November Recap and December 2014 Mini-Goals

Whew, am I glad to have November behind me. I know that just flipping the calendar page isn’t magically going to make all my work go away but in December I have things like free weekends and Christmas vacation to look forward to. November was busy, it always is, and every year I get through it just fine.

Donnelly helped with report cards

Donnelly “helping” with report cards

My goals for November were pretty simple:

1. Sleep more – I actually did a lot more sleeping, I found I was exhausted by 8 pm, but it didn’t actually make me feel too much better. Still, it didn’t make things worse either.

2. Clean Up My Eating – definitely much better this month. I made clean snacks, drank more water and just generally ate less.

3. Follow My Exercise Plan – sort of. It was an improvement over September so I’m going to take that as a win. January is going to require a whole new level of discipline.

One of my few runs - trying out some new lighting

One of my few runs – trying out some new lighting

In December I plan to just slow things down. In fact, my only goal for December is to take life a little easier.

I want to spent time with my husband, pets and friends. I want to try out my new skis. I want to drink coffee and read books in the morning. I want to take Patches on a long winter walk. I want to get over this cold and feel better. I want to go ice skating and eat shortbread cookies.

These are so fuzzy - my feet will be toasty warm this ski season!

These are so fuzzy – my feet will be toasty warm this ski season!

In short, December is going to be an awesome month spent putting a little more emphasis on those small things that really matter.

Taking a Night Off

The past few weeks of November have been so busy – I’m feeling burnt out. I was dragging my butt at work so I decided that tonight was going to be an off evening (or a “Friday on a Thursday”).

I walked the dog, made a giant pot of chicken soup and hunkered down on the couch. I’m fighting a cold (blah) and I hope that an evening off gives me the energy to get through another busy weekend.

A Sewing Project to Make Things a Little Cozier – Wellie Liners

It really is winter here now -it’s been snowing and cold for the past week. It has been a rough transition because one day it was warm enough to rake leave in a t-shirt and then the next day I was wearing snow pants to walk the dog. Shoulder-season isn’t my favorite but I’ve been working on a few things to make the transition a little easier. It’s been a busy month so I haven’t had as much time to work on my projects as I would have liked but I did finish the first one last weekend and I’m excited to share it!

Fleecy Wellie Liners

In the spring I bought myself some Hunter Wellington boots (in a lovely grey color) and I have thoroughly enjoying them every time it rains. My biggest regret about Chicago is not bringing my wellies to keep my feet dry with all the rain we had.

I have been wanting to buy some liners for my boots so that I can wear them in winter (well, at least parts of winter here) but they have always been out of stock when I’ve been in the mood to buy them. They also cost about $50 so they aren’t exactly cheap. The other day I was admiring my leg warmers and had the idea that I could just make some liners for my boots. Originally I thought I would knit boot socks but that seemed to be a little more effort than I wanted. Clever Charlotte has a great pattern and post for fleece liners with knitted cuffs that seemed super easy to make so I set myself to making my own.

The Cuffs
I started with the knitted cuff since I could do that in bed while I listed to a podcast. I wanted to use the round loom so I didn’t end up using the knitting pattern from the liner instructions. Instead, I used the pattern for this Bumpy Headband from This Mama Knits on my 31 peg (purple) loom. I cast on using a chain cast on, then followed the pattern as best I could (it required a little fudging on the last stitch of each round because I was using an odd numbered loom). I did two sets of the pattern (rows 2 – 9) and then cast off with the super stretchy cast off method. With the chunky wool I used this gave me cuffs about 3″ long. I used wool from my wool stash so I don’t know exactly how much I used but it was certainly less than a skein.

The Sock
I bought about 1 m of baby blue fleece from the thrift store ($3) which was enough for the project with some left over (the pattern calls for 1/2 yard or about 1/2 m). I have size 10 feet so I printed out the biggest pattern and then transferred it to brown paper as suggested in the post.

The instructions in the post are very detailed and easy to follow so I won’t repeat the steps here. Once the socks were all sewn together I tried them in my boots to determine exactly how tall they should be and trimmed off a little excess. Then I pinned my knitted cuffs to the inside of the sock (I put the super stretchy bind off side as my stitched side) and used my machine to zig-zag stitch them together.

Then you just flip the knitted cuff to the right side of the sock and ta-da: boot liners!

One finished boot liner (the downside to my sewing room is the terrible lighting)

One finished boot liner (the downside to my sewing room is the terrible lighting)

The baby blue liner isn’t what I would have chosen if I was buying the fabric at the store but for a total price of $3 for the pair, I’m happy with it. The liner doesn’t show when you are wearing the boot anyways.

Testing out the liners at the dog park

Testing out the liners at the dog park

Fleece seems to be about $16/m which makes this project still significantly cheaper than buying liners even if you have to buy fabric and wool at full price. I just bought some beautiful teal wool on sale ($3/skein) and got an awesome deal on fleece ($5/m) so I have plans to make a second pair with a different patterned cuff.

Today’s Trainer Workout – November 13, 2014

We’re still experiencing a cold snap here in a Calgary so even though my training plan called for a run, I just couldn’t force myself to do it. Instead, I bundled up for a dog walk (have to get outside at least for a while) and then hopped on my bike trainer to get some exercise in.

I know some people just can’t stand the trainer but I personally don’t mind it. I’m most successful when I have a plan, so I always try and come up with something before I get on to keep me motivated. Tonight I wanted something that wasn’t too hard but would keep me focused for 60 minutes. I came up with the following – it was enough to make me sweat but not leave me feeling drained.

15 min warm up – alternating easy and hard gears
4 sets of alternating legs drills (1 min right, 1 min both, 1 min left, 1 min both)
3 sets of 2 min at 60 rpm (harder gear), 1 min spin between sets
3 sets of 3 min at 100 rpm, 1 min spin between sets
9 min cool down

Oreo joined me for the last 15 minutes – I guess my trainer time ran into what he thought should be dinner time and he tried his hardest to persuade me to get off the bike. No luck – I finished my session and then we both got dinner.

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Tell me, what’s your favourite bike trainer workout?

Looking at a Busy Two Weeks

The next few weeks are going to be busy (and then probably those after too). I’ve got to fit in 40 hours of first aid training on top of my regular job, it’s report card time and there are some social events I’m excited to attend. Looking at my calendar, there isn’t a lot of free time. Still, I am responsible for my schedule so any busyness is partially my doing!

The advantage to planned busyness is that you can prepare for it (somewhat). I know that my weekends and evenings are almost all filled up until the end of the month, so carefully scheduling my meals and workouts is key if I want to be at all able to eat healthy and workout, as well as attend to my other commitments.

I sat down with my trusty paper day planner and wrote down all my workouts the other week, scheduling them around nights I knew I was going to be in class from 6 pm to 10 pm, and days when I had a fully day of training. I know that my working out will be a little lighter than normal but with my workouts written down I stand a much between chance of actually doing them.

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On Saturday I pulled out my recipe books and planned out two weeks of meals. I don’t usually plan that far in advance (too many things come up) but I wanted to be able to get the grocery shopping for the next while done all at once. In September and October I made an effort to fill my freezer with some easy meal ideas so I only need to cook dinner 3 times in the next two weeks. Last night we went to the grocery store and I stocked up on almost everything we’re going to need until the end of the month.

Today was a day off and with the terrible weather it was the perfect day to spend some time getting those remaining meals prepped. First I baked some egg and spinach muffins for breakfast – they will be easy to grab and heat up for a quick breakfast on the go.

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Then I made two batches of energy bars – these chewy ginger bars and some walnut energy balls. Those went into the fridge for quick snacks. And finally I made some fruit leather – I mixed about 2 tbsp of maple syrup and a heaping tsp of cinnamon with 2 cups apple sauce and spread the mixture onto dehydrator trays. Three jars of apple sauce made 4 sheets which are now safely tucked into the fridge for healthy snacking.

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After all that I gave the house a clean because I always feel more in control and calmer when my house is tidy.

I know it’s going to be busy but at least now I have food in my fridge, clean sheets on the bed and a plan!