Friday, March 30, 2012

Another Award...For Me?!

You fellow bloggers really know how to make a girl happy, don't you? I was reading over my blog list the other day, catching up on things, and went to a blogger friend's site, Grateful Belly (yummy, yummy recipes!) to check out a recipe she recently posted. I was scrolling down, and lo & behold, there was my little blog's name, under her winners for the Versatile Blogger Award. (I'm including her post here.)

Thank you so much for awarding me!! First, the Liebster Blog Award last week, and now this. I've really gotta' step up my
project posts!!

So now, it's my turn to pass on this award. The rule is to pass it on to 15 wonderful blogs that you regularly follow, so here goes...

















The next step is for me to share 7 random things about myself...
(I love this kind of thing!)...

1.) Zach (my husband) and I were both voted Most Likely to Succeed by our Senior class in high school. He graduated in '02, and I graduated in '03.

2.) To me, there is not much that a little retail therapy can't fix. I can instantly get in a good mood when I go shopping- and especially when I bring home a purchase. And, when I go into a store (pretty much any kind of store), I am drawn to the clearance section. I rarely pay retail for anything.

3.) Speaking of shopping, one of my favorite things to do is to hand out coupons. It's a weird thing that I did by chance one time, and have been doing it ever since. Try it some time- go in a shop where you have a coupon, and pass it on to someone else in the check-out line. It's fun to put a smile on someone else's face,
and your own too. :)

4.) Zach & I do want children some day, but can I just confess that we are really loving our life right now? Currently, for both of us, work is really good; home is even better. We love the time we have now, traveling & really working to get things done at home. We want to check some things off of our list before babies are added to it, and that's perfectly fine with us.
(So stop asking!...haha, just kidding...or am I?) :)

5.) One of my favorite places to be is in our choir at church on Sunday mornings. I feel at home. :)

6.) I miss my dad every day. EVERY SINGLE DAY.

7.) My first name, Ashley, was my mom's maiden name.


Thanks again to Grateful Belly for nominating us for this award!
If you were nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award please follow these rules:

1. Thank the person that gave you the award in a blog post.
2. Include a link to their blog in your post.
3. Pass the award on to 15 bloggers you follow.
4. Include 7 random things about yourself in your post.
5. Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Easter Egg Wreath

Um, I guess I'm a little behind in creating an Easter wreath, but I haven't really gotten around to it until now. I actually finished this up last night (no more excuses), but I'm enjoying it now!

This is just a simple, shabby Easter egg wreath. I'll break down the materials I used...(this was so cheap!)...

- one wreath form ($1 at the lovely Dollar Tree)
- Spanish moss (one bag is $1, also from Dollar Tree)
- plastic Easter eggs (just under $2  for a dozen at Wal-Mart)
- hot glue

I was going to just buy a bag of Easter eggs at the DT, but I found these at Wal-Mart first. These eggs were so cute, I just couldn't pass them up! And bonus, they were already painted!

I started by putting small spots of hot glue on the wreath, and attaching small picks of Spanish moss. This gave the wreath
a little covering.

I then grabbed up the eggs & put a big dab of glue on the backs...

...then attached them to the moss-covered wreath.

Simple, simple, and the cost was under 5 bucks. :)

 Love it!

I hope you are all enjoying your week. We're still using all of our daylight at the end of the day to work in our yard. I picked these yesterday from one of the trees in our back yard...

Our front yard is transforming into a beautiful place right now, thanks to my sweet, hard-working hubby! I am so happy to be marking things off of our to-do list, and making our house our home. We are so blessed to have the home that we do.
We just love it!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I am excited to be going to my best friend Sheena's bridal shower!!
Love catching up with friends!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No Peek Chicken

I hope you're all doing well & enjoying the beautiful weather! My sweetie & I definitely have been...well, not really enjoying it, but working out in it. I hope to post very soon on our little big yard project we've been working on. We have re-mulched our islands (which makes a world of difference already), and Zach bought a huge load of stones and pavers. He's in the process of creating a new garden wall bordering the plants around our house. It will be beautiful when it's done, and I am so proud of him & the hard work he has put into it! It is so much more rewarding to do projects like this ourselves! I can't wait to share the before & afters!! Hopefully just a few more days, so stay tuned...

Also, more exciting news- my little blog has been given yet another award by a fellow blogger!! That's two within a week. Crazy!! I will post on that soon. :)

So, I tried a new recipe a couple weeks ago that we both loved, so naturally, I thought I would share!

This was mentioned on another blog (and for the life of me, can't find which one) long ago, but this recipe, and many variations of it, can be found with a simple Google search. Also, Nikki @ Thrifty Decorating posted her version of the recipe on her blog here.

This is my version...


- chicken breasts
- one box Uncle Ben's long grain & wild rice- original recipe
- one can cream of mushroom soup
- one can cream of celery soup
- 2 cans water
- one envelope dry onion soup mix

Mix together two cans of soup, 1/2 envelope of onion soup mix and box of rice with seasoning mix. I also added a little bit of chicken broth, just to make it more soupy...

Put in a greased 9 X 13...

Place chicken on top, then sprinkle second 1/2 half of onion soup mix envelope on top of chicken...

Cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 2 1/2 hours. DO NOT PEEK! My sweetie put ours in the oven, since I wanted it to be done when I got home from work. It would be great for a Saturday at home too. (It did seem a little crazy, just the long time to cook & not peeking during the entire cooking process, but it turned out beautifully!)...

Stir the rice a little before you serve, and it's ready to eat! Yum!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Daisy Girl

Ok, going to be an "annoying doggy mom" & post a few pics of my girlie. Zach took some really cute ones while he was in the floor playing ball with her a few nights ago...

Then, I was able to snap a couple of pics of her while she was asleep the other day. So cute!

Just a short little post to show off her cuteness! I love to keep recent photos of her & Cosmo. They'll always be our first little babies, even when a little one comes along some day. :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Zach's 28th Birthday Week!

Yep, birthday week. My sweetie's 28th birthday was this past Tuesday, but I think we've been celebrating for an entire week- from last Saturday to this past Saturday.

Last Saturday, Zach's dad took us out to eat at Zach's choice- Outback. (I was happy with that.) We had a great meal & enjoyed spending time with his dad & Grandma.

On Monday night, my family cooked dinner for Zach's birthday. It was his request- fried chicken fingers and mac & cheese were a must. We enjoyed spending time laughing with my family.

On Tuesday, his actual b-day, I told him I would take him wherever he wanted to go for lunch and/or dinner. He picked Chow King (ha!), the new buffet in our little town. We were are still excited about it. It was yummy, and bonus, they have sushi. I was brave & tried a good bit of it, and it was (surprisingly) fresh. So excited that I don't have to go very far when I get a sushi craving.

Zach's only request for the day was to play golf. So, that afternoon after I got home from work, we changed clothes & hit the course. It was so much fun! I rode around in the golf cart while he played only 9 holes. We are definitely going to make this a routine, especially now that the weather is perfect for it.
I took a cute pic of us in the cart...

And I snapped a few shots of him playing...

So cute! :)

Since we were still stuffed from lunch, we decided to do something "small" for dinner, so went to WingStop.

On Saturday, we went to see his family. We shopped that morning, then had a yummy dinner at his mom's with her & Zach's sister's fam. They have two little girls, so it's always a fun time. It's always great spending time with family.
There's not much better than that.

I hope he had a wonderful week, because he deserves it & so much more. I am so thankful to be able to spend another birthday
with my sweetie!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Liebster Blog Award!!

I am thrilled to post that I have been awarded the...


Thanks so much to the four sisters at Bringing Beauty (that awesome post of theirs is here) for choosing my little blog as one of their 5 recipients for this award!

My winners for this award that I am so happy to pass on
are as follows...

Micki @ ADD Housewife- -
She has an awesome site filled with great ideas. (She even recently posted where she tried one of my own recipes- Chicken Artichoke Heart Fettucine Alfredo.) Check it out!

Debi @ Projects on the Farm- - She loves painting, furniture redos, etc. Don't we all? She also is a great encourager with her comments! :) You'll love her writing!

Evelyn @ My Turn (For Us)- - Her & her hubby's goal is to travel the world in an RV. Sounds great to me!! You'll love her blog!

Ash the Bash @ Made in Morningside- - Ash (love the name, ha!) shares an updated to-do list of improvements on her & her boyfriend's flat- you go girl!) The Before & After photos are awesome under the "Take A Look Around" tab. Check it out!

Karen @ Bargain-ista- - She's one of my newest followers, and you'll love her bargain-hunting blog.
She went an entire year without buying new clothes. Wow!

Congratulations to all 5 of you lovelies! Now it's your turn to pass the award on!

Here are the rules for passing it along:

-Choose 5 up and coming blogs to award with less than
-Show your appreciation to the blogger who awarded you by linking back to them.
-Post the award on your blog.
-Link back to the blogs you are awarding so that everyone else can pay them a visit.

Thanks again, Bringing Beauty ladies for choosing my little blog, and congrats to my awesome winners!

Also, Happy 28th Birthday to my sweetie today!! What an awesome day it's been already! :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Twine-Wrapped Bottle

This is such a super easy craft! The idea came from this post from a blog I frequent, The Kurtz Corner. I have seen many projects that take a simple, un-used item & wrap or cover it with twine. It totally transforms the object, and it's so quick & easy to do. I've also seen some great posts about painting a glass bottle,
which may be something I try in the future.
You can use any kind of bottle or jar for this transformation-
just make sure it is clean.

All you need for this craft:
- bottle of any kind, size
- twine
- hot glue gun
- scissors

I just carefully wrapped the twine around, starting at the bottom of the bottle, working my way up. I put just a few drops of hot glue along the way. So easy! Make sure not to put too much hot glue!

This next pic shows it after the first wrap-around. I decided I needed the twine a little thicker, so I quickly wrapped a second layer, making sure the bare spots were covered.
This went a lot faster than the first round.

The bottle I used had tempered glass almost up to the top. I decided to do something different, so instead of wrapping the bottle continually up to the top, I broke it up and left some of the tempered glass exposed. I liked it a lot with some of that
pretty glass showing.

Finished product...

And here it is in its new home on top of our entertainment center...

I'm loving these cheap, quick projects!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ballard Designs Knock-Offs- 1st Installment

Some of these ideas came to me forever ago, and I have had the supplies for a few of these projects for a while. I must have been in another funk, because I never got around to starting and/or completing them, until now. I am still determined to get more involved in my blog this year. I'm staying busy with it & creating more & more projects, and I love it!

So, months ago, I got my new Ballard Designs catalog in the mail. I caught myself thinking something while perusing. I looked at so many of the decor items and thought, "I could make that!" Design blogs must be rubbing off on me, which is a good thing. Before reading the blogs like I do, I would have looked through the mag, thought, "I can't spend that much money on useless stuff," and throw it out. Now, I decided I would try myself and create a few "knock-offs" to see if I really could do it. I've seen many other bloggers do the same thing, and it always turns out beautifully.

I plan on posting a series of these, because once I got into it, I realized just how many items I could recreate at a much cheaper price. All of my supplies for these projects were purchased long ago (they were the ones I mentioned have been taking up space in the guest room). So far, I have four different projects going! Here's the first, and the others will (hopefully soon) follow:

Example 1:

Their Version: Laundry Letters- $45

My Version: Laundry Letters- My Price- $10.18

They also have this in white, which I loved more than the black. I went to Hobby Lobby & bought the seven letters, which were $0.99 each ($6.93 total). (I had a 40% coupon, but that was used for a larger item, which I'll post on soon!) I already had flat white spray paint left over, and I had the wooden slab left over from another project. It was purchased at Michael's a long time ago, but it was next-to-nothing.

I just lined up the letters on paper in the driveway, sprayed away (just two coats), and they were done! Then, after waiting for them to dry, I lined them up on the wooden slab, and hot glued them down. Just because I love this part of the project, I roughly added up what was spent on my version of the Laundry Letters:

- 7 letters @ $0.99 each =                      $6.93
- 2 small wooden slabs @ $1.00 ea =  $2.00 (and I'm being generous here)
- 1 can flat white spray paint =                $1.25 (cheap-o- purchased from Dollar General)
Grand Total =                                      $10.18

This calculation should be pretty close. Pretty awesome when the most expensive single item was the spray paint! And here she is, with photos of steps:

Here are the letters and slabs all laid out & ready to be painted:

This is after one coat of white spray paint:

This is after just two coats. I stopped at that:

I then waited a day or so for the pieces to completely dry. Then, sanded them down to smoothe the surface. I then lined them up, put plenty of hot glue on the bottoms of the letters and set them on the board. Easy! I may add a little paint on the edges later on. The Ballard Designs version has a brushed gold around the edges. Looks pretty! 

Now for the final pic. Drum roll, please :) ...

THEIRS (just picture it in white)


Final price difference: Theirs: $45; Mine: $10.18

$34.82 SAVED!!!

Love it! (To add to the excitement, I read the reviews on the BD website, and half of the reviewers said the letters would not stay up straight- some had to glue theirs back! Yay! Makes me feel even better about opting to make my own.
It really adds to our laundry room. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

One of the Best Recipes Ever!

This is one of the best recipes I've tried in a while.

It's also a recipe for the longest named dish ever.
Chicken & Artichoke Heart Fettuccine Alfredo. :)

I found this recipe here, after searching much of the internet for the perfect one. I'm the type that will look over a recipe, and if it's more than, say, 5-7 ingredients, I pass it up. I'm lazy. I also pass over most recipes that call for anything fancy. If I don't know the name of an ingredient, it won't be cooked in my house.
It's that simple.

This was a simple, few ingredient, quick recipe. It actually took even less time than the recipe called for.
It was crazy how quickly it was ready.

Here's the recipe (with my little notes included in purple)...

- 1 lb fettuccine pasta (I could only find linguine in a 16 oz. bag, so that's what I used)
- 1 26 oz. jar Alfredo sauce (or make your own- which I did- recipe is further down)
- 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, chopped roughly (I used about 3/4 of a can)
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used leftover rotisserie chicken, just enough for the two of us)
- Mozzarella, Asiago or Parmesan cheese (I bought Asiago specifically for this recipe, but realized I had Mozzarella already when I got home. I think the Asiago was better, though.)

-Alfredo Sauce-
- 1 cup Half & Half
- 1/2 cup ( 8 tbsp.) butter
- 1/2 cup Asiago cheese

  • - 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

    Cook chicken & cut up. (In my case, I just had the leftover rotisserie chicken on hand.) Prepare noodles according to packaging. Halfway drain artichoke hearts. Prepare Alfredo sauce, or heat up jar. (If you used the jarred sauced, after heating, skip down to *.)

    -To Prepare Alfredo Sauce-
    Melt butter & pour in Half & Half. Bring to a simmer, keep heat low & stir in the cheeses. Simmer until smooth.

    *After Alfredo sauce is heated & ready, add the cooked chicken & artichokes. After it is heated through, pour over noodles. Garnish with more cheese.

    Here are some lovely pics to illustrate the process...

    Ingredients- minus the Parmesan

    Cooking the butter & pasta simultaneously

    The butter & Half & Half cooking

    Adding the Parmesan cheese

  • Adding the Asiago cheese

    Cooking it all together

    Noodles cooking

    Mixing the chicken into the sauce 

    Mixing the artichokes in

    Stirring it all together 

    The finished product

    This was DELICIOUS! Let me know if you try it!
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