The Perfect Gift

Thanks to Abbey for letting me play along on this Christmas Blogmas!

I had better get going on it though or I won’t be done for Christmas.

I have to admit that my books of the season are the sappy Christmas romances. This time of year is super busy with both Christmas concerts and report cards so I really just want something easy and happy to read!

I have already downloaded a whole bunch of these types of books to read on my holiday.

I have a few favourite authors for this type of holiday romance:

Shannon Stacey

Sarah Morgan

Debbie Macomber

All guaranteed to entertain me and leave me with a smile:)

Teaching:

Today was a slightly better day:) We has music, finished our Christmas mini book, did a fun, successful pattern math activity and had centres.

I really think the math activity was the highlight of the day. I paired up the children and gave the pair a card that had a pattern on it- composed of snaps, claps or pats. The children had ten minutes to practice and then presented their pattern to the class who then guessed what the pattern was. It went so great!! We’ll try it again next week:)

Socializing:

After a lovely nap, I dropped off some stuff to a friend. I was pretty impressed with myself that I could pull her Christmas present together that quickly!

I also stopped in at my brother and sister in law’s as they had told me they had a birthday gift for me. They got me a hoodie that says, run, knit, read, repeat. Obviously my SIL knows me well!

Movies:

I watched Merry and Bright this evening. It was cute but I can’t say it was my favourite movie because the solution seemed so obvious right from the start and I found it annoying that it took until the last five minutes for Jodi Sweetin to figure it out.

Exercise:

I got a very slow and very short run done in the pouring rain today. I wanted to get my blood flowing as I woke up with a severely swollen left hand this morning. I was super worried I was going to have a Shrek hand for the rest of my life😳☹️. Thankfully the swelling is mostly gone now, just a bit left and the ladies at work figured it was just fluid from the amount they pumped into me last night.

I also did my Hallmark movie workout.

25 crunches

20 pushups

30 jacks

10 burpees

15 squats

10 plié squats

10 high knees

10 curtsy lunges

5 deep squats

10 front kicks

I know I should probably take it easy, but I’m tired whether I exercise or not so I figure I might as well exercise and be happy!

Well I’m going back to bed!

Have fun!

AJ

Trivia Tuesday #29

I can’t believe I’ve already been to trivia 29 times!

Reading:

I have to start by mentioning the book I finished last night. I read One Christmas Eve by Shannon Stacey. She is one of my favourite authors and she definitely didn’t disappoint with this book either- I read it in one sitting! I was laughing out loud by page five at the banter these two main characters had. I loved the supporting cast and especially liked how the author didn’t rely on miscommunication for the conflict!! For once I wasn’t left yelling at the characters to grow up! It had a satisfying ending and I really liked how the two characters would read together. My dream is to have a guy who will happily read on the other end of the couch🤣

Teaching:

It was another pretty good day as we had no physical violence. We got through a journal today and one of my little guys wrote a page and a half!!! So cool to see them start doing more:)

We played around the world and then went and did relays in the gym. I really need to think up some more movements for the relays. Today I could only think of horse galloping and frog jumping!

This afternoon we started making our poppies for the Remembrance Day wreaths. We had a discussion about all the things we love doing and the fact that we say thank you to those who have served our country and made it possible for us to do these things. I actually got to show them a veteran on the city website who just happened to be my dad!

Knitting:

This past weekend I bought myself a beechwood swift and a Knitter’s Pride Mega Yarn Winder. I finally set it up tonight to wind my shawl yarn and one of the belts broke immediately:( I have contacted the shop and hopefully they will send me a new one! I want to play with my new toy!!!

I have spent some time knitting on my current market bag, but kind of feel like I had better leave it and start on the shawl. Does anyone have a suggestion of a good shawl pattern that uses about 600 yards of light fingering?

Trivia:

There were four of us tonight:)

What street does the Canadian prime minister live on?

Sussex Drive

Who is the character that Will Farrell plays in Anchorman?

Ron Burgundy

Who was the character in The Outsiders and There’s Something About Mary?

Matt Dillon

What does DK stand for in DKNY?

Donna Karan

Who were crush and squirt in Finding Nemo?

Sea turtles

What’s the most common word to come after blueberry?

Pie

Which is the third province alphabetically?

Manitoba

Which song was done by the chainsmokers?

#Selfie

The music round we did okay.

What animal made Hootie cry in Only Want to Be With You?

Dolphins

What currency used to be used in Amsterdam?

Guilder

How do you spell Ross’ career in Friends?

Paleontologist

Who sand You Spin Me Round?

Dead or Alive

Who was the mascot of Mad Magazine?

Alfred E Neuman

Which NHL goalie has played the most playoff games?

Fleury

What does the NA in NASCAR stand for?

National Association

Which beer is the Champagne of Beers?

Miller High Life

What river goes through London?

Thames

That’s it for me!

Have fun!

AJ

Monday again

Why does this day keep showing up???!!!

Teaching:

I had the district in to do their new reading assessments which are exactly the same as the ones I was taught to do 18 years ago so I’m still trying to figure out what’s cutting edge about this?!?!

We got through math and my students seem to be doing well at counting by tens, but I’d better get to assessing them tomorrow before we move onto counting by 5s and they get confused.

We also started a class book about solving problems in peaceful ways. Let’s hope it helps!

We managed to add 6 hearts to our wall today and had no violent incidence. I call that a good day!

Exercise:

We had a meeting about report cards after school but then worked out after that. It seems as though my butt hurts as soon as I get into a lunge position. Maybe my body is protesting! We did:

Lunges with front raises

Lunges with lateral raises

Bird dog/ double crunch

Banded alternating leg raises/ banded squats

Split lunges

Slider froggers/ slider planks

Step ups

Hamstring curls on the medicine ball/ mountain climbers

And between each of these we did a minute of cardio which was froggers, skaters, jogging, squat pulses, reverse mountain climbers, skipping, jacks, and burpees.

There was a little puddle of sweat around me by the end!

Reading:

Yesterday I spent most of the day reading Melt For You by JR Geissinger. It was so good! It had lots of funny banter between the characters. The plot moved along at a good pace, the characters were interesting and grew a lot, and underlying it all was an important message that I think most women need to hear!

Tonight I started my next NetGalley book which is One Christmas Eve by Shannon Stacey. She is one of my favourite authors and I was laughing out loud by 5 pages in, so I think this one is going to be good too!

Well, I should be knitting, but I think I’m just going to read some more.

Have fun!

AJ

Returning Home and Reading Galore

A holiday coming to an end is always tough!

Exercise:

Lyndsay and I got out this morning for a run. Seattle has a beautiful path along the water. Just head down to the water and it seems to run the whole way. I did about 7.2km while Lyndsay did almost the whole 10.8. It was gorgeous, cool, busy and it felt great!

This evening I went for my usual walk around the inlet:) It was truly a spectacular evening.

Eating:

After our run we got cleaned up and went in search of breakfast. We finally ended up at the Heart and Hunter in the Palihotel. I have to say that we’ve been super unimpressed with the service in Seattle and this place was no different. I ended up with fruit salad as that’s all they had that was gluten free and dairy free and it turned out to be just apple, banana and grapes. I have never seen such a monochromatic fruit salad before! This and tea cost me $13 and took over an hour to get and consume! I wasn’t impressed! Then the waiter took my Visa card and then proceeded to wander around doing every other job before coming back with my credit card:( Ugh I’m looking forward to having my own kitchen back!

Traveling:

We got checked out and headed home. It was a quiet trip as both my passengers napped. It was lovely until just north of Seattle my check engine light and VSC lights came on. All of my gauges stayed normal so I continued, but worried the whole way home:(

After a stop at Trader Joe’s we got home without incident:)

Reading:

I finished The Marquis she’s been Waiting For by Ella Quinn today.

What an excellent book! Lady Dorie is a strong woman with a lot of knowledge of how t run a household and an estate. Alex, Lord Exeter, has absolutely no knowledge, but just wants Dorie as a wife. Dorie is holding out for a love match, but perhaps during her lessons to him, they can both get what they want.

I loved the characters in this story. Dorie is a strong, capable woman who is not afraid to wait for what she wants. I also liked how Alex recognized her strengths and valued them.

The family was lovely as well!

This is definitely a sweet, rather than steamy read, but well worth reading if you enjoy historical romances. I am curious about the other books in the series, but this can definitely be read as a stand-alone.

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

It must have been a reading day because I finished a second ARC called One Summer Weekend by Shannon Stacey.

The story of Carly and Noah. They have been friends forever, but while Carly is protecting Noah’s back- they may become more.

This story was super quick and cute! The perfect read for a day at the beach!

The friends to lovers plot line was well done and completely convincing! It also had a super cute HEA scene. I loved how it had an epilogue to let the reader know what happened later too.

Thanks to Shannon Stacey, Carina Press and NetGalley for the free ARC in e change for an honest review.

I am so exhausted that I’m off to bed! I will tackle pictures tomorrow as I missed be able to share what I was seeing with you all.

Have fun!

AJ

Dark and Rainy Must Be My Thing

I seem to do everything in the dark and the rain lately! I can’t wait for that extra minute of daylight to start on Saturday!

Teaching:

I can’t say that we accomplished much today, other than we did get the card made for our parent present. Once again, I was impressed. We gave examples and talked about what was easier and what would be the harder option.

This is one little guy who is always super creative and artistic and he put his own spin on it:)

We also learned about Christmas in Japan. It was our most successful learning yet as it had the simplest video, but the children seemed to pick up more. It was neat to learn that Christmas is completely non-religious there. They decorate with trees, lights and Santa’s. They celebrate in Christmas Eve and actually go to work on Christmas Day! Every family has their own story of how Santa gets into the house and it is often a romantic night for couples, like Valentines Day.

I just had to leap across the classroom to stop the video before they showed the single people partying.

This afternoon was what my students have been waiting for all week! We decorated gingerbread men! It was absolute chaos as there were five classes in the gym doing this at the same time and half of my parent volunteers didn’t show up:(. We all survived and the children still seemed to have a good time:)

Exercise:

I once again came home as quickly as possible to try and get to run in daylight, but it didn’t happen. I ran about 6.7km and had to walk the last few hundred feet as the sidewalk was teeming with people going to the CP Holiday Train. I was supposed to go with friends but it was pouring so we decided not to.

Knitting:

Still working on the green vest. At least it makes progress quickly because of the bulky yarn!

Reading:

I finished Flare Up by Shannon Stacey late last night. It is the latest book in her series Boston Fire.

I loved this book as much as the rest in the series! Grant Cutter and Wren Everett dated and got quite serious before she disappeared into thin air. When Grant rescues her, they have no choice but to deal with their emotions.

I loved how the characters and situations were so real and yet there was no drama for the sake of drama. When Wren is scared, she talks:) When Grant is worried, he talks to friends. Wow these characters actually communicate!!!

I also loved the background cast of all the other characters and how strong a role they played in the book. Friends play a role in our lives daily whether we see them or not so I love that that was reflected in this book.

The pacing of the book is great as the action obviously takes place over a bit of time and yet the reader doesn’t have to read about every go hum day or get whiplash from insta-love. It was actually really interesting to read a book where the characters were dealing with that weird situation of dating someone you’ve already dated.

Finally, the ending was lovely, though I wish it hadn’t come!

Tea:

I have been worried lately that my advent calendar from Twinings was just going to repeat after Day 15, but today I had another new tea. It’s called Pure Rooibus Red Tea. I found that it got strong very quickly, but that it also had a slight green tea flavor to me. It is definitely a Tea I would have again.

Product Review:

Last night when I was supposed to be buying a hamburger patty, I bought a new brand of egggnog instead: Earth’s Own So Fresh Almond Nog. This may just beat So Delicious Coconut Nog as my new favourite eggnog as it has a stronger flavor:) Yum!!!

Movies:

I also watched A Very Very Valentine tonight. I guess I really should be watching Christmas movies, but this was the next one I had taped. It was a cute movie, but I think my favourite part was identifying all the places I know. I’ve had tea at that bakery! I’ve ran that part of the sea wall! Maybe I am just too easily entertained🤣

Blogmas:

When I was a child the only Christmas Eve tradition I remember is that we got to rent a movie and have pizza on this night. This was the only time all year that these two events occurred so it was a big deal!!! Nowadays I don’t really have any Christmas Eve traditions. I admit my mom and I have spent many Christmas eves finishing last minute crafty gifts, but these days I’m usually just sitting quietly at home reading. I hope you all have more exciting Christmas Eve plans than I do!

Well I’m off to bed early because I can😜

Have fun!

AJ

I’m Okay With…

Exercise:

I got up this morning for my usual Sunday morning run, but none of my running buddies showed up:( I headed off for an easy 5km, but decided I’d run later in the day so I could do the Monday mission. Little did I know it would be our first truly hot day of the year.

I did get out this evening for my run, but it was pretty bad. I couldn’t figure out why I was having to walk so much until Lyndsay and Brady came by and she asked me how I was doing after my allergy incident Friday night. Aha no wonder my stomach was giving me troubles. I did get the 8km in but it took longer than expected and was much slower as well. Oh well, tomorrow will be a better run:)

Baking:

I grocery shopped this morning for the week, which meant I also needed to take stock of what was in the fridge. I discovered I still had rhubarb so I made this Rhubarb banana bread by Kim’s Cravings. I had a little slice this afternoon and it was good, not too sweet. I have decided I will take it to work tomorrow for the people there.

I also made up my chicken for the week too:)

This afternoon I tried out our science experiment. To end our unit on matter we are making ice cream with the children, but a couple have dairy allergies so I tried it out with my coconut milk. It worked great!

It didn’t hurt that I got a little taste of ice cream on this hot day:). Talk about easy too! 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/2tbsp sugar put in a smaller bag and then that bag is put inside a larger one containing salt and ice cubes. Shake for five minutes. I’ll have to remember to take the sprinkles for the children to put on top.

Crafting:

After my big nap this afternoon I h worked on my rug square. I think this is going to be the first week I don’t get a square done, but for some reason I’m okay with that🤣

House/ Shopping:

I finally got all of my laundry done. My washing machine drives me crazy as The short wash no longer works and I can only do two loads of laundry and then the third load never spins properly😖. I guess at some point I’m going to have to get a new set. I did get all my new clothes washed and put away and I had promised to show you what I bought with my mom last weekend.

I am trying to add more colour to my wardrobe and not just by classic basics. I’ve ended up with a very boring wardrobe. Of course, this goal is aided by the fact that I now have to shop mainly in the kids department. I giggle every time I think about the fact that I spent my entire childhood shopping in adults and now I’m spending my adulthood shopping in kids. I’m okay with this too😀

Reading:

I read the next book, Hot Response in a Shannon Stacey series I have been enjoying.

This is the fourth book in the Boston Fire series and I’ve enjoyed them all! I love how the secondary characters remain the same and feel like a family. The main characters are realistic and likeable and while the story features firefighting, it’s not so prominent that you feel like that’s all your reading about. It’s just a nice story.

I swear at some point I will get back to reading some good for me books, but I always go through this phase after report cards!

Well, that’s it for my day!

Have fun!

AJ

A Totally Fabulous Saturday!

It’s been a great day from start to finish!

Exercise:

I woke up this morning at 5:48am (why, I don’t know?), but it got me out the door by 6:20 to face the crunch. I felt like I was doing well and I was ahead of my expectations until I got to the final (5th) part and suddenly I got my worst time yet:(

When I compared last week to this week, ( no runkeeper I don’t need to pay for the premium to do this!) I noticed that I started off slower, so I really think I need to concentrate on gaining some time on the first few sections so that I have more than six minutes for the last. I identified some spots (on my run down) where I think I could run up next week and I’m wondering if it would be faster to walk up the hill than to do the stairs? It might kill my timing if it’s not faster, but I think I’ll try next week.

I also got workout #2 in this afternoon which was a warm up, and then ten exercises, such as DB press with a squat jump forward and back, push-up with leg raise, plank with side leg raise, side lunges, forward lunge to deadlift.it wassupposed to be two 30 second sets through, but I decided to challenge myself and do one minute sets. Then there was a minute of jacks, a burnout of mountain climbers, etc and abs. It wasn’t a deadly workout but I felt like I worked everything:)

I even got out for a walk this evening as well, so I am totally happy with my fitness for the day!

Socializing:

I went to antique fair with two work colleagues/friends this morning. There were probably over a hundred vendors and unfortunately most of them were overpriced. My frugal nature likes garage sales much more! I did manage to find a big glass jar to add to my collection for holding my various flours and I got a Harry Potter lego cook for my classroom. Not the most exciting finds, but as I said, stuff was too expensive and some vendors weren’t willing to barter:( It was a successful morning in the sense of quality time with my friends though!

My mom actually made the purchase of the day when she found two table lamps for my classroom in a second hand store on the Island for $15! Yay Mom!!!!

Eating:

I’ve had a much better day in terms of eating than I have had lately. I got to have my cinnamon bun after my run this morning. I should have taken a snack with me, but managed to just have chicken when I came in the door, though I was starving. I added fruit salad with a dollop of yogurt and some veggies and dip, cucumber and cheese for dinner. I was so stuffed after this dinner that I went for a walk.  I am definitely happier when I can snack than when I have to eat a meal! I wanted to bake this morning, but made fruit salad instead to contribute to my healthy week! Oh I forgot, I also had two marshmallows. Not bad, one little slip from the plan.

Reading:

I finished the book Homecoming by Shannon Stacey tonight for the second time😀. I realized pretty early on that I had already read it but decided to reread it anyways.  This is the third instalment in her Boys of Fall series (seems the perfect time to read it) and tells the story of Jen Cooper and Sam Leavitt. They grew up together but didn’t have much interaction until one hot night when Sam had been back in town briefly for a football fundraiser. When Sam comes back to coach during an emergency, they get together more seriously.

Yet again, I enjoyed the friendship group in this book. They are close without being joined at the hip.  I also enjoyed the quietness of the problem, both characters stayed true to their natures and there wasn’t any high drama!

I think that anyone who likes sports romances or small town romances will enjoy this entire trilogy!

Knitting:

I’ve had lots of time for knitting today, but little jobs have gotten in the way so I will probably only get one pattern repeat done, even though I thought I’d get at least two. Oh well, tomorrow is another day and I’ll have even more time then. I was super happy this morning though when I found my yarn at the Port Meadows Michaels store. I quick bought the three extra balls I needed😀. I’m not sure that the new balls are the same dye lit as I can’t even find a dye kit on these labels, so I think I will start intermixing them right away so that if there’s a difference in colour, it will be throughout the second half of the afghan.  I’m off to knit to my heart’s content!

Have fun!

AJ