Camping. With wine.

That is my Taco Bell face too.

We found Crunchy in time to come along!

This is how I like to camp. Wine and cheese.

 

 

Other people took care of my kids basically and I knit and read like three books.

 

 

Oops.

The best we could do.

Sometimes he listens to me.

He enjoyed stomping around in my boots.

Fishing in 20 mph winds and 45 degree weather. So much fun.

That’s how I feel about that.

Camper snuggles.

Guys. Our power went out and so we didn’t have any water and I still did my makeup. Bam.

It was a gorgeous weekend.

Kathleen Pressure Cooks, Part 3

Okay. My month-long trial of the pressure cooker has ended and I’m…unimpressed.

It’s not that it doesn’t work. It does. It’s not that it doesn’t cut cooking time (actual cooking time) down. It does. It just…doesn’t change my life.

It’s nice to have an option for days I forget to put the crock pot meal together or thaw chicken. That’s awesome. I probably will never hard boiled eggs without it anymore.

But life changing? Nah.

I have found a few good recipes that I enjoyed, especially those of the dry pasta-canned sauce-meat variety. But probably my favorite ones were recipes I already used. Adapting it to the pressure cooker just made things easier for me and sped up the time required.

So here are my favorites.

Pressure Cooker Oriental Chicken

4 chicken breasts

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup white or blush wine

1/2 cup soy sauce

2 T brown sugar

4 T water

1 t oregano

1 t ginger

Garlic to taste

Put all ingredients in pressure cooker, and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Perform a quick release and serve over rice.

Beef Stew

2 lbs beef stew meat

4 diced potatoes

4 diced carrots

1 stalk celery, diced

1 onion, chopped

3 cups beef broth

1 T Worcestershire Sauce

1/2 t salt and pepper (each)

1 t paprika

1/4 cup flour

1 bay leaf

Put meat and dry ingredients in pot, stir until coated. Add vegetables and liquid. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes, perform quick release. Serve with crusty bread.

 

MSL: Fall


Guys, Martha has spoken and autumn is no longer basic. In these hundred pages of pumpkin goodness there is not one latte, not one ugg, not one pair of leggings and tunic. 

Just money. 

Let’s check out Martha’s calendar for the month, shall we?


I wonder if she hosted these in prison?


Guys my best friend Emeril is just having a small get together…


I don’t know guys, I’ve lived in Wisconsin my whole life and I have never been like oh man honey, let’s go to Green Bay for a food and wine extravaganza. 


That’s how the devil gets you, Martha. 


I have seen a lot of scary images in my time. This is without a doubt the most terrifying.


This seems like a lot of work just to be a douche.


You know what isn’t cozy? Bankruptcy. Which is what I’d be in if I bought anything on this page. 


So let me get this straight. You’re scared of liquid foundation but not of finding a gourmet meal in the Frozen Tundra?


My mantra is “only thirty seven years to retirement.” 


Ooh! Here’s something I can use. Given that my children are basically Petri dishes of disease with curls, I need this.


Eh, no.


Nope.


Ha. No.


Hahahahaha. I almost choked on the wine I’m drinking to handle my stress.


Funny this never happens when you buy it in the little bear squeeze thing. 


Don’t buy suede pieces. There ya go.


Or! Those big shaker things from Aldi that can survive an apocalypse. 


We’re going to do this this year! I’m gonna tell my kids we’re carving pumpkins and then get out a gauge and star map. It’s gonna be great. 

Did I say great? I meant a disaster. It’s going to be a disaster.


Finally- know how you can tell that you are a rich white lady? You fill up your massive natural wood fireplace with expensive bejeweled pumpkins in an adorably haphazard manner. 

Single Parenting

(Note: I am not saying I am actual single parent. I am not saying I work as hard as a single parent. Or as hard as people whose spouses travel all the time. Nobody get mad at me!)

Day 1:

Feeling good. Showered. Wearing real clothes. Everybody is fed and happy and doing school.

Realize husband is still home. You’re still essentially having a Saturday morning.

Crap.

Take husband to airport. Hugs, kisses, goodbyes, etc. Children commence wailing.

Children keep wailing.

For twenty miles. “We want Daddy!!!!” they scream. No kidding, I say, gripping the wheel with white hands.

Say rosary quietly to self to keep the voice telling you that if you just drive off the Marquette interchange all the screaming will stop from getting too loud.

Still. Manage to have lunch, dinner, and everybody remains mostly clothed for most of the day.

Bedtime is completed with a minimum of yelling (not no yelling, but just not as much as it could be.

Sit quietly by yourself, enjoying a glass of wine and six episodes of Criminal Minds. This isn’t bad.

Realize you’ve watched six episodes of Criminal Minds and you’re alone in a house. LIKE IN CRIMINAL MINDS.

Prepare for imminent doom.

Realize you really don’t like sleeping alone. Aww. Marriage is so wonderful.

Day 2:

Wake disoriented. These children, they are mine? And mine alone? Ugghhh.

Everybody is dressed. Mostly. Buddy is in pajamas but at least they’re not like footy pajamas. He looks mostly dressed.

Breakfast is two dozen pumpkin muffins that you baked for prayer group. Meh, don’t care. House is destroyed. Fine. Whatever. Don’t care.

Still! Manage to get the house put back together and a dress on and to a meeting. Order pizza for dinner for the kids. It’s okay. It’s like we’re having a fun camping experience.

Come home to children blessedly asleep (yay for my awesome sister) and enjoy another few episodes of Criminal minds before collapsing into bed. Funny, it doesn’t seem so big and lonely tonight. Rather, you have loads of room to move around. Hmm.

Day 3:

Breakfast is…I’m not sure. Frozen something I think. No need to shower since you did that yesterday. Probably no need to brush teeth either.

Kids are still bathed, though. I mean, we’re not animals.

Breakfast is…not sure. Something frozen probably. Lunch, drive through. Dinner? Unbuttered toast eaten in diapers.

Supposed to go to confession with other moms, but that would require brushing your teeth and leaving the house and WE ARE IN SURVIVAL MODE.

Fall asleep in the blessedly large bed, wondering why a queen size has always felt so small before.

Day 4:

Meh, don’t need to shower today either. Who is going to smell me? Nobody, that’s who. Teeth are feeling a little fuzzy. Oh well.

Dinner…leftover pizza.

Clothes: None that are appropriate.

School gets done, lessons are learned, prayers recited though. Mostly through clenched teeth.

Day 5:

Anarchy. The natives have taken over. Popcorn litters the house. I don’t know when we last ate popcorn. Can’t remember the last time I saw my son in real clothes. Cancelled school for a mental health day. Mine. And theirs. Starting to shy away from the sun as though it was bad for you. Referring to Penelope Garcia and Aaron Hotchner like they’re here in the room with me. Pretty sure the family down the road are serial killer gypsies and wonder if I should alert the police. They might be in on it though. Can’t be too careful.

Brush teeth. Don’t need to shower as am still (not yet?) fertile so nobody is getting close to me. NFP. Way fewer showers. No one puts that on the brochures. Pick up husband from airport and remember how much you love him.

But find that that bed is super uncomfy again now that there’s a large dude in it with you. Oh well. Marriage is still awesome.

And frankly it’s probably a good thing I have to cool it with the Criminal Minds for a little bit. I almost bought statement glasses.


 

Kathleen Pressure Cooks, Part II

So week two with my pressure cooker is almost wrapped up, and I have written this article like six times, all either I LOVE THIS AND IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE or I HATE THIS AND PEOPLE ARE STUPID.


Because I actually am not getting behind it for actual recipes and cooking actual dinners. It does cut down on cooking time. But cooking time is not that difficult. I can go do something else while it’s cooking. I need someone to keep all the prep and getting ready and all the…well, cooking part of cooking away from me.

Like a slow cooker.

But I digress.

So this week I decided to try two dump recipes (a spaghetti with meat sauce and king ranch chicken), and some basics- baked chicken, hard boiled eggs, and baked potatoes.

The dump recipes were both really good. They’re located here and here. I preferred the spaghetti, and it was a hit with the kids too.

The basics were awesome. I dumped a bag of frozen chicken in there with some broth and salt and pepper and 15 minutes of cooking later (so like half an hour total) they were done. That was awesome. Baked potatoes were about 45 minutes total, which is also pretty cool. I personally can’t stand hard boiled eggs but Squeaks loves them. They were done in five minutes in a steamer basket, and the shells came right off every time. That was amazing.


Because you don’t know stress until you’re arguing with a seven-year-old about how those little white pieces are supposed to be there.


Next week I’m trying to adapt recipes- some of my go-to ones that are already super easy.

Lessons

Lessons from the First Two Weeks of Second Grade

1.) Second graders are just as whiny as first graders.

2.) They’re also just as adorable and lovely.


3.) She will have “forgotten” everything that you spent the entire year teaching her last year.

4.) It’s not helpful to yell “I GAVE UP EVERYTHING TO TEACH YOU AND NOW YOU DON’T REMEMBER I BEFORE E EXCEPT AFTER C?????”


5.) So much crying.

6.) Sacramental prep is awesome and terrifying because you know, it’s just like her immortal soul.

7.) There’s like a ton more work in second grade.

8.) This isn’t just like, well, i before e except after c. It’s like hey, lets memorize all the sense organs and the central nervous system and do long division.

9.) It’s still the best decision we’ve ever made though.

10.) I’m gonna need a lot more wine.

Kathleen Pressure Cooks, Part 1

So guys, I broke in the pressure cooker.


First of all, I had a bunch of (sassy) comments about how omg it’s not an Instant Pot and so therefore you may as well use it to be a doorstop. I can’t really tell the difference except the Instant Pot does more things like slow cooking, rice cooking, etc. But in terms of an actual pressure cooker, the Cuisinart one I have has literally all the same buttons.

So there, haters.

Anyway, I was super impressed with it. The basin goes in the dishwasher, which I love. It came with recipes, which I love. It looks cute on my counter, which I love.

Love, love, love.

So last night I made my first meal. It was just for me and the kids (so just for me, because they ate pretzels all evening because they know I don’t like to parent after 4pm.) and I had plenty of time to figure it out. Which was good because I picked like the most complicated recipe ever and avoided my general slow- or pressure-cooking rule of DUMP FROZEN STUFF INTO THE PAN AND TURN ON.

Salisbury steak meatballs. I know. What the heck was I thinking?

It actually turned out okay, except that I tried to double the recipe and then there wasn’t enough space to brown the balls so they turned into…well, a salisbury steak meat sauce instead.


I had some trouble figuring out how to make it actually cook. One thing that the stupid Instant Pot does is apparently not flip out if it gets overheated like my little cheapo version did, so I had to try twice to get it going. But once I figured out what to do, it was awesome. Cooked in 10 minutes, really tasty, and super easy cleanup. (Basin in the dishwasher, and I wiped out the lid with soapy water.)


The only problem was with the “difficulty” of the recipe- it wasn’t even that difficult, just a lot to do while you’re trying to learn something new. But it ended up being suuuuper tasty, yo. I ofollowed it exactly, so I’m just going to link it  here

Come back next week for more dump-and-cook recipes and me testing out making broth and boiled eggs and such. I know. Get excited.

30 for 30

30 Things I Did On my 30th Birthday:

1.) Got up at 12 am to check on Buddy’s breathing.

2.) Got up at 1 am to check on Buddy’s breathing.

3.) Got up at 2 am to check on Buddy’s breathing.

4.) Slept through 3 am check.

5.) Woke at 3:15, ran crazily into Buddy’s room, expecting to find him dead.

6.) Found him perfectly happy and breathing normally.

7.) Figured it had been eight hours since he’d had a breathing treatment, and I could go to bed.

8.) Mumbled something about watching your tablet to Squeaks when she came in at 7:30.

9.) Slept a merciful four hours or so until Buddy got up for good at 8:30. (Which, by the way, is super late for him. I mean, I sleep trained, but even I can’t manage that.

10.) Kissed my husband good morning over two children and thanked him for his birthday wishes and his assurances that he will always find me attractive no matter what age I am.

11.) Fell back asleep.

12.) Got up, and drank coffee by myself.

13.) Read a lovely note from my husband and got a beautiful gift from Colonial Williamsburg.

14.) Read a book. ALL  BY MYSELF.

15.) Went out to lunch with my family.

16.) Discovered the Silver Spring House had seriously gone downhill.

17.) Meh, it’s still a burger.

18.) Came home and TOOK A NAP WITHOUT HAVING TO PUT BUDDY TO BED. BUZZ DID THAT. HE DID. IT WAS AMAZING.

19.) Napped. Hard. All afternoon.

20.) Woke up in a puddle of my own spit.

21.) Went to my parents’ house for pizza and lemon box cake.

22.) Got even more presents. I know. I’m pretty lucky.

23.) Drank old fashioneds all night and it was similarly amazing.

24.) Came home and put the kids to bed and they were nice to me kind of for a change.

25.) Watched a Downton Abbey episode.

26.) Waxed nostalgic about the Anna/Bates drama.

27.) Used like eight different kinds of moisturizer because I’m thirty, yo.

28.) Checked Buddy again. Still breathing. Whew.

29.) Checked Squeaks, because then I worried that my obsessive asthma monitoring of Buddy was somehow going to lead to her getting something deadly and then tragedy ensues. She was fine. Whew.

30.) Passed out next to my super sweet husband in my dream house with only a minimum of gray hair that I can’t even really tell because I have pretty light hair anyway.

A pretty good day.

Instant Love

Guys, I’ve been cheating.

Not on my spouse. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

(And I love him and that whole sacramental covenant stuff.)

No, I’ve been cheating…on my crock pot.

(That, by the way, is the most middle-aged soccer mom sentence I’ve ever written. I’m going to start addressing other women as Mamas! soon. Good Lord.)

I love my crock pot. I got one when I got married and have used it pretty much constantly since then- at least once a week. I love the crock pot because it allows me to make dinner without having to think about it. I refuse to use any recipe that involves anything more than dumping frozen and or boxed ingredients into the (lined- I’m not cleaning that up) pot and starting it. Sometimes I’ll chop a vegetable.

Maybe.

But lately I’ve heard tell of a new siren, something called an Instant Pot. Which I  can’t afford.

BUT! I did get a cheap new in box pressure cooker on a facebook buy, sell, trade site for TWENTY DOLLARS HOLLA ATCHA GIRL.

So I’m psyched. The crock pot is amazing for me, but there are days when I forget or don’t feel like chopping and preparing at crack thirty when I get up before the kids. And some days I haven’t grocery shopped yet so I don’t even physically have the stuff here to dump into the crock pot. The pressure cooker should fix days like that. Since apparently you can cook pheasant under glass in like twenty minutes. (Never mind that I couldn’t find a pheasant at a butchers in under twenty minutes.)

I’m also reaching the end of a menu planning cycle and I’ve decided to go all in, y’all. I am going to be all pressure cooker, all the time. A marathon if you will.

But with less running and more pasta cooked in it’s own juices.

That’s my kind of marathon.

So hit me up- what are your best Instant Pot or pressure cooker recipes?

Second Grade 

Dear Squeaks,

Today you start second grade. SECOND GRADE. I say this about every development you make but I’ll say it again, I can’t believe it. Second grade wasn’t…um…great for me, so there are no fuzzy memories like I usually have of you doing things that I did. But I know you’re going to have a great year.

You are so bright and questioning and you’ll get to learn so much this year. By the end of the year you’ll be doing division. I know. I can’t believe it either.

You get to do the most important thing in the world this year- receive your First Communion and receive God’s forgiving grace in the Sacrament of Reconciliarion. I am so excited and so blessed to be able to teach you all of the things you need to learn and watch you experience everything you get to experience. 

Things are better than last year, emotionally. At least I think they are. I think we’re both figuring out how to react better to each other and that’s helping.

More than any of this though, you’re here. You’re here and you’re healthy and that’s all Daddy and I care about. 

I love you so much, sweetheart. Thanks for letting me be your mommy. 

Love, 

Mommy


I am 49 inches tall and 62 pounds.

I write my name like this:

,

My best friend is: Joey and Mommy and Daddy of course. 

I like to play: Solitaire by myself and tag with friends.

My favorite color is: purple.

My favorite book is: the Puppy Place series.

My favorite TV show is: I have two- Rescue Bots and My Little Pony.

My favorite food is: pizza.

When I grow up I want to be: a mommy and an art teacher! But I think I’m just going to teach my kids. 

Something I don’t like: When Joey tricks me.

Something I like about myself: I have the longest hair!

Something I want to do this year: have a pool party!