Getting Started with My New Toy, the Instant Pot

On Friday I turned 35 and one of the awesome gifts I got was an Instant Pot.  Garen got it for me.  He also got me a new diamond bracelet so he’s officially the best husband EVER.  He knew that I’d never buy one of these myself.  Plus, he also knew that I’d never get it out of the box and going on my own.  Technology and I have a love-hate relationship.  I love it but hate how intimidating it is to me.

We got it going yesterday afternoon with the water test and I cooked my first frozen chicken last night.  It worked like a charm.  And just like that, I was hooked…. just like everyone else that has one and has tried it.

Getting Started with my Instant PotToday I took advantage of the day at home and cooked up a round of food to get us started including:

Click on the links above to check out the recipes, all of which turned out great!  I’m just getting started so stay tuned to check out my experiments with my newest toy.

Happy Instant Potting!


Mommy Review Monday: Stride Rite made2play® Phibian Sneaker Sandal

Are your kids hard on play shoes? Mine are. That was really a stupid question. What kid isn’t hard on shoes???

We go through a lot in our house. Fast.

I had been watching Facebook ads for Stride Rite made2play® Phibian Sneaker Sandal for a while but, being the semi-tightwad that I am, I wasn’t wanting to spend that much on a pair of shoes that looked like a glorified mixture of Keens and Crocs.

Finally, I was in Kid to Kid, my favorite local resale shop, when I spotted a pair of pink ones in Anna’s size that looked barely worn. They were still asking $15 for them, which is more than I really wanted to spend for a pair of gently used shoes…. even if they were Stride Rite. I went ahead and did it so I could try them out though.

stride rite made2play® phibian sneaker sandalAnd I’m so glad I did. Here’s why I love the Stride Rite made2play® Phibian Sneaker Sandals:

  • They held up beautifully! That used pair…I actually packed it away to save for the littles- even after Anna wore them for a year and who knows who wore them before that! I have since bought Will a pair. We bought them in the spring last year and they still look pretty good, which is amazing because he’s the hardest on shoes of all of my kiddos.
  • They clean easily. They’re kind of plasticish (I know that’s not a word but you get what I mean) so they wash off easily with just plane water and soap. I’ve never tried washing them in the washer because I haven’t ever needed to, although they say their machine washable so it must be ok!
  • Parents who hate tying shoes over and over again for kids that should be able to tie their own darned shoes- rejoice.  No laces!  Easy-on-and-off is a wonderful feature.
  • They come in pretty cool colors that aren’t all that crazy… or with cheesy characters on them- which is a little rare for easy-on/off shoes.
  • They can wear them with or without socks comfortably.
  • They seem super comfy because my kids wear them all the time….or they can’t find their other shoes.  One of the two is correct.
  • They dry out quickly.  If your kids like to stomp in water or you’re going somewhere wet (think the beach or an amusement park), these are perfect.  Or…if your kids have sweaty, stinky feet like mine do, they’re pretty good for that too.  They smell less than any other pair of tennis shoes we’ve ever bought the kids even though they are being worn more.
  • The price is right.  $35 may seem high but it really isn’t for a pair that lasts an entire year to constant activity and wear, stays comfy, looks good, and can be worn in wet conditions.  Oh, yeah- and can still be handed down to the next lucky kiddo in line.  If they wear them for only 130 days, that’s just over $.26 a day.

Stride Rite made2play® Phibian Sneaker SandalsYou got it “rite” this time, Stride Rite.  Yes, I know…. cheesy.  Will would be embarrassed of that cheesy mom joke!

But seriously, I the Stride Rite made2play® Phibian Sneaker Sandals will be the next pair of shoes I buy for Clara and Kate- in the new metallic purple and pink since those are “their colors.”

For the record- I bought these shoes and am receiving no payment, etc. for this review.  The rambling review is mine, all mine.

Sweet Sunday: Anna’s Got Cookies

Anna has her cookies and has been selling them all weekend.

I’m a little partial but I think she’s the cutest Daisy ever. I mean, really how could you say no to this face?!?

We’ve really had such a fun time and got to enjoy a girls night together on Friday night since the boys and littles went to Hamilton to work on Will’s Pinewood Derby car.

Here’s her sales pitch:

This is her first year to sell cookies and I’m impressed that they have online sales available. If you’d like to buy from Anna, you can click here to have cookies shipped directly to you. How great is that?!?So now I’ve got Girl Scouts cookies in my house. Soooo tempting. Thank goodness I saved a few of my WW weekly points so I could eat quite a few this weekend. Totally worth it!

Photo Friday: New Lens, New Year

One of Garen’s new toys was is a new artistic lens.  So, I’m really just the lady behind the man with the camera so all I can do is be supportive… and buy him cool stuff.

He got some great shots playing with it.  Here’s a few to share for Photo Friday.

Enjoy your weekend!

Mommy Review Monday: Garanimals Play Clothes

For years my kiddos wore mostly Children’s Place and Gymboree clothes. And they still wear a lot of it because we can occasionally get really good deals. Oh, and because Mammy buys them a ton of beautiful clothes from there.  I’m always thankful for whatever we’re given.  Gifted clothes are the best clothes.

But there are times when we do buy our own kids clothes.  And, in the past couple of years, I’ve been drawn to Garanimals, the brand carried by Walmart. I’m actually a big fan. Here’s the pros and cons:


  • Quality. You may be questioning me at this point but I’m telling the truth. We’re hard on our clothes. Really hard. Clara and Kate (the twins) go to day care so we’ve got lots of assorted stains every day and they play pretty rough on the playground. They give the pavement and wood chips a run for their money.  Plus, laundry sorting isn’t our strongest attribute so they get thrown in with other stuff that that might not be the best- think clothes with velcro, etc.  Yet, the Garanimals clothes still hold up really well through it all without fading or piling like the Gymboree and Children’s Place clothes tend to do faster.
  • Cuteness. The clothes are pretty darn cute. Don’t get me wrong. There are some graphic tee designs that I’m not crazy about. But that’s true for all brands. Clara is pretty picky about her clothes and she still likes a lot of them.  Yes, I realize two (tomorrow) is a little early to be picky about clothing but that girl has a mind of her own.

Garanimal Kitty ShirtPrice. When you have to buy as many clothes as I do, price is a factor. The price is right. They’re always priced well. You don’t have to worry about coupons or sales to get a good deal.  Plus, the kitty shirt pictured above is only $3.88. Pair them with this adorable set of French Terry Jogging pants, also Garanimals brand, for $4.88, and you’ve got a pretty cute play outfit for less than $10.

  • Convenience. A lot of time my only time to shop is early morning or late at night. That’s why shopping at Walmart is convenient for me. Plus, now you can shop online with free 2-day shipping. You can’t beat that.  Ok, Ok.  So you can if you find free one-day shipping with Amazon Prime but I bet you’ll have a harder time finding this for cheaper than
  • Mix and MatchableMatchable may or may not be a real word but regardless, you parents know exactly what I mean.  Most of their stuff you can mix and match, as an added bonus, which is helpful when you want to just grab something quickly (or if they’ve decided they’re going to dress themselves).  They even have solid colors that can sometimes be really hard to find (which work great for embroidery and screen-printing if you’re crafty like that- I recommend washing them first though).


  • Walmart. Yes, I realize that I just said above that going to Walmart is convenient but sometimes it’s not. If you go at the wrong time, you’ll find it totally crowded and unorganized.  Some folks don’t like Walmart because their merchandise comes from other countries, etc. but…. I’m not going there since that’s a politically fueled can of worms that I don’t choose to open tonight.
  • Cheesy prints. I also said above that the clothes are cute. And most are but there are a few I think aren’t so cute and some that are just downright tacky. This is really just a personal preference though. What I might think is adorable, you may think is an abomination.  This is play clothes, so does it really matter?!?

Bottom-line:  For our family, Garanimals baby and toddler clothes have been a great value.  I’ll continue to buy them.  In fact, I’m about to buy a few more sets of tights tonight for the girls because they got some adorable shirts for their birthday on Saturday that I need to pair something with.

Here’s a few of the outfits we’ve already got:

Happy shopping!

Makita Training and Pheasant Hunting in Utah

I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend a training and pheasant hunt in Utah with Makita this weekend.

It was a great time and I got to learn a ton about the Makita tools we carry. I’m still constantly amazed that they have soooo many battery operated tools available.

A few of the coolest I found were:

These would seriously be some awesome gifts if you’re looking for Christmas or birthday gifts for your husbands (or wives- I’d personally love the jackets).

On top of that I shot my first pheasant. These birds are really so beautiful that I almost felt guilty. However, I do have a cooler full of meat that I’m bringing back with me so I don’t feel too bad. I’m still amazed at the way the dogs worked the birds and could point them out like they did. So amazing to watch.

This morning I woke up to snow outside, which was beautiful and pretty unexpected for September.

The lodge, the food, the guides, the dogs, and everything at Pheasant Run Outfitters was outstanding. I definitely recommend it to anyone!

Photo Friday: But Wait, There’s More

Here’s a few more from our family vacation that Garen took. Like I said, we all had a great time. 

The kids are leaving to go to their Joe Daddy’s today for a couple of weeks and, man, oh man, am I going to miss these smiling faces!

Check out last week’s Photo Friday and my post about our trip for more pictures and details. 

In case you were wondering, Garen took these with his small camera, a Olympus TG-4 16 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD . It’s been nice for times when he’s not wanted to risk taking his good (and rather large) camera on adventures. He’s told me numerous times that he loves it so I think it might make a great Fathers Day gift for any adventurous types who like photography. It takes in raw images (which I think is something important but I’m NOT a photographer so I can’t really speak to that). I just am glad he takes them! There is a new version, the T-5, out now. I can’t speak to it but you may compare because it is substantially more expensive. 

Happy Photo Friday!!!