Electric Pressure cooker

I love cooking. I do have some gadgets in the kitchen, ok most are packed in boxes, but I own them. My most recent purchase was an electric pressure cooker. I’d seen many people talking about it on social media and decided to get on on Amazon Prime day.  I purchased a Cosori 7-in-1 pressure cooker.

I have already made pulled pork, chicken nachos, chicken and rice and today I made applesauce.

I’m enjoying the simple ability to make deep tasting dishes quickly. I like that I can make a lot of the dishes I’d make in my crockpot in a fraction of the time. I’m looking forward to trying soups, chili and stews in it when the weather gets cooler.

Do you have an electric pressure cooker? What is your favorite thing to make in it?

What’s next?

If I was still living in FL, right now I would not be typing this post. Right now I’d be on my way out the door for the first day of school.

But, I’m not living in FL anymore. Right now, I’m not teaching and my sons have a few more days before they start back.

So, what does that mean for me? Moving to PA meant a great job change for Richard. Moving to PA meant that the boys got to meet new friends, start a new school, and all that comes with moving as a kid.

As adults we realize that moving as a kid is hard in the beginning, but it will be fine in the end. They will/should find a new group. They are going back to school, and for the most part that means they know what to expect.

My question in life is what’s next for me? After I left work to be a stay-at-home mom, I didn’t think I’d go back into the classroom. I had hit that wall of ok enough. Then the opportunity to work at the boys school presented itself. I actually offered to take the position on a whim. I hadn’t planned it. It sort of fell in my lap.

I’m in the process of moving my certification. We have decided that I’ll take a school year off and then figure it out. This is because we have to move again in a few months, the boys are starting a new school. We have too many adjustments. Having more flexibility at this time is needed.

In some ways I enjoy being a stay-at-home mom. I love being able to volunteer at the school. I enjoy being able to to the gym. Get the cleaning and grocery shopping done during the week and free up our weekends.  But, on the flip side, I enjoy working. I enjoy contributing financially to my family. I enjoy interacting with others doing something I know I’m good at doing.

Getting at teaching job in FL is simple. There are so many people, so many schools, so many openings that many people who have never taught are able to get jobs. Now we have moved to the north east. The school districts are smaller because the communities are smaller. There aren’t as many teaching positions, so people don’t switch positions as much. There aren’t as many openings. So, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get a job even if I want one.

So I guess I’ll spend the rest of the year figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. But, today I don’t have to go to work and I’m ok with that.

 

Friends?

There are so many thing about being a parent that are hard, some are even hard to put into words. But, I’ve learned over the last few years that the hardest thing is watching your child(ren) suffer in a way that you yourself suffered as a child. What makes this the hardest?  Let me share…

My oldest son, Blake, is very smart, perfectionist, a rule follower, competitive, and socially awkward at times. This does not always translate easily into friendships especially in those tween years. Starting in second grade he found that he was been ostracized by the boys in his class. He didn’t understand why or what changed. We dealt with this and then he went through it again last year, but it wasn’t just within his classroom, but with a group of kids he’d been “friends” with since kindergarten. He is beginning to learn to advocate for himself. He is standing up, but he still wanted to fit in even when they were mean.

I can relate to him in this… I was the same kid. For me it started in 3rd grade. I was verbally and emotionally bullied from 3rd grade through high school. I withdrew into myself. I felt the only time they left me alone was whenever we had a school musical production going on, or maybe I was just too busy with the production to pay them any attention. But, its hard when you go from a kid who loved school, enjoyed playing with the other kids and thinking you had friends to being an outsider. I still enjoyed the learning part of school, it was all the transitions that were tough. At the end of my sophomore year in high school I switched schools, and things got better.

But, the challenge in my life if I still never understood what changed. What did I do? What made me become the target? Why did they stop liking me? In my adulthood, I’ve had the same thing happen. I am really good at co-worker and acquaintance, but this whole friendship thing is hard. I have even tried to have friends again, I thought I had made good friends a few times. And then… bam, friendship over and I don’t know why.  I’m never sure if I said something, did something, didn’t say something, didn’t do something. All I know is I go from having a friend… to not having a friend.

So, I find myself putting myself in the background. I tend to stay to the edges in groups. I tend to let people walk up to me. I know that a lot of this is me putting up walls. Me trying to protect that 3rd grade girl who started getting picked on for no reason. That teenager who was bullied over her appearance. That adult who can’t keep a friend. I don’t want to be on the outside, I enjoy having people to talk to. I enjoy having people who can rely on me and me on them. I enjoy trusting people and being trusted. But, I never figure out how to make this work.

So, I worry that my son will have the same types of experiences. That he will always be on the outside looking in and wondering why he doesn’t fit. I wish I could help him deal with this, but I feel I can’t. How can I help him figure out something I never figured out? How can I help him fit in when I don’t know how.

So, I will be there to help pick up the pieces. I will be there to help him figure out how he wants to deal with the situation. Try to help him figure out a new way, and maybe break the pattern.

I can only hope that moving to the new school. That he is going to a place where no one knows who he is or who he was, and he can reinvent himself. I can only hope that he feels confident enough in himself to find a groove and not try to escape to the outside of the group. To understand that there is more groups than the “cool kids” and that there is a place for him.

And me, well I’m going to try to figure this out myself. New neighborhood, eventually a new job, maybe… just maybe I’ll find myself a friend or two as well… and keep them this time.

Remove Technology = More interaction

Ugh! This summer has been tough on our family. Well, the last 4+ months to be honest. Change is never easy, but change is good. When things are tough in life you have to step back and see the positives.

In moving to PA, we had to move into a 2 bedroom townhouse until our house is doing being built. My sons have always had their own rooms. The only time they ever sleep in the same room is when we are on vacation, or when they are staying that their grandparent’s house. Both of these situations typically have later bedtimes, more active days and are only short term situations. Living in the townhouse does not mean super active days, later bedtimes and although in the bigger scheme of things it is short term, but it isn’t a few days, it’s a few months. We have been living with these conditions since the beginning of June and we still haven’t adjusted to the lack of space.

There have been good days and there have been no where near good days. At this point the boys have lost their technology privileges. After hearing them bounce around their room night after night we decided it was time to enforce change. Technology is a reward in our house, not an automatic thing you get just because. It is also very limited even in the summer. I figured that if we took away their technology they would be motivated to fix the bedtime issues. Well that was almost 2 weeks ago and they still haven’t earned it back. They are good for a day or two and then it’s back to crazy bedtime antics.

While this is not fixing the bedtime issue, it is forcing the boys to find other, better ways to entertain themselves day to day. They are outside riding their scooters and bikes for hours. They are setting up hot wheel tracks or playing with monster trucks. We play games, read books and more. They are learning to work together. They are getting better at competing with things that can be fair (which car can travel down this track faster?, who will win this game?) They are playing with other kids and learning to accept other people’s thoughts and opinions. They are talking to each other. They are having conversations.

Now, I will not say that life is perfect. That there aren’t battles. That there aren’t times when I want to scream. There are times I wish they had their own space. There are times when I have even wished I could “plug them in” to give everyone a break. But, I won’t. They will eventually earn their technology back, I never go back on my word with them. There are no empty promises or threats in this family, but that’s a whole other post.

So, while I stand here and listen to them have a Monster Truck race, I realize that I haven’t got what I wanted out of removing the technology, but I may have helped them in a way that is even more important.

Now, if I could just get them to go to sleep!

 

Book Review — The Boys in the Boat

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown 

Image result for the boys in the boat

I was looking for a good book to read on Amazon recently, you notice I shop a lot on Amazon yet?  When I look for books I tend to go and find a book I’ve read and look at “Customers who bought this item also bought” section.  Then I go and read the description and reviews. This time I had actually found a list on the web about good summer reads. I decided to pick up “The Boys in the Boat.”

My reading “type” is sort of all over the place. I love mystery novels, romance (not smut), historical fiction, contemporary, and every once in a while a true non-fiction will peek my interest. That is what this story is… a non-fiction story about the people who worked so hard to represent the USA  in the Berlin Olympics.

What drew me to this story? Well it’s not the rowing aspect since I’ve never crewed a boat my whole life. I think it was the Berlin Olympics that first drew me in.

The story is about Joe Rantz and how he came to part of the Washington State crew team who represented the USA. Joe lead a tough life. He grew up during the Great Depression. Just like many in this time and age in our country, Joe had to grow up faster than he should have. He lost his mother at a young age and was bounced around a while before settling back with his dad. But, this didn’t mean that Joe’s life got easier. When Joe was still in high school he was out on his own, but that didn’t stop Joe. He used ingenuity to find ways to maintain his house, stay in school and live.

Joe went to Washington State University and there he joined the Crew. This in itself is not an easy feat. Many try out but few last through the season. The Washington State crew was not made up of “high class” boys who grew up with privileged like the crews on the East Coast. No, these boys grew up working farms, logging mills, and all kinds of jobs that include hard manual labor. They earned their way through college cleaning up after others so they can pay their way.

Image result for the boys in the boat

Now, don’t think this story is a sad story that shows these guys working hard and not having fun. They knew how to enjoy themselves when they were together. One of my favorite stories is when they went in search of the President F. D. Roosevelt’s home during a break from practices. The relationship that is formed between the guys is real. It is what helps this crew find their way not only into the Olympics, but on the podium.

This book also shows the path of the boat maker George Pocock who will become Joe’s confidant and mentor. George too grew up working hard. George’s father was a boat maker as well and taught George the craft, but it is George’s love of crew, the water and the sport that made him one of the best in the business.

The book parallels the trials and tribulations of the members of the crew with the goings on of Germany at the time. You learn about Hitler and many of the people who work for him. How they influenced him to have the Olympics in Germany and how they put on a show for the world in order to sway and deceived the world into what was going on in the real Germany.

I found myself draw into this book. It became a I can’t put this book down book. I found myself telling Richard about it. I talked to the boys about the parts I felt they would enjoy and even watched the PBS documentary with them.

If you love a good underdog story, this book is for you. If you like to read about the history of the US in this time frame, this book is for you. If you like a story that draws you in and has you cheering for the people who work hard to make a better life for themselves, this book is for you. If you like crew, this book is for you.

 

If you have read this book already, what did you think? Have you recommended it to others? If you have not, let me know if you have questions or if you’d consider reading it too.