It Takes Two + The Crew
Work Space: At Home
Survive work while coexisting!
We were very fortunate to already have a home office built for two (giving myself an air hi-five because, well, corona... lol. laugh a little!). While two work spaces are ideal, its not always feasible. There are a few quick ways to work together, apart and at the same time. That was a lot but I'll explain what I mean in tips to accomplish this goal!
Work Together: Come up with a schedule for meetings, projects and individual deadlines. Once you have written them al down, meet at the top of each week to coordinate a schedule for desk space at specific times. You can alternate use of this common area based on priority of task!
Working apart: Find a space in the home that can be made into an additional work space suitable for your partner. This place should not be in a high traffic area in the home. If space is tight, introduce a schedule to the family or your partner to dedicate the additional space for allotted time as an office.
Work at the same time: It all sounds good until two meetings are happening at the same time, ha, ha! This is the time to implement "office courtesy". Oooh, so formal, right?! But SO necessary. Respect for one another's work flow, rhythm and processes is a must when working side-by side. Make a rule for stepping away for calls, eating and breaks to help keep the focus fresh for the both of you!
Simplify, Plan and Organize Success
Tip 1: Write down all teacher emails, blogs and availability times for ease of access.
Tip 2: Make a new daily schedule that can realistically be accomplished with EVERYONE'S schedule in mind.
Tip 3: Provide a free time, meal and snack schedule to avoid frequent flyer miles on the fridge and consistency in behavioral performance.
Tip 4: Highlight great performance at the end of each week. Praise goes a long way in securing greatness for the weeks to come!
Tip 5: Set a time at the beginning of the week or every morning (in our case due to teachers spoon feeding work.) to print out materials, sharpens pencils and create work itinerary for the day.
Tip 6: Maintain designated areas to complete daily work for each child.
Tip 7: When in doubt, refer to your child's normal order of their school schedule.
I know this is a stressful time due to limitations and overall uncertainty. While managing your peace, consider the silver lining that can be created by renewing your levels of togetherness. Find ways to incorporate the entire family and remind each other of their importance to the family team. We are all having to take a step back due to shelter in place orders... why not reevaluate priorities, habits and intentional acts so that when we all finally step out, our family unit are stronger than ever!! At the German house, we are cooking together paired with a community clean (after dinner, all hands on deck!). learning a new language and taking walks as a family in the evening!
There's so much you can do when effort and desire is there! Show your family just how much you love them and value your time together. We're already stuck like glue, now... make it memorable. Your relationships depend on it!
Reminiscing about the best parts of past vacations or quality time as a family
Writing loved ones and friends
Creating new recipes
Drives in the neighborhood
Creating your own special activities
Tanika created a backyard carnival for her children and it is everything! It will be a memory thy will have forever. (pictured below!)
A fabulous "At-Home" idea!
Kitchen n' Countertop
"Low and Slow" Lentil Soup
I have gotten SO many inquires about this soup! If you love lentils and bean soups in general, I promise it will be a go-to once you make it! Dump and done... #winning
Yields 6 Servings
What's in it?
1 pound hot or sweet Italian pork sausage, loose or removed from its casing
Olive oil ( to sautee)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
Kosher salt ( I'm generous with S+P so you'll need to wing it here!...don't get carried away, ha, ha!)
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 thyme sprigs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of red-pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine (most recently I used Marsala, what I had on hand and I actually enjoyed the taste more! So, feel free to use what's on hand.
1 bay leaf
2 cups dried lentils
1 (14-ounce) can whole or chopped tomatoes
8 cups chicken broth (I prefer Swanson)
5 ounces greens, such as baby spinach or kale, or 1 medium bunch greens, such as chard or kale, stemmed and chopped
1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
The "Oh you fancy, huh?!" (aka optional ingredients, lol)
Chopped fresh basil
Note: I am not a professional chef nor a certified nutritionist. I strive to make balanced meals that are calorie conscious (sometimes that goes out the window, ha, ha!) that the myself and the family will enjoy. It is not a substitute for personal analysis and preparation choices. Nutritional information is displayed on most packages and can also be researched.Use your discretion.
Let's get cookin'...
In a large, dry skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausage and red pepper flakes, breaking it up with a spatula, until it is in small, coarse pieces, and starts to brown and sizzle in its own fat, about 7-8 minutes. Transfer the cooked sausage to a 5- to 8-quart slow cooker; leaving the drippings in the pan. There should be a thin layer of fat covering the bottom of the skillet. Add a drizzle of olive oil if needed.
Add the onion to the skillet, season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and translucent (takes about 5 minutes or so). Reduce heat to medium-low, add garlic and cook until softened and fragrant (another 1-2 minutes). Add the onion and garlic powders and the herbs, Stir to combine. Increase heat to medium-high, pour in the wine and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pot. Everything should lift from bottom of the pan and cook into the onion, herb and garlic mixture. Your pan should be basically dry.
Scrape the skillet mixture into the slow cooker with the sausage. Add the bay leaf and the lentils. Add the tomatoes with their juice. If using whole, crush the tomatoes into pieces using your hands as you add them with their juice. (note: you can also make your own crushed tomatoes by using a scoring, boiling and chilling process.) Pour in the chicken broth. Season generously with pepper and add 1/2 teaspoon salt if you are using low-sodium stock or 1 teaspoon salt if your broth is homemade and unsalted. DON'T add more salt if you are using a regular salted broth purchased at your local grocer. Stir well to combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on low until the lentils are tender, about 6 to 7 hours.
Switch the heat to high in the last:
10 minutes for kale
2 minutes for spinach.
Stir in your greens (spinach or kale). Remove and discard the bay leaf. Cook greens until wilted and tender. Stir in the vinegar. Add in your "Oh you fancy, huh?!" (optional ingredients)