Monday, March 17, 2014

Finished Object(s)

A while ago, I started making a t-shirt yarn rug.  I posted about it here - all the way back in Fall of 2012 (!).  So I guess I've been working on this project for a little longer than I thought!

I keep asking myself why it took so long to finish this project (called a "Finished Object" in knitter's speak).  I think it was mostly because I was using size 15 needles, and it was really tough to knit.  Which ended up working out great, because it made the rug very nice and firm.  But knitting it was not fun.

I love easy garter stitch projects that you can just pick up and resume whenever you feel like it.  The problem with the rug was that I left it sitting more than I was knitting!  When it finally got really big and was a bit of an eyesore on my ottoman, I finally worked up the energy to finish it once and for all - 16 months after I first wrote about it!

I'm actually really please with how it turned out.  I'm not sure how many t-shirts I ended up using, but the project made a big dent in our t-shirt stash.  And I love seeing the little bits of the writing on the shirts - it gives the rug character.  It's now residing on our bathroom floor (where it continues to just sit - it's really good at that, as it's had so much practice!).

Here are a few pics:

This post happens to my 500th post.  When I saw that I was approaching that big number, the first thought that went through my mind was that would be a good place to stop my blog.  This idea must have been hiding in my thoughts somewhere, but it didn't come to surface until I saw the 500th post was getting closer.

I've really enjoyed sharing our days with you on this little hodgepodge blog.  Looking back on it, it's a nice record of things that I normally wouldn't have thought to make note of - the books we enjoyed, everyday family moments, the meals we shared.  But it feels like it's time to move on to other adventures, and the timing just feels right.

I would also like to thank you.......thank you for visiting my blog, for your thoughts and comments.  I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have!  If you'd like to stay in touch, for those on ravelry, you can find me here.  If you are interested in seeing my work with Country Living Magazine, here is the link.

Take care, dear friends!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Nook - It Starts with Food

It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and change your life in unexpected ways by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig:

(Here's the link)

What an amazing book with an amazingly simple idea: ditch all the junk in your diet and just eat meat, vegetables, fruit and healthy fats.  That's it.

Now, stop right there, you might think.  Don't you need dairy to survive?  And how about grains?  Chocolate?!  Our authors, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, do a great job of telling us all the "science-y" information about why sugar, alcohol, seed oils, grains, legumes and dairy all wreak unseen havoc on our bodies. The authors set out four Good Food standards, explaining that "the food we eat should promote a healthy psychological response; promote a healthy hormonal response; support a healthy gut; support immune function and minimize inflammation."  And they break down each of these bad-guy foods and tell us how they damage the body.  Then, in chapters on meat (and seafood & eggs), veggies & fruit and healthy fats, the authors show us the opposite: how these foods contribute to our health.  It all comes down to this: "the food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy.  Those are your options."

The final part of the book explains what the Whole30 is and all the rules - what you can and cannot eat.  The authors give lots of tough love while making their point - any excuse you might have is shot down here.  The program is simple: eat whole foods (meat, veggies, fruit & healthy fats) for 30 days and see how you feel.  You'll probably lose some weight, maybe your skin looks better, maybe some of your health ailments are gone.  All thanks to eliminating bad stuff from your diet for a short time.

After your 30 days, you can slowly reintroduce some of these off-the-list foods back in, and observe your body's reaction to them.  Then it's up to you to decide your dietary future.  The authors have faith that you'll want to continue to eat healthy, and also understand that sometimes, one little bite of something might morph into old habits.  That's really what the Whole30 is out to accomplish - changing your old, unhealthy habits.  So, instead of grabbing a smoothie and a muffin for breakfast, you'll make a veggie omelet instead.  And, also getting in the habit of eating 3 meals a day, and making sure to sit down and enjoy those meals.  It's not only about limiting your diet to the healthiest foods available, but also changing the way you think about food. 

I started my Whole30 on March 1st (but then realized a few days into it that the vegetable broth I had used in a chicken dish contained sugar.  Sugar!  In vegetable broth!  I never thought to look.  So, technically, my start date is the 4th).  Anyway, I feel great, and it's only been a few days.  I can tell I've lost a little weight, I am not hungry at all between meals, my cravings are slowly going away, and some things that I never realized were food-related are improving (for example, I'm not inclined to be lazy in front of the computer anymore.  Now, I'm always on my feet, moving and doing!).  And, my sleep schedule is back on track (I would have never made the connection of sleep patterns and healthy diet) - just like our authors promised, I wake up every morning before the alarm goes off.

I've read a lot of books on healthy eating, and I've got to say, this one really resonated with me the most.  Just 30 days to start a healthy new life....count me in!


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunday Brunch - {sugarleaf cheesecake}

I've just started a rather strict diet (or dietary boot camp, as I'm referring to it).  It's going really well, by the way, and I've been eating tons of whole foods and feeling very healthy!  But, before I embarked on the "boot camp," I wanted to make myself a little treat to say goodbye to my sugar addiction.  Since I was already trying to eat healthier anyway, I decided to try the cheesecake recipe on the back of my bag of SugarLeaf sweetener.  If you're going to have cheesecake, why not a healthier version, yes?

This cheesecake turned out great.  It was a little denser than the excellent traditional recipe I usually use (from The Best Recipe).  But it had 2/3 less calories and carbs and you couldn't even tell.  I substituted the graham cracker crumb crust for a nut-based crust from Wheat Belly, which was also really good.

I love cheesecakes that have that extra sour-cream topping, as this one has.  DH and the Bachsters all really loved it too (except for our oldest DD, she says she doesn't like cheesecake.  Where in the world did she get those non-cheesecake genes?).

The hardest part about this cheesecake was actually photographing it - it was a couple of days after my "boot camp" started, so I couldn't have a bite.  It was torture!


Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Nook - weekend of reading

There is nothing like curling up and losing yourself in a good story.  DH rarely does this, however - he's more of a magazine/internet/news reader than novels.  But over the weekend, he picked up one of DD's books, sat on the couch, and pretty much stayed there for a couple of days, reading.  The Bachsters were so excited - they all took turns sitting beside him, reading their own books.  I really wanted to take a picture of this, but decided against interrupting this quiet time.  So, here's a shot of the book itself:

Have you dropped everything to read a good book lately?  If so, what was the book?


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday Brunch - {oatmeal chocolate chip cookies}

Can I tell you how great these cookies are?  Can I share with you the best cookie recipe ever?  No seriously......I just started a pretty strict "diet" (which I'll tell you all about soon), so if I can't eat cookies, at least I can wax poetic about them, right?

Whenever I make cookies, this is the recipe I make.  I'm not even sure why, really.  Probably because they take fewer amounts of ingredients than other chocolate chip recipes.  Only 1 stick of butter, only 1 egg, only 6 ounces of chocolate chips.  So, I almost always have the ingredients on hand to make them.  And I think they're perfect because they're also a tiny bit salty, so you get a salty/sweet thing happening that is hard to resist (especially when on a strict "diet.").

Just out of curiosity, I asked our oldest DD what she thought of the cookies - her response: "they're really good."  Then, I asked her little brother, sitting right by her: "the same thing," he said.  Something tells me that if I had I big pile of these cookies sitting on a platter and asked them the same question, the response would definitely be a bit more excited.  Possibly, they're thinking back to the last time we made them - we substituted marshmallows for the oatmeal.  Bad idea, there.

The recipe (sans marshmallows) is from Mad Hungry.