Thursday, February 25, 2010

$5 challenge

It's that time of year again! Living with Lindsay is hosting her second annual $5 Challenge. Remember my efforts from last year?

This was a lot of fun last year, so I'm definitely taking part again. Bloggers have until March 25 to craft a new project, while spending only $5 (before taxes) on supplies. You're allowed to use anything you already have at home. And this year there's an added twist. A panel of amazing bloggers will select the top 5 entries and then readers will get to vote for the winner and runner up.

Hmm ... what should I make? I have some ideas, but I'll have to save them for the big reveal. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

try it tuesday

I'll try not to get too graphic with this post.

Anyone who suffers from allergies/chronic sinus issues like I do, understands the appeal of new ways to curb the pain and pressure.

This week, out of pure desperation, I invested in a Neti Pot. The people who are to blame for my chronic sinus issues My parents have sworn by nasal rinses for years, but I was always skeptical. If you're not familiar with this concept, you fill the pot with water and a salt and baking soda mixture, hold the spout up to one nostril, tip your face toward the sink, lean to one side and let the solution run through your sinus cavity and out the other nostril. Can you picture it? I thought I'd spare you the real image, but if you're really curious, you can go here and watch a completely hilarious totally informative instructional video.

The thing is, it actually works. The first time I did it, I was amazed with how it really flushed all the grossness and enabled me to simply breathe easier. It wasn't a total cure. After a few day of using it, I was still fairly stuffed and on the third attempt, I tipped my head and I nearly drowned nothing came out the other side. But I gave it a couple more days and I am willing to say that it was the shortest dose of sinusitis I've ever had.

It's not crafty or particularly fun, but it totally works. Try it!

Monday, February 22, 2010

not me monday

— I have not missed the last 1,457 Not Me Monday posts. I am not a slacker blogger.

— I have continued to run on a regular basis since the half marathon. I have not continued to eat like a runner while actually staying home and watching prime-time TV after work.

— I did not threaten to cut off Ellie's paws with my sewing scissors if she didn't get off the table while I was sewing yesterday. Her playful antics, especially when she tries to pull straight pins out of piece I am working on, are always adorable and never annoying.

— While watching the Canada vs. U.S.A. Olympic hockey game last night, I did not squeal out "YAY, we scored again!" when they were actually showing the replay of the goal Canada had just scored. My lovely friends did not laugh at my expense.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

try it .. er .. thursday

Better late than never, right? This Try It Tuesday is a fail, but I figured I'd share it anyway. If nothing else, you'll laugh at my pain.

So, here's how it started. You'd have to assume, that a complied book of recipes would only contain the tried and true combinations. Right?

I was going to make chocolate chip cookies late last week, and wanted to try something different. I picked a cookbook that was put together by people in my Mum's office for a fundraiser years ago. I instantly thought, if someone took the time to comb through their recipes at home and pick just one for this book, it would have to be their very best, favourite one. Right?

Think again.

I was intrigued — the recipe I selected combined traditional chocolate chip cookie ingredients as well as oatmeal and corn flakes. And I love a textured cookie.

But this was the end result after mixing all the ingredients according to the directions. A Big bowl of crumbly mess. I reviewed the list over and over, convinced I must have left out an important went ingredient. Nope.

So, I was forced to add more liquid. A few tablespoons of milk helped considerably. However, what happens to corn flakes if you put milk on them? Soggy, soggy, soggy.

Though the taste in the end wasn't horrible, the recipe was awful and a total pain to deal with. This recipe isn't even worth rating. Don't try it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

one year

Today is Like a Hamster on a Wheel's first birthday!

I can't believe I've been blogging for a whole year, which in blog land is a pretty difficult span of time to measure. Some days, I don't blog. Other days, I post more than once. Some weeks are filled with fun projects and others are simply updates.

In 365 days:

* I have written 385 posts.
* And received 631 comments!
* The blog has received more than 10,000 visit from Canadians.
* And folks from 64 other countries have popped by too, including the U.S., the Netherlands, the U.K., India, Brazil, Spain, Australia, Germany and Japan.
* 29 of you are followers and 55 of you subscribe in Google Reader.

How amazing is that? I can't tell you how grateful I am to all of you who read, comment and support my blog. It's been a lot of fun for me and I hope it's fun for you too.

I've got lots of ideas planned for the coming year. Looking back over some of the big (and small) projects I've accomplished over the past 12 months, I have a renewed enthusiasm to try new things.

But I'm always open to suggestions. Do you have a Try It Tuesday you'd like me to tackle? A diy project that has you stumped? Feel free to send any and all questions and requests my way!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, February 8, 2010

hypothermic half marathon

Today I am sore and tired, but it's totally worth it.

After more than four months of training, we ran the Hypothermic Half Marathon yesterday. It was a reasonable -4 degrees Celsius outside and the route was perfectly groomed.

Thanks to my lovely friends for all of the support and fun along the way xo

Friday, February 5, 2010

sunday, sunday, sunday

Do I strike you as someone who would be into football? You're completely right. I'll admit it. For 364 days of the year, football is rather meaningless to me. I have, however, learned a lot from Husband and his obsession with fantasy football passion for the sport.

For one day though, I can change my attitude. Superbowl Sunday is the perfect opportunity to bring friends together, enjoy fun munchies and root for the underdog (Who are the underdog? The Saints? The Colts? That's right, I know stuff).

Speaking of tailgate snacks, I've been searching all over for fun recipes. Here are a few I'm considering for this weekend's game.

I love Vegan Dad's recipe for homemade soft pretzels. Perfect with warm tomato sauce or honey mustard to dip.

My Mum makes a delicious version of a Texas Caviar dip/salsa that is always a hit and it's super easy to make. We use a can of corn, can of chic peas and can of black beans all rinsed and drained, mixed with chopped green pepper, red pepper, red onion and a couple stalks of celery. Top it all off with an equal-parts mixture of vinegar, oil and sugar. It's delicious with Tostitos scoops.

I also must include one of Husband's faves — potato boats. Our method isn't fancy. We bake the potatoes, cut them in half, scoop out about half of the middle and fill with cheese, bacon bits and chives.

Will you be doing anything special for the Superbowl this year? What's on your menu?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

try it tuesday

This Try It Tuesday comes courtesy of Living with Lindsay, who posted what she claimed to be the best, easiest, most melt-in-your-mouth brownie recipe on the planet. Who could resist trying something like that?

The Best, Easiest, Most Melt in Your Mouth Deliciousness, There Won't Be Any Left in the Morning, Moist Brownies You Will Ever Eat

2 c. sugar
1 c. butter
2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
3/4 c. cocoa
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
dash cinnamon

Mix ingredients and bake in greased pan at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

The easy part is bang on. Definitely super simple and I love that I could whip these up any day because I always have these staple ingredients in the cupboard.

I actually baked these brownies for at least 45 minutes, maybe more. I stuck a toothpick in the centre and it came out covered in liquidy batter, so I figured they needed to cook longer. Either way, they didn't firm up much more. They're definitely a gooey brownie.

Which leads me to my verdict on taste — not the best I've ever had, actually. I found them a little too fudge-like for my taste. But my personal preference aside, I would make them to take to a party or serve to guests.

Overall, 3.5 stars. Try it for yourself though; you may love them.

Monday, February 1, 2010

february goals

I have been doing things, I swear, just nothing that felt particularly blog worthy. January was slow, but I'm already feeling the spring cleaning itch (my way of coaxing the warm weather to come a little sooner). Generally, I just have the urge to be more productive, so here are a few things I plan to accomplish this month:

1. Knit something new. I've recently brushed up on my purling. No more straight knitting scarves for me.

2. Make a new recipe once a week. Lovely friend T has been doing this as a new year's resolution and I'm inspired to do it too. Plus, by making a new recipe on Sundays, we'll have a few days of leftovers for busy weeknights.

3. Clean and reorganize as if we're moving. No, we haven't taken the house plunge yet, because we don't know where Husband will be teaching in the fall. Until then, I'm going to pretend that we are moving and purge all unnecessary items from our already over-crowded apartment.

4. Run a half marathon. This is a given, since the race we've been training for since September is now less than a week away!

5. Go to yoga at least once a week.

6. Send more mail to friends and family. It's an inexpensive way to remind them I'm thinking about them, even if I can't see them on a regular basis.

7. Prepare for tax season. Get everything in order and be ahead of the game.

Those all seem totally doable. What are you planning to accomplish this month?