sunny side up eggs on sweet potato toast
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If you've been cooking for toddlers lately, we know you've been living it up. There's nothing more gourmet than getting to sneak a few delicious bites of plain pasta for your dinner, before your little one asks you to squirt half a bottle of ketchup on it. Jokes aside, we made a venn diagram of what our kids like to eat, what we like to eat, and what overlaps and we came up with mac & cheese and coco puffs. Thus, we need some dinner ideas for the times when your neighbor talks about her post-workout wild salmon and quinoa, and you realize your body has not received any nutrients beyond your daily Flinestone vitamin.  

So here's one possible solution to your problem: Sunny side up eggs on sweet potato toast. It's super easy, it's delish, and you can store any extra sweet potato slices back in your fridge for tomorrow aka six weeks later when you remember they're there. It's also surprisingly filling, especially if you have more than two slices of the "toast". If you don't want more eggs, you can put cheese, tomatoes, or even PB and banana slices on the sweet potatoes to fill you up.

 
 
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SUNNY SIDE UP EGGS WITH SWEET POTATO TOAST

2 eggs
1 sweet potato
cooking spray
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
parsley flakes to make it look fancy


Preheat your oven to about 400 degrees. Slice the sweet potato into into about 1/2 inch slices. Be careful that part can be a bit tricky. Line the sweet potato slices on a baking sheet (or foil pan) and spray both sides generously with cooking spray. Sprinkle with spices. roast in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. If you want it crispier, put your oven on broil or an extra high temp for the last two minutes. Flip to the other side if you're going for extra extra crispy. 

As for those eggs, fry them up in a pan the best way you like. Poaching works too. 

 
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LiveNurit Siegal Comments
Rachel Siegal, prosthetist resident in downtown Chicago, on work and motherhood
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Rachel Siegal

prosthesis resident at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

One thing is for sure - before this interview I did not know how to spell prosthetics and orthotics. But thanks to my interviewee's patience and grace, I am finally feeling pretty sophisticated. I'm very excited to introduce you all today to Rachel Siegal - a Prosthesis Resident at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago. She also happens to be my sister-in-law, and mom to my gorgeous little niece. Before Rachel started her residency, she would often walk over to my apartment in the afternoons with her baby to hang out with me and my two toddlers. Rachel is the kind of friend you don't have to clean up for and doesn't judge, which is the only kind of friend you should have past age 25 at the latest. I know you'll love reading what Rachel has to say as much as I have! 

It’s finally happening Rach! The interview has arrived, and I'm excited for readers to learn about your amazing career path. First things first – how did you choose to work in prosthetics? What was your first introduction to the field?

My plan in college was to be pre-med.  But like most freshman in college, I had no idea what I was talking about.  Once I fully understood how much schooling would go into being a doctor, I decided it wasn’t for me and looked into careers in allied health: nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech pathology, etc.  I did a lot of informational interviewing during my first two years in college, and at a certain point found prosthetics and orthotics.  I was given the opportunity to work as an intern in several practices over summers and during school and decided that this was the field for me.

Can you tell us a bit about what a prosthetist does? 

A prosthetist fits artificial limbs for patients who have suffered some kind of amputation: traumatic, due to disease, illness, etc.  I work directly with the patient, doctors, physical/occupational therapists to create a prosthetic limb that will work for the patient's life and activities.  Our first focus is to get people to be independent in Activities of Daily Living (ADL's), but we also want to create something that gets a person back to the activity level they were at prior to the amputation, whether that means an activity specific device or a device with customized components.


What was your education up until this point? When do you complete your residency?

I have a B.S. from the University of Michigan in Biological Anthropology (which allowed me to do all my pre-med pre-requisites except for Calculus!).  I then completed my Master’s in Prosthetics and Orthotics at Northwestern University.  I’m currently doing an 18-month long residency in Prosthetics at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago which I will complete in June 2018.
 

When you’re working in the clinic with your patients, what’s a typical day like for you? What are your responsibilities?

There’s no typical day, but each day consists of working with patients on fitting/designing their prostheses. Each prosthesis is custom-made because every person’s body and needs are so different.  I also have documentation (like doctor’s and other health professionals) to write after each appointment for medical records.  Between patients, I’m typically in our fabrication lab working on fabricating, modifying, and adjusting devices for patients.
 

I imagine that your work can be very difficult and emotional at times, especially when working with children or with patients who have experienced trauma very recently. Do you find that patients and/or their families lean on you and your colleagues for both medical and emotional support?

I try to see the positive side in difficult situations, especially in pediatrics or when a patient has had some kind of trauma.  We are working towards a goal of getting the patient to be functional or independent again.  I try to empathize with the patient and their family as best I can and reassure them that I’m here to help and to move them forward in the rehabilitation process.  We have lots of discussions about the patient’s goals and home life which helps us create a device which will be most beneficial for the patient.  That’s a long way of saying, yes, part of our job is to provide emotional support and reassurance to the families.  As for colleagues, long-time clinicians have seen all sorts of difficult situations.  I lean on them for support if I am unsure of how to handle a situation.
 

What has been your most challenging case so far? Your most rewarding?

My most challenging case involved a patient with bilateral (both sides) transhumeral (above elbow) amputations secondary to trauma.  He was learning to use his prostheses and I was able to attend most of his occupational therapy sessions with him over the course of about 6 months.  He didn’t have the best attitude, which made helping him difficult.  However, in the end, he made tremendous progress.  Because of all the effort I put in to working with him, his case was probably my most rewarding as well.

 

What advice do you have for those who are thinking about prosthetics and orthotics? Is there something you wish someone had told you?

Clinical experience prior to entering school is a must.  Be assertive, ask questions, and get technical experience as well.

 

What kind of projects would you love to be working on in the future? Is there a specific aspect of prosthetics that you’re drawn to the most?  

I love working with kids.  My residency has taught me that in my heart, I’m a pediatric clinician.  I love working with children and their families more than anything.  They do so well with their devices and I love seeing them jump up and run around after we’ve fit them.  I don’t see the sadness in their situations, just their hope and excitement for the future.


That's incredible, I love your perspective. I know you're applying for an orthotics residency right now. What would you most like to get out of your next residency program?

I'm just excited to get back into orthotics.  I've been doing only prosthetics for the last year, and I originally got into the field because of orthotics, so I really miss it.  Also, while you work with all types of patients in orthotic practice, you generally get to see a lot of kids, which I'm really looking forward to.  I'd like to have a well-rounded experience and see as much as I can in the next year: different patient populations, pathologies, different devices, etc.
 

Now for the "working mom" questions, of course... As a mother of a (delicious) toddler with a demanding job… what’s a part of the balancing act that you find particularly challenging?

I work long hours during the week, so it’s difficult to be “on” as a mom when I come home each day.  I try my best to be fully present and engage with her by playing or reading, but sometimes the best I can do is cuddle up in the rocking chair and watch Moana with my little girl.  The other thing that definitely falls through the cracks is housework.  Dishes, laundry and clean up take a back seat as a working mom.

In what way could society be more accommodating of and sensitive to the lives working moms? Is there something you would like to see change?

It would be amazing to have more affordable daycare options for parents who work full-time.  It was a real struggle to work out daycare for our daughter when having a nanny was not an affordable option for us.
 

And lastly… what do you like to do during your commute? And what are your favorite ways to unwind and recharge?

During my commute, I usually like to read. Or I might even take a quick nap...
To recharge: Sleep, hot bath, Netflix, and that caramel cheese popcorn mix from our grocery store :)


 
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Rachel Siegal
Prosthetist Resident at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
MA in Prosthetics and Orthotics, Northwestern University


P.S. Check out more amazing women here:


Erin Zaikis................founder of the non profit Sundara
Fawn Julsaint...........our house and home contributor
Rivki Silver...............Writer in Cleveland, Ohio
Melissa Josephs........Director of Equal Opportunity at Women Employed

Think, GrowNurit SiegalComment
holiday potluck dessert with fruit, nuts, and chocolate
 
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The holidays are coming up and we know that you are all very excited and super prepared! a.k.a. panicking and looking into Buddhism. For one thing, the expenses can get expensive, the gift list can get long, and there's a lot of food around to eat our feelings.  And if someone talked you into throwing a party (your mother? does she want you to try to be more "social"?) then the anxiety may have already begun to settle in deeply. Good thing is we have a great idea - a potluck dessert. If you're throwing a Hannukah party this week and need as much help as possible, this one's for you. 

Ask anyone you invite to either bring their favorite chocolate, nuts, and/or dried fruit, or anything else you'd like to have (i.e. jelly donuts, caramel popcorn).  If you're worried everyone's going to bring donuts then tell each person a different thing to bring. Honestly, if you have everyone responsible for two items, then maybe you don't need to serve anything else... 

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Here's what you can find on the top picture:

dates
chocolate squares
Hanukkah gelt
dried apricots
coconut shavings
almonds
mixed nuts:
- cashews, pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds
raspberry jam
almond butter

and here are some other ideas...
jelly donuts
caramel popcorn
array of cookies
latkes
halva
candy
gorp
caramels
potato chips
cut up fresh fruit
chocolate sauce/fondue

 

What are your go-to, budget-friendly ideas for holiday winging-it? 

P.S. Setting up a breakfast board
P.P.S A fruit and cheese board too

 

 
LiveNurit SiegalComment
postpartum depression - and what helps women cope - in six words or less
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postpartum depression

in six words or less

What do women find more difficult? The experience of postpartum depression itself or the feeling that you're the only one going through it? For this article, we asked moms on social media to tell us what postpartum depression feels like in six words or less and we received so many responses from those who went through it in the past or are currently struggling.   The list below is what some of the women wrote. The second list is a response to the question, what helps you cope with the depression, in six words or less? We used the guideline "six words or less", since asking people to write out their whole stories can feel daunting. This way it's a bit easier to contribute, but still in a meaningful way. 


 

you don't recognize yourself.

don't remember normal

feel like a bad mom.

needs help without judgement

utter hell, hopelessness, sense of worthlessness

meds are amazing.

can't get anything done

moving through molasses

i cried for six months straight

debilitating

i'll have to pretend I'm happy

dangerous, heartbreaking, self-loathing, confusion

what did i get myself into?

hell.

why can't I get my act together?!

want to get back into bed

"must breastfeed baby. At any cost" was my thought

colic, unemployed, exhausted, lonely, and colic

unbearable heartache, overwhelming fears, absence of joy

extreme fears, my head in a dark bucket, isolated

loneliness. Anxiety. Fear. Crying. Failure. Overwhelmed

feels like bricks on my chest

 


 

hot tea, relaxing music, good book

talking to other moms going through it/had it

antidepressant, massages, good food

rest, prayer, yoga, support of loved one's, downtime

talking to people

talking to my doctor. finding a good psychiatrist

candles, tea, big blanket, soft music, book/magazine

therapy, meds, supportive people, keeping busy

alone time with spouse and baby. no guests.

meditation, hot bubble bath, deep breathing

"you had it too???"

listening to music

finding out its not uncommon

switching to formula exclusively

having my husband turn guests away (politely...)

asking for help. Talking to someone

cognitive Behavioral Therapy

therapy, meds and exercise

sun, alone time, schedule, whole foods

therapy, meds, slow breathing

me time

lots of boundaries with negative, judgmental people

babysitting help. cleaning help.

 
GrowNurit Siegal Comment
letter to myself
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letter to myself

by Rivki Silver 

Dear Me,

Excuse my brevity, but it’s getting late and I just got back from Target and I still need to fold like three baskets of laundry, maybe four, so I’m just going to cut right to the chase:

You’re not going to see it coming. What’s that? All the cliches. All the cliches that are going to come true and you’re just going to have to go with it.

Let me back up.

Right now you have, what, one or two kids? Beautiful. You can take them for walks in the double stroller. You might even still be fitting into a sedan. That’s great. They’re also very small and entirely dependant on you, which is tiring. That does get better, and it’s amazing. Just today one of the kids said at the dinner table, “I’m thirsty!” So I countered with, “So get yourself a drink.” And he did. Incredible, right?

In less than a decade your life has completely shifted from an amorphous kind of schedule, full of walks and library programming and naps and swaths of time in which you could blog and practice music and contemplate your identity as a stay-at-home mom and post pictures, so many pictures online and get into arguments on Facebook to what it is now.

Now is carpools and after-school appointments and therapy and playdates and making the bus and parent-teacher conferences and preschool and kindergarten graduations and even though the kids are, thank God, more independent, the amount of time you have for creative endeavors is shrinking. There is no more time to contemplate your identity as a mother versus as an individual because there are just so many things to do.

But you still contemplate. You still create. It’s just different now.

I know that all the things your baby and toddler are doing seem like they are absolutely the most important thing right now, just all-encompassing and aggravating and wondrous, and that’s true. It’s so true. Your life is becoming something new, and as a new mother you are a bit like a caterpillar in the cocoon. You have the babies, yes, but you are so new at this, and every decision is so heavy with importance and repercussions. And that’s also true, but it’s also not.

As you gain experience, you’ll appreciate the simplicity of babies, and you will become that more experienced mom who is so annoying to the newer moms. Because you’ll gain perspective, you’ll have seen things before, it won’t be as mysterious or as baffling, and you’ll know that most things tend to be phases and when you see new moms so so so serious you’ll smile and remember what that was like, except you won’t exactly remember, there will just be a tinge of a feeling that’s buried under the years of accumulated experience.

You’ll know what you’re doing, but you still will never know what you’re doing when it comes to your oldest. Sorry. It’s always uncharted territory, but you’ll make friends with people who are ahead of your stage of life, and you’ll learn to ask advice and to embrace the not-knowing. No one knows, really, until they do. And then they will start parenting classes which you will take and write books which you will read.

It does go fast, the problems do grow with the kids, and it certainly does take a village, but these are all things that can only be learned through experience, not through someone else telling you (not that that stops people from telling you, but whatever).

I may not really know what I’m doing, but I have learned that expectations and acceptance seem to be the key to managing, and maybe even succeeding at parenting.

There are times when a child is not doing something that I want them to do, or that I anticipated they would be doing at this stage. Like, I thought for sure that the kids would be reading chapter books by now, and I spent months buying and checking out different chapter books in the hopes that something would click.

Futility.

But after I put aside my expectations and paid attention to what they were actually interested in, instead of what I wished they were interested in, I found that comics and graphic novels held their interest beautifully, and that they would really read them.

I have a feeling that this will be applicable to every area of our children’s lives, so I’m trying to keep that in mind whenever I’m panicking about something they are or are not doing.

It’s scary, and exciting, and frustrating and wonderful. You’re doing just fine. Keep working at it, it’s going to be okay. Whatever it is is what it’s supposed to be.

Love,
Me


 
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Rivki Silver has spent most of her life immersed in the study and instruction of music, but for the past nine years has been learning about marriage and motherhood. She writes about relationships, parenthood, music and religion, as seen through the lens of an Orthodox Jewish woman. Her writing can be found on Aish.com, Kveller.com, Hevria.com, where she is a regular contributor, as well as her blog, LifeintheMarriedLane.com. She was a fellow in the 2016 Cleveland Jewish Arts and Culture Lab, where she created both the visual and soundtrack to a stop-motion video starring a chickpea. You can see that, and other work, on her Youtube channel. She is currently the principal clarinet of the Cleveland Women’s Orchestra. She lives in Cleveland with her husband and four children. You can also find her on her various social media accounts.

 
GrowNurit SiegalComment
chickpea and feta salad with guacamole
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About a week ago I had to schedule a doctor's appointment for an inconvenient time of day. After I dropped off my girls that morning, I had a half hour to drive to the doctor, find parking, and text my babysitter both the day care addresses so she could pick my kids up. I park the car, run to the office, and get there late but they let me stay. I inhale a granola bar, text my babysitter, and write a few time-sensitive e-mails. I'm called in to see my doctor and I wonder how many minutes I should wait before telling her I really have to use the bathroom.

So my question for you today is... do you relate? To the stress of needing to complete 20 small tasks within ten minutes, or else your schedule will fall apart? I have been turned away from a couple of appointments, and I just stare into the receptionists eyes, begging them to sympathize with my morning of spilled cocoa, my phone found cradled like a doll in my daughter's blanky, and a yoga mat soaked in a potty-training learning experience.

Like I mentioned last week, cutting corners is something we do to survive. While I can get away with not packing a lunch for myself on most weekdays for example, on other days I have to do it. So as most moms do, I tend to stick to using the same easy ingredients. Things like boiled eggs, veggies, a piece of fruit, chick peas, store-bought guacamole, dried fruit and nuts. I often make the salad below when I'm really pressed for time because it's easy and delicious. What do you tend to pack? What easy ingredients do you throw together so your schedule stays in tact? 

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Chickpea Feta Salad with Guacamole (or Avocado dressing if you have time/energy)

spring mix/salad greens
chickpeas
feta cheese
1 single serving guacamole cup (i.e. Sabra)
Optional: mix the guacomole with lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and olive oil to taste

p.s. another recipe for lunch or dinner that feeds the whole family 

LiveNurit SiegalComment
thirty dollars or less holiday gift guide
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Having trouble with picking out gifts for your friends and family? Are you up right now at 3 AM on Pinterest? We're here to help you out. No DIY disasters or walking around Target with a screaming toddler required. Click the product names below to check out our ideas for gifts under $30!

1. 

2. 

3. 

4.    

5. 

6. 

7. 

8. 

9. 

10.

11.

12.

13. 


14. 

15. 


16. 

17. 


18.

 

 

What other budget-friendly gifts have you been checking out? 

TalkNurit SiegalComment
Melissa Josephs on paid sick days and pregnancy discrimination
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mothers at work 

pregnancy discrimination and paid sick days

I'm so excited that we've had the opportunity once again to collaborate with the amazing organization, Women Employed in Chicago. Women Employed is a nonprofit dedicated to serving women in the workplace. WE works with lawmakers to pass fair workplace legislation, with companies to implement fair policies, and informs and urges the public to support equal opportunity legislation. One of the reasons why I admire this organization so much is because they shine a light on what it's truly like to be a working mother for many women in the U.S. 

For today's article, I wanted our readers to be aware of and have a better understanding of the paid sick time and pregnancy discrimination laws that have been passed in Chicago and Cook County. I had the opportunity to speak with Melissa Josephs, Women Employed's Director of Equal Opportunity, who helped shepherd the passage of the laws that came into effect this past summer. Today we're going to give you a bit of background on these new policies, and what they mean for pregnant women and mothers. 

 

Thank you so much for doing this interview with me, Melissa. As I’m sure you know… a lot of us don’t always know what rights we have at work.  The point of this interview is to help women understand their rights regarding paid sick time and pregnancy discrimination. To start, could you tell us a little bit about the paid sick time law that went into effect this summer in Chicago and the Cook County suburbs? 

The sick time ordinances in Chicago and in Cook County were passed last year and went into effect on July 1, and are almost identical. The laws allow employees to earn sick time one hour at a time for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours/five sick days a year.

Because it takes so long to earn sick time (a full-time worker would earn 40 hours after working 40 weeks) the laws allow a worker to carryover half of the time they have earned but not used, up to 20 hours, to the next year (e.g., if they know they want to use the sick time for an operation they are having early the next year).

The laws allow, in addition to the 20-hour carryover, 40 hours of carryover to be used for an FMLA reason if eligible (i.e. you work for an employer with 50 or more employees and meet other requirements). They can be used for new-parent leave, for the worker’s serious illness, or for that of a family member.

 

How does this law help mothers? Does paid sick leave apply when a mom’s child is home sick from daycare or school?

Yes, the laws allow an employee to use sick time if she or a family member is sick. In addition, it allows an employee to use sick time to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency – when you often don’t have notice and don’t have the time to find a caregiver.
 

Many women struggle with serious morning sickness during pregnancy. Do women who experience pregnancy-related sickness or other complications receive coverage under this law?

Yes. These sick time laws can be used for pregnancy-related illnesses when employees need to stay home from work. The laws also allow use of sick time to go to medical appointments.

An employer cannot make you use more time than you need, so the minimum increment of leave cannot exceed 4 hours per day. For example, you may only want to use four hours to stay home or go to a doctor’s appointment.

An employer cannot discipline you for not giving notice for using sick time, such as a point system that can lead to termination, or as part of an absence-control policy. An employer may require up to 7 days notice before leave is taken if need for sick time is foreseeable. If it's not foreseeable an employer may only require notice to be given that day as soon as is practicable.

 

At this point I’d like to ask you a few questions on the topic of pregnancy discrimination. In January 2015, Illinois passed a law that protects pregnant women at work. So our readers know: Pregnant women and new mothers can ask for reasonable accommodations from their employees without risk of consequence (i.e. asking for water/breaks, help with heavy lifting, a private space to pump breastmilk). It is also illegal to fire or refuse to hire a woman because she is pregnant, is recovering from childbirth, or has a pregnancy or childbirth-related medical condition.

With that in mind, many women who are pregnant or who plan to become pregnant at some point in their careers remain concerned that their employers won’t take them as seriously. They’re worried about being placed on the “mommy track”. If a woman is asked by her employer (i.e. in an interview) if she plans on becoming pregnant, does she have to answer? Are employers allowed to ask women questions of that nature?
 

The asking of the question is not illegal. It is how the employer may use the information that may be illegal, i.e., if they hire someone who will not get pregnant instead of you.  But since you would have to prove this, which could be hard to do, especially if you’re asked at a job interview and don’t get the job, you should try and handle it when you are asked. This can be done without refusing to answer the question but by learning what your employer wants to know about how this impacts your ability to do the job. For example, you can ask the employer if they want to know whether you’re willing to travel for the job.

Whether or not a woman plans on having children should not be used against her by an employer. It’s rarely used against men who plan on having children, because the employer assumes the man will be more committed to the job as he needs the money. But so do women. An employer may assume that the woman will want to take time off if she has a baby and a man won’t because even men who take parental leave usually don’t take as much time as a woman since a woman may be recovering from giving birth.

But why is there a “mommy track” for women who may take off for a few months but not a “heart attack track” or “stroke track”? When Sen. Mark Kirk had a stroke he was off work recovering for a year, during which time he was still paid and he was not replaced. As one of our only two Senators we managed without him. The same with the CEO of United Airlines who had a heart attack one month into his new job and was off for six months. He, too, was still paid and they managed without him until he returned.  Employers should not assume that if any of their employees take a family or medical leave that 1) they cannot get along without them (it’s more expensive to replace an employee than to hold their job) and 2) that they will not be returning.


What else would you like to see change for pregnant women and new mothers in the workplace?

Paid family and medical leave for an employee’s serious illness or that of a family member, or for new-parent leave that applies to workers at any size employer. The current unpaid FMLA only applies to employers with 50 or more employees. This could be done with a law that sets up a program funded similarly to social security, or done voluntarily if done by all employers. You can learn more about that here.


Thank you to Melissa and to Women Employed!

 
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Melissa Josephs has expertise in a range of workplace issues such as paid sick days, sexual harassment, fair wages, work and family, and affirmative action. A member of the WE staff since 1990, Josephs promotes passage and effective implementation of equal employment opportunity laws and regulations at the state and federal levels. Examples of issues she works on include campaigns to increase the minimum wage and pass paid sick days legislation in Illinois and at the federal level, and federal campaigns to strengthen anti-discrimination laws such as the Equal Pay Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. 

Melissa has a B.A. in English and Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a J.D. from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law

 

you can learn more by checking out these links:

pregnancy and employment in illinois

more about your rights when you are pregnant

paid sick time

Grow, TalkNurit Siegal Comments
semi-homemade fajita night
 

One of my favorite memories from college was going to Starbucks very early in the morning with a couple of my best friends. I met them through the architecture program (I did that for three years before switching to Women’s Studies as a senior), and sometimes our workload was so heavy we’d stay up at our studio untill 6:00 AM, when Starbucks would open. Depending on whether we had to get back to work, we’d either get hot chocolate before a power nap or some really strong coffee.

I survived those first few years of college because of the Starbucks around the corner, the bagel shop around the other, my equally miserable friends, and my passion for drawing lines over and over until I’d want to cry. I was so sleep deprived as a student, I remember having coffee with a good friend one day and waking myself up when I yelled “Frank Sinatra!” at her mid-convo.

Interestingly, my experience in college reminds me of being a mom. Except that motherhood is an inherently more delirious experience, and you also have little people to care for and nurture. I rely heavily on commiserating with other delirious parents, drinking 3-4 cups of lukewarm coffee a day, and cutting corners whenever possible. Which is hard because, just as I craved to be a hardcore architecture student, I also want to be this amazing mom. So I'll say things to my kids like, we can read as many stories as you want tonight! and then I'll realize that was a terrible idea. 

At the end of the day, cutting corners is about survival. Think things like, dry shampoo, store-bought cupcakes for school, and Frozen. I also cut corners big time when I need to cook for a lot of people, or I'm having family or friends stay over. I try to think of the easiest meals that yield the biggest returns. Which is why I bring to you today... Fajita night. Easy and super delirious. I mean delicious. And best of all, there's a hundred ways to serve it. Choose whatever ingredients are best for your budget, as well as for your psychological well-being. 

 
 
 

Fajita Night Ingredients/Ideas

steak (i.e. skirt, rib eye, chuck)
chicken breast
guacamole (I use Sabra)
cherry tomatoes
roasted peppers
rice
tortillas
tortilla chips

additional ideas:
black beans
corn
sauteed onions
chopped tomato and onion salad
parsley

Serve with or without tortillas, on a board or on small plates/bowls, and let people go for their favorite choices. I might prepare the chicken breast and rice myself, but then buy pre-grilled steak, canned beans, store-bought guacamole, and other fillings, like corn and tomatoes, that I don't have to prepare. 
 

How do you guys cut corners? What do you guys do to survive??

 

LiveNurit SiegalComment
Fawn Julsaint on the best products for your home
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Fawn Julsaint and I have known each other for about three years now. When I was pregnant with my second daughter, Fawn stepped in to make my life and my home a thousand times better. I don't really know how she does it, but Fawn cleans and organizes like magic. By Thursday every week, my mornings have started to unravel, our drawers have to started to overflow (is it clean? is it dirty?), and my kids are going juuust a tad bit later to daycare. So when Fawn comes in the morning, I'm desperately ready for the restoration of order. We have a coffee together and catch up on our week, she helps me give the girls ponytails and fills their sippy cups, and then off we go while Fawn whips our home into shape. When she knows I've had a particularly hard week, I find little extras around - like the kids lunches packed and ready in the fridge, or the flowers freshly rearranged by my bed.

So, because I am so giving, I wanted to share a bit of Fawn's expertise and crazy amazing-ness with all of you. Whether you want extra help and hope with your own home or need help with your own clients' places, Fawn will be here on L & B to problem solve all our home quandaries. She's kicking it off today with the ten best products for your home and how to use them. The product images and links are at the end of the page.


Barkeeper’s Friend
Barkeeper's Friend removes hard water stains and rust from stainless steel. You can use it in your bathroom, your bathtub, as well as for the soap scum build up on your shower doors. I'ts great for removing the brown stains on your stove, on pots and pans, copper, and porcelain. It’s gentle, doesn't contain bleach, and you don’t even need to wear gloves.
 

Sprayway Glass Cleaner
Sprayway is an ammonia free glass cleaner that doesn’t have as much soap as Windex, so it doesn't streak as much. It's perfect for glass furniture, mirrors, windows. You can use it on some stainless steel products as well. Sometimes it works great on stainless steal, and sometimes it doesn’t so you just have to experiment and see where it will work.
 

Mrs. Meyer’s Products
I honestly love these because they make your home smell good. I like getting all the new holiday scents, like pine and peppermint. They're great for cleaning and great for their seasonal choices. 

 

Method Anti-Bac Products
This is a good, natural way to clean your bathrooms. It has all anti-bacterial properties, and gets rid of the germs without using all those chemicals.


Norwex products
I like this company a lot. They have really great stuff and I use them a lot at my house. They have a window cloth and a dusting mitt that are antibacterial microfiber. If you’re concerned about not having chemicals in your house it’s a great way to go.
 

O-Cedar Microfiber Cloth Mop Heads
You do have to wring these out by hand, but you can also throw them into the washer. You should use them dry to clean your baseboards and trim, and then use them wet for floors. They’re super absorbent and most microfibers have an anti-bacterial property, so the cloth (as well as any product you’re using with it) helps get rid of germs.
 

Dawn dish soap with vinegar - I call it “Dawnegar”
This mixture is great for stove hoods and for the cabinets around your stove that get greasy. It will de-grease your wood without damage. You can use it inside your oven if you don’t want to use harsh chemicals. Just add one part dawn dish soap and one part vinegar and mix. Don't add water. Spray it on and leave for twenty minutes, and it will come right off.
 

Baking soda
I use baking soda for the stove top and in laundry to get rid of any mildew scent. I often use it on stove tops with peroxide. Mrs. Meyers actually sells a baking soda cleanser so that it’s all mixed up as a paste. Kind of like a lotion type bottle that you squirt out and rub. I also like baking soda for cleaning out tubs and the shower. Sprinkle some around the tub/shower when there's still a bit moisture in there, and throw in a couple drops of some essential lemon oil. It will help remove grime, soap scum, and hard water stains.
 

Bona for your wood floors
Bona is more water based, so it doesn’t leave a sticky residue on your wood floor. It also doesn’t have a strong scent, if you don't like the smell of other wood floor products. Some people are hesitant to use liquids on their floors, so if you’re a wood specialist I apologize for this slightly less sophisticated way of cleaning wood...


Mr. Clean Magic Erasers
They clean stainless steal, soap scum on shower doors, rings on tubs, counters, and you can even remove things from your walls. However, use it on your wall very gently and not too much because it will remove your paint. It removes scuff marks on the floor and door, but again, if your door has paint on it then be gentle. If it doesn’t come off with the first wipe then leave it alone so you don't remove your paint.
 

Clorox toilet wands
Not reusabe and not flushable, but I like them better than having a brush with tons of germs on it sitting next to the toilet, especially when kids are around. I can’t tell you how many clients have problems with their kids grabbing those. Unless you’re super dedicated to Clorox-ing your toilet brush. When I use the toilet wand, I can just rinse off the wand when I'm done with it.



 Thank you, Fawn! Let us know if you have questions you'd like Fawn to talk about in in her next post!

 
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Fawn Julsaint 

Owner-operator at My Deer Cleaner
@mydeercleaner


 
GrowNurit Siegal Comment
the delicate situation of having guests postpartum
 

when Guests come... Postpartum

About a year ago, I wrote an article for a Jewish women's magazine about prenatal and postpartum anxiety and depression. I wrote a bit about my own experience, spoke to some friends, and asked women on social media if they would be interested in telling me a bit about their stories and struggles for the article (anonymously, of course). It became clear that having space and privacy was one of the most important - and elusive - parts of the postpartum experience for women coping with anxiety, depression, or the general roller coaster ride of emotions that's common for postpartum moms. A lot of women talked about the pressure they felt to make everyone happy, and to never say "No" to anyone who wanted to spend time with the new baby and mama. I unfortunately couldn't use all of their stories for the article, but have always wanted to find a way to share them in hopes that other moms feel less guilty about their own needs postpartum. Here are some of the women's thoughts and feelings about having guests who wanted to visit - or wanted to be visited - postpartum, when they weren't quite ready.  


The huge pressure from family to visit or to bring the baby to show family is very difficult. Yes, great grandma should see the baby but a new mommy doesn't have the energy to pack up the other kids and dress herself up when the baby is even two or even three weeks old. Somehow even the loving grandparents don't always remember how awful the new mommy feels.


When my first (now 4 years old) was born, I had no clue about the emotional roller-coaster I was already strapped into. I had always been a very outgoing and social person, so I totally stayed and hung out with my own and all of my parents' friends [a few days after the baby was born].  When the guests left, I sat down on my parents' basement steps and started crying so hard I could barely breathe. My poor husband was like, "Huh? what's wrong? You were fine one second ago" and I couldn't even answer. I just felt like speaking even one more word would be too much effort for me.

After my second was born, I was more prepared, but the anxiety was much worse and I kind of went off the grid, ignoring calls from friends and relatives until just about everyone I knew was kind of ticked off at me. Thank God for anxiety medication!  I am kind of similar to a normal person again.  Some days. Sort of. If you aren't looking too closely. 


Right before I was having my in-laws sleep over for the first weekend, I had an appointment with a lactation consultant. She told me I had to nurse, feed pumped milk, feed formula, and pump at every feeding! It was not at all ­­sustainable... That night, with everyone in my apartment, I broke down. My baby was being held by someone else and I went to the armchair in her room and just cried. The tears flowed down my cheeks. All my anxiety and worry came to the forefront, and I just couldn’t stop crying. I was still physically recovering, nursing, there were way too many people in my apartment... I just couldn’t cope.


I remember with my first I had postpartum anxiety... and I remember the second day in the hospital trying desperately to calm my body down so that I could rest and every time I felt myself getting drowsy there would be a knock on the door and a well-meaning relative had shown up to meet the baby. Some friends came too. So I learned and the second time around we said no visitors at the hospital... when we came home from the hospital with my second- my husband was like a bodyguard of sorts - he prevented people from coming over and from me having to chat. To keep my anxiety in check I really just needed space and to be alone and focus on myself and my family... I think people are very well-meaning and I don't begrudge anyone for visiting - everyone wants to see a new baby. But you have to know yourself well and put up good boundaries if being with people postpartum makes you anxious or prevents you from healing. I just needed calm and quiet and space. I remember sitting in my room with the baby for hours and I had quiet classical music playing in the background. My husband or baby nurse (the second time around) would come in and they knew to speak in calm, quiet soothing tones. My husband took my cell phone for about two weeks - he checked it a couple times a day in case anything needed responding to but I didn't look at my cell phone because it was too overwhelming to have to respond to Facebook messages, emails, texts etc... I knew I just needed time alone to be able to keep my anxiety in check and be able to move on. Helped immensely.


I'll add that in addition to visiting when the mommy is home people should think twice before visiting a new mom in the hospital and make sure the visit is really wanted. Second - when making meals for new moms - as tempting as it is to come in and see the baby and chat for a few minutes - be mindful that the biggest help might be to just drop the meal off with a congratulations and see the baby another time.


Thank you so much to the women who shared their stories! And for helping other women feel understood. 

P.S. A post on anxiety in six words or less and the tough emotions that come after losing it with your kids

 

 
GrowNurit Siegal Comments
roasted baby peppers with parmesan

Have you ever googled the amount of ingredients you want a certain recipe to include? For example, "five ingredient chocolate chip cookie"? It may just be the best way to google recipes, because there's a much higher chance it will be easier and more achievable. If I don't look up a recipe that way, and just go with whatever is rated the best instead, there is a 99% chance that two hours into cooking I'll have consumed a cup of chocolate chips, sent about three texts of regret to various friends, and will most likely be in the middle of a phone call with my mom, crying and asking why my life has to be so hard. 

In short, I try to avoid long recipes as much as possible. Especially for things like side dishes, soup, or dessert - anything that is not the main dish - I want to be able to check them off the list of things to do as quickly as possible. The recipe below happens to be one of my favorite side dishes (goes great with salmon or pasta). I know that roasted peppers aren't everybody's thing... but if you like them as much as I do then I think (and hope!) you'll like this. 

 
 

roasted baby peppers with parmesan

ingredients

1 bag mini roasted peppers
Olive oil for drizzle
Kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
Parmesan (shavings or other) for garnish

directions

Preheat your oven to 415 degrees. In a pan (I like foil pans), drizzle a little olive oil on the peppers. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder and mix until the peppers are evenly coated. Make sure that they aren't overcrowded/all touching in the pan. Either use a second one, or I like to use a large foil sheet pan. Place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the peppers have started to brown and wrinkle a bit (check on them towards the end to make sure they're not burning). Once you take them out, they should wrinkle even more. 

Allow to cool just a bit and serve with Parmesan cheese. Be careful that when you cut open the peppers or bite into one, there will be very hot liquid inside! Add more salt and pepper afterwards as desired.

 

 

P.S. I'd be curious to know... is there a food/recipe that you completely avoid all together? Something that you just can't face in the kitchen again? 

 
LiveNurit SiegalComment
an interview with Erin Zaikis, founder of Sundara
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Erin Zaikis and I first met when I was a junior at the University of Michigan. From day one, I had no doubt she would go on to do unbelievable things. So when I read an article about her organization in the Huffington Post a few years ago, I was ecstatic! I'm so excited to have the chance now to learn more about her work.

Erin is the founder of Sundara - an organization that recycles soap and educates underprivileged communities around the world about hygiene. Sundara employs local women - who speak the language and understand their culture best - as hygiene ambassadors to educate their communities. These women are empowered to lead, create change, as well as financially support themselves and their families. I hope you enjoy learning more about Erin and Sundara!


I’m so excited to interview you, Erin! You and I met in college and I always admired you and your commitment to volunteer work, especially with orphans in extremely impoverished countries. Could you give a bit of background on the projects you were involved in back in college and right after?

Of course! It’s a pleasure to be interviewed by you and I’m so excited our paths are crossing again, a few years later. When I was 19 I bought a ticket to India spontaneously after watching the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”. I spent my summer living in an orphanage in Mumbai with 130 girls - most of whom were abandoned just days after birth, left in trash cans or train stations but for the sole reason that they were girls (and born to mothers with little economic opportunity who couldn’t raise them or pay dowries). It was a life altering experience that forced me to come face to face with the stark inequalities of the world and realize my privilege. After I graduated school I moved to Thailand to work with two organizations that focused on advocacy against child sex trafficking  - an issue I was first exposed to in India.

How did this work affect you on a personal level? How did it lead you to start Sundara?

It was a privilege to be able to have the freedom to travel and take some unpaid internships and low paying jobs to see the world and meet people with such different backgrounds and life experiences. Yet it also forced me to question the Judeo-Christian values we are raised with - like “hard work breeds success” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. In these countries - and so much of the world - life simply isn’t fair. People don’t have the same level of opportunity you do. Some people can’t even read this article. Some people’s lives are just...well, miserable. When you’ve seen people selling their children to feed themselves, it’s pretty hard to go back to the first world and forget about it. I knew I was fortunate enough to be given education and opportunity - but I now realized I could use it for others and to do some good in this world.

I started Sundara because in Thailand I met 11, 13 year old children who had never used soap in their life - and were dying of diarrhea, pneumonia - diseases that children here didn’t die of. In that moment I was dumbfounded - how had these people lived their entire lives without something I (and probably many of the readers) have taken for granted every single day of mine? I loved that soap was a low cost, low technology, easy to understand solution. It’s not controversial. Handwashing with soap can save the lives of 2 million children a year! I thought that the problem was a lack of soap in this world - but it’s actually a problem with excess (hotels throwing billions of bars of barely used soap into landfills) and access (70 million people in India not knowing what soap is or being able to afford it). If we could connect the waste to the need - which is what Sundara does, while providing jobs to dozens of women across three countries, that felt like a solution everyone could get behind.

 
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I remember when I was so excited to read the Huffington Post article about you. How did the article change things for you and for Sundara? What was going through your mind when you started seeing the positive effects of that exposure?

The article was such a cool moment - and I still pinch myself about it. In one day our website was flooded with thousands of dollars of soap sales and I got countless messages of encouragement and support on Facebook. I still go back and read them from time to time, whenever I’m hitting a tough moment, and it makes me feel like I can do anything I put my mind to. That article was definitely the push I needed to realize that I could quit my job and follow my dream full time.
 

Could you talk about the important role women play in your non-profit? In influencing their own communities?

Women all over the world are the key to sustainable change. Things are far from being perfect for women here in the US but don’t we have the obligation to stand up for our sisters across the world who are facing a much more dire situation just because of their gender?

That’s why Sundara hires women to recycle soap, become hygiene ambassadors and work in our office as program managers. When you give a woman a job, you’ll notice that she uses her paycheck to send her children to school, buy food for her family, repair her house - and you don’t even have to tell her to do that. I’ve also seen how when you give a woman an opportunity to work (instead of a handout) they have so much more self esteem and purpose and they feel like they can take on other challenges.

Women influence their neighbors and their children in a way that men can’t. Women are the main caretakers of children - they have the ability to promote healthy behaviors and discourage unsafe ones. Women make up over half the world - it’s only right to let them lead in any community development solution.

 
 
 
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That’s incredible. What you said reminds me of the book Teach a Woman to Fish by Ritu Sharma. In the book she talks about how hard it can be to get people/organizations/governments to view poverty through the lens of women. That people often want to treat poverty “as a whole”, rather than understand how women are affected in ways that men are not. Or that it’s not quite understood how critical women are to creating successful community programs. Do you encounter these kinds of problems?
 

I definitely encounter this problem in my work. As an organization with 95% of our hires being women, we receive a lot of push back at times. I wish I could give jobs to everyone who needed one and was deserving of it - both men and women alike. The reality is that there's not equal opportunity - women have less access to schooling, are being forced to drop out at higher rates, are victims of sexual and physical violence and have fewer financial resources available to them, so when we create interventions to lessen poverty we must take into consideration that many women are starting with these barriers in place, and offer opportunities for them to advance whenever possible..

Women actually contribute 2/3rds of the world's work hours...and yet only 7% of philanthropic dollars are invested in initiatives targeted towards women and girls. I want to be a part of the change to level the playing field for women both here and abroad.


What’s your vision for Sundara’s future?

Sundara currently receives 25% of our funding from within the countries we operate in - which is a huge achievement. To know that local philanthropists and businesses support our project with money and volunteering hours is a great feeling - but I’m still pushing for more local involvement and funding. All of our work is done within the countries we operate in - shouldn’t it ideally be funded from within as well?

On a personal note, I hope that Sundara is less and less about my story and more about the journey of the women we hire - and how they’ve transformed their lives and communities with this job. Or the story of a child we work with becoming a hygiene ambassador in his or her community. Telling the stories of other people whose stories aren’t usually heard - I’ve had the limelight plenty of times - will be my goal in the future.

 
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Having so much experience working with many different communities, what is the key to successful partnerships and collaborations? Where can an organization potentially go wrong in trying to help?

The key to successful partnerships is not forcing it - and being open to change and pivoting. It’s so important to look at your program critically after 6 months or a year and say - is this working? Does it feel like an uphill climb? What could I be doing better?

Sundara has had programs not work out - and we have had to admit our mistakes, close the project and learn from the failures. It’s humbling. Having local buy in is so critical - a lot of organizations go wrong in developing an app or a project for a community that might work well here in the US but haven’t factored in cultural complexities that would make it a challenge in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Whether it’s a feeling of self-doubt in your ability to make a difference, or the depression that can come from seeing so many people suffer… What’s your advice to those struggling with the darker aspects of this kind of work?

Keep going - keep pushing. The world needs you. Sometimes it might seem that your work just feels like a drop in the bucket (trust me, I feel that way often), but all those drops do add up. It’s also so important to surround yourself with a few supportive people who want to see you succeed. The world is full of naysayers - and everyone suffers from self doubt, but with a great partner, encouraging parent or fantastic group of friends, you’ll have the push you need to keep you going in the right direction.

 
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Thank you Erin for the incredible interview! Follow Erin and Sundara To Stay Updated 

 

Follow Erin 

@ezaikis
 

sundara

@sundara_fund

 


Nurit SiegalComment
our new book club...
 
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For all you mamas out there - what's your relationship with reading since having kids? Do you remember how to read? Do you try to read while your kids crawl all over you? Whether you're reading a long Facebook post or delving into a big novel, it kind of always feels like a terrible time. My kids can hear the sound of me opening up a book or a magazine as well as they can hear me open a snickers bar in a dark corner of the basement. As for nighttime reading, it's very hard not to fall asleep after three sentences. So I wanted to ask you guys for our first book club post... do you read much? What's your relationship with books nowadays? I asked you guys on social media and here's what some of you had to say...

 

"Just ordered two new books, I’m trying to prioritize reading more. I read to my son daily and he reads to me, but I’ve gotten away from reading for my own enjoyment and I miss it. I’m trying to put down the phone and pick up a book."
 

"Who has time to read? I'm lucky if I can stay awake long enough to read a paragraph."
 

"I commute 2 hours a day and listen to audio books. I had to give up reading years ago, no energy at night anymore. Audio books help me deal with traffic stress and boredom. It's often the most relaxing part of my day."
 

"Reading goes as far as scrolling through Facebook. It's really great. Haven't finished a book in ages"
 

"I'm in a book club where I'm the worst member and only read it if everyone else says it's good. Otherwise I read Netflix subtitles sometimes."
 

"Overdrive!! The app for the public libraries. I check out audiobooks and listen all the time and its free."
 

"I hate to admit that my reading time comes when I plop my kid in front of the TV during breakfast. I enjoy my coffee and book for a bit and can tune out Elmo’s annoying voice... ;) Otherwise it’s sneaking a few pages in the bathroom or after bedtime, but I’m usually too tired then and prefer to catch up on my own TV in the evening."
 

"I love reading! Being a working mom helps - my commute is always a major reading time... I fully admit it was a major reason I did not go with a daycare near my work... mommy needs reading time. I also love audio books."
 

"I'm a card toting member of the Bad Decisions Book Club. (Our motto: "JUST ONE MORE CHAPTER!") I read at night after everyone - including my partner - are in bed. It's my ME time."
 

"I commute 2 hours a day and listen to audio books. I had to give up reading years ago, no energy at night anymore. Audio books help me deal with traffic stress and boredom. It's often the most relaxing part of my day."
 

 
 

 

So then... what's your relationship with reading??

 
chicken tortilla soup
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It's great to be back!  I've been working on our re-launch for a long time,
and I'm so excited to get started. You can now check out new posts every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday morning at 6:00 AM central time. I hope you enjoy The New L&B!


The other night, I was reading a bedtime story to my girls. My two year old interrupted every few seconds to ask me to look at her stuffed animal licking the side of her crib. You know when someone's tickling you so badly that you can't stop laughing but you've also never been more frustrated in your life? I couldn't stop, but it was a pained laugh and against my will. I'm exhausted at night! I need to wrap it up! And I have so much I still need to do.

That's true... But the chair calls out to me... Nuriiiiit, come relax you work so hard, sweetie. You're right, I do work so hard, thank you. I tell myself that I'm just gonna sit down and rest for 15 minutes. The next thing you know, it's 8:17 the next morning, no ones lunches are made, and daycare starts at 8:45. Sure, no prob. 

I usually end up getting my daughters' lunches together, and then maybe grab a yogurt for myself. Are you in the same boat? Putting extra milk in your coffee and praying it holds you till dinner? After a few weeks of crying while scrolling through lunch ideas on Pinterest (you know the pictures where a hundred lunches are lined up on the counter, packed and ready to be frozen for the rest of the kid's childhood?), I decided that I'm giving up on packing myself a lunch. I now make oatmeal for breakfast, bring a yogurt/nuts/cheese with me, and when I get back home early afternoon I eat something like toast with eggs or leftovers. Sometimes we have soup leftovers in the fridge, and one of my favorites is an easier version of chicken tortilla soup. It works as a hearty dinner soup too, and it's really easy to make. 

 
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chicken tortilla soup

ingredients

1 Onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder
28 oz  crushed tomatoes
2 containers (64 oz total) chicken stock
8 small corn tortillas
1-2 cups shredded chicken**
Salt, pepper, chili powder to taste
Tortilla chips and Tofutti sour cream for garnish

directions

Chop the onion and sautee in a large pot with a little olive oil. Once they become more translucent, add the garlic powder, crushed tomatoes, and chicken stock. Add the corn tortillas by shredding them up in small pieces over the pot. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally, making sure the bottom of the pot doesn't burn. Lastly, add one to two cups of shredded chicken. Reduce to a simmer and cover for at least a half hour or until it thickens a bit more. Add salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste (keep in mind that if you’re topping the soup with tortilla chips this will add salt). I like to serve the soup with with crushed tortilla chips and a dollop of dairy-free sour cream.

 

*I find the recipe to be really forgiving. If I want a bigger pot of soup, I add one more 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes, 1 more container of chicken stock, 2 more small corn tortillas, and a bit more chicken. Serves about 6-8, instead of 4-6

**I buy a prepared rotisserie chicken to save time/sanity


What do you guys do for lunch? Do you go for a few snacks instead or do you prep in advance? 

losing it
 

Do any of you guys remember Charlotte York? That preppy, perfect character who wanted her life to look like a magazine? I remember watching her on TV when I was in high school and college and thinking to myself, Okay, yeah, if I could just be like that when I'm older...

When she got married to her second husband on the show, and she softened her personality and accepted life's imperfections, we loved her even more. But when the second SATC movie came out, I thought to myself, huh. Maybe they went too far. Now she seems like she can't get it together at all. She's always overwhelmed by her kids. She confesses how hard motherhood is over cocktails while Miranda tells her to "keeping sipping". I thought it was a little annoying.

After I had my own kids, I started to remember those scenes again. Especially the scene when Charlotte loses it with her young daughter, Lily. After Lily plants two, full-of-paint hands on her skirt, Charlotte grabs her little fists and screams, "LILY LOOK AT WHAT YOU DID!" In a split second her face changes and she's overcome with horror and remorse. Still shaky, she tells the girls to give mommy just one second, and she goes to the closet to cry. I've thought of that short scene over and over again as a mom. Even though she's just a character, the scene strikes a chord with me now. If Charlotte York can lose it, then maybe I'm not actually alone in this. 

In the name of mom-solidarity, I proposed another question this week on social media. I asked moms to describe with one sentence that feeling of remorse and shame you get after yelling or screaming at your kids. Of course, none of us ever want to "lose it" with our beloved, beautiful children. But in the mean time, while we're all trying to work on ourselves, I thought it might help to hear that we're not alone in the journey. We often think we're the only ones struggling, and we end up being really, really hard on ourselves. 

So here's what you guys had to say....

Can I turn back the clock?
I’m a horrible monster.
Did I really do that? Again!!!
I’m not cut out for this.
It’s not her fault I’m ______ (insert: stressed, tired, cranky, upset, nervous etc.)
I’m a failure!
What did I just do?!?!
I’m human, trying, failing, trying again…
I’m the worst mom ever.
Next time louder! #kidding
Omg I’m a horrible mother, I’m damaging them for life, I promised I would never yell…
I hate myself.
I need a time out.
I never yell at my sweet angels. #alsokidding
Where’s the child remote control?
I want to take it back.
Don’t want to be in charge!
Did I really just do that?
7:45 AM and I’ve already lost it??
Ruined their life forever!
I hated when my parents did this to me.
I don’t deserve to be their mom
Cathartic. But then shame and remorse.
I’m in hulk mode again.
What is wrong with me?!


What would you add to the list? How do you describe that feeling after "losing it"? What would you want to tell other moms going through the same thing? 



P.S. Women share what anxiety feels like in six words or less, the paradox of motherhood, and what prenatal/postpartum anxiety and depression can feel like

 
chic look, sweet price: 25 kitchen items for $10 or less
 

I love product round-ups on websites and blogs, because it's anything you potentially need (for yourself or for a gift) all in one place. They're convenient and pretty to look at. But if you're looking for a few things, then the prices add up extremely quickly when each individual product starts out high.  I always appreciate when people post budget-friendly and sale/clearance ideas, even though it takes more time and sifting. I also recently came across a site for browsing a wide-range of furniture and decor, Furniture.com, which also has a sale-finding feature that shows you all the sales in your area (just click on "Find Local Sales" in the right hand corner).

Whenever I post products I want to make sure that they're practically priced but still stylish. Kitchen things are fun because they're functional, but you can also leave them out to display (and to get peanut butter smeared on them, etc.). Below I have a round up of 25 items from Target that are $10 or less. I hope you enjoy! 

Any other round ups you'd like to see?

chic and simple Caldrea brand candle
the candle pictured above
same candle as above, but bigger and with a different scent
small tin candle with pretty patterns
gold candle from first picture (when finished, you can clean it and use as a gold vase)

radish-print tea towels
similar spatula to above (prints were found in-store)
gold serving spoons
pretty chambray cloth napkins/small towels with fringe
stainless steal utensil holder

LB target pretty bowls.jpg

small blue bowl with design
medium square rim porcelain bowl
wooden dip bowls (can be bought individually in store or $11.69 online for set of 4)
gold rimmed bowl similar to above
small mint bowl for $1.99. 
so many different styles in-store

LB target containers.jpg

pink and white container pictured above, also in blue
set of four small air-tight glass containers
large white stoneware container, similar to above ($10.99)
turquoise stoneware berry 'basket'
blue wire basket (good for storing onions, potatoes), also in black

serving platter pictured above
on-clearance blue rectangular tray
sixteen deviled eggs platter
rectangular serving tray
on-clearance green oval platter

P.S. If you're on a roll and want more fun posts, check out ten women's tips for pretending to be more awake. And if you're doing the 72-hours-of-rest challenge, here are some evening snack ideas for unwinding 

 
LiveNurit Siegal Comment
Six Things Every Mom Should Have in Her Purse
LB Purse .jpg

The mission of a mom-centric lifestyle website should be to offer its readers the best advice possible on life management and home organization. Readers should be encouraged to run their lives and families in a smooth, organized fashion. Um so like, that's not really where we're at right now, but it's a process we're currently working on with our therapist(s). In the mean time, here are the top six things we think every mom should have in her purse.

Wallet

This is a tough one, but try to remember to put your wallet back in your purse after seeing your kids slide it under the couch. It's a well-known fact that 97% of mothers do not have any room for error in their schedules. For instance, you probably already know that it takes 12.62 minutes to get to the grocery store after work and that you have to leave the store with exactly 4.42349 minutes to pick up your kids on time. Forgetting your wallet is an utter disaster. You’ll have to go back to the store with your kids, even though “I was literally just there”. This incident can equal up to seven additional sessions in therapy.

A mysteriously opened diaper

This is very helpful to have because it doesn’t look dirty but for some reason it’s open. You never really know – has this diaper been used? Is it clean? Eventually you’ll have to resort to using it and you’ll get to question whether or not you're qualified to be a parent.

Severe cold medicine

Finding someone to watch your kids when you're sick is so difficult it’s close to impossible. You’ll have to like bribe babysitters or ask your spouse to change career paths. When you can’t make it happen – it’s so so rough. Make sure you have your favorite cold medicine on hand at the very least.

Cash

An obvious necessity because nothing gets recorded when you buy something with cash. No need for anyone to know of any daily donut or starbucks purchases. 

Receipts

Receipts are great because you can never find the one you need but get to be reminded of when you bought a food processor a year ago that you never actually use. This is also probably how your spouse will eventually find out about your donut and Starbucks purchases.  

Dark lipstick (skip the concealer)

People should know how tired you are and dark lipstick really brings out those dark circles under your eyes. Applied well enough, it could potentially lead to people offering to do a favor for you or two out of sympathy and concern.  

 

What do you have in your purse? Anything we should add to our life-changing list?

P.S. Fawn does actually know what she's talking about
P.S.S. More proof that we need
professional help

 

Nurit SiegalComment
interview with shana anderson, founder of reeve's tees: part one
Shana with sweet baby Reeve

Shana with sweet baby Reeve


When I was younger, I had the coolest, most supportive babysitter and tutor. Every time she came over to our house, I got excited. She took care of my brothers and me by studying with us for tests, driving us to tennis tournaments, and most importantly, by becoming our most beloved friend and mentor. She was there for us in every way imaginable. Not only was she close to us kids, but she was (and still is) very close to my mother. Simply put, she has always been a part of our family.

Fast forward to right now and Shana Anderson has three kids of her own to take care of, and an incredible company called Reeve's Tees. Reeve's Tees celebrates the differences of children and adults with Down syndrome with creative, humorous, and loving T-shirts. Their mission is to express the love, joy, and pride that the DS community feels, and to help people "get comfortable with difference" by starting a conversation. Keep reading to find out more about Shana and her incredible company! 


I’m so excited to finally be doing this interview! 

Thank you so much for asking me and for featuring Reeve’s Tees! 
 

I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind Reeve’s Tees and how the idea for the company started to form in your mind?

When I was pregnant with our second son, Reeve, we found out that he would be born with Down syndrome.  Up until that time, I had never personally met someone with Down syndrome.  After hearing the genetic counselor’s words, my brain searched for anything that I knew about the condition to try to make sense of this news…

Oddly, my mind flashed back to an encounter that I had had at one of my husband’s work parties years before.  I was seated next to a man that I had never met, and there was an empty seat reserved for his wife.  I casually asked him, “will your wife be joining us later?”  He replied, “No, actually… she can’t this evening.  She had to take my daughter to therapy.  My daughter has Down syndrome.”

After I heard him tell me that his daughter had Down syndrome, I immediately felt uncomfortable.  In my naivety and ignorance, I felt sorry for the man, his wife, and his daughter.  I assumed that talking about his daughter might make him feel sad, so I quickly changed the subject to something else.

I actually shutter with a deep feeling of shame and regret as I recall the memory of how I reacted that night.  But I tell the story, because the discomfort that I experienced as someone unfamiliar with Down syndrome is not uncommon, and it served as the inspiration for Reeve’s Tees.

Fast forward, and I am now that parent. 

After spending time in the special needs community –  one quickly learns that parents like me are not sad.  There is so much joy, love, and pride for our children.  Unlike what I assumed about the father all those years ago, in reality, if I had asked him anything about his daughter, he probably would have smiled and told me 100 stories and shown me 1,000 pictures.

So I began pondering:  Why does Down syndrome make people feel so uncomfortable?  How can we break down this barrier?  How can we tell the world that, we, the parents and families, are not sad about our children with Down syndrome – we are proud of them!  That’s when the idea for Reeve’s Tees was born. 

My mission when starting Reeve’s Tees was to develop ways to help people “get comfortable with difference.” That has served as our company’s tagline from the beginning.  We do this through light-hearted, humorous phrases about Down syndrome and other genetic conditions printed on t-shirts – our most well-known saying being: “I love homies with extra chromies.”