Long Weekending

Dear January,

Welp, almost nothing about the start of this new year has gone as planned -- people (and pets - not mine) have been sick, plans and schedules have changed -- it's been an exercise in patience, resilience, positive thinking, and going with the flow! I feel as though I haven't even had a chance to sit down and say, HEY, NEW YEAR.

I have managed to accomplish a couple of the "must-do" items on my list to start the year, though, and that feels good.

First, as previously noted, I joined Weight Watchers again and... Hello, REALITY CHECK! This is my 3rd full day and eyes are wide open. I'm also certainly down a few pounds and, best of all, feeling as though I'm taking control again.


Second, I fired up my brand new INSTANT POT! It was a Christmas gift from Kate & Ali, and I finally had minute to plug it in on New Year's Day. I've used it not once, not twice, not three times... but FOUR already!

I've made a dozen-and-a-half of the most perfectly cooked and easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs of my life (twice), and 3-minute steel-cut oats (twice). One of the most amazing things is that I've actually made the oats in the MORNING... a WORK morning. I never give myself extra time in the morning to make breakfast, but this hardly even takes any time! Throw some stuff in the pot, push a button, wait a few minutes (brush teeth, wash face while waiting, maybe apply mascara), DONE!

I shall soon branch out... next on the list is Coconut Chicken Curry. And yogurt. (I will let you know how it goes!)

Anyway, saving me through this turmoil in the first week of the year, is looking ahead to the third... when Rusty & I will be heading to Florida for a long weekend. Taking advantage of low airfare and a little jingle in our pockets -- and a very strong desire to get away (together) -- we booked a couple of flights to Fort Lauderdale and found a cute Airbnb. We'll actually be spending our time in Lake Worth/West Palm Beach and have scoped out a number of fun things to do... if we want. Mainly, it's about relaxing, warm weather, and the beach. I may have just re-joined WW... but I also just bought a new swimming suit! Who goes to FL without a swimming suit? I've never actually been to Florida before, but I'm guessing that's how it's done!

Right now? I'm staring down a 3-day weekend, and that feels good, too; taking some time to regroup and get organized (and take down the Christmas tree). There is much more to do/continue/finish/begin in the next few months!

So, January, bring it... I can handle you.

Love, Vicki

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Oh, I LOVE my Instant Pot. It makes the world's best hard boiled eggs. It also takes all the trouble out of cooking dried beans.


An instant pot is one of my next purchases. Quick meals are always a good thing! I am also looking forward to a FL vacation at the end of the month. It will be nice to get away from the grayness of PA!


How nice for you to get away to the warm beaches and gentle breezes of Florida! That's what I need...a vacation! So far, I have found nothing that recommends January, except marking its days off on a calendar and seeing February come a little closer.


I've managed to resist an Instant Pot so far, but you are doing an excellent job convincing me that it may be a necessity for all the foods you've named (plus more I'm sure)! We lived in FL (Tampa) for a couple of years and it astounded everyone when we went to St. Pete beach in the winter. If it was below 60° most Floridians were huddled in their down jackets!


Happy 2017 Vicki!


You've been more adventurous with your InstaPot than I have ... and I've had mine for almost a year - you're inspiring me! Florida is wonderful in January (I'm headed there next week) - not quite what this Georgia girl might consider swimsuit weather, but coming from Wisconsin, I'm sure y'all will be swimming! I hope you have glorious weather and can soak up enough sunshine to keep you warm through the rest of January. and February. (and March ;-)


Oh, e joy your get-away! It should be wonderful to soak up some warmth. I've heard so many good things about the InstaPot...I may need to get one!


I love my Instant Pot and I think the hardboiled eggs alone make it the BEST THING EVER. And yes to the quick cooking of steel cut oats and so much more. The yogurt is great but it takes a long time and I tend to run out of steam when it comes time to strain it and jar it up - it's messy! There are some great websites for it and lots (and lots) of things on Pinterest. I've been to Florida many times (I think it's an East Coast thing) and I predict you and Rusty will have a marvelous time.


What a great ode to the month, Vicki!

When you are in Fort Lauderdale, I highly recommend that you enjoy a meal at The Whales Rib in Deerfield Beach ( - I "stumbled" upon it 4+ years ago on my 1st work trip down there & since then have tried to go whenever I can. Simple, tasty food & no nonsense atmosphere - it is a "diners, drive-ins & dives" fact that sign in the window is what drew me in that first Sunday afternoon as I was looking for a "seafood on the beach" place. Also, the gelato shoppe in the hotel around the corner makes for a nice end to the meal - especially as you walk along the beach.

I'm so intrigued by the InstaPot - I look forward to seeing your further adventures with it. I'm not sure if it makes sense for me living solo.


So nice to have a trip to look forward to! I predict you'll have a wonderful time. I'm actually looking to schedule a quick FL get-a-way in March. Have a nice weekend!


Oh, Instant Pot, how I love thee! Yogurt is amazing!! And, I made a pot full of steel cut oats for the week this morning. Super simple and done in 23 minutes total (start to finish).

I look forward to your coconut chicken curry! XOXO

Katie Bankerchick

A winter trip to Fla would be're very lucky.


New starts
New Gifts
New plans
I"ll have to check out the 'Instant Pot'!

Judy in MN

Hooray for you for taking the steps to get back on track with WW. I need to remediate myself, too. As for the Instant Pot, my hubby asked if he could borrow mine--he wanted to make boiled eggs. I think I've created a monster! I love that I can take a cheap chuck roast, sear it right in the pot, sauté some onion and a little garlic, the deglaze the pot with a little wine or shery, then plop the roast back in for about 30-35 minutes to cook. I let the pressure come down naturally for about 15 minutes, then add potatoes and carrots and bring up to pressure for another 8-10 minutes. Let it release pressure naturally again (that's the key to tender meat) and I have delicious pot roast and veggies. You can also put it back on sauté with the lid off and reduce the pan juices and make a sauce or gravy to put on top (not WW friendly, but you CAN do it). Takes about 2.5 hours start to finish instead of having it in the oven for hours and hours to get tender--and if you're forgetful like I am, you can still get it together right after work and eat at a reasonable hour. (Oops, I'm gushing about a cooking tool!). And while it's cooking, you can put your feet up and knit a bit.

Judy in MN

Ermegerd, I really should look for typos before posting from mt iPad! Sherry, amongst others, I would have caught


I have been hearing a lot about the Instapot - will have to check it out.

Jill Ferneau

As soon as I heard on the news about the shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale airport, I thought of you. (I live just outside of Tampa.) Really hoping you weren't there at the time. Best wishes to you and yours.


How did you get you Alabama Chanin skirt to fit so well? When I go by their measurements everything. Is tight. Even bought the book on pattern adjusting by I am still struggling.


My Insta pot is on it's way today! Can't wait to try it out.

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