Knitting

Healthy Eating

It seems like everyone I know is trying to eat more healthy now that the holidays are over.  This means something different to everyone, however, as I believe it should.  There is no “one size fits all” perfect meal plan.  Kids need to eat differently than adults, athletes have different caloric and dietary needs and those with special health concerns may have to avoid or increase certain foods.  Other people may have religious or moral concerns about the food they eat.  I became more aware of this when I had a child with special health needs and dietary concerns.  “Healthy Eating” means something different for everyone.

Even so, we all know when our diet has taken a turn for the worse.  We don’t feel as good as we should, we may lose or put on a few pounds.  Our skin doesn’t look great and our energy levels are low.  If you are feeling this way now, it may be time to take a look at how you are fueling your body.  The best way to do this it to keep a food journal for a few days.

We do our best to eat healthy at our house.  I was brought up by a mom who was a nurse and believed very strongly in a healthy diet.  We love superfoods and have them on our table as often as we can.  You will always find almonds, spinach and pumpkin here, and blueberries whenever possible.  We are not even close to perfect though!  So this week, we are focusing on raw, whole food juices, made at home.  Today I made Ginger Apple Beet Juice.

Beet Juice

Ingredients

  • 1 large or 2 small apples, quartered and deseeded
  • 1 large or 2 small beets, quartered
  • 1 large or 2 small oranges, peeled and cut in half
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 inch + piece of ginger, peeled
  • 1 handful of spinach

Directions

  • Add all ingredients to your blender or juicer and puree.

I made this juice with my Vitamix blender, which I love because I get to use all of each ingredient (no pulp to throw away) and the end consistency is great.  Not all blenders can handle this though.  I have not really explored this type of juice smoothie before and I didn’t know if I would like it.  Turns out, I did!  I love ginger and that is the most prominent flavor in this juice.  The boys have not tried it yet, but they promised to at least try my new juices.

Some people are wary of just drinking juice for a day or two.  Today I had other food as well, but I am going “all juice” tomorrow.  Look at the ingredients in the blender!  It is a salad!  Tomorrow I will round it out with a green smoothie and an orange smoothie as well.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

My friend Sandy makes the best vegetarian food!  I am lucky enough to get to sample it sometimes.  She inspires me to eat better!  Today she shared with me Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts.

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It was delicious!  She got the recipe here http://iowagirleats.com/2013/11/18/quinoa-with-caramelized-butternut-squash-and-roasted-brussels-sprouts/  Some of you might know that I have not been a fan of brussels sprouts – ever.  And I have tried!  In this recipe I actually loved them.  Sandy, I ate all of it!  So now I have to go to her house for a tutorial.  Next thing, she will have me eating kale chips.  LOL.

I am still working on my mom’s shawl.  The base was done for Christmas, but the ruffle was not.  The ruffle is now half done, anyway.  It’s getting there!

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Ken and Fezzy say hello.

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So, I am wondering, do you like brussels sprouts?

 

Boys Winter Hats

Today I finished the boys winter hats!  Yay!  Just in time – the weather is getting pretty cold.

boys in hats2Most often when I am knitting for the boys I am making two of the same item or two very similar items.  As a rule, I only give my creations to the boys when both are completed.  I learned this lesson the hard way!  Anyway, these hats knit up very fast.  They took me forever because I haven’t had much time to devote to them.  This is how they started:

A hat D hat knit

And this is how they turned out:

hats sidehats topThe boys like them and that is most important!  In fact, they chose their colors and how many stripes they wanted this year.  If you want to make this hat, follow this pattern:  Boys Winter Hats Pattern.  You can also download the pattern here:  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/boys-winter-hat

I went for my second run since I have been back and was pleasantly surprised.  It was not bad at all.  I decided to wear my Newtons instead of my Brooks just to change it up a bit.  This is kind of a reset for me.  I am trying to take a whole new approach – no braces, new routes, new techniques.  Hopefully I won’t end up where I did last time.  I hate to admit it, but my Achilles is feeling a bit “tight,” especially when I first wake up in the morning.  I am hoping it goes away…

newtonSo, I am wondering, do you wear a hat in the winter?

Snow! Time for Hats!

Today we had our first snow of the year!  It was very exciting, especially for the kids.  “Snow” may be too strong a term for it really.  It was actually beautiful fluffy flurries.  The kind of snow adults love – it is very pretty, but does not stick around to make a mess of things.

snow flurries1Of course word spread through the schools yesterday that snow might be on its way.  At breakfast this morning, when nothing was happening outside, the boys were speculating about a half day.  They were happy when they came home from school, even though they did not get their half day.  Snow is exciting.  Aidan’s teacher took the class outside before math so that they could catch snow flurries on their tongues!  I love Mrs. Eck’Art!  She is the best.  Here is Aidan doing homework.

A HW

The snow did remind me that I had better get the boys hats for this season under way.  Their hats from last year have seen better days and Dane’s does not even match his new coat.  So I am taking a break from my mom’s shawl while I knit the hats.  This is the shawl so far.

ShawlThis might explain why some of my needles are nicely stored in a bag with a half finished project on them.  I started a blanket 2 years ago that is going to be beautiful if I ever get it done!  I also have a striped purse mostly knitted that needs to be assembled and felted.  In my defense, the blanket is quite daunting.  I prefer shorter term projects.  The end has to at least be in sight.  But I promise to come right back to your shawl, mom!  Here is Aidan’s hat so far.

A hat

Not very far, but at least I am past the stressful “is it twisted” part.  Any knitters know what I mean?  Last year I had to start one hat over 3 times because it kept getting twisted!  I can’t seem to tell until I have a couple of rows done either.  This will turn into Dane’s hat.  Well, some of it will.  I had better get back to work.

D hat yarnSo, I wondering, do you go outside in the snow with your kids?

And the Verdict Is…

pirate

Today I went to the Orthopedist that was recommended to me by my running friends.  Since I had a gut feeling about the problem and the ultimate answer, I made sure to ask around for the sports medicine doc that allowed my injured comrades to continue to run through the healing process.  Unfortunately, I did not get the same answer as they did.  :(

It turns out that I have non-insertional Achilles tendinosis.  Essentially an overuse injury that causes the fibers of your tendon to tear.  The doc told me the only real cure is to stay off of it for 4 weeks!  When I told him I chose him because he was supposed to be the doctor who would tell me I could continue to run, he offered me a compression “sock” with padding over the tendon.  He said he is not telling me I can’t run.  But I should not waste my time taking one or two weeks off and expect it to be better.  It’s an all or nothing deal in his opinion.  So maybe I will only do 3 miles tomorrow since I don’t have the brace yet.  This is not my heel, but it is essentially what mine looks like.

heel

I feel slightly better now that I have researched this a bit.  It appears that this injury is particularly seen in runners who “do a lot of fast training and uphill running.”  http://runnersconnect.net/running-injury-prevention/achilles-tendonitis-and-insertional-achilles-tendinopathy-in-runners/  Does that mean I can call myself fast now?  LOL.  It is not bad enough for me to stop running yet.  In fact, it often feels better when I am running.  And I did find some exercises online that I will try.  Has anyone had this injury before and want to offer me some advice?  I would love to hear real experiences right now.

On the knitting front:  I am making my mom a beautiful shawl for Christmas.  I wanted to surprise her, but I see her too often with my knitting for that.  This is what it will look like when it is done:

ShawlTime constraints probably mean it will be a while before I can show you a finished version.  As of now though, I am happy with how it is turning out.  The ruffle is added last on this pattern.

shawl1

shawl3

If you want to make this shawl, you can find the pattern here http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/kates-shawl.  It is listed as an intermediate pattern, but once you get the hang of the repeat it is not bad at all.

So, I am wondering, have you run through an injury?  Did you regret it?

Party Time…Almost

It’s party prep time at our house again.  Birthday parties are always a big deal for us and the boys enjoy the planning almost as much as the party itself.  They talk about possible themes for days and, as far as they are concerned, the sky is the limit.  They really are very creative.  I love the innocence involved in what they think is possible.  They are not held back by what we may think of as practical considerations.  As a result, they come up with some great ideas.  They are still young enough as well to think that mom can make it all happen.  No pressure.  This year we settled on a mixed theme of Plants (from Plants v. Zombies) v. Creepers (from Minecraft).  I feel pretty strongly that zombies are not a great party theme for kids parties.  The boys were upset that I was violating the integrity of the game for a bit, but then they realized they could combine two of their favorite games.  Bonus.

party bags

My son decided early on that he wanted a Nerf War party at our local children’s gym.  It is a great boy party, if a bit shorter than most other places.  So, it will be a shoot out between the plants and the creepers.  I just hope the war is won by the time the party planner tells us to move on for pizza.  Just to be safe, I am letting her tell the 20 armed children it’s time to go.

PVZ 1

There is still much to be done.  Of course this is happening in the midst of a busy time for us otherwise.  Some nights when I am up late getting things done I wonder if I will ever get to sit and knit again.  So I found a quick knit for a cabled headband to work on in my down time.  (haha)  It is similar to one I have had my eye on in one of my favorite catalogs.  I just could not bring myself to order it knowing I could make it myself.  I wanted to write a pattern myself, but there is just no time for that right now.  So I found a great pattern on Ravelry.  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/crab-claw-hairband—headband  Here is my version so far.

Headband1

One more thing.  I had to pick our first baby pumpkin from our garden today.  I am kind of sad about that because the boys and I really wanted it to grow big.  But the plant was not doing well and I didn’t want to lose it altogether.  So we have a cute tiny pumpkin.

pumpkin

So, I am wondering, what birthday party did you or your child enjoy the most?

The New Guy

There is a new guy in our family that we are all quite taken with.

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It is amazing to see how tiny he is!  I can’t remember my guys ever being that small – but of course they were.  He comes complete with tiny yawns and cute stretches.  His parents claim that he cries, but I don’t believe it.  He even opened his eyes and smiled for us!  (Not at the same time – yet).

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The boys have a list of things they want to teach him, including how to play Minecraft, not to eat okra, not to play with girls, that chocolate is the best food.  Between them and his big brother I am sure they will cover all the “boy basics.”  Why do I see potty humor in my future for years to come?  Do boys grow out of that?   Anyway, they are very excited about their new cousin.  In fact, as we were leaving his house they wanted to know when we would next see him and his brother.

M&M

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Luckily, we live nearby.  Also luckily, I had finished knitting the “guy” for our new addition before he arrived.  I hope he likes it when he gets a bit older.

BunnyBunny back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to knit this bunny guy yourself, visit www.ravelry.com and search for Bunny under “softies.”

So, I am wondering, what color would you make a “guy” for a new baby if you didn’t know whether it was a boy or a girl?

The Babies Are Coming! (a.k.a., Knit Faster!)

We are excitedly awaiting the arrival of two new babies in our family – not from me!  But my boys will have two new cousins soon.  Very soon, in fact.  One little guy is actually due tomorrow.  Today’s doctor visit revealed that he is in no hurry to join our crazy family.  And thank goodness for that!  I am not done knitting his welcome present yet!

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My Aunt taught me to knit.  My Aunt and YouTube, actually.  But my Aunt always knits the new babies in our family a baby blanket.  I am quite grateful for that.  It takes a long time to knit a blanket, even a baby blanket!  So I make our new additions a plush toy.  My boys call them “guys.”  They are too old to call them stuffed animals, but still young enough to play with them occassionally.  So they are “guys” in our house.  I have made my boys a ton of guys at this point.  I will post pictures and patterns soon (maybe even a link to my Etsy site).  But here is an example of the frog prince “guys” I made my boys last Valentines Day.

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I am making our new additions baby sized plush bunnies from wonderfully soft Angel Hair yarn.  One is knitted already.  I now have to sew the face on and assemble the parts.  This is my least favorite part though.  I have been known to procrastinate quite a bit on this part.  It is no surpise then, that I have decided to knit the second bunny and assemble them both at the same time.  Hopefully I will have completed pictures soon.  Maybe even a pattern.  But for now, I must go knit!

So, I am wondering, knitters, what do you make for the new babies in your family?  And those of you who do not knit, do you have a standard new baby gift?

 

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