Saturday, March 30, 2013


It's been a slow week around here.  Britney has been sinusy and sickish, I'm feeling puny and since Bobby's working nights, we've slept late and laid low.  Dakota has been in complete game mode recently so we've played A LOT of board, Wii and computer games and that's been about the extent of our excitement.  We had talked about going to the Family Farm and Fleece Day today but Brit looked at me like I was nuts when I brought it up last night.  So the kids are still in bed and I've just been looking online at blogs, coupon deals and whatnot.

I enjoy blog hopping occasionally.  I never know what I'm going to find.  Last night a friend of mine shared a link on FB for 25 FREE Spring Craft Projects for Kids.  I quickly glanced at it on my phone while I was half asleep and found one in particular that I wanted to do with Britney and Dakota. This morning, it took some doing to get back to that site and it the course of finding that particular post, I found a post for a SmartLab giveaway on her blog.  Why have I never heard of this site?  Brit and Dakota may be a bit advanced for some of their products but I think they (especially the boy) would really enjoy a good bit of their stuff.  For instance, the giveaway is for the Weird & Wacky Contraption Lab.  I think they would love that!  I may have to buy it even if I don't win, but I sure hope I do! Oh, and also, you can sign up for SmartLab's newsletter and receive a code via email for 25% off.  Yay science fun!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Britney's eyeballs & Toys R Us

Britney and I had eye exams last week.  I just needed a check up, it's been about 4 years since my last one and I stopped wearing my glasses 2 years ago.  Turns out, my eyes are stronger now that they were.  I'm still getting glasses to use while I'm reading.

Britney's exam was for contacts.  FINALLY!  :)  That kid has been wearing glasses since she was 7 or so and has wanted contacts for years. 

Her trial pair came in over the weekend and we were originally going to wait to get them when my glasses were there too.  One trip to Huntsville and all, but yesterday Bobby and I decided to surprise her and go ahead and pick them up.

We had to schedule her a little class to learn how to put them in and take them out, care for them, etc.  She had some difficulty getting them in, but finally did...just as the lady told her she had to take one back out.  Brit was like "Noooo!"

Both contacts in!  Just look at that smile!
She was SO happy!  I mean, smiling like a fool, giggling, spinning around, jumping up and down, running to the windows to look outside happy!  It was very cool for her because she could see things better than she can with glasses.  It was like she was seeing the world for the first time.  It was awesome!  I told her I can't wait to take her camping and hike to some amazing overlook for her to see.

Her contacts are $$$!  But we'll find a way to make it happen.  I did tell her when she gets a job, she'll have to start paying for them :)

When we were finished there, we headed over to Toys R Us.  Dakota got a gift card for his birthday.  We had a blast!  Brit's eyes were HUGE as she looked at everything.  She had a permanent smile on her face :)  We looked at nearly everything...twice.  We were in there a long time going back and forth from LEGOs to DS games to movies to Poptropica and Adventure Time figurines back to LEGOs...

Dakota bought himself a blind pack LEGO minifig and a Nintendo DS game.  I bought a new Candy Land game.  Don't judge!  We still play Candy Land, but we don't even have the box anymore, just the board and some of the pieces.  It was on sale and with a coupon, I picked that sucker up for $1.99.  We played it four times last night :)  Brit came home with some new My Little Ponies that she was geeked about finding.  Oh and a new charger for her DS lite.

Then we sort of spontaneously decided to go to Tennessee and pick up lottery tickets and hit Moe's on the way home.  YUM!

Awesome day :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Baked Hard 'Boiled' Eggs

I have a good bit of trouble pealing our boiled eggs.  I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but I saw an idea for cooking them in the oven and thought I'd give it a try.

Place the eggs in a muffin tin, which keeps them from rolling around.  I've read online since that you can place them directly on the oven racks, but I'm fairly certain I would drop some of them this way.  The muffin tin makes more sense to me...many eggs in and out of the oven in one motion.  Anyway, bake at 325* for 30 minutes.  Using tongs, remove eggs and immediately place in an ice bath/cold water for 10 minutes.

They were definitely easier for us to peal and they tasted great.  They did have little burn spots where they touched the muffin tin.  I just cut those small pieces off.  I'm really not convinced this is a better way of doing things, just another way.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday Weigh In

I think I'm going to start posting my weight each week.  I think it will help me be more accountable...or embarrassed.  At any rate, it sounds like a good idea right this second so I'm doing it :)

Beginning weight on March 11, 2013 - 210

Today's weight on March 20 - 206.6

I'm down 3.4 lbs
Not as much as I'd like but at least it's moving in the right direction!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fluff to Buff

Okay, so I have made a decision.  I have 6 months until my 32nd birthday.  In that time, my goal is to lose 45 pounds.  However, I have a physical idea of how I want to look and with the amount of muscle I have and plan on gaining, I'm not as concerned about the number on the scale as I am with overall fat loss. 

I have been around 200 pounds for years and in the last 4 or 5 months have added another 10 pounds to that.  I am the heaviest I've ever been in my life.  It's unhealthy and disgusting and I'm tired of feeling this way about myself.  So...I'm doing something about it.

I have been working out and eating SO much better, but still get slammed with cravings that no amount of avocados or carrot sticks are going to satisfy.  Yesterday was one of those days and I ended up giving in to cravings, justifying it by "But I'm working out every day now.  I'll burn off that bowl of Lucky Charms with whole milk in no time!"  Gina.  Get real.  I have to want this more than that bowl of cereal or Taco Bell or that ridiculous chocolate craving (that I didn't give in to)

I am my happiest when I am physically active.  I love being active...running around throwing a softball makes me giddy.  Seriously.  Ask Bobby who has been throwing with me.  I giggle all the freakin' time!

If I could commit to any workout regimen, I would be doing Crossfit.  I have a lot of friends who are involved with the local Crossfit and I can see a huge difference in them.  Here's their site which will explain what Crossfit is.  I would LOVE it, but I would need to get a job with the paycheck going directly to them.  It's expensive!  So I can't do that NOW but maybe in the future.

I am not discouraged by that.  I have plans on how to incorporate their ideas into workouts I can do here at home.  Plus, I have softball starting up in April, a track right down the road, I have a bike (which needs a new seat and possibly pedals thanks to a dog)...okay scratch the bike...I have a few weights, ropes, blocks, etc.  I'll make it happen!

Also, I'm setting goals for myself by not only doing the Color Run in September but by making plans to participate in the Spartan Sprint next March.  I'm also looking at other obstacle course races like Tough Mudder, Iron Warrior Dash, and Warrior Dash.

Needless to say, I'm pumped!  I tired of looking at things and wishing I could do them.  The only thing stopping me.  And I'm finished standing in the way of my happiness.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Father of the Bride & Dakota's birthday party!

Yesterday, we all went to watch Father of the Bride.  Dad and Rosie joined us.  Plus, Matt brought Chan up there, the Amos family was there, and Karen...I think we knew 90% of the audience :)

The show went really well!  Brit was very worried about some things, but I think they all pulled it off beautifully.  I love her character.  She's one sassy maid!  The play was quite funny!

I love, love, LOVE this picture.  Britney and Keilee's characters have a bit of a spat.  Brit looks like she's going to knock her out!

During intermission, they had set up a 'reception' area in another room with cakes and drinks and had live music playing.  I think that was an awesome touch.  Everyone seemed to really enjoy it.

Taking her bow!



After the play, we swapped Chan for Ben and went to eat with Dad and Rosie.  We ended up at Five Guys after trying to eat at two other restaurants that were closed.  What's up with places being closed on a beautiful Saturday afternoon...the day before St. Patrick's Day?  At any rate, the food was great and everyone had a wonderful time.


After we finished eating, we said out goodbyes to Dad and Rosie and headed home.  Suzette and Dave were bringing Zachary over after they went out to eat at the new Mellow Mushroom in town.  We were at the house for maybe 10 minutes before they got there.  We hung out of the front porch and chatted for a good bit while the boys immediately started playing Minecraft and Britney flipped around the yard.

The only thing Dakota asked to do for his birthday was to have Ben and Zachary spend the night.  He also mentioned going to the glow in the dark putt putt in the mall.  I tried to call them to set up some sort of birthday...thing, but their phone was disconnected.  When Dakota and I went to fye on his birthday, they were closed.  So I had no idea if it would work out or not.  We asked the boys if they would like to go see and I thought Zachary was going to have a come apart!  He was pumped about going!  We decided that if they were closed, we'd take them bowling.

Happy kiddos!
They were open!  I think they have hours revolving around school hours or something.  I didn't take pictures because of the lighting.  Well, I tried...but failed.  Anyway, it was SO much fun!  They had a blast!!!  Definitely worth the 5 bucks for each player.  The came up with names for themselves - Dakota was DAKODINATOR, Brit was B DAWG, Ben was BENJAMMIN' and Zachary was ZACH ATTACK :) 

Look!  Bobby and I were there too!
 And then we took them out for one more surprise :)

Once we got home, they played and played.  Then they decided to watch Wreck It Ralph and I made them a big pallet in the living room and went to bed.  You'd have to ask them what they did the rest of the night :)

We all got up this morning and I made up three batches of pancakes.  I went to the track and came home long enough to pick Brit up and take her to the thrift store to look for some jeans.  Closed.  On.  Sunday.  Meh.  So we ended up at Walmart for a few minutes and I bought myself a pair of workout/softball practice pants.  By the time we got home, it was time to take them to meet Suzette.  We dropped Brit off too.  She's gone to a concert in Birmingham with Dave, Emily and her youth group.

I dub thee 12th birthday a success!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

March 14th!

Today is The Boy Child's 12th birthday!  It was also opening night for Britney's play!, busy day :)

We went to Esther's yesterday and spent the night.  The kids played and played and chatted and laughed to all hours of the morning.  And Bailey and Cooper whined and whined and barked until all hours of the morning.  Hopefully, the Crawfords will forgive them and let me return.  Naughty puppies.

We got up this morning and headed home.  I think Brit and I both took a quick nap.  She had to be up at the church at 4:00 so after Bobby woke up for the day and before I took Brit up there, we had cake!

Dakota chose his cake and frosting ~ chocolate cake with mint chocolate frosting.  He wanted it in the 13x9 pan so we could cut it into squares and the pieces would look like earth cubes from Minecraft.

He added sprinkles to his piece so it would look more pixelated.

Then Brit and I were off.  We're all going to the Saturday show with Dad and Rosie.  I can't wait to see the whole thing!

 I came back to the house and picked up Dakota and took him to Chick-Fil-A for a quick bite...


And then we were off to the mall and fye.  They swear, my kiddos LOVE that place.  They have items from their favorite shows.  Dakota had some money left on the gift card he got for Christmas.  He used that along with some birthday money to buy two Dr. Who items.  He also tried on Steve's head for size.

When we got home, I was very happy to see a box by the door...his surprise present had arrived!

We got him the LEGO Minecraft!  He's SO excited!  I've been wanting to get him this for over a year, but that sucker was nearly $150 and we just aren't going to spend that much.  Amazon had an AWESOME deal on it just in time for his birthday!  :)

March 14, 2013 pretty much rocked!  And the best part for Dakota, he sill gets his 'party' on Saturday when Ben and Zachary come spend the night!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Color Run 2013!

The Color Run is known as 'The happiest 5k on the planet."  It made it's debut last year and has grown into a huge movement.  The purpose of the race is to celebrate healthiness, happiness, individuality, and giving back to the community.  In each city where a race is held, a local charity is chosen, money is raised and donated.  The event is not timed.  You can walk the whole darn thing if you want.  You can sign up individually or as a team as long as you have four members.  It's not about 'racing', it's about having fun!  As you reach each kilometer marker, you're doused is color!  At the finish line, it's a 'color festival' where they use even more colored powder to celebrate your victory.

I wanted to do this last year, but...didn't.  I'm not making the same mistake again.  I'm going for it!  It looks like SO much fun!  I posted something about it on FB last night and there seems to be some interest! 

All we need now is a team name!  The race in Birmingham is on September 2nd, which gives us plenty of time to prepare.  Registration fees are the cheapest until April 1st so we need to get going on the team.  I'm SO geeked!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hey batter, batter!

About a year after my parents divorced, we moved to Athens.  I was 9.  To be honest, I don't remember why or how we got involved with softball.  I had never been involved in any other sports, but that's when I started playing city ball.  To say that I loved it would be an understatement.  It was amazing in every way I could imagine something to be amazing.  And I was really good at it.  I finally found something I was really good at.

I made all stars my first year.  I was so proud of myself.  I had never been so proud of myself.  I loved my coaches and having team mates.  I guess I would say that that's the first place and time I felt like I belonged. 

I have other photos of me from those young softball years but this one was on the computer.
I was 11 or 12 when this was taken

I have played every position, but never spent much time in the outfield.  I wanted to be infield with all of the action and I guess that's where the coaches wanted me to be.  I played city ball in Athens until I started high school in Decatur.  I tried out and made the team and was made catcher.  Catcher...that was a lot of pressure, but I loved it.  I was actively involved in every single play when we took the field.  I spent hours and hours separately and in addition to team practices working on my skills.  I would 'catch' the pitch and throw to second base from a kneeling position over and over until I could do it without thinking.  I threw hard and accurately and made lots of outs using that skill.

I absolutely loved softball.  I could not imagine my life without it.  I remember thinking "I will never not play."  But that hasn't been the case.  I played through my sophomore year and then quit school and got my GED.  I had a family.  I played for a couple years after high school for different city teams.  Slow pitch is just...different, but I adjusted and still loved playing.  I love smack talking people and I'm competitive as hell.

Epic has a women's softball team (and they're pretty good I might add!) Last year I wanted to play, but was pretty much told that all of the positions had been filled.  I was really disappointed.  I truly believe I NEED something like that.  Something just for me.  That's why I tried my hand at roller derby...competitive, physical, mentally challenging....but it just didn't work out with it being in another city and The Beast eating as much as it does.

A couple weeks ago, someone from Epic, Amy, posted about the softball teams.  They were toying with the idea of adding a co-ed team.  They wanted to know who was interested in playing and if you wanted to be on a women's team or co-ed.  Man, I was geeked!  I'm fairly certain I sent in the first email :) I would LOVE to be on a co-ed team again.  I don't know...there's just something about it.  It's more competitive.  Anyway, I sent an email, said I'm definitely interested and that I'd prefer co-ed but of course would be on the women's team.  I got a response that day and then...nothing.  I hadn't heard a thing directly.  I know the games start in about a month so I contacted Amy again.  I don't want to miss out this year and I especially need to practice.  At any rate, I got my money to her yesterday and she's working on a practice schedule and will hopefully get that to us this week.

Guys, I am SO excited :)  I got my glove, batting glove, and cleats out of the box they've been hiding in in the garage for YEARS.  I bought some glove conditioner and a softball.  We've been throwing every day and I've been exercising and eating better.  My arms, shoulders and legs are sore and it feels awesome!  It means that I'm actually moving.  I really think this will give me a boost of incentive to get fit and healthy.

Happy Gina!  :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Early Celebration

Today, we met Dad and Rosie at Olive Garden in Huntsville.  We got our tax refund in and owed them some money so we wanted to take care of that ASAP.  It also turned into bit of an early birthday celebration for Dakota! We had a delicious meal followed up by cake, birthday cards and a gift.

ToysRUs gift card baby!


After we ate, we made a trip with them over to Hobby Lobby.  It's always fun to look around that store.  They bought Britney a Manga drawing book and Dakota some Silly Putty...metallic purple and metallic blue.  They're pretty cool and he's played with it for hours. 

Brit had play practice this evening.

The play is next week!  I think Brit's ready to for it be over with.  She LOVES acting but this play has been stressful for her.  She's planning on taking the summer off which will give her lots of free time to spend with family and friends.  We're hoping to get some camping in very soon plus getting in lots of day trips and hiking.  :)  I can't wait!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Boring Blogger

I haven't been posting as much as I'd like, but it's been a little more often.  Although according to Esther, my posts are boring.  They are not holding her interest.  What the heck is interesting to blog about in Alabama in winter?  It's cold, wet, grey and somewhat depressing.  I've gained weight.  We haven't gone on any trips...not even short ones.  I used my camera to take one picture last week.  Hmm...that right there is probably what's wrong with me.  All I need is some sunshine, my camera and nature and new pictures of my sweet kiddos.  I'll be just fine and will be back to writing entertaining, interesting blog posts in no time.  Have patience, Esther :)

Monday, March 4, 2013


It's 2:15 on Monday afternoon.  I'm still in my jammies, although I did run out and take care of a couple errands that could be accomplished without me having to get out of the vehicle.  Today I feel icky and hormonal and emotional and cramping like I'm in labor.  Meh.  I didn't sleep well last night, which is becoming more and more common.  Britney is also not feeling well.  She's still in her jammies.  She went back to bed for a while and just got up again saying her throat hurts and she's freezing.  She texted the director of the play to let her know she won't be at practice tonight.  That's a big deal for Britney.  She just doesn't miss practice.  I sure hope she's just a little puny today and isn't actually getting sick.  The flu is running rampant around these parts.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Boy Child

It's very hard to believe that in less than two weeks my little boy will be 12.  He's not quite so little anymore.  He's growing stronger and taller.  His voice is changing.  He's so wonderfully imaginative and creative.  He has more ideas in one day than most people do in a week.

He decided about a month ago that he now wants to go by his full first name, Dakota, instead of what we've called him since I was pregnant with him.  Lately he's been Cody...I mean, Dakota.  It's a hard habit to break!  But we're trying as are our friends, which I appreciate.  He's wanting to be more mature and his full name is something that signifies that for him.

Catching snowflakes
Gosh, I love him so much.  Both of them.  I have the two best kids in the whole world.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Shopping with the coupons again

We've been getting back into shopping with coupons.  Seriously...why did we get out of the habit?  This week I've gone to Publix twice and scored big time both trips.  At the beginning of the month, the online printable coupons 'reset' so you're able to print them again.  That's how I was able so scroe some of the same deals twice :)  Plus it opened up a great deal on cereal and fresh fruit.

So...let's see.  Here's a picture of our haul on the first trip, minus 4 10oz bottles of Dawn dish soap that we got for FREE.
Paid: $34.21
Saved: $73.63

 I didn't get a picture from today's trip, but I...
Paid: $18.65
Saved: $27.11

I like Publix more and more.  They were out of certain items that were on sale so they substituted different brands or sizes.  For instance, the 12oz boxes of Lucky Charms are on sale BOGO for $3.32.  They were out of that size so one of the workers walked over there with me and handed me the 16oz boxes for the same price!  So that deal was AWESOME!  Publix is really great about their BOGO.  You don't have to buy items in pairs to get the sale price.  The deal I had worked up was for three boxes, which cost $4.98 at that price.  I used 3 $1/1 and a $1/1 Target coupon.  Meaning I paid $.98 for all three boxes PLUS used a Publix coupon (buy 2 General Mills cereal get $1.50 off bananas)  Getting free or cheap produce is a HUGE bonus. 

So...yeah...YAY COUPONS!

Where we've been as a family