Lovely

I started the week thinking I had a very quiet weekend, but today ended up being full.

Exercise:

I did manage to sleep in this morning and awoke to gorgeous sunshine, which was perfect for the hike I had planned with Sarah. It was slightly delayed as I got the chance to talk with my mom on the phone which immeasurably lifted my spirits:)

Sarah had said she had a new route for us to try today. I think it was a stream bed as we spent the entire hour walk in water!

This one at least had a plank walk over it!It actually became funny after a while! The hour spent in nature with a friend and cute pups was an awesome start to my day, though I am having a difficult time counting this as exercise.

Knitting:

I pulled out my little tree, but I really don’t want to have to pull out all my boxes of ornaments. They fit really tight under my bed, so it makes it tough to get them out!

I left this project and went to Brenda’s to knit. I am over 2/3 of the way through my current cowl, Everyone Likes Stripes Cowl on Ravelry. I am disappointed that it didn’t use up the entire ball of one colour:) I guess I’ll have to do a headband out of it too.

Movie:

While we were knitting we watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I remember wanting to see this movie when I saw the trailer, but hadn’t. Well today I did and I loved it. The animals were adorable, the characters were interesting, and I loved how it was set in the 1940s . I think JK Rowling has such an amazing imagination! I can’t wait to see the next one in the series and I’m definitely going to need to find these books to read!

Blogmas/ Christmas Event:)

I am linking up with Abbey, Mischenko, and Amber for Blogmas this year. So please go check out their interesting insights as well:)

Today’s topic is Christmas Lights which is one I am very torn about. I really love houses that have all warm, white lights. They glow in the snow and are just so inviting and classy, however, the other side of me also loves those old multicolored lights! My grandma had them along the roof edge of her house and it is always so cheerful. I find I take a lot of pictures of both of these types of lights.

Christmas lights used to signal a fun night for me too! When I was in my late teens and early twenties there was a group of five girls who hung out together. To celebrate my birthday at the start of December, we would pick up Starbucks drinks and then drive around looking at Christmas lights. I remember these nights as a lot of fun, filled with oohs and ahhhs and a whole lot of giggling!

This evening I got to see Christmas lights in another way as I headed out with my friend Lyndsay and her son and nephew for a local Christmas event called Cheer at the Pier. IT WAS LIKE I WAS IN A HALLMARK MOVIE! You had the young cute mayor, train ride, hot chocolate and cookies for the kids, we counted down and then they turned the lights on along the pier. It was pretty cool. Not a huge event, but still nice to go see what it was all about. Lyndsay and I checked out the food trucks and Lyndsay had bulgagi steak fries which smelled amazing and I had arancino which is supposedly a Sicilian rice ball. I had it mixed with salmon, one with beef and one with vegetable medley. They tasted great but I don’t eat a lot of fried food so my tummy isn’t particularly happy with me. The first Christmas even was a success:)

Tea:

Today I also got to start my Twinings Christmas Tea Advent Calendar. I have to admit I am biased as Twinings is one of my favourite tea companies. Today’s tea was English Breakfast and it was great. The tea bag was fresh and didn’t smell at all musty (I sometimes wonder how old tea bags are), and it brewed up two great cups of tea. This is the tea I always think of when I think of a “good cuppa”. The first cup was lightly brewed and yet still had a robust flavor and was greatly enjoyed. The second cup was stronger and I added soy milk and honey to it. I love that this tea is strong enough to handle having add-ins and yet you still get a tea flavor. This first day was great!

Well, I’m going to go enjoy my bed and tv along with knitting.

Have fun!

AJ

Fun,Fun, Fun

I awoke to a gorgeous morning, but the day went differently than I expected!

Exercise:

I had talked with a colleague about going for a run this morning, but I didn’t hear from her. I was having a tough time getting up and out the door, so I texted S my occasional running buddy. She couldn’t run but was taking her dogs on a hike and invited me along. It was a gorgeous, cold, sunny day so I joined her.

It was exactly what I needed- fresh air, Sunshine, the forest, cute pups and a good friend. I greatly enjoyed myself and it even counted for my Squad Runner mission!

I also got a workout in when I got home. It was three sets of 12,16 and then 20 reps of squats, plank punches, bicycles, skaters, plank ski hops with two minutes of skipping in between each set. It was quick, but at least it was something!

Eating:

Today was the Halo Top ice cream testing. I started with the Birthday Cake flavor. I have to admit the colouring wasn’t as vibrant as I was expecting. It has a very sweet flavor. It reminds me of a white cake, very light in flavor, just sweet. It’s like those mini cupcakes with the pile of icing on them that you can get at the grocery store. I’m not sure I like having to chew my ice cream.

I next moved onto the Peanut Butter Swirl. I love peanut butter so I had high hopes! You can see the strands of peanut butter in the ice cream, however I was unable to really identify a flavor in the rest of the ice cream. It doesn’t really seem to be chocolate or vanilla, just some light brown cold substance. I guess it’s the definition of eating beige food. There was just not enough peanut butter flavor for me in this one:(

The final flavor I tried was Toasted Coconut. This had a bit of a peach colored hue to it with little dark caramel coloured bits in it. There was a strong toasted coconut flavor in this ice cream. The flavor was really good! My only complaint is that the coconut bits could have been a bit bigger as they kept getting stuck in my teeth.

I did notice that all three flavors seemed to melt very quickly. Thankfully I like my ice cream however I get it:)

And the winner is…Toasted Coconut! It had the most flavor and so will be the one I buy in the future. I’m glad I had the chance to try them all:).

Reading:

I know I should be cleaning or doing laundry, but instead I’m reading. I finished my next NetGalley book, I’ll Always Love You by Ella Quinn.

This is the next story in Ella Quinn’s current Worthington series. It features the eldest daughter, Lucinda and Earl Elliot, the brother’s best friend. I always like romances featuring the brother’s friend, even though they always make me wonder why my brother’s friends didn’t work out that way!

I liked the premise of the meeting between these characters. Lucinda has come to London for her first season and her brother asks his friend Gerald Elliot to help keep an eye out for her. Through random meetings they come to find they have great conversations and lots in common.

The characters themselves were interesting and realistic. I especially liked how Earl Elliot questions how he knows Lucinda is the right one. It seems the opposite to the usual storyline, but I liked the guy being shown as unsure.

This was a short read, but definitely worth your time. I really enjoyed it and thank Ella Quinn, the publisher and NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

socializing:

After a quick nap, I met up with two friends and headed out for some fun! We got foot reflexology which was super lovely, though I really hurt everywhere. The girl said I’m not drinking enough water and the lactic acid is building up in me.

We stopped in at Bath and Body Works and Lululemon as we walked through the mall. I almost bought a dress, but managed to restrain myself:)

We then had dinner at a local pub as that is somewhere my friend normally wouldn’t get to go when she has her son. We shared dry ribs, nachos and yam fries. They were all really good or else I was super hungry!

This evening has just made me grateful I met these two women as I always have such a good time with them and they have become really good friends:) I’m lucky to have them in my life.

Right now though, I’m exhausted so it’s off to bed!

Have fun!

AJ

It Finally Rained

I was so happy to get up this morning and hear rain! It didn’t change my plans but was definitely needed!

Exercise:

I have to admit to feeling pudgy lately. Some is due to the dairy attack, but a lot is due to my time in Robert’s Creek. This morning started off on a good note to change that feeling- a nice hike with my friend Sarah and Kula.

He did spend a lot of time waiting for us at the top of hills and at the bottom of hills. It really does look like he is saying, “geez can’t you two keep up?”

It was a great 5.8km walk and is definitely how I like to spend my days off!

This evening, I really didn’t want to go out, but knew I had to in order to make progress on the 15km mission. I gave myself permission to take it easy and slow and just do a short run as it’s been over a week since I ran. The rain had stopped and I enjoyed my 3.35km run.

This is a start back into my healthy lifestyle. I figure I had better get back into my habits this week so that they are established before we add in kids and work!

Reading:

I finished my NetGalley book today, Why Not Tonight by Susan Mallery.

This is the third story in the Happily Inc series. I greatly enjoyed it.

Natalie is the main heroine and I lover her optimism. She brings fun and positivity to every situation and yet she’s not an unrealistic Pollyanna. She has confidence in herself and I love her self-assured statement. Yet she has hidden depths as you can see she sometimes doubts she can be loved as it hasn’t worked out for her in the past.

Ronan is the Moody artist. I have to admit this isn’t my ideal man and much of his struggle just annoyed me. I very much agreed with Natalie that he was still incredibly lucky with his life and why he was pouting, was beyond me.

I enjoyed how Ronan became closer to his brothers and that brought the rest of the family into the book.

I also liked how the book didn’t go as I thought it would. At one point I thought I knew what was going to happen and I was completely wrong. I am so happy that I was!

The book celebrates art which is great and would be of interest to anyone who is artistic or enjoys art. It definitely gave me inspiration to create!

Thank you to NetGalley, Susan Mallery and the publisher for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.

I of course have started another book that has to be returned Monday instead of doing any of the projects that I really need to get done:(

Cooking:

With the rain, it felt like the perfect day to do some cooking and it would help with getting me back on track to healthy!

I started with making the pesto pasta salad. It was super easy as I just cooked up some shell pasta, added quartered cherry tomatoes, minced garlic and pesto. I had it for lunch and am very happy with the results. Even better I have four servings in my fridge and whatever doesn’t get eaten will get frozen:)

I also cooked up some chicken and made up some chicken Caesar salads as there was Earth Island Parmesan cheese (fake) on sale this week. I had this for dinner and was super happy with it too! I don’t normally like Daiya anything, but I don’t mind the Caesar dressing.

Finally I tried a recipe from me newest cookbook, Deliciously Ella Everyday by Ella Woodward.

I made the Zucchini Banana Bread and am not very happy with it. I have high expectations for my baking now and this is very dense and heavy and didn’t cook nicely at all:(. I will give the book a few more chances, but so far I’m not impressed:(

Well I’m off to do more reading.

Have fun!

AJ

Another Day of Fun

I am so glad we didn’t have to rush home today as it gave us another awesome day of fun!

Exercise:

We went for another walk today. This time we hit Cliff Gilker Park which we had read online had a better waterfall than the one we missed yesterday. Well we walked every path in the park, which were much more technical than yesterday’s

And this is the only waterfall we saw!

Maybe I should give up on waterfalls for this holiday!

This was my only exercise for the day and I feel like I’m going to have to go home and run all day every day!!!

Eating:

We hit another new restaurant today. Unfortunately we were hungry. I really wanted the avocado breakfast bowl with chorizo sausage, but they were sold out so I ended up with a beef burrito bowl with an egg on top. Along with this I had a glass of red sangria, which I had to doctor with simple syrup as it just wasn’t sweet enough!

The food was good, but I’m not sure it was worth the forty five minute wait nor the obnoxious guys sitting behind us.

The view was awesome though!

Knitting:

I spent most of the afternoon knitting on my scarf for my friend.  It was an awesome place to do some knitting, though I was under a blanket because the wine was cool!

Reading:

I read a couple of short novellas last night so I could finish off a series I have been reading.

Rock With You was insta-love but for some reason it didn’t bother me. Maybe because it was set in a bakery or because how else could it be with a rock star. It was a short but enjoyable read.

I also finished this short story, All I Want For Christmas Is You which was like a little extra scene after the book ended. I loved a peek at life after the book ends and I wish more authors did this!

Product Review:

I found some Ben and Jerry’s dairy free Cherry Garcia almond milk ice cream today and I loved it!

It was incredibly yummy!!!! I got this because there wasn’t much non dairy voice where my friends got ice cream.

Movie:

We’ve been watching Something Borrowed as we ate dinner. I had forgotten all about this movie/book since it’s been years since I’ve read or seen it.

I’m off to finish the movie and maybe another one.

Have fun!

AJ

Vacation Day 15

I can’t complain as I’ve had a lovely time off, but unfortunately I know it’s coming to an end:(

Exercise:

Normally I run Bert Flynn Park with Sarah and Kula on Saturday mornings, but earlier this week Sarah had suggested a local hike instead. Sounded good to me:). To Kula too!

We headed out and I had forgotten how hilly that hike was, or perhaps it was just my super heavy legs! About fifteen minutes in I decided that this would count as my run for the day! With having run 89km this month, I’m okay with that:) It was a gorgeous hike- about 45 minutes each way with a stop at the beach for Kula to go swimming. I love any hike that ends at water or with a water view!

Kula decided he hadn’t had enough exercise doing the trail four times and swimming, so he decided to dig too. I only captured the last few seconds.

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We need to put this digger to better use than excavating the beach 😂

Household:

My mom came to give me a hand with a couple of chores such as cleaning my gas fireplace and redoing my filing system. It’s just nice to have company while you tackle these mundane tasks. It has been a great feeling to get so many things done off my list during my holiday, though there are still plenty there. Maybe I’ll get to the sewing tomorrow:)

Shopping:

We hit Lee Valley as the treat for getting the mundane stuff done. I love Lee Valley as they have so many awesome items and some I just can’t imagine needing! I absolutely adore my measuring cups and spoons from there and my compost pail!!!! Last summer I had made a wish list for the store that I carry in my wallet and I’m just slowly picking away at it. I got some new magnetic reflectors to wear while I’m running and some new pastry guides. I should now have perfect thickness on all baked goods🤣. This means I get to bake to try them out, right?!

Knitting:

I got lucky and had a second knit night with Brenda tonight and managed to finish my March sweater with three hours to spare🤣. I know I’ve been asked for a photo, but it will have to wait until tomorrow when someone is around to take it as I’m seriously awful at selfies.

Now I get the fun of deciding what to do next, though I think it’s really been decided for me already! I need to work on my rug regularly so it gets finished- I’m thinking I might use Sundays for that and I need to get my parent’s boat Afghan done before they leave town again, which with them, could be tomorrow🤣

I’m off to bed! I want to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for tomorrow:)

Have fun!

AJ

I Was Hoping

A nice day, but I didn’t get to where I wanted to be.

Exercise:

I started my morning off great with a hike with my friend Sarah and her dog Kula. We went up the hill to the hydro tower and then back down in one hour and ten minutes. It was so nice to be outside in the green forest, even on this gray, dreary day! It was also great to see Sarah and Kula again as it’s been a while:(. Unfortunately I don’t know how far I went as I plan to use Runkeeper for only running this year!

I had been hoping to get out for a run today to make up for the lack of running this week, but I just couldn’t get my timing straight before the sunset.

I did get a Lyndsay workout in this evening though and I was definitely sweating after this one!

Teaching:

I didn’t teach any children today, but I did have to go buy art supplies for my school, well really just a lot of paper!! I should have bought more, but when the cart was full, I figured it was a good time to stop!🤣 I’m looking forward to filling the shelves in the art room on Tuesday as they have been bare for way too long!!

Family:

I dropped by my parent’s apartment and opened all their mail. Wow that box was stuffed! Before you call the police on me, I had my mom’s permission:). I’ll have to remember to stop by there regularly before it gets to that stage again. Maybe I can time it for when there’s a good movie on the W Network. Lol I was thinking today how I used to do so much at my parent’s place when they were away. Then they sold the house and rented this apartment and for some reason I just don’t like spending time there! Funny how places have vibes.

Beauty:

I had my nails done last Tuesday and yesterday, my thumb nail just popped right off. Thankfully the aesthetician could fit me in today:) It only took a moment and I’m back to having ten pretty nails. This will be my last mani for a while so I’m trying to get it to last as long as possible!

Groceries:

I was hoping to get all my grocery shopping and food prep done today as I have plans tomorrow. I stopped at Thrifty’s on my way home, but only got a few things as I just couldn’t bring myself to pay their prices for some things! I had gone there as they give air miles and I just signed up, but it looks like IGA does too, so I’ll have to stop there tomorrow!

Reading:

I went in the library on my way home today, but I promise I didn’t come home with any books, I just used their wifi!! I’m pretty impressed with my self control🤣

I finished this book, Love of the Gametoday! It tells the story of Kasha, a new physical therapist for the Dallas Gunslingers Baseball team and Axel, the star pitcher. Axel has hurt his shoulder and Kasha claims she can help him recover without surgery. She has one week to prove it.

This book dealt with a lot of big issues such as mental illness, and did it well- thoughtfully and sensitively. I especially liked one line that Axel says, “I don’t believe I deserve special treatment just because I have a talent for throwing a ball. The people who should be getting the special treatment are teachers and nurses and fireman and cops”. Wouldn’t that be nice if it was true of our society?!?!

I have to say that the plot of this novel just seemed super unrealistic to me- like a sports team is going to put their lead pitcher in the hands of the PT who started the day before!! What was she even doing in the meeting??? The pacing of the book was erratic as well. The start dragged with so much of nothing happening and then it was rushed at the end as though the author suddenly realized she had to wrap it up. My least favourite part was the toes scene. I just can’t relive it, so you’ll have to take my word for it!

I usually really like sports romances, but I would suggest going a different route!

I’ve just started the next kids book club book tonight. Hopefully it will be better!

Knitting:

I was hoping to have a finished Cowl to show off, but I just realized I don’t have enough yarn left for the edging and so I need to tink back two rows:(. I decided to leave this for tomorrow when I’m not so tired!

Movie:

I watched A Very Merry Mix Up tonight. It was a cute movie, but I really think the reconciliation should have happened at the family Christmas celebration as the family and Christmas were both so important to both characters. Hmmm I’m obviously watching too many of these movies if I can start writing the plot lines🤣

Well, I think that’s it for me!

Have fun!

AJ

Fit?

Where did the day go?

Exercising:

About ten years ago I did a kickboxing class and then did an eight hour hike with my mom and brother and since then that has become my loose criteria for being fit. I feel good when I can have days like that. Well today, I almost made it! I went for my run this morning ( decided to do the hilly side of the inlet trail and go out towards Old Orchard Park since I seemed to be running slow anyways) and then I went and hiked around Buntzen Lake in Anmore. Granted this was just a half hour run followed by a two and a half hour hike, but it’s more the concept of doing multiple active things in a day that defines fitness for me. I felt great! The Buntzen Lake trail is an undulating track that circumnavigates Buntzen Lake. It is not a trail I would attempt with a stroller or wheelchair as it is super technical, but it is a lot of fun to run or walk. I like to do the North side first as it is longer and harder and then come back along the more wooded south side. It has gorgeous trees and water views. Definitely worth attempting!

On top of these two, I managed to get in a 100s workout late this evening. It was three sets of 100 jumping jacks, squats, crunches and push-ups. Ugh, but also 😀.

Family:

Mom to the rescue! My mom is amazing and she showed up in town today. Supposedly to get my dad’s pills, but I think also to help me set up my room. She immediately resolved three of the problem areas in my classroom!  She is amazing at looking at things in different ways, plus she gives wonderful hugs!!!! It was a great day once mom arrived:)

Eating:

My mom and Dad and went to St. James Well in Newport Village for dinner tonight on the way to visit my brother and his family.  I had an awesome glass of sangria there and an entree of fish and chips that was gluten free and dairy free. I’m sorry I ate it before thinking of taking a picture it was so good!

Knitting:

I casted on and did the bottom border of the afghan I am making for my parents. It looks like it’s going to be a much more interesting knit than the sweater I just finished, but more on it, next time.

It’s  been a great day, but I’m exhausted so it’s off to bed with me!

Have fun!

AJ