Author Archives: Lori

Snowy and snacky

We are kind of on the other side of winter now almost mid February. It seems that every year around Valentine’s Day, there is a big snowstorm. This year it came a little early. That was on top of the big storm we had Super Bowl Sunday.  Our driveway is piled with snow now:

These are almost 5 feet high! It stays too cold around here for the snow to melt much between storms, so it just piles up.  John ordered a snowblower, which arrived on Friday. This guarantees no more storms for the year!  We didn’t have one before because there really isn’t much room for us to store one in our 1-car garage. Plus we don’t want a gas powered machine for eco reasons.  We did end up with an electric model, 20 inches, which probably won’t be able to handle really heavy icy snow – especially what comes at the end of the driveway from the city plows, but it will take care of the bulk of the work.   I’ll have to take a picture of it. It’s green and I named it Kermit. 😀

 

Temps are supposed to get to 50 on Thursday, so it will put a bit of a dent in all the snow. Problem is that it refreezes overnight and makes everything slick. I actually wiped out in the driveway today. Ouch.  It leaves lots of icicles. This is a building downtown:

Here are some more food pictures. John and I are both really focused on tracking food.  I was way too snacky over the weekend.

A staple dinner for us is tomato soup with pasta added.

I found these cute baby pears at the store.

My goal is to eat fruit for snacks instead of cereal. Or a Pop Tart.  John ordered a big box of them on Amazon because they were really cheap LOL! I actually like Pop Tarts, but those things are pretty caloric at 200 calories for one thin pastry. Seriously – where do they moosh all the calories in?

Egg salad with eggs done in the Instant Pot.


That pear above was actually supposed to be with lunch, but I got hungry early.

Cookie with latte:

Maple cookie. Again, these were on sale and they ended up coming home with us. Blargh.

I’m hoping the snacking will get a little better now. I was having an insomnia period since before the Super Bowl, and I end up over snacking when that happens because being tired makes me hungry and also I’m awake for more hours of the day, which contributes to being snacky. I finally crashed and had a good night’s sleep the last couple days. Fingers crossed it stays that way for a long while now.

On a final note before Mardi Gras:

This sign cracks me up. It was at a local restaurant.  It suits John and I to a T  😀

Stained glass projects

Instead of posting photos of white, white snow – how about some color?  We are socked in from snow on top of what we had Sunday. Ugh.  So sick of shoveling. John did end up ordering a snowblower, but it won’t be here until next week, which guarantees there will be no more storms this year. 😀

Anyway, there were some requests to see John’s stained glass pieces.  Now that Christmas is done and these are now in the hands of the giftees, I can post.  John started doing glass last year and he seems to enjoy it quite a bit.  I love the colors.

These are going to be kind of big. John took and sent these to me. I didn’t resize them before uploading them. (lazy)

Tree. This was about an 8×10 piece.

Owl. This one is maybe 6 inches? I can’t remember now.  The pupils were drawn in 😀

Celtic knot – one of his first pieces with colored glass. He practiced on window glass at first to get used to cutting and soldering. We scavenged windows that people put out at the curb LOL! Free practice material at any rate.

And look – you can see the ground! We won’t be seeing that until, oh maybe July with how big our snow piles are.

Moon: Again, I think this was an 8 x 10 size. The pictures make them look huge, but they are just in a regular picture frame.

Cardinals:  I love the clear glass texture in this piece.

All but the knot left the house. It was fun having all these in the windows until Christmas came along. Now they are bare!

Tonight is sitting by the fire under a fleece blanket. Even though we have shoveled twice already, it’s going to have to be done again in the morning and I’m just going to pretend that we will wake up to bare ground and flowers. 😀

St. Mardi Bowl and more snow

Hey there! Remember that goal about posting 3x a week? Oops. 😀

How many of you had football parties on Sunday? Because of scheduling, we turned the Super Bowl into St. Mardi Bowl, combining the game, Mardi Gras (next week) and Valentine’s Day into one party.

Let me tell you getting down to Saratoga was pretty beastly because of snow. 3-6 inches was predicted, which is fine to drive in around here. Road crews are pretty good. Figured the Northway would be nice and clear. Nope – it was snowy and cars were off the side of the road. A heavy snow band developed over our area. I was driving on the way down and my hands were cramped from gripping the steering wheel. We wouldn’t have gone had we known how bad the highway was.

Anyway, feast time!

Some N’awlins food like red beans & rice and gumbo. I made pralines. Heart candy for Valentine’s day.  Yums.

Wasn’t the game great?!  I give the Eagles much thought ever, but I was their biggest fan for this game LOL! I’m tired of the Patriots. Super Bowls are so much more enjoyable when they are close like that than a blowout.

The drive home was better as the heavy snow stopped and plows got a chance to catch up. However, my parent’s road hadn’t even been plowed yet! The Prius made it through, though.  We got back to our house near midnight and our driveway was completely plowed in by the city. We had to park around the corner, shovel out the driveway, then bring the car in. Ugh. Midnight shoveling sucks.

It looks really pretty today.

More snow is on the way for Wednesday, too.  Yay – not.  We need to get a snowblower. I have a bad shoulder and now John’s shoulder had been bothering him =  no bueno. Our garage is too small to hold one plus the car, so that creates a problem.  We’ll have to figure something out.

On the woodpecker front, Woodrow came to the new feeder twice this week. He’s pretty noisy and I’ve learned to recognize his call so I check the feeder when I hear it.

He’s balancing his tail like he’s supposed to, so my contraption worked! He actually seems to prefer the feeder on the other side.

It made me very happy to see this. I love wildlife so much and it really could care less about me LOL!  Another visitor at the feeder was the Carolina Wren.

These birds have a nest in our brush pile or near it. I hadn’t seen them so far this winter, but I guess they stay here.

And now, note to self: post again this week 😀

Bird feeder project

I posted pictures of the bird feeders the other day. Kim asked about the baffles that I use. I have 2 different kinds and they work really well for me.  Here is a picture of them from a distance:

With a cardinal sitting on one of the feeders, too.  The trick for these baffles is that they have to be high enough from the ground so a squirrel can’t jump over them and they also have to be far enough away from any tree or other type of launching platform for them to jump onto the pole on the top – which is at least 6 feet.  So, these are kind of in the open.

You can see how the poles are bent over a little from squirrels messing around trying to get up there. When the ground is soft, the squirrels thrash and push the poles while hanging onto the baffle before they fall off.  I know not everyone has luck with these, but I might get a few more poles and baffles when the budget allows since they have been so successful for me.

Here is a bit of a sad update on the woodpecker. He has officially been named Woodrow (not the sad part). The other day he came out to the suet feeder again. It was bright and sunny, so it was good picture taking weather:

I was happily snapping away when I noticed something weird:

Something definitely off there. It wasn’t until he flipped around that I could see the problem:

His leg is broken 🙁  It just dangles there. I get the feeling this isn’t a recent injury because he doesn’t seem bothered by it, but what do I know about birds and their pain threshold?  You can see an issue with him feeding. Woodpeckers like to rest their tails for support when feeding. This guy’s tail was split over the pole and without the use of his other leg, I wanted to figure out some way to help him balance.  They do sell woodpecker feeders, but you know me and my penchant for Macgyver-ing everything.

I scrounged for some thin scrap wood and cut a couple pieces for 2 different suet feeders:

This was one of those times when scrap I saved actually was useful instead of just making me wonder why I have it 😀

And yes, that is the suet cake still in there. Too messy to try to take it out, although it was just messy in general working with the cage.

One of the feeders is a double, so I decided to make another one with a single cake feeder in case the birds find that easier:

I drilled a couple holes in the wood and attached it to the feeder with some wire:

After some finagling and moving of feeders, I put them back to back:

Of course, today nobody came to the feeder. I haven’t seen Woodrow today. Nature is hard sometimes. I hope he will be able to survive and maybe this will help him eat easier. I keep you updated if he comes back.

Woody Woodpecker

On to the post title shortly, but first some more food photos.

Along with blintzes for breakfast, I do like the Kodiak Cakes protein pancakes. Most times with bananas, but this week I had them with cooked apples and a drizzle of maple syrup:

This just needs a boatload of whipped cream to be perfect 😀

I used the Instant Pot as a slow cooker to make this cheesy chicken chili, which I have made fairly often in the past.

With John going vegetarian, I don’t make it as much, but I was sort of craving it and now I have lots to eat this week!  The IP worked great as a slow cooker. It really is replacing 3 appliances with one. I’m very pleased with it.

A different lunch: Toasted turkey and cheese sandwich with tortilla chips.

I don’t have lunch meat very often, but lately I’ve been craving more protein. Oh, and more carbs. So I guess I just have been wanting to eat more in general with the cold weather.

Cold weather dinner was heating this up:

And then adding it to lentil soup to bulk it up:

Does your taste for something ever just turn on a dime?  I’ve had the soup before, but for whatever reason, tonight I just didn’t like it at all. That’s the second time this has happened recently with a food I liked previously.  If only that could happen with Reese’s peanut butter cups…

Now on to Woody Woodpecker! We have feeders in our back yard and normally the hairy and downy woodpeckers visit them frequently. We also have one or two pileated that hang around the trees, but they’ve never been at the feeder – or at least that I’ve seen.  John pointed out this to me the other day:

He was just noshing away on the suet. It a small feeder and pretty awkward for him, since these are big birds.

If that other feeder wasn’t below it, I don’t think he could have balanced enough to eat. He’s so pretty! Of course, I went right online to see what would be a better feeder for these guys. I need to build a tail rest extender for this. Or something like that anyway. The squirrel baffle works fantastic for these feeders, by the way. That’s entertaining in itself.

We had that tiny warm spell and now I’m all about gardening. The plant companies know this and I swear almost every day a catalog or email arrives urging me to purchase.

I wish I had another sunny area for more roses. If I decide to take over most of the front lawn, I can do that. Perhaps that will happen. 🙂   However, it’s back to below freezing again and just dreaming about the flowers.

March and John’s hobby

We had a wonderful weather change this weekend. The temps were in the 40s on Saturday! Plus it was sunny and we went out and soaked up some vitamin D.  I also participated in the Women’s march here locally:

I don’t think there were as many people as last year, but it was probably fairly close. The warmer weather sure helped, even though the sidewalks were still pretty sloppy. Seriously – not many people do a really good job on clearing the walks.

I still work too much on weekends. Lots of computer related stuff with the businesses. I’ve been taking some online marketing courses.  Skill Share has a promotion now for 3 months for 99 cents, which gives you access to tons of videos on all subjects from hobby stuff to business stuff. It’s like a rabbit hole looking at all the possibilities there, including metalsmithing, photography, and kanzashi ribbon flowers (so cool!) I’m trying to concentrate on business stuff right now, but I have a few hobby things bookmarked to watch. Like I need anything else to do…

John started working with stained glass last year. He made a lot of christmas gifts for others and now that is all finished, he can do things for us. He had done my business logo in glass, which came out really nice:

Now he is working on trying mosaics.  Here is the glass after he cut out the pattern:

It’s going to get mosaiced (is that a word??) into that frame and grouted in.  I have all of these visions for him to do a million garden stained glass pieces for me. I’m not sure he has those same visions, though LOL!   I’ll have to have him send me pictures of his other pieces he did that were sent to others. It’s very cool!

I’m trying to make sure I get relaxing in. We had couch time with football today:

My face is red because I was trying all kinds of angles to take a picture and was laughing too much at how unflattering they were. 😀  Too bad the Jaguars lost. I’m so tired of seeing the Patriots in the superbowl – sorry Pats fans.

On to a new week! My goal this week is to write down a stretching/body weight exercise routine to schedule in. Part of my getting organized plan for 2018. 🙂

Some eats

Here are a few of my meals.  I don’t always take pictures of my food now and the reason is mostly that I am constantly taking photos for the businesses and editing them. It seems like every day I’m working on photos and so I tend to not take them of my own food. However, I need to get back into that habit for accountability.

Here is one of my regular breakfasts, which you have seen before:

This is the Golden brand cheese blintz. I tried the Manechevitz? (sp) brand and didn’t like them as much, plus they don’t have as much protein per serving as the Golden brand. We keep talking about making our own blintzes with crepes, but never get around to it 😀

A dinner featuring Instant Pot potatoes:

I used a bag of those mini potatoes that comes in mesh. I put the IP on saute and cooked them for about 5 minutes. Then I moved them into a steamer basket, seasoned with herbs, salt and pepper and added 3/4 cup of veggie broth to the IP. Set it for 4 minutes and did a quick release. With the sauteeing, it took 15 minutes from start to finish for the taters. They were tasty! The next day we made smashed potatoes with the leftovers. Yums. We are using the IP pretty regularly a few times a week. It was definitely a good purchase.

You know there has to be bagels, right?

We were at Panera this morning. We don’t go there very often, preferring local places, but with the snowy weather walking downtown wasn’t feasible. So, since we had the car, we went further than downtown for breakfast.

Another IP meal – quinoa! The IP makes perfect quinoa. Or maybe it’s John who does it since he always cooks the quinoa.

John is a vegetarian, so quinoa is good for his protein. I topped mine with chicken and BBQ sauce, having precooked several chicken breasts for the week.

These are in the house right now:

Reese’s Pieces are okay. Not my favorite, but I eat them because they are there. John got a big party bag of them from Amazon. That’s something that annoys me about myself at times. Sometimes I can just not eat stuff without problem, but then other times I do.  Part of it is feeling cooped up from winter weather.

 

I got a little ahead of myself the other day:

I’m so eager for gardening that I couldn’t resist the seed display. It couldn’t have been set up more than a day or two before I saw it and I already was purchasing LOL!  It’s too early to even start the seeds indoors.  Between these and the flower catalogs that arrive several times a week, I’ve been dreaming of all the flowers I’m going to grow 😀

Getting back to it

One of the things I wanted to put down as a goal for 2018 was to get back to blogging regularly again. Oops.  Now it has been a week since I posted LOL!  I also want to read again regularly and comment more on others. Please leave a comment with a link to your blog so I can make sure I have it in my reader. I hit “mark all as read” since there were several hundred blog posts in there and it was too overwhelming to go through them.

I do have to say that I’m struggling a little with eating right now.  A lot of it has to do with the weather. So cold outside and all I want to do is curl up under a blanket and eat all the things 😀   I do exercise pretty much every day either on the treadmill or my bike trainer, but my outside walks have been curtailed with the cold. I was out the other day when it got warm for a day and it was glorious! It’s amazing how great 50 degrees feels after negative temps versus 50 degrees in the early fall feeling freezing cold.

I am going to try to post more food posts. I may not blog every day, but I need to be more accountable with food to focus myself again. So, I’m going to shoot for at least 3 posts each week on the regular.

Update on the wool dryer balls I purchased:

They work really well! John and I do laundry separately, so we have both used them a couple times. There is definitely a reduction in static after using these. Clothes come out soft and maybe the dryer time is reduced as well.  We have so much static in our house because of the dry air that I’m tempted to rub one of these on Pixie to see if I can reduce her static. Her nose gets zapped a lot and I feel bad about it. There are a lot of sellers on Etsy for these, but here is a link to the shop I got mine from .

 

And in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, my choice of quote for the day:

Word for 2018 and goals

Today is finally the last of the deep chill. We might actually be in the 30s by mid week. Yay!  This was the temp this morning:

We went out for our usual breakfast on Sunday. Normally we walk downtown, but -20 is ****ing cold, even without any windchill factor.  Your eyelashes and nose hairs freeze and it hurts to breathe deep.  How I look forward to 30 degrees coming up. Perspective 😀

I chose a word that I want to represent 2018 for me and I decided on Titan.  Not Saturn’s moon or mythology, but the definition of a person of great strength. That’s my mantra for 2018. I will be a titan.

As far as goals go, these are some things I want to work towards this year:

  1. Eat more vegetables.  I seem to do this goal every couple of years. I just need to remind myself to eat them and make sure I have frozen veggies in the freezer at all times so no excuses.  Hello broccoli!
  2. Read 15 books.  I was not able to complete my challenge last year. I just found myself too tired at night to do the amount of reading that I like to do and then extra time was spent working on the businesses.  Reading is a good way to make myself take a break.  Not only reading 15 books, but I’d like half of them to be classics. First up is Sense and Sensibility.
  3. Work on an organizational system.  I am really not the most organized person. I tend to have too many things going on all at once and in various stages of completion. This is going to take a lot of work LOL.
  4. Continue being an advocate for the environment.  I started the year off with purchasing wool dryer balls to reduce fabric softener use:  Supporting a small maker on Etsy with this purchase, too.
  5. Spend time with body weight exercises and stretching on a regular basis. Pretty self explanatory.

That’s pretty good for the year, I think.  I also will get back to reading blogs more regularly. That took such a back seat and I’m sorry I haven’t been reading your blogs!

Do you have a word for 2018?

2017 goal update

Time to review what I accomplished on my goal/to-do list for 2017!  It was certainly a crazy year, so much different than the year before for both John and I. Here I sit on New Year’s Eve wondering where the heck the year went, probably like a lot of people.

This was the plan for 2017

 

  1. Read 25 books.  Nope. I read 12. I ended up just so tired at night that I wasn’t doing a lot of reading near bedtime, which is when I normally like to read.
  2. Be more of an activist for the environment. I am still so, so, so concerned about the direction our country is taking in terms of the environment. I can’t even tell you.  I did participate in a climate change march. I bring my own water bottle to counter service eateries so as not to buy bottled water.  John has started asking for no straws in drinks when we go to a table service restaurant, which I need to remember to do as well.  Plus, I have been working on my pollinator garden. I saw more bees and butterflies this year, and with our water feature added, there are even frogs!  I had my garden certified as a wildlife habitat since I meet all of the requirements.  It’s small, but if we all did just a little, it adds up.
  3. Build something.  I didn’t really build anything like I had planned, which was a piece of furniture. So much of my time was swallowed by the businesses. However, I did paint and recover a chair and did more with the garden beds.
  4. Get back to a structured lifting program. This was a big fail. I exercised a lot with walking and biking, but no lifting program. I do have to say that I am regularly lifting heavy boxes with the biz, so there is some functional fitness. Budget kept me from joining a gym.
  5. Grow the businesses. Slogging away at this. I spent a lot of this year laying the groundwork and some of that is bearing fruit now and I’m set up for some good things in 2018.
  6. Do more meal planning.  Not really.  We plan some meals, but not like I had planned. John prepares a lot of our dinners, which is nice. He is the pizza man for pizza Fridays 😀  . We did get the Instant Pot, which is going to play a bigger part in meals. It sure makes cooking quinoa, oats, rice and such pretty easy and makes for good bulk cooking.

All in all, 2017 was both what I expected and completely not.  I bit off not more than I can chew, but certainly I had a very full plate.  I’ve chosen my word for 2018 and I need to set up some goals for the year.

 

have a safe and happy New Year!