Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nacho Night!

With 3 kids ages 5 and younger in our house, regular date nights are easier to talk about than to actually do. We know the importance of spending quality time with each other. We know we are supposed to be each other's first priority. But, we also know that finding a baby sitter for 3 kids and finding the energy to dress up and go out and finding the money to go eat at a restaurant is much more of a challenge than we are up to. So, we have started having date nights at home after the kids are in bed. We work very hard to make sure our kids are in bed around 8 pm each night. This gives Brian and I time to enjoy hanging out with each other in the evenings. Last week, we decided to watch a movie and make nachos for our "date night in". I made supper for the kids before they went to bed, but Brian and I skipped supper and just ate nachos for our meal. Trust me, these kind of nachos are more than enough for a meal! They were so delecious I just had to share the recipe!Here is all the ingredients. We sauted some chicken cutlets seasoned up with chili powder, cumin and salt in the olive oil. The chicken you see on the plate has been finely shredded already. Also pictured is a cup with homemade salsa. If you don't have homemade salsa, you could always use the jarred stuff. There is also a can of refried black beans, sourcream, jalepeno slices, mexican cheese, shredded lettuce and Tostitos Multigrain Chips. And, of course, lime. Everything taste better with lime!First, we spread the chips out onto a cookie sheet. Then, I dolloped some of the refried black beans onto the chips.

Brian helped, too! He is very serious about his jalepenos! He put lots of cheese and shredded chicken and jalepenos on the nachos.

Look at all of that cheese! Yummy!

After we got all of our ingredients on the nachos, we placed them in a 400 degree oven and let them cook for about 7-8 minutes.
Here they are fresh out of the oven. At this point, grab your salsa, sourcream, lettuce, etc. and add them to the nachos! They taste SO good!

Brian was very proud that he did not let any nachos go to waste. We had a wonderful "date night in" that night! We couldn't have had a better time if we would have went to the fanciest restarunt in Starke. HA!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Garden Update

I am so excited about my garden this year! We have had our veggies planted for about a month now. Our tomatoes and peppers are coming along very nicely. I mentioned my squash problems here. I am not sure if they are going to recover. It looks as though they may be trying to peak out from the soil...I will keep you posted on that!

My herbs are growing well, too. I have some sweet basil planted in the big box with the veggies. It has been in the ground for about 2 weeks. My basil tends to grow huge and I use a lot of it in my summer cooking. I plant a lot of sweet basil! We love our pesto around here! Here is a picture of my basil after 2 weeks.

I also have parsley, cilantro, rosemary and dill growing in a small garden box on my front porch. It is doing pretty well and I am looking forward to using it in a lot of yummy recipes very soon!

I am very excited about my latest seeds I received in the mail last week. I just planted them in containers. Soon I will have my own tea garden to enjoy! YAY! I have stevia, chamomile, chocolate mint, lavendar and cinnamon basil! Here is a picture of my baby cinnamon basil popping through the soil. How exciting!

This is a picture of my newest plant. My mother-in-law graciously gave me a pineapple plant this weekend! I don't know much about growing them yet, but I plan on researching it today. I just love the way it looks on my porch-so tropical! And, I love a fresh cut pineapple!

I also wanted to show you my chinese honey trees. If you have never had a chinese honey, you haven't lived yet! Chinese honeys are a citrus fruit. You can learn all about them here. They happen to be one of my all-time favorite foods. You can only get them during December and January. A few years ago, I planted some seeds from the fruit. They are in their 3rd year of growth. We wont see any fruit on them for about 4 more years. Until then, I will be keeping the growers in business! We tend to go through several bags of them each season. Here is how they look now.

This is one of my 3 hibiscus plants. I love hibiscus!

So, that is how my garden is growing! I will update again in a couple of weeks and hopefully everything will be a lot bigger by then! Until then, Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Healthy and Happy!

This week all 3 kids had their well check-ups. Taking 3 kids to the doctor is a pretty big undertaking. I knew I would need a little assistance so I asked my sister, Bethany to come along. She was a big help! I am happy to report all 3 kids did great and all are very healthy and growing well!

Ben weighed in at 18 pounds and 4 ounces. Although he is much bigger than the girls were at his age, he is still only in the 14th percentile. Dr. Anna said he is perfectly healthy, though. He is a great eater, but he is so active he burns a lot of calories throughout the day! His birthmark is going down in size and will probably be gone by the time he is 2. She is giving him until his 12 month appointment to get his eye cleared up. He has had a clogged tear duct since he was born. If it is not clear by his 12 month appointment, we are going to have to have a procedure done to manually open up the duct. The procedure itself is very minor, but they would have to administer anesthesia. Please be praying that it opens up on it's own in the next 3 months! He had to have a finger prick to check his hemoglobin levels. He was a champ and barely cried. He was officially pronounced a happy and healthy 9 month old!

Avery did so much better than I expected! She watched her brother and sister getting weighed and measured and checked out first and then she was ready for her turn. She weighed 26 pounds. She was in the 10th percentile for her weight. Dr. Anna listened to her heart and looked in her mouth and had her jump around and tell her about shapes and colors. Ave did great. She did make sure to tell everyone that she was NOT getting a shot! She looks great, but Dr. Anna wants us to watch her left foot. She holds her foot very tense and walks funny on it. Dr. Anna said if that keeps up, she may need to do a little physical therapy for it. We would covet your prayers on that!

Hadley had her big 5-year, before-kindergarten check-up. They checked her for just about everything! She weighed 36 pounds and was 42 inches tall. She is in the 19th percentile for height and weight. She had her vision and hearing tested. She had to pee in a cup-she thought this was hilarious! She also had a finger-prick to check hemoglobin levels. She got 3 shots, too. I held her while she got her shots and she did great. I could tell she was pretty nervous, but she sat very still and let them give her the shots in her upper legs. Dr. Anna had her jump around and hop on one foot and balance. She also had her write her name and draw some shapes. Dr. Anna was very impressed with Hadley's hand-writing and told us we need to watch her in kindergarten to make sure she doesn't get bored with the work. She suggested supplementing her regular work to keep her challenged. Hadley checked out as healthy and ready to start school in the fall!

It was a very long appointment and afterward we were all hungry! We got our stickers and lollipops and headed to Chic-fil-a! We all ate lunch AND got ice cream and the girls had a great time on the playground.

I am so thankful for 3 healthy and happy children. What a blessing!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Aunt Fran

Last month, we were so blessed to be able to sneak over to Tampa and visit with Brian's great-aunt Fran. She is a true southern lady. When we arrived, she had lemonade and cookies ready and waiting for us. We had a wonderful time catching up with her and the kids loved her! We took a nice stroll around the pond and enjoyed the perfect spring weather and the beautiful flowers that were just bursting into bloom! It was such an enjoyable afternoon. I hope to be able to go back and visit her soon. She is such a rich wealth of knowledge and experience. I feel like I have so much to learn from her. I am so thankful for this precious link to generations past!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

our little veggie garden

Well, our veggies have been in the ground for about 2 weeks now. We planted tomatoes, bell peppers and squash this year. Our tomatoes and peppers are looking good, but I have the worst luck with squash! Every year I plant squash and every year something happens to it! This year, Avery is what happened to it. She decided to pick all of the leaves off of the plants. I am hoping they come back, but wont be surprised if we don't get any squash again this year. I also have a little herb box with basil, cilantro, rosemary, chives, parsley and dill. I love herbs! I think I may order some more herb seeds online. I would love to have a whole "tea garden" with chamomile, mint, ginger, etc. Eventually, we want to have a much larger garden with a lot more veggies. But, for now, this is all we have time to keep up with! We do the "raised bed" method of gardening. Brian built our garden box for us year before last. As the kids get older, I would like to add more boxes. I think gardening is so great for kids. What a wonderful, hands-on way for kids to learn about where their food comes from, healthy eating habits, photosynthesis, and much more! Plus, kids just love to get their hands dirty! Stay tuned for garden updates over the next few months. And, if you have any garden tips for me that you would like to share-PLEASE leave them in the comments! We are beginning gardeners and are so eager to learn from anyone who is willing to share their experience!


As I tried to decide what to blog about for Gratituesday this week, I realized I am so very blessed. I have so many things that I am thankful for...I don't even know where to begin! Easter is such a refreshing time. What a glorious weekend we had! First, I am so so SO thankful for Jesus. Thankyou, Lord for being the perfect, sinless sacrifice. Thankyou for the cross. Thankyou for the resurrection. Thankyou for making a way for sinners to be justified and sanctified. Thankyou, Thankyou, Thankyou! I am also ever-so-thankful to have been blessed with a precious family to celebrate our Lord's ressurection with. My sweet and helpful husband was hand-chosen just for me by a loving and merciful God. How awesome is that!?! My 3 beautiful, healthy children who make Easter ( and everyday) much cuter and more fun! My godly parents who are so supportive and helpful. My unique and "random" little sister who makes me so proud! These are the characters with which I was blessed to spend the day. I am also thankful for an AMAZING church family. What a day we had on Sunday! WOW! We have THE BEST music minister in the world. The musical Sunday night was such a blessing to be a part of. What a weekend. Oh, I am blessed. Beyond measure. THANKYOU JESUS!!!

Gratituesday is hosted by The Heavenly Homemaker

Friday, April 10, 2009

Disney on Ice

Last night was Girl's Night Out! We had such a great time at Disney on Ice in Jacksonville. Hadley, Avery and I joined our dear friends Monica, Reese and Reganne Robinson and Priscilla, Makayla and Ms. Harriet Jackson for a special girls-only night! We had dinner at Chic-fil-a before the show. Hadley was so excited to be eating at her favorite resturant with her best friend. They were so cute!
The show was amazing! We saw Lightning McQueen, Mater, Sally, Ramone, and Doc during the first part. Of course, that was Avery's favorite part of the night! It was really neat to see those cars racing around on the ice. Ramone even "hit the switches" for us!
Then, it was time for The Little Mermaid. That was my favorite part of the show. The Little Mermaid came out when I was in 3rd grade and it was my very favorite movie as a little girl. I felt like a kid again as I sang along to all the songs. It was great!
The Lion King portion of the show was next. The costumes were beautiful! The girls were a little scared of the part with Scar and the hyenias, but they really did enjoy the music and Timone and Pumba cracked them up!
The Fairies were the stars of the show. They came out after the intermission and they were the entire second half of the show. The look on Hadley's face when her favorite fairy, Silvermist skated out was priceless! It really was one of the best productions I have ever seen. The colors and music and special effects were just breath-taking!
It was a wonderful evening out with my precious girls. I would definitely recommend the show to anyone with little girls!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Disney/Sea World!!!

We had such a wonderful time on our vacation. It was such a blessing to have 4 full days with my precious family! Where to begin? Well, we woke up early Thursday morning. I went to the kitchen to start breakfast. We like to eat a big breakfast before we leave for the parks. We made chocolate chip Mickey pancakes! Yummy!

Well, while I was fixing breakfast, Brian went to wake up the girls. He went to the girl's beds to discover a very feverish Avery. She had a temperature of 104 degrees! Needless to say, we got off to a late start that day! After children's motrin, she was feeling a little better and we decided to head out and try to make the most of the day. We went to Disney's Animal Kingdom that day. Avery spent the majority of the day sleeping in the stroller. We did have a great time that day, though. The girls absolutely LOVED the show Nemo, The Musical. They also both loved the Triceratop Spin, a fun little kiddie ride in the Dino-land section of the park. They were intrigued by the Safari, too. We even got to see the Lions up and prowling around. The animals were really awake and active this time! Even with Avery being sick, we all had a great day!

Hadley got her face painted!

On Friday, Avery was feeling a lot better! That was good, since it was her birthday! We got up and had another special breakfast-Daddy made sausage balls! The girls got dressed in their princess dresses and we headed to The Magic Kingdom! Brian's parents and my mom and sister, Ashley came down and joined us for the day. It was a beautiful day and we had so much fun! We ate lunch at The Crystal Palace with Pooh Bear and Friends. It was GREAT!

On Saturday, we went to Sea World. It was another great day! I think Sea World was actually Avery's favorite place! She has now decided she wants to be a whale trainer when she grows up! They loved the Shamu show and the water and sand play areas the best. And, each of the girls got to pick out a stuffed animal. Avery chose a big, plush Shamu and Hadley picked the biggest stuffed dolphin I have ever seen! It is HUGE! It was a great way to end a great vacation!

Ben in the giant sand box at Sea World

Monday, April 6, 2009

Avery is 3 years old!

Avery Jane-6 months old

Avery Jane pulls up! 8 months old

Avery and her Blues Clues-9 months old

Avery's First Valentine's Day

Avery's First Birthday-3/20/07
Grill cheese for Breakfast-Ave's Fave:)

It is hard for me to believe that my baby girl is 3 years old already. It really seems like just the other day we were looking down on her tiny little body hooked up to machines in the NICU at Wolfson's Children's hospital in Jacksonville. Avery Jane is a tough little cookie. Looking at her then, she seemed so tiny and helpless and fragile. She had a very rough start. She was born a month early. When she was born, she looked so beautiful. But, she couldn't cry. She made a pitiful grunting noise. She was whisked away to the NICU. It was the strangest feeling. She was in the NICU and Brian was gone to tell our families what was going on. The doctors and nurses had finished up and left me all alone. I knew I had just given birth, but it all felt so unreal. It almost felt like maybe I had just dreamed the whole thing. We didn't get to hold her or feed her for the first week of her life. It was the scariest time I have ever experienced. To look at her now, one would never guess she had ever had such a rough start. She is an amazing little girl. She is sweet and funny, tough and beautiful. She loves to play outside. She loves dogs, especially Crush! She is a HUGE Lightning McQueen fan. She likes to wear dresses every day. She has a stubborn streak. She says she wants to be a whale trainer when she grows up. She is such a blessing to me. I am ever-so-thankful to God for the wonderful gift of Avery Jane. Happy Birthday to Avery!

Menu Plan Monday and Busy, Busy, Busy!!!

Monday, 4/6-
Spagetti with meatballs

Tuesday, 4/7-
baked pork chops
mac and cheese with broccoli

Wednesday, 4/8-
church night-sandwiches

Thursday, 4/9-
girls night out-Chic-fil-a
boys night in-leftovers

Friday, 4/10-
Black Beans and Rice with pork
homemade cuban bread
fried bananas

Saturday, 4/11-
taboulleh salad
homemade hummus
homemade pitas
fruit salad

Find more dinner time inspiration at

It has been an exciting and busy few weeks for our family. We have been in and out and on the go quite a bit and I am very behind on many household tasks. I am also behind on blogging! I am going to attempt to catch things up this week. I will be blogging about all of our adventures over the past few weeks, including: Avery turned 3!, our Disney/Sea World trip, our visit with Aunt Fran, our visit with Ashley, and our camping adventures. Also, on Thursday night, Hadley, Avery and I will be going to see Disney on Ice in Jacksonville with some dear friends-I will take lots of pics and blog that, too! Boy, I sure have my work cut out for me!