The Ideal Autumn Meal: Tamales With a Side of Grey Goo

Ah, it’s that time of the year. The leaves are turning red, the air is starting to cool, the sun is starting to set earlier. Autumn fast approaches, and with it, season specific food. Thats right, it’s tamale time!

Now, if your’e anything like me, then you love tamales. And who doesn’t love a variety of meats and spices wrapped in maze, covered in a corn husk and steamed to perfection? I know a lot about tamales, how to eat them, how to serve them, how to enjoy them, but not how to make them. Fortunately, I’m on the internet.

-10 hours later-

Alright, now I know more about tamales then I’ll ever need to know, and now I am going to make that YOUR problem. Earlier I said “if your’e anything like me, then you love tamales”, but don’t fool yourself. You are nothing like me. For you see, I really love tamales.

Between my tamale obsession and my laziness, I simply can’t make enough tamales by hand to keep me satisfied. So I think it’s time I get a helping hand. Or a lot of helping hands. Like, hundreds of tiny helping hands. And before you ask, I’m not talking about using child labor in a sweatshop next to my storage unit, I’m talking about nanobots! The sweatshop is unrelated, just forget I brought it up.

If you clicked on this thinking it would be a tutorial on how to make tamales, but after seeing that last paragraph are starting to second guess yourself, don’t worry, this is a tamale tutorial. But not your run of the mill tamale tutorial, no, I’m going to teach you how to make tamales like the Demiurge you were always meant to be.

Step 1: making the nanobots

Making nanobots is one of those fun activities you do in an afternoon, ideally with your father or son, depending on what roll you are. Go into the garage and pull out your Kirkland Signature matter fabricator. Program it to make a robot that will make a smaller robot that will make a smaller robot and have this continue until a small robot, approximately the size of a needle, produces a nanobot half the size of a blood cell. Now that that is done, we have just completed the toughest step.

Step 2: from 1 to 2 to goo!

Program that nanobot with 3 instructions. 1, make 4 copies of yourself using any non-tamale matter. 2, download the 3 preprogrammed instructions into the newly fabricated nanobots. 3, convert all non-nanobot matter into tamales. Now you just sit back, relax, and wait as those piles of corn and meat and whatever else magically assembles into tamales before your eyes.

Step 3: realize you made a mistake.

So… we forgot to program the nanobots not to turn ourselves into tamales. And I guess that ought to extend to our friends and family too. But not the neighbor’s dog. By this point, poor snuffles has already had his matter converted into tamale ingredients. Assuming that the nanobots are still on the tamales, lets just avoid eating that batch for now. Besides, we have more important things to do…

Step 4: get out of town!

Because you were so eager to consume delicious tamales, you set the duplication to 4, so we have very little time left. At this point, just go to NASA or SpaceX and steal yourself a rocket. That’s right, we’re leaving Earth. Assuming the nanobots won’t be able to leave Earth on their own, and we know we didn’t program them to be aware enough to realize the entire universe is made out of matter, we should be able to safely establish the first Mars tamale colony! You did follow the instructions, right?

Step 5: take one last look.

Step 6: enough looking, get on the rocket!

Step 7: lift off

By this point, you should be asking yourself, was it worth it? The answer is, yes. Of course it was worth it. But this is also your fault and you should be ashamed. I mean, look at what you did! This, this is Earth right now! This is all your fault. What were you thinking? What, that you would just look up an article online about making tamales, following along without first reading through the entire article? THERE WEREN’T EVEN INGREDIENTS LISTED!

Step 8: remorse

You forgot to grab cattle. Meat doesn’t grow in the ground, corn does. This is your fault, not mine. And you didn’t grab corn seeds. No, Mars dirt can’t be used to make tamales. You don’t even have water to steam your non-tamale dirt tamales. This is why we can’t have nice things, because of people like you.


I hope you found this tamale tutorial useful! Next week, throwing your cat in a nuclear reactor. Federal authorities call it a serious offense and a radiological hazard, but you kids will absolutely love having a glow-in-the-dark kitty cat!

How To Thrive As A Single Parent Student

To start, remember that you have got this! You are starting an adventure that will have lasting impacts on you and your family, regardless of your starting support network size.  You can do this.

Here are a few tips to make the transition a little less stressful as you go back to school:

Start Building a Support Network

The more support you have through your college experience, even if it is just for yourself, the better it will be in the long run for you and your kids. We’ll talk about some support network ideas for the kids in just a moment.

Begin in your school’s student success center. In the business school, they have been a great resource for me. They have assisted me with my resume and they have been an encouragement for so much of the hard steps.

They even made a way for me to have access to career fairs that would have been difficult to attend with my daughter.  The first semester of the evening career fair, they even offered to watch her! The second semester, they asked a MISA (Management Information Student Association) member to watch children for the event. That is an amazing resource!  They have been incredibly good to me. They would not have known my need, however if I had not taken the first step to meet with them.

Meet with your Professors

I cannot stress enough how vital this is. Your professors want you to succeed and want to help you!

Every professor in and out of my major has been wonderful. I do feel like I was incredibly blessed haven chosen the MIS degree path. My professors have supported, encouraged, given hard advice, and pushed me to be the best I could be and not limit myself because of the fact that I am a single mom and a non-traditional student. I have signed a contract for an amazing career, before I graduate, because of my professors.

They did things that made it easier for me to succeed. For example, I brought my daughter to class on the days when she was out of school in the middle of the week.

Here is the truth though, I emailed or talked to my professors to make sure it was okay to bring her with me.  I never wanted them to think I took it for granted and I wanted them to have an option to say no. They have never not allowed me to bring her with me. Every time I have needed to bring my daughter, all of my professors have been gracious towards me and her.

Do Not Limit Yourself to Just Your College

Ask about resources that will help you succeed in your learning and then follow up and utilize them.  Need help with writing? Go to the writing center. If you have a kid that is young enough to go to ASUM childcare, utilize that resource. If you need help with almost any high fail rate class, there is a study jam or tutoring to be found in the evenings or in the Lomasson building.

The generosity of faculty, staff and other students,  was one of the things that most surprised me in this experience as a non-traditional single parent student.

Photo by Laurent Peignault on Unsplash

Support For Your Child

How Do You Balance Homework And Parenting?

My daughter was 8-years-old when I began school, so we were able to have conversations about what it was like to be in college from the start. We do a lot of talking through her feelings when it gets hard and she feels like she is not getting the level of attention that she needs. I try to be as validating as possible about how challenging it can be for her, too.

We make compromises as well. So, for example, I will set a timer for ten minutes and I will stop working on homework once that goes off just to be present with her. I will sometimes set another timer to know when to get back to my assignments.

 How Do You Handle Out Of School Days While Still Having Class?

I typically take my daughter with me. She gets screen time during the classes, which is a treat for her. Plus, I let her know that I am excited that she gets to attend class with me. Like I said before, my professors have been very kind to her and I have also found that other students make her feel welcome to be in the class.

Another option, here in Missoula, are drop-in daycare centers. The one that I will use on occasion is very loving and my daughter feels safe there.

How Do You Handle Your Child Being Sick?

The university does not have a great solution for sick kids.  However,  after growing my friend base and support group, I have found that there are some faculty, staff and other students are willing to help me and not just from my own college.  I have also found that my professors have been very understanding through the process of having a sick child.  So seriously, talk to your professors!


The building of a support network is very important to your success as a student. I believe that if you are willing to put yourself out there and be friendly, you will be able to have the support group that you need.  I have found that the University of Montana’s faculty, staff and students are an incredible group of people that, on the whole, want to be in your corner as you pursue your educational goals!

Photo by guille pozzi on Unsplash



Mandy Fischer is a single parent to an amazing 10-year-old daughter. She will be graduating the Spring of 2020 from the University of Montana with a Business Management Information Systems degree. She recently accepted a position with Deloitte that begins after graduation and is excited for the future!

Help Montana’s Foster Kids!

Have you ever thought about how to help kids in foster care? An incredible way to lend your time is to become a CASA volunteer!

Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers are the voice of children in foster care. Appearing in court on a child’s behalf and advocating for their best interest is such a rewarding thing! Advocating for a child is just the tip of the iceberg: building relationships with the child, their natural family, and their foster family are also pieces of the puzzle.

In Montana, foster care rates skyrocketed 130% from 2009-2015. Montana was ranked second in the nation with a rate of 16.8 children per 1,000 in foster care in October 2017, according to Child Trends.

With this many kids in the system, wouldn’t it be so rewarding to be part of the solution?

There are CASA programs all across the state of Montana, and CASA is a nationally-based nonprofit. To find your local CASA program’s contact information, please see the National CASA Website at

The information on the photo is for Eastern Montana CASA/GAL, Inc., which is bases in Miles City, Montana. Our program serves children in 15 counties.

10 Things Being a Parent Has Taught Me

Things Parenting Taught Me


  1. EVERYTHING YOU DO IN LIFE IS FOR SOMEONE ELSE – There’s a level of selflessness as soon as you become a parent. All of a sudden your life gets flipped upside down and priorities change, for the good.  Their frustrations become your frustrations.  Their joy becomes your joy.  Their love becomes your love.  Everything you do is for your child, even in your alone time, as you’re constantly setting an example for little watching eyes.
  2. YOUR CHILD GIVES YOU STRENGTH – There may be things that you weren’t strong enough to accomplish before or didn’t put forth your full effort in the past. Having a child helps give you the extra inner-drive you needed.  Being the most sleep-deprived you’ve ever been in your life, you are also the most motivated you’ve ever been.  Whether it’s choosing to go to college or to work harder for that promotion at work, the desire to have a comfortable life and be a positive role model for your little one grows rapidly.  Plus, carrying your child around everywhere you go certainly helps your physical strength.
  3. YOU BEGIN TO SET GOALS AND CLEARLY SEE THE FUTURE – Whether you were always a planner or you were more of a go-with-the-flow type of person, when you have a child, seeing the future becomes clearer, easier, and full of happier envisions. When you think of the future, you see your child playing in the back yard or the park and all planning revolves around the happiness of your family.  You see the love now, and in the future.
  4. YOUR WORST DAYS BECOME BETTER – Even on your worst days when the world seems to have turned its back on you, your child helps the light shine through to break up the darkness. Your children have a sense when you’re feeling off and always show their love whether they cheer you up with their goofiness or with their cuddles.  It’s hard to be sad when you are hugging pure joy.
  5. YOU EXPERIENCE CHILDHOOD AGAIN – As you watch your child’s imagination and curiosity grow, you have an immediate connection as your own memories of youth are remembered. Watching children play, you wonder what’s going through their minds and think about what went through your mind as a child.  As you play with your child, you feel the joy of being a kid again as you play hide-n-seek or have tickle wars with them.  It truly is the little moments that turn into memories as you watch your child play with their toys and watch their imagination take them places.
  6. YOU START TO FOCUS ON THE IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE – Before becoming a parent, there was a slew of things and/or people that didn’t serve an important role in your life, when it came down to it. Becoming a parent is exhausting, but the hard work is just as rewarding.  You only have time for the important things in life now and start to understand that you don’t miss those people or things from the past that weren’t important in your life.  It can be sad looking back at the past and thinking about who seemed to fade from friend into memory but the people who matter most are the ones who will always be there for you.
  7. YOU LEARN HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH PATIENCE – Being a parent shows you how to communicate to someone who doesn’t understand as much as you and is in the process of learning the ins-and-outs of the world. According to Pop Sugar , kids ask about 288 questions per DAY!  This can get frustrating answering a question every five minutes, but you learn to adapt and grown along with your child.  Plus, some of the questions they ask are so adorable they brighten your day.
  8. YOU APPRECIATE YOUR PARENTS MORE – Raising a child shows you how difficult some things in parenting really are and by seeing this, you appreciate everything that your parents have done for you in your youth. You see the example they set for you and this helps guide you in your parenting journey.   You begin to think about times that you aren’t proud of and regret making your parents go through those poor choice you’ve made.  But you also think about times you’ve made them proud and can relate to their proud feelings as you watch your child grow.
  9. YOU LEARN HOW TO BE EFFICIENT WITH TIME – When you have a child, the rest of your responsibilities are still there, adding to all of the responsibilities of being a parent. With this said, you start prioritizing your time and learn to schedule things appropriately.  With all of the appointments, errands, cleaning, and maintaining a consistent daily schedule for your child, it’s essential to find the right balance in all of these things.  The most important part of finding the balance of time is learning to find time for yourself.  This can be tricky with all of the chaos that is parenting, but you learn to find it.
  10. YOU LEARN TO LOVE LIKE YOU’VE NEVER FELT BEFORE – As cliché as it sounds, you truly don’t know what this level of love is until you’re a parent. It’s difficult to describe the feeling of seeing your child learn, grow, love, laugh, cry, frown, smile, and even throw a ridiculous temper tantrum…….it is all of these moments and memories that show you how blessed and proud you are to call them your child.  When you become a parent, you feel the radiance of love unlike anything you’ve ever felt.

    Post written by: Christine Gliko