The End of the Year

It’s been interesting to say the least. This post will include some reflections on the past year in addition to my day:)

Exercise:

I got out for a run this morning, even though I didn’t want to go! When I logged into Runkeeper it had a challenge happening where you had to run for 20:18. That worked just perfectly for me today, so that’s what I did:). I probably could have done more physically, but mentally, I just wasn’t there:(

I spent the afternoon looking back on my running this year. I had been very surprised to have Runkeeper tell me that I had ran more last year. It turns out I was right and they were wrong!

2016- 464.27km, 98 runs, with an average of 4.73km

2017- 736.26km, 164 days, average of 4.49km

I am pretty happy with the stats for this year, especially considering I’ve had five dental surgeries since December of last year and was unable to run after each. I ran 66 more days this year and 271.99 more. You have no idea how tempted I was to go run 0.01km more so I could have an even number:)

Reading:

I finished my 100th book of the year today. It was A Kiss For Christmas by Melody Grace. The book includes three short stories which are loosely bound together by some overlapping characters. I found the stories had a lovely Christmas present, but I found the pace was very quick in all of the stories which made them difficult to believe. I think I would have enjoyed the stories more if they had been full length novels with more character development.

However, if you are looking for a quick Christmas read or like a hot read, you would enjoy this book.

Goodreads has informed me that I have read 100 books this year, 25,498 pages, which is less than what I read last year. I am happy to see that 1/5 of the books could be considered “good for me” books or at least aren’t trashy romances🤣

Cooking/ Baking:

I have continued my quest to remake my favourites into gluten free and dairy free creations. I feel that I have made a lot of interesting recipes this year, but unfortunately I don’t have any of that information with me. (Hence the need to task this stuff on my blog). I will continue this quest in the new year and also want to make homemade pizza and more stir fries.

I do have to ask if anyone has a good recipe for sticky buns with walnuts, I’d appreciate hearing it as that is what my dad has requested I make next and of course, my tried and true recipe is at home:(

Knitting:

I didn’t intend to make anything today, but I had just a little bit of the black and white yarn left over so I figured I might as well use it up! It made a quick, single loop Cowl that I will probably wear tonight:)<<<<<<<
rished my Ravelry projects thread today to discover what I have been creating this year.

I have completed 33 projects this year. (I really wish Ravelry would do a year in review like Goodreads does)! I have made:

7 toques

4 cowls

4 pairs of handwarmers

3 shawls

2 vests/tanks

2 tea cosies

2 blankets

2 scarves

2 sweaters

1 dog sweater

1 pair of slippers

1 pillow cover

1 baby sweater

1 headband

Not bad for the year, though next year I would like to make more sweaters for myself! I also want to make some socks! I was very surprised to see I hadn't actually done any this year!! I would also like to follow more patterns as I seem to do lots of things just out of my head.

Blogging:

Probably one of the biggest changes I have made this year has been to start this blog and keep going at it. I am amazed and humbled by the fact that I have 303 followers (I often wonder to myself why anyone would want to read my posts🤣)? WordPress tells me that I have done 165 posts, had 8,191 views and 2,371 visitors. I started this blog to keep track of the above areas of my life along with my teaching life and to focus on the positive without any thought of actually having anyone else read my posts. I must say thank you though to those of you who read and comment. You give me lots of advice and encouragement and I often find myself talking about my "friends" on here as many of you have become that.

I leave you tonight with a beautiful Arizona sunset and a wish for all the best in 2018. I hope it is filled with everything positive! My New Years- a campfire and some fireworks with some really neat people!

AJ

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Three Accomplishments

Not an exciting day but at least I got three things accomplished:)

Exercise:

I purposely slowed down by a minute this morning and I didn’t loop back to my mom. I managed to complete the whole run I planned and it recorded properly on runkeeper. I guess it was the looping that was throwing it off. I guess this just says I should take it slow down here and save my speed work for home. I really want to make it to the next mile marker though!! Unfortunately, I haven’t been out yet to determine exactly where it is and find a landmark. Thankfully I still have almost a week to get this done:)

I also got a quick workout in this evening. I did 50 squats, 50 plié squats, 50 swing lunges, 50 side kicks, 50 back leg raises, 50 high knees, 50 jabs, 50 crosses, 50 upper cuts, 50 push-ups, 50 bicep curls, 25 crunches, 50 side crunches, 25 leg drops, 25 flutter kicks, 25 reverse crunches. There again may have been more but I was just doing whatever came into my head. I was sweating by the end, but that may have been because it was warm in the trailer.🤣. It was interesting trying to find something to use as a weight in the trailer- my parent’s bottles of alcohol had to suffice. I tried out several to find the heaviest, but of course everything seems heavy after 50 reps!

Reading:

I finished listening to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte today on Librivox. This book is excellent! At 38 chapters it is a commitment but it was well worth the time!! The reader was Elizabeth Klett and she was great! The book contains a moral like most Victorian writing does, as well as the idea that you are rewarded or punished by god for your actions. I found the book to have a good pace and lots happening. The plot carries the reader along, however, it manages to avoid being so outlandish as to be unrealistic.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Christian literature or the classics. It was a good story!

I was thinking that I would keep notes as I read in the new year so that I could write better reviews, but I’m worried it would ruin reading for me, so you may have to just put up with my short, general reviews.🤣

Knitting:

I spent a lot of today working on a vest for myself. I made up the pattern, loosely based on what I remembered of a vest I had made for my mom a few years ago. I wanted to make myself something from the black and white combination that I’ve recently used for a tea cosy and a toque. I didn’t really think I would manage to get the whole vest made with what I had left, but I did😀 I casted on 114 stitches on 6.5mm needles and joined in the round. I knitted ten rows of 2×2 twisted ribbing and then switched to straight knitting until it reached 13″. I then bound off six stitches at the mid point and at the end of the next row. I divided the front and back sections into halves and worked one quarter at a time. I decreased two stitches at the underarm and one stitch at the neckline every other row. When I had twelve stitches, I knitted 20 rows even. I bound off and repeated the exact same process for the other three sections. I then sewed the shoulder seams together.

I don’t love the side section of one part, but don’t hate it enough to rip it out and redo it. I think this will be quite useful as I can wear it on its own, but I can also wear it over a shirt at work to add a layer of warmth. I thought about crocheting around the edges, but in the end decided not to.

Amazingly I still have yarn left over!!! Maybe I’ll tackle a quick Barbie dress tomorrow so I’ll have an even thirty projects completed this year.

Baking:

I didn’t technically bake anything today, but I did make a delicious strawberry banana ice cream:) It is super easy and quick! Slice two bananas and freeze on a cookie sheet. Slice two cups of strawberries and freeze. Combine the frozen strawberries and bananas with a 1/2tsp vanilla and 2tbsp cream and blend. It is so yummy!!!! Unfortunately it’s all gone so there’s no photo:(. I used coconut cream and it was still good!

That’s really all I did today. I am now going to try and get through half a book tonight so I’ll be done before the end of the year and will have an even number of books read this year.

Have fun!

AJ

Just Another Day in Paradise

Another lovely day just like the previous, except I didn’t accomplish anything:(

Exercise:

I did a half hour run this morning where I managed to get every dog in town barking. Remind me not to go that way again! It was just a half hour and yet again the splits didn’t align to what it was telling me as I was running. I’m wondering if it has something to do with the turning as I loop back to my mom?? Oh well, I figure any running I do on my holiday is good:)

Reading:

I am on chapter 34 of Jane Eyre so I should manage to finish tomorrow. It has been such a good book. It makes me wonder if any book in my generation will withstand the test of time as this one has??

Knitting:

I thought I would have something finished to show you, but as usual I have had to rip it out multiple times, so there’s no FO tonight:(. I often wonder if there are knitters out there who don’t rip out projects multiple times??

I counted today and I have done 28 projects as recorded in Ravelry this year. Of course, being me, I was disappointed that they were mostly small projects. Oh well, at least I accomplished 28 things this year and maybe I’ll have 29 before the end of the year!😀

Oh my one bit of exciting news today was that I got sorted into Gryffindor House in the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup group on Ravelry. I’m happy that I got sorted though I would have participated again even if I wasn’t! I love how it helps me decide what to make! I can’t wait to see what challenges January brings!

Watching:

I watched a Rocky Mountain Christmas today. It is a hallmark movie and was okay, though the ending was completely unrealistic!! The interior designer gives up her job in New York to run a dude ranch!?!?! I like them to have at least a hint of realism!!! I suppose my expectations are too high!

It made me think that I should look and see if I can find the movies based on Joanne Fluke’s books while I’m down here. Maybe I can watch them and perhaps my dad wouldn’t whine quite so much if I was watching a mystery movie😂

Well I think that is my entire day!

Have fun!

AJ

Lazing in the Sun

A quiet day spent on my favourite things:)

Exercise:

I got out this morning for another run along the BLM fence. I was aiming for the second mile marker, but didn’t make it. Next time we drive into town I’ll have to take better note of a landmark around there. I did circles around my mom who was walking instead. My phone was acting really weird though. It gave my pace as 6:18, 6:28, 6:44 while I was running, but recorded times over 7min when I looked at my splits afterwards. I can’t tell you which is right because the run still felt really difficult today:( Well at least I ran and maybe tomorrow will be better.

I got a quick body weight workout in while my parents were at the happy hour. Fifty squats, fifty curtsy lunges, fifty push-ups, fifty dips, fifty second planks, 50 reverse crunches, 50 crunches, 10 box crunches, 25 flutter kicks, 25 leg drops, 50 side leg raises, 50 back leg raises, 50 jabs, 50 uppercuts. There may have been more, but I can’t remember them at this point. I’m just trying not to lose all my fitness on this trip as that would make going back to Lyndsay’s workouts really tough!!!😳

Knitting:

I got my toque made today and thankfully only had to tink three rows this time. I forgot and put the ponytail hole in the nice part rather than near the seam. It is not as big and thick as I like my toques, but it is super soft:)

Reading:

I spent some time in the sunshine this afternoon listening to Jane Eyre again on Librivox. I am enjoying the book and think that I can actually finish by New Years. Abbey I am on chapter 28 now:). Only ten chapters to go. I will do some more tonight once my headphones recharge.

Movies:

I found the hallmark movies on my parent’s tv today and watched The Pumpkin Pie War. It was definitely not one of the best movies and having to listen to my dad whine, didn’t help! 🤣. I think I’d better keep my Hallmark habit to when I’m alone so I don’t torture other people! I got halfway through A Crush On You and will try to watch the rest as my dad is currently watching Avatar at high volume.

It has been another lovely day in Arizona:)

Have fun!

AJ

Holidays:)

A quiet, relaxing day with a nap in the middle. It must be holidays:)

Exercise:

My amazing mother came up with a plan for how I could go running:) She set out for a walk and I ran along the BLM fence line. This put me away from the busy highway and yet gave me something to follow so I wasn’t just randomly running through the desert. It worked well enough that I’ll be repeating it each morning that I’m here. The bonus is that it gets my mom out for a walk too:). The footing is uneven and my calves definitely got a workout too, just like if I had been running on the beach. I found my breathing was out today, but that may be because I’m 1800 feet higher than I usually am! It also might have something to do with going out too fast🤣. My slowest kilometre was a 6:39 and my fastest was a 6:08. I only ran for twenty two minutes as we came across my dad out for his morning walk and I am actually here to spend time with them:)

It was a cloudy morning, but still beautiful! I’ve come to think that the most gorgeous thing I’ve seen in Arizona is the sky!

I laughed when the sun went away and I got cold in my tank top and shorts while reading outside today. This is home:

Shopping:

We headed into Ajo today for some shopping. Mostly we just needed ice and water, though that didn’t stop us from coming home with five bags. I had fun wandering through the IGA here. I always like to wander the grocery store when I’m somewhere new to see what gluten free and dairy free products they have. I was super excited to find the Bob’s Red Mill Muesli I had this summer in Boston! It is super yummy with yogurt and fruit! I may live off this for the next few days:)

Eating:

My mom had googled knitting stores (there appears to be none😫) and instead a coffee shop came up. We stopped by the Heritage Rail building and tried out Harris and Smith Coffee Shop. We had read online that they had gluten free and vegan and I had visions of cinnamon buns dancing in my head. My parents got to enjoy a cinnamon bun and quite enjoyed it:) Unfortunately they only had a blueberry or double chocolate muffin. I was slightly disappointed in the selection, but the muffin was good. Very light, but slightly dry.

Baking:

I made oatmeal raisin cookies for my parents today. I used the recipe Here and they turned out okay. I would suggest doubling the cinnamon, as though they smell great, they don’t have a lot of taste!It was neat to make them though as I used my parents microwave which is a convection oven. The cookies were baked perfectly:)

Reading:

I found out that I trotted home five books from the give and take that I had already read:( I started reading one of these today and even though I don’t have it marked read on Goodreads, I have definitely read it. I have instead made six chapters of progress on listening to Jane Eyre on Librivox (though my ears are now sore from my headphones- back to looking for another pair). I am determined to be done with this book by the end of this year!

Knitting:

I was planning to finish my toque before I posted tonight, however, I have now had to pull it out three times, so I decided to post and then go back to knitting. Hopefully I will have a finished product to show you tomorrow:) As I use this black and white combination again, I wish I had enough for a vest or sweater! I think it would be a very useful garment with both the black and white.

Family:

I am giggling in my head this evening as I think about how often people complain about kids being on electronic devices. I think my parents may be worse than any children!!!🤣 All I see are the tops of their heads and all I hear are the noises of my dad’s game! Of course I am just as bad with my ear buds in listening to my book.

Well I’m off to knit and hopefully it goes smoothly this time!

Have fun!

AJ

Boxing Day

Well I did the same as I usually would on Boxing Day- work on a project, but I missed the turkey, stuffing and cranberry sandwiches!

Exercise:

I got a 36 minute workout done in the trailer while my parents went off to happy hour. I think I’m lucky I’m small so I didn’t wreck the trailer with all the bouncing around I did🤣. I got hot and sweaty so I must have burned off something:) it was a minute of running back and forth across the trailer in between cardio moves such as cross jacks, skipping, jumping jacks, high knees, butt kicks, cross country skiers, moguls, skaters, kicks, toe taps, lunges, jump squats, frog jumps, mountain climbers, plank jacks, fast feet, and in/outs. It’s the same workout I’ve done before, just with more moves added. I hope this routine will keep me from losing all my fitness as I’m unable to run down here. There’s all this desert around me and yet I have nowhere to run:(

Knitting:

I had deemed today a knitting day and my mom had asked for a tea cosy for the trailer. We could only find super fine yarn in the knitting kit I had sent with her so I worked it doubled with a strand of white and a strand of black. The pattern is simply called tea cosy on Ravelry. It was a two row pattern that was very easy to pick up. You simply make two pieces the same and sew them together. My mother’s tea pot holds four cups so I adapted the pattern and casted on 43 stitches. I did 55 rows of the pattern and then started the top decreasing. I repeated exactly the same thing for the other piece. I did not make the loop for the top. I really love what the black and white yarn looks like when held together and I’m tempted to make myself a toque if my mom doesn’t have anything else she wants made. The yarn I used was Loopsand Threads: Woolike in super fine. The yarn is very soft and feels great to work with.

Baking:

I was planning to make my dad cookies today, but my mom said she had a few pears that needed to be used up, so instead I made carmelized pear ice cream. The recipe is from Food52, but it’s super easy. I peeled, cored and finely cut up two small pears. I then put 1/2 cup of sugar into a deep frying pan and put it on medium heat. Do not stir the sugar until you start to see it liquify. You then stir the sugar with a wooden spoon (I had to throw out the first batch as the red spatula melted into the sugar) until the sugar is smooth and amber coloured. You then add the pears. The sugar will go hard, but just keep stirring for about ten more minutes and it will smooth out again. After you have a smooth pear and sugar mixture, remove it from the heat. I then added 1 cup of coconut milk. I would have liked to have had cream, but there was none. I stirred in a dash of lemon juice and salt at this time too. You then throw the mixture through a blender (the chopper didn’t work well😂). Normally at home I then throw it into the ice cream maker, but here I put the mixture onto a jelly roll pan and put it into the freezer. I stirred it every hour and it took about four hours to become ice cream consistency. Both my mom and dad said it was good:)

I’m just sorry I don’t have a picture as it was eaten very quickly!

Reading:

I have been listening to Jane Eyre on Librivox again today. I have made it to chapter 18. Abbey was right that the story does start to move more quickly! I’m enjoying it, though probably partially because I’m listening to it so I love that I can accomplish that and something else at the same time:)

Well except for sitting out in the sunshine for a bit today, I haven’t moved far. It’s been very relaxing!!

Have fun!

AJ

Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!

Exercise:

I got a quick 26 minute cardio workout in this evening. I hope it worked off a bit of the turkey I ate today!

Reading:

I finished The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom today. It was an interesting read- the life story of entertainer Frankie Presto.

I liked how the story is narrated by “music”. I also liked how the book included interviews from real life entertainers. Supposedly the author went and actually spoke to these entertainers. As well, with “music” telling the story it was neat how facts about other famous entertainers were included.

I think that anyone who enjoys thoughtful books or music would enjoy this easy read.

I walk d over to the community room with my mom after I finished reading the book to give it to the “give and take” and get some new books. My dad was teasing me that I came home with as many books as I took. Lol how else would I come home?

Christmas Dinner:

We had Christmas dinner across the street with a bunch of my parent’s friends from the RV park. There was tons of food there, but as I wasn’t sure what was in anything so I stuck with turkey, veggies and the aspic salad my dad made. It’s never a sacrifice to eat my dad’s aspic. It’s amazing, almost as good as his seafood cocktail!

Christmas Movies:

I have been torturing my father all day with Christmas chick flicks. I watched White Christmas and The 12 Dates of Christmas. Both were fine though nothing ever beats the classic Christmas movies for me! My dad has now absconded with the tv remote so we are watching John Wayne. This is a tradition in my family- a John Wayne marathon on Christmas Day. I have my favourites and thankfully he’s watching one of those:)

It was pretty close to my typical Christmas Day, though much quieter as there were only the three of us. It was way nicer to be like this than in the snow that’s coming down at home!

I really can’t believe the sky here in Arizona! It’s so beautiful!!!

Well I’m off to watch John Wayne and pretend it’s quality time with my parents🤣

Merry Christmas to all!

AJ

Early Start

Sorry I fell asleep last night as 3am came very early yesterday morning!

I don’t think I slept much through the night. I was awake and ready to go when my brother picked me up at 4am! It’s usually at least an hour to the airport from my house, but yesterday we were there at 4:30!!! The airport was already busy, so I was thankful for my Nexus card:). I didn’t get hassled other than the guy asking if I was planning to do a lot of snacking on the plane. I had a big bag of cheezies in the bottom of my bag for my dad. 🤣 I waited around the airport for 3.5 hours. The sunrise was gorgeous! My picture does not do it justice at all:(

Reading:

I got through several chapters of Jane Eyre while I was waiting for the plane and on the three hour flight. I’m now on chapter 15 Abbey:)

Knitting:

They didn’t take away my knitting needles! I’m so excited!! I can now put every flight to good use:)<<
m much happier with this toque! I doubled the yarn. It is slightly too long but I don't think that will bother me!

Family:

My parents were actually at the airport to meet me. Nothing is better than a mom hug! Lol of course within five minutes, they're bickering and I'm wondering if I should just turn around and go home🤣🤣🤣. Never, that's just my family!

Shopping:

We stopped at Fry's on the way home which seems to be similar to a Costco. They didn't have yarn though:(. I'm going to be an unhappy camper when I run out of yarn! We bought some groceries and headed for home.

Socializing:

Met some of the other inmates of the park at Happy Hour. They all seem very nice:)

Christmas:

I tried to watch White Christmas but it wasn't working:( My parents had Because I Said So on DVD and so we watched that. I love Diane Keaton, but it's a tough story to follow at times!

So I'm off to enjoy Christmas Day, which means my book:)

Merry Christmas to you all!

AJ

Where to Start?

My first day off and I’m awake at 6am thinking of a list of things I needed to get done today:( grrrr! Then I had so many things on the list, that I had no idea where to start,😂

Exercise:

I got out for a run this afternoon, but it was slow because of all the ice. It was beautiful out! I had waited for the afternoon because it was -6 all morning. When it finally hit 0, I figured that was my best chance for going. It felt good to get out!

I wanted to use my new headphones, but didn’t realize they had to be charged. Good thing I looked and hopefully they’re now ready for the plane tomorrow. My plan is to listen to Jane Eyre and knit my toque.

Tea:

The tea in the David’s Tea Advent calendar today was white cranberry bark. I found it slightly tart or bitter. I’m not sure why:(.

I also had the December 24th tea of Santa’s Secret which was very yummy:)

Christmas Movies:

I have been watching Christmas movies as I did other things today.

I have enjoyed all of them:)

Projects:

I also sat down and got 482 pictures labelled and deleted off of my phone so that I have a chance of being able to take some photos while I’m away. I’m glad to finally get that job done! Now I just have to remember to upload some more to Costco for printing when I get home!

Reading:

I got a bit more of Frankie Presto read this evening. I think I’m starting the last part. I’ll take it with me and leave it for my mom to read when I’ve finished it. I’m definitely looking forward to the give and take book room where my parents are:)

Christmas presents:

I opened the presents I had been given today as I won’t be home on Christmas Day and I’m leaving at 4am tomorrow morning. I was definitely spoiled!

The rest of the day has been taken up with doing laundry, dishes, sweeping and packing. I’m almost happy with my packing though I figure as usual I’ll only wear half of what I’ve taken! For now I’ve put a pair of plastic circular needles into my purse, but I don’t know if I should even try taking them???

Well I’m off to bed as I’m getting up at a ridiculous time!

Have fun!

AJ

Brrrrr

It has been such a cold day!!

Exercise:

I met up with Lyndsay at 6am for a workout. We did three speed circuits on the treadmill. We then did two circuits on the floor that we had to repeat three times each. I was sweaty by the end, but it felt good to get it done. I really hadn’t wanted to go and I probably would have just walked if I’d been by myself, but I managed to do everything Lyndsay told me to do. It’s amazing what the human body can do!

Teaching:

I only had fourteen children today! Most of the day was spent just finishing up tasks and cleaning up. The afternoon I got a little bit of time to prep while the school was watching The Polar Express in the gym.

Beauty:

I left immediately after school and had my nails done for my trip. I also got my eyebrows and eyelashes died so I’m back to having some🤣. I am so blonde that this is something I do regularly!

Shopping:

I grabbed four bottles of beer for my co-workers husband to say thank you and I’ll make him some lemon bars in the morning:)

Knitting:

Tonight I got my republic hat and Cowl that I made a long time ago but rarely wore, remade into just a republic hat for my co-worker. Another of my little jobs done.

I also decided to rip out my purple handwarmers and beanie and make a toque holding two strands of the yarn so it will be thicker and warmer. I am hoping to work on this on the plane, but we’ll see if the knitting needles get taken away:(

Tea:

Today’s tea in the advent calendar wascandy cane crush and I loved it!! It was so good!

Well that’s the short recap of my day as I just got home and I’m exhausted, so I’m off to bed:)

Have fun!

AJ