{This Moment}

A Soule Mama Inspired Ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. If you are inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

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01-31-2014

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Kiera

3

{My Crafting Corner} – A Monster Quilt

My major crafting project over the Christmas holidays and the first part of January has been a very special baby quilt for a very special little boy. Some friends of ours are expecting their second child, a little boy, and I set out to create a custom quilt for their nursery. When I asked Kristen what she was planning on for the nursery, she told me blue, tangerine, and monsters. She had found some awesome monster print fabric and was designing the room around that fabric. Armed with a picture of the fabric and her color scheme, I started planning.

I started with a modern stripped quilt design and incorporated appliquéd monster blocks into the design. What I came up with is an entirely original and custom design just for Kristen and Kylan’s special little man. Using Pintrest and some quilting blogs, I brainstormed for ideas before drawing out and designing the quilt from scratch. I dragged Mr. Tux with me to Jo-Ann’s fabric shopping – my argument for him being there was since it was his co-worker, Mr. Tux had to give input. Honestly,  I really just needed him to bounce fabric prints off. I knew exactly what I wanted from the quilt imagined in my head.

The quilt was based on a crib quilt size of 40″x60″ with a 1/4″ seam allowance. The quilt top is constructed of cotton fabrics with a soft flannel backing to give it an extra cuddly side. While I was doing all my shopping for quilt fabrics and Tuxley’s Christmas blankets, I also happened across awesome flannel prints I couldn’t say no to. The end result is that Kristen and Kylan not only ended up with a finished crib quilt, but they also got two blue and tangerine chevron receiving blankets, one monster print receiving blanket, and one extra burp rag from leftover quilt backing. On top of that, I had enough fabric leftover from the quilt and in my flannel stash to make a matching doll quilt and blanket for big sister. By the time I was finished, Mr. Tux was ready to give everything to them and have me stop creating things. I can’t help that one of my strongest love languages is gifts, yes, I probably did go a bit overboard. But I had SO much fun doing it.

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Adorable monster fabric!IMG_4444

Ironing. There was lots and lots and lots of ironingIMG_4448

One finished doll quiltIMG_4454

custom name appliqué instead of a monster on the doll quiltIMG_7480

Another picture of the finished doll quiltIMG_7486

I used the same backing as brother’s monster quiltIMG_7489

The finished doll quilt and blanketIMG_4449

My pile of finished items is growingIMG_7495

the receiving blankets…I posted about making them hereIMG_7502

the first blue monsterIMG_7505

the first orange monsterIMG_7511

blue monster number twoIMG_7509

orange monster number twoIMG_7507

the third and final blue monsterIMG_7513

the last and final orange monsterIMG_4446

The first look at what the finished quilt top will look likeIMG_7515

the quilt backing worked perfectly with the topIMG_7518

One completed monster quilt with monster receiving blanket and burp clothIMG_4452

my completed pile of stuffIMG_7521

The whole and complete layout for the baby!IMG_7523

An up-close picture of all the goodiesIMG_7522

I am thrilled with how everything worked!IMG_4451

The quilt is so bold and bright! I just love it!IMG_7524

I hope they like everything….IMG_7500One last picture of the finished quilt. It turned out almost exactly like it was supposed to. The things that didn’t work will always be the quilter’s secret.

Stay tuned for another post revealing Kristen and Kylan’s amazing monster nursery and how the quilt fit into its new home.

Kiera

Saoirse’s New Modifications

Mr. Tux and I are gearing up for the start of cycling season. In preparation for our planned Farmer’s Market and long distance rides, we have been slowly adding components and upgrades to our steel bikes. Mr. Tux installed fenders as well as front and rear racks on Optimus at the end of last year’s cycling season. Saoirse however, has had to wait until I purchased my rollers and no longer needed to be using her as my bike on the trainer. After I purchased and set up my rollers in December, it was time to order the missing parts for Saoirse and take her in for some custom brake work.

I have really small, petite hands, and as such have trouble reaching the brakes on any bike. Eowynn has shims placed under the brake levers to bring them closer to the handlebars. Because Saoirse has bar end shifters and is a totally different handlebar set up compared to Eowynn, we couldn’t just place shims under the brake levers. This time, the local bike shop did some custom machining on the brake levers. They built up the platforms and moved the entire setup. It worked. For the first time since bringing Saoirse home in August I can comfortably reach the brakes from both my normal position on the handlebars and when I am in drops. It is AMAZING! It is the first time I can comfortably and easily reach the brakes when riding in drop bars on either bike. I am stoked. Our local bike store is amazing and some fabulous talent!

Once Saoirse’s brake levers were finished, it was time to install the fenders and front rack. Unlike Mr. Tux’s Optimus, Saoirse came from the factory with a rear rack. Having the front rack and fenders would complete the modifications necessary to finish setting up Saoirse as a well-rounded, 3-season beast of burden. Mr. Tux was wonderful and undertook the tedious work of installing my fenders and front rack for me. He did a wonderful job. With the front rack and fenders now installed, Saoirse is ready to haul the four matching panniers. I can’t wait for better riding weather to take Saoirse on a shake-down ride.

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Tuxley tried out the new front pannier. It works!IMG_4674

My custom built brake leversIMG_4675

My dashboard looks rather wicked with the aerobars installedIMG_4670

Saiorse before we started work installing fenders and front rackIMG_4679

The front rack is installedIMG_4680

Up close and personal with the front rackIMG_4681

up close with the rear rackIMG_4677

lots of small parts and piecesIMG_4687

My snazzy front panniers!IMG_4688

Snazzy rear panniers!IMG_4721

The rear rack with it’s shiny new fenderIMG_4724

what everything looks like with a pannier attachedIMG_4725

Front wheel set up with snazzy pannierIMG_4719

Saoirse is looking rather sexy with full racks and fenders!IMG_4676Tuxley approves and is looking forward to cycling!

Kiera

{This Moment}

A Soule Mama Inspired Ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. If you are inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

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01-24-2014~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kiera

Calories and Exercise: Steps Toward the New Me

Mr. Tux and I are on Week 18 of our current healthy eating and exercising routine. We started eating healthy and exercising to get in better shape, improve our overall health, and increase our cycling potential. Since we started eighteen weeks ago, we have been faithfully counting calories, exercising, weighing in weekly, and taking monthly body measurements to track progress. Other than the rough three weeks around Thanksgiving and Christmas, we have diligently stuck to our regime.

When we first started calorie counting, we were cycling 50+ miles a week still and burning hundreds of calories on a single ride. That made staying on a calorie deficit much easier since we were able to burn way above our daily caloric intake in a few short hours. However, the start of winter changed all that.

I am currently on a base caloric allowance of 1,350 calories a day. Those calories are split up between breakfast, lunch, snack #1, dinner, and snack #2. The math works out to about 300 calories for breakfast, 325 for lunch, 100 for snack #1, 400 for dinner, and whatever is left for snack #2. On any given day, I might shift those calories around as needed. For example, if I happened to not be very hungry for breakfast, I would move the calories I didn’t consume to lunch or dinner. Overall, the break down of three meals and two snacks seems to be working perfectly for me. It also appears to be maintainable.

To ensure we didn’t get burned out on salads and low-calorie foods, Mr. Tux and I created a “cheat meal” system. We are allowed three “cheat meals” a week. These meals might be dinner out for Sushi or Thai, lunch with co-workers, or a high calorie, homemade meal we happen to be craving. On days we have a cheat meal, we calorie count as normal, even the cheat meal, knowing – guilt free- that we will probably be over on our calorie goal and not worrying about it. We have been doing cheat meals since we first started and honestly, I am not sure we would have been as successful as we have been without the random breaks that cheat meals provide.

On top of calorie counting, Mr. Tux and I have set a goal of exercising at least three times a week. (Can you tell I like doing habit changes in sets of 3…3 blog posts a week, 3 cheat meals, 3 exercise days…etc.) For our winter exercise goals, Mr. Tux and I are focusing on strength and flexibility improvements. We have a customized routine that has us rotating three weight lifting routines and cycling with an added bonus of yoga. There is a total of four workout routines that we are currently rotating through. Weights #1 includes arm and chest exercises with cycling for cardio. Weights #2 is back and shoulder exercises with cycling for cardio. Weights #3 is leg and ab exercises with yoga (our legs have a hard time doing dead-lifts and squats then cycling so yoga provides a nice break). The fourth routine is a longer cardio session of cycling with a yoga cool-down. All four workouts are color coded on the calendar pages in my planner. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the days for the four routines. Sundays are reserved for long cycling rides or Zumba sessions when I need a change.

On days we exercise, I usually have an extra 300-600 calories depending on how many calories I burned working out. These calories enable me to have a post-workout protein drink as well as my normal evening snack. Overall the calorie counting and exercise system is working out great. We are maintaining our cycling legs and hope to start the riding season fairly strong and in decent shape. Once our cycling season starts, Mr. Tux and I will increase our daily calories to compensate for all we will be burning while cycling. For now we are just maintaining our deficits and strength workouts.

What about you? Do you count calories and/or workout regularly? Feel free to share your tips and tricks.

Kiera

Weekending Adventures

Classes are officially back in session which means Mr. Tux is busy nights and weekends again. This semester his class is a Tuesday/Thursday class that runs 75 minutes a session. Because of our workout schedule being Tuesdays and Thursdays already, he will watch the recorded classes Wednesdays and weekends. Classes have officially started and this was our last weekend before Mr. Tux’s homework kicked in. Saturday afternoon we went shoe shopping in a nearby town. Because we live in a smaller town, there is NO good shopping. As such we have to drive about two hours to reach a semi-decent mall and the best shopping in the vicenity. Besides shoe shopping, we also stopped in at REI and Title Nine. Overall, the shopping trip was a success! I found 5 pairs of cute, professional shoes in size 6 1/2 that all fit comfortably, and for only two-thirds of my budget. Happy me.

Besides the wonderful shopping trip, Mr. Tux and I also went out to eat at a tasty Indian restaurant, slept in, and relaxed. Sadly, the weather turned cold and non-sunny so we weren’t able to cycle outside like we were hoping. Basically, it was another wonderful weekend just living life in a small-town.

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Apollo and Zeus cuddled on the special blanketIMG_4626

More grudging cuddles on the cat bed in the officeIMG_4632

Apollo truly enjoys her sleep…oh the pleasures of being the senior petIMG_4634

This is Tuxley’s face when he wants up on my lapIMG_4638

Zeus and Apollo cuddled on the dog bed too…it was a weekend full of cat cuddles.IMG_4644

Then brother helpfully came over for a visit and interrupted the cuddles.IMG_4656

the frost on the grass definitely canceled our cycling plansIMG_4657

more frost on the grassIMG_4650

Tuxley is ready for a shopping adventureIMG_4646Turns out we weren’t going to the park, so Tuxley quickly lost interest in a car ride.

I hope everyone else had a wonderful weekend too.

Kiera

{This Moment}

A Soule Mama Inspired Ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. If you are inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

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01-17-2014~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kiera

1

Knits and Cuddles

I have been inspired. Several of the different blogs I follow have been posting different knitting projects. I must admit that seeing all of the wonderful knits the other ladies have been working on has inspired me this winter. I picked up my knitting needles for the first time in years and refreshed my brain. Most of what I have been knitting has been just practice and a random scarf knitted scrap for Tuxley. So far, it has been a blast.

In the evenings, Mr. Tux and I sit in the living room. He plays video games. I knit. Tuxley and Zeus fight for their favorite cuddle spots with us on the couch. The whole family settles down for several hours of relaxation and quiet calm. It has been glorious. I always need to have my hands busy and knitting has been an amazing outlet for my restless hands.

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IMG_4554I foresee many more evenings this winter cuddled up with Mr. Tux, Tuxley, and Zeus on the couch. Knitting. I can’t wait!

Kiera

Year In Review: 2013 Cycling Statistics

Ok, I know it is a bit late into the start of 2014 to do this post, but this is the first opportunity I have had to sit down and write this post. If you have been following this blog at all, you will know that cycling played a big part in our summer and fall activities. On December 31st, it was kind of fun to sit down and calculate the different cycling stats for the year. One thing to note about the stats that I am about to share, is that we only started recording and logging our rides at the end of July. This means that all of the numbers and figures are based on just under six months of cycling.

In the recorded mid-July through December 2013 cycling rides Mr. Tux and I:

  • logged 37 rides
  • climbed 11,000 ft
  • Our longest ride: 53 miles
  • Our biggest climb: 323 ft
  • Total miles ridden: 553 miles

I am very proud of those 552 miles ridden. Those 37 rides were so much fun, and Mr. Tux and I had a blast making memories together. If you break the miles down further for each of my individual bikes, it looks something like this:

  • 297 miles on Saoirse
  • 251 miles on Eowynn
  • 5 miles on FX

Eowynn had a pretty good year, but once we got our steel bikes (Saoirse & Optimus) the road bikes didn’t get ridden nearly as much. The nearly 300 miles on Saoirse were all within the first four and a half months of owning her. I just love that bike!

I am looking forward to the 2014 cycling season. We have already started logging rides and miles downstairs on the rollers and trainer. Ideally, I would like to double the miles ridden in 2013, but we will see how the cycling season goes. There will be another two to three months of winter/bad weather around here before outdoor cycling season should start. We are shooting for an April 1st start date for outside cycling. I can’t wait! Until then, I ride inside on the rollers and dream of the coming summer season and the repeat of rides like we had last summer.

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Kiera

 

 

{This Moment}: A Temporary Truce

A Soule Mama Inspired Ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. If you are inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

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01-10-2014~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kiera