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Our little bit of heaven on Earth...

Updated: 2014-10-05T03:53:21.841-04:00


Menu Plan Monday


This week's menu is, once again, abbreviated. I am so excited about our camping trip this weekend! Yay! Our meals will be fairly simple this week...I have lots of "catching up" to do and I don't want to tie up too much of my time fix'n supper! I do hope to carve out a little time to bake some big batches of muffins to freeze with Hadley...we will see how that goes!

Monday, August 24th~
Chicken and Noodles
green beans

Tuesday, August 25th~
Grouper Nuggets
roasted potatoes
broccoli with cheese sauce

Wednesday, August 26th~
Grilled Cheese sandwiches
tomato soup

Thursday, August 27th~
Loaded Omelets with LOTSA veggies!

Friday, August 28th-Sunday, August 30th~

for more menu planning inspiration, head over to Organizing Junkie

and the winner is...


I am very pleased to announce the winner of this great giveaway... The winner, chosen by, is...(drum roll, please...) Jennifer Adams! Congratulations, Jennifer!

Thanks to all who participated in this giveaway...I can't wait to do another one!

Have a blessed day!



I just wanted to remind everyone that today is the last day to sign up for this awesome giveaway! You have until midnight tonight! I will announce the winner here on the blog tomorrow. Good Luck!

Gratituesday~just a little more summer


I am starting to get very excited about our upcoming school year. Our curriculum is here, I have been spiffing up our school room and the kids are ready to dig in. It is gonna be a great year!

But, I am also very thankful that we have just a little bit of summer left to enjoy. Summer is such a care-free time. I still hold dear beautiful memories of my childhood summers-Popsicles, riding my bike, playing outside until dark, watermelon-seed-spitting contests, sparklers on the forth of July.

We are looking forward to a weekend of fun in the sun with family and friends this weekend. And, next weekend we are squeezing in one last summer camp-out at the beach. The weekend after that is Labor Day weekend, and we will be visiting family and celebrating our last official weekend of summer with style!

I am grateful that we have had the opportunity to do so many wonderful things this summer. We have visited beautiful places and spent sweet time with precious friends and family. What a blessing!

for more gratituesday, visit heavenly homemaker

And don't forget about my giveaway!!! Sign up to win an awesome art/painting set for your kids! You have until midnight tomorrow night to enter!

Can I ask you a question???


As I was cooking chicken nuggets for supper tonight, I started thinking about how wonderfully handy my tongs are. They really are an amazing invention...I seriously use them every day! They make turning sizzling nuggets a breeze! It got me thinking about kitchen appliances and gadgets that I can't (or just really don't want to) live without.

So, my question for you is, what is the one kitchen tool you just can't live without?

Menu Plan Monday



My menu plan is a little abbreviated this week...this weekend we are traveling over to Panama City to spend some sweet time with family and friends!

I am hoping to get some more recipes up on the blog this week. I am also very excited to see who will win the give~away ! If you haven't signed up to win this awesome kids art set, make sure you do that before midnight on Wednesday! The winner will be announced here on Thursday...I can hardly wait!

Monday, August 17th~
Homemade Chicken nuggets
Homemade Fries
green beans

Tuesday, August 18th~
Chicken Spaghetti

Wednesday, August 19th~
grilled cheese sandwiches
tomato soup
carrot sticks

Thursday, August 20th
Grilled Chicken Quesadillas
refried beans
chips and homemade salsa

Friday, August 21st-Sunday, August 23rd~

for more Menu Plan Monday, head over to Organizing Junkie!

it's time for a great GIVE-AWAY!!!


Okay, guys...I am just so excited about this give-away! All Children's Furniture is an awesome have to check it out! They carry everything from beautiful kids furniture to fun and educational toys your kids will love!

They have been kind enough to sponsor this give-away for a very cool paint set that comes with it's own container to keep everything in!(image)
How cool is that!?!

~To enter the give-away, go take a look around their website and come back and leave a comment telling me what your favorite item is.

~For a second entry, become a follower of my blog and leave a comment telling me you did...if you already follow my blog, just leave a comment telling me you already follow me!

~For a third entry, post about this give-away on your blog by copying and pasting this line...

Our Little Bit of Heaven on Earth is hosting an awesome toy give-away sponsored by All Children's Furniture who carries everything from kids furniture to toys! Stop by and enter for a chance to win! Hurry, this give-away ends Wednesday, August 19th at midnight EST!

...come back and leave a comment telling me you posted this on your blog, and leave a link to your blog, please!

~For a forth entry Tweet this give-away...

@EmilyKayWoodall is having a great toy giveaway at it out!!!

come back and leave a comment letting me know you tweeted!

This give-away will run through Wednesday, August 19th at midnight EST...this contest is only open to U.S. and Canadian residents...the winner will be selected by sure to leave me your email address so that I can contact you if you win!

Good Luck!

how to make a basic cheese sauce


One of the first things my mom taught me how to cook was a basic cheese sauce. A good cheese sauce can turn ordinary broccoli into something good enough to make for a special occasion. It requires only a few ingredients and they are very basic things I always have on hand. I really don't measure my ingredients, but I tried to estimate about how much of each ingredient I use. This makes a very rich, cheesy sauce...the hot sauce is my secret me, it is good!ingredients:about 1/4 cup buttera couple of Tbsp of flourabout 2 cups of half and half or milk (I prefer half and half)about 2 cups of shredded cheese (I use sharp cheddar)pepper and hot sauce, to tasteIn a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter...When the butter is melted, add your flour...whisk the flour into the butter and allow the flour to cook for a couple of minutes-it is important to cook off the "raw" taste of the flour...Next, add your half and half and continue to whisk constantly. It will start to bubble..keep whisking...and it will thicken up...once it has thickened...add your shredded cheese...and whisk it in as it melts...into a yummy, creamy sauce! season with black pepper and a few shakes of hot will not believe how yummy the hot sauce makes it! And, don't worry about it making it too kids love it!This sauce is great on broccoli, as shown, but I also use this sauce on my baked mac and cheese and it is always a hit, as well!Enjoy![...]

Gratituesday~sweet time with family and friends in TN


We had the most wonderful time on our family trip to Tennessee. We spent a couple of days in Savannah, TN. My sister and her husband have just moved in to their beautiful, brand-new home. We were so grateful for their hospitality in letting us crash on their guest bed, futon, air mattresses and couch! Their house is gorgeous, but the real reason we were there was to see them...and it was precious time! We also got to spend far-to-little sweet time with some very dear friends. The Seller's Family is now living in Savannah, also. John is the associate pastor at Mount Hermon Baptist Church. I am always amazed at how we can go a whole year without seeing these precious friends, and as soon as we get together, it is like we see each other every day! We had so much fun! We grilled-out (one of our favorite pastimes) and the kids played so well together! Becca and I even had the chance to sneak away to the fabric department at Wal-mart and shop and talk without any kids!!! John and Becca also have a beautiful and welcoming home and they are doing an amazing job raising their 2 little ones...Brighton is 3 and he is funny and charming...Raelyn is 5 months old and she is a happy, smiley, sweet and oh-so-cute baby girl!showing the kids how to shuck cornHadley was fascinated by the little worms in the cornOur yellow lab, Crush loved playing with the Seller's weimaraner, MaceyAvery loved Macey, too!Ben and baby Raelyn got along great...except when Ben tried to steal kisses...Raelyn does NOT kiss on first dates!The 2 Mommies We also visited Clarksville, TN, where I was born and where my grandparents still live. My Grandma Sue graciously hosted us all, and she fed us well while we were there! We had a wonderful afternoon at her house visiting with her, along with my other grandparents, Oma and Pa. I absolutely adore visiting with my grandparents. They are the most fascinating people! On Saturday, we drove over to Nashville to visit my great grandmother, Grandma Katherine. It was wonderful to have the 5 generations together again. Ben enjoyed meeting his great-great-grandmother for the first time. It was a special visit. We were gone from home for 9 days, but we had such a wonderful visit~we wouldn't have minded staying another 9 days! I am grateful for all of the people who were so gracious and hospitable on our journey. And, I am so thankful that they are apart of my life!Grandma Sue loving on her first great-grandsonAvery LOVES her Jason!Isn't he handy?Ben meeting his great-great Grandma Katherine...(don't know what happened to this pic)Ben thought Jeff was funnyAsh and I enjoy our visit at Grandma Katherine's while Avery catches a quick napour visiting wore this little dude out!for more gratituesday, visit Laura at Heavenly Homemakers...prepare to be blessed![...]

What's Going On? All about Avery:UPDATE


Last Monday was Avery's MRI at Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville. We had to be there at 8 o'clock that morning. We woke Avery up at 5:30 am and gave her some apple juice. She was not allowed to drink anything after 6am. I gave her a bath and got her dressed. We were on the road by 6:30. We arrived a few minutes early, which was nice for my already-elevated stress levels. We got checked in and they sent us to the playroom to wait. This playroom was wonderful! There were toys of every kind for her to play with! They even had a Lightning McQueen ride-on toy...Avery's favorite! She played for a few minutes before they called us back for pre-op stuff. They got Avery's hospital bracelet on her and we changed her into her little hospital gown. They had me fill out more paperwork and asked us lots of questions. After pre-op, we went back to the playroom for about 1 1/2 hours. Avery dug through my purse and found her new Cars toys that were supposed to be a surprise for after the MRI, so we let her play with them and all of her other Cars. She was having a ball! At almost 10am, they took us to the MRI suite. We met with the anesthesiologist and he explained what he would do. He said one parent could go back with Avery while they did "the gas". I went in with her. They set her down on the table and put a "bubble gum" mask on her...they smeared bubble gum scented lip balm on the mask. The anesthesiologist told her to smell the mask and see if it changed from bubble gum to strawberry-this got her breathing more deeply. He told her she could lay down if she was feeling sleepy, but she resisted-she was trying so hard to stay awake and smell the strawberry smell! Her eyes finally closed and I helped lay her down. They told me I could give her a kiss, but not to breath too deeply! I kissed her and then it was time for me to go out. I went and joined Brian in the waiting room. We went to the giftshop and bought her a Cars book and then came back to the waiting room. It felt like the waiting took forever. After close to an hour, they called us back. She was not awake yet...and she did NOT want to wake up! She was sleeping good! We woke her up and she was soooo out of it! We got her dressed and they let us go home. We carried her to the van and gave her the new Cars book. She had not eaten anything since dinner the night before, so she was hungry! She said she wanted Cracker Barrel. We went and she had pancakes and lemonade-2 of her favorite things! She also got the biggest lolly-pop I had ever seen! We took her home and put her down for a nice, long nap. I was so relieved to have it over! On Thursday we got the results from the MRI. Avery has something called PVL. It is not a disease, but rather an injury. When I was in labor with Avery, my contractions were extremely intense and long-lasting. When I had a contraction that lasted for over 5 minutes, Avery's heart rate bottomed out and they had to give me a shot to relax the contraction. They think that during that time, Avery was deprived of oxygen and this caused the injury to her brain. She also spent 8 days in the NICU because of under-developed lungs. This also could have caused too-low oxygen levels. We have now been referred to a pediatric neurologist and a physical therapist. The neurologist will evaluate the MRI also and tell us more about the injury and if there are any other things that go along with the injury. The course of treatment for this is physical therapy. I will continue to update on her as we find out more and as she goes through her therapy. Thanks to all who have supported us and means more than you will ever know!Check this out to find out a little more about PVL!Avery standing on top of Lightning McQueen modeling her hospital gowngetting a little comfort from her "Dora Blue" and her thumbPlaying with[...]

Menu Plan Monday~getting back in the groove


I can't believe it is already the middle of August! This has been a whirl-wind summer. We have had some amazing adventures and had the opportunity to visit with some wonderful family and friends. We still have some weekend adventures planned, but things are starting to settle back into their routine. I have missed our routine. I am looking forward to staying closer to home. I can't wait to dive back in to another year of school! And, menu planning is much easier when you are actually at home to eat:)

Monday, August 10th~
Mexican Chicken Casserole
Green Beans

Tuesday, August 11th~
Grilled Shrimp
Roasted Potatoes
Broccoli with cheese sauce

Wednesday, August 12th~
carrot sticks

Thursday, August 13th~
Homemade Chicken Nuggets
Homemade Fries

Friday, August 14th~
Homemade Pizza Night
Homemade Ice Cream Night

Saturday, August 15th~
Grilled Pork Chops
Sauteed Yellow Squash
Macaroni and Cheese

for more Menu Plan Monday, visit Organizing Junkie!

A day at the park


Last Friday, the kids and I headed to Gainesville for a Friday Funday! We went to Chic-fil-a and ate breakfast and then headed to the park! We had so much fun. The weather was beautiful that morning...not too hot and no rain!Hadley Kay posing on the slideAvery Jane being prissyBen loved climbing and sliding!Hadley and Avery on the "balance beams"Hadley "helping" BenAvery's reaction to mommy telling her it's time to go home[...]



I am just so excited about our family vacation! We leave on Friday after Brian gets off work and head to Panama City to visit with family. We will spend a few days there and try to "fit it all in". Our plans include meeting a brand-new baby cousin, eating at some of our favorite spots, going to Ship Wreck Water Park, and my mother-in-law is taking me shopping! Fun! On Tuesday morning we will wake up and head to Tennessee to visit with more family and some very special friends, who are like family! My sister and her husband are moving into their new house and we are so excited to see it! We are hoping to enjoy a few of our favorite spots to eat there, too:) And, I get to see my Grandma Sue, my Oma and Opa, AND my Great Grandmother! I am really looking forward to all my extended family meeting Ben for the first time! Plus, I can't wait to spend 9 days with my hunny bunny! Yay!

So, after Friday I will be on blogging hiatus for about a week. Don't forget to keep praying for Avery...we go for her MRI the day after we get back from vacation. I will update everyone on that situation as soon as we know something!

for more gratituesday, visit the heavenly homemaker!

Gratituesday~Happy Birthday Ben!!!


Today my precious baby boy is 1 year old. I am not exaggerating when I say that this has been the fastest year of my life! I have been so richly blessed with 3 beautiful children! Thinking back to 1 year ago today, I still can't believe how Ben decided to make his 'grand entrance' into this world. 1 year ago today, I got to experience what a completely natural child-birth feels like; I got my first ride in an ambulance; and I fell in love. All before 7 am. While I was pregnant with Ben, I had such an ideal scenario of his birth in my mind...I never would have imagined the chaotic climax to our story. It was quite a story. At around 5 am that morning, I woke up feeling very uncomfortable. I was having contractions, but I figured if I really was in labor, this was just the beginning. I thought I should try to get some sleep. For about 30-45 minutes I tried to sleep, but finally I decided to wake up Brian and ask him to help me time the contractions. They were about 8 minutes apart at that point. Brian got up and started getting his stuff together and calling/emailing his office to let them know he would not be coming in. I got up and got in the bathtub to try and help me feel better. I really didn't feel like being alone, though, so I got out of the bath and went to sit in the office with Brian while he wrote emails and made phone calls. He called The Birth Center and spoke to the midwife who said we should meet her in an hour. He also called my parents to tell them to come on over to be there with Hadley and Avery. While he was making phone calls, I tried to get up off of the futon in the office to go get dressed. I really struggled to get up and I began to realize I was going to have a baby soon! I went to my bedroom to get dressed, but the contractions suddenly were so intense and close together, I could barely get a break between them to get my clothes on. During this time, my parents arrived and my water broke. Brian called the midwife back and she told him to lay me down in the van and drive to the birth center as fast as he could. Brian and my dad began trying to get me to the van, but I did not feel like I could walk that far...and I knew if I got in the van, I would have the baby on the way to Gainesville...that is NOT what I wanted to do! They got me as far as the front porch before I begged them to call 911. Brian was on the phone with the midwife and when she heard the panic in my voice, she told him to get my back inside and to prepare for the baby to be born. My dad called 911 and I made it as far as the foot-end of our bed before I collapsed. Brian sent my mom to get towels, but before she could make it to the linin closet and back, Benjamin Brian Woodall was born at 6:57 am...I know the exact time because I was staring at the clock when he was born! Brian had the unique opportunity of delivering him. We wrapped him in blankets and towels and I held him close to me until the paramedics arrived. They checked him out and suctioned his nose and mouth. They cut his umbilical cord and cleaned him up a little. Brian was on cloud 9...he was definitley on an adrenaline high. The paramedics loaded me onto a stretcher and took me and baby Ben, along with Brian to the hospital. I am so thankful Ben was not born with any problems. I am thankful that Brian got the opportunity to deliver his son. I am so very grateful for my precious little son.The Bradford Telegraph ran a story on Ben's unusual see the story, click herefor more gratituesday, visit the heavenly homemaker[...]

The Big Camping Trip!


We had such a great time on our camping trip to Gamble Rogers State Park in Flagler Beach, FL. We got to stay for 8 whole days and enjoy the beach with my mom and dad and sisters. It was wonderful! Flagler Beach is one of my favorite places in the whole is a charming little beach village full of character. Gamble Rogers is right on the beach. The kids did great...they slept in a tent for over a week without any complaints...they are such happy little campers! We spent most of our time on the beach, but while we were there we also made a trip to St. Augustine to eat at our favorite shrimp joint, O'Steens, made a trip to Ponce Inlet to see the lighthouse (Clifford, the Big Red Lighthouse, as Avery named it), and made several trips to the "red box" to rent fun kids movies to watch in the tent after dark. It was a week full of family fun!Sunrise at Gamble Rogers State ParkBen playing in the tent~he was a happy camperHadley and Avery at the Ponce Light~AKA Clifford, the Big Red LighthouseHadley and Avery driving their Jeep Hurricane around the camp groundBen playing in the giant pool I dug for him[...]

Suwannee River State Park Hike


A couple of weeks ago, Brian and I, along with Ben and Crush, had a chance to check out some of the trails at Suwannee River State Park. The park is very nice...everything is newly refurbished. The trails are great! We really enjoyed the Lime Sink Trail. The only down-side...I got a tick on me! YUCK! But, it was a great little mini-adventure with some of my favorite hiking buddies!(image) (image) (image)
(image) Crush was worn out after the hike!

What's Going On? All about Avery


Many of you have been faithfully praying for Avery Jane over the past few weeks. We are so thankful for your prayers! For those of you who don't know what is going on with her, I thought I would update you on her situation. At her 3 year old check-up, Dr. Anna noticed Avery was holding her left foot very tight. She told us to monitor her and bring her back in if we noticed it happening a lot. After that appointment, we began to notice her walking funny and really turning her left foot in. We also noticed her holding her left arm in close to her body and not using it. So, a couple of weeks ago, we took her back to the doctor to get that checked out. They did a very thorough examination and had Avery walk, run, hop, jump, skip and just about everything else they could have her do. They checked her reflexes, asked us lots of questions and ultimately decided we would need to have an MRI done of the right side of Avery's head to find out why she is struggling to use the muscles on the left side of her body. The right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, and vice versa. So, after an agonizing week of trying to get an MRI appointment within a reasonable amount of time, we got an appointment for August 3rd at 10am at Wolfson's Childrens Hospital in Jacksonville. We have to be there at 8 am that morning for pre-op procedures. Avery will have to be sedated for the MRI because she has to lay completely still during the entire procedure. We will know much more after the MRI, but at this point we feel that we will definetly end up in physical therepy with her. She is doing fine...she doesn't even know there is anything wrong! She is a trooper and has done great at all of her appointments. I am so proud of her-she is a very special child! Please pray for us during this time. It is so scary to have something not right with your child. We are so thankful for all of the faithful prayers being sent up on our behalf. I will continue to update the blog on this situation as we get new information.

Menu Plan Monday


This past week, we stayed pretty close to our menu plan. Friday night, Brian surprised me with a date night to the Melting was very neat! We had never been before. I loved the cheese and the dessert. It was pretty pricey, though...a rare treat for us:) It was a much-needed night off from cooking, as well as caring for kiddos. I am so thankful for my mom and dad...they took great care of the kids and had them all sleeping soundly in their beds when we got home! This week, there is no room in our budget for any more "date nights"...we will be sticking to the plan!

Monday, July 13th~
Grilled Shrimp
sauteed yellow squash and onions
Baked Potatoes

Tuesday, July 14th~BEN'S 1st BIRTHDAY!
Loaded Veggie Omelets
Chocolate-Chip Pancakes

Wednesday, July 15th~
BLTs/Grilled Cheese sandwiches
fruit salad

Thursday, July 16th~

Friday, July 17th~
Homemade Pizza Night!

Saturday, July 18th~
Grilled Pork Chops
Broccoli with cheese
Pesto-Pasta salad with LOTs of summer veggies!

Sunday, July 19th~

Gratituesday-Healthy Steps Pediatrics


(image) Anyone who has children knows how important it is to have a good relationship with your child's doctor and office staff. As a parent, we only want the very best for our children! I am so thankful for all of the ladies at Healthy Steps Pediatrics! When we moved to this area in 2005, I knew I needed to find a good doctor for little Hadley...and quick! I searched the internet for a practice that was relatively close and that would accept our insurance...we had tricare at the time because of Brian's Coast Guard service. I found Healthy Steps online and gave them a call to see if I could just come in and meet them. I knew after the first encounter with this extraordinary group of women that we had found a treasure. Since then, we have added baby Avery and baby Ben to the mix. All 3 of my children LOVE Dr. Anna. She is sharp and professional, but gentle and kind. The nurse practioners are wonderful, also. They are very thorough! The whole staff is great. These are some of the sweetest ladies you will ever meet. They have a beautiful, clean office with lots of toys and fun distractions for the kids. They always work to get us in quickly. They have truly been a blessing to me and my family. I am especially thankful to Renee who went above and beyond for us this week as we tried to get Avery an MRI scheduled within a reasonable amount of time. Avery got an appointment for August 3rd at Wolfson's Children's Hospital in Jacksonville. I will blog more about her situation in another post...

for more Gratituesday, visit Laura at Heavenly Homemakers and prepare to be blessed!

Menu Plan Monday


Okay, so I really really REALLY need to get back to reality. The past couple of weeks have been crazy for me and I need to regain control! After being out of town for over a week and being sick last week, I am ready to get back into my routine! Making a menu plan is a great way to do that. Last week I worked from a loose menu plan and tried to incorporate lots of tomatoes into our meals because our tomato plants are going crazy! I played around with chicken and tomatoes and basil and came up with a very yummy new chicken dish...I will have to share that one soon! Here is what I have come up with for this week:

Monday, July 6th~
Baked grouper fillets with homemade salsa
broccoli and cheese

Tuesday, July 7th~
Chicken Tortilla soup

Wednesday, July 8th~
Grilled Cheese sandwiches
carrots and cucumbers
sliced tomatoes

Thursday, July 9th~
Baked Pork Chops
yellow squash and onions
baked potatoes

Friday, July 10th~
Black Beans and Rice with Pork
sliced tomatoes and cucumbers

Saturday, July 11th~
Grilled Chicken Quesadillas
refried black beans

Learn to sew with me!


(image) Want to join me on an adventure? I found this sewing machine on craigslist for a very reasonable price. And, since my birthday is coming up, Brian bought it for me! But, I have never sewn a stitch! "Sew", over the next few weeks, I will be posting updates on my progress. My mom is taking me to Joann's for my birthday to get me all the supplies I need and some cute fabrics and such. I can't wait to get started! Stay tuned for pics of my 1st projects.

And, since I am brand new to this, I would love some input from some more experienced seamstresses! Any advice or stories you would like to share would be greatly appreciated!

Garden Update


Just a quick update on our garden...


All of the rain we have been getting has actually been rough on our garden. And, don't get me started on caterpillars. My little herb garden has really struggled. Our squash got squashed. Our peppers got pulverized. But, our tomatoes have held on and are now starting to ripen! I have fresh tomatoes and basil and rosemary. I may regroup on the rest of my herbs and start fresh. I just have a NEED for some fresh cilantro:)
(image) (image)

Gratituesday-Florida State Parks


One of our favorite things to do together as a family is camp. We have been bitten hard by the camping bug! It is a pretty economical way for us to "get away" every now and then. It is so much fun to sit around a little campfire and talk and drink coffee early in the morning. It is such an adventure to set up camp and explore and "trek" to the "bathhouse" with your kids. It is so freeing to let your kids get as dirty as they want and not worry about it for a little while! This past weekend our family decided to escape from the Bike Fest (motorcycles up and down our street and very loud bands playing on a stage 100 yards from our house, thankyou-very-much!) and head to the "REAL Florida"...a Florida State Park! Gold Head Branch State Park is located in Keystone Heights, Florida...about 20 minutes from our house! This was our first time camping at Gold Head. It was SO NEAT! It is located in the area known as The Central Florida Ridge. It has lakes and sandhills and a huge ravine with every sort of flora and fauna! On Saturday morning, we went on a hike-it was National Trails Day! Part of The Florida Trail runs through Gold Head. It was a lot of fun...Brian carried Avery in the backpack carrier. Hadley was a good little hiker for about the first mile, after that, I carried her on my back a a workout! Ben stayed with Grammy and Grandaddy since he was recovering from an ear infection. He had a great time and enjoyed not having to share the grandparents with his sisters! Florida has some WONDERFUL State Parks...we are very blessed! The camping facilities at all of the parks I have camped have been clean and well-kempt. The staff and volunteers are enthusiastic and passionate about their park. In Florida, we have an ocean, a gulf, rivers, springs, lakes and much much opportunity for exploration! I am just so thankful for the state park system. And, of course, I am thankful that God created so many wonderful things for us to explore! Praise be to Him!Hadley holding a baby ringneck snake we found on our hike through the ravineThe girls exploring the dried-up lake bedmommy and the girls just hanging out together at Gold Head State Park[...]

Menu Plan Monday


(image) We followed last weeks menu plan pretty closely. I am trying so hard to keep us under budget! We did splurge a little on Friday night and I bought smore fix'ns and hotdogs for our camping trip (more on that later!), but other than that-we stuck to the plan:)
Here is what we have planned for this week:

Monday, June 8th~
Shrimp Alfredo
Broccoli with cheese

Tuesday, June 9th~
Loaded Omelets

Wednesday, June 10th~
Baked Pork Chops
pasta salad

Thursday, June 11th~
Dinner in Tallahassee with Brian's parents
(dropping off Hadley and Avery for a weekend with the grandparents)

Friday, June 12th~
Black Beans and Rice with pork
steamed carrots and peas
fried bananas

Saturday, June 13th~
Veggie Stirfry
fried rice
homemade icecream

For more Menu Plan Monday, visit Organizing Junkie and link up your own Menu Plan for the week!

Pasta with Tomato-Basil Sauce

2009-06-01T22:18:29.785-04:00 I am going to start posting recipes. The only problem is that I don't use exact measurements. But, I take a lot of pics...maybe that will help. So, here goes. This is one of our favorite things to eat during the summer months. It is healthy and fresh and easy. It is very basic, but it can easily be modified to suit your taste.ingredients:6-7 large roma tomatoeshandful of fresh basil leaves1 tbsp. minced garlicliberal drizzle of extra virgin olive oillight drizzle of balsamic vinegarsea salt and cracked pepper, to tastefresh grated parmesan cheese, to taste1 box of your favorite pasta-whole grain is best!Cook pasta according to package directions.cut up tomatoes and throw them in the pan with a liberal drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar, about a tablespoon of minced garlic and salt/pepper, to taste. Cook over medium heat until tomatoes soften a little and are warmed through.Take about a handful of fresh basil and chop it up...mine is growing in my garden! Don't throw the basil in until the last minute.Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss together.Finally, stir in your fresh grated parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. We like to eat ours with a fresh, green salad!Enjoy![...]