Tyson Hugh Hooper

Tyson Hugh Hooper
Our son, Tyson Hugh Hooper, was born with coarctation of the aorta, hypoplastic arch, and a transitional avsd. His first open heart surgery reconstructed his aorta and was on day 9 of life. His second open heart repair was not anticipated to be needed until two or three years of age. Ty had other plans. We spent the vast majority of his first 3 months of life at Vanderbilt as he went into heart failure and was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. As a result, the medical team concluded that he needed the repair much sooner than usually recommended, and at just shy of 3 months old Ty underwent his second life saving open heart surgery. God has already worked so many miracles in Ty's life and the life of our family and we know he is using our story. Because of this, we are grateful for Ty's special heart and feel beyond blessed that God chose us to travel this road. We ask for prayers as Ty continues to heal. We are praying for a full recovery and life without restrictions for Ty. We are praying for God to use our family and Ty for His glory.

Thank you to each and every person who supports us through prayer, giving, or just by loving on our family! We are humbled and blessed by all of the ways the Lord is providing for us and know that he is using Ty and his story to do great things!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Menu Monday... and a recipe

This week's Menu (on time... impressive)

Grilled Chicken with
Stuffed Zucchini
and roasted potatoes

Grilled Chicken Sandwiches
(with leftover chicken)
and Fresh Cut Oven Fries

Grilled Kabobs (chicken/onion/sweet pepper)
with Grilled Corn on the Cob (Lily's request), and Rice



Pork Chops,
Green Beans, and
Baked Sweet Potatoes

Leftovers and/or

Last week you might have noticed Zucchini fries on the menu and I promised the recipe!  They are SO good!  Chris even liked them - a lot - so you know it's a winner!  It's a great way to get your kids to eat some veggies!

Crispy Zucchini Fries
(From Pampered Chef Season's Best recipe collection - Spring/Summer 2012)


1 medium zucchini

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) large fat-free seasoned restaurant-style croutons (see Cook's Tip)

1 oz (30 g) Parmesan cheese, divided

1 egg white


1.Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Line Cookie Sheet with Parchment Paper. Trim and discard ends of zucchini; cut in half crosswise using Chef's Knife. Cut each zucchini half using French Fry Cutter (discard any thinner pieces). Place croutons in Manual Food Processor; cover and pump handle until finely chopped. Grate Parmesan cheese with Microplane® Adjustable Fine Grater. Place chopped croutons and half of the Parmesan cheese in Coating Tray; mix well.

2.Whisk egg white in Classic Batter Bowl until frothy. Add zucchini; mix gently until well coated. Dredge zucchini in crouton mixture, pressing firmly to coat. Arrange zucchini in a single layer on Cookie Sheet. Bake 14–16 minutes or until crisp.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A trip to the lake...

I have always loved the lake.  We are so blessed that our recent move just happened to put us a LOT closer to Old Hickory Lake and we are taking advantage!  We recently loaded up on the sunny day and headed over to the lake for some outdoor fun!
 I have always loved packing a picnic basket!  On this particular day we had grilled burgers on the menu with chips and for dessert... Vanilla Wafers and Nutella!  Yummy!!

We enjoy the convenience of our gas grill at home no less than twice a week in the spring, summer, and fall... but there is NOTHING like cooking on charcoal!  Chris was in charge of the burgers - he loves to grill!  This day he made bacon cheddar burgers that were so very good! 

Nothing says summer is coming like a cooler of cold drinks on ice! 

Although the food was wonderful, the highlight of the day was just getting to spend time outside!  It is so rare that we have an entire day with no plans, no agenda, and no schedule to keep!  We just went outside and enjoyed the day for as long as we wanted!

I am a water bug.  I can't help it.  Anytime I am around water I feel such a sense of peace.  I love the pool, a gentle creek, and big lake, a pond, and most of all, the ocean.  I think I could sit from sun up until sun down in front of this beautiful lake, on the soft green grass and be happy as a clam! 

Most people think we are a family of four, but actually we are a family of five (and sometimes more!)  We don't go ANYWHERE without one of our American Girls!  ;-)  This lovely day it was Bitty that got to come along!
Bitty and Ava Grace both had to wear a hat because it was very windy! 

And, just like water always does, it beckons and whispers to you on the wind until you can no longer resist and you just have to get your toes in!  Of course... once your toes are wet, the rest of your feet need to be wet too!  And then you realize how great it would feel on your ankles... and a little deeper to your knees... you know how it is!  By the time we left Lily was pretty wet from the waste down from kicking and splashing around on the boat ramp!

Check out my husbands nice bass!  haha!  He likes the water too!!  Not for the same reasons Lily and I do - the swimming and splashing - but for fishing instead! 

 Ava Grace enjoyed the whole experience as well!  It was a little cool and a lot breezy, but she didn't seem to mind too much!  She napped and ate and strolled and just took it all in!

 (Lily and Chris watching a boat about to load.  Lily had waited most of the afternoon to see one get put in!)

 Ava Grace practiced her newest trick... holding her Paci!  It's fun and cute until she's sleep and keeps pulling it out of her mouth!  lol

 Chris and Lily finished up the day by hitting some golf balls into the water - so fun!
It was a great day at the lake!  We can't wait to go back again!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Menu Plan... late again

Chicken Casserole

Grilled Chicken Sandwiches
and Zucchini Fries
(I'll be sharing this recipe later in the week - so good!)

Grilled Chicken Salad

Grilled Pork Chops
with sweet potatoes and
green beans

Beef Enchiladas


Chicken Panini for lunch
Get Yo Man Chicken and Rice for dinner

Monday, April 23, 2012

Just hangin' around...

One of our favorite things to do is just hang around the house!

It is true that we are very social and we seem to always be going and doing, but we truly enjoy days when we get to be home all day long and just enjoy each others company!  We especially like to pile up in the bed - all four of us - for a good Saturday morning cartoon and snuggling.

I like to start the day together like that... snuggling, all together... and then slowly as the morning drifts by, we all kind of drift in our own directions and back together throughout the day.  Lily upstairs to play school, or down stairs to help me cook something, or out on the deck where she pretends the American Girls are at the pool.  Chris out to work in the yard, on the couch for a doze off for a bit, or playing with one of the girls.  Me in the kitchen making something yummy, straightening and organizing something, or somewhere working on a weekend "project"  And Ava Grace..
...playing, napping, eating.... playing. napping, eating...

(Think those eyes will be blue?  green?  brown?  They seem to look a different color every day.)
(I love when she focuses really hard like this!  So serious!)

Yep.  I think my favorite days are those hangin' around days.  When you might get dressed, or you might stay in your PJs all day.  When everyone seems to do lots and nothing all at the same time.  And we get a whole day of time together... at home... uninterrupted.

Those are good days.

The best days.

Just hangin' around days.

We should make those days happen more often!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chattanooga Weekend Fun

We recently had a fun weekend in Chattanooga, but I haven't had a chance to post about our fun time!  We went just for fun - no special occasion other than to see my family and enjoy a relaxing weekend.  And we did... have a relaxing weekend, that is! 

We did the usual fun stuff... ate at Couch's, got to visit with my grandparents (now known to Lily and Ava Grace and Great'ma and Great'pa), and did lots of visiting and relaxing at my parent's house.  As has become tradition, my brother and his family came over Sunday and my grandparents came up for brunch and a day of play for the girls and kicking back for the grown ups.... most of them anyway.

Grandmommy and Papaw got rid of their gator in favor of the new (what has now been deemed) school bus!  :-)  So Lily and Bentlee took turns driving up and down my parent's very long driveway dropping off all of the American Girl dolls and picking them up again!  Kensley went to see the chickens and then watched for the girls to return!

The girls had So. Much. Fun.  They always do at Grandmommy and Papaw's house!  :-)  I know they wear Grandmommy out, but she just plays and plays!
Kensley finally decided she had to get in on the action, so she climbed aboard.  At first in the front, but it was a little crowded, so she climbed in the back with Papaw for a ride!

You might be asking where Ava Grace was in all this outside play!  Well, she was inside for most of it, sleeping and enjoying being in people's laps!
She had LOTS of smiles for my brother!  She seems to grin every time she sees him!  :-)

Here she is with my sister-in-law, Sarah.  It's SO funny because Kensley freaks out every time she sees Sarah holding Ava Grace and starts crying "MYyyyyyyy Mommmmmyyyy!"  It's so funny!  :-)  When she is playing in another room, she even comes back periodically to check to make sure her mommy isn't holding Ava Grace.  It's so cute!  :-) 

As always, it was a great weekend with family!  Can't wait until next time!

Monday, April 16, 2012


I am so behind on blogging!  And now I am going to blog out of order to catch up! lol.  This past week my father-in-law was hospitalized due to a fall and so most of the week, we were out of pocket!  Between Lily's spring break and trying to be in Murfreesboro to be close if needed for my in-laws, there was no time for blogging!  Thankfully my father-in-law is doing better and hopefully headed to rehab today or tomorrow and we are back home and I am back to blogging!  As I type Ava Grace is starting to stir and she's going to be hungry so this'll be a quick one!  Just wanted to share some pictures from Easter!

Every year we go to my Aunt's house in Chattanooga for Easter.  She has a HUGE deck with several outdoor tables  and umbrellas, it's the perfect setting for an outdoor Easter celebration with family and friends! 

Her deck is surrounded by trees!  The weather was perfect to spend the day outside!  And guess what?  My sister and brother-in-law got to come in town!  They just happened to be passing through Easter weekend and had time to stop and stay a night and to enjoy Sunday with family!  I was SO excited that they got to stay!!!! 

I always love Easter because it's right in the heart of spring!  Everyone is dressed in spring colors and the kids are excited about hunting eggs, and of course the meaning of the day is the most special of all!

This might be the first "family" picture that has been taken in which we are ALL rested, showered, refreshed, and dressed for a picture! lol.  We are sun splashed in the this picture, but I still like it!  :-)  I have never been happier and I love our sweet family of four! 

I have two Daddy's girls, that's for sure!

 Above is a picture of my brother, Ken, helping his "baby" Kenslee find Easter eggs!

 And this one is of Lily hunting eggs!

Finally, Bentlee got to hold Ava Grace!  Last time we were in town she and Lily were so busy playing that she forgot to hold her!  She was so disappointed after we left and she realized she didn't even hold Ava Grace, so we make up for it this visit!  :-)

I know one thing - we have a family full of girly girls... and we love it!  :-)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Just a few cute pictures of Ava Grace!  She was all dressed up for a wedding!  Her Daddy took the first and last picture and I took the one in the middle!  :-)

Monday, April 2, 2012

What's for dinner?

If you have the coveted Deep Covered Baker, your possibilities are endless!  AND dinner can be ready is under 30 minutes!
This past week I found myself short on groceries and in need of a good lunch!  I really wanted pasta alfredo, for some reason, so I decided to adapt the recipe for Pasta Primavera to suit my needs!  Talk about easy and fast!  I used the recipe below, cut it in half, and left out the vegetables and parsley (because I didn't have them).  It was SO easy and SO wonderful that I can't wait to make it again for dinner and I'll add chicken!  Basically, this recipe now serves as two:

Pasta Primavera (pictured above)
Chicken Alfredo (just eliminate the veggies and add chicken!)

8 oz (250 g) uncooked spaghetti noodles

2 1/4 cups (550 mL) chicken broth
1 cup (250 mL) heavy whipping cream
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tbsp (15 mL) Lemon Pepper Rub
2 medium carrots, peeled
1 medium red bell pepper
2 oz (60 g) cream cheese, softened
2 oz (60 g) Parmesan cheese, grated (about ½ cup/125 mL), divided
2 cups (500 mL) fresh small broccoli florets
1 cup (250 mL) sugar snap peas, trimmed
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh parsley

  1. Break noodles in half. Combine noodles, broth, cream, garlic pressed with the Garlic Press and rub in Deep Covered Baker. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 14-17 minutes or until noodles are tender, stirring once halfway through. Meanwhile, cut carrots into julienne strips using Julienne Peeler. Cut bell pepper lengthwise into strips; cut carrots and bell pepper strips into 1-in. (2.5-cm) pieces.
  2. Carefully remove baker from microwave using Oven Mitts. Add cream cheese and 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the Parmesan cheese to baker; mix well. Stir in carrots, bell pepper, broccoli, peas and parsley. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Serve with remaining Parmesan cheese.

The Deep Covered Baker is my #1 MUST for EVERY kitchen.  If you don't have one, you must get one!  It will revolutionize your kitchen and save you so much time and money!

(click here for purchase information)

Menu Plan for this week...


Grilled Pork Chops with Rice and Veggies

Chicken Alfredo


Breakfast for Dinner

Dinner at a friend's house

Easter dinner at my aunt's house!


Today I bring you three Christmas Kitchen Treasures!

Three items I got for Christmas and treasure in my kitchen!  I haven't had a chance to blog about them for obvious reasons, but I want to share them with you now!

A couple years ago I decided that my recipe box just wasn't functional and that I much preferred a book!  My mom had already started a book of her own using all kinds of delightful scrapbook paper and stickers to coordinate with all her favorite recipes.  I might get to that point one day, but at the time I just wanted to ditch the recipe box and put my recipe cards in sleeves in a notebook!  Mom joined me in the project and we discovered that you could take a high quality sheet protector, put in a large recipe card, and then use the sewing machine to sew a seam across the page and the put in another recipe card, so one sheet protector would hold two large recipe cards perfectly!  I set up my notebook.  It's just plain white with plain dividers, but it serves its purpose and I enjoy having a book!  It's so much more convenient and all my recipes are protected in a plastic cover in case I splatter or spill!

For Christmas, Mom got me a large recipe binder!  It's made for exactly the project we had in mind with beautiful, already labeled dividers, sheet protectors, and recipe pages!  I love it!  I have been so busy with new house and new baby projects I haven't "moved in" to my new recipe book yet because I really want to take time and enjoy the organizing process, but setting up my notebook is rapidly moving up my "to do" project list as I strike off the necessary projects in order!  I think I might get to it this very weekend!!

Another gift she got me was this great set of melamine bowls!  I have been wanting some for a while now and I found this set at Sam's over Christmas!  I mentioned them to mom and she went and got them for me!  I LOVE them!  I use them almost every day!  They are great because they have a non-skid ring on the bottom, I have one in every size I could possibly need, they nest for easy storage and they have spill proof lids!  These are being added to my "every kitchen must have" list!
And my #1 favorite and another kitchen must have for EVERY KITCHEN is the new food saver she got me!  Are you kidding me?  I was using the zip lock freezer storage system prior to this and it doesn't even compare.  I had no idea how very very easy a food saver was to use and how much I would use it!  I am doing a lot more cooking ahead and freezing and lot less throwing away! 

This past week I made chicken casserole (Chris' favorite meal ever) and I multiplied the recipe by 4.  We had chicken casserole for dinner that night and then I froze 2 dinner size casseroles and 2 lunch size (1/2) casseroles.  Chris pulled one out Saturday for lunch!  I think it's safe to say that we both love our food saver!  :-)