Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm on a 12-week Mission.

I had a horrible realization the other day.

Our pool opens on Saturday and I'm about 12 pounds heavier than I was last year at this time! YIKES! No wonder none of my shorts fit me!

And then... the kids are almost done with school! YIKES!

If I don't start some type of plan for meals and snacks, I'll go out of my mind.

Before I had Sam I lost a significant amount of weight by following the Curves diet and the Body-for-Life exercise routines. They are both great, but I'm getting bored. And I've stopped doing the weights... I keep struggling with costochondritis for about 18 months and I find it goes away if I don't lift weights. But I can still run and do light weights and the WiiFit!

I just haven't been able to stay focused. But I'm determined now. I think I've mentioned before how we have to make adjustments now that Rich is at work late every day. Up until this week, he'd get home, we'd both be tired so we'd open a bottle of wine, unwind... soon the cheese and crackers come out, then we find some chocolate or some other type of junk food to eat.... now 12 pounds later, I'm paying for it!

Well this week, I decided I'm making some changes. I bought the EatingWell Diet book and I subscribe to the CleanEating Magazine. They are very similar in that they focus on eating fresh, healty, non-processed foods. And eating locally when possible.

I also joined a co-op of sorts. When we went to visit my mom and dad last June, my mom had just joined a local CSA farm. The produce was fantastic -- fresh, yummy, sometimes a bit different to what we normally eat, locally and organically grown. I really wanted to try this for our family, but have had problems finding one with a drop off point near enough to my house.

But, I found the next best thing (thanks Summer and Jackie). A lady right around the corner collects money and goes down to the Georgia State Farmer's market once a week and fills up baskets with fresh produce. All this for $15 a week. Score!

So with my newly armed arsenal of yummy, healthy recipies and my newly stocked fridge full of fresh produce... I'm good to go. This time I'm determined to stay the course. We go to my parents house in 12 weeks and that is my target. Twelve pounds in 12 weeks. I think it's doable.

Now I know with the kids getting out of school this may prove difficult to accomplish all the time. So the plan is to be strict for the next 3 weeks. Then, once the kids are out, I'm going to make a "Weekly Breakfast & Lunch Menu" for the kids too. I decide what will be for breakfast, snacks and lunch every day of the week. Or we can work together to make the menu but we're sticking to the menu!

Hopefully, this will help me keep the kids eating healthy, save money, save time and just take the meal time worry away.

Of course I realize I'll have to build in a day or so a week for a treat like pizza or ice cream. And sometimes things come up and you need to be flexible...

So, wish me luck! I'm going to try and post my weekly progress here Just for the support and accountability! And I'm going to start taking part in Meal Plan Monday so stay tuned for that.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Happy Monday!

Finally! The weather here has started to turn and we're getting some nice, warm, sunny weather -- without being too hot! Now all we need is the pollen count to decrease and it will be perfect. We spent the weekend enjoying the nice weather.

We had a massive storm here on Thursday night -- with hail the size of large grapes. It was incredible. Apparently, Hartsfield-Jackson Airport reported over an inch of rain in an hour! Both the boys got up and came down stairs because they were scared (of course the storm hit just about kid's bedtime).

All that rain - coming so quickly - made for a nice muddy baseball field for practice on Friday night. I could not believe how muddy the two boys got. Sam slipped and fell... and... oh you can just imagine! All the little brothers that were watching the practice discovered a huge mud puddle and it beckoned them. But, you know what they say, "a dirty kid is a happy kid!" And these kids were pretty happy, let me tell you!

Despite nearly two days of sunny weather, it was still muddy (and full of debris) for Saturday's game. The game was shifted into the outfield where it was slightly less damp (and the red clay was covered by grass) so they were still able to play. Once again, Josh had a brilliant game. He had two hits, scored two runs and made several really great fielding plays (and even managed to get some kids out).

Sunday was the day to work in the garden. I went out and got the kids a sprinkler so they could run through it.

Josh was a bit more daring than Sam.

Sam was excited about the sprinkler, but didn't really want to "get wet."

After they were done in the sprinkler, Sam tried to get the broom to fly...

And since Josh is "really into Harry Potter right now" he had to show Sam how it's done.

The funniest thing is, the other day I actually caught Josh with the broom saying, "Up! Up! UP!" to get the broom to fly! What a nut!

And after, we had our first barbecue of the season... well the boys had hot dogs and corn on the cob and ate outside. Rich and I had a barbecue later after the kids were in bed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Muffins with Mommy

Today was Muffins with Mommy at Sam's school.

He was excited, despite the look on his face! And you can't see it yet, but last night we banged heads and he got me on the eye. I've got a black eye coming up - luckily it's covered with make up and not too dark yet

He colored me pictures and made me a card.

We ate muffins (you can see the picture he drew for me in this picture)

And they sang us songs... well, everyone else did, Sam just swung his legs around and tried to get the other kids to do the Can-Can!

It was fun!

This issue is not quite "Wordless" - more Wordless Wednesday entries on the WWHQ!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Grandmother & Grampa's Visit

My parents came to visit us this weekend and we managed to keep ourselves busy!

They arrived Friday night just as I was trying to round up the boys for bed. We'd had baseball practice and just after we got home, I was trying to round up the boys and in walks Daddy. I'd just about managed to settle them down when in walked Grandmother & Grampa!

But that's okay - they did manage to settle eventually! There was lots to tell -- Josh took a few Accelerated Reader tests on Friday and managed to push his point total up over 50. This is big. At his school, once you get 50 points, you get your name painted on the AR wall. What's amazing is he was not interested AT ALL until after the Christmas break. After the break he started taking the tests because we told him he had to. Then he discovered Harry Potter and LOVES them! The books were out of his reading level so he couldn't take the tests on them (an they are upwards 13 points each - most books seem to be between .5 and 5 points). So he bothered his teacher so much she let him take the STAR Test which determines reading level and thus the AR Level.

He tested above 5.0 - which is 5th grade - so he could take the Harry Potter books. We are not all about Harry Potter! Which makes me excited!

Anyway -- off track -- Josh had to tell Grandmother and Grampa all about his AR tests and Harry Potter...
Saturday was quite busy. We got up and went to the Big Shanty Festival parade. This year it was really good. It's amazing how many good events the city of Kennesaw puts on for families. And they do a good job too!

Here's everyone waiting for the parade to start. Sam was being grumpy.

After the parade, Josh had a baseball game. He did really well yet again! Grandmother and Grampa really enjoyed watching him play too!

I had to post this picture... notice him "licking" his shirt? He chews or sucks on his shirt when he's concentrating. It's so funny -- at the games I'll yell out, "Don't chew on your shirt!" and he'll spit it out and immediately put it back in again! I guess he can't help it!

I guess whatever he needs to do to get a hit is okay!!

Then in the afternoon we went to the Big Shanty Festival. It's a bit arts and crafts fair with booths, food, entertainment and lots of Civil War Reenactment demonstrations.

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but my Dad is a Civil War Historian, and an Artillery man. He taught Military History, preRevolution to Civil War at West Point when we lived there -- and he was in the Artillery when he was in the Army. Here he is making friends with the guys who fire the big cannons.

It's fun to do this stuff with my dad because he'll talk to the guys, then explain stuff to you, and tell you all about what ever you want to know -- or whatever you don't want to know. I think the boys were a bit young yet to appreciate his wealth of knowledge (yeah, I'm buttering him up...) but hopefully they have many more years to pick his brain!

And as tired as we were, Saturday night Rich and I still got to go on a date! Yay!

Sunday was a bit more relaxing. We did head back up to the Tellus Museum for a few hours, but that was pretty much the whole day.

Monday, yesterday, was my Dad's birthday so the boys helped him eat his birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday to him.

And then they left this morning! One thing about my parents, they never stay long enough to over stay their welcome! We were all sad to see them go, but now they're retired they have more commitments than they did when they were working!

I'm just thankful they took some time to come see us!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pictures from Tellus

As promised, here is a short video slide show of our trip to the Tellus Museum yesterday.

It's only about 5 minutes and it's just pictures. Mainly put here for family, but all are welcome to view!

Science is Fun!

Yesterday we went up to the new science museum that just opened near us. It was really fun!

I took so many pictures I can't share them all! I would link you to the Flickr page, but I've uploaded my limit for the month -- already!

Anyway, here are some highlights. I've put together a slideshow with the pictures and I'll try to get it uploaded to YouTube and add the link.

In the parking lot they have some trucks - and one really big dump truck. Josh didn't believe me that the wheels were bigger than Dad! They wondered how the drivers got in a truck that big and when we walked around front, they discovered some ladders.

In the lobby they had a big compass with a swinging pendulum. They had some domino type blocks that the pendulum would knock down. Josh really liked this and kept asking me questions I couldn't answer. So I did what every mother would have done. No I didn't make something up - I directed him to the lady working there who COULD answer his questions. Turns out the pendulum knocks down three blocks an hour. Since Josh figured out this was one block every 20 minutes, we decided to not sit and wait to see a block knocked down!

We moved on to the Mineral Gallery. Now, when I read about this on the web I thought the kids would find it boring. Not So! They have all sorts of interactive displays and exhibits. They have meteorites and lava rocks that you can touch, petrified wood, rocks and all sorts of cool things. They had some rocks and minerals they showed under white light, then the lights dimmed and they put different types of light on them and we could see the minerals glow.

They also have a whole display on earthquakes. One of them you banged on a drum and could see the vibrations on the "earthquake" you created. Another display had a map of the world with little circles on it in different colors. Each circle represented an earthquake over the last 5 years. They had a color for Earthquakes in the last 5 years, 2 weeks, 2 days and even for earthquakes today! If you rolled the mouse over the spot, it showed when, where and how strong the quake was. Josh couldn't believe there were so many earthquakes yesterday! When we were there they must have had 7 red circles indicating today's quakes.

After we were done with the rocks and minerals, we went off to the fossils - this means Dinosaurs! Of course the favorite part was the "Touch this if you dare" sign. We touched the rock and lifted the panel and it said, "you just touched dinosaur poop!" How perfect for my two kids! Josh also loves ammonite fossils and they had plenty of them too!

Then we moved on to the "Science in Motion" gallery and saw all sorts of old cars and planes, a replica of the Apollo 1 space craft, space suits, a Rolls-Royce Viper Jet engine, and other cool things. The Henry Ford Museum it is not, but it had enough to keep my boys entertained! They kept saying over and over, "We HAVE to bring Grampa here!" So I think we're going back next weekend!

Then it was time to get our hands dirty! The kids panned for minerals - and could keep all they found - then dug for dinosaur fossils - and could keep just one of them. Josh took home a small ammonite and Sam found a piece of a sharks tooth. Afterward we went tot he "Collins Family My Big Backyard" which is a big room with lots of hands on things for the kids. There are benches in the middle so parents can sit (if they don't want to play too) and the kids can go off and learn by doing.

We were very tired by the time we were done. But it was so nice outside the boys just had to roll down the hill! We stopped at a local bakery (thanks Dina for the recommendation) on the way home to get some cookies and we were set!

Now we can't wait to go back!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

How We Survived Spring Break - or the first half anyway!

I can't believe Spring Break is half over!

On Monday I really thought we'd have a LONG WEEK ahead of us! We went grocery shopping and every second was, "Can I have this?" or "Will you get that?" From the looks of the other moms with their kids at the grocery store, this was not uncommon!

Thankfully, we've managed to keep busy every other day. Yesterday we went to Chattanooga with some friends. Normally, we head up to the Aquarium there but this time we went to the Creative Discovery Museum (and hitched on the back of their membership so it was free, Bonus!).

This is a HUGE hands-on children's museum and it is, without a doubt, the best kids museum! The boys loved it! The first thing when you walk in is a huge water play area with buckets and pulley's and boats and sprayers and all sorts of fun, wet things!

Water Play

Of course Sam doesn't really like getting wet, and even with the waterproof aprons, he didn't want to play here. He much preferred the dryers!

Drying off

We moved on and made Cat Masks,


Making Cat Masks

And put on plays, played a Nickelodeon, and even danced to music --

Dance to the Music!

Dug for dinosaurs -

Digging Up Fossils

Going on a Dino-Dig

And so much more!!!!

Cool Lightening!


Both the boys said their favorite part was petting the live snake! It was a python of some sort I think.

Petting the snake

My favorite part was the mirror that made me look tall and skinny! I think everyone needs to wear glassed that make me appear as I did in the mirror!

It was a very fun, tiring day!

We were going to go to another museum today, but decided two days of museums in a row was a bit much. So we went to see Monsters vs. Aliens at a new movie theater here. It was really good! The boys enjoyed it and I thought it was very cute too!

Tomorrow we have plans to head to a new science museum that just opened up about 1/2 hour away. It's called Tellus Northwest Georgia Science Museum. Everything I've heard about it is quite good. There is a planetarium there, but we probably won't watch the show. I'm not sure Sam is quite old enough yet. But it's only 1/2 hour away and that's good for us!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Random Updates and Things.

Another busy week gone! Last weekend we celebrated my 42nd (!!!) birthday. We had quite a bit planned but had to prove our willingness to change plans.

This time it was NOT one of the kids that got sick, but both my parents! They were supposed to come down and visit for a few days. While they were here, Rich and I had planned to go out to dinner, maybe see a movie... but they had horrible colds (that they are just starting to get over) and the trip was just not do-able.

And the weather here was horrible and rainy. And Rich had to work ALL DAY Saturday -- until 7:00 pm! So we had to change plans and then change them again! Sunday, my actual birthday, was pretty fun. We went to IHOP for breakfast (yum!) and then came home to open presents. Josh was happy that I got the Lara Croft Tombraider game for the Wii, and Sam was happy because I got the Disney movie, Pinnochio. Not all my presents were for the boys - I also got Twilight and Pan's Labrynth on BlueRay and a PS3 game called Drakes Fortune: Uncharted (which the boys are not allowed to play). It was good. We had a great time just hanging out, playing, watching movies and then Rich made me dinner! Perfect!

This week I've been busy getting things ready for the boys. Spring Break started this weekend so I had a few things I needed to get done before they were off. On Thursday Sam had his Easter Party. I made cupcakes.

Easter Egg Cupcakes

I'm not really happy with how they came out, but the kids loved them!

Then Thursday evening, Josh had his 2nd grade music performance. He had a speaking part - he was the first one to get up and Welcome the parents. He did great! I have him on video, I just need to figure out how to get it off the camera. We have an old one and are due for an upgrade soon (hint, hint).

2nd Grade Music Performance

The kids sang songs, danced and played musical insturments for the parents. Since I got Josh doing his speaking, I couldn't see him doing the singing and dancing. But I got the important part!

And Friday Josh had a make up baseball game. Last weeks game was cancelled so they played it on Friday. There were no games this weekend. He did really well again! He had 2 great hits, scored twice and "nearly caught the ball!" Instead, his glove was knocked off his hand.

This weekend we've been busy taking care of yard work and getting the garden all sorted. We've not planted anything yet - we're expecting frost this week so we'll do it in a few weeks.

We have lots of big plans for the Spring Break week. Hopefully I'll be able to keep the blog up to date next week!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Sam the Super Hero!

Sam the Superhero!

For more Wordless Wednesday, visit the WW HQ!

Okay, not quite "Wordless" today!

I made this superhero cape for Sam and he loves it! I'm so glad he likes it too because it was not entirely fun to knit. My friend Summer gave me the pattern and yarn. She was going to make two of them for her son's but gave up. The red yarn and the yellow yarn were different weights and the red is HEAVY! I thought it would make the cape too heavy to wear, but it turned out really nice. It's very soft and quite warm without being too hot for him.

For some reason, he thinks he has to go shirtless underneath (maybe that's why it's not too hot!) He says it's because Super Heroes don't wear shirts. Who knew? I managed to get some pictures of him in it before he went topless!

Pattern is from Vickie Howell's "New Knits on the Block."
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