Monday, August 24, 2009

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

Thursday, August 20, 2009

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!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


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!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

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!

Monday, August 17, 2009

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!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

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!
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!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

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!


about 1/4 cup butter
a couple of Tbsp of flour
about 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 taste

In 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!


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 corn

Hadley was fascinated by the little worms in the corn

Our yellow lab, Crush loved playing with the Seller's weimaraner, Macey

Avery 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-grandson

Avery 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 funny

Ash and I enjoy our visit at Grandma Katherine's while Avery catches a quick nap

our visiting wore this little dude out!

for more gratituesday, visit Laura at Heavenly Homemakers...prepare to be blessed!

Monday, August 10, 2009

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 gown

getting a little comfort from her "Dora Blue" and her thumb

Playing with her new Cars toys

Look at that beautiful profile

The worlds biggest lolly-pop

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!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

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 slide

Avery Jane being prissy

Ben loved climbing and sliding!

Hadley and Avery on the "balance beams"

Hadley "helping" Ben

Avery's reaction to mommy telling her it's time to go home