Friday, July 14, 2017

Instant Pot 101 - Unboxing & Water Test

I've had a few friends receive their Instant Pots and ask, "What now?!" A friend even said, "You should make a video!" So, here you go...

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Chore Chart

Does anyone else play 21 questions with their kids every morning and night? Have you brushed your teeth? Did you go to the bathroom? Where are your jammies? I wanted to give the kids a way to see what was expected of them, but also something that would give them a sense of accomplishment.

I looked at poster charts, but I wanted something that could be used over and over again and repurposed sometime in the future. What kid doesn't love stickers? I just don't want to keep buying them...

One day I was trying to fit all my sheet pans into their cupboard, and I got upset because this one with handles just never quite fits in my other jelly roll pans. Then it hit me...this was perfect for a chore chart! In there is some wonderful analogy about being different and meant for a specific purpose... 
I went into my spray paint stash - because everyone has a stash, right? If you're buying paint, be sure it's meant for metal. I was deciding between the teal, matte black, and gunmetal. I decided the teal would be too high-contrast with our wall color.
I settled on a 'hammered gunmetal' paint and set up shop in the garage. I didn't spray on the cooking surface, because I didn't expect to use that side. Painting on a box will help you get to the sides and will keep it from getting 'stuck' to your drop cloth.
Once the paint dried, I used masking tape to make a channel and used a silver sharpie to make a center line.

I printed out three basic 'chores' for each child that would be moved from night to day - brush teeth, go potty, pajamas (on or off). I 'laminated' them with packing tape, and glued magnets on the back. I also made a morning/night header that was taped down. I wanted everything to be visual, because my tiny people can't read yet.
I got two command strips (the velcro ones) and did a strip on the top handle and a strip on the bottom handle.
The kids love it! My son views it as a race, and he tries to 'move his pieces' first. My daughter could care less about winning, but it's great for her to visually see what is left to do (in addition to setting minimum expectations).  Instead of mom being the bad guy, I ask 'are your pieces moved?' and they handle the rest.

I like that this project can grow with us, as we add more responsibilities. It can go horizontal in the future for actual chores and days of the week.

The base concept can be used for all sorts of fun projects. You can use the alphabet fridge magnets for spelling practice, tie strings on washers to make 'mazes', etc.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

EGG-cellent Pressure Cooker Eggs!

I love eating eggs, but the hassle of boiling and peeling them is so annoying! No, it's not the most complicated task, but my peeled eggs often look like Freddy Kreuger peeled them. I found myself buying bags of pre-boiled/peeled eggs, and cringe at how expensive they were when compared to a carton of eggs.

Well, like with many other kitchen tasks, the Instant Pot is a game changer! Even Alton Brown (my culinary hero) says steamed eggs are the best.

There are many, many, many egg recipes for the Instant Pot. This is what worked for me and the texture we like to eat.

I added 1 cup of water to my Instant Pot. Then, I put a metal steamer down in the pot.

 I loaded it up with 2 dozen eggs. Note the manual cook time of 4 minutes.

Now, this is where the main 'boiled' egg recipes differ. You may find some recipes that say to cook your eggs for 12-16 minutes - that's because they do a quick release and straight into an ice bath. I continued to cook them in a natural pressure release. I did 5 minutes, but honestly - 4 would have been better.

Some of my eggs cracked. There are theories that eggs touching the side will crack (my cracked ones go counter to that theory), and others that you should let your eggs get to room-temp before cooking. Not the end of the world.

Three on the bottom were awesome explosions! Only one yolk ruptured, the others were just odd oblong shapes. All the eggs went into a bowl with lots of ice to instantly stop them from cooking.

I was looking for the right-sized tupperware to store them in but realized I had the perfect plastic carton!! I washed it out with soap/water first and dried it before loading up the boiled eggs. See the lovely 'odd' eggs in the back left? They still taste the same!!

So, in Instant Pot terms, I do 'boiled' eggs for 4/4/5: 4 minutes pressure, 4 minutes natural pressure release (NPR), and 5 minutes in an icy, icy, icy bath.

With Easter coming up, who's making deviled eggs?!

I have egg poaching pods... I'm thrilled to try that next!!

Kid Museum

We have a prolific artist in our home and it all MUST BE DISPLAYED! I'm talking seriously hurt feelings. So, we busted out the painter's tape and this was the result on our living room wall.
It was SO messy, but I loved the enthusiasm and didn't want to squash any dreams. So, I decided we needed to come up with a specific 'area' for the art.

Like a good southern gal, I headed to Hobby Lobby!! Fortunately, all open-back frames were 50% off (don't ever buy anything full price there - pro tip!).

I strung yarn across and pulled it tight, securing with staples. Notice how I folded the yarn back over so it doesn't slip out. The tighter you can pull it, the better - as the weight of the pictures will pull it down.
Here are the 3 resulting picture areas: 
He was SOOO proud to hang up the pictures! I found some mini clothespins that were already black - saved me some spray painting! 
Here's a feel-good before and after shot!

Tool List:

-Staple Gun
-Level (or an app)

Supply List:
-Frames (mine were $10-$25 each after sale)

-Black Yarn (40% off coupon)
-Mini Clothespins (less than $2 and on sale)
-Beefy Command strips (over $7 for the two packs)

You could do the same with white frames, white yarn, white paperclips. We stayed with the black frames to match the rest of our picture wall.

I made it very clear that this was our 'art space' and any new pictures need to replace the existing ones, or layer over them. So far it seems to be working...

DIY Auto Care

Leaving an office this morning, I realized my car was winking at me. 
Cute, but not safe.

I'm a big DIY fan, which is probably due to my stubbornness to 'conquer' everything. However, I tend to leave certain things to professionals. Can I change my oil? Yes. Do I WANT to change my oil - or is my time more valuable doing something else? Plus, my oil change place has massage chairs and WiFi... so basically I can work and get a massage.

In my mind, the headlamp assembly was super complicated and I would have to take things apart. So, I called my auto place and they said they had an appointment the next afternoon. I probably wasn't going to be driving in the dark, but I also didn't want to wait. 

An encouraging text from my hubs and a quick Google found me this YouTube video. If the video is only 54 seconds long, how hard can it be?!

I popped the hood and sure enough, the lights were super easy to get to! They just turned and popped right out!

 In my triumphant picture, I didn't realize I had taken out my high beam bulb (see how BOTH lights are now out?).

If I would have looked closely, I would have seen the bulb missing from the highly reflective inner light. The low beam is filtered through the circular area (technical stuff here, folks).

I called the local battery place, instead of driving 20 minutes to an auto-parts store. Sure enough, they had them in stock!! It's important to note that the low and high beams are different bulbs, so be sure you've got the right one if you're comparing them.

So, my DIY project saved $21-$42 depending on the estimate.

TADAA!!  Go forth and DIY your life!