Email This Post

Why yes, I did think it was a good idea to make friends with my new pressure cooker on the coldest day of the year when we have no water.

December 31st, 2017 · Cooking, Pressure Cooker

Some days my husband would tell me my decision-making process is flawed. Today is probably one of those days. It is cold as all get out here. Not five feet of snow cold but cold none the less.

I had asked him to fix the dripping faucet in our bathroom. It was driving me crazy and leaving a funky spot on the sink. So he had undertaken that task. To say it wasn’t going well, might be a little bit of an understatement.


My Sister gave me a Farberware Programmable 6 Quart Pressure Cooker for my birthday.

It’s been more than 10 days. It’s been sitting on my dining room table. We’ve just stared at one another across the room. I didn’t even open it until today.

When I was a kid, my Grandmother talked about the pressure cooker like it was some kind of lethal instrument of destruction. We were not allowed to be in the room when she was using it. We were not allowed to touch it even when it was not on the stove. It whistled and we cowered in the corner hoping nothing bad happened. It was simply evil incarnate.

Now, programmable pressure cookers are THE cooking appliance to have. There are Facebook Groups dedicated to them. Instagram has all kinds of Instagrammy stuff. Pinterest has pins. And some of my favorite cooking blogs make recipes using them.

Today I decided it was time to make friends with mine. I’ve been looking at recipes. I’ve read the instructions.

I’ve got to say Farberware, you are heavy on the CAUTION! DANGER! notations. A little light on the “how to” sort of instructions. I’d been thinking about just boiling water. Somewhere I read that was where to begin to end your fear of the pressure cooker.

Instead, today, I decided to jump right in.

While my husband was trying to replace the faucet in the bathroom.

No we didn’t have any water, but I always have plenty of baby wipes and alcohol. My husband wasn’t going to be there for moral support (mostly because he was under the sink cussing like a sailor). I just decided to blaze right on through.

I decided I wanted a French Dip for dinner. A little roast. A little consseme. A few spices. Some onions and garlic. A big thick bun. What could be hard about that?

So I went to the grocery store. Man! I don’t shop much these days but when did roast become so freaking expensive? It was $18.00 for a three pound roast. And then I decided we needed blueberry muffins for in the morning. And Jacob likes warm brownies. And the wavy Lays chips were on sale. So I got chips and dip. And we needed milk.

And then I arrived on the cheese aisle. Did you have any idea there were so many different kinds of swiss cheese slices?

These were just few of the ones I took pictures of. I am a little paranoid about taking pictures in grocery stores lest they think I’m some kind of Walmart or Crest spy and get banned. It’s not that it’s some great a place I’d miss going into like Sephora. But it would probably be embarrassing, and it isn’t a great store but it is the only one reasonably close. There were easily 10 or more different kinds of swiss cheese slices. And they ranged in price from pretty reasonable to outrageously expensive. But when it came down to it, the ones that seemed reasonable weren’t necessarily so. Those tricky cheese makers would put different prices on them but then there would be wildly differing amounts of cheese in them. So the Best Choice one on the left, which because it’s the house brand, and the smallest, you’d think was the cheapest was actually more middle of the pack to more expensive per ounce. I went with the Kraft Swiss Chees slices. Not for any particular reason except that I’ve grown up with Kraft and that seemed the easiest way to make the choice.

Anyway, my quest to make friends with the Pressure Cooker ended up costing me just over $50. That is why my husband does most of our grocery shopping.

So back to the pressure cooking. I browned the roast in the pressure cooker.

It did that well with nothing bad happening.

Then I threw in some onions and garlic.

Those sautéed up nicely.

Then I poured in the beef broth, (the store was out of consseme) added a tablespoon of liquid smoke, worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar and turned the lid on till it beeped and started it up. I’d intended to put a bay leaf in. Not sure exactly why but it seemed appropriate under the circumstances. Once I remembered it was too late, so I did without this time.

Not at all sure what happened to the balsamic vinegar. Guess it was shy and didn’t want to be photographed.

I set it to cook for 45 minutes because the default for roasts was 30 and I didn’t think that was actually possible.

Then I cowered in the corner of the kitchen on the stool I bought a million years ago to use in an exercise program and now my granddaughter uses it to sit on while watching TV as my husband or I cook. I live texted the process with my sister since she gave me this instrument of destruction. I told my friends and loved ones I loved them. Or in the case of good friends, I really liked them. And I waited.

I was correct, it took a lot longer than 45 minutes (I’m assuming it is because it has to get up to pressure before it starts the cooking time and that…takes time). I opened it and was…unimpressed. It looked cooked but wasn’t falling apart cooked which is how I normally like my roast. So, being the intrepid adventurer I am, I started it back up again. This time, I felt sure it wasn’t going to walk off the counter or do anything else destructive and I actually went into the living room and sat on the sofa. I cooked it for another 45 minutes which turned into another hour and 15 minutes because of that getting up to pressure thing.

It was late when it finished. My intrepid plumbers were hungry. This time I decided to slice it.

And this was the result. It tasted good. My husband said it was good. It wasn’t fall apart and melt in your mouth good. But I agree it was good.

And this was the result of the 4 hours of my work. A French Dip!

Meanwhile, upstairs in our bathroom, there was much cussing going on; my husband drafted my 15 year old to assist because (1) he’d done that in work-grant the summer before and (2) was small enough to get under the sink and actually see what he was doing; five trips to the hardware store; water spraying all over the place only once; five or so hours; and $70.95 later we have success!

Next up on Adventures with the Pressure Cooker: Rice!

Cause rice isn’t scary at all.

→ No CommentsTags:

Email This Post

How Did This Happen?

June 19th, 2017 · Family Life, The BoyChild

Today, my baby, my BoyChild, my youngest child turned 15.

For those of you who have read for awhile, yes, you can let that sink in for a moment.  It has been taking it’s toll on me.

He is compassionate, challenging, smart, rude, funny, frustrating, quirky, kind, crude, sweet, gentle, obstinate…I cannot think of enough adjectives to describe him because he is such a complex, passionate, quirky person.

I love him with every fiber of my being all of the time.  Sometimes?  I want to find some dingoes.

I have a spot in my kitchen, I use to measure him.  Not regularly.  Just at random times, I say, “stand still and back up” and grab a pencil and make a mark and write down a date.  I did that this weekend; he’s 5 feet 10 inches tall.  I suspect he has not stopped growing. He is taller than me now.

We got him an electric razor for his birthday.  I read up on them.  His Dad mostly uses shaving soap and a disposal razor but I was concerned what that would be like for his acne prone skin.  So I studied the reviews and got him the one we hoped would cause the least amount of irritation to his skin.

I remember when he was a baby and I would rub his cheek with the back of my index finger.  His skin felt like soft angel wings and he would give me the happiest, goofy, toothless grin.  Today?  Assuming he’ll let me stroke his cheek with the back of my index finger?  I get a glare and feel rough hair.

We use to sign him up for camps and things to do during the summer.  This summer he is working to make it possible for other kids to be able to attend camps and have fun.  I’m calling it his summer of volunteering.  We didn’t plan it, it just happened.  He likes kids and wants to be useful.  He’s not really old enough to work.  He has interests and belongs to groups that need help.  So he’s there.  Because that’s the kind of person he is.

He worked at the Cub Scouts Twilight camp.  He worked at the Robotics Camp at his high school.  This week he’s working during the day with Totus Tuus with the younger kids and at night going himself.  He has work grant at his high school where the kids do work in exchange for a tuition reduction.  There are more Robotics Camps.  I was trying yesterday to figure out a time for him to fly (alone!?!) to visit my brother this summer. There appears to be exactly one week in August when he isn’t volunteering somewhere and can go.

This morning before he left for Totus Tuus, I let him open his razor.  He shaved off the fuzzy portion of his side burns and the light, fuzzy, goatee he’s been sporting for awhile.  I did not watch, nor offer suggestions.  He said he did the sideburns because he knows I don’t like them long and scraggly.

After he got on his bike to take himself to the Church to help set up for the day I sat on my bed and wept.  For all that has gone before, for what we are leaving behind and for all the things yet to come.


→ No CommentsTags:

Email This Post

In Praise of those cooking videos

May 15th, 2017 · Family Life

Is anyone else simply fascinated by those cooking videos on FaceBook?

I usually look at FB when I’m sitting in my car waiting on my kid.  Or doing something else which doesn’t require my full attention.  I can scroll through on my phone which doesn’t play videos unless I click the link.

But occasionally?   I get on FB on a real computer.  Those videos play automatically.  And?


I don’t know what it is about them.  I can scroll right past the cute cat videos.  The cut dog videos? No problem.  The Kickstarter Videos that are just like the “As Seen On TV” section of Walgreens or Target? I Never even slow down.

But those cooking ones?  It’s like a train wreck.  I have to stop.  And stare.

It’s not because the food is particularly good.  The recipes I’ve tried from them have just been kind of “meh.”  But somehow watching two hands, cook food, in one pot, over a hot plate?  I just can’t look away.

Is that just me?

→ No CommentsTags:

Email This Post

Progress on Jacob’s Ornament

April 3rd, 2017 · Family Life

Moving along well on Jacob’s ornament. I do think it’s lovely. Canvas by J.Malay. Stitches and threads picked by The French Knot in Ft. Worth with my input.

→ No CommentsTags:

Email This Post

What’s happening here?

March 3rd, 2017 · Family Life

I’m thinking about what I need to take with me to the Robotics Tournament in Texas next week.  My job at these things appears to be to hang about and offer moral support and occasionally money to sustain my participant.  The last time, I didn’t have my great new glasses yet, so I spent my spare time (of which there was much) stitching basketweave on a 13hpi piece I carry around in my car.  Good soothing work, but nothing to write home about.

This is different than when my daughter played basketball.  Then we would have to be at a game at a particular time in a particular place then we would be free until we had to be at the next game at the next place at a particular time.  Robotics seems to be…..lots of networking?  I’m not sure what they are doing.  But there certainly isn’t anything for a Robotics Mom novice like me to do.  So I’m figuring out what stitching to take and what stitching stores I need to hit while I’m in that part of the country with a car, google directions and time on my hands.

This is a piece that languishes in my WIP basket that I think I need to get done so I can move on to one of the other pieces.

My problem is that left side. I’ve done something wrong with the stitch on the robe but I can’t quite figure out exactly what I’ve done wrong.  On the other hand, I love the way the sleeves turned out.  You can click on the picture to en-biggen it.

I HATE taking out stitches but I think that is what I’m going to have to do. I was hoping the two diagonal stitches on the left and right side would meet when it was put together.  So I tried to change the direction of the stitches (I think, it’s been so long since I last worked on it I’m not sure what I was thinking) to make that happen.  As it sits now, that really doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.  And the stitches on the left just look WRONG.  If I didn’t have a diagram of the stitch in the bag, I’d say I was doing the wrong stitch.

So, I’m going to do some frog stitching.  Afterwards, do I do the left side like the right side, or try again to make the stitches on the round meet up?

This is one piece of a complete set of a Kathy Schenkel Nativity I bought many years ago at a trunk sale from a store that has probably been closed for, plus or minus, 12 years.

I really do have a thing about stitching the Nativity.  Or at least buying the Nativity even if I don’t get it stitched.  Anne, do you have a Nativity?  I know you have a web page, but I can’t find it right now.

→ No CommentsTags: ···

Email This Post


March 2nd, 2017 · Family Life

I worked the Ash Wednesday noon prayer service yesterday.

There was a woman there with a bunch of kids.  One pretty small, who obviously didn’t want to be there.   He was making that pretty plain.  She eventually made the decision to take him and her other kids out of there.  But not before a woman, with one child, sitting at the back, rolled her eyes at what I can only assume was derision that the other woman couldn’t make her kid behave.

I’ve been there.  My kid was loud.  Louder than that poor woman who left if all her kids made noise at the same time.  I don’t judge because:  Man, I’ve been there.

The woman I caught rolling her eyes?  Her daughter dropped something during a quiet moment in the prayer service.  She made a lot of noise and everyone turned to look at her.

I think it was karma biting her in the ass for rolling her eyes at the first Mother.

→ No CommentsTags:

Email This Post

Does anyone know what this is?

March 1st, 2017 · Family Life

I found this tonight when I was putting Celeste’s lunch for tomorrow.  I don’t even think I have anything that it fits. My own little blast from the past

→ No CommentsTags:

Email This Post

2017 Ornaments

February 28th, 2017 · Needlepoint

I’ve started the first 2017 Christmas Ornaments for the kids.

I’m trying to give myself a break, and be realistic about what I can actually accomplish, and only order one at a time.

That means, in 2016, I only got two (one of which remains unfinished).  Jacob and Celeste were the lucky ones this year.

Here is Jacob’s 2017 ornament.

It is one from a group of ornaments from J.Malahy Designs.  This is the Noel ornament except she put Jacob’s name on it for me.  I think it turned out fabulous and will be very pretty when finished!

The bow is going to be stitched in the basketweave in PVV in two shades of red and Kreinik braid.  The Green is going to be Vineyard Silk in diagonal mosaic stitch.  The name is going to be in the PVV and the white is going to be Pepper Pot Silk.  I’m going to try the stitch recommended by The French Knot.  The red/green/gold diamonds are going to be another stitch recommended by TFK.  The bottom is going to be the T-Stitch, also recommended by the TFK.

I think this will be a quick stitch, though time to stitch these days seems elusive.  When I get it stitched, I’ll order Celeste’s ornament.  And then if I get hers done, I’ll order one for Liz.  Then, when I get the kids in my family are done, I’ll order ones for my nieces.   Ambitious.  Especially for me with my slow stitching ways.  But we’ll see.

If time and money were no object, I would do more of the J. Malahy designs.  I’ve already stitched this one:

It was a kit from TFK and I think I even returned it to them for finishing.  I don’t remember what all the stitches were, but they really were perfect for this piece.

I’d also like to do the other’s from this nativity series.  I think TFK has most of them kitted up and stitch guides already written.  Or I’d love to see what others have done with these pieces.

I really love stitching the Nativity.  Again, if time and money were no object, I would do the Annie Lane Nativity.   I saw on their blog that Pocket Full of Stitches has one in stock.  I’m not sure if it’s a trunk show or just something they ordered at market.  It is so cute though.

→ No CommentsTags: ···

Email This Post

Geepers Peepers

February 27th, 2017 · Family Life

Last week I went to the eye doctor.  My eye pressure was low. Which is good.  Yah me!

Jacob and I got new glasses.

These are mine.  They also have sunglasses which have a magnet on them.

Pretty cool.  Huh? I had the no-line bifocals before.  They were nice and I didn’t have any trouble making the transition to them.  The lined ones are going to take more getting used to but I already feel like I’m figuring them out.  The eye insurance would pay for the lined bifocals but the no-line ones had a pretty low limit of what they’d pay for, so I

I also got some contacts to try.  Not really much to see there.  Because I have bifocals, you can see the tear dropped shapes in the glasses above, I also had to get readers.

These are the really high powered readers.  I think they are 3.25.

These, without the sparkly things in the corners, are the 1.5 power.

My doctor said I’d need a pair for stitching, hence the 3.25 power and a pair for working on the computer.  These were only $1 so I can lose them with abandon!  The sparkley parts were so I could tell the powers apart.  I see lots of fashion accessory potential there.

And, of course, I needed sunglasses.

Jacob gave me these.  He said aviator glasses were in style now.  And I’m not a fashion maven who is aware of such things, so I must take his word for it.

The 3.25 power glasses are da’bomb for stitching!  The others are just o.k.  I mean reading the computer is a necessity in my life, but nothing to write home about.  Now, hopefully, since I can see again, I will be able to stitch more.

→ No CommentsTags:

Email This Post


February 23rd, 2017 · Family Life

It is only Thursday, but it feels like it has been a long week.

Last weekend Jacob and I went to Weatherford with the Robotics Team for a tournament.  I hadn’t really planned on going.  Jacob has reached that point where he doesn’t need me and finds me a little bit embarrassing.  I don’t have to do anything to embarrass him.  I can just stand there and he’ll think I should be somewhere else doing something else.  Let me actually do anything.  Gah!

But last Tuesday Jacob asked to be picked up right after school because he didn’t feel good.  He came home at 3:15 and slept and when I checked him about 5:30 he was running a low grade fever that by 8:00 had gone to a high, more worrying fever.  Wednesday he still had a high, but not freak-out high, fever.  So, since I’d heard strep and the flu were going around his school, I made him a doctor’s appointment.  It was a little disturbing because Jacob is NEVER sick these days.

He had the Flu A virus.  It was an odd situation waiting in the doctor’s office talking with him about whether the Flu or Strep was the better disease to have.  With Strep, they can return to school 24 hours after they begin an antibiotic.  With Flu, they can return to school 24 hours after they are fever free.  So we talked about the virtues of each and the disadvantages.  We both came to the conclusion that Strep was better than Flu because you could sort of control when you began your antibiotic.  With the flu, even with the Tamiflu, you couldn’t control when the fever would leave and stay gone.

Jacob started the Tamiflu and almost exactly 12 hours after he started it, the fever was gone and did not come back.  I know because he had a scary high fever Wednesday night and I checked him about every hour through the night.  Because he had the scary high fever even with Motrin which as we all know is the fever KILLER.  My brother called (not the one who is a doctor), because he’d heard Jacob was sick.  He was advocating that I simply let the fever run its course and not give him any Motrin and said that as long as it didn’t go above some really scary high number it would be o.k.  I think I’m a pretty chill sort of Mom, but high fevers FREAK.ME.OUT.  I was having none of that.  I remember the days when Motrin was a prescription drug.  If you didn’t have any left from when the kids were sick before, you’d have to wait until the morning to call and have them call you in a prescription before your appointment because THE SCARY HIGH FEVERS.  So. While I appreciated my brother’s concern, I do not like the SCARY.HIGH.FEVERS.

As luck would have it, Jacob was well enough to return to school on Friday.  Just in time to climb on the bus at noon and go to Weatherford.  Since he’d been sick, I told him he could only go if I could go because I didn’t want him having a relapse and me being an hour or more away.  But I had a meeting from 1-4 which turned into a meeting from 1-4:30 and then I had to go back to my office before I could go home and pack so I didn’t even get there until after 7:00.

The Robotics tournament was at SWOSU Wellness Center.  It is a very nice facility but sitting around waiting for our teams to compete was a little…tiresome.  I talked to the other adults that were there with our team and stitched.  The Girls team kicked ass, winning lots of awards.  I’d be more specific but this was my first time at a Robotics event and I honestly didn’t follow much of what went on but they got their pictures taken a lot so I knew they did well.  So kicked ass is about as close as I can get.  The Boys team came in 7th overall, which isn’t bad with 36 or more teams competing, but not good enough to really win anything but an “atta boy!”

We started my granddaughter at a new Pre-School this week.  It is a place where Jacob went when he was small.  I’d recently come across a book they made for me with pictures and things he’d done while there that made my heart melt to remember when he was that small and had done such things.  The transition has gone smoothly.  She loves going to school.  The class is small and she seems to like it.  And I know I’m biased, but she is SO smart!  Everyone says so.

Since he’d been sick, and then was gone when he returned to school, there has been the make up school work to do.  It isn’t my job, but he likes for me to be available to….I don’t know.  Keep him company?  Type stuff up for him?  Offer moral support?  I don’t do the work for him, so it isn’t that.   So most nights this week I was sitting around with Jacob stitching while he worked.  Not bad work if you can get it and not a particularly unusual activity for me.

It may be because I have a heavy heart and know tomorrow is going to be a hard day.  A friend’s daughter died recently and the services are tomorrow.  There is nothing you can say or do under those circumstances but be there.  And hold your own children tight that night.

→ No CommentsTags: