I am a little late getting this post up but it’s time to review how the month went.
- I only lost about four pounds this month and definitely was not as consistent with my fitness, but with reason. Unfortunately, I caught a nasty virus, but luckily, it was not covid, flu, or strep. The downside of having asthma, however, is that colds/respiratory illnesses hit me like a ton of bricks and linger forever. We also had an appendicitis scare (false alarm) with one of the kids, who also ended up needing a CT and was diagnosed with mild pneumonia, so February and health were not getting along at all.
- Overall, I think my biggest take-away from the month is that I need to stay on track mentally and physically, even when the train gets derailed. We had quite a few unscheduled events and detours from our usual routines, and I need to not let those subdue momentum. But, progress is still progress, and I am feeling good.
- Baking: Another NINE new recipes tried, so I’m calling that a success for baking practice. I made: Copycat Biscoff Crumbl Cookies (kids really liked them), Cinnamon Sugar St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake (meh, just like a basic coffee cake but more work), Copycat Crumbl Snickerdoodles (a bit dense but good), Copycat Crumbl Red Velvet Cookies (also a bit dense), Red Velvet Cake (good, basic recipe), and the following cookie recipes from the King Arthur Cookie Companion book that I could not find exact matches for online: Fudgy Brownies (kids loved big time), Tender Toffee Rounds (husband liked, kids thought they were bitter from the dark chocolate), Soft Oatmeal Cookies (weird, ends up more like rounds than cookies), and Sugar and Spice Drops (interesting and perfect for fall). I am loving this book, but most of the recipes from it have not been published online by King Arthur, so I can’t link them. The book is worth purchasing, in my opinion.
- I rebooted the sourdough starter after Bear murdered the last attempt, and it was a success! I still have a long way to go and much more practice ahead, but I think I now understand the fundamentals. The Pantry Mama website gave me a lot of good info and insight, so if you want to jump on the bandwagon, that’s a good place to start.
- More pasta practice went down this month as well. I ordered a ravioli tool to make the process a wee bit faster for me, and it was totally worth the $13 I spent. I can’t tell you how much easier it was than the trying to fill individual mezzalunas. I made a filling of ground chicken, ricotta, parmesan and herbs, then served the ravioli in a tomato sauce with just a touch of cream to mellow it out. It’s also still a learning process, but I love cultivating new skillsets when it comes to carbs.
- I tried six new recipes this month, and two were simply me freestyling dinner like a madwoman. The others included BBQ Chicken Fajitas (everyone liked this, and it was a nice spin on taco night), Lemon Butter Dijon Chicken and Orzo (It was descent; I liked it more than the kids and husband but not by much), Skillet Beef Enchiladas (this was a “meh” all around. They didn’t like the texture), and Creamy Italian Sausage One Pot Pasta (This will be a weeknight keeper. Everyone liked it and it’s very easy to prepare).
I read another six books this month:
- Twisted Hate by Ana Huang (not pictured)-Basically this was an enemies-to-lovers romance, and honestly, I felt like I slogged through it. The hero had the personality of a fencepost, and seemed immature to the point of unlikable. Definitely not my favorite.
- Twisted Lies by Ana Huang (not pictured)-Yes, I am a glutton for punishment. I was intrigued by side characters she set up in the last book, so I decided to check out their story. It was better than the previous, but still just one-note for me.
- To Boldly Grow-A non-fiction work that tells the story of Tamar and her husband as they work to source as much of their food locally as possible through gardening, hunting, foraging, fishing, etc. Kind of like Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I enjoyed it. She really highlights the learning curves, successes, and failures in a relatable way.
- In the Middle of Hickory Lane-I confess, I am a huge Heather Webber fan, whose works remind me of Sarah Addison Allen, and this book was just as good as her last. I love modern magic realism, so this one got a big thumbs up.
- Home to Cypress Bayou-Ok, I have a soft spot for this soapy little book, mostly because it’s set in the fictional Cypress Bayou, which is based on my former home of Natchitoches, Louisiana. It’s more like cotton candy for your brain than compelling fiction, and because of the setting, it charmed me more than it probably should. The writing could be more polished, but I still liked it.
- The Vineyards of Champagne-Honestly, as much as I wanted to enjoy this one, I thought it was terribly slow, the plot contrived, and the main character and her lack of self-awareness grew tedious quickly. While it was very well-researched, I don’t get the glowing reviews (although many others agreed with me).
- I finally finished the damn sweater! Scottish Ale sat on the needles forever because I hated knitting it (have learned that seamed sweaters are not my thing). G-Man loves it, so that’s what counts, but man, am I happy to see that thing done.
- I also finished The Shift Cowl. This was an easy pattern to knit, but I’m on the fence about my yarn choice. Both the sweater and the cowl are projects that have been sitting in my UFO bin for a while, so getting these finished definitely ticked off a goal on my fiber arts to-do list.
- I started and am about 3/4 of the way through the Chilton Cowl using a set of Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok Holiday Frost mini-skeins from my stash, so I am still sticking to my knit-from-stash goal for the year. I also have three more from-stash projects in the pipeline.
- As for spinning, I confess I haven’t made much progress. I continued to struggle with the Malabrigo Nube fiber, so I finally abandoned it, and have switched to practicing with Ashford Silk Merino Silver. I’m still can’t get my drafting under control, and my attempts are getting seriously over-twisted. I know it’s going to take time and lots of practice, but even after watching a bagillion YouTube videos, I still feel like it’s just not clicking with me. I’m going to keep at it though, because I know it’s going to be like learning to knit–time, practice, muscle memory, and education.
- Finally, I haven’t put as much work into the needlepoint stocking for Bean, and I think both that and spinning practice are areas where I need to focus more time.
So, that was February. Good forward progress all around, but I see room for improvement in a few areas. Now it’s time to gird the loins, because guess what this week is? Regional Science Fair. Y’all……there’s not enough margaritas in the world shine a light at the end of that tunnel. Pray for me and send tequila.