Friday, July 26, 2013

Commenting Challenge - Day 5

I'm kind of sad this is the last day of Jenna's commenting Challenge.  I've had so much fun blogging, and "meeting" new blog friends.

Today's last blogging topic is you all-time FAVORITE meal - be it homecooked, Grandma cooked, or restaurant cooked.

When I first read the topic, I thought this would be a hard decision, but within a few seconds, I actually had my answer.  Its actually one of our family favorites - Salmon Croquettes!

My mom used to make Salmon Croquettes when I was growing up and I always loved them.  Then I grew up and got married.  When I really started "getting into" cooking, I subscribed to Cooking Light magazine.  One day I saw a recipe for Salmon Croquettes and was thrilled beyond belief!  So I made the recipe, hoping Brant would like them, and he LOVED them....and so did I.  It is now one of my favorite things to make!!!

This pairs perfectly with a side of grilled or roasted asparagus and side salad.

Here is the recipe from the Cooking Light Magazine! 

And of course, no meal is complete with out a decadent dessert!  My personal favorite, a good ole' brownie hot fudge sundae!!!  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Scrap Happy

If you're looking for day 4 of Jenna's Commenting Challenge, keep scrolling'll see it! 

So y'all know how I love my digital scrapbooking.  Well I am so behind on Emmalee's baby book that I am trying to kick my own rear into gear and get as much of it done before Madeline comes as I possibly can.  And you also know that I love showing off what I've done - its kind of like a motivator for me to keep going, LOL! 

And if you're a scrapper too, tell me!  I love looking at other's work and getting new ideas!!!

So here are some of the pages I've completed lately!

Day 4 - Commenting Challenge

Today's topic on Jenna's Commenting Challenge is Christmas in July!  What a fun topic, or at least I think so!

I LOVE everything about the Christmas season: the sights, the sounds, the smells, the family,  and most importantly, the reason!  I remember my first Christmas after I had Emmalee and I was so emotional over celebrating the birth of my savior.  I guess as a new parent, I celebrated my child's birth in so many different way, but to celebrate the birth of a that is just incredible! 

I will say that this year's Christmas will be a little different having 2 babies girls in the house instead of just one.  I've already started buying present - yes, you heard me right!!!  That is part of the "reasoning" I used when I spent a "little" bit of money at the recent Remember Nguyen "4th of July" sale! I mean, my girls NEED coordinating outfits next spring/summer, right? 

But, if I could get one "big" gift for the girls, it would look something like this!

Emmalee LOVES being outside!  She loves swinging, sliding, playing - she loves it all.  I told Brant that I would love the get a nice swingset for our backyard so that she has a place to play. 

Now, what does this Momma want for Christmas, well I'm already getting it - a new kitchen!!! I am beyond thrilled that I'm getting the kitchen "facelift" that  I have been wanting for 3 years now! So in my book, I'm just happy with my new kitchen, and my sweet family of 4! 

But, the best gift I've ever received is this guy!
I mean just look at that sweet face!  When Brant and I got married I begged for a dog. He consistently told me "no," only because he had already planned for that to be my birthday/Christmas present.  I came home from work a few days before my birthday (Dec. 12th) to find this sleepy little 6-week old pup in my living room.  He has definitely been my favorite gift and is certainly my "firstborn".  Just take a look at our sweet Dax Honey Williams of Maxwell (and yes, that is his full registered name)!

So what are you hoping is under your tree this Christmas season???

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day 3 - Commenting Challenge


Today's Jenna's Commenting Challenge is all about Pintrest!  Let me be perfectly honest here: 
I like Pintrest.
I use it as a resource when I need ideas.
But I don't LOVE it like a lot of people do. 

Please don't hate me!

I think Pintrest is a fabulous place to get creative ideas, especially for holiday crafts, DIY stuff, parties and recipes, but I get one maybe once every few weeks and that's about it.  But I do love to get new recipes and treat ideas from it, and here are just a few of the items that I've made.

Like I said, I love that it has a lot of holiday ideas.  I made these items last Halloween for Emmalee.  She even got to help!
Fall Candy Kiss Acorn Treats - recipe here. 
Graveyard Dirt Cake 
Honey Apple Pork Loin - You can read the recipe and my review of it here

So again, don't hate me that I'm Pintrest-Rookie.  Show me how you use Pintrest - maybe you'll be the one of give me advise and make me a Pintrest-Pro!!!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day 2 - Commenting Challenge

Well today's topic for Jenna's Commenting Challenge is:  What's your favorite TV show/series/reality show? If you don't watch TV, what about a favorite movie or book series? 

Having a 2 year old certainly limits some of the TV watching that goes on in my house.  I mean if we get serious, I probably watch Disney Jr. just as much as I watch ABC or CBS.  But, I do have a few favorite shows that are on my DVR so I can watch in my "down-time".  Here's a quick run down:
  • Amazing Race
  • Duck Dynasty
  • Next Food Network Star
  • Chopped
  • Deadliest Catch
  • Pretty Little Liars
Can y'all tell that I enjoy cooking shows?  I used to be a huge One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl and Vampire Diaries fanatic, but OTH and GG are off the air, and VD just doesn't interest me anymore.   

I'm also a huge reader.  I love to read.  Before I had Emmalee you could rest assured that my nightly routine involved a nice hot bath, glass of wine, and a good book.  Those were the days.  Since motherhood encroached upon me, reading has become a favorite pastime, but I still try to sneak in a chapter or two when I can.  

Some of my favorite books/authors are:
  • John Grisham - I grew up wanting to be a lawyer, and even worked at a law firm for a little while, so I love legal/crime novels.  I'm just a sucker for them. 
  • Mary Higgins Clark - I haven't read anything from her in a while, but she is still a favorite. 
  • Karen Kingbury - I love her novels!  
  • East of Eden - John Steinbeck - in my opinion, this might be one of the greatest classic novels of all time. 
  • The Twilight Saga - Yes, I'ill admit that I loved the Twilight Saga books, and the movies.  And if you enjoyed them, then read The Host.  Stephanie Meyer did a great job on writing that one too. 
Do you have any other authors that I need to reading?  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Day 1 - Commenting Challenge

I'm so excited to be participating in Jenna's 4th Annual Commenting Challenge.  If you're stopping over through her blog, WELCOME! 

I'm Ashley.  

If you're going to read my blog, here is what you need to know about me.  First, and foremost, I love the Lord.  He is my rock, my strength, and my savior.  Second, I'm a wife of 6 year to this wonderful man, Brant. 
He is my very best friend, an amazing father, and I consider myself to be one lucky gal to have him.  He is also the father to my two sweet girls:  Emmalee Caroline, who is 2, and Madeline Grace who should be making her arrival in September of this year. 
This spunky lil' blonde hair, blue eyed tot keeps us on our toes and fills our home with laughter.  We battled infertility for 2 years trying to have Emmalee.  Our doctor could never quite determine the root cause of our infertility, but God had a plan.  She is certainly our little miracle.  So imagine our surprise in February of this year when we discovered that we were expecting number 2, and not even trying.  We are thrilled to be adding Madeline Grace to our family.

And the rest you need to know is this:  I'm southern!  Born and raised in the GREAT state of Texas, I love sweet tea and good white wine.  I love to eat and try new recipes, and you can always find me looking for new way to use my crockpot.  I'm a mom-blogger.  Why?  Because my family is my great asset and blessing!  I love sharing them with you - whether through joys or challenges. I discovered early on that the blogging-world is full of knowledge and advice, so lets help and encourage one another.

You can also find me on Twitter as awilliams0720.  I LOVE to tweet and kind myself using Tiwtter as my #1 news source these days!  Its an incredible community!

You can also find me on Instagram as awilliams0720, or on Facebook (there's a link to the left on the sidebar.).

Leave me a comment so I can follow you and learn about who you are.  I hope that we can be great blogging friends!!!

Menu Monday

When I tell yall that I am trying to get out of my blog slump, I am super serious.  I've discovered that one of the best ways for me to do that is by participating in as many weekly posts as possible. Posts like Menu Monday, Wordless Wednesday, 5 on Friday, etc.  Its much easier to blog when you have "subject-help" that don't cause too-much thought, ha!

So I spent some time this afternoon, as I normally do on Sundays, and planned out our dinner menu for the week.  Here's our dining pleasures:

Monday:  Jalapeno Chicken quesadillas (adapted from the Pioneer Woman's Jalapeno Quesadillas, I'm just adding chicken to it)

Tuesday: Smoked Sausage and vegetable medley

Wednesday:  Roasted Chicken and Basalmic Peppers, sauteed green beans
I've posted about this recipe before - I LOVE it.  Its a Cooking Light recipe that can be found here.

Thursday:  "Poor Man's" Chicken Fried Steak with baked potatoes
(I found this recipe here, but I've never made it before.  Basically, its making a chicken fried steak with just ground beef instead of a cube steak.  I'll let you know what I think.)

Friday:  Crockpot BBQ chicken sandwiches

What's on your menu for the week?

Friday, July 19, 2013

5 on Friday

So I decided that today I would participate for the very first time in 5 on Friday!!!  I'm actually very excited about it.  I have had several people express to me that its a great way to get over my blogging slump, mainly because I can just talk about any ole' thing I want to- and what's better than that?

So without further ado, here are my 5 on Friday!


 Kelly's Korner is, of course, having her "Show Us Your Life" and this week is for freezer meals! 

Can I just say Praise the Lord!!!!!!  If there is one thing I know I need to do before baby #2 gets here is prepare some of these meals, and I honestly don't have but maybe 1 or 2 freezer meals recipes: chicken spaghetti and lasagna.  So I have a feeling my printer might be working overtime printing off every recipe posted! 

I know I posted about one of my new favorite Etsy stores yesterday, but I found another one!  My sister was looking for a gift for one of her girlfriends, and found this site.  She sent me the link and now I am in love!  Its Rosie Posie Designs. Her stuff is adorable, and the shop owner's name is Ashley, so how could I NOT love her stuff?  This is probably one of my favorite things she sells:
I do not have any rights to this picture, it was used from the linked website above.
I am seriously in LOVE with it!  I think I need it.  But she has these personalized trays (in practically EVERY color/pattern known to man)  She also has notepads, coasters, etc.  I think these are perfect for wedding presents! 

 Halloween.  It may seem far off, but considering I'll have a newborn - one month old at Halloween, I'm trying to plan ahead...way ahead!  Last year Emmalee was the Chick-Fil-A cow, and one of the cutest CFA cows I have EVER laid eyes on!  

I had originally planned on dressing her up as a cowgirl this year, and putting a saddle on Dax, our loveable lab, and he would be her horse.  Of course, I wasn't planning on having a new baby this Halloween either, so that has interfered with my plans a bit, unless I just stick Maddie in my moby wrap and go on our merry way...who knows.  

Do you have any cute suggestions for coordinating Halloween costumes for a 2.5 yo and newborn???

I think I want a new blog design.  I haven't changed this one up in a long time, and I don't really design them anymore.  They are just so time consuming.  I really prefer to just stick with card/party printable designs.  I like the simpler blog designs - you know, the muted colors, simple patterns, etc.  Maybe I'll work on creating a new design this weekend....or I'll wait until Madeline comes.  Who knows. It seems like these pregnancy hormones have me changing my mind every 5 minutes...just ask my husband! 

And speaking of my husband, my
is him - my one and only.  Tomorrow we celebrate 6 wonderful years of marriage.  Its kind of crazy how fast 6 years can go by, especially once you add babies to the mix.  But the thing that has been on my mind the most lately is how I can't imaging being married to anyone else.  This man is my very best friend.
 He is an amazing father to our sweet girl. He loves her more than life itself, and she adores him.

He loves me like no one else can love me, and puts up with all my pregnancy hormones, emotions, and fits.  I mean truly, how could I ask for anything more?

Happy anniversary, my love!  Here's to the best 6 years of my life, and the next 60 to come!  I can't wait to spend them with you!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

White Wine & Tomato Braised Chicken

If you follow me on Twitter (awilliams0720) then you saw me post a picture of our dinner on Tuesday night.  I tried a new recipe that I found here for White Wine and Tomato Braised Chicken Thighs.  It was delicious...if you like white wine and tomatoes...which I DO!!!!!!

Great party of this dish - you do most of the cooking in the crockpot! SCORE!

You can, of course, follow the recipe as found in the link, or you can do it the way I did (because I love wine and didn't have fennel.)  But regardless of how you make it, TRY IT!  You WON'T regret it!

6-8 skinned and trimmed chicken thighs (and yes, the meat will fall off the bone) TIP: mine were only partially thawed because I knew they would be in the crockpot over the cooking time and I didn't want them to be dry)
4 slices of bacon
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup dry white wine (I used chardonnay) 
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp Oregano
a few by leaves
2 cans stewed tomatoes, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

In a skillet, either cook your bacon in slices then chop, or cut your bacon and then fry it up (I did the later).  Once your bacon is nice and crispy, drain off about 1/2 the fat, then add your onions.  Let your onions sautee in the grease for about 3-4 minutes.  Then add your  white wine.  Bring to a boil for just a minute to get all the bacon bits off the bottom.

To prepare your crockpot, spray with a non-stick spray, then add your chicken thighs to the bottom.

Add all of your spices to the bacon, wine, and onion mixture, then pour over the chicken in the crockpot.  Add your chopped tomatoes.

Let cook in your crockpot for 4-6 hours on low (or 3-4 hours on high).  I had mine "cook" for 5 hours on low, then it was on the "keep warm" feature for the rest of the day.  It was perfect!!!

 I served this over white rice, with green beans on the side and garlic bread on the side.  I loved it!!!  Try it out and let me know what you think!!!

CrockPot 4Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker (Google Affiliate Ad)

Definition: Blog Slump and Sistering

If you want the definition of a blog slump then just ask me...I'm in it!!!  Its when you have the desire to blog, but you just don't.

I want to blog.

I have things to blog about.

I just don't have the energy to blog.

So, I'm doing what I can to get out of it.  So today, let's talk about some of my new favorite things!!!

Since baby girl #2 should be making her debut within the next 8 weeks or so, I've been "sistering."  That's the art of preparing to have sweet sisters, a.k.a. buying matching bows, matching outfits, coordinating our first sisterly photographs, etc.  And let me tell you that I am having a blast!

I got some wonderful matching sets and coordinating outfits when Remember Nugyen had their big sale.

I tried to stay away from too much holiday stuff because I know I want to make the girls a few things too,. which leads me to my next point...

...I found a new favorite Etsy shop that has adorable, and I mean ABSOLUTELY adorable, iron on appliques.  Its called BigBlackDogDesigns.  She has the cutest stuff with nice embroidery around the appliques and I love some of her ribbon iron-ons.  I have a list of items that will purchased in the very near future:  the ribbon Christmas tree, the ribbon Santa, the chevron pumpkins, etc!

I also am completely in love with Pumpkin Butter Kids!  If you're on Twitter or Facebook then I know you have seen me post about Ashley and her work.  I just love it.  She made Emmalee's "Big Sister" shirt back in February when we found out Em was going to be a big sister.  Well she also made a gown for Madeline.  I cannot wait to see my two girl in their sister set!!!