without my wall of people who love me and are eating far grosser things than whatever I picked out from the menu (Mike) I have no buffer for their criticisms. “Oh, she bought her lunch? And she’s eating THAT? Oh, she should NOT be eating that.” At least when I pack my lunch, the “Oh my god, what is she eating?” question becomes legitimate, since I currently have a snack bag that looks like this: Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
It’s entirely likely that I could sell this to an idiot freshman for like thirty bucks.

Theory Two: Pretty much anything I could buy is either 1.Expensive 2.Unhealthy or 3.Gross. Typically, since I am a college student, it will be any random combination of the three. Oh yes, I could buy that Dorito taco thing all the commercials are talking about it, but the price would be very dear. Very, very dear. To my colon. Owie.

Do you see my problem? It’s not a good problem. I have the options of 1.Going Hungry and 2.Trying my luck at whatever slop is being served in my general vicinity while simultaneously panicking that everyone is watching me eat (because, you know, people do that), which is bad because I’m almost certainly going to have some gastrointestinal distress from whatever it is I’m eating any minute now, making it a bad time for everyone and her mom to be watching me.

I’m a hoot a dinner parties.

That being said, I’m a big believer in packing your own lunch. It gives you the ultimate control over both your budget and you nutrition. When you pack a lunch you get to choose:

1. How much you will spend. The rates for the things you have in your fridge are not subject to anything, so you know how much that lunch will cost you. You have no idea what the cafeteria or local restaurant is going to charge you day to day. Rates at the restaurants change, but your PBJ will be as reliable as the gastrointestinal distress caused by eating anything that combines the words “dorito” and “taco.”

2. What you will eat. It is so, so easy to not eat a Dorito Taco in your kitchen, because you don’t have any. At least, I really hope you don’t. The same can not be said for the real world. Picture this–you are on break and starving and you have nothing to hold you over till dinner later. You duck into the closest restaurant you can find and look over the menu. You find you are somehow craving the spice of a flavored tortilla chip as well as the savoriness of what may or may not be “meat”. Hey, they have just that on the menu! Perfect!

Packing your lunch can take some extra time, but in my house it’s usually as easy as throwing whatever leftovers we had from the night before into some containers and going on my merry way. In a matter of minutes I saved myself $2 and some severe pain from not stopping at my local Taco Bell.

(Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for Taco Bell, but that time is sometime after the bars close and that place is wherever your DD is willing to take you.)

For those of you complaining about the extra dishes from packing your own lunch, I don’t want to hear it! You jerks probably have dishwashers and I’ve been forced to do my own for the past fourteen years! Don’t you talk to me about dishes!

These lunches don’t have to be boring, though! I would be lying if I said I didn’t eat a LOT of PB&J for packed lunches, but I certainly don’t eat them every day! Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Pack up last night’s leftovers. Easiest lunch ever.
2. Make some granola bars to have on hand whenever hunger hits but you shouldn’t buy chips.
3. Try this sandwich filling.
4. Or don’t have a sandwich at all and pack one of these with some nuts, chopped veggies, and fruit.
5. Take a whole wheat hot dog bun. Slather it with peanut butter and place a banana where the hot dog would normally go. Best. Vegan. Hot Dog. Ever.
6. This is the smartest way to pack a salad I’ve ever seen.
7. Pack a boatload of snacks! My favorite lunches are usually things like crackers, veggies, hummus (for the dipping) and fruit. None of those are “meal time” foods, but why should they have to be? A well balanced snack makes for an awesome well balanced meal.
8. Don’t forget your treat. 🙂

Honestly, packing is as easy or hard as you make it, and as boring as fun as you make it. Just make sure that whatever you’re making, it’s balanced, will give you enough energy, and is satisfying. Because god help us, there are Dorito Tacos in the world.