Category Archives: Holidays

Happy 2017!

2016 was a year of crazy politics, a few big changes for us as a family, and unfortunately, a year of sadness.  We lost two close friends.  They both died too young, leaving those of us who loved them behind to try to move on through life without them.

Needless to say, I was ready for the new year.  I know that time marches on and January 1st is just another day, but it does always feel like a new slate and new beginning to me.

So far, 2017 has been fun.  For starters, our beautiful Katie Bug has turned 15!


I do not understand how this has happened.  Because, for real, she looked like this yesterday, right?


We had an awesome game night to celebrate her special day and then a family dinner out at her favorite italian restaurant.  I realize that she will soon be driving, but in a pretend sort of way.  I’m not really letting that in on the radar yet.  Because, as I said, she should still look like this…


Brian was able to enjoy 11 whole days off over the holidays.  He had been working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day for a VERY LONG time and we had thought he might have to work through the holidays, but it turned out that he was able to be off and thank goodness for that because he needed a break.  We really enjoyed all the down time at home with just the 4 of us.  So thankful for his job and the security it brings, but it’s nice to be able to have a break once in a while.

I try not to set resolutions anymore because honestly, mine are always the same.  Be healthy.  Be happy.  So, it’s really more of a regrouping and refocusing for me.  With that being said, 2017 is going to be the year that I finally attempt Intermittent Fasting.

Say whaaaaa????

Yep, intermittent fasting.  It kind of goes against everything you’ve ever been taught about eating, so you may think I’ve lost my mind here, but bear with me.

What is intermittent fasting, you ask?  Well, to put it most simply, it is just fasting for a certain time period every day.  There are couple of different ways you can approach it, but I’ll just talk about the way I’ll be doing it.

Basically, I have a time window from noon to 8 PM that I can eat.  Nothing after 8:00 and nothing until noon the next day.  Pretty simple, right?  But now you’re wondering why I would do that when I’ve been preaching for the last 4 years about eating within an hour of waking!!!

Well, I kept seeing posts on Instagram from some of the fitness accounts I follow talking about Intermittent Fasting.  I ignored it mostly at first because…well….the whole “fasting” part sounded awful.  Then I started getting more intrigued, but didn’t really have time to fully investigate, so I just kind of read things here and there and kept it tucked away in the back of my mind.  I didn’t really want to jump into it without doing my research first.

Now that I’ve had time to research it, I’ve decided to give it a fair try.  And if you’re wondering why I would want to subscribe to this seemingly crazy method, well, I have two pretty simple reasons.

First, it is going to majorly simplify my life.  If you are a meal planner, you know how agonizing it can be to sit there in front of a blank piece of paper and come up with 3 meals a day plus snacks that are quick, healthy, and that you are not sick to death of eating.  Especially on days when I’m not feeling particularly creative or when I have a million other things on my mind.  I just sit there and stare at my blank meal plan while the seconds tick by and everything else I need to be doing gets left behind.  With intermittent fasting, breakfast is eliminated.  In the morning, instead of getting up and immediately fixing myself something to eat, I just fix a cup of coffee (yeah, coffee is allowed.  Black coffee.  My fave).  I then can do my morning chores, get the girls up for school, start a load of laundry, do my daily devotion, my workout, etc.

The second reason I’m giving IF a try is that working out on an empty stomach, in simplest terms, will burn fat that is already stored in my body instead of burning off the nutrients that I consumed at breakfast.  I’m not really changing what I eat but only WHEN I eat.  Obviously by cutting out a meal, I will be consuming less calories, but it’s not a matter of restricting this or that.  It’s just:  You don’t eat until this time.  And you stop after this time.  Way easier than dieting, in my opinion.

Are you worried about being hungry or feeling too sluggish to get through a workout on an empty stomach?  I was too.  The first two days, it did feel weird, I’m not gonna lie.  I have been a faithful breakfast eater for years.  I’m not a night eater, so not eating after 8:00 isn’t hard.  But I always eat first thing upon waking, so that has been odd.  But today was my 3rd day and I actually felt awesome this morning.  I think like anything else, it’s just an adjustment that you have to make.

So, that’s the biggest change I am trying to make in 2017.  And it’s really more of an experiment a this point.  I want to see what it does or doesn’t do for me and how it makes me feel/affects fat loss.  In the initial stage so far, I am just loving the fact that I don’t have to plan out as many meals.  It’s kind of pathetic how excited I am about that part of it, actually.

Today was chest and triceps workout.  I did 3 sets of 12 of the following:

Bench Press
Chest Fly
Push Ups
Overhead DB TricepsRaises
Skull Crushers
Triceps Kickbacks

I also walked my dog 30 minutes and tonight I’m going to do some yoga.  Yoga is something I’ve done sporadically over the years.  I know how important flexibility is as we age and after talking with Katie’s physical therapist a few months ago, he really convinced me that I need to incorporate it more on a regular basis, so that’s going to be another area of focus for me.

Oh and I can’t forget this simple yet tasty recipe I wanted to share today.  I love roasted vegetables in the winter.  Well all year, actually, but especially in the winter.  I know this picture isn’t the best but I was too lazy to try to make it look better.  Forgive.


Just take 12 carrots, scrub em. I don’t even peel them, just wash them and scrub them well.  Cut ends off, then cut in half, then in half lengthwise.  In large ziplock baggie, put 1/4 C olive, carrots, salt, pepper and some thyme or other seasonings to your liking.  Roast on 400 for about 30-40 minutes.  I served them tonight with a chicken and broccoli casserole.  That’s it!  Easy and delish!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and wish you health and happiness in 2017!

New Year, Big Changes!

Whew!  2015 was…weird!  I guess because it was kind of a blur of crazy busy days, selling our old Salt Box house, finding a new house, softball softball softball, and me kind of falling off the wagon with my fitness a little bit, only to come to the realization that that is totally normal & even sometimes necessary in order for me to keep going with it.

I am currently running what will probably be my last fitness group.  I’m making less social media a goal for 2016, and Facebook is the portal that I’m using for those groups, so I, at least for the foreseeable future, will be hanging that up.  I’m also fairly certain that I won’t be renewing my training certification when it expires in June.  Not because I’m turning my back on fitness, but because I don’t really plan on using it as means for income anymore.  I found out soon after getting my certification, that most of the one on one training I was able to do had to be done in the evenings, which took me away from my family at night.  No bueno.  Plus with practices, hitting lessons, and catching lessons our evenings are pretty booked now anyway.  It was fun & I’m glad I did something for myself outside of just being mom/wife/taxi driver, because I think sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of yourself and the things that are important to just you when you are wearing all of those hats all the time.

So, with all that being said, I won’t be renewing my certification & I won’t be running any more groups for a while after January.  I will, however, be returning to more regular blogging and am planning to make fitness a huge feature here, so for all (5? lol) of my readers…stay tuned for that!

I hate not being in my normal routine.  With Christmas break and a house that is half in boxes, I’m going insane over here.  But soon we will be moving into our new house!  And oh man, I am so excited about being warm in the winter & never running out of hot water & not having to slay camel crickets in the basement every time I need to do laundry!  It’s the little things in life, folks….

2006 Neal Dr

 So, I’m hopeful that I will be back into a routine soon after we get settled in.

Yes, 2015 was crazy.  And 2016 will likely follow suit, but I can’t imagine it any other way, so here’s to the new year & new beginnings!

Happy New Year!


Halloween 2011

We had a great time trick-or-treating this year.  Nanner & I had been on a field trip earlier in the day, so by the time we were done trick-or-treating, I was exhausted!  My niece & her boyfriend walked around with us and it was a really nice time.

The Prisoner & The 80’s Girl
The Leprechaun is our neighbor, Devin. 🙂

And I helped my mom make this spider costume that she wore to work.  🙂

The I-Don’t-Know-How-Many-Years Annual Pumpkin Carving Party!

We had our awesome pumpkin carving party again last night.  It was so much fun, as usual.  The Spinster really outdid herself this year with some really awesome Halloween treats and even a craft for all of us to do.  We tried to figure out how long we’ve been doing this and we aren’t really sure.  It’s been at least 5 or 6 years, but we’ve only been documenting it since I’ve had my blog.

Anyway, I got some great pictures and am very happy to report that I actually did a good job on my pumpkin this year!!  If you’ll recall, last year I ended up doing just a regular jack-o-lantern face because I was so traumatized over the pumpkin-carving incident from the year before.  So, this year I was determined to redeem myself and just feast your eyes on my creation!

Never mind the fact that I completely blocked everyone & everything out for at least an hour while I was in deep concentration on my pumpkin.  Never mind the fact that I had pumpkin pulp from head to toe by the time I was finished and never mind the fact that I looked like I had been run over by a mack truck from the amount of stress I was under to be successful.

Never mind all that, k?  I was a pumpkin carving queen, people!

My sister was a lazy bum and just carved a heart into her pumpkin.  Puh-lease!  But we did get a really cool picture of the heart that she cut out, so I’ll let it slide…this time.

Nanner decided to draw on hers instead of carve (thank you, Lord!).  And then after we had put candles in all of them and she saw how cool they looked, promptly changed her mind.  We were out of daylight at this point, so I am gonna help her carve it this weekend.

Katie did an EXCELLENT job on hers.  I expected no less, she is a perfectionist.

My niece, Madie, made an “I {HEART} Candy” pumpkin.  😀

Mamaw wasn’t feeling well, so she didn’t carve this year & the Spinster made a cool ghost picture on hers.

This crocheted candy bowl was the secret project that I told you about a while back.  I made it for the Spinster as a thank-you for always hosting such a great party.

Look at the awesome spread that the Spinster prepared!

After we were all done with carving & eating, we sat down to do a fabulous bonfire.

Did you happen to notice the goose in the noose up in the tree in that last picture?  Well, you might think that was part of our spooky party decor, but actually that is a practical joke that my uncle (the Spinster’s brother) played.  He was supposed to take that goose to the dump for Mamaw, but instead came over & hung it in the Spinster’s tree.  We thought it went along perfectly with our party’s theme.

We ended the night with an adorable little craft.  The Spinster went over to the graveyard the day before and collected some small rocks.  She then got some twigs, orange acrylic paint & tacky glue.  We painted the rocks orange, attached pieces of twigs to the top for stems & then used black Sharpies to draw on jack-o-lantern faces.  It was quick and easy & I thought they turned out awesome.  What do you think?

My Dad


Happy Father’s Day.  As I am typing this, I am trying to go back in time as far as my frazzled mind will let me.  One of the earliest memories I have of you is when we lived in Nading’s trailer park.  I guess I would’ve been 5 or so.  You were in your bedroom lifting weights and listening to CCR.  (To this day, every single time I hear CCR, I think of you.)  Tana & I were laying on your bed watching you.  I can remember thinking how big your muscles were.  🙂  I also remember that you used to let us hang off your arms and you would use us as your weights.

If someone asked me to describe you in a few words, the words I would use would be Christian, humble, HILARIOUS, lover of children & animals, kind.

I thank God for you.  Your love for the Lord is an inspiration to me and makes me want to draw nearer to Him.  When I have questions you are always willing to sit down and talk with me and direct me to the places in God’s word where I can find the answers. And I love that you will then follow up with me later to make sure that I found the answers I was looking for.

One of the things that I admire most about you is that even though life hasn’t been an easy ride for you, you don’t complain and you always find a way to laugh and make us laugh with you.  You get this from your mom.  I know this because of the stories you’ve told me of her.  She was the same way.  What a wonderful gift from the mother who was taken from you way too soon.

I love hearing stories from your youth.  I wonder how many fathers think to pass down their family’s history the way that you have to me.  I love the fact that we still live in the same small town and that when I pass by certain places I am reminded of stories you have told me about the things you and your brothers & sisters used to do as well as things that you, mom, Tana & I have done here as well.  It feels good to have roots.

Some of the memories that I love the best are playing pitch & catch with you in the yard (remember when we used to throw the ball up against that big brick wall at Lincoln Village?), the way you used to pin me & Tana down and tickle us til we were almost peeing our pants, your BBQ cheeseburgers on the grill (no one will ever do them better), going to the movies together (this is still one of my most favorite things to do), watching the Yankees games on TV together (another current fave).  Remember when I tried to make tacos and didn’t realize that you had to drain the grease out of the hamburger and they were the slimiest, nastiest things you could ever imagine?  Remember when it used to take me FOREVER to do the dishes because I would stand at the sink and whine about how my head hurt and I couldn’t stand to do one more dish?  I could never get out of doing those dumb dishes no matter how many life threatening illnesses I suddenly contracted.  Remember when you & I were the maintenance crew at KOA camp grounds and I was so lazy?  We used to do impersonations of the owners (“Getcha some hot, soapy Ajax water…”). Remember when you used to wake us up by singing, “Wake up, Little Rosebuds….Wake up!”?  Remember when I used to tell you that I couldn’t get up for school because my legs were stuck to the bed?  Oh and I can’t leave out Agga Daggas or Bubble Gum!  I could go on…

We have seen our share of struggles as most families have.  Remember when Tana & I had to live with Bren and you & mom  had to live in the basement of some church friends when you lost your job?  Remember the winter that we had no heat and we all piled into bed together at night to keep warm?  Being an adult now, I look back at those times with fondness.   May sound crazy to look at our struggles with fondness, but I can see as plain as day now how those things only pulled us closer together…even when we were apart.

But the main thing that I want to say here is that I hope you will always know that I couldn’t have asked for a better dad.  I hope that you never feel that you are insignificant or wish that you could have given us more or done things differently because I consider myself the luckiest daughter in the world.  You will likely never know how much of a blessing you have been to me.

I love you, Daddy.  Happy Father’s Day.

Mother’s Day

We had an awesome time on Mother’s Day.  Pitch & catch in the yard, a cookout, a walk over to the graveyard to put flowers on my grandmother’s grave, and just spending time together with our loved ones.  I got a ton of pictures, I’ll try to narrow it down as best I can.

Katie practicing her fast-pitch skills

Yogi Berra. Oh, I mean me!

Pretty flowers from my MIL

Brian's Mama

Sister & her kiddos

Sis, Mom & Me

Gettin' down on the Wii

Walking to the graveyard

My Daddy-o

My little Nanner Head

Damage Control

We had an excellent Easter.  The girls got up and found their Easter baskets.  We went and enjoyed a wonderful service at church and then went to my MIL’s for a nice Easter lunch.  Later in the evening we went to my parents’ house for an Easter egg hunt.

I don’t know about you guys but I ate WAY too much yesterday.  We had lots of good food for lunch.  Ham, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, mac & cheese and strawberry shortcake for dessert!  Then, of course, an overload of chocolate.

I woke up today feeling very heavy and still full.  So, I decided to make Brian & I a nice healthy salad for lunch.  I like to call it the Damage Control Salad.  After all that heavy food yesterday, it was nice to eat something light and healthy.

I seasoned some diced chicken breast with cajun seasoning and red pepper flakes.  Then I chopped up some spinach & romaine lettuce.  I topped the salad with some diced red bell pepper, sliced mushrooms, hard-boiled egg, crumbled feta cheese, homemade whole wheat croutons (recipe at the end of this post) and a little bit of western dressing.  And a juicy, red apple on the side and a big ‘ol glass of ice water.  AAAHHHHH…damage control, baby!


4 slices bread (great way to use up old bread)
2 T. parmesan cheese
1/4 t. oregano
1/4 t. celery salt
1/4 t. garlic salt
2 T. olive oil

Stack bread on top of each other.  Cut into cubes.  Place in large ziplock bag.
Add rest of ingredients and shake to coat well.
Place on cookie sheet & bake at 300 until crisp.

*This can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes or so depending on what kind of bread you use.  I use Health Nut bread by Brownbury and it tends to take 30 mins or more.  Just keep an eye on it.  Homemade croutons are delicious and a cheap way to add some flavor to your salad or soups.

Happy Easter

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…
~ 1 Peter 1:3

A New Year!

Happy 2011 everybody.  We barely made it to midnight.  Actually, I think we all fell asleep watching Andy Griffith and I somehow woke up with 3 minutes to go and started yelling at everyone to wake up.  Brian was on the couch and the girls and I were in the recliner.  We turned the TV just in time to see the ball drop and then the girls said, “Ewww…why is everyone kissing on TV?”
So I explained that you kiss your sweetheart at midnight to celebrate the coming of the new year.  Of course, being the romantic that I am, I just threw a fist bump in the air to my husband who was laying across the room on the couch.

We heard fireworks around town, so Katie and I stepped outside and tried to see some, but we couldn’t, so we just listened for a few minutes.

I don’t normally do resolutions.  I kinda feel like if you’ve got something that needs changing, you should just change it whenever you realize that you need to do so.  But earlier in the night, we were in the car heading out to eat supper with Brian’s dad and step-mom and I started asking if anyone had any resolutions for the new year.  The girls had no idea what they are and I’m pretty sure that Hannah still doesn’t get it, but here’s what we all came up with.

Me- (This is part 1.  After hearing Brian’s, I felt like a selfish pig and ended up adding some):  Stay on top of my exercise and get a better grasp on our finances (we’re struggling a little thanks to last year’s layoff).

Brian – “Somehow be healthier and drop a few pounds”, work on our financial situation, be a better father and husband, serve the Lord more this year, make getting to church every week a priority (see why I felt like a butt head about mine now?)

Katie – stop being a junk food junkie

Hannah – “get a bunch of money so we can buy a new house so I can have my own room.”  🙂

So, after my husband made me look like a heel, I decided that I wanted to add to mine to faithfully read my bible everyday (instead of randomly like I do now) and I also want to invite someone to come with me to bible study on Sunday nights.  This doesn’t start til March.  I think I’m gonna ask my dad and I’m hoping that having someone to go with me will keep me accountable and in the habit of going.

So, that was our New Year’s Eve festivities.  Pretty boring, eh?  Yeah, I know.  But I forgot to mention that the girls and I danced our butts off on the Wii, so that should count for something, right?  They got that Just Dance 2 game for Christmas and they’ve pretty much been dancing non-stop.  I like it because it makes me sweat and I’m getting exercise by doing something fun that doesn’t even really feel like exercise. Not to mention that I totally feel like Tina Turner when I’m gettin’ down to Rollin’ on the River.

So, what about you guys?  Any resolutions for you?  And how did you celebrate?

Christmas 2010

Whew!  What a busy, fun-filled Christmas we had this year.  We had lots of gatherings, ate way too much food, celebrated the birth of Christ with our family and had a wonderful holiday.

I made this wrap for my MIL.  I also made the same one for my mamaw only in cream, but I failed to get a picture of it.


I also made this scarf for Katie.


And this beach bag for my niece.  I filled it with a beach towel, tanning oil, after-sun gel, lotion and chapstick.


And this apron for my other niece.



I even managed to get in really painful game of Twister.  Pretty sure I won’t be repeating that any time soon!


My favorite memory from this Christmas was my mom and her siblings (minus her brother, Bruce) singing Amazing Grace.  My uncle Randy brought his guitar and we all sat around singing hymns and other fun songs.  The lighting in the video is terrible, but you can hear them pretty well.  Of course, I didn’t think about getting a video of it until they were almost done, but I did manage to snap a picture of them all.


And then of course we sang lots of songs like this…(again, sorry for the poor picture quality).


It was one of the most fun Christmases we’ve had.


It’s a Mom Thing

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