Hello New Year!

So 2017 is now in full swing!

I didn’t realise it had been so long since my last post…oops! That November/December period is full on! Family, birthdays, school finishing, holidays…and no real time to sit and crochet!

So, some news from Neen’s Crochet Corner…

My Annie the Alpaca pattern appeared in Issue 52 of Simply Crochet! Who grabbed themselves a copy? Supper chuffed and honoured to be a part of such an amazing publication!

I’m looking forward to bringing some of my design sketches to life this year so stay tuned for new things!

To you and yours have an amazing New Year!

♥Neen

 

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Crochet Contest

So, who doesn’t love a contest?
Who doesn’t love prizes?
Head over to Rebeckah’s Treasures and check out the

Fall into Christmas Crochet Contest 2016

fall

There are some amazing prizes up for grabs from some very talented crochet designers!

Articles of a Domestic Goddess
Creative Crochet Workshop
Crochet Memories
Dana Dee’s Crochet Boutique
DefySocietyArts
Divine Debris
Dragonfly Dutchess
FiberDoodles by K4TT
Forever Stitchin
Get Stuffed
Greybriar Hollow
Lisa Kingsley Designs
Little Monkey’s Designs
Looping with Love
Made by Mary
Melissa’s Crochet Patterns
Moji-Moji Design
Neen’s Crochet Corner
Oombawka Design Crochet
Same DiNamics Crochet
Snappy Tots
The Cheerful Chameleon
The Country Willow
Underground Crafter

This crochet contest will run over the course of 7 weeks, from today (October 30th) until Monday, December 19th, with winners announced Wednesday, December 21st 2016.

So what are you waiting for?

Head on over, check it out and get your crochet on!

Happy crocheting! 😀

Christmas Critters

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post! So much going on and time has just flown by! But I’m pleased to say that I have some new crochet patterns to share with you and they’re free. That’s right! FREE!

I’ve created some brand new Christmas decoration designs exclusively for Lincraft which they have shared online in there ‘How to’ section. The Christmas Critter – Koala is also available in the How to Make Christmas 2016 booklet available online and in stores!

Now this little guy would have to be my absolute favourite! I have a soft spot for the Green Tree Frog and remember fond encounters of them in my Nans toilet bowl out on her farm! I’ve also watched them devour the good old Huntsman Spider whole and, although it’s a rather harmless arachnid, I’m still happy for the froggy to chow down! Besides…that’s nature!

Christmas Critter – Green Tree Frog can be found via my Ravelry page or direct link to the pattern at Lincraft.

As a kid living in an old Queenslander style house, we used to have a possum living in our roof. At night she would come down and munch on some food we started to leave out for her. Over time she would come and sit, waiting for us to pass her some food which was a bit of a highlight each night. You can imagine our delight when one night her baby popped out of her pouch to say hello! Mother and baby stayed in our roof (not always very quietly might I add), until baby was old enough to move along. They both soon left and, much to my dismay, the gap in the roof was sealed so no more critters could make themselves at home!

possum1

Christmas Critter – Possum can be found via my Ravelry page  or direct link to the pattern at Lincraft.

Koalas…everyone loves koalas! An iconic Aussie critter indeed and his little Christmas hat and gum leaf scarf make him just the sweetest little fellow ever!

koala

Christmas Critter – Koala can be found via my Ravelry page or direct link to the pattern at Lincraft.

Now, the Cockatoo! They can be noisy, especially when they arrive in a huge group and chit and chatter away! Seeing a flood of white across the ground that suddenly lifts up and flaps away squawking is an amazing sight!

cockatoo

Christmas Critter – Cockatoo can be found via my Ravelry page or direct link to the pattern at Lincraft.

I hope you enjoy these Christmas Critters with a definite Australian feel.
Thank you to Lincraft for sharing them with everyone for free!
If you make one and share on Facebook or Instagram don’t forget to use the hastag #LincraftLoves so we can all see your work!

Until next time, happy creating!

♥Neen

Detox done and dusted!

Whoops! So I didn’t check in with my last day!
Just to get you up to speed, on the menu was…

Day 7:

  • Breakfast – 2 egg omelette with tomato, parsley and mushroom. 1 slice lean bacon.

  • Mid Meal – Small handful of nuts

  • Lunch – Soup

  • Mid Meal – Orange

  • Dinner – 150g lean beef or chicken, grilled, with salad, low-fat dressing

Yep, all done except for the soup! Opted out of that and replaced with salad. Yeah, yeah…cheating? Perhaps but still healthy!

So, all done! I’m feeling better, feeling happier and have more get up and go! Before I would drag myself out of bed, wallow at the breakfast table sipping my sugar filled morning cuppa and yelling at the boys to get moving!

Now I’m out of bed without dragging my feet! I don’t even need to finish my cuppa in order to get myself moving! lol
I’ve been making everyone’s lunches and just that small step seems to have cut down on the chaos!
Confession moment…my children had to fend for themselves with school lunches!
Yes, yes, sad I know!
I discovered during this that my 14 year old wasn’t even taking sandwiches to school because he didn’t have time! His lunch box one morning consisted of 3 snack bars, 1 packet of chips, 1 packet of crackers and a store bought small cake!

No fruit, no veg and just a lunchbox full of processed crap!

No, no, no!

In steps Mum! Fresh salad wrap, piece of fruit and capsicum sticks to replace most of that rubbish!
No wonder he’d come home and eat half the house! There was no quality food or nutrition in anything he had!

That was a Mummy ‘fail’ moment! 😦

Eyes open!

I’ve been searching the net and I’ve discovered meal planners! Yep! That’s my new life saver! The kids now know exactly what’s for dinner and so do I! No more agonising over what to make only to end up with sausages and fries!

Thursday and Friday are going to be my baking days. Thursday morning is Market day so I can go and purchase all the fresh ingredients I need and then bake up school snacks for the week. Homemade biscuits, cakes, slices, muffins, quiches, breads…choosing healthier versions too with less sugar and more nuts and fruits.

Of course I still have to fit everything into our life style and our budget. With four growing boys, our food bill will only get bigger! Having my children enjoy a batch of homemade goodness with nutritional value would certainly be cheaper than buying boxes of ready-to-go school snacks!

Definitely worth my time and energy!

Can’t put a price on my health or my family’s health really!

Best of luck to anyone on their own food journey! There’s always hope, there’s always a chance to turn things around…if you really want to!

Time to reclaim my kitchen, my tastebuds and my life!

 

Read Day 1: Here
Read Day 2: Here
Read Day 3: Here
Read Day 4: Here
Read Day 5: Here
Read Day 6: Here

 

Detox Day 6

My week of detox is almost at an end! Only today and tomorrow to go!

So, what have I learnt? Quite a bit actually! I’ve made some healthier options available for, not only myself, but my family. I’m seeing so many benefits, not only emotionally but physically as well.

I’ve discovered my body can survive without all the added sugar and junk food and is definitely better for it!

I’m more in tune to when my body really needs food as opposed to boredom eating or eating things just so they don’t go to waste! I recognise when I’ve had enough…despite how good something tastes…and giving myself permission to stop eating!

The whole mentality that I’ve grown up with that you have to finish everything on your plate is gone and I won’t force my children to go beyond their limits either!
No more, “Just eat one more bite!” or “You’ve only got a little to go! Just eat it!”
No!

Recognising and acknowledging the body’s signals for food is important and I want my children to learn it as they grow, not have to figure out eating, health and weight issues when they’re adults!

So, on the menu today…

Day 6:

  • Breakfast – 1/2 cup mixed berries with 100g low fat yoghurt. 1 peach.

  • Mid Meal – Small handful of nuts

  • Lunch – Soup

  • Mid Meal – Peach

  • Dinner – Soup

I’m loving the breakfasts I’ve been having! They set me up well for the morning, are light and satisfying! Eggs, fruit, berries and yoghurts will form part of my new breakfasts once the 7 days are done!

Breakfast Day 6

The children are home today and chasing food…as usual! So I decide, instead of my small handful of nuts, I’d look for a healthy alternative that we can all have for our morning tea! I found a recipe for No Bake Snack Bars over on The Brunette Diaries and decided to give it a go.

The recipe called for:

  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 3/4 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup peanut/hazelnut butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 pinch salt

I added a crunchy hazelnut spread (a little more then recommended as it wasn’t coming together), mixed nuts instead of just cashews and no salt. Out of our family of six, only my 7yr old didn’t like it. My youngest Master 4 just loves them! It was a nice nutty sweet treat for morning tea and I enjoyed every bite!

No Bake Snack Bars

Now, I looked at this menu and groaned!
Soup!
I’m so over soup!
I don’t think I can do it!
Nope!
Not one bite!
So, instead of soup I’m having a wholegrain English breakfast muffin with leafy greens, tomato and a slice of cold lean beef.
No, not on the menu but it’s healthy. For arguments sake I’ll say I’m starting to live what I’ve learnt! 🙂

Dinner…soup

Nope!

Plate of fresh salad – leafy greens, tomato, sugar snap peas, carrot, capsicum and cucumber. Still good, still nutritious and still healthy!

Feeling good! Only 1 more day to go but I’m starting to think ‘I got this!’

I haven’t added sugar back into my tea cups, I’m loving my new lactose free skim milk and I love having all the fresh fruit, vegetables and healthy snack options in the house.

I’m searching for healthy cakes, biscuits and slices for the kids to try and I’ve also written up my meal plan for the next week including some yummy healthy meals for the family. I think a part of eating healthy is to prepare! It’s those things we grab last minute or when we ‘can’t be bothered’ that often aren’t the best choice for us.

Until tomorrow,

Read Day 1: Here
Read Day 2: Here
Read Day 3: Here
Read Day 4: Here
Read Day 5: Here

Detox Day 5

Wondering how I’ve made it this far! Oh, that’s right! I’ve noticed some positive changes! 🙂

  • Over 4 days I’ve lost 2.2kg (Not the main goal of the detox but I won’t complain! 🙂 And that’s without really doing any exercise…just my usual day to day routine.)

And before anyone jumps on me about healthy weight loss and how I can’t maintain it, this is just a 1 week detox from rubbish and a beginning to healthy eating. I’ve regonised when I’m hungry (I haven’t felt that sensation in a long time!!) and I now recognise when I’m full. This is learning to eat right, make better choices, and listen to my body.

  • I feel less bloated.
  • I’ve had no sugar (aside from naturally in my fruit and veg) and I’ve noticed my ‘sugar headache’ has just become a niggle, rather than a constant head thumping ache.
  • My sugar cravings are leading me to want a piece of fruit!
  • My skin is clearing up!
  • I’m more positive with the kids.
  • My patience has certainly improved. (Yes, I’ve been cranky and irritable in the afternoon/evenings but it’s usually short lived or solved my removing myself from the situation of temptation!)
  • I feel good. Yes, I’ve had some down moments but that’s to be expected! I feel good about my choice to detox from sugar and other crap and I feel good that I’ve stuck with it! I feel good that I’m making a positive change that has forced me to re-access how I live my life!

Will I ever eat a piece of cake again? Sure I will! I’ll just make a better, healthier choice or take the smaller piece! I don’t want to deprive myself of anything. I just have to remember that it’s a ‘treat’ not an everyday food of unlimited portion size…and I DON’T have to finish off everything and I am in control of what goes in my mouth.

So, menu for today will end on a high…oh the anticipation! 🙂

Day 5:

  • Breakfast: Scramble 2 eggs with capsicum and shallots. No oil.

  • Mid Meal: Small handful of nuts

  • Lunch: Soup

  • Mid Meal: Apple or pear

  • Dinner: 150g lean beef or skinless chicken, grilled, with salad, low-fat dressing.

Breakfast…yeah, not fussed actually! Great colour, lovely smell but I’m not a huge capsicum fan and I added too much! Some salt would have improved it a lot…and a slice of toast…but I finished it and, as usual, washed it down with my sugarless tea with skim milk.

This morning I’m off to watch the boys play rugby league football. At least it gets me out and about so I’m not sitting at home dreading that bowl of vegetable soup for lunch! As we hopped out of the car at the football fields I’m hit with the smell of food!

Oh no!

Just up the road I can smell KFC and McDonalds!

Smells good!

No, wait…it smells oily and fatty…don’t want!

But I do!

No I don’t!

But I do!

No, no, no…

Inside the football grounds I small pies, chips and gravy, sausage rolls!

Wahhhhhhhhhh!

I would have been better off at home. Although I guess it’s when I’m out that some of the worst choices are grabbed without thought! This could be a good thing! Resist, resist, resist…eat those healthy nuts instead!

Home again and it’s almost time for lunch. Soup…*gag*

As I retrieve a bowl from the table with half an uneaten muffin sitting, staring back at me in the bottom, I realise that dieting with kids is hard! Discovering I don’t have to finish off their meal is a big thing! I’m not saving or benefiting in any way by eating up their remnants. I’m not doing the world some huge favour…I’m taking in unnecessary food and I usually don’t even realise I’m doing it or register it as food consumption for the day.

It’s just…habit! Time to nip that one in the butt and make sure I never start doing it again!

Afternoon tea is an apple and a cup of my green detoxing tea. I find the tea bearable now…not great…but bearable!

So excited for dinner! Like ridiculously excited!! I started preparing early and my 12yr old jumped in to help get the salad ready. Leafy greens, sugar snap peas, red capsicum, carrot, tomato, pineapple (for them, not me!) and cucumber. Could not wait!

I enjoyed that steak and my pile of salad with just a dash of low fat Caesar salad dressing soooooo much! I kept having to remind myself to slow down and simply enjoy it for fear of indigestion!

What a great pick me up! A fantastic way to end the day! Only 2 more days to go and then I’ll be trying to live what I’ve learnt and keep the ‘healthy’ in my diet. I got this!

Read Day 1: Here
Read Day 2: Here
Read Day 3: Here
Read Day 4: Here

Detox: Day 4

Another restless night, again a brain that won’t be quiet as it thinks of food.
How it affects my life, how it affects my family.
I have discovered through all of this that I’m a sweet tooth. I have always finished every meal with something sweet! Whether it be a sugar filled cup of tea, dessert, biscuit, cake or chocolate…I have always had a sugar hit after every meal! Now there’s a wake up call!

This detox diet has me yo-yo-ing daily between anticipation or dread for the next meal! The anticipation of something new and yummy is about the only thing keeping me going right now! The thought of the dreaded vegetable soup makes me sick to my stomach!

On the menu today…

Day 4:

  • Breakfast – a punnet of strawberries with 100g of low-fat yoghurt

  • Mid Meal – A small handful of nuts and fruit

  • Lunch – Soup

  • Mid Meal – An orange

  • Dinner – Soup

I went to market yesterday and brought myself a gorgeous, vibrant, sweet smelling punnet of farm fresh local strawberries in anticipation of this breakfast! Now that right there is a bowl full of yum!

Breakfast Day 4

Morning tea was alright but I knew the soup was coming up! Wanting to quit! I mean, who would know if I chowed down on a sandwich or gobbled up an apple…?

Me! I’d know! Only cheating myself right?

Soup…blah! Couldn’t finish the last mouthful! Washed it down with a glass of my skim milk (see…sweet hit…but at least it’s a healthy option and it’s on my list of things I can have!)

Food…thinking about food…all the time!

Decided to get in and make the kids some banana muffins for afternoon tea. What an awesome idea right? Wrong!
Without thinking I licked the batter off my finger!

Why? Why would I do that? TASTES SO GOOD!

Help! Help me! I’m caving….

Oh no, the smell! I forgot they’d smell so…damn…good!

Why would I do this to myself? Stupid! I want to cry, I want to give it all up and chow down on one of those muffins! Thank goodness it’s time to leave the house and get the children from school…resisting…

Afternoon tea, I shut myself in my craft room while I listen to my boys go on about how good they are and ‘Thanks Mum! They’re yum!’ Yay me… Oh, hello orange! I’ll eat you instead of a yummy muffin… *sulk*

Actually really enjoyed that orange! Sweet, juicy…I’m happy again. Until I think of dinner…

Soup…

Finished up that soup while sulking! I want to cry, I want to throw it out the window, I WANT A BOWL OF ICE-CREAM FOR DESSERT TOO DAMN IT!! *sulk, sulk, sulk*

I made it! Finishing off the day with a cup of sugarless tea with skim milk. I keep drinking this tea expecting it to hit me with sugar. When I don’t get it I feel disappointed but just the comfort of the warm liquid seems to be enough for now. Today has been rough!

Tomorrow I get to eat a steak! Hang in there!

Tomorrow I’ll share some noticeable changes! They’re good…they’re part of what keeps me going! To anyone else wanting to turn their life around, don’t ever be afraid to start and for those trying, keep going! You can do it!

Hang in there!

In case you’ve missed my detox journey or need to catch up, the links are:

Read Day 1: HERE
Read Day 2: HERE
Read Day 3: HERE