Wednesday, May 16, 2012

RIP Old Laptop... Welcome New Laptop!

After a long posting drought, because, well life had just gotten in the way, I had finally gotten moving a bit and made a few posts when my laptop crashed on me.  Sadly, there wasn't any salvaging it, so a replacement was in order.  After two weeks of computerlessness, it finally arrived today!

I am still figuring it out, but it feels soooo good to actually be back online.  I had some access to the Internet on my phone, but not nearly enough to function.  I love my little Palm Pre as a phone, but an iPhone it is not.

My new baby's keyboard is just slightly different than the old one was, so I am continually hitting caps lock and home when I try to shift or back space and such.  I'll get the hang of it soon enough, I'm sure.

I was actually in the middle of a post on my low fat gumbo recipe when the computer formerly known as mine went down.  I'll try to get that finished up and posted soon.  Right now I am just happy to be back!  <3

Thursday, April 26, 2012

RIP Old Crock Pot... Welcome New (and Improved) Crock Pot!

I love Crock Pots.  I have several of them in different sizes and it's a rare week that I don't cook at least one meal in them.  My favorite for the last several years has been this fella. 

He won my heart because he was a Smart Pot, meaning that I could set a timer, rather than just turning him on High or Low.  I had a choice of High for for either 4 or 6 hours, or Low for 8 or 10 hours.  At the end of that time he would automatically kick over to Warm, where he would stay until we turned him off.  He has spoiled me.  If I wanted to use one of my smaller pots for something, I would really debate over it, because it would require that I pay more attention.  (Such first world problems I have!)

Not one to simply be satisfied with how I am being spoiled, I often wished that I had more options.  For example, when I make baked potatoes, they need to cook for 6 hours on Low.  That was not one of the setting options, so it would require me to actually pay attention and turn it off at the 6 hour mark.  It was grueling!

Time marches on though; he served me well, but finally cooked his last meal and bit the dust last week.  Whatever was I going to do now?  Amazon to the rescue!  (Yay for free shipping with Amazon Prime!)

She's so shiny it's hard to get her picture because of the glare.

This lovely lady arrived a few days ago.  Isn't she beautiful?  So shiny!  She's full of gumbo right now, cooking her inaugural meal. 

She's not just a looker though; she has several features her dearly departed predecessor didn't have.  Most importantly, she's programmable for anything from 30 minutes to 20 hours.  Her digital timer also counts down showing how much time is left, so if I don't happen to remember what time I started the pot, no worries!

She also has this nifty locking lid, so if I want to take her somewhere, I can do so without worrying about spills.

The only thing that would make her any more perfect is if I could program her to cook for a few hours on High, then kick over to Low for a few more hours before going to Warm.  I guess we can't have everything though.  At least not for under $50.

P.S.  I have no idea why the new Crock Pot is a girl and the old one a boy.  I don't even know why I am anthropomorphizing the kitchen appliances today.  ;D

Monday, April 23, 2012

Light and Easy Crock Pot "Hot Links"

When I started this post I took lots of pretty pictures to go with it, but somewhere in the process of dumping them from my camera to my computer, one or the other ate them.  : /  Maybe I can get some pics to add next time I make it, but I won't make you wait for that, so here goes:

One of our favorite meals is barbeque "hot links."  It couldn't be any easier to make.  It has just three ingredients, turkey sausage, barbeque sauce, and water.  I like to make a bunch when I make it, so I use:

4 packages of Oscar Meyer Turkey Sausage (12 ounces each)
1 bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's Barbeque Sauce (or whatever brand you prefer)
Enough water to cover the sausage

I cut each piece of sausage in half.  Each package makes four "links," so I made a total of 16 "links."  I put them all in the Crock Pot, then pour in the entire bottle of barbeque sauce.  I also add enough water to cover the sausage.  I turn the Crock Pot on low and let it cook all day.

These are much lower fat than "real" hot links, although the Sweet Baby Ray's is certainly not the lowest cal sauce around.  We think it is the best though.  :)  If you want to cut the calories more, just pick a lighter sauce.  My mom actually makes a really good barbeque sauce just using equal parts of Diet Coke and catsup.  It's no Sweet Baby Ray's though.

When it is done, we just pop a link in a hot dog bun or wrap a piece of bread around it, then enjoy!

Friday, March 9, 2012

We're still alive here...

...just in case you were wondering.  Just a few days ago my doctor even assured me he expects us to stay that way.  I have not (intentionally) abandoned blogging; I even have a few partially written posts waiting.  2012 has just been a bit of a challenge so far. 

The overriding factor in life has been the plague we have been dealing with since New Year's.  Then there was the loss of our beloved 15 year old cat.  Intermixed with all of this, my house has seemed to be on a self destruct mission lately. 

First there was the washing machine.  That was followed closely by our heater.  We had the important parts of our central air and heat replaced a few months back.  It all seemed to be working hunky dory, until about a month ago, when every time it dipped towards freezing, the heat would kick out.  After numerous attempts, they finally got the problem traced out and fixed.  (All under warranty, YAY!)  It was a bit chilly around here for awhile though. 

On the upside, I have been doing a lot of reorganizing lately.  When my daughter moved into her own place last month, I was left with a whole new room at my disposal, plus a significant amount of extra space in various part of the house, as she took all of her belongings with her.  Her former bedroom/now the den is a fairly small room, but it has an entire wall of built-in shelves.  I have been having a ball loading them up with books that have been living in boxes and such.  I have also been rather inordinately excited about having a Whole! Extra! Closet!  I put a set of shelves in it and have been moving loads of things (primarily craft stuff) (and books) out of my way too full bedroom.  I was making so much progress!  (In between all the coughing, wheezing, and medicine taking)  I was starting to really whip things into shape and organize things in a muuuuch more efficient manner.  Oh happy day!

Then - cue dramatic music - Monday night, a week ago, we noticed a wet spot on the carpet in my bedroom.  A really wet spot.  Tracing it out, it was coming from my closet.  My very full, lots of stuff stored in there, closet.  My, oh crap, there are things stored in there in cardboard boxes!!! closet.  Oh yay, the dining room on the other side of the wall is wet too.  Oh the joys of living in an almost 50 year old house!  Our plumber has a website, so I went and filled out a service request, while my son pulled stuff out of the closet, turned fans on blowing at it, and started wet vaccing. 

To make a very long story a little less long, in tracing out the problem, they found multiple issues.  They got the major leak capped off, but we ended up having to have my bathroom shower torn out.  The tile people have done the tear down and replaced some wood and the plumbers will come back on Monday to do the rest of the plumbing repairs.  Then the tile people will come retile it.  Then some sheetrock will have to be replaced.  And painted.  The insurance guy came out and checked it all out and they are covering a significant amount of it, including replacing my carpet!  (Yay!!!)

I had felt like I was making so much progress on organization and that things were looking soooo much better around my house before all of this happened.  Now there are various boxes and strange things sitting all around the house that have been moved from my closet and bedroom.  Then there is the layer of construction dust.  Lovely.  When it is all over though, I will have new carpet and a refurbished shower, so there is a net win.

So, what have you been up to lately?

Saturday, February 18, 2012


More wheezing, more coughing, more feeling like crap.  Doctor's visit, diagnosis of bronchiolitis.  More antibiotics, more steroids.  Beginning to wonder if this crud is ever going to end.  Seven weeks now.  Never heard of bronchiolitis, googled it.  Like bronchitis, but in the small tubes of the lungs, not just the big ones.  Something babies get.  Seriously?  (I had croup as a teenager too.)  My mother's comment when I said told her that, apparently I am a baby:  "Well, at least you get to whine a lot."  Oh, I got that down.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Wonderful Valentine's Day!

My washing machine went down for the count awhile back.  I have a warranty on it, so I called repair service.  They set up an appointment, but couldn't get to it for almost 3 weeks.  Today, finally, was the day!  Happiness! Hearts!  Flowers!  I have my washer back!!!  I am washing clothes - in my own house!  Thank you Washer Repair Guy, I loooooooove you.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Goodbye Sweet BJ Kitty

BJ in 2006.
Today we said goodbye to our beautiful BJ.  He would have turned 15 next month.

BJ's mother was my sister Whozat's cat.  He, his sister, and two brothers were born on March 28, 1997, on Good Friday.  His sister and one of his brothers stayed with Whozat and Mama Cat.  BJ and his other brother, Joey, became our kitties. 
BJ and his litter mates, with their mama, in 1997.
Lo these many years later, there were only two of the little family left, Whozat's Ringeaux and BJ.  Last month Whozat got the bad news that Ringeaux had kidney disease and was failing fast.  He died on January 23th.  Almost simultaneously, we discovered that BJ was also suffering from kidney disease.  His blood work showed him to be in the very early stages though, so our vet thought we might have a little while longer with him, maybe even another year.  Sadly, it was not to be so.  His health declined rapidly and we said our final goodbyes today.  

Goodbye BJ; you were a sweet, sweet kitty.  We will miss you.