Summer Road Trippin’: Part 3–The Beach!

In case you missed this preview, we spent a week in Stone Harbor, New Jersey at the beach–this was the final destination of our summer road trip (check out part 1 and part 2).

Chris’ parents and one of his aunts & uncles rented a house a block away from the beach, as they do every year. Unfortunately, for the last several years, our school schedules interfered with the week of the trip.. until this year! Chris had been working hard during his first semester of grad school (which, by the way, he made all a’s this summer!) and I was home with Elodie for the majority of the summer–we were both SO ready for a vacation at the beach. Beach vacation meant golfing with family for Chris & getting a tan & reading for momma. What more could you want?

Beach House

A block away from the beach

Most days, we took Elodie down to the beach in the morning, then back to the house for lunch & a nap, and we hung out around the house in the afternoons. Mommy, daddy, grandma & grandpa all took turns watching her so everyone got to enjoy a little bit of what they wanted to.

All dressed in her beach gear

Enjoying a snack

Watson’s

Elodie + Grandma

She LOVED the water

Elodie in a baby pool we brought with us to keep her occupied

Flying a Kite

Spending the afternoons recovering from the beach by reading the paper

We were not only accompanied by Chris’ parents and one of his aunts & uncles, but 4 of his (adult) cousins as well. His cousins were there sporadically throughout the week, so we were glad we were able to see all 4 of them! We even managed to sneak away a couple of nights and hang out with them sans baby!

All the “kids”

Michelle + Jack, the newly weds!

Our beach set-up + spread out family

In addition to beach time, most nights we would walk to the downtown area where we did a lot of shopping and ice cream eating with the family.

Christmas in July @ the ice cream joint

Going on a walk

With Elodie in tow, we couldn’t have exiting outings every night, so there was even a little bit of the south brought up to New Jersey via low country boil one night.

Low Country Boil

One evening, Chris, his cousin Brandon and I made sure we went out to Atlantic City to try our hand at some gambling.

Caesar’s Palace + Trump Plaza in the background

Chris had been to Las Vegas before, but Brandon and I were definitely amateurs. We played blackjack with Chris for a while, but spent most of our time at the slots. Between Chris and I we ended up leaving with about $10 more than we started with! Not too bad, especially for my first time.

Our biggest win: put $5 in a slot machine and won this!

Unfortunately, our week had to come to an end & we headed home. It was a great vacation & we’re so thankful to have such a wonderful family to spend our vacation with. Thanks for everything, guys! We love ya & miss everyone already! It weeks like this that make us bummed that we live so far away from everyone.

Chris and I being lame before we left

We really hope to be able to join his family for future beach trips.

xoxo

Ash

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Summer Road Trippin’: Part 2–New York

We’re back from our summer vacation! We are resting & getting ready to go back to work in a couple of days.

Now that I have more time on my hands, here’s part 2 of our summer vacation: spending a few days in NY with Chris’s family before we all headed to the beach. If you missed it, here’s part 1 in Nashville.

While we were in NY, we celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary by going out to get hibachi, went to the not-so-awesome Binghamton Zoo, did a bit of shopping, and spent some family time with Elodie’s cousins.

Celebrating Anniversary

Shopping with Grandma

Riding the carousel at the Zoo

Riding with Grandma

Petting the Goats

Pretty smudged butterfly

Grandpa’s Little Girl

She insists on pushing her stroller all the time

Looking at animals with Grandma

Grandma playing with her baby girls

Ball pit

More Ball Pit Fun

We had a fun couple of days in NY, but check back soon the the final (& best) post about our summer trip: the beach!

xoxo

Ash

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Stone Harbor, New Jersey

We’re still away enjoying family & some sun! Here’s what our view looks like most days. That little pool is for Elodie, to keep her cool & preoccupied. The weather has been beautiful, the water chilly, the seafood delicious & the family time priceless. Be back in a few days with some longer updates!

Summer Road Trippin’: Part 1–Nashville

On our summer road trip up north, we left ATL on Monday afternoon to head to Nasvhille, TN to spend some time with my sister & her family. We were only in Nashville for 24 hours, but those 24 hours were jam-packed with fun! Here are some snapshots of our time in Nashville.

Tuesday was mine & Chris’ 2-year wedding anniversary, so we had a fun day celebrating our anniversary in Nashville.

Elodie reading + laptop for movies + Chris doing most of the drving = our road trippin’ set up

Once we got to Nashville, we unpacked and headed to the Adventure Science Center for some afternoon fun. This place was awesome! If you’re ever in Nashville with some kiddos, check this place out!

Adventure Science Center

Elodie playing with boats

Playing hockey with the guys

Tall Watson’s

Strong man Raef, lifting up a car!

Elodie checking out the fake body

Me and Elodie in front of the Earth

Elodie and Daddy in front of the dinos

Elodie at the top of the Science Center–check out that view behind her

The next day, unfortunately my sister had to work, so we spent the day with Raef & JoJo. We went to a local park and visited the Parthenon. Since it was also our anniversary, the day was extra special!

Me sitting on the floor with the guys in the front seat & the babies in the back in their carseats. We need a minivan!

Parking it up

Momma and Elodie conquered the rock wall

The Parthenon

The Watson’s at the Parthenon

GIANT Athena Statue

Raef showing the thickness of the several ton door

Then, we got lunch before we headed out of town.

Baby lovin’ at lunch

The Original Oscar the Grouch–only in Nashville

We hit the road that afternoon and drove until we got hungry/sleepy. We did manage to stop in Louisville, KY for a romantic anniversary dinner & some play time for Elodie.

Elodie going for a ride

We had a great 24 hours in Nashville! Thanks for the hospitality, Williams Family! Love ya and hope to see more of you next time!

I’ll be back sometime to update more of our summer trip.

In the meantime, we’re heading to the beach in the morning. Ready to get our fist pumping-Jersey Shoring on!
xoxo

Ash

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Our 2 year anniversary

While on our road trip from GA to Nashville, TN to NY, we stopped in Louisville, KY at a McCalister’s Deli for our romantic anniversary dinner. Hopefully we’ll do something a little fancier when we get to our destination! 🙂 Love ya, hubs! Happy anniversary!!

Foody Friday: Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad

This week I made a recipe for Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad. This was another perfect one for our family: veggies that Chris would actually eat, chicken & delicious homemade southwestern ranch dressing.

I changed a few of the ingredients around, not by choice, more or less by accident, but it turned out fine!

  • Rather than tomatoes (I cut them up for Elodie for dinner the night before bc I forgot I needed them…whoops), I just used salsa
  • Rather than green onions, I used a regular onion–miscommunication at the grocery store
  • I chose to make it sans avocado, but added some pre-made guacamole to my serving–Chris doesn’t like avocado/guacamole

It was a pretty easy recipe too!

It was another recipe where you have to cook the chicken ahead of time, but no big deal. Once you cook the chicken, just chop the veggies & mix everything in a bowl.

After everything is in mixed up, before you add the dressing, this is where I’d do something differently the next time.

Dressing–made with greek yogurt

I’d either half the recipe (just for Chris + Me + Elodie), or else I’d only add the dressing to each individual portion. We only ate half the salad for dinner, so the next day it was a bit too soggy after sitting in the dressing all night.

Hope you enjoy!

xoxo

Ash

Lately…

Chris finished up his first semester of grad school classes today, with one final left on Monday. Monday evening we’re heading to Nashville, TN to spend a night with my sister’s family. Then, we’re making the long journey up north for some family time in NY and beach + family time at the Jersey Shore. Super excited to sit on the beach, spend time with family, and get our Jersey Shore GTL, t-shirt time & fist-pumping on (Jersey Shore, anyone?)

Here’s what we’ve all been up to lately:

Swimming with Daddy

Back to school shopping. Can you tell we’re teachers?

Coloring with markers, or her “marks”

Breaking in our new (fitted) running shoes, aka our magic shoes

Children’s museum with Jessie & Rebecca

Story time with friends

Lounging

Sweeping

Music Class

Can’t wait for our vacation! Please forgive me in advance for the lack of blogging while we’re gone, but look forward to TONS of fun pictures when we get home! We need to soak up as much sun & family time as possible during our last few weeks of summer.

xoxo

Ash

Pinterest Challenge

Two of my favorite bloggers, Sherry from Young House Love & Katie from Bower Power host a seasonal blogging event called the Pinterest Challenge! This time around they are also joined by other bloggers Kate & Michelle.

Basically, it’s an excuse to take something you’ve pinned from Pinterest & actually make/create it.

I’ve been needing a summer project to work on, so this event came around at the perfect time! Chris suggested I make some new pillows for our couch, so I pinned this post from Sew, Mama, Sew that’s all things pillows. Perfect! It’s odd that I’ve never made a pillow because it was by far the EASIEST thing I’ve ever sewn.

The fabric: bright & summery

I bought two pillow forms, an 18” x 18” and a 16” x 16”. So I cut my fabric according to the directions. Honestly, this was the most time consuming part.

3 pieces

3 more pieces

Since the style pillow I was making was a envelope-style, the two pieces on the back would overlap, so I had to hem the edges of those pieces.

Hemmed Edges

Then I pinned & sewed all three pieces together, based on the instructions in the post, and stuffed in the pillow form. Done in about 45 minutes total!

Green Pillow

Yellow + Orange Pillow

Pillow friends

These were super quick & easy to make! If you’re interested in learning to sew, these would be a GREAT place to start! I love the fun color they add to our couch and living room. Thanks for the motivation, Pinterest Challenge!

xoxo

Ash

Foody Friday: Skinny Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo

This week I made a “skinny” version of Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo.  The heavy cream & butter in a normal alfredo sauce are replaced by greek yogurt & olive oil.  Believe it or not, my picky husband said he didn’t notice any difference in taste or flavor. It was quite delicious.

If you want to make it even “skinnier,” substitute the regular pasta for whole wheat!

Finished product, and yes, I much prefer eating out of a bowl.

Chris’s dinner sans broccoli

The recipe is perfect for our family because anything with pasta and chicken is good for Chris (he usually eats around the green stuff) and Elodie and I will eat anything, especially with an extra helping of daddy’s veggies. This one is a keeper in our book!

Elodie loves her broccoli, or “brock” as she calls it.

My only complaint about this recipe are the prep and cook times listed. If you notice in the ingredients, it calls for cooked chicken & roasted broccoli, both of which add additional cooking & prep time. I used this recipe for roasting the broccoli and it turned out quite perfect. I just cooked the chicken in a pan with some olive oil + salt + pepper.

Roasted Broccoli

As long as you’re sure to take these things into consideration, then the recipe will turn out delicious! Hope you enjoy 🙂

xoxo

Ash

How we celebrate the 4th of July in Atlanta

Today Chris and I (and 60,000 other people) participated in the Peachtree Road Race. This race is the world’s largest 10k and it was our first time running it, or any race for that matter. We had a really fun time and will definitely be participating in it again next year, lottery permitting (the runners are chosen based on a lottery system).

Ready to go!

A few of our friends were running in the race as well (& they had run it before) so we met up with them at 6:00 am to head down to the race. Since we didn’t know what to expect/where to go, we wanted to be with some people who knew what they were doing. Being in one of the last “waves” of start-times, we had PLENTY of time to hang out & watch the beginning of the race.

Waiting..

The first wave of runners

People were dressed in all kinds of costumes!

Our wave: “U”

It’s go time!

Throughout the 6.2 miles, there were thousands of people through whom we had to weave in and out of while running. Following the simple “slow runners/walkers stay to the right/faster runners & pass on the left” rule seemed to be too much for the majority of people to understand. Afterwards, Chris and I both talked about how annoying it was to dodge in between walkers while trying to keep a steady running pace. Along the way, however, there were also hundreds of spectators/business owners handing out water & goodies and cheering us on along the way! That (and the mist areas) was the best part of the race!

Piedmont Park at the finish!

So, how did we do? Well as a self-proclaimed non-athlete-defintiely-not-a-runner, I ran the W.H.O.L.E thing! I made quick stops along the way at the water stations, but other than that, my butt was running. I was pretty darn proud of myself. Chris, of course, ran the whole thing. My time was 1:16:45 and Chris’s was 51:58. Not too bad for our first race, ever! We are both convinced that had we started earlier, we would have had better times because we wouldn’t have to weave in and out of slower racers not following directions. Maybe next year!

Done!

Me, Chris, Ashley, Kyle & Brandie after the race

The girls

My pictures seriously do not even do this race justice. There were so.many.people!! Check out our local news channel’s coverage of the whole day to get the gist of the energy, excitement, and the massive number of participants of the day! It was crazy & so fun! We’ve already talked about how we definitely want to (try) to do it again next year. We’ve even played around with the idea of making our next race one that’s a little longer, a half marathon (13.1 miles) perhaps. Maybe this Atlanta Half Marathon on Thanksgiving Day?

I’ve heard this running/racing thing can become quite addictive. We’ll see!

Hope you had a great 4th! We’ve spent the rest of the day representing our new & much-deserved tshirts and recovering!

Our sweet t-shirts

xoxo

Ash