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Back from a Long Hiatus

Hello everyone! I am back from almost a year away from my blog. I have really missed the community and friends I made here during my blogging journey but for whatever reason 2019 was hard and I just could not seem to find the energy to spend on my blog. I’ve been trying to figure out why I felt that way, because I don’t want it to happen again, and all I can think is that right at the beginning of last year, when I went back to work after recharging over the holidays, our entire team was asked to put in a LOT of overtime in a very short period of time and I just burned out. I still feel like I haven’t completely recovered from that, I must be getting old or something.

Dragon diamond painting
My first diamond painting

So, what has happened over the past year? Well, I’ve been holding fairly steady in my weight loss journey, hovering at 5-8 pounds above my ultimate goal, until the last month. I will admit to slacking in December, and have gained about 10 pounds, but I’m getting back on track to start the new year. I’ve lost track of the weeks, and won’t likely be doing as many updates on that, other than to share some yummy recipes occasionally since I’m fairly close to my goal and don’t seem to budge much.

I’ve done a bit of crafting over the past year, not as much as I would have liked though. Between neck pain preventing me from crocheting, and just being tired by the end of the day, I haven’t been able to spend as much time as I would like in creating things. Having said that, I have been introduced to a new hobby, diamond painting, and will likely be sharing some progress on those projects as I work on them.

Chihuahua with Happy New Year sign
Jasmine just after midnight on New Year’s morning.

I’ve saved the best update for last! Any of you who followed me when I was blogging regularly, probably remember my furbaby, Truffles. He is still with me, I can’t believe that he’ll be 14 years old later this month! Now, I would like to introduce you all to the newest member of my family, Jasmine!

Jasmine turned 10 months old on Christmas Eve, I will tell more of her story in another post, I adopted her from a local dog rescue early last year. I was worried that when she first came to live with us that she and Truffles wouldn’t get along but, while they aren’t best buddies, they have adapted to each other pretty well. Being older, Truffles sleeps what seems like 90% of the time, Jasmine has really livened things up around here!

As for future plans for this blog, I am going to try to get myself on a regular schedule. Since I don’t want to overwhelm myself again, and abandon blogging entirely for another year, I’m starting out slowly, aiming to post once or twice a month. If things go well, I may increase to once a week, but I know I was finding it difficult to find time to blog more than once a week previously, so I’m not going to pressure myself to do so now.

Bye for now! I hope you all have a wonderful year ahead, and I can’t wait to start catching up on everything I’ve been missing!

January/February Update

I have not forgotten you all. Once I started to try to get back to blogging, I remembered one of the things that was frustrating me and was one of the contributing factors to me stopping, and that was my computer. It was getting to the point that I had to start it up hours before I was ready to do anything, and then the battery would not hold a charge, and I had to use an Ethernet cable for internet, because it would not stay connected to wifi….Anyway, I finally ordered a new one at the beginning of February and it’s due to arrive next week! I’m excited to have a working computer again!

I’ve been keeping busy with work most days, but trying to get some crafty time in on the weekends, or in the evening. I finished my second Diamond Painting and have started my third. The newest one is larger, so is going much slower, but I’m really enjoying it. Here is my progress on it so far.

Hummingbird Diamond Painting
Hummingbird diamond painting in progress.

I started trick training classes with Jasmine in January and we’ve been having a lot of fun. February 29th is our last class, but we may sign up again for that one because there are a few tricks she is just not getting yet, and the trainer asks what we want to learn, so there is the opportunity to add to Jasmine’s list of commands.

Truffles celebrated his 14th birthday on January 25th! I bought him a new bed, a stuffed toy to cuddle with, and some special treats. Here he is just a few minutes after I put his new bed and toy down for him. He doesn’t play with toys, but he does like to snuggle with them occasionally.

Yorkie
Truffles on his 14th birthday with his presents.

We also celebrated Jasmine’s first birthday on February 24th! I can hardly believe that it has been almost a year since she came into my life. We had a little celebration, where I tortured the dogs with party hats (they were thrilled as you can see from the pictures), and I made them some special pup cakes from this recipe. I made minis because these two are too small for full sized cupcakes, and we still have a bunch in the freezer, but they loved them! I’ll definitely make them again.

That’s it for now! I hope to be back more frequently once I have the new computer and get it up and running! Bye for now!

Happy New Year – 2019

I can hardly believe that 2018 has come and gone already. I have been mostly absent since early last year, checking in only once in a while to share something. I’m hoping that in 2019 I find myself back in blogging and crafting mode. I have set a few goals for myself, and I’m trying to start the new year off on the right foot (not by standing on my right foot at midnight last night, as suggested by a Facebook meme, either).

For today, I just wanted to check in to say, Happy New Year! I hope you have all had a lovely holiday season, and wish you all the best in the coming year.

I hope to check back in with you very soon, in the meantime enjoy the picture of my Yorkie, Truffles, and my cousin’s Chihuahua, Phoebe. They got to visit a little over the holidays, and as you can see, they tolerated each other fairly well.

My Weight Loss Journey – Weeks 83 & 84

Another two weeks, and here I am again, still trying to get back on a regular schedule, and not quite there…but getting a little closer.

My crafty mojo took a hike a few months ago, and I’ve been struggling, trying to get it back. There are so many things I want to do, and I still can’t seem to find the motivation to do any of them. Or I just feel so overwhelmed because there are so many things I want to do that I end up not doing any of them. This past week or so has been the first time in a long time that I’ve actually done a bit of crafting. I started on a blanket for my cousin’s dog, and I pulled out my sewing machine. I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve been making, and hoping that I can continue to make some progress.

Last time I posted a weight loss update, I was down to 165.9 pounds, and had a total loss of 120.1. My weigh in days are Monday, so my last weigh in was on the 8th and I am happy to report I was down to 164.7, with a total loss now of 121.3 pounds! I’m less than 15 pounds away from my goal, and creeping closer every day!

skinnytaste cookbookAnd now for the fun stuff! One of my Facebook friends shared this soup recipe with me sometime in August I think and I just finished off my third batch of it. It’s super simple, but so delicious! The recipe is by Gina Homolka at skinnytaste. I’ll share the ingredients along with a couple of notes, and ask you to go over there to check out the full recipe. She makes the most amazing things. I just received her third recipe book (pictured on the left) in the mail on Tuesday and I can’t wait to try out the recipes in it, they all look delicious! I already have her first book but have not yet bought her second, it is currently on my wish-list though!

Cream of Zucchini Soup
1/2 small onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic
3 medium zucchini, with skin on, and cut into large chunks
4 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 tbsp fat free sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese for topping

Before you skip over here to check out the rest of the recipe, I want to make a few comments about some very minor changes I made.

I love garlic so I always add a couple of extra cloves. The last time I made it, I added about a teaspoon of Les Herbes Salée, but it is by no means necessary. In addition, I almost never have sour cream on hand, so I use Greek yogurt in place of that. I also just throw everything (except the sour cream and Parmesan cheese) into my Instant Pot and set it on high pressure for 20 minutes. Other than that I follow the directions on her website. For a soup with so few ingredients it is so, so tasty! I know several people who have tried it, and loved it!

For those of you wondering, I get jars of Les Herbes Salée at a little shop in the Byward Market here in Ottawa (my cousin found the place, and the herbs and talked me into trying them), but if you can’t find anything similar or are wondering what they are, you can make your own. I have not tried any of the recipes I was able to find online, but here is a link to one such recipe. If you try it, or another, I would love to hear how it turned out!

My Weight Loss Journey – Weeks 74 to 82

Wow! I can hardly believe it’s been almost two months since I last posted! I want to apologize to everyone for just disappearing, and to all of you whose blogs I normally read and have been neglecting lately. I know I’ve mentioned in my last few posts (which were already becoming infrequent) that I was having a hard time staying motivated to write, and it appears that although I thought I was getting my groove back, I was wrong.

I’m not sure if I have just been run down, or if it is just work that’s been keeping me busy and sapping my energy, or if there is something else going on, but I am trying to get out of this seeming creative block that I’ve been in since sometime after my trip in February. Happily, I have not lost my drive to continue on my journey to become healthier, I just haven’t been writing about it.

Let me see…last time I posted an update with you all, I was at 114.8 pounds down. Today, I weighed in at 165.9, for a total loss of 120.1 pounds! I’m just under 16 pounds away from my goal of 150! I can hardly believe that I’m getting so close, or that I did it without resorting to a bunch of fat free, sugar free, prepackaged foods! Wow! What a journey it has been! Below is a before and after photo that I assembled with an app on my iPad. The left was taken about 3 days before I started Weight Watchers in February 2017, and the one on the right was taken today.

Before and After

I believe that last time I posted, I mentioned that I had bought a couple of new cookbooks. Well, a few weeks ago I bought another after a friend, and fellow Weight Watchers member posted pictures of a recipe she had made, and also told me that all of the recipes had been added to the app. The book is the Yum & Yummer cookbook, and since I had already had my eye on this one, it was an easy decision to buy it.  Yes, I know there are tons of recipes online, but I LOVE cookbooks.

Yum & Yummer Cookbook

In the short time since I bought it, I’ve already made about 3 or 4 recipes from this book and have about every other page bookmarked to try, the recipes look that good. And best of all most of them use ingredients that I already have on hand, so I don’t have to go hunting for weird ingredients I’ve never used before, and may never use again.

While I can’t share the recipes with you, I can show you yummy pictures of the Silky Butternut Squash Soup I made from the book!

I’ve made this recipe twice already, because it was just that delicious! If you love cookbooks like I do, I recommend browsing this one at the bookstore to see if the recipes appeal to you.

That’s it for me for today. Hopefully I can get myself back into a schedule and don’t fall off the face of the earth for another month or so. I am going to really try, hard, to get my creative juices flowing again. Thanks for bearing with me in the meantime.