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You thought I forgot I had a blog, didn’t you?


Nope, didn’t forget.  Just having a little too much fun.



First of all, do you want to know how to get a free dinner?  Here’s how:

  • Have a reason to celebrate and find a really good restaurant to eat at.  (Yay, my husband passed the PANCE, his national exam!!  He is now officially certified.  I’m pretty sure my insides have never felt so nervous.  But, now that’s over.  Whew.  Hooray.   ……….sigh)
  • Then, skip on just ordering water and happily ask for a nice and sticky strawberry lemonade.
  • When the server comes to deliver it, be sure to make him nervous somehow…….and allow him to spill said beverage all down your front.  (my husband was the recipient)
  • Then, be sure that your server doesn’t have any control over his language and throws out a few colorful words in front of your 3 young children.
  • Next, jump up quickly out of sheer shock and head to the bathroom.
  • When the manager arrives, tell him everything is okay, and no you don’t need to dry clean your blue jeans.  And even when he insists on making a great big huge enormous deal, tell him it’s not and that everything really is okay.  However, mention that you are disappointed at the language used in front of your children by the clumsy server.
  • When the manager insists on paying for your whole meal, gladly accept.
  • And then learn from our mistake.  And order dessert. :)



Edited to Add: I may have confused a few of you who read the above story about our free meal.  We didn’t intentionally enter the restaurant with the idea to trick our server into making a mess.  That’s just what happened (and has probably happened to many of you too) and so I decided to re-tell it with a little sarcasm.  Mostly because I figured it was relatable.  We weren’t really trying to receive a free meal……that’s just what happened.  Sorry if I confused any of you.  And no, I don’t really think you should follow the above steps to receive a free meal.  And yes, even though our meal was free, we tipped him.  He did great other than the spill (and his language) and we totally understand that the spilled beverage was just an accident. :)



We were little stress buckets for a week and a half…….but hallelujah!  My husband is done with school, done with tests (until he has to re-certify), and done with rotations.  We’re not really sure what to do with ourselves.  He feels a little guilty not having his face in a text book in the evenings and it feels strange to have him sit right next to me on the couch after the kiddos are in bed.  Weird.  But we’ll adjust.  Ahhhhhhhh. 



And to kick off our school-free celebration……….we have had some great friends come for a visit from Idaho.  We couldn’t be more thrilled.  Except we feel a little bad that they have been sleeping among a few unpacked boxes and completely naked walls.  (Sorry friends!)  When we have a free week when friends have a free week, we must take advantage of it.  Unpacked boxes or not!


But we have been trying to squeeze in a little something each day.  All 10 of us (4 adults, 6 kids).  And so far, the zoo has been the most fun.  We kind of adore those animals, the winding paths, and this beautiful weather.



And you know, giraffes never disappoint.



And are friendly little buggers.



I’m not sure we could have asked for more beautiful weather.



This little lady always liked to be in charge of the map.  She looked at those trails, studies the colors, and told us right where we should go.



Until we found the animals she was looking for.  Like this mountain lion.



And this little monkey?  We didn’t really here much of a peep out of her.  She looked and listened and studied everything…….while kicking back with her feet up.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to trade her spots next time.



These little rascals ran from here to there and everywhere.  Everything was so interesting.  Definitely a great place to go with our good friends.





And this little guy was an angel, even though he was feeling a little icky.  And holy smokes, those big blue eyes kill me every time. 



It’s been so fun to get together after not seeing each other in so long.  Our kiddos play like little cousins……and we love that!



But they’re not related…… we can oogle over this all we want.



Today?  We’re off to the aquarium.  Hooray.



I’ll be back to normal next week.  We’ll be flying solo again and my husband starts his first day of his real job.  Pinch me, I still can’t believe our school days are over. 


See you soon!




Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
You thought i forgot i had a blog, didn’t you?
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  1. vvStGeEQXpn says:

    799275 311961Hey, are you having issues along with your hosting? I necessary to refresh the page about million times to get the page to load. Just saying 759778

  2. Ashley says:

    Congrats! How exciting!
    Is it just me or does Ashley and her friend look like they could pass for sisters?!?

  3. Erin says:

    I didn’t realize you had moved to Colorado Springs (I recognized the zoo)! Welcome! I was born and raised here and love it. :-) You’ll have to check out the Electric Safari at the zoo at Christmas time. It’s really neat, and when we went this past Christmas, we were able to see some animals that are usually hiding during the day (a lot of the cats in particular).

  4. Jessica says:

    The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is my FAVORITE zoo! I moved from Colorado Springs 15 years ago and I miss it so much! I got to visit last summer and didn’t want to leave!

  5. Kate says:

    Welcome to Colorado Springs! I hope you’re starting to feel settled here. I’m catching up on some blog reading and recognized the zoo right away. We love those giraffes, too!

  6. Meg says:

    Unfortunately that method of free meals doesn’t always work. My father got an entire, high-piled tray of dirty, food-still-on-them, dishes dumped on his head at an Outback Steakhouse. They didn’t do anything about it other than offer ONE free dessert. And who wants to sit down to dessert when they’re covered in half eaten blooming onions and steak sauce and have noodles hidden in their hair?

  7. Kim N. says:

    Congrats, congrats, congrats!!! Life just keeps getting better with the PANCE out of the way! :)

  8. Paige says:

    I love your stories and totally get your sense of humor. I find it extra funny when I’m catching up on your blog and laughing and then I see you had to come back and clarify. I really don’t know what goes through a person’s mind that required clarification but I’m guess they are sweet, innocent, and don’t get sarcasm. The explanation just gives me an extra laugh. :)

  9. Alex says:

    i love it)

  10. Jeanne says:

    Hey! I know your friend! Her girls play with my girls when they come over to their grandma’s house, who just happens to be my neighbor~ weird for me to just pop in here after some time and recognize people in your pictures. Really threw me off for a minute!

  11. Terra says:

    Congratulations! We actually had something similar when we celebrated my husband passing his boards. We found hair in two different items, so they gave us our meal free too.

  12. angela r j says:

    Woo hoo! Such a great place to be (graduated and certified and all that). My husband is in the middle of studying right now to re-certify… six years flies by faster than you know it!

  13. nicole says:

    Is that Cheyenne Mountain Zoo? We love that place!

  14. serena says:

    or finding a hair in your fettuccine alfredo.(i didn’t put it there =) ) the assistant manager came around later and told me it was free. (after they gave me a new one. haha) you’re a hilarious storytelller

  15. Irene says:

    cant believe no one’s commented on how absolutely adorable and cute your last pic is!! definitely a keeper for the future.

    1. Anonymous says:

      i was abt to say that too, irene! i love keeping the really cute ones because it makes the kids laugh so much when they grow up!

  16. geice peres says:

    hello I’m from Brazil I saw your blog and fell in love I can not speak english google translator kkkk (laughs) I loved your last corner over their children are very beautiful kisses god bless.

  17. Fran says:

    I’m new to your blog and loved the news about hubby and all the beautiful photos. However, I was disturbed about how you got your meal. I felt bad for the server who may lose his job over your trick. Did you ever think of that? Sorry to be the grouch, but that just rubbed me the wrong way.

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh Fran, I apologize for the sarcasm while telling the dinner story. We didn’t really intentionally make all of that happen to receive a free meal. It wasn’t an actual trick. That’s just what happened but I re-told the story with a little spin on it, joking about the unfortunate mess that was made at dinner. I figured I could spin it that way because most people have probably been to a restaurant where something was spilled on them, and they could relate. But I see I may have confused more than just you. I’m sure the server will be fine though and won’t lose his job. After we mentioned to the manager about being disappointed in him using colorful language around our children, the manager offered to find us a new server but we insisted that we keep the same one, as we knew it was just an accident, and everything else he was doing was great. And we even left our server a tip, even though dinner was free. Sorry to cause confusion about that….but I guess that may have seemed cruel without sensing the sarcasm. Sorry about that!


    2. Cassie says:

      Ashley, honestly, I think the average person would NOT have missed the sarcasm. Not to insult the poster who sincerely missed it, but it was kind of sad that you had to add the disclaimer! It was fairly obvious to me reading it that it was an unfortunate incident that made into a funny story.

    3. Stacey says:

      DITTO! Fran, sorry you missed the humor. Ashley would never do something dishonest. Took me back to the time a Chili’s server splattered me and my leather jacket with honey mustard (and yes, they did dry clean it).

    4. Fran says:

      Thanks for the explanation. I see I have been taken to task for my comments. I did say I was new to your blog, so apparently didn’t know this style of humor was the norm for you.

    5. Kim says:

      Welcome Fran:) We all make mistakes, especially in unfamiliar territory. None of the rest of us should throw stones (and least of all me!), I hope you will stick around and enjoy the blog and getting to know Ashley’s wonderful family.

    6. Mo says:

      I cannot believe anyone would not recognize the story for what it is, (a certain style, which I find delightful) and if the server lost his job it was due to his clumsiness, and NOT this story! That’s ridiculous.

  18. Jennifer J says:

    I’m so happy for you. Great post! Great life! What a wonderful way to celebrate Spring!

  19. Sunny Jane says:

    Wow. That shot of the giraffe kiss! I love it!

  20. Jenn says:

    I know that zoo! My kids Love it. It’s so much more cozy and kid friendly than the Denver zoo, in our opinion.

    Congratulations on being done with school. It feels good doesn’t it?

  21. amy says:

    LOVE the CM zoo! My son and I spent lots of mornings there. Seeing your pics made me realize how much I miss CO! Thanks for sharing! :)

  22. Cherie says:

    Yay, for being done with school! I know how you feel about the test thing. My husband had to pass the BAR and you don’t find out for like three or four months afterward what the results are. Fun times. But real jobs are nice, and worth it!

  23. Paula says:

    Love CM zoo, my baby (now almost 18) spend our time walking around viewing all the animals. My fav is the moose!
    Enjoy the aqu. today.

  24. Janae Anderson says:

    Yeah!! for your hubby and you! It is going to be a whole new world!

  25. Kimberly @ The Brown Eyes Have It says:

    Congratulations to all of you! That is such a great feeling to be done with all of that. Tell your husband to relax and enjoy some “guilt free TV”. He deserves it! lol That’s what a good friend of our told my dh when he finished school and then passed the CPA exam. My husband loves the expression now. :)

  26. Julie Snow says:

    Good job moving on to a new phase in your life – I remember that change for us too – when my hubby was done school and finally started his real job…memories! Good stories too – your family is so cute!

  27. dannyscotland says:

    Yay for your hub being done with school! And double yay for having fun with friends! Makes me wish I could go visit my best friend now, too! Enjoy your vacation!

  28. Annette says:

    Congratulations! Thank you for sharing all the wonderful pictures and stories!

  29. Katie says:

    My husband is graduating soon, and he landed a job as well. I can’t tell you how therapeutic your blog and projects have been to me through all of the stress we endure as supporters! Thank you so much and


    Oh yes, I loved reading about your free dinner. You’re a a fabulous story-teller!

  30. Amanda says:

    Yay! Congrats to your hubby and family!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Love that ZOO! Just went today :)

  32. corrine says:

    Oh how I miss all the great things to do in Colorado. Enjoy them all

  33. Anonymous says:

    Mr husband just passed his EXIT exam last week, and today, my hubby just finished his very last final ever! Pretty sure I wept a few (or many) happy tears…totally know what you mean about the nerves and stress and juggling kiddos, and then the relief and what do we do with ourselves? Pretty sure it is going to involve root beer floats. congratulations!!

  34. Kim says:

    Congratulations to your husband, Ashley! I’ll be taking the PANCE in December, so I know all about the stress and anxiety that comes with PA school, rotaitons, and… exams! Eeeek! Here’s to a whole new chapter in your lives!

  35. Stephanie Hillberry says:

    Congratulations! What a milestone for your family– And I second the comments above–that zoo is one of the best! And I, too, love the giraffes. Looks like a fun day!

  36. Emily says:

    Your dinner story made me laugh! The same thing happened to my husband and I! The manager even offered to dry clean his jeans…maybe there is some drink-spilling-accident code non-restaurant managers don’t know… Congrats to your husband!

  37. Pippa says:

    Haha, love the free dinner story! My husband is finishing up grad school this month too– ah real life…

  38. Becky says:

    Congrats to both of you for making it!!!!!!

  39. Emily says:

    Love the pictures! Congrats to your husband (and you!) for passing his boards!

  40. Shannon says:

    Congrats on passing the PANCE to your husband! I am a PA, I practice Emergency Medicine, and I love every second of it :) Your hubs will be so happy, its a great career field with a lot of opportunities! I’ve been following your blog for a while now, I love your sewing tutorials, they are so simple and well thought-out, thank you for sharing all of your great ideas!!

  41. Dianna says:

    Yea! Congratulations!

  42. Natalie says:

    This post made me miss the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo! We moved from Colorado Springs in December to Longmont and we miss that zoo so much! I am so happy for you and your husband to be done with school!! My husband is a dentist and we have been “school-free” 10 months now. It’s so nice to have a “real” schedule and a husband to enjoy again!! I hope you are enjoying Colorado Springs, I am just so sad we moved and then you moved in!! You are probably in our old ward too. . . we could have been friends, darn it!!

  43. TracyDQ says:

    We just got back from there, during our spring break. It is the best zoo I’ve ever been to. The animals were so happy and animated and… well… in GREAT environments (except the penguins). We are def. going back there, love that zoo. And who knew giraffes had such soft tongues?

  44. Nicole says:

    Congrats to you husband for finishing PA school! We are about to press the submit button on the CASPA website sometime in the next week or so! I am so nervous I feel like vomiting 24/7 because I’m so nervous about getting in! I’m very happy for you guys!

  45. Brianne says:


  46. Cathy says:

    love the cheyenne mountain zoo! totally recommend the membership. we’ve gone at least once a month since we got ours last spring, even in the winter.

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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