Summertime Starts!

comments: 35





















It's Andy Paulson's birthday today! Unfortunately he has to work! We went to Oaks Park on Saturday instead and had such a nice time. The weather was absolutely perfect — I think every other memory I have of Oaks Park is scorching hot, so this was so nice. It's an old-fashioned amusement park and it is a lot of fun, especially with little kids. It's one of Andy's favorite places. I love it, too. Happy birthday, my dearest love. I hope this year is filled with so much joy.

We've been busy doing I don't even know what, just cruising into the end of the year and doing all of the end-of-the-year things, carnivals and dance performances and final swimming lessons, etc. Andy and I were trying to make our favorite honey-chipotle chicken tacos in the slow cooker; it had been plugged in for about an hour when we realized it wasn't getting hot at all. It was a very old slow cooker and we didn't even try to diagnose it. Those things make me nervous to begin with. So on the way to pick up Meems from school we stopped at Target intending to get a new slow cooker. We came home with an Instant Pot instead. I honestly hadn't even considered getting one, but we saw that it had a slow cooker setting in addition to the pressure cooker feature and so we grabbed it. Late to the trend, as usual, but we're making up for it with a) a ridiculous amount of enthusiasm and b) five Instant Pot meals in about six days. We made the tacos, as well as this jambalaya, Indian butter shrimp, coconut curry chicken, and the lemon–poppy seed breakfast cake (which I turned into Andy's birthday cake) from this book. I was not a big fan of the cake as a birthday cake. It was kind of like a steamed bun. It would have been great for breakfast! Ha. It sure was cute when it came out though.


We ate it just the same and had such a wonderful birthday weekend! XOXOXO


Happy birthday to Andy!!! God grant him many more years! Sounds like you had a wonderful time at the park and are eating some really great food! yay! Hope you all have a wonderful day today!

A very Happy Birthday, Andy!!! And many, many happy returns of your special day! Your cake looks so yummy.

I'm so happy to hear about your Instant Pot experience. We'd love to purchase one but am so confused as to which one would be the best. Do you have any suggestions? Which one did you purchase?

Love the snap shots of your time at Oaks Park. I remember "Marshal Scotty's playland park" in Lakeside CA, near San Diego. It was a real old time kiddies park with loads of fun rides. When our daughter was Meem's age we'd visit there, now our daughter is 48, so it's been a very long while ago.

Again, enjoy your birthday, Andy! Hugs XOXO

Happy Birthday to Andy! It looks like he had loads of fun at the amusement park. I'm always late to the trend with things, so I don't have an Instant Pot and really don't want one. Of course, I only purchased my first food processor this winter and still haven't used it! :-)


Ohhhh, you’re going to love the Instapot! It’s so much fun and makes it possible to have steel cut oats in just a few minutes! If you pop over to there’s fabulous recipes for instapot spaghetti and cheesecake, not to mention how easy it makes hard boiled eggs! Happy birthday to Andy as well. Your weather looks lovely!

Happy birthday, Andy! I love my instapot. It makes the best boiled eggs. I also just tried this recipe and the pork came out fantastic! I'm super picky about pork loin and it was perfectly tender with a great flavor.

Happy birthday to your husband!! Glad he got to go to a place that he likes to have fun! Love that she has bangs now and look at those permanent new pearly whites!! The cake looks so pretty! Wonder what are your favorite foods for Spring/Summer. We don't have an instant pot yet but hey at my age it's expected to be slow to catch up.

Happy Birthday, Andy! Once you do hard boiled eggs in the Instant Pot, it's worth that alone if you never cook another thing in it! Magic!! Reading this makes me want to take my grandkids to Oaks Park. We haven't been there since our girls were little. I have an old pair of roller skates that were my mom's that are in a wooden carrying case that says Oaks Park on the outside. Treasure!

Happy Birthday, Andy! I'm glad you had fun at Oaks Park. I have only been there to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of friends when the rides were not running, but your great photos encourage me to want to go back with youngsters when the rides are running. Hope you have a grand finale to the school year! xx

Happy Happyday Andy! It is astonishing to look at pictures of your beautiful girl and her almost big girl teeth. I've been following you (quietly) for years, long before she was a dream. I grew up in Oregon and have always liked your views of it. Congrats on your lovely life. Becky has great IP recipes (don’t let the name fool you—just healthy, simple, real food). So many of my go-to IP soups are from there. Also can’t recommend enough for hard boiled eggs, beans (from dried, no soaking!), and steel cut oats. And the sweet potatoes—oh my, the most amazing, silky texture. *chef’s kiss* Mwah!

It won’t disappoint!

p.s. Cakes are fun but have you tried IP cheesecakes?!?

Happy Birthday, Andy! I love the photos of the fab celebration! Endless smiles, laughter, hugs, LOVE! 💞

Love the gappy smile and that great shot on the dodgems! Looks like you all had fun!

Cannot even handle that adorable toothless smile! Happy Andy day!

Honestly, my favorite thing to make in the instapot is chicken stock. 4 hours on high pressure with all the normal things that go into stock, fill up with water to just under the “fill to here” line. It is so easy and so good! I never had enough patience to make it on the stove but ip is easy peasy.

Hello, there!
Well... Happiest Birthday wishes from here to the love of your life!
Looks like you had quite a blast at the Park. Lovin' the photos, as usual!
Now somebody there has been losing quite a few teeth to make some place for new, bright and shiny bigger ones! Such a pretty smile, she certainly has, your lil' Lady.
I'll be watching out for further comments and suggestions for your new "Instant Pot" that sounds great so far. I really need to finally check into one here which I am sure is available as well as slow cookers but not as well known or popular at all... Some things are just different in Europe.
Xs and Os till again,

I don't have an instant pot but Heidi at has a lot of recipes and recommendations.

don't worry about the impulse to purchase an instapot instead of a old fashioned crock pot. I bought one last year and immediately bought a second for my son. we love our instapots. just the savings on making yogurt is paying for my pot.

KristenfromMA says: May 30, 2019 at 07:21 AM

Aww, cutie lost her two front teeth. She's so sweet.

Happy Birthday Andy!

Great pics of Andy looking terrified while your daughter is driving the bumper cars! I'm guessing we will see similar pictures on your blog in a few years when she is Really driving!

*H*A*P*P*Y* * *B*I*R*T*H*D*A*Y*!*!*!* Andy! What a fun time you all had at Oaks! We're very lucky to have such a fun place available to us all year. Thank you so much for the sweet and thoughtful email wishing Dayle luck on his thyroid cancer surgery. One more surgery in 2 months to take the rest out since it did turn out to be cancer. Poor guy has had a rough time. Enjoy your flower filled days.
((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Happy happy birthday to Andy! I am so grateful that Geoff has such a good friend at work (and in all of their other nerdy ventures). Both of my kids have been to Oaks Park for parties before but Geoff and I still haven't been there except to drop off. We need to cross that off our list this summer!

I'm so glad you got an Instant Pot! I adore mine and use it several times a week, and haven't used my slow cooker for years now because ain't nobody got time for that. :) I'm not always great at planning ahead for dinner, and I love that I can just throw everything in when I suddenly remember to be an adult at 4:00 p.m., and it tastes like it cooked all day. It has been life changing for me.

Loving Mimi's toothless grins! Oh, my!

Melissa L says: May 30, 2019 at 09:34 PM

Happy Birthday Andy! That last photo is the best birthday photo ever. Pure joy.

I hope you love your Instant Pot! There's a ton of info out there on the net: check out Pressure Cooking Today and Hip Pressure Cooking. Also, feel free to email me if you need any help. Altho you sound like you're doing fine on your own!

All sounds wonderful! Happy (belated) Birthday to Andy! This post makes me nostalgic but not for any one thing. Just in general!

Happy birthday, Andy!

(I love the shoelace shot. :)

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.