The Happy Knitter becomes The Jolly Runner

A lot has happened in my life since I first started The Happy Knitter.   I have transformed from The Happy Knitter to The Jolly Runner and would like to invite you on my new chapter in life.  Please come visit me at my new blog www.jollyrunner.com.  I will be talking about all sorts of topics from running to hiking as well as things to do in Colorado.  I hope you join me on my new adventure and thanks so much for reading The Happy Knitter!

thank-you-word-cloud-1024x791-350x200

Pinterest Experiment – Day 5

The weather in Colorado has been very un-Colorado.  It rained almost the entire month of May and the rain continues in to June but with the added fun of severe thunderstorms.  Yesterdays experiment focused on our dog who suffers from seizures and to be fair today’s experiment focuses on our other dogs ailment – an overwhelming fear of thunderstorms.  Nittany, our black lab/golden retriever mix, is TERRIFIED of thunderstorms (and fireworks) and has been since she was a puppy.  As she’s gotten older the fear seemed to magnify as well.  Several years ago I made her a homemade Thundershirt that she can wear when a storm rolls in but I headed to Pinterest for some more ideas on what we can do to soothe her when its storming.

Experiment #5: Calming Your Dog During a Thunderstorm header_forfeit

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/natasha-ashton/pet-anxiety-_b_3645599.html?utm_hp_ref=animals

a6d38f1366f2ac56727e3ade5fc4db76

I’ll start by saying this is neither Pinterest Approved or a Pinterest Fail but rather a Pinterest Forefeit.  The article provided some great information but a dogs ability to overcome a fear of thunderstorms cannot be accomplished in one night.  Especially since it’s been a fear she’s had for 11 years.  As the article suggests we always provide a safe place for Nittany to go in a storm – we have dog bed behind a chair as well as another one in her favorite place in the living room so she always has a safe place to go when it’s storming.  When we aren’t home we makes sure she is safe in her cage and that all the windows and blinds are closed in the bedroom.  If we know that there will be storms when we are away we will also turn on the radio for Nittany to enjoy (she’s a huge fan of NPR). And even though I am a little anxious during thunderstorms and am secretly terrified of being sucked up by a tornado I try to be calm around Nittany so she will be calm too.  The other ideas for easing her anxiety will take more time and a little more thought then just one stormy evening.  The article suggests pheromone therapy and nutraceuticals like melatonin as a good way to help your pet deal with the fear and anxiety caused by thunderstorms and we’ve talked to our vet about these options but honestly aren’t 100% sold on them – I’m also married to a scientist which leads to a little skepticism about there effectiveness.  So, while the ideas are good and we have found some that work to calm Nittany down a little during a thunderstorm I still call this a Pinterest Forfeit because in the long run the only thing that really calms her down is the passing of the storm and the clearing of the sky.

Effectiveness Rating: 5/10

IMG_2456

Nittany in two of her favorite spots

Pinterest Experiment- Day 4

Today’s Pinterest Experiment went to the dogs.  Last fall our golden retriever started having seizures which led us down a rabbit hole of doctor’s appointments, a night at the emergency vet, giving a dog pills twice a day and a visit to the dog neurologist.  Almost six months after the last (and worst) bout of seizures our golden started taking phenobarbital twice a day exactly twelve hours apart.  When we first started giving him pills we had elaborate crackers and peanut butter snacks for each pill time, we bought very expensive pill pockets, and wrapped the pills in cheese.  But, the process got expensive and time consuming and I went looking for another solution to our pill problem.  Enter Pinterest and homemade pill pockets and my first Pinterest Approved Experiment!

Experiment #4: Homemade Pill Pockets red-approved

http://www.365daysofbakingandmore.com/homemade-dog-pill-pockets/

Again I started this experiment with great confidence.  I was making a treat for a dog who will eat ANYTHING!  The recipe had three ingredients and after all three ingredients were mixed together I stirred and stirred until it became a dough that could be molded in to little balls.  I cut the recipe in half because I didn’t know how long the homemade pill pockets would stay fresh.  After cutting the recipe in half it still made enough pill pockets for over two weeks for two dogs.  We have one dog who needs the pills daily and one dog who we don’t want to get jealous so we needed enough pill pockets for both.  After making the pill pockets I put them in the refrigerator for an hour or so they became a little stiffer and then they were ready to be eaten.   From the very first pill pockets the pups are really excited when the alarm goes off on our phones and they know its time for their pockets. The homemade pill pockets are pup approved and so I rated them Pinterest Approved.

Appearance Rating: 8/10

Taste Rating: 10/10 (I have to be honest and let you know I didn’t try them but they were a huge hit with the pups)

Homemade-Pill-Pockets                                                                    The Pinterest Original     

                       IMG_2465                      

Our Homemade Original

IMG_2466

Paterno snatching up his pill pocket!

Pinterest Experiment – Day 3

I returned to the kitchen again today for the continuation of The Pinterest Experiment.  I really wanted to make a mixed drink but we only had really random liquor in the house (Peppermint Schnapps or Cointreau anyone?) and I didn’t want to head out in the rain, hail and thunder to go to the liquor store for real liquor so I had to find something to make that we had all the ingredients already.  Enter Homemade Nesquik.   We are Nesquik fans at our house – like getting the huge Nesquik at Sam’s Club fans – so this seemed like a neat experiment.

Experiment #3: Homemade Nesquikfail-stamp

http://simplyshellie.com/recipe-homemade-nesquik

I was feeling pretty confident at the beginning of this experiment and thought we might be on the way to our first Pinterest Approved experiment. I just threw three dry ingredients together and put them in a cute mason jar.  Everything looked great and then I tried mixing the homemade Nesquik in to my milk.  I stirred, and stirred, and stirred, and stirred for about five minutes and it just wasn’t mixing in.  The milk was becoming more chocolatey but there was definitely a gritty film on the top of the milk.  After giving up on the stirring I decided it was time for the taste test and took my first sip.  It was rough getting past the gritty film and when I finally got to the milk I was underwhelmed.  It wasn’t that chocolatey and it was just kind of bland and the grittiness was just too much to handle.  Since we do have a huge stockpile of Nesquik on hand I decided to conduct a side by side comparison and the traditional Nesquik won hands down.  No grittiness and just that familiar chocolatey flavor.  Another Pinterest fail is in the books and we will keep store bought Nesquik on the shopping list next time we head to Sam’s Club.

Appearance Rating: 1/10

Taste Rating: 3/10

                                              HomemadeNesquik

                                   Professional Homemade Nesquik

IMG_2458        My Homemade Nesquik     IMG_2460

IMG_2461          Traditional Nesquick          IMG_2463 

                                           IMG_2462

                                          Side by side comparison

Pinterest Experiment – Day 2

Today was another cooking day in The Pinterest Experiment.  In search of a healthy snack I tackled Garlic Parmesan Roasted Chick Peas.  As a lover of all things humus I thought this snack was a no brainer but I may have been a little misled by the tasty looking picture.

Experiment #2: Garlic Parmesan Roasted Chick Peas fail-stamp

http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/recipes/classics-made-clean/garlic-parmesan-roasted-chickpeas/

This recipe looked extremely easy so I really thought I had this one in the bag.  Pre-heat the oven, toss some garlic and parmesan cheese on some chick peas and bake until crispy.  The first issue arose when someone in the house ate the chick peas raw while I was waiting for the oven to pre-heat.  The look of horror on the surprised snackers face definitely let me know that eating the snack raw was not the way to go.  So, after baking the chick peas and taking them out of the oven they did look pretty tasty and looked surprisingly similar to the picture on Pinterest (minus the beautiful presentation).  And then we ate them…I wouldn’t say that these roasted chick peas are gross because I think for something to be gross they would actually have to have some sort of flavor.  The chick peas weren’t mushy or crispy but rather somewhere in limbo between the two extremes.  Unfortunately, the Garlic Parmesan Chick Peas did not make the cut to stay on the menu for the future and I will have to continue my search for a quick healthy snack.

Appearance Rating:  7/10

Taste Rating:  2/10

Garlic-Parmesan-Roasted-Chickpeas-300x336The Professional Photo of Roasted Chick Peas Photo: Maya Visnyei

IMG_2452

My photo of our Roasted Chick Peas

The Pinterest Experiment

Have you ever spent time on Pinterest?  Have you ever looked through the cute crafts, the delicious meal ideas and thought – “I can do that!”  They make it look so easy.  I have to admit I am relatively new to Pinterest but I have found myself being tricked in to a false sense of craftiness and chefiness (yes, I just made that word up) by the pictures I see and the recipes I pin.

pinterest-logo

This month I am conducting The Pinterest Experiment.  Each day of the month I am going try to reproduce something I find on Pinterest.  It might be a recipe, a craft, or even a new workout routine.  After each experiment I will be do a write up, with pictures when available, and rate each experiment as Pinterest Approved or Pinterest Fail.

Experiment #1:  Taco Pizza Roll  fail-stamp

http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2014/10/taco-pizza-rolls.html

The recipe seemed very easy so I was surprised when I got to the part where I needed to roll up the taco pizza and cut them in to cute little rolls.  For some reason mine were impossible to cut without getting ingredients everywhere and they turned out to be three times as big as the dainty little Taco Pizza Rolls in the Pinterest picture.  Despite how horrible they looked they got a thumbs up for taste and will stay on the menu for the future.

Appearance Rating:  2/10

Taste Rating:7/10

TheGirlWhoAteEverything_TacoPizzaRolls_Vertical_Hero13What Taco Pizza Rolls are suppose to look like.

IMG_2451What MY Taco Pizza Rolls look like.

A New Winter Hat

Every once in awhile I like to return to the roots of The Happy Knitter and actually knit something. Being cooped up and in a boot has definitely brought out my crafty side. I recently replaced (scratch that I didn’t replace it I just bought ANOTHER jacket because I have no intention of getting rid of it) my circa 1997 winter jacket (it’s an awesome LL Bean jacket like the reporters on The Weather Channel used to wear) and none of my winter hats matched the new coat. So, I decided I needed to knit up something to match and surprisingly found some awesome yarn in my stash that would match perfectly. After finding the perfect yarn I needed to find the perfect pattern so I headed over to Raverly.com. I am still not the most advanced knitter so I set out in search of an easier pattern using big needles and bulky yarn. My attention span is a little less than ideal so I needed to find something I could finish before I got bored of it. After searching through pages and pages of hat patterns I came across Hannah’s Hat: A Classic Essential for Winter. The pattern is posted on JJ Crochet: Original Crochet by Jayna Grassel (a great blog full of amazing patterns). The pattern was easy but more detailed than just regular knit or purl hat. After a quick trip to my local Jo-Ann Fabrics to buy a pair of Size 13 (9.0mm) knitting needles (with my 60% off coupon the needles were exactly $1.63 which I paid for with my gift card I got last Christmas – I love when you can go somewhere and not spend any of your own money) I was ready to get started.

I quickly cast on using the only cast on method I know (even though I own a book with over 100 cast on techniques) and was on my way. The band was an easy k4, p4 and than after about 2 inches I moved in to the trickier (mistake ribbing) pattern for the rest of the hat. After 7 inches I started decreasing until I got I only had 7 stitched remaining. I pulled my yarn through the top stitches and began sewing the two sides together. This is the part I really suck at. For some reason I am a spaz when it comes to binding pieces together. When I was done with my willy nilly binding I was actually pretty proud of myself because it looked less like a child did it than usual. All in all the hat took me about two hours to make and I only had to rip out about four rows of work to get back on track!

Not a great pictures - but you get the idea!

Not a great pictures – but you get the idea!

I was really happy with the finished product. This is a great hat that I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick bulky yarn hat.