Today I reached a pretty major milestone in my life as a bicyclist: I have officially ridden my bike every day for the past 6 months. Starting on March 31st I have ridden my bicycle every day for a total of 1330 miles. Now to be honest, that includes a few very cold days in April when I rode my bike around the cul-de-sac three times and called it a night and at least two days on our trip to Maine that it was raining, and I only biked to the end of the driveway and back. But, I was on my bike every day.
It is a pretty awesome feeling! I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it when I started way back in April, but now I don’t want to stop. I am hoping to keep it up at least until the first snow, but we’ll see how I handle the cold.
I’ve done a lot of different things over those 6 months:
rebuilding my bike myself
Tour de Donut in Arcanum, Ohio – 30 miles
BikeTOURberfest – 37 miles
Solstice Ride from Muncie to Richmond – 42 miles
riding carriage trails in Acadia National Park in Maine
my daily commute to work – 6 miles round trip
Big Steve’s Awesome Route – 36 miles
a short 30 minute mountain biking adventure in Maine
grocery getting in Richmond
biking to church
riding lots of miles with friends
biking in sun, rain, freezing temperatures, and wind
It has been a great adventure, and I am hoping to reach 2000 miles before the year ends.
This Saturday Matt and I picked 24 pounds of ripe strawberries from Bell’s Strawberry Farm in Hagerstown, IN, and along with freezing 3 gallons of whole strawberries, I made a batch of strawberry jam. This was my first time making jam, and it was an interesting experience.
The book we used, “Food in Jars,” gave really good instructions, and the process was pretty straight forward. Everything went swimmingly until we started cooking the strawberries down. It mentions in the book that the strawberries will foam like mad, but doesn’t mention what to do about it. After 5 minutes of nearly constant foaming over, Matt did some quick internet research and found out we were supposed to be skimming the foam off the berries as they cooked. It drives me a little batty when recipes leave out things like this. For cooking beginners like me that sort of stuff is really important.
It also turns out I am an impatient/anxious cook. The recipe called for cooking the berries to 220 degrees, and it took FOREVER! During which time, I got nervous that our thermometer was broken, fretted about what happened if we over cooked the berries, worried we were under cooking them, tried three different thermometers, and generally drove Matt crazy. I think this comes from my lack of experience in such matters, and hopefully in the future I will be less stressed about this process.
In the end the jam looks beautiful and is safely canned. Some of the jars have set/gelled better than others, but I have faith that they will all be delicious!
Wow! I can’t believe it has been almost a year since I wrote a “real” blog post. I guess that is what happens when you are living your life. And I have been doing just that for the past year:
I’ve continued to bake and added even more kitchen tasks to my list of accomplishments, including canning and preserving. My friend Carol Hunter taught me to can tomatoes back in August, and both Matt and I are hooked. We are now the proud owners of our very own water bath canner, 4 books on canning and preserving food, and copious amounts of jars and lids.(If you have any to give away we will always take more)
My favorite bike blogger Dottie from Lets Go Ride Bikes was recently hit by a hit-and-run driver while biking home from work. She is okay but her beautiful bike is not. My friend Mark suggested that we show our support for Dottie, who is an inspirational blogger, and bike commuting by helping Dottie raise the funds she’ll need to fix her bike. I think that is an awesome idea, and I want to share it with you.
So if you want to make a donation use the widget below. Otherwise please spread the word!
A while back I started a baking adventure. My plan was to pick one recipe from Cooks Illustrated, test it out, and blog about the results each week. I really enjoy desserts and wanted to learn to make my own. I’ve been doing it since August, and I have made a LOT of baked goods. Some of them have turned out amazingly well, and some of them have turned out quite poorly, but it has been fun along the way. I have learned a lot and gotten to the point where I look forward to baking each week.
Unfortunately, I have gotten really behind on the blogging portion of my challenge, so I have made a number of yummy items that no one ever got to see. So I thought it would be fun to go through and list those items. Continue reading this post…
Came across this video today on Geeks are Sexy Technology News, and it pretty much explains why women feel like such failures. Our society’s beauty standards are based on impossible and photoshoped bodys we see in magazines.
I am finding that I am not having any trouble keeping up with my weekly baking adventure, but I am having a hard time getting a blog post written each week. I will try to do better, but no promises. I finally felt up to taking on advanced recipes and went straight for homemade eclairs followed by chocolate cream pie with oreo cookies crust. I love eclairs, and chocolate cream pie is a favorite Thanksgiving dessert, so I was very hopeful that they would turn out well. And I am pleased to announce that, a little under-baking on the eclairs aside, they were AMAZING! Continue reading this post…
That’s right folks, I am a quitter. I quit the Six Items of Less Challenge yesterday. It was my second go round, and I was just simply tired of doing it. I made it through day 24 of 30, but couldn’t finish. I spent a week trying to talk myself out of quitting but didn’t succeed.
The reason I started doing the challenge to begin with was because I had a good time the first time I did it, and I thought I would enjoy it equally this time. Unfortunately I did not. I don’t know if it was the clothes I picked or the time of the year or the fact that I was sick for most of it, but I was not into it. I realized that wearing clothes I didn’t enjoy was affecting my mood. I was spending far too much time stressing in the morning about how I could possibly make the same six items of clothes look different or make me happy about what I was wearing. But for a long time I wouldn’t allow myself to quit.
I thought I would let people down: At least a few people have enjoyed seeing my photos each day.
I though people would think less of me: Who quits a challenge six days before it ends.
I though that Matt would pick on me: He had a much harder time the first go round but didn’t quit.
I thought it meant I was a failure: I have a very hard time not being able to complete something.
But I realized that if the point of doing this was for enjoyment and I was no longer enjoying it, then it was time to stop. And I think I might have learned more from quitting than finishing.
What I learned
My friends and family aren’t going to stop loving me just because I don’t succeed at something or if I change my mind. They don’t like me for what I do or accomplish. They like me for me.
I don’t always have to be perfect. I don’t always have to “win”. People will not think less of me.
Personally, I think these lessons are more important than anything I might learn about my clothes or my relationship to my clothing.
Well it is official: I have lost my mind. I am going to do the Six Items or Less (SIOL) Clothing Challenge again. There is an official cycle starting today on the SIOL website, so I am joining the community and jumping in. For those of you who don’t know or remember what SIOL is, here is a quick reminder. Each cycle of SIOL is 30 days and you choose six articles of clothing to wear for the full 30 days. That does not include: undergarments, socks, shoes, accessories, workout clothes, work issued uniforms, outerwear, or pajamas.
I am still picking out my six items of clothing, but as long as I don’t wear something I still have a few days to make a decision. It is a lot harder this time to make a decision, because I don’t want to just usethe same clothes I did last time. I actually broke down and borrowed a few items from a wonderful friend so there would be some variety in my wardrobe. Plus there is the added pressure of living up to my last experience. I have decided on four main pieces, but I am struggling with the last two. I am waffling between a purple dress and a pair of black dress pants for one item and a black sweater or something more colorful for the other.
I have selected the following itmes for sure (I’ll post photos once I get them all chosen):
I am a lot more nervous about this round than I was the last one. Especially with the weather being so cold. I am worried I’ll end up wearing the same combination all the time just because it is warmer than others. Either way, it will be an adventure and I am looking forward to learning more about myself and my relationship to clothes.
It is official, I made the best brownies ever this week. That includes boxed brownies and restaurant brownies. I tried the Cooks Illustrated brownies earlier this year and was not impressed with how they turned out, so I turned to Alton Brown for a recipe. And let me tell you, I hit the jackpot. These brownies are relatively easy to make, taste very chocolaty, and have a nice fudgey texture.