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

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

Something New

I got a lot accomplished today, but it was way too busy!

Exercise:

First thing this morning I was out the door for my regular Sunday morning run. We were out by the river which is a beautiful place to run

But today we saw none of this because it was so foggy I couldn’t even see my running buddy in front of me! When we started running I knew I wasn’t doing the 15km full mission as it was absolutely freezing and I had somewhere to be at 10am! My running buddy said 15 out and 15 back as he was feeling lazy and this was fine with me. Well we ended up doing 7km which just goes to prove you can always do more than you think you can!

This evening I got to try a new form of exercise. Lyndsay invited me to a Deep Stretching class at Oxygen yoga. I had never been before, but I would definitely go back! It reminded me of my old Hatha yoga class and was an excellent stretch. That’s what I need from yoga- not a workout, but a stretch. The icing on the cake was being warm for a change:)

Baking:

My friend Kathryn was supposed to spend next Sunday with me but she texted yesterday to say it had to be this weekend or not until December holidays. I moved a few things around and managed to spend 10-2 with her:) It actually worked out great because I needed a place to bake normal brownies as I didn’t want to contaminate my kitchen. Kathryn and I have been baking together for years and it was what I needed today! Just some relaxed fun in the kitchen. We made my brownies and. “Better than Salt Dough ornaments for her class. It was great!!!

This evening I decided that one little brownie piece wasn’t enough for each staff member so I quickly made some peanut butter cookies too.

Cleaning:

When I got home from Kathryn’s I had to hang around for my food delivery so I decided that I needed to tackle my house. I got rooms tidied, laundry done, new clothes entered into my app, my Christmas cacti checked and repotted, and my dishes done. My house is almost liveable again.

My food was delivered from 2 Guys With Knives and it looks good. I got four dinners out of the Pumpkin Chili and three lunches out of the sausage, kale and bean soup. I like that my collection of Tupperware containers is also growing with this meal delivery service so on the weeks I don’t order, I have containers for the food I make. With getting seven meals out of it, it works out to a decent price per meal for me. I’m not sure it would be economically feasible if I was bigger and couldn’t split them so many ways.

Well I’ve started a new book because I still can’t decide about my chunky yarn knitting. Can anyone suggest a project they like making with chunky wool- maybe it will get me excited!

Have fun!

AJ

A Happy Ending

It was a crazy busy day, but it had a happy ending:)

Teaching:

It was a bit of a crazy day as I was trying to get more done than I had planned.

We got our Friday journals done. I have the children write about what they liked or learned and I’ve been really enjoying it. It gives me an idea of what sticks with them. I also take the opportunity of a small assignment to be incredibly picky!

We got to our sight word concentration game finally! I’d like to get to this every week!!!

We got gym done and a math activity where the children had to colour in counting by 10s starting at a random number on the 100 chart. I’m definitely doing a better job of this concept this year! The Around the World game definitely helps!

Finally this afternoon we had buddies and collected items to create a nest for The Wild Robot. It was interesting to see what the children chose!

The best part of the this week has definitely been seeing my students really pushing themselves to practice and master their sight word booklets. I know a large part of this is probably the quest for the smelly stickers I give for each list completed, but if it gets them to memorize those words, I’ll do it! I also had four students who moved up TWO reading levels!!! It makes me so excited to see their progress.

Christmas Socializing:

After work I scooted out quickly so I could get downtown to meet up with one of my oldest friends. We had decided to meet up halfway between our birthdays to celebrate. We started with Christmas at Hycroft.

This was my second trip to this and I loved it again. I just love seeing the house!!! It is full of small vendor shops for the season, a cafe and a choir. I hear Santa visits too! There were some neat items. I bought my friend a customizable banner so she can make banners for her parties. I actually bought two and will give the other to another friend:). We wandered this gorgeous house for a couple of hours and then decided we were desperate for food!

Eating:

We had thought to go to Heirloom which is an excellent vegan restaurant, but decided it would be easier to go back and park at my friend’s place and walk somewhere. We ended up at the Tasty Indian Bistro. It’s new to my friend’s area and she wanted to try it.

We had the rice along with fish curry and lamb vindaloo. It was great, but way too much food!!!

Exercise:

I have been so successful at the “exercise every day” goal of my Clean November Challenge that I didn’t want to screw it up by missing today, so I came home and did yoga. I figure I need this as much as running or weights because of all the running and weights I do. I ended up doing 40 minutes and found this Yoga website I liked as it just gave a list of the poses. I did yoga for years so I don’t feel like I need a video, just something to tell me what to do. I felt much better afterwards!

Well tomorrow is another crazy busy day so I think I’ll head to bed!

Have fun!

AJ

Stop Talking!

Ugh life would be so much easier if we all had the same style of doing things!

Teaching:

My students were a little off the wall today but I’ve been told it’s a full moon so that explains it. Hopefully we’ll be back to normal tomorrow!

The parents put on a lovely luncheon for us today, so much food! It was build your own sandwiches and then fruit, veggies and ice cream/sorbet for dessert, so good!!! I ate way too much, but they had gf bread so I could have a sandwich and I don’t get those very often!

After school, we had to meet to start building the classes for next year. We got our new grade ones and then Liane and I thought we’d start on the 2s. Unfortunately my principal decided student services had to be there and she proceeded to talk at me the whole time. I really just needed a few minutes of quiet so I could think, but no… grrrrrrr!! It’s bugging me, but I’m going to take a deep breath and we’ll look at it again in the morning.

It just kept getting better as then we had to start report cards. I got two done, so only twenty to go.

Exercise:

I met up with Lyndsay for a yoga class today. It was the woman I had done yoga with about fifteen years ago and she actually remembered me. Mom, Ava says hello! It was a very weird yoga class! I think she may be getting a little old for teaching it as it didn’t have a lot of yoga, but lots of talking. She must be at least 80 now!

I then went out for a walk so I could start on the 8km I have to have done by 3pm tomorrow. I’ll have to run about 3.5km in the morning but that won’t be bad. It was a beautiful night for a walk!

Crafting/ Knitting:

I got my half hour done this morning, but thinking I should knit tonight. My sweater has to be done by Thursday night to count while I have until Sunday for the rug square. I had better get at it!

Have fun!

AJ

Until I Ate

I thought I was all better, until I ate…😏

Exercise:

I had to do 6.5km this morning to complete my mission of 21km for the weekend. I got it done, but it wasn’t pretty. A solid ginger ale diet does not fuel a run well:(.

I’ve already told Lyndsay I won’t be doing a workout in the morning and as much as I’d like to go get the Monday mission ran, I think I may need the sleep and rest more.

While I was having tea with my former running buddies who now walk, Lyndsay had texted to see if I wanted to try out the Hatha yoga class at the rec centre. I zoomed home just in time to change and grab my mat. It was much more what I was looking for in a yoga class, though personally I still think there were too many vinyasas.

Reading:

I had to finish up “The Keeper of Lost Things” by Ruth Hogan today for book club.

This book was a quick read and very interesting. It tells two stories at the same time that end up being connected. Laura is a woman who hasn’t found herself in her life yet, but her employer, Anthony, leaves her his house and a big job upon his death. The other story is of Eunice and Bomber who are also employer and employee in the publishing world. The story switches between these two storylines and also features other short story snippets in between.

I liked the story, though at first I was worried it was going to be super sad, but it ends happily so I was satisfied:).

A few of the Bookclub ladies felt like nothing really happened in the story until the end.

I also started a new book, Until There Was Us by Samantha Chase, which I can’t wait to get back to!!

It definitely has me intrigued at the start!

Baking:

The Keeper of Lost Things talks a lot about “the lovely tea” as one character puts it, so I wanted to make something tea appropriate for Bookclub. I decided on scones. I made chocolate chip scones and also a batch of cranberry ones.

I used the recipe from the book, The Allergy Free Cook Bakes Bread.

I actually used the same recipe and just made slight variations for the cranberry ones. The chocolate chip ones turned out great!

1 cup Bob’s Redmill All purpose gf flour

2tbsp sugar

1.25tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp xantham gum

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

3 tbsp cold vegan buttery spread

1/3 cup non dairy chocolate chips

5 tbsp vegan buttermilk

You mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk. Then cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender. Stir in the chocolate chips and then bring the dough together with the buttermilk. Pat it out on parchment paper to 1-2″ thick and cut it into whatever shapes you want.

Bookclub:

Bookclub is always a good time! I know there is a stereotype out there about Bookclub being all about wine, but ours is actually all about food and catching up on each other’s lives.

My mistake was that I tried some of the food. I lasted three hours and got caught up on everything, but then had to come home:( I’m glad I went though as two of the women had their kids there and they were so cute!

I can’t wait for the June meeting!

Well I’m going to curl up in bed with my new book.

Have fun!

AJ

A Mixed Up Day

It wasn’t bad, but I felt like I was continually changing things at work. Here’s a picture though to prove we actually had blue sky and sunshine and most of the snow is gone:)🎊🎉

Teaching:

I was in charge today and with our secretary away, it meant getting to school early and making sure that everything was alright. It appeared to be. My co teacher and I planned and then once the children came in, the day went sideways. We had a parent talk this morning for which we had tech problems and then the kids weren’t understanding her big words like analysis so they were squirmy! My volunteer came in and was reading with the children so I had to change around my math lesson, but then I thought we were starting the box project with the other grade ones so I stopped doing math, but then it turned out we weren’t. So we did our planners at that point as we were still missing some children. Then I ended up having a meeting that took up my entire prep:(. We then had another parent talk with more tech problems and the parent gave out pens during the presentation so the children just played with those and broke them and then they all wanted new ones:(. At this point it was the end of the day and we hadn’t even done our monthly jobs such as the home reading draw, changing desks, counting group points, making new group posters, so we did that instead of starting the box project. I guess we’ll start that tomorrow. Oh and let’s not forget the fact that I had toys from a parent to hand out. Don’t even get me started on that!!!! Grrrr😖

It was just a nutty day!

Book club:

I was glad to escape at three o’clock and go to the school book club:). We didn’t so much discuss the book, Miss Bixby’s Last Day, so much as we just discussed what genre of books the children enjoyed. It was such a neat discussion and I love being able to have those conversations with the older children.

I had to prep for next week so do didn’t get home until I had just enough time to change:(

Exercise:

It was athletic yoga tonight and wouldn’t you know it- she emphasized abs. Almost every single exercise was ab centred. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that sick in a class before:(

I know that my colleague has signed up for the class again, but at this point I am thinking I might just get a pass to the rec centre and go to regular yoga classes as I feel like I need more stretching than anything. I already do weights at least twice a week, if not more! Maybe I’ll see if Lyndsay wants to do it too:)

Tea:

I am drinking the Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Green Tea tonight. I got it to try for helping with my stomach and so far I’m really enjoying it. The peppermint actually nicely compliments the green tea base.

Knitting:

I forgot to pack my knitting for work today so I am on the couch now and ready to power through these last 33 rows so I can wear these socks tomorrow!

I’m off to knit as fast as possible🤣

Have fun!

AJ

Made it!

All day, the teachers were cheering each other on with a countdown of how many hours we had to go until our four day weekend began. We all made it😀🎉🎊

Teaching:

We worked on being good readers today and visualizing as we are reading. I did the reading, of Matilda, and the children drew pictures of what they saw in their heads as I read. They didn’t do too badly:). The children are amazed that I don’t watch tv, but I explained that I do, it’s just powered by what I’m reading:). I’d much rather read and make my own pictures than have to put up with what someone else’s imagination came up with! I am really noticing that with watching the Harry Potter movies!

We learned our last addition strategy so now we just have to practice!

My amazing co-teacher came up with a way for us to cover coding (which we now have to teach) in gym. We play robots!! We started yesterday and the children requested it today:). Yay for multi-tasking!

Beauty:

I got in to have my eyebrows and eyelashes died this afternoon. This is something that I just started doing a couple of years ago, but it makes such a difference to my face to have eyelashes and eyebrows that can actually be seen!! It has also brought a fellow reader into my life. My aesthetician likes chick lit too so we have a good gab about it while she’s making me look better:) Today it was like Christmas as she had a big bag of books for me!! Actually it might have been even better than Christmas as I never get chick lit books for Christmas!🤣 This bag of treasures along with the sunshine that peeked out this afternoon made for a fabulous start to my long weekend!

Exercise:

I had athletic yoga tonight again. I didn’t feel like going, but was glad after that I had:) That class goes so fast. I look up and am always amazed that we are already at the stretch!

I’ve been feeling blue this week and while talking to my colleague at yoga, realized that I haven’t gotten a run in since Sunday- maybe this explains my low mood?!?! I think I better get back to my morning runs, even if it’s in the dark! I’m thinking I might buy a three month rec pass after this yoga class is over so I can run in the mornings and then do a class in the evening. I’ll have to think about it more…

Knitting:

I am giving my new sweater a second try this evening. I told my mom earlier that I was finding the instructions super confusing. It was disheartening as I’m not a newbie knitter! I’ll give it another go and see how it is as I really like this pattern!

Well I’m going to go curl up with my book:)

Have fun!

AJ