Wednesday, August 31, 2016

White Chocolate Raspberry Bundt Cake

You read that correctly...  White Chocolate Raspberry Bundt Cake, oh my!

I've still been searching for good cake recipes.  And so for a co-worker's birthday celebration, I decided to try something that looked totally decadent.  White chocolate + raspberries?!  Yes, please!

And so I went a'baking.  The first "oops" I discovered was that the pudding I'd purchased (white chocolate) was only 1 ounce.  Ugh.  I used light sour cream but other than that, made no more substitutions.  Because I had less pudding mix, I did not chop up my white chocolate as I wanted make sure there was an abundance of white chocolate flavoring. (I was also a bit lazy on this week night.)

When the cake came out of the pan, I realized too late that I'd made two mistakes....  It could have baked for 5 minutes longer and the raspberry filling needed to be blended more.  The cake separated in places where the layer of filling was.  But I was able to salvage the cake and though it didn't look great, once sliced and served, it got rave reviews.

Mr. Higgins really liked it and pointed out that I could make it with blueberry filling instead (hint, hint).  Ha!

So I'll keep this recipe and try it again with, hopefully, better results.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Week One: Peak 10 Challenge #6

Yes, I did a Peak 10 Challenge in the spring, but I'm already anxious for another one!  I typically complete two rounds of the Challenge every year and 2016 is no different.

Before every Challenge, you're supposed to do the Fit Test - to see how much you improve over the course of the eight weeks. This time, I completely forgot since I was out of town last week.  Maybe I can fit that in this weekend!

But off we go!

Monday: PeakFit Pure Cardio + walk

I was excited to do Pure Cardio this morning because it's such a great workout!  With my 45 minutes in the morning, I have to skip one circuit of this workout but it's still great!  In reality, it's a Cardio Interval Burn without the peaks.  So, much less stressful!  At lunch, I went to the rec center, despite some drizzle, and walked the track.  The students were back so I had to dodge sprinters, runners, and meandering texters.  Ha!

Tuesday:  Dozois' Total Body Cardio and Strength

Today it was time for weights!  I hadn't done this workout since the last Peak 10 Challenge so it was fun to get back into it.  The up and down planks are still tough!  Whew!  But it was fun - and such a great workout.  I kept the cardio low-impact, deciding that today would be my light-on-the-knees day.  Ha!  

Wednesday: Peak Fit Anytime Anywhere No Excuse Workout

Ah, my old friend, my frenemy. What can I say about this morning...  I survived.  I did better than I thought - usually, the first time I do this one, it kills me.  But I survived and I did all the peaks, even the burpees.  Yay!  I don't know why this one is so hard for me.  Maybe it's going to the floor so much.

Thursday: Amy's Kickboxing Skills and Drills + Ilyse's Sweaty, Sassy, and Strong + walk

It was fun to do some different workouts this morning. I hadn't done Amy's kickboxing in a while and it was nice!  Ilyse's dance is always fun and I tried to make this one more high impact.  I was sweating up a storm!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center and did a lot of ab work.  

Friday: BodyFit 360 Vol. 2- Dance Conditioning

It's Friday!  That means a fun day!  This workout is a lot of fun - and it's challenging in some deceptive ways.  I did the arm and ab work this time, which I don't always do.  It's tough!!  But I was glad to get some god work in.  I had every intention of doing weights at lunch today, but something crazy happened at work, which prevented it.  Ugh.

Saturday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn + Amy's Metabolic Meltdown

I was ready to work today after eating badly yesterday at dinner.  This CIB - the original CIB - is so much fun!  You never go to the floor, which is a relief, but the peaks are tough!  It's deceptively easy starting out and then….dang!  After that finished, I did 15 minutes of Amy's workout - so 70 minutes of cardio.  Wow!  It felt good but I was tired.  I then stretched really well and did sit-ups.

Sunday:  Peak 10 Cardio Strength + weights

So I was a little pressed for time this morning.  I did a five minute warm-up before starting this CS.  And….dang, this CS is tough.  They're all tough but this one, the first one I ever did, gets me every time.  I forced myself to go all out and I felt very accomplished afterward.  I did an additional five minutes of cardio after it ended.  Then, 15 minutes with my 12lb weights - since I missed weights on Friday.  And finally, a stretch and ab work.

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1152
Tuesday - 1290
Wendesday - 1058
Thursday - 1415
Friday - bad
Saturday - BAD
Sunday - 1188

Trying to get better….  Sigh.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Yarn Crawls

So for yet another year, I missed the DFW Yarn Crawl.  I've always wanted to do it but another year has gone by without it getting done.  Sigh.

One of the highlights of my year is the DFW Fiber Fest, where tons of yummy yarn is showcased for our delight under one roof.  Four months later, when the Crawl comes along, it seems like way too much hassle to go around, for miles, looking at yarn….  Yet I'd like to.  

And now, I've learned of yet another crawl - the Hill Country Yarn Crawl.  One stop is, of course, the end-all-be-all of Texas yarn shops, Hill Country Weavers in Austin.   I must do this.  There are so many LYSs I need to get to!  Oh my!  

Part of my problem (addition, ahem!) is the almost daily emails from Kitterly.  And now they have kits featuring the patterns of Casapinka, one of my favorite designers.  

I have a problem.  I'm so addicted to yarn and knits…..  But my real problem is that I don't have enough hours in the day to knit everything I want to knit!!!

Oh my!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Pre-Peak Workout Week

I've finished my first eight-week FitnessGlo Challenge and it's almost time for my next Peak 10 Challenge.

After almost getting my butt whipped by a Peak 10 workout on Sunday, I'm ready to get back into Peak 10 form.  Stat!

Monday:  Shape's Bikini Body Camp Transforming + Ilyse's Groovy Dance Party

I turned to one of Michelle Dozois' older workouts this morning, this one being the cardio workout on Shape's Bikini workout video.  It's so good - just a little less intense than a Peak 10 workout.  It left me breathless!  I then turned to Ilyse's fun dance workout, making it high impact where I could for a really good workout!

Tuesday: Ilyse's Full-On Cardio Blast + Easy to Follow Dance Moves + weights

Must have cardio!  Today I wanted to work so I chose one of Ilsye's few athletic cardio workouts.  This one really gets me, especially the non-stop jumping in the beginning - whew!  After that 30 minutes, I took things down a notch with Dance Moves.  Fun!  At lunch, I did weights at the rec, despite a crazy day.  But I'm so glad I did!

Wednesday:  Dozois' Calorie Burning Cardio Blast + HIIT - Breathless and Energized + Scott's HIIT - Sports Inspired Intervals 

I wanted to work hard this morning so I decided to do all these HIITs in a row.  Fun!  I started with Michelle's easier one before doing her hardest.  These really did leave me breathless.   Scott's Intervals were tame by comparison!  All together, these make for a great, sweaty, workout.  Whew!

Thursday:  Dozois' Cardio Strength 2 on Glo + Tip Top Shape

Today was a vacation day - and tomorrow, actually.  Yay!  So I had plenty of time this morning.  I got up at my normal time and did this CS - which is a lot harder before 6am.  Dang!  It was a struggle to get through it, but I did.  Awesome!  I then tuned into Michelle's strength + cardio workout.  Love it!  It was a morning filled with hard work but I felt great afterward!

Friday:  PeakFit Dynamic Flexibility

I was in east Texas today so I decided to take it easy with this workout.  Since I'm about to start another Peak 10 Challenge, Dynamic Flex sounded great.  And it was!  I really love this workout.  It makes you sweat but stretches you in every way imaginable. 

Saturday:  Dozois' Rockin Body Cardio

I hadn't intended to do this workout today but I had no internet which meant no Glo.  But I hadn't done this video in a long time so it was a nice change.  Even Michelle's earlier workouts are tough!  This one is fun but you definitely work up a sweat!  I felt like I'd had a good workout when I was done!

Sunday:  Michelle's Cardio Interval Burn on Glo + Scott's Athletic Burn

After eating too much all weekend, I was ready to do anything to feel better about myself.  This CIB is not at all easy but I did it all - glad to be working hard.  Nothing - nothing - gets me working harder than a Peak workout.  After that 55 minute workout, I did Scott's HIIT - for 25 minutes.  Whew!  It's a good one and I may have to do it occasionally.  Finally, after that - a stretch and sit-ups.

Calorie Counts:

So, so bad.  I'm truly disgusted with myself.  The summer is almost over so that means it's almost time to buckle down again and get back to my normal, healthy eating.  And Peak 10 will help!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Last week, one of my best friends, SKP, had a baby boy.  Yay!  It was such a relief to hear that both mother and son were healthy.  

Birthing babies has been on my mind a lot since it's been greatly talked about in the fifth Outlander book, The Fiery Cross.  I think we, as a society, take modern medicine for granted at times.  And there's nothing like childbirth to help us remember just how precious our lives truly are!

The preciousness of life - any life - is why I don't understand hunting as a sport.  On the rare occasion that I've hit a squirrel in the middle of the street, I'm devastated!   That squirrel could have been taking food to did I just kill all those baby squirrels?!  

Every year and sometimes twice a year, we have barn swallows nest on our back porch and lay eggs.  Each time, we're terrified of something happening to the eggs or then the babies.  And something always happens to at least one of the them, it seems.  Life is harsh and sometimes a baby gets pushed out of the nest.

Yes, I'm rambling but babies make me reflect on a lot of things.  Never take a life for granted.  A small one or a big one.

Congrats, SKP!

Monday, August 15, 2016

FitnessGlo Challenge: Week 8

It's already been eight weeks?!  Holy cow!

I've really enjoyed changing things up with this Challenge.  I've enjoyed it so much that I'm thinking of doing it again this year - instead of another Combat Challenge.  We'll see.  In the meantime, it's time to get to work.  I need all the help I can get this summer!

Monday: Petra's High Intensity Drills + Ilyse's Just Dance + walk

I need to up my cardio game this week to burn off some calories, stat!  Petra's workout is a challenge because of the length of the drills - 45 seconds.   Eek!  But I got through it and then had fun with Ilyse's dance workout.  This one isn't my favorite but it's fun and light - though I tried to jump as much as possible.  At lunch, I walked at the rec center.  Quickly.

Tuesday:  Denise's Cardio and Sculpt Challenge

This morning was rough after a bad night of sleep.  I decided to keep this workout low-impact since I've been jumping so much lately.  And it was good.  I lifted my heels and barely let my feet lift off the ground for the jogs and jump ropes.  The weights were good, too.  I did my own cardio once Denise went to the floor but I still got a good workout!

Wednesday:  Ilyse's Your Best, Sweaty Self + Dance Intervals 101

I was ready to work hard this morning and Ilyse's workouts were great.  Unlike a lot of my recent Glo workouts, these are not circuit based.  You go, go, go....and go.  Ilyse is relentless in both workouts and it gets tiring jumping and jogging continuously.  Ha!  But it felt good and I was glad to work hard.

Thursday:  Scott's Athletic Burn + Dozois' HIIT - Breathless and Energized

Extra cardio - intense cardio - was needed this week.  Sigh.  Scott's workout was new-to-me and it was good.  The circuits were different lengths which kept me guessing.  I skipped the burpees but did everything else.  Dozois' HIIT is always great - and had me huffing and puffing more than Scott's longer workout.  Ha!

Friday: Dozois' Body Fit 360 + weights

I love Friday workouts.  They mean something light or yoga-y for me.  Today I decided on Michelle Dozois' original Body Fit 360.  It's so good.  Because I wanted a really good stretch today, I did the first 25 minutes of cardio and then skipped to the ab section and, finally, the great stretch.  Love it!  At lunch, I finally made it to the rec for weights - after skipping it last week.  Thank goodness for my motivated co-worker, who helped get me over there!

Saturday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn Remix + McLean's Cardio Hip Hop

Even though I'm not in peak form, I was looking forward to this CIB today.  I just love it!…outside of the peaks.  Ha!  Michelle works you hard but you also have a lot of fun.  And that's why I love her style.  After that 55 minutes, I tuned into McLean's dance workout for 15 minutes.  Whew!  I made it high impact and just kept on sweating.  After all that, a nice stretch and ab work.

Sunday:  Peak 10 More Cardio Strength + Petra's Target All Your Angles

This is my least favorite Peak 10 workout and today it really kicked by butt.  I struggled through the floor work when it came up….in every single circuit but one.  Sigh.  When the end finally came, I was glad….and exhausted.  After that (50 minutes), I only got through about 15 minutes of Petra's workout.  I wish I could have done more….but I stretched and did sit-ups instead.

Calorie Counts:

So bad.  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Dog Days of Summer

After so many days and weeks of 100+ temperatures (or 98+), it's a superb relief to see this.....

Hallelujah.  That's all I can say.

Now please excuse me while I go and water my parched plants.

Monday, August 8, 2016

FitnessGlo Challenge: Week 7

This week started out a bit rough, with some stomach issues.  But I quickly got back into the swing of things.  And considering my eating, I needed to be able to work hard.

Monday: Crunch's Fat Burning Pilates + Scott's Tone, Tighten and Firm

This morning, I wasn't feeling well.  Later in the day, I did about 15 minutes of Ellen Barrett's Pilates video.  I hadn't done this one in forever and it's so good!  Then, I did Scott's weight workout - all 20 minutes.  Dang, triceps!  I used the 12-pound weights when I could and definitely felt it!

Tuesday: Dozois' 30 Minute Boot Camp + Ilyse's Heart-Pumping Groove

I was almost back to normal today but I wanted to take it a bit easier than usual.  So, I did Michelle's level 2 boot camp - which is basically a bit slower than a level 3.  It was still a good workout, though I skipped the burpees.  Next up was Ilyse's fun dance workout.  Mr. Higgins laughed at me as he ate his breakfast.  I'm glad I can provide some comic relief at 6am.

Wednesday:  Amy's Bootcamp Blast + Scott's HIIT - Sports Inspired Intervals 
+ walk

My week is all screwed up as far as weights go - so I did them today with Amy's workout.  I think I'd done this workout before but I can't remember....  It was good!  After that, I did Scott's HIIT - always effective!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center, unable to bring myself to do weights.  Ugh.  

Thursday: Scott's Multi-Level Cardio Drills + Amy's Intervals + walk

It was hard to get going this morning but Jeffrey Scott made me move - and very quickly! This was a good set of drills - much like his others.  After that ended, I did 15 minutes of Amy's intervals - always super effective.  At lunch, I walked at the rec center.  It was a challenge to do that today because of meetings but I made myself!

Friday:  Scott's Boot Camp Burn + Shape's Bikini Body Camp Transforming

This morning, I had a few extra minutes so I tried to put them to good use.  I did about 35 minutes of Scott's cardio/weight drills in Burn.  Then, all 20 minutes of Dozois' cardio in Bikini.  It made for a very effective morning workout, all in all!  Even though the Bikini cardio is a bit more basic than Dozois' later workouts, it's still tough!  Hello lunge jumps in the last circuit!!

Saturday: Michelle's Cardio Interval Burn on Glo + Ilyse's Power Stretch

I pulled two hamstrings yesterday, somehow.  I have no idea.  But I hurt.  I did 65 total minutes of cardio this morning - all of the CIB plus my own cardio to get a good, long workout.  This CIB is definitely different from the others but very, very effective.  Whew!  Afterward, since I was so sore, I did Ilyse's 10-minute stretch, wanting to be forced to stretch well and long.  Ab work finished off my morning.

Sunday:  McLean's Tabata - Get Gloing with Tabata-Inspired Drills + Amy's Cardio Combo

Wow, so I finally found a workout of McLean's that I can tolerate.  This one wasn't easy and I had to modify just a bit but it was doable and almost un-hateable.  LOL!  He alternates a weighted move and then a cardio move - each done 20 seconds.  After that 45 minutes, I tuned into Amy's level two workout - also a nice combination of weights and cardio.  That lasted 30 minutes.   I then did five minutes of core work followed by a nice stretch.  My hamstrings are still annoyed with me. 

Calorie Counts:

Bad.  So, so bad.  

Friday, August 5, 2016

A Paris Apartment

My book group chose an interesting book to read - A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable.  Paris + art + history + historical fiction = yay!

This is the story of April, an auction house appraiser who is sent to Paris to look at an apartment that's been sealed shut for 70 years.  She soon discovers some very interesting journals that lead to an art discovery that no one could have predicted.  

Gable takes you into the life of the woman who wrote the journals - a courtesan of late 19th Paris named Marthe de Florian.  The story alternates between Marthe's story and that of the present-day appraiser, April.  

Marthe has plenty of romantic drama in her life, as expected, but April does as well.  Though that's an easy statement to make, I found April's love life particularly pleasing - it wasn't perfect nor did it wrap up perfectly at the end of the novel.  

This was really a surprise for me and I look forward to more from this author.  

Monday, August 1, 2016

FitnessGlo Challenge: Week 6

I'm really enjoying my FitnessGlo Challenge.  It's nice to do some different workouts by new-to-me instructors.  And I can't believe I only have three weeks left to go!

Monday: Ilyse's Your Best, Sweaty Self + Denise's Interval Sweat

This is one of Ilyse's toughest Glo workouts.  She makes you do two sets of star hops (known to most of us as air jacks) and knee tucks.  Yikes!  I did the entire workout and then switched over to Denise's interval workout.  It's good but her cardio just seems to always be the same.  I skipped a lunch workout, walking outside for about 10 minutes instead.

Tuesday: Amy's Kickin' Cardio and Conditioning + walk

Time for some weights today!  I was actually looking forward to Amy's workout today, though I get this one confused with her other two that are similar.  But it was good!  Except for the push-ups: three 45-second sets.  Whew!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center and I'm so glad I got out of the office!

Wednesday:  Petra's High Intensity Drills + Dozois' Calorie Burning Cardio Blast

Time to work this morning!  And I wasn't too thrilled, either, since I was sore from something yesterday.   Bleh.  Petra's workout definitely works you but at least it's a bit different than others.  Michelle finished off my morning...  Even when I'm not looking forward to the workout, she makes me happy.  

Thursday: Scott's Sports-Inspired Drills + Ilyse's Groovy Dance Party + weights

I decided to skip the weights this morning so I'd have more energy for them later in the day.  So, cardio!  Scott's Drills are nice because they aren't too intense.  I worked as hard as possible, though, and felt good!  Next up: Ilyse's dance, which always me happy.  This one is a favorite.  At lunch, I was off to the rec for weights.  Always happy to get those over and done with!

Friday:  Dozois' Conditioning for Long Lean Muscles

It's been so long since I had a light Friday workout...and I so enjoy these days!  I opted for Michelle's workout because it provides light cardio, toning, arm work, and ab work.  Because I wanted no impact today, I skipped about 10 minutes of the cardio in order to stretch more at the end of the workout.  A great morning!

Saturday:  Dozois' Cardio Strength 2 on Glo + Scott's Bring It On

I really needed to work hard today.  Starting with CS 2 on Glo, I was working hard before I knew it!  Ha!  This CS is definitely tough - Michelle takes you to the ground a lot.  But I survived!  Next up, Scott's cardio + weights.  I like this workout but some of the weighted repetitions get hard for me.  At least I know it's doing something!  So, 80 minutes of cardio and weights today!  Wow!  Then, a nice stretch and ab work.

Sunday: Cathe's Intensity + Ilyse's Cardio, Strength, and Stretch

Today, cardio.  And a lot of it.  I did all of Cathe's Intensity and then added on 10 minutes of my own cardio for 60 minutes total.  I was sore from something yesterday so all the squats were definitely felt.  Ouch!  Then, I did 15 minutes of cardio from Ilyse's workout - more squats and squat jumps.  Dang!  I did her standing ab work and then had a nice stretch.  Talk about working hard!

Calorie Counts:

It's best that we not talk about that.