Sunday, February 15, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up – February 1st-7th

I continue to adore my Power Pressure Cooker XL.  It’s been a real dream for quick dinners and easy preparation.  It really helps me out when life is so busy!

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At church on Sunday, we were pleasantly surprised when old friends who transferred with the Navy last summer showed up unexpectedly for a visit!  I was so happy, I had tears of joy!  We miss the Motilal family greatly.  And the kids have grown so much!  The last time I saw the youngest boy, he had just been born, and I gave him a bottle! 

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Tabitha and the kids were up here visiting her family for a few d ays.  It was so nice to see them.  We’re all counting the months until they transfer back after a 2-year stint in Jacksonville.  Until then, Godspeed!

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After church, I headed off with my friend, Val, to see the Virginia Symphony play a Classics series concert at Sandler Center. 

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They included the Virginia Symphony Chorus and played Ode to Joy.  Beautiful!

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When I got home, it was time to start cooking.  After all, it was Super Bowl Sunday!  Now you should know that I have absolutely zero interest in sports of any kind, with the exception of hockey.  But hey…I’m all about the food!  LOL.  So here’s the spread I made.  I literally cooked for hours on end.

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I made all of the dips myself.  That was a lot of food for just my family!  I didn’t have much myself…I think I got full just standing over it all while it was cooking!  I think my favorite, though, was the Vegetarian Chili Cheese Dip with the Organic Corn Scoops from Trader Joe’s.  I mixed their chili with a little 2% Velveeta with shredded cheese on top, and it was soooo good!

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I’ve been making all kinds of things in my pressure cooker, and this time, I decided to make nearly 7 pounds of boneless country-style ribs.  I set it for cooking meat and selected a 40-minute timer.  I realized later that I may not have had the steam valve closed.  At the end of the time, they weren’t yet tender, so I set it for another 40 minutes and saved them for dinner the following night.  But here’s how lovely they looked when I took off the lid!

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Yum!  I just added onions and a large bottle of KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce before I turned it on.  Perfection!

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At the end of the week, I decided to re-do my school room.  I’ve been needing a much bigger chalkboard for our homeschool for a long, long time.  For years, I’ve been using a Little Tikes easel!  So after pricing a large wall-mounted chalkboard and realizing it was way out of my budget, I went down to Home Depot and purchased two blackboard project panels.  Each was 2’x4’ and only cost $10 a piece, so I stacked them above each other and mounted them on the wall with sticky foam.  I’ll guess we’ll see how it holds! 

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I also posted on freecycle to see if I could get a real chalkboard that was at least 3’x4’.  The next day, someone actually gave me one!  It’s a green one with a chalk tray and everything.  So I figured if this one that I made won’t stay mounted on the wall and doesn’t work out well, then I can mount these in each of the kids’ rooms on the backs of their bedroom doors, and then I can mount the real chalkboard in my school room instead.  But I really like how this looks!  I removed some excess furniture from this room and cleaned out a bunch of stuff, too.  I can’t wait to teach school on Monday!  We’re all very excited. 

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On Saturday morning, I took Haylee and Holden to a cooking class at Young Chef’s Academy.  They’d run a b1g1f special deal just before Christmas, so I signed them up for a couple of classes in February.  They had a great time!  I snapped a picture through the window when I went to pick them up.

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They got to make spicy buffalo chicken rolls with dipping sauces and some kind of apple pastry dessert that they said was really good.  The kids like to cook for me on Mother’s Day using the recipes they’ve collected from Young Chef’s Academy, so I told Haylee to be sure to make the apple dessert for me this year…I love anything that resembles apple pie!

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While they were in cooking class, I went over to Trader Joe’s for my weekly shopping trip.  They were sampling a panini made from their wonderful uncured corned beef, English cheddar with caramelized onions, dijon mustard, and their sliced sourdough boule bread.  Yum!  I bought all of the stuff and then came home and made the same sandwiches for lunch, along with some leftover homemade cheddar broccoli soup I’d made in my pressure cooker for dinner the night before.  And I put some cara cara navel oranges on the side, also from Trader Joe’s.  Yummy lunch!

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Holden ate just as much as we did, minus the soup, which he’d gobbled up for dinner the night before.  Everybody loved it!  We had a light dinner that night, and then my neighbor friend, Valentyna, and I headed off to Chrysler Hall to see the Virginia Symphony play the POPS performance of “A Night with John Williams.”  They did movie themes from Star Wars, Jaws, and the like.  Fun!

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Yet another busy week for us.  I also made plans for us to vacation during Hayden’s spring break at our favorite cabin in the mountains.  We’re so excited!  We’ve missed spending a week there for the last two Octobers in a row, ever since Hayden started public school.  It’s been too long!