Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter 2014



"God's not dead
He's surely alive
He's living on the inside
Roaring like a lion!"

Newsboys


We had a pretty spectacular Easter!

BEST EASTER EVER, in fact!

We went to the Easter Service at NewSpring on Saturday night, and followed that up with a trip to Mellow Mushroom for dinner (were Davis flirted and gave a girl his digits--oh, help me!) We topped it all off with frozen yogurt at Yogurt Mountain (the Watermelon Sorbet and Caramel Pretzel are two must haves!)



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I'm linking the Easter Service here because it's just THAT good!  Even if you're "not into all this God stuff," it's a fantabulous message to watch.  It's the story of a family in our church, the Smiths, and it's a story of HOPE.

Christ follower or not.  Believer or not.  You won't be sorry if you watch it!

I know from personal experience that stories are powerful.

In fact, my sister, Allison,  and her family attended NewSpring for the first time during Saturday night's Easter Service, and the Smiths' story changed Allison's story!

She met Jesus, and her story is now changed forever! (along with 1,500 other peeps!)  **CELEBRATE!**



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Stories are powerful!

One word for this Easter...ABUNDANT!

















It was so good, y'all!

Olivia and Davis woke up ready to find their Easter baskets!






Olivia found her's out in the boat!  That Easter Bunny can be so sneaky sometimes!












Kevin allowed the kiddos to feast on an appetizer of Easter candy before breakfast!








I have no words...








Then the little ones feasted on bunny pancakes and strawberry-banana skewers!







We spent all of Easter afternoon at Nana and Papa's for lunch and Easter festivities.  All the kiddos had such a fun time together.  I wish I had taken pics of all their shenanigans!  

Papa managed to keep Sarah, Bradley and Olivia pretty well entertained pulling them around in the lawnmower trailer (yep, that's how we roll in the country!) and letting them make a muddy river through the garden with the hose.  Plus, they had fun climbing a ladder to get up to tree limbs then swinging from the trees like monkeys!  Olivia said it was "the best day EVER!"








Olivia and Sarah put on singing shows for us singing show tunes (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Doc McStuffins, Sherif Callie, Octonauts) from Disney Jr.  They were pretty cute!











I tried out three new recipes to take to Easter lunch.  They were all really good, so I wanted to share!

Spinach and Gruyere Quiches from Martha Stewart



Twice-Baked Potato Bake from the Publix Easter Weekly Ad

(Makes 8 Servings)

1 (28-oz) bag baby potatoes
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
2/3 cup ranch-style sour cream dip
1 cup Sargento Chef Blends 4 State Cheddar Shredded Cheese
1/2 cup french-fried onions

1.  Preheat oven to 325.  Toss potatoes with oil, salt, and pepper: place in 2-quart baking dish.  Bake 35-40 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork: remove from oven.  Mash potatoes coarsely with potato masher.

2.  Chop chives.  Spread dip over potatoes.  Top potatoes with cheese, onions, and chives.  Bake 8-10 more minutes or until cheese melts.  Serve.



Lemon-Blueberry Coffee Cake

This recipe calls for fresh blueberries.  I had frozen ones, so that's what I used, but they all sank to the bottom of the cake and made kind of a mushy blueberry mess.  Next time I'll use fresh, for sure!  Oh, and I had already poured the batter into the loaf pan before I realized I forgot to add the baking powder.  I'm sure that makes a difference!  In my defense, I kept having to start and stop and start and stop my prep work because Olivia and Davis refused to play nicely together, and then Davis fell off his motorcycle, and his head met the hardwoods pretty hard.  I'm lucky the coffee cake turned out as well as it did!

I can't say anything I cooked turned out picture worthy, but Nana's bunny and carrot Rice Krispy Treats she made for the grands were oh so perfectly Pinterest worthy!




I hope you and yours had a great weekend, too!

Sincerely,

Leigh








Monday, March 24, 2014

The Celebration Continues...

We continued to celebrate Olivia's birthday right through the weekend!  I'm telling you, this was the birthday that just wouldn't end!

We, of course, celebrated the BIG FIVE last Monday since it was Olivia's actual birthday.  Then we also had big plans for the weekend.

It just so happened that Disney Jr. Live came to town the weekend following Olivia's birthday!  Months ago, when I discovered this, I presented a couple of options to Olivia:

  1. We could have a big birthday party with all her friends and family like we do every year
  2. We could have a sleepover party with cousin Sarah and go see Disney Jr. Live
Olivia chose option #2, and I thought, "YEAH!  Easy peasy for me!"  Not that it's about me.  It was Olivia's birthday, so it was all about her.  Buuuuuuuuuuttttt option #2 meant I was off the hook as far as  a party was concerned!  

Little did I know that option #2 would be just as exhausting as throwing a big party.

HA!  Live.  And.  Learn.

And it wasn't because the girls were any trouble.  They are quite good friends and play very well together.  It was the fact that it was a CRAZY BUSY week coupled with Kevin being out of town, and then we tried to cram too much into the weekend.

I literally feel like I spent all week running around with my hair on fire and just trying to keep up!

That's not how I like to function.  I like to stay ahead of the game.

So we went to pick Sarah up Saturday afternoon, and the girls spent the rest of the day doing what girls do!










We had a pizza party for dinner.  The girls got to make their very own homemade pizza to share!  Of course, they thought this was just the cat's meow!







And after dinner, we partied with a princess cake and ice cream! 











The girls opened princess goodie bags stuffed with princess flashlights, princess kites, Doc McStuffins paint sets and crafts, and Grandma sent the most adorable purses stuffed with cash for the girls to buy whatever their hearts desired at Disney Jr. the next day!















After lots and lots of playing and giggling, the girls settled in their PJs and did a little painting.





Sunday was the day of the big show!!  Here's Olivia and Sarah on the way to the Bon Secours Arena!





Since I knew Princess Sofia would be making a grand appearance, I picked up these Sofia light-up bracelets at Walgreens when I spotted them weeks ago.  I tucked them out of sight and surprised the girls with them after we found our seats.  Then the girls wanted to buy cotton candy with their $$$ from Grandma!




These crowns came with the bags of cotton candy, so we decorated them with stickered jewels while we waited for the show to start!




And since I just couldn't get any good pics with my iPhone during the show, I pulled these off the World Wide Web just for memory's sake!

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Aaaaannnnnnndddddd....you'll NEVER believe what we did when we got home!  We had yet another little soiree with Nana (thanks again for coming to watch baby-D for us) and with Aunt Allison, Uncle Randy and Bradley once they came to pick up Sarah!








Ooooooohhh, and lots of love and hugs for Nana!  She brought us a delish dinner that included Pizza Casserole (dang, it was good!) salad, garlic bread, homemade cheesecake with strawberries, and even Morning Glory Muffins (is that what they're called, Mama??) for breakfast the next day!  

Life.  Saver. 

Here we are enjoying our dinner!



Kevin and I put the kiddos to be EARLY, and I SAT DOWN with my piece of cheesecake and a cup of decaf coffee and relished in the stillness and quietness after a fun (but crazy) and special (but long) week!  

I'd be remiss if I didn't give a HUGE and LOVING thank you to my sweet hubby for keeping the three kiddos entertained all by himself Sunday morning so I could lead a class at church!  It was a last minute change in plans, and Kevin never hesitated stepping up so that I could be present where God has placed me!  Love that about him!

And just for kicks, this week is Parent Watch Week at Olivia's dance studio which just means the parents get to sit in on the dance rehearsal.  I didn't get to stay the whole time.  I had to excuse myself and take Davis outside because he insisted on screaming, "O-yea-ya!" (Olivia) and causing a mighty disruption to the class because THAT'S.  WHAT.  HE.  DOES.







Sincerely,

Leigh