Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Teacher Appreciation

Hello, loves!

The end of the school year is here...I'm talking my little girl will graduate from preschool in just 6 short days. Where has the year gone? I am filled with mixed emotions. I'm proud and excited -- and all the while I'm depressed and a wee bit weepy (seriously, I've been crying over everything lately! How can she already be this big and smart?!}

I'm just not ready to spend hours away from her next year while she's in class. I'm not ready to give up our lazy mornings filled with snuggles, playtime, Disney movies, late breakfasts, and story times. But I will...because she is ready. Because of her amazing teachers we have been blessed with this year she is prepared and she will be amazing and do amazing things in her elementary years to come.

She is so eager to learn and I just love watching her grow and become such a bright young lady.

Speaking of BRIGHT. Here are the teacher gifts I delivered today. Again, I cannot stress how amazing these ladies are. Mrs. Perigo and Mrs. Miller if you stumble across this you both are such gems and we couldn't have asked for better teachers for our Lillie. Thank you!

So here's the scoop, I am not a teacher but I am obsessed with pens, markers, anything I can doodle or draw with. Always have been. Always will be. It's in my blood or DNA or something! So, I have to imagine that when you are a teacher you are born with a gene similar if not even more pronounced than the one I'm speaking of.

I filled the summer time cups {from Wal-Mart} with BRIGHT highlighters and SHARPIES. Printed out some adorable tags that say "Thanks for a BRIGHT school year! XOX, Lillie" and colored them in with a few of the highlighters that I included in the cups. Ta-Da! Simple, yes, indeed. But hopefully something that they can  use while they are enjoying their summer break and then have some bright and colorful pens and markers for the upcoming school year!

Do you have any ideas for teacher appreciation / end of school year gifts that you'd like to share? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!

Love always,

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Bikini Bottom Birthday Bash - Nijel turns THREE!

Oh the joys of party planning...You scheme and dream about all of the details for weeks {maybe even months!} and then it's all over in a blink of an eye. To say that I am exhausted would be an understatement but seeing the sweet smile on my little guy's face made all of the hard work worth it!

We really did have such a fabulous day, the rain held off, and we were surrounded by people who love us! We are so blessed and Nijel had a fabulous birthday! 

My little guy was old enough to choose his own theme this year and he chose none other than

So without further adieu....

Welcome to Bikini Bottom!

Let's start with the healthiest menu item for good measure!
Spongebob Fruit Kabobs!
I cored a pineapple, skewed some delicious fresh fruit and voila! Adorable and oh-so-yummy!

 Close up of the pineapple and skewers.

Next up, Pearl's Pricey Oyster Cookies.So simple but they made quite an impression! These were definitely a favorite treat. Sugar cookies, blue raspberry icing, and candied pearls made up these adorable Oysters

 I used brown sugar as my sand just to fancy things up a bit and to help along my Bikni Bottom theme. A few star shaped sugar cookies and randonly placed pearls...and that was that!

It took me a day or two to figure out exactly how I wanted to represent Patrick. I decided a simple play on words would do the trick and these STARberry cheesecakes were a HUGE yummy hit!

Krabby Patties are a MUST at any Spongebob birthday bash.
I made these adorable Krabby Patty Cupcakes with a yellow cake mix, brownies, and some green and red icing! Yum Yum!

I am a worrier...I worry and I worry...and my worry was that I wouldn't have enough FOOD!, because I like people to leave my parties in a sugar coma I also made some

I used the same yellow cake as in the Krabby Patties, topped with cream cheese icing and gummy worms. Easy peasy!

Another healthy item was this tray of Coral Bits and Kelp Dip! We love  veggies! 

   Sea salt and vinegar chips made the perfect

Mini Nutter Butters, a dot of chocolate icing as my glue, and Hersey kisses made up these treats!
Yehaw! The perfect goody to represent our favorite Texas squirrel!


Yummy Stuff AKA blue chocolate dipped confetti cake balls covered in sprinkles. Delicious bite sized treats.

Mermaid Man's Ocean Water Punch! POW! So simple. Equal parts lemonade and blue raspberry juice.

Goody bags with the Main Man's mug on 'em.

And finally...a bit of a splurge but so much fun! The Spongebob Bouncy "Bubble" House!
The kids really enjoyed this. Well, the birthday boy sure was enjoying it until we had a minor mishap and it quickly deflated while he was inside...Uhh, needless to say he didn't re-enter the House of Bounce for the remainder of his party. Scarred for life? Possibly. 

Happy birthday, sweet Nijel! Mommy loves you all the way around the world and back and back and back! You are worth my achy feet and tired eyes. I hope your day was even HALF as special as you are to me. 

Love always,

Oooh, I almost forgot...The obligatory birthday candle blow out picture.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Homemade Valentines - S'MORE MIX

Hello, hello!

My gal has been having such a blast this year at Preschool and she has made some great friends. We wanted to make sweet homemade valentines to let them know just how much they mean to her! Apparently when she is at public school next year the option to hand out adorable, edible, homemade valentines will be no more. So sad. 

Anyway, this year we can make 'em and so we are taking full advantage! I knew I wanted something edible, something kid friendly, and something adorable. I think these S'more Mix treat bags hit the mark! What do you think?

I am so behind on the times and only have Word Pad and Paint on my, I found a photo of the basic marshmallow outlines, copy/pasted them into Paint and made them my own little squishy masterpieces. {Changed the mouth, added rosy cheeks, and lovey-hearts floating around} Then I just copy.pasted the finished picture into Word Pad, type out my text and voila! Adorably and delicious valentines! 

There are some super cute pre-made s'more favor tags on Etsy. For example these here and these here are super cute! But for frugal ol' me... I decided to go fully handmade!

This is sooooooo easy to do with the kids! The S'more Mix ingredients are:

Golden Grahams {I used the off-brand. Told ya I'm cheap!}
Marshmallows { brand!}
Milk chocolate chips {Got the real thing here...I don't mess around when it comes to chocolate!}

In a large mixing bowl add all of your ingredients. I found it worked best to pour a little of each in, mix, pour a little more in and mix, so on and so forth. You can use a big spoon or be like us and use our freshly washed paws to mix the ingredients. 
My gal enjoyed this part, I'm sure your littles will too!

After all was mixed I measured out one cup of the S'more Mix and divided it into several sandwich size baggies. Before attaching my cute little handmade favor tags I was sure to let my gal address the valentines to her classmates! 
After all, we may as well show off our newly learned printing skills, right?

We worded the ones for her teachers a bit differently...

"The world needs S'MORE teachers like you!" 

I am so excited for her to hand these yummy little cuties out!

Wishing you a happy Valentine's Day!

Love always,

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Dino-Mite 1st Birthday - Nijelosaurus Turns ONE!

It's amazing how fast a year goes by! Wow! I feel like I was just bringing my son, Nijel, home from the hospital and now he's ONE. He's walking (not too well, but walking nonetheless), talking, and full of awesome personality. I just love him to pieces and definitely wanted his first birthday to be (almost) as special as him. ;)
So this year, we decided to have a DINO-MITE 1st birthday party for our little man.
His birthday banner.
Here's the birthday boy!

Yawn. Being one is so exhausting!

I found his baby leg warmers and his dinosaur tie/suspenders onesie on Etsy, of course! Etsy is such a great place to find adorable handmade items!

On to the party details!
It got hot today, in the mid-80s, and for April that's kind of crazy. But we're in Indiana so what should I expect, right? At least the heat was accompanied by crazy, gusty, good-luck-keeping-those-table-cloths-down, and you-can-forget-about-those-paper-plates, WIND!
And while it made keeping the decorations secure a definite challenge,
 I was certainly glad to have it.

I spent a bit of time, more than I'd care to admit, on making these food labels.
I used my cricut, which greatly cut down the time, and this  FREE dinosaur template to make the adorable dinos to "hold" the food labels.
All I did was nix the heart that was in the original dinosaur template
and in its place I used hadmade labels.

Chips- Dinosaur Scales (Pictured)
Frito Scoops- Dinosaur Claws
Devilled Eggs- Devilled Dino Eggs (Pictured)
Hotdogs- Pterodactyl Dogs
Hamburgers-Stegosauraus Burgers
Veggies and Dip- Herbivore Valley (Pictured)
Dirt Pudding with Gummy Worms - Dinosaur Dig (Pictured)

Here's his cake! Complete with a volcano, vines, & lots of colorful dinosaurs!

 That's one brave pterodactyl sitting on top of that volcano! ;)

And, I can't blog a first birthday without a few icing covered baby shots, right?
Hey, this is pretty good!

I'm "this" many!

 Mmmm, icing!

 My son is NOT shy about eating. He loves food!

Also, keeping with the theme, I placed these adorable dinosaur masks out on the tables for the guests to wear!
Here's the birthday boy's big sister, Lillie, modeling her mask a wee bit too close to her brother's sticky, bright red, icing covered "claws". Rawr.

We are just SO blessed with wonderful friends and family who helped make Nijel's big day one to remember. We had a great day and having special people there to share it with made it even more DINO-MITE!

A note to my son:
Nijel, you are a blessing and a joy. I have enjoyed watching you learn and grow into a truly awesome little boy. I pray that you always know how much you are loved and how special you are!
Happy birthday, big boy! And many, many more!

Love Always,
Momma (Ashlie)

Monday, March 19, 2012

My Children

I love overcast days. I love them SO much! And not just because you can get some of the best light for photos but because my kiddos are SO pale I like not having to worry (as much) about their skin getting burnt!
Last Sunday I decided to take my sweet Lillie on a walk to the park. My main purpose was to get some updated photos of the sassy little thing, but her main goal was of course to hang out with mom and to swing once we got to the park. I'm sure the swinging trumped hanging out with me but we'll just say it was a combination of the two. Oh, and our unseasonably warm weather gifted us some wild flowers in our yard which made for a pretty little prop. Here are a few shots of my doll baby. She loves more than anything when we call her a beautiful princess. In fact when we ask what her name is she says "Lillie, The Beautiful Princess, *insert last name here*."

Lillie, Age 3

Reminding us to "stop and smell the flowers" ;)

Of course she got to swing!
Now for my little monster. I use the term "monster" lightly. He is the best little man in the world, the farthest thing from a monster even when he is showing off and giving his best growl. Nijel will be 1 year old on the 18th of April. I cannot believe a full year is nearly complete! I will cry like a big ol' baby at his birthday party next month. I managed to get through Lillie's with just a few tears but I know that I will be much more emotional at his being that he is our last first birthday to celebrate.
Very slyly trying to eat a stick.

Nijel, almost 11 months old

The little man just being adorable!

So, there are my sweetie-pies! I am so blessed to be able to spend each and every day with these little ones! They make me smile and I hope their happy faces make you smile (even just a little) too!

Love Always,
Mommy (Ashlie)

P.S. Coming soon I will have posts about my first vegetable garden! I am pretty darn excited to get started planting so I know there will be plenty to share!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Some projects

I have been horrible about blogging lately. Shame on me! However, I thought I might go ahead and share a few photos of two projects.  One that has already been completed and the other I am currently working on.

The one above is a gift I made for my sweet mother-in-law, Debbie, or as we like to call her in this house, "Nena". Nena leads the praise team at her church and is so kind-hearted and a truly great lady! So I wanted to give her something special and meaningful this past year for Christmas.

I always feel a bit self-conscious about gifting things that I have made. ("Is this good enough to give to someone I care about?" "I hope they like it!" "Maybe I should just go to Wal-Mart and buy something instead...") It never fails! Those thoughts always come knockin' and screamin' inside my brain!  

That being said, I actually really ended up liking the wall-hanging and I decided I'd like to try to make one for my home as well.
We have ABSOLUTELY no photos on our walls. We have a very old home with plastered walls and honestly, sometimes getting nails through that stuff is impossible! But, I am tired of not being able to walk through this house and see the beautiful faces of the people we love on a daily basis. I wanted a piece of (dare I say it?) "art" to compliment the photos that I WILL make my husband hang for me. (Thanks in advance, babe!) So here is what I came up with:

Now, keep in mind it isn't perfectly finished. I still need to drill holes at the top and add a pretty ribbon to hang it from, but I think it turned out pretty okay! Right?
And, I adore this saying because it's just so true! Can't wait to finish it up and get it up on the walls along with some pictures of the fam!

Thanks for stopping by! ;)

Love Always,
Mommy (Ashlie)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Catching Up

I haven't blogged in several weeks. However, much has happened!

For starters: I became an Auntie again! Meet little miss Hayley! She arrived on 9-19-2011. She weighed 8 lbs. and 13 oz. and was 20 1/2 inches long. She's a beauty, isn't she?
And of course, congratulations to my big sister and her husband on their little blessing from God!

And secondly, we took our first family vacation together. We enjoyed a week in the Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge area of Tennessee. We had such a nice and relaxing time. The weather was gorgeous all week long and the leaves on the trees were just starting to change when we got there, which made for some extra pretty views!

Here are a few photos of our trip! I feel so blessed that we were able to take a trip this year. My husband has been working some c-r-a-z-y long hours and he certainly needed a break. Also, my daughter is absolutely in love with her Daddy. So, getting to spend extra quality time with him put her on top of the world.
 Lillie and Daddy.
Me with my wonderful kiddos!
View from cabin.
 Lillie modeling some glasses at one of the shops on the main strip in Gatlinburg.  
Nijel just strolling along at Ripley's Aquarium. He's a pretty easy going kid.

I'll leave it at that for now. A short blog is better than no blog, right?
 Thanks for stopping by!

Love Always,
Mommy (Ashlie)