Friday, 28 June 2013

I am done for

I made some more steel cut oats for breakfast this morning, using this method.  When it was reheated, I scooped some into a bowl for myself, stirred in some brown sugar, sliced half a banana on top and sprinkled over some roughly chopped toasted pecans.  It was yuuuuuuum.  And there's enough left over for breakfast tomorrow, which is good because I can go for an early run and eat when I get home without having to wait for something to cook.  Yes I could eat cereal, but it's winter and cooked breakfasts are way better.  Especially when it's the weekend!  I've been on a bit of an oatmeal bender lately, trying all sorts of stuff.  You may have noticed.  It kinda makes me giggle really.  Porridge used to be a pretty boring affair - rolled oats cooked in water, with some white sugar sprinkled on top and served with milk is how I'd always had it as a kid.  Cooking rolled oats with milk and serving it with brown sugar and cream was my idea of really fancy.  So naïve...  So far I've tried persimmon cranberry baked oatmeal (a definite favourite), cranberry apple cinnamon baked oatmeal (I had to use up the cranberries), PBJ protein oats (not as gross as it sounds.  Colour me surprised), and steel cut oats with apple, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Having had success with all of these recipes, I decided to branch out a little more and see what else I could try.  Then I stumbled across 'The Oatmeal Artist'.  Well, knock me down!  I want to try ALL THE OATMEALS.  First on the list I think will be the pecan pie baked oatmeal, then maybe her version of PB&J baked oatmeal.  I'm rather intrigued by the green monster oatmeal as well.  There's also salted brownie baked oatmeal, pumpkin pie oatmeal, french toast oatmeal... starting to hyperventilate...  Oh my goodness!  So many oatmeal recipes!  And the best thing?  They're all one serving.  So I can make all my own crazy oatmeal flavours just for me, and not have to try and fob them off to other family members.  Deane's a trooper and will eat whatever I throw at him.  X will eat most things, but tends to stick to pretty plain porridge - ie: no fruit, no nuts, no 'weird stuff' (hmm, I wonder if he'll try strawberries and cream oatmeal?).  T... definitely not a porridge-eater (he's missing out on so much!).  I'm guessing having oatmeal for breakfast, lunch and dinner isn't really a balanced diet though...  Can't wait for Sunday now ;)

We've been having some more yummy dinners lately.  The other day I finally got around to making pumpkin risotto - something I've been wanting to make for aaaaaaages.  It was just as good as I thought it would be, and X ate it too.  Yay!  I made Deane some leek and mushroom risotto last week, but just couldn't bring myself to eat it.  I'm working on trying to eat more mushrooms, and actually managed a beef stroganoff the other week, but aside from taste-testing the risotto for seasoning requirements and done-ness, I couldn't eat it.  So there's heaps in the freezer for Deane's lunches :)  Last night I tried something else new - satay.  This aversion to satay stems from my lifelong-until-just-recently dislike of peanut butter (that sentence totally doesn't make sense).  We had received our order of Green Meadows Beef that morning, so rather than use pork mince as originally planned I decided to use beef mince to make meatballs, which I baked in the oven.  Much healthier than pan frying.  And by the way, I baked them just on a tray with a layer of baking paper and no oil.  Not a single drip of fat escaped those meatballs.  Not one.  Now that's what you call lean beef mince!  I made some fresh pita bread and a satay sauce using this recipe but just adding all the sauce ingredients to a pot and whisking it while bringing it to a boil.  I was once again pleasantly surprised.  It was rather delicious, and I'm looking forward to eating the leftovers for lunch today.  Deane didn't take them with him to work, and I wasn't going to chase him down to remind him ;)  Sadly, there's no pita bread left.  T devoured three of the eight pitas for dinner.  I swear, if you put that child on an island with just bread and water and no other human contact, he'd be just fine.  X had two, and Deane had two.  I was quite full after one, stuffed full of meatballs and salad with satay sauce.  Tonight's dinner will be pearl barley pilaf with tomatoes.  I made this some time ago, and I remember it being quite nice.  Must be about time to try it again.

As for baking, I've been a little slack.  I bought commercial bread for the first time in months, and some bread rolls for the kids lunches.  And I also bought some commercial biscuits.  Shock horror!  I had baked some corn flake cookies, but they didn't like them (fussy little horrors, they're actually quite nice).

In other news, we are preparing ourselves for an onslaught.  Batten down the hatches!  Drop the sails!  Hoist the anchor!  Pre-teen hormones are rife in the house of kreachr.  X has had quite the attitude for some time now so that hasn't come as much of a shock for any of us, but just the other day I found myself at the supermarket, purchasing some Clearasil face wash.  He's been getting the occasional spot showing up in recent months so I decided it was time to get him into the habit of proper skin care.  Bless him, the odds are not in his favour.  Both Deane and I had problem skin as teenagers (still do on occasion, in both cases).  He's only ten now, so I don't like his chances of navigating through the next several years blemish-free.  Oh dear.  Rocky times ahead, and we've only just begun.  We'll be in for quite the hormonal poop-storm, I can feel it in my waters...

I'm still waiting on final results for my last two papers.  The assignments have been marked, but the final grades for each paper are yet to be calculated.  I'm estimating an A and a B, but I have no real idea what they will be because I don't quite know how they calculate them.  Ugh, I hate waiting :(  I've started obsessively checking the website every couple of hours, hoping they've updated the information.  A bit ridiculous really, since they send you an email anyway.  Have I mentioned I hate waiting?

I'm also waiting for the Tour de Fleece to begin.  I never know whether I should go by date, or by actual start time.  Since France is ten hours behind, the official race start times would be late in the afternoon.  So I guess I'll just go by date and start spinning tomorrow morning once I've been for a run, had a shower and eaten breakfast.  I'm actually looking forward to it - I haven't had My Lovely out since last year I think.  Perhaps the last TdF... gosh, it's been a while!  I've brought her downstairs and given her a good dust off, and the 500g bag of cormo is sitting there, waiting patiently.  I doubt I'll get the whole bag spun, but I'll give it a go anyway.  I'll be aiming for singles at around 28-30 wpi, since fingering weight yarn is 14 wpi or thereabouts.  I'm quite out of practice so it'll be interesting to see how I get on, especially since I've never spun cormo before.

I was hoping to finish my hand spun Citron shawl before the Tour started, but those plans got scuppered when Deane came home from work yesterday complaining (in a roundabout way) about the bottom ribbing of his hand knit sweater.  It was puffing out and had a tendency to roll up.  He said he felt like he was wearing the sweater version of those rolled-toe shoes that jesters wear.  I'll admit I was a little hesitant about the ribbing when I first read the pattern - it says to cast on x number of stitches with 3.5mm needles, work k1, p2 rib for 1.5", then change to 4mm needles and decrease x number of stitches.  That's rather unusual, considering the rib is supposed to fit a little more snug than the rest of the garment.  Sure, it's knit on smaller needles, but not enough to balance out the 78 stitch decrease (Deane's sweater was an XXL, requiring 318 stitches cast on, with 240 working stitches after the decreases).

So like the good wife that I am, I sat and patiently picked up 240 stitches around the bottom of sweater body just above the ribbing, snipped a stitch, then proceeded to painstakingly unpick a row of knitting in order to remove the entire ribbed section along the bottom.  I then re-knit it in the opposite direction (the sweater was originally knit from the bottom up) without increasing back to 318 stitches - the ribbing now has 240 stitches like the rest of the body, knit with 3.5mm needles.  It actually looks like its supposed to, cinching in a little at the bottom of the garment instead of flaring out.  I bound off somewhere around 11pm, but the bind off was unfortunately a little too tight (despite the instructions saying it was super stretchy.  Pfft).  I put it down for the evening, finished watching the episode of Boardwalk Empire we were on, then went to bed.  This morning, after sorting the kids breakfasts and lunches, I sat down and unpicked the bind off, then re-bound off with a slightly different, much more stretchy bind off.  By that time Deane had left for work sans sweater (but with his Doctor Who scarf, yay), so I'll have to wait until he gets home to see if its okay.  Next time around, I'll trust my knitterly instincts a little more.

Next on the needles will not be the other half of my pair of argyle knee-high socks as originally planned, but a new pair of socks for Deane.  He has five pairs*, but they're getting a little thread-bare in places and a couple of socks have small holes.  They're not really darning-worthy since they're getting so thin, so I'll just have to knit him some more.  Because of my yarn diet, I'm limited to stash yarns.  The other night I pulled out all the skeins that were man-friendly (ie: not pink or purple) and laid them out.  Which skein did he pick?  The most expensive one - my skein of SweetGeorgia Yarns Cashluxe Fine in Cayenne - 70% superwash merino, 20% CASHMERE, and 10% nylon.  Typical.  The things I do for that man...  Apparently he picked that colour because it would look the coolest peeking out from under suit pants.  Whatever.  He just has expensive taste in yarns.  It will be knit into these socks.  I really hope I have enough yardage - yarn chicken is not a fun game.

Ooh, its lunch time.  Satay beef and salad, here I come!  Enjoy your eats people, and have a good weekend :)

* He would have six pairs, but the TARDIS socks were so well-loved that the 100% merino bits at the top - the parts that had the POLICE BOX writing - fell to pieces.  The rest of the socks (knit in Patons Patonyle) were fine and could've just kept going.  One of the many reasons I will always knit socks with sock yarn that has a nylon content in it from now on.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Hey hey, it's Tuesday

Yeah, couldn't really think of a witty blog title...

So, going over the week that was: X came back from camp very happy, dry, and all in one piece; Auckland fared much better than much of the country during the storms, and there was certainly nothing to complain about; I knit a toddler-sized hat in an afternoon (they're so quick!), I finished my giant cowl, got some buttons for my cardigan (finally), and ran a whole bunch.  Let's expand on these events, and throw in some food for good measure ;)

X had a great time at camp, despite the rain and cold.  They fit in outdoor activities such as sailing and confidence course missions between bouts of bad weather.  The rest of the time they enjoyed indoor activities - playing games, practicing and performing in the 'talent quest', and so on.  Apparently the food was excellent, with scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast as well as the generic cereal and porridge, and good stuff like lasagne for dinner.  Kinda jealous really, as our week was choc-full of freezer leftovers.  I figured that with X away and T unlikely to eat most of what I cooked anyway, there wasn't really much point in putting effort into meals, plus we had quite a bit of random stuff piling up in the freezer that needed to be eaten.  Now we have plenty more room for another 20kg order of Green Meadows Beef, mwahahahahaha!!

The storm that rolled through last week was a whopper, with damage to roads, houses and trees in a lot of places like Wellington, and snow covering much of the south.  Power outages all over the show!  It's better described in Welly knitters' blogs such as KiwiYarns Knits and Sezza Knits.  Up here wasn't so bad.  We got thunder and lightning (which I LOVED), strong winds and plenty of rain and hail, but that was about it.  This has meant several wet runs.  Normally, I love the rain.  I'm not bothered by having to head out in it on occasion.  But when it starts to become a regular occurrence, it does start to get a little annoying.  Particularly because I have to be extra careful that my phone isn't water damaged.  It has forgiven me for the last rain-soaked incident and is back on speaking terms with me, which is great because I can now use my circuit training timer and the Simply Yoga and Nike Training apps again, yay!  I'd like to keep it that way, but not all of my running gear has conveniently located pockets.  Note to self: when buying running gear in future, check for pockets before purchase!

Last weekend's long run (not the weekend just gone, the weekend before that) on Sunday (16th June) I took some dextrose tablets with me because it was 15km which takes over an hour, and I was going before breakfast.  I had them in my pocket but the paper wrapping around them was no match for the rain.  They turned out kinda mushy and rather hard to get out in one piece.  I managed to chomp a few down during the run, but chucked the rest when I got home because they were a write-off.  So I'll have to get some more GU Chomps for next time I think (I love those things, they're awesome).  This weekend's long Sunday run was 16km and I didn't take anything with me, because again it was raining.  Although it did clear up about quarter of the way in and stayed relatively fine the rest of the way.  No biggie though, I made a batch of cinnamon apple steel cut oats when I got home.  The perfect tummy-filler!  I cut an apple into chunks and threw it into a pot with 1/2 cup steel cut oats (got some Quaker Steel Cut Oats from Martha's Backyard the day before), 2 cups milk, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 tablespoon muscovado sugar (could've done with more sugar actually, I'll remember that for next time) - this makes enough for two people.  Simmer for 30 minutes and serve - I had mine with some maple syrup.

The weekend runs are getting interesting - they're longer, and hillier, and I'm trying out all sorts of new routes.  A couple of times I've gone around the zoo and Motat by running up Meola Road, along Moa Road and back down Great North Road.  Last Saturday I ran to Mount Eden, went up and down a couple of times, then ran home again.  I was supposed to be doing hill repeats, but with the amount of hills between my place and Mount Eden, I figured I had it pretty well covered ;)  And the view was great - the sun decided to come out and play:

I'd never been to Mount Eden before, so it was fun.  I got a little lost on the way though, going down New North Road instead of Mount Eden Road (I am directionally challenged), but a quick check of the GPS map system on my phone had me heading back in the right direction (with even more hills).  It was a good run, but my calf muscles are still a little mad at me.  Well they can suck it, because there will be hills aplenty in the coming months!  This coming weekend is fartlek running on Saturday (I cheated on the last one, just running a longer distance with minimal pace variation - still ran my fastest 10km though ;P), and 18km on Sunday.  So close to 20km, OMG!  I'm nearly back to where I was in January!!  Ugh, injury recovery bites...

In between all that running and the workouts (some of which have been pretty tough - I'm doing a seven day killer workout challenge) I've managed to fit in some knitting.  The cowl didn't quite dry in time for Friday, but I still wore it across the road to school to pick X up after camp even though it was damp.  It was still very warm :)  Because I used a DK weight yarn instead of the recommended fingering weight, my cowl was a little (read: a lot) longer than the pattern specs.  It goes around my neck three times comfortably, and is so squishy soft and cozy!

(Ack, I hate selfies!)

I'm very happy with the finished product, and can't wait to wear it more often!  Also finally finished (though not worn yet) is my Chandail cardigan.  I put buttons down the length of the cardi, instead of just two at the top.  Otherwise I followed the pattern to the letter (except for the bits I screwed up - ie: alignment of the bottom ribbing, and slipping the edge stitches so they were easier to pick up later.  Minor inconveniences that had no real effect on the overall completed product), and I luuuuuuurve it!

Oh, the horror!  Bathroom mirror selfies!! Although I managed to block most of my face ;)  And yes, my bathroom mirror needs to be cleaned... But seriously, look at the pretty cardigan!

I can't wait to actually go somewhere out of the house (that isn't running) so I can wear it :)  I love the colour, the fit, the yarn (Cascade 220) is perfect... it's just great!  Maybe I can wear it to the post shop so I can post this hat:

Expertly modelled by T (in other words, I shoved it on his head and snapped a pic while he played Terraria, or Prison Architect, or whatever it is the kids are playing these days...)

We had a friend stay a while ago with her little boy.  His hat got left in our car when they went home, and she had asked me to post it to her.  I said I would, then forgot (memory = colander).  So to make up for me taking weeks, I decided to throw in an extra hat for him.  It literally took a few hours in between cooking dinner and other bits and pieces, and I knit it up with leftover yarns (from a couple of cardigans and a hat).  It's the strib hat pattern, knit in the small toddler size.  Yay for quick projects!

I am currently working on a Citron shawl with some hand spun that's been sitting in my stash for quite a while now, the fibre for which was originally purchased from maude and me.  I'm not sure I like the yarn/pattern combo, it's a little too... busy... I don't know.  I might just knit it and give it to somebody.  Or I might frog it and shove the yarn back to the bottom of the stash again.  Who knows?  Either way, I've come to the conclusion that any further fibre purchases will be of the solid/semi-solid variety, or if variegated, will be chain-plied to keep the colours from muddying up.

Speaking of fibre, spinning and plying, the annual Tour de Fleece event begins on the 29th June!  I have signed up again (crazy I know), although I'm only in two teams this year.  My only goal for this TdF is to spin the bag of cormo fibre I bought last year (or was it the year before...?) into a fingering weight, so I can knit it into a cardigan.  It's white at the moment, but I plan to dye it a charcoal grey before knitting it.  Grey goes with everything.  So does white, but it's harder to keep clean ;)  So there's going to be a little less knitting and a little more spinning in the next few weeks with any luck.  My study doesn't start up again until 15th July so I should be able to make a fairly sizeable dent in the bag of fibre before then.  The event only runs until the 21st July anyway so I should be alright.

I have signed up for two more papers - Accessing Information and Statistical Analysis, although I will continue to practice algebra, graphs and statistics on Khan Academy in the mean time.  The algebra I'm learning just doesn't want to stay learned!!  I think my brain has allocated a very small area for mathematics retention.  Still waiting for the final results of the last two papers... ugh, I hate waiting :/

Now, what's left?  Ah yes, food!  I ordered a bunch of pork, chicken and lamb from Moreish recently, but with X away we haven't really delved into it very much.  So far though, we've made a lovely lamb tikka masala with saffron rice and naan (totally cheated by getting the naan from the Indian takeaway restaurant across the road - I just ran out of time that day), a very scrumptious roast pork scotch fillet with caramelised onions that we had with creamed silverbeet, and last night we had sour cream chicken with broccoli pasta.  Yum!!!  Tonight we're having minted lamb loin chops with parsnips au gratin.  Can't wait!  Parsnips au gratin is to die for.

Right now, the rain has stopped and I have to go run 10km before the kids get home from school, so I better hop to it.  Stay warm, enjoy your week, and if you eat something amazing let me know about it!  I'm alllllll about the food!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

At least its not drugs

Yes, that's right, I have a new addiction to add to the ever-growing list.  But seriously, all my addictions are completely harmless so there's really nothing to worry about.  What is my latest addiction, you ask?  Well I must admit, it's an odd one.  And certainly not one I ever thought I'd have.  Wait for it... Khan Academy.  Many of you will ask, 'what is this Khan Academy you speak of?'.  It is an awesome website where you can learn anything from maths, economics and science to art history, world history and computer programming.  I'm churning my way through the maths at the moment, which started because I had to brush up on my math skills in preparation for the Statistical Analysis paper I wanted to study next trimester.  A maths level of Year 12 or over is required to complete the paper, and since I barely scraped a pass in what would now be Year 11 way back in 1995, I'm a little behind where I need to be.  I was sent a maths revision workbook by The Open Polytechnic in order to catch up, but found it a little challenging.  There wasn't quite enough in the way of practice math problems for me to fully grasp what I was learning.  I could mostly work them out, but didn't really understand it enough that I was happy to move on.  Cue Khan Academy.  I started with the basics, and have been working my way through to more and more difficult maths.  For instance, I never quite mastered equations with negative numbers or long division before leaving high school.  I am happy to say that I can now quite easily do both.  Yay me!  At the moment, I am trying to come to grips with algebra, another of those things I never fully understood.  Yesterday, I was solving problems along the lines of:  "9e + 5f -3g + 6 = -3f + 10g - 9   Solve for e".  And this is one of the easier ones!  Two weeks ago I'd have looked at it and gone O.o  Now, it takes me less than a minute to solve it.  I'm very proud of that.  I'm still on fairly basic algebra, and I have a (very) long way to go, but I'm having a great time learning all I can.  Which can only make studying Statistical Analysis easier, right?

Also, slightly addicted to peanut butter and alfalfa sprouts on salada crackers.  But that's another story...

I finished my Chandail cardigan but haven't been able to wear it because I haven't bought any buttons for it. It is still sitting forlornly on my lounge floor where I blocked it last weekend, waiting patiently.

Meanwhile, I cast on a Bo cowl (yay for kiwi designers!  This one is by KiwiPurler) in the Touch Yarns merino possum hand painted yarn I attempted to knit into a stole last year and ripped out because I wasn't happy with the pooling.  This cowl is working out beautifully, despite the fact that I had to frog the first attempt because it was twisted.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to ensure that 399 stitches joined in the round is not twisted?  Let's just say that I was very unhappy to find after nearly two hours of knitting (which was only six rows - 399 stitches takes a while to knit, especially in linen stitch!) that I was knitting a moebius cowl.  Not what I had intended.  Now though, I am nearly finished - there is only 12 rows of linen stitch and a bind off to go, and it will be done!

(Although I may have to block it, which will take a little longer.  Bummer.)  Just in time for that winter blast due to hit the country at any moment.  The meteorologists predicted that to be Friday, but I'm pretty sure its already here.  I went for a run this morning and it was only 10 degrees (which is pretty cold for Auckland), and while I was running I got pelted with hail.  I must have looked like a loony to all the people driving past - picture a short skinny woman in a black beanie and tights running in the hail and rain with a huge grin on her face.  Fun times!  I love winter :)  Unfortunately though, this weather may be hampering X's camp adventures.  Although according to Deane, the rain will be making them all the more fun.  All I can think of is a cold child arriving home on Friday afternoon with lots of wet washing!  He looked happy to be going though:

Its been a quiet week in the house of kreachr.  I'm not complaining :)  Right now I have two BodyRock workouts to hit, plus 180 plié squats and an hour of yoga.  Then on to the knitting and the algebra.  Sounds like my kind of day :)

Stay warm, people!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Updating you on ALL THE THINGS!!

Food news - Hey, Jill!  Guess what?  I made pumpkin pie!!  Well actually, it's a little more kiwi-fied than that - pumpkin and kumara pie (because I didn't have enough pumpkin), with a Gingernut biscuit base.  We were supposed to be having friends over for dinner tonight, but it turns out they're coming over tomorrow night instead.  So rather than leaving the pie in the fridge not knowing if it was any good or not, I decided to sample the pie I spent hours making just to be sure I wasn't going to feed them something awful:

Turns out I needn't have worried - it was awesome :)  Deane said it was 'alright' (his response to everything), but said he usually makes his pumpkin pies a little sweeter.  Going back through my memory, I'm pretty sure he's only ever made one pumpkin pie...  But I digress.  My pie was good, although next time I think I'll stick to just the pumpkin (and maybe add a little extra sugar for Deane).  The biscuit base was really nice.  I had my slice with a little thickened cream.  There might be enough left for dessert tomorrow night.  If not, I have a backup plan.  It pays to be prepared ;)

I also made some hummus for the pre-dinner snacks, and had to try that as well.  Let me tell you, the extra five or ten minutes spent standing at the bench peeling all the skins off the chickpeas was totally worth it.  This hummus is delish!  Other culinary delights have been a little thin on the ground in the last week, as we're scraping the bottom of the barrel with regard to freezer stash.  I've put in my order with Moreish for lamb, chicken and pork, which should arrive on Thursday.  My Green Meadows Beef order will be going in soon too.  We've got some sausages and mince left, so it's time to get creative.  The kids' latest dinner favourite is cheat's sausage rolls:

Take a sheet or two of flaky pastry depending on how many sausages you have, (I used low fat, to make me Deane feel better) and cut into quarters.  Add whatever toppings you want to each quarter (Deane had sauce and mustard with onions, I had sauce and onions, T had sauce, and X had boring old nothing).  Place a sausage on top and fold the edges over.  (I marked mine with initials so I knew which was which).  Bake at 180ºC for about 30 minutes and you're done!  Not the prettiest looking things, but they get devoured!  It makes a nice change from 'ew, I don't like that, I'm not eating it' :)

Breakfasts have been a little more fun - I made another batch of our favourite granola (although if I'm honest, most of the granola-eating hasn't been at breakfast time... shh), and this morning Deane and I had chia pudding (half and half coconut milk and lite milk, so my tummy didn't get angry with me).

Kid news - the boys had their cross-country recently.  Both did quite well, although they didn't place anywhere.  We're not a strong running family, but that's perfectly fine with me.  T did really well and ran the whole way, hills and all!  And he didn't even want to run it!  He told me later he ran the whole way because he wanted to get it over with quickly.  Bless.  Only a kid can run an entire cross-country in a polar-fleece hoodie and jeans:

X has camp next week - four days on Kawau Island in the Hauraki Gulf.  Kinda wish I was going with him... then again, it'll be riddled with children.  Maybe not ;)  His asthma has been playing up a little bit lately.  Whenever he coughs or can't finish a full sentence, I find myself taking deeper breaths, as if I could help him breathe better.  Hopefully his cold will clear up before they go - fingers crossed.  Now if only he'd wear a jersey to school!  Stubborn child, grr.

T has camp next term.  I think he's pretty excited about it, as it will be his first school camp.  My main concern will be his fussy eating.  Good luck to the camp organisers!  And I hope he doesn't spend the whole camp ravenously hungry because he doesn't like what's on his plate.  It wouldn't surprise me...

Study news - I have finished my study for this trimester, yay!  I completed the online assignment this morning.  Turns out I really, really suck at multiple choice quizzes.  Can't seem to do very well at them.  I get bamboozled by all the options.  Luckily, the last assignment is a two-part (first part multi-choice, second part 300 word essay), and only worth 15% of the total mark for the paper.  I got two A+ assignments, which were worth 45% and 30%, so I'm hoping that'll get me across the A+ paper line.  I don't quite know how they calculate the total mark, although it's probably a fairly simple mathematical equation (says the woman who is having to work through a maths revision workbook in order to be able to complete a Statistical Analysis paper next trimester).  Wish me luck!  Next trimester starts on the 15th July.  Gosh, what am I going to do with all that spare time?!? ;)

Knitting news - I have finished the body and both sleeves of my Chandail cardigan, woohoo!  Now I'm up to the part where I join it all together and knit the yoke:

It looks a little weird at the moment, but I should have all the pieces connected and a good chunk of the yoke knit by the end of tonight, then there will only be the button band left to do.  Yay!  I'm loving the Cascade yarn, and think it may become my go-to for sweaters and cardigans.  I'll have to see how well it wears first, but so far, so good :)

Running news - my phone.  It's alive!  Although it's giving me the silent treatment at the moment.  Hopefully that's not a permanent thing.  The sound came right eventually after its dunk into my tea, so I'm really hoping that after a little time the sound will come back again.  I don't currently have the funds for a sport watch, so my phone is still having to be my GPS tracker/timer on runs.  This is doubly important now, as I have started the more intense training that involves hill repeats and fartleks.  It's hard, but as much as I'm questioning my sanity while doing it (and reminding myself constantly why I'm doing it!), I'm really enjoying the harder runs.  I guess there's more of a sense of satisfaction at the end of it.  And I've gotten to the longer weekend runs!  Last Saturday we all went to Cornwall Park, and Deane and the boys had a picnic lunch and rode scooters on the scooter track while I did a 10km with two sets of five hill reps, then Sunday was a slow, easy 13km along Tamaki Drive, after which I came home to a cooked breakfast (bacon, garlic and gruyere hash browns and eggs - yum!).  This weekend will be 45 minutes of fartlek running in the middle of a 10km-ish run, and on Sunday, a 14.5km.  Can't wait!  The weekdays include two 9.5km runs, and cross training.  It's been great, I'm loving it!  Yoga is going well too, and I'm managing to fit some in most days.

Happy, happy, happy.  I hope you're all happy too, and life isn't throwing you too many curve balls :)  Have a great week!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

You win some, you lose some

I finished Deane's giant man-sweater on Monday.  Technically not the weekend, but since it was a public holiday I'm going to pretend I finished it on the weekend like I planned.  Unfortunately, black isn't particularly photogenic.  Particularly when the weather is all gloomy and dark.  But here's a photo anyway:

It fits perfectly, and Deane happily wore it to work yesterday.  Luckily it was a little chilly :)  He also wore his Doctor Who scarf, and I daresay some hand knit socks.  Knitting win!  With the sweater finally off the needles (finally she says, having just knit an extra large man's sweater in less than three weeks... why yes, I brag.  What say you?), I cast on my Chandail cardigan last night, with the Cascade 220 in Turtle I had in my stash, purchased in Canada in January.  Loving it so far - the yarn is nice and soft, and a lovely colour; the pattern is straight-forward and easy to follow.  More knitting win!  I'm hoping to be able to get it finished relatively quickly.  I already want to wear it ;-)

Unfortunately, I ran out of time before the end of last week to get my assignment finished.  I'm only half done now, and didn't get to it at all today.  Study fail.  (I blame Deane for hogging the laptop all morning.  The kids had student-led conferences this afternoon then had friends over so I had no hope!)  On the plus side, it's not actually due until next Friday.  Fingers crossed I'll get it done well before then and will have time to finish off the other paper before the online real-time assessment for it becomes available.  Still haven't got to that calculus workbook either...

Running is going well, with a two-lap jaunt around Cornwall Park on Sunday that included a non-stop run up and over One Tree Hill.  I was very pleased with my effort, but didn't quite have enough steam for a second attempt.  Having said that, the end of the circuit has a pretty meaty hill anyway.  Unfortunately, after having fluffed around at home waiting for Deane and the kids to decide whether or not they wanted to come with me, I ended up leaving my phone behind so didn't get to track the run.  I'm a little bummed about that, but it's not the end of the world.  I just have to remember to add about 15km extra onto my year's tally (for my 2013km in 2013 challenge), since I have now not tracked two Cornwall Park runs.  I had a great 10km run yesterday as well, and remembered my phone for that.  Sadly, it started to rain while I was out.  Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem, but it turns out my Nike running jacket is not waterproof, and my phone got wet while it was in my pocket.  There was very evident water damage under the screen.  So the phone is currently sitting in a bag of rice on the kitchen bench, (hopefully) drying out.  I really hope it still works!!  Poor phone, it's had a hard life :(  I think I may need to re-prioritise getting a Nike Sportwatch, to save my phone from any further run-induced damage.  In the meantime, I may need to dig out my old Sportband for tomorrow's run.  It doesn't have GPS tracking, but at least it can log time, distance and pace.  Having said that, it's not very accurate (I haven't calibrated it for some time and my average speed has increased significantly since) so perhaps it would be a waste of time.

Other training has continued merrily, and I completed my 30 day ab challenge yesterday with 125 sit ups, 200 crunches, 65 leg raises and a two minute plank.  My coccyx is thanking me!  It was starting to develop a callus from all the sit ups.  I kid you not.  It's a little crooked and sticks out a bit more on the left, so when I'm doing sit ups (particularly in the hundreds) it can start to cause some issues.  Note to self: invest in a padded exercise mat.  I only have a few days left of my plank challenge too - today's plank was four minutes ten seconds.  That time will increase to five and a half minutes in a few days.  I've gotta say, it's getting pretty difficult...

Yoga is going well too.  I've managed to do between 20 and 60 minutes every day (except one), and have noticed my flexibility improving ever so slightly.  My nose can almost touch my knees again!  I'm going to stick with it and try out all sorts of asanas.  It is very relaxing (unless Deane and the kids are playing a shoot-'em-up X Box game in the next room - ask me how I know).

Food-wise, the Amish cinnamon bread was good, especially warm with cream ;-)  Probably not how it's supposed to be eaten, but who cares?  The cinnamon sugar pull apart bread was also delicious, and as suspected I had trouble stopping myself from eating it.  Pretty sure I ate half the loaf on my own.  (I halved the batch and only made one loaf.  Likely a very wise decision...).  I was a little dubious about how the persimmon and cranberry baked oatmeal would turn out, and made a half batch first time around.  And another half batch the second time around.  Yes, it was that good.  My first batch, I dished myself up a quarter of the half-sized batch.  I devoured it in record time with a drizzle of maple syrup, then went back for another quarter.  Deane came downstairs and ate as much as he could of what was left, and I polished off the remainder.  A couple of days later we invited some friends over for breakfast to help us eat the second batch (read: prevent me from eating too much of the second batch) - we had it with cream this time around, and it was equally as delicious as with maple syrup.  Other culinary delights from the weekend included rice pudding with rhubarb, coffee pecan cupcakes with mascarpone topping (can't find a link, sorry), and a spicy pear loaf (sans icing, but again, awesome with cream).  Oh, and some double chocolate chip cookies ;-)

So yeah, there was a whole lotta bakin' goin' on!  Mayhap a little too much...?  Apparently that won't stop me though - the kids are out of lunch goodies, so more baking will be happening within the next 12 hours, and we need another loaf of bread.  Best get to it!

Enjoy the rest of your week :D