Monday, May 4, 2015

i am a baker....not a cook

Okay so here is the thing...I am a baker.  Give me a new cookie recipe to try and I am on it with bells and whistles.  Cooking.....mmmm....not so much so.  I think that at one point I liked to cook.  I recall making dinner when I was younger....making dinner at home for my parents when I was a teen.  I recall at one point liking the whole holiday feast preparation.  There definitely was shift to my thoughts on cooking that probably can be narrowed down to having children and the expectation that the mom cooks dinner.....years and years of being responsible daily for feeding your kids is just exhausting.....unless you have a personal chef or eat out all the time.  I have hit my I fucking hate to cook plateau.  Anyway bottom line is I truly loathe cooking.  I do pretty much whatever I can to get out of cooking meals....or cooking meals that require no more then three or four ingredients.  If you can make it in one pot even fucking better.

My lack of enthusiasm for cooking does not mix well with John's eye for picking out a recipe he sees and showing me.  A while back he found a recipe in the LCBO seasonal cookbook.  Well let me tell you, if you decide to look through one of these "seasonal" cookbooks and if you decide to try one of the recipes, well you will need to be high on crack cocaine or three sheets to the wind to actually enjoy making it.  That is why it is in the LCBO cookbook.....they expect you to be drunk.  At least that is what I think...because what sober person would subject themselves to the chaos that is making this recipe.  I have decided a minimum of four shots of tequila will be needed before I make this again.

(A version of the recipe can be found here.  Martha's has a few less ingredients.  In case you want to make something like this.  I suggest you don't though.  Open a can of ravioli and call it a day.  This will allow more time to knit.)

The recipe in the LCBO suck you in by the front cover make you think this is a great recipe for entertaining cookbook version has twenty ingredients.  That's right...t.w.e.n.t.y ingredients. That is a good sixteen more then I like to see in a recipe.  There are nine paragraph size, intense instructional steps to preparing this dish. As well it takes hours to make and the dirty dish fallout is horrific!!

I usually start out feeling good about making it.....I am doing something sweet for John....I know he appreciates it...he sees me meltdown as I make it and thanks me profusely afterward.....but by step four I have lost steam and from that point on I inwardly and outwardly curse the fucking recipe and vow to never make it again.....this time I left a note at the top of it to remind me of this fact.

As well the whole time I am making this recipe that has been printed in the depths of hell, I have to contend with this...

 I must have said, "Max move" fifty plus times the whole time I was cooking this dish.  Honestly...right in front of the fridge.

Now the good thing is that that pan does a ton of meals and can be frozen in containers all ready to go.  The bad thing is that I don't feel like cooking anything for like a week afterward.

We have an away tournament for Amber in a few weeks.  A whole weekend away where I will not have to cook anything for anyone.  I can not wait!!!  

Friday, April 10, 2015

chalk board violation

The last few weeks have been busy.  I finished up a course I was taking.  It started out very badly.  My logging on the first week reading the first two lectures, thinking what the heck have I got myself into and not logging on again for two weeks.  Marc coding.  Thankfully, after getting only 49.5% on my first assignment, it started to make some sense and my assignment marks improved.  I got 91.5% on the exam and ended up with a final grade of 82%.  I am so glad it is done!!!  I am taking a break until September.  It is tough taking courses....even just one.....when your life is full.  I want to continue to focus on my exercise goals over the next few months without a course hanging over my head. This last one kicked my ass.  Working out is changing my body in so many awesome ways.

I have been rocking my fitbit flex.  Clocking step after step and seeing some great progress because of it.  I feel amazing.  There are days I feel like I could tackle the world.  I was kind of not seeing progress until I compared a before picture with a newly taken picture.  Well hello!  I was so stoked by this.  I feel so strong.  I am back running and doing weight resistance....and actually liking it.

It has been years since I have felt this good.  I had a rough time a few years ago and during that time my thyroid went out of whack.  Once the thyroid was under control I think that my body still needed to recover.  Recover from years of doing so much.....pushing myself to the brink both physically and emotionally and I believe that my body needed that time to find balance before I could get back to being active.  I am so grateful every day my body gives me the gift of a strong workout.

Porscha played for provincials back in March.  I never blogged about it.  They went to a gold medal game and came away with silver.  Unfortunately she did not play because a bunch of the girls off of many different teams ended up sick and barfing.  Maybe a food poisoning thing.  It was all she could do to sit on the bench for the game.  I am not sure she would have played even if she was well.

 It has been a tough season for her.  She started out fantastic and then ended up with her ankle injury back in the fall.  It really sidetracked her and by the time she got back on track she saw her playing time dwindle by quite a bit compared to prior to the injury.  Some games she played not even a minute.  One game not at all.  It was frustrating for parents you hate to see it but it is competitive ball and that is how it goes.  I am always in awe of her.  She was unhappy at times but handle it all with grace.  The year wasn't what she had hoped for but she has pushed through the adversity of it and is looking ahead to next season.  She will be playing at a different college in the fall.  She is planning to go away.  There will be a lot of amazing changes for her and hopefully a stronger season playing ball.

Amber's team competed in their home tournament two weeks ago.  They came out of it with a gold medal.  John and his assistant coach did a great job with the girls.  John said it felt like the tide had changed somewhat...that things were starting to click for some players.  It is hard to be a coach and I give John props.  I could not do it.  Telling players over and over what you expect them to do to have them not do it.....the frustration level they must feel as coaches constantly would have me poking my eyes out, rocking in a corner somewhere.  So it was nice to see it coming together and all their hard work as coaches and time volunteered showing some pay off.

John had a double extra great weekend.  Not only did they win was his birthday.  We did the cake thing.   Homemade icing is his favorite.

I was so happy to have a extended weekend with Easter.  I felt like I accomplished a ton.  First I actually got decorations up!  A far cry from Valentines, that almost seem to go unnoticed in the decoration department.

Oh my chalkboard.  I love it.  So it is like I live with a house full of frat boys.  After I had done this I came home to a little change.  The bunny tail was removed and "male bunny" shiz was going on.  I said how I obviously did not hide the chalk well enough, to which I was told they have a stash of chalk somewhere so they can screw with my chalk art.  It is a good thing they are cute or I would have ate them when they were young.  Now I am sure some people reading this will cringe at the fact that they drew a penis and testicles on the chalkboard in the kitchen...well that is my authentic life.....we fart, we have a messy house 90% of the time and well we draw penis pictures.  I am hopeful they are well rounded young adults but I am still a little on the fence with that one. I won't lie....the chalk penis has me worried a bit!

I found this great idea.  I wasn't sure how I would feel about bunting made just out of paper.  I am a fabric and thread kind of bunting gal but let me tell you I adore it!!!

We had an issue this week with one of the support workers that comes to assist with Shelby's care.  I will share the story another time.  I still am hoping we are wrong and the missing item will resurface but I kinda think there is a greater chance of pigs flying out of my ass.  Talk about feeling suckered.  It knock me on my ass emotionally.  I felt so out of sorts this week.  The worker will no longer be sent into our home, which is good.  Shelby seems to have taken it in stride.  I never want her to feel uncomfortable with her workers.  Thankfully she seems still positive about her other workers.  We know that great workers far outweigh bad workers.

Well I am hoping for the great weather they have called for this weekend.....I am looking forward to it!!!   

Monday, March 23, 2015

loving my fitbit flex

I have been eyeing the Fitbit Flex for quite some time.  I decided to get one.  Well let me tell you I absolutely love this thing.  I have had it for about two weeks and have only taken it off to charge it.

One day I might bite the bullet and get one of these funky covers.  I love them and how they make the band look like a great piece of jewelry.  There are also these great gadgets that slide onto the band that comes with the Fitbit....very cute too.

Okay so back to the Fitbit.

We all know that it is recommended that we take 10,000 steps in a day.  If you think you are taking that might be surprised that unless your making a point of exercising are no doubt falling a few thousand steps short of that healthy goal.

I have been challenging myself since the beginning of February.  First I committed to a whole month of purposeful workouts.  Workout clothes had to be on and I had to be doing something everyday. Some days it was just 10 minutes and others days an hour.  Then when March rolled in I began a running challenge.  A ten minute run everyday.  Some days I have just done the ten minutes among my treadmill walk and some days I have surprised myself pushing well into a 20 minute run.  Either way I am moving and once I put my Fitbit Flex on a few weeks ago, I felt such a motivation to push for more steps in my day.  I have added in extra walks with the dog or sometimes a friend and there are days I have pushed way beyond the 10,000 steps.  It honestly is a high.

It also tracks your sleeping patterns.  I sleep well when I get to sleep.  My issue lies more in the fact that I cheat myself often of sleep.  I feel the need to get everything done and some nights I am getting into bed with the possibility of only getting 5 or 6 hours of sleep.  So I use this feature to remind myself that I need to treat my body to a good nights sleep every night.  Nothing is more important then my body getting the sleep it needs to rejuvenate.  I work at trying to get up past 7 hours. Sometimes it is tough.  It is a habit I am working on breaking.....improper sleep.  The Fitbit Flex is definitely helpful in this quest.

The whole moving more has a domino feel compelled to eat better.  One of my new favorites is rice cakes with peanut butter, Nutella and banana.  I love this combination.  It helps curb my wanna eat a whole bag of cookies sweet tooth.

As well I made these amazing fruit and seed bars from the book Weelicious Lunches by Catherine McCord. They were super easy to make, taste delicious and are jam packed with healthy goodness.

I feel so fantastic finally getting back on track and treating my body well.  These changes....the bad habits I am all is paying off.  I am well on my way to some really great fringe benefits that healthy mindfulness creates.  

Were my thumb is was were I was doing my belt up back in January.   I was not wearing my jeans a whole lot back then because they were tight...uncomfortably tight and my belt was on it's second to last set of holes.  A different story now with two months of eating healthier and most of all really can't have one without the other if you want lasting success!!!!  I love these sort of victories.  They motivate me.  They give me that push I need to get in an extra walk and to remember the bigger picture and that is to bring my body to a place that is balanced and healthy.   

A place were homemade peanut butter cups are okay with tea!!!!

I am sitting here working on an assignment....the last one for the course from hell I am taking and beside me sits a painters drop cloth and black felt.  I have ideas people and it is killing me not to be venturing into elbow deep craftiness.  

One of these kinda of banners a'la Alishaized.......I might forgo the felt and just jump in with a trusty can of black spray paint.  I haven't decided yet.  Plus the possibility of chalk board paint and a homemade reusable bunting along the lines of this one....maybe minus the lace.....not sure I am a fan of that.  And while we are talking painter drop cloths......go now and do a Google search for painters drop cloth diy.....seriously go.  Now click on images.....oh the possibilities for a mere $15.  I am thinking drop cloths might be a new addiction in my crafting world. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

oh i've heard about you

So a few weeks back I was at one of Amber's basketball games and I was sitting on my own...which doesn't happen so much.  Usually I hook up with another mom and talk too much and miss when Amber scores a basket and someone tells me cause they know I have missed it cause I am talking or knitting too intently.  So this time it was actually nice to be sitting alone...I had my knitting and it is nice to have some time where there is no need to talk...I could just get lost in my knitting and watch the game.

So somehow I get introduced to a family member of one of the players while I am sitting there.  It is said that I am the coaches wife.  So this family member says, "Oh I've heard about you?"

So let's pause here for a moment.

How would you take that?  Would that make you feel awkward?


Most definitely I felt a bit of an awkward haze fall over the conversation and I said something like, "All good I hope."  Which in response this person said something to the effect of, "Well I hear you post on Instagram a lot."  Now I can't give you voice tone and facial expression and all that....but believe me when I say there was no "joking" nature to this conversation.

So of course because I am generally not rude, I fumbled along in this highly awkward situation babbling how oh ya I love instagram and am inspired by the photos and love taking photos and sharing them, I love blogging but stopped etc. etc.  So a full out verbal diarrhea attempt to justify something that quite frankly needed to not be justified at all to this person.  I was thinking the whole time in my head why the heck am I defending my harmless to anyone sort of hobby of sharing photos that I love that inspire me, or projects I am working on and have finished or funny stuff about my someone who probably sits at her computer with her ten cats at 3 a.m. stalking old high-school classmates on Facebook eating too many bon bons....(okay so we all have done that maybe minus the ten cats) but you get what I am saying here right?? What the f#@% was this persons issue and why the comments that came off really passive aggressive to someone you don't even know??

Obviously this person heard from someone that I post on instagram and apparently it is too much. Well that kind of stung.  I know that if you put it out there you are going to have critics but I guess I just don't get people sometimes.

So I guess the question is why bother looking if you feel I do it too much?

There are blogs I have stopped reading, instagram users I have stopped following because the content no longer inspires me or interests me.  I guess I was annoyed a bit about it because that off handed somewhat weird conversation did sort of take some of the wind out of my sail.  I am just kind of getting over a few weeks of feeling self conscious about posting on instagram.  That is sort of unfortunate that I allowed another person make me feel  that way.  I know it is one of those situations were you have to look at were the comment is coming it from anyone that truly matters? Do you truly care what they think?  The answer to both being a big fat no.

What I love is that for that one person that doesn't get someone like me...someone who loves creating, taking pictures, sharing and even blogging...there are a dozen more that make me feel amazing about who I am and what I love.  You all know who you are!!

Did I say that I am so happy to be back here blogging???

I wanted to share with you a project I did while away from here.

This amazing JOY sign.  Inspired by the results of a google search for JOY signs and a post I saw here.

When I took the lights and garland down from outside I didn't want to part with the sign quite yet.  So I found a little place to hid it in the kitchen.

It sits there reminding me to catch the JOY in each day with all the things I do too much!!!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

I know...I know...I said I was done but...

Okay so I know I said back in December that I was done with this beautiful space I have created here over the years....and I fully thought I was but then I met Corry.  A very crafty, beautiful, sweet lady that was call in at my work for a position that was needing to be filled.

When I first got chit chatting with Corry it was about knitting, sewing and then the other day she told me about her Esty shop...yes Esty....that whole thing I wanna get doing that seems like it is taking me forever to get it up and going and she also told me about her blog.  At the time I didn't feel an itch to return to my blog....then this morning I finally, in between being tortured by a MARC coding course I am taking, visited her blog.  Honestly a post in and a few beautiful pictures later I was itching all over to blog again.  So here I am back.

I can't tell you how often I will be here......maybe once a week....maybe once a month....maybe once in three months but the main thing I figure is, I am here where I love being...even if I am only sporadically sharing a slice.

The new year brought a new baby into our lives.  John's nephew and his wife, Lee-Ann welcomed their son, Logan Christopher.  He is beyond precious.  I am a little giddy at being a great aunt.  He has changed so much since his birth the beginning of January.  I can't wait till I can see him again.

Knitting has been happening.  Some legwarmers that were a bit of a late Christmas gift for Shelby.  I don't do color work well in a knitted project but she liked the outcome.  

The only knitting I have on the go now is my sock yarn afghan.  Last count I was at around 300 squares and I want 500.  There is a sweater waiting to be started but the afghan needs to be done first.

Life has been busy but I have made a huge point in the past few weeks to get my exercise moo back on track.  It has been in hiding pretty much since all my thyroid issues a few years back.  I am happy to say I have found it tenfold and I have been literally speaking, running with it.  Yes, back running, which makes me so happy and a huge huge focus on weight resistance.  Even though I am not so fond of  weight resistance, I know it is 100% needed to build a healthy and strong body and will help me in the long run burn calories day and night and avoid injury.

There are a few positives with this whole exercise rejuvenation.  First....exercising each day makes me want to fuel my body better.  I am not interested in any fad diets.  I am not a fan of paying for diets (weight watchers gets a buy because from what I understand you actually use real food, all foods with no restrictions) and although people garner success with "diets" in my opinion they are not going to be what takes you the distance and keeps you there for life.  Stop paying for that diet food and you will gain weight back.....bottom line.

So I have been messing with some healthy almost sinful but work out meals.  So far this is my favorite.  I saw something similar to this on instagram and sort of tweaked it.

1/4 unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup oats
1 egg white
1/2 mashed banana
1 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut
1 Tbsp. raisins
1/2 Tbsp. chocolate chips
1/2 Tbsp. cocoa
2-3 strawberries cut up

Mix all ingredients well and pour into greased (I used a smidge of olive oil) microwavable mug or dish.  Microwave on high at 2 minutes and 45 seconds.  I turned it out onto a plate and drizzle a wee bit of caramel sauce and of course added some extra fruit and voila!!!!

Absolutely amazing!  I am hooked on post workout oats let me tell you!

So the second thing about this whole exercise rejuvenation thing is that really with just being more conscious about getting moving each day and eating cleaner with a treat once and awhile, I have lost a total of 7 1/4 inches in just four weeks.  I have no idea how much weight that equals because I am also not a huge fan of using a scale other then at a doctors office.  My goals revolve around moving and eating clean not a number on a scale.  Inches off are just a bonus!!!

Feels great to be back writing a blog post!!       

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

it's time to sign off but first some knitting

So surprisingly I have been knocking off a few small knitting projects. I love love love when I finish something. Such a high.

So some socks for Christmas gifts.

These are from this pattern.  They knit up small.  They were for someone else and I changed the recipient after finishing due to the size being way smaller then I anticipated.

I knit this pair for my dad for Christmas.  The pattern is Quickie Socks from The Joy of Socks by Linda Kopp.  They came out nice.  They look wonky off the foot.  Long and strange looking but once on they are great.  I think he will like them.  I am hoping the size is okay.  

I made this adorable hat for a little girl that comes into the library.   Looked super cute on her.  I forgot how awesome a little knit like this is.  You feel like you have tackled the world with just a quick few hours of knitting.  I must do more baby stuff...for OTHER people.....not me!!! 

The thank you card her momma gave to me was so sweet. A bear, yarn bombing a tree in the forest. Doesn't get better then that as far as I am concerned!!!

So I have come to a cross road with blogging. I love this space but weekly it becomes more of a chore to keep on top of posting.  A crappy computer makes uploading photos and just blogging in general a hugely planned event.....fiddling with a temperamental power cord and all that plus life is busy and I really am leaning toward more of my free time spent doing all those crafty things I love to do.  I am starting back into another course in January which means free time will dwindle considerably......I may up the antics with my courses and take two in the spring and really bite the bullet and forge ahead in the fall with four.....fiances are a huge part of that plan but bottom line is that any writing I will be doing next year will be in the form of essays after essay hopefully!!  I find that my desire to story tell, write, share pictures of those slices of life and my creative endeavors is easily and quickly fulfilled via instagram from my phone....which means I can do it from planning for time or a charged computer needed.  

I was going to hold off until the new year but I just feel like it is time now to throw in the blogging towel. I can't even begin to say what writing here for so many years has done for me. I am so proud of everything I have written.  I know my words have inspired and that is such a amazing feeling. That they will continue to inspire even after I stop writing. This blog has walked me through some really shitty times and has proven to me how fucking awesome I am.  The people that have taken the time to read post after post.....thank you!  For the readers who have comment or emailed me, well your words are cherished!  All the best, Alisha xo

Monday, December 8, 2014

three must haves: postiveness::crafts::and a brigade

After telling John about a lady that was sitting just down from me at his hockey game last night, how right off the hop she reminded me of that one person we tolerate in all have one of those...I know you do....and how every time the other team scored or every time their goalie made a save she rap rap rapped on the counter in front of her.  It was a.fucking.nnoying.  I said to him that I thought to myself think how this annoying lady is here supporting her husband or maybe her son...she was, although annoying, it was endearing....I suppose.  So he said to me, Why do you think you have to be positive?

I like feeling positive.  It is just habit.  There is enough negative in the world.  Enough negative people.  Enough negative comments.  Enough negative period.

Don't get me wrong.  I have negative.  Like last night at two in the morning as I lay in bed waiting for sleep to take over but my mind was too awake and I had a chill in my bones I could not kick.  I thought about our weekend.  About an open house at my friends Saturday.  I chit chatted with a gal that use to go to school with Shelby and although at the time nothing hit me, I guess laying there tired and chilled allowed a negative weight to fall onto my chest as tears slipped down my cheeks thinking about how Shelby should be hanging out with my friends son and her old classmate but she can't because there are stairs stopping her.  I think I cried myself to sleep because next thing I knew it was morning and my day needed to begin again....on a positive path.

Positive is like a good friend.  It never lets me down.  It reminds me that ya life sucks huge some days, life isn't always what you sign up for but that is okay.  Life is what you make of it and I want my life to be positive.  I want people to feel good around me and feel inspired.  A few weeks back someone asked John if I am always so positive.  I am happy that the answer was yes.  For the most part I am.  I can't imagine life without positive.

Friday night I had the opportunity to go to the show with my friend Alisha. She was going with two friends and invited me. I don't do that sort of stuff often. I know John prefers our time be our time and so for the most part I plan stuff when he sleeps during day due to night shift hell or when he lays down at night for a nap before heading into work but there was something kinda awesome about going out on my own Friday night.

I had to take the people are shocked often when they hear I do not have my drivers license.....I have thoughts of getting it....maybe. I loathe driving.  I don't mind taking a bus. So I planned to leave earlier just to be sure I made the connection for the second bus to get me there on time. I ended up getting where I had to go way too early. I had a coupon for Starbucks and there was an Indigo.

Well let me tell you that I then spent the most amazing 30 minutes browsing Indigo at a sloth like pace.  No worries.  No one rushing me.  No conversations that I had to have.  Nothing.  Just that ever so lovely hot chocolate and me looking in all the sections I never have a chance to look at....loving all the great non book stuff Indigo has...thinking what I might like to buy.  I then had a very fun time watching a movie with a friend.  I felt very rejuvenated!

There is something about a woman and her friends.  They are like having a brigade.  I can't imagine not having those friendships that are dear to me.  I love that even if I don't see these women often we pick up were we left off.  I know that they would be there for me if I needed them.  They are a huge part of my well-being and for that I am so very fortunate.

Christmas preparation is in full force here.  I have a lot I want to accomplish.  Like twenty-five of these cute stars!!!  My soul is at its best when I am crafting something.  

I am really enjoying falling into Christmas this year.  It just feels so good.  I am grateful for so many things.....I am looking forward to a lazy kinda of Christmas with cheer, good food and love!