Thursday, April 17, 2014

Live and Learn: How to Paint (or at least what NOT to do!)

Ladies!!! I wanted to share something with you and I thought that today would be perfect for it!!  I am linking up with my dear friend Sarah from Life as Always for her Live and Learn linkup on Thursdays!!  If you haven't checked out her blog before make sure you stop by today!!

We have done our fair share of painting in our home since moving in 6 years ago.  And through all of my experiences painting nearly every room in our house I have LEARNED a lot!

Here is some backstory: We have an older home built in 1989 and let me tell you it is a pure product of the 80's!!  and that is NOT a compliment.  I don't know about you but that yellowish oak color that was so in back then makes me want to barf!!   sorrynotsorry if you like it. Not to mention the couple we purchased the house from never changed the decor of the house (or the paint on the walls or the carpet on the floor) for the 20 years they lived there!!  needless to say much of it is was an eyesore. 

I will be the first to admit that my decor style has changed over the past 6 years and I am wanting to change some of the makeovers we have done previously.  

Our first plan of attack was to paint the ceiling and walls before we moved in you know to cover up the 20 year old builders paint!.  Which we did: the living room, dining room, kitchen and hallway all got a fresh new coat (or two) of paint.  

:: First Lesson I Learned - make sure you know the tone of the color you are picking and try out a sample before buying 6 gallons of it!!!  I was hoping to go for a taupe color very light almost white but still had some color to it.  We chose a color called "Arizona Tan".  Sure tan isn't taupe but the color on the 1inch by 1inch square looked good to us.  Fastforward to painting the living room and the color I kid you not was the color of FLESH!! I felt like we were inside a stomach or something.  It was awful.  So we took the paint back and tried to have them add some other pigment to it to get rid of the pink undertones.  Not wanting to waste the paint we went ahead and put this color on all of the walls I mentioned above ::

Eventually I painted over the hallway, dining room and living room with a couple of different colors.  I found the best color for what I was originally wanting which is no longer available: Martha Stewart Potter Slip.  Since I still have the paint chip and a can they can remake it for me but without it I would be lost!  And then we did some accent walls in Green.

I then painted our guest bathroom yellow and thanks to our Siberian Husky I got tile floors installed and a new white paneled door!  (see that gross wood color? I hate it!)

before: 20 year old paint and linoleum

 after: fresh new yellow walls and new tile! (I also painted the windowsill white!)

:: Second Lesson I Learned - think about your color combinations!!  The problem with the yellow bathroom?  Well we used to have brown towels in there and the shower curtain has a light brown color.  It wasn't until I watched Sarah Richardson on HGTV that I realized how bad that color combination really is!  She said that yellow and brown are reserved for only one spot in the house - the toilet!! and I have wanted to re-paint ever since.

So now we are doing our second makeover in the guest bathroom.  I can't give a whole lot of details as I am planning for a reveal soon.  What I can tell you is we are changing the colors, lighting and other details as well.

So what have I learned during this bathroom makeover and paint?

:: Third Lesson I Learned - regardless of your budget invest in quality paint products and prep appropriately.  We bought cheap tape and cheap rolling brushes - you know to try and keep the cost down.  Well it backfired.  Our taping ability and prep-work was seriously lacking.  Maybe that was because I was "in a hurry" to get it done.  I would like to blame the texture on the walls but alas I think we just didn't do a good job in prepping or investing in quality tape.  The paint bled all over the ceiling and window casing meaning that I have a lot of clean up work to do.  In addition the tape kept falling off the ceiling and walls as I was painting.  Partly because the tape was cheap but also because we didn't clean all the dust off first! So there was nothing for it to stick to in the first place!

 a few days ago (yes this is in black and white)

So what I would like you to learn from this painting experience:
1. Take the time to properly prep your area for painting: dusting and cleaning out the area
2. Invest in quality painting equipment: painters tape, drop cloths, paint brushes and rollers
3. Try out a sample or two of the colors you are wanting to use to make sure they are the right color
4. Consider the other colors you will be putting into the space to ensure that they all go together well and are reminiscent of something unappealing!
5. Do not rush during the painting process.  Take your time so that you can do a quality job.

Well I hope these tips help you to avoid the hiccups we have had over the years!! Stay tuned for our bathroom reveal here on the blog fairly soon!

♥ Ashley

Life As Always

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Life Lately

Hey there ladies!!

I thought I would give a little update of our life here lately.

First of all let me tell you how wonderful it was to have Spring Break last week!! It was just what I needed.

I loved spending all that extra time with our sweet Ellie.  She has become quite the walker and dare devil! She pulls up on almost anything and thinks she is the coolest ever for being able to stand.  Her little personality is growing and she is becoming more independent but still loves to crawl over to us for cuddles. (I hope that never changes!) < funny story: we were the volunteers in the nursery this past Sunday and got to see Ellie in action with all her "friends".  She was one of the youngest in there and only wanted the toys that the other children had and actually pulled them out of their grasp!!! Luckily when I took them away from her, returned them to the previous "owner" and gave her a different one she didn't get very upset.  She just had her "mini-tantrum" as I call it where she tenses up all her muscles at once and sort of shakes for about 2 seconds and then was totally fine!! So I guess we are going to have to work on sharing!

The weather was beautiful and we had the chance to go outside and do some much needed yard work.  I did A LOT of weeding (and still have a bunch to do) and my back was killing me!! Ellie had a blast being out on a blanket in the dappled shade of one of our trees and exploring this new world!  This was making me SO SO excited for Summer Break! I am so looking forward to nearly 2 1/2 months with my little girl!!

We began work on our Guest Bathroom Makeover.  As you know we are teachers and we try to do everything on a budget (enter in the Dollar Tree, Goodwill, etc) as well as do the work ourselves.  Well we thought we had everything in order for this makeover but it turns out it is taking longer than I had planned (which usually always happens) and we found out that we didn't have everything we needed to get it done by my self appointed completion date of last Sunday.  So we still have an unfinished bathroom in our house.  Hopefully it will be done soon so I can do a reveal.  I think that it is turning out wonderfully and can see my vision coming to fruition!

We are also looking forward to Easter!!  I have most of the items picked out for Ellie's First Easter Basket and I am so excited to put it all together!!  We have a pretty busy weekend with celebrating this holiday with both of our families.  Saturday is the Egg Hunt with Thomas family and their tradition Easter Noodles (anyone else have this tradition?)  and then Sunday we are going to church with my Dad and then my sister is hosting an Easter lunch at her house!

I have noticed a trend in myself and my emotions.  I think that Ellie has a BIG part to do with it.  After our Christmas Break and I returned back to school I had what I called the "New Year's Blues". I didn't feel extremely motivated to get back to work.  I felt "blue".  After a couple weeks - and a semester change - my energy was renewed and I was no longer questioning my profession.  I love being a teacher and getting to work with the awesome students I have every day.  They make my life so much brighter and warm my heart incredibly.  But I have to confess, I am feeling the "Spring Time Blues" this week.  I think that this is happening because I just loved being at home with Ellie so much that my heart aches now that I have to be at work!!  She consumes my thoughts, as does Thomas, and all I want to do is have family time!!  Again I love my kiddos (students) but can it just be Summer Time already?!!?!?!??!!

Do you ever find yourself in a rut at work?  What do you do to help yourself out of it?

♥ Ashley

a Humpday Confession

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

{weekly update} week 47

Hey there Ladies!! Its Tuesday so that means we are having another check in with my sweet baby girl, Ellie!  I just love her so much.  We had THE best week this past week as we were on Spring Break and go to spend the whole week with her to ourselves.  As she gets older she is making it harder and harder to leave and return to work after our breaks!!

Eats:We introduced quite a bit of new foods to her this week.  Oranges, bananas, yogurt, lettuce, (doritos), and then her basics that she loves.  She is becoming more interested in feeding herself but still lets us do the spoon work!!  Our attempts with the Sippy are going well for the most part.

Sleeps: pretty sure we are still in some sort of regression here.  Her schedule was a bit off this week as we had projects and things we wanted to do during our break.  She is such a trooper and has the best disposition.  She generally goes down for bed around 7:30-8:30 and then we put her in her crib (while asleep).  She is pretty good until about 3:30am when she wakes up and starts crawling/pulling up to standing in her crib.  So we bring her into bed and she is our until 6:30-7:00am.

Goes:  Girlfriend got to go to the Tulip Fields this week up in La Connor!!  It is about a 2+ hour drive and she slept the whole way up and the way back!! It was so fun to share this tradition with her!  Other places were pretty much the regular: Target, Grocery Store, Restaurants.  We also took her to the park to try out the swings for the first time and she LOVED them! I have a video of her swinging and laughing its adorable!! You can watch it on my IG account @lifeonthefarm She also got to go outside an play with our farm animals. Turns out her favorite is the mini horse!

Loves: we made a "penny toy" out of a water bottle and a handful of pennies. She loves to shake it and make noise. We did something similar with plastic Tupperware and other toys inside to make noise when she shakes them. Her activity cube is still a fave and she is discovering new parts of it! She still loves Sophie and the remote control. 

Does: She is a little dare devil, pulling up on everything and trying to climb up the tv stand, on her pink walker and anything else that might have the slightest little edge for her foot!!!  She is getting her fair share of bumps and bruises with her curiosity but seems to get over the "ouchness" rather quickly (of course a shoulder ride will always bring smiles and giggles!).  She is a crawling maniac and also likes to watch TV, I only let her watch PBS Kids (Arthur), cooking shows, 19 Kids and Counting, and The Little Couple as of right now.   Other shows are on just for some background noise!!  I think I see another tooth coming in as well so hopefully she will get a few more!!

Mama: I am just loving this stage and age right now!! She is so much fun and making it harder for me to go to work these days!! (I am taking donations so we can afford for me to be a SAHM!!) I had a great time during Spring Break to get things crossed off my to do list and to get some think time in as I spent hours weeding our gardens!!  I have been taking a new medication for the past few weeks to help with my migraines along with some Magnesium and I can tell that my anxiety levels are already starting to decrease!!  I am looking forward to hopefully get these darn headaches under control so I don't miss out on any more time with my sweet little girl!!

Dear Ellie Faith, I love you so much.  Everyday just keeps getting better and better. Your sweet little personality is beginning to shine and I love how you are so interactive, smart, kind, and hilarious.  Thank you for all the special moments you have been giving me and for making me a Mama!! I love you!!

♥ Ashley

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Meals Mashup #4 [linkup]

Hey there ladies!

Just coming off of our wonderful Spring Break.  We didn't have a chance to meal plan for this week yet but I wanted to share a recipe that we had a few weeks ago!

Monday Meals Mashup

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing:
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

For the Chicken Bites
  • 1 c All-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 12 oz Beer (about one bottle)
  • 2 lb boneless Chicken Breast, cut into cubes
For the Buffalo Sauce
  • 1 c Butter
  • 12 oz Cayenne Pepper sauce (about one bottle)
  • 3 to 4 dashes Hot Sauce
  • 3 to 4 dashes Worcestershire Sauce


1. Heat 3 to 4 inches of oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat to at least 350 degrees. Also preheat your oven to 325 degrees. 
2. Meanwhile, combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the beer, adding a little at a time until the batter is somewhat thin, but still thick enough to coat the chicken. (I found using around 3/4 of the beer made a better batter mixture but it's pretty much all up to you). 
3. Add chicken to the batter and toss them around then lift them out of the batter and carefully lower them into the hot oil. (I used tongs, but a slotted spoon might have been better)
4. Fry the chicken in batches until it's a deep golden brown, around 3 to 4 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined pan to drain. 
5. To make the sauce, combine the butter, cayenne pepper sauce, hot sauce, and Worcestershire in a saucepan over medium heat. Melt it together, whisking to combine. 
6. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl and pour on the sauce, toss the chicken to coat. 
7. Transfer the coated chicken onto the pan and bake for 5 to 10 minutes to seal in the sauce. (Don't add extra sauce - it makes the chicken too saturated and the breeding comes off)

For the Blue Cheese Dressing
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2-3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. To a bowl add the mayo, milk, sour cream and Worcestershire, and stir until combined. 
2. Stir in the blue cheese and add salt and pepper to taste.

And then we just added some romaine lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, and sunflower seeds.  Let me tell you that this was SO SO yummy!!

Please check out Susie's post this week for more inspiration!!  And as usual please link up a recipe or weekly menu on the widget below!!

♥ Ashley

Friday, April 11, 2014

Late Five

Well I guess it's better late than never. Ha. We are on spring break this week and have been living up our vacation here on the farm. 

I had a list of project I was hoping to get completed before Sunday. I will be honest it was a pretty serious list and highly unlikely to happen (even if we didn't have a little one at home). 

I have to say we did a pretty good job at checking the items off the list so far!

O N E 

I have been wanting to re-do our guest bathroom (aka Ellie's) for a while now. I just didn't quite know what my vision was. Then about two weeks ago I had an inspiration and we started talking about executing it!! I won't completely divulge I to the overall vision but I can say that my taste and style have changed over the years and I would have never done something like this 5 years ago! 


I can say we are close to being 2/3 of the way done with the major overhaul. We are hoping to get some help from Thomas' dad on Sunday with the final big project in the bathroom!

Sneak Peek!


We have a front yard vegetable garden t our farm. It's not the biggest b any means but we grow a sufficient amount for our little family!  I still have yet to figure out a good way to prep it for the winter. (I think I am so drained at the upkeep by the end of harvest season I don't want to look at it again!) So that means it gets a lot of weeds and unwanted growth from Fall to Spring.  So on my list was to prep it for Spring planting i.e. Weeding and the first tilling. As of this afternoon we are half-way done with the weeding!!


Weeding is the name of the game here. I guess that's what I get for wanting to have GIANT flower beds in the front of our house (and some smaller ones in our private back yard). So I have four flower beds in the front that require a lot of weeding. I am hoping that eventually it will get full enough with flowers that there really won't be too much space left for weeds to grow. So far I have about 2/3 of it weeded. However the 1/3 that I have left is the fullest of weeds. 


A visit to te Tulip Fields was another item on our list. We checked that one off on Wednesday. What a beautiful day and I am so happy that we got to take Ellie on our annual trip up there.  She enjoyed her time there and as always we ha our lunch at The Calico Cupboard in La Conner. While we decided not to order any bulbs this year I did get to bring home 5 bunches of cut tulips to put up in our house!

tulip fields: Roozengaard 


Lastly the most important item on our checklist was to spend time with our sweet girl, Ellie. We had some fabulous times with her playing outside on our lawn, going to a nearby park to go down slide and swing on the swings. We also had fun with her spending time out back with our farm animals!!!

I hope you all had a fantastic week and enjoyed this late night post!!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Little Things #11

Ok so here is the deal. I absolutely LOVE the independence that Ellie is gaining through her new ability to move; crawling, rolling, pulling up on furniture and using that to help herself walk!!! I know that this can be the moments most parents "dread" because it means their baby is growing up and they have to now baby proof the house (if they haven't already).  

But I love this stage. I love that Ellie can now get to the toys (or furniture or dogs) that she wants to. Her frustration levels (if she ever had them) have decreased and she is so curious. Yes this means we have to keep an even greater eye on her to make sure she is safe (and so are all my "treasures" from my Momala). 

I love seeing her personality grow. Her interest in the dogs is at an all time high! And to see her getting stronger, showing determination, and the feelings of both success and failure in her attempts to pull up or reach an object. This time is so crucial for her development and it's such a blast to watch her mature. 

I know that walking is a whole new ball game and that I am SO looking forward too!!

What are your favorite baby stages? Tell in the comments below!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

{weekly update} week 46

Shut up! My baby girl is 46 weeks old!! Just another 6 and she will be a one year old!!! How did that happen?!?! We had an eventful week and this girl is just the cutest and getting the best personality. 

Eats: Girlfriend loves herself some bread, French Fries, rice and pasta. As well as the old standbys of multigrain baby cereal, her veg medley I make, and assorted baby food fruit. She also tried some baked beans  and yogurt melts this weekend and I think it's love. She is also doing really well with her sippy cup of water!

Sleeps: Baby Girl might be in a slight sleep regression. She is going down a little later (8:00) and still getting up pretty early (6:30).  She sleeps unswaddled in her crib until about 3:00 and then if she wakes up we just bring her into our bed. Her naps have been hit and miss. Sometimes she will take just a 20-30min cat nap an other days she will go for about 2hours. 

Goes: Ellie Faith got her passport picture taken yesterday and we sent that off, so we are one step closer to our trip to Ireland!!! We also met up with herbirth dad's mom - so I guess her birth grandma, for lunch and she was a total peach. We also went out for sushi and she got to meet our friend who "owns" the restaurant, she was a little shy. I think that's about it. 

Loves: Little Miss E loves her toys that make noise (xylaphone and rattles) her shape sorter (more like dumping it out and then banging the shapes together - she also mimicks this with us!), her activity cube, her high chair and walker and Sophie. She also loves watching the dogs through the slider door!

Does: Crawling and pulling up on everything!!  I just love watching her gain he independence. She also mimicks and can "cruise" along furniture. She is super good at self feeding. She can sign "more" and is working on "all done" and "please". She did sign please once so I need to work on that more. 

Mama: I have to say that this is my favorite age by far! This week was pretty good. I got to do volunteer work with 12 of my students and had them come to our farm one day to help "clean up" and do some of our least favorite chores: scooping poop, spreading gravel, and cleaning out the chicken coop!!

Sweet sweet Ellie, I love you so. Your little personality and sweet smile are so wonderful to experience. I love your curiosity and braveness. You are my wild child and I love you so!