Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Instant Pot Popcorn Recipe

My little one helped me make popcorn in our Instant Pot one evening recently and it was a hit.  We used a recipe that had coconut oil and butter which we thought was fabulous but tasted "too coconut-y" to the other members of my family.  So if you're coconut oil shy then just use more butter instead.



It is such a simple recipe, and my Ikea multipurpose glass lid made it easy to see how the popcorn was coming along.  Although the actual popping made my daughter a little nervous, you can see above she chose to close her ears while watching. :)

If you don't have a glass lid for your Instant Pot look for the STABIL lid at Ikea, only $8.99!  Or if Amazon is your jam here is a universal cover option which you can use on your IP as well as other frying pans.  Or get the official IP glass lid if you only need it for your IP.



The popcorn comes out with a slightly brown color because of the coconut oil.  My daughter wasn't sure what to make of this at first, but after she tasted it she was all smiles!  

Instant Pot Popcorn

3 Tablespoons of coconut oil 
2 Tablespoons of butter 
1/2 cup popcorn kernels 

Instructions

1. Turn on SAUTE and press Adjust to raise temp to MORE. 
2. When display reads HOT, add coconut oil and butter. 
3. Wait about 1 minute then pour in corn kernels. Stir and make sure the oil is covering all the kernels. If not add more oil. 
4. Cover and in 2 minutes or so the corn will start popping. When about 2/3 of the corn has popped, turn IP off and let sit to finish popping. Add salt and any seasonings of choice.



Monday, February 13, 2017

Recordable Book - Treasured Memories


This weekend my girls and I pulled out this very special book for the first time since my dad died.  It was super sweet to hear his familiar voice reading along with the pages in the book (and my moms too).

The book was recorded a few years ago when dad was able to read and understand.  At the time I bought it because my parents lived far away and I thought the girls would enjoy hearing their grandparent's voices.

Both girls said it was "so cool" to be able to hear grandpa's voice whenever they wanted.

I agree.

I highly recommend these recordable books.  If you have a parent with dementia or even a grandparent/parent living far away they're a fun treat for your kids.  And if you're in my shoes they're an irreplaceable treasure once your parent is no longer here.

They're a little pricey but worth every penny!


Get your own books here:

Friday, February 10, 2017

Hot Air Balloons

This time of year is prime hot air balloon season in my area.  I see big beautiful balloons flying over or near my house most mornings and evenings.  

I can get up close to them when they are taking off or landing to take photos more easily.

Lately I've felt like these balloons are sweet colorful little messages of joy to brighten my day.  Little gifts from above to cheer me on.




These photos were all taken in the last 2 weeks.




Monday, February 6, 2017

Goodbye Dad

The day after we returned from our cruise vacation I received word that my dad had contracted influenza and was deteriorating quickly.  Less than 2 days later he passed away.  I was able to fly out the next day to meet up with my mother and sister and we were all together as he took his last breaths. 

It's a lot to take, even though my dad has been slowly passing for years due to his Alzheimer's disease this ending was much quicker than we had expected.

Fortunately my girls and I had been out to see him only 3 weeks before and had a lovely visit to remember him by.

It is hard to know how to get back to normal; driving carpool, running errands, making dinner while also processing loss and planning for his memorial.  There isn't a handbook for how to do this, and I'm just stumbling along.

So if I take a break from blogging you'll know why.  Or if I decide that blogging about popcorn recipes, vintage toys, vacation tips or how to talk to kids about dying you'll know that that is helping me move forward.  Either way, know that I'm thinking about my dad every day.

This is the last photo taken of me with my dad in early January.

And this is the first photo I have with my dad.  I was a 70s baby as you can see.  My dad was older in this photo than I am now.  

For more on Alzheimers:

Visiting Memory Care/Nursing Homes with Kids
Gift Ideas for Loved Ones with Dementia

Monday, January 23, 2017

A day in the airport, puke and almost a head-on collision: The Vacation is Officially Over


We just got back from a wonderful family vacation full of beautiful beaches, warm breezes, WAY too much food, friends, pampering and lots of time together.  It could have been a rough transition going from the cruise boat to the airport.  Especially when my anticipated 6 hrs in the airport (which by the way is already a REALLY long time but sort of unavoidable with the flight options/disembarking procedures) turned into 10 hrs at the airport, plus another 5.5 hrs on the plane!

All together it ended up taking 17 hours for us to get home, which meant it felt like 3:34am to us (1:45 local time) before the kids got to bed.  Yikes!

And did I mention that my 5 year old started throwing up 10 minutes from home?  Oh yes, that was a unexpected challenge. :)

But, despite all the delays I am thankful.  I am thankful that we were safe in that airport, as the delays were due to severe storms and storm watches that occurred in other parts of the country.  Storms that took lives.

I am thankful that we made it home, so so many of the travelers around us had to spend the night in the airport as they couldn't make connecting flights.

I am thankful that we found an electrical outlet early on in our airport stay, we kept that thing busy all day and once the terminal was standing room only and more and more stranded travelers streamed in I was especially thankful that we were able to sit together.

I was mindful that the very same airport (Ft Lauderdale) was closed with stranded passengers only 2 weeks before for a horrific reason, and was thankful that that day we were all safe.

My kids kept busy with game players, homework, Netflix, reading and even napping.  We were crowded but the terminal had food and even a Starbucks so I was happy too.


But I am mostly thankful because this morning, only a few miles from home we had a close call. I was driving our van home from the airport on a freeway going the speed limit (65 mph) when a Jeep came out of nowhere going the wrong direction right towards us in the lane next to me.  

It all happened so fast and was so disorienting, as you don't see cars coming at you on a freeway very often (or never in my case).  I've heard of this happening, unfortunately it is rather common in my area, usually late at night/early in the morning and almost always because of drunk driving.  

It was 1:20am and we were distracted by my puking 5 year old in the backseat but I was aware enough to stay in my lane and not collide with him.  We called 911 immediately to report it but found out later that he had collided with another vehicle shortly after passing us.  He also caused another accident by cars swerving to avoid him.

I read that it wasn't a fatality, and the wrong-way driver had the worst injuries.  Partly because there were no passengers and they both swerved at the last second so they collided on the passenger sides of their vehicles.  The jeep looked totalled in photos.

That could have been us. 

I'm tired, feel like I'm still on a moving boat and have piles of laundry (plus a sick kid home) but am thankful.  So thankful. Thankful for a wonderful family vacation and getting back home safely!


I'll be back with photos and a review of our trip on the Holland America Koningsdam boat soon.  Well as soon as the room feels like it's not swaying back and forth. 😳