Happy weekend! I hope you’ve had a great week. I am pleased to report I’ve been feeling a little more like myself the last several days – so much so I thought I would put up a new Seven for Saturday post. Here’s what’s been happening around here lately.
1 ~ I am 50!
This is my first real blog post since turning the big 5-o. While I didn’t spend it in Paris as planned, I did enjoy several days of being spoiled right here in wine country, thanks to my sweet husband. I will be telling you all about that in a future post.
Turning 50 right after/during a disaster was interesting. On one hand, I barely noticed the end of my 40s but on the other, as my husband pointed out, turning 50 added to the many changes that have occurred since October 8th.
All these recent changes are sure to lead to lasting shifts within me. Anticipating the changes initially scared me but now I am embracing them. I’ve noticed my interests are veering toward health and fitness, cooking, home decor and organization and that’s okay with me! I haven’t felt like being social lately, which is probably normal. I am sure that will change eventually so I will just keep rolling with it and force things. I guess you could say I am in a nesting phase. I am perfectly happy being at home.
2 ~ Exciting Family News
I mentioned in a previous post that my eldest stepdaughter and her boyfriend lost the home they were renting to the fires. They were able to save their pets and a few personal items but everything else was destroyed. They got right to work looking for a new house to rent. Sonoma County already had a housing shortage, and with thousands of additional people now without a home, the situation has only gotten worse.
Luckily they found a lovely home to rent and have already moved in. Right before the move, Kayla’s boyfriend proposed to her! 💍It’s been an exciting last several weeks to be sure, filled with highs and lows. We are so happy for Kayla and her fiancé, Forest.
3 ~ Office Re-do Back on Track
Before the fires, I was working on redoing our office. Bill painted the room all white, I bought a new desk, a matching cabinet and a new ceiling light. I picked out artwork to hang on the walls and was planning on searching for a rug. Then the fires happened and all that went by the wayside.
Rather than looking for a rug, I ended up on a reading chair search. I found so many I liked it was hard to choose the right one for me. I finally decided on this one and it arrived a couple of days ago.
I am keeping with the gray and white theme in the office and let the artwork I will hang add the color. Still on my list is the rug so I can cover most of that beige carpet. I also want to find a short side table to go next to the chair and either a floor lamp or a small table lamp for reading.
4 ~ North Bay Woman Magazine
The latest issue of North Bay Woman magazine came out in late October. I wrote two articles this time. One about procedures you can do now that will have you looking your best by the holidays and another that included several things to do around the North Bay for the holidays.
You can purchase your copy at select markets in Marin County or ready the digital issue here. My articles are on pages 11-12 and 44-45.
5 ~ Instant Pot
I was seeing posts online about the Instant Pot and didn’t know what it was beyond something you cook with. Was this an infomercial product? Just another slow cooker? What is all the fuss about?
I became curious enough to do some research. It’s a pressure cooker, rice cooker and a slow cooker that you can program. Plus it sautés, warms, sterilizes, makes yogurt and hard boiled eggs, steams, and bakes cakes.
I read lots of reviews and decided an Instant Pot was something I wanted to try. My Instant Pot Ultra arrived last Sunday then it sat there for 5 days until Tori prodded me to make something with it. I admit I was a bit intimidated at first. The whole pressurized cooking thing – what if I did it wrong and the thing exploded?I read that this pressure cooker is not like the stove top version and I didn’t need to worry about explosions.
Tori and I paged through an Instant Pot cookbook and picked out a recipe for Carrot Parsnip soup. We had all the ingredients except for parsnips so we skipped the little buggers and just added a few more carrots instead. We’re not fans of the old parsnip anyway.
In about 30 minutes, including prep time, we had hot, delicious soup! It is incredibly fast. It only took 7 minutes of pressure cooking.
Clean up was a cinch – just the pot, my immersion blender, a cutting board and knife. Feeling confident, I decided to try cooking two chicken breasts on the pressure cooking setting. I dropped them in the pot, added enough water to cover them, threw in a teaspoon of salt, secured the lid and set the pressure cooker on high for 12 minutes. That’s it! Now I have cooked chicken I can use in a main dish tonight.
I have about 50 other things I want to try in the Instant Pot including pulled pork, pot roast, hummus from dried chickpeas, and even ginger ale!
Do you have an Instant Pot? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it and find out what your favorite things to make in it are.
6 ~ New Dishwasher
Shortly before the fires, our dishwasher started acting strangely. Sometimes it would start and sometimes it wouldn’t. By the time we returned to our home after our 11 day evacuation, it was dead as a doornail. Not only was it 11 years old but it was made by Jade, a line of high-end large appliances that had since changed from residential machines to only commercial. This meant that we could not get parts for it unless we scoured eBay and got lucky. We decided to buy a new one instead as we anticipated future problems and getting parts.
Several friends recommended Bosch to us so we went with that brand.
I love the way it looks! It’s so sleek and modern. And it’s whisper quiet – we can barely hear it when it’s running. A red light shines on the floor when it’s in operation, which is helpful.
It says it can wash wine glasses so I am going to give that a try. I never put anything delicate in our old dishwasher.
7 ~ Exercise as Medicine
I can’t tell you how many times post-evacuation I spent trying to drag myself onto the treadmill. I just didn’t have the energy or motivation. Thankfully, two weeks ago I found a little spark and decided to get back to it. It has helped me feel so much better. I am happy to say I have been exercising consistently ever since.
I also started private Pilates lessons in Santa Rosa. I need to strengthen my core and work on my left shoulder which has been “frozen” for over a year. Because of the shoulder pain, my upper body strength has really diminished so I want to work on increasing that as well.
After several private lessons, I will switch to a group class. It’s important to me that I get the basics down properly before jumping into a class setting.