Sunday, February 27, 2011

Working Mom's Recipe of the Week

Egg Rolls
Servings = 6
Time = 45 min

1 Tbs olive oil
2 c grated carrots
1 14 oz can bean sprouts, drained
1/2 c chopped water chestnuts
1 minced garlic
2 c diced cooked chicken
4 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbs each water and soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
18 egg roll wraps
Cooking spray
Hoisin sauce

Preheat over to 475 F. On stove top, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Saute all the veggies. Add chicken and cook until heated through. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, water, soy sauce and sugar - add to skillet. Bring to boil and simmer 2 minutes. Turn off heat. Spoon 1/4 c mix into center of each wraps. Fold the edges and toll tightly. Place seem side down on a cooking sheet coated in cooking spray. Spray the tops of each roll. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden on top. Serve with hoisin sauce. One serving is 3 rolls.

Notes: My daughter and husband love these egg rolls. Since they are baked, not fried, they are very low in fat and calories. I usually saute some veggies (snow peas, green/red bell pepper, sliced carrot, bamboo shoots) in stir fry sauce to serve on the side.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Motherhood Manifesto - March 10th mtg

Our next meeting will be part of Women's History Month - please spread the to your co-workers!

Motherhood Manifesto – A film by

March 10, 2011

12:00 to 1:00

Portland Building Auditorium

Light snacks provided

Sponsored by: CityMamas – Working Mom’s Affinity Group

Film description and reviews:

Narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Mary Steenburgen, The Motherhood Manifesto shows dramatically just how far behind all other industrial countries the United States lags in its support for families.

Moving personal stories combined with humorous animation, expert commentary and hilarious old film clips tell the tale of what happens to working mothers and families in America and how enlightened employers and public policy can make paid family leave, flexible working hours, part-time parity, universal healthcare, excellent childcare, after-school programs and realistic living wages a reality for American families.

"The Motherhood Manifesto documentary is a funny, fascinating, informative, and finally infuriating film about motherhood in America. At the end of this one, you'll want to jump out of your seat, rush out the door, and start demanding change immediately!"
-- Ann Crittenden, author, The Price of Motherhood

"Beautifully shot, incredible, well researched content. It had me laughing, crying, mad, sad but most of all MOTIVATED."
-- Cooper Munroe, business owner

CityMamas is an approved affiliation of Diverse and Empowered Employees of Portland (DEEP). For more information, contact co-chairs Courtney Duke, Darcy Cronin, and Lora Lillard.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

February Meeting Notes: Part-time/Flex time/Job share

Our meeting today focused on job-sharing and part-time.
Ingrid Fish, Naomi Tsurumi, and Havilah Ferschweiler shared their experience with job-sharing.  Ingrid worked in a job-share with OMF for almost a year and is now at BPS part-time.  Naomi currently works for BES in a job-share position, and Havilah is returning from an extended maternity leave where she is beginning her job-share with ONI.

Each of these job-shares ranged from being initiated by the employee (as in Ingrid’s case, where she and a co-worker went to their supervisor proposing the job-share; and in Havilah’s case, where she asked her manager specifically for a job-share position) to being initiated by the employer (in Naomi’s case, where she had requested part-time and her manager proposed a job-share to keep 1.0 FTE). 

Ingrid and her co-worker first proposed their job-share to their manager who did not like the idea, and they dropped the idea altogether.  When he retired and their new supervisor seemed open to it (his wife works a job-share position with the state), they brought it up again.  Her new supervisor went to council to ask for the extra .2 FTE so that she and her co-worker could each work .6 FTE (totaling 1.2 FTE).  Their positions required lots of communication.  They overlapped by one day, so that they could meet and coordinate.  Her experience may be unique to OMF because of the intense budget season and “off-season”.  It worked well because she maintained a good relationship with her co-worker (fellow CityMama Stacey Jones), whom she also sees outside of work.  During budget season, it worked less well – she and Stacey found themselves putting in a lot of extra time for which they were not being paid (it was a salary position, fixed at .6 FTE).  The stress and inflexibility eventually ended the arrangement.  She advised that it may be easier if the job-share partners don’t share the workload but work independently; otherwise communication is the key, and it helps to be friends outside of work, though that is not always possible. 

Naomi and her job-share partner work independently, and that arrangement has worked so far.  They are the only job-share in BES currently.  Job-share has been frustrating when holidays force her to take 4 hours of vacation or unpaid time (see COPPEA notes below). 

Havilah is in the midst of arranging her job-share situation; she is currently filling one of the slots and the other slot is currently being filled by a temp but will soon be an open recruitment position.  She feels the pressure to “make it work” since this is a first for ONI and she feels she is setting a precedent.  Her manager felt that the job-share would be less vulnerable to cuts than a part-time position during budget time since ONI is very budget-conscious and part-time positions are often the first to get cut.  She will keep us posted!

Rachel Whiteside, COPPEA Vice President, shared some of the new contract rules with regard to part-time employment. Highlights:
o   When eligible for vacation accrual increases, they occur on the year of your anniversary (not the specific anniversary date, as before) – for part-time or full-time employees
o   City maintained its 95-5 percent split for health benefits
o   PTE, permanent employees have the same seniority/recall rights as FTE.  It is based on years of service, not prorated to hours worked.  For instance, if a part-time position gets cut, the PTE with more seniority than a FTE would have the option to take the full-time position.
o   For the first year of the contract (June 2010-June 2011), the PDF (professional development fund) and COLA (cost of living allowance) have been suspended but will return in the second year of the contract
o   If a holiday falls on an employee’s regular day off, instead of being able to take deferred holiday and banking the hours, an employee is forced to take the day before or after (it is specific, but depends on the situation) – ** the workaround is through changing your schedule in SAP to accommodate holiday
o   BHR has changed their interpretation of existing language regarding flex-time and holidays.  The new interpretation does not allow people to use flex time to make up remaining time on holidays, thus requiring people to use vacation or unpaid time.  Naomi gave the following example: she works a Wed-Friday schedule, working 8 hours on Wednesday and Thursday and 4 hours on Friday.  When a holiday falls on a Monday, she is forced to take it on the following Wednesday (per the change explained above).  Since she’s half-time, she gets 4 hours of holiday pay for each holiday, leaving 4 hours to be accounted for on the Wednesday she takes the holiday.  BHR’s new interpretation does not allow her to make up the 4 hours within the same pay period.  She has to use vacation or take unpaid time.  ** The workaround is as above- have your supervisor temporarily change your schedule in SAP.

Rachel urged COPPEA members to stay in touch by logging into the COPPEA website ( or contacting their bureau rep if they have any questions with the new contract.

There was a discussion over part-time vs. job-share, which is easier, more flexible, etc.  Mindy Brooks, who formerly had a job-share at BES, now works part-time for BPS, offered that her job is flexible because she is “positive pay”, which means that she does not have a set schedule in SAP.  Her workaround for taking forced holidays is to make up the time within the pay period.  When asked if it was more pressure to work more if one is part-time (versus job-share, where there is a fixed number of hours) she mentioned that it depends on the manager.  That seemed to be the consensus of the meeting: it depends on the manager, it depends on the bureau.  Some bureaus at this time seem to have more capacity (or the stomach for) part-time employees, others do not.

Darcy offered up the idea that this group write a letter to Commissioner Fritz or Council to advocate for more flexibility throughout the City when it comes to part-time employment, as a family-friendly approach and a strategy for job-retention.  Additionally, it was mentioned that the City explore a family-leave policy that is greater than above-minimum Federal and state requirements (Darcy mentioned that during election time, Commissioner Fritz had been surprised before that the City does not have a paid-leave policy).

HR was asked to come to the meeting to explain new administrative rules around part-time, job-share and flex-time, but they were unable to find someone to attend.  If there are any questions, please forward them here and we will try to get a response from HR.

If we missed any points or notes, please comment!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

urbanMama Lunch - March 3

The urbanMamas are lunching on March 3. RSVP in the post. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Working Mom's Recipe of the Week

Two recipes this week, both for after school snacks.

The first is a fun way to cook bread with the kids. The idea came from "Kids Cookbook" by Souther Living. I nick-named the recipe "Depression Bread." First, the next time you use canned beans or veggies, save two or three cans, remove the labels and wash thoroughly. Second, choose a bread recipe. It needs to be non-yeast and the dough needs to be thick so that you spoon it into the cans, not pour it. I used a molasses bread - 1/2 cup each whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and fine corn meal; 1/2 teaspoon each baking soda and salt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon mixed with the flours; 1 cup plain yogurt, 1/3 c molasses and 1/2 c raisins mixed into the dry ingredients. My recipe makes 2 cans. Third, spray the inside of the cans with cooking oil. Then spoon the bread in, filling each about 2/3's full. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the can for 10 min. Remove and cool for another 15 minutes before cutting.

The second recipe comes from my daughter. Jordan's school district (Battle Ground) participates in the Future Chefs competition each year. This year Jordan submitted a recipe for healthy after schools snacks. Her recipe was chosen, along with 26 others (out of 250+ submitted) as a finalist. She spent a day at the competition making 40 samples of her recipe and helping her teammates make theirs. Local chefs judged. Jordan's recipe won one of five awards, "Easiest Preparation". Pretty neat!

Ladybugs on Snow
9 3-inch pieces of celery
cream cheese
36 dried cranberries

Kids can use a butter knife to cut the celery. Use a spoon to fill the center of each celery piece with cream cheese. Top each with 4 dried cranberries. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February 10 Meeting: part-time/flex time/job share

Calling all CityMamas! Our topic this month will be part-time, flex-time, and job sharing.  

What are the new COPPEA/DCTU changes?  What are the new HR rules?  Do you have experience with any of these?  Come share and learn!

  • Learn about Women's History Month's "Dress for Success" efforts and how you can help!
  • Have any magazines you've read and want to pass along?  Bring 'em in!

Thursday, February 10th
12 - 1:30 pm
Portland Building, 3rd Floor,
Blazed Alder Room
See you there! 
Your CityMamas co-chairs

Working Mom's Recipe of the Week

Slow Cooked Pork Roast
1 pork shoulder roast
1/2 c water
1/2 c applesauce
1/4 c apple cider
1/4 c Dijon mustard

Place roast and water in slow cooker. In a small bowl, whisk together applesauce, apple cider and mustard; pour over roast. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Yummy sides that go with the pork are baby potatoes cubed and sauted with olive oil and Italian seasoning and twice baked green beans steamed then baked seasoned with Mrs Dash original.