Tuesday, April 29, 2014
As with Breaking News - this discovery is also at an inconvenient time. But it is so BIG that these other things can wait. Rather than cleaning, organizing, packing, and doing all other things associated with moving/long trip preparations I am here sharing a few of my new favorite discoveries from my health journey.
"Why is this so important?" , you ask. I just had the most wonderful lunch. Zoodles (which I am newly addicted to) and Cauliflower Alfredo.
First let me explain zoodles and why I love them. For years people have been using Spaghetti Squash in place of pasta, but a new age has come and people are spiral cutting and julienning all kinds of fruits and vegetables for use in low carb diets. Zucchini is probably the most common (Hence the ZZZZoodle). Despite all the Z's I just typed zoodles are not something to sleep on. If you love pasta as much as I do (which is probably not possible) you should try this out! I tried my first zoodles yesterday and couldn't wait to have them again today for lunch. One small zucchini is only 23 calories opposed to the 100+ in a small serving of pasta. Plus- it's a vegetable, who isn't looking for a way to add more vegetables into their diet?
As for the Cauliflower Alfredo - even Mr. Sam said that it was good and couldn't even guess what it was made of. If he put his stamp of approval on something low cal and healthy then you know it's good.
Recipe I used for a guide found on Tastefully Crafted - obviously I did things a little differently because I didn't use pasta and I also only used about 3 cups of water and since I don't keep Italian seasoning on hand I used about 1 Tbs of Basil and 2 tsp of Oregano. With some sautéed zoodles and a chicken breast it made for a healthy, filling lunch. And the sauce is so creamy I could eat it all day!
I loved this so much that I haven't even cleaning it up yet - it is still warm on the stove while I write this. Hence the Breaking News.
Other happy discoveries on my healthy journey this last month have been:
-Oatmeal with blueberries (frozen) with a little brown sugar and if I have toast I make it whole wheat and substitute coconut oil for butter (I don't even notice the difference!). I have this almost everyday!
-My whole life my parents have enjoyed cottage cheese on salad and I thought it was the most disgusting thing I had ever heard of. Recently I tried it instead of ranch for a healthy fat and added protein and it was great! Just add some salt and pepper, or my favorite Salad Supreme, right on top and it is delicious.
I hope you enjoy these tips or try out zoodles. They are great! And this sauce is seriously creamy. I was actually very surprised that it was so good. And now I end this breaking news to clean my fridge and scrub my floors...fun.
Friday, April 4, 2014
When we were pregnant with Hobbit Jo we talked about doing cloth diapers because we are destitute students. Nothing organic or natural about it, we just didn't want to go into debt for something that was going to be thrown away after a few hours (sometimes a few minutes) of use.
However, the start up for cloth diapers can be PRICEY, so the resourceful woman that I am. I decided to take advantage of my discount at work and buy diaper flannel, elastic, and snaps for a fraction of the price that it would be to buy diapers. With a borrowed diaper from my sister-in-law I set to work.
Before I share these tips on sewing your own diapers I have to say this one thing. DON'T DO IT! If you can shell out the $150-$200 dollars (at the least) to start diapering then DO IT!
After many hours, days, trials, prototypes and tears. I have settled on our current diapers.
Tip #1 - The elastic was pointless.
Tip #2 - Tri-folds are pretty awesome for burp rags and as diapers.
Tip #3 - You will be pee soaked and smell a good majority of your life.
Tip #4 - Get a good bucket with an air-tight seal.
Tip #5 - Research your choices and how to care for your diapers and especially covers.
Tip #6 - Care for your covers. This needed said twice because they are important. They are your only defense against the pee.
Tip #7 - Strip your diapers at least once a month.
Tip #8 - If you can afford it, spring for flushable wipes, because poopy wipes that aren't wrapped up in diapers reek!
Tip #9 - Keep disposables nearby.
Our system is cloth during the day and disposable at night (otherwise we would need to wash her sheets almost everyday. We also use disposables for adventures like church, playgroup, grandma's house, or if we are doing errands or shopping for a long time. We have only needed to buy 1-2 bags of diapers per size and towards the end of the last two sizes we had to use them for awhile to use the rest of the bag. As gross as it was to get use to swished out poop in the toilet and the gust of stink when you open the bucket to throw them in the wash, I like it. It's cheaper, I never have the fear of running out and needing to run to the store; if we run out we can throw on a disposable while the others wash. Another bonus is flushing the stink. Hobbit Jo's diapers keep getting stronger and even more stinky than the last so it is great to flush it away. The paper diapers that are full of poop in the garbage stink more than anything.
All-in-all it is totally worth it to cloth diaper.
Tips about making them - skip the elastic, sew around the edges with a serger if you can, go around the diapers twice to insure they won't fray or shred, buy your covers (they are expensive but you'll be grateful).
Diapers are stinky. They really are. But when they are poop-free, in a bucket they stink a lot less than poopy in a garbage.
"If in doubt, Meriadoc, follow your nose."
-Gandalf, Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien-
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
After a few weeks of actually going (instead of sleeping in, taking a long bath, or slumming it on the couch while Hobbit Jo napped). I started to really like it. I got more comfortable and started adjusting her schedule so that her nap would be after playgroup. And rather than going for the 45 minutes that I started with I have started spending hours with these women and I love it.
It has been so eye-opening to learn about different relationships and different styles or opinions. Yet, I feel so uplifted and unified because we are all the same. Just moms and wives and members of the church trying to do our best and looking for friendship far away from home.
Among our weekly chats we've discussed babies and sleeping (or the lack thereof) and Dressing Your Truth (blog post here) and families and technology. Dressing Your Truth has been a frequent conversation whether we are pro-ing or conning it (it depends on the moment) we have learned a lot more about each other and it has really opened me up personally to welcoming them in as friends. But, I've also learned even more about myself.
I've learned that I need to focus on my strengths and acknowledge my weaknesses. Which sounds simple and obvious, except I didn't understand that.
They would always say I looked cute, I was good at sewing, my blog was fun, etc. I would thank them and feel slightly embarrassed because as touched as I was that I was getting the exact compliments I so badly wanted didn't feel deserved because the back of my mind was rattling off all the reasons I didn't deserve admiration. I am messy, I am forgetful, we watch TV a lot, I give my baby hot dogs, I'm so much younger than they are, I am overweight, I tend to exaggerate and occasionally lie in social situations when I feel uncomfortable or disproved of (one of my biggest faults and something I'm working on in my life), I am lazy, and I could go ON AND ON! Each time I got a compliment all of these things would rush to my mind and sadly my heart.
However, the more we have talked the more we've identified ourselves with "types" or tendencies, I felt more accepted and understood, and I have been able to understand that I'm not being judged, I'm not looked down on for being me. I really am a good cook, I really do know how to sew. And I feel cute. Despite my weight, despite my wreck of an apartment - and wouldn't you know it? Since I have become friends with these girls and become comfortable in my environment; our apartment is consistently cleaner, I am a better mom, I get ready more often, (after a passing comment about needing to start exercising by another member of the group) I started exercising again, I started sewing again, I started reading my scriptures and wrote in my journal for the first time since we were dating, and I want to get off the couch, out of the house, and with my friends.
And in a conversation about this blog I realized I didn't have to be the scheduled, original, agonized over with perfect pictures (which I have no way to take with my digital camera that I can stick in my pocket that only has 3 settings; photo, video, and panorama). Why am I competing? This isn't my job. It's my way to share thoughts and experiences. Tales and Bag End has been though an identity crisis. This blog was started as OUR blog, a way to update people on our family and our activities and then I became under the impressing that it was supposed be scheduled, planned, promoted, pinned, perfect. I was no longer free to write a post about how much Hobbit Jo loves to dance and share her binky or blog about my feelings concerning the media and women and it's effect on me. The "mommy blog" world made me feel insignificant and I reshaped my blog to keep up.
So, identity crisis over. I will still be sharing the things I make or love. Not scheduled. Not planned 3 months in advance.
Thank you for reading (I love looking at my stats and seeing that 11 people read my post or hearing that people have looked at our blog; I feel so loved). So thank you again for checking on our family and caring about us. We love you!
Monday, February 3, 2014
Running in place and walking back and forth in our living room got REALLY old. Granted that it wasn't an accurate simulation of going for a run, nonetheless it feels amazing to say that I am able to jog for 30 minutes at a time. I feel very accomplished and able. It was a good start to my year of fitness.
I have been working on the Sexy Challenge. To be honest with you, I still can't do a real push-up, but I'm trying and I am getting better. I really love this challenge, because it is really a challenge. I struggle each day, but each day I get closer to the goal and become stronger.
Now, comes the new challenge - detoxing my body. Over the past few weeks, despite my calorie cutting, increased fiber, la de da; I was gaining weight instead of losing it. So my fitness goal of February is detoxing. And I've already started....let me give you the skinny.
I must be candid, if you're going to understand how great this is. I've taken 3 detox baths already 1) My feet tingled and itched but didn't notice much of a difference 2) I lost about two pounds in 1 day and my digestion was finally back on the right tract (haha, get it?) 3) I feel great, and it's amazing how much gray gunk scraped off my feet and out of my tub. The toxins are pouring out me, I'm broken out, and dehydrated from sweating them out.
2 Cups Epsom Salt
1 Cup Baking Soda
1 Tbs Ground Ginger
And for the rest of the month I'll be drinking a few detox water recipes. I'll report at the end of the month with my favorite recipes and how I feel.
If you had a day like we had yesterday and partied half as hard (we ate a LOT of man food, including soda, ice cream, and lots of meat) then you need this bath. But, don't do it if you'll be away from home. You'll regret it.
No matter who you cheered for; Denver, Seattle, the groundhog, the puppies, the commercials. Whether you won or were disappointed with 6 weeks of winter, you will win with this detox bath.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
I've never had much of an issue with calluses or dry feet in the past but after Hobbit Jo was born my feet were dry and hard as the ground of the Salt Flats. They were cracking and catching on things. It was terrible. I used lotion and socks, I scraped, grated, filed and pumused, I tried the "amazing" Listerine treatment. Nada. I am someone who LOVES tubs and prefers to take a bath everyday to ever showering (not to say I don't like showers or don't shower - but most days find me soaking in a bath). Because of this I am always looking for a way to make them even more relaxing and delightful. I found a tutorial about making a body wash that I decided to try instead of buying expensive shaving cream with hopes with it would be slick and moisturizing. Which it is. But the best part was that it softened my feet enough that dead skin started to just rub off.
It was a miracle and I want to share it with you!
The Body Wash
6 Cups of Water
1 bar of soap grated
1 Cup Coconut Oil
Combine water and chunked up soap (I just scraped pieces off with a knife instead of grating) in pan on low heat and stir occasionally until soap dissolves and it creates a milk water. Bring to LOW simmer until it thickens almost as much as you want your body wash to be, Add coconut oil and put back to lowest setting. Only keep it on the heat until they oil has combined with your mixture.
Pour into whatever container you've saved aside.
Will make about a quart of body wash and mine lasted a long time!
It was a great way to extend the life of my soap and was nice and soft.
*If you are using it for shaving, like me, thicken for longer and use almond or olive oil (liquid at room temperature) so that it will remain liquid to avoid clogging your razor.
You can use the Body Wash but I prefer this recipe. I wanted it to be pourable, and didn't need it to be super soapy.
3 Cups Water
1/4 Bar Soap grated (just to help combine the water and oil)
3/4 Cup Almond Oil
Combine water and soap in pan over low heat, add oil until combined.
You don't need to thicken it because you're pouring it into the water anyway. You can use coconut oil instead but I preferred the almond oil so that the water didn't have to be as hot to melt the coconut oil. But I've used both and both are great.
You can also add essential oils (I recommend lavender and melaluca for their healing properties; both are great for skin and relaxation).
Soak feet in a bucket of hot water with 1/4 Cup of Soak for about 20 minutes and then grate/file/sand/pumus however you would like. I did this for about a week and my feet are in great shape. It's been about 2 months and my feet still feel great!
Here are the links to the rest of the series, incase you missed them.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
My tip for this week - BUY Raisin Bran with Granola...RIGHT NOW...If it's midnight, go to Walmart and buy it anyway. It satisfied my healthy requirement, it's fiber, and the granola took care of my sweet tooth. I am a big fan of it in a big way.
Starting Weight: 169.5 lbs.
Last Week's Weight: 168 lbs.
Today's Weight: 167.5 lbs.
People always say, "It isn't a diet, it's a life choice." So....Happy Life-Choicing!
Nothing happened to make this day bad. I didn't get slighted my favorite pair of sneakers or wake up with gum in my hair; it was just bad. I got to thinking about everything that everyone else was doing or getting or where everyone else's lives are going and my life seemed like a joke. And what's worse, it felt like everyone else that I was focusing on thought my life was a joke. I was trapped in my mind and it was affecting my body.
I felt physically ill because of the negative goose chase my mind was on.
So thank heaven for sisters that I could call and talk to, funny friends with funny Pinterest boards, and oils.
After I wallowed and brooded I told myself that it was just in my head and I needed to shake it off; which can sometimes take a lot of courage to stand up to yourself. Especially when it's easier to sit and stew.
I put on my happy oils (a blend that I put together for myself this summer to help with my anxiety and PPD; peppermint, frankincense, geranium, melaleuca, and roman chamomile), called up one of my sisters to chat, and took the night off. Mr. Sam brought home dinner and I laid on the couch eating a frosty. And life looked so much better.
Of course, those everyone's are still doing, getting, and going and they always will be. But I found strength to validate myself and with the help* of my happy Voo-Doo oils I could call my sister and feel of her love from 1000's of miles away.
*To most of you a phone call to a sibling is a relatively simple task, but for the past few years it has been something that I really struggle with and a source of great anxiety for me; by using my oils to calm me down and provide myself a moment of courage I was able to pick up my phone and do what I knew would bless my life.
**A special thanks to my sister for chatting with me- We didn't talk about much and it wasn't a long call, but I felt so loved and reassured that I'm not a joke, and the people who matter to me don't think I'm a joke. It was a great blessing.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Lotion Bars (makes about 5 or 6)
5 oz (or a little over a cup once it is melted) of beeswax
1 Cup Almond Oil
1 Cup Coconut Oil
Melt wax in a double broiler (like I said yesterday, it's just fancy talk for a bowl over hot/boiling water) And add the other oils until they are all liquid and mixed.
Use a cupcake tin as a mold (if you have silicon use that so that they are easily removed) and quickly pour the mixture into the cups. I used a measuring cup to scoop some out at a time because I wanted to reserve some mixture to use for my chapstick.
It will harden quickly so if you are adding essential oils do so now. I recommend healing oils such as melaleuca and lavender, other oils commonly used for the skin or in make-ups are roman chamomile and geranium (one of my favorites).
If you don't use a silicon container - just place the tin over the double broiler for a moment and they should fall right out or slide a butter knife along the side until it lifts out.
You can find chapstick containers online for relatively cheap and on Amazon they are considered an add-on item that will ship for free; so just include them next time you make an order (maybe with your almond oil and beeswax).
I used about 5 cupcakes worth for lotions and saved the rest for chapstick.
Add 1/4 - 1/2 Cup Almond Oil
If you are doing Chapstick alone, this recipe will yield about a dozen
1/3 Cup Almond Oil
1 oz Beeswax
1/3 Cup Coconut Oil
Lotion bars are meant to be hard and warmed in the hand a little before use, but I wanted our chapstick to be softer, hence the added oil.
Do as instructed for the lotion bars, but place in chapstick tubes. I used a baby syringe (it will be ruined so buy an extra if you use this method) to squirt the hot oil into the tubes.
Again it will cool quickly so if you are using essential oils you'll want to prepare them ahead of time and do it quickly. Our favorites are any healing oils mentioned above, peppermint, and orange bliss. Thieves or On Guard would also be great ones to use during flu season to give your immunity a boost.
The oil will shrink up as it cools so save a little to top off the tubes as they harden.
I love lotion bars because my hands dry out and my feet get rough but I don't love the goopey "drying" period that you get with normal lotions after you have rubbed the lotion around your hands.
And Mr. Sam uses chapstick multiple times a day so this was a great way to have plenty around for when they get lost or used up.
Good Luck - I made a mess of my stove top when I dropped my syringe, but they resulting product was worth it!
Monday, January 20, 2014
My first essential oil experience was when Hobbit Jo was about 6 weeks old. As most babies do, she did not like nighttime, at all. So SIL #1 loaned us her bottle of Roman Chamomile oil to rub on her little feet 15 minutes before bedtime or during colic times. It was a miracle. Within 3 days (at the most) she went from being held all night and crying to sleeping IN HER CRIB through the night for 8 hours. I was converted and have used oils for a lot of things since. They don't fix everything, but they can do some incredible things.
But they aren't the only oils that do wonderful things.
I am also a fan of coconut oil - for cooking, baking, and dieting. Most importantly for moisturizing; my face has not been this clear, healthy, and smooth since before puberty. I melted my coconut oil over a double broiler (fancy talk for a bowl over boiling water; so that things won't burn or overheat) remove from heat and add a few drops of each of my essential oils I use on my face and let it harden again. If you don't use Voo-Doo you can use straight coconut oil and trust me, you're face will feel amazing.
Now, I shared my most common uses for these oils and yet there is so much more to share about them and the ways I have used them.
This week, I am running a series about how I use these oils in my daily life. My lotion, my body wash, my chapstick, my mind. Keep checking in and practice your chanting ;) If you need inspiration, here is a link that has some powerful chanting. Hakuna Matata!
Friday, January 17, 2014
You can mix up this simple recipe that I found here. Or make a larger batch by tripling or quadrupling it and keeping it in an old juice bottle like me. However you do it, I promise you won't be disappointed.
I make a chicken mix and a beef mix that I use in place of Campbell's Cream of Chicken and Cream of Mushroom soups. I bought the things I needed for less than $10, and it has/will easily make the equivalent of at least 60-70 of the typical cans. On sale the best I have found these soups priced at was 59 cents; which is at least triple the price of the mix ingredients. I could spend at least $100 a year on soup mixes for some of my favorite recipes so this is a lifesaver for us at Bag End.
I usually use these in casseroles or other soups so I don't even bother with the thickening step because I can simply add extra liquid to whatever I am cooking and it will thicken itself and have a stronger taste.
One casserole Mr. Sam has taken fondly to (and so has Hobbit Jo) is Chicken Bacon Casserole.
9x13 pan, serves 6
1/2 lb of bacon (cooked and crumbled)
2 lbs of chicken (diced and cooked up in the remaining bacon grease)
2/3 C of Cream of Chicken soup mix
4 C of Water or Milk
1/2 lb or 2 C of uncooked Macaroni
*Opt. 1-2 C of Vegetable of Choice (we've used corn, broccoli, I'm looking forward to peppers)
Mix all together. Top with 1 C of cheese and breadcrumbs to form a nice crust and bake at 350*F for 1 hour.
Hope you like it, and thanks for checking back in with us at Bag End. I have really come to love blogging and sharing my day to day crafts with you as I work on expanding my horizons, and cooking is something I have always loved. Sharing recipes is something I always looked forward to growing up. In my mind it was a mark of a grown-up woman and mom was to have random 3x5 cards with a recipe from a party scratched down or having a signature dish that people requested. I humbly say thank you for reading and for giving me a chance to share. I hope you keep coming and checking back and sharing us with your friends. Because this is my day to day, cooking for my family and looking for diy versions to my favorite things. And I love it.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
1- A relatively low cal and filling lunch: Fried egg on toast with melted cheese on top and a pile of alfalfa sprouts for protein. Added some nice crunch and flavor with almost no calories. Alfalfa sprouts are only 8 calories for a whole cup.
2- V8 Splash Berry Blend Diet - Only 10 calories a cup and a great way to take fiber (if you do that sort of thing)!
*Running back and forth in an apartment living room gets old, here's one girl who can't wait for Spring.
Good luck this week. And just remember, you're not the only one struggling along, and it will get easier!
Starting Weight: 169.5 lbs.
Last week's weight : 168 lbs.
Current Weight: 168 lbs.
Monday, January 13, 2014
Two years ago a co-worker of mine discovered the power of Dressing Your Truth for herself and during her transformation she shared thoughts with me and invited me to try it out of myself.
I didn't believe it (especially what they say about black) and I took it as a challenge to prove them wrong and took one week to dress like she recommended and NO black. I felt hot. But, I was wearing new clothes and I was taking extra time to get ready so I discounted the good feeling and didn't explore it much after that.
However, it stuck with me for a few reasons: 1- I always hated gold, I thought it looked old and was outdated; big surprise to me, once I started wearing it I loved it! My wedding ring is gold and were I to buy myself something right now, it would be gold. 2- My friend's entire outlook on life changed, lightened, and for the first time since I had known her she looked comfortable in her skin. 3- Some of the things that were written rang true with me.
We are encouraged to seek out all good books.
Two years later, that week at the MTC still stuck with me and I looked back into the things I had learned from my friend. I reread the book "Dressing Your Truth" by Carol Tuttle and felt empowered. This brings us back to New Year's Eve, a two year journey in the making.
Even though I am much heavier, larger, and a much different shape than I was when I bought any of my clothes - I committed to wearing the things I love, no matter the size. New Year's Eve morning I put my hair back and then put on a completely Type 1 outfit, jewelry and all, and went to the bathroom to brush my teeth. Before I had finished flossing I had decided to cut my hair. My own hair.
Trust me, I don't cut hair. When we moved to MI I had to give Mr. Sam a haircut and the first one took me over 2 hours to do; he missed class. And trust me it's not a fancy cut. Just a short boy hair-cut. So when I say I cut my own hair - it was a big deal.
But it was the most fun I have had in MONTHS! I put on my music, sang Backstreet Boys at the top of my lungs and just started cutting. And I love it.
I feel like I look good everyday, I want to get ready everyday, it's no longer a chore, and I love the way I look.
As long as I remember I have hated my big, ugly nose and cringed whenever I looked at my bushy, uneven eyebrows (one is set higher than the other). But, within the last couple weeks, I truly have come to love my features. My nose even seems small to me now and my eyebrows look great! They totally fit my face.
You don't have to believe it - I didn't, I thought it was hokum and silly. I invite you all to try it out, or at the very least go to the website and see what it's about. I have found it very freeing and feel beautiful as me.
Check out the change from Christmas to Now. It's amazing!
Friday, January 10, 2014
It's easier than you think. Your days of pre-cooking your noodles are over!
Prep time: 30 minutes. Period. That's ask the time you need. Either freeze, refrigerate, or bake. Simple as that.
1 lb. Ground beef
Large tub cottege cheese
5 lb (at least 4-5 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 package lasagne noodles
1 sauce packet
Start with the sauce, which makes an excellent spaghetti sauce.
1- Brown 1 lb. Hamburger, salt and pepper, opt. Onion.
2- Add packet of McCormick Spaghetti mix, 1 qt. Stewed Tomatoes, 16 oz. Tomato Sauce, 2 cloves garlic, 1 Tbs basil.
3- Cook just until combined.
4- If using for spaghetti, thicken until desired consistency.
Assembling the lasagne
1- In a 9x13" start with a layer of lasagne noodles.
2- Create a layer of cottage cheese and mozzarella in a checkerboard pattern. Blobs of about 1/4 Cup.
3- Add a layer of half of your sauce.
4- Repeat (do the opposite checkerboard as the previous layer sui that you get both cheese in each bite).
5- Top with about 2 Cups mozzarella.
6- Bake 350* for 1 hour.
I hope you enjoy it!
Mr. Sam, "It's my favorite. I love it. It's delicious."
Barney Stinson, "True story."
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
To keep things fresh I am doing a different fitness goal each month to keep my goal to get fit and lose weight exciting. I'll fill you in on my progress as the month goes, so that you'll know what I did and gather ideas for things you can do, too.
January: I will be able to run for 30 consecutive minutes.
Each day I will run/walk for 30 minutes - increasing my time running by 1-2 minutes each day.
Monday I also started the Sexy Challenge again, if you start today you'll be done for Valentine's Day. This time I am doing real push-ups, and doing my 2 push-ups last night was hard, but I'm excited to get better at them.
Here is a new format for the Sexy Challenge.
I'll continue sharing low-cal meals and treats that I have over the week, but if you want to follow my day to day menu then comment below and follow me on the myfitnesspal app.
Original Weight: 169.5 lbs
Last Week's Weight: 169.5 lbs
Today's Weight: 168 lbs
Join the Fitness Train, Whooo-WHooo!
Monday, January 6, 2014
Since Mr. Sam had a snow day today I cleaned and crafted myself a snowman/woman/person....who cares about politics; snowman.
P.S. Can you believe that they still have snow days in Law School?!
Here is the original....
And here is the one I just made.
Being frugal and poor I used (come one you've heard it enough from me, what did I use for my crafts?) scraps of fabric and ribbon that I already had rather than buying socks like she did. But having made a few I do recommend socks or at the least a stretchy jersey fabric.
At Christmas, I used some soft white flannel, and realized that I should have used something stretchy to get a plump figure. But they turned out cute anyway.
Tonight, I used a panel of fabric from a shirt of Mr. Sam's that was riddled with holes after a bleach encounter in the wash. More stretchy, but not quite as durable as a sock would be.
Her tutorial is no-sew, mine is mostly no-sew. If you are scrapping like me you have one seam. I recommend a 6 1/2"x10" panel of fabric. Fold hotdog style and sew 1/4" seam.
She uses twine, I used baby elastics (I have them in bulk for cheap from Walmart/Meijer).
Put about 1/8 Cup of rice or sand in the bottom before stuffing to help it stand.
I also cut SMALL holes in the sides of the "sweater" to add in twig arms with a dob of hot glue. The slits you created act as sleeves and hide the glue where you connected the arms to the body.
I hot glued the beads on and the hat down to make sure that they wouldn't move too much.
I also had a hard time getting the hats to stay down the way she did it so I cut a hole in the top of the hat as well and used the elastic to secure them all together and cut it like the top of a flannel hat and the white acted as an accent.
I hope my notes helped. And I hope you have fun crafting and bringing a cheery friend into your home during these blustery months ahead.
Saturday, January 4, 2014
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
But, a congratulations to those who stuck to their fitness goals during the delicious holidays. My sister Nellie and both of my parents! My parents have each lost 16 pounds in the past few months. HOLY COW! That is amazing!
I mentioned the myfitnesspal app that my family uses previously but I would now like to invite you all to download it or join online (FREE). If you want to add me to your support group then comment and I will contact you!
Now for an awesome recipe courtesy of Mr. Sam.
1 lb Ground Chicken
Fajita Mix Packet
1 Cup Rissoto
4 Cups Turkey/Chicken Stock
1 small onion
1/2 Cup chopped peppers (I buy a bunch on sale, chop them and keep in the freezer for quick adds to recipes)
2 Tbs oil
*Opt, Water Chestnuts for extra crunch
1- Brown chicken in fajita mix packet in frying pan. Depending on how spicy you want it, do 1/2 - 3/4 of the packet. the whole packet is too powerful.
2- In separate pot, sauté onion and peppers in oil.
3- Add risotto to vegetables and coat with remaining oil.
4- Cook risotto according to directions (add liquid as you go)
5-Combine, mix well.
6- Wash and dry Romaine.
It will make about 20 wraps. And each lettuce leaf worth is about 103 calories! Yeah for low cal, delish food!
***We did this as a Chopped adventure. Mr. Sam did it all himself. And I am ADDICTED!
Let me explain why. It isn't that I don't want to improve, progress, or better myself. I do. And I plan to. But, every year it is the same thing, we make bold resolutions with a big expectation that this next year we are going to be stronger, skinnier, wealthier and then leave it at that. The majority of people who made resolutions last night will have abandoned their resolution by the end of the month and those who are blessed with motivation and determination may make it to Easter. But again, they inevitably fail.
You are probably sitting there thinking, "What a Debbie-Downer!" But, stay with me for a minute. People fail because they make no goals, no plans. A simple statement of, 'This year I want/will....." is what resolutions have turned into. But according to a quick Google search the word resolve means: decide firmly on a course of action.
Where in the generic resolution sentence does it mention a course of action, a plan? NOWHERE.
In my life I have learned many lessons and ignored even more. But 2 lessons I have lovingly cherished and want to shout from the rooftops I learned from My 7th grade teacher, Mrs. Deaton, and my loving husband.
What is the Goal Making Process?
1- Write an affirmative statement; for example, "I WILL..."
2- Make SMALL goals to achieve on the way to your main goal (This is where Lesson #2 comes into play, but more on that later).
As you may have read yesterday I got busy, busy with cooking and being an elf for the Big Man. Over the next month I'll be sharing instructions for most of them. Monday on the blog is exploration day. Anything from today's pillowcases to a holistic approach to ________, or budgeting techniques. So make sure to check in to see what new adventures we are taking or "Like" our Facebook page 'Tales at Bag End' for updates when there is a new post and a brief description of what is in store.
I'm going to share my version of pillowcases. There are millions of ways to sew a pillowcase - but to be honest they are all pretty much the same. So if you don't follow my tutorial. Here's a surprise, it'll still work. But here is why I like this method. It is only 3-5 seams. Total. Period. And should only take the experienced sewer 10-15 minutes at the most. If you are new to sewing (perhaps you made a resolution or something...) then here is a good beginning project that should not take long; depending on your exposer to the cutting, threading, ironing, etc. involved in the sewing process then plan on 30 minutes to an hour. See, quick!
either 1 yd of cotton fabric
3/4 yd cotton
1/4 yd accent cotton fabric
*opt. ribbon or rick-rack.
1- Wash Fabric (alwaysalwaysalways wash your fabric before you start anything).
2- Iron - most vital step in any sewing project. If you want to sew it, if you have sewn it, or you even thought about sewing it - then it needs to be ironed.
3- Trim edges to be straight with salvage
For ONE fabric
4- Iron (told you it's important) a 4 1/2" flap
5- 1/4" seam, sew down the flap.
For ACCENT pillowcase
4- Iron (told you, told you, told you) the accent fabric in half with wrong sides together.
5- Pin to the right side of the larger fabric.
6- Sew together
*Opt - On right side of pillowcase, pin the ribbon or rick rack along seam and sew down.
9- Fold right sides together so that it looks like an inside out pillowcase.
10- Start at folded edge and sew the bottom, pivot and sew the side.
11- ZigZag stitch along the backward L you just sewed.
12- Snip your excess corner fabric (CAREFUL TO NOT SNIP SEAM!!!)
14- Flip and enjoy! :D
Happy Crafting, and Happy New Year