My Organizing Favorites

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The more blogs I read and podcasts I listen to, the more excited I get about becoming more organized, in all aspects of my life. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a complete mess, but there’s definitely work to be done on many fronts. Fortunately, over the past few weeks, I’ve found some great tips, tools, and ideas that I’ve been able to implement, or at least give some serious thought to. Here are a few of my favorites – old and new – that are helping me take control in various areas of my life:

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My Day Designer Planner

Until fairly recently, the planner I carried with me was a tiny, monthly calendar that I got in the dollar bins at Target. (It’s a two-year calendar, so I actually got two years of planners for just $1!!) The daily squares are tiny, so I had trouble writing anything at all in them, let alone more than one thing on a given day. Then I read another blogger’s review of her Day Designer planner, and I knew I had found a great tool. I ordered the Midyear (because I bought it over the summer) Flagship Mini Edition, and I love it! Not only is it beautiful and high-quality, but it has so many of the things on my planner wish-list: daily pages, divided up by hour; space for a look at the week ahead; daily to-do lists, with top three daily priorities; a monthly overview; and even space for daily gratitude. It has helped me add more structure to my days, especially the ones when I’m not at my job.

Laura Vanderkam’s Time Tracker Documents

This summer, I heard the author, Laura Vanderkam, interviewed on at least two podcasts, and I really liked her message. She has written several books on time management, and I’m currently reading her most recent one, I Know How She Does It. The (greatly) simplified premise of this book is that we have a lot more time than most of think, and while we can’t always achieve perfect balance every day, we can come close to it on many days. She believes that the first step in managing our time more effectively is tracking how we’re currently spending it. To facilitate this process, she offers free tracking documents (in spreadsheet and PDF form), for tracking your time in 15- and/or 30-minute increments. I’ve found 30-minute increments to be more manageable, and today is my fifth tracking day. Stay tuned for an update on what I learn from this exercise…

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My FitBit Surge and the FitBit App

My husband surprised me with a FitBit Surge for our tenth anniversary last October. I started wearing it immediately, and it’s barely been off my wrist since then. (Seriously, I wear it in my sleep, which it measures.) However, I got pretty lazy over the summer, and stopped worrying about whether or not I was actually meeting the daily goals I set for myself in the app. Fast forward to my return to work this fall, when I realized that my work clothes, which had been hanging unworn in my closet for four months, had apparently shrunk. All of them. Clearly the ice cream and kettle corn I referenced here had taken their toll. As a result, I increased my daily and weekly activity goals, and started to track them religiously. I love all of the different metrics and screens available in the FitBit app, and I find myself checking in with it several times a day. (And eating a lot less ice cream.)

This Amazing Chore Chart

Getting my daughter to complete her daily tasks – especially on school day mornings – is an ongoing battle. I’ve tried both positive and negative reinforcement, and while she’s made some progress, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. I want the system to be easy, self-managed, and reward-driven. I’m not even remotely crafty, so I had basically settled on using a simple checklist on a clipboard, when I came across this idea. It meets all of my criteria, is pretty, and looks like something I could actually create myself. It’ll take a small investment of time and money, but I think I can handle it, and I think it’ll work well for my daughter.

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The Organizher School Memories Keeper

My mother kept very detailed baby books for me and my sister. She filled them with photographs and specific dates, milestones, and memories. I still get a kick out of looking through them. So when my daughter was born, I got myself a baby book, and started filling it out. But I was quickly swept up in the busyness of being a mom, and forgot to note the dates of pretty much all of my daughter’s milestones. Now that she’s in school and I’m better at managing my time and projects, I have a kind of second chance. I knew I had seen memory books that were organized by grade, so I hopped on Amazon and found the Mead Organizher School Memories Keeper. In addition to being organized by grade, it has a place to affix each year’s school picture, a large pocket for holding documents and other mementos from that school year, and spaces to fill in basic information about the year, like teacher’s name, friends, milestones, and current events. It’s a perfect way to capture all of this information.

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What are some of your favorite organizing tips, tools, and ideas?

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What’s Up Wednesday: September, 2016

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I’ve been reading What’s Up Wednesday posts for a while, so I’m very excited to do my own this month…

What We’re Eating This Week: I dusted off my slow-cooker when the temps cooled and I went back to work. This week I’m using it to make two, new-to-me recipes. We’re also having taco salads and breakfast-for-dinner, two family favorites. You can see my full meal plan for the week here.

What I’m Reminiscing About: Because my daughter’s birthday is coming up,  I can’t help but reminisce about her arrival in our lives. She hung on for a few days past her due date, my doctor induced me, and she ultimately was born via c-section, seven years ago. Sniff, sniff…

What I’m Loving: Apples, and pumpkins, and squash – oh my!

What We’ve Been Up To: Settling back into our school-year routines. In addition to my daughter being back in school, I’m back at work two days per week, and my daughter is doing several extracurricular activities (hip hop dance, gymnastics, and Brownies). I’m also blogging (obviously), and in the midst of my semi-annual purge of my daughter’s outgrown clothes.

What I’m Dreading: Darkness. Even though the days have been getting shorter since the summer solstice, I only really started noticing a difference in late August. By the end of next month, it’s going to be very noticeable, and once we set the clocks back in early November, well, I don’t even want to think about that…

What I’m Working On: This week I’m tracking how I spend my time in 30-minute increments. I’m reading I Know How She Does It, by Laura Vanderkam, and she suggests that better time management starts with tracking how you’re already spending your time. I’m also trying to complete an editorial calendar for October for this blog, and starting to understand my least favorite social media tool, Pinterest. (I consider it a black hole, where I end up spending way too much time, and come out feeling incredibly uncreative.)

What I’m Excited About: Fall decorations!! It took me a while to warm up to them this year, but I’m thrilled to have mums, corn stalks, and pumpkins out at our house now.

What I’m Watching/Reading: I don’t really watch any TV shows, but I’m a bit of a news junkie. However, I’ve scaled it back this summer and fall, since I just can’t take any more election coverage. November 8th cannot come soon enough for me! As I mentioned above, I’m currently reading I Know How She Does It, by Laura Vanderkam. (You can see everything on my fall reading list here.)

What I’m Listening To: Podcasts galore! In particular, I just started listening to Her Monday with Jean Chatzky, and I’ve been binge-listening to catch up on the episodes I missed.

What I’m Wearing: Fleece, sweaters, long-sleeve tees, jeans, and boots – my kind of clothes!

What I’m Doing This Weekend: Saturday is my 11th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, I didn’t schedule a babysitter on-time, so we’ll be enjoying a family anniversary dinner, followed by a date night next weekend. Other than that, we don’t have any plans at this point. (And that’s just how I like it!)

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month: Our anniversary, my daughter’s 7th birthday and two parties to celebrate it, and Halloween!

What Else Is New: Work, school, fall… isn’t that enough?!?

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Monday Meal Plan #5

Monday Meal PlanHappy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Weekend Recap

This weekend, I let go of my sadness about the end of summer, and fully embraced fall. I wore fleece (it was chilly!), went on a hayride, took a long walk, put away my summer pajamas and sweaters, planted bulbs, and even allowed my husband and daughter put up some Halloween decorations. (It’s still a little early for jack-o-lanterns, if you ask me, but they really enjoy getting that stuff up early.) I also finished reading Columbine, and started reading I Know How She Does It. I learned a lot from the former, but it was not a light read. I’m not too far into the latter, yet, but I’m really enjoying it. And, because I’m a podcast junkie, I listened to several good ones. My favorite was the most recent episode of the My Wife Quite Her Job podcast, about local business, Death Wish Coffee. Because I prefer my coffee mild, I haven’t tried their products, but I loved hearing the story behind this success business.

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The Week Ahead

This week looks to be a pretty normal, fall week for my family. I’ll be working on Tuesday and Thursday, and my daughter has a full week of school, plus dance on Friday, and gymnastics on Saturday, and my husband will be travelling to Buffalo for work one day. With that in mind, here’s what’s on my dinner meal plan for this week: (Curious why I meal plan? You can read why here.)

  • Monday: Crock pot Apple Bacon Pork Roast w/ couscous
  • Tuesday (work day): Leftovers
  • Wednesday: Taco salads (not sure if I’ll use ground beef or turkey yet)
  • Thursday (work day): Brinner! (Maybe pancakes, maybe eggs, sausage, and toast, but definitely “breakfast for dinner”!)
  • Friday (dance 5-6pm): Pasta w/ Sunday slow cooker beef ragu and salad
  • Saturday: Leftovers/fridge clean-out (If I can snag a babysitter, my husband and I will go out to celebrate our 11th anniversary.)
  • Sunday: Curried rice with shrimp (from Real Simple Easy, Delicious Meals) w/ roasted veggies

What’s for dinner at your house this week? How was your weekend?

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Stitch Fix Review

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I’m not a stylish gal. In fact, if you showed up at my house unexpectedly, you’d find me wearing yoga pants, a t-shirt that I’ve had for at least a decade, and probably a sweatshirt or fleece, depending on the season. As soon as I return home from the outside world, I race to my closet, put away my “real” clothes, and get back into my at-home uniform. As I type this, I’m wearing those yoga pants, a t-shirt from my college, and a zip-up sweatshirt that I purchased at Walmart, to wear in my post-partum days. (My daughter will be seven next month.) Needless to say, I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes, and some of the items I have were purchased during W’s administration.

A couple of years ago, as a not-so-subtle hint, my sister gave me a Stitch Fix gift card for my birthday. If you’re not familiar with Stitch Fix, it’s a clothing and accessories subscription service. You sign-up, complete a detailed “style profile”, and set the frequency with which you’d like to receive your “Fix”. For a $20 “styling fee”, Stitch Fix sends you a box of five items, chosen for you, based on your style profile. You can purchase the items you want to keep – minus your $20 styling fee – and return the items you don’t want, using a prepaid mailer. If you decide to purchase all five items that you received, you get a 25% discount on everything.

I love the concept of Stitch Fix– a personal stylist picking out clothing items just for me, and sending them right to my door. I love trying clothing on in the comfort of my home, being able to try items on with shoes and other coordinating items that are already in my closet, and being exposed to brands and pieces that I’m not familiar with. All of these are major pluses of Stitch Fix in my book.

So what don’t I love about it? I found that my stylist didn’t always “get”me. For example, I live in a place where it’s cold close to six months of the year. There were some winter months when I received items that were way too lightweight for upstate New York winters, and I found this very frustrating. Also, there were times when I received items that were directly contrary to my Style Profile. For example, I’m not a fan of lace, yet I’ve received more than one piece of clothing that featured lace.

At one point, I was so frustrated with a particular Fix, I sent an email to the Stitch Fix customer service department, and requested a refund of my styling fee. I received the refund, but was advised that I should start a Pinterest board to share with my stylist, so she could get a better feel for my taste. I despise Pinterest, and I’m certainly not going to join it just for my Stitch Fix stylist. Besides, I completed the detailed style profile when I joined, and I always provide feedback on every single item I return.

When these things happen, I usually adjust the frequency of my Fixes, or take a break from Stitch Fix for a few months. But I really like having stylish, affordable clothing items delivered right to me, and some of my favorite clothing items have come from them. So – despite our ups and downs – I’m sticking with Stitch Fix for now.

Have you tried Stitch Fix? What was your experience like?

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Monday Meal Plan #4

Monday Meal Plan

Hey, look at that… it’s Monday again! How did that happen so quickly?

Weekend Recap

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. My weekend felt like a bit of a blur. Friday evening, my daughter had her first hip hop dance class. She took ballet for several years, but this summer announced that she’s “a sporty girl now”, and wanted to try something else. She started out slowly during the first class, but by the end of the class she had really warmed up and was strutting her stuff. I think she’s really going to enjoy this class.

She was supposed to have her first fall gymnastics class on Saturday morning, but we had to hit the road early to get to my sister’s house outside Boston, for my nephew’s fourth birthday party. The drive is roughly four hours each way, so I spent a significant amount of the weekend sitting in the car. I used my time to get in some naps, and to read Columbine, which I started about a week ago. (You can see my full fall reading list here.)

The party was a lot of fun, and I always enjoy catching up with my sister in-person. (Now that we both have families, it’s so much harder to schedule visits.) I also got to see my parents, and got in some snuggles with my younger (seven months) nephew, who will be having surgery this week. Please send lots of positive thoughts his way!

The Week Ahead

Life gets just a bit more complex for my family this week, as I’m returning to my (very) part-time job at a college, after a four-month summer break. I work two days a week, although I may add a third day as our office gets busier. I feel silly saying this, since there are lots of mothers who work full-time and have more kids than I do, but life at my house feels much more chaotic on my work days, and I always experience a brief period of readjustment when I go back in the fall.

With that in mind, here’s what’s on my dinner meal plan this week:

  • Monday: (Brownie pick-up at 5:00) Baked ziti with salad (I’m going to add some Italian sausage to the sauce.)
  • Tuesday: (First day back at work!) Leftover baked ziti with frozen peas
  • Wednesday: Slow cooker beef brisket with roasted carrots and parsnips
  • Thursday: (Work) Leftover brisket and roasted veggies
  • Friday: (Home from dance class at 6:30) Cheese quesadillas and 7-layer dip
  • Saturday: Leftovers
  • Sunday: Garden vegetable lasagna soup w/ bread

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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Friday Favorites

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Happy Friday!! In honor of the weekend’s arrival, I’m sharing some of my current favorite things today:

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Dunkin Donuts coffee deal. My husband and I are big fans of coffee, but we are not coffee snobs. I like a good latte or cappuccino on occasion, but at home, we brew and drink Dunkin Donuts Original Blend coffee. In our area, the regular price is $8.99 for a one-pound bag, so I typically buy it in bulk at BJ’s, to get it a bit cheaper. But this month, the Dunkin Donuts locations in our area are running a special: 2 bags for $9.99! We stocked up to get us through the winter.

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Nature’s Way Pest Control. For several months, we’ve had ample “evidence” that there was mouse activity in our house. We’d clean it up, put out traps, and remove the corpses a day or two later. Even our 16-year-old, arthritic cat killed a couple of the intruders. But the thing is, the evidence kept showing up. It was clear we were playing a losing game. So I contacted Nature’s Way Pest Control, and they sent Andy to help me out. Andy confirmed that we had a “significant infestation”, and that he’d found “multiple nesting sites” in our basement. (Gag!!) He put out bait inside and outside our house, signed us up for the “mouse program” (a monthly refilling of the bait containers), and will be back in about six weeks to seal the entry points all around our house’s foundation. I love Andy.

The Just Clean Something Challenge. I’m not a huge fan of cleaning my house, and I generally approach it fairly erratically. The only time I really get down to business and clean with purpose, is when I’m expecting company. So when Rebekah Hoffer of Simply Rebekah, announced the she would be leading her Just Clean Something Challenge this month, I signed on right away. Rebekah feels pretty much the same way about cleaning as I do, so she challenges her followers to simply clean one thing – above and beyond their normal, daily routine – every day. I love how this challenge breaks a seemingly huge project into manageable pieces. And the accountability in the Facebook group is very motivating.

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King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking. As I mentioned here, one of my favorite things about fall is getting back to baking. It’s just too hot to turn on the oven during the summer, but now that the temperature has cooled down, I’m going back in! I’ve had my eye on this book for a while, and I finally bought it. It’s chock-full of information on different grain flours, their history and uses, and how to best incorporate them into recipes. First up will be the Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe (made with whole wheat flour)…

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Saratoga Springs Public Library. I read a lot of books, but for various reasons – lack of storage, cost, etc. – I don’t purchase most of the books I read. Instead, I borrow most of them from our local library. I also borrow lots of children’s books and DVDs for my daughter. Over the summer, she participates in their summer reading program. Sometimes she reads to one of the therapy dogs. We’ve attended their annual gingerbread house-building event, nature shows, and musical performances hosted by this library. Although I haven’t taken advantage of them, our library offers all sorts of classes: computer, meditation, history, and hobbies. It’s truly a local treasure!

What are some of your favorite things today?

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My Fall Reading List

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One of my favorite things to do when the weather gets chilly is to curl up on the couch with a mug of coffee or tea, and read a good book. I was very happy with the books I read over the summer, and I’m looking forward to some more good reads this fall. Here’s what’s on my fall reading list:

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Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J.D. Vance. I saw the author of this book discuss it on several news programs this summer, and it sounded like a very interesting look into a place (Appalachia) and culture (hillbilly) I know very little about. (Confession: I actually finished this book last weekend. Is including here like putting something you’ve already done on a to-do list, just so you can cross it off? I’m not saying I’ve ever done that, but I’ve heard that other people do…)

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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg. I read another book by this author – Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business – over the summer, and heard this book mentioned on the Afford Anything podcast. I’m generally a big fan of habits, so I’m hoping this book will help me make the most of this trait.

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The Bucolic Plague, by Josh Kilmer-Purcell. I’m late to the Fabulous Beekman Boys party, but I’m on-board now! I watched the first season of the show on DVD this summer, and it fed right into my secret desire to be a gentlewoman farmer some day. Plus, who doesn’t love a flock of adorable goats??

41r1sidfyl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Columbine, by David Cullen. I heard about this book on the true crime episode of the Sorta Awesome podcast – one of my absolute favorite podcasts, BTW – and I was intrigued when one of the hosts said it gives a much fuller picture of that awful incident than is typically covered in the media. (I read the amazing book, A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, by Sue Klebold, this spring, and could not put it down.)

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I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time, by Laura Vanderkam. I wasn’t familiar with this author, until I heard her interviewed on the Afford Anything podcast. I found what she had to say about the effective use of our time, very interesting, and decided to read her books. I’m starting with this one.

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The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder, and More Compassionate, by Susan Kaiser Greenland. I struggle with making mindfulness a consistent part of my life, but I understand the immense benefits it can provide. I want to help my daughter take advantage of these benefits, too, only earlier in life than I have.

What are you reading these days? Can you recommend anything else I should read?
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Monday Meal Plan #3

Monday Meal Plan

Happy Monday! I hope you had a fantastic weekend!

Our weekend was fairly uneventful. My husband had to work in Utica on Saturday, so my daughter and I were on our own for most of the day. We met friends at a playground in the afternoon, before going out to dinner with my husband, when he got home. Yesterday was a lazy day at home for me, and my husband ran a few errands. My daughter and husband also started decorating the house with fall decor. I’m okay with leaf, pumpkin, acorn, and other autumn decorations at this point, but nothing Halloween before October.

The Week Ahead

This week is the first full week of school, plus we have a couple of evening activities on the calendar. On Wednesday evening, we have open house at my daughter’s school. It’s a chance to meet her teacher and get an overview of what to expect from second grade. Unfortunately, it starts at 6:30, which is an awkward time to plan around. Since it’ll be almost bedtime when we get home, we’ll eat dinner before we head over to the school. On Friday evening, my daughter has her first hip hop dance class, which run from 5:00 to 6:00. We’ll get home from that at almost 6:30, but at least it’s not a school-night.

We’re heading out-of-town on Saturday morning, to celebrate my nephew’s fourth birthday in the Boston-area. We’ll spend Saturday night at my sister’s house, and head home in the late morning on Sunday.

With that in mind, here’s what’s for dinner at my house this week:

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  • Thursday: Grilled salmon or swordfish, with grilled veggies
  • Friday: Leftovers/fridge clean-out
  • Saturday: Out-of-town!
  • Sunday: We’ll be arriving home from Boston late in the afternoon, so dinner will be some form of takeout.

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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What I Love About My Job

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In just over a week, I’ll be returning to my (very) part-time job as a career counselor at a liberal arts college. This will be my seventh academic year in this position, which still amazes me. After all, when I took this job, it was supposed to be a ten-week, temporary position.

When my husband and I moved upstate, I did not have a job lined up. (He did.) Once we were settled in our new home, I got in touch with staff members in the career centers at all of the local colleges. The Capital Region has quite a few colleges and universities, and I met with people at almost all of them – two community colleges, a state university, and five private colleges. Ultimately, I took a job working with a very different population – low-income adults – which I left just before my daughter was born.

I had always planned to stay at home when I became a mother, but when my daughter was about nine months old, I started getting stir-crazy and bored. Parenting is challenging in many ways, but I didn’t find parenting a baby to be particularly intellectually challenging. Even though I never thought I would work outside the home when I had small children, I was ready to make a change. So when my current boss called to offer me a part-time, temporary position while someone recovered from back surgery, I knew it was my chance to try out being a working (outside the home) parent. (Important note for people who hate networking, from a career counselor: My boss was one of those people I met with on my networking tour about a year and a half earlier. This is the power of networking in action!) I hired a babysitter for my daughter, dusted off my business-casual attire, and headed back to work.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this will be my seventh academic year in this position, and I’m going to keep going back for as long as they’ll have me. I love my job for several reasons:

  1. Career counseling is a perfect fit for me. I have a graduate degree in clinical social work, experience working as a recruiter, and experience working in marketing. I love writing. I love teaching. I love listening to people describe their experience, and helping them package it to sell themselves to employers.
  2. I really enjoy working with college students, particularly at a liberal arts school. College is a time of great discovery and personal development for most students, but figuring out what they want to be when they grow up can be confusing and frightening. I find it incredibly rewarding to help students make sense of this process and “find” themselves. I also love helping liberal arts students identify their many skills, and see the value of these skills to employers.
  3. I only work one-on-one with students. Most jobs entail meetings, projects, and events. My job requires just one thing: that I meet with as many students as possible, and work with them on whatever aspects of the job (or internship) search they need help with: identifying their goal(s), writing a resume and cover letters, developing and implementing a networking strategy, and/or preparing for interviews. This is what I love doing, and it’s the only thing I have to do.
  4. This position is very flexible. This is key for parents, and I feel very lucky to have happened upon such a position. I generally work two or three days per week, and most years, I’ve been able to choose my work days. I was able to schedule my work hours so that I can be home when my daughter gets on and off the school bus. If my daughter is sick or has a day off from school, I can reschedule my work days to accommodate her.
  5. I have summers and college breaks off. Because I’m paid to work with students individually, when the demand for these services drops off, I don’t work. (Apparently my boss doesn’t want to pay me to sit at my desk and surf Facebook all day…) This means that I have summers and college breaks off. This is great for me as a parent, because my daughter’s school breaks often overlap with the college’s breaks. And when they don’t overlap, I can generally switch around my work schedule to fit it with her school’s schedule. (See reason #4.)

No job is perfect, but this one is pretty, darn closeto perfect for my current season of life.

Do you work outside the home? What do you do? Has networking ever helped you in your career? create a healthy home shop mightynest.com

My Fall Favorites

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Although we still have a couple of weeks left before the official start of fall, it’s definitely upon us. Here in upstate New York, there are many things to love about this season. These are some of my fall favorites:

Celebrations. We have a lot to celebrate in the fall. In addition to the Thanksgiving and Halloween holidays, my husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary (11 years!) in October, and our daughter will turn seven at the end of October, too.

Gorgeous colors. This is kind of a no-brainer. In a couple of weeks, the leaves will start turning brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow. Plus, there will be mums and pumpkins everywhere we look,which only adds to the colorful beauty.

Cider donuts. The proliferation of cider donuts is clearly one of the best things about fall, in my humble opinion. Seriously, is there anything better than picking up a grease-stained bag of warm, cinnamon sugar-crusted cider donuts on a crisp fall day??

Return of baking weather. I really enjoy baking, but I generally take a hiatus from it during the summer. It’s already pretty hot, and I can’t bear to fire up the oven on most days. But by early fall, temperatures are cool enough to start making cookies, muffins, and other baked goodies on a regular basis, again.

Decorations. I love all of the pumpkin, acorn, apple, and gourd goodies that proliferate come September! The Saturday when our family goes to the local nursery to pick out pumpkins of every color and shape, Indian corn, and mums for our front steps, is an annual highlight!

Apples. Crunchy, juicy, delicious, and healthy?? Sign me up! Of course I particularly enjoy them candied and in pies and crisps, but surely they retain some of their health benefits in these forms… right??

Smell of wood fires. We don’t use our wood-burning fireplace (mainly because it’s very energy inefficient), but I adore the smell of wood-burning fires. Starting in late September, the smell seems to be everywhere outside.

Cozy clothes. While I don’t like winter’s freezing temperatures, I’m a wool-sweater-and-long-pants kind of gal. Each year is a little different, but usually by mid-October, my wardrobe has been completely switched over, and the cozy clothes are back in rotation.

A brief respite. Our highest electric bills of the year always come over the summer, when the air conditioning is in use. In the winter, we have propane bills for heating our house. But in the fall – at least until we change the clocks and the darkness descends upon us – we get a couple of months of relatively low electric and propane bills.

A fresh start. The start of a new school year energizes me, and gets me excited about becoming organized and scheduled, again. I implement systems, fill storage bins, and test new organizational tools. What can I say: I love structure!

What are some of your favorite things about fall?