Wednesday, 27 March 2013

It's Wednesday

Maybe by the time you read this it won't be Wednesday any more.  Or maybe when you read this it will be Wednesday, but when I wrote it, it was Tuesday.  The world works in mysterious ways (not really)... Gotta love that wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff ;-)

So I had my knee x-rayed.  Guess what?  It's not broken.  No surprises there.  My physio says the bone is likely bruised, which would not show up on an x-ray, plus there's the inflammation behind the kneecap which, again, would not show up on an x-ray.  But I'm still not allowed to run, or do lunges or squats, or any other exercise that exacerbates the problem.  Sigh.  What I can do though, is cycle.  I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my trainer, which I ordered online yesterday (no I didn't manage to sell anything on Trade Me yet, but Deane got sick of my moping and sulking and MADE me buy one).  I received an email to say that it is on its way, and they expect it to be delivered some time tomorrow.  Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!  I believe I will be spending some time setting it up, and then a good hour or two cycling my heart out!  Or maybe I should say cycling my butt off.  Yes, that's a better analogy, and one I would rather have happen considering the food I've been eating lately.

I made the most amazing hot cross buns yesterday.  You know how I mentioned I'd made some the other week and thought they were pretty good?  No.  I was wrong.  Oh, how very wrong I was.  Seriously, if you happen to have an Alison Holst recipe book lying around somewhere, and it just happens to have a hot cross bun recipe in it,  MAKE THEM.  They are awesome!  I made a batch of 12 buns without fruit, then kneaded a 1/4 cup of raisins into the remaining dough (which would've been enough for another three or four buns) to make a spicy fruit loaf for breakfast.  I am drooling just thinking about it!  Never mind that I had about four slices of it this morning...


Ooh, look!  Omnomnom!  Two buns were already eaten by the time I took this picture, and three more disappeared pretty soon after.  The boys had two each, and I managed to limit myself to one.  With lots of butter.  That gave me the excuse to eat two sprinkle cookies (and some cookie dough - shh!) later in the evening.  I had to be sure they were suitable for the boys' lunches, didn't I?  It's my duty as a mother ;-)  Then there was the lasagne we had for dinner this evening, and the ice cream and sprinkle cookies for dessert...  Yep, really looking forward to hopping on my bike tomorrow!  I even bought a wheel block today in preparation.  If you don't know what that is, here:


Your front wheel sits in it, both to stabilise the bike, and to lift the front wheel to be level with the back wheel which is sitting in the trainer, so you don't feel like you're going downhill the whole time.  I'm actually really excited, and can't wait for it to arrive!  It's been almost three weeks since my last run and I'm just itching to get out there.  This will definitely help take my mind off it, and keep my fitness levels up at the same time.  Win/win!

The weekend turned out to be busy for me, as the second round of Sock Madness started very soon after the first round had finished.  The moderators were really on the ball this year and teams were organised super fast!  I'm in Team Sockeroo, which is second fastest after Team Twinkletoes (choc-full of Norwegians.  Boy they're quick!  I'm so glad I'm not in their team.)  So early Saturday morning I wandered down the stairs, opened my email knowing the pattern would be there, printed it out, dug around in my leftovers stash (without waking the boys) and got settled in.  By Saturday evening, I'd finished the first sock.


 
Sunday was a little slower but I managed to get the leg done on the second sock.  I had knitting group and couldn't concentrate on the counting required to keep the short rows going smoothly, so I put the sock away and dug out my Cassidy cardigan back, then finished the rest on Monday.


Sadly, I ran out of the lovely greyish-blue yarn before I'd finished the gusset decreases for the second sock so the foot is knit in a different colour, which you can see in this picture:


But I still love them :-)  The pattern is Flying Dutchman by Caoua Coffee.  Every year she creates an amazing, totally refreshing and different pattern with a new-to-me technique (here's last year's pattern, the year before, and I didn't enter in previous years but they were still awesome patterns).  This year it was short row intarsia.  Sure, I've done short rows.  I've done intarsia.  But intarsia in the round using short rows?  Totally new.  My mind boggles just wondering how people come up with these ideas, let alone figure out how to do it and write a coherent pattern!  Astounding.  So as mentioned, these were knit out of sock yarn leftovers - the greyish-blue and green are both Vintage Purls leftovers from socks I knit for Christmas presents last year, and the white is some Patons Patonyle I seem to have plenty of.  There should be a bit of a break now, while we wait for round two to wind down, then relax for Easter before cranking it back up for round three.  Oh, I so love Sock Madness...

Ooh, by the way, I finished the back of my cardigan and it's looking awesome:



I have been good and fit in some housework and study as well, in case you're wondering ;-)

I've also spent a bit of time browsing online stores.  Thanks to the girls at Knit 1 Geek 2, I have discovered the wonder that is Adagio Teas.  I want to buy ALL THE TEAS.  Well, not really.  I don't like green tea, and some of the flavours sound ghastly.  But I certainly wouldn't mind trying some of the fandom blends, like Haymitch (Hunger Games), 007 (Bond, obviously), I Am Sherlocked (Sherlock Holmes of course), and Butterbeer, Treacle Tart and Draught of Peace (Harry Potter).  They all sound lovely.  But for now, I shall continue to enjoy my good old English Breakfast tea, and the occasional maple tea (yay Canada), and my range of herbals.  Mmmm, tea...

Also on the nerdy fandom train of thought, I clicked an ad link on Ravelry and found the most awesome little project bags by Anatomy of a Skirt on Etsy.  I love the expired milk, Edward and Jacob (hahahaha!!), Viking, lumberjack (OMG cute!), the invisible robot, transforming werewolf (although that wouldn't leave much room for anything else), ninja, Cyclops, and the tightey whiteys bot, but what really got me was the red shirt.  Hahahahahahahahaha!!!!  I want one of these, they're so cool!  Sure, they're probably only big enough to just fit a sock if you're really lucky, but they'd be good for holding notions if not a knitting project.  By the way, she also has a website.  Sweet!  (Check out the Hobbit and Doctor Who bots!!!  And there's a Cthulhu bot too!  ::melting from the rays of nerdy awesomeness shining out of the computer screen::)

Gosh, it's after 10pm, and I still have a bed to set up for our house guest!  Must get onto that, then head to bed for a cup of tea and some reading.  Sadly, I had to admit defeat and take a couple of books back to the library unread - The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling, and the second Cliff Janeway novel The Bookman's Wake by John Dunning.  The Rowling has hundreds of requests and there was absolutely no way I'd have been able to read it before it was due back (I've re-requested it and am 833rd on the list).  As for the Janeway, I'll get to it some other time.  At the moment, I'm trying to finish Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.  My kindle informs me that I'm 66% through it, so it shouldn't take me too much longer.  So much to read, so little time...

Good night everyone.  Have a happy and safe Easter weekend!  Don't eat too much chocolate!  Save room for the hot cross buns ;-)

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Stuff is getting finished. It's about time.

Huge relief!!!  I got the results from my exam, and I managed to scrape a B+.  Like, the lowest mark for a B+ is 70%, and that is exactly what I got.  Phew!  My overall mark for the paper was an A.  Not quite the A+ I was hoping for, but I'm still happy.  I feel so much better now that paper is finished, and can happily focus on the study I am working on now - The Information Industry, and Library Systems and Processes.  Fun times ahead ;-)  Going to have to crack into the statistics at some point too, as I was planning on studying Statistical Analysis next trimester, eek!

I managed to finish the wedding afghan with time to spare, and because of the lovely warm weather we had last week, it only took half a day to dry.  I was very pleased with the overall result, even though it turned out a little smaller than the recommended size of 64"x56" - mine ended up 60"x54" or thereabouts.  And look, its so pretty!

 OMG I love these blocking wires!!!


Sadly, the pattern doesn't have a very good name - it is called C224 Cascade Eco + Quilt and Cable Blanket.  Ooh, exciting...  As the name does suggest though, it is a pattern designed for the yarn - Cascade Eco +.  I rather enjoyed working with the yarn, it was lovely.  The colour was beautiful (in fact, I actually bought six skeins of the same colour in worsted for a cardigan) - it's called Turtle.  Cute!  I can only assume the recipients like the afghan, as they didn't open their gift while we were at the wedding for understandable reasons ;-)  By the way, it was a beautiful wedding.  The perfect setting, amazing food, excellent live entertainment... an amazing day.  And my nail polish matched my dress perfectly:


Wizard from Ruby, in case you were wondering ;-)

With the afghan out of the way, I also managed to finish the Round 1 Sock Madness socks!


The pattern was fun, really easy to memorise, and very well written.  I quite enjoyed knitting these socks, and although the pattern was intended for variegated or self-striping yarns, it would look really good in a solid or semi-solid as well.  The pattern is Sockdolager, which is the name of a ficticious yarn-eating monster from last year's Sock Madness stories.  I knit these with some Touch Yarns Magic Merino sock yarn in Matakanui.  I had originally intended on knitting Deane some socks with it but I think it's a little loud for him.  He's probably quite relieved... The first round of Sock Madness finishes early tomorrow morning so I was cutting it a little close to the wire grafting the second toe together last night, but they're done and I'm through to the next round.  Not sure how far I'll get this year since I'm quite a bit busier with study, but we'll see how it goes.

Today I managed to dig out my Cassidy hooded cardigan that I had started what seems like forever ago (3rd January, wow).  I'm hoping to actually get it finished before winter!  Not to mention several other garments - Deane's sweater, one each for the kids... maybe I'm being a little ambitious... This cardi will be my fill-in knitting between SM socks, although I may have to cast on a vanilla project for Sunday knitting group.  There's no way I'd be able to concentrate on the cabled pattern while yakking my head off!  That's just asking for trouble ^_^

Speaking of trouble, I've been having a bit of a war with ants this past week.  Every morning I wake up to some level of invasion.  I've got no idea where they're coming in from, as I've sprayed all around the kitchen window and the dining room french doors.  I'm starting to wonder if they're hiding under the house and coming up through a gap in the floor somewhere.  Little buggers.  They haven't managed to get into any food because I've got everything sealed up tight and my kitchen is spotless before I go to bed, so I don't really know why they're bothering.  Oh well, maybe they'll give up soon.  Meanwhile, I've been having a little bit of fun in the kitchen.  I made a batch of hot cross buns sans fruit on Sunday, and they came out really good, if a little dense.  I'm planning on making more but will try a different recipe and see how they turn out.  The kids liked them in any case, so that was a win :-)  I also made the most delicious chocolate brownie, and am now trying very hard not to eat it all!  It's just so good!  As were these ridiculously cute mini hamburger buns:


They fit into the palm of your hand, and are the perfect size for the kids.  A little too sweet, but the recipe was really quick and easy so I'll probably make them again but reduce the amount of sugar.  They went really nicely with the barbecue pulled pork I made for last night's dinner:


This is the first time that I can remember actually enjoying pork (that wasn't bacon or ham).  I may just have to make this again.  Yum.

Tonight's dinner was a really, really good porterhouse steak.  Like, really good.



Oh yeah, and salad.  I would've considered the steak too big a piece for me, weighing in at a little over 240g.  But damned if I didn't eat the whole thing (although I did cut off the fat, so maybe it was closer to 220g).  I'll be honest and say I overcooked it a little - it came out at around medium to well done, but it was very tasty.  I will be buying more of this steak for sure - Green Meadows Beef is awesome :-)  Although I really should stop going on about them, lest I become part of their marketing team.  (Seriously, you should check my Twitter feed.)  Tomorrow, roast chicken.  One of my favourite meals.  And the kids actually eat it, which is a bonus.  Fussy little horrors.

Yes, we're eating quite a bit of salad at the moment.  Well, I am at least.  I'm feeling the lack of exercise and copious amounts of delicious food working against me (for goodness' sake woman, stop baking!).  My knee is very slowly (and I mean v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y) improving, so I'm hoping to get out for a short run early next week.  Fingers crossed for me!  I'm trying to be very good and look after it so it heals well, keeping in mind the two half marathons I'm planning later in the year.  Nearly two weeks since my last run... ugh.  I'm rather fixated on the idea of getting a bike trainer now, for various reasons.  Can't believe I didn't think of it before actually.  The roads in Auckland are really not safe for cyclists, even experienced ones.  An experienced cyclist I am not, and I find the roads rather intimidating even during the quiet traffic days, so although I'd love to get out and ride I tend to put it off, and my bike continues to gather dust.  With a trainer though, I can get up early and jump on the bike and watch all those TV programs I'm way behind on, or listen to knitting podcasts (also behind), or just enjoy the quiet before the rest of the household starts the day.  It'll be easier on my knees (poor, much-abused things that they are) and with winter on the way, I'll have no reason not to get my exercise in.  Deane doesn't like me running when its dark, and as much as I love running in the early morning, and even in the rain, sometimes it's not the best idea.  Plus I get wicked earache when its really cold.  So a bike trainer would make a happy kreachr!  Unfortunately it doesn't fit in with the current budget, so I'm trying to sell a few items (text books I don't need any more, and my ice skates because running is more important to me than ice skating which was just for fun) to cover the cost.  Anyone need a computer text book?  A CD book about archives management?  Some brand-spanking new ice skates that have only been used a few times?  No?  Oh well...  I've listed them on Trade Me so hopefully somebody will want them :-)

Well, that's it from me for now.  Organisation stuff is still going well for both me and the boys (I have no idea how we functioned without checklists and schedules, they're awesome), and I am still loving the YNAB budgeting software.  Still geeking out at getting to enter transactions and budget our income.  Fun I tell you, fun!  LOVE. IT.  Right, must go to bed and read before sleep.  Those books ain't gonna read themselves...  Good night y'all!

Side note:  This post has about ten times as many views as all my other posts.  I can only assume this is because it has the word 'breasts' in it...

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Threes

You know the old saying, everything happens in threes?  I'm kinda hoping that's right.  First I had runner's knee.  Then there was the snowboarding injury.  Now, the trip-and-fall knee injury.  Please, let that be it!  I'm getting a little sick of sitting around waiting for things to heal.  Of course now I'm starting to wonder if maybe I'm just a big wuss and there's really nothing wrong with me at all, I just need to harden up.  See what happens when you sit around too long?!?  I did at least manage to walk/run the Auckland Round the Bays on Sunday.  Deane and I walked it together, and we crossed the finish line at around one hour 19 minutes.  When you factor in the several minutes it took to actually cross the start line, I think it took us around one hour 15 minutes to walk it.  I was surprised Deane managed to keep up with my pace, as I was walking pretty darn fast - I was rather frustrated with all the slow people on the walking side, and wanted nothing more than to cross over to the right and join the runners.  But I was trying to be good and 'rest' my knee.  We did jog/run a few times (particularly when we managed to grab some open space - very hard to come by with so many participants).  I'm glad I did it, but don't think I'll be signing up next year.  Yes its an iconic event, a great community walk with beautiful views etc etc, but the amount of people is crazy.  Most of our walk was spent weaving between slow people and trying to avoid all the push chairs and scooters.  That, and tromping over the multitudes of plastic cups that people were discarding all over the road after every water station.  I guess I just don't have the patience for it.  Perhaps I was in the wrong frame of mind to be walking it, and should've just chilled out a bit.  Oh well, chalk it up to experience and tick something else off the list.  There are always other events.  Although I think I'm going to have to skip the Warrior Dash this year.  Sad face.  So my focus will now move to healing up properly and getting back in shape for the Unitec Run/Walk Series, the North Shore Half and the Auckland Half.  Wish me luck!  Speaking of which, thank you everyone for your commiserations and encouragement.  It is very much appreciated!

Since there's no running or exercise to be had, I've gone a little mad with the organising, throwing in more budgeting and trying to find different ways of being a frugal housewife.  I had quite a laugh at myself yesterday though.  Over the weekend, I'd been browsing Pinterest and pinned a couple of household-type things, such as making your own laundry powder and dishwasher powder.  Great, I thought.  I'd love to try making my own stuff and experimenting a bit to see if it's any good cleaning-wise, and trying different scents.  So when I did the grocery shopping I bought a box of washing soda, a 500g container of baking soda and a box of Sunlight soap bars, then browsed Trade Me for the cheapest source of borax.  I had romantic notions of pretty glass jars with a cute little scoop inside for the powder, and a wee blackboard-paint label on the outside where I could write 'laundry powder' or 'dishwasher powder' in lovely handwriting (which, by the way, I do not possess.  But they always make it look good in the pictures and my imagination can be quite deceptive).  Yesterday, when taking a break from household chores and study, I sat down to work out cost comparisons.  It turns out that to make 2kg of laundry powder would cost about $11.14, which would save me about $3.86, and to make 2kg of dishwasher powder would cost $11.68.  I can buy 2kg of dishwasher powder (the one I like to use) for $10 on special.  So it would not actually save any money making it myself.  And, there are cheaper options for both laundry powder and dishwasher powder.  I sat there and had a bit of a giggle about it, marvelling that being frugal is not necessarily the better way to go, and decided to just carry on with the status quo.  The baking soda will come in handy for killing all the weeds between the paving stones out front, and the Sunlight soap is good for all sorts of stuff.  The washing soda... well, I'll find a use for it I'm sure.

The kids are getting into the whole organisation/routine thing too, with their own morning checklists.  They have little 'jobs' that they tick off as they go - eat breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, pack school bag, make bed etc.  They earn themselves $5 a week for ticking all the boxes, so they can save up for games and toys they want (current fave is World of Warcraft Megabloks.  Don't know why, they don't even play WOW).  Also, I bought a noticeboard and some ridiculously cute moustache pins.  They think it's hilarious :-)

Aren't they cute?!?

As for budgeting, I have discovered (thanks to Rachael Herron, author of some pretty neat books, a knitter, and a blogger.  She is made of awesome.) budgeting software YNAB - You Need A Budget.  I'm currently trying out the 34 day trial, along with the lite version of the phone app, but I'm already sold on it and will most definitely be purchasing the software.  It makes my little spreadsheet budget (which is actually pretty freakin' awesome if I do say so myself - it's all linked so when you enter a transaction it updates on the summary page, the budget page etc etc) look like a kid designed it.  This budget software is the bomb!  I'm all swoony over it, and can't wait to enter transactions each day.  Yes, I am a nerd.  I think we've covered this already.  But seriously, OMG you guys, TRY IT!  IT IS FUN!  I believe I have fallen head over heels for budgeting.  I have developed a bad habit over the last several years of just spending money willy-nilly.  Now it's time to stop that and be more fiscally responsible.  Hold the phone people... could it be... I have turned into a 1950s housewife!  Well, Deane should be happy then.  Oh wait, I think he is ;-)

My meal plan for this week needed a little tweaking when we discovered on Sunday night that the oven wasn't working.  I'd done such a thorough job of cleaning it on Saturday that I must've jiggled something loose.  Now only the grill element works, and the oven won't heat up past 150.  We're in discussions with the landlord about repairs/replacement, and in the meantime all meals are being cooked on the stove top or in the crock pot.  New-found appreciation for the crock pot happening in the kreachr household right now.  Best invention ever!  This does mean that there's no baking, so I didn't get to make any hot cross buns (I cheated and bought a bunch from the supermarket), and I think I'll have to either find a good stove-top or microwave cookie or cake recipe, or buy the kids some biscuits or something for school lunches.  Which is a shame, as I was trying really hard to keep them well-stocked with mum-baked goodies rather than mass-produced junk.  Mind you, they can be rather fussy and (not surprisingly) sometimes prefer store-bought to homemade.  T has got to the point where he'll ask for not-homemade bread.  That's a real crusher.  Ouch.  Hang on, I think there might be a crock pot cake recipe somewhere... Yes.  Here's one!  I think I'll give that a try tonight after dinner.  Because, y'know, we have to eat the dinner then I have to wash the crock pot so I can use it again.  Ooh, I love experimenting with new recipes!  Hope it turns out good...

While I'm waiting for things to cook in crock pots, I'm still plodding away at the wedding afghan.  Only one more repeat to go!  Which is good, because I kinda need to finish it by tomorrow, so it has enough time to block before Saturday afternoon.  I cast on the first sock for Sock Madness on Sunday too, since the afghan is too cumbersome to lug to knitting group now.  I got this much done:


Yeah.  Not much.  Still, there's about a week or so left for the first round, and after this weekend I should be fine to get them finished before the cut-off.  I've completed one of my assignments (although I am yet to submit it), and will probably be able to start and finish the other one next week.  Neither are actually due for another couple of weeks at least, so there's no panic ;-)  I am still waiting for the results of my (totally bombed) exam, sat a few weeks ago.  Any day now... I am so bad at waiting!!  I have no patience for it at all.  I keep checking the website, even though I know they'll be sending me an email as soon as the results are updated.  Hopeless.  Well, I best get back to knitting this afghan, 'cause it ain't gonna knit itself!  Then I have a load of washing to fold.  Blurgh.

Enjoy the rest of your week everyone :-)

Friday, 8 March 2013

You win this round, universe!

I've been getting back up to speed with my running of late.  Or rather, back up to distance, since speed is sorely lacking at this stage.  Having said that, so is distance... ahem.  Anyway, I decided to go for a long run this morning, then have a rest day on Saturday so I'd be all ready to go for Sunday's Round the Bays.  I told Deane last night that I might be a little later than 7am, so he had to be prepared to get the kids breakfast.  I set the alarm for 5.15 and got my running gear organised, then went to bed around 11pm.  This morning I was out the door by 5.30am and on my way.  About 2.5km in, I tripped on some uneven paving on Quay Street.  In over three years of running, this is the first time I have ever tripped.  What's worse is that the gear I was wearing didn't have pockets so I had my phone in my hand.  Now the screen is badly scratched.  Poos!  Not to worry, I quickly checked to see it was still working (it was), got back up and headed on my way again, thankful that at 5.45am there aren't many people around to see you make a dick of yourself.

As I kept running I noticed that my left knee, which took most of the impact, was rather sore.  'Walk it off' I thought.  Or run, as the case may be.  I had plans to run 15km, and I'd be damned if I was going to turn around so early in the run and go home when I'd made the effort to get up at 5.15!  I kept on running, albeit at a slightly slower pace, all the way to my turnaround point where I stopped ever so briefly.  By that stage my knee was really sore!  I bent down to check it, and there was a rather huge bump sticking out.  Oh dear.  I started hobbling back the way I had come, got to about 8km, and decided to take a walking break because the pain was starting to radiate out from my knee all the way up my thigh (to meet the slight pain from my snowboarding injury that still hasn't quite healed), and on down my shin.  I walked for 1km then started up running again.  I hadn't quite got to the 10km mark when I had to admit defeat and resign myself to walking the rest of the way home.  I sent a few texts to Deane in the hope that they would wake him up, knowing full well that I wouldn't be home before 7.30am.  I didn't have any change for the bus, nor any cash for a taxi.  I briefly considered calling Deane and having him come pick me up, but that would involve dragging both kids out and dealing with early morning traffic.  Um, no.  So I set myself to limping home under my own steam, unable to bend my knee at all at this point.  I finally dragged my sorry butt in the front door at about 7.45am.  Did I get any sympathy?  No.  I got in trouble for scratching the crap out of my phone screen.  "I've been telling you for ages to put the protective cover on your phone, haven't I?".  Yes Deane.  Thank you Deane.  Oh I'm fine Deane, thanks for your concern.  Pfft.

I was very fortunate to be able to get a walk-in doctor's appointment at 10am.  He diagnosed my injury as prepatellar bursitis, and (hooray for small mercies) no other damage, prescribing rest, lots and lots of ice, and anti-inflammatories.  Unfortunately, he also said I can't run for at least a week.  Sigh.  Deane will be running on his own at the fun run on Sunday now.  Hmm, I wonder if I could walk it...?  I'll see how it feels on Sunday morning I guess.

I'm starting to wonder if somebody's trying to tell me something - 'slow down and let things heal before you run some more'?  Or, 'sit your ass down and finish that afghan, the wedding is next weekend'?  Maybe it's 'hey, you've got heaps of books out of the library, maybe you should sit down and read them all before they're due back'?  Or even 'finish those assignments, you'll feel much better once they're done.  And by then the results of your exam should be up, so in the meantime stop compulsively checking the bloody website!!!'?.  Who could really say?  It may just simply be me going through a clumsy, uncoordinated stage and I need to watch where I'm going rather than daydreaming while running.  Guess I'll never really know.  I will, however, take this time over the next several days to finish the wedding afghan (only three more repeats to go, hurrah!), and start (and hopefully also finish) the first pair of socks for Sock Madness 7.  Oh yeah, by the way, Sock Madness is on again!  Woohoo!!  And I do have rather a few books I want to read at the moment.  I'm currently reading Booked to Die by John Dunning.  It was referred to in some course readings for one of my papers and it sounded interesting.  After that is The Bookman's Wake, also by John Dunning.  Then there's Running Hot by Lisa Tamati (I just finished her other book Running to Extremes - that woman is crazy!  But very inspirational).  I have The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling sitting there as well.  I've heard mixed reviews, so want to read it myself just for curiosity's sake.  There's three more books on request at the library, and I'm part way through The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  Hmmm, reading ADHD...

Also suffering (although I'm not sure 'suffering' could be deemed the correct term here) from a little bit of food ADHD.  I said a sad goodbye to my sourdough starter.  As much as I loved it, and it was a good little starter, Deane and the boys preferred the other bread I was making before the sourdough.  They enjoyed the pancakes and waffles, but that isn't enough of a reason to keep a starter going so I made a big batch of crumpets with the last of it:



Yum!  I luuuuuurve home made sourdough crumpets!  These have been put in the freezer for breakfasts over the next month or so.  I also have about the same amount of sourdough waffles.  I'm good for a while :-)  Then I made a loaf of the crusty bread my family enjoys so much.  For some strange reason, it came out a little heart-shaped:


Cool, huh?  That same day I was starting to feel a little starch-heavy, so I had a fruit salad for lunch:


Watermelon, strawberries, blueberries and kiwiberries, with a big blob of home made natural yoghurt on top.  Omnomnom!!!

We're enjoying all sorts of meaty goodies too, working our way through the Green Meadows Beef stores we have.  Last night we had beef olives a la Edmonds Cook Book.  They were awesome.  The angus schnitzel was lovely!  Sadly though, beef olives are ugly beasts, so not overly photogenic.  I did snap a pic though, because the meal was rather good:


Oven-baked potatoes with ridiculous amounts of butter smooshed in the middle (it's all melted already, mmmmmmm), beef olives with gravy, honeyed carrots and parmesan baked courgettes.  Yum!  The night before we had lasagne and salad, the night before that was seekh kebabs with minted garlic yoghurt, cauli rice and home made naan bread (OMG sooooo good!  I don't think I'll ever buy it pre-made again, the kids loved it!!  I am the bread queen! Haha ^_^), and the night before that was whole baked snapper with wedges.  I made a coating for the wedges with a little flour, paprika and salt and pepper so they were nice and crispy.  Delicious.  Tonight, we're having crockpot coconut chicken curry.  I'm being lazy today and using store-bought roti bread instead of making it, but that's okay, I'm supposed to be resting and icing my knee ;-)

This weekend I have plans to give hot cross buns a go.  I love hot cross buns, but it's hard to find a brand that doesn't put the gross citrus peel in them.  Ugh.  Also, I'd like to be able to make some for the kids without sultanas.  They like hot cross buns, but not the sultanas.  Chocolate hot cross buns, while rather divine, are hard to come by, so perhaps I'll make some of those too.  I am happy to say that I am no longer scared of baking with yeast.  It used to intimidate me, and I would leave it up to Deane to bake anything yeast-based, as he had so much more experience with it and seemed to know how to make it 'work'.  But after having made so much of my own bread of all different kinds, a lot of pizza bases, and successfully creating and nurturing a sourdough starter with nothing but flour and water that created many delicious bread products, I think I can say I've got the knack :D  Home made hot cross buns, here we come!!

I hope you have a good weekend.  Mine will be spent mostly on the couch, I imagine.  I got a little pissy with the wedding afghan the other day, when it did this to me:


Know what that is?  The end of the yarn skein, six stitches from the end of a 220 stitch row.  Six stitches!!!  That's just bad manners really, isn't it?  Still, three more repeats and it's done!  I'm looking forward to finishing it, because it's so big now that it gets very hot working on it, with the bulk of it sitting on my lap.  It's still summer weather!  Why did I think this would be a good idea?!?  Then, the dreaded blocking.  I don't think I have enough blocking wires :/  It'll be nice to get it done, and I can spend plenty of that time with my feet up, icing my knee.  Hopefully that will help it become a little more mobile so I can walk 8.4km on Sunday.  Maybe.  There is a strong possibility I will be sulking just a little bit on Monday...