It’s Beginning!

When Robert and I decided many years ago to spend the rest of our lives together, we both had the same dream of building a custom home. My hope was that we’d be able to accomplish this before I turned 50, and as I’m only 48 now, we’re really making this happen.

We officially broke ground a week ago Friday, and this past Friday the footings were poured.

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Check out that awesome, rich black dirt!

It is 27 degrees this morning, and we actually got some snow flurries yesterday, plus, rain is in the forecast, so I don’t know the upcoming schedule of our contractor.

We’re building a highly energy efficient home, and next up is setting up insulated concrete forms, or ICF’s. These are literally styrofoam blocks that will have concrete poured into the openings and will be set and stacked, in some instances depending on the elevations, around the perimeter. Once these are cured, then the rebar and gravel will be set in the hole and hopefully soon, the slab will be poured. Once framing starts, it’s going to look like a lot of progress fast, but right now, we’re really impatient. :-)

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Missouri Fiber Retreat

I’ve been going to the Missouri Fiber Retreat for several years now, and it’s a lot of fun to spend the weekend with fellow knitters and spinners. My friend Annie always comes down from Chicago, and usually Christa and I go up to Jefferson City for the weekend. I missed last year, having to cancel when my dad got really sick, and Christa was unable to go this year now that she has one of the most adorable one-year old’s on the planet, so Ginger was my co-pilot this year.

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The focus of this year’s retreat was on dyeing, which Ginger is really getting into, and me, not so much. (Well, that might have changed after this retreat, though.) So I took the opportunity to take classes I wouldn’t ordinarily take, just to have fun.

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First up was my friend Jonee’s twining class. I had no idea what twining was, but with Jonee teaching that was a class I knew would be full of laughter. And, of course, I got to spend 4 hours with A, so that was a blast.

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A and I next took our friend Joi’s coiled basket class. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it actually turned out pretty cool.

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For my third class, A and I split up, and I took Gary Olds’ soap making class. I’d wanted to take this for several years now, but there was always something else I wanted to take a little bit more. Annie had taken it before and generously gave me all of her supplies as she’s decided it’s not for her. Robert has been intrigued by this skill for some time now, so I think he’s the one who’s going to get a new hobby. But I have to say that this class was really interesting, so we may both end up making soap!

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Lastly, I taught a spinning class on Plying Techniques. I ended up only having one student, but we had a great time.

Friday night our keynote speaker was Peggy Doney of the 100th Sheep. I was riveted. My struggles with dyeing in the past came from not being able to translate colors in my head to the yarn. But Peggy talked about using photographs for inspiration and her math and chemistry background to make the yarn exactly how you want it, so now I’m itching to take her dyeing classes. This could get exciting!

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I’m looking forward to next year, and although it’s futile, I keep wishing this weekend weren’t on the same weekend as the time change. I want my extra hour!

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Low-Carb Egg Casserole

Part of our weight loss plan involves eating more eggs. They’re an excellent source of protein, and quite healthy. Eggs have gotten a bad rap over the years, and I just don’t buy it. We like to have a grab and go breakfast, so Robert and I have gotten into the habit of spending Sunday’s cooking for the upcoming week.

First up, our low-carb egg casserole. According to the online recipe builder I used, each serving has 298 calories, 17 grams of fat, 5 net carbs, and 30 grams of protein. Perfect!

LOW-CARB EGG CASSEROLE
8 servings

Whisk 1 ½ cups of liquid egg whites and 6 whole eggs in large mixing cup/bowl.  Add in approximately ½ tsp of cayenne pepper, cumin, coriander, paprika, and another ½ to 1 tsp of a blended seasoning like Paula Deen or Mrs. Dash, which includes salt and pepper.  Set aside.

In skillet, sauté a frozen bag of peppers and onions (from Walmart).  Heat up 4 precooked turkey sausage patties in microwave.  Crumble sausage patties into pepper and onion mix in skillet.  Add in one bag of fresh spinach.  When meat and veggies are done, layer in a glass baking dish (9x13ish).  Sprinkle one cup of feta cheese over the top.  Sprinkle a handful of shredded cheddar cheese on next.  Pour egg mixture into the baking dish.

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Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

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(And yes, this one has green beans in it. We were out of spinach, LOL.)

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Downsizing and Project 333

When we moved into my dad’s house as a temporary home while we’re building, I knew we didn’t want to unpack everything only to have to repack it in several months. That made packing up our old house a little more challenging.

Would we need these items over the course of a year? What yarns and fiber would I keep out to knit? Would this be something we might want to replace in the new house?

There were a lot of questions to consider. One thing we knew for certain was that we wouldn’t be decorating at my dad’s, all pictures, knick knacks, sentimental items, collectibles, and other home décor were carefully packed for the long haul. Most of the kitchen items were packed to be unpacked. We also got rid of a lot of stuff that we didn’t want to move even once, much less twice. As we convert our library to Kindle books, the majority of our physical books were donated to the library. A lot of other home items we donated or gave to my mother-in-law to sell in a garage sale (and we don’t want the money – we just wanted the stuff to go away).

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Even some clothing items were packed away with the intention of not unpacking them. Which leads me to this – Project 333.

I’m intrigued by this concept. Basically, you live with 33 items of clothing for 3 months, with some exceptions. I don’t think you count underwear, and if you wear a uniform or have some sort of specialty items, you might be able to exclude them. Some people count jewelry in their 33 items, others don’t.

Now, I’m a pretty simple person when it comes to my wardrobe, and the fact that I’ve got a lot of stuff packed away and I haven’t missed it says a lot. I expect to donate more clothes when we unpack at the new house. But basically, I wear black pants every day to work, and have multiples of identical tops, both long and short-sleeved, in black, red, and grey. That’s my uniform. If it’s chilly, I alternate one of two cardigan sweaters. With my fluctuating weight, I do have more clothes than I need, but as I lose weight, it’s much easier to say goodbye to those baggy jeans. I’ve got more than 33 items as far as my staples, but not by much.

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The program also says you should count your shoes and purses in this total, as well as accessories. That’s where I have the problem, but that’s where I’ll choose to stray from the “rules.” First off, shoes. I’m nowhere near the shoe hoarder that I used to be, and I basically wear the same pair through the winter, and the same sandals through the summer. However, because I love those dressy Birkenstocks so much, I have a backup pair for when the first pair dies. This winter we actually had a winter, which was unusual, so instead of wearing my Birkenstock clogs every day, I got to wear my Earth ankle boots quite a few days. This was a treat, because I’ve gone a couple of years where I only wore them once during the season. However, they’re a necessity for those Polar Vortex sub-zero temperature days. Then there were the days the snow was too deep to take a chance with my suede boots, so I had to wear my actual snow boots. Again, not something I wear often, but I’m not going to get rid of them just to be within the random count of 33 items. It’s ok.

Purses? I read one blog post that said you only needed one. Again, it doesn’t take lifestyle into account. I don’t have as many as I used to, but I do love a good bag. But my heavier tote I use in the winter is not the best option for spring and summer, and if I’m flying somewhere, my bag is my carry on and that’s a whole other can of worms. Plus, I’m a knitter, so my bags have to accommodate my crafting as well as my daily needs.

Did I mention I’m a knitter? Um, yeah. My accessories alone total more than 33 items, and that’s ok. It’s my life. Enough said. 

However, the rest of my wardrobe? I’m pretty sure I can pare it down even more, although I’ll be keeping a lot of my t-shirt collection. Eventually they’ll become part of a quilt, but for now, they’re still in rotation.

All in all, this has been a good exercise for me to work through in deciding if I really need something or just want it. I’m finding I actually need a whole lot less these days.

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Dyakcraft Awesomeness

Hey, guess what? This is still a knitting blog, LOL! I had just gotten so out of the habit of blogging, and this blog is also supposed to be about my life, so fibery posts have gone by the wayside.

With my birthday money, I splurged on two sets of Dyakcraft Heavy Metal knitting needles. This is the only company that has figured out how to make sock sized needles as interchangeable, and I love them! I got both the 3 ½” size and the 5” size, and the smaller size are awesome for socks.

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I also ordered a complete set of the Darn Pretty Interchangeables, and I can’t wait until the Northern Lights are available again. I have a size 5 in the red, and definitely need the whole set now.

These are by far the most favorite needles I’ve ever used.

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