Short Stories from a Cruise: Hold Your Nose, Tilt Your Head and Blow

flyingThe week of October 20 through 24, my husband and I went on a cruise with three of the seven kids in my mom’s family. This is a part of just a collection of short stories from the trip. Enjoy. 

I have mixed feelings about flying. While I love the efficiency, the thought of being in something that is a million pounds flying in the air that could just plummet at any second scares me a bit once I fasten my seatbelt. I don’t have any anxiety until that moment and then my heart races and my hands get clammy. Then every scary and imaginable tragic situation runs through my head from running full speed into something during takeoff and the or jets exploding to just falling out of the sky. Morbid much?

Now I do know that it is more likely to get into a car accident or have a hurricane in Indiana than the plane to malfunction. I just fear of being that 0.01 percent.

For this trip we had to fly from Indy to Chicago, and then Chicago to New Orleans to board our cruise.

The flight to Chicago wasn’t too bad, but from Chicago to New Orleans? Eh, not so fabulous.

Once we were in the middle of the flight it seemed like everyone was complaining because their ears weren’t popping and it was painful. Some more than others–my mom and husband especially. I noticed my mom had been talking to the man next to her for a bit and then he noticed my husband in some pretty excruciating pain too.

“Do your ears hurt?” he asked in his thick southern accent. “Badly,” my husband said. Or something along those lines.

The man explained he was a pilot and the plane wasn’t pressurizing correctly which lead to some pretty severe pain in many of the passengers, himself included.

He told them to plug their nose and tilt their heads the direction opposite of the ear that was in pain and blow. (So the ear that’s in pain faces up). That seemed to really help relieve for them.

The pilot then added for us to pick up some Afrin nasal spray to take that night which would help, otherwise there was a chance the cruise could be ruined.

My husband had something similar to Afrin he used, but it sounded like the pilot’s trick was able to help make the next few days easier.

The more you know.

Versatile Cooking? Try the Ninja Cooking System 3-in-1

Ninja Cooking SystemWhen we got married, it meant we got to have fun in Bed Bath & Beyond with that scanner gun. Oh, and did we ever. We nabbed all the essentials, many of which I forgot we scanned. But there was one thing I had my heart set on: The Ninja Cooking System.

The great thing about wedding registries is the percentage off they give you if you want to buy anything from the list after the wedding. The Ninja Cooking System was on the top of our list. And no, they aren’t paying me. I just love it that much and use it every week.

What Does It Do?

The Ninja Cooking System is a slow cooker, oven and stove top all in one which is why I wanted it. It also said it cooked faster and healthier–plus was easy to clean-up. Learn the exact features from their website.

So does it do these things? Yes, yes it does! Now I’ll be honest, in the year I’ve owned it, I primarily use it as a slow cooker. But I have used it as an oven and in the book that came with it, it said I could make spaghetti and meatballs all in one (water included). The spaghetti and meatballs didn’t go as perfect as the book made it seem. Maybe it just needed to get used a little more. But the oven definitely works, more with steam. I made chicken nuggets with it and they were a little soft. So definitely look into what you want to make with them.

Now, for the oven, it excels in making an entire meal in there as they provide a small rack so you can have multiple items in at once. It can be set from 250ºF to 425ºF. So perhaps you’d like to cook chicken and vegetables. One can go in the pot, the others can go on the rack. I know you can do this with your regular oven, but because of the way the pot is designed, it keeps in a lot of the nutrients and flavor.

Ninja Cooking SystemMy Favorite Feature

Saving the best for last, I use the Ninja Cooking System primarily as a slow cooker. Granted, I didn’t own a crock pot until a few years ago, and it was  one that is probably over 20-years-old, so I was over the moon when I saw what new technology could do. But this crockpot has a digital display so I can set my time up to eight hours ahead on high or low. Then, what takes the cake (for me) is the “buffet” feature which the crockpot automatically switches to after the duration you have set it to expires. This will keep the food safe to eat for hours.

You can also use the buffet feature without the slow cooking mode as well. I have a convection oven with a warming feature, so usually to keep foods at temperature, that’s what I use. But you definitely can use the Ninja.

So I can toss something in on my way to work then get home nine hours later and it’s still completely fine for me. And when I cook in the slow cooker, I like to put in recipes that are an entire meal. Or most of an entire meal.

Crockpot chicken taco chiliRecipe Ideas

Below are some of the recipes I have online that you can use with this. You can do SO much with the Ninja Cooking System and there are many recipe books and sources with ideas to use all the different types cooking styles. If you’re looking for something to make things easy, definitely look into this.