Category: Real Life (Page 1 of 26)

Meal Prep Sunday – Keto Edition

I’ve stalled out a bit with my weight loss, sitting at 191 (down from 248) and I still hope to get to 180 by January 29th so to kick start things I decided I’d try going back to keto temporarily. It’s usually a great way to get my body used to eating smaller meals, craving less carbs, and being nice and full from healthy fats.

Keto is not always the cheapest way for me to make and eat meals though, and I’m on a pretty strict budget so I had to come up with a meal plan that works for me for the week, and that sticks to my budget. Thankfully I have some ground beef and tuna so I don’t have to make a purchase there.

  • Breakfast: bacon & eggs. Add some hot sauce to spice up the eggs and I’ll be set.
  • Lunch: spicy salami stuffed with cream cheese, and tomato tuna bites. Basically you slice up a tomato, top it with tuna (a bit of mayo, salt, pepper), cover it with some cheese and pop it into the oven until it’s a melted mess. Sort of like an open face sandwich but without all the bread.
  • Dinner: spicy meatballs with a sauce, and cauliflower buffalo bites. Another really easy recipe. Simple meatballs cooked in a muffin tin with a tiny bit of sauce, and cheese melted over top. The cauliflower is just tossed with some melted butter and some hot sauce then baked.
  • Snacks: pickles and olives. You’ve gotta be a fan of these for it to work, but they work for me.

A simple week of foods that don’t have too much cooking. The total cost comes to about $40 CAD, with the most expensive item being the package of bacon – I plan on getting the good thick cut stuff. I wanted a break from chicken, I’ll probably go back to that staple next week.

We’ll see if this helps to kick start my weight loss again. In the past it has done wonders but we’ll have to see. I can’t do keto long term, it’s just not something I can ever stick with, but I do like how full I feel while on it and it does help me get back to eating smaller meals instead of trying to fill my plate with all the things.

Choosing a Pattern [Indie Design Gift-a-long]

I spent most of my free time yesterday evening on Ravelry, looking through the 300+ designers who are participating this year in the indie design gift-a-long and hunting for the perfect sock pattern. Eventually I stumbled onto ‘Forest Canopy Socks‘ by Cynthia Levy, a [pattern that looked beautiful due to the lace and ribbing, but not too complicated so that it would be beyond my skills. I’ve only been knitting for two years, and this sock really has a nice wow factor without being something that I think would confuse me too much.

I purchased the pattern using the indie design gift-a-long code (25% off!) and took a look at the pattern before bed. One thing that really impressed me and confirmed that I made the right choice is that this pattern is written beautifully. It’s charted with simple instructions between the charts, and I’m just so pleased I picked it.

I’ll be knitting it in my January Yarns Llama Sock yarn, which is a llama, merino, nylon blend. I’ve never knit with llama fiber before, and I’m really interested to see how it knits up.

We have until December 31st to complete our projects (you can craft as many as time allows) and if you manage to complete them and post them in the FO category you become eligible for prizes. I don’t have a whole lot of time to knit, but I am really hoping I can finish this pair of socks in time to enter them.

Honestly, I’m just so excited about this whole thing. If you’re participating let me know in comments! If you’re interested in seeing the designers and their patterns you can check it out in this thread.

Indie Design Gift-a-Long

This will be the 5th year that the event has ran over on Ravelry, and it’s a fantastic way to learn about some indie designers, and get some great discounts on their stuff.

300+ indie designers are participating, and I’ll be on the search for some knit designs for toddlers, as well as some new sock designs. I don’t have any designers in mind yet, but I participated last year and I never fail to find a whole bunch of really neat things to pick up.

For more details, you can read below:

What is Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer promotion to help you kick your holiday gift-making into high gear!

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is a 6 week long KAL/CAL of holiday gifts made from patterns designed by a rather extensive list of independent designers. From November 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm US EST to December 31, 2017 at midnight US EST there will be fun games, contests, and 8 KAL/CALs that will help you get your holiday knitting and crocheting done with companionship and fun! From November 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm US EST to November 28th at 11:59pm US EST tons of indie designers will be discounting between 10 – 20 of their patterns 25% for this event. Use coupon code: giftalong2017. You can read all about the details in this post: click here link coming soon!or on the FAQ page in our group pages. link coming soon!

I Love Yarn

I like to think I’ve come a long way in the two years since I’ve taught myself to knit. When I first started I didn’t know anything about yarn, I didn’t know there was a difference in the type of yarn used, and I didn’t have a preference. My “collection” (if it could be called that) was mostly harsh acrylic stuff sold at Michaels or Wal-Mart because that’s what I could afford. As time went on and as I began knitting more, I discovered other sites. One I’ve used for a very long time has been Knit Picks. I love some of their yarns, but they also cater to the low budget crowd. Unfortunately I’ve found that over the years the quality has started to lack, or maybe it’s just that I become more and more in love with smaller dye companies.

In any case, once a year Knit Picks has an amazing sale, around the time of Black Friday in the US. I have only bought a small amount of yarn this year, so I saved up for it eagerly.

Turns out, I didn’t actually want that much. I did pick up a set of size 1 metal knitting needles so I can keep making my Christmas ornaments, and I picked up a size 1 set of wooden knitting needles to replace the two that I’ve snapped. I also picked up two skeins of hawthorne that were marked down to $5.50 because I absolutely love that yarn for socks, I’ve already knit a pair in the past, and I picked up two skeins of felici in a colour that I can’t remember. Neutral tones I think. I already have quite a bit of felici in my stash, but why not.

I love yarn. It brings me to a very happy place. I also participated in a yarn exchange on Instagram where you got to grant wishes for people and have one (or many, depending) of your own granted. I found a woman looking for some fiber so I sent her a few ounces of that, and for my wish I requested indie dyed yarn, which another kind soul offered to fulfill. Some companies even offered free shipping if you purchased yarn from them and specified that it was for the gifting which I thought was fantastic and a great way to promote your business. Sometimes, social media can be pretty neat.

I found a cute little sweater with whales I want to make for llama bean this winter before we move to the prairies, and of course I myself could use some mittens, and socks. A never ending supply of knit socks. Right now I haven’t had the time because llama bean has been going through a bit of a stage (I say as I type this one handed) but that won’t always be the case.

All in all I’m happy with my purchase and can’t wait for it to get here!

Star Wars Christmas Ball

I made a lovely practice ball first before attempting what I really wanted which was a Star Wars themed tree ornament. The pattern (found on Ravelry) called for fingering yarn, but I did it with sport, and size 1 double pointed needles. The problem is during the construction of the trial one I snapped my dpn when it came to closing up the ball. Doing those ktog were really difficult on the needles and involved a lot of bending.

I started a second one in fingering – and realized my gauge was way off. There was no way I was going to be able to close the ball up with that size, so I scrapped the entire project and started over, this time using red and green sport yarn. It went much better, but once again I snapped one of my wooden dpn.

If I want to continue to make these adorable little Christmas balls I’m going to either have to replace my wooden dpn with metal ones (and hope I don’t warp them too much) or start using magic loop (I know how to magic loop but I don’t enjoy it, my stitches seem to have long runs that way). I have 21 of the styrofoam balls, enough for a really nice collection of hand knit tree ornaments, themed or otherwise. This year I’m trying to have all my ornaments be hand made as a surprise for my husband when he comes home from depot for Christmas. Me and llama bean are going to be making some salt dough cookie ornaments for the tree this weekend. I haven’t made those since I was in elementary school so I hope they turn out.

I have been taking a bit of a break from knitting my shawl, I worked on it pretty regularly until I got to the feather / fan portion and then set it aside. That will be something I need to pick back up before too long. I just haven’t really felt like dealing with a pattern that I have to follow along with, and I needed a bit of a break. The yarn is an absolute dream to work with so I’m sure I’ll get back to it before too long.

Meal Prep Sunday

Sunday. A day I really just don’t like. I spend most of it cleaning and cooking, doing groceries and other chores that need to get done. By the time Monday rolls around though I’m incredibly thankful that I’ve gotten all of my meal cooking done on Sunday, even if it does make that one day stressful.

This week was pretty easy. I spent about $50 CAD total on groceries for me for the week (not including things that llama bean also eats / needed). The menu was simple, this time of year simple comfort food is what works best for me.

I made turkey meat pies with mashed potatoes and gravy (potato recipe, cooked in my instant pot). That would be dinner for the week.

Roast beef sandwich meat was on sale, one of my absolute favourites. I don’t normally like sandwiches, but combine it with buns (also on sale), chipotle mayo, some aged cheddar, and lettuce – and now we’re talking. Lunch is a roast beef sandwich with chipotle mayo, and egg bites (for lack of a better word). The instant pot crowd had been going absolutely bonkers for these egg bite things that you can buy at Starbucks, it’s apparently much cheaper to make them. I used this recipe. I did it wrong, but they still turned out, just not exactly as I expected. You’re supposed to blend everything up in a blender to make all the pieces tiny and the mixture light and fluffy. I did none of that, so I still have egg bites with ham and cheese but texture wise they’re not airy. No big deal, I only made enough for a few days to start so I’ll make sure I blend the second batch.

Snacks are another easy comfort food, smoked oysters were on sale, so I got a few packages of those along with some black bean garlic crackers that are just delicious. Honestly, there was very little actual cooking involved this week, and I think that’s OK. Meals are portioned out, and I know it’s food I won’t get bored of eating.

Health wise, I’m down to 191 pounds. My goal was to reach 190 before my husband came home last week but I was two pounds off. My next goal is to reach 180 by his graduation, January 29th. I’m hoping I can do this even with the holidays just around the corner. Still, 248 to 191 in a year is not too shabby.

For weight loss the key for me has really been all about pre-planning my meals, taking the stress out of what I’m going to eat, and portion control. I eat whatever I have a desire to eat, sometimes that’s pizza, sometimes it’s sandwhiches, other times it’s tacos. I don’t deny myself food, but I do go in knowing what I’m going to eat from Sunday-Saturday and I stick with it. Removing the stress from cooking a different meal every single day and having to decide what I’m going to eat every single day has helped my frame of mind when it comes to food and knowing that food is not bad. For me, it works. I know this isn’t the case for everyone. I’ve been doing this for 17 weeks now and I’ve gone from 215 to 191 in that 17 week period. It’s just a matter of trying to figure out what works for you.

The People You Love

I never made any secret of the fact that when my husband went off for training 4 months ago I was going to be pretty lost. I was suffering from postpartum depression and I wasn’t in a good place. I was forced to either drown in those waves, or learn how to lean on myself. After having my soulmate by my side on paternity leave for 8 months he was going to be two provinces away. The first few weeks were the hardest. There were days I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it. Days I wanted to call him and beg him to come home and help me raise our son. Days I didn’t believe in myself.

There is a common saying that depot days get easier – this is not true, not in our case. They are the same difficulty all the way through.

Having him home for a three day visit was something that I looked forward to (as did he) and I just don’t have the words to express how thankful and blessed I felt the entire time. We went out for lunch together and had pho – it was his first experience with the soup. It was delicious. We laughed at jokes that only the two of us would understand. He ended up streaming for Extra Life and playing the Dream Daddy: A Dating Sim game. He even dressed up for the occasion.

I’m incredibly lucky to have this person in my life. He has seen me at my absolute lowest and stood by my side. He has also seen me at my highest points. He has changed, since he has been gone. As have I, as has our son. We all recognized how much stronger we are.

The point of this post is – if you have such a person in your life, remind them. Even if you think it’s silly. Remind them as often as you can just how amazing they are and how they have changed your life. The saying about you not realizing what you have until it’s gone is absolutely true. We took each other for granted and I realize that now.

We have three more very long months ahead of us, but Christmas will be the next time I see him and I’m excited about it already. Instead of focusing on the sadness I feel because he left today, I’m going to focus on the excitement of him coming home for the holidays. Whatever it takes to distract myself from the empty house and the silence.

Lets get back to some gaming posts next up!

The Importance of Quality

I bought a package of 7cm Styrofoam balls with the idea that I could knit custom made Christmas balls for my tree which is sorely lacking in the decoration department. They would be quick little knits that didn’t require a lot of technical finesse. Or so I thought.

I struggled for hours trying to complete the first ball. The yarn was dragging along my double pointed needles to the point where I was getting blisters from pushing the needles against my fingertips. After reaching the half way point I was tempted to throw the entire project in the garbage, but I kept on because the ornament was pretty cute.

Safe for kids and pets, they were personal to me and I really wanted to complete a test version before dedicating myself to an actual pattern.

By the time I completed the ornament I was completely fed up and doubting my knitting skills. Being self taught means I am constantly learning, and some projects are just beyond me. Then I took a closer look at the yarn I was using. It’s about 15 years old, ancient 2-ply yarn in acrylic.

The more I thought about it the more I was convinced that the problem didn’t actually lay with me at all, but my issues stemmed from using a poor quality product. The yarn was like trying to slide wax up and down the needles, and by the end my fingertips were bloody. It was horrible.

So the next day I bravely started a second Christmas ball, this time in the stash colours I wanted, using “good” yarn, or at least better. Still acrylic, but much newer.

It made a world of difference.

I’m on the colourwork portion already and the Christmas ball is just flying along. I’m not having any of the difficulties in doing my increases that I was previously. The yarn glides along the needle easily (as it should) and I’m not fighting with it. Of course that being said, I DID break a size 1 dpn because I was stressed out and gripping it too tight. Even our supplies have their breaking points (har) it seems. I’ll need to get  myself a new one before too long, I use them for socks. It was disappointing, but I was incredibly pleased that the knitting itself is going very well and as it turned out I was right. The problem wasn’t me, it was the quality of the materials I was using.

Just because you fail at something doesn’t mean you should completely give up. Sometimes, changing just a single aspect can yield a very different and far more enjoyable result.

People Deserve a Thank You

This week I am so grateful and thankful for the people in my life. I wanted to talk about a few of them and why.

David – who I’ve known since high school. He’s the one who set up the whole transfer of MmoQuests over to NomadicGamersEh – he did it painlessly and didn’t laugh when I asked silly questions. Plus he sped the whole site up and he wrote about what he did over on his own site here. Go give it a read. I’m thankful for people like this who have a skill set that I don’t have and I appreciate the time they put into these sort of projects.

Shai – A newer friend, but one I have already vented to on more than one occasion about life and she’s always there listening. People like this are rare and she makes me want to be a better person even though I’ve butchered her name a billion times on stream.

Speaking of streaming – Scopique and Girlvsmmo have been my personal cheerleaders ever since I got it into my head that I wanted affiliate on Twitch. They helped motivate me, inspire me, and were always there with a RT when I went live, and watching when they could. Advice on layouts, streaming gear, and everything in between – these are the folks I go to, and I’m proud to call them ‘my people’.

Ranni – This lady is one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. When life’s tough (and it does get tough) she’s still there and she keeps it real. She keeps me grounded, her stories are hilarious and honest. She probably doesn’t realize just how much I admire her, and may even find it a bit creepy (lol). Still, fantastic person.

Iz & Bex – We’ve all been going through our own personal crap lately but these two ladies are just fantastic. If I need to quickly vent about family, they are both there. We have our quiet moments but I still know I can go to either of them (or both) when I need to.

Neil – Lover of Christmas and purveyor of  Tinkerbell pictures, when things are crummy he still manages to find a good side. He’s one of those silent types that I’ve known for many years now (and helped introduce me to Wurm Online) and I just can’t thank enough for being around.

Anyway, I just wanted to put my thanks out there. There are many more people I’m thankful for, but today these folks are at the top of my list and they certainly deserve to hear it.

Back to gaming!

A Little Anime

Sometimes at the end of the day when I have two hours to myself I don’t actually feel like doing any gaming, or I just can’t narrow down what it is I want to do, so I’ll settle into my comfortable rocking chair with my knitting and watch some anime. I’m not a fan of the really heavy stuff or anything that’s too violent, or horror – but there’s so many other shows out there that I never lack for things to watch.

My most recent anime has been Fruits Basket. This is probably going to quickly become one of my top 5 anime, it’s adorable and there are so many quirky moments. It’s also got a lot of sadness within the show, and it’s pretty easy to relate to parts of it. It was recommended to me by a good friend, so it’s not really a surprise that I’m enjoying it this much. I highly suggest checking it out if you’ve never heard of it before.

Have an anime suggestion? What are you watching lately? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know below.

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