Thursday, December 29, 2011

Five Gold Rings!

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me "Five Gold Rings":

[5th Day of Christmas:  Nathan Harris]


Five Gold Rings
The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.


Daily Scripture Readings*
[Psalm 18:1-20] [2 Samuel 23:13-17] [2 John 1-13] [Luke 1:57-66]
via

♥ Ashley

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Four Calling Birds

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Four Calling Birds:

4day.gif (51351 bytes)


Four Calling Birds
The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.
Daily Scriptural Readings*
[Psalm 18] [Isaiah 12:1-6] [Revelation1:1-8] [John 7:37-52]
via

♥ Ashley

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Three French Hens

On the third day of Christmas my True Love gave to me Three French Hens:


[3rd Day of Christmas:  Nathan Harris]

Three French Hens
The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)



Daily Scripture Readings*
[Psalm 103] [Isaiah 62:1-5, 10-12] [Revelation 19:11-16] [Matthew 1:18-25]
via


♥ Ashley

Two Turtle Doves

On the second day of Christmas my True Love gave to me Two Turtle Doves:

[2nd Day of Christmas:  Nathan Harris]

Two Turtle Doves
The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.

Daily Scripture Reading:*
[Psalms 93, 96] [Isaiah 62:6-7, 10-12] [Hebrews 2:10-18] [Matthew 1-18-25]
via

♥ Ashley

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

I found this great website that gives the meanings of the 12 Days of Christmas and you can also get a daily devotional from this for each of the 12 Days. The 12 Days of Christmas actually starts on Christmas Day, Dec 25th and goes through the day of Epiphany on Jan 6th.

On the first day of Christmas my True Love gave to me A Partridge in a Pear Tree:

[1st Day of Christmas:  Nathan Harris]


The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . ." (Luke 13:34)
Daily Devotional Readings*
[Psalm 2, 85] [Micah 4:1-5] [1 John 4:7-16] [John 3:26-31]

♥ Ashley

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Card, 2011


I meant to upload the one I wrote last year but I never got around to it. Here is this year's Christmas Letter. I hope that I was able to send it out to everyone, if you didn't get one its probably because I don't have your address, and that needs to be rectified. In addition to my letter, I would also like you to stop on over at the Blog my brother set up for my mom, and giving updates on her Battle with Brain Cancer (Glioblastoma).

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Happy Holidays from the Parsons Farm!
We have had a journey since this time last year…parts of 2011 have been perilous but blessings nonetheless. We are so thankful for the continued love and guidance God has shown us throughout this year.

The job front has continued to be a struggle for us and many others with the economy and budget cuts. In May, Ashley received a RIF (reduction in force) letter, informing her that she needed to be on the job hunt yet again. While this has been a repeating insult, we take each year as a new challenge and blessing that soon she will find her “forever school”. Luckily the day before school started she got the call that they needed her at an elementary school AND a high school. She is job-sharing at both schools teaching PE and health for 3 days a week, which gives her 0.6FTE. She is able to and has been subbing the other two days consistently since October. We are so fortunate that Thomas has been able to continue with a steady job over these 3 years at WAHS. Thomas is still coaching Tennis at ARHS. Ashley has decided to take a break from all the drama that encircles cheerleading and is FULLY enjoying her stress free time off, though she misses many of her cheerleaders.

In December, Ashley suffered from an ectopic pregnancy that required surgery and the timing was great for her recovery time backing up to Christmas Break. We also learned that Ashley’s mom has Glioblastoma Brain Cancer. She had a successful surgery removing the initial tumor and is continuing her treatment with a strong and positive attitude. All of your love, thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated by the Brewer Family and us. We had the opportunity to join Ashley’s family on a weeklong cruise in the Caribbean over Spring Break where we were able to make wonderful family memories. Our stops included; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Bridgetown, Barbados; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Marigot/Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Roseau, Dominica. Ashley made the age-old mistake of not wearing sunscreen on our first day and suffered from the burn until we got home. Thomas enjoyed learning about each of our stops and going on his FIRST multi-country vacation and cruise.

Our farm is up and running. Ashley is still selling the 85% organic chicken eggs to neighbors and co-workers for $3 a dozen. We built a new chicken “Coop-Mahal” and the chicks are diggin’ it. We had a successful harvest season with numerous tomatoes – many were frozen for later enjoyment, as were our beans. We tried a new technique with our carrots and parsnips and they worked much better. We made a trip to Arlington to purchase some Huckleberries, after our obsession with them in Leavenworth for our 3rd year Anniversary vacation. The goats are as entertaining as ever and it is so wonderful to see how our animals get along together. The goats are successful with the chickens and the dogs, while the dogs can only be trusted with the goats. The ponies however, can only be with each other; they still have yet to learn how to co-mingle with other species. Cooper continues to cuddle with us and loves his spot next to the heat vent while Sakari dreams of snow on a daily basis. They have learned to get along and now can be trusted to be left alone in the house while we are at work – what a relief!

Ashley has discovered the joy of blogging about our life on the farm as well as “junking” and has been looking forward to attending the shows about 4 times this year and is hoping to add even more to her calendar this coming year. She has brought home many unnecessary – but GREAT – finds to decorate our home. Thomas is still enjoying his season tickets to the Sounders and is looking forward to the next season. He is hoping that one day, Ashley might join him and pretend to at least have a little fun. She is contemplating it.

We wish you the happiest of days during this holiday season and into the NEW Year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We pray that 2012 is the year of blessings for all!

Love, Thomas and Ashley Parsons, Jazz, Rags, Cooper, Sakari, Penelope, Annabelle, and the Chicks.

Stay updated throughout the year with our blog: www.atparsons.blogspot.com


♥ Ashley

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas at the Parsons

I love the Christmas Season. It is the time of year that Thomas proposed to me, actually we just celebrated our 5th anniversary yesterday. On the actual day we were going on our annual family outing, the two of us and each of our parents. The 6 of us do a Holiday gathering each year and either go to a play, musical, symphony, dinner, lunch, and or shopping. It is a wonderfully fun time and a great tradition that we are looking forward to continuing in the future. On December 6, 2006 we were going to see White Christmas at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle. We all met up at my parents house and were having some Hors d'oeuvres when Thomas said he had an announcement. He asked me to stand and then went on some tangent about how great I am and that he loves me. (It was very sweet and my mom was bawling at this point). Then he gets down on one knee and asks me to marry him. While I was trying to come up with some smart remark (as I was embarrassed at having this happen in front of the parents) my mom shrieks 'YES, YES she WILL marry you! Ashley what is WRONG with you? Answer him!" I guess there was no turning back at this point. So then I answered him "Yes Thomas, I will marry you!" He put on the ring and we had a champagne toast! Then we had Thomas do it over so that we could get pictures. It was a magical evening, one I will never forget and I am so glad that our parents got to experience it first hand!

(sorry I do not have pictures of this event on this computer, I will have to go through my catalog of picture cds to find them)

I also love the Christmas Season because of all the holiday decorations and the preparations for the Birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, as he is the real reason for the holiday.

Here are some pictures of what our house looks like decorated for Christmas this year, "so far".



My garland I made for $6+ from the Dollar Tree! Plus the bead garland from Crate and Barrel at $4.95 all in all it cost just over $11!






My every season white glitter branch tree.





Hope this gives you some inspiration! The ornaments on my little trees are from Target, I get them after Christmas when they are 60% off. Most of the ornaments on our large tree are from Wights and then we have gotten some on our vacations.

For more inspiration check out this blog

♥ Ashley

Sunday, December 4, 2011

[recipe] Soup Sunday (Saturday) - Cream of Carrot Soup

Growing up my sister, mom and I loved the American Girls. Items for our American Girls were always on our Christmas wish lists and our Birthday lists. I loved that you could have a doll and read stories about her giving her a personality, background, and something to base your "adventures" off of. The other great thing is that when they first came out they were "Historical" dolls. Their stories took place in a specific decade and you got to learn about that historical time period as well as about the doll. We have many "collection" pieces as they have retired and changed the look of many of the dolls accessories over time. They now are a much bigger company and have a plethora of dolls and accessories. Now they not only have the Historical Dolls but they have Doll of the Year, and Just Like You Doll. They also have a "Bitty Baby" line which is for younger girls with a baby doll. Check out their website and maybe you or your daughter might be interested in these lovely dolls. They are a beautiful collection for any girl to have.

Anyways, the reason I give you this background is that back in the day (I can't believe I just said that) they had Cookbooks for the Historical Dolls. Of course we have them and they actually have VERY good recipes. Like the one I am going to share with you today. Cream of Carrot soup. I made it yesterday for my Holiday Tea and it was a HIT!! It comes from the Samantha cookbook. She is from 1904, well she was 8 years old in 1904, an orphaned girl living with her grandmother. My sister has the Samantha doll, well actually she (the doll) is living at my mom's house in the GIANT dollhouse my dad and I made one Summer when I was like 11 years old.

Here is the Recipe:

Cream of Carrot Soup

Ingredients:

2 c Chicken Broth
2 T Butter
2 T Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 lb Carrots - about 9 carrots (We have added a few more to give a more Carrot flavor)
1 c Half&Half

Directions:

1. Wash and peel carrots then cut into coins. In a dutch oven or soup pot add Carrots and Chicken Broth. Bring to a boil.

2. When carrots are tender, strain them and reserve the chicken broth. Return the carrots to the pot and add the butter, flour, salt and cayenne. With a potato smasher, smash the carrots and combine the other ingredients. When the carrots are to the sizes of you liking add back the reserved broth. (If it looks like "not enough soup" add more chicken broth. Bring to a boil and mix the ingredients well. After about 10 to 15 minutes take the pot off the burner and let cool for about 5 minutes. Add in the Half&Half while stirring.

3. Serve the soup in bowls with salad or rolls or Savory Butterhorns (recipe follows)


Butterhorns have been one of my favorite treats. When we had birthdays in elementary school we would bring treats for our class. I always requested that my mom bring Butterhorns. Usually they are served sweet with a white frosting, but I thought that for my tea I would try something savory. And these Butterhorns are MUCH better than the ones you get from the counter at Starbucks. Plus I love that my recipe card has my mom's handwriting.


Butterhorns

Ingredients:

2 c Flour
2 cubes margarine (NOT butter)
1 1/2 c Cottage Cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375. Combine ingredients in a large bowl with a pastry cutter. Knead the dough until it holds together.

2. Separate into 3 equal parts and form each into a ball. Roll out each ball into a 10-12 inch round. Cut into 12 pizza slices. Roll into a crescent shape from the wide end to the skinny tip.

3. Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a singe layer in the middle of the oven for 30-40 minutes, until golden. Let cool on a wired rack.

*For sweet Butterhorns frost with a simple frosting: 2 c Powdered Sugar 1/2 cube butter and cream/milk to desired consistency.

*For savory Butterhorns I topped with my favorite cheese and let melt in the oven. Next time I would try placing the cheese inside and rolling it up with the butterhorn. Not sure if it would work but that is what I will be doing with my next attempt.

Hope you enjoy these recipes. Leave a comment and tell me what you think!

♥ Ashley

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Holiday Tea - Ladies Only

Saturday I hosted my 2nd Annual Holiday Tea Party. I spent all week getting the house ready, perfecting the menu, and preparing for the party. This was an exclusive, Ladies Only Party. NO BOYS ALLOWED, so that meant that Cooper had to leave the house too. So off went Thomas and dogs and the ladies were allowed peace and quiet to drink tea, eat cookies, and visit. It was a wonderful time. As usual I did a terrible taking pictures while everyone was here, so I only have the before pictures. (** Note to Self - I think I need to hire a professional to document these types of events).

Here is the menu:

Holiday Tea
Pumpkin Spice Tea
Earl Grey Tea
Hot Apple Cider

Peanut Butter Cookies
Sugar Cookies
Savory Butterhorns
Gingerbread Cookies
Linzer Cookies
Shortbread
Nanaimo Bars

Cream of Carrot Soup

Please enjoy the pictures.




The gifts for each of my guests. The received a small snowflake ornament and a bag of the Holiday Tea I served. The Holiday Tea is from a company Harney and Sons, Deanna and I found out about this company when we went to New York and Washington DC for Thanksgiving in 2009.








Savory Butterhorns





Check out my next post for the recipes.

♥ Ashley

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thanksgiving Getaway! (soup sunday)

We like to take advantage of our long weekend over Thanksgiving. This year we went to Whistler, BC with Thomas' parents. We had a fabulous time. It was snowing when we arrived on Friday. We had fun checking out the sites, shopping, seeing the mountain, and having dinner. We ate at Earls, it seems to be pretty popular over there. I had gnocchi and Thomas had a delicious burger; then for dessert I had my favorite Hot Gingerbread Cake a la mode - even the apples were pretty good. I guess that I would recommend this place, though I would check out other places to eat too.

Then on Saturday our plan was to go snowshoeing, but we got a late start and by the time we got to the rental place they were out of snowshoes. Onto Plan B; Deanna and I got to go shopping. Thomas and his brother searched the town for snow saucers, they found them at the hardware store and went back to the condo. On their way they noticed the hill on the driveway to the parking garage. They collected snow and made a jump at the bottom of the drive. Taking turns they pushed each other down the hill and tried to jump the jump. On our way back to the condo Deanna and I ran into the boys and we too took turns "sledding" down the hill. Surprisingly it was a lot of fun. I haven't done something "adventurous" like that in a while. We had burgers for lunch at Splitz, the best burger place in town. It was good. Kinda like a Subway but with burgers. I would recommend this place to eat. But you have to speak LOUDLY to the servers as they make up your burger with your toppings.

Saturday evening we went for a Horse Drawn Sleigh Ride. It was cold but SUPER fun!! We got to have hot chocolate in a shed, then back down the mountain. It was raining but the sleigh was covered and we had blankets.

Sunday it was raining again so we did a little bit of shopping, and went to the grocery store so that I could make Soup for Soup Sunday. I made the cheeseburger soup again as it is a pretty easy soup to make. We enjoyed it very much. So glad that I was able to keep the tradition going even though we were away. Deanna and I also were able to go and have a really nice 1 1/2 hour massage for only $60!!! I would totally recommend this place, I believe it was called Feelzgud. It was silly though because their reception was located downstairs in a cigar shop called Castro's Cigar Shop. You should check it out if you like massages!!

Monday we changed plans and went to Vancouver instead of staying yet another day in Whistler. We were kinda "Whistlered Out" and due to the rain there really wasn't much to do. We were hoping to go cross-country skiing but the trails were sloppy with puddles. So off to Vancouver with an "emergency" booking at the Century Plaza Hotel. We had a great stay. Thomas and I took his parents to our favorite Indian restaurant: India Bistro off of Davie Street. His parents enjoyed it. Deanna and I got to do some shopping on Monday and Tuesday. We got lots of ideas, and I picked up a really cute sweater at Zara. Spent lots of time in Chapters (their bookstore) and found a HomeSense in downtown Vancouver that we spent some time in.

Please enjoy the pictures.



Black Goat in Vancouver - we always have to document when we see something that relates to goats since they are so hard to find.




Our hotel room on the 29th floor in Century Plaza

It was super hot in our room.


The hospital right next to our hotel. They sponsor out the stars as a fundraiser. Super cool.

At India Bistro. Yum!

the wild car always parked somewhere in Vancouver.

We like to take walking pictures. I prefer the one below....Thomas likes the one above.

Paladin security...Paladin is the name of my Moms miniature horse!



Cheeseburger Soup in Whistler!

We all enjoyed it!!Deanna and I after our massage!!


I hope that you also had a great Holiday weekend.

♥ Ashley