Saturday, December 31, 2011

An organized office

Forgive me for the kind of random post on this last day of 2011.

Unlike my lucky husband, I had to work yesterday. So, I figured I would spend about an hour cleaning and start the new year with an organized office. It felt so good to take this messy, chaotic drawer...


And turn it into this filing system. Every time I went into the drawer to pull something out, I was happy. It was well worth the time I spent cleaning and filing. Now if only I had a filing cabinet drawer at home to do this with.


I also have a desktop calendar at work to look forward to reading every day. It was a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law.


I need to start reading some blogs on organization. I found one via Pinterest. If you read any that you love, please link to them in the comments.

I am not going to make any formal resolutions for 2012, but being more organized is something I do want to focus on. I am a very organized person in my job and I have to be to do it well. At home, I tend to let food, magazines, etc. pile up and I'll surface clean instead of weeding things out.

My bus ride and lunch break yesterday were spent wanting to keep reading Catching Fire. I finished it today and while I enjoyed the book, I liked Hunger Games more. I am going to take a little break before reading Mockingjay.


Today was relaxing...we slept in a little, I made banana bread this morning, we went to the very crowded gym (oh joy, can't wait for January) and then Craig's friend Dan came over and we got a buffet lunch at Royal India in Milwaukee. I am not a buffet person, but this place never disappoints us.

They didn't have my favorite, paneer tikka masala, but I did have mutter paneer, saag paneer, an eggplant dish, aloo tikki (first time trying those and they're awesome), salad, naan and mango ice cream for dessert.


Since we ate out this afternoon and are still full from the buffet, we're not going out tonight. Just a nice evening at home to do whatever. I might watch The Help. I saw Sarah's Key last night and thought it was pretty good. It's been a weekend of movies adapted from books I have read.

Hope you have fun ringing in 2012! Catch you in the new year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Appetizers and wine

Last night, my friends and I got together for some appetizers and wine to share holiday and other stories.

Laurie was our lovely hostess and she made cake pops in her Babycakes maker! They turned out really well. I noticed they weren't as moist as the handmade ones I tried from Karis, but they were still the perfect little dessert to satisfy my chocolate craving (well I ate three, not just one).


Laurie cutting up the bread I brought and Kim looking contemplative.


The taco dip was delicious!


Kim made Lemon Tahini Brussels Sprouts dip from The Diva Dish and it was fantastic!



We ended the night by watching Shit Girls Say episodes 1 and 2! My friend Laurie told me you can follow Shit Girls Say on twitter, so I did that tonight and it's hilarious to read the tweets.

It was nice to hang out with the girls and catch up with good food and wine.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Boxing Day with my family

Yesterday, Craig and I got to the gym in the morning for a pretty good workout. I did the stair stepper and some weights and am feeling sore from it today.

I ate a carrot cake larabar before leaving and I liked the flavor. I don't think I had tried that one before.

My breakfast habits have been weird lately. I only want coffee, but no food. I had to force myself to eat this because I just wasn't craving anything else.


After lounging around a bit and napping, we went to my parents' house for the last of our holiday celebrations with family.

We opened our presents right away. I knew about two of the items, but not the manicure set. I needed one for my purse. I often snag my nails when I am out shopping and then I am in misery. My mom listened to my complaints and got me a nice one from Sephora.

The smart touch gloves are fantastic so far!


I forgot to add this into the photo of the gifts above. Heard this cookie dough scoop is awesome! Can't wait to make some cookies and try it out (after I get through this cookie coma).


My nephew Owen got some transformer toy.


We had a really nice visit with my family. Here's my nephew Cody, who has grown up so much over the last couple of years.


My other nephew Andy on the left, who is graduating from college this year and his girlfriend Michelle.


And my sister-in-law Amanda and brother Gary made it in from California. I only see them about once a year now, so it's always great to catch up with them in person. Amanda is Scottish and so it was fitting that we had a holiday celebration on boxing day, when she is accustomed to opening gifts with her family.

Oh and these two lovebirds celebrated their 9th wedding anniversary yesterday too!


We drank lots of mulled wine from Aldi and the laughing began.


My family celebration is always last, so we were a little burnt out from two other holiday parties the previous two days. I wish we had a break in between, but that's just how it is. Overall, I think it was one of the best Christmas parties with my family in a long time. Everyone got along so well and we laughed a lot.

Today, I met some of my family at Kopps custard and we ordered burgers, etc. to bring back to my brother and sister-in-law's house. Afterward, we went shopping and I tried so hard to find a pretty dress for Craig's holiday party and in general to wear for winter holiday parties.

This dress from the Limited was the most unique one I found, but I just didn't love how it fit. I am really struggling to find anything out there, so I may resort to ordering something or digging through my closet again to come up with an outfit.


Well, I only have about another hour and a half left of my Christmas vacation, so it's time to get off the computer and go read a book or a magazine.

Just glad I only have a three day work week and then a three day weekend to look forward to.

Wasa crackers and flatbreads {GIVEAWAY}

I've got a great, healthy giveaway for you today! It will help start your 2012 right.

Comment by Sunday, January 1, 2012 and maybe you'll win the same package of three flatbreads (rosemary, sesame and original) and crackers (multi grain, hearty and whole grain) from Wasa that I received.


wasa crackers flatbread and multi grain/whole

wasa crackers

wasa flatbread

We opened the flatbreads and hearty crackers on Christmas day and I loved them both!

Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents.

How to enter (leave a separate comment for each thing below that you do):

1) Comment about your favorite thing to put on a cracker or flatbread. If you need some ideas, pop over to this Wasa site.

2) Follow me on twitter: @FitintheMidwest. If you already follow me, just let me know.

3) Tweet about the giveaway and link to your tweet.

4) Link to the giveaway on your blog and let me know you did it.

Good luck! You have until noon on January 1, 2012 to enter. Winner will be chosen randomly via

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas!

Hope you all are enjoying spending time with your family and friends! Merry Christmas and thank you for reading!

Here are some scenes from my Christmas eve, with my mother-in-law's side of the family.

A naughty Santa game was played. Craig's Aunt is a 4k teacher and regifted all sorts of things to us this year. Check out all of the gifts!


Chris explaining how it works to about 30 people.


Craig's cousin and sister concentrating on the rules.


Craig got the candle on the left and I ended up with the snowglobe. Both were pretty cute, so we're glad no one was naughty and stole ours.



We went to church last night for Christmas eve mass and then when we woke up this morning, Craig and I exchanged gifts.

Like last year, we spent less on each other and donated some money to a charity that needed it: Muscular Dystrophy of Southeastern Wisconsin.

So, these were my two gifts, which I was quite happy with. Love Adele and this live CD is awesome so far. Can't wait to watch the DVD too.


Then it was time to keep cleaning our house before my in-laws came over for lunch!

Since our kitchen isn't too big, we decided to make paninis, which were very well received by our guests who had never had them before.



Appetizers--wasa crackers (flatbread and multigrain), Merkts spreadable cheese, TJ's peanut butter filled pretzels and desserts.


Then it was time to open presents!



I love the Katzenmanifest poster my father-in-law put into an 8x10 frame. We saw it in Berlin, Germany on our honeymoon and he remembered the picture I took of it in a store. The ornaments I got from my in-laws are also German. Most of the ornaments on our tree are from Europe because I spontaneously decided to collect them while we were on our honeymoon.


Karma got a wet food cover for Christmas and I decided to make him look oh so French with a mock beret. Joyeux Noel!


My sister-in-law got a nice chair for her new house.


When we were all done, we attempted to get a family photo using my tripod. After many photos, this one is probably the best.


Enjoy the rest of your Christmas, from our house to yours. :)


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Deep dish pizza and a movie

Merry Christmas Eve!

Picking up where I left off yesterday...the grocery store was crazy, of course, but not as bad as the malls I'm sure. The worst part was the baking aisle, naturally.

After I got home from the store, we went out to Uno's Chicago Grill for a chicago style deep dish sausage pizza. Yum!




On our way back home, we stopped by my sister-in-law's house to see her Christmas decorations. She worked at Hallmark for years, so she has two trees full of awesome ornaments. My favorite was this one, which is appropriate for her since she's a single gal.


I had to laugh when I noticed that she spelled peace wrong with her candles. She didn't even realize it until I pointed it out.


We ended our evening by meditating together and watching Water for Elephants, which we both loved. I actually thought it was pretty close to the book and well done. I had to turn away during the one violent part. I was glad I was warned about it ahead of time, so now I am warning you too.


I need to get going and clean the house, bake a pie and cookies, get to the gym, etc. I feel like I should have done more yesterday instead of "playing" so much.

I already made a second batch of white chocolate peppermint bark this morning. My layered one turned out great, but the candy canes didn't stick on top as well as I wish they would have. For this second batch, I incorporated them into the chocolate before I poured it.

We're off to celebrate Christmas eve with my mother-in-law's side of the family tonight! Excited for Christmas, even if it's not a white one around here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Early food blogger Christmas presents

Woo hoo, today is the start of Christmas break for me! Five whole days off!

This morning, I made pancakes for us and topped mine with cookie butter. Delish!


After doing dishes and laundry, Craig and I went to the gym for a long workout. I went on the Cybex arc trainer, rode the bike and lifted weights.

I made a tropical fruit smoothie with this protein powder for us to recover with.


I also made dark and white chocolate layered peppermint bark today! It's so easy to make, but of course when I went to break it apart, I thought it needed a little more time in the fridge. I hope it turns out ok because I am bringing it to a Christmas eve get together tomorrow. I can always make a new batch with only white chocolate.

peppermint bark

peppermint bark

And while I made peppermint bark, I snacked on these. I finally found the cinnamon ones at Target the other night. They are quite tasty and addictive!


The mailman brought me two food blogger Christmas "presents" today!

One was this lovely package from Wasa crackers. Even better--you'll have a chance to win the exact same box soon (I think I'll post the giveaway on Tuesday the 27th).

wasa crackers

Can't wait to break these open for our Christmas day lunch with my in-laws.

wasa flatbread

And larabar sent me this package of four bars of their newest flavor...cappuccino and an adorable larabar holiday card.


Well, I need to get some makeup on my face and then I am off to the grocery store. I hope it's not a madhouse. I just need a few things there.

Tonight, we're going out for deep dish pizza at Uno's and then probably watching Water for Elephants. I read the book and I am excited to finally see the movie.