Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sweet Flowers - An Edible Craft

Happy Wednesday!

It has been a personal goal of mine to be more active since having my youngest baby, Nijel. For some reason it has really been quite a struggle for me to get back into the swing of things in pretty much every way imaginable: physically/emotionally/mentally.
This morning I wanted to be creatively active! My daughter absolutely loves to go to church on Sunday morning and will often ask throughout the week to go. She has really been such a blessing to me in that way. What is more motivational than a 2 year old asking to go to church every day of the week to keep you moving on a Sunday morning {when maybe, just maybe, all you'd really like to do is sleep in}? Perhaps it is God speaking through her, keeping her Momma in line & where I know I need to be on Sundays.
Anyway, of course she loves to go to Sunday school and be with the other kids there. There is such a sweet little girl who goes to Sunday school with her, named Leah. It is her birthday on Sunday and I thought it would be sweet to make little treats in honor of her birthday.
This only took me about 15 minutes, and would have probably taken less time if little hands & tiny mouth weren't trying to 'help'. And by that I mean, eat the suckers.

Here is what you need:
-Paper {some green for the leaves, and another color or pattern for the 'flower'}
-Circle punch {This is optional if you don't mind cutting out a bunch of circles by hand}
-Fun patterned scissors / Scrapbook scissors {If you don't have any if the patterned scissors, you can just do a simple flower cut out.}
-Hole punch
-Dum Dum suckers, or suckers of your choice

- Figure out how many flower suckers you'd like to make. Take that number and double to figure out how many circles to punch.
-Put 2 of your punched paper circles wrong side to wrong side {so the pretty part of the paper is both seen on the top and the bottom
-Punch a hole with your hole-punch in the middle of the circle, fold the paper in half if you must to get the hole in the middle of the punched circle {I had to}
-Use your patterned scissors and cut around the edge of the circle, creating your 'flower' design
- Cut out triangle shapes with your patterned scissors using your green paper
- Punch hole for stem to go through
-Assemble your flowers onto your suckers: Flower shape on first, then your leaves on last. Add a dot of glue if you need to keep it from falling off.
They stayed on just fine for me, because the paper of the Dum-Dum helped fill up the hole and kept it from sliding.

Here's the finished product. You could really embellish these or just leave them simple like I did.
It is just something to make a sweet girl feel a little extra special on her birthday.
 Let me know if you try these out and how you like them!

Love Always,
Mommy (Ashlie)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Recipe - Pizza Casserole

Hello, there!
I made this recipe the other day for the first time - and just as I expected, it got rave reviews from the little family! I posted a picture onto my Facebook page and it seemed there were quite a few people interested in the recipe for this easy dish and I was happy to oblige!
 Top: Pre baked casserole / Bottom: Ready for consumption!

Here it goes!

1 bag of Egg Noodles
1 extra large can of Ragu sauce {I used GV brand, because you know -- that's how my Momma raised me ;) }
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese { I used an entire bag of mozzarella cheese - We love CHEESE!}

1 1/2 lbs of ground hamburger meat { I used 1 lb. of ground sausange instead and my husband and I came to the agreement that it wouldn't have been nearly as good if I had just used ground beef, but it's up to you!}
and 1/2 package pepperonis


Cook your meat until done and drain, cook your noodles until soft and drain { Not TOO soft } Then layer your ingredients into a 9x13 glass casserole dish. In this order: spread sauce on bottom of dish, just a nice layer, nothing too deep...spread half of your noodles over sauce, add half of your meat on top of noodles, then add half of your cheese, then make another layer: sauce, second 1/2 noodles, second 1/2 meat, cheese, and then cover in pepperonis...Bake for 30 minutes covered in foil on 350 degrees....then uncover and cook for another 10-15 until the pepperonis and cheese on top are golden and delicious looking {just like ontop of your favorite pizzas}.
Then, make sure you let it sit and cool for a while, that way your bites aren't falling apart.
And Enjoy! YUMMY!! It's kinda like a pizza lasagna really, except way easier to make in my opinion!
And it made for a few meals for us. That is really saying a lot for us because we rarely eat leftovers as much as we should.

Let me know if you try this and how you like it!

Love Always,
Mommy (Ashlie)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Joovy Scooter x2 Double Stroller: At First Glance

My Joovy Scooter x2 Double Stroller came yesterday. I am getting ready to take the kids on our first big walk. (We tried it out yesterday, but we only went a few blocks.) Today will be a few miles instead.

At first glance/"test drive":
I LOVE the bright orange color. I love the overall look of the stroller. EASY peasy to put together. People stopped us while we were 'testing it out' last night because they wanted to see it closer and they thought it looked really fantastic. I love the big canopy/sun shade. Someone commented "They are completely out of the sun in that!" I have VERY fair skinned children, so this is extremely important to me. I love the adjustable seats. My (almost) 4 month old reclined all the way back and seemed to really like it.
I can see where the orange might get a little dirty rather easily. I'm 5'5'' and if I took a slightly longer than normal stride my foot would graze the break bar in the back of the stroller. It is kind of heavy. (That could be considered a pro too - meaning it is built tough and has good construction) I have a very old home and it doesn't fit through the interior doors, there is a screw on the side that catches every time. We could jiggle it to get it out the front door. By "we" I mean my husband. I can lift it easily enough and it fits through the door sideways pretty easily. So it's not that big of an issue.

I will be sure to have more updates on how I like it as time goes by. I want to give it a really good go before I make my final decision on the product.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lillie's Special Day!

Yesterday we went to Holiday World & Splashin' Safari with Lillie in Santa Claus, Indiana. It is so incredibly convenient for us to go since it only takes 35 minutes to drive there (and because my sister won 2 free tickets and gave them to us! Thank you, little baby niece of mine! She's due to arrive next month.)

The forecast called for thunderstorms ALL day long. However, God had plans for us to enjoy our special day together. The only time we got wet was when we were playing in Splashin' Safari or speeding down Frightful Falls (and sweating too - but I'm not going to count that! It has been incredibly humid lately!)

Lillie absolutely loved riding all of the rides. After each one she would say "I want to ride another one!" or "I want sumpin' else!" She just wanted to go, go, go! So we did. The day was all about her and we were happy to make it special! They have several rides at Holiday World for children under 54''. Also, quite a few she could ride alone since she is over 36'' tall. There were even a couple of the bigger rides she could go on with Zac and I. She got to drive a pretty red car with her Daddy and go with me on the log ride 'Frightful Falls'. She was a little nervous at first when we were heading through the dark tunnel, but once we were out in the daylight riding through the water and even speeding down the "falls" she did great!

If you're looking for a family friendly theme park to visit, Holiday World & Splashin' Safari is a great option! You pay one price for BOTH parks (children under 3 are free), free soft drinks & free sunscreen. There are designated smoking areas and we didn't smell or breathe in any second hand smoke while there. The park is extremely clean and the staff is very friendly. Personally, I appreciate things like that. They also have a few shows that you can watch, meet Santa Claus, quite a few gift and snack shoppes, and of course bunches of games to play with prizes to win.

Check out some pictures from our fun outting!
 Lillie and Daddy posing with Santa
 On her first ride of the day.
 Waiting in line with Momma for another ride.
 Bumper Boats!
 After leaving Kima Bay
Zachary and myself taking a break. (Lillie was napping)
 Driving with Daddy
 Riding the blue fish.
Lillie met Pat Koch, Director of Holiday World & Splashin' Safari!

Such great memories!

That's a summary of our fun day!

Love Always,
Mommy (Ashlie)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happy Anniversary To Us!

Zachary and I will be married 5 years this Friday (August 12). It feels like SO many more.

Don't worry I say that to his face too.

Honestly though, I say that because I feel like I've known him forever. We pretty much clicked right off the start. You know the cliche, "When you know, you know." Well, it's true. We did!

In some related, exciting news: We ordered my anniversary presents tonight!
1.) Flip Video: Which is the same present that I got last year on our 4th anniversary. I'm possibly more excited to get it this year though. Just as my luck would have it, our first Flip pooped out right when I needed it the most! (Just after the birth of our son, Nijel.) The USB connection magically and ever so inconveniently stopped working. Bummer. And...
2.) The Joovy Scooter x2 Double Stroller (in Orangie). I have been looking for a double stroller that will accomodate Lillie's tall height (37'') and allow her room to grow being that she is only 2 years old, as well as be safe and comfortable for the new guy who will be 4 months old this month.

Some extra exciting news: I will be able to do a video review of the Joovy Scooter x2 Double Stroller! So be watching for that. I may also do a review of Nijel's Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo! (Which, if you are thinking of getting one for your little one, just go right ahead. I have nothing but good things to say about it. Obviously, my review will be a touch more detailed than that.)

Tomorrow we are heading out to Holiday World & Splashin' Safari with Lillie. It's a very special day! She get's to have several hours of fun with Mommy and Daddy. She's just too excited that Daddy took a day off of work to spend quality time with her! She has been requesting that he take vacation to play with her for weeks now. (She's madly in love with her Daddy -- it's pretty adorable.)

There will be pictures of our adventure to come!

Love Always,
Mommy (Ashlie)

A few pictures from our wedding day.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Introducing: Us

Before my children arrived, in the months leading up to their birth, I wrote to them. If I had a few moments to spare, or when I was feeling especially thankful for them growing inside me, I would jot down what I was feeling (thinking, praying, dreaming). And of course, let's not forget my many pregnant emotional ramblings. That should certainly make for some good reading material when I give them their "Mommy Journals" down the road. After each little letter in their notebook I would always end it with the same sentiment, "Love Always, Mommy."
My every day revolves around my kids. I am always trying to be the best role model for them that I can be. I will always be their protector, their teacher, their boo-boo kisser. I can promise that I will always have their back and love them always.

So here is a blog about us. ( Me: Ashlie, Hubby: Zac, Daughter: Lillie, Son: Nijel )
A young growing family. Not too hip. Not too cool. Just a whole lotta love and a whole lotta God's blessings.

Love Always,
Mommy (Ashlie)

Here's a couple pictures of the kiddos. They are so much more photogenic than I am!
Lillie making a "funny face". Mostly I just think she's beautiful.

Nijel - 14 weeks old in his sissy's room.