Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday's Fitness Wrapup

This is my first week at the new job and I have to admit I haven't quite figured out how to work and workout on the same day. I know lots of people do it. They get up early or go after work. I guess I just have to make the decision and then follow through. The real challenge for me is that I'm not one of those people who just loves exercising so I will use any excuse not to go. I guess I will try getting up early next week and working out before work. I was used to getting up at 5 am, so that shouldn't be that different. I can work out for an hour and then get ready to start my day. Anyway, I made it to the gym 3 times this week. I'm also down a couple of pounds. I have cut out a few things from my diet that shouldn't have been there anyway and that's helped. I'll keep working on the other things. I've been following the plan put forth from my coaching connection coach. He has me using weights and doing cardio to target the areas I want to improve. So, far, so good.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday's Meal

Blondie's, I really like them. Sometimes I want a change from a chocolaty dessert and a blondie really fits the bill.

1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Put the sugar in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a small skillet or in the microwave in a glass measuring cup. Stir the butter into the sugar until smooth, cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together.
Beat the eggs and vanilla into the sugar mixture. Add the flour mixture a bit at a time and mix until a smooth thick batter forms. Fold in the chips. Spoon the batter into the prepared dish.Bake until the blondies are light brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Change is in the air

For the last 8 years I have worked every weekend with a great bunch of ladies. I'm going to be leaving them soon. I can't express the dread I feel. They are so much a part of my life and my every day that I can't imagine not seeing them on a regular basis anymore. I haven't talked much about my new endeavor. It's not that I'm not excited...I's just well these are my girls! I don't know how I'll get by without them to talk to each weekend. I don't want to think about it. Just typing this I have tears in my eyes. I don't know who will share my life, who will understand my special brand of crazy? I'm no spring chicken. It's hard at my age to strike up new relationships. I've had babies with these girls, I've gone through good times and bad times with them. Damnit...we're a clique! I can't begin to tell you how I feel. I feel like, I don't know, like an intergral part of me is dying. It's scary out there and you need your friends, your girls. I know that the reason I'm going is the right thing for my family (and I don't doubt it it for a minute), but I am so very sad! So very, very sad! As the day grows closer I this the right thing? Yes, yes, I know it is. But, I already miss my bitches!!! You can't know what you mean to me. I love ya'll!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday's Fitness Wrapup

Awesome week! I worked out 5 times, including a day when I really didn't want to. I even tried a new class called "Low Impact Power Hour". I don't know what makes it less high impact than the regular power hour because it kicked my ass and I was sore for two days afterward. For this week coming up I need to focus on eliminating the poor food choices from my diet. I've had a fun summer, but now it's time to buckle down. Also I need to focus on getting in my workout even with my new schedule. I hate working out in the evening so that will be a real challenge to me. I can do it though! I will do it!! I may have to look at my exercise routine a bit differently and less bound to the gym. I also might have to utilize the equipment I have at home such as free weights and exercisetv (which is an awesome resource). Anyway, the point is to keep on moving and to make good healthy food choices.
Have a great week!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Quilt progress...

Today is the day, I'm definitely going to go pickup a sd card reader because I am anxious to share my quilt progress with you all. I'm so proud of myself. It really is turning out better than I could have hoped for even considering my amateurish stippling. I did discover that I don't love quilting on the singer 15-91. I could never get the rhythm down well. My stitches were very uneven and I also kept skipping stitches. I tried adjusting it and changing needles, but I think it's user error. I switched to quilting it on my Babylock Ellure. Although the harp is pretty small, it's making a lovely stitch and even with my novice efforts it looks a million times better than what I had done on the 15-91. I may end up selling the 15-91. I don't really have the space for it and I purchased it solely for it's reputed quilting ability. Maybe I'll work with it some more and see if I can get better results. In the mean time I'll continue to work on the Ellure. It should be fine since the quilt is only a lap size and I'll have plenty of space. I also purchased machingers and the supreme slider that were recommended on this site. I don't know if they make that much difference. I can say I tried using grippy garden gloves and found them too hot to work with comfortably. The machinger's are light and thin so that makes a huge difference in terms of comfort.
Anyway, I think I should finish this up by next week and then I'll get started on the quilt for M.. So, stay tuned for the big reveal.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday's Meal

Recently I had one of these at a restaurant and it was absolutely delightful. It could be easily altered to be nonalcoholic too. Below is the recipe for simple syrup too, so there's no excuse not to enjoy one tonight!


2 oz Gold Rum
½ oz Amaretto
1/3 oz Orange Curacao
½ oz lemon juice
½ oz simple syrup
2 medium sized strawberries, cleaned and diced

Place diced strawberries in a mixer, pour in the simple syrup, and mashing very well. Pour in all remaining ingredients, fill the glass with ice, and shake well. Pour the strained mixture into a tall old fashioned glass and serve garnished with a fresh slice of strawberry.

How to make simple syrup
Just mix equal parts sugar and water. Bring it to a boil, allowing the sugar to dissolve. Use as desired.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday's Fitness Wrapup

Well after last weeks disastrous performance, I'm really trying to get back on track. So, here's what I've been doing this week. First off I'm really trying to do my food journal regularly. I have a couple of apps on my Iphone that make it super easy. I really love Lose it. The best thing about it is that it's free and customizable. I also joined a 10 week wellness program at my local Y called Coaching Connection. I'm really excited about it. They did an assessment of what my fitness goals were and then they designed a program that should help me meet them. I'd like to lose 15 lbs, tone my core and arm...oh and run a 5k before the end of the year. I also attended a weight loss/nutrition class. I'm not sure if I'll go to that again though. The time of the meetings is a bit dicey for me. I worked out 3 times this week, I did yoga, cardio and weight training. I'm going to add an additional days of cardio next week. Now comes the hard part. Eliminating the junk foods from my diet. I can't buy any more pretzels....wahhhhh! I love pretzels. The salty crunchiness of them. I also need to drink a ton more water. So, next week my goals are to increase my workouts by working out 15 mins longer and adding at least one day. I also want to increase my water intake and eliminate pretzels from my diet. Oh and I need to keep up with my food journal. That's it. I feel motivated and ready to go! Hope you're doing well with your healthy lifestyle.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

UFO Status Report

I'm happy to report that I've been doing awesome finishing up my UFO's. I really only have a few more left. I have my "Mad Men" inspired dress (although Mad Men is set in the 1960's). Here's the pattern. I'm doing version C in a blue and red plaid fabric I got for a good price the Patsy Aiken Outlet. I also need to finish a backpack for O., a lunch bag for me and a little duffle bag for my sewing/knitting notions. Then I can begin my holiday crafting in earnest. In fact I've actually started working on E's quilt. I'm using a pattern called "Perfect Ten" from Swirly Girls. Super cute. I'm making it from a fabric line called "Serengeti" that features realistic jungle animals. I've cut out all the fabric for it. It took me a bit and had me wishing for a accuquilt cutter, but my omnigrid ruler's did the job fine. I might make myself a quilt from this pattern too one day. Of course I have my regular monthly blocks to finish for my different flickr quilting bees. And I'm participating in a really fun challenge with TMQG called "Glam Garden Gala". Robert Kaufman fabrics donated 25 layer cakes from Glam Garden by Josephine Ketterling to our guild and I was lucky enough to get one. You use the layer cake and one other fabric to create something. I've been kicking around a few ideas. I guess the final project is going to depend on how ambitious I'm feeling. Anyways, I'm plugging along. Trying to stay cool and crafty,lol.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Camera Crisis

My camera which works perfect fine no longer will communicate with my computer via the little usb cord. It's not the cord that's at fault, how I wish it were that simple. The receptacle that accepts the usb in the camera has broken off inside the camera. I'm so bummed since I have a ton of pix to share with you all. Now I'm trying to decide if this is the universe saying it's time for a new camera or if it just means I need to figure out a way to get my pictures off my sd card and keep my camera for now. Of course I am lusting after a better camera. Perhaps I should think about used or refurbished. I mean it's not like I'm an avid photographer, right? I've always been partial to Nikon and Pentax. I know tons of people love Canon too. What to get? What's best? I have no idea where to start even. Do I get a camera feature packed that I can grow into or do I get something that's simple and straightforward? Decisions, decisions. Seriously...if you have a recommendation about a camera send it my way.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday's Meal

Trying to shake my pretzel addiction by substituting another snack. Not really less calorie, but maybe it will help me increase my fruit and grain intake as well as be a bit more filling.

Grand Granola

1 1/2 cups wheat germ
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup honey
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup each of dried mango, dried pineapple. dried apricots, dried bananas (or the dried fruit of your desire)
2 cups raisins or sweetened dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment or aluminum foil. Combine the oats, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, and walnuts in a large bowl. Stir together the salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat. Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets. Bake in the preheated oven until crispy and toasted, about 15 minutes. Stir once halfway through. Cool, then stir in the your desired fruits before storing in an airtight container.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday's Fitness Wrapup

Bad week...enough said. No really, I should have just skipped reporting it, except I forgot last week and I want to get back on track so to speak. I will definitely do better next week since let's face it I can't do much worst. But, let's just say I did have a fun week not exercising and eating what I want. Why does leading a healthy lifestyle have to be so devoid of pleasure?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hair Woes

As school starts I've been thinking a lot about this issue and even discussed the challenges of black hair care with two of my girlfriends. My daughter's hair is wild and beautiful. I love it, she loves it. However, it's very different from my own and I'm determined to treat her hair right and stay natural with it. I don't think it's necessary to use harsh chemicals on it or tame it into some type of submission. However, I do want it to look clean, neat and healthy. I'm trying to educate myself about how to best care for it. I'm part of the generation who embraced harsh chemicals and weekly pilgrimages to the beauty shop. It's definitely a learning process for me. For the last several months I've adopted a new regime for caring for her hair. I've researched, read blogs, joined forums, tried out different products to gain a better understanding and routine to care for her hair. Currently I do cowashes with Suave Almond and shea conditioner. About once a month a use KBB's Lucious Locks. I also use coconut oil to moisturize it a few days before a shampoo. I use KBB hair milk in between to give it some moisture between shampoos. I have to make my own shea, coconut oil, aloe hair products with a recipe from this book.
I wish I could post a picture of her with her riotous curls, but I'm having major camera issues (in fact I'm in the market for a new one so if you have a recommendation send it my way). I love that she's proud of her natural hair. My hope is that she doesn't grow up with the hair woes that I had.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday's meal

Saturday we went to the farmer's market. I can't begin to tell you how delicious all the fresh samples were. Yummo! I was especially excited about the summer fruit. I love peaches. Oh were they good! To me they tasted like sunshine and summer. Here a super easy cake recipe you can make with your farmer's market peaches (or even your grocery store ones).

Peachy Cake

1 box of White cake mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup butter
2 cups of peaches, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all the ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Prepare the pan of your choice by greasing and flouring. Bake in oven according to recommended cooking time on the box. Cool on rack.


1 16 oz container of extra cream cool whip
1 small package of jello instant vanilla pudding
1 1/2 cups of peaches, peeled and chopped

Combine all the ingredients in medium bowl, refrigerating while cake is cooking and cooling. Frost cake. Refrigerator frosted cake for several hours and then serve.