Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year in Review

What a blessed year it has been for our family! As I reflect on the year, I just can't believe how any great things have happened. Rather than a wondering cluster of conversation and words, I'll leave you with a few pictures that sum up our year. 

Lots of cold & snow

Lots of basketball

Another Snow day!

J's birthday trip to an IU game & photo op at the Sample Gates

More @#$%^^& Snow

The passing of my Grandfather
More snow

You would not believe how many people asked if Coach was Pat Knight at basketball tournaments. Funny!

Finally! Running Outside!

Indy Mini Marathon 
Mother's Day love <3
Cousins <3

Finally some flowers!

Back to School 

Off to the races
Off to the other Races :)
 An awesome trip to NYC with my sister

Our last night in NYC

Cross Country season
Varisty Basketball

First Game!
A winter date!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from my crazy crew to yours!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Good Intentions & Tasty Tuesday

Here it is Tuesday already. I had every intention of writing throughout break, however, my intentions have not quite matched my will or my schedule. It's not as if I didn't have posts planned. I have 3 already written ready to post. All I have to do is log on and hit post. Meh. Oh well.  I'll use them later.

One thing about vacations is they always go too fast. Over one whole week is over and I have little to show for it. Having the holiday in the middle of the week kind of messes up plans a bit. Christmas was so wonderful to not have to go anywhere and watch movies all day long. Coach & I got sucked into House of Cards. Have you seen this show? If Washington functions even 1/10th of what is portrayed on that show I have lost all regard for all of them. Lobbyists, elected officials, all of them. We also watched Wolf of Wall Street. What a disturbing snapshot of how the other half lives. Thank you Hollywood for reminding me what's most important in life. 

I have to be honest; I've pretty much eaten what ever I want since Christmas Eve. Not to the point of being uncomfortable, but more than I typically eat. I've worked out fairly consistently. Not gonna lie, my pants are a little snug the last couple days with the bloat and blah feeling. The scale hasn't changed which is good. But it's time to get back on track and it's starting today. 

Today's Tasty Tuesday feature includes one of my favorite superfoods: Vanilla Shakeology. Haven't heard of Shakeology? It's a great balanced shake that can be used as a meal replacement,  pre or post workout, or as a healthy snack. It has an awesome amount of protein (it's not considered a high protein shake on it's own). Shakeology has all natural ingredients, very little sugar (no chemical sugars), and includes over 2 servings of fruit and vegetables per shake. That's without any other fruits or vegetables added to it. It is complete nutrition and a great way to make sure you get in those vegetables and fruits each day. 

I have to admit I wasn't sold on Shakeology until this past June when I ordered it for myself. Once I tried it I was hooked. Shakeology is what keeps me going in the morning. I eat breakfast at 6 and don't eat lunch until 12:30. I have my Shakeology around 9:30 and it keeps me full until lunch. On weekends I drink it for breakfast. On Tuesday's when I have class I pair it with some veggies and have it for super. Unlike so many other protein shakes I've tried, I don't feel bloated or gassy after drinking it. I can mix it with water. It's blends in a shaker bottle and doesn't stay clumpy. Yes, I do shake for a while before drinking. And best of all it tastes good. It's not chalky. It blends well with other ingredients. I also use it to make protein packed snacks like brownie bites and power bars. Did I mention it tastes great?

Vanilla is extra great because it blends so well with other flavors. My boys' favorite is Peach Cobbler. 1 scoop of vanilla Shakeology, 1 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup frozen peaches, 1/2 cup water, handful of ice, and a dash of cinnamon (optional). Blend and serve. It's so good!

One of my favorites is the Morning Refresher. 1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup cubed mango (fresh or frozen), 1/3 cup pineapple chunks, 1/2 medium banana (I like my bananas frozen). It's tangy and wakes up your tastebuds. 

Want to try Shakeology but not sure about committing to a whole bag? I have samples! You can try Shakeology for one week (7 sample packs) for just $30. Leave me a comment below or email me at coachingwife(at)gmail(dot)com and I'll get you hooked up with Superfood goodness. Interested in jumping in and trying a whole month's worth of Superfood goodness? You can still email or leave a comment, or click my link here or on the side bar to learn more about it. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Christmas Biscuits

Seems I may have left off an important classic movie from my list yesterday: The Bells of St. Mary's is a classic! I've just introduced it to my boys this afternoon and they were hooked. Again, I'm a sucker for Bing and a good black and white movie. And Ingrid Bergman is fantastic as Sr. Mary Benedict. As a girl who spent 6 years in Catholic school, she's pretty spot on from a spectator's point of view. The messages about courage, love and understanding from another's perspective are timeless. At any rate, it's not Christmas without Bing Crosby for sure! His voice is like none other.

Speaking of one-of-a-kind voices, how sad was the news of Joe Cocker's passing yesterday? He's one of my favorites. I rocked the Pandora this morning in tribute to his smokey, soulful voice. I can only imagine him singing With a Little Help From My Friends with the angels on his way up to the heavens. Because we all need a little help to get where we are going. He's helped many through his gift of song.

Today's Tasty Tuesday is inspired by our team breakfast this morning. Man those boys can eat. I'm used to my horses but add another 10 boys and holy moly it's insane the amount of food they can eat! 4 dozen eggs, 4 pounds of sausage patties, sausage gravy, 4 dozen biscuits, and a crap ton of pancakes. Don't forget the 3 gallons of milk and 4 gallons of orange juice. J complained he didn't get any biscuits so I whipped up a fresh batch for him and Coach to enjoy.  Our assistant coach's wife commented how easily I was able to get them ready. I've had lots of practice, I guess. Baking powder biscuits are one of the first things my Grandma taught me to make. They are super easy and very tasty. Mine never come out like the biscuits in a can or the ones from Cracker Barrel, but they are tender and not all dried out. They cut in half easily. Who really cares anyway? You slap butter and jelly on them anyway so who even notices how they look? Not I. They just need to taste delicious. :)

Buttermilk Baking Powder Biscuits

2 cups flour
2 1/2 T baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda (only if using buttermilk)
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter (or your fat of choice- lard and Crisco work as well)
3/4 cup buttermilk or regular milk

Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and soda. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (can also use a food processor with a dough blade).  Add buttermilk and stir until incorporated. Turn out onto a floured board and knead a 10 times. Roll out 1/2" thick and cut with the greased mouth of a glass or a biscuit cutter, or just drop them by the spoonful onto the sheet. Place 1" apart on a greased cookie sheet. I found they raise a bit if you leave them alone for about 5 minutes and then bake them. They raise a bit higher because the baking powder has time to proof before baking. Bake 8-11 minutes. We like ours just done so mine are perfect around 8 minutes. If you like them browned, bake a minute or two longer. Enjoy with butter, honey, jam, or gravy. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Family Favorites

Christmas cards are done. Christmas candy and cookies are made. Team breakfast tomorrow. Presents wrapped. Yeah, you read correctly- the presents are wrapped and under the tree. That means all of the shopping is complete as well. I'm not sure when that's every happened. Seems like Coach and I are wrapping on Christmas Eve more years than not. Those have been some fun times. Like when the boys were really small and we got them the first set of Nerf dart guns. We decided to get all the toys out of the packages and wrap them so they could just open and play. We ended up in the biggest dart fight. When we moved out of the house we found darts behind most pieces of furniture upstairs. Good times. 

J was making a comment today that high school has really cramped his Christmas movie watching. We used to watch several of the Christmas classics and ABC Family specials as a family. At least until bedtime anyway. He's always been my big Christmas kid. He loves the prelude and traditions before the day. His expressions have always been priceless when opening packages too. What a kid. T-man is my music kid. He loves the cookies, the carols, the decorations. He's much quieter. Never a fan of visiting Santa, but always sure to write a letter. This year he hasn't written it yet. He's wavering in his belief. This may be the last year we get to have Santa gifts. {Sigh}

Christmas would not be complete until the following movies have been viewed. It doesn't matter that we have seen them a gazillion times before. They seem to get better every time. Coach and I have made a tradition of seeing A Christmas Carol in live theater. It's really spectacular.  Here are the Top 10 Movies and TV specials we enjoy every year. 

Family Faves:
1. Elf
2. White Christmas
3. SNL Christmas Special
4. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
5. Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas
6. Peanuts A Charlie Brown Christmas
7. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
8. Frosty The Snowman
9. The Polar Express (also a favorite book)
10. Home Alone

Some of My Other Favorites/Honorable Mention:
1. The Bishop's Wife (With Carey Grant)
2. Holiday Inn
3. Miracle on 34th St (Black and White)
4. Boys Town (Mickey Rooney, black and white)
5. Christmas in Connecticut
6. Sleepless in Seattle
7. An Affair to Remember
8. Harry Potter series
9. Narnia series

I super puffy heart love the old black and white and 1940's-50's movies the best. They can remake whatever they want to. I'll always love the original. Sleepless in Seattle and An Affair to Remember are more of Valentine's Day movies, but hey, I love them. I usually manage to watch them over the holiday break.

Do you have holiday movie traditions? What are your favorites? 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Workout Wednesday: My New Love

Sad news, workout fans. Les Mills and Beachbody are parting ways. Not before I snagged Pump on the Black Friday special though. Score for me! The good news for all of you is there are still some left to purchase. Plus it's on sale for the time being. Double score. Needless to say, this week's Workout Wednesday post is all about Les Mills Pump.

This program is amazing. I haven't done a weight program like this before. Weights are my thing. I love programs that include lifting. True, I've only competed the first week, but everything I've done thus far is blowing me away. The feeling after an intense workout is one of the best ever. My quads were still juiced this morning from my workout last night. It's already doing great things for my strength after just 5 workouts.

- The sets are simple
- Clear instructions
- Modifiers are visible throughout.
- Weights are light and easy to switch out when needed.
- Can add weights when needed
- Mix of Instructors throughout the workout keeping it fresh.
- Wonderful stretching/Yoga workout included
- Ab workout is amazing.
- Eating plan has a nice variety and packed with high protein ideas
- Easy program for a beginner to use and modify, yet tough enough for seasoned athletes.
- Music!! The Music is great!
- Rep effect really makes you sweat just until you think you can't do one more rep, then switches up. Holy juiced muscles!
- Great mix of upper, lower, and core body work in one workout.

- Not much stretching pre and post workout
- Beginning "Challenge" workout is pretty repetitive when introducing lunges. Would rather they addressed that prior to the workout rather than during. But I've been doing this a while so it's probably great for a beginner.
-  No longer going to be part of Beachbody. I guess I'll be ordering some extra equipment & the bonus workouts.

So far I have paired this with my P90X3. Since you only lift 3-4 days a week and do cardio and stretching the other 3 days it matches up pretty well. I don't want to give up P90X3 as I'm in the final phase of that program and I want to finish it this time. I've been doing doubles for the last several weeks anyway so this is just a twist on that. I'm really seeing some nice results. The final phase is always my favorite. It's always where I see the most results. Bring on the good fitness for the holidays!

Interested in learning more about Les Mills? Want to take advantage of the great deal right now while they last? Leave me a message below, email me ( or check out the deal here. It's never too early (or too late) to give yourself the gift of good health.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Christmas Indulgences

Some of my favorite memories have been formed in the kitchen, either my grandmother's, my mom's, and most recently in my own with my kids. The smells at this time of the year open the flood gates. Memories of candy making, cookie decorating and all sorts of baking swirl around my brain like the aromas fill the room. Such a simple act, mixing together a few things to make a sweet little morsel, yet so much emotion and live go into it making it much more than a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread or a plate of cookies. 

In the true spirit of Christmas indulgence and gluttony, this week's Tasty Tuesday feature is one of my family's beloved holiday treats. It is not gluten, dairy, or fat free. Nor is it particularly healthy in any way, but it sure does taste like a little piece of heaven as it melts in your mouth.

Without further ado, our favorite family tradition: 
Grandma's Shortbread Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 1/2-2 cup flour 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar in mixer. Add flour until incorporated. Be careful not to over mix. You may need to add a touch more flour to stiffen the dough. Refrigerate dough for an hour. Roll out between waxed paper and cut into shapes. (Note: I like to dust dough with powdered sugar instead of using waxed paper). Bake just until set about 7-8 minutes. Let cool on sheet a few minutes the remove carefully and place on wire cooling rack. Frost with your favorite frosting (I like a simple butter, powdered sugar, milk mixture) and enjoy! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Twas the Week Before Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the house, not a snack or a cookies in nearest sight, not even one sugary bite.  Baking is my favorite! I'm sad I haven't had time to bake yet this holiday season. It's all I can do to meal prep for the week let alone do anything extra.

The weekends go too fast! Last week was our hell week; finals for me, ball games every night but Friday, choir concerts Tuesday and Wednesday, meetings in between. What a mess! We survived but crashed this past weekend. If only I could clone myself to be in two places at once. Or at least figure out how to get one of me home to relax and get a little sleep! Whew! This week isn't as crazy, though still busy. I'm super thankful we don't have to be on the go like that all of the time. As much as I hate having to choose between kids, there's no way that pace and schedule can be maintained without ending up in the hospital for exhaustion.

The Christmas holiday always makes me reflective and a tad bit sentimental, especially as of late. There has been such sadness in the past weeks. Several friends have lost parents. A local young lady was trapped and died in a house fire. A cousin has kicked breast cancer's tail (Hooray!). A dear friend has been afflicted by an autoimmune something or other. What's the deal? Life is incredibly fragile. We are all so young to be living through these things. Those of us in the under 40 set are battling for good health. The ladies who took care of ailing mothers, just as those mothers once took care of them. And the unfathomable loss of a young life, taken much too soon from those who loved her most. We can try to stay healthy and young. Use the best creams, the latest workouts, the trendiest eating habits, but for what? We have no say in this adventure called life. It's not up to us. The only thing we have control over is how we handle the situations thrown at us. It doesn't hurt anything to attempt to stay healthy and young. It may not help us much, either. What good does guilt do for us? What good is unnecessary stress? The key is to enjoy this life while we have it. It's a pretty amazing gift we have been given. What a waste to spend it being bitter and nasty about life and circumstances.

Life is beautiful! Live it out loud, full of spirit and gladness.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Foam Rolling

I feel like that line from Elf when Buddy runs into the street yelling "I'm in love! I'm in love! And I don't care who knows it!" I'm in love with my foam roller. Well, maybe not mine per say, but the act of foam rolling is fab-u-lus! I'm in love!

Sometimes I do some really silly things like sit at the computer for 14 hours and mess up my neck and back. Two trips to the chiropractor in 5 days, a massage, and lots of BioFreeze later I'm still a mess. There's a spot in my right shoulder that I'm pretty sure melts ice at rapid speed due to the inflammation. And it hurts. 

Worst news is I'm not supposed to workout for a week-ish. Nothing more than walking, and I'm not supposed to do that until tomorrow. It's recovery week and I'm missing a lot of good stretching and Isometric work. I'm kinda bummed but I'd rather walk like a normal person next week. I may try Dynamix tomorrow. I'm not gonna kill myself with it or anything. I just need to move. I went down to the trainer's office this afternoon to get my BioFreeze rubbed in and saw the foam roller on top of the ice machine. Bingo! Why on earth have I not foam rolled before? I mean, I rolled last spring when I was having issues with my shins and IT bands while I was training for the half marathon but never on my back. Ohmygoodness it's amazing! That roller went between the wall and my upper torso and I squatted and rolled like a piston in a high performance engine. 

Research is my most favorite thing ever. This new love of foam rolling made me look for other great reasons to foam roll. There is a ton of information out there about the benefits of foam rolling. Youtube is full of tutorials and things to avoid while foam rolling. Rolling helps with flexibility and range of motion. It also adds to core strength. Many of the moves involve holding a plank like position and rolling over the top of the roller while holding your back, abs, and torso straight. With all of the heavy lifting and plyometric workouts I do, foam rolling is a great way to work the lactic acid from the muscles reducing soreness and reducing risk for injury. Additionally, I tend to hold a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders (stress much?) and foam rolling is perfect for helping relieve this tension. I will be adding a roller or two to the Christmas list this season.

Here are some of the great resources I found.

2. Shoulder pain from too much time at the computer

3. Neck-- You don't want to full on roll your neck but you can relieve some discomfort from a rough night's sleep or too much time at the computer by some simple moves like these-- 

Give it a try. You just never know what kind of benefits it could bring!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Workout Wednesday

Workout Wednesday is back for another round. Sometimes passionate doesn't begin to describe how I feel about purposeful movement. I should be the most toned, fit person ever considering all of the fit research I do. This week's feature is one I was hesitant about. I had fully planned another program to review until I listened to a podcast about Shaun T's newest Insanity workout called Insanity Max 30. Honestly, Insanity wasn't my most favorite workout. There are many reasons for that, the biggest being the impact. The program is great and has worked wonders for a good many people (results don't lie- you can't cheat your way through that program and get results). It just wasn't for me. When I heard about Max 30 I just pushed it to the back of my mind thinking it wasn't going to make my list of things to try, unlike Les Mill Pump and P90X2.

- Modifiers!
One thing I think Beachbody has done well along the way is including modifiers to show different ways to do things. Insanity Max 30 has taken that concept to the next level and included a modifier on the screen at all times. That's one of my pet-peeves when I need to watch the modifier to be sure I'm doing something correctly and the camera goes to someone else after only one repetition of the move. It's super beneficial to see that modifier throughout the exercise. S/he may reposition a stance or grip which you would ordinarily miss in a typical workout.

-Modifiers are encouraged
This encouragement isn't to scare anyone away. Let's face it: a lot of us get discouraged because we can't do the moves just as the participants straight out of the box. We lose sight of the fact they have been in training groups to get ready for the filming of this workout. We don't suck. We all need to do things differently to achieve optimum form and performance. Consider it workout differentiation. Making it work for each person who does the workout, just as if you were in an academic class.

-30 minutes or less
This 30 minute workout business has been the bees knees. No longer do you have to dedicate an hour or more to workout. Workouts are designed so you max out within 30 minutes. That doesn't mean you will be workout the entire 30 minutes. You are going max speed, max intensity for each move with a short recovery time in between. You'll be d-o-n-e. I love these tabata style workouts. You really feel like you've gotten a good sweat when you finish.

-Straightforward workout and nutrition plan.
 Let's face it. If it's not easy, you're not gonna do it. Am I right? That's how it goes for me. The less I have to think about it the better.  The nutrition plan is great. It's easy to follow. And yes, for ultimate results follow the nutrition plan. Abs start in the kitchen.

-60 days
Just 2 short months. 12 workouts. 2 different rotations. Bonus workouts.

- Impact. Yes, there are modifiers and you can easily make it low impact. There are some high impact moves. As long as you do what you can do there is no down side. Use the modifiers.  That's why they are there.

- It's fast
Like Shaun T's other programs it moves. If you have trouble keeping up with fast tempo this will take some time to get the hang of. Moves aren't complex or dancy. The workout will keep a quick pace. But it will be over quickly!

Just trying to keep it real.

This is a great time to get a jump start on your fitness for 2015. Right now the challenge pack is highly discounted: Insanity Max 30 with a month of Shakeology plus the bonus workouts for $95 off the regular price! That's like getting the entire Insanity Max 30 workout program for $25! What an amazing deal!

Have questions? A suggestion for a workout Wednesday review? Email me at and let me know what you'd like to see featured.

30 minutes. INSANE results.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Dressing

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Don't forget to visit last week's post with the PiYo giveaway! I hope y'all took advantage of the Black Friday specials at Beachbody. Some really amazing deals. I added Pump to my collection and I'm excited to give it a try.

You know that feeling when you cross something BIG off your to do list? And then to cross TWO big things off your list? Ya'll! (run with the southern accent-I'm feelin it).  To be finished with big stuff is life changing. Tonight is my last class for my licensing grad work. Consequently, two of my biggest assignments were due today as well. I may have waited until Sunday to begin procrastinated a tad bit. End project was {drumroll please} 41 pages. Never ever in my life have I written that much BS educational rhetoric. Ever. It sure does feel good to have it done. When I started this semester I told myself I only need to get a C in the class. That's laughable now. Over achiever much? Um... Maybe?

Thanksgiving was really nice. Of course it started off well with a win Wednesday night in our home opener! J played well. Coach instructed well. It's always an interesting game because we play our HS alma-mater. The coach of the other team is one of our HS classmates and friends which always makes for an interesting situation as well. It was a well played game, I didn't die of nerves or heart failure, and no one came home with hurt feelings. Whew!

Our family gatherings were tension free fun for everyone. I was glad to see everyone and spend quality time with my siblings, nieces and nephews. The food was spectacular. My stomach didn't agree so much after two days of it, however. By Saturday my gut was a mess! It doesn't take long to be reminded why eating clean works. Energy depletes quicker, nerves frazzle quicker, and fitful sleep all take hold. We were all welcoming our real foods on Sunday.

Segue into this week's Tasty Tuesday feature: salad dressings. Have you ever read the food label on a bottle of salad dressing? Even the "good" ones have added preservatives and sugars. I'm not saying adding a little sweet goodness isn't ok. I'm simply choosing not to include much sugar in my diet (less than 25 grams per day). When I do use sweeteners, I'm using raw sugar, raw honey, or stevia.

The basis for salad dressing is very simple. Base + Acid + Allium + Flavor
What does this mean, you ask? Mini science lesson coming up!
Base: Oil, Fat, Yogurt
Acid: Vinegar, Buttermilk, Lemon Juice
Allium: garlic, onion, shallot, chives, scallion, leeks (pretty much any kind of onion)
Flavor: herbs, spices, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, seeds (celery, poppy, sunflower, etc), nuts (pecans, walnuts, etc), fruit, honey, and so many more. The possibilities are endless!

Here is one of my favorite dressings. This one is really really good on cooked veggies as well as with salads. It has just the right amount of heat to make things zesty, but not blow your eyeballs out of your skull, if you know what I mean. I love it on Brussels sprouts and with as a marinade for fish and chicken. And it's super easy. What's your favorite homemade dressing?