Life, Meals, Volunteering

Some volunteer fatigue and I used the crockpot!

It’s Wednesday, so only a couple more days until the big swim meet. The prep has been going fine, overall. I honestly can’t complain too much. Except I still am feeling general fatigue from thinking about it, and there is part of me that just flat out doesn’t want to deal with it.

We had a little lull in duties between early last week (when the big sign up for parents closed) and now (when we need to wrap up all the final details). I told my co-volunteer coordinator I’d call her last Thursday to discuss. Then I said, Actually, I’ll call you Friday. Then Friday was busy, so I pushed to the weekend. I finally called her on Sunday night at 6 p.m. Lol. I guess I was procrastinating with a capital P.

Last night we had another group meeting, and then my co-coordinator and I were on the phone for almost 2 hours after that.

I also got several annoying emails this week on a variety of topics. They ranged from someone asking if they could leave their Timer shift on Sunday before 3 pm (the shift is supposed to run like 1:30-5:30) to go to a baby shower. Um, no??? 1) Should we tell the swimmer in that lane that we just didn’t get their race time because their timer left?? 2) Why did you sign up for a shift during the time that you wanted to go to a baby shower? 3) Who exactly do you think I’m going to fill into that spot?? Sigh. (I basically responded and said, sorry, no, and that if they really want to leave, they’ll have to find someone to cover their shift!)

On the other end of the spectrum was a fairly upset email from someone kind of questioning our entire process, specifically how we handle the volunteers, and taking issue with the “mandatory” tone of the emails, and the fact that defaulting on volunteering or missing deadlines = $ fines at our club. I ended up calling the guy and trying to explain that this is totally standard in the swim world. The sad truth is that simply “asking parents nicely” to fill 250+ jobs at a 3-day meet doesn’t get us too far. Do you really think that people want to spend their weekend doing that? They don’t. If given the choice, the large majority would totally opt out, or take the bare minimum shifts, and it would be literally impossible to run the meet then.

I told him- I’ve been doing this for 4 years. Trust me, I have TRIED the “let’s be super nice” route, and it basically gets me absolutely nowhere. I have sent emails “nicely” asking/ begging for people to help fill open shifts, and I will get complete crickets in response. Seriously, not exaggerating- I will usually get one response, if I’m lucky. The only thing that seems to work is having fairly strict policies and consequences. It is sad, because we are all adults here, presumably with the common goal of letting our kids participate in a thriving swim club, so it shouldn’t be so hard. But it is what it is.


ANYWAY, enough about that.

On a more positive note, Asher had a band concert on Monday night and he looked so cute!

The band sounded about like what you’d expect a middle school band at a rather small school would sound like. 😆 I’m kidding- they did a nice job! Great effort and it was very cute. Proud of all those kids for working hard and I’m very pro-school music programs. I was an orchestra kid and have amazing memories from those days.

Also on Monday, I used my crockpot!!!

This is newsworthy because I think I have used my crockpot <5 times since I have owned it. I don’t really know why, because it seems very convenient. But I guess I’m just not always sure what to do with it. I don’t really have any tried and true “crockpot recipes”, and I haven’t sought them out.

But I knew this week would be busy, and I’m continuing to try to prioritize protein… so on a work break Monday morning I decided to dump in an entire 3 lb bag of frozen chicken. I topped it with a bunch of chopped tomatoes, onion, a couple jalapenos, and drizzled in a couple of canned smoky chipotle peppers. Then I added some seasoning on top and a little bit of chicken broth.

I had no idea exactly if this would work out right, but, it did! 5-6 hours later, my house smelled great and I now have a delicious protein source for the week.

Took me less than 10 minutes to throw in the crock pot (chicken from frozen!). (Plus a few minutes to shred up the chicken at the end.)

I have been eating it alone, or over rice, or with some black beans. Today I think I’ll spoon some over salad lettuce.

This was so easy and is all natural foods and healthy! I could see making this often and keeping on hand for a week’s worth of lunches. Seems to be something I could eat on repeat and not get tired of (I really like chicken).

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for clean air to breathe.

19 thoughts on “Some volunteer fatigue and I used the crockpot!”

  1. Not only is this common in the swim world… it’s common with ALL kids activities, ESPECIALLY sports. We have a choice to volunteer or a payout, we always do the volunteer hours and I’ve probably saved thousands of dollars over the past seven years. In case you need someone to tell you that this guy was way out of line – he was!

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    1. Thank you! I really do appreciate hearing that. It is so frustrating because I just always feel like “ugh, people just don’t understand!!!” And they really probably don’t, if they’ve never been on the organizing side of events like that. Everyone around here tells me apparently hockey is even worse than swim (we don’t have any hockey players) in terms of how much volunteering is required each year.

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  2. I LOVE my crockpot! Here are some simple, tasty recipes we like:

    Catalina Chops or Chicken

    1 (16oz) bottle of Catalina dressing
    1 packet of onion soup mix
    1 1/2 lbs pork chops or chicken breasts

    Mix the Catalina dressing and packet of onion soup mix in the slow-cooker. Add chops or chicken, turning each one to coat.
    Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

    Chicken Tacos
    4-6 Chicken Breasts (can be frozen)
    1 block of cream cheese
    1 can corn (drain)
    1 can Rotel or diced tomatoes (drain partially)
    1 can black beans

    Cook all day in crockpot. Shred, serve in tortillas.

    Meatball Stew
    3 cans sliced potatoes
    2 cans sliced carrots
    1 can corn or 1 bag frozen corn
    1 bag frozen meatballs

    1 can (10.75 ounces) tomato soup, undiluted
    1 can (10.5 ounce) beef gravy
    1 cup water
    1 envelope onion soup mix
    Onion powder and black pepper as desired

    Place first four ingredients in crockpot. In bowl, mix remaining ingredients and pour over meatball mixture.
    Cover and cook on low 7-9 hours.

    Veggie Chicken Chowder

    1 ½ cups cooked chicken, cut into chunks
    2 ribs celery, sliced
    1 can of carrots
    2 cups frozen corn
    2 cans cream of potato soup
    ¾ cup chicken broth
    ½ cup half and half (I use milk)
    ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese

    Add all ingredients and cook on low for 6 hours.

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    1. Oh wow, thank you!! I know there are probably so many great ways to use it- I especially love the idea of making soups or stews in it! I really appreciate you dropping these recipes for me! Look so easy! mmm that veggie chicken chowder sounds especially delicious to me.

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  3. I don’t use my slow cooker as much as I should; definitely an underutilized tool in my kitchen. But, ironically, we’re having meatballs for supper and I put them into the slow cooker with the sauce a few hours ago!
    I’m not great about making any full meals, though – aside from chili, which I almost always make/simmer in the slow cookier.

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    1. For some reason, I have never tried making chili in the slow cooker! I have a certain recipe I always make on Halloween, but I always make it on the stove top in a big pot. Would be smart to try the crockpot to not have to monitor it as much while it simmers.

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  4. Slow cooker chicken is the best! We used to make a recipe with salsa and black beans and corn and live off it for a week! I love the slow cooker since you just dump in ingredients and leave it. I don’t love it as much with beef because I felt like we needed to brown the beef beforehand, so it didn’t always save time, but it’s spot on for chicken!

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    1. Exactly- I think that’s the issue I had in the past. I believe I was gifted a slow cooker cookbook at one point, but I kept finding that so many of the recipes required this “pre-cooking” step. And that turned me off, because I was like, Well, if I still have to stand at the stove and make a mess and do all these steps, I might as well just COOK on the stove! If I’m going to use the crockpot, I want to literally just dump stuff in and have it make me dinner. lol.

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  5. Yay for using the crockpot, especially with such great results! And the swim team volunteer situation is really interesting to me. My kid joined a swim team this year, and volunteering is mandatory but I don’t think I really understood why since this is my first exposure. I’m sorry you had to deal with a crabby pants but hopefully he is educated about the why now, as I am.

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    1. It depends a lot on the size of the team, the size of the meet, etc., so it can be a bit hard to compare directly every situation. In this guy’s case, he had experience only with an outdoor summer league- those meets are notoriously quick and easy- only a couple hours long, not nearly the same number of people involved to run. I think in general anyone that doesn’t have a swim background doesn’t really have any idea just HOW many people are needed to run a big meet- it’s so different from something like soccer where you basically have 3 refs and that’s it.

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  6. I hope the dad came around after you talked to him. But it is annoying that you had to have that conversation. Like had he been to a swim meet before? These things don’t just happen! But I am preaching to the choir! I hope you can be done with this gig after this year!!

    I used to use my crockpot a lot over the weekends. Now we mostly use our instant pot! I am usually gone too many hours of the day to use a crockpot. But I should use it more when I am WFH!!

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    1. I know, me too. The new co-coordinator working with me is really nice and great, and she keeps saying that she hopes that if she is good and helps me a lot, I will agree to stay on with her next year! ha. I feel bad, but even with help it’s still just a big mental load and I think I’m ready to be done. I’ve done it for over 4 years now so I feel like it’s fair to hand off to someone else!

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  7. My kid joined a summer swim team and I actually love timing at their swim meets. It’s the best seat in the house! Otherwise I would have to sit around and try to make small talk with the other parents, and that’s kind of painful for me. I’m always disappointed when I drive all the way to away meets and don’t get to time.
    I tend to use our Instant Pot more than our crock pot. Maybe it’s just our crockpot but to my mind it imparts a funny taste sometimes. When we do use the crock pot, I’ve mostly used it for large hunks of meat (things like carnitas), soups, and chilis. Oh and mulled cider at Christmas time. I like that the Instant Pot I can sauté directly in it. the IP apparently has a slow cook setting, but I have yet to use it.

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    1. I agree, I also find sometimes it’s nicer to just work and be active versus just sitting in the bleachers for hours on end. The small talk gets me, too. I do sort of enjoy the fact that at our home meets I stay so busy, because I’m organizing people and things, etc. the whole time. The actual day of the meet is usually pretty fun, but all the work leading up to it is the crappy part.

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  8. I feel you about the volunteering thing. I don’t have kids but I have been helping my single mom friend take hers to sports practices and games weekly for a couple of years and there is a lot that goes into it! They would not be able to do it without the parents help and I don’t know why people don’t understand that that is part of the deal.

    I used to organize a lot of activities/weekends for a friends group of mine, which was only about 6-10 people, but I burned out on that because of lack of response and people stepping up. I actually had to be the “bad guy” and assign things to people (my own friends!) or they would not volunteer to help sometimes. Usually they would do the task without grumbling though, so I do have to give them that, but I felt like sometimes I was the only one doing all of the work.

    Crockpots are great, but I too, like many of your other commenters, now exclusively use my instant pot and I love it. It is probably used at least once a week and is definitely my most used appliance.

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    1. Yes, it is so hard to have to be the “bad guy”!!! I struggle so much with that. It’s such a fine line always between trying to be nice/ understanding and then simultaneously holding people responsible to the policies, their commitment, etc. If you’re super friendly and always really nice (which I try to be!), people then are taken aback when you have to put your foot down on things…

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  9. i agree with you, they should have asked nicely instead of demanding since you are a volunteer and do it with good will. I am amazed that you did it for so long though. I haven’t ever volunteer and can’t imagine doing that for so long.
    good strategy on the crockpot. chicken is the main protein source in Indonesia too. so many dishes with chicken. you’d love to try them.

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  10. Argh, I am getting so frustrated for you about the volunteer thing… I can’t believe someone complained about the strict rules, because I can totally imagine what a PITA it is to try and get people to volunteer their time… it’s always the same people that will show up (but everybody else just thinks it’s optional to help out here and there… when the “feel like it” – haha. NO.)

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