Monday, January 28, 2013

Zac Brown Band to Play at the Daytona 500

The Zac Brown Band moves on to Florida to perform at  the Feb. 24 Daytona 500, NASCAR's season-opening race. The  band will play a miniconcert during the Budweiser Pre-Race Show, and two songs will be aired live.

This is a milestone moment for the band and holds a special sentiment for Zac Brown. Brown grew up in Georgia where the Daytona 500 is as big as the Super Bowl.

"It was always the big sporting event," Brown said. "Anytime there was major championships or major races, they were usually on TV. They were usually a part of what was going on when we were all hanging out together."

Read more in today's Huffington Post

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Eugene Patterson Dies in Florida

Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and columnist Eugene Patterson, who helped draw nationwide attention to the civil rights movement, has died in Florida after complications from prostate cancer,at age 89.
Read more:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Ormond Beach Bridge

I took this photo this morning of the Ormond Beach bridge from the small riverside park in Holly Hill. So pretty how the water almost matches the sky! And how spoiled we are, not even mid January and we have a beautiful summer like day with temperatures of almost 80 degrees. Have you ever walked over the Ormond bridge, it is a VERY popular exercise route. Can't think of a nicer or more healthy way to begin or end the day! Here's another photo I took this morning overlooking the Halifax River...beautiful!!!

Good News for Florida's Everglades

A canal project has begun to restore freshwater flows to Florida Bay and preserve water for the Everglades, helping save wildlife as well as the local fishing industry. Read more in today's Huffington Post.

Friday, January 11, 2013

400-pound American Alligator Gets a New Home in Florida

Rescued seven years ago when the Arizona Department of Public Safety stopped a trailer full of illegally owned animals, a 400-pound American alligator is being transported to his new home in Florida. Read more at USA Today.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Florida Autism Blog

I wanted to share with you another blog I have just started, titled Autism Spectrum Stories and Adventures. The blog will focus mostly on my 8 year old son Dylan, who was identified as falling under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder when he was only 15 months old. Dylan has been born and raised in Florida, so any other parents with autistic children in the Sunshine State may be especially interested in this blog, especially regarding what services he has received and what his school settings have been so far. I will also welcome guest posts, if you would like to share a story or adventure about your autistic child or family member. I would love your imput!!!

Florida Schools Making the Grade

Florida schools seem to get such a bad rap, and people moving to Florida from other states often seem especially concerned that their child's educational needs will not be met as they had been elsewhere.  My oldest two children actually had a fantastic experience in the Volusia County School System, including enrollment in  gifted programs and a high school IB program. ( Because of this program, my daughter is currently a junior after completing only one semester of college) According to this article, Education Week has ranked Florida in the top 10 of schools nationwide. We also have several of Kiplingers top ranked "most value" Public Universities. These are impressive statistics that the sunshine state should be proud of. There is always room for improvement, but that holds true for everywhere. Have you been satisfied with the education your child has received while attending Florida schools?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New School Security Measures in Florida

With the holidays over and children back to school, parent's are looking for signs and reassurance of increased school security measures. According to this article, Seminole County is one county that has been confident in it's existing security protocols and hasn't added any new measures. Where my son attends school in Volusia County, I have noticed the doors to the individual "pod" buildings have been locked throughout the day (they had never been before) What changes in school security have you noticed in your child's Florida school, and how do you feel about them?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fudge Buckets in St. Augustine Florida

Get used to me saying that St. Augustine, Florida is one of my favorite the world. If we needed another reason to entice us to go there, (which we don't) here it is, check out Fudge Buckets located at 40 Charlotte Street, right in the middle of old town. Here's a great write up in Huffington Post Travel. NEED>>>SOME>>>>FUDGE!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Emeril's Florida Debuts Tomorrow

Who doesn't love Emeril? And I miss him, I hardly ever seem to see him on TV anymore. I remember when Emeril Live was one of my favorite programs and I was so sad when it was taken off the air.  This is why I am so excited that Emeril has a new show coming out, and to make it sooo much better is, he is celebrating our beautiful sunshine state in this new travel show that showcases the best cuisine, fresh fish, and agriculture throughout Florida. This is a must see for all of us Floridians!! A great article in today's Daily News tells more what the new program will feature, and provides a little more insight from the great Emeril himself. Be sure to watch the show tomorrow and let us know what you think!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Crock Pot Yellow Squash with Chipotle Tomatoes

To get to know me is to know that I love my crockpot. When I got married many years ago, at the ripe old age of 22, I had little experience cooking. My husband, however, had a lot of experience cooking in restaurants. That combined with the fact that I initially worked nights, I was happy to defer the family cooking to him.

Several years ago when my youngest (special needs) son was born and I retired, it was only natural that I attempt to cook now that I was a stay home mom. This is when I discovered my crockpot and it was truly love. It was perfect for an inexperienced cook like me to come up with delicious homecooked meals, with a simplicity I can deal with.

I've become better at cooking in the past few years, so I don't use my crockpot exclusively anymore. Still it's fair to say I use it once or twice a week, and I'm always coming up with new things to try.

Here is a recipe I came up with last week, trying to eat more healthily after splurging over the holidays.

1 package (I used publix) fresh yellow squash from the produce section, sliced in quarter inch pieces
Petite Cut Diced Tomatoes with Chipotle Chilies, 14.5 oz
I sliced onion
fresh parmesan cheese, grated

Layer onion and half of the diced tomatoes on the bottom of your crock. Put in the squash and then the rest of the tomatoes.
I cooked mine on high for around 7 hours. I checked it after 4 and stirred it but knew it could go longer. Before serving I grated fresh parmesan cheese on top.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Gator Loss in Sugar Bowl, How Did This Happen?

Many Florida Gator fans woke up this morning, still shaking there heads I imagine, wondering how the Florida Gators lost the BCS Sugar Bowl to what was almost universally agreed to be an inferior opponent. Louisville, after all, is from the Big East, and the Gators are from the almighty SEC. Many believed this was a no brainer and felt it was beneath the Gators to even be playing a sub par team such as Louisville. Also interesting to note is that the ACC's Clemson beat the SEC's LSU in the Chik-fil-A Bowl 2 days earlier.

Many of those pointing a finger are wasting no time pointing one at Will Muschamp. I myself am personally dismayed by the poor sportsmanship I observed. A very sadly sour note on which to end an otherwise impressive season. As Austin Green says in today's Bleacher Report ~ Not only did Florida lose big, but they performed in a simply shameful manner. They committed multiple personal fouls, Chris Johnson was ejected for throwing a punch, and they gave up 98 yards on nine penalties.

BCS rankings and SEC dominance and supposed superiority are always hot topics of dispute, and these Gator and LSU losses will surely only fuel that fire.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bjoern Werner Decision and More

The Florida State Seminoles don't seem to get much respect, in my opinion. In spite of a season with only two losses, becoming ACC Champions and winning the Orange Bowl last night by a score of 31-10, Nole fans still get bombarded with headlines such as in this article in espn today.

An announcement is expected soon as to whether or not Bjoern Werner will declaring a year early for the NFL Draft. Woerner says that he and his wife of three years have made their decision, but he has not announced it publicly as of yet. My guess is that FSU will be saying goodbye to an amazing athlete. Looking forward to watching him in the pros!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Thoughts For the New Year - The Value of Less Worry and More Good Deeds

Searching for a sense of renewal as the New Year kicks in? Check out what more than 600 people did this morning in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, courtesy of the Florida Times-Union. You don't have to jump into the cold ocean water to feel renewed, however. I have read where just doing one good deed a day for someone can keep people feeling renewed year round. I think being a "better person" is on almost everyone's New Year resolution list, but how do we accomplish this? If we are constantly in a state of self-absorption and worry it certainly is difficult.

                                            My handsome little man in his New Year's outfit!

My suggestion is for us to all start off the New Year, either reading or rereading this book. This is a book you do not have to read all at once, I found some incredibly valuable information before I even finished the first chapter. We very often can be our own worst enemy, let's try not to do that so much this year!!