Lightweight double stroller does it ALL!

I was pretty psyched about the Kinderwagon Hop the first time I read about it two years ago. But since I’ve been out of the stroller scene for a while, I didn’t realize they’ve made some HUGE TREMENDOUS COLLOSAL improvements since then.

This double umbrella stroller features:

1. Carseat compatiblity (with Graco Snugride).

2. Huge canopy.

3. Tall handles–42 inches, to be exact.

4. Bigger-ish seats. Ok, so it’s still not a huge seat like the Britax B-Agile’s, but these are roomy enough.

5. Comparable size to a lightweight SINGLE stroller.  This is a double stroller that’s no bigger than a single.

6.  21.5 pounds light and 20.5 wide. This baby is small enough to go anywhere–airport, tiny shopping aisles, or the back of your mini cooper. This stroller is a full 15 pounds lighter than my current double, the Britax B Ready.

I’m ready to trade.  The Kinderwagon Hop is just too good to pass up.

Read more about the Kinderwagon Hop:

http://kinderwagon.com/main/hop

http://www.growingyourbaby.com/2012/02/28/featured-review-kinderwagon-hop-stroller/

http://celebritybabies.people.com/2012/04/26/kinderwagon-hop-tandem-umbrella-stroller-review/

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How to Work from Home: Interview with an Online College Professor

Thanks for joining us, Dave! What do you do?

I work entirely from home as an online adjunct for three colleges: Western Piedmont Community College, Morganton, NC, Isothermal Community College, Spindale, NC, and Excelsior College, Albany, NY. All classes are online, either via Moodle or Blackboard, which are online learning communities.

What’s your background and experience in this field?

I hold a doctorate in Education (Ed. D.), a Specialist I in Higher Education/Teaching Religious Studies (Ed. S.), a masters in Religion/Biblical Studies (M. A. + 60 additional hrs.), a B. A. in Religion/Humanities, and the graduate certificates (15-18 hrs): global studies, online teaching and learning / global education, and sociology. I have 16 years teaching experience in Higher Education.

Do you work part-time or full-time?

The time and course load is full-time, but because it is spread out over three colleges, the pay is part-time. My main job is confidential, like being a 00# agent for MI6; the code for the project is dTd.

So college professor is just your cover. Gotcha.  Did the government set you up pretty with these colleges or did you have to find your own work?

I got started by asking around; I also needed something to do after quitting my last job.

As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.  I’m not surprised that networking was key in your job search. Did you ever think about going to work at a physical college instead of an online university?

I prefer to work from home; going to and fro between work and home is a great waste of time and gas!

I couldn’t agree more! How is teaching online different from teaching face to face?

It’s almost entirely different. Let me give you some examples:

1. Teaching online is more time consuming than onsite.

2. You can not be unprepared and teach online, unless you wish to appear as a jerk to students.

3. Instructors often “teach” onsite classes on the fly when pressed for time. This is not possible in an online situation.

4. Most online courses need to be complete before the semester begins. This is not the case with onsite courses, although it should be.

5. Synchronous (chat, DimDim, eluminate, and all video or audio chat) is bad for fully online courses; it should be reserved for sporadic adventures for onsite courses.

6. You can preserve the time and space compression features of online classes by making all assignments, forums, and activities asynchronous.

What suggestions do you have for someone who wants to become an online professor?

Be prepared for low pay, since beginning positions are typically part-time/adjunct faculty. Your contract is year-to-year so you don’t have much job security or recourse.

The best thing to do is to look for a full-time or 3/4 time (with benefits) academic job, and then talk the department head into allowing you to do it online.  If your department head isn’t convinced that a fully online course is possible, turning an onsite class into hybrid course by offering online discussions, quizzes and assessments online, as well as lectures and readings online is the next best thing.

Thank you for taking time to talk today. I really appreciate you letting us take a look at how you work from home.

You’re welcome, Judith!

Speedy Southern Comfort: Sausage & Kraut with Mashed Potatoes

So satisfying! This savory dish is easy to prepare and disappears quickly.  It was a favorite in both mine and my husband’s family growing up, and now it a favorite with our son as well!

Time Until Served: 30 minutes

Servings: Ample for 4

You need:

1 Polish Kielbasa sausage (found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store near the hotdogs)

1 14.5 can of sour kraut

8 medium potatoes

1 can collards (or peas, or asparagus, or something similarly green and easy to prepare)

1 Cup Milk

3 TB Butter

1/2 teaspoon dried chives (Italian seasoning if you’re out of chives)

Salt and pepper

Large pot for boiling potatoes

Skillet

Microwave save bowl for veggies

A pile of diced potatoes, courtesy of my hubby.

To prepare mashed potatoes: 
Fill a large pot with water and add 1 teaspoon salt. Boil.
Peel and dice potatoes while waiting on the water to boil.
Add potatoes to boiling water. Boil for 10-12 minutes or until falling-apart-tender.

Thinner slices are better, especially if you’re stretching one sausage for two adults and four kids like my parents did.

While potatoes are cooking:

Slice polish kielbasa sausage.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in hot skillet.
Add sausage. Turn frequently for 5-7 minutes.
Stir in kraut and simmer on low for 8-10 minutes.

My hubby’s got mad skillet skills.

While sausage is simmering:
Heat collards (or alternative green veggie).

I use an old fashioned potato smasher for a chunky texture. Use a hand mixer if you want smooth and creamy.

Drain potatoes.
Add milk, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 teaspoon chives, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to potatoes and mash until nice and creamy.

You’re done! Arrange it on the plate like it the picture and eat it up, yum!

Daily Feats: Checking Off To-Do Lists and Earning Points

It’s totally not just me.

Checking stuff off the to-do list is so satisfying that folks will add every little thing they do just for the thrill of striking it from the list. Example: eat lunch. Check off.  Ahhhhhh.

I do throw in a few real goals every day, hoping to change my bad habits into good habits.  That’s where Daily Feats comes in sooooo handy.

The friendly folks at Daily Feats want to encourage others to change their lives in productive ways.  The simple platform has lists of activities, some super simple, like “Call Your Parents” to things that require a little more effort, like “Write a Love Letter.”  With each completion, you earn points, which you can use for gift cards and discounts.  Awesome possum, peeps!

Check it out!

www.dailyfeats.com

Work from Home, Part 3: Using Existing Talent

Working from home

Welcome to my office

So Mary Kay was a flop, pottery was out of my league, and I had a little baby boy to take care of.  I needed to find a way to make extra cash from home, pronto.  So I took inventory of my possible talents.

1. Direct salesperson.

2. Potter.

3. Seamstress/crafter.

4. Virtual librarian.

5. Musician.

6. Writer.

I gave making leather baby shoes a shot.  It about killed my non-industrial Singer sewing machine. I looked at Virtual librarian jobs, and they were all full-time. I was a bass player without a band (well, I did have a band but they were all six hours away HOLLA MUSICSMYTHE!) so it all came down to writer.

This is how it happened.

During graduate school I had to do a tedious exercise in volunteerism working for Internet Public Library 2. I answered questions submitted by users with the thoroughness of a researcher, even though they were things like “How do you change a diaper?”  My editor had buns of steel, apparently, and sent back my submissions multiple times.

What I didn’t know was that this was valuable, resume enhancing experience.

Two months after I graduated, I applied as a content writer for a popular question database website.  I sent in writing samples, including a question I answered from the Internet Public Library 2, and immediately received an invitation to test with them–an invitation 60% of their applicants did not receive. I passed the testing phase and was hired as a writer.

For a year, I worked as a content writer and made several hundred dollars a month.  No, it did not replace the income of a full-time job BUT….

1. I didn’t have to spend money on gas.

2. I didn’t have to buy a “professional” wardrobe.

3. I didn’t have to pay for childcare.

And I got the job using my existing talents–not talents that I wished I had (le sigh. pottery.) It also didn’t hurt that I pursued something related to my graduate field of library science–research.

Next up, Work from Home, Part 4: Being Let Go

How to Work from Home, Part 2: Niche-Finding Fail

My first of several face pots

I took a pottery class in 2008, right before I was married. It was loads of fun, very messy, and I loved it. I got pretty good. Good enough that I was motivated buy my own second-hand equipment and start making pottery myself. I found a little shop that specialized in local artisans and they loved my stuff. I thought I had this work-at-home thing in the bag.

Um, wrong.

When I say I got pretty good, I mean that after hours of tedious work, I could produce something that looked cool. I had trouble making things in consistent shapes or sizes, much less making them efficiently.

My one redeeming product was face-pots. These ugly/cute creations are a dime a dozen in my home in the foothills of Western North Carolina, but in eastern Virginia, they sold quickly and for a good price.  But when I did some figurin’, I found the time it took to create my pottery was cutting into my profits: the business was failing. I was just too slow.

The reason my pottery business failed wasn’t because the market wasn’t any good, or because I didn’t know how sell my wares–I just wasn’t a professional. I was a beginner. My husband and I calculated that it would take me about a month to make enough inventory to sell at a single weekend crafts festival. I just wasn’t experienced enough to produce the amount it would take to cover my expenses and overhead.

Even so, I would have kept plugging along if I hadn’t had a baby. Thank goodness I did, because I believe I would have frustrated myself to death, trying to work at a professional level with barely a semester’s training and some old equipment. I realized making pottery my way–at a turtle’s pace–didn’t mix with the short nap times of my child.  And you can’t just leave pottery and come back later–the stuff dries too quickly.

The time came. I had to sell the pottery equipment.

The silver lining is that I got a really good deal on the equipment and ended up selling it for more than I had in it (Craigslist, of course). I just didn’t have the expertise to make a living with pottery. But the experience taught me something–I had some gumption, some creativity, and folks who thought I produced something worth paying for. It was a step up from the misery of Mary Kay, but far from finding my niche.

Even so–that ferocious face pot lives on somewhere, in somebody’s home.  How cool is that.

‘To be continued…