Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Busy Lazy Mom Way

I'm supposed to be studying. It's 10 p.m. and I haven't studied at all today. Last week I decided if I'm ever going to finish my medical transcription program, and then if I'm ever going to actually work as a medical transcriptionist I was going to have to get a schedule set. One of the benefits of this job is it's supposed to allow you to be a stay-at-home mom and still have an income. For the life of me, I can't figure out how those of you who work from home do it. By work from home, I mean those of you who aren't scrapbooking or sewing. I thought this would be similar. I've done that for years. You can stop in the middle of sewing a seam and unplug a toilet. You can stop rearranging photos on your layout and start lunch. You can sit your kids down with you and keep them occupied and still interact with them when you're crafting. I'm talking about those of you who have jobs that aren't really kid-friendly. There is no multi-tasking in medical transcription. I didn't realize that when I decided this is what I wanted to do. You have to give 100% attention to the dictation. Period. You type what you hear as you hear it. So gone are the days of being involved with my kids while I work. I doubt either of mine would want to sit down with a set of ear phones next to me and "play typing" while listening to medical reports with me anyway. And when I start actually making money doing this, that's against the law. HIPAA.

I've heard about working during nap time. At ages 9 and 16, we don't do naptime around here. I've heard about doing it after everyone goes to bed. Honestly, I turned 40 last week and typing medical reports from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m. just isn't feasible anymore. I'm already contemplating introducing nap time to our home. Grown-up naptime. I cannot function on less than 6 hours of sleep a night and I have to assume we will all get up by 7 every morning so 1 a.m. is as late as I could do. I needed to find a way to set daytime unless-you-are-bleeding-or-Publisher's-Clearinghouse-is-at-the-door-do-not-disturb-Mom hours. So I made a chart of everything that has to be done around the house every day and a chart of everything that has to be done weekly. It doesn't have anything that is already one of the boys' assigned chores. It doesn't have cooking meals or grocery shopping or canning on it. I tacked the chart to the fridge, called the boys in, and explained that I need help. There is a row of 7 boxes after each chore, one for each day of the week, to be initialed when you've completed a chore. Accountability. There was no eye rolling or groaning. Everyone was understanding and willing to help. Although I really doubt it will, I already have my rebuttal prepared in case eye rolling or groaning comes up. You have a choice. You can help me and have me continue cooking the meals you love so much. Or I can take care of all the chores and you can learn to like Hamburger Helper. Because that's really what it comes down to. I have to have set hours that I cannot be disturbed. I don't want to give up canning and cooking from scratch. The way it works for the summer is we work on the chore list together in the morning. I workout from 10-11 a.m. I fix lunch. From 11:30-5:30 they're on their own while I work. I fix dinner while they do their evening chores. We clean up the kitchen and that's the day. I really like this because that also means I have my evenings with them back. I've been studying during the evening hours and I'll be glad to have them back. It also means I have my weekends free. Free anyway to complete my projects for Fiskars and articles for the Gardening side of the website! But I already know how to still have fun interacting with them while I do that. The bottom line, I have a whole new appreciation for those of you who have jobs outside of your domestic responsibilities. Seriously.

I won't be gardening and canning this fall and winter but they will be in school (Will is going to start public school) so I'll be responsible for all the chores. My set hours will change to coincide with school hours.

And after all that, I realize I started by writing that it's 10 p.m. and I haven't studied yet! Some schedule, huh? Today was an exception because of scheduling conflicts between Will's baseball and Shawn's continuing education in KC. There will be days like that, even with a schedule, right?

sugar cookies
When I sat down here, I really intended to share a recipe! I told someone yesterday that I wanted to make them cookies and asked what their favorite kind was. It was sugar cookies. Caelan laughed at me when I told him what I was doing this morning. I hate making sugar cookies. Love to eat them. Hate to make them. The whole process of chilling and rolling and them falling apart and then having to re-roll them. And then the decorating that everyone is so excited about until they've finished decorating their second one, leaving the mom with 56 more cookies to be decorated. Hate. Yes, it's a strong word. But it's how I feel about them. Since I really like the person I was making them for, I set out to make sugar cookies. I remembered the fantastic recipe a friend of ours gave me. Heavenly. Heavenly after you've been through the hell of making them. Then I remembered this recipe that really isn't a sugar cookie recipe. It's one I found last year when I was writing an article for Fiskars on having an ice cream party with kids. These cookies were the base for an ice cream sandwich recipe I used and I thought they would make really good sugar cookies. The dough is the consistency of sugar cookie dough but you don't roll them. You make balls of dough and flatten them a bit on the cookie sheet. And they taste really good. They aren't cakey like sugar cookies tend to be. They are more firm and I like that. They don't fall apart when you're working with them or trying to store them. I frosted them with brown butter icing and they are fantastic. Sugar cookies with a drop cookie time investment!

The recipe came from Emeril. And here is the link.
E.J.'s First Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies

I found the frosting recipe on the Land O'Lakes website.

If you don't want to follow the links, I've shared here how I used them.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg, cracked itno a small cup or saucer

Adjust the oven rack in the center of the oven and prheat to 350 degress F.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium mixing bowl. Set aside. Place the butter, granulated sugar, and lightbrown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and cream the ingredients on high speed. Add the vanilla and egg to the mixer and mix on medium speed. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the flour mixture and continue on low speed.

With a tablespoon, form the dough into balls, using about 2 spoonfuls for each. Divide the balls of dough among 3 large baking sheets and press to slightly flatten. (The cookies should be about 2 inches apart or 8 cookies per baking sheet.) Bake the batches in the oven until golden around the edges, about 13 minutes.

6 tablespoons LAND O LAKES® Unsalted Butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 to 4 tablespoons milk

Melt 6 tablespoons butter in 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring constantly and watching closely, until butter just starts to turn golden (4 to 6 minutes). (Butter will get foamy and bubble.) Remove from heat. Cool completely.

Combine browned butter, powdered sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla in small bowl. Beat at medium speed, gradually adding enough milk for desired spreading consistency. Frost cooled cookies.

You can call these the Lazy Mom's Sugar Cookies or the Busy Mom's Sugar Cookies. I think I'll call the the Busy Mom's Lazy Sugar Cookies. If you're like me and hate making sugar cookies, give this recipe a try. I think you'll also discover you're like me in that you really don't hate making sugar cookies after all.
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Carolyne said...

Just wanted to share with you that I'm a Medical Transcriptionist working from home with a 4-1/2 yo and a 2 yo. I can't work unless my husband is home until they are a bit older. Fortunately I finished school just after my son was born (the oldest), before he started walking. I'm lucky to get 15 hours a week in. I won't tell you how much I make. It would make you cry. There is a long learning curve, even with school. Still I love it. I also just started crafting again. I cook from scratch. That is a priority for me. I'm trying to grow some of our own food. I don't keep the house clean. My husband is a tremendous help and we have a "boarder/friend" who pitches in exchange for rent. It all comes together and when the kids finally start school then I'll get my career off the ground. I guess what I'm saying is that you have to tackle it in small bites, realize that it is a process, lock yourself away in your "office," be patient! Good luck and if you want to network, I'm on facebook.

Amy said...

I just put in my notice a couple of days ago for my MT job that I've had for the last 5 years. The reasons why are primarily what you were talking about in your post. Andy is gone a lot more than he used to be and it's challenging trying to get my MT work done while taking care of the girls and the house. With baby #4 coming in December and possibly moving to Dallas or Detroit in the near future, things are really chaotic right now. I typed my reports in the evenings and really early mornings so I got anywhere from 3 to 6 hours of sleep a night depending on how much I had to do and what I had going on the next day. My last day will be June 30. I'm sad to leave the MT world, but I believe it's the best thing for me to do right now. It sounds like you have a good schedule planned...It will be nice for you to have the evenings off!! I will be thinking about you! Talk to you soon!

Kendra said...

Thank you both for your candor! I seriously was feeling like a big failure not being able to balance everything. You always hear this is the perfect job for a stay-at-home mom. I think you have to understand it is going to take just as much time away from your family as having a job outside the home. The part that makes it stay-at-home-mom friendly is simply the flexibility.

WillieburgScrapper said...

I hear you and understand completely. I was wondering how work from home Moms do it myself- I have a 20 month old and I can barely concentrate enough to write a blog post- never mind do an involved number specific task. I only cook once a day and the house is usually a mess- I spend my time keeping my daughter from hurting herself, changing diapers (or toilet training) and looking for work. That you are able to do so much is an inspiration.

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