Copy Cat Olive Garden 5 Cheese Ziti

My hubby LOVES Olive Garden's 5 Cheeze Ziti so I have been on a quest to find a recipe that was pretty similar. After two or three tries I finally found one and boy was it good! I had to share because its super easy as well as delish!

I doubled the recipe so I could make two dinners and freeze one. Yes, it is not only good but it freezes well too. Score!

You will need 1 lb of dry ziti pasta. I used Garden Delight Ronzoni because I am trying to get veggies in my littlest child as much as possible. :-) Boil until tender.

Then mix your sauce ingredients:

4 cups tomato sauce

2 cups alfredo sauce

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1/4 cup mozzarella cheese , shredded

3 tablespoons Fontina cheese , shredded

1 teaspoon garlic pepper seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Use another bowl to mix your topping ingredients:

3 cups mozzarella cheese , shredded

1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons romano cheese , grated

3 tablespoons parmesan cheese , grated

1 tablespoon fresh garlic , chopped

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley , chopped

 Then find the cutest little helper to help with the stirring. :-)

Using a greased 9x13" baking dish, add 1/2 cup of the sauce mixture to the bottom and spread evenly.

 Mix the rest of the sauce mixture with the noodles and add to the pan. Top with the topping mixture and bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Serve hot and ENJOY! I also had a tossed salad and garlic bread sticks.

Valentine Crafts

While doing a ton of pinning over the last few days... I came across lots of Valentine crafts I would like to accomplish. My kiddos love Valentines Day and my mom always did special things for us as kids too.

Here are some of the precious crafts I hope to accomplish in the next few weeks. :-)

Isn't this adorable for the kids to give to their friends? I wonder where you can find sand shovels this time of year???

Love these fillers for all my glass vases.

I want to make a Valentine garland like this to hang across my mantel.

I think this would be so cute on top of a vase as a topiary for the table.

And of course we need some yummy goodness!

Movie Reviews! "The Help" and "Courageous"

So we watched two awesome movies over the weekend that I would HIGHLY recommend if you haven't seen them.

#1... The Help

I have heard so many good things about the book that I am now going to have to read it but the movie is just wonderful. Growing up in the deep south I have witnessed a little bit of the prejudice that still exists in this country. This movie was an amazing portrait of just a taste of our past that although is not always pretty, should be remembered. I wanted to boys to watch it but it does have quite a few wordy dirds. I think I'll wait a year or two more. Make sure you have tissues on hand. There will be tears shed.

#2... Courageous

The acting could use a bit of work. But for the budget and production it is not all that bad. The storyline however is so inspiring. The impact a father or lack thereof on a child is huge and this movie really calls to the father's to stand up and be that man in their child's life. It is an eye opening fiction of an every day reality. The struggle of kids who have no role model. Girls who are missing the love of a man, and boys who don't know what it means to be a man because they have never been shown it. There is some violence but we let the kids watch it. They didn't seem to be bothered by it and it is nothing extreme. You will need tissues for this one as well!

Happy watching!

Training Countdown

This is where I'm going to be come St. Patty's day weekend in March!

Yep. That's right. Freezing my butt off while running my first Half Marathon!

I'm running with some awesome gal pals, Ashley, Rachel and Lindsey and my awesome sister Molly

Monday will start my 5th week of training. I have to admit I'm feeling pretty good. After my Christmas break the first three weeks of getting back in were... lets just say torturous. :-)

Here's what my schedule looks like for week 5!

Tuesday - 4 Miles
Wednesday - 5 Miles
Thursday - 4 Miles
Saturday - 3 Miles
Sunday 7 Miles

Do I have any other runners out there? Any training tips you can fill me in on?

Snow Days!

We FINALLY got our first snow here on Friday. My boys have been waiting and waiting to use their new sleds and of course, it has to be unseasonally warm in central Ohio this year. :-)

So even though we didn't get a ton, we hit our neighborhood golf course for what it was originally intended for... sledding! And let me tell you it was COLD! 17 was the high with a wind chill of 0. I'm pretty sure I get mom of the year awards for staying out in that!

Sissy trying out her new sled.

My handsome boys.

Down we go!

Jayden and Avery team sledding.

My way to big boy. 

Avery was frozen! This is her first winter in the north!

My sweet boy Evan.

We are looking forward to lots more snow days! It was a blast!

I'm A Better Mom Because...

I workout. Yep. There. I said it. I know it sounds corny. I know it may be an excuse to act grumpy when I don't get my workout in but here are some things I have come to realize in the last year of my 20's...
1) I'm worth it.
As most mom's are, I am always the last person to get new clothes, shoes, or even my lunch some days. I have come to realize that fitness is something I need to put first simply because I am worth it. I am a mom, wife, teacher, cook, cleaner, taxi cab driver, budgeter, grocery shopper, day care worker, clothes cleaner, bed maker, and the list goes on. I deserve to create a break for my mind at least once a day.
2) It helps me relax.
I'm a control freak. I like the house to be perfect. A good meal on the table at dinner. All of the toys organized. The clothes folded and the ironing finished. Oh, and I like vacuum lines in the carpet at night before I go to bed. Yes. I have issues. Relaxing doesn't come easy or natural for me. But the stress relief from a good run or just some jumping jacks is amazing. There is something about breathing deep that clears my mind.
3) It doesn't cost anything.
I may not be able to control how fast my 8 year old is growing out of shoes, or how many $10 hair bows I think my princess needs but I can control this. A long walk or a good run doesn't cost a cent. Of course, you can make it as expensive as you want with new clothes or the best of shoes, but just as "me" time, nada. I don't have to feel guilty about spending time AND money on myself. :-)
4) It really does make me a better mom.
When I take 30 minutes to an hour to workout, I am a better mom. I have more patience with my kids. I don't care as much if the toys are a mess, and overall if my kids are fed, it doesn't have to be a 5 course meal every night. My mind is clear, my perspective is straight and I realize the important things are raising happy, healthy babies.
So do something for yourself today. Whether you're a mom or not, the habit will pay off. :-)

The Baby Wipe Saga

I suppose there will be one day, way into my far future, that I won't buy baby wipes. But my oldest is 8 and I honestly can't remember a day since he was born that I haven't used a baby wipe.

They are the best for everything. Spills, dirty faces, cleaning my microfiber couches. Wiping down the leather seats in my van... I mean, what more could you ask for?

Evan was 4 when Avery was born and very potty trained by then and Avery is 2 and just potty trained. However, I still found myself in Target comparing baby wipe prices and picking up the huge value pack.

So my question is.... Will I ever live without them? Or better yet... Do I want to?

BTW... Hello to all my new followers! Thanks for stopping by! :-)

Guest Fashion Post: 1 sweater, 2 looks

Hi y'all! I'm Molly from Stilettos and Diapers and I also happen to be Casey's sister. She is completely amazing, a super mom and one of my best friends. I am so grateful for wonderful sisters! Okay, enough of the mushy gushy. 

We spent New Years at Casey's in Ohio. We have bought the same clothing before while shopping together and even bought the same thing while living hundreds of miles apart.

We of course took a trip to Target while together and bought these matching oversized sweaters. 
We both came down the next morning wearing them, just with different accessories.
And different shoes. 
I told Casey that she had to do a fashion post with me and she let me do her hair in a poufed pony. 
Yes, we love each other.
Hubs was watching the miserable Jet game and made us do the Holmes victory pose. We're ridiculous. 
Outfit Deets:

Sweater - Target
Leggings - Charlotte Russe
Boots - Target
Socks - Target

Sweater - Target
Jeans - F21
Boots -
Bracelet - Maurice's
Ring - F21

Happy Weekend Y'all!

Dream a Little Dream for Me :-)

Last month we got the pleasure of sailing away on the Disney Dream. I have to say it was hands down the most awesome vacation I have ever been on. Super relaxing and oh so much fun. 

No one does it up like Disney and their cruises are no different. This trip we went to the Bahamas Nassau and Disney's own Castaway Cay. 

The sail away party on the first night. 

My sweet girl and I. :-)

You can see as many characters as your heart desires. It is so nice that they are all there in one general area!

My mother-in-law with two of her oldest and youngest grandgirls.

The three oldest grandboys from each family.

Mickey everything - Even the ice cream!

Pulling into Nassau!

All of the little people in their matching Disney shirts. :-)

My smiley head.

Avery was obsessed with the characters. She could not get enough of Minnie and still almost a month later puts on those Minnie ears and tells me she wants to go see her. :-)

My silly boys with Donald.

Such cutie pies. 

Welcome to Castaway Cay - Christmas style!

Absolutely gorgeous. My sis-in-law and I even ran a 5k this morning!

Disney's own Castaway Cay. So awesome. I could have just spent and entire week there!

Avery with her beach braids and first two piece - which her daddy did not like at all! :-)

Beach boys.

Only Disney would put a water park in the middle of the ocean!

Swimming with the stingrays!

These three are t-r-o-u-b-l-e... I seriously worry about family vacation with 5 teenage boys all a year or less apart. :-)

Getting ready for some serious stingray adventures!

The stingrays even eat off of a Mickey head plate! Why am I surprised?

Loving the sunshine.

Jayden got the stomach bug so he and Jarrod missed most of Castaway Cay. Poor thing. I missed those boys.

Pirate night!

I would recommend this vacation to anyone. In fact, Jarrod and I are thinking of doing another one for our 10th anniversary. It is kid and adult friendly and has endless options or things to do. The service was phenomenal and still the happiest place on earth even in the middle of the ocean!