Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Creative Space

I've just been over at Inner Pickle and she sent me over to kootoyoo and I decided to join in too.

 I've started a new Jo Sharp cardigan. I really love her wool - it is soft and I like the colour shades. It's a quick and easy pattern. I'm hoping I'll actually get to wear it this winter if I get a head start. It's overcast today, and I love it because I always feel like knitting when  the sun isn't shining.
 I'm still trying to make my scrap quilt - made from old clothes, op shop finds and a few purchased fabrics. I seem to have stalled. But in my defense that is because there is no room on my desk for the sewing machine at the moment. I must tidy up the desk!
 I still want to finish the baby quilt I started. There may not be a baby right now, but I feel I should complete this quilt.I love all the fabrics and I could always use it as a lap rug if there isn't a babe to use it.
And here is the gorgeous collection of Anna Maria Horner's gorgeous flannels. I bought them to make a winter quilt (doona) cover for Charlie. He's still in his little cot/bed, but I wonder if I should start thinking of a quilt for a single bed, who knows how much bigger he'll be by winter? His junior bed is supposed to last til he's four, but I have my doubts, already he seems to have arms and legs hanging over the edge at night.

There are many other projects going on - mainly in my head- and I do have the patterns and fabrics to use. I must try a bit harder to stop buying fabrics. I do love them so much, but have got a rather large collection happening, so I must use some of them! But have you seen the bundles they sell at fabricworm? Oh my goodness they are hard to resist!

By the way, I've added these links, but need to add a disclaimer, that I don't get anything for the recommendation. I just like to endorse stuff I love.

I'd like to get more crafts done. But it is hard when there are so many great inspirational blogs to read!And walks to take with a two year old, groceries to fetch,washing to be done. You know what I mean.

How do you find time for crafting and creating?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Declutterization Zone

I've finally gotten around to decluttering the kitchen drawers. When we built the house I really wanted deep draws to store all my plastics and bowls etc. They are great, but the depth lends itself to becoming very messy and disorganised. And, when you devolve the dish washing to your children the drawers become a shocking mess. I'm tired of digging around for minutes at a time to find a lid that matches a container.

So these are the "before" pictures:

 And here the "after" shots:

Round items:
 Square and rectangular:
Mixing and baking items:
 The bits and bobs drawer:
 Oh, what a lovely difference.
And the plastic bag full of redundant plastics: I can't wait to deliver it to the thrift shop.

There's a great sense of achievement that comes from decluttering, organising,getting rid of...It feels good.

So far I have managed to:
  • declutter my walk-in robe and closet: four bags to the thrift shop, six items on e-bay.
  • declutter Charlie's room: three bags to a friend with small baby,one to the thrift shop.
  • declutter the linen closet: three bags to the thrift shop, one large one in the bin.
  • reorganise the laundry: two bags to the thrift shop, two in the bin. feels good. Boy have we accumulated some stuff over the years. Far too much stuff . We really don't need so much.

So, what's left? I'm still not game to do the pantry. I did it about 6 months ago, but it feels like the walls are caving in again, so I might need to give it some attention.

But I'll save that for another day. I think it may be time to put my feet up and get the knitting out.

Try decluttering for yourself. You'll love it!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Staying Off the Bad Stuff

It's been 19 days that I've been sugar free (pretty well) and I've hit my first hurdle.

I love being sugar free, and feel very good for it. But today has been hard. Today feels like the end of a really long week, although the week is not yet over. There's been a few upsets over the week, but until today the desire to eat sugar hadn't cropped up. I wonder if it may have something to do with the fact that I cooked Fajitas last night, and read the label and found the flavour sachet was 19% sugar. By that stage - the end of a tough day- I decided that I would eat it anyway - there wasn't much else I could eat, and I was hungry. Would that small amount of sugar cause my craving today?

Actually I don't think so. I think my craving is due to a couple of factors:
  1. My habit is to turn to sugar when things get challenging(and they are a trifle challenging today)
  2. I suspect being pre-menstrual may have something to do with it (but I must add that my P.M.S symptoms are very, very reduced and I think it's because I've stayed away from sugar.)
So, although I haven't had to grapple with will-power at all til this point, I see there may be times when will-power might help me out.

I think I also need to think long and hard about weaning my children of the white poison. If our house was mostly sugar-free, there wouldn't be much temptation around.

Today it was chocolate icing that turned my head. I  decided to make a chocolate cake for my son. He lives away from home, and hasn't been doing too well. My husband is going to see him tomorrow, so I thought I'd send a cake with his dad to help cheer him up. Of course the cake needed icing. It was very, very hard  not to lick the bowl clean!

I had bought some chocolate spread that is sweetened with Rice Bran syrup (which is apparently safe for sugarholics), but I really didn't enjoy the texture of it, and it is a bit too chocolately (bitter) for me. I actually felt a bit sick after eating it.

I hope I'll be able to stay on the wagon. I don't want to be that sugar loving zombie again. There are too many benefits of being sugar-free.

The next quest is to get my kids away from sugar. I have thought about using some of the dextrose sweetened recipes from the Sweet Poison Quit Plan book, but as David Gillespie says ,"party foods are for parties", meaning that cakes, biscuits and ice-cream should be for special occasions, so I don't think I should be making cakes for the kids regularly anyway. I need to concentrate on getting them to eat healthy, sugar-free snacks. They always head for stuff that is sweet, and easy - anything pre-packaged appeals to them, whether it is pre-packaged from the supermarket, or packaged in the shape of a cup-cake.

For the longest time I have convinced myself that if the cakes, biscuits and other treats are home-made then they are superior to anything artificially coloured, flavoured and full of trans-fats. I suppose that is true, but, even when they are home-made, they aren't everyday foods. There is still too much sugar, white flour and fat in them.

So that's the quest. I've started by trying to find foods my 2 year old approves of that aren't sweet. I've managed to wean him off store bought yoghurt (in wonderfully convenient "squeezey" packs - a lot less mess! I want some refillable ones - anyone?), but he's not crazy about unsweetened homemade yoghurt.

I'm not buying biscuits and have substituted with rice crackers, which he enjoys with cheese. He likes bread and butter, so I am giving him quality bread. I find that milk helps with the sweet taste, and is satisfying ( for him, and for me).

He's not keen on vegetables and only a few fruits - strawberries and bananas rate highly.

But he is a big fan of meat. So I need to cook some roast chicken, so he can eat that with his bread and butter!

It isn't easy trying to satiate his sweet tooth, but it is worth a try.

I might just re-read the chapter on freeing my kids from sugar...

Any suggestions will be warmly welcomed.

Friday, March 18, 2011

This Moment (a day late)

My "This Moment" is always a day late!
It's not a great photo, but that doesn't matter.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This Sugar Free Life

It's been a week and a half and I want to shout it from the mountain tops : "Sugar free is wonderful!"

I'm so pleased I took the plunge. I am amazed at how easy it has been and I'm loving the benefits.

Apart from headaches in the first couple of days, I've really not had a withdrawal, despite being quite a big sugar eater. The craving for sugar isn't there. I used to need a sugar hit after lunch, every single day, but I don't anymore. I just don't feel like it.

The benefits so far have been:
  • No more cravings for something sweet,
  • No more  mid - afternoon slump,
  • No more bloating - I love this benefit!
  • I've lost one and a half kilos in one and a half weeks - whilst still eating as much as I want,
  • Eating full fat yogurt, milk, cheese, meat and nuts and still feeling lighter,
  • Being able to 'hear' my body better - I feel satiated more easily, and I don't feel hungry as much as I used to,
  • I am drinking more water - so I guess my body realizes it is fact thirsty, not hungry.
What's not to love about that?

The best part is that I don't feel deprived. In fact I'm beginning to preach to anyone who will listen. I just want everyone else to enjoy the wonders of an addiction free life.

It is truly marvelous.

If you are interested in reading more check out Sarah Wilson's blog. She is the reason I got started.
It's here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Going Sugar Free

Sweet Poison: Why Sugar is Making Us FatSweet Poison: Why Sugar is Making Us Fat

Although I am yet to read this book, I have been reading about it and all about the evils of sugar, so I'm sugar free.

I started on Sunday, and although I've been very good I have had a few minor slip ups, mainly because I was not aware there was sugar in seaweed crackers (they tasted so sweet, I checked the label), and I've been drinking a herbal tea which has rosehips in it - which are high in fructose. So, no more rosehip tea!

It feels good to have been almost sugar free for the last five days. I haven't really had any withdrawals apart from a slight headache for a couple of days. The best side affect is I'm not as hungry as I usually am, and not having the terrible fatigue after lunch that I usually get. Even after a not-so-good night's sleep thanks to restless Charlie.

Now I am trying to come up with ideas for good snacks, especially as I'm staying away from fruit(apart from berries) for a couple of weeks (I suspect I have a fructose intolerance, but not sure). So, what's good for snacking on:

  • plain, unsweetened greek yoghurt with a sprinkling of nuts (very nice)
  • celery and carrot sticks with hummus (also homemade)
  • labna - a yoghurt cheese - homemade and marinated in herbs,olive oil and lemon rind
  • rice crackers (sans sugar) with hummus, cottage cheese, smoked salmon or cheese
  • sliced cucumber with cottage cheese or unsweetened dips
  • toast and vegemite
  • gluten free oatmeal (finally found a place to buy them online) with milk or cream
I know it sounds heavy in fat, and I suppose it is, but that's what will help curb the sugar cravings, and ultimately, the fat is actually better than the sugar. Fructose converts straight to fat, and does all sorts of other nasty things to our body, which I will read about as soon as my book arrives. I've also bought the quit plan book, but have started without it, I just couldn't wait!

I hope I'll have loads of benefits to report on over the next few weeks.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hanging at the Beach

Another glorious day at the most beautiful spot in the world:

After a few weeks of Easterly winds blowing daily, the tide almost always in too far, and an influx of Blue bottles, we had a glorious sunny, wind-free, blue-bottle free afternoon at the beach.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Why I love where I live

 The beach is 5 minutes away, world class and always beautiful.
 We never tire of the view.
 We are surrounded by the beautiful,unspoilt bush.

 Our garden settles in beside the bush happily and gives us flowers,fruit and vegetables.
We have visits from Australian wildlife, daily.

What's not to love?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ups and Downs

It's been a tough week. It's not anything in particular, but my lingering grief which tends to blind-side me when I'm not expecting it to.For no apparent reason. Just because it can.

Charlie had his first couple of hours at daycare. It is a family daycare. It comes highly recommended. When I walked out the door, he  happily said goodbye. I felt calm and happy. My little boy is growing up, wanting to spend time with his peers. Ready to spend time away from mama.

Or so I thought! I got a text from the carer saying that Charlie wasn't really fitting in. He was "angry" and inconsolable. So I picked him up early. By the time I got there he was fine. But my guilt had been firmly planted!

I drove home, wondering why on earth I put him there in the first place. I'm a stay at home mum. I don't really need him to be cared for by someone else. True, but how else can I see my acupuncturist, who is not available after 2 pm, which is when my hubby can care for Charlie. What about the tutoring I've organise to do while he is at daycare? I could juggle that, but it would be difficult.

I know, too, that he has to go somewhere when I return to work in July. I can't not go back, I need to maintain my permenant position in the school, because eventually, I will need to earn a living. So, it's important that he settles into care before then.

So why did I cry into my dinner as I recounted Charlie's time at daycare? Michael felt no sadness. He mentioned something about my "apron strings". So my sadness is for me? I suppose there is an element of that. It doesn't help that I won't be bringing a baby home in July as I'd hoped.

But I must soldier on and it's not all bad. Charlie will go back again next week. Maybe it will be more fun for him then.

I had my haircut yesterday. Reunited with my lovely hairdresser who has been away for a few years. What a pleasure to see her again, and talk, more a friend than "my hairdresser". I left feeling up lifted.

So now it is Thursday. The house is a mess, I've much to catch up on, but instead I'm sat here, with Charlie by my side, drawing(no he didn't write this name on that cardboard - that was his big sister), Crowded House on the stereo.

The sun has come out again.