Stretching My Skills with Sally

Well it was a busy day that unfortunately included a dud.

Exercise:

I had my day planned out and knew I had to get my run in early if it was going to get done, especially with the heat. I got a lovely 5.5km to the mill and back.

This afternoon I did some weights. 36 each of: bent over rows, banded front raises, bicep curls, overhead tricep extension, pullovers, chest press, shoulder press, plank, crunches, bicycle crunches, reverse crunch with a toe tap, Russian twists, scissor legs, heel touches, squats, curtsy lunge, plié squat, adductors, calf raises, banded side shuffle, and hip bridges.

I’m sure there’s muscle under the heat wave bloat!

Baking:

Last Saturday I was supposed to share my July baking challenge, but I was waiting until I had somewhere to take the cake so that I didn’t eat it all.

Today I grabbed ingredients at the grocery store and got to work early before it got even hotter. I had decided to do lemon cupcakes with cream and blueberries. I decided on the cupcakes so that it would make it easier to divide up, during this time of Covid when no one is supposed to share food.

The cupcakes were quick and easy. I only had to change the butter to vegan butter spread and the milk to oat milk for these. They didn’t rise much, but they had a great lemon taste.

I had decided to use coco whip as my cream because dairy free whipping cream uses full fat coconut milk which is often too rich for me and the light doesn’t turn into whipping cream.

I got the cupcakes, the whip and the blueberries out to start the process, only to learn that coco whip doesn’t like 33 degree weather.

It was a disaster!! The coco whip slid right off the cupcake and took the blueberries with it.

I ended up not taking these anywhere and scraped the remaining coco whip off and froze the cupcakes.

Make sure you check out Abbey (Three Cats and a Girl) and Kathy (Sewing etc) to see how their baking challenge went. I’m sure better than mine!

Socializing:

I met up with my friend Anna and her two sons at a local park and were lucky enough to have it pretty much to ourselves. The distancing was a little tough but we did our best and avoided direct contact. It was awesome to see them as I haven’t since February!

I then grabbed Gus and we went to have ice cream. It was a quick trip as he had plans to go fishing with a fiend so I dropped him off on my way home. I’m happy with even a short Gus fix:)

Knitting:

After a 2.5 hour nap, I spent some time getting a few pattern repeats on the shawl done and a couple of rows towards the 3″ of knitting stockinette in the round I have to do for the sweater.

That isn’t day!

Have fun!

AJ

Happy Friday Eve!

Just another day, but thankfully a day closer to the weekend.

Teaching:

I had three students this morning and two this afternoon. We did reading comprehension, a run, the core competencies assessment needed for the report card, some counting of coins, and some reading practice. It is definitely tougher with these two kids as neither of them talks. Maybe tomorrow we will work on how to have a conversation🤣

After school my teaching buddy and I tried to start report cards, but we just felt brain dead. We got the two stock comments copy and pasted, but figure we’ll work on them on Saturday. Good thing it’s calling for rain all weekend!

Exercise:

I really didn’t want to exercise but ended up doing a BeFitDavis workout of jogging, squats, pushups, shoulder press, deadlifts, crunches and reverse crunches. 16 minutes is better than nothing.

Baking:

I have a girls outdoor meetup tomorrow and so decided to try one of the recipes on the box of Chex. I think they are supposed to be like Rice Krispie squares but with Chex and peanut butter, but I think the Chex needs to be smaller. They aren’t great but unfortunately that didn’t stop me from eating them:(

Movie:

I watched Double Holiday tonight. It was a super cute movie with two cute guys in it. It made for a nice recovery from my day.

Well I really haven’t done anything today so I’m going to bed now.

Have fun!

AJ

I Wonder

I didn’t run this morning and I had a bit of an unsettled day, I wonder if there’s a correlation there? I’ll have to track this!

Reading:

I’ve just been rereading books so nothing good to talk about here.

Knitting:

Still trying to decide on my next sweater. I want raglan, top down with some interest on the sleeves and hem. As I write this I realize I have a pattern in my Anne Budd book for a raglan v neck sweater. Maybe I’ll just adjust it. I will explore this more tomorrow.

Stitching:

Instead of knitting I did some stitching after my lovely nap, but you’ll see more on this tomorrow.

Baking/ Cooking:

I woke up this morning wanting to make scones and when I was having such an off day I ended up making the scones late this afternoon to see if that helped. It didn’t and the almond flour cookbook once again let me down. The raisin scones taste good but they are much more like cakey cookies than scones:(

I had to get started on my fresh prep meals as I’ve had them since Wednesday night. I made the coriander cod with butter beans and broccoli today. It was supposed to take thirty minutes but took me 45 minutes. The recipe wasn’t difficult and I love roasted broccoli! As well, I’m not sure I love coriander.

The veggies were great but I don’t know about the fish!

Other than dusting, doing laundry and switching my house over to its spring/summer colour, I think this is all I did today.

Have fun!

AJ

Day 3

Well another day of quiet. Sorry this is going to get really repetitive, very quickly🤣

Visiting:

I had decided that I needed a third option beyond reading and knitting and since I knew I wouldn’t clean, I decided to get a puzzle. Thankfully my friend Brenda had one I could borrow that I knew would have all the pieces. This was my one very careful outing of the day, and yes we ensured we were several feet apart:)

Exercise:

I was on the couch knitting again today, though I am proud to say I tidied the hallway and swept it and the living room before I sat down. However when it came to exercise, I just wasn’t motivated. That is until I realized I could run over to pick up my buttons.

The trail and the park were super busy as we’ve had gorgeous sunshine here, though it is cold!

My run ended up being 4.4km which is a little less than I was expecting, but I wasn’t willing to do more🤣

This evening I got re-energized and did a simple workout. I jogged for one minute between a minute of these exercises:

High knees, front kicks, butt kicks, roundhouse kicks, squat with side leg lift, squat with back leg lift, back kick, plié squats, crunches, static crunch with scissor legs, knee tucks, reverse crunch, bicycle crunches and a plank.

I seem to really get into ruts with the type of workout I do. I wonder if it will move to a new one or return to Hallmark ones?

Baking:

I did the dishes this afternoon, just to turn around and make more.

I had to make a chocolate dish for an outdoor, small activity tomorrow so I texted Brenda to see if she knew of a recipe that uses only cocoa powder (after I discovered I had no chocolate chips). She passed along this recipe and it was great!

Set oven to 350. In an 8×8 pan, mix :

1.25cups flour

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

0.5tsp cinnamon

0.5tsp salt

When well mixed, pour in:

1 cup milk

0.3 cup vegetable oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

1tsp vanilla

Bake for 35-40 minutes.

This literally took minutes to put together, seems to have adapted to gf and df well, and was done by the time I finished my workout!

I’ll let you know how it tastes tomorrow:). I do plan to top it with cherry pie filling and cocoa whip if there is any at the store.

Knitting:

I have to admit to spending most of the day knitting again.

I made more I cord headbands. These are still super easy and quick to make and I’m so glad to have a pattern to use up the tiny ends of yarn!

I started the spindrift shawl in the grey and loved it, but then realized the gray could be perfect for the jeweled cowl and so far, I really think it is!

I am getting better at the beading, but the seed beads are so small that even with my smallest crochet hook, many of them don’t fit. I think I would love knitting with beads if the beads were slightly bigger. Though no matter what, I’m happy to finally be getting beading off my craft to-do list!

I have just started the spindrift shawl in a recycled tan yarn. I think this project will be perfect for tomorrow’s social outing. I can keep my distance and accomplish something:)

Reading:

Well that’s it for me as I stayed up way too late reading last night. I read the book, Blitzed by Alexa Martin. This is the third book in her playbook series. I highly recommend this series as they are fun, but also usually have a small taste of something serious. I think the best part of this book was the hero. He just kept doing swoony things and who can resist a quiet, shy guy who only talks to the woman meant for him. It was a good read:)

Have fun!

AJ

Stretching My Skills with Sally

I had another AJ day and it was as wonderful as ever. My only problem is definitely a first world problem!

Exercise:

I yet again couldn’t sleep in, so I was up in plenty of time for my run with Dennis. He picked me up and we went to Burnaby Lake Park with the plan to run the end of the Central Valley Greenway which runs from the lake to a very busy road. This bike path does carry on, but only on roads so I vetoed going further.

I had warned Dennis this morning that I wouldn’t be able to run fast as I was concentrating on weight loss right now (read being very careful with my calories) and I had heard on a podcast that if you’re concentrating on weight loss you can’t expect speed.

Well my run started slowly, but then the next four kilometers were all very close to 6:00 kilometers. At the end, I was five seconds off of my fastest five km ever and boy was I kicking myself for that slow start.

This path would be a great place to try for a 5km record as it’s 2.48km out and it is about as flat as it gets around here.

This evening I also did 28 minutes of yoga. When I was at the library I took pictures of a yoga sequence in a magazine and decided to try it out as I know I need to do more stretching. The sequence was okay, but I ended up adding a whole bunch of other moves to it. I really need to sit down and make a list of yoga moves as when I’m doing them, I can’t think of any!

Reading:

I hit the library to return a book today and though I was not supposed to get any more books, I of course came home with four more. I plan to go curl up in bed and read as soon as I get this post up!

Cooking:

I knew I had no choice but to get at least one of my Fresh Prep meals cooked up today. I decided on the Veggie Machine Tahini Bowl. This recipe said it would take 25 minutes, however it took me 40 minutes. You start by roasting sweet potato and chickpeas and cooking rice. You then marinate kale and red cabbage and make a tahini dressing. You layer these ingredients and top with cilantro and avocado.

There was nothing difficult about this recipe and it did have a good kick of spice to it. Fresh Prep did forget to include the rice spice, but they have given me a credit for it, so that was kind of them and I didn’t notice it’s absence. I would definitely get this one again, but also feel that it would be quite easy to alter at home according to personal taste.

Baking (Stretching My Skills with Sally):

Last year I tried a few of Sally’s Baking Challenge items and quite enjoyed the challenge of trying new things. Most of the people in my life asked why I was doing this, thankfully there are people like Abbey! I was talking with Abbey of Three Cats and a Girl and we decided to both try these challenges and then link up to talk about our results, so please check out her attempts too. I was really interested in doing this because I knew she would be doing the recipes as called for while I would need to convert them to gluten free and dairy free. I should say that I change as little as possible and just sub in gf and df ingredients to see if the recipe will still work.

For February, the challenge was Perfect Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting. I have to admit that I had no idea what this frosting was as I hadn’t heard of it. After making it, it reminds me of the frosting on a DQ ice cream cake and that used to be one of my favourite parts of that cake, so I’m glad I made it.

The recipe only takes five ingredients- egg whites, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt. I was doing really well with the egg whites and sugar and I did get stiff peaks, however, once I added the butter and vanilla, my frosting was quite runny. I put it in the fridge like Sally suggests for this problem, but it never recovered.

The recipe didn’t seem super tough, but maybe I shouldn’t say that as I wasn’t particularly successful. One thing I would say about this recipe- I wouldn’t attempt it without a really good stand mixer!!!

These are my poor cupcakes which I will force upon my running buddies tomorrow.

Thanks Abbey for taking on this challenge with me:)

Knitting:

All the rest of my day has been taken up with knitting (oh and a little stitching so I have something to show for the SAL next week).

I seem to be averaging a Hat a day, so today’s hat is he Kitimat – another free pattern on Ravelry. This is actually named after the city North of me by many hours. The pattern page shows it in gray and white which I loved, but I also really liked it in my purple and white worsted weight. The pattern was really simple to follow, though I did find it a bit long. I also learned that I may use my Michael’s gift card for a Pom Pom market!

Finally I also made another small headband which got me to my stash goal. Every skein used now is just gravy!

That is my big problem- I want to make a sweater, but there are so many I want to make that I just can’t decide. It has gone past fun to debilitating. I am wondering how everyone else chooses what they are going to knit next?????

Well my books are calling me… right

Have fun!

AJ

No Plans Changed

Yesterday morning when I was with Lyndsay, she asked what I was doing this weekend and all I had planned was a run on each morning. Well that sure changed…

Exercise:

I slept in this morning and then had to rush to be ready for my run with Dennis. It was pouring out again so it was a good thing that I was meeting him. We ended up doing 6.52km. It felt fast and when we were on the way back I looked at my watch and saw it was at 4.67km and I could possibly set a new PR for 5km, so I tried to step up the pace. It worked! My old PR was 31:45 and now I’m at 31:18. My goal is 30 minutes (fast for me but slow for everyone else). I was very happy to be finished and change into dry clothes!

Socializing:

I met up with Dennis and his wife Martha for coffee and couldn’t believe how loud and noisy Starbucks was!

Later in the afternoon, Michelle who is Life of a Canadian Girl texted to see if I wanted to go for coffee. She asked if I had anywhere new on my radar and I told her the o my two I had were about an hour away. She had nothing else going on, so agreed to try one out. (Yes she just shot to friend #1!).

We headed out to The Polly Fox. It was a very cute spot- white furniture, exposed brick wall, and natural wood tables. The small fridge case was slightly bare as we were there later in the day, but it all looked very yummy! They also had a full blackboard of drinks ( including four non dairy alternative milk), and two page breakfast and lunch menu. I got a chai latte and a cinnamon bun to eat and they were both wonderful. It took me a few mouthfuls to identify that the strong flavour in the cinnamon bun was coconut, but it was definitely not a deterrent. Michelle had a London fog and a vegan cashew bar that she finished and said was good.

What I enjoyed most about this cafe and bakery was that it was quiet and the tables were spread out so you didn’t have to eavesdrop. It was a lovely change from Starbucks!

Baking (Stretching My Skills with Sally):

Last year I tried a few of Sally’s Baking Challenge items and quite enjoyed the challenge of trying new things. I was talking with Abbey of Three Cats and a Girl and we decided to both try these challenges and then link up to talk about our results, so please check out her attempts too. I was really interested in doing this because I knew she would be doing the recipes as called for while I would need to convert them to gluten free and dairy free. I should say that I change as little as possible and just sub in gf and df ingredients to see if the recipe will still work.

For January the challenge was artisan bread. It was a very simple recipe of flour, salt, yeast and cool water that was left to rise for two- three hours and then you were encouraged to leave it for up to three days to build air bubbles in it.

I actually ended up making this recipe twice. I made it on Monday night and couldn’t leave it any longer than the two hours. I liked how this bread looked as it was a lovely browned dome, but unfortunately it didn’t rise a lot and it ended up being undervalued:(. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of this one, but I cut off a thin slice from all four sides and then threw the rest away.

On Thursday night this week, I gave the recipe a second try. I had made the dough, using Bob’s Redmill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour (the recipe calls for bread flour but I don’t know if any gf bread flour) on Wednesday night and after leaving it to rise for the full three hours, I covered it and put it in the fridge. I have to admit that once again, it didn’t rise much in those three hours. On Thursday, I shapes it into two long loaves and then baked it. They only took about 18 minutes to cook rather than the 20-25. This time they were fully cooked, but it was a very hard and chewy bread. I ate all of it because even bad homemade bread is better than store bought, but I don’t think this is a recipe I will come back to again.

Thanks Abbey for taking on this challenge with me:)

I’m so grateful that my boring day at home turned into a fun day out with a friend:)

Have fun!

AJ

A Great Friend

Well it was another day just like many others.

Teaching:

My class has been so off this week that I just can’t wait for tomorrow to be over and hopefully they come in differently next week!

We got through a lesson on bossy r this morning, but it took into quiet time too because I was trying to help four students finish up the art from yesterday during calendar, but the rest of the class just couldn’t handle doing calendar on their own😖🙄. It’s January and they can’t even sit for calendar yet:( there’s a way to feel like a failure as a teacher!We got our art finished by the end of the day, but it took us three tries.

I went on my prep to pick up the Chinese food lunch some of the staff were having for Chinese New Year. Unfortunately I can’t eat the food, but I was the one with the prep.🤣

This afternoon we had buddies where we did lunar new year crafts and then we were supposed to have a lion dance, but the company that does it, didn’t show up!😖😖. Of course, our principal didn’t tell us that until two minutes after it was supposed to start, so we had to quickly come up with a plan. My students read for a few minutes and then we went to gym and played musical chairs. The kids loved it!!! It was definitely the best part of the day:)

Exercise:

After finishing up the prep, I came home and dragged myself out for a run. It was soaking wet and the park was mostly flooded, so not particularly fun, but I did get another 3.75km done. I can’t believe how little I have managed to run this month:(. We are expecting rain every day for the rest of the month, so this won’t be the last of my wet miles.

Baking:

I tried the bread again, but I will write about that more on Saturday.

Knitting:

I have been knitting on a headband to finish up the MJ Yarns I made my slouch hat in. I just want to finish it off so I can deduct it from my stash count. I am super happy with the headband so far though;)

Gift:

During buddies, my buddy teacher, Lyndsay, gave me a shirt she had bought me. It says, RUNNING, cheaper than therapy! It is a baseball style shirt and I love it!!! I think I might live in this shirt for the next little while:)

Well, I’m back to the headband, though I should be going to bed!

Have fun!

AJ

Grateful Sunday

It was a pretty good day of my activities.

Medical:

I started the day by going for my necessary bloodwork. I love he new app our LifeLabs has- Save My Spot. I hit the button as soon as the lab opened and went from the end of the line to second. I don’t think the people in front of my liked it, but I sure did as I was home in twenty minutes.

Exercise:

I managed to be home in time to meet up with Dennis and Brenda for a run. As we headed out on my regular sidewalk, my thought was that I should push the speed a bit since we wouldn’t be going very far, but wouldn’t you know it, Dennis found a way to add on. We got a total of 5.44km done which isn’t bad when we’re still dealing with snow everywhere. I felt like I was running fast, but my Garmin shows otherwise. It wasn’t until I was talking with my mom tonight that it dawned on me that perhaps the loss of nine vials of blood just before my run, had an impact🤣

This evening, I got another Hallmark workout done. I did a minute of jogging in between each move and I tried to go faster than usual with this. I did: squats, plié squats, crunches, reverse crunches, burpees, Bridges, reverse lunges, curtsy lunges, dips, pushups, Superman, and froggers.

Baking:

I finally spent some time in the kitchen today. I started by making a loaf of banana bread. It turned out to not be very sweet as I was short of honey and used bittersweet chocolate chips, but I actually don’t mind it. The recipe came from The Allergy Free Cook Bakes Bread. I love this series of books as everything always turns out, even when I make a ton of substitutions like I did today.

I also attempted a batch of granola bars. The recipe is from LunchBox and I have made it many times and it has always worked really well, but unfortunately today it didn’t. I think it’s because I was short of oats and used puffed cereal instead. They got brown too fast and so the bottom didn’t cook completely. My mom suggested using the top as crumble over yogurt so I may give that a try tomorrow.

I was supposed to make bread today, but that just didn’t happen.

Knitting:

I started my sockhead slouch over today, twice. I started the first time and then was worried it was going to be too big so took it off the needles to try it. I determined it would be fine and so then had to start again. I have gotten the for inches of rubbing done and now am on to the plain stockinette. I am using the same size needles as I did for the ribbing and am wondering if that is a mistake. I don’t have a 3mm though and so would have to go to 3.25mm needles. If anyone has made this hat, I’d love to hear an opinion!

Well that is my entire day.

Thankful:

I am thankful for technology that saves me time and makes life a little easier and more efficient.

I am thankful for my running buddies who push me.

I am thankful that there are so many options available for people with allergies these days.

I am also thankful I enjoy cooking and baking so I can have treats that are safe for me.

I am thankful for podcasts that have kept me entertained while I do boring knitting.

I am thankful for my knitting that allows me to accomplish something while being on the couch.

Have fun!

AJ

Better

Thankfully today was much better than yesterday!

Knitting:

Tavia came for another knitting lesson today. She is working on Grandma’s Favourite Dishcloth And has mastered the knit stitch and increasing. Hopefully we’ll get to decreasing next week.

I ripped out the start of my Not a Boring Sweater as I couldn’t find my three missing stitches and have gotten the ribbing done again. We will see if I tackle the cables tonight or not.

It was great to spend time with Cori and Tavia and we had a sushi lunch together after knitting. They unfortunately couldn’t do a poke bowl for me:(

Reading:

I spent a lot of today napping and reading. I finished the book, The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare. I had heard Not Your Mom’s Romance Book Club talking about this book and wanted to read it.

I very much enjoyed this book and found it quite humorous and laughed out loud a few times. I also enjoyed how it was the male lead who had the trouble with being self conscious and how there was minimal drama between the couple. Fair warning though- it’s a steamy read.

Car:

I took my car back to the mechanic today and he hooked it up to the monitor. We were both really happy to see it was just a vacuum hose that hadn’t been reconnected. All the lights went off on my dash and my car ran normally. Yay🎊🎉

Baking:

I tried to make the Sally’s Baking Challenge for August which is a vertical layer cake, but my sponge cake completely fell apart. At this point I took the sponge cake I could save, blackberries and a blackberry sauce and coco whip mixture together into parfait cups and called it trifle. Thankfully Cori sent Tavia and Matthias down to eat two of the servings so I didn’t. They sure do great things for my ego🤣

Exercise:

I did finally get out for a run this evening though I really didn’t want to. My run ended up going better than expected even with having to dodge people in the park! Another 4.8km done towards my yearly goal! I hope I can get another 40km done before the end of the month!

Well I’m going back to my knitting:)

Have fun!

AJ

Ugh Times Two!

My day has some lovely parts, but it also had a couple that just got to me!

Exercise:

After stepping on the scale this morning there was no escaping that I needed to get back to routine. I got out for two short runs today as lately I’ve been finding it mentally easier to do that than go for one long run. I got a total of 6.4km done and it was fast for me. It really helped that it was cool and this evening I purposely pushed myself on the flat parts!

I also got 25 crunches, 25 reverse crunches, 25 bicycles and 25 scissor legs done. Tomorrow I really need to get a weights routine done. I feel like I’ve lost all my muscle!

Knitting:

I got a swatch done for my new project and got my halter top washed and blocked. Unfortunately the red cotton isn’t colour fast:( I tried soaking it in vinegar water, but it doesn’t seem to have made any difference. Anyone have an idea of what I should do? I now have a very pink halter outline on my towel:(

My new project is a test knit for Zanete Knits called Not a Boring Sweater. It was going well, until I just figured out my stitch count is 3 stitches out. I’ll save all that tinking for tomorrow! Ugh!!!

Baking:

I attempted the Sally’s Baking Challenge for August which is a vertical layer cake. It unfortunately turned into trifle as my sponge cake cracked into pieces. Ugh!!! I’m not sure that I’ll try this one again, but we’ll see.

Car:

I had taken my car in to be repaired yesterday and went back today to pick it up. After paying a rather large bill, I only got ten minutes into driving when my dash lights came on again. I called the mechanic when I got home and I’ll take the vehicle back tomorrow so we can see what the dash lights are for:(. Ugh!!!

I think I’m going to go curl up in bed with my book now!

Have fun!

AJ