A Challenge and a Starting

It wasn’t an exciting day, but I got a few things done during the drizzle that continues here.

Exercise:

As usual I met up for my Sunday morning run, but yet again it turned into a walk. I think it’s because we don’t want to leave Brenda alone and James who usually walks with her is away. It will hopefully be easier when Brenda starts running again in September. We did 7.5km very quickly done!

This evening, after my nap, I got a 4.6km run in and felt really good. My fastest was a 6:18/km, but I’ll take it.

I ended the day with a workout from Lyndsay again. I am making my way through my book of workouts that I’ve compiled from all over the place. This one has 30 exercises that I had to do for thirty seconds with a hurry second rear in between. I should do more of these as it would be super easy to change it up. Tonight I did:

Burpees, squats, crunches, pushups, mountain climbers, squat jumps, reverse crunches, t pushups, lunges, plié squats, burpees, squats, bicycles, pike pushups, mountain climbers, squats, pushups, skaters, toe touch crunches, t pushups, burpees, squats, crunches, pushups, mountain climbers, plié squats, pike pushups, skaters, lunges, and burpees.

On everything I could, I held a pair of seven pound dumbbells. Every time I pick up weights, I think about the fact that I used to carry that weight inside me. I can’t even use weights that represent how much weight I’ve lost, but it would be cool to work up to that!

Cooking:

I have decided to start on another cookbook.

I have to admit I have had this cookbook for a while and have already made about twelve recipes from it, but I’m going to try some more and share my thoughts with you. Today I made Baked Ham and Cheese Manicotti as I had vegan ricotta from my trip to Blue Heron Cheese.

The recipe wasn’t difficult bough there were a lot of steps. The sauce makes enough, even though it didn’t look like it. I used lasagna noodles as I couldn’t find gluten and dairy free shells. I just let them soak in boiling water for ten minutes. The taste was good, but I wouldn’t add the extra salt as it wasn’t necessary, but I would add basil next time and maybe up the garlic. The strongest taste is the ham, but overall it’s yummy and impressive sounding while not being difficult.

Knitting:

I finished up my sleeve today (though I’m afraid I made this one bigger than the other- hopefully you won’t be able to tell!). I’m now working on the collar and then I’ll get to put it all together! I’m really hoping to have this done!

Movies:

Oh I wanted to tell you about the last movies I watched last night. I watched Love Unleashed. The puppies were super cute, but I thrill the storyline is just too overused. I also was distracted by the discrepancy between the actor’s heights. I guess this is what I look like with a guy.

I unfortunately can’t remember the other movie I watched:( It was fun to have Hallmark on the big screen though!

Eating:

It’s been a little off again today, but here goes.

A package of honey stingers and an almond milk chai latte

Bocconcini, basil and tomato skewers

Ham and cheese cannelloni

A small ice cream cone (I swear the ice cream didn’t go above the cone edge!)

8 guacamole chips

Challenge:

I was reading blogs this morning and came across Abbey’s post. She always has interesting posts so you should check her out! This morning she gave the challenge of naming five things you like about yourself. Like most people I’m much better at naming my faults, so I thought I’d give this a try.

Five things I like about myself:

My eyelashes- they’re super long and come from my dad

The fact that I’m short. This may come as a surprise to some people, but I really do love it as I think my height really makes me who I am.

The fact that I don’t take life too seriously and can laugh regularly. Maybe everything out of my mouth shouldn’t be sarcastic, but it definitely makes my life better:). My laugh is also way bigger than people expect.

The fact that I love to bake, cook and knit. These things may make me a little old fashioned, but I like that I can be creative in a way that some people aren’t. I also love how it allows me to be productive every day.

My high expectations for myself! They have helped me change my life drastically and I am so happy for that!

There you go!

Well I desperately want to finish my sweater so I’m going to leave you.

Have fun!

AJ

Ouch!

A good day with a sore ending:(

Exercise:

I wasn’t really into running this morning so was t upset when it turned into a beautiful walk.

This evening I kicked my butt out the door for my run with the idea I only had to do 3.5km. Well I was going along great, feeling fantastic, when at 5.6km, Wham! Flat out and took out my chin, both hands and both knees. Needless to say my run was over and I hobbled home, dripping blood the last 1.4km. If anyone has a suggestion for how you get dirt out of cuts, let me know. Washing didn’t seem to help at all:(

Knitting:

After tidying my bedroom and doing laundry I joined Brenda for a knit afternoon. I got one sleeve of my sweater done and only have 34 more rows on the other. My hands better be knit-ready by tomorrow!

Cooking:

This afternoon I finally got around to making and canning my Strawberry rhubarb jam from this recipe. I think it might be too sweet for my liking, but I always follow the recipe the first time. It was neat how canning really did come back to me. It must be like riding a bike:)

Well I’m off to a painkiller and my bed.

Have fun!

Cookbook Review

My day was pretty normal, so I’ll talk about my Monthly cookbook instead.

Teaching:

We got through a journal, finished a measurement mini-book and learned about the Northwest Territories. That’s it.

Exercise:

Only my walk to and from school and for jog-a-long. I also got 100 squats, 100 crunches, 50 pushups and 50 dips done. I want to run but am thinking maybe it was my long runs that did me in again. I’ll try to refrain until I feel better, but I do dislike that I didn’t make my 100km this month:(

Eating:

I figure you guys are good for keeping me on the straight and narrow so I’ll admit what I ate. A piece of crustless quiche, an apple and granola, a fruit,yogurt and granola parfait, a charcuterie board of one carrot, one celery stalk, 4 mushrooms, hummus, 2 slices of cranberry “cheese” rolled in 2 slices of turkey and a quarter cup of homemade granola.

Wow as I write this, I realize I’ve eaten a lot of granola today! It wasn’t planned, but I’ll try to do better tomorrow! You guys might be good for me😜

Cookbook:

So for the past month and a half I have been cooking out of “The Best of Clean Eating 2”. The book has 207 recipes divided into 9 chapters. The chapters are: Breakfast and Brunch, Sandwiches, Salads and Sides, Soups,Stews and Chilis, Snacks and Starters, Dips and Spreads, Main Courses, Holiday Meals, Clean Desserts, Beverages

To recap the 12 recipes I tried:

Easy Make Ahead Breakfast Quiche

Very easy and customizable, but quite bland:(. Onion and garlic would improve it!

Pear Cheese Quesadillas

Yummy and super easy. Quite sweet so definitely a breakfast food- could use some sort of spice.

Tex Mex Morning Pizzas

Good, must toast the English muffins first!

Mushroom Melts

Uses red onion and soy mozzarella. Mom says delicious. Maybe cut the broccoli slightly smaller and toast bread first so it has a crunch. Glad it has some spices in it though!

Pumpkin and Coconut Soup

Made it with water instead of veggie broth. Very good and easy but definitely needs salt, pepper and the yogurt on top!

Beef Stir Fry

Bland

Spaghetti and Meatball Casserole

Lots of steps! The pesto is good, but the meatballs don’t hold together well and the meatballs and sauce are bland.

Baked Manicotti Bundles

Mixture was very runny! Didn’t stay in noodles well. Very bland and only made 9. Had to spread mix over all of the noodle.

Mediterranean Vegetable, White Bean and Feta Penne

Tasty! Would be good for a summer dinner or potluck contribution. Used chili flakes instead of red pepper flakes.

Turkey Pasta Casserole

Very yummy! Needs salt and pepper! I didn’t put the almonds on top and used Daiya cheese.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Didn’t get crispy:(

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Needed two extra minutes to bake. Easy to put together but extremely thin batter. Cupcakes have subtle lemon flavour and though they browned nicely the tops still fell:( think they would benefit from the addition of lemon curd in the centre of the muffin!

I found most of the recipes lacked spice and were quite bland. I also felt like they added unnecessary ingredients just to make recipes “healthier”, aka have more superfoods, etc in them.

I won’t get rid of the book yet, but it is definitely at the bottom of my pile right now!

I already know which cookbook I’m going to start using next week:)

Reading:

I started reading Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan. So far I am enjoying it a lot. I have found the Libby app really good for knocking books off my TBR!

I’m off to read more:)

Have fun!

AJ

Happy Easter

Is it bad I didn’t even realize it was Easter today?!

Exercise:

I met up with the crew for a Sunday morning run and it was awesome that Sarah came with Kula so I had company:) Kula did the park about four times while Sarah and I managed one loop of the perimeter trail. I counted this time and it has 5 hills!!!

This evening I got out for another short run to the park and back to get some mileage in and start the Squad Runner mission. My legs were a little tired, but it went okay.

Cooking:

After a quick stop at the grocery store I spent a lot of the day in the kitchen getting my food ready for the week.

Out of the The Best of Clean Eating 2 cookbook I made a berry crisp which didn’t crisp:( and a Baked Manicotti Bundles dish. I found this had a super runny inner mixture which didn’t stay put very well and once again it was quite bland:(

I also was intent on cleaning out the freezer a little bit and so made a pizza with pepperoni, green peppers and mushrooms.

Knitting:

The rest of my day was spent knitting on a sock that ended up being too big so it has been frogged. I have 284 yards of sock yarn and am on the lookout for a tank or sleeveless pattern for myself.

Oh and I finally got up the nerve to try on my April Tank. It fits, but is really a mini-dress on me as it’s super long!

Well I’m off to peruse Ravelry:)

Have fun!

AJ

Crafty

It was a pretty crafty day for me:)

Exercise:

I won this week and got to name the location of our Saturday run. We ended up with a nice little 5km around Coquitlam River. Someone was looking out for me cause it rained on my way over and on my way home, but not while I was raining! That’s pretty amazing for my area! My new run jacket from Icebreaker also passed its first run with flying colours!

This evening I did a deck of cards workout. I love these workouts because they seem to go fast and I can customize them completely. Tonight:

♣️=curtsy lunge

❤️=sit ups

♦️=pushups

♠️=squats

I definitely was a little shakey by the end!

Reading:

Last night I finished the book, Playing For Keeps by Jill Shalvis. This is the latest Heartbreaker Bay novel. It was a great read like the others, though I found the overall mood much more serious. There was also a lot more angst, but it seemed to go with the character. It’s a beach read:)

Furniture Hunt:

My furniture hunt continued today at two more stores. Unfortunately I yet again came home without a couch, however, I did get a recommendation for a place to go look, so I will do that next week:)

Crafting:

After checking out Fabricland and not getting inspired for a boy baby blanket, I headed home. In December I had had the good idea of making felt Christmas ornaments for my friends this year (I always make them a Christmas decoration of some kind). Then I started to doubt I’d be able to do the ones I picked out since I’m not particularly artistic. Today, before I loaded the felt back into my car to take to work, I took one last look on Pinterest and found an ornament I thought I could do from Fun Thrifty Mom.

The top is the example and the bottom is my attempt. As I look at it, I realize I may have stuffed it too much🤣 So I’d love an honest opinion:)

I also spent a lot of time knitting on my sweater as my mom organized the sewing stuff. I have finished one sleeve and am almost done the second as well. I am so close to the fun stuff, I can almost taste it!

I went to buy yarn for my next project, thanks mom for encouraging that! The pattern suggested Peepaloo Fields Twisted Sock, but unfortunately that would cost me about $100:(. So I am looking for a comparable yarn:)

Cooking:

For lunch I tried another recipe out of The Best of Clean Eating 2. I made the mushroom melts for my mom and I. I made ours open-faced and used button mushrooms and red onion instead of what was called for in the recipe.

My mom said they were delicious and she liked how the broccoli was in big chunks. I liked how they had basil and thyme in them so they had some taste:)

I also found out that I have made the

Beef Stir Fry

All my note said was:

Bland!

I’ll keep trying more recipes before I decide if I’ll keep the book. I may have to test several and then get rid of the cookbook I like the least from.

Well I’m on a mission to finish my sleeve tonight (I can at least do that while I sneeze and sniffle!)

Have fun!

AJ

Everyone Came Home

It was a day of visiting as not only my parents have come home this week, but also my closest friend:)

Exercise:

This morning I just walked for an hour with Brenda because I realized I had to run this evening. I have kicked myself for this as it would have been a good stretch to run double in a day, especially if I want to try another half marathon distance run! Oh well, I’ll have to keep this goal in mind better!

I did get out for a run this evening and managed 6.5km in gorgeous sunshine. It was a great day for a run and I felt good and strong, yay🎉🎊

Visiting:

After a quick run through the grocery store for some veggies and fruit, I went up to see my friend and her husband and two sons as they just arrived home from six months in Mexico. It was a successful trip as they got lots of family time with members who can’t come to Canada. It sure is nice to have her home though!!!

Kitchen Time:

I did my food prep for today. I made a breakfast trifle with the muffins that kept falling apart last week along with yogurt and berries. I’m excited to have these for breakfast this week. I have apples for recess and a cookie for after school snack. I have discovered I need a little treat or else I go off the deep end at some point. At least now it is planned into the day.

This week I roasted a parsnip, turnip, Onion, eggplant, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, celery, carrots, peppers, and mushrooms with onion, basil, oregano, salt and pepper and mixed in some feta.

I love roasted veggies for lunch and already have a plan for next week- Italian seasoning and hot Italian sausage! It’s a super easy dish to make as you just cut all the veggies, mix with olive oil and seasoning and cook at 350 for 30-45 minutes. It is not a glamorous looking dish, but so yummy.

Knitting:

I am back knitting my sweater that I started last night. I am super happy with it so far and hope that feeling continues. I just noticed the pattern doesn’t have a name so I’m not sure how I’m going to record it on Ravelry.

I ran out this evening to get gas at Costco and the line up was about thirty cars deep! I definitely won’t make that mistake again. Hopefully I can fit it in on Monday or Tuesday night.

Well I definitely need to get some new Hallmark movies as I find myself watching A December Bride tonight. 🙄🤪🤣. It is however taking my mind off my slightly queasy stomach. Everyone around me has the stomach flu so I’m thinking I should be thankful I got the flu shot this year!

Have fun!

AJ

Understanding Groups

Quite a nice day and I got more done than I was expecting!

Exercise:

I couldn’t decide this morning if I’d go out for a run or not as my regular Sunday group was cancelled. I ended up doing a short run to meet the group for coffee. It will ruin the goal I made not to have and 2km runs this month, but that first sip of tea made it worthwhile and the company was also worth it!

Otherwise it was a light exercise day with just 200 squats and 100 crunches.

Cooking:

It was my day to do food prep and boy did I go for pretty! I have fruit and yogurt parfaits for recess snacks that are actually layered prettily! I have vegetable sticks wrapped in ham or chicken and tied with a green onion for lunch ( ham slices work better than chicken), and then I have roasted vegetables with Greek seasoning and veta for dinner. I’m happy I’m prepped with meals that are fruit or vegetable based with the carbs and protein in supporting roles:). I hope this leads to a successful eating week!

I also got cornbread made for Bookclub from Living Freely Gluten Free. This is definitely another successful new recipe as I had a lot of compliments on it at Bookclub. It goes really well with baked beans!

Reading:

I spent much of the afternoon engrossed in Becoming by Michelle Obama again. Tonight I found out we’re not discussing this book until October! I’m never going to remember a thing!

Bookclub:

It was once again Bookclub and it was as wonderful as ever! We had seven people tonight and we talked about the book a little bit; most didn’t love it☹️, but mainly we watched the Oscars and ate. This is the food except for the great baked beans that were done in an Instant Pot and the amazing desserts of Apple Slump and macarons. I bought the macarons from Kizzy’s macarons at the Farmers Market ( I finally got there), and they were wonderful!!!!!

We’ve decided that next year we’ll have to read something connected to Hollywood so we have an excuse to watch the Oscars at Bookclub.

All I have to say about the oscars is that Melissa McCarthy’s dress was crazy and phenomenal, I’m glad that Green Book won for best picture as my friends have all been raving about it, and does Julia Roberts ever age?

I realized today that the groups I belong to are all very understanding, accepting and supportive. These three words describe the teachers in my wing at school, my Squad Runner team, and my Bookclub. I’m glad to have all of these groups in my life:)

Well, I need sleep!

Have fun!

AJ

Happy Christmas Eve

It’s been a lovely day:)

Exercise:

I went out this morning for a run, but it didn’t go all that well as I was super hungry. Running after not eating for 15 hours wasn’t very successful.

I got out again this evening for a much longer run! This one was much more successful and finished off my 9km Squad Runner mission.

Home:

I spent the morning cleaning and tidying my place. I gave myself three hours to get as much cleaning done as possible. I love having a clean house, but so don’t love cleaning!

Baking/Cooking:

I spent this afternoon cooking and baking. I started to make the dressing for tomorrow when I realized the ground pork I had wasn’t gluten free so then I had to go looking for more. I tried two stores before I found ground pork, and I never found any more non dairy eggnog:(. There went being organized and prepared:(

I am still waiting for the pork to thaw so I got the apple crumble done for tomorrow night’s dinner. I also got the maple nut scones prepared for morning. They definitely aren’t the eggnog snickerdoodle doughnuts I wanted to make, but they will hopefully be good.

Knitting:

I have spent the rest of the time knitting my green vest. I’m hoping it’s ready for tomorrow but we’ll see. I really wanted to get a white tree put on it, but that is definitely not happening before 8am tomorrow morning.

Movies:

I have definitely been hitting the Christmas movies hard today. I have watched the original Miracle on 34th Street, Christmas in Connecticut, A Very Merry Mixup, The Christmas Ornament and I am now watching Hitched For the Holidays. This is a new one for me and I am enjoying it. The lead male is gorgeous, but human. Hopefully it ends as cutely as it’s been going along!

Merry Christmas to all!

AJ

Who Knew?

Who knew that bookclub could knock a person out?!

Exercise:

Yesterday morning started with my usual Sunday morning run club. We did a regular park route and I felt like I was running fast, but I definitely wasn’t:(  Oh well, I got out and I ran so that’s what really matters. I actually ended up running again in the early afternoon as my running buddies weren’t willing to do an hour in the pouring rain.  The afternoon run went way better, but was still on the slow side. It is weird that for the past two runs, my phone has acted weird at the end and shut itself off, even though it wasn’t out of battery. I wonder if this is it’s formal complaint about running in the cold and wet?

Reading:

I finished the next book in the Return of the Blackwell Brothers Series. This one, The Rancher’s Fake Fiance by Amy Vastine is the fourth in the series and tells the story of Tyler, the second to last Blackwell brother.  Tyler has no interest in the ranch, but promises his employee Hadley a promotion if she will accompany him to the ranch and pretend to be his fiance, so that his brother’s don’t find out he lied about being engaged.

I really liked how the relationship between Hadley and Tyler started out in Portland as it seemed super realistic and made for a nice contrast to how they end up.  I have to say, the whole Portland scene was very realistic and charming too:)

The other part that I really liked about this book was that the Blackwell family played a bigger part.  Ethan and Grace are around in every chapter and Ben and Jon pop in and out too. I really enjoyed the family lunch they all had. It’s about time that family started spending time together!

I can’t wait to see how this series ends with the next book which I will hopefully be starting tonight!

Thank you to Amy Vastine and the publisher for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Cooking:

I had a really tough time coming up with what to make for book club because Malin (an amazing cook in the group) beat me to posting what she was making – lemon cake and Christmas cookies. Well there went my plan for brownies and Christmas cookies. I am definitely more known for my baking than my cooking.  I have been craving cream of mushroom soup and haven’t found a vegan version at the store, so I got busy making that. I used this recipe. It was super easy and very yummy! It will definitely become part of the dinner rotation during these cold, wet months!  I also made up a loaf of Bob’s Redmill Bread and it was a hit.

Bookclub:

I, of course, ate way too much at bookclub, but it was just all so good! Between good food, good friends and a cute baby, it was a great night! We actually didn’t end up discussing a book because only one person completely finished it and two of us got partially through it. We did choose our books for next year though:)  We used to choose the next book each time we met, but it wasn’t very time efficient so now we choose six books for the year at our December meeting. I have to remember to walk over to the library and get the book for February as I am hosting that  month so I’d better make sure I’ve read the book!

I came home from bookclub and immediately crashed into bed!

Have fun!

AJ

Just Off

I had a lovely day planned and it went according to plan, but something was just off:(

Organization:

My day actually started at 3:30 when I was wide awake and booked tickets to visit my parents in the middle of nowhere this winter holiday. For the deal I got, I can afford to go to the middle of nowhere and do nothing for a week, though I am going to try and talk them into doing one thing while I’m there. We could go look around a nearby town or city, park, monument, trail, etc, just something so people don’t look at me weird when I go back home.

I decided to book this because I kept looking at tickets so I figured that meant I wanted to go. Hopefully my dad doesn’t drive me too crazy in seven days- maybe a miracle will occur. I just worry too much about what other people think of my decisions and I know I shouldn’t! I just have to focus on how restful and warm I will be there and I’ll get a little dose of my mom:)

Exercise:

After grabbing a few hours of sleep, I got up for my regular Sunday morning group run. It was a shorter one today as coffee and tea definitely seemed to be more important. Brenda wasn’t awake yet and Dennis has a chest cold so the forty minute run was just fine with all of us!

Shopping:

After a lovely cup of tea, I did make myself stop in and pick up a few things for the week. I decided to not buy much as I couldn’t remember what I had in the freezer and thought it would be better to just go back if I needed to!

Crafting:

I had decided today was the day to get ahead on some of the projects I have piled up. I started with sewing up Brady’s pants. Boy that kid can destroy a pant knee!! I hope the seaming doesn’t bother him too much as without using a patch, I didn’t really have any other options. I also got the rest of the curtains done for Liane’s camper. I’m really glad both of these things are out of my house! The only project I have left for other people are pillows for Brenda. I’ll have to get to them before Christmas.

Cooking:

I also got back to being organized and spent some time in the kitchen getting ready for the week. I made up a hash that I can cook an egg on top of each morning and be feeling very spoiled for my breakfasts. I also got my cereal portioned out for recess snack, and soup taken out of the freezer for lunches. Thankfully I also got the kitchen cleaned up after myself as that will also improve my week!

House:

I also got a ton of laundry done and all of my new clothes entered into my clothing app. I have a cleaned off bed, and a clean hallway which was lovely to walk into! Now I just need to go through my sweater cupboard and get it tidied up too! I swear the sweaters rearrange themselves!

Reading:

I finished my latest ARC that had to be done by November 30th. A Lot Like Christmas by Kait Nolan.

This is the story of the waitress Hannah Wheeler whom we have met in previous books. She is ready to re-enter life and fortuitously meets Ryan Malone, an army medic home on leave, at that very time!

I really enjoyed this book. I liked that Ryan developed over the course of the book. He starts out a man who has seen too much horror in his life and moves towards a man who remembers the good things he is fighting for.

I also like Hannah. She is multifaceted which made her much more realistic. When we start the book she is portrayed as a merry elf of a woman, but as we come to know her through the book, we find she has a backbone and has had her fair share of hardship. Her positivity is a choice, not naivety.

The story does go by very quickly! I didn’t want to do anything but read, and the quick timeline of a few weeks didn’t negatively affect the story. I liked how the ending was realistically portrayed as happening a year later.

This book also offers some humor in the form of the great uncle Percy. His timing is horrible, but led me to giggle several times:)

Finally, this book also communicated a great message. When Ryan is upset about something, Hannah encourages him to see that he was meant to be where he was. We can’t carry all the burdens or take all the blame for events.

I thank Kait Nolan for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book definitely keeps up the excellent Wishful series.

Knitting:

I also got some knitting done this evening, once I sat down. The bag I started last night is finished, except I’m blocking the handle so it hasn’t been attached yet. I will hopefully have a picture tomorrow, but surprisingly I’m really happy with it. It is the second project I’ve made from the knitting bags book I bought earlier this year:)

Movies:

I have to admit, I rewatched Christmas movies as I was knitting. I watched A Very Merry Mix Up with Alicia Witt. I enjoy her as an actress, but every movie seems to show her running and she looks really weird when she runs! I like this movie because it shows a family that is seriously into Christmas and making it fun!

I’m thinking I should come up with a list of Fun Christmas things to do for the month of December so I don’t become a Scrooge! It will have to wait until tomorrow though as I’m exhausted. Maybe that’s what threw off my day?

Have fun!

AJ