A Solution

So today the solution to my always being cold at work became clear to me as for the first time ever, I wasn’t cold once! I just need to wear flannel pajamas and a robe to work every day!🤣🤣 Happy pajama day!

Exercise:

I worked out with L this morning even though I didn’t have the energy to push ashard as I usually do. We did about 24 minutes on the treadmill with hill intervals and then did floor exercises that included banded lateral steps, step ups,squats, power sit ups, planks with leg lifts, and lateral lunges. I just keep telling myself that something is better than nothing.

Teaching:

I can’t say that I did much teaching today. We had music this morning, then after quiet time we coloured stockings and gingerbread men while watching the original Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

After lunch we had planners and silent reading and then watched The Muppet Christmas movie which was a mistake. I had wanted to show the children the Jim Carrey Grinch movie but it is rated PG so I showed the muppet movie whose box said rated G. Turned out it was way worse than the Grinch ever was and I will never show it again! Let’s just hope I don’t hear from parents about it!

Knitting:

This evening I had a massage and then have been trying to pack. If anyone has any helpful hints for deciding what to bring, please let me know!

I have spent the evening restarting my blue market bag. I won’t be giving it away until the new year so I have the time, but need to get a few more projects done for my goal of 40 projects this year.

Movies:

Tonight I watched the Hallmark movie, The Christmas Club. The premise of the movie- that our good deeds keep going around- is one I love, but I didn’t love the movie as much as the one I watched last night.

Reading:

I did finally finish the book, Those Sweet Words by Kait Nolan. This is book two in the Misfit Inn series. I enjoyed this book a lot and loved the strong presence of family and community. Now I just have one more to read and I’m done that series.

Blogmas:

I’ve never been a huge board game player as my family always played cards when I was growing up. I have accumulated a few board games in the hope of playing more, but it just hasn’t happened yet. Maybe it will in the future as it always sounds so wonderful in books and movies!

Well that’s it for me today.

Have fun!

AJ

Starting the Journey Home (via Knitting Stores)

It was the day to head south on the island, but I had a list of all of the knitting stores, muhahaha

Reading:

Before I forget, I finished my latest ARC last night, What I Like About You by Kait Nolan.

This is the story of Sebastian and Laurel. Laurel is a driven, head of her law class student who is not happy, while Sebastian is hiding out on his friend’s farm rehabbing horses. They meet at her brother’s wedding and both of their worlds are changed forever.

This story had a very fast pace which kept me moving through the chapter easily.

The characters are multidimensional, interesting and complimentary to each other.

I really liked how the drama wasn’t over the top and was worked out quickly and rationally.

This story also has a lot of action and minimal head games.

Overall it was an awesome read!

We set off right after breakfast to head back home. Our first stop was in the Comox/ Courtney area. We had been here about thirteen years ago for my brother’s wedding, but had done the quilt shops rather than the knitting stores.

We started with Uptown Yarns. This was located on a really cute shopping street, though beware you have to walk down a hallway to get there as it is behind the store on the street. I was super excited as they had a few sale baskets right out front that were well stocked! Jen was there working and was super helpful and kind. She didn’t make a weird face even when I admitted I had a budget to stick to that didn’t include $150 skeins. The store was nice and bright, well laid out, had lots of beautiful sample knits, and had a large selection by a local spinner/ dyer. I ended up with some local buttons, Biscotte Yarn and Berrocco Modern Cotton. I was super happy!

We then had lunch at The Union Street Grill and Grotto. We wanted to sit down so went into the grill, but it says the Grotto has the same menu but is just counter serve and take away. We ended up sharing their oyster tapas and fish tacos tapas.

The food was lovely presented, but wasn’t anything special. The taco was awkward and had too much filling for the small corn tortilla so everything kept falling out. I also thought the oysters had too much batter on them. It came as a shock as neither my mom nor I thought that fried meant deep fried. It was very neat to have so many gluten free and dairy free options ( I had an entire 3 page menu). I also didn’t love how they seated all the diners in one section, we were suddenly surrounded by people. It’s a good place for gluten free options in the Courtenay area though:)

From here, we drove to the second knitting store in the area, called The Village Yarn Shoppe. This was also in a very cute pedestrian-friendly shopping area. This store was much larger than the other and had tons of yarn! It had several sale bins, but mostly of yarn, I wouldn’t buy. It had a small selection from two local spinners/dyers. One of which features rabbit fur from her pet rabbits.The staff was very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful here as well. I ended up with some Berrocco Ultra Alpaca Fine in two different colours. I am wanting to build up my stash to have more colours in yarns. The ladies here were my kind of people as well as they pointed me in the direction of the gelato store across the street.

Benino Gelato was a huge gelato store inside and out. I saw that it also served paninis, soup, etc. I had the raspberry lemonade and they had about 8 fruit options that were dairy free. My mom had apple chai and panne cotta gelato that she refused to tell me how good they were🤣

We tried to stop at the next wool shop on the list, The Wool Shop in Parksville, however, it has disappeared:(. I later learned it just closed at the end of June as the proprietor was 86 years old. I think everyone is entitled to retire by that age:) Good thing I at least got a glimpse of my absolute favourite beach!

We stopped in at Mad About Ewe in Nanaimo. This store has a beautiful website, however when we got there, a local transformer had blown due to a heron flying into it, so for the first time, I bought yarn in the dark. They had some absolutely gorgeous yarns and some locally done. They seemed to have a wide variety from all over the world and lots of samples made up. I ended up with Berrocco Linsey in two colours for market bags and some Kimera in a cool blue variegated. The workers here were upbeat and positive and dealing with the situation so well! They also told me about how they had been dyeing their own yarn. It was so cool!

We’ve made it home to the boat and been sitting resting, of course I’m also knitting. As I sit here I’m wondering how I’m going to get all this new yarn home, but also thinking I should check out the knitting store here in Ladysmith🤣

Well I’m off to bed, the boat always makes me sleepy.

Have fun!

AJ

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, but especially mine! I got another great surprise invite this afternoon:)

Family:

I really do have the best mom ever! This morning I got a text first thing, thanking me for being her kid. I told her, we’re supposed to be thanking her today, not the other way around! I have my super secret Mother’s Day gift ready for when she pops in next week:)

Exercise:

This morning I met up with Dennis for a run. It was just the two of us as the others were all away visiting their moms. I was again aiming for 10km, but only made 8.3km. The Mexican food from last night wasn’t helping matters, though it was a lovely spot to run along the dykes this morning!

I also had a lovely walk to Old Orchard Park this evening. It was such a nice evening and I had great company!

Home:

I got a lot done after my run tea as I was avoiding doing the track stuff for school. I got my dishes washed, laundry done, plants watered, items up for sale, hallway tidied, food made for next week, etc. I’m always amazed during these energetic spurts!

Socializing:

I did finally sit down and was working on my track stuff for school when my friend Cori texted to see if I was home. I love invites like this. We wandered around and got some of her errands and my errands done:). Cori says two guys were trying to have conversations with me, but I completely didn’t clue into that:(. 🤣 In other news, Mom, they had my blue wine at the liquor store again!!!😀

Eating:

I was doing really well in my eating today!

Breakfast: yogurt

The Chobani non dairy strawberry yogurt was my first yogurt to try. It was a little thin, not as thick as I would have liked, but it had a really good, deep strawberry taste and there was a good amount of it. I would buy it again:)

Lunch: salad with tomatoes and blue cheese dressing

I ended up having dinner with Cori as her kids had all abandoned her for their grandmother today. We went to Browns Social House and they wouldn’t let us sit on the patio because the weather was supposed to change, but it was gorgeous and quiet out there! We both had a social club drink and then we split the chicken wings and the ahi tuna poke bowl. I had been wanting to have one and it was really good!

See this keeps happening- I’m having a really good eating day and then I get invited out! I’m just not willing to give up being social to lose these pounds though so I’ll just continue to be good around these meals. At least I didn’t come home and make the cookies or scones I was planning to. Tomorrow🤣

Reading:

I got an ARC from Kait Nolan called Dancing Away With My Heart. What an awesome book!

Zach and Lexi bonded in high school over their love of photography, but after a horrible moment they haven’t talked in ten years. When Lexi comes home to help her mom, she knows she can’t avoid him.

This was an amazing read! The characters are interesting and human and have such incredible real ness to them. They just got and seem perfect for each other in every way.

I love how the events unfold over time in the book. You don’t learn all the secrets in the first chapter:)

It was only enhanced by the friend circle of Wishful being present. It makes you want to be a part of this group and gave a great update on some of the characters.

I think people who like friends to more stories will truly enjoy this story.

Well, I think I’m going to enjoy my next book on my couch.

Have fun!

AJ

Disappointed

A good day but with a disappointment that was all my own fault.

Teaching:

Today we managed to get things done which felt really good. We did a lesson on counting on. It’s funny how six years are already in habits. We were talking about putting the big number in your head and counting on the smaller number, but I have one little guy who always draws lines for the two numbers and then counts the lines. He was bound and determined to continue this practice, even though its slow!! I laugh how early humans get into ruts. We also did a lesson on hibernation along with a song. I realized I only know the chorus of Alouette🤣

The one thing I did with my class today at the end of the day is that we verbally reviewed all we had learned that day! I think I’ll try to keep it up:)

The only other thing I managed to do today was to spill my water bottle all over my desk. I was glad my phone was still in a ziploc from my run yesterday (even though the staff at work had been bugging me about it), but I can only hope that my work laptop is okay. I guess I’ll find out in the morning:(

Exercise:

After work I did bootcamp. Lyndsay made them 20/10 tabatas again today so that I wouldn’t be late leaving and would get through the entire workout. We did:

Burpees, kneeling rollouts, pull-ups, seated knee tucks, donkey kicks and fire hydrants with an 8lb weight, overhead triceps extensions, lunges on the gliders, frog jumps, pliecalf raises, swimmers, push-ups to plank jacks, one legged lunges, jump squats, and squat walks. At the end Lyndsay said she purposely did supersets. There were times that my legs were screaming- like at the plié calf raises and frog jumps! It’s a good thing though as I’d love to have sleeker inner thighs.

This was my only exercise other than a walk to and from a restaurant of about six blocks each way.

Socializing/ Eating:

I had arranged to have a Dine Out Dinner with two friends tonight. Vancouver has a Dine Out each year where restaurants have set three course meals for either $20,$30 or $40. I had gone through and perused all the menus and given some choices based on dessert selection. If I’m going out for dinner, I want to be able to eat dessert! My friends chose Cibo Trattoria. I carpooled downtown with one friend and we parked at the other friend’s place and then walked from there. It turned out that the menu they advertised was not the same as the one they had. I was expecting to eat cauliflower soup, salmon and a chocolate hazelnut torte. What I got instead was salad, salmon and fruit.Tome this was totally not worth $51.45!!!! It may have been my fault, maybe I misread their codes and thought v stood for vegan, not vegetarian, but one of my friends also remembered things being different or at least labelled differently on the advertised menu:( Oh well, it was still a nice night out midweek, and I suppose it was quite a healthy meal.

Reading:

Last night I finished reading Baby It’s Cold Outside by Kait Nolan. It tells the story of Ivy who is an author of thriller books who has a horrible case of writer’s block. She runs away from her agent and editor to the Misfit Inn (Nolan’s other series). Unfortunately on the way to the Inn she is caught in a freak snowstorm and goes over the side of an embankment. Enter Harrison, a former military man, who is having trouble adjusting to civilian life and letting go of his guilt. He rescues Ivy and things go from there.

I liked how Ivy takes charge of the relationship at several points and doesn’t just wait for Harrison to make the moves. I also liked how the story included some of Kait Nolan’s other characters. The characters seemed deep and realistic.

The pace did seem very quick as by my calculations they were getting close on their third day of knowing each other. As well, I loved how the characters came together, but I wanted more at the end. The story seemed to just stop:(

Anyone who likes a military romance or a strong female lead will enjoy this story!

Today, on my reading lunch hour, (thanks Maureen) I started my next book club book. It’s called Ready Player One and it already has me hooked after 25 minutes of reading:). I’ll tell you all about it when I’m done!

Knitting:

I’m working away on my sweater still. I really wanted to be home working on it tonight as I’m getting close to being done the body:). Soon!

Tea:

I didn’t like my tea today at all so I have blocked the name of it from my mind and it’s just too cold to get out of bed to go look! If it matters to you, ask me in the comments and I’ll look in the morning:)

Well my eyes keep wanting to close so I think I will let them!

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

Productive:)

Why can I never sleep in? Want to bet that when I have to get up for school in two weeks, I’ll be wanting to sleep in?

This morning I ran the Admiralty Point trail in Belcarra Park with a running buddy. It was nice to have company! When I think about this run, the uphill at the start is always the first thing I picture and that’s usually enough to discourage me. Today I decided to time it so I’d know how long that hill is. It only took two minutes to run it! Totally doable!! Admiralty Point is a short out and back, about 12-15 minutes each way, depending on your running speed. It has areas of rocks and roots, but isn’t so technical that you can’t enjoy the view. The view at the end makes any discomfort on the undulating ups and downs totally worth it:)

I began on the front of my Nubby Knit Turtleneck. I have decided to set the goal of having it completed by Sunday. It might be a little ambitious, but I am definitely a goal oriented person, so I’ll give it my best shot!

My morning was a little rough as my kettle broke, I broke a plate and chipped my grandmother’s sugar bowl. It did get better though, thankfully:)

Finding a kettle was more difficult than I thought it would be! Four stores it took! I could get a cheap one for twelve dollars but decided to step up and get one that had different temperature settings for the various types of teas. I hope it actually makes a difference! Otherwise I went for simple and got a Hamilton Beach kettle that I only have to press one button in the morning. Too bad it’s black:(

Since I was out shopping I added a new shower curtain liner and a moisture alarm for my hot water heater. At nine years old, it’s starting to make me nervous! My friend needed one too so at $14 for two each, it’s the cheapest piece of mind I can get!

When I was in Home Depot, I ran into another of my running buddies who works there. Sometimes I forget how great it is just to get a smile from a friend. It was great seeing him and it definitely turned my day around!

I also decided today that I needed to use up the extra seven apples I bought yesterday. It’s quite a process when I decide to bake.

Trying to decide on a recipe starts with all my gluten free, dairy free cookbooks coming out, then perusing the recipes to narrow it down. I never used to buy cookbooks, but a runningbuddy introduced me to the pleasure of  sitting down with a cup of tea and my cookbook she to decide on a recipe. I’ve slowly been building my collection ever since! I’ve  decided on apple pie ice cream, apple chai scones and a skillet apple pie. Unfortunately with temperatures of 31 today, the actual baking will have to wait until Thursday morning:(  I’ll be sure to write reviews reviews once I make them.

I finished a chick lit novel, otherwise known as a trashy romance today. A week ago, I got a new short story by Kait Nolan but then realized I hadn’t read the book that came before it:( I really dislike reading books in a series out of order, and the book was suddenly free on Amazon, so it seemed meant to be that I go back and read the first book! Here’s my review of Kait Nolan’s When You Got a Good Thing ( Musfit Inn #1):

I enjoyed the first in this new Kait Nolan series. She introduces us to the four Reynolds sisters who were all adopted by Joan. Joan’s passing brings the women back home where they have to deal with the issues between them and within themselves.
Kennedy and Xander were high school sweethearts who were split apart for the past ten years. They get back together when Kennedy returns to town, though they still have to settle some issues. I liked the complexity of the characters and the realistic take on forgiveness. While I thought the characters got together again a little too easily, I found both main characters highly likeable. I loved the family dynamic as well. The book espouses a lot of good messages without beating them to death.
I think that anyone who likes sweet romances, small town romance or second chance romances will enjoy this book.

I got my run and walk in and a small workout. I was supposed to do the Burpee Killer workout today, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it since my left leg was hurting. I did a twelve minute Betty Rocker 12 Minute Total Body Shred Workout off of Facebook instead. It was better than nothing!

I also got the photos from my Montreal trip put into an album. That was the other thing that went wrong this morning. I had bought an album with the Eiffel Tower on it for my Montreal photos, not realizing that it held double the amount of photos I had, aaaaand of course, I can’t find the receipt to return it:( I sure hope it works for another trip! Now all I have to do is write the labels and I’ll be able to take that album off my list!

Well, I’m off to knit furiously so I can finish this sweater and get onto a new project:)

Have fun!

AJ