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.  🙂

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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!

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!

Crossing the Finish Line

Last week I’d posted about Ravellenics on Ravelry.  I’d joined the Sock Hockey event with plans to create a pair of socks using the yarn Darling Hubby brought back from Northern England.  Well, I’m happy to report that after going for the gold for a week I finally crossed the finish line this morning (after shoveling out from the Valentine’s Snowpocalypse of 2014!)

We got at least a foot of snow, but since I’m not 100% sure of that exact measurement I’ll just say we got a metric butt ton of snow.  I say this because I shoveled it…not once, but twice.  I wouldn’t have had to shovel this morning except the half of the snow blower auger broke (a shear pin broke off and was lodged in the bar) and it took Darling Hubby 2 hours to do a passable job on the driveway (and I say passable as you could pass the car from one end to the other and get out into the street) and most of the day to fix the auger (he even stayed home from work to get it done since he didn’t know when the plows were going to go back through refilling the driveway.)  We are under a state of emergency now so all cars need to be on the other side of the street so the plows can come fill us back in sometime between 8pm tonight and 8pm tomorrow.  I’m sure it will be right before I need to leave to go to the grocery store…

Anyway, here are my Vanilla Latte Socks in Wendy Roam Fusion sock yarn in the colorway Moor.  I haven’t worn them yet, but I can tell they are going to be warm.  I think I’ll wear them tomorrow.

Ravellenics Socks

IMG_4928

As for the pattern I did enjoy it.  My standard go to sock pattern is just a plain vanilla one with a short row heel and a standard toe.  I did a little combining of that pattern with this to come up with something I love.  I used the ribbed pattern for the cuff and the top of the foot, the short row heel from my vanilla pattern and the wedge toe from the latte pattern.  I have to say I really enjoyed that toe.  I think I might start using it for other socks.

The ribbed pattern does spice up a plain vanilla sock, even with variegated yarns like this one (I usually don’t do fancy patterns because I love striped socks and funky variegated yarns and this is just enough pattern to be noticeable and not so fancy that it is either lost in the color or takes away from it.)  It’s mindless enough that I can work on it while holding a conversation or watching TV, but gives me just a bit of a brain workout in that I have to occasionally count and take note of what row I’m on.  It was also nice that I could make the 2nd sock exactly the same as the first by counting the number of purl repeats.

As for my other entries, I’ve been plugging along.  I worked through this weeks intermediate clues for the Downton Abbey Shawl Mystery Knit-along hosted by Jimmy Beans Wool.  I believe we will get the final week’s clues with enough time to finish it before the 23rd.  It only took me a couple days to do the 6 rows for this week, so I’m hopeful.  I only hope I can make the time since my oldest will be off from school next week for winter break and when both he and his little brother are in the room together…nothing can get done!  lol

I also found some time today to work on my sock hop sweater.  I sewed the shoulders together and picked up the stitches for the turtleneck.  I have to work 6 inches and bind off and then sew on the sleeves.  I have hope that I can get that done this week, too.  I’m kinda disappointed in how the shoulders look because my color change happened right at the bind off for the back and it made a single “row” of teal on the black so when I sewed them together it was just noticeable.  More so on one shoulder than the other.  Hopefully it will be on the top and not so noticeable to everyone else.  Fingers crossed.

As for the Olympics themselves, I haven’t watched very much.  I caught a bit at Craft Night last Monday and watched a little at home on Tuesday, but that is pretty much it.

So, there you have it.  I’ve been plugging away on my knitting and I even blogged twice in 2 weeks!  I’m hoping to keep the blogging up, so be prepared for random ramblings from me.  I know I can be a bit wordy!

Ravellenics 2014!

I’m going for the gold!

Every year Ravelry, the knit and crochet community website, holds Ravellenics, an Olympic-like game that corresponds to the Winter (or Summer) Olympics.  This year we’re starting today, February 7th, and going til the 23rd.   There are different events you can be a part of, much like the various sports.  I’m thinking of doing Sock Hockey, WIP Dancing (Work in Progress) and possibly doing something with dyeing or spinning.

I’ve already got a project in progress, my Sock Hop Sweater, that I’ve been working on since December.  It really is in the final stages of being done.  I just have to sew the seams and pick up stitches to knit the neck.  The sewing part is what I dread, so I’ve set it on the back burner for a while.  Plus, I got a little discouraged when I didn’t finish it by my deadline of Christmas…then New Years…maybe this will be the final push I need to get it done.

As for Sock Hockey, I’m going to make a pair of Vanilla Latte Socks for myself using the Wendy Roam Fusion sock yarn that Darling Hubby brought back from England when he was there in December for 2 weeks on a business trip.  I’ve looked at some pictures of what other people have done with this particular colorway of yarn (it’s called Moor) and I think it’s going to knit up beautifully.  I’m also going to attempt a new cast on…one that I found via a spinner’s guild facebook page this morning.  It’s called Long Tail Tubular Cast On.  Click the link for a video tutorial.

I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to spin or dye or both, but that can happen later if I have time.  Most likely I will dye something for the shop.  I’ve got roving and sock yarn that are calling my name and I just bought some hand dyed roving last night from the LYS.  I don’t have to decide everything right now.  I’ve got a couple weeks and most, if not all, of my projects are small and quick ones.

We are to cast on no earlier than the opening ceremonies in Sochi, which I believe is today at 20:00 MSK and 11am EST…So, I think casting on around lunchtime is a safe bet.  Maybe after I do my laundry and clean up the living room I can wind my yarn and swatch…I think that is safe!

I hope everyone enjoys their crafting time and don’t forget to do your best and go for the gold!