Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Recipe for a Long Day

One of the cool things my FitBit does is track my sleep.

It is interesting to see that I slept better after a more active day, or that I was more restless if I had something on my mind.

Sometimes, though, I don't need the FitBit to tell me it's going to be a long day.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Chasing the SAD Away

It's Menu Plan Monday and we are working the FitBit over here!  It's amazing how competition can get us moving.  I'm taking the stairs every time I have to go anywhere at work, and trying to stay in motion during the day.  The Pit Boss, on the other hand, is going all out.  He has already earned his 50 flights and his 15,000 steps badges, and will get on the elliptical at night just to surpass me if I have a good day.  The dogs are in 7th Heaven, loving the long walks every day, and we are all in a better mood.

The other thing I've noticed this winter is that I'm not having my normal winter blahs - or what's probably a mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I'm sure the combination of activity and healthier eating helps, but mostly I think it's because my desk is in a hundred foot atrium with north and south facing windows that go all the way to the roof.  Even on the dreariest of days, I am surrounded by natural light for hours. 

This week we are blissfully free from evening activities, so I'm planning to do some extra cooking and make a few freezer meals for the crazy weeks that are sure to return soon.

My user name on My Fitness Pal is QJ2013 if you want to be friends.

MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter
What's on your menu?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Going to Guild - January Budget Rant and a Really Cool Bead

Last Monday we finally got in our guild meeting, and this week I finally got around to writing the post.  Warning: I'm a little grouchy.

The January guild meeting is my least favorite of the year, although I know it's a necessary evil. It's when we introduce all the new programs and classes, which is exciting, and when the UFO list rolls over, which is fun (see below), and when we hear about any changes that are coming, which is fine. What makes me insane is the approval of the budget.

The budget is one of those things that I don't care about AT ALL. Unless the treasurer takes a trip to Tahiti with the raffle quilt money, you probably aren't going to be able to make me care about the budget.  Don't feel bad - The Pit Boss has similar issues getting me to engage when the topic is finance.  Nothing makes me happier than online banking and the little app that lets me deposit a check without ever having to go into the actual bank building or talk to any bank people. 

I understand that some people do care about the budget, and that is fine with me.  What drives me nuts is that a) the income and outcome are printed in every month's newsletter; b) the budget changes very little from year to year; and c) anyone who has thoughts on the budget is welcome to share them via email, letter, phone call OR to actually attend a board meeting when the budget will be discussed.  If you have suggestions or concerns about the budget, the time to voice them is around November or December when the new board is gathering to plan the upcoming year, and NOT at the January guild meeting where the budget is all typed up and copied and presented so that we can say "Aye" and move along to the stuff we really want to talk about.

I have to fight the urge to scream when someone decides that the January guild meeting is the time to ask why the line item for the batting for the raffle quilt is included on this line instead of this other line.  Can that not be done in a private conversation with the Treasurer and the two accounting nerds who care?  The other forty-seven of us who drove to the meeting, even though we are exhausted from work and kids and the house, want to socialize and talk about fabric.

It happens every single year.  I'm getting to the point when I want to finish my UFOs ahead of time just so I can skip this meeting and read about the new programs in the next newsletter.  Except we know that's not going to happen!

Speaking of UFOs and on to more fun topics, I earned the coveted UFO bead for the first time.  Isn't he awesome?  Every January we list five projects we want to complete; if we finish at least four by the following January, we get an awesome bead to add to our name tag.  I've made a list every year since I joined the guild, but this is my first one of these.

Now I have to think of what projects to put on my list for next year, and I have to think carefully.   Hopefully the Finish Along will help keep my eye on the prize.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Movement! and #MLKSI

It's Menu Plan Monday and I have actual progress to report!  I managed to get on the elliptical four days and walked the mall with The Pit Boss on Saturday.

My FitBit has been wonderfully motivational for little things like taking the stairs at work and doing a few extra flights of stairs before bed just to get my numbers up.  TPB decided he wanted in on the action and ordered one for himself; it arrived Tuesday, and the dogs have reaped the rewards of his competitive nature.

Now the scale is going the right direction, slowly but surely.  I hope I can keep it up so that next January I can write a blog post like Pam's.

Today is also the #MLKSI on Twitter, although I have to go to work and will not be sewing along with you lucky ducks who have the day off.  I'll try to come by and wave on my lunch break. 

My user name on My Fitness Pal is QJ2013 if you want to be friends.

MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter
What's on your menu?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Can We Please Get Back to Normal Now?

It's Menu Plan Monday and it's time to reboot - AGAIN!  Last week was insane with cancellations and weather.  Quilt guild was cancelled, book club was cancelled, and there was no way I was going to get up and exercise.  No way!  We had a 59 degree swing from Tuesday to Friday, with a tornado watch yesterday to cap off the week.

Go home, Weather, you're drunk.

So this time I really really mean it.  I'm climbing back on the wagon.  Pinky swear.  I even updated my actual weight.  I've lost a lot of ground I had gained - gained a lot that I had lost? - but not all of it.  So that's something.

My FitBit arrived, and my mood is swinging wildly between utter despair at how little I'm moving and that exuberant optimism that fills me every time I start something new.  I love starting things!  (Finishing...not so much.) 

My user name on My Fitness Pal is QJ2013 if you want to be friends.

MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter
  • Sunday - Beef Stroganoff over egg noodles, mixed green salad
  • Monday - Crock Pot Sesame Honey Chicken, brown rice (we never got to this last week - are you sensing a pattern here?)
  • Tuesday - Swim Meet - out for pizza after
  • Wednesday - Book Club here; everyone on their own
  • Thursday - Pollo Sabroso, yellow rice, oven roasted green beans
  • Friday - Sweet and Fiery Pork, brown rice, oven roasted asparagus
  • Saturday - Something yummy from Kathleen's Catch, quinoa, grilled mixed veggies
What's on your menu?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Finish Along 2014! Q1 Goals

Finish Along 2014

It's time to link up with Katy of The Littlest Thistle for Finish Along 2014!

I'm evaluating my lack of  progress over the last quarter, and trying to set realistic goals now that my schedule has changed so dramatically. Seriously, I had to make a single block for a swap and had to dust off my machine to get it done.  In light of that, here's my very short list.
  • I expressed some interest in participating in Another Little Quilt Swap.  The good news is that there is no commitment - I'll either get it done by the February 3 deadline or I won't.  That may also be the bad news since there is nothing holding my feet to the fire to get it done.  I'm planning to use this block from the Modern Blocks Quilt Along.

  • I'm back in my President's Quilt, which I would like to finally put in this year's show.  This is a leftover from Q4 2013.
  • Ditto for my Four Inch Block Quilt.
My other big priority will be the WannaBees Round Robin, but it doesn't really fall into this category and certainly isn't going to be a finish anytime soon.   We chose a "work at your own pace" plan so, while my center block has already had three rounds added (and I'm assured I will cry when I see it), I haven't worked on one at all.  I'm just waiting on Lene who, as a professional longarmer, has been up to her ears in customer quilts over the holiday season. 

Link up and show us what you're going to be working on this quarter!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

#TBT - Throwback Thursday - Wood Bottomed Purses

Quiltin Jenny

It's Throwback Thursday here at Quiltin' Jenny, and I hope you'll link up and share your own creative adventures from your pre-blogging days.

Today's projects are some wood bottomed purses that (I think) a fellow guild member designed several years ago.  These are clever little tote bags with a piece of 2x4 on the bottom.  You make the whole bag - including lining, pockets, and handle - and then fit it around the edges of the board inside out.  A staple gun around the edges holds it in place; then you flip it right side out and add the decorative tacks to finish it. 

I made these two for the school auction one year.  I can't even remember how long ago this was!

This bag was made for my MiL one year for Christmas.  At the time, she and a group of friends were taking tap dancing together on Monday afternoons.  This bag was just the right size for her tap shoes.  
I made several others to give as gifts, but these are the ones I could find pictures of.  They were a great way to show off a border print or novelty fabric, and I had a lot of fun making them. 

Do you have an old mature holiday craft to share with us this week?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - ReBoot!

It's Menu Plan Monday and it's time to reboot.  Deuce is headed back to Tuscaloosa on Tuesday if we are not iced in. Actually the whole week is up in the air depending on how much moisture we get before the temperatures drop below freezing and stay there until who knows when.  (I know, I know, all you yankees are rolling your eyes at us.  But driving on ice is not the same as driving on snow.)

My FitBit One hasn't arrived yet, but I'm operating under the theory that it's time to get back on the elliptical this week.  I can't make any promises if it really is 6 degrees with a wind chill of -13 when I wake up.  That's just crazy!

And in case you think I have some sort of amazing self control and have managed to maintain my weight over the holidays, let me reassure you.  I simply haven't logged my weight on My Fitness Pal in about two months!  Hoping to remedy that this week as well.  

My user name on My Fitness Pal is QJ2013 if you want to be friends.

MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter
What's on your menu?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year - Looking Forward, Looking Back

Last January I wrote a long post about my word of the year and what I wanted to accomplish in 2013. Although many of my quilting goals remain unfinished, I was pretty happy to read through my list and see that I had really done a lot of it.

Here's a brief reap:
  • I want to share my love of quilting.  I want to teach at least one person at least one new thing about quilting this year.  But I hope it's a lot more than one.  This year I definitely accomplished this, although in an unusual way. - I didn't actually teach a quilting skill, but I did present my first guild program about social media for quilters.  Even better, I've been booked to present the program at another guild in April!
  • I want to share my quilts.  Every January I admire the people who make a charity quilt per month for a whole year.  I'm not sure I can keep that pace, but I do want to use some of this enormous stash to help others.  I have some fantastic children's novelty prints that my kids have outgrown, but which would be perfect for ConKerr Cancer or CASA. - This was slightly less successful.  I didn't make a whole stack to give away, but I did make bags for Drake House, two quilt tops for our church quilt ministry, and five quilts that were gifts.  I also gave away a bunch of denim!
  • I want to share my ideas.  I love the story about the person who has two pencils.  He shares, and now he and one other person each have a pencil.  But when a person with an idea shares with another person who has an idea, now they both have two ideas!  What could that lead to?  Brainstorming and sharing ideas with others is how I've always worked best, and I want to do more of that this year.  In addition to sharing my social media program, I have also helped our bee group organize a round robin and contributed some thoughts to publicizing the guild's upcoming show.  This resolution extended beyond quilting, and I have been sharing ideas with our church employment network and, of course, at my new job.
  • I want to share responsibility.  Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is to say no, and to share an opportunity to serve with others who might not get a chance because I keep raising my hand.  When a volunteer opportunity arises, I want to remember to wait at least one moment to give that person a chance to help.  To this end, I bought all of my children laundry baskets for Christmas, and have taught them to do their own wash.  Worst present ever!  This resolution was a booming success.  In addition to the children doing their own laundry, they have all been spending more time in the kitchen.  Deuce makes some incredible homemade bread, Gracie is taking the occasional turn to plan and cook dinner, and the Bear is learning to bake.  I've unclenched my grip on the parental reins enough that The Pit Boss and Gracie have experienced several new things together - to a doctor and orthodontist appointment, a swim meet, and a gaggle of girls coming home from school on Halloween - all without me breathing down their necks.  I also worked up the nerve to say no when I was asked to coordinate the 7th grade girls' costumes for the middle school play...and again when they asked if I could just make a few nun costumes.  I'm so relieved that I do not have that hanging over my head for the next few weeks!
How did your year go?  Check back tomorrow to find out what the word for 2014 is going to be!

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