The mom I thought I would be

The mom I thought I would be

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When I was 24 and pregnant with my firt son, I had so many ideas of the mom I would be.

And they were all wrong!

It may suprise you to read that I wanted to be a working mother. I dont know that that is the norm at our current time. I had visions of going to my amazing job and contributing to my household monetarily. Until I had to take him to daycare for the first time.

I remember the first time he came down with an ear infection – and I was faced the with the wrecking mom guilt again. Because I had to work (and I did have to) I had to take this perfect sweet, amazing blonde baby to daycare and subject him to germs and other people’s care. I was continuously having to choose between my primal instict as a mother and helping provide for my family. It sucked.

Fast forward to having a 7 month old and SURPRISE I’m pregnant again. Two kids in 15 months – I cried! Now I would have to haul two of them into daycare, twice as much sickness, twice as much in daycare payments. I had never wanted to be a stay at home more in my entire life. The thought was laughable, really. Did I posses that much sanity to actually even do that job?

After the birth of our younger son, I landed myself this glorious job as a stay home mom! It’s the last thing I ever thought I would want. But here I am, doing the SAHM life. Boogers, poop, playdates, sports, snacks..you name it!

The second part of who I thought I would be as a mom. It’s the things my husband and I said – no coke, candy, “oh my kids will be so well-behaved”. I literally laughed out loud just now. Thats a negative ghost rider. (As they are currently running around in their underwear acting like ninjas. And I cant even recall when the last time I fed them was. Whoops! Momfail.)

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My boys have to have their morning caffiene and sometimes I just open the pantry in the mornings for them to pick whatever it is they want just to save myself the headache. Fruit snacks are good for you, right?

The moral of my story is that no matter what you “thought” you’d be is usually (or in my case) completely and totally wrong.

But one thing is for certain. We’re all barely surviving no matter what kind of mom you are. You’re never alone. Literally, there’s always probably someone in the bathroom with you. May the force be with you!

36266338_10213004457965528_2216563528326709248_n Meghan Sit Goodman, Mom of 2 and Owner of  Glowing Tan

 

Quick 5 Minute Wreath Switch up

With the season change upon us, I’ve seen a lot of people ready to decorate for fall.
One of my favorite things to do is switch up my base wreath. This wreath stays on the door all year round, and to me, there’s just something welcoming about a door wreath.
A couple years ago, I made my base wreath out of burlap and a wire wreath base from the $1 store. You can find about a million tutorials on YouTube to do this, and it was super easy to do.
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I headed back to the dollar store and picked up a hand full of things for $5 plus tax.
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I am no master decorator, but I think it looks pretty good for taking 5 minutes to do.
I wrapped and tucked the fall leaves garland around my whole wreath and adjusted, pulled off some leaves as needed.
Added my sign to the middle. I just hang the sign on the wreath holder and tuck it into the burlap.
And clipped on the cute pumpkins!
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Instant fall decor.
Now all I have to do is take a magic eraser to my front door!!
                       Becky Phillips
                           mom of 2
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         You can find more of my posts at Workingwifemommalife.wordpress.com

Blackened flounder philly with homemade coleslaw!

Flounder first!

1 cup vinegar

Glass pan half filled with water

4 Flounder filets

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

A couple of tbsp of olive oil for in the pan

Start off with putting the vinegar into the water and soaking the fish for 20-30 minutes. This will get rid of any fishy flavor!

Mix the seasonings together. Dip the fish in the melted butter and pat on the seasoning on both sides.

Make the pan hot and place the fish. Cook for 2-3 min on each side.

Melt provolone over the fish(or over your favorite veggies). Put it in a roll and enjoy!!

Must Have Mom Subscriptions

Must Have Mom Subscriptions

There are so many monthly subscriptions out there, from a personalized selection of clothes picked just for you to fishing supplies, depending on what type of water you fish in. (My husband is all about this by the way.)

This list is in no particular order and consist of things I have personally tried or plan to try in the near future.

  1. Amazon Prime – This first is so obvious but should come with a warning label. I love that I can buy anything on this site I need for my family. My most frequent purchases are diapers and Pediasure Grow and Gain but during the last Prime Day I ended up with a 2-pack of Clarisonic brushes and a shirt. I call that a success. But warning, it’s so easy to add things to your cart, check out and have it delivered in 2 days that you may quickly become a “primanista”. That meaning you’ll have packages arriving every few days. Which, doesn’t sound so bad actually. At around $10 a month its a complete and total NEED for moms, who just can’t go to the store one more time that week.
  2. Shipt – Hallelujah! I wish Shipt had been around when I had a newborn in the middle of the Tampa summer years ago. It’s a freaking life saver. Especially when you’re cooking dinner and need a forgotten ingredient or it’s raining, or you just don’t want to go. This subscription is an upfront annual fee of $99 but often run a $49 special when they add a new store or for special holidays. Current stores include Costco, Publix, Target, GFS, Winn Dixie and ABC Wine & Liquor (ummmmm yes!). If you don’t have it, get it. Now. G
  3. Netflix – This is our  most used subscription in my house. They’re always adding movies – whether they’re good or not is not my place to say. It’s less than $15 a month and you can stream it on 2 devices at one time. Yes, I know this for a fact. It’s usually a fight in my house to see who’s going to stop watching. I lose. Every time. So instead of hauling your kids to the movies to watch the newest Disney release, wait 12 weeks after it’s out of box office and save yourself the hassle and money. Unless its an Avengers movie because who doesn’t want to see Chris Hemsworth on the big screen?
  1. Firstleaf (Wine) – How many times have we had to pick up a bottle for friends on the way to a girls night/playdate – this happened to me 3 times last week. Whether you’re a 3 bottles a week gal or 3 bottles a month this could work for you! Firstleaf offers $20/month subscription which includes 3 bottles. The process is super easy, you take the quiz seeing what you’d like white, red, mix and import preference. The last question asks how many bottles you drink a month. So depending on your answers you’re given a suggestion. The wine is delivered to your door. So, you’re never without wine and wouldn’t that be a shame?
  1. FabKids – similar to clothing subscriptions for moms, it’s for the little’s. This is the way I see it. You’re going to spend money on your kids’ school clothes regularly. You see the cute top at Target, oh but does he have a pair of shorts to match? Can’t remember, may as well grab another pair. You’re doing that once a week while there PLUS the pre planned trips for new shoes they’ve outgrown, picture day..you know the drill. Here’s the fine print. Between the 1st and 5th of the month you’re sent an email for action – to shop or skip. If you do choose to skip your card is debited for $29.95 but you’re given that $29.95 as a credit to be used anytime. You’re charged the $29.95 until you cancel. There’s also perks like free shipping (that always gets me) and a rewards program.

This list was composed with you in mind, a little more added convenience to our lives is the way to go. I dread shopping with my kids, even if its a quick trip so you’ll find that all of these eliminate bringing what I’m sure are you wonderfully behaved children in public.

Disclaimer Alert: I haven’t listed all details for everyone of these subscription suggestions. It’s important to conduct your own research. 

36266338_10213004457965528_2216563528326709248_n Written By: Meghan Goodman

My favorite vegan pasta! One pot!

1/2 tbsp olive oil

4 cloves garlic minced

1tsp onion powder or 1 chopped shallot

2 cups veggie broth

1 bag of fresh broccoli

1 and 1/2 cups plain soy or almond milk

1 box of pasta (I use spaghetti or fettuccine)

Nutritional Yeast in place of Parmesan cheese

Salt, pepper and oregano to your taste

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add garlic, onion/shallot and salt/pepper.

Once the garlic softens, add veggie broth and soy milk. Once combined, add the pasta- make sure it is completely submerged.

Bring to a boil, occasionally stirring(as much as you can).

Reduce to a simmer and add broccoli and nutritional yeast.

Continue to stir occasionally and remove from heat once the texture is creamy(to your liking)

Sprinkle oregano and a little extra yeast on top and enjoy!!

EM’s August Momprenuer Spotlight: Bridge Bowtique

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Bridge Bowtique Owner, Christina started her business 3 years ago. In her own words, she tells you her Why?………..

“For 10 years I was a local first grade teacher. In 2012 we were finally blessed with our son Gavin. A few years later his health began to decline. His medical needs and care came first so I resigned from teaching. 

A year or so went by and we realized returning to the classroom wasn’t an option. It wouldn’t be fair to Gavin or a classroom of kiddos. However, I still felt the need to be productive and support the medical costs associated with Gavin’s health needs. I tutored for a while, but ultimately decided I needed something with more flexibility. I’ve always been crafty and after hosting a baby shower for a friend which included handmade baby bows the idea came to me.

Bridge Bowtique allows me the flexibility to attend to my child as well as feel like I’m contributing in a financial way to my family. It has also allowed me the ability to give back to organizations near to my heart by donating baskets of bows to be used as raffle items. This month marks 3 years since I started the business. I now have a fully operational website and can ship across the country. I love interacting with the moms who stop by and shop. I’ve formed true friendships that would have most likely never happened by meeting so many wonderful people! Most important, I’m here for my child. During hospital inpatient stays and long infusion days I’m able to sit next to him and sew bows while watching movies or playing games.

I’m very blessed and grateful for the love and support that so many have shown my little business ❤️

If you would like to learn more about Bridge Bowtique & check out her variety of awesome Bows,  please visit her website at Bridgebowtique.com.

You can also follow along on Facebook at Bridge Bowtique, where she is running a giveaway for a chance to win a free bow a month for a year!

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Back To School – Lunch Time

Written By: Lisa Valentine

It’s that time of year again… Back to school! One of the hardest parts as a parent is figuring out what to pack our kids for lunch. If you’re like me, you want your kids to eat healthy so they can be fueled to work at their highest potential. First start by planning ahead and go food shopping on Friday or Saturday so you can prep on Sunday afternoon. If you have older kids, have them help! Studies show when they are involved in making their meals they are more likely to eat the foods prepared!

When planing try to incorporate a healthy protein (palm sized), fruit serving (1 cup) and veggie serving (1 cup). Using a small thermos for leftover dinners is also a great way to pack a healthy lunch. TIP* To keep food hot until lunch time you will have to prep the morning of. Heat some hot water in a tea kettle and poor it into the thermos and let it sit. Then heat the food you will be using in the microwave (make it hotter then normal when heating). Before you leave for school dump the hot water out and add the heated food.  Last year was my first year with a “school age child” and I experimented with various ideas from the school lunch box makeover group I was co hosting.  Below were a couple favorites.

Mac & Cheese Bites – 12 servings (12 minutes to make) from Autumn Calabrese Ingredients: 4 oz of whole wheat, quinoa or bean pasta, cooked 1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or coconut milk drink) 1 1/4 cup + 1 TBS grated cheddar cheese 1 TBS corn starch 1 clove minced garlic 1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions:

1. In a large skillet, combine milk, salt and garlic and bring to a simmer over low heat

2. Toss 1 1/4 cup cheese with cornstarch until coated

3. Gradually whisk cheese mixture into simmering milk until fully incorpated 

4. Turn off heat and stir pasta into cheese sauce until coated

5. Line muffin pan with 12 muffin inner and divide mad & chesese evenly between cups

6. Sprinkle remaining cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes until golden on top. school luch 1 Healthy Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins – 12 servings (35 minutes to make) from Well Plated Ingredients: 2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini (about 1 small /medium zucchini) 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium or large) 1/4 cup melted and cooled coconut oil 1/4 cup honey 1/4 cup brown sugar 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 2 large eggs, at room temperature (I sub with unsweetened apple sauce because my youngest has an egg allergy) 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp kosher salt 2 cups whole wheat flour or favorite flour that fits your dietary needs 1/3 cup chocolate chips (mini or regular)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper liners.

2. Grate the zucchini, then throughly squeeze it with a paper towel to remove as much excess water as possible. Repeat as needed. If you have not already, melt the coconut oil and let come to room temperature.

3. In the bowl of a standing mixer or a large mixing bowl, beat together the banana, honey, brown sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the eggs (make sure they are room temperature or the coconut oil may resolidify), then beat again until combined.

4. Sprinkle the cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt over the top of the batter, then mix to combine. Sprinkle in the flour, then mix on low speed, just until the flour disappears. By hand, fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.

5. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them 3/4 of the way. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Remove the muffins from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then carefully lift the muffins out of the pan and place them on a wire rack to cool completely (this will keep the muffins from becoming soggy).school lunch2

I will be hosting another group in August if you would like to be a part of it for more ideas and inspiration, e mail me at timperey43@gmail.com.

Packing Allergy Friendly Lunches

If you’re anything like me, the thought of your kids going back to school makes you both excited and dreadful at the same time. While I’m jumping for joy that school starts again in the next couple weeks, I’m also dreading some of the things that go along with that…like early wake-up times, car line, and (dun dun dun) packing lunches. And if the task of coming up with interesting lunches your child will actually eat and enjoy wasn’t taxing enough, if you have an allergy child in the family it can be extra challenging.

One of my three children has food allergies including milk, eggs and peanuts/treenuts (excluding coconut). In the beginning I was mostly making him his own meals while I continued to cook normally for my other two that do not have any allergies. Over time I was able to find products that were not only allergy-friendly, but that my other children enjoyed as well. This has made cooking and preparing food for my family so much easier because 1) I’m only buying and preparing one “set” of groceries and 2) I am not worried about my allergy child accidentally eating something off one of his siblings plates that he is allergic to.

“Main Dishes”

  • Sandwiches (we use sprouted wheat bread, no particular brand but I ALWAYS check labels just to make sure):
    • Sunbutter (with or without jelly) – comes in creamy or crunchy – this is also great for peanut-free schools!
    • Lunchmeat (turkey and/or ham) and vegan mayo (we use Just Mayo) – you could also add vegan cheese (Chao brand is our favorite) and any toppings your kiddos like (mine love pickles)

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  • Hummus – I will pack them either pretzels, pita chips or veggie straws to dip. Sabra also makes these awesome pre-packaged hummus kits (with hummus and pretzels or pita chips) which are great if you’re in a hurry or, let’s be honest, just looking for something easy!

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  • Leftovers – This is really convenient and I actually do this a lot! If your kiddos are weirdos like mine, they’ll eat their food cold. If not, a thermos really comes in handy. You just heat the food in the morning and put it in the thermos before you leave. They work best in lunch boxes that have separate compartments, like a top and a bottom, so you can keep the warm thermos away from any ice packs and cold items.
    • Pasta – my kids love noodles with “red” sauce and noodles with “clear” sauce aka Kraft Italian Dressing – I switch up the type of pasta and that apparently keeps it interesting. Vegan mac n “cheese” is also an option (Annie’s brand makes a boxed one)3EE2730A-470D-45F4-8FE7-B7EBA64C2A0B
    • Chicken Nuggets – my kids are suckers for some dino nuggets (we buy the Yummy brand from Sam’s) and they will eat them cold, but you could also heat them and put them in a thermos. (Or if your child is in preschool they probably have a microwave) 0CA01E54-67EF-4C2E-B62C-473136809894
    • Hot dogs/kielbasa – same as above, but I cut it in half and wrap it in foil before putting it in the thermos
    • Rice & beans (my kids love yellow rice with black beans)

Fruit

  • Oranges (halos/cuties are the best because they’re easy for kids to peel)
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Applesauce and/or some type of fruit pouch (beware of yogurt ingredients in some of these)

Veggies

  • Cucumber Slices
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Carrot Sticks

Snacks

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  • Yogurt (we use Silk or So Delicious Brands)
  • Graham Crackers (or Teddy Grahams/Scooby Snacks)
  • Chips (Mariquitas Plantain, Terra Sweet Potato, and Cape Cod BBQ are some of our favs)
  • Veggie Straws (or Veggie Chips – they make mickey shaped ones my kids love)
  • Original Chex Mix

Granola/Snack Bars

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  • Nature’s Bakery Fig or Honey & Oat Bars
  • Quaker Oats Bakery Squares (Strawberry or Apple)
  • Cascadian Farm (Vanilla Chip)
  • Enjoy Life Chewy Bars
  • Clif Kid Z Bar (Iced Oatmeal Cookie, Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Chip, or S’mores)

Treats

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  • Cookies
    • Annie’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
    • Back to Nature Classic Creme Cookies
    • Back to Natue Chocolate Chunk Cookies
    • Enjoy Life Soft Baked or Crunchy Cookies
  •  Quaker Apple Cinnamon Rice Crisps

Drinks

  • Water (you can freeze the night before and it will double as an ice pack but should still be defrosted enough by lunch or recess time)
  • Juice Boxes/Pouches
  • Milk Alternatives (Silk or So Delicious brands)

For the most part, I pack the same lunches for all of my kids using food products I have found that cater to my child’s allergies. I always pack a main dish, a fruit, a vegetable, an applesauce/yogurt alternative, a drink, a couple snacks and a “treat”. I use items from these categories and just rotate them to create different lunch combos for each day and each week. If you have an allergy child, or even if  you don’t, these lunches can work for you. Or at least give you some ideas that hopefully help you in your lunch packing adventures!

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**Disclaimer: Every child and every allergy is different. The products in this post are suggestions that work for my child’s specific allergies but I can not guarantee they will work for yours. Please always read labels thoroughly and use your own mom judgment before giving your child a new foods!**

 

Affiliate Links:

Soft Lunch Box

Dual Compartment Lunch Bag

10oz Thermos Food Jar

Rubbermaid Mini Pack

Sistema Split Container

Stackable Snack Cups

Easy rice dish!

So we were on vacation this week in the Blue Ridge mountains; there is literally no where to get food(that isn’t over priced) and we don’t really eat out anyway! We brought enough go food to cook for the week and were able to enjoy home cooked meals every night.

Ingredients:

2-3 cups cooked brown rice

1 tbsp olive oil, margarine or butter

2 cups raw broccoli

1/3 a package of faux crab

1 xl egg or 1/2 a block of tofu, crumbled

1 tsp garlic(minced)

1 tsp honey

1 tsp onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat up a large frying pan and put the oil/margarine/butter in and add the minced garlic. As the margarine melts, add the rice. Stir and add the seasonings and honey. Next, add the egg/tofu and stir. The egg will cook pretty fast so keep your eye on it! At the last 3 minutes add the crab and broccoli.

Serve with sriracha and your favorite pink sauce.

Enjoy!

Park Spotlight

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On this months review of our local parks, I am highlighting my childhood favorite: Alderman’s Ford Conservation Park.

Location

100 Alderman’s Ford Park Dr.

Plant City, FL, FL 33567
Hours
Spring/Summer: 8 AM – 7 PM
Fall/Winter: 8 AM – 6 PM
Contact (813) 757-3801
 Entrance Fee

$2 per vehicle. Up to 8 people per vehicle. Rentals are extra.

 

This county park is at the top of my list. It offers a playground with shade for all ages,  a boardwalk, canoe/kayak launch, a gorgeous 1.9 mile paved hiking trail, and CLEAN bathrooms!

It is one of the most well-rounded parks in the area. The paved loop is hiker, pet, and bicycle friendly. The Boardwalk is great for bird watching and possibly spotting an alligator. The boardwalk is currently being repaired. (see note below).

The last time we went I took my daughters bike. She loved riding the trails and even rode her bike on the boardwalk bridge. We had the best time. She also enjoyed taking a break at the workout equipment along the trail.

As a self-proclaimed hover mom, this park makes me comfortable. I was able to walk the trail as my daughter rode her bike. It was not too hard to keep up with her and I was able to see her even if she was ahead of me. There is also a side-walk all the way around the playground (off the main trail) that kids can ride on. I can sit on a bench and see her ride around and around. The park equipment is appropriate for all ages even the little ones. there is a nice rubber pad under both play areas. There is also a big open area for the kids to explore while you keep an eye on them. We love to print and bring scavenger hunt with us too.

This park is also perfect for parties and family gatherings. Pavilions need to be reserved in advance, but can be done online. The cost ranges from 42.00 to 75.00 for the day. They also have a 600 sq. ft. air-conditioned room you can rent with 12 banquet tables and 65 chairs. The room cost is 161.00 for the day. All of these areas are close to the restrooms.

A canoe launch is located in a separate entrance at 9625 Canoe Launch Loop Lithia, FL 33547. The launch entrance opens daily at 7 a.m.

Fellow Everyday Moms, Jennifer Dean and Courtney Fletcher have spent many hours with her families at Alderman’s Ford. So I asked the two of them a few questions to provide a little more perspective.

1)What are your key reasons for visiting the park?

Jennifer Dean: “We were introduced to Alderman’s Ford Park by my oldest son’s school. They had their cross-country meets there once a week. He would run and our other kids would play on the playground. After visiting a few times, we decided to see what else the park had to offer. We’ve gone canoeing, hiking, fishing, attended a birthday party at the pavilions and have even had a photo shoot there.”

 

Courtney Fletcher: “The main reason for visit the park is to let the kid(s) play on play ground and run around and go on the trail and explore nature.”

Do you feel safe when visiting this park?

Jennifer Dean: “I’ve always felt safe at Alderman’s Ford, though I’ve never been there after dark or without an abundance of other families.”

Courtney Fletcher: “I have felt safe with no issues at Alderman’s Ford, other than squirrels liking to steal food when are not watching it.”

What is your overall opinion of Alderman’s Ford?

Jennifer Dean: “Overall, the park has some great offerings for families. We enjoy spending time there as a family. The main downside is lots of bugs (more than other parks we’ve been to in the area) and few restrooms or drinking fountains. As long as one plans ahead for these, a fun day can be had.”

Courtney Fletcher “I do like Alderman’s Ford park but due to the river flooding the past year its been hard to go out and enjoy the trails.”

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Overall Alderman’s Ford has much to offer the families in our community. As long as you protect your food and bring bug spray, you should have a wonderful time. Also, for those of us born and raised here this usually goes without saying, but BEWARE OF ALLIGATORS!

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Gator on the bank while Canoeing at Alderman’s Ford. Photo by Jennifer Dean

 

Suzette Foister,

SAHM, Wife, Homeschooler, EM contributor, Owner/Artist of Bring Your Own Canvas

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**PLEASE NOTE**

Unfortunately mother nature has caused the main trail to be closed during the weekdays this summer for repairs.

  • The canoe launch is temporarily closed (posted 7/3/18)
  • The paved trail at Alderman’s Ford Conservation Park will be closed during the weekdays from April 16, 2018 thru September 2018 for construction to the boardwalk. The trail will be open for use on the weekends.

For more details, please call the park at (813) 757-3801.