mom who works

the joys and challenges of being a working mom trying to find "balance"

Coolest product EVAH – the Handpresso portable espresso maker October 6, 2012

Filed under: food,work — Deborah @ 3:45 pm
Tags: , , ,
Handpresso WILD

Photo courtesy of

I love good coffee.

You could say (and many have) that I’m a bit of a coffee “snob.” Now I often say (as I often have) that I’m not a coffee snob, but I really only like to drink good coffee. If they don’t care and will drink the dreck that’s in the office cafeteria, who am I to judge?

My workplace does not allow employees to have “personal appliances.” So my dream of a nice little Nespresso or other good espresso maker tucked in a corner of my desk were dashed, and I had resigned myself to mediocre, or WORSE, coffee from the office cafeteria.

Then I discovered this little beauty – the Handpresso WILD. Looks a little weird, to be sure, but it produces, WITHOUT USE OF ELECTRICITY, a very decent cup of espresso. On par with what you’d get from those stovetop Moka pots you can buy at Italian grocery stores. Which is much, much better than what I get from the office cafeteria.

It’s ingenious, really. You use the bike-pump type handle to pump up to 16 bars of pressure (minimum you need for good espresso with crema). You put hot water in the little resevoir (readily available from our kitchen coffee maker’s hot water spout), then pop on an ESE pod (pre-fab espresso tea-bag type thingies) and voila! You have in your hands a nicely poured, hot espresso to enjoy – anywhere! They have a great story on their web site about how it was invented, and it seems they are coming up with new products all the time (I have my eye on the new Handpresso AUTO – so cool!). Well made product, that makes great coffee. What more could you ask for?


My date with the Mouse October 5, 2012

Filed under: family,travel — Deborah @ 2:25 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,
Mickey Toys by Tim Wang

Photo by Tim Wang. Used under Creative Commons License.

We have recently returned from our first ever trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Yes, we actually survived Disney, and we were even surprised (hubby and I) with how much fun we had. Our 10-year-old daughter, suffice it to say, had an absolute blast.

A trip to WDW, as those in the “know” call it, is overwhelming on its best days. We made the decision to go somewhat at the last minute (with a mere 5 weeks to plan), so I of course immediately downloaded the 2012 version of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World to my Kindle and got to reading. We planned a 4-day trip – one day for each park – and we also went with hubby’s cousin and his family, as they live in Florida and are Disney veterans (plus their daughter, who is also 10, is my daughter’s best buddy).

We went in mid-September, which according to all accounts, is one of the least crowded times of year to go to WDW. What surprised me is how crowded it still was – I cannot even IMAGINE what it’s like over the summer, spring or winter/holiday breaks! The other big surprise was how blazing hot it still was, too. The temps hovered around the high-80s, low-90s, with what felt like 100% humidity. It’s a kind of heat that you cannot escape. At least here in the Midwest, when it’s hot out you can find shade, or even sometimes a cool breeze, and get relief from the heat. In Florida, it’s all hot, all the time. The final thing that surprised me, although I should have been thoroughly prepared for it, was just how skilled the Mouse and his friends are in separating you from your money. I have two words for you – pin trading.

By the end of the second day, we had stopped at the gift shop at the Grand Floridian Resort to pick up some gifts we wanted to bring home for friends and family. The very helpful cast member checking us out offered their special deal on one of their “starter pin” lanyards for $18.95 (with a $40 purchase that we were already making). These normally retail for about $40. We really didn’t know what the deal was with the pins, so she cheerfully explained the “rules” to us, how you can trade pins with cast members and other guests (with cast members no more than 2 pins per day per cast member). It was interesting, and a good deal, so we picked it up for our daughter. The cast member even gave her her first pin from her lanyard (said our daughter didn’t need to trade one). Our girl promptly (and proudly) put the lanyard on, and on the monorail leaving the Grand Floridian actually made her first, and very cool, trade with another guest. And so it began.

Several 100s of dollars later, our daughter had a second “trading” lanyard, and a separate lanyard for her special pins that she wants to keep. We ended up getting her a pin case (like a portfolio with pages you can “pin” the pins on to keep safe and secure), and a number of really cool pins that have meaning either because of rides we went on or experiences we had.  It’s been fun in the weeks since we’ve been back to look at her pins and reminisce about where she traded it, or the ride or park it signifies. Lots of money, sure, but lots of memories too. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.


day in, day out January 13, 2010

Filed under: general,travel — Deborah @ 1:51 pm
Tags: ,

I’m heading out to one of my company’s plants on the east coast tomorrow, and have planned a “day in, day out” trip. The benefit is that I don’t have to spend a night away from hubby, child and dog, but the downside is my morning flight leaves at 6am. Yes, 6:00 in the morning. Which means that I will be getting up, oh, around 3:00 IN THE MORNING. And I actually live not too far from the airport.

And since this is a last minute trip I don’t have my usual supply of bottled water, healthy snacks and reading material ready to go, so I will be scrambling tonight. Whine.

Maybe hotels aren’t such a bad thing after all.