Friday, December 30, 2011

A (Mostly) Pictorial Christmas

PB Surprise Cookies
Recipe: Wrap Snickers minis in peanut butter cookie dough (I used store bought dough for lack of time). Use about a tablespoon of dough, flatten it out in your hands, set Snickers mini in the middle and wrap like a present!  Bake at 300 degrees for 10-12 minutes. To die for while they're hot!

Almond & Craisin Biscotti
Recipe (Note: Mine didn't turn out very hard, so bake them longer than the recipe calls for. They were still a hit though, just more like a scone.)

Papa & Oliver

My brother needs a hair cut!

Cousin Maddy & I

Cousin Christine & I

Christmas Eve 


Baseball in the living room 

 Amazing gifts from family & friends:
-Yoga mat
-Polar HR monitor watch (YAY!)
-Kitchen utensils
-Snowman decoration
-Air popcorn popper
-"Sisters" decoration
-Polyester blanket
-5 qt. crock pot
-Paula Deen pots & pan set (SO EXCITED FOR THIS!!)
 -Fleur de lis ring (since I lost my other one, thanks hunny!)
-Change Up the movie 

I'm sure I'm missing a few things, but thank you to all my family and friends... love you all!

Time to get a workout in, take my boyfriend's brother's girlfriend from Toronto shopping (did you get all that?) for an outfit for the New Years, and await my best friend coming from New Hampshire!  We'll be spending our New Years in the cities (the cities in my neck of the woods is the Minneapolis/St. Paul area), so it should be a good time!

What did you get for Christmas?  What are your plans for New Years?

Happy New Years!

December Foodie Pen Pal

As I mentioned in my last post, I received my Foodie Pen Pal package in the mail and it is finally time to reveal what I received from my December Foodie Pen Pal, Liz over at Southern Charm!

When I saw the box sitting by my mail box the anticipation was just too much, so I ran upstairs and tore it open. There it is... all nicely packed into the most exciting brown box I've ever received in my life.

In the box was Caveman cookies (organic and alpine), Pop Chips, Green Super Food bar, Larabars, two cocoa chocolate squares and a childhood favorite Blow Pop!

The first thing I tried was one of the Caveman cookies because I had just gotten home from work and had a sweet tooth.  Let me begin with the fact that I know nothing about Caveman cookies and had no idea what to expect, but when I bit into it I was caught off guard.  For some reason I was expecting a sweet cookie, but this was fig-like (a different kind of sweet).  My first bite took me off guard, but my second bite confirmed that I liked them!

The two cocoa chocolate bites were devoured right away... in fact, one of the bites didn't even make the picture!  Pop Chips were the only thing I got in my package that I had previously tried, so I knew what I was getting when I packed these in my lunch that week.  LOVE Pop Chips!

The remainder of the box consisted of bars.  Bars of which I have heard of through other blogs, but I have never tried any of them.  I'm not sure where they are sold, but I have never seen them around my part of the state.  The first bar I tried was the Fruit and Nut Larabar, loved it!  This again kind of had a figgy taste to it, but I like it because I could tell the bar was healthy and natural.  I haven't made it through all the flavors yet, but I'm a I just need to find out where I can buy them around here or maybe I have to get them online.  I took the Green Super Food bar to work one day to snack on.  Again the flavor was good, but I was caught off guard by the way it looked green like grass! So I decided just to not look at it anymore and enjoy the taste of it.  I'm not sure if this is a bar I will go out and buy, just because I was weirded out by how it looked, but it did taste good.

My first month of the Foodie Pen Pal program was a success!  I got to try a lot of new food items that I have never tried!  Thanks so much for all the great, healthy snacks Liz!


My Foodie Pen Pal box that I put together got sent to Tory!  Tory does not have a blog, but was sweet enough to write a guest post that I could put on my blog!  So take it away Tory...

Hi Wealth is Health readers!

My name is Tory – and I’m not a blogger, but I’m writing a short guest post for
Mackenzie because I was lucky enough to receive my December foodie pen pal box from

Mackenzie got my box in the mail to me super quick. I hadn’t even yet been thinking
about it on the day it arrived – it was such a nice surprise! And so were all of the goodies
inside! :)

I received:

Honey Bran Muffin Mix – Muffins were made within hours of me opening the box. I had
to take my sister to the airport for an EARLY flight the next day and these were perfect to
make ahead and then grab and go on our way out the door!
Buckwheat Pancake Mix – Neither my husband or I have ever had buckwheat pancakes!
I have to admit, dear hubby was a bit nervous on the first day I made them – not knowing
exactly what to expect. But, oh yes, they were yummy and the mix has since been made
into both pancakes and waffles in our waffle iron.
Dried Mango – My kiddos have been on a beef and venison jerky kick and started asking
to sample the “orange jerky” I received the minute it came out of the box. They loved the
dried mango and pretty much gobbled the entire bag up between the 2 of them.
Cinnamon/Graham Pretzels – My family doesn’t care for the saltiness of pretzels much
and everyone was delighted to discover these were exactly the opposite of what they
expected. Several nights of snacking on these sweet treats ensued….
Pepperidge Farm Tim Tam Cookies – Just as melt in your mouth as Mackenzie describes
on her blog! Yum!
Mango Flavor Licorice – Soft and sweet and another treat that didn’t stand a chance with
my kids around. :)
Organic Red Wine Vinegar – I hate to admit, I’ve never had red wine vinegar. I’ve
purchased and used balsamic and cider and white but I’ve never, ever had red wine. As
most folks probably already know, though, it’s a perfect dressing for my salads! And
I can’t wait to use it in the recipe Mackenzie sent me for Avocado-Black Bean Salsa
(which will actually be my contribution to the family New Year’s festivities we’ll be
attending over the weekend)!

Thanks, Mackenzie, for everything you sent my way – I (my whole family) enjoyed it

**Glad you enjoyed all the goodies Tory! Let me know how the salsa goes over with the New Years crowd!**

If you're interested in joining the Foodie Pen Pal program (blogger or non-blogger) check out Lindsay's blog at Lean Green Bean for more details on how to get involved!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Three French Hens

Yes, that's right, three French hens, you know what that means... three days until Christmas! !

I have been so MIA these past couple weeks!  The combination of preparing for Christmas, being sick and my Great Grandmother passing away has totally put blogging on the back burner.  Oh and I don't even want to mention the number that reads when I open my Google Reader!  Yikes!  

Since I've been so busy, like pretty much everyone else, I'm going to keep this short and sweet and make it as simple as I can...

  1. I taught my last boot camp class this Wednesday, so unless I make up boot camp routines for myself I won't be posting boot camp routines regularly.
  2. I am officially employed by Momentum, where I had my internship!
  3. Shop, shop, shopping is all I've been doing lately...or so it feels!  In fact one day I went out and forgot my wallet at home #epicfail that was frustrating!  
  4. I think I am spending a record high amount of money for Christmas this year :-/  Oh well, all the recipients are worth it!

     5. My Foodie Pen Pal box came a couple days ago and I can't wait to share with you what I got!  Thanks Liz!
          6. Free coffee is the best kind of coffee!  I filled my Gloria Jeans punch card so I got this Butter Rum Latte for free!

            7. I've been getting workouts in, but they have been weak since I'm sick...grrr!
            8. My Great Grandma passed away Wednesday morning, she lived 99 1/2 great years and will be  
                missed! May you rest in peace!

That's it for today folks... Enjoy the Holiday season and stay in good health!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Saints Go All the Way

"Saints go all the way, Saints go all the way..." most have probably never heard that song, but I have because I date a complete New Orleans Saints freak!  As you may know, I am a Packer fan (sad they lost, but now they have the monkey off their back) but I am also a Saints fan (thanks to my boyfriend). This weekend him and I went to the Saints-Vikings game up in the cities, since it was just a short little drive from home.

We happened to get some fantastic seats, something we don't do often... so great that we got some really nice shots of some great athletes from both teams!

"Stand up and get crunk"

It was really a great time!  This is the first time I have ever been to a game where I was in the minority, hence me in black and gold surrounded by a sea of purple and yellow... it felt very strange and kind of uncomfortable, since we had some pretty unsportsmanlike things said to us.

Fitness Plan
Monday: 60 min lift, 3 mile run
Tuesday: 5-6 mile run
Wednesday: Boot camp, 45 min cardio
Thursday: 4 mile run
Friday: 45-60 min lift, 45 min cardio
Saturday: Run or rest
Sunday: Run or rest

I'm not really sure what my schedule will be like on Saturday and Sunday, so not exactly sure what I will do for workouts, but I know one of the days will be a run!

If you're looking for a good burner for the day, here is my lift from today...

MB wall ball (squat throw) 10 x
Heavy bag :45
Vasa pullups 20x
Roller ball 20 yards
Hanging leg raises w/MB between legs 25x
Whippers (heavy ropes) :45
Tread wall 50 feet (about 1:30)

I did this in a "add on" fashion, so it looks a little something like this...

MB wall ball + Heavy bag
MB wall ball + Heavy bag + Vasa pullups
MB wall ball + Heavy bag + Vasa pullups + Roller ball ... etc.

Substitute in any exercises you want, it's a butt kicker! The whole routine, plus a 5 minute warm up took me one hour.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

And the Winner Is...

I don't know why barely anyone signed up for the Tim Tam giveaway, I love those suckers, but all the better odds for those of you who did!  Okay I won't keep it a secret any longer, the winner as chosen by is...

.....Miranda! Miranda send me your address or let me know where I can drop them off since you are a local :) Hope you enjoy the cookies!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Caroling We Will Go

Each year a number of my family members get together in mid-December with the Knights of Columbus and go Christmas caroling.  A number of years ago (we were trying to figure it out last night, somewhere between 18-21 years)  my grandpa started up Christmas caroling through the Knights of Columbus.  Since then it has been a strong tradition for my family.  This year we had a record turnout, 30 people (about half were family and half were community members)!

We all meet up at the KC building and then hopped on a bus that was provided for the crew.  We have not always had a bus to truck us all around, we used to caravan around town, but we are incredibly fortunate to be able to get bused around together now.

We had five stops this year, which is lower than normal, most of which were at nursing homes and assisted living homes.  The stops we make are based on people who request that we stop by.  In the years past our largest caroling trip was made up of 22 different stops!  Five is a very big difference from our largest number, but with a lower number of stops we are able to sing more songs and take song requests.

We may not be the best sounding crew, but we bring a lot of holiday cheer to a room :)  Below is a quick video of one of the homes we stopped at, if you listen closely you can hear an accordion that one of the residence owns, each year he joins in with us as we sing and he does it all just by listening, no practice involved. I apologize for the quality and lighting, the video was taken on my camera.

  After three hours of singing, the bus headed back to out starting point and eat cookies and hot cocoa.  Once everyone is all cookied out, my family headed to my grandparents house for some family time and chili!

This is the first time my siblings and I have all been together for a couple months, so it was nice to finally get all of us together! And in case you were wondering, the guy who has the Monopoly Guy mustached above is my brother.  I think the facial hair started out as a No-Shave November thing, but has gotten out of control.

Fitness Plan
Monday: 40 min bike + 60 min yoga + lift
Tuesday: Run
Wednesday: 45 min boot camp + 60 min assorted cardio
Thursday: 70 min cardio
Friday: Run
Saturday: Run + lift
Sunday: Day off --> Going to Saints game!

My plan is a little vague this week, because I'm just not sure what I feel like doing... there may be some adjustments made along the way.

If you haven't already head over and sign up for my giveaway!  It will be open until Wednesday at midnight! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Favorite Cookie Giveaway

I went out yesterday to try to get some Christmas shopping off my list, and with wake up calls the past couple mornings of 4:15 am and 5:15 am I knew just where I was going to head first...

Yes, Target! But to be more specific, the Starbucks inside of Target!  Brilliant idea whoever thought of putting a Starbucks in Target stores! After grabbing myself an eggnog latte, I spent the next couple hours meandering around Target and TJMaxx scooping up gifts for various family members and my Foodie Pen Pal that I get to send some goodies to next week!

One of my better purchases of the day to bring home to my man and I were these bad boys...

I absolutely LOVE Tim Tams!  I was introduced to these on the beaches of Australia back in the summer of 2009.  Never again will I ever like a cookie more than these. This isn't the true Australia brand, but the Americanized version of them are pretty darn close. Now these cookies aren't meant to just be shoved in your mouth, there is a specific way you should eat these... As taught by a true Aussie, here is how to eat a Tim Tam :)

Step 1: Make a cup of hot cocoa.
Step 2: Bite two corners off of the cookie, they should be opposite corners.  

Step 3: Put one of the bitten off corners into your hot coca. 
Step 4:  Suck the hot cocoa up through the other bitten off corner (like a straw).  
Step 5: Once you feel it start to cave in and melt a little take it out and eat it, it will MELT IN YOUR MOUTH!!! 

You can also use milk if you're not a hot cocoa fan, but it doesn't quite have the melt in your mouth sensation  as it does with hot cocoa.  I seriously recommend running sprinting teleporting to the nearest Target to pick up some of your very own Tim Tams OOOOOOOOR leave me a comment below about anything for a chance to win some of your very own.  I love them so much that I am willing to go to the store for you and send them to you :)  

Note: To enter you must be a US resident.  The contest will end Wednesday Dec. 14th at midnight.  I will randomly pick a winner on Thursday! 


December is typically a busy month for everyone, but here are some of the great things I have to look forward to this month (or already enjoyed)...

Dec. 2nd- Christmas at Luther concert/ seeing my La Crosse girlfriends
Dec. 9th- Bridesmaid (the movie) night with old co-workers
Dec. 11th- Christmas caroling with my family
Dec. 18th- Saints game vs. Vikings in Minnesota... Don't worry I'm not a Vikings fan ;)
Dec. 24th- Christmas with my boyfriend's family
Dec. 25th- Christmas with my family

I wasn't kidding when I said busy! What things are you looking forward to this month?

Boot Camp Workouts

Since so many people liked my post last week that had a lot of workouts in it, I figured I would do something similar and share my past two boot camp classes that I have taught.

Boot Camp #1
Yesterday I assisted in teaching a beginner boot camp class, because there are so many people in the class and a lack of space for them to workout in.  We started the class out in the gym all together and then we split into three groups... one ran on the track upstairs, one did boot camp exercises with instructor #1 in the gym and then I took a group into the racquetball courts to do some abs.  Definitely not ideal, but that's what we had to work with.  Each station was eight minutes long.

After a quick warm up, we got right into it with a tabata.  For those who are not familiar with tabatas it is a four minute long supra-aerobic cardio session.  You do 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off/rest.  The purpose of these is to get your heart rate up, burn those calories quickly, and build endurance and muscle strength.

1.) Tabata: Jumping jacks 

For the pyramid start by doing BW squats for 30 seconds.  Rest for 10 seconds, then do 30 more seconds of BW squats and add on 30 seconds of Skiers...Rest 10 seconds.  Continue adding on one exercise of a 30 second duration until you finish your burpees.

2.) Pyramid: Body weight squats (:30) --> Skiers (:30) --> Criss cross jacks --> Side-to-side hops --> Burpees 

3.) Stations: Boot camp exercises - Running on track -- Abs

I don't know what they did during the boot camp exercise station, but here is what I did for the ab station.  Each ab exercise was done for :50 with a :10 break in between.

Standing bicycles
Side crunches
Toe drag
Sprint crunches
Mt. climbers (forward :20, criss cross :20, spider :20) 

Boot Camp #2
For my normal Wednesday class I did things a little differently and synced up my exercises with my music.  For each song I focused on 1 or 2 muscle groups, dividing the time up equally for each exercise, and I threw some tabata action in there as well. Note: The tabatas are a little longer than 4 minutes, just go with it :)

Chest/Biceps (Length of song- 5:06)
Alternate curl hold (hold one DB in your hand with your elbow bent at 90 degrees at your side, the     
                              other arm will do a normal biceps curl)
Chest fly
Reverse curls
Bridge press on BOSU
Spider push ups

Tabata (Length of song- 4:57): Jumping jacks

Legs/Shoulders (Length of song- 5:12)
Lunges (on BOSU) with delt raise
RDL with an upright row
Arnold press
Squat press on BOSU

Tabata (Length of song- 4:54): High knees

Triceps/Back (Length of song- 4:54)
DB horizontal row (row straight out into the air)
Triceps kickback
Superman reach
Side lying triceps push ups

Tabata (Length of song- 5:07)

Abs (Length of song- 4:52)
I did the same ones from above.

Other Workouts
After boot camp this morning I hit the cardio room. I planned on running today, but I just wasn't feeling it much.  I ended up biking for 40 minutes, running one mile (10:00) and then walking one mile (16:00).

I came home to get a little fuel in me and then hit up Exercise TV for the first time!!! I am totally head-over-heals in love with Exercise TV On Demand!  The routine I did was "10lb Slimdown Yoga", a 22 minute routine.

If you've never tried On Demand yoga, and you have access to it... YOU NEED TO TRY IT!  It's not so much that the routines are anything spectacular, but it's so easy and convenient to just pick up the remote on a whim and choose a video!

Monday, December 5, 2011

MMM: Making a Plan

I'm all about being organized and having a maybe wouldn't guess that if you walked into my apartment, but that's what I get for living with a boy. I like to plan my day hour-by-hour, I like to make to-do lists, I like to (attempt to) plan my meals weekly and I like to plan my weekly workouts.  The Motivate Me Monday topic was open for bloggers to choose any health or fitness related topic.  So sit back and enjoy these tips on how to keep yourself accountable for getting to the gym.

1. Write it on your calendar. I don't do it so much when I am not in training, unless I really get off track, but I like to write a rough guideline of what I'll be doing each day on my calendars.  For example, on my calendar today I wrote, "4 mile run, 60 minutes yoga, and 40 minutes strength training".  This is a rough guideline, I know that there can be a little wiggle room if I get sick or something like that.  However, having it in writing makes it more official.

2. Profess it on your blog or somewhere it's seen by others (aka the refrigerator). I like to write a weekly fitness plan on my blog.  It helps remind me of what I plan to do for that week and putting it out to the public holds me a little more accountable.  I mean nobody likes to say they are going to run 10 miles and not go out at all!  Some times your plan goes a little astray, but by keeping a record on your blog or somewhere public can help you see where you may have gone wrong or if you are burning out and need a little variety. Here is my fitness plan for this week:

Monday: 4 mile run + 60 min. yoga + 40 min. strength training
Tuesday: 50 min. cardio + boot camp
Wednesday: Boot camp + 40 min. run + 30 min. other cardio
Thursday: 50 min. cardio
Friday: 40 min strength training + 3 mile run
Saturday: Off
Sunday: 5 mile run

3. Include classes in your schedule. If you notice in my weekly fitness plan, I try to take a yoga class every Monday.  That is usually my only regular class I take, but I like to mix in a spin class or a Just Pump class to keep me motivated every once in a while.

4. Write monthly goals on something you see every day. I write my monthly goals on my planner, because I look at it everyday to see when I work and what appointments I have that day.  This month my goals are to do cardio 5 days a week, strength train 3 days a week and eat 7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  It has been proven that those who write their goals are more likely to accomplish them versus those who don't write them, so get writing!

5. Have a goal.  Having something like a race (ie; 5K, marathon, etc.) or an event (ie; wedding, class reunion, etc.) to keep you motivated and give you something to look forward to being in your best shape ever.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas is in the Air

Despite the fact that snow is cold, wet, and made driving yesterday pure torture, I tolerate it because of how pretty it can look, especially on the "first" snowfall. 


Yesterday when we were getting hit with lots of snow, I headed out to my sisters to do the only thing that seems right on a cold. blistery day... Bake cookies and drink hot cocoa!

Apparently it is funny to take pictures of Auntie Mac when she falls asleep.  A big thanks to my sister and niece for this shot.

I came home from my sisters to learn that some little elf had been working in our apartment putting a Christmas tree together and hanging lights in our window!  I love being able to turn the lights off in the apartment and sit in the glow of Christmas lights!  Thanks' I mean Santa's elves.

Lights on...

Lights off...
Yes we have an artificial tree... they won't let us have a real one in our apartment :(  I wish so badly we could have one, the smell of pine (even though I'm not huge fan of it) makes it smell like Christmas.

Do you have your Christmas tree up?  House decorated? 

What is your favorite winter activity?