Getting Out of a Funk

I often kick off my week with a post from MakeItUltra because their posts really help me to get motivated and start the week off on a good foot.

One thing I started doing last week that helped me work through an unhealthy amount of stress in a healthy way was doing 15 minutes of yoga in the morning. I was thwarted 3 out of 5 mornings because of Valentines Day (you can’t send your toddler to daycare without valentines!) and a baby who hasn’t been sleeping well. But those two mornings with Gaiam were heaven, and reminded me how stiff my hips are.

Written by Zola B. (GBR) Founder of: The Days Muse 1. Take care of your physical health Eat, sleep and exercise healthy. Your physical health is as important as your emotional well being. The two not separate entities but interdependent. Make sure you are eating fresh fruit and vegetables and drinking lots of water. Cut out all […]

via Easy Ways to Get Out of a Funk — MakeItUltra™

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Intent Matters

I’m not going to lie, there has been a decent amount of negativity in my life the last few months.

The results of the presidential election continue to be difficult to fathom.

I am struggling with my full-time job – the one that pays some of the bills and gives us health insurance.

There has been a lot of poor health in the family – which, admittedly, makes me grateful for the aforementioned health insurance.

To say that there’s been a lot to process is something of an understatement. But nearly a month after President Trump took his oath of office I feel compelled to try and say something. It’s like Shawna over at The Honeyed Quill says, “We don’t need to be afraid because. . . writing is an excellent tool for personal healing.”

What I’ve come up with in these recent months, and really as I think about it this has been brewing for years, is that your intent matters a lot in the decision you make.

One of the first courses I took for my undergraduate degree was “Gender, Race, and Popular Culture.” You can’t get away from a course on popular culture without talking about marriage, especially in a pre- legalized gay marriage America. For weeks we talked about the history behind marriage. That it was a business arrangement, that women were treated like property, that we change our names because we went from being our fathers property to our husbands property. My professor would often say, looking right at me (this was before N and I were married) “These young girls don’t know what they’re doing, changing their names.” I was insulted, as I planned to change my name. Yes, I was young but I was not an idiot. A lot of thought went into that decision. Six years later, I’m still glad I made it.

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I have wanted, for many years, to be a stay-at-home-mom. This is something I recently realized was not really going to pan out for me. Too much has happened for me to give up the security that comes with being a 2-income household. But still, sometimes I’ll entertain the thought, and for a long time I felt like a failure to the women’s movement. Then I realized, if I was going to stay home with my children it would be a feminist victory because I chose it and was supported in the decision.

I choose to breastfeed my babies. I choose to have babies. Both of these are radical because I am a woman choosing what to do with my body. Because I (partially, both girls have had a little formula and I’ll talk about that) reject capitalism and feed my babies with something that is free. It is radical to give them formula because I know that despite the laws in my state I’m not really supported in breastfeeding (pumping at work is a bear) and rather than kill myself over it I say “No, I matter. Here’s a little formula.” Fed is best.

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We had originally planned to go to the Women’s March in St. Paul. The day of the march, the weather was not very nice. We felt uneasy about bringing our girls out in that. That day, self-care won. Being a person who values taking care of yourself and listening to your gut is radical. We support those who did march, but our decision to engage in self-care is important and is not easily diminished.

If you want to be radical, be yourself. Even if something you’re doing is “normal”, know that if it’s the right decision for you it is radical. You do you. Your intent matters.

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Who am I?

It’s hard to answer the question “who are you?” and I think it’s more than okay to admit that.

Devon J Hall

b4bu9nkceaaonboI’ve never been able to answer this question with ease. I am a person, but that doesn’t describe “who” I am…it tells you “what I am.”

I don’t know who I am. I’m 33 years old and after years of activism and advocacy I honestly do not know “who” I am. I’m kind of okay with this, and kind of not.

Growing up I was convinced that by my early thirties I’d be close to death and have raised at least half a dozen children with my soul-mate turned husband. I am single, a cat and dog owner and I am in some ways my own worst nightmare.

All I’ve ever wanted to be was a successful published author. A Famous Writer. I wanted to be one of those writers that inspires people. That uses words to change the world. I have a lot of interests – I want to…

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Monday Blues

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So, you want to eat well

Note: There are several product links in this post. I’m not being paid to recommend them, but they are Amazon Affiliate links. That just means that if you click on the link in this post and buy the product I get a little cut, but it doesn’t affect the price you pay at all.  I’m linking to them because I use the products myself and really like them.

Months ago, when I was getting ready to come back to work following my maternity leave I knew it would be important to prioritize self-care. A big part of that, for me, is eating healthfully.

But at this point I’m no stranger to this “work away from home” mom gig and I also knew how exhausted I would be at the end of each work day. Despite my best efforts to plan meals once E started eating solids, I was just too tired to cook dinner once we got home.

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And look at that face – she sure didn’t mind I was failing at meal planning!

Having done some reading about making crock-pot meals ahead & freezing them, I decided that would at least be worth a try as I prepared to go back to work. My amazing mom came down the weekend before I went back and helped me make what came out to be 17 meals on a Saturday morning. It turned out to be wonderful. As its’ only E and I who eat what I cook for dinner most of the time, we generally go through 2-3 meals a week and there are “tasty good leftovers for me to pack in my lunch.

I posted about my adventure on Facebook (I mean, why wouldn’t you in this era of oversharing?) and Shawna over at The Honeyed Quill asked if I was going to make a blog post out of it.

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My mom and I went through this meal making process again right after Christmas. As I mentioned in the beginning of January, I’ve started my Master of Arts in Public & Non-Profit Administration (MPNA) and I am also an elected official (in addition to working full time & being a wife and mother).  I knew, once again, that making healthy meals was going to be pushed to the back burner (pun totally intended). We have 41 meals

Having gone through the process twice, I think I’m finally ready to write a blog post about this. I wanted to offer up something that would be helpful, and I hope that this fits the bill for you.

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  • Pinterest can be your friend in this process, but it’s SO easy to get overwhelmed. A few things to watch out for:
    • There are some tutorials (I started out with this one) that are great, but many say you can do 50 meals in a morning. I am convinced that folks that can make 50 meals in one morning must have magic powers. Plan on all day if you’re making that many means.
    • If you’re short on freezer space (and that could mean all you have it your kitchen freezer or that you’ve planning to make a TON of meals) I find that vegetarian meals, particularly with dried beans (not canned beans) are particularly space efficient.
  • Check your grocery list against your recipes several times! Both times I have been short ingredients in the end (although it was better the second time).
    • I found a website called KitchenMonki. You put the recipe in your plan and then it makes your grocery list. I got the bright idea to combine lines on the list (for example, if one recipe calls for ‘Green Bell Peppers’ and the other calls for ‘Bell Peppers – Green’ they’ll be separate on your list) and that’s where I got into trouble being short on ingredients.
    • My other tip when you’re looking at recipes in KitchenMonki is to just look for crockpot meals. At first I was looking for “freezer crockpot meals” and realized it was a little dumb because you can freeze pretty much anything. Turns out, even sour cream is fair game if you’re cooking with it.
  • If you do use ground beef in your meals, cook it first, at least partially.
  • This idea is my mom’s (she is a genius) – but you’ll need to suck the air out of the bags before you put them in the freezer. This prevents freezer burn so your meals will last. You don’t need a fancy pants “deflater”. Just get some straws, and you can suck the air out with the bag mostly closed. It works great (but if it grosses you out, by all means get a vacuum sealer.)
  • If you’re one of those who likes to have rolls or something like that, maybe stock up on Warm n’ Serve style rolls. I really like Rhodes. I recommend this kind of roll because you can keep them in your freezer but they don’t need to rise. Seriously, I’ve had the kind that need to rise in my freezer for a year-and-a-half because the “long” rise time is 3 hours and the “quick rise” time is 1 ½ hours. Both are not good amounts of time for me, and I’m guessing they aren’t for you either.
  • I would very strongly recommend getting a crockpot with a timer. For some silly reason, most crock pot recipes cook for no more than 8 hours. With commute time, I’m usually away from home for 10 hours. This is my crockpot and I love it. I recently got an InstantPot, which I really like as well. Rice still takes 20 minutes in it, but you don’t have that boiled over water to try and scrub off your stovetop either when you’re done.
  • Finally, this is not a meal prep tip as much as it is a cleanup tip. If you are going to use meat, you’ll probably get some (or a lot) of “juice” on your floor. I recently acquired this Shark Steam Mop. It works like a dream and since it just uses steam to clean and disinfect I felt pretty comfortable letting my kids play on the floor after our day-long extravaganza.

Bonus meal planning pointer: I am the unfortunate combo of “must have breakfast” and “is not a morning person.” Truth be told, my peak time is generally 1:00 – 4:00 pm. What I try to do to accommodate this is to make crockpot oatmeal periodically. There are a ton of recipes out there. I update my own Pinterest board with recipes pretty regularly that I would like to try, and I’ve tried most of them. You can find my board here. Crockpot breakfast is another reason I like having two appliances I can use for this purpose. It takes some of the cleanup pressure off.

I hope all of this is helpful to you if you decide to make your own crockpot freezer meals! It’s been quite the learning experience, and a very helpful thing in my home!

Rogue One Subverts Asian Male Stereotypes — and That’s Important

During a time when non-white folx are the “bad guy” it is fantastic that one of the most successful movie franchises ever is taking on that “othering” in a very real way.

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Much has already been written about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story — how it has added new context to the existing Star Wars franchise, how it is a movie ultimately about war.

Rogue One is also a movie that features three men of Asian descent — two East Asian and one South Asian — and, far from relying on stereotypes of “Asian Masculinity,” in fact subverts those stereotypes in a way that feels revolutionary for Western media. (Needless to say: spoilers.)

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Motherhood in a larger context

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