2014

Our first post of 2015! Happy New Year everyone! Today I would like to share with you the highlights for our family last year. It was a busy year!

 

January – February 2014:

In January and February we were very busy with Leena’s birthday, rehearsals for Outrageous Fortune, Mock Trial, and snow. Practices for Outrageous Fortune, a play I was in, started in January, making my already busy life crazy. We also had a major snow fall, and received almost two feet of snow.

During these weeks we enjoyed sledding and scary driving. My little sister, Leena, turned nine in early February, and we threw her an extravagant Alice in Wonderland themed birthday party. We had all of the guests dress up as a character from Alice in Wonderland, then they had a tea party and participated in a role-playing mystery game.

Mock Trial classes became much more intense during this time as well. We went from having one class a week to two or three classes a week.

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The birthday girl!

 

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Doesn’t this look like a lovely place to have a tea party?

 

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Some of the interesting characters who showed up.

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Isn’t that cute?

 

March – April 2014:

Wow! March and April were two of the busiest months of my life this past year!

First, we had the regional Bible Quizzing competition for Leena, which lasted a day and a half. Leena did great! She only missed two questions, and got a gold medal! We also had a fantastic time enjoying the Bible-themed games and worship music at the Quiz meet.

After we finished at the quiz meet we went straight to a Mock Trial practice. The next several days were filled with practice after practice for the Mock Trial competition at the end of the week.

Before I go any further I should probably tell you a little bit about Mock Trial. Each year teams of high school students are given fake cases (often based off of real cases) to study. The students are assigned roles by their coaches, such as prosecuting attorney for expert witness #1, a witness, bailiff, or lead attorney for the defense. The students practice their roles for months and study their cases thoroughly, and then in early March there is regional contest. This year was our teams second year of participating. The week before the contest is always intense, and often the only thing anyone can think about. The day before the competition last year I was home alone making brownies, and caught the oven on fire I was so distracted. Oops!

Anyway, the day of the regional competition arrived, an we all arose early to be at the courthouse before it opened, so we could get a good place in line. The day passed quickly and we did really well, in fact we came in first place in our region! That meant we would be advancing to the state competition, which was only two weeks away! The next two weeks were filled with practice after practice, which was really crazy for some us, because we also had a couple of three hour rehearsals for Outrageous Fortune. It was a blast!!!

Two weeks later, ready or not, we were on our way down to Portland for the state competition. Our first round didn’t go very well, as we we’re all tired from driving all day, some of us were car sick, and a couple of us had the brilliant idea to run up 12 flights of stairs before hand. We thought we would stretch our legs and save time by skipping the wait for the elevator, we quickly discovered running up that many stairs is a little more than just stretching your legs and takes longer than waiting for the elevator. Genius. We did okay the next day, but not as well as we did in our region. We came in 16th in the state, which isn’t bad considering how many teams there are in the state.

After Mock Trial ended Outrageous Fortune rehearsals became very intense. Soon we were practicing six to nine hours a week on top of our normal activities. In April the performances began, we performed the play at multiple schools and our church ten times. We had a one week spring break in the middle of it, and I slept until noon everyday. Then it was back to our busy schedule. Whoo! Just remember those months makes me tired.

Alex also turned six in April. He had a small birthday party. Oh, and we started our blog!

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Mr. Zander’s sixth birthday!

 

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Quite a character!

 

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The Mock Trial team. Not quite sure why this picture is in black and white, because I didn’t take it, but it’s the only one I have.

 

May – June 2014:

In May we went on vacation to California. I won’t write very much about it since I already have a long post about it, but I will give a quick overview. First, we drove to the beach, were we spent two days. The first day we spent at the actual beach, a nearby park, and a Marie Callender’s. The next we went to the Hearst Castle, the home of the late William Hearst. We took a tour of many of the bedrooms and the pools. It was really amazing! Many celebrity’s stayed there when William Hearst was alive, including Carey Grant, who stayed in each room twice. That evening we went to a spectacular dinner theater. The dinner theater was my favorite part of the day.

The next day we drove to Disneyland! My absolute favorite place in the world! Our family is very serious about Disneyland. We don’t do relaxing Disney trips. My Dad turns into a drill sergeant on vacation, and it’s been said that our family doesn’t actually go on vacation, we run a marathon instead. Which is probably somewhat true, but what’s the point of going on vacation if you’re just going to sleep in and relax? You can do that at home. The first day we spent in Disneyland, just enjoying the wonder of being there.

The second day we went to California Adventure, which meant that evening we were able to watch my absolute favorite part of Disneyland, the World of Color! My Dad claims I never have actually seen the World of Color, because I’m to busy taking pictures, but that’s how I like to watch it the best. That way I can always remember the show. The remainder of the trip was spent in both parks and we had a wonderful family trip.

In June we started doing Bible Bee. The name may sound cute, but trust me there is nothing cute about it. You can easily spend hours and hours a day on it. Each year the Bible Bee assigns a book of the Bible to study and provides a Sword Study Guide. This year the book was Jonah. At the end of the summer you take a test on the book of the Bible, and if you’re in the top hundred for your age group in your region you get to participate in the National Bible Bee Competition. Neither Leena or I made it, but we got the beneficial experience of studying the Bible all summer, and had a fun time all at once!

I also had my birthday in June. I went shopping in the morning, went to my favorite restaurant for lunch, and had Savy over to spend the night. We watched a movie called “Parental Guidance”, starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler. It was hilarious!

At the end of the month we had our church’s annual Vacation Bible School. This year the theme was International Spy Academy: Agents of the One True God. I led a group and was in the drama. VBS is always my favorite week of the summer, and this year was no exception! I had an awesome time with all of the kids in my group! We played games, did crafts, had teaching time, and ate snacks. I even got to use a water gun on kids while blindfolded. (I love water guns!) I may have accidentally tried to get my Dad with the spray too. Ah, summer!

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A warm Californian beach.

 

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Okay, maybe it wasn’t so warm. Alex is shivering.

 

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Isn’t that an awesome view from Hearst Castle.

 

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Waiting for the Disneyland Express.

 

Bible Bee!

 

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My birthday!

 

Agents of the one true God!!!

 

July – August 2014:

At the beginning of July we went to the Sisters Quilt Show. I really enjoy looking at all of the quilts made by talented seamstress each year, and so this year I begged my Mom to take my little sister and I. She agreed, but when we got there she only wanted to look at the flowers lining main street and the shops. I did get to see a few quilts, but not as many as I would have liked. My Grandma had booth at the Quilt Show and they came over for dinner the next day. It is always a pleasure to see them!

Later in the month my other Grandparents, Uncle, and cousins went camping at Detroit Lake, and we joined them there for a day. We went boating, inner tubing, and swimming. The lake was beautiful, and I always love seeing my cousins.

In August, we had a our big Bible Bee test. It was very challenging, although not as hard as I thought it was going to be. It didn’t help that I had a really bad cough at the time. That evening we had a lot of people over to our house for a “Ticket to Ride” party. Ticket to Ride is a strategy game our family loves. We had multiple rounds, and multiple games going at the same time. Finally, we had the championship round. I got to participate in this round, because I had won an earlier round, but I lost the final round. My sister and nephew were also visiting that day, and we had a nice visit with them.

Later that week we went floating down the river, which was fun but cold. I was on a tube with another girl, and we ended up way behind everybody else, because we got stuck on rock. (And a certain two boys left us stuck there, even though they could have easily helped us off.) It was a fun way to end our summer break.

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Look at all of the colorful quilts!

 

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This was by far my favorite quilt. I have no clue who made it, but I love how realistic it is.

 

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Leena enjoying frozen yogurt during the Quilt Show.

 

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Detroit Lake was gorgeous.

 

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From L. to R.: Leena, Ally, Savy, and my cousin Ella.

 

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My nephew.

 

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Isn’t that cute?

 

September – October 2014:

We didn’t do very much in September, because school started. We visited my Aunt Judy and my great-grandma, Gam, for Gam’s 93rd birthday. We had a delightful visit with them, and enjoyed a yummy lunch.

Then in October we went to the pumpkin patch. We picked out three large pumpkins, drank warm cider, and ate soup. Then, of course, we had Halloween. My little brother and sister dressed up as a knight and Snow White, and went trick-or-treating. I wasn’t able to go, because I had mono, so my Mom and I stayed home and watched a movie.

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I wonder which one is the Great Pumpkin?

 

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Somehow, Alex talked my Dad into pushing him in a wheel borrow.

 

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Guts! Guts! Guts!

 

November – December 2014:

I slept, and slept, and slept some more. That’s basically what I did in November. At least my little brother wasn’t allowed to wake me up by singing, “Wake Up Little Ally!” at the top of his lungs. (It’s supposed to be set to the tune of “Wake Up Little Susie” by the Everly Brothers, but somehow it never sounds like that.)

My parents birthday is in November, but I’m not allowed to tell you how old they are. Let’s just say my Dad is old.

We had nice, quiet Thanksgiving. We ate dinner and then we had friends of ours over to play Reverse Charades, a fun game we just discovered.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving Leena and I were in our city’s parade, which was a great way to kick off the Christmas season.

The first weekend in December we got our Christmas tree, which is always a lot of fun. We’re very particular about our trees. We picked out a seven ft. noble, and we decorated with small, twinkling colorful lights and an assortment of ornaments that don’t match, but all have a story. We have one ornament that’s a real candy cane decorated to look like a reindeer that my Dad made when he was a kid. We joke that it’s the worlds oldest candy cane, because it’s from the early seventies.

Between hand bells performances, school, and desperate attempts to make Christmas money, the Christmas season passed quickly. The day before Christmas Eve we went ice skating and then that night we did kidnap caroling. We had a blast!

We had a peaceful Christmas Eve and Christmas. On Christmas Eve we went to the Original Pancake House for breakfast and to the movies afterward, because it’s tradition. That evening we went to our church’s candlelight service, it was short but sweet. Then we went home and enjoyed a delicious dinner of steak, caramelized onions, and mashed potatoes. That night Leena, Alex, and I stayed up late watching Elf and Shop Around the Corner on my laptop, because staying up late on Christmas Eve watching movies is tradition too. The next morning we got up early and opened presents. I spent the rest of the day reading.

The day after Christmas we drove down to Portland to celebrate with extended family. We opened presents at my Grandparents house, then took my older sister birthday shopping, because her birthday was on Christmas Eve. The next day we went to my sister and brother-in-laws house to give them their Christmas gifts. I gave my brother-in-law a potty basketball I received in a white elephant gift exchange, I figured he’d probably get more use out of it than I will. It was a wonderful Christmas!

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Somebody’s a little excited to decorate the tree.

I hope you have a fantastic 2015! Our goal for this year is to have 300 followers by the end of the year. What goals have you set for yourself this year?

 

Wishing you a superb year! ~Ally

 

 

 

 

Our Family Vacation Part 2

Hi everyone! I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to post this! I’ve been very busy this summer. Anyway, let’s get started!

 

Day 6

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On day 6 we spent another day in California Adventure, enjoying the rides and attractions.

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We went on Radiator Springs Racers, Silly Symphony Swings, Toy Story Mania, and many more!

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We also went to a ten minute sneak peek of Maleficent.

It was really awesome! The theater even shot out fire!!!

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We had a really fantastic day!

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Day 7

We spent day 7 at Disneyland, and went on a lot of rides, as well as watched multiple shows. My M0m got me to go on Big Thunder Railroad for the first time in 5 1/2  years. The first time I went on it I was terrorized, and vowed never to go on it again. I know, I sound like I big chicken, it’s not even a thrill ride. The last time I went on it I was only nine, and was told right before I got on that someone had died from unnatural causes on the ride a couple year earlier, so please give me some grace.

We went to Mickey and the Magical Map for the first time, it was awesome! The story took you to some of the greatest Disney musical movie scenes of all time, from “I Can See the Light” from Tangled to “I Wanna Be Like You” from Jungle book.

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The music and dancing was amazing!

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For lunch we went to the Golden Horseshoe, and watched the western version of Romeo and Juliet. It was really funny!!!

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What would a trip to Disneyland be without getting your picture taken with Minnie?

 

Day 8

Day 8 was Rock Your Disney Side 24hr. day in Disneyland!

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This was a giant sand Olaf  made to celebrate the occasion!

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Today we went back and forth between parks, and ate lunch with the princesses at Ariel’s Grotto.

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We also went to the Animation Studio in California Adventure!

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That evening we went to Downtown Disney where we shopped and ate at the Rainforest Café for dinner.

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We then ended are time in Disneyland by watching fireworks!

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Day 9:

We headed home! On our way we stopped off at Bravo Farms a small old west themed mall for an hour of fun!

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Leena and Alex really enjoyed playing in the small town for kids!

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Day 10:

Home, sweet home!!!

~Ally

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July everyone! Here are some awesome 4th of July quotes to celebrate our freedom!

“Liberty is the breath of life to nations.”  ~George Bernard Shaw

“Where liberty dwells, there is my country.”  ~Benjamin Franklin

 

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” ~Ronal Reagan
“The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.”~ Thomas Jefferson
Go enjoy some watermelon! ~Ally

Our Family Vacation: Part 1

Our family vacation in the sand

 

Our family recently returned from a ten day vacation to the beach, Hearst Castle, and Disneyland. I would like to share with you in a 2 pt. post some of pictures and stories of our adventures.

Day 1:

We got up at 4:00 am and hit the road in an effort to arrive at our hotel by 3:00. Here are some pictures of day 1.

Leena sucking her fingers

First day of Vacation is one of the few days of the year my little sisters is willing to get up at 4:00 in the morning.

Alex sleeping in the car

Yup, that pretty much describes how everyone felt on day 1.

 

Day 2:

After even more driving, we finally arrived at the beach! After we arrived at our hotel we decided to take a walk down to the pool and gazebo, while my Dad enjoyed a nap. We were surprised to find seagulls swimming in the pool.

Seagull in pool

Coming from Central Oregon where we don’t even have seagulls, this was a bit fascinating to me.

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Make way for baby seagulls!

After my father awoke from his nap we went for a walk along the beach.

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The beautiful Californian beach.

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Leena’s sand dollar.

After our trip to the beach we went out to dinner and to the park.

Leena and Alex in a giant egg

Alex and a seal

leena and her seal

We had a great time at the beach and park!

 

Day 3:

On day 3 we journeyed to the Hearst Castle, which was built by William Randolph Hearst. The castle was spectacular, and the view was amazing!  It was so fascinating learning about the history of the castle, as well as the life of Mr. Hearst. The drive up to the castle was an adventure all in its self, and at times felt more like a ride, rather than a just a drive. It was steep, curvy, and fast, but well worth it for the view.

drive up to hearst castle

The tour itself was fantastic! We got to tour many of the guest suits, the library, his office, the pools, and more! The castle was huge, and couldn’t be toured in just one tour. William Randolph Hearst didn’t build the castle until after his mother died, because she controlled the fortune, and was afraid he may go a bit over-board in building a house. I think she may have been right, what do you think?

part of the outside of Hearst Castle

One of the inside rooms

As you can see, his taste was a bit luxurious.

hearst castle artifacts

The castle was brimming with ancient artifacts! Most of the artifacts are real, although some are fake.

Neptune pool

The Neptune Pool was modeled after pools in Greece. Another pool was the indoor Roman pool, which had 22 kt. gold tiles.

Roman pool

Alcove in the Roman

It was beautiful, and made me wish they allowed the public swim in it.

Mom, Dad, Leena, and Alex at the Hearst castle

This is Mom, Dad, Leena, and Alex on the stairs leading to the Neptune pool. We had a great time at the Hearst Castle.

That night we went to a The Great American Melodrama, a vaudeville dinner theater. The show was hilarious, and the servers were also the actors, and made jokes and sang while taking orders. The first part of the show was a performance of Around the world in 80 Days, and the last part was a series of hilarious skits, all of which related to technology.

We had tons of fun!

 

Day 4:

We went to Disneyland! As I mentioned in a earlier post, I’m a huge Disney fanatic! I love practically anything Disney or Disney related! Disneyland just never gets old! We always have tons of fun in Disneyland, and this trip was no exception.

Sleeping beauty castle

That night we enjoyed a trip around the park on the Disneyland Railroad, went on the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and blasted off into space on Star Tours. (Okay, so maybe that was a bit cheesy!) 🙂

Day 5:

On day 5 we went to California Adventure, which has become my favorite part of Disneyland in the past two years.

Leena and I at California Adventure

Leena and I in California Adventure.

That night we ate at the Pacific Warf, one of my favorite restaurants. Later, for dessert we had sundaes at Ghirardelli. It was delicious! I shared a cookie sundae with Leena and bought a sea salt carmel hot chocolate for the World of Color. After dessert we went to find spots for the World of Color. I have seen the World of Color about seven times now, and it never ceases to amaze me! The brightly colored water shoots over 200 ft. in the air, while movie scenes are projected on to it, and music plays in the background. The first time we saw the show I was nine, and they had a splash zone with a sign that said, “Warning: If you sit here, you will get wet”, my dad joked that no one would be sitting there if it was flames they were shooting up! You can image our surprise when about half-way through the show flames spouted out with the water!

Paradise Pier at night

California screamin at night

Color!!!

World of Color

Black and Blue world of color

flames!

I hope you have enjoyed this post! I will post the last five days of our vacation later.

 

 

 

 

Passover

Wow! It’s hard to believe Easter is almost here! One holiday that always falls right before Easter is Passover. Jesus went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover before he was arrested, and in the Old Testament the Jewish people were commanded to keep the tradition of Passover in remembrance of the exodus from Egypt. Today I would like to share with you what Passover is, why it is important, and how my family celebrates it.

 

What is Passover?

Passover is the celebration of the Jewish people leaving Egypt after the enslavement. Directly before the Israelites left Egypt for the Promise Land, God killed all of the firstborn men and boys of Egypt. Unlike all of the other plagues that God sent,  He was going to kill the firstborn in Goshen were the Israelites were living as well, unless the Jewish people put the blood of  a lamb on the door post of their homes. The homes that had the lamb’s blood on the door were then passed over, hence the name of the feast. After putting the blood on the door the Israelites were to have a feast were they ate the lamb that they killed, along with unleavened bread. The bread was to be unleavened because yeast was a representation of sin. After the firstborn boys of Egypt were killed, Pharaoh let the Israelites go. That is the Passover, and that is why the Jewish people still celebrate the Passover.

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Why is Passover so important? What’s the big deal?

In the book of Exodus and the book of Leviticus God commands the Jewish people to celebrate Passover every year in remembrance of the their exodus from Egypt. But why does matter? It was a long time ago, why should we care today? It matters for a number of reasons, for one it reminds us of God’s deliverance and his love for his people. Second, it’s tradition, and traditions are very important. The most important reason, though, is because the Passover is a representation of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. He was the lamb who was slain, he freed us from death, so that we may be free. 1 Corinthians 5:7 says:

” Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”

That is why we really celebrate Passover, not only in remembrance of the Israelites being saved from slavery, but also Christ freeing us from death and sin.

 

How my family celebrates Passover:

A lot of time a Passover seder (meal) is really serious event, but other times it can be tons of fun! Our family goes to two Passover seders each year, one at our church, and another one at a friends house. At our church they read through parts of the book of Exodus, and all that torturous samplings of food. Like drinking four small cups of wine (grape juice in our church), matzah with delicious horseradish, bitter herbs (parsley) in salt water, etc.

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After that we eat the meal, which generally consist of lamb, matzah ball soup, and chicken. We also fellowship during this time, enjoying our friends and family. After the meal is over there are a few more Jewish blessings we read out loud and then we pray. After that the worship team plays a few fun songs in Hebrew and then some less common worship songs in English. The first song we dance through. Everyone (well, almost everyone, there are a few adults who cannot be persuaded) forms a huge chain, and runs in a giant circle around the room.

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That is what Passover is in a nutshell! Shalom Aleichem! Okay, maybe that’s a greeting, but I can use at as a farewell if I want to!

~Ally

 

 

Heads Up!

Hi Everyone!

This is just a heads up that for the next week we will be posting like crazy in an attempt to get the blog up and going! Don’t worry we won’t generally bother you so much. We will also be posting something everyday this week before Easter in celebration of Holy week.

~Savy and Ally