Jenny Hodges. Librarian. CrossFitter. Weight Watcher. SharePoint Wife. Mom to Irish Triplets. Living in the Autism World. Tree Hugger.

4. March 2015 12:36
by jennifer

Valspar Championship Family Friendly Events at Innisbrook 2015-Giveaway

4. March 2015 12:36 by jennifer | 2 Comments

This post is sponsored by the 2015 Valspar Championship

Years ago my husband worked in Palm Harbor. Whenever I would drive up to meet him for lunch, I would drive past the entrance to the Innisbrook Resort. I had often heard wonderful things about this resort, but I thought it was just for golfers and well, since getting hit in the head by a golf club when I was 9 years old (and receiving 8 stitches) with the exception of putt-putt, my golfing days are over. 

But I often wondered what was behind those stone walls that faced US19, and after doing a little bit of research I was blown away to learn that Innisbrook is so much more than just a golf resort. 

When Valspar invited my family to come out to experience Innisbrook I had to decline because Ronin has a broken leg and there is just no way I can bring him to an event like that while he's wheelchair bound. Valspar and Innisbrook were kind enough to allow me to host the giveaway and offered to have the kids and I out to visit the resort once Ronin has his cast off, so expect another post from me about all the amenities available to #PushAwaytheScreen.

But just because we can't go doesn't mean you can't go and it sounds like a SUPER time!

Valspar and the sponsors have planned activities that are fun for the whole family.

For starters, kids 15 and under get in free with each adult ticket. Military and Veterans can also get in free thanks to a sponsorship with Pinch-a-Penny.  One day tickets are on sale now for only $30 (tickets go up on March 8th) and they even have a Family Pack that includes food and drinks.  I would recommend the event for any family; but especially if you have kids over the age of 5.

Behind the 18th green you’ll find the 2015 Valspar Color Experience with lawn games, photo opportunities, and fun indoor activities too.  There’s a Brighthouse Sports Pavillion, a Family Fun Zone, a Tires Plus Driving Range, and don’t forget to stop by Frenchy’s Pool Party, which would likely be the favorite spot for the #TampaTrio.

Dress colorfully and win prizes!! This year Valspar has Color Scouts who will be searching for the most colorful guests and will award them with prizes.

I have 4 one-day passes (you choose the day) to the Valspar Championship that I’m giving away to one lucky reader.  Winner must be local and be available to attend one day between March 9-15th. Travel expenses are not included.

Just leave me a comment telling me which aspect of the event sounds like the most fun for you and your family! I'll pick a winner on Friday March 6! 

26. February 2015 09:56
by jennifer

Walking the Gasparilla Lime Cactus Challenge 2015

26. February 2015 09:56 by jennifer | 1 Comments

In 2014 I had originally registered to do this event. However, the week before I injured my foot during the Spartan Race. That injury caused me to defer, and honestly, I'm still struggling with that foot injury. forward to 2015. My 8yo son, Ronin has been a running fool. All he's been doing is eating, sleeping, and running. He asked me in early November if he could run a marathon. I had to tell him NO, but I thought he could handle a 15K and he began training. Once I saw that he was serious, I registered him for the Gasparilla 15K. Our plan was for us to drive down to the race together, and then he'd run and do his thing, and then wait for me at the finish line.  He had been training so hard, was doing so well. He was consistently running 3-6 miles at a 7-8 minute mile pace. He had his little heart set on WINNING his age group (10 and under) and then 3 weeks before Gasparilla his world came crashing down around him. He broke his tibia. A very bad break. You can see that it broke in several places. He broke it roller skating on a school field trip. When I met him at the hospital after the accident he looked up at me through tear filled eyes, and his first words to me were "Mama, can I still run Gasparilla." That would be No. Sorry, son. Your 2015 running season is over.  He took the news like a trooper. And much to my surprise, I did not use this as an excuse to again defer my own registration. Instead I reached out to a friend, Tara from Everyday Ramblings of my Life and asked if I could do the race with her. We had originally planned to do it together last year, but again, I deferred.  She was kind enough to say "YES OF COURSE" so we made plans to meet-up and do the race together. She's been doing a lot more races than me recently, though I have still been "wogging" on the elliptical so I was nervous that I might slow her down, and my foot is still really bothering me. But I made sure to wear my Feetures Plantar Fasciitis Sleeve and extra cushion socks, and my new Saucony Triumph. I drove down race morning with Denise from RunDMT, we parked, went to the expo hall, met up with some of her running buds, snapped a few pics, and before I knew it, it was time to head to the start line! Tara and I met at the back of the pack and we were soon on our way. She had a time from last year that she wanted to beat, me I just wanted to finish. We ran a little bit, we walked most of it. I told her she could go on without me if she felt I was slowing her down, but she just looked at me and said "we started this race together, we will finish this race together." And finish we did! I LOVED this race!! The out and back along Bayshore Blvd was PERFECT! It started off cold, but we warmed up quickly. I had carried my own water bottle, but I would not have needed it. There was a plethora of water and gatorade available. There were porta-potties E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. and if you read my Holiday Halfathon recap, you know that the lack of bathrooms was a huge issue for me.  But not with Gasparilla. Everything was perfect. The company, especially. Tara was an awesome 15K partner. She never made me feel like I was too slow, or holding her back. And I was super excited to hear at the end of the race that she had PR'd by over 10 minutes from 2014!!  After the race Tara and I walked. And walked. And walked some more to find the post-race food and drink. It was quite a distance. In previous years they have always had the food right in the tunnel, but not this year. I felt like we walked another mile to get our recovery fuel. The walk just never ended. But it was worth it. Many of my Tampa Bay Blogger friends were invited to try out Ulele a few weeks ago. I was unable to attend because of work, but they all RAVED about it. And many commented about the wonderful beer. I was so happy to see Ulele at the post-race party with 3 types of beer to sample. That's Tim in the tan shirt, and he's the head brewmaster. It was very good beer, and just further cemented that I need to get to Ulele's for a proper meal. After the beer and the fun, we went to the expo. At the expo I found my fellow Polar ambassador and friend, Mary. We chatted about my race, about our other Polar friend, speedy Chris who ran the 15K in 50:17 (that's 9.3 miles....) and I asked her about her thoughts on the battery charge of my M400.  And soon I was home, enjoying more beer, and resting my feet. I went to bed by 10pm, and I was feeling good! I woke up at 6:30am, and left my house by 7am. The 8K wasn't set to start until 9am, and I had several friends in the half-marathon that I was hoping to see! My feet were feeling a little sore, so I decided that a shoe change was in order. So for the 8K I wore my Hoka One One. I'm not sure that was the best choice. I did size down in these shoes as recommended, but I felt my feet slipping in them as I walked and sure enough, I developed blisters in places that I hadn't even been sore the day before. But Tara was sore too. Together we kept each other motivated, and pumped to finish the race. And finish we did! And I'm pretty sure she told me that she even PR'd both races from her time last year!! This was a GREAT race challenge and I plan to repeat it again next year...with Ronin!! A HUGE thank you goes to Tara for walking with me, to #TeamPolar for the gear to monitor my heart rate throughout the event, and to Enell Sports Bras for providing me with the most comfortable, most awesome sports bra ever, the Enell Lite got me through over 14 miles in comfort!  

18. February 2015 17:54
by jennifer

The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow

18. February 2015 17:54 by jennifer | 3 Comments

 I was 11 years old when the movie Annie directed by John Huston was released. I LOVED that movie. LOVED it.  I knew all of the songs, character lines, all of it. I knew it all.  Annie was 11 years old, just like me. And while I certainly wasn't living the life of an orphan, I felt like I could identify with her on many levels. So how did I not ever know that before Annie was a movie, Annie was a Broadway play? I must have been living a hard knock life, that's for sure because up until recently, I had no idea that a play even existed. Thanks to my association with the Tampa Bay Bloggers I was giving the opportunity to come out and see the award winning musical and I was lucky enough to bring along three special little ladies. The girls and I were all so excited!! With the exception of the previews for the 2014 release of the film version of Annie, my daughter's had no clue who Annie was. And they hadn't even seen the 2014 version. I am seriously slacking in the Annie department. I attempted to brief them on the drive over, but all I could do was sing one song...over and over...and over. And to make matters worse, my girls thought that I made the song up. Which song? Just thinkin' about tomorrow Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow 'til there's none When I'm stuck with a day that's grey and lonely I just stick up my chin and grin and say, oh The sun will come out tomorrow So you gotta hang on 'til tomorrow, come what may! Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow You're always a day away! When I'm stuck with a day that's grey and lonely I just stick up my chin and grin and say oh The sun will come out tomorrow So you got to hang on 'til tomorrow, come what may! Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow You're always a day away Tomorrow, tomorrow I love ya tomorrow You're always a day away ... And with the girls and I fixed on the performers, when Annie began singing that song, I began to cry. It has been such a challenging year so far. With Ronin's broken leg, my elbow and back injury, and just L.I.F.E. being challenging, this song really hit home for me. But throughout the play, I kept seeing signs that even though I thought I was living a hard knock life right now, it's not nearly as bad as it could be. It's sometimes hard to believe, but there are children in the Tampa Bay area that can not afford clothes, shoes and even food. At all Tampa performances of Annie, through Sunday, Feb. 22, donations of primary school uniforms and other children’s clothing will be accepted at the Straz Center. The drive benefits Metropolitan Ministries who serve families in need in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties.  It was a FANTASTIC show. My little girls L.O.V.E.D. it and when I got home last night I was pleasantly surprised to see an Instagram post from Annie herself, Issie Wickle. My daughter's now happen to think that Issie and I are friends.  And Leapin' lizards, if Instagram says we are, WE ARE! Annie is in Tampa through Sunday, February 22nd.Performances of Annie are now - Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm and Sunday at 1pm and 6pm. Regularly priced tickets are $46-$105 and may be purchased by calling813.229.STAR (7827) or 800.955.1045 outside Tampa Bay, in person at the Straz Center Ticket Office or online at