Rest in peace

Last night, Dave got a phone call that there had been a casualty of a soldier from the area, and someone needed to go notify the family.

We were joking around before the call: we were watching Modern Family, I was pinteresting ideas for the scout Valentine’s Day party, Dave was trying to get me to give him a foot massage, again, and being silly. When he answered the phone he was smiling, quickly, the conversation went right to business mode. I knew something was wrong when he said to get the Chaplain before going to the house.

After the call, Dave was quiet and just went on his phone.. I think he trys to shield me from these things. I asked what was going on and he told me.

At that exact moment, while I sat on the couch, Dave’s lieutenant was getting dressed in his dress uniform and preparing himself to go knock on a door and deliver the worst news a military family can hear. I prayed. I prayed for the man who gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country. I prayed for the family to have strength and comfort and support from family and friends. I prayed for the lieutenant and Chaplian delivering the news that they would be able to find the right words.

I was surprised to hear what solider was going. I thought of him as a joker/funny type. Dave corrected me and said no, he wanted this job, he trained for this job, he is incredibly patriotic and wants to do everything he can to serve his country. Being a casualty notification officer has to be the hardest thing to do in the military.

I have met the Chaplain a couple times. She’s a very kind woman. She is the type of person where you walk away from a conversation with her and you feel calm and better than you did before. Dave thinks really highly of her. I am thankful she was there with the lieutenant when they went to the house.

Their job is to go to the family’s home, give them the notification, keep professional, and stay as long as they are needed.

I have been thinking about that family all day. I just can’t imagine. Last night they were probably watching some tv show, playing on their phones, and then they get a knock on the door that completely changed their life.

The reason I am sharing this is because before Dave and I got together I didn’t know much about the military. Learning about what goes on makes me more thankful for what I have. We would not have the freedom that we have without the men and women in our military fighting for it. I am beyond thankful for all of them.

Rest in peace

 

 

 

Super Simple Snowman Cookies!

When we have friends over who have kids, I always try to have some sort of craft or something for them to do. Our friends came over this weekend and I didn’t have anything planned. I saw these cookies on Pinterest and thought they were adorable! I want to make those soon, but I had about an hour and a half before our friends were coming… and a bunch of other food to cook. I didn’t have time to bake or make icing, so I grabbed a few things at the store for the kids to decorate their snowman cookies to kinda look like those.

Plan cookies, white frosting, small tube of black and orange frosting.

All you need is some plain cookies (any brand), white frosting, and a small tube of black and orange frosting.

I ended up getting the gel writers at Hobby lobby. You could just scoop out some of the white frosting and dye it with food coloring if you want too. Then use a pastry bag to decorate.

I ended up getting the gel writers at Hobby lobby. You could just scoop out some of the white frosting and dye it with food coloring if you want. Then use a pastry bag to decorate.

Have the kids frost their cookies.

Have the kids frost their cookies.

Now add your snowman faces. You can stop there. A whole try of these little faces would look adorable!

Now add your snowman faces. You can stop there. A whole tray of these little faces would look adorable!

Or you could have them add a little body and accessories!

Or you could have them add a little body and accessories!

Or a girlfriend! ;)  10 points if you can make a snowman look like a girl.. I tried!

Or a girlfriend!
10 points if you can make a snowman look like a girl.. I tried!

These cookies would be a fun and easy activity to set up at the kids table at Christmas. Also, when your kids have friends over during Christmas break. I wish I thought of this earlier because this would be perfect for a Girl Scout troop snack. You could have each parent bring a pack of cookies or frosting.

Thank you for reading!!

Merry Christmas!

-Ashley

Bento Box Supplies

I did a post on making school lunches for the kids. Now I want to show you what I use to make them. Most of the supplies I use I order off of Amazon. I looove Amazon!!!! You can find everything on there, right?!

First are the actual boxes or container you use. My 8 year old is going through a growth spurt, so I use a regular rectangle lunch Tupperware for her- it has more room, that kid can out eat me any day! My 4 year old uses these character boxes. The panda, kitty, and strawberry are from Amazon.

Bento boxes

Bento boxes

These boxes open into two parts. If I was just packing a snack, I would only use one layer of the box, and leave the bottom half at home.

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The little silicone baking cups help divide things and add color.

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See?? Pretty!! :)

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For sandwich cutters, I use regular cookie cutters, or cutters I find at Target and Walmart that are just for sandwiches.

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I found these fun sandwich cutters on amazon that have little stamps you can use. For me, I found that cutting and pressing into the bread before making the sandwich worked better. If you try to push the stamp into an already made sandwich it gets messy. (Hello Kitty, Animals, Faces)

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The girls like when I add little picks to their lunch. I make little fruit kabobs with them and they use them to pick up raisins, berries, and other small pokeable stuff. If you were a kid, you know you would like that! Just watch out for the crazy kids so they don’t poke their friends.. ;)

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Whereever I go I look for fun little cocktail picks. Party City always has a bunch, along with the party aisle at Target, Wal-Mart, and Hobby Lobby. I also use cupcake toppers for holidays and themes… you know.. because it’s normal for your kids lunch to have a theme.. ;)

Fruit kabobs! Just an fyi: this is a tile table I am taking pictures on. After looking at the pictures it looks like I am putting food on the ground.. It's a clean table, promise! :)

Fruit kabobs! Just an fyi: this is a tile table I am taking pictures on. After looking at the pictures it looks like I am putting food on the ground.. It’s a clean table, promise! :)

We eat a lot of rice in our family. Sometimes I pack rice in their lunches and use these super cute panda and other shape molds for the rice.

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These are a few fun extras. I found the goofy spoons at Target for apple sauce and yogurt. The tiny cups are good for sauces for rice. The sushi grass is just a fun detail. The tiny cutters are great for cutting mango, carrots, kiwi, cheese, and fruit rollups. I found those in the clay aisle, of all places.. Lol

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Now, a little bit of everything put into a box, and it is done! My kids like it. I have fun with it. Doing this really does not take a lot of time. It’s kind of like a little “hello, love you!” to my kids in the middle of the school day. I add notes and colored napkins. Also, if I were to pack this lunch in a regular lunch box, I would have to use about 10 plastic bags. I never use bags now.

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Thanks for reading!! I post Bento box ideas on my instagram account @ashleyleicht1 also Pinterest has some amazing ideas!

Thanks again, Ashley :)

first snow, and welcomed challenges

It snowed! It looks beautiful around here. We woke up to our first snow at the farm Sunday morning. I got out the sleds for the kids, they went down the hill at least 50 times. I had some time between cooking breakfast and lunch to work on my little house while the girls played. When they were about froze, they would come in my little house (I need a name for my little house.. Office? Studio? I’m not sure yet) and we would make hot chocolate and hang out until they were warm enough to go play again.

Kids are always adorable all puffed up in snow gear!

Kids are always adorable all puffed up in snow gear!

First snow

First snow

Love this girl!

Love this girl!

The back of my little house.

Dave, his dad, and grandpa, all had different winter prep projects going on. Winterizing equipment and putting up snow fence were some. The main one was redoing the electric in the barn. It had electric when we moved in, but there were some exposed wires and corroded conduit so we tryed to never turn the breaker on. I hear on the news every once and a while about someones barn burning down- almost always an electrical fire. It’s heartbreaking to see these owners lose animals, equipment, and the beautiful historic barns. I’m thankful they are redoing the electric so we don’t have to worry about It as much. Also, it means I will have lights in the barn which will make chores easier with the daylight being shorter.

 

With snow and cold brings new challenges. Of course, the obvious ones, it’s cold, and there’s snow.. But, some other ones, like, we have large animals in the barn that drink a lot of water and I can’t run a hose anymore to fill the waterers. Sooo this means, I haul water from our bathtub to the barn. Lots of water. Every day. I will be very strong soon haha! We don’t have water running to the barn, so hauling buckets of water will be an everyday chore in the colder months. I don’t mind it now. It’s good exercise and I have no other choice. They need water, so I might as well enjoy the process, eh?  :)

 

The next challenge is the water freezing. I would go out every couple hours and break the ice on the top of the waterers for the chickens and horse & donkey. But now that the guys put in some outlets, this morning I was thankful to be able to plug in the electric water bowl for the chickens and a heater for the horse tank. No more breaking ice, yay!

It is the barn cats first snow ever. They were born in June. I watched them roll and dig in the snow trying to figure it all out. It was adorable watching them explore. I also think I witnessed the exact moment this black cat, Soot Sprite, decided he hated snow and ran back into the barn. I have not seen him out since. Ha

We didn’t have to plow the driveway yet… That will be a bigger deal than I am used to. I’m a bit nervous about keeping up with the snow if it’s going to be as bad as they say. I’m the plower of the family. We have two nice snowblowers and now we have a plow on our four wheeler to play with. Plowing our large driveway and in between the buildings is going to be a huge job! I hope the snow goes easy on me for my first year!!

New toy this year!

New toy this year!

What snow challenges do you have to handle?

Packing fun and healthy school lunches for the girls.

When Gianna started preschool a few years ago, they ate breakfast together as a class. I thought it was cute that she ate a meal together with all her new little friends. Then, one day, I happened to be in the classroom when they served breakfast.. I busted out laughing. It was 2 frosted pop tarts, sugary cereal, and a packaged muffin treat and chocolate milk.  It added up to about 1200 calories!  I am not for calorie counting for kids, but, HOLY HELL!! No wonder so many kids have weight problems! I figured (hoped!) it was just an off day, I wouldn’t freak out.. Yet. The next day, I became the creepy mom and walked Gianna to her seat and lingered solely to see what they were going to eat. It was some slimy French toast sticks in a packaged microvave container, some weird crap the teacher and I couldn’t figure out, a honey bun, and chocolate milk.. Ha! The teachers and I joked about how silly it was that this is what they ate when there were posters 5 feet from me about eating healthy and not eating too much sugar. She hasn’t had school food since. I am not saying I am the healthiest eater, but I do eat more than just crap carbs and sugar! I started packing her breakfast, and then from kindergarten on, her lunch.

 

One thing I love, is the concept of bento boxes. Bento boxes are Japanese lunch boxes where all the food is together in one container. You don’t need to use plastic bags this way. If you Pinterest bento boxes you will see they are crazy popular with some people. I follow Pinterest and Instagram accounts completely dedicated to bento boxes. Most of them are way to detailed for me to make in the 10 minutes I have in the morning, but you can simplify the ideas. Here are some I have done. image Rice, vegetables, and fruit.

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Bear sandwiches, fruit, yogurt.

This one I did around Easter last year. I put crackers in the little egg.

This one I did around Easter last year. Bunny sandwiches, fruit, vegetables. I put crackers in the little egg.

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Animal sandwiches, fruit, crackers in the egg.

I always put a “main dish” like a sandwich, bagel or soup. Then fruit and vegetables with a little treat tucked in.

Turkey sandwich, fruit kabob, vegetables and crackers.

Turkey sandwich, fruit kabob, vegetables and crackers.

I put a cute napkin in top before I put the lid on to keep things from moving around. 20141027_073818_1-1

On amazon you can find tons of fun lunch box accessories. The bento boxes are so fun. I figure I am going to be packing school lunches for a long time. I might as well make it fun for myself, and the girls.

 

I will post about the lunch box accessories and the boxes I use next. The stuff is so cute and fun for them!

-Ash