Mary Knize

I read three books in two weeks

2 min read


Last year, I had a goal to read 20 books. I ended up logging 18 books throughout the year. I went through long stretches of not reading, and abandoned some books along the way.

This year, I have the same goal to read 20 books, and I've already finished three books as of today. This might not be a huge accomplishment to some people, but with my sporadic reading habits in my adult life, I'm very happy with my productivity. I've made a couple of changes that are helping me reach my goal, and I'm hoping to maintain these habits through the rest of the year.


Kielbasa and sauerkraut

2 min read


Finished kielbasa and sauerkraut

I really enjoy sauerkraut, but I like to temper the sourness with a bit of sweetness. All I had on hand this time was some orange juice and some brown sugar, and it turned out so great that I felt like I needed to write this version of the recipe down for later.


  • 1 16 oz. jar of sauerkraut, drained, 1 tbsp brine reserved
  • 1 package of turkey polish sausage or polska kielbasa
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 2 red potatoes, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

Avoid doomscrolling with app pinning on Android

3 min read


I, like many other people, am terminally online. Thanks to Mr. Musk, I've mostly kicked the Twitter habit by downloading my data, privating my account, and muting the app. (Yeah, I haven't actually uninstalled the app yet). I don't have the Facebook app installed at all (but Messenger is installed). I ignore Instagram push notifications. I do a bad job of ignoring the TikTok notifications. I've replaced Twitter with scrolling the Reddit app endlessly...

One of my justifications for keeping my phone on hand is because I can use my phone to read Kindle books. Unfortunately, I rarely reach for the Kindle app when I'm on my phone. Instead, I'm usually on Reddit or Facebook Messenger catching up with friends.

Digital Wellbeing, I spent a good amount of my pre-work time scrolling

I've tried a few of these Digital Wellbeing features, but setting timers for apps just tends to make me angry. Focus mode is fine, but I usually just flip my phone to silence it instead, and put my phone across the room or in another room if I really need to focus.

What I really want is a way to force myself to use my phone more productively.


I made... fresh pasta from scratch

3 min read


Finished fresh pasta

I've had the crazy expensive KitchenAid pasta roller and cutter set on my Amazon wishlist for a few years now, and this year I actually got them for Christmas! I couldn't wait to try making some fresh, homemade pasta.

I used the recipe out of the pasta roller's instruction manual, which is just a plain egg noodle made with flour, egg, water, and salt. However, I could tell that it would create much more pasta than I needed.

One of my latest kitchen hacks is to use ChatGPT to help me modify recipes and translate them into grams, so I can use my kitchen scale for measurements.


Learning how to control an LED light strip with an ESP8266 microcontroller and WLED

4 min read

Home Automation

I've been using a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ and Python to control an LED light strip for well over a year now. This was been part of an experimental, constantly-changing project that I've hinted at, but haven't gone public with.

I can show you a nice picture of how they looked last September:

LED light project

Unfortunately, something happened while I was trying to update some Rust binaries on the Pi over the weekend. Somehow, for some reason, my lights are dead.

I bought a new strip of LED lights, as well as three ESP8266 microcontrollers. I still plan on using the Raspberry Pi as the central controller for my lights, but my ultimate goal was to have multiple disconnected light strips synchronized via Wi-Fi.

More Blog Posts...