It’s already February 1st y’all, and for the first time in a hot minute, I ended January on a very high note. I don’t know what lit the fire under my ass this year as opposed to the past several, but I’ll take it. I’ve seriously settled in to my 2023 intentions, and I feel like a new penny as my grandmother used to say. So, let’s take a look back at this month and review:
- I’m trucking along on this one and the results are evident. I did Dry January, and the improvements in my energy, sleep, anxiety, and mood were off the charts. So, it looks like a 90-95 percent reduction of the hooch is the plan going forward.
- I worked out 5 days a week (except once when I had to support my neighbor during a hospital stay), and watched/recorded what I ate. As a result, I lost 11 dang pounds!
- I reduced my phone/scrolling time by about 50 percent, and I think there still room for improvement there.
- Finally, I stuck to my “Three to Thrive” and hit my target every day. I defined these as skincare, hitting my water goals, and taking my meds and vitamins every day. Good times, all around.
I have been rocking it in the kitchen, which is making the Husband and Heathen’s very happy.
- Baking: I tried NINE new baking recipes–Herbed Beer Bread from King Arthur Flour (blah), Lemon Blueberry Gooey Butter Cake (excellent IF you reduce the powdered sugar in the cream cheese mixture to one cup), Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Snack Cake (great but you won’t trick the banana-haters, it still has banana flavor), Cookies and Cream Brownies (kids loved, adults thought it was too rich), Brownie Cake with Cookie Butter Frosting (thumbs up all around), Nutella Hazelnut Cookies (great, careful not to overbake), Texas Roadhouse Copycat Rolls (great flavor, not quite a copycat though), S’mores Whoopie Pies ( the cookie dough needed to be pressed to spread out more and I think there is WAY too much shortening in this filling for sure), and a Sprinkle Cake (ok, I still prefer the recipe from Milk Bar).
- I also put together a sourdough starter to try my hand at it, and Bear promptly killed it and an OXO container by blatantly ignoring the warning sign taped to the small oven (where it was hanging out) and preheating it to 400 degrees. A lot of melted plastic and swear words later, I restarted it, and it’s trucking along according to plan. Bread will be in my future soon.
- I checked off my pasta experiment for the month by making fresh mezzaluna. The filling and sauce needed improvement, but the pasta worked perfectly.
- Finally, I tried five other new dinner recipes: Baked Hot Honey Chicken (yum), Lemon Garlic Chicken (felt under-seasoned, should have brined maybe), Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi Soup (good and cozy), BBQ Chicken Fajitas (great weeknight dinner), and Creamy Beef and Tomato Noodle Soup (big hit with everyone).
I read six books this month, (not pictured is a romance, Twisted Games that I read on my Kindle).
- When in Rome-Cute, lighthearted, low-stakes romance loosely based on the movie Roman Holiday, but with a happy ending. Fluffy beach read.
- The Comfort Food Diaries-a memoir of recovering from toxic family and alcoholism by travelling to friends and extended family, cooking, reconnecting, and letting go. Kind of an Eat, Pray, Love vibe. I liked it overall, but felt some parts were rushed/glossed over that made the pacing a little uneven. Otherwise, I enjoyed it.
- Heart Bones-I thought this was ok, but not my favorite by this author. Damage childhoods and coming of age romance typical for this author, but uneven character development in my opinion.
- Other Birds-I’m biased because I love Sarah Addison Allen novels. A little magic realism, uncovering secrets of the past, finding a place to call home, beautiful settings.
- Abandoned in Death-Despite how formulaic these books have become, I’ll always come back to them. This one, however, was better than some recent volumes.
- Twisted Games-Steamy princess/bodyguard romance, ’nuff said. It was the second book I’ve read in this series. It was ok enough that I’m on the third, so take that for what it’s worth. Not shouting from the rooftops about it though.
- Still working on that damn sweater, but I am about 30% through the second sleeve, so the finish line is in sight. I also wound the yarn I ordered to hopefully finish my Shift cowl once the fu%&ing sweater is complete. So, that fits under my intention to finish at least two WIPs this year.
- I got my spinning wheel set up and tried to practice with the Malabrigio Nube fiber I ordered, and promptly felt like an abject failure. I watched dozens of videos and could not figure out why I was struggling so much. Well, a little time on Ravelry promptly educated me as to why this particular fiber needs to be pre-drafted into submission. Because if the dyeing and prep, parts were damn near felted, and the rest was compacted like crazy. So, pictured above is how it arrived, versus several hours of pre-drafting. It also shows that the dye only hit the outer layers of the fiber, and there was a lot more undyed than the braid would lead you to believe. Now that it’s (in theory) workable, I’m going to try again later this week.
- Made progress on the Christmas stocking, but will need to pick up the pace if I want it done in time to submit it for finishing, thus making it ready by the holidays.
- Best part? We booked our hotel for Rhinebeck, aka New York Sheep and Wool Festival in October! This means I’ll have to miss DFW Fiber Fest this year, but I’ll somehow survive. Excited doesn’t even begin to cover it.
So, that’s the January Recap. I’m using my Commit30 planner to its fullest, which helps me keep track of how I’m doing. Highly recommend, as always. Now, I need to keep the momentum going.
So, wrapping it up, it’s February, and we are deep into Mardi Gras season, and crawfish are coming on (though it’s still a little early so prices are a little high). I better pick up a King Cake before Friday, because the Heathens may riot soon, and we have a crawfish boil/oyster roast fete to attend this weekend. Now, if I could just figure out what I need to bring, but that’s a conversation for another day.