Chilly outside, Chili inside

It’s Texas. It’s February. Therefore the weather is extremely unpredictable. Last night was coooooold so I knew it was time for some chili. Now, I know that some people argue over the true definition of chili, but for the purpose of this post I’m going to go with what is good to me. Your mileage may vary.

First thing’s first: get yourself an Instant Pot. Here’s the one I have

I’m seriously in love with this contraption. My mother-in-law gave it to me for my birthday in 2016 and at first I wasn’t sure how I would use it. In fact, the first thing I made was pureed apples for my infant twins, and that was three months after getting it! But now… Oh yes, I do love my IP. But for today’s story, let’s focus on chili.

Ok so you’ve completed Step 1 (getting said IP)

Step 2: gather your ingredients. Since I have little ones and a picky husband, I went as basic as possible. Two cans of tomato sauce (store brand), one can of pinto beans (store brand), one packet of mild chili seasoning (store brand), and a pound of ground beef (90/10, store brand). Personally I like to sub one of the cans of tomato sauce for a can of stewed tomatoes, but my husband gives me major side-eye if he sees it in the shopping cart (which is why I prefer to shop alone!).

Step 3: dump the entire pack of ground beef into your Instant Pot and turn on the “Saute” setting. Careful now, it gets hot! I find that browning ground beef in the IP takes less time than it does in a traditional skillet on the stove. Maybe that’s just me. Make sure you turn off the Saute setting once your meat is cooked.

Step 4: after your meat is cooked all the way, add the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine.

Step 5: put your IP lid on and make sure the pressure valve is set to “closed.” Turn on “Manual” and set the time to 20 minutes. It take about 10-15 minutes for the IP to build pressure, then the time will start.

Step 6: when the time goes off you can either do a “quick release” of the pressure valve or let the pressure release naturally. I’ve done both for chili and don’t see a difference. Take the lid off and stir.

Step 7: Enjoy! My husband prefers to make Frito Pie while I’m perfectly content mixing my chili with rice.

IMG_1670[1]

So there you have it, my Instant Pot chili. Feel free to mix yours up a bit!

 

 

*post contains affiliate links*

Advertisements

Asthma is hard, yall

It’s been over two months since Arlie’s asthma diagnosis and we’re finally noticing a trend in her symptoms. Basically she has an attack once a month to every six weeks. *Sigh* At least we’re getting better at catching it early and treating it. I just wish it wouldn’t start in the middle of the night.

It’s been a week since her last attack and I think we’re all finally getting back to normal. Of course nothing has effected Zoey; she’s still running around like crazy.

A Hard Goodbye

Christmas Eve my husband and I watched our beloved dog, Chloe, fall repeatedly as she tried to relieve herself outside. In that moment we knew we would have to put her to sleep in the coming weeks.  She had made it to 12 years of age and was beginning to rapidly decline. She would eat but kept losing weight.

After the Christmas festivities I asked my parents to watch the girls for a few days so Michael and I could spend as much time with Chloe as possible. I eventually called the vet and set our appointment for 12/30. The entirety of the 29th was spent snuggling our sweet girl and giving her all the foods she’d ever wanted but could never have. (Of course I gave her chocolate, what was the harm at this point?)

Her final morning came and Michael had to carry her into the vet’s office because she could barely walk. I had been a complete mess (and am starting to tear up again as I type this all out) yet somehow managed to tell the receptionist we were there. The vet explained the process (essentially animals are given an overdose of the anesthesia drugs) and asked if we wanted to be present (obviously we said yes). She gave Chloe a sedative and I laid on the floor with her. I watched as her eyes glazed over and cried as her breathing slowed. It wasn’t until the vet pronounced her gone that I finally let go of her paw.

We chose to have her privately cremated and should receive her ashes sometime in the next week. Ferris, our cat, has been extremely affectionate since realizing her beloved doggy isn’t coming home. She’s even let the girls pet her (and their definition of “petting” means smacking and hitting).

It’s been almost two weeks since Chloe has went to the Rainbow Bridge. The days are slowly getting better, although there are times when I think I can hear her scratching and I immediately start crying again. In a way I’m glad the girls are too young to understand. We’ve made the decision to wait on getting another dog until 1) Ferris has passed (she’s almost 12 and it would be cruel to bring a puppy into a geriatric cat’s home) and 2) when the girls start asking for one.

If you’ve never heard of the Rainbow Bridge, I highly recommend it, especially if you have young ones. And even if you don’t, it’s still a comforting piece.

chloe1230

Chloe 10/1/2005-12/30/2017

 

**contains affiliate links**

FREEDOM!

The girls left this morning for a week (A WEEK???) to stay with my parents. Six nights of blissful, uninterrupted sleep. I predict I’ll be wanting them back in a couple of days. Kidding, I miss them already!

The thing about sending the younglings away is that it’s bittersweet. Sure, you miss them, but it’s also wonderful to get some time alone with the other half, remembering what life was like before two Tasmanian Devils entered our lives. I can actually go to bed whenever I want, be as loud as I want, and devote all my attention to the dog. Er, the husband. Yeah, totally him. (j/k, it’s all about the puppers)

The girls will get some precious time with their grandparents, and since my father’s health has started to decline, it’s even more important. My maternal grandfather passed away when I was three. I have vague memories of him, although to be honest I think some of them were influenced by pictures (not enough imo) and stories I’ve been told. The strongest memory of him that I have is visiting him in the hospital and his funeral. That’s not the memories I want the girls to have of my dad. I’m thankful that my mom takes hundreds (literally) of pictures.

In addition to spending time with my parents, the girls will also get to see their cousins. I was extremely close to my first cousins (Dad’s brother’s daughters), but since moving away I see them maybe once or twice a year. So the entire extended family will get some time with their precious cousins.

In the meantime, I’ll be working on my building my home business and reaching out to potential customers!

Don’t worry though, we’re picking them up on Thanksgiving when we enjoy our family feast. Until then, it’s some sweet, sweet freedom.

Arlie the Amazing Asthmatic

The tl:dr version is Arlie has asthma.

The full story: I wrote a couple months ago how Arlie had trouble breathing and the doctor said it was a virus. Well, it happened again. Last week both girls became sniffly and had runny noses.

Sunday night: I went in 5 times before midnight because Arlie was inconsolable. Finally put her in bed with me.

Monday: Zoey was back to normal. Arlie felt better during the day but her breathing started becoming labored. Michael woke me at 1am to say that he hadn’t slept because of her so once again I put her in bed with me.

Tuesday: I related the issues to my coworkers (who are wonderful momma hens themselves) and they suggested calling the doctor. I managed to snag a same day appointment that afternoon. I went home to get my baby ready and noticed her breathing was fast and shallow and she was wheezing. The pediatrician ran some tests to rule out RSV and ear infections which came back negative. While we were waiting on the tests he gave her a breathing treatment, which she immediately responded to (which is weird because we did the same thing at home and it did nothing).

So based on all of that the pediatrician informally diagnosed her with asthma. I say informally because apparently 1 is too young for a formal diagnosis. So we’ve been doing breathing treatments everyday which has helped. Poor kid.