Sometimes bloggers forget to take pictures (and that’s ok)

Attention all bloggers…if you have ever made a great recipe, attended a unique function, or meant to post about something and forgot to take pictures say I.

I! Guilty! That’s me! More often than not!

I think we can all admit to this happening to us at one time or another…

and in my opinion, it’s ok. icon smile Sometimes bloggers forget to take pictures (and thats ok)

Case in point this weekend.  Yesterday afternoon I hosted a small holiday get together with some of closest local blends (blend= blog friend).  We don’t get to see one another as much as we would like so it was due time!  As always there was good food, great convo (shoutout to Mellissa and I convincing everyone they need to listen to the podcast, Serial!), and lots of laughter.  However, at the end of the day we remembered that we never got a group photo, or really any photos.

And ya know what, that’s ok.  I think we all get so caught up in documenting everything we do that we forget to just sit back and enjoy the moment with one another.   I have found that since I started using more social media outlets (facebook, twitter, instagram) and blogging, I have become especially guilty of this!  While I would have loved more pictures to look back on, it can’t replace the laughs we all had together.

But of course, I did get a couple pics…you know me better than that. icon smile Sometimes bloggers forget to take pictures (and thats ok)

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031 1024x1024 Sometimes bloggers forget to take pictures (and thats ok) 047 1024x1024 Sometimes bloggers forget to take pictures (and thats ok) 045 e1418618862417 768x1024 Sometimes bloggers forget to take pictures (and thats ok) Oh and that almond Christmas bark in the middle of the food picture?  You can find the recipe here from Keeping Up With The Kitchen Mom.  It was amazing and addictive. icon smile Sometimes bloggers forget to take pictures (and thats ok)

What are some of your favorite holiday party traditions?


Crock-pot Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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Happy Thursday!  Today I wanted to share a long overdue recipe with y’all.  First off, I can’t speak highly enough of my crock-pot these days.  It is the best kitchen side kick ever… ever.  I love being able to come home and have minimal prep work for a meal.   When looking for new recipes to create, my favorites are meals from restaurants that can be remade into healthier versions.  People rave over P.F Chang’s Lettuce Wraps and they have been on my radar for awhile.   I’ve made these Thai chicken lettuce wraps a few times over the past now, modifying the recipe each time, and finally nailed down a near-perfect one!   I guarantee these are cheaper and healthier! 10 minutes of prep and then let the crock-pot do the work.


3 chicken breasts

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 shredded carrots

1 small can chopped water chestnuts

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup honey

one head of iceberg or romaine lettuce


Place chicken on the bottom of crock-pot.  Combine honey and soy sauce and whisk until well-mixed. Add chopped onion, carrot, and water chestnuts to soy mixture, mix well, and pour over chicken.

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Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6-7 hours.  Remove chicken and shred, then mix well with the rest of the ingredients in crockpot.  Spoon chicken mixture into lettuce leafs.  Serve with rice if desired (I like adding it to mine)!  Enjoy!

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Life as a first-year professor: finding balance (month 4 recap)

And here we are.  Tomorrow is the last day of class, finals are next week, and I will have officially survived my first semester.   Maybe “survived” isn’t the right term, because to me that implies that I was enduring something hard, something negative, and that is not the case at all.  So I’ll rephrase…a week from now I can say I’ve finished my first semester!

But it wasn’t easy. In November, month #4, I was tired.  Tired of wearing real clothes everyday, tired of having to get up in front of others and talk for an extensive amount of time everyday, and tired of never having my to-do list completely finished.  This past month I struggled to find a balance between work-life and outside-life.

For a professor (or any educator), the struggle never ends.  I knew what I signed up for…having parents as teachers, they often worked at home after their “work day” ended grading papers and lesson planning.  That is no different for myself.  Most days after work this semester, I have continued to work– preparing lectures or grading assignments.  Many days I felt as though I was “on repeat”.

Mid-november, something had to change.  I think I “snapped” the day when my favorite jeans barely zipped up and the milk i had with my cereal was expired by a week (but I had it anyway because there was nothing else in my fridge).  I knew that I had to reevaluate my priorities and my time.    So here’s how I did that.

1. I immediately joined a gym.  I am on a serious budget at the moment, but I have definitely gained a small amount of weight since the semester started, lost whatever endurance I had built up before my triathlon in August, and honestly feel terrible about my physique.  From experience, I know I do well with physical activity and sticking with it by two means: a) fitness classes, where someone just tells me what I have to do and I don’t have to think… and b) training for races.  Given the current season, I opted for option a.  I’ve been going to fitness classes 3-4x/wk and it has lifted my spirits.  It also helps me stay on track and focused at work during the day because I know that “after work” time is now limited with the addition of gym time!

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2. I started scaling back my to-do list to a reasonable size.  By doing so, I was able to prioritize what was necessary to be done that day and what could be done by the end of the week.  This helped my anxiety immensely.

3.   I forced myself to start meal-planning for the week on Sundays, followed by going to the grocery store with a list.  When you cook for only yourself, it is very easy to have food go bad because stuff is sold in such large batches!  Just in October, I made a pizza with slightly-moldy cheese (I know, I really reached rock bottom but that was a terrible night).  I worked hard to stick to my schedule the past few weeks and use up my food.  If a surprise happy hour came up during the week, I attended, but left to stick to my dinner schedule.  I had less food go bad, was eating much healthier, and spent less money eating-out.

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4. On the days where I didn’t want to get up and teach, I sucked it up and did it anyway…and my students probably never knew the difference.  As a professor, you not only lecture, but you answer several emails and in-person inquiries.  Your students look up to you and feed off your energy, so you’re are only shooting yourself in the foot by slacking.  By remembering how lucky I am to have a job that I love, it made it easier to show up and give 100% everyday.  I mean, I expect 100% of my students…why would I give them any less?

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Anyway.  By making some changes and re-prioritizing a little, I have definitely been more productive at work and a better professor as the semester unwinded.  I think it has helped me climb out of my “tired” slump I had heard so much about that plagues educators about 2/3 of the way through the semester.  I continue to love my job, but if I’m being honest, everyday isn’t a cake walk.  So those are my thoughts for November.  I still cannot believe the semester is going to be complete in a week!

Question of the day. What are some challenging aspects of your career?

Previous First-Year Professor Recaps:

Month Three: 48 Hours in the Life

Month Two: Things I wish my students knew

Month One: Teaching Fails


Why does cutting onions cause tears? (Did You Know? Friday)

Another month come and gone…and now we are at the last Did You Know? Friday linkup of 2014!   In case you’re new here…Did You Know? Friday brings you short and sweet informational posts about varying food, nutrition, and health topics.  Every first Friday of the month I host this link up with Emily and Amanda, and we invite you to share what you’ve been talking about too!  The rules are located at the bottom of the post.

ANYWHO. I thought of this week’s topic  when I was home for thanksgiving and helping my mom prep the stuffing for our dinner.  She was chopping onions furiously when I suddenly had to take over because her eyes were tearing up so badly and were extremely uncomfortable!  We then started talking about it and I realized I had no idea what it was that caused the tears…

And here we are today….Soooo do you know why do we tear up when we cut onions?

Science, obvi.

No really, here’s what happens.

Onions 1024x771 Why does cutting onions cause tears? (Did You Know? Friday)

When an onion is cut and exposed to air (oxygen), an enzyme named Lachrymatory-factor synthase is released.  An enzyme is is a molecule that helps facilitate chemical reactions.

Still with me?  Good.  So this enzyme gets released into the air when we cut into onions, and when it is released it helps rearrange molecules in the onion called sulfoxides into sulfenic acid.

Sulfenic acid then is converted to Syn-propanethial-S-oxide.  <— This molecule is the active and unstable molecule that is released into the air and comes in contact with your eyes. The oxide + water in  your eyes cause cause sulfuric acid production, which is irritating to the eyes.  This causes tear production to wash out the irritant, and ultimately help you see again and not feel like your eyes are on fire!

Simple as that. icon smile Why does cutting onions cause tears? (Did You Know? Friday)

Wierd side note.  I notice that when I chop onions while wearing my contacts, my eyes water much less…anyone else with me?

Sources Used For This Week’s Post:

Library Of Congress: Everyday Mysteries

Eady CC, Kamoi T, Kato M, et al. Silencing Onion Lachrymatory Factor Synthase Causes a Significant Change in the Sulfur Secondary Metabolite Profile. Plant Physiology 2008;147(4):2096-2106. doi:10.1104/pp.108.123273.

Imai S, et al.  Plant biochemistry: an onion enzyme that makes the eyes water.  Nature. 2002; 419(6908):685.

didyouknownutritionlinkupbutton thumb Why does cutting onions cause tears? (Did You Know? Friday)

Decorating for dummies: Old Factory Candles (+ GIVEAWAY)

photo 31 1024x1003 Decorating for dummies: Old Factory Candles (+ GIVEAWAY)

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary candle set for myself and to giveaway on the blog from Old Factory Candles in exchange for an honest review.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Ask my mom or any roommate I’ve ever had…decorating and accents are not my forte. AT ALL.  If you can see the floor in my house or my counter-tops…that’s a win in itself.   I blame part on never having a large enough income to spend on decorations I really liked…so now that I finally have a big kid job, I’ve been doing more searching to make my place feel more homey.  One small decoration that my mom has always had in our house that I adored were decadent candles…especially in the winter time! I loved coming into our warm house and smelling the pumpkin spice or vanilla frosting scented candles…it made the cold weather and dreary conditions outside just seem to disappear.

A few weeks ago, Old Factory Candles asked me to review one of their gift sets and I was ecstatic.  I have been looking for some candles for awhile now and this was a great opportunity.  These candles come in gift sets of 3 candles, all of which have fragrances of a similar theme.  They are also made in the USA with soy wax and have a self-trimming cotton wick, three big bonuses in my opinion!

I have never been a huge fan of fruity-smelling candles, so I tried out the coffee shop gift set, because who DOESN’T love how a coffee shop smells? I also try to stay away from caffeine as much as possible, so I was hoping these candles would help wake me up when I need it!  The 3 candles included were coffee bean, hazelnut, and chai tea.  There also are fall and winter flavored gift sets, ocean breeze fragrances, and even scents appropriate for a man cave!

The Review of Old Factory Candles: Coffee Shop Scents Gift Set

oldfactorycandle 1024x845 Decorating for dummies: Old Factory Candles (+ GIVEAWAY)

Pros: The hazelnut is my absolute favorite and the scent is great in my kitchen!  I also love the chai tea candle…I had never heard of a chai tea candle and I love that it has a unique flavor to it!  So far, I’ve burned each about 10 hours I would say and they are still going strong with enough wax and wick…the scent is still as strong as before too. I’ve also found that using a candle warmer is great at making them last longer!  I also like that they use soy wax and very few chemical ingredients…the more natural the better!

Cons: The candles are pretty tiny (3 candles that are 2 oz each) for $25…although they do burn for awhile (see above), I still think it’s a tad pricey.   The other con was that the coffee bean candle wasn’t very strong…I did some checking on the reviews and actually found others who \ had the same issue.  I don’t know if I just am in love with the coffee smell so much that I want it to be stronger?  Just something to be aware of.    I am toying with the idea of taking the coffee bean candle to my office…maybe in a smaller area the scent will be stronger?

Overall, I loved the hazelnut and chai tea candles, but agree with other reviews that the coffee candle scent definitely needs to be stronger.  For someone who is decorating on a budget, I would also want the candles to be a little bigger for the price, but i appreciate the variety in the gift set!

Now for more fun… Old Factory candles wants to give one lucky More Than Just Dessert Reader their own candle gift set! 

There are FOUR ways to enter:

Mandatory Entry: Go to Old Factory Candles on amazon here and scroll down to the product description that lists all the available gift sets.  Leave a comment and tell me which gift set you would buy.   You can also find the different gift sets under the Size option on each gift set’s page (photo below should help!)

helpimage Decorating for dummies: Old Factory Candles (+ GIVEAWAY)


Additional ways to enter the giveaway!

2.  Subscribe to post updates from More Than Just Dessert via email.  There is a place on the right side of my site near the top underneath my picture that you can submit your email to receive updates.  Leave a separate comment telling me that you did (no need to put your email in the actual comment).  Don’t worry, your email address will remain private and you’ll only receive updates on new posts, no junk!

3. Follow More Than Just Dessert on Pinterest Leave a separate comment with your pinterest handle telling me you did so I can follow you, too!

4. Tweet or post on facebook about the giveaway, then leave a separate comment with the link to your tweet or post. If you’re having trouble coming up with something, you can use these:

Twitter: “I want to win the giveaway with Old Factory Candles and @mtjdessertblog, you can too here !–>”

Facebook: “I want to win the giveaway with Old Factory candles and More Than Just Dessert, you can too here !–>”

Phew, ok…so to recap, you must complete the mandatory entry to be eligible and then the other three are optional…if you choose to do all four you should leave four separate comments with the tasks.  This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end Monday, November 24th at 11 pm CT.  I’ll notify the winner via email the following day.  Good luck!

Thanks again to Old Factory Candles for keeping my house smelling amazing this winter!

Weekly Internet Finds (Things I Think You Should Read)

Happy Wednesday!  This week, like all others, is flying by.  The snow is still here in good ol’ Minnesnowtah and the colder temps have set in.  It feels like January already and I am not a fan!  The big news this week is that due to the cold weather I’m cooking more (these thai chicken lettuce wraps were easy and delicious)…

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…and I decided to join a gym finally because all of my pants are getting tight.  It’s time to get back on the wagon!

Anyway, every once and awhile I like to pull together some of my favorite articles and blogposts from the internet I’ve recently found and share the joy. icon smile Weekly Internet Finds (Things I Think You Should Read)   Enjoy!

The Skimm.  I don’t know about you, but the news (and news websites in general) intimidate me.  The Skimm is a daily email roundup of current events (anything from world politics to entertainment) written with some pure comedy and sarcastic humor, so it’s a great way to start your day.  It’s clear and concise, which I appreciate.  Takes 5 minutes to read and i can’t imagine my mornings without it.    You can sign up here.  I promise you won’t be disappointed and you’ll be the most popular person at happy hour impressing your friends with all you know!

The Disease of Being Busy. How is the state of your heart today?

Pear Chocolate Cream Cheese Danishes via Country Cleaver. These look devine! Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my keyboard.

26 Pictures that will make you re-evaluate your existence in life.  The title sounds scary, but never fear this is a buzzfeed article. icon smile Weekly Internet Finds (Things I Think You Should Read)   I read this before bed the other night…and then couldn’t sleep fall asleep for about 2 hours because I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  A good reminder that there’s something that’s bigger than all of us and life will go on, even after we’re gone (insert anxiety here).

 Thanksgiving Turkey Shaped Vegetable PlatterYes this is my own post.  Yes I think you should look at it because it is probably the cutest thing I have ever made and it is a quick, healthy, and fun turkey day appetizer!

veggieturkeyappetizer Weekly Internet Finds (Things I Think You Should Read)

How a Painful Divorce Led Me to the New York City Marathon.  While I can’t relate to divorce, I can relate to the struggle with running at a young age similar to this lady.  When I first started running cross country in high school it was of my own choice but I really struggled at first.  When I told my  parents I was joining the team, they literally thought it was a joke.  I remember my mom saying, “Wait…you’re really doing this?!”  And I’ll never forget my dad telling me at the end of my first season how surprised, yet proud he was of me that I stuck it out.  “Running is how we learn we can do hard things”.  Yes, yes it is.

Ursula’s response to Kim Kardashian “Breaking The Internet”.   It is celebrities like Kim K. that are the reason I am afraid to bring children into this world.  But this response was just amazing.

How Bacteria In Our Gut Affect Our Cravings For Food.   Nutritionists have been saying FOR YEARS that one of the next major frontiers to determine links between nutrition and disease is the gut microbiota (AKA the good bacteria in your intestines), and I couldn’t agree more.  This shiz is fascinating and you better believe I’m already working on a Did You Know? Friday post for this!

 33 Harry Potter Jokes Even Muggles Will Appreciate For all my muggle nerd friends!


PS- Tune in tomorrow.  There’s a giveaway coming!




I Mustache you some questions…

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Happy Weekend!   A couple days ago I saw Mindy posted this quick little survey and I thought it was a great way to get to know some things about her I didn’t know!  Since we have some new followers over here, I thought I’d take part so you all can get to know me a little more.  Who knows, those of you who have known me for years (lets face it, most of you reading this have) might learn something too!

Four names people call me besides my real name…

  1. Em
  2. Em Hi
  3. Hiner
  4. Dr. H  (come on… you knew this was coming…an no, it NEVER gets old).

Four jobs I’ve had in my lifetime…

  1. Tennis Instructor – my first real job!
  2. Nanny – I even nannied in grad school…it was the exact amount of sweetness I needed at times, yet great birth control at others. icon smile I Mustache you some questions...
  3. Waitress — all throughout high school and a couple years of college.  You learn many, many good communication skills working in the service industry and I’d recommend it to any young person.
  4. Athletic Room Laundry Do-er — In college, my tennis coach was also the equipment manager and would hire us to wash practice gear and jerseys at night.  It was disgusting (i mean, think about those wrestling boys…), but super easy and I was able to do my homework during the washing and drying!

Four books I would recommend…

  1. Lean In – empower women!
  2. Harry Potter (any of them)
  3. Bossy Pants — Tina Fey is hilarious, yet so damn respectable.
  4.  Open– Andre Agassi’s autobiography is incredible.

Four movies I’ve watched multiple times…

  1. The Women
  2. Miracle — I do live in the state of hockey now, but i used to watch this movie all the time for inspiration.
  3. The Way, Way Back — this was released last year, but it’s been on HBO lately and I have probably watched it once a week since August when I need background noise for work. Such a feel good movie.
  4. Toy Story — Andy + Woody 4ever!

Four places I’ve lived other than where I live now…

  1. Marshalltown, IA  (don’t worry, you’ve probs never heard of it)
  2. Madison, WI — Sigh… icon smile I Mustache you some questions...

Madison Capitol1 e1414460033484 768x1024 I Mustache you some questions... Washington D.C. –loved my summer here!

IMG 3099 1024x768 I Mustache you some questions... Waverly, IA– where I went to undergrad (it’s ok, you’ve probably never heard of it either)…

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Four places I’ve been…

  1. Lagos, Portugal

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2. Seattle, WA

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3.  The Rocky Mountains

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4.  Salzburg, Austria

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Four places I’d rather be right now…

  1. Ummm….Madison, WI! Surprise surprise!
  2. In a bike shop, figuring out what new road bike I should get…
  3. Las Vegas, NV – because my bank account is zero and I need funds to pay for said bike.
  4. Anywhere that doesn’t have a foot of snow…(it snowed again today)…

Four things I don’t eat...

  1. Mushrooms
  2. Scallops
  3. Oysters
  4. Bleu Cheese

Four of my favorite foods…

  1. Dark Chocolate
  2. Anderson-Erickson Party Dip (If you have access to a HyVee grocery store, you can get this!)
  3. My mom’s chicken casserole
  4. Cheese!!

Four TV shows I watch (mostly on hulu and netflix, because who has time to watch TV in real life?)

  1. Scandal
  2. Greys Anatomy
  3. Modern Family
  4. The League

Four things I’m looking forward to this year…only 6 weeks left!

  1. Garth Brooks concert (well this was last thursday but when I started this survey it was in the future!)
  2. The Viking/Packer football game in a couple weeks  (1. GO PACK GO 2. It’s my sisters first NFL game!)
  3. Spending time with my family over the holidays.
  4. Being done with my first semester as a professor and saying I survived!

Four things I am always saying…

  1. “It’s in your syllabus…” — to my students nearly every damn day.  gahhhh! icon smile I Mustache you some questions...
  2. “Can you send me an email reminder?” — I do love and appreciate when students want to meet with me to talk about class material, future careers, etc., but there are so many of them the only way I remember is if it’s in my email! haha
  3. “HOLLA!”
  4.  “Guys. I just read this study and (insert some nutrition fact here…)” #nutritionnerdprobz

4 People I tag to complete the survey. I’m tagging some new blogging friends/blogs I’ve recently started following that I want to learn more about!

1. Kim @ Racing Bananas

2.  Alice @ Dining with Alice

3. Tricia @ A Couple of Dashes

4. Lauren @ Lauren Lives Healthy

What about you?  Any unique answers to those survey questions?

3 Simple Ways To Increase Your Blog’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEOheader 1024x1024 3 Simple Ways To Increase Your Blogs SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

We’re switching things up today to chat about the methods behind the great madness that is blogging.  While blogging is still a hobby for me and takes a backseat to my career, I still want to be producing a quality blog and promoting my content in a reasonable way.  One of the easiest way to do that, is to utilize SEO.  Need a crash course on SEO?  No problem.

SEO = Search Engine Optimization.  Google says, it is “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results.”

I interpret this in “normal-person terminology” to be “things that affect how visible your website or blogpost is in google searches or how far up the list you are on the results of a google search”. When I first started blogging, I had no idea what SEO was…and today, even though I’ve taken a few seminars on it, I still get lost!

A couple weeks ago, I attended the annual Minnesota BlogCon, a free conference in the twin cities for bloggers.

mnblogcon14 attendee 3 Simple Ways To Increase Your Blogs SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

One of the most helpful session’s I attended was with Adam Dince from the Deluxe Corporation…he is an expert in SEO!  He explained that many different factors of your site affect your SEO, and that we can both help and hurt the visibility of our website by our content production. Most importantly, you can help your SEO by making sure you are producing original, quality content and incorporating related links into your posts. In terms of other tips, well, there’s thousands and some are still over my head (#hobbybloggerprobz). However, I came away from Adam’s seminar and MN BlogCon with a few simple tips to get started on improving and that’s what I wanted to share with you today. These are not an end all be all to shoot your webpage up to the top of google searches, but small ways to make a difference.  Enjoy!

Three Quick Tips To Increase Your SEO

Tip 1: Get a plugin that helps with SEO

At MN BlogCon, Yoast was mentioned numerous times as a go-to plugin.  I have always used all in one SEO pack.  Either way, get a plugin so you can take advantage of using descriptions and keywords to help your posts appearance in searches.

Tip 2: You can alter your blog post’s URL to contain your keywords to increase SEO

When you publish In wordpress, your automatic URL has your website name, the publishing date, and then the title.  Before you hit publish on a post, you can alter the URL to contain some keywords about your post, helping your SEO and pushing it farther towards the top of search engines results. The button is located right above the red arrow in the photo below.

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Tip 3: Use keywords in your blogpost headings and image files that you upload to a post

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In the past, I’ve been lazy and never named my photos, just uploaded them from my iPhone or camera as “IMG_#”.  By naming your photos with keywords or something related to your content, this also contributes to your SEO.

Now you tell me…any tips for you use for increasing your SEO?

Thanks again to MN BlogCon for a great conference, I learned so much!

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48 hours in the life of a first-year professor (Month 3 Recap)

Happy Monday!  This blog post is brought to you by… a snow day!  Yep, classes were cancelled today as we are having our first blizzard of the year.  It has been great to catch up on schoolwork and blogging without distractions…well, other than shoveling.

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Anyway, this 3rd month recap of my first year is coming a little late, and after reading I think you can see why.  I started writing this post October 30th…so yeah, November is shaping up to be just as busy as October! I can honestly tell you than I earn EVERY penny of my paycheck, but still really enjoy what I’m doing.   Most days, even the time I have AFTER i get home from work is spent on…work.  I had planned on doing a “day in the life” post, but frankly, one day doesn’t give you a whole perspective…so I thought I’d give you 48 days are so different and there is a new crisis each day. icon smile 48 hours in the life of a first year professor (Month 3 Recap)   Most days I have a plan, but like most educators our schedules revolve around helping our students and developing our research outside of class and things rarely go as planned.  For those of who think teaching is “easy”…hopefully you’ll have a better appreciation.

And for those of you teachers with kids– you da real mvp.  I have no idea how you do it, as you’ll be able to tell from this I can barely get by keeping myself alive.  Pour yourself a glass of wine after work tonight because you deserve it!

48 Hours in the life of a first-year professor

Tuesday (The last week of October)

6:30 am — alarm goes off. NOOOOOOO is my initial thought because my bed is so warm!

7 am- I force myself out of bed. Pick out my clothes, make breakfast and eat in the car…because I can’t help but multitask.  Side note: I am doing an outfit challenge with my old roommates where we do not repeat outfits…11 weeks and going strong!

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8 am- class.  We’re talking about fitness today, and although I enjoy learning/teaching on fitness it’s definitely not my strongest subject compared to others!  This unit is taking longer to talk about, so we’re behind…again. It’s not a bad thing, just trial and error.  I made a deal with my students that if they filled out their reading guide for fitness BEFORE class, they would get to use it on their next quiz.  Low and behold when I ask them if filling it out BEFORE class was helpful, they said yes! I do a mental happy dance.

9:45 am- I usually sit in on another class that I may be teaching in the future, but I have way too much do to today.  I get back to my office to a bazillon emails on my school, gmail, and blog.  I first check the school email and respond to student questions and appointments.  Then move to my gmail… I see that I have 3 emails in the past 2 hours from my PhD advisor since we are trying to resubmit a paper for publication.  I have a minor panic attack, followed by a scoop of PB straight out of the jar, then tackle reviewer comments for that paper.

11 am – I can tell I’m starting to be unproductive on the paper, so I send what I have to my PhD advisor and tackle another project.  I create two reading guides for future chapters that we’re covering in class and post them on the class website.

11:45 am- I realize that I have not yet made a to-do list today and think of several things that need done, so I knock that out.  On that list are grading lab reports that I’ve put off an entire week for lab the next day, checking my NFL fantasy football team and submitting a wavier (#priorities), and creating a syllabus for a class I’m teaching next semester,

12 pm- Lunch with other younger faculty.  Every Tuesday we get together and eat, it is much needed social time!

1 pm- Meet with a student to talk about their grade and study tips for the class.

1:30 pm- Realize that I don’t feel as confident going into the next part of lecture over the next couple days, so I double check my lecture and notes.

2pm – Meet with my dept chair to discuss textbooks for a class I’m developing in Agriculture and Nutrition.

2:30 pm- Start grading lab reports.

4:00 pm- Faculty meeting to discuss upcoming lab.  A nice break from grading lab reports.

4:30 pm- Back to grading lab reports!  This photo was a snapchat from another day, but you get the picture…

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6 pm- My brain can’t function anymore.  I answer a few school emails before heading home.

6:30 – Home, eating dinner.  I have a lot of brinner supplies (great when you are on a budget), so I make some chocolate chip pancakes and don’t even feel bad about it. icon smile 48 hours in the life of a first year professor (Month 3 Recap)

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8 pm- Back on campus.  It’s National Food Week this week so we have an invited speaker on Agriculture and Women in Farming.

9 pm- I can barely keep my eyes open, but I look over my lecture slides for the next day to make sure I know what the heck I’m talking about.

10 pm- Bed.


6:30 alarm.  Gahhhhhh. I did not sleep well last night, despite how tired I was.

7 am- I finally get out of bed and get ready…I had leftover pancakes from last night so I take those with me to work to eat before class.

7:30 am- I realize I want to incorporate more information about sports drinks into my lecture, so I quick do some research and add in the information.  I also notice my desk is a disaster so I organize before class.  Photo is pre-organization, for the record. icon smile 48 hours in the life of a first year professor (Month 3 Recap)

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8 am- Class.  Still talking about fitness.

9:15 am- today there were more student questions after class than normal, which is totally fine by me because that means the students are paying attention! I head back to my office to meet with another student about their grade and study habits.  During that meeting, I have another student drop by to talk about their class schedule.

10 am- Realize that I have not entered lab report grades into my gradebook and that we have lab very, very soon.

10:30 am — I teach 3 labs in a row on Wednesday from 10:30- 2 pm.  Today in lab we are learning about find credible sources of information on the internet and utilizing them for their current topics presentations they have to do the following week.  Kindaaa a boring lab compared to the others, but it’s a nice break from lecture and talking the entire time!

2 pm- Yeahhh, I’m starving. I run to the cafe on campus for a sandwich.

2:15pm – I had students fill out collaboration rubrics for their lab groups to make sure the work was getting distributed equally, so I look through those to make sure things are going smoothly.

2:30 pm- Check my email.  I see an email reminder that it’s faculty book club today (we are discussing a book about student learning) and realize there is no way I am going to be able to make it, as I still haven’t conquered my to-do list from yesterday.  I make a promise to myself I’ll go next week.

3 pm- Start writing/prepping lecture for next Monday.

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3:15 pm– Realize that the teaching/pedagogy discussion group I help co-lead meets tomorrow and that I haven’t sent out the email.  We want to talk about learning objectives and translating that into assessment.  I quick pull some documents from my file and also research online and send out an email…which I later find out was probably way too formal and scary. Oops!

3:30 pm– Remember that for some reason, my textbooks I’ve requested to review haven’t been sent to me, so I work up the courage to call the company.  They are super nice and helpful. YAY.

3:45 Look at my email.  3 more emails this afternoon about that publication from my Ph.D. advisor.   We are trying to resubmit by Friday, so she needs a response/next version right away.  I work on making edits.

5 pm- Done with the paper for now…but that lecture I needed to start at 3 definitely got pushed to the side.  I vow to myself to make it a little farther on the lecture and then head home.

5:30 pm- there is just a bit of daylight out there, so I go for a quick run. It’s not fast, but I’m sweaty by the end!

6:30 pm- Home.  More brinner.  I’ve been bad about eating veggies lately, so it’s a scrambled eggs and veggie kinda night.

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7:00 pm – Write a quiz that my students are taking on Friday and Tuesday.

8:00 pm- Realize it’s been a couple days since I’ve checked my blog email…whenever my to-do list gets too long it gets shoved to the bottom!  Oh to have more than 24 hours in a day!

9:00 pm – I start to get a headache, so I know it’s time to just quit even though I still have a million things to do.  I notice that when I’ve been staring at my computer for too long, it leads to migraines and we all know those are just awful.  I’ve found its better to just stop when I feel them starting than to be miserable.   I head to bed and pray for a better night of sleep!

Phew! Did you make it through all that?  Tell me your thoughts…do you think you would like being a professor?

Did You Know? Friday: What’s the difference between ice cream and fro yo?

Happy Friday!  I cannot believe it’s November and that there is only one month of school left in my first semester of teaching! Things have just been nuts lately — we are starting our last and final unit, vitamins and minerals, and I am thrilled because these are what I know the most about!  Regardless, it’s time for some Did You Know? Friday…brought to you by the fact that I eat ice cream every single day.  Seriously.  It actually got me thinking about a question I get from people fairly often, so we’ll tackle it here.

Ice Cream 953x1024 Did You Know? Friday: Whats the difference between ice cream and fro yo?

Ever wonder what the differences between frozen yogurt and ice cream are?!  From the looks of them, they seem pretty similar…and actually, when it comes to calories per serving, frozen yogurt and ice cream are pretty similar (unless you are eating the sugar free kind).    In terms of other nutrients though, there are a few differences.

Ice cream

Believe it or not, the USDA has regulations regarding what can be labeled as ice cream! The foundational ingredients of ice cream are cream, sugar, and sometimes egg yolk.  To be considered  “Ice cream” a product must contain at least 10% milk fat and be no more than 50% air (yes this is a real thing).  Because ice cream originates from, cream (duh!), it is naturally inclined to have more fat than frozen yogurt.  Based on the USDA nutrient database, vanilla ice cream has about 7.5 g of fat per 1/2 cup serving as compared to 4 grams of fat per 1/2 cup serving in frozen yogurt.

What about all that low-fat ice cream that looks so tempting?  Well, low-fat ice cream tends to have more air, which decreases the amount of total fat, as well as fat per serving.

Frozen Yogurt

The FDA requires anything labeled as “yogurt” to have two types of good, healthy bacteria  (lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus).  However, frozen yogurt has no FDA requirements, and therefore may not contain the same bacteria or optional probiotics that regular yogurt has.

The line is actually very blurry on determining the level of bacteria in frozen yogurt…in general though, it tends to be much lower than regular yogurt because it is not required to contain those strains of bacteria, which takes away from the “healthful” marketing campaigns of many frozen yogurt brands.   To be sure that there are optimal amounts of beneficial bacteria, it is important to look for the “live and active cultures” label on both frozen yogurt and regular yogurt.  When considering other nutrients though, frozen yogurt tends to be lower in fat (often advertised as non-fat), but often has more carbohyrdrates/ sugar than ice cream.

Sugar content tends to be higher in frozen yogurt around 17 g per 1/2 cup serving.  Many frozen yogurts are advertised as sugar free…meaning they contain artificial sweeteners (another topic for another day!) instead of sugar (sucrose).

Interesting side-note:  BOTH ice cream and frozen typically contain lactose, the most common sugar in milk/dairy products.  In traditional yogurt, the active bacteria cultures can help with the digestion of lactose, but in frozen yogurt with much smaller, if any bacteria, the lactose concentration can be much higher and still cause digestive unhappiness for those who are on lactose intolerant.

Bottom line: There isn’t a clear “better” option.  Both have their pros and cons with fat and sugar intake and can be relatively similar in calories!


USDA- Standards for Ice Cream

Lactose digestion from flavored and frozen yogurts, ice milk, and ice cream by lactase-deficient persons.

California Agriculture — Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt Vary Widely in Key Nutrients

USDA Nutrient Database


Don’t forget to check out the other Did You Know? Friday posts by my lovely co-hosts Emily from Sinful Nutrition and Amanda from Semi-Health Nut, as well as fellow linker uppers below!

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