Friday, April 29, 2016

Episode 52: Try Try Again

In lieu of "Fun Friday" this week, I'm just posting the podcast update for the week!! What a week what a week. I can't keep up! But it's the weekend and it's time to just put my feet up and relax a bit.

Thanks for keeping on keepin' on with me.

Let's get together on social media!

Facebook GroupHere
Ravelry Group: Here
Ravelry UsernametheCATTLady
Instagram Username@thecattlady


This week in pictures!

Finally back to spinning!


Fun at the park

Meeting some great friends

At the mall

Duffy goes everywhere

First night of Karate

Amazing yogurt smoothie

Emily visits the kitties 
Hard to see but the baby geese are back (they are at this same spot every year)

A year since I chopped off my thumb

So close to being finished 
Ready to turn the heel

Beautiful addition to the stash

Another beauty

Fun fabric!

Hope you get the Craft All The Things!

~Andrea The CATT Lady

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Throw Back Thursday: Learning to Knit

I may have shared this story on one of my podcast episodes and um...I'm not sure if recording is going to happen today, darn life getting in the way AGAIN! Tomorrow, Tomorrow, there's always tomorrow...where was I again? Oh yeah, learning to knit.

Back in 2008 a good friend came in to town to visit. I was just recently married and we were gearing up for our 10 year class reunion (go class of '98!). She spent the weekend of with us and had just learned how to knit! She insisted on showing me which I of course was very open to. I hadn't ever given much thought to knitting which honestly is surprising since looking back I know my grandmother and great grandmother used to knit. They weren't avid, knit all the time, kind of knitters so it's not like I have memories of them toiling away on projects. But I do remember my grandma knitting this cool, huge rainbow blanket - which she made for me and I still have! One day I'll pull that out and take a good picture of it.  My great grandmother actually crocheted. I want to say she knit as well, but I really am not sure. She also sewed her own clothes, quilted, and did an assortment of crafts. To say she is my inspiration is truly an understatement, I adored and always will adore that woman!

So we headed to Joann and picked out my very first supplies. A set of cheapy Susan Bates straight needles and a skein of worsted maroon yarn that I think was Patons...but I can't remember. She picked up a pretty bulky brownish/tan barber poled. Another Patons.  We scurried back home and she quickly taught me the basics: cast on, knit, purl, cast off. I was hooked. I loved everything about it and was excited to learn more right away. But first and foremost, I was impatient and was already googling how to knit faster. Throwing was just too slow for my taste. So enter Continental knitting. It probably took me a good week to get the hang of it, but once I got that going I was unstoppable! I can't exactly remember what I made first, but I ended up getting a circular or two and made a couple hats, some baby booties, and some fingerless mitts. I took terrible pictures of them and this was before I knew what Ravelry was:

First Knitting

First Hat

First Mitts

Booties for my neice

I was a casual knitter for the next couple years, picking up a few things here and there from Joanns and making hats mainly. Eventually I stumbled across Knit Picks and picked up a nice set of circular needles. Before that I was using a interchangeable by Denise - which was okay - but definitely was not doing the job for me. I spent most the fall and winter knitting, but by spring I would end up too busy with other things going on that it always kind of fell by the wayside.

Since I decided to start podcasting, I have now been FIGHTING to keep the crafting going all year round. I tell you it is a challenge. Fast forward 8 years and life is as hectic as ever. Two busy kiddos and just so many activities and things to get done.

But I have to.

Knitting is no longer just this passing fancy that came my way. It is now and integral part of my life, more than a hobby, but a passion! I love everything about it. I love making things and wearing the things I make. I love making things for other people. I love yarn, the beautiful colors and creations that indie dyers come up with. I hope to one day participate in that creation as well.

I've made AMAZING friendships over this craft and for that I wouldn't trade it for the world! The knitting/fiber community is the best there is. It's far from perfect, any of community of people has their bad apples and flaws, but compared to any other groups I've been a part of - this one is by far the kindest, most generous, most caring group I have ever had the pleasure to interact with.

I look forward to the many more years of knitting and crafting to come and to continue to learn more and do more!

Talk to you tomorrow!

~Andrea The CATT Lady

Write It Wednesday: My Bullet Journal Setup

Coolest journal EVER!

Oops, I missed a day yesterday. Turns out I had a long overdue 2 1/2 hour phone call with one of my oldest friends (and when I say that I mean friend I've know the longest - literally since we were both infants). We haven't talked since last May.  It's not intentionally of course, we just both have our own busy complicated complex lives and it's always hard to just sit down and make that extra time to reach out. Definitely was worth missing things like blog writing and podcasting of course.

So "Write it Wednesday" I was originally thinking would be about journaling. However what can I say? I love my journal. End of story. I'm not doing anything particularly new or different than anyone else right now, so there's not much to bring to the table. So we shall see, it may just turn into a life story or event or what not. It's also typically the day I intend to podcast so I potentially will already have a post on Wednesday. So we shall see where it takes us.

But today I will talk about the Bullet Journal method and what I like the most! I'll be honest, I hate calling it a journal. It's mostly just a planner, although there are some spreads that I track habits, goals, exercise, weight and happy moments, but at the end of the day those are just little extras. The main purpose is to be a calendar and daily list to keep me on track.

Want to know what my favorite part is?

The daily list. I thrive off lists. To the point that I usually have too many lists and end up getting nothing done.  There is nothing more exciting than crossing something completed off a list (I don't get out much). Even better, if I don't get it done, I just move it down to the next day, or next month or wherever I want it to go! It's so intuitive and fluid. Yes I do spend a bit of time with the set up. I spent all of Monday morning setting up May....but now I'm set for the month of May - except for my daily lists.

So what is in my journal? Let's take a peak. The best part is - this can change month by month. If I find one way isn't working as well, I can try something different next month. Or right away for that matter. I'm not stuck in a cookie cutter format of a pre-planned planner. Say Monday is a super busy day that requires a full page? Done. Last week I fit Friday - Sunday on one page. Oh, and if something comes up in between the week - I make a page or spread for that and continue my daily list on the next available page. It doesn't have to be in order as long as you keep your index up to date and leave yourself little markers or hints to help navigate. So far I haven't had any issues finding what I'm looking for.

So I start with the standards: Index, future log, and key.  Then I just dive right in. My planned set up from here on out is as follows:

Monthly spread - A full spread set up into 4 sections - morning, afternoon, evening and then a "Goals" list that takes up about half of the right side.

May Monthly Spread

See that little stripe of blue across the bottom? That's a piece of washi tape to mark the page. That way I can always know where the monthly spread starts. This is my calendar overview with events, birthdays, holidays, etc. The goals list on the side is just a place to jot things down that need to be done ideally by the end of the month. I have a lot of these left for sometimes it just doesn't happen.  I'll move some of them to May and the others perhaps spread out across a couple months as to not overwhelm myself.

Next up is:

"Favorite Moments" or whatever I want to call it for the month.  Here is an example of April's page. It was only half a month and well not that many notable things happened, but it's a fun page to have around!

Fun things from April

Following that is the "Daily Tasks" page and the "Monthly Meal Plan".  I drew out the grid on this one and realized perhaps I can make a grid on the computer and just print it out. So I did that for the tasks and the meal plan. I can implement both in June.

Daily Task Chart - A way to track things you would like to accomplish on a daily basis. Things like exercising, blogging, tracking my period, cleaning the litter box...etc. Simple things that I tend to forget about or tend to forget the last time I did. This has been pretty useful.

Drawing grids is not really my thing...

Meal Plan - I do so much better with grocery shopping and cooking when I have a plan. When I go to the store without a list I always screw up. One thing I do not put in my journal is a grocery list...not something that I particularly need to keep around and I don't need to be pulling out a bulky journal to cross things off as I walk through the grocery store.  Here it is printed out and taped in. Much quicker and easier!!

Much nicer with it pre-printed

Then I start my daily list! Every evening the night before or first thing in the morning I outline my day. I include the weather as well as my weight (since I'm trying to exercise and lose weight). I also add any extras to the side like if I'm feeling bad, or things that I may need to add to the grocery list.

It's a simple, yet effective way to keep things together! Whenever something pops in my head, I write it down instead of forgetting about it like I typically would do.

Daily "To-Do" List

So these are the monthly staple pages that go into my journal. After that it's whatever comes up! I have a page dedicated to the quotes I'm gathering for our deck replacement this summer (fun times). I have a "Craft Projects" spread of all the things I'm hoping to get done. The options are limitless for this.  Whatever you want in there, you put in there. It's YOUR personal planner. And even better, you can put these lists wherever you want - notice it just follows a page of daily lists. Those lists then continue a few pages later. As long as you keep them marked in the Index, they are always easy to find! Oh and if you look at the above photo, you will see I marked the page number where the dailies continue in parentheses next to the current page number. That really helps you flip around on the fly!

Craft List

One thing I will mention that I need to change is my colored markers. I just picked up a pack of fine line sharpies and boy do they bleed. So you will see in the photos you can see all the headers and marks from the page before. It doesn't bother me that much, but when I get around to it I will be picking up some better colored pens to decorate and keep it fun. This is purely optional of course, but who doesn't like a little coloring and doodling! I'll keep you posted if I find something better I like.

So there you have it. A quick tour through my planner. And there are so many resources and options on how to set up spreads. I highly recommend this system to anyone who needs organizational help! It's so fluid and so intuitive it's impossible to screw up. Yes it is still a challenge to stick with it sometimes, but at this point of my life with two busy children filled with tons of school events, extracurricular activities and so many "daily" things to get done, this was just what I needed to get it together. Here's hoping for a happy organized summer!

Happy Planning!

~Andrea The CATT Lady

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Try It Tuesday: Brioche Knitting

Brioche - seems to be the buzz word with knitting lately. Lots of fun patterns that use this fancy "stitch" as I would call it.

But hold up wait a minute? Isn't Brioche a kind of French bread? Yeah, that's what I thought too. And yes it is. But in knitting terms according to wikipedia:

Brioche knitting may have originated in the Middle East. However, the term "brioche" seems to have derived from French slang for "mistake". The name might be a reference to the brioche dinner roll, which is formed of two pieces, one stacked atop the other.

Brioche knitting creates a fun, reversible pattern, when used with two complimenting colors is extraordinarily beautiful! Here are few patterns I would love to try out:

Le Moelleux by Mina from The Knitting Expat.  A beautiful triangular shaped shawl with a simple brioche pattern. I am a sucker for shawls...

Le Moelleux

Another pattern that has caught my eye is the Brioche Vine Cowl which looks to be a exclusive. I'm sure if I dig around, I can find another cowl that I like on Ravelry though. I actually would love to make it those same colors too!

Brioche Vine Cowl

So there you have it, hopefully soon I will be adding Brioche into my repertoire of knitting skills. And while I'm at it, maybe I should bake a loaf of Brioche bread as well....

Have you tried Brioche? Did you enjoy the experience? Was it easy to catch on? Feel free to share your experience!

See you tomorrow!

~Andrea The CATT Lady

Monday, April 25, 2016

Make It Monday: Sweet Potato Hash

Happy Monday! This is the first installment of "Make it Monday"! I will try to vary it a bit, but for awhile it will probably consist of recipes. I have recently started to get into more Paleo recipes and have tried quite a few in the last couple weeks. I had another one in mind originally, but after I met this one I decided I have to share it first! I will be sure to share the others at a later time.

The website I perused the most is They have tons of recipes, including a 14 day menu plan. I glanced through the menu plan and just picked out the recipes that appealed to me. I printed out a gazillion and sat down and planned the next week.

This was planned for our Saturday Breakfast. I knew the kids wouldn't eat it, but I made them try it at least. One day they will eat the things I want them too....

Here is the original Recipe:

  1. 1 large onion, sliced
  1. 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  1. 1/2 tbsp ghee
  1. 2 Italian sausages, diced
  1. 2 sweet potatoes
  1. 3 tbsp fresh rosemary
  1. Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. 3 eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sweet with parchment paper. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil and the ghee in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sprinkle with salt. Cook on low heat for 30-40 minutes, until dark brown and caramelized.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and chop into bite-size pieces. Place into a large bowl with the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and rosemary.
  3. In a separate skillet, cook the sausages until browned. Add the cooked onions and sausages to the bowl with the sweet potatoes and toss. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread out the sweet potato mixture evenly onto the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 30-35 minutes until the potatoes are soft and browned. Either refrigerate overnight at this point or proceed to the next step.
  5. Place the sweet potato hash into a cast iron skillet and make three small wells to crack the eggs into. Crack eggs into the skillet and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bake for 15-18 minutes at 425 degrees F until the eggs are set.
  1. Servings: 4
  1. Difficulty: Medium
By Rebecca Bohl (

However, I am complicated and always do things slightly different. So here is what I did!

I just chopped up about 1 1/2 sweet potatoes and 1/2 a large onion. I did this in advance the night before. Threw them both in a bowl and put in the refrigerator.

The next morning I sauteed the onions and potatoes in a pan with Ghee. Seasoned with salt, and pepper.

Meanwhile, I also sauteeed a package of italian sausage - probably a pound. There was extra sausage, I didn't use it all.

When both were fully cooked, I dumped the sausage into the potato/onion blend and mixed together.

I set that aside and then cooked the eggs. I made my husband an over easy egg, while I decide to go for a fried egg.  Plate up the hash, place the egg on top and VIOLA!

The kids just ended up eating eggs.

We LOVED it. It was so so good and I am hoping to make a big batch and make for breakfasts during the week!

Hope you try it out and ENJOY!

~Andrea The CATT Lady

Friday, April 22, 2016

Fun Friday! What's the point of cleaning anyways!

Just a quickly little "meme" to lighten the mood! And this one literally made me chuckle out loud.

It seem pretty pointless to attempt to clean the crafting areas I've accumulated. It seems the minute they are clean - is the same minute I need something that I can't find because I just cleaned the whole table and it's tucked away where I can't get at it without essentially pulling out all my stuff again creating a whole new mess in said space! It's as bad as the darn kitchen - I clean it up before a meal and's an explosion once again after dinner.

Too bad the kitchen didn't have a door to just close...

Ta Ta for now!

Andrea The CATT Lady

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Self Image

Welcome to what I'm hoping to be a regular installment on my goal for really focusing on my blog. Just a few ideas I am thinking about for a daily theme include:

  • Make it Monday - A new recipe or pattern I have tried and enjoyed.
  • Try it Tuesday - Showcase something I would like to try in the future - pattern/recipe/etc.
  • Write it Wednesday - Something I've discovered/learned about bullet journaling.
  • Throwback Thursday - Story or craft from the past.
  • Fun Friday - Photos or silly stories. A joke or meme that made me laugh.

KISS - KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID. Simplicity is key. Short excerpts and stories that have meaning to me. That's the only way I will be able to dedicate time to this blog! Just a few minutes a day to make it habit.

So onward to today's installment of "Throwback Thursday". Now not all topics will be deep and meaningful, but this one I have thought about a lot lately.

Through my "TimeHop" app on my smartphone, a lot of happy memories of me being pregnant have come through my feed. My daughter was born in May and my son in June two years later. So the last few months (Feb, Mar, Apr...) I was obviously touting that big old belly! And look I'm even wearing the same shirt.

Days before Emily was born

Day before David was born

I look at these pictures now and think boy - my face was fat. haha. And yes, of course I gained lots of weight while pregnant, I was growing a baby for goodness sake!!  But you know what - some of that weight was completely unnecessary. I used being pregnant as an excuse to down a whole large bag of sour patch kids, or keep a box of zebra cakes in my car that I could snack on whenever the moment arose...which was every time I got in the car.

As far as exercise went? Nil. I was tired. But I didn't even try. With Emily I just stopped doing anything. However, after she was born I worked on getting things back together. I was in a very good place with my body right before I got pregnant with David. I had just ran my first half-marathon. I was at a pretty happy weight. But then I found out I was pregnant and just took that as a good excuse to stop doing anything!!

But at the end of the day I had two happy and healthy children. Besides David being breech and requiring a c-section a bit too early which kept him in the NICU for about two weeks, everything went smooth.

Ever since then I have struggled with my weight a bit. I am by no means fat and most people look at me and think I'm crazy for even saying that I have a problem. But it's true. I just carry my weight differently, and I'm the one looking in the mirror every day and seeing those extra pockets of flab on the butt and thighs, the now loose and stretch mark covered skin on my stomach and abdomen. And you know what, it bothers me. Not all the time, but a lot of the time.

And there is nothing that anyone can say to make that go away. And the worst part of it is - it will NEVER go away. No matter how in shape I get - stretch marks won't go away, loose skin won't firm up to its natural state again. Sure it may become less noticeable as my muscles underneath get stronger and some of the extra fat starts to dissipate. But it will always be there.

"But it's a reminder of what your body went through to have your beautiful children" they say. "Oh you look great" they say. "Your a tiger who's earned her stripes" (I hate that saying). And even though these things are true, it doesn't help the crazy little self confidence voice that we all have lurking in the depths.  I don't care who you are, I'm not convinced that as much as you say "Oh it doesn't bother me" or "I am woman here me roar" that it doesn't ever bother you. Perhaps not every day, perhaps only once a year, but still, it's there and it doesn't go away.

Now I don't say these things to be a Debbie Downer because it's not that. It's just a part of life. It's a part of who we are. It's not even just society, I think it's part of our DNA to have these feelings towards ourselves. And it's just how we handle them and deal with them that make all the difference.

Yes it bothers me, but does it stop me from doing things? Not really. The only thing I won't do right now is wear a bikini. And that's just me. I'm not comfortable with it. But if you are? DO IT! Will I be one day? That's my personal goal.  Weird goal I know, but two piece swim suits are cute and I like them. Modest ones that is....not "butt floss, nipple cover" ones. A nice sturdy full coverage two piece that's not a "tankini".

Here am I now however, close to four years after David has been born (oh my gosh are you kidding me!!), back at it again. Starting a healthier way of eating, exercising on a close to daily basis. And now that no more kiddos are going to be in the picture (zip, zilch, zero), I can just keep plugging along. It's been a two year roller coaster so far and I'm hoping to get off the coaster and on to a more steady train ride. I've lost about 25 pounds total since I first really started to take things seriously - so see I told you I was definitely carrying some extra weight. And there is still a good 5-10 pesky more pounds to go. But it's not all about the numbers. It's about feeling good too. And I do, I feel much better than I had. More energy, less moody and just all around happier. But what happens if I start back up that hill again? I will get to the top eventually and come right back down. Because I am determined to make this healthy lifestyle stick not only for myself, but for my family that I love so dearly. 

So there you have it. Just a snippit of my personal history and troubles. Can you relate? Am I just spewing nonsense? Have any stories of your own to share? Feel free to comment below.


Andrea The CATT Lady

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Episode 51 - Everything But Crafting

See the Ravelry group for a chance to win this yarn!

Well this week in crafts was a bit of a bust - but that doesn't mean a whole lot of other stuff didn't go on!! I am delving into a few other things that are taking up a little time until I get into a routine. And speaking of routines? I'm working on trying to really work on this blogging thing. I'm racking my brain for daily themes in attempts to keep things simple, organized and fun! I'll let you know how that goes...

Let's get together on social media!

Facebook GroupHere
Ravelry Group: Here
Ravelry UsernametheCATTLady
Instagram Username@thecattlady


This week in pictures!

Finally flip flop weather!

New obsession?

Bad to the bone

Kids are unsure about the Jeep roof being off...

Good wind blocker

I'm loving it though

The Cheese Haus Mouse!

Crazy Pied Piper cutout

Sprinkler fun

Clean slate

Emily's sidewalk art

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Episode 50 - Sicky Pants

Wow nothing like a good old bout of food poisoning to put you out of commission for a week. Should of recorded earlier last week but the kids were home for Spring Break so of course that always throws me too. But I'm back and well and on episode 50!! Thanks for coming along.

Shorter episode this week - even though it's been two weeks almost. Didn't get that much done really, but I do have a couple new cast ons and a FO that you never even saw as a WIP.

Let's get together on social media!

Facebook GroupHere
Ravelry Group: Here
Ravelry UsernametheCATTLady
Instagram Username@thecattlady


This week in pictures!

The calm before the storm...birthday dinner with my friend

Close up of the Star Wars bag!

New toy lightsaber

My little yellow belt!

Emily and Grandpa

New T-shirt

Back to the grind

Sock in progress