Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Winter Pinterst Challenge - Monkey Fist

I did it! I completed my very first Pinterest Challenge. The Pinterest Challenge is a seasonal event that was created by Katie Bower of Bower Power Blog and Sherry Petersik of Young House Love. Katie decided that we all needed to stop pinning and start doing the projects that we pin on Pinterest. The challenge is in no way sponsored by Pinterest. Its just a fun little event for everyone to take part in.

So for my first Pinterest Challenge I needed to find something I could complete over the weekend and preferably with something that I didn't need to buy any supplies for. I scrolled through my crafts board on Pinterest and found a tutorial on how to make a Monkey Fist Rope Ball. Many people use them for Nautical decoration but I had another plan in mind .......

Creative In Chicago

The image I had pinned was from However, it looks like the tutorial was actually posted on YouTube by a user named Stormdrane. Watching the tutorial it makes tying these knots look really simple, which in some ways they are but it can take a little practice. It took me 3 tries to get it right. Here is the YouTube video with the tutorial.

I took a few photos of my process but I'm sure the video is a bit more complete. The tutorial uses a 1 inch metal ball bearing but I wanted something larger so I used an old golf ball. I didn't measure out the length of rope exactly. Instead I just estimated it by wrapping the rope loosely around my 3 fingers three times and then took that times 3. I worked out pretty well. The tutorial shows you to wrap it around each direction 3 times but when I did that my golf ball showed through. So I redid it and did it 4 times each direction. Here is the Sisal rope and golf ball I used.

And of course you will need an audience to watch you complete this awesome project. Brady was willing to comply and considered attacking the rope the whole time.

First wrap it 3 to 4 times (depending on the size center ball you plan on using) around your three fingers. and place the last line between your middle finger and ring finger.

Then feed the other end of the twine around the lines that you already wrapped and through the middle and ring finger and feed it through to the front. Do this the same number of times you wrapped it around your fingers.

Place your center weight, in my case a golf ball, inside your twine.

Then feed the rope back through the loop above the ball and then forward through the loop under the ball.

Again you repeat this motion the same number of times as the other directions.

Now all you need to do is go around starting from the beginning end and tighten the rope. The key is to hold the pieces next to the part you are tightening so they don't slip. You want to probably go through and do this a couple times. I had a little tail left over. So I wrapped some scotch tape around the end to make it easier to feed it under the tightened ropes this made my wrapping a little fuller so I couldn't see any of the golf ball and then I just trimmed the end and tucked it in.

After it was all done I rubbed some catnip all over it to make it a little more interesting for the furry children.

Brady wasn't overly excited but Miss Tasha was rubbing her face all over it. I'd call this project a success.

Make sure you visit the rest of the Pinterest Challenge projects at the hosts blogs: Young House LoveBower PowerThe Remodeled LifeDecor & The DogSo will you be making your own Monkey Fist balls? These could be fun with some bright colored rope if you wanted something that wasn't so nautical looking.

Monday, February 18, 2013

White Stuff Everywhere - The Blizzard of 2013

As promised here are the photos from Winter Storm Nemo aka The Blizzard of 2013. W lost power Friday,  February 7th around 8:00 PM and didn't get it back until around 6:30 PM on Sunday, February 9th. We woke up on Saturday to a chilly 49 degrees in our apartment. We layered up and went down to shovel out the driveway and our cars.

And this is what a picture of a bunch of snow looks like when you forget to adjust your camera settings. Holy blinding snow.

There was so much snow. We have a rock wall that is around a foot to a foot and a half tall at the front of the yard that goes along the sidewalk. Well the snow on the sidewalk and the curb from the plow was level if not higher in some spots than our rock wall. I dug a little hole to stand in to show you how high it was but the  bottom layers of the snow was icy and packed down. So really I'm not even down to the sidewalk yet in the picture.

There was a tree down across the street leaning against the neighbor's house. He came out to shovel his driveway while we were shoveling away. He said the tree broke some of his siding, a few shutters and dented his gutter a little but luckily it only brushed down the side of the house instead of landing right on it. Also, he got lucky it didn't hit his car. He always pulls his car close to the road so he doesn't have to shovel his whole driveway to get out. If he had pulled his car in any further the tree would have landed on it.

Our cars were coated with snow and ice. Plus, I always park under the pine tree during snow storms. It isn't to uncommon for the branches to get stuck to the roof of my car. This time with so much snow weighing down the tree there were so many branches frozen to the roof.

Andrew had to take my ice scraper and disconnect all the branches before I could move it. I also had to somewhat crouch under a few branches just to get into my car. Andrew didn't even bother clearing off his car for a few days, letting the sun do most of the melting for him.

Here are what the 1st & 2nd floor neighbors' cars looked like. Just a bit of snow and ice for them, too. No that isn't an antennae sticking out of the snow on the car to the left. That is a very small tree branch frozen standing up.

The hardest part of shoveling was getting through all the solid snow that the plows had left in the driveway. Here is a picture of me posing on top of it with my weapon of choice. See the lump in the snow to the right of my shovel. yeah that is the end of the rock wall where the entrance to our driveway is.

After spending around 2 1/2 hours shoveling we walked down to the corner of our street to see what all the lights were the night before. Turns out we had power lines down on our corner and the corner one block down. Guess we found the reason why we had no power. We decided to see if the Dunkin' Donuts or McDonalds down the street had power. Well if they did they weren't open. We then found out from listening to the radio in my car that the Governor had announced that they wanted everyone off the road and if you were out driving around you could be charged with a $500 fine or up to a year in prison. Ooops. Guess we need to buy a battery operated radio for times like these. :) Luckily, we headed back home and didn't get pulled over.

We decided to go and stay at my Mother-in-Laws house with our kitties. It didn't look like we were getting power back any time soon and it was supposed to get below zero Saturday night. When we came back early Sunday afternoon it was very chilly in our apartment. I'd like to tell you the temperature but our thermostat only goes to 40 degrees and that is what it was at. I'm pretty sure it was less than that though. We unloaded the kitties and packed up our laundry to go wash at my Mom's house. We had left my cell phone number with one of the neighbors so we would know when power was back. Thankfully, we got the call just before 6:30 PM letting us know that we had electricity back.

Hopefully this was the last big storm before spring. I'm so ready for warm weather.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Snow Snow Snow

We were hit by Winter Storm/Blizzard Nemo!


We got somewhere around a foot and a half or more of snow dumped on us at our apartment. Sadly I'm not able to post any pictures right now. Why? Well last night we lost power around 9ish. Without electricity we also lost heat because even though we have gas heat and baseboards they still need electricity to either pump in the gas or the hot water through the pipes or both. I'm not quite sure. Since our apartment isn't usually on the warm side that meant it started to get quite chilly. We ended up sleeping with sweatshirts on and added an extra quilt to the bed. After shoveling for 2 1/2 hours this morning we were able to get my RAV4 out of the driveway. The power has still not come back. So we decided to pack up ourselves and the two kitties and go stay the night at my Mother-in-law's house. Heat and hot food were too good to resist. The cat's are currently hiding under the futon we will be sleeping on tonight. Hopefully, the power will be back soon. While we were out shoveling and driving here we saw three locations where power lines were down in our neighborhood and two trees had split. I took pictures of the snow in front of our apartment house, around our cars and me standing in the snow. I will post those another time though because I forgot to bring the cord for may camera to my Mother-in-law's. Oops. :) All this snow made me feel like I'm back in my hometown out in North Dakota. Though maybe I'm wrong but I don't remember us ever losing power in ND during a blizzard. Maybe they just have stronger power line connections because they are use to a lot of snow. I hope the rest of my New England friends and family members are safe and staying warm.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Weight Update & Our Regularly Scheduled Programs Part 1

Weight Loss update - So I have been using MyFitnessPal for 2 weeks now and I still love it. I've learned not to get too upset with myself if I go over my calories. There is enough wiggle room that I can go over some and still be losing weight. The best news - I'm down 5 lbs since I started MyFitnessPal. I'm on my way to losing those 40 I'm shooting for. I also added my ticker to the right side of my blog and it will automatically update every week when I check-in. I always weigh myself Wednesday morning right after I wake up and use that as my check-in weight. I also weigh myself a few other times throughout the week but don't check-in. 

So now I'll move on to what this post is really about - Our regularly scheduled programming aka our favorite TV shows.



Once Upon A Time - Fairy tale characters in our world. It is fantastic and the mysteries in each episode are fantastic.


Downton Abbey - I didn't start watching this until after the second season was finished. I caught up on the first and second season on DVD. We were all ready when the 3rd season started this year. Andrew was skeptical at first but he is hooked just as much as me now.


The Mentalist - Supposedly Patrick Jane has met Red John but I'm not sure who it is. Cho is so dead pan he makes me laugh. And we are pretty sure that Grace (the girl pictured in the upper right corner) is pregnant in real life. Every episode she is either sitting at her desk or behind something.



How I Met Your Mother - They recently announced that everyone has signed on for one last season. So that  means we will finally know who Ted is going to marry. I'm really hoping that means we get to meet her this season so it isn't just - hey here's the Mother, end of story.


Rules of Engagement - I love Patrick Warburton. He is hilarious! Sometimes I swear Andrew and I are a lot like Jeff and Audrey. Russell is just creepy.


Two Broke Girls - We started watching this show right from the beginning of the first season last year. We laugh so hard whenever we watch this show.



NCIS - We love every single one of these characters. Ziva and Tony just need to finally get together. Gibbs is great he is such a father figure for his team. Ducky, Abby and McGee just add to the fabulous cast.


NCIS Los Angeles - Many people were skeptical of this spin-off but we love it. I love every single character.


Vegas - Most of the time I love this show but there are other times when I could do without it. Some of the cast is fantastic where as others are just a little annoying.

That will do for now. I'll be back with the second half of our favorite shows in my next post.