30 Day Shred 2014: Day 2 & 100 Days of Happiness: Days 6-10

Well, day 2, level 1 is under my belt.  I can tell you that my muscles made sure I knew that they’d been used!  Woke up this morning with practically every muscle in my body sore, but, it’s a good kind of sore, not a painful one….though I often rethink that when I need to sit down, stand up or go up and down stairs…lol

Day 2 was definitely easier than day 1.  I was able to do all of the last cardio set (jumping jacks, butt kicks, punches and jump ropes).  I still have a bit of trouble with stamina and I can’t always do all of the bicycle crunches, but it will all come back to me and get easier.  I ate a serving of oatmeal with a little salt and sugar and a cup of Earl Grey tea a couple hours before working out and took a package to the Post Office for Sarandipity Handmade before I did day 2. I found that the oatmeal keeps me fuller longer and I don’t want to snack in between breakfast and lunch.  I’ve gotten into the habit of having something for breakfast, unlike 5 years ago when I’d often skip meals, so I’m thinking that had an impact on the amount of energy I’ve got and the fact that I’m not dizzy or nauseous this time around.  Not sure what I’m going to have for lunch, yet.  Maybe some leftover baked ziti or a turkey sandwich.  Plan to have pork chops with bacon grits for dinner.

Oh, and I did weigh myself again before showering.  I’m back up to 150lbs, but then again I don’t have one of those fancy scales that tells me lbs and oz, so I could have been on the very edge yesterday.  I also took some body measurements today so I can see if I lose or gain any inches.

Arms: 12″
Waist: 33″
Hips: 40″
Thighs: 24″

3/29 – Happiness is shopping with Darling Hubby to find the perfect dress to wear to a party.

3/30 – Happiness is finding yarn that matches my new dress perfectly so I can knit a shawl.

3/31 – Happiness is Craft Night and finding the perfect shawl pattern.

4/1 – Happiness is pranking Darling Hubby with the kitchen sink water sprayer and getting away with it.

4/2 – Happiness is delivering a package to the Post Office from Sarandipity Handmade.  I hope the Ultra Cuddle baby girl blanket brings happiness to the recipient in Colorado.  :)

Back in the Saddle Again

I’m doing something that I haven’t done in 5 years…I’ve decided to break out my Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred DVD again.  It’s not that I’m in dire need to lose weight, it’s more that I want to tone up and tighten the areas that are a little, shall we say, wiggly.  I’m in size 12’s or 14’s and while it’s not as skinny as I’d like to be some days, I’m comfortable.  But, I find that there are more days that not that I don’t like to look at myself in the mirror while unclothed.

Was this what made me jump back on the exercise bandwagon?  No, not entirely.  Darling Hubby and I were invited to a testimonial for his step father.  He is District Governor of something (yeah, I’m not entirely sure on all the details) and they are holding an afternoon fancy shmancy thing in his honor on May 5th. I’ve already bought my dress and jewelry.  I already had shoes and underthings and I’ve plans to knit myself a shawl to go with it (you never know just how chilly it might be in May or in those hotel banquet rooms.)  I’ve already bought the yarn (it matches perfectly) and got started.  The dress fits me perfectly and looks good (Darling Hubby says hot), but I look in the mirror and always see what is wrong and what could be different.  I could stand to lose that little bit of a tummy and my arms could be less flabby…That’s what made me decide to pull out the dvd, yoga mat, and my hand weights and throw on my sneakers.

I weighed in this morning and I was 149lbs (that’s down 1lb from yesterday…lol).  I think this time I may try to take some measurements of myself so I know if I lose any inches.  Like I said, I’d still like to lose some of the flab around my middle…you know the little paunchy thing that never seems to want to go away after having kids…and tighten up my arms and legs a bit.  I know my legs could look super hot in those heels with a little toning up…lol

Anyway, I already did day one, level one and let’s say that it was so much easier this time around than it was 5 years ago.  Let’s just say that when I finished I wasn’t wanting to curl up in a ball and die or vomit.  I felt a little weak muscled, but never felt sick or dizzy and I didn’t even have trouble breathing.  I can obviously feel it in my thighs and I know that tomorrow sitting down or standing from sitting is gonna be a little rough.  I can also feel those muscles walking up or down stairs (and even walking down the hill at Bug’s school.)

Looking back I’m already at a lower weight than when I started the first go around.  I don’t have a particular weight goal that I’m working toward and I’m not going to keep close tabs on what I’m eating. aside from trying not to go overboard with portion sizes.  I already know that I’m eating a little healthier than I was 5 years ago, especially having cut most processed foods out as a way to avoid soy.  I still indulge, don’t get me wrong, I’m still a snacker and I’ve found ways to get back some of my favorite foods that I was forced to cut out.  I still love chocolate and found that the Nestle Dark Chocolate morsels are soy free and oh so good.  I’ve found ice creams that I can eat again, so I do find myself having a bowl before bed some nights.  We still do our game night sessions once every 2 weeks, but I find that I’m usually pretty good and only eat the things like the cheese and jelly or the fresh bread and not all the chips and junk foods that we used to nosh on.  I just have to watch my portion sizes.

So, that’s my goal, 30 days (hopefully including the weekends this time).  My end date to get in shape is May 4th, so I’ve got the month.  I plan to blog about my journey again so I can keep myself motivated.  Feel free to join me if you want.  I won’t mind the company.

100 Days of Happiness – Days 1-5

I’ve recently seen my facebook feed explode with people jumping on the 100 Days of Happiness bandwagon.  I’ve often been accused of being grumpy or just plain miserable by my Darling Hubby and I think that I might just need a little daily reminder that there are happy moments for me everyday.  It’s all about perspective.  I find that the little things that bring me joy often get lost amongst the daily jumble of everyday chores and tasks.

My plan isn’t to join the 100 days website, instagram feed or even take a photograph every day, but to simply write down something each day that made me happy.  It could be something big or something small, but I want to start seeing the joy in everyday.  I may even occasionally share photos, but for now I’m just going to keep a list and post when I can (it won’t be everyday.)

I know I’m a couple days late, but I sort of unofficially started on Monday.

3/24 – Happiness is a new mattress with the hope of a good night’s sleep.

3/25 – Happiness is a skype session with a couple far away friends.

3/26 – Happiness is watching your usually shy 9 year old take the lead at his mini Lego Expo presentation at Math Night at school.   (I have pictures, but haven’t uploaded or had time to edit them.)

3/27 – Happiness is watching a stupid movie with Darling Hubby after the kids go to bed.

3/28 – Happiness is commenting on a blog and winning a free knitting pattern and having a day free of tantrums and naughty behaviour from Fidget.

I actually noticed more than just one happy moment for each of those days and it was actually hard to pick just one.  Hopefully I’ll continue this HAPPY trend!

New Yarn in the Shop!

I’ve decided I’m going to merge my shop blog and this blog since I tend to write about crafty things in my life here anyway.  Since that includes my etsy shop, I figured it would be perfect for Sarandipity’s Craft Room.  :)

On to the yarny goodness!  If you’ve read my blog in the last month or so, you might have seen these yarns before.  They were spun up as part of Ravellenics this year.  I’ve decided to put them up for sale so others can enjoy the beautiful colors and make beautiful things with them.

First up is X’s & O’s.  There are 2 skeins of this yarn, both 2oz and approximately 64 yards.  Worsted weight with approx 10 WPI (wraps per inch).  Both are up on etsy at $15.50 each plus shipping (NYS residents add tax).  Click the photo to go to the listing.

X's & O's

X’s & O’s

Next up is a First on Facebook Friday Sale – I like to offer some of my yarns for sale before they go up on etsy.   This week I’m offering Chocolate-dipped Berries.  This yarn looks good enough to eat.  It’s spun from a mix of Finn, Corriedale and Rambouillet Cross wool.  It is Navajo or Chain plied resulting in a worsted weight 3 ply yarn.  There are 128 yards at 3.2oz.   Just look at those gorgeous colors!  Lots of reds/pinks, purplish blues and shades of brown.  This is available for 23.50 + Shipping (NYS Residents add tax.)  Click the image to hop over to my facebook page and comment with an email address where I can send a paypal invoice.

EDITED: Chocolate Dipped Berries is now available via etsy.  Please click on the photo to be taken to the listing.  Look for future First on Facebook Fridays.

Chocolate-dipped Berries

Chocolate-dipped Berries

Also, my Luck of the Irish sale is on until midnight  tonight 3/21/14 (EST).  Just enter code IRISHLUCK and receive 10% off a $10+ purchase.  That goes for the First on Facebook Friday Sale, too!  EDITED: SALE HAS ENDED.  Look for future coupons and sales here, facebook and twitter.

Happy First Day of Spring

Spring is finally here, though you wouldn’t really know it by looking outside.  It’s very dark and dreary with a fine rain falling on the layer of sleet that fell yesterday.  Hopefully, the weather will start improving, the buds will start popping up and Mother Nature will show her true beauty in all the flowers and green leaves.  I’m looking forward to the snow going away!

I’m also hoping that I won’t need all the winter woolies anymore.  Though, that will make me kinda sad as I just finished a pair of fingered gloves for myself.  I’m loving the colors (black, red, green with a hint of white and blue) and they match my winter coat and hat perfectly (well, the black and bright green do anyway), but I’m kinda sad that while I made them to fit me perfectly, they have stretched a bit with wearing them a few times and now feel like they are floating on my hands.  They are still warm, though and I’ll either keep them or give them to Darling Hubby if he’d like them.  I was considering making them with a mitten flap to go over the fingers, but I don’t think I have enough yardage leftover to do both flaps…Oh well.

I haven’t been spinning since the Ravellenics ended in February (geeze, that was a month ago almost!).  I went to Open Spinning at the LYS last night and finished up the 2nd skein of my X’s and O’s worsted weight Navajo plied yarn.  It felt good to finish something.  I finally washed the first skein of X’s and O’s and the skein of Ten and Tardis singles that I spun.  Now I’ve got 3 skeins of yarn drying.  I’m hoping the weather improves so I can get out on the porch to photograph.  The dark and dreary light of today isn’t great for photography…and my attempt at making my own light box was a failure.  :(  Sometimes I’m crafty, but this wasn’t one of those times!

Oh, and I have added one new project to my WIP list.  Little Fidget will be turning 4 in May and along with that he has the opportunity to go to pre-k.  I’ve already put his application in for the district pre-k lottery which will be drawn on 4-11-14.  We should hear if he got into our chosen school by the following week.  We’re really hoping that he gets into the same school his brother currently attends.  It would make life so much easier!  lol  Anyway, since school starts in 6 months I figured that would give me plenty of time to work on a “nap blanket” like I made for Bug when he went to Pre-k.  Fidget decided that he wanted something simpler than the Wheels on the Bus blanket I’d made for Bug.  In a way I’m grateful that he chose something simpler.  While the Wheels on the Bus was a cute blanket it was a lot of work and after a school year of weekly washing it didn’t hold up as well as I’d have liked. Plus, sewing all those 2 inch squares together was a right royal pain!  lol

Fidget chose a red blanket at first, then chose a red and black blanket.  I fell in love with the Moderne Baby Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting so we scoured Ravelry together to find red and black blankets to give us ideas for 2 more colors.  We settled on black, red, white and dark grey.  So far I’m on block 6 and only messed up once, putting block 4 in the wrong place, but it will work out in the end I think with a bit of fudging.

Sadly, I don’t have any new photos.  Hopefully I’ll get something this week to share.  It’s weird, but I don’t like talking about my craft projects without photos to share!  Better get back to knitting.  Happy Spring, Everyone!

Apricot Pulled Pork on Homemade Kaiser Rolls

Tuesday’s are my crockpot days.  Darling Hubby has his weekly gaming session at the local game store and I take the boys to the local library for the “It’s Elementary” kids club program and to check out some new books.   Darling Hubby usually gets home before the kids and I do and wants to get in and out so he can get to the store and I’m not in the mood to cook a full meal when we get back, therefore, I like to have a meal already ready and waiting for us. Tonight will be Apricot Pulled Pork Sandwiches, served on freshly homemade toasted Kaiser rolls, french fries and baby carrots with dip.  It already smells amazing in here!

Apricot Pulled Pork on Homemade Kaiser Rolls
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 Tbsps Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
4lb boneless pork roast, trimmed of fat

2 Tbsp corn starch
1/4 cup cold water
1 Tbsp ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
10-12 kaiser rolls, toasted

Combine first 7 ingredients. Place pork roast in crockpot. Pour apricot mixture over roast and cook on low 8-9 hours.

Transfer pork to cutting board, cool slightly and shred with forks. Skim fat from liquid in crockpot.

Blend water, cornstarch, ginger, salt, and pepper until smooth. Whisk into crockpot liquid. Cook 15-30 mins on high, uncovered, until thickened (sauce can also be done on the stovetop if you are in a hurry.) Return shredded pork to crockpot, mix well. Serve on toasted buns.

I use this receipe for my kaiser rolls.  I use the bread machine method for the dough.  So much better than store bought and I know exactly what is in them!

Enjoy!

More Going for the Gold

The Olympics are still going and so am I.  I’ve been dancing with my Works In Progress and going for gold in the Flying Camel Spin event.

Here are my recent Finished Objects.

IMG_4933

I’ve mentioned before that I joined the Downton Abbey Mystery Knit Along hosted by Jimmy Beans Wool in January.  This was my first ever mystery knit along AND my first ever shawl.  I’m not typically a shawl person, never having seen a use for one since my style is not usually something that would go well with a shawl (I’m a t-shirt and jeans girl and I just don’t see that working with shawls.)  Anyway, I thought it would be fun to go out of my comfort zone and try something new.  I figured, worse case, that if I didn’t like the finished shawl I could either gift it or sell it.  I still have to try it out myself, so I haven’t decided what will become of it, yet.  I will admit that I have found myself searching the ravelry pattern database for more shawls…I may have created a monster!  lol

IMG_4930

All blocked out.

I worked on this shawl every week, following the clues posted every Sunday (aka Downton Day).  There was some drama with a 2nd week clue having a flaw, and while mine didn’t come out as it should have (because of that error) I actually like how it ended up.  This shawl is definitely one of a kind!  I did add an extra repeat of the shell lace pattern at the bottom cause I really liked it and I wanted the shawl to be a bit wider.  I ended up using 833 yrds (approx) of DK weight Patons Superwash wool in Claret.  That is nearly 300 yrds more than called for, but, I learned about how row gauge can really affect yardage.  Next time I make a big project I’ll be sure to I check my row gauge, too.  Click on either of the shawl pictures to see it’s ravelry project page.

AIMG_4940

As for the Flying Camel Spin, I worked up this gorgeous yarn.  It is made from a mix of Corriedale, Finn and Ramboulette wool, dyed in gorgeous shades of pink, purple, brown and silver.   The roving this was spun from was dyed by Spinner’s Hill in Bainbridge, NY and purchased at Trumpet Hill Fine Yarns in Albany.   As I was plying it, it kept reminding me of berries dipped in chocolate.  Yum!  It is approximately 133 yards, 3.4oz/97g and worsted weight (10wpi).  I started this Wednesday night at the once a month Open Spinning at Trumpet Hill and finished plying it last night around 11 (and washed, spun out and hung to dry) while we were having our game night group over.

I still have one more WIP that I’ve been struggling with…my sock hop sweater.  I was good and picked it back up, sewing the the shoulders and starting the neckline…The only thing is now that I’ve knit several inches I’ve decided I don’t like how the front looks (one side flows well from the ribbed pattern, and the other looks awful.)  I think I might have to frog that portion and start again…I’m not sure I’ll find time to rip it back, knit it again and sew the arms by Sunday…)  Guess we’ll see…At least I’m happy having finished my socks, shawl and spun a yarn.