Friday, July 25, 2014

Getting there

You can clearly see that I am holding a cookie
and it is not falling apart,
and it is low-carb.

But I'm not happy-dancin' just yet.

I'm pleased,
don't get me wrong.
but I (apparently) want more than channel 9 Pittsburg.

These cookies are too cake-like for my liking.
And they browned waaay too quickly.
(although, that could be the fault of my oven as much as my recipe...)

I've got a few more things up my apron sleeve to try....
One day, Nancy will get her cookie, darn it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

making headway. sort of...

We make encourage the kids to try food that they think they don't like,
and remind them that they don't have to like everything they eat.
Having plenty of food to eat is a blessing;
getting food we enjoy is a bonus.
yada, yada, yada

Our power was out for several hours this afternoon and evening,
so Tyler took us to Western Sizzlin for dinner.

Lexi very proudly told me,
"I tried my green jello,
and I didn't like it, but I ate it anyways."
"Wasn't that good?" she asked, her eyes sparkling.
Brandon and I exchanged a glance.
And maybe even a quiet giggle.
"Yes, Baby. That was good."

Monday, July 21, 2014

push-ups and protein buns

We were given a bag of fresh from the garden tomatoes the other day
and Brandon said, "We really should have some BLTs with those."
"Or at least BLT salads," I said.
"Or BLTs." He replied.

So, when I picked up Jack from the ball-snipping place today,
I popped in the market and bought bacon and a loaf of bread.

Brandon made toast for the 5 people who don't have any blood sugar issues,
and I made a couple of protein bread/buns for Tyler and I.
It occurred to me that I've never told TJ how to make these, 
so I figured I'd share it here, in case anybody else was interested.

Please know that these will not fool anybody into thinking they are a real bread product,
but they do make a very nice, if not terribly flavorful, holder for sandwich fillings.
Split, and toasted under the broiler before mayonnaising,
they made a fine BLT.

For 3 nice sized buns: 

Set the yolks aside and put the whites only from 2 eggs into 6 c glass or metal mixing bowl.
Sprinkle a little bit of cream of tartar on them and whip them with a hand mixer on high
until stiff.

If you can pass off the mixer job to someone, you can do the next step while they are whipping the egg whites,
but if you're working solo, no biggie, just do it when you're done .

To your egg yolks, add 1 TBS baking mix or ground flax
(you could probably leave this out, but it makes me feel more like I'm eating bread...)
and a sprinkle of onion powder
and give it a stir.

When your egg whites are super stiff,
add 3 TBS egg-white protein and gently mix it in.

Add your egg yolk mixture, by plopping a little bit in several paces in your bowl,
and even more gently, mix it in.

Divide into 3rds and place in greased 16 oz ramekins or something similar,
or just plop onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet
and cook for about 15 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
(you could also put the entire recipe into a well greased 8x8, and cut them into fourths after cooking about 20 minutes)

You may need to 'help' them out of your pan a little,
then let your buns cool slightly on a wire rack before slicing and filling with whatever yumminess you have a hankering for.

About those push-ups:
14 unmodified (meaning full plank position, no knees) in 20 seconds.
Oh yeah!

And if you're worried about Jack,
don't; he's doing pretty good.
Looks a little pathetic, though...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

catching up on a Thursday

So many happenings haven't been recorded,
so I'm just going to do a Reader's Digest version here.
In no particular order...

Well, that's not true.
I'll try to go in chronological order, but it's quite likely that I'll get things switched up.

Two of my uncles came down from Illinois to see Gramma Joyce,
so most of the family got together at my mom's house for a visit.
It was great to see them! 
But it wasn't really long enough - it's kind of hard to really visit and catch up with so many people.

Tyler was in the middle of major overtime at work and didn't get to go with us :-(
But that meant Brandon got to drive over the mountain for the first time.

Oh - speaking of -
I knew there was construction in F'ville and I'd told him I thought he was plenty capable of driving in it,
but that I found it pretty stressful, 
so I didn't want him to be in that situation,
so I'd take over right before we got to F'ville.

I wanted to go to Ozark Natural Foods to get Almond Butter 
(oh my! it's nothing but freshly ground almonds, and it is soo yummy!)
and to Joann's to get some thread,
so we did that (while I was driving) before heading all the way to Rogers.
After we got there, I felt kinda bad for not letting Bran drive, because there really wasn't much construction at all.

So, when we left my mom's, I asked Brandon if he wanted to just go ahead and drive the whole way.
He did.

Ya'll - it was another blond moment for me.
I'd driven around Fayetteville,
not on the construction-zone-filled interstate through Fayetteville.
The boy did just fine in spite of me.


And speaking of blond - our pool is turning the girls' hair (especially Lexi, although it may just be that she swims more...) green.
Never had that happen before.


T got to go see Tony and Kacy in early July.
I was happy for him / them, but I'd sure like to see my Cali kids, too!


I was a little bit scared about fireworks this year
and every time the kids would ask if we could go buy fireworks,
my heart would start racing and I'd feel sick to my stomach.
We were going to get fireworks,
but I wasn't a bit eager about it.
I really thought it was possible I'd have to stay in the house with the dogs.

It ended up that the thought of fireworks was worse than the actual fireworks.
There were a few times, though,
when I was ready to jump out of my chair and take off running...

Since he was in California,
T didn't come for the Fourth. So that was kinda bummy.
But the Mc C's were here, 
and SarahB and her fiance came for dinner, too, so that was good.

We had soo much food left-over!
We ate on it Saturday,
and again for lunch on Sunday.


I made lacto-fermented veggies a few weeks ago
and I think they're pretty good.
I need to get another batch going.

I've also tried cookies 2 more times. Neither batch were 'proper' cookies.
I told Tyler it's kinda silly of me to think that with my limited knowledge of low carb baking
could make a cookie that eats like a white-flour cookie
when I haven't found anybody else who can do it...

But you know me ~ I'm going to keep trying.
The family doesn't mind.
The results are always tasty, after all.
They just don't hold together.


I may not be able to make a proper cookie,
but I have come up with a recipe for some darn good coffee ice-cream!
(low carb brownies to go with it, though? Um.... Fail.)


My sister and her hubby came down for a visit :-)
She wasn't here 2 minutes 
before the kids had her sitting at the table making jewelry.

I am so thankful that my kids have great aunts and uncles who love on 'em!!!

Terri made me a bracelet, too, while she was here
(it gets its own post at some point)
and fixed my ankle bracelet so I could wear it again.

Shortly before they arrived, Lexi (who didn't know they were coming!) said, 
"Aunt Terri sure does love you a lot, because she makes so much jewelry for you!"
It's true - besides my engagement, wedding, and anniversary ring,
oh, and the bracelet I bought from Rahab's Rope, which I adore (and they no longer have on their site or I would link to it)
every bit of the jewelry I wear,
my sis has made for me.
(Thanks, Ter! XO)

You, too, can have beautiful jewelry made by my sister!
She can't make it for you at your kitchen table, 


I accidentally wrote 'poop' instead of 'pop'
which reminded me of this video that's kinda funny.


My wedding ring?
I can wear it again.
makes me happy!
If I'd have known 9+ (or was it 10+?) years ago
that it would be so many years before I'd be able to squeeze into it again,
I'd  have had it re-sized.
I absolutely hated not wearing my wedding ring.


Something (a hawk? an owl? ) is feasting big-time on my chickens!
During the day, but we've never seen anything. Grrr
We are down to 7 full grown hens and 1 rooster.
Fortunately, we haven't lost any more babies since I killed the snake.


so much for the Reader's Digest version, huh? ;-)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

a little misunderstanding

Lily walked by the apple green vintage suitcase that houses the building blocks.
"It's weird that they call it a soupcase," she said, a little perplexed,
"because you never carry soup in it."

I told her it was a suitcase,
and she thought that made a lot more sense.

Monday, July 14, 2014

4 week fitness update, 10 days late

You can probably guess,
by the fact that this update is 10 days late,
that the news isn't good.
I like to brag on myself way too much to hold on to a good report that long ;-)

When I told a friend, you know, after blathering about it here, that I'd gained 3 lbs,
she flippantly responded, "Well, you'll just lose 4 lbs this month."
"That hasn't been my practice," I replied,
but ever the optimist,
I hoped maybe, just maybe, she'd end up being right.

I doubled my exercise.
Made sure to take my supplements,
drank gallons of water,
and ate well.
I dry-brushed.
I upped my intake of probiotics
and made lacto-fermented vegetables.
I ate plenty of protein. But not too much.
And lots of spinach and kale.
Went easy on cheese,
and nuts.
I regularly consumed apple cider vinegar.
And freshly squeezed lemon juice.
I slept.
Frankly - I'm getting more than a little sick of all this taking care of myself garbage.

But she wasn't right.
There was no change.

I told Tyler if you looked up
in the dictionary, they'd all have one thing in common.
A picture of me.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

my latest make, in blurry pictures

(excuse the blurry pictures - Josiah was my photographer, and it was his first time with the big camera. 
Unbeknownst to me, the camera was on manual focus (no clue why?!) 
so things were a little blurry.
These are the least blurry, and he is pleased with them, so we're going with 'em)

This week, 
I made
what I think just might be
my favorite me-made clothing ever.

It goes without saying that it's knit, and as comfy as can be.

It looks like a dress, but it's really a skirt and top.
I'm a sneaky one.

The skirt was made using a pattern I made
by copying a skirt we bought in January from Wal-mart on clearance for $1.
I made the pattern a smidge longer and flared it a little more than the grey one I copied,
and increased the height of the waistband, and tapered it a bit.
Super fast and cheap skirt to make, especially if it's not being lined.

Jack and Lola wanted in on the action. 

The top is the bodice portion of my TnT KitschyKoo Lady Skater Dress pattern, lengthened 9 inches,
and changed at the armscythe a bit since I wanted sleeveless.
Oh, I also lowered the back neckline a bit.
I inadvertently raised the front neckline,
because I cut off about 3/8 in at the shoulder from both the front and the back pieces.
Stupidly - it only just this moment occurred to me that that was why the neckline seemed higher than my other LSD makes.
Duh. Because it is higher. By 3/4 of an inch.
I may be sneaky, but I ain't all that smart...
I finished the sleeves flat, just like the neckline, though I used a 1 1/2" wide binding strip instead of 2".

you can see, once your eyes adjust (somewhat) to the dizzying blur...
that the skirt has a nice swing to it.
You can also see - that I am a dork.

When I picked out my clothes this morning
(this - of course!)
I said something about not having worn it since I made it
(as if I made it soo long ago ;-)
and Lexi said, "You made that? It looks like a bought outfit!"
so - Yay!!

Thanks, Josiah, for taking my pictures. You did a good job.
Next time Momma will make sure the camera is on the right settings

I hope I always remember that awesome smile you gave me right after you took this picture.  I love you, my boy!

(Here's one Lily took with my phone,
which is a more accurate color representation, but still a bit on the blurry side:


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

back at it

I tried chocolate chip cookies a few days ago.

I thought maybe my baking mix was the culprit,
so instead of using it, 
I tried mostly almond flour
with a quarter cup each of ground flax and oat fiber.

I mixed up the dough in the afternoon and let it set in the fridge for several hours
and then  baked 2 cookies per person just before bedtime.

the results were tasty
and even looked sort of half decent
 but didn't hold together.

Today, I turned to google to find the secret to delicious grain-free cookies.

You know what I discovered?
Low carb cookies are really tricky.
They tend to crumble and fall apart.

I'm not giving up yet....

(It was good  to not give up.
At long last, here is the recipe)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

I did it!

I have been trying for well over a year to do a pull-up.
(off and on; not constantly)
but these silly people I live with (and the boys I've birthed who no longer live here)
don't consider those 'real'.

This morning, I told Tyler to grab his phone.
I thought I just might be able to do one today - a real, unassisted pull-up -and I wanted photographic evidence.


Using nothing but my hands/arms,
I pulled all of my chins
above that bar.
(and held 'em there for a few secs to make sure he got that picture!)

I did it!
And I don't mind saying, 
I am mighty pleased with mybadself ;-)

(the picture was texted to my boys and Kacy and 'Lish with strict instructions to delete it.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

my ragamuffin crew

Looking out the window, I couldn't help but smile.
Brandon has been making bows for the kids, and everyone was out there trying them out.

Tyler had on the crappiest pair of shorts he owns, 
a soft comfortable tan pair that he can't even run to the Dollar General in, so you know they're bad.
Oh, and he was shirtless.
Which is odd, because he'd had on a shirt earlier,
and he isn't one to just go around without one.

Jeremiah had on his gross grey shorts, with orange and what once was white trim.
On top - a black and maroon razorback shirt.
(the shirt is a recent hand me down from his Bub and is in surprisingly good shape, actually.
The shorts, however, really should be in the trash.
When they do finally go in the trash,
they will not be dug out and made into a quilt!)

Josiah looked a smidge better
in his bright orange with black and white shorts
and his grey and blue striped shirt.

Ah, Lexi.
Lex' was wearing a too small pink and orange Dora nightgown
with red tights
covered with striped leg warmers
and her aqua and pink tennis shoes.

She actually looked pretty cute; Lex' can wear stuff like this.
But my goodness - she was making me hot...

Lily, because she has a fondness for dresses,
because they are the easiest thing in the world to wear,
looked right nice 
in her pink and blue sweater dress (again with the hot...)
(until you got down to her feet, which were covered in paint smeared crocs)

Brandon had on red and black shorts with a red shirt.
the shorts are an orange-y red
and the shirt was more of a razorback red (of recent years)

These are my people.
My ragamuffin crew.
And I love them very much!

(and now you know why I don't take many pictures of 'em)
(to be entirely fair - I'm often not presentable at home, either.
I happened, this time, to be wearing a grey skirt with a black tank top. both clean. And, bonus - a bra. And a cute one, at that  :-)

slow progress is better than no progress (and some rambling)

Neither of my quilts are coming along as quickly as I'd like,
but my stacks of finished blocks are slowly getting taller.

First up,
with what I think is a better name than 'my red and white quilt':

'Any Which Way'
with the exception of the block I sewed wrong, which will become a practice block for quilting,
no matter which way you turn a block,
it looks the same.

I've finally reached the half-way point on my blocks.

Not counting all of the prep work,
each block takes about 55 minutes to make.
(I explain the process in the post I just linked to.)
If I didn't have to press the seams open, that time would be greatly reduced.

I had thoughts of maybe trying to sell Any Which Way (in red),
but I'm thinking nobody is going to want to pay for it.
I've already got 38 1/2 hours invested
and I still have 24 hours for the blocks
and then there's 
and sewing it all into a top,
and the back,
and basting and quilting
and binding...

can you spot the mess-up?  ugh!
Good block to mess up on though; I hadn't given a thought to stripe matching when I trimmed the HSTs
so even before Tyler pointed out I'd put it together wrong, the block hurt my eyes. And my pride ;-)


And now for the stars into hexagons...

This quilt top will be sewn entirely by hand,
and as you can imagine
if you know me 
at all,
I love working on it!

Here are a few of my favorite blocks so far:

I really like this fabric! Wish I knew where I got it....

I'm not letting imperfections bother me. I'm not letting imperfections bother me. I'm not letting imperfections bother me.

I'm aiming for 10-20% fussy cut fabric. Wastes fabric and takes a ton longer, but my goodness the results are fun!

When Lily saw this fabric, she said, "This looks like it was made by the same person who made California Dreamin'."
Astute girl, that one.

 I still haven't settled on my perfect thread for EPP,
but I am leaning towards Gutermann 100% polyester Sew-All.
My biggest complaint is that it's hard on my fingers,
meaning that - as I pull my stitches tight, the thread almost cuts into my pinky.
If I am only sewing one star, it isn't an issue,
but for more than one star in a day,
it's a bother.
More than two (though that's rare) and I need a bandaid...
It also tends to tangle if I don't love it enough, so that's a little annoying.
My other complaint (and this may very well be an issue across the board with threads) is
different colors behave differently.
More than once, I've checked my spool (or 'reel' as they say across the sea ;-) to make sure that I had what I thought I bought,
and not some other type of Gutermann.

Bottom Line by Superior and a very similar thread by Gutermann designed for blind hemming in the sewing industry
are both nice to sew with 
in that they don't cut into me at all
and neither of them tangle, even with no lovin's at all.
I can also take slightly fewer stitches per inch, since the thread is so thin.
They both sort of 'fray' from the inside out;  I don't know how else to describe it.
The thread strands just randomly separate, causing me to question the strength of my stitches.
They also (the Gutermann Skala 200 more-so even than the BL) seem to be inconsistent.
By that, I mean that I can sew piece after piece (ignoring the fraying, and hoping that's not too foolish) with no troubles
and all of a sudden, experience a lot of thread breaks (totally not related to any visible stress in the thread).
I don't notice there being any correlation to my needle or particular fabrics.
(In regard to fabrics, I will say - designer cottons are soooo much nicer for EPP!
With quality fabrics, you only need to grab 2 threads of the fabric. 
With cheaper fabrics, I've found I need to grab a bigger chuck or the fabric will fray.
This, of course, means my stitches are more likely to show,
although I have learned to try to grab those extra threads from the seam allowance and not just across the side.
I fully realize that this makes absolutely no sense to you if you've never done English Paper Piecing. 
I do apologize.
I wanted to include the info for anyone newish to EPP who may happen upon this, as they may find it helpful.)

Enough of the thread discourse, and back to my stars....
er - hexagons....

My original plan was to make 110 hexagons for a 10x11 layout.
I am thinking I may need more, though, since the rows 'nest' together.

As of this morning, I've got 36 stars sewn together
and 6 completed hexagons,
all sewn either while watching a netflix show,
or in the car (mostly on the way to TKD)
or while waiting somewhere.

The fabric, you may remember,
is all scraps 
or from my stash (I am accumulating a stash - yay!) 
with the exception of some of the striped fabric, of which I purchased 1/6 yd cuts) 

I guess you could say it's a bonus quilt :-)

The biggest bonus being,
I love working on it.
But then,
I already said that, didn't I?

Linking up with Freshly Pieced WiP Wednesdays, where you can find all sorts of sewing goodness in varying stages of production.