All posts by sambel203

About sambel203

I am a Wife, Mother, daughter, Aunt and loyal friend. I have always dreamed of being an Author. I wrote a couple short books. 4 are mine, 1 is a story my daughter made up and another one I am about to publish is a story my son made up and illustrated. I am currently working on my next book. Check them out in the links. I am blogging because I love writing and it helps keep me sane. I have challenged myself to write one blog every day I have to work for a year. If you follow my blog, I will follow yours! Thank you for taking the time to check out my stuff. Feel free to send me an email if there is something you would like me to write about. Jess@sirjstudio.com

Reading List and Reviews- The second half of February

When I pick my books I really just google book lists and pick anything that sounds interesting. If I see a book on multiple lists, I will request it from the library too. I like it like that. I never really know what I am about to read. Currently I am on 8 hold lists and I have 2 more books waiting for me to pick up at the library so I have been on kind of a reading spree.

My Reading List - Lavendaire


Damned / Chuck Palahniuk. I really liked this book BUT I read the trilogy out of order. I read the Doomed book first and since I knew a lot of the main characters history already, and what happens next, I really just wanted to know how she died. I know that sounds really gross, but if you read the book, you’ll understand. Should you read this? Yes. But I would recommend reading the books in order. I will be reading the 3rd book whenever it comes out.

Damned (novel) - Wikipedia

Deacon King Kong : a novel / James McBride. I really enjoyed this book. To be honest, it took me a while to get into it. I loved the way it connected all the characters. I loved everyone’s names and nicknames. Mid way through the book, I just wanted to keep reading. By the end of the book I understood why this book is on so many book lists. Would I recommend to read? Yes. I think I might request another book by this author too.

Deacon King Kong' Captures Brooklyn on Precipice of History | Time

Leave the world behind : a novel / Rumaan Alam.This was a book that I didn’t expect. I saw it on lots of lists and finally threw my name on the wait list at the library.  I was not thinking that the book would go in the direction that it went it. It kept me guessing. It was a fast read and kept me wondering what the heck was happening! I recommend giving this book a read. This is another author I think I might request another book from.

Review: Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam - Book Club Chat

Pizza girl : a novel / Jean Kyoung Frazier. My first long job was working at a pizza hut. I worked there for 10 years and ended up being the general manager in the end. That job taught me a lot so I was really excited about this book for no other reason than the name of it. This book made me sad. haha. I enjoyed it. I thought it was funny in some places. It really actually brought me back to my time working in the pizza place when I was right out of high school and unsure of where or what I was doing with my life. And the wanting to just be able to fit into someone else’s life, that made sense to me. That was pretty much the extent of my relating to the book, the other parts were a little nuts and the main character is pregnant. She also drinks a lot. I’m not sure if that would bother other readers. For me, I was concerned but this is a fiction book, so if the author felt it was necessary, then it was. I would say that this book was interesting enough to add to your book list.

Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier

Next up: White ivy : a novel / Susie Yang.  This book I saw on many book lists so we’ll see.

Book Review: White Ivy by Susie Yang - i've read this

What are you reading?? Anything you would recommend?

February Reading 2021

I feel like a lot of books are based in Connecticut or New York. Sometimes it makes me think about why I want to leave this area when a lot of authors seem to think this is an ideal book setting. There is no shortage of epic love stories or psychos or ghosts in these parts, and plenty of history to back it all up.  I want to move to San Diego and a good number of books are based there too… Or end up there. I guess I can leave one story book setting for another one.🙂

On to the book reviews!

Image result for books in connecticut free image


Conjure women : a novel / Afia Atakora. I really enjoyed this book. I had more than a few secrets and kept me interested. It made me sad in parts because I do believe that some parts of this could have been real life back then.  I couldn’t decide if I liked any of the characters besides Bean. I did like the book enough to keep reading to piece it all together. I would recommend giving this book a read.

Image result for conjour woman

The last Mrs. Parrish : a novel / Liv Constantine. This is a really fast read and had twists and turns and secrets. It was crazy and interesting and silly in some parts. Silly as in, these people can’t be for real even though I have no doubt there really are people like that living around here. I liked how the book was divided in half and told the story from each of the two main characters points of view. That was interesting. Would I recommend it? Yes. It’s fast and entertaining but also a little ridiculous.

Image result for the last mrs. parrish

Next Up:

Damned / Chuck Palahniuk. I read Doomed first not knowing that it was the 2nd book in a trilogy. I liked Doomed and kind of wanted to know what the hell happen before the main character dies and goes to hell… So I rented Damned.

Image result for damned

Review for this and a couple others coming next week. What are you currently reading?

Guest Blog! Writing letters to your future husband.

A Love Letter to Tangible Things. | by Amanda Eagleson | Medium

Writing letters to your future husband has become quite the trend over the last few years. Some people love it others absolutely hate it. I myself I am in the middle when it comes to this, I don’t love it but I don’t hate it. Some days it’s fun others not so much it really all just depends on the topic. However it’s very therapeutic for me which is why I think that every woman in their single season should give it a try. If you’re anything like me you’re probably reading this like “ marriage isn’t guaranteed, it isn’t promised that will all get married someday.” I know sis, I know but just hear me out with my reasons on why I think we all should give it a try. 

  1. It could be therapeutic- writing letters to my future husband has been shockingly therapeutic for me. I’ve tried journaling in the past but could never get into it. It actually annoyed me to be honest, how and why do people sit for hours writing their emotions in a book?? It never made sense to me but one day back in April 2019 Jesus told me to start writing so I did. Boy has this change my life. I am not consistent but when I do write I feel so much lighter. 
  1. It helps me stay pure- I am still a virgin. This is not what I wanted at all, in fact before I came to Christ I would make plans with this one guy to lose my virginity. Jesus would kill my vibe every single time by sending my period on the exact same day as the plans. Or the bus would stop working so he couldn’t get to me. Talk about annoyed🤦🏽‍♀️ I now understand why he did it, that guy was not good. Writing these letters reminds me that I want to save myself for one man alone and why. 
  1. It’s building my trust with Jesus- now Jesus himself he’s the one who told me to start writing to my future husband and changed my heart towards marriage in general soooo I don’t think he would do that and not actually give me one. But hypothetically even if marriage isn’t part of his will for my life, I’m writing these letters is helping me known to trust as well as believe in what I pray for.
  1. It’s strengthening my prayer life- Before coming to Christ I only prayed When I wanted something or if I needed him to get me out of a certain situation. Even now as a Christian I don’t know how to go to god about everything, so I write to my husband first then read it back to god.   

If you are planning to give this a shot but aren’t sure exactly what to say or how to start here are some suggestions. 

  • First always date them just in case you read them with him, it’ll be good to see the season God has brought you through and how you handled it.  
  • Tell him how much you love him and can’t wait to meet him. 
  • Share current events that are happening in your life good or bad.  
  • Tell him about the current season Jesus has you in and how you are navigating it.
  • Write down prayers for him. You never know they may bless him in the future. 
  • Share some things the Lord is teaching you with him. 
  • It’s OK to do a little friendly flirting but always, always keep the letters Christ centered😍

I don’t know about you but I personally struggle with being vulnerable, prefer to keep everything bottled up but that’s not healthy especially in marriage. I feel like by writing these letters I already have a safe space and we haven’t even met yet. In there letters God is not only teaching me to be vulnerable but to submit. You may be asking how are you learning to submit through writing letters?? Simple…I’m learning how to let my Guard down, learning how to trust God because I learned that submitting to your husband is submitting to God himself because God called him to lead me but God leads him. 
Blog: https://rollingwithkiki.wordpress.com/ IG: https://instagram.com/justask_kiki?igshid=f0flav3d3scv

February 2021 Reading

Hi! I can’t believe it’s February. My son’s school quarter is ending this week and then they are half way done with the year. I can’t believe it’s been a year almost since we have all been home. My friend who works at a hospital was saying that a year ago they just started getting the emails about Covid. It’s crazy.

Murphy to Announce Today Whether Schools Will Be Closed Through End of Year  | NJ Spotlight News


I filled in the school forms for the kids. We’ll be home for the rest of this school year. I really hope that come fall, they will be able to go back. My job is still remote. So is my husbands. For my job there is no talk yet of when to return. My boss seems to think that come summer we’ll all be heading back in. I think that’s  a little optimistic. Especially since we’re only on the second phase of vaccine sign ups right now. I did make my appointment but it’s not for another 3 weeks. That was the earliest I could find and I still feel bad about that. I think that there are probably other people that need it before me. My boss and his boss both said that if you get a chance to take it, and you want it, you should go ahead and get it. I will go in a few weeks. I think even if we do start going back into the office in the summer, it will be a staggered entry and probably not everyone at once or at the same time. We’ll see what happens.

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart — Open Letters Review

I have been reading up a storm. I finished Shuggie Bain and I really liked this book. I do recommend picking it up. It’s not a happy book and for a lot of it, I truly felt bad for the main character. I also really understood other characters in the book. In the beginning, getting used to the Irish slang, pronunciation and how they talked slowed me down a little. Some of it I had to read a couple times before I got it. I did get the hang of it and in the end I was glad that it was written like that. I think it’s really interesting to read how other places in the world speak.

Discussion questions for 'The Lying Life of Adults' by Elena Ferrante

The lying Life of adults was a good book. I definitely identified with the main character in that she was a 13 year old girl navigating that terrible time of new emotions, hormones and between growing up and not quite there. The ending made me feel sad and hopeful for Giavanni. I would add this to your list if you are looking for a interesting read.

Doomed by Chuck Palahniuk | Pickadolla

This book was nuts. I really liked it. I did not realize that it was part of a trilogy though and this was the second book. The third one I hope is still being written. I am going back to read the first book “Damned”. It’s about a 13 year old girl who is in hell and gets stuck on earth after not making it back to hell on Halloween. It’s just a really crazy story and it’s gross and funny and ridiculous but very entertaining. Yes, pick it up!

Happy February - Home | Facebook

That’s it for me. Happy February! Nothing much is going on for us this month. What about you? Any plans? Have you read any great books lately?

Reading and reading some more

Hi! I have been on a sort of health kick but then last weekend I fell off the wagon, rolled  into a ditch and I have been trying to dig myself out of it. It’s not working that well. I had wine and a burger yesterday and I have zero extra points remaining for the week (until Friday). I haven’t lost any weight in over a month…

Las Vegas eateries offer free burgers if you have correct name | Las Vegas  Review-Journal

But I haven’t gained anything back either so I guess that’s a win. Anyway, I’ll get back to it. I just need to refocus on my goal. Which is 20 more pounds by September. I am going to be 40 and I don’t want to enter my 40’s where I am right now. I have been looking at natural wines lately and I have tried a couple.

Usual wines

I just signed up for a 2 month subscription to USUAL wines. I ordered it to try last month because I liked that it comes portioned already. I tend to open a bottle of wine and then drink all of it. So I liked the portioned controlled idea. I am always hesitant on signing up for any subscription, but I did. I can cancel after two shipments if I want and the first one is coming Thursday. So we’ll see.

The 2020 VegOut Vegan Holiday Gift Guide - VegOut Magazine

I also ordered Wonderful Wines. I got the starter pack and I just finished all 3. The reds are my favorite but I did like the super dry white on New Years Eve at my sisters. I just ordered another 3 bottles last night.

Dry Farm Wines: Why are we different? | Milled

I am thinking about trying Dry Farms Wines too. I just really want to drink a wine with less additives, added sugar and sulfites so that’s what I have been looking for. I might order Dry Farms wines next month to try them out. Has anyone tried these already? What did you think?

10 Free Art Books to Read while Social Distancing | The Metropolitan Museum  of Art

I have also bee reading like crazy. I just finished:The girl with the louding voice : a novel / Abi Daré.

THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING VOICE by Abi Daré, read by Adjoa Andoh -  Audiobook extract by Hodder Books

I really enjoyed this book. If you get a chance, I would recommend reading it. It’s crazy to think that this is based in 2000’s. I loved the main character. I was rooting for Adduni. It made me angry all the things that happen to her and she’s only 14.

In Five Years: A Novel by Rebecca Serle  https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B07TFB5VWB/ref=cm_sw_r_pi_dp_U_x_Te3rEb1A36BHA  | Books, Books to read, Book club

In five years : a novel / Rebecca Serle, Lindsay Sagnette.I liked this book. It was a super fast read and it turns sad but happy. I couldn’t decide if I liked the main character or not. I did like her best friend. I would recommend this book to read with some tea under a heated blanket. 

Barnes & Noble on Twitter: "Join us #Friday March 13th at 7 PM for our YA  Book Club featuring A Good Girl's Guide to Murder and score a #free  #giveaway #BNSpired #booknerd #

A good girl’s guide to murder / Holly Jackson.This book was alright. I got wrapped up in it in the beginning and then I felt like it was getting to a point of like “Really, what’s next?” Like almost too much. Kind of like when I read Twilight and I was like this book is terrible but I kept reading to see what could possibly happen next. That’s how I felt about this book. My real only connection was that it’s based in CT and so I know some of the towns it referred to. Someone works for a non profit in Norwalk. I work for a non profit in Norwalk… That was my only connection to this book and I am glad it doesn’t have more books to follow. Read if you liked Twilight.

The Opposite of Loneliness eBook by Marina Keegan - 9781476753621 | Rakuten  Kobo United States

The Opposite of loneliness : essays and stories / Marina Keegan.I enjoyed this book but I was really sad reading it because I know the author died in an accident at a young age. I also got annoyed because she goes to Yale and has all this opportunity and it got me thinking about what if I went to a good college? Would I have these interesting conversations with people? I never even gave myself that option because I was working. Regardless of my thoughts, Marina was a great writer and while I didn’t enjoy all the stories in the book, I liked them enough. I would recommend reading.

The Four Agreements Official Website

The four agreements : a practical guide to personal freedom / Miguel Ruiz.This book I picked because I think I landed on a books recommended by Megan Markle and I was like what does she read? This is a short book and it annoyed me. Haha. That’s the best way to put it. I got the let things go, focus on you, you can only control you, blah blah. But I didn’t like the don’t worry about other people. I don’t get that so maybe that’s my problem. Try only your best everyday. I felt like this was a basic book of life advice. I don’t read a lot of self helpish books though. I think the last one I read was the Tao of Pooh when I was a teenager…. I recommend the Tao of Pooh. That’s all I can say.

Benjamin Hoff - The Tao of Pooh.pdf

That’s pretty much what I am up to. I only really go to the library and the grocery store… And Fed Ex once a week. I am still doing Rent the runway. I can’t help it, I really like having new things to wear even if it’s just to walk the “runway” know as aisle 5 at the grocery store, it makes me happy and lord knows we all need the little things right now.

See Karl Lagerfeld's Most Creative Chanel Fashion Shows | Time

Have you read any good books lately? Any recommendations to add?

Happy 2021!

Hey! Happy almost New Year! I am praying 2021 allows us to start seeing our friends and family again. I can wait till it’s safe for everyone. I just really hope that come summer, we’ll be ok to at least have small BBQ’s.

2021 Happy New Year" photos, royalty-free images, graphics, vectors &  videos | Adobe Stock


This new year celebration will be … Nothing much. I bought a bottle of champagne but who knows if we’ll be up at midnight to toast. I am more than fine if we just toast on Friday. I have no plans to make anything special, we’re just going to chill out. We spent Christmas with my sister and niece, who have also been staying home since the beginning of December. We might go to their house and order something for dinner. We’ll see.

How to Have a Quiet New Year's Celebration - Mapping Megan


For resolutions, I am not making any big or really new ones. I have been on weight watchers since October and lost 12 pounds so far. Since Thanksgiving I have kind of just been maintaining that loss, which I am fine with for now. I am hoping to step it back up January 2nd by adding the elliptical or rowing machine in a couple times a week. I have been waking up before everyone and doing yoga. I really enjoy the stretching and my back has felt a lot better. I have 20 more pounds that I want to lose so I am focused on trying for 1 pound a week. I’m going to be 40 this year so I really just want to get healthy for my 40’s. I’m going to try. We’ll see what happens.

I am hoping to start to plan a couple vacations but it really depends on what’s going on with Covid and travel.

Self-Care | Healthy UNH


After Christmas I got really sad. I just was so looking forward to Christmas and it was such a great day! The day after I just felt like “What’s next?” Nothing. Haha. I know I am being a little dramatic but it just felt like everything else to look forward to is so up in the air or far away. I’m honestly a little sad still but I am going to focus on getting my health on track. I want to learn how to cook a few new things. I am going to step up my fitness a little. I am going to go ahead and plan those vacations and pray that we’ll be in a place that we can go.

Change Year 2020 To 2021 On Sand Beach. Ocean Wave And Lettering.. Stock  Photo, Picture And Royalty Free Image. Image 152994689.


That’s pretty much it for me! How about you? What are your new years plans? Any resolutions?
Happy New Year!

Christmas 2020

I’m counting down the days.🙂

Holiday Christmas photos, royalty-free images, graphics, vectors & videos |  Adobe Stock


I am so excited this year. I think it’s just something to look forward too. Also, almost the end of the year and I am really ready for this year to be over. I am ready for a new president. I am ready for a vaccine eventually, once all the important people are taken care of. I am ready to be able to plan a vacation again soon with our friends and family. I am ready for a thanksgiving with everyone and to be able to celebrate birthdays together. I would love to see my mom again for a bit and my in law’s. I want to have book club with boozy brunches and lots of laughing. I’m ready.

That's Normal Boozy Book Club is BACK ... Again - That's Normal


My sister’s birthday is on Christmas Eve. Her job went remote again just in time for her to quarantine for 2 weeks so her and my niece can come celebrate! It sucks because they cut her hours but I’m happy because they can come over and hang out. For her birthday I ordered a Carvel Ice Cream cake and we’ll order Lomo Saltado for dinner. Then we can rent a movie to watch. After they leave, I’ll make some cookies with the kids for Santa and hopefully we can call it an early night.

Heart Touching Happy Birthday Wishes for Sister & Sister-in-Law


The kids kind of believe in Santa still. They both know that my husband and I do a lot of the gifts, but they think Santa brings a couple. They’re 9 and 11 and they go to public school. They have been on the fence about Santa for years. When they ask I just tell them that he’s real if they believe he’s real. I still believe in the spirit of Santa.

Is Santa real? The best way to respond when your kids ask - Care.com


Then Christmas! I feel like I went a little over board this year for everyone. I just wanted something to really look forward to, and I am really looking forward to giving everyone things and hanging out. We had it because we didn’t go on vacation at all (staycation didn’t really count). Also, my husband and I were lucky and our jobs went full remote pretty easily. We are fortunate, I know. I am reminded to thank god every morning when I read the news. My sister and niece will be coming back over after they wake up and do their morning Christmas stuff. We will exchange gifts, relax and I’ll cook. This year it’s prime rib with smashed potatoes, carrots, mac and cheese, biscuit’s and monkey bread. I’ll make brownies and cookies for dessert. Then we’ll probably watch another movie or some of those extreme shows and hopefully go to bed on the early side.

Free Merry Christmas Buffalo Plaid Trees – TopFreeDesigns


That’s pretty much it for our Christmas this year. What are your plans?

Instant Pot Duo Crisp and Air Fryer Review

I know I am really late for this review. I always put off getting an Instant pot because I have a lot of the appliances that it is supposed to replace. The Instant Pot  Duo we purchased is an 11 in one 6 quart appliance. I bought one for my mom for Christmas and a couple cookbooks that I found on Amazon.  It went on sale for $50.00 less the week after I bought my mom hers. I decided that I would buy my own and then we can exchange recipes and both learn how to use it together.

Duo Crisp + Air Fryer 6 & 8 Quart - Instant Pot

I am pretty sure if my mom has no one to talk to about how to use it, it will stay in the box in her dining room and collect dust. So I am doing us both a favor. First thing, what does it do??? Everything. Slow cook, sauté, pressure cook, air fry, dehydrate, steam, sous vide, warms, roasts, bakes and broils. Whew, that’s a lot. 

Presents from parents or Santa? And other important Xmas gift rules -  MadeForMums


We have a pressure cooker… Although I am scared to use it so I am actually a little excited about not being so scared anymore. We have a slow cooker. We have a dehydrator. We have an oven and stove top.

Pin on Recipes


I was going between the instant pot and the ninja foodie. We have a few ninja appliances and I really like them. The reason I picked the instant pot was because I was originally sending it as a gift to my mom and I read that the controls were easier to use on the instant pot and the ninja foodie took up more counter space.

CRISP. Tech : Instant Pot® Duo Crisp™ + Air Fryer Review | CRISP.


I like the fact that you can do everything in ONE pot. You can use different cooking methods on one dish. The Instant pot is pretty big. I need to figure out what I can take off my counter so I can put this in it’s place. I plan on using it a lot in the next few weeks so it will stay on the counter… Somewhere.

7 Smart Ideas for a Picture Perfect Pantry - Harrisburg Kitchen & Bath


Day one: We just wanted to test it out so we made Air Fried Steak Fries. We put 2 tablespoons of oil over some frozen steak fries and sprinkled them with salt. Threw them in the basket set it to air fry at 400 for 8 minutes. Tossed them and set it for another 8 minutes. To my husbands and my surprise, they were cooked and crispy! I put mine in a salad with a hamburger patty and thousand Island dressing. I really enjoyed the crunch although it was a dry crunch. You know how when you oil fry something it’s like a wet, oily crunch? None of that, which is fine. I am trying to lose weight and it’s Air Fried, duh.. no oil so no oily crunch. I’m down with it. Clean up was pretty easy too so I will definitely use this for fries in the future. We did end up making steak fries again with 3 table spoons of oil and that helped them not be so dry. We think maybe trying regular fries might be better in order to get more of the crispy, slightly oily crunch because steak fries are so big. We’re going to play around with it.

Air Fryer Steak Fries - Fork To Spoon


Day Two: Korean Short Ribs – WW Recipe. So easy! Both my husband and I really enjoyed this. But meat over rice in a bowl with plenty of fresh veggie… Yes, please! This recipe is a keeper and I loved how simple it was to mix everything together, dump it in the pot and pressure cook.

Korean-Style Short Ribs | Williams Sonoma


Day three: Oxtail. I used this recipe.https://www.myforkinglife.com/jamaican-oxtails

This just smelled amazing when cooking in the pot. This is, I think, the biggest reason why I am loving this so far. I can sauté and pressure cook in the same pot! Just less stuff to clean up overall. I love that there are so many recipes out there too. And I love that I am no longer scared to pressure cook. I have a feeling this will lead to a lot of delicious dinners in our future! This was a keeper. Both my husband and I really enjoyed this. This was the first time I ever made oxtail and they didn’t just melt into the gravy. The meat pulled right off the bone but it was still chunks. I am thrilled that I finally made good oxtail. Now I get to play with the recipe a little and make it my own.

Instant Pot Oxtail (Pressure Cooker) | Tested by Amy + Jacky


Day four: Whole Roasted Chicken. I am really excited about this. This it the recipe I used: https://natashaskitchen.com/instant-pot-whole-chicken So freaking good. I loved this chicken and it was my first time ever making a whole chicken. It came out super juicy.  I told my husband I wasn’t going to make the gravy but we decided to air fry it to crisp the skin a little so I had to drain the juices at the bottom. I figured I should just pour the  juice into a pan and at least try the gravy and I am really glad I did. My husband loved it. He actually went back and got more, twice. I know I keep saying it but I love that we can do everything in this thing. I told my husband that it would actually be cheaper to just buy a roasted chicken at the grocery store. The raw chicken was  a little over $5.00 and the roasted chickens at the grocery store are $4.99. We both agreed that the chicken I made was better than the grocery store roasted chicken. This recipe will be made again and again and I will be adding my own spin on some of the ingredients to customize to our tastes. Side note: When searching for a 4lb chicken the roasting chickens were all 5-6 lbs. I bought a fryer chicken because it was the only one I could find that was the right weigh (about 4 lbs). A fast google search told me the only difference is that fryer chickens are younger and weigh less  but they can be roasted or fried or anyway you want to cook them. Roaster chickens are older and usually weigh 5-6 lbs.
One of my friends is on the fence about getting this because she has a bunch of separate appliances already. When I told her how great the chicken came out, she asked how long it took. It took about an hour to cook, release the pressure and then air fry. She said that she could roast a chicken in the oven in about an hour. Ok. I would still recommend the instant pot.

Instant Pot Whole Chicken and Gravy (VIDEO) - NatashasKitchen.com


Day five: Pork belly. I used this recipe:https://www.pressurecookrecipes.com/instant-pot-crispy-pork-bell It wasn’t hard to make. I forgot to brush on the oil before air frying and was worried it wouldn’t be crispy. I brushed on the oil and put it on for another 10 minutes to air fry and then I was worried it would be dry or burnt. It was delicious. I do not think I will make this often only because I will gain all the weight I just lost! ( 15 lbs so far!)  I am proud of myself that I can make a pretty tasty  pork belly now. My husband liked it too. He kept snacking on them and saying they were good and that unless I want him to get fat, I shouldn’t make these that often! I agree! I do like this recipe but I think I will add my own ideas to the mixture and play around with this recipe a little but.. but like every other month, or smaller batches so it’s not so tempting to eat a lot.

Instant Pot Crispy Pork Belly (Siu Yuk) | Tested by Amy + Jacky


Day 6: Rounding out my first full week. Soy sauce chicken. I used this recipe:https://www.pressurecookrecipes.com/instant-pot-soy-sauce-chicken-rice/When I googled it I also noticed that another site I use a lot has a recipe too:https://rasamalaysia.com/ginger-soy-chicken-instant-pot/I think I might try this one next time only because I like a lot of her recipes. I think it came out pretty good. I did not let it rest which the recipe says you should. I was starving so I just dug in. I will be making this again. The master broth is currently on my counter, I just have to figure out how to save it without taking up so much space in my fridge. My husband liked this too

Instant Pot Soy Sauce Chicken (Pressure Cooker) | Tested by Amy + Jacky

To find my recipe’s I google whatever my ingredient, how I am cooking it and then pick between the recipes that have the highest reviews. Sometimes I will pick two and sort of combine them together.

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker: Review - The Agent Insurance


The thing with the instant pot is of course you can cook your food in other ways but why would you want to? For me, I was nervous using a pressure cooker and I wanted an air fryer. I love that I can pressure cook something, get all that flavor and then air fry it for the crisp. This is totally worth for me. I am thinking about buying one for my brother too for his birthday in February. I think he would like it as a one pot to clean and delicious healthy dinner to eat. This has also given me more confidence in my cooking. I have tried to make oxtail and short ribs both on the stovetop and in the slow cooker before and they always fell apart on me. This past week I have made both using the instant pot and they came out delicious. I can’t wait to make more. I plan on keeping this on my counter and using it at least a couple times a week. If you are on the fence about getting one, I would recommend it.

9th Birthday Plans

My daughter is turning 9 this week. I can’t believe it. I feel like time is moving so fast.

Happy Birthday Images: Happy Birthday Images For 9 Year Old Boy

Since we are in a self imposed lock down of sorts – Covid rates are going up, up, up around us so we are not going out – we are planning a few fun things at home. First, she’ll have her birthday scavenger hunt!

Treasure Hunt Clues for Kids

This is a tradition we started when the kids were small and they really look forward to it every year. Her new bed that we ordered back in August from pottery barn teen is FINALLY scheduled to be delivered. It was on back order until October, and then they said it was still backordered until November… and then it finally arrived and we could schedule the delivery. Turns out the first available day was her birthday so it works out! Her scavenger hunt gifts are all little things to decorate her room too… So for her bday she’ll be getting a tween bedroom makeover.

Sleep & Study® Low Loft Bed Set | Pottery Barn Teen

She also proved for a year that she was responsible enough to take care of a bunny by researching them and everything that needs to be done to take care of a bunny… and keeping her room clean. She picked up Captain Charleston Carrot two weeks ago and he’s really the sweetest little/big thing. He keeps her company while she’s doing her school work and I get to sneak in throughout the work day and pet him too.🙂

Champagne d'Argent Rabbits | Mad Hatter Rabbits & MicroFarm

I am going to pick up an Oreo Ice Cream cake from the grocery store and then she gets to choose where to order take out from. Usually we would go for hibachi but Covid means delivery. Maybe she’ll still want hibachi.

Hibachi Chicken and Vegetables Recipe - Japanese Steakhouse Cuisine

That’s pretty much it for her 9th birthday plans. Happy birthday to my baby girl. I can’t believe it’s been 9 years already… And I can’t believe she’s only 9 years old.

To the Best Daughter in the World - Happy Birthday Card | Birthday &  Greeting Cards by Davia

She’s the funniest, sweetest, most thoughtful little boop and I am really happy to be her Mama.

Blogging – 2 years later and what I learned…

Whelp. It’s been 2 entire years. I am so proud of me! I love blogging, I really do. I made $10.00 so far in ads. Only 18 more years before I can cash out. haha. I sold zero books through here and have received zero job offers. Not that I was actively pursuing any of that. I guess in my mind I had hoped that it would just happen. It did not.
Happy 2nd Birthday to P + P - Popcorn and Pandas
That’s fine with me though. I blog because I enjoy it. I stopped trying so hard this year and it shows in my numbers. I’ll be down about 1000 views for the year if my readership keeps up through December. I don’t beat myself up anymore trying to promote, promote, promote. That is seriously my least favorite part of blogging. It’s necessary, but so time consuming. I finally gave up on the Author Facebook page. I deleted it last week. I started Facebook again for friends and family and maybe I will post about my books or blog on there occasionally. We’ll see. I kind of like having this little private corner of mine.
A Blog Isn't a Blog, It's a Business
I upgraded last year to a business plan on WordPress. It was my Christmas gift to myself hoping that I could install a lot of plug ins and be more easily found on the internet. I installed a few plug ins and I have no idea if it worked. I do know that I was going to go back to the professional plan because I didn’t see any real pick up in traffic and was told that if I did, I would lose everything that I did for the last year. I am basically stuck in this plan until I decide to leave this platform. Which I might still do. I am annoyed I didn’t know I would lose everything. I invested a lot of time in this and I would really be super upset if I lost any of it. So, I am stuck for another year. I’ll see what happens. Maybe I’ll just keep it and make sure I catch the 50% off deals so it’s not so expensive. Who knows.
Beginner's Guide: How to Safely Update WordPress (Infographic)
The biggest thing I learned is unless you have time to invest in it full time… Do it for fun. Do it because you like talking to people. Do it because you love writing and it’s a fun project for you. I realized in the last 2 years that while I would love to make money off of it, if I don’t, that’s fine too. What I love the most about this is seeing people react to my writing. That’s really what this was all about to me. Becoming more confident in my writing and myself. That feeling is worth more than anything. So thank you. Thank you for reading and liking and commenting. Thank you for giving me the courage to keep going. Thank you. After 2 years of blogging, my biggest achievement is you being here. 🙂
Thanks for Reading” Celebration during our Thanksgiving Lunch! – Claxton  Parents Online