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September 2013
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December 2013

{What’s Working}

So, what didn’t actually work is the template I set up in July  to make it easy to keep up on my {What’s Working} posts on Wednesdays. Sorry, I love alliterations too much to let that go by.

Back on task: here are a few things that are working for me lately. Would love to hear what’s working for you or  your questions about how other people handle daily dilemmas, if you’re too shy to ask, I’ll do it for you since asking questions is a key part of what I do for a living and all.

Click here for {What’s Working} archives.

2013-10-16 09.21.14

What: My clutter-busting DIY tickler file* system

When I got the form for picture day last week, I wrote the check so I’d be on top of things and then stuck it in the 16th’s file and this morning when we were rushing out the door, there it was. No frantic pile searching for us, finally!!! Whether it makes it out of Sam’s backpack or not is another story.

Why: If anyone is interested I can follow up with a step-by-step post but essentially the awesomeness in this system is that there is literally a place for every piece of paper I want to keep because I customized it to my real life. This one thing is a huge accomplishment on my Mission: Organize Everything project.

How it works: Condensed version – there’s a file for every day of the month, 31 files and then a file for every month plus “next year” … a bit more to it than that and happy to share if it would help.

Note:

*(Please, please help me come up with something better to call this awesomeness than “tickler file.”)

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What: Kelly Lester’s Easy Lunch Boxes

So, so much more on this to come when my article publishes in the News-Register’s Green Living special section – soonish because I’ll be hosting my first ever giveaway to include some of these cool lunch boxes and cooler bag.

But for now, just wanted to say my ELB system is making packing lunches (and cleaning containers at the end of the day) much easier.

2013-10-16 09.01.522013-10-16 09.01.562013-10-16 08.52.18

{Also what’s working … holiday fun, it’s the little things, right?!}

*Lunches include from top left to bottom: “Dippy sauce” which seems to be key to getting the vegetables down their gullets, pirates booty (why? why do they love that stuff so much?!) pumpkin-shaped pb&j with the crust leftovers underneath and apple slices hidden under the top layer of “crinkle carrots.” I don’t know why I put that in quotes because I think that’s really what they’re called.

Why: It’s a formula for me – I fill the big box with the main dish, one with fruit the other with a veggie and find room for a little snack or treat. Done.

How it works: It takes the whole finding the right container and feeling guilty about all the lunch waste off the table and puts a good, easy to make, lunch on there instead.

Note:

If you want to buy some before my giveaway post runs –  you can click on my affiliate links below and hey, I’ll get a few pennies for your linking through my Amazon store – yayness.

 

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2013-10-16 10.46.10

What: Asking other people what’s working for them.

Sarah, one of my high school BFFs, tennis partner and college roommate (who’s picture I’d love to post but forgot to ask for permission) is a person I admire for lots of reasons but lately I find myself wondering “how does she do it?”

So, this weekend she came down for a visit, I got to ask her how her life works right now – and because we’re bffs she knew I meant … exactly. 

She described her crockpot strategy in the morning and I asked for her recipe, exactly.

“No, that’s it. I just gave it to you. Frozen chicken and a bottle of teriyaki sauce, on low for eight hours, done. Add rice and edamame.”

Tried it – everyone loved it – thank you Sarah! Mostly for being you, and being real.

This morning I tried her frozen chicken breasts + jar of spaghetti sauce and set out the boxes of noodles so the first person home tonight can get right on that.

Why: Because it’s nice to point out where you think someone else is being successful and asking people who are doing what you want to be doing for tips is how you can be more successful at what matters to you. I guess that kind of went without saying, huh?

Note: 

By the way, when readers subscribe to my blog it’s like getting a high five in my inbox. Of course when they unsubscribe I get all self-conscious. Thanks for signing up to get these free updates from Nathalie’s Notes.

 

 

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Cupcake cluster

A day in the life of a Reporter Mama balancing  deadlines and cupcakes.

 

I’ve looked forward to being able to bring a birthday treat for Sam at school since he was a baby.

Of course, that was before I realized kindergarten classrooms had 26, plus kids in them and that food allergies and other challenges were so common.

One of Sam’s best buddies has celiacs so I purposely bought gluten-free mini-cupcakes from my friend’s gluten-free bakery (everyone should have a friend with a bakery!)

The teacher and I exchanged a few, brief emails making sure it was okay to drop them off and hide them in the back.

Like Santa, Mr. Teacher said.

Well, more like a ninja.

Except, even ninjas get derailed.

We got to the office to check in because with new security procedures (thank you psychopaths of America) the days of just dropping off a box of cupcakes are long gone.

I was already in the computer system. Oh, but not the right one. Also the office staff was busy. (Been there, get it. But perhaps I could leave the box here, no? Okay, I’ll wait. And wait. And wait. No problem, just on deadline and still have to get Jake to preschool.)

So we get to the class, drop the cupcakes off – literally – twice, on the ground, they were a little disheveled but still cupcakes delivered, check.

As we left the classroom, Mr. Teacher was leading the adorable ducklings down the hall – what is that little girl doing? Oh, barfing. Cool. Also, gross. I got the nearest bucket for her to barf in and held her until she was done. Because I’m a mom, and maybe because that used to be my job and I kinda miss the little ones.

Um, a little help here? Jake looked on wide-eyed. A teacher assistant brought towels and helped get the little girl to the office.

In all of that I forgot to tell the teacher the cupcakes were gluten free.

When it came time to pass them around he erred on the side of caution.

Well, damn. That didn’t go as planned.

In our debrief, he suggested I employ a ninja trick he is fond of: sticky notes to communicate in case of derailment.

Ah, sticky notes! How quaint. And brilliant. Note to self: use them.

We really like Mr. Teacher. Also, I think it is ridiculous that the classroom has so many kids he’s one stuck zipper away from chaos.

Meanwhile … I dropped Jake off, opened my fermented chia drink and it exploded. Again. Only, not with a boom and tiny shards of glass this time but more like a 7th grade science experiment with a silent, never-ending fizzing fountain of slime. Red, chia seed slime coating me and my car.

So I took a bath in sanitizer changed quickly. And wiped up some of the aforementioned nastiness.

Then I found out there was an election story I wasn’t expecting that morning. Squeezed in a quick interview.

Then I filed two stories unrelated to that one.

Another interview, then wrote the candidate brief.

Then I found out I had another one breaking on my beat at the same time I had to go to a meeting.

Wrote that story during and right after the meeting

Got home much later than planned to put together DIY mini pizzas for the birthday boy (even though we had the big party yesterday I felt like I needed to do something fun for his actual day). Then he opened a couple of small gifts and we were off to bed with some very active ninjas.

Made a work call while they got a little of that out of their system. Fretted about the call even though I promised I wouldn’t.

Read a Froggy book and answered a bunch of random questions and then - Finally, I fell asleep snuggling my birthday boy, his giraffe, his book and a sword, natch.

Next year, I’m thinking tattoos or pencils or anything else non-food related.

You’re welcome, teachers and parents of kiddos with food challenges.