A Fine Day

I have been looking forward to this day as it has become a school break tradition. Does twice make it a tradition?

My teaching buddy and one of my two identified people picked me up at 9:30 this morning for a bookstore crawl. We had picked five bookstores nearby to check out.

Stop 1: Renaissance Books

This is a stereotypical used bookstore. The lady at the counter ignored us as we came in, there were books stacked everywhere, though there was some minimal organization. I didn’t buy anything, but my friend snagged two Nancy Drew and one Little House books she was looking for.

Stop 2: Companion Books

A lovely bookstore that is bright, airy and well organized. The clerk greeted us and offered assistance immediately. The shelves go very high, but there are stools everywhere. The books are not only organized by subject, but also by author last name. It was great! I’m pretty sure I still have credit here, but they didn’t have any knitting or cookbooks. My friend got five more Little House books here.

Stop 3: Browns Books

We walked to this store as Google maps said it was only 550 meters from the last store. It’s unfortunate they are so close because they are like night and day. The clerk had forgotten to unlock the front door at the start of business time and he managed to ignore us on his doorstep for a good five minutes:(. This bookstore just keeps going with tiny rooms. That sounds great until you realize those rooms are stacked with books haphazardly and with zero organization. There were some places you couldn’t even get into the room. Get me out of here!! Neither of us bought anything.

Stop 4: IronDog Books

This bookstore is clean, bright, spacious and well organized. The owner was very personable and remembered me from when I was in a few weeks ago! The shelves are all low so the store feels spacious too. There are also some cute little gift items including tshirts that were awesome. I was hoping they’d have the Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy in my brother’s size, but alas they didn’t. We found that some prices were great and some were a little higher, but overall a nice experience. My friend found another Nancy Drew for her collection and I found two knitting books.

Even better this bookstore is located right beside a knitting store. The clerk here wasn’t as friendly as the one from a few weeks ago, but I still managed to find two half skeins of yarn, and a scissor and tape measure set. I bought the pink set over the green just for my mom🤣

We were going to go to Tacofina for lunch but then realized they were take out only. There was quite the lineup and we couldn’t figure out how we were going to balance Mexican food, eat it and not spill it all over ourselves. We ended up driving to our fifth and last store location and going to Nuba for lunch. The good was awesome!

Stop 5: The Paper Hound

This store was very cute with exposed brick walls and a cool layout. It had a lot of very old books which were cool, but most of the books seemed like the type you put on the coffee table in the hopes people will think you’re reading them and that you’re really smart to be reading that. It was pretentious! I should have guessed as it is in a trendy area, but the name and decor was the best part.

We did end up stopping at The Gourmet Warehouse on the way home. I was surprised my friend wanted to stop as she’s not really into cooking, but I definitely enjoyed myself and got myself a cookbook holder as I’ve been unable to find mine:(. I can’t wait to use it!

Exercise:

I did my FitOn workout today and it was a grounding yoga class so that was perfect. I didn’t want to tire out my body before my run tomorrow as I’m hoping that will help my run be longer and better. My data woes are still driving me crazy with these classes, but I can persevere.

Knitting:

I am making progress on my Bentley cardigan and on the granny stripe blanket. I had also gotten a new Musselburgh hat started last night so I could knit on that since I wasn’t driving today. I actually got quite a bit done:)

Well, I’m off to bed to read.

Have fun!

AJ

It Keeps Getting Shorter:(

The nice thing about visiting my parents is that I get to do what I would do at home, but with company. Plus having someone else around forces me to be the better version of me.

Exercise:

I did 5.65km this morning, and yes it was more hills. I think I managed to figure out a route for tomorrow which should only have one massive hill, but several smaller ones. I really don’t like how the first hill comes at 0.5km – I’m not even warmed up then!

I did ten minutes of yoga when I got home to try and stretch out my poor legs. I really can’t wait for my massage next week.

I also did a BeFitDavis abs workout this afternoon- plank, Russian twists, leg drop to reverse crunch and crunches. I added on the pushups so another part of me would get exercised too.

Shopping:

My mom and I went to a different grocery store today and I found five different types of my soya cheese. This cheese is good when I’m having cheese and crackers as it holds it’s shape like regular cheese. I always love looking around grocery stores when I’m in a new place, though the two I’ve been in on this trip make me happy I live where I do.

Crafting:

I spent some time on both my cross stitch and my knitting. I’m not sure there’s visible progress yet, but I know I did stuff!

Reading:

Still working on Beach Read. I don’t know why this book is going so slow, but I am over halfway so hopefully will be done soon.

Family:

This afternoon my mom found out that her specialist appointment is on the phone so she doesn’t need to go home. That means she isn’t going and I contacted my brother to see if I could get a ride with them. I can, but it means I’m going home on Saturday:(. Even with how quiet the trip has been, I will miss having my parents for company:(

Well I’m going back to the book.

Have fun!

AJ

Fun But Re-Ordered

It was a nice day!

Exercise:

I got up later than normal, but didn’t let myself do anything until I had done the yoga I had planned today. Normally I do my bike ride first and yoga later, but today it got switched. It felt good to know I had done something kind for my muscles.

This afternoon I went on a 9km bike ride with my teaching buddy. I like biking with her because she doesn’t expect me to be amazing at it and she’s very patient. We actually went from her place to a rec centre the town over. I had to deal with a ton of people on the trail but managed to not run anyone down or fall off. I also managed to ride on a bike route road. It was an amazing ride and I’d like to do it again, but go even further. Maybe next weekend.

Knitting:

Getting the roller skate booties done is a big priority for me this weekend. Today I got both booties made and the two soles made. I tried out a wheel, but my mom and I both think they’re too big so that will be tomorrow’s job- figuring out and completing the wheels for both booties and then assembling them.

Eating:

After eating so much yesterday, I really haven’t been hungry today. I’ve had an omelette, chicken breast, and the last of my cod filets.

Reading:

I’m reading a book and am almost done so I think I’ll go back to it.

Have fun!

AJ

Happy Friday Eve

It would be nice if this state of emergency could be lifted so I had more interesting things to share with you. Ha who am I kidding🤣🤪

Teaching:

I reviewed work, finished assembling the activities for next week and then had my first two video conferences with kids. The first one was great. It was nice to see H and make sure he was okay. I also got after him to do some work!🤣. The second one was with my autistic child who is low functioning. I saw exactly why the vulnerable team had him come into the school for work- he was all over the place! It almost made me feel sick to my stomach he moved so much. It was still nice to see him though!

I finished the afternoon off by planning report cards with my co teacher. I think we have a pretty good idea of what we need to do so that we can have these reports ready in 24 days.

There was of course drama over the teaching assignments, but I’m trying not to worry as I know my principal likes to throw her weight around and make big changes but it usually all changes in September anyways. Especially this year! Who knows what’s going to happen!

We also had one of our teachers announce his retirement today. He will be sorely missed as he’s a great guy and a great teacher who gives a lot to the school!

Exercise:

Today it was just yoga day. I was going to do a Yoga with Adrienne video, but decided to just run through my list of poses instead. I hope one day that I will actually feel flexible. I used to be super flexible, but that was before I started running.

Knitting:

Oh I am so close and I really want to wear it tomorrow!! I may be knitting a lot tomorrow!

Eating:

A good day with lots of veggies. I’ve had:

1/2 apple with Pb

Celery with cream cheese and hummus

Carrot with guacamole

Haddock bites

Baked potato with sour cream and salsa mixed

Well there’s my life.

Have fun!

AJ

Friday Eve, but Really Friday

It is only Thursday which is usually Friday Eve, but since it’s a long weekend, Thursday became Friday:)

Work:

I did end up taking today off from my morning run so it was just straight into work. L and I got all twenty activities posted into Fresh Grade for next week. I am starting to feel like I can handle FreshGrade, but One Drive is killing me. I need to find a manual for it! I was actually pretty impressed with myself as I watched the lunch webinar on Fresh Grade today and I knew everything g they said already. Woohoo🎉🎊

House:

It was floors day today so I swept on my recess break and then vacuumed and washed my kitchen floor on my lunch break. I can’t believe how clean and tidy my house is from just ten minutes a day- it’s lovely!

Baking:

I found baking powder so I got to make another loaf of my Hearty Beer Bread from the Allergy Free Cook Bakes Bread book. The crumb turned out beautifully, but the crust on the sides and bottom was super tough while the top crust was crumbly. If anyone knows what I’m doing wrong, please tell me. I have enough ginger ale left for one more loaf which may just happen this weekend.

I actually ate enough bread this morning that I didn’t need lunch so I didn’t eat again until I made a simple shrimp linguini for dinner. I had never made this before, but it was pretty yummy!

Wow as I write this I realize I’ve eaten nothing but carbs today😳

Knitting:

I’m still working on the body of this sweater. It has been made easier by listening to podcasts. So far I’m listening to Gin and Cake and Pastry Pals. I don’t love either but they are the two podcasts that cover the first American season of the Great British Baking Show so I have to stick with them. I think for season three I get a different podcast:)

Socializing:

I met up with three colleagues for a chat in the gorgeous sunshine today. We met in the parking lot across from my place as we actually had to do some trading of resources, but it was so great to see people and talk to them. one of the ladies brought me these beautiful tulips for Easter. Don’t worry we maintained our six feet of distance:)

Exercise:

This evening I did 32 minutes of yoga and some foam rolling. I decided to change my day off this week after yesterday’s disastrous run. We will see how tomorrow goes as to whether I need a second day off this week. I hope not as I’m finally getting some mileage in. I do however, need to find a listing of yoga poses as I’m just doing the ones I remember from years ago.

Well that’s it for me.

Have fun!

AJ

Day 21- just can’t settle

I don’t know if it was because of a lack of exercise today, the fact I didn’t stick with routine or if life just got to me but I unfortunately spent most of the day moving between the regular activities and eating 🙄

Knitting:

I have finished the first skein if yarn and am thinking I will do the sleeves next so that I can get as much length on the sweater as possible. I probably could have had a sleeve done today, but it just didn’t happen.

Reading:

I finished Rock Bottom Girl by Lucy Score. This is the next book that is being read by the Not Your Mom’s Romance Bookclub. I really enjoyed it even though the main heroine couldn’t get out of her own way. I think that was done purposefully though. I liked the messages in the book that we don’t know how other people feel about their life, not everything that looks perfect is, and that everyone can be important in some way, and to someone. This was a good read!

I also finished Be With Me by Lea Coll. It is the next book in the series I have been reading. This book was better as I only yelled at the heroine to not be stupid at the end of the book🤣🤣🤣

I am planning to start the next book in the series as soon as I finish writing this.

Exercise:

It was tough to get myself to do any activity today but in the end I did 20 minutes of yoga. My plan had been for a bike ride and a longer yoga session, but once again I’m going with the idea that something is better than nothing!

Other than working on the puzzle that is all I have done today. Tomorrow I am back to my usual run routine so let’s hope that helps!

Have fun!

AJ

Stretching My Skills With Sally

Baking (Stretching My Skills with Sally):

Last year I tried a few of Sally’s Baking Challenge items and quite enjoyed the challenge of trying new things. Most of the people in my life asked why I was doing this, thankfully there are people like Abbey! I was talking with Abbey of Three Cats and a Girl and we decided to both try these challenges and then link up to talk about our results, so please check out her attempts too. I was really interested in doing this because I knew she would be doing the recipes as called for while I would need to convert them to gluten free and dairy free. I should say that I change as little as possible and just sub in gf and df ingredients to see if the recipe will still work.

For March the challenge was crepes!

I have never made crepes before and I was a little nervous as they seem so fancy!

With the situation we are in, I hit WiFi and took pictures of the recipe, but didn’t get to watch any of Sally’s videos so that probably would have made a big difference! I found the recipe simple and easy to follow and I liked how it could chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to a day. I made the batter in the morning but then had the crepes for lunch.

My batter used Bob’s Redmill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour, Earth Balance vegan butter, and Earth’s Own Oat milk that was unsweetened vanilla. Everything else was just normal ingredients.

My batter made six crepes and boy did I learn a lot between the first and the last. I started with a pan that was way too big so after the first crepe I switched to a smaller pan. After the fourth I realized it worked better to just pour the batter into the very centre and let it spread by itself. On the sixth crepe I figured out the crepe didn’t have to be the size of the pan.

Mine are probably more brown than they’re supposed to be, but they still tasted good!

I had no idea what you put in a crepe as I’ve never actually ordered crepes before so I did one with herb cream cheese, one with peanut butter and one with cream cheese and jam. I think my favourite was the cream cheese and jam.

One thing I definitely learned is that crepes are not a diet food! The batter isn’t bad, but the amount of butter in the pan is crazy!

It is so cool that when Kathy read about Abbey’s and my challenge she decided to join us so make sure you go read about her crepe adventures too:)

Thanks Abbey and Kathy for taking on this challenge with me:)

I obviously wasn’t finished on the kitchen after the crepes because I also made hearty beer bread from my book, The Allergy Free Cook Bakes Bread. I used ginger ale instead of beer and it turned out great! I think I will make more tomorrow to use up more of the ginger ale, but I’ll know to only leave it in for the lesser time.

Exercise:

I forced myself not to run today and to do yoga instead. I spent about a half hour this afternoon and did feel as though I was stretching some muscles out. I know I need to do more of this right now since I can’t go for massages, but it’s really tough to not run since I don’t seem to be racking up the mileage very quickly this year:(

Knitting:

The whole rest of the day was spent knitting. I was very determined to finish my newest sweater and I did!

I did the Love Note sweater by Tin Can Knits. I had bought the pattern at Knit City last year. I love Tin Can Knits patterns because they come sized from newborn to extra large in one pattern.

This sweater is done in Ancient Arts superwash Blue Faced Leicester in Water Lily Blue and Georges Picaud Tricheuse. I quickly learned that my mohair was obviously not lace weight as it’s much thicker than the pattern pictures, but I was determined to finish this sweater because I loved the colour it was coming out! I had to switch mohair halfway through but I can’t even tell where I did it so I’m happy. The modifications I made were to do short sleeves and I didn’t do the high low hem. I just knit until I was almost out of yarn and then did the ribbing. The sweater only took two days with this thicker yarn, but I still want to make a finer gauge one too!

It’s back to the meditate cowl for me now.

I finished the evening off with a zoom conversation with my friends from work. Boy did two hours go quickly!!

Well I have a run in the morning so I’m off to bed.

Have fun!

AJ

Solitary Weekend

This may be the shortest post I’ve ever done!

Exercise:

I did a workout on Saturday afternoon. I really do feel like I was getting stronger and into better shape when I was doing my short Hallmark workout each day. I will be starting to watch movies again once it starts raining and will share my workout plans then.

I also went for a walk and did a yoga workout that came as a podcast. Pretty cool!

Reading:

I hit some WiFi (safely in my car) and downloaded some library books. I really just need a good book to get me out of this slump. I’ll let you know if one succeeds!

House:

After a full week of ignoring everything I could be doing, I got my porch swept, my living room vacuumed, the dishes done, and my kitchen floor washed. I’m hopeful that I can do one useful thing a day. It’s not like I have a full day to work around 🤣

Knitting:

I am so close to being done my jeweled cowl, but it just hasn’t quite happened. I have ten rows left and I’ll have to tackle them in the morning. Right now it seems way too wide, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to block it longer and narrower. If it works, I think it may be a cowl I get a lot of use out of.

Well that’s it for me.

Have fun!

AJ

My Weekend

I just realized I forgot to post about my actual activities last night. I went to bed early but unfortunately didn’t sleep well.😖

Exercise:

Saturday morning I ran a new part of the dyke with Dennis. This is the part I had been curious about. We started out and figured we would do 5-8km. It was spitting rain, but nothing too bad. We hit the next major road in 4.47km and Dennis suggested going back on the other side of the dyke. We walked the bridge and started back. This side was fun to run as while the first side was super smooth and compacted, the second side was like a goat track. I had to watch my footing so it took my mind off the fact I was running. We were about 2km from the end when I saw Dennis stop in front of me. It took me a moment to realize he had stopped because there was a canal offshoot of the river that went right and we couldn’t get across it. We had to turn around and run the whole way back, and of course it was sleeting by this point. Instead of a lovely 5-8km, we did 15.55km. It wasn’t always fun, but I maintained a pace under 7min/km and it was probably a good thing as if he had asked if I wanted to go 15km, the answer would have been no, but obviously I can do it:)

That was my only exercise on Saturday, but on Sunday I got a 5km brisk walk in with my running buddies, a 25 minute yoga session and a workout.

For the workout I did another of the 10 Pounds Shred workouts. I did 3 sets of 40 seconds of the following:

Skipping (actually 2 mins each time)

Superman’s on SB

Squats

Spider-Man pushups

Skaters

Deadlifts

Reverse crunches

SB hamstrung curls

I feel like I did enough this weekend!

Shopping:

On Saturday I headed downtown to spend time with one of my oldest friends. We walked across the bridge from her place and spent five hours browsing through the shops on Granville street- mostly furniture but with a few clothing stores and an Indigo stop as well. It was an awesome time as she is easy to be with and it was nice to catch up. We laughed cause it was a beautiful day, but when we came out after lunch it was sunny and hailing at the same time!

Eating:

We went to an awesome restaurant downtown called Heirloom. This is the second time I have been here and I’ve enjoyed it both times. It is a vegetarian/ vegan restaurant so it cuts down a lot of the worries for me. I was super excited when I saw I could have a soup and sandwich. I decided on tomato soup and grilled cheese. YUM!!! It was so good!

I figured after 15km I could afford the grilled cheese indulgence. Next time though, I’ll eat less as I learned they had three desserts I could have enjoyed!

Knitting:

On Sunday I spent most of the day knitting on my sweater. I had to rip out what I had done during the week as it was way too big. I found a pattern in a book I owned called a top down yoke sweater in a child’s size. So far it has been super easy to follow. Now I just have to hope it fits and blocks out nicely. I am using handspun from my stash and the yarn is all thick and thin, but some of it is thinner than I was expecting:(

Well there’s my weekend in a nutshell- it was a good balance of out and in:)

Have fun!

AJ

Stretching My Skills with Sally

I had another AJ day and it was as wonderful as ever. My only problem is definitely a first world problem!

Exercise:

I yet again couldn’t sleep in, so I was up in plenty of time for my run with Dennis. He picked me up and we went to Burnaby Lake Park with the plan to run the end of the Central Valley Greenway which runs from the lake to a very busy road. This bike path does carry on, but only on roads so I vetoed going further.

I had warned Dennis this morning that I wouldn’t be able to run fast as I was concentrating on weight loss right now (read being very careful with my calories) and I had heard on a podcast that if you’re concentrating on weight loss you can’t expect speed.

Well my run started slowly, but then the next four kilometers were all very close to 6:00 kilometers. At the end, I was five seconds off of my fastest five km ever and boy was I kicking myself for that slow start.

This path would be a great place to try for a 5km record as it’s 2.48km out and it is about as flat as it gets around here.

This evening I also did 28 minutes of yoga. When I was at the library I took pictures of a yoga sequence in a magazine and decided to try it out as I know I need to do more stretching. The sequence was okay, but I ended up adding a whole bunch of other moves to it. I really need to sit down and make a list of yoga moves as when I’m doing them, I can’t think of any!

Reading:

I hit the library to return a book today and though I was not supposed to get any more books, I of course came home with four more. I plan to go curl up in bed and read as soon as I get this post up!

Cooking:

I knew I had no choice but to get at least one of my Fresh Prep meals cooked up today. I decided on the Veggie Machine Tahini Bowl. This recipe said it would take 25 minutes, however it took me 40 minutes. You start by roasting sweet potato and chickpeas and cooking rice. You then marinate kale and red cabbage and make a tahini dressing. You layer these ingredients and top with cilantro and avocado.

There was nothing difficult about this recipe and it did have a good kick of spice to it. Fresh Prep did forget to include the rice spice, but they have given me a credit for it, so that was kind of them and I didn’t notice it’s absence. I would definitely get this one again, but also feel that it would be quite easy to alter at home according to personal taste.

Baking (Stretching My Skills with Sally):

Last year I tried a few of Sally’s Baking Challenge items and quite enjoyed the challenge of trying new things. Most of the people in my life asked why I was doing this, thankfully there are people like Abbey! I was talking with Abbey of Three Cats and a Girl and we decided to both try these challenges and then link up to talk about our results, so please check out her attempts too. I was really interested in doing this because I knew she would be doing the recipes as called for while I would need to convert them to gluten free and dairy free. I should say that I change as little as possible and just sub in gf and df ingredients to see if the recipe will still work.

For February, the challenge was Perfect Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting. I have to admit that I had no idea what this frosting was as I hadn’t heard of it. After making it, it reminds me of the frosting on a DQ ice cream cake and that used to be one of my favourite parts of that cake, so I’m glad I made it.

The recipe only takes five ingredients- egg whites, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt. I was doing really well with the egg whites and sugar and I did get stiff peaks, however, once I added the butter and vanilla, my frosting was quite runny. I put it in the fridge like Sally suggests for this problem, but it never recovered.

The recipe didn’t seem super tough, but maybe I shouldn’t say that as I wasn’t particularly successful. One thing I would say about this recipe- I wouldn’t attempt it without a really good stand mixer!!!

These are my poor cupcakes which I will force upon my running buddies tomorrow.

Thanks Abbey for taking on this challenge with me:)

Knitting:

All the rest of my day has been taken up with knitting (oh and a little stitching so I have something to show for the SAL next week).

I seem to be averaging a Hat a day, so today’s hat is he Kitimat – another free pattern on Ravelry. This is actually named after the city North of me by many hours. The pattern page shows it in gray and white which I loved, but I also really liked it in my purple and white worsted weight. The pattern was really simple to follow, though I did find it a bit long. I also learned that I may use my Michael’s gift card for a Pom Pom market!

Finally I also made another small headband which got me to my stash goal. Every skein used now is just gravy!

That is my big problem- I want to make a sweater, but there are so many I want to make that I just can’t decide. It has gone past fun to debilitating. I am wondering how everyone else chooses what they are going to knit next?????

Well my books are calling me… right

Have fun!

AJ