The Beginning of the Season

I started the holiday season off in the best way!

Exercise:

My run this morning turned into a walk since my running buddy has been sick all week and Brenda would have been left on her own. I have to admit my calves were also happy for the break. We did a lovely 2.24 miles around the park. This seemed as challenging as running since Brenda walks really fast!

I ended up going for a run this evening and got 4.5km in. I tested out my new watch on this run and my mom absolutely loved the live tracking feature as she can watch me do my run on a map. Thankfully I can also send out an alert if I get hurt. I liked this feature of Garmin since I run alone so often. I really wish I could figure out how to have my weight in pounds and everything else in metric on this Garmin though! I just don’t think in miles!

Knitting:

I did end up finishing up the Mommy daughter hat last night.

This is a new pattern from Zanete Knits and it should be available soon. It was a quick knit and it turned out super squishy! I used Regia sock yarn so it’s not even itchy:)

Of course I spent about five minutes without a project and promptly casted on the Head in the Clouds sweater. So far, it’s going well:)

Socializing:

My friend had arranged to take me for high tea for my birthday. I was super excited about this as I used to love going for tea, but these days my allergies keep me from going. The Neverland Tea Salon however has a high tea that is both dairy free and gluten free and we were lucky enough to hit the first day of their Holiday tea as well. It was amazing!

I didn’t eat before or after and was still stuffed! I actually felt like one of those baby birds that eats three times their own body weight and then can’t move for several hours!! When I walked into the tea salon I was shocked at how busy it was, but amazingly it didn’t bother me once we were settled. I had the Heavenly Cream tea (no dairy) and it was a lovely afternoon! It’s also cool as this tea salon has been the location for a few Hallmark films🤣

Movies:

I had promised myself that I could enjoy one Christmas Hallmark movie per day in the month of December. Tonight it was A Christmas Detour with Candace Cameron Bure and Paul Greene. I wonder if he always plays characters who have been dumped by a girlfriend or fiancé and is now cynical about love? It was a cute movie.

A friend had sent me a workout plan based on watching Hallmark movies and I took the challenge of doing it based on this movie. I think I got off really easy with this one. I ended up having to do:

50 crunches because they said Merry Christmas ten times

5 jumping jacks because they had one mug of a hot drink,

10 burpees as they mentioned holiday traditions twice,

15 squats for the Christmassy Inn name they showed three times,

15 plié squats because of three incidences with mistletoe,

5 pulse squats because we see one Santa

5 curtsy lunges because they show decorating once

It was kind of neat to do this because not only did I pay close attention to the move, I also had a different workout than usual:)

Well I’m going back to knitting.

Have fun!

AJ

Bake, Read, Bake, Read…

A day that didn’t go as I planned which is unfortunately common when dealing with my family, but was still enjoyable!

Exercise:

I slept in this morning but went with my plan to run regardless of the time. It was so nice to run in daylight that I went out with no plan! Somewhere in my brain perhaps I was planning a ten k because I went out the hilly way first, but it just didn’t happen. I wasn’t fast, or particularly strong, but I was out there! At one point I calculated I had to do an hour today and an hour tomorrow to make up for the runs I missed this week and I immediately knew, that wasn’t happening!🤣 I’m happy with my 6.? km:)

I had no other exercise today though. That is becoming a too familiar refrain so I’d better get on that!

Reading:

I finished two books today, though I suppose one would be classified as a novella. I find it so difficult to tell the length of a book when I’m reading on my phone!

All You Need by Lorelei James.

This is the second book I’ve read in this series, though I don’t remember anything about the first! I didn’t even recognize any of the names in the book😞. This is the third book in this series. It tells the story of Annika, a PR executive at her family’s big company and Axl Hammerquist, a hockey player, new to the Minnesota Wild team.  All has a bad reputation and Annika is forced (through family pressure) to pretend to be his girlfriend to improve his image.

This is a relatively common premise in romance books and I was glad it didn’t follow the usual plot pattern.  I don’t want to spoil the plot, so I’ll just say there are some twists and turns. Besides the plot I enjoyed the two main characters. They are well developed and interesting. I can’t say I loved the background characters all the time, but it wasn’t horrible enough to ruin the story for me. I also liked how the timeline was more natural. In a lot of romance novels they seem to meet, fall in love, breakup and reconcile all within a matter of weeks, but this novel takes place over seven months, a much more realistic timeline, I think.

As I was reading, there was something that annoyed me, but for the life of me, I can’t remember it now. I’m going to have to start taking notes!🤣. I do remember that I didn’t like how the solving of one of the pivotal stumbling points was never explained!

I would recommend this book to fans of sports romances or hockey romances because that is a large focus of the book. However, readers who like a strong, business woman heroine would also enjoy it.  If I have the chance to read another book in the series, I definitely would!

The second book I read was The Christmas Fountain by Kait Nolan. It was a lovely seasonal short story. I have read almost all of Kait Nolan’s stories. This was an ARC given to me in exchange for an honest review that I will post on Amazon in a few days.

The story is of Mary Alice, a local grade three teacher in Wishful, and Chad, a new ER doctor in town. They meet after a friend’s drunken accident and there are instantaneous sparks and interest. A sweet romance ensues:)

I liked how Chad is a strong male hero who goes after what he wants, but isn’t a brute and shows a very sweet, caring side to Mary Alice. I didn’t mind Mary Alice, but I found it slightly unbelievable that she hadn’t even talked to friends after her breakup. She did better after her fight with Chad however, so I forgive her. I also really liked how this book intertwined the characters from Kait’s two series and gave an update on some of my favourite past characters.  The relationship, events and characters are very realistic for the most part, though the timeline is yet again, very quick!   I just don’t think I’d know I was in love within a few weeks, but maybe that’s just because I’ve never experienced that.   I really loved the character of Chad and would like him to be real! As well, the fountain sure didn’t play a central part which is what I was expecting from the title. I suppose it did its part when it was supposed to though.

If you like small town romances, medical stories or just a fun seasonal story, I would recommend, The Christmas Fountain by Kait Nolan.

Knitting:

I finally got a project finished this month. It’s just a simple child’s Cowl that I knit on my lunch hours and sewed up today.  I made it as a donation to the school’s Christmas Market which is a big fundraiser at my school. Hopefully it will sell! It did count for the Horcrux class on the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup on Ravelry so I got it entered on there:) My next project will be a plain garter knit striped scarf to use up all the ends of yarn I have at school.

Baking:

I spent most of the day baking. I had planned to make a bunch of things for my friend’s birthday tea tomorrow and then remake the winners for the staff’s Italian luncheon on Monday, but I’ve changed my mind.  When I told my friends I would bring the food ( the birthday girl doesn’t know there’s a cake for her), their response was so sweet!

“Aw, thanks AJ.I’ll happily be part of your test kitchen 😁”

In comparison, when I take stuff to work, I often hear stuff such as, ” oh where’s the gluten, or imagine how good it would taste with gluten added.” I get that they’re teasing me, but it’s definitely growing thin so I decided to bake for my friend’s tea and then just buy two desserts for the staff luncheon. I love to bake, but I think I’ll save it for people who appreciate it or who at least say thank you!

The first thing I made today was the applesauce cake from Connie’s Creations. I am part of the Fabtastic Bake Along hosted by Tracey. This is my second month participating and I’ve enjoyed it both times, though today I seem to have completely misunderstood ( I thought we were to make the applesauce cake) and messed up my earlier post about it ( forgot to put in links to all the other blogs partcipating😞).  All I can say is I’ll try to do better next month!  Since I already posted about that recipe- all I will say is that it was yummy and easy!

From here I moved onto a chocolate cake by Oh She Glows. I know my audience and my friends love chocolate! Here is a Link to a blog that has the recipe. It is her Double Layer Chocolate Fudge Cake. It was simple to put together though I ended up just doing one layer in my springform pan.  I also chose to put buttercream frosting on it rather than the avocado simply because I didn’t have an avocado. 

I’ll grab one to

Oreos of it all decorated. I need to grab a tube of coloured icing to write on it. I was feeling pretty good about the cake until I saw a blog today with an amazingly fancy looking cake, now mine looks plain and boring in comparison😞🤣

From chocolate cake, I moved onto Maureen’s pumpkin loaf. It went together super quick and baked up beautifully!

Finally I made some custard. I cheated and used Bird’s Custard mix which means I used 3TBSP of that, 3 TBSP of sugar and 2.5 cups of milk and had custard in minutes. I love creamy desserts so I’ll enjoy the break from chocolate tomorrow!

They will be prettied up with some blueberries in the morning.

That was all I had time for today, but I’m hoping to make some open faced cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches and some scones tomorrow. We’ll see how the day goes.

Work:

I met up with my friend Lyndsay to start my report cards today. Starbucks was crazy!!! It is taking me about 45-60 minutes to write each report card.  It’s a new report card to me and so far, I think I’m going to have a lot of parentscoming in holding it and asking, “so how is my child doing?”  One of my greatest pet peeves!! I’m hoping they speak up about not liking this report card as it doesn’t seem very parent friendly to me!

Family:

The rest of the evening I spent with my parents. Didn’t do anything exciting, just hung out and chatted. I’m still on the quest to get tired of them. I always hate transitioning! I understand my students so much better now!  I hope I get to see them tomorrow morning again, but we shall see:)

Well I’m off to bed as I have an 8am run in the rain.

Have fun!

AJ

You win some, you lose some…

Not exciting day, but a productive one:)

Running:

I just got my usual inlet run over to Rocky Point park in this morning. I was frustrated because it took until 25 minutes for me to get into a good rhythm and the run is only 30 minutes! Grrr😖 At one point I thought that after I had been running for a while I wouldn’t have bad or weird runs anymore, but I’ve come to the realization that those odd runs are always going to crop up no matter how often, how far or how well I run normally. I guess I might as well just embrace them. Lol but I do hope I go back to normal soon!

I also got a walk in, shorter than normal and no workout as my legs are feeling achy. I figured a little rest was better than an overuse injury. Tomorrow is another day:)

Back to School:

My mom and I worked all day in my classroom today. I got the major project of my classroom library completed so I’m happy! My books for older kids are all stored and the easy books look enticing:) My mom even got my centres tidied up as well so that they look more inviting to the children. I have a couple big organization projects left, but nothing that can’t be done after the children come back.

Eating:

In June I received a gift certificate to go for high tea at the Cakes and Sweets Bakery in Coquitlam. I called yesterday and made a reservation for today at noon for my mom and I. I was so looking forward to it! I didn’t pack a morning snack as I know that I’m usually so full after high teas ( they are one of my favourite events to go out for)! This morning I received a phone call saying that while they could accommodate gluten free, they couldn’t deal with dairy free. I ended up cancelling my reservation:( Have they never heard of vegan butter or oil??? If I can bake delicious gluten free, dairy free sweets ( that the skeptical men in my family will eat), then they should be able to as well! I was really disappointed and am thinking of stopping in and seeing what they can do for me since I now have an unusable gift certificate:(

With the tea disappointment, my mom did exuded to go to Pasta Polo in Coquitlam for lunch as we needed to get blue painters tape at Rona down the street from there. It was obviously not my day for eating out. I was so hungry that I couldn’t make a decision by the time our waitress got to us, so I ended up with gluten free fusilli with a bolognese sauce. I always get seafood when I go out and I should have stuck with that trend. The food was fine, but it really tasted like something that I could have made at home.😞 The horrible part was the service! I actually had to go looking for someone so that I could pay the bill!  This isn’t my normal experience here so I’ll give it another shot.

Reading:

I finally got to the Burnaby Public Library, McGill Beanch who have a great selection of trashy romance novels:) They even had the book I’ve been looking for! So glad as I refuse to spend money on trashy novels!

Knitting:

I only got eight rows of my afghan done tonight ( I wanted to get my kitchen floor washed in case my mom sees here tomorrow), but it’s fun to do more than just knit one, purl one. This pattern even has a cable.  I will appreciate when I get to know the pattern better though as right now, I’m just following the pattern very carefully!!

Well tomorrow will be another busy day with going to the Fair, so I’m off to bed.

Have fun!

AJ