Thursday, December 20, 2012

[Picture Thursday] Christmas Card 2012

(this is the instagramified photo - that wouldn't print for some reason)

Good Tidings from the Parsons Farm!
Many things have happened over this last year and we appreciate the Lord’s hand over us through it t
It is with a bit of annoyance that we share with you that once again Ashley was on the job hunt yet again at the close of the school year in June. She made the plunge and is working part time at a private school, Cascade Christian, teaching Health and PE at the High School level.  It is with great pleasure that we share with you that Thomas is still teaching and the head of the Social Studies Department at WAHS!!  He is still coaching both Boys and Girls tennis at ARHS.

We have decided that we are going to adopt!  We have chosen an agency based in Spokane, finished all the paperwork and our home study, and are looking to adopt an infant (newborn-3 months old) from a birth mother living within driving distance to Spokane.  There are two possibilities when adopting from this agency: we can be placed with a birth mother who is pregnant and then get the baby once born, or we could get a phone call from the agency letting us know that there is a baby ready for us to pick up.  It is an exciting time and we have been working hard on setting up a gender neutral nursery.  Last November (2011) we hosted Thanksgiving at our house with Ashley’s family, it was so fun to be able to have her mom at our house for a holiday.  Then we were able to spend Christmas at Ashley’s parent’s house with her mom.  We lost Susan to brain cancer on March 9th.  We miss her dearly but are reminded of her constantly through memories that pop up.  We are just thankful for the time we were blessed with Susan and having her in our life.  We find peace in knowing that she is pain-free and partying it up in Heaven with Jesus.

Ashley still enjoys blogging “Life on the Parsons Farm” and shopping at “Junk Shows”.  Thomas loves fishing any chance he gets and of course his Seattle Sounders.  We went camping again for our 4th Anniversary, this time it was a much better experience; going to Ellensburg and camping on grass – we might make a camper out of Ashley yet!!  The chickens are doing very well in their new home; we have seen a huge increase in their egg production in the winter (good for selling!!).  We took a trip up to Monroe to get a large free standing hay manger for the horses and they love it, but they knock it over trying to get the hay that falls underneath.  We acquired Paladin (Susan’s miniature horse) in January and he fits right in with the goats, they were a little unsure of him at first.  He loves all the space and the ability to graze all day and he spends much of his time staring at the chickens.  We have also added Gwenivere (Susan’s cockatiel) to our menagerie.  Cooper loves to cuddle and Sakari still dreams of snow every day!  The garden produced a bounty of tomatoes, beans and peas that we enjoyed and shared with friends and family.  We built a compost bin this year and are making additions to it weekly, can’t wait to add it in to our garden in the spring!

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 2013 brings you many blessings.

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

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

[recipe] Pinspired Cookies

I am hosting my annual Ladies Holiday Tea this weekend so I am getting prepared for it with all my baking.  I have been really into Pinterest lately and I was inspired by an idea I found on in.  I am making the Rolo Stuffed Sugar Cookies/Snikerdoodles.  While they are not complete yet I have started so I thought I would share.

Melt In Your Mouth Sugar Cookies

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Sugar Cookies


  • 1/2
    cup butter, softened
  • 1/2
    cup shortening
  • 2
    cups sugar
  • 1
    teaspoon baking soda
  • 1
    teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8
    teaspoon salt
  • 3
    egg yolks
  • 1/2
    teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4
    cups all-purpose flour
    1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat mixture until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. 

    2. Divide dough into Tablespoon portions and wrap around a rolo. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

    3. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are set; do not let edges brown. Cool cookies for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
    ♥ Ashley 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy Engagementiversary!!!

Six years ago today, the love of my life made an announcement to our parents professing his love for me, proceeded to get down on one knee and ask me to be his wife!!  I love you more than anything Thomas!!!!  I am so happy that I said yes (after my mom answered for me of course!!)

This day also holds a bittersweet memory.  It is the day we officially lost our first baby in 2010.  I believe that many good things will happen on this day and we have much to celebrate.

♥ Ashley

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas Garland DIY

Well a few things have happened since my last post.  My students set up an instagram account for me and have since then have posted a few pics for me, you can look me up "lifeonthefarm". I also learned that sometimes my keyboard on my phone gives me a shortcut hash tag so I don't have to search for it.

Back to the point. I was looking at Natasha's blog and she is working with a group of bloggers setting up a number of Christmas linky parties with a variety of features. Today is a Christmas DIY. So I decided I would join in. I made this garland today when I got home from work. I have been thinking about doing it but Natasha got my rear in gear. Thanks girl!!

All right. So this is my handmade pompon garland. I used white yarn, red/white bakers twine, a ruler, scissors and my fingers for this project. First I made 10 white yarn pompons by wrapping the yarn around three of my fingers and then tying them off in the middle with another small piece of yarn. 

 Once I got all of those "buns" as my husband called them done I then worked on my bakers twine ones. For these I used both the yarn and the twine together as I wrapped them around my fingers and then tied them off with a bit of yarn. I made three of this kind. 

Then I needed to come up with a pattern of which to create my garland.  I decided two white, one  twine, three white, one twine, three white, one twine and finished it off with two more white.  I spaced them apart by 6" using my ruler. I tied the long garland string of white yarn to the pins by the tails of the yarn I used to tie the off with.
Once all the little "buns" we're tied up to the string I used my scissors to cut the loops creating these adorable little poms. 

I hung my garland on my mirror above my fireplace in the living room. 

I love it and I hope you do too. 

♥ Ashley 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

[recipe] Duchess Potatoes

For Sunday Dinner we had a Pot Roast and I thought I would try out a new potato recipe.  I am thinking that these will be the potatoes that we have for Christmas Eve dinner.  I think I will make a "few" changes but that is just being true to myself.

These are called Duchess Potatoes and I got the recipe from Martha Stewart.


2 1/2 pounds Potatoes (Yukon or Russet)
Salt and Pepper
3 T cold butter
3 egg yolks, divided
1/4 cup plus 2 tsp cream, divided
pinch of ground nutmeg


1. In a large pot, cover potatoes with cold salted water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil; reduce to a rapid simmer and cook until tender, 15 minutes. Drain in a colander, let sit 5 minutes, then return to pot. Add butter and, with a potato masher, mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Add 2 egg yolks, 1/4 cup cream, and pinch of nutmeg; stir until combined.

2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and lightly butter paper. Dollop mixture in 8 equal portions on sheet, 2 inches apart. Using the back of a spoon, create a small well in the center of each. Freeze until firm, 15 minutes. Whisk together remaining egg yolk and 2 teaspoons cream. Brush on potatoes and bake until golden, 15 minutes.


♥ Ashley

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Paper Whites and Chalkboards

 I mentioned that I started some paper whites here are some of them in a shallow crystal dish that we received as a wedding present. I also made my first attempt at a chalkboard "drawing" or whatever this style is called  I know there is still a lot of work and practice needed but I am pretty pleased with how it turned out.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

[recipe] Pumpkin Loaf

For the sake of my time I am linking to a recipe I love.  I have made this several times since I cam across it last year.  I did make a couple of changes this time.  Instead of all white sugar in the bread batter I put in 1 cup of white and 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar.  I also divided the batter among 12 cupcake tins (to make muffins) then the rest into a loaf pan.  I did this because each time I made it in the past it always overflowed my loaf pan so I wanted to make sure I didn't waste any of this yummy goodness!!

Recipe HERE

Linked to: Tasty Tuesdays

♥ Ashley

Sunday, November 11, 2012

What I have been up to

Well I had a somewhat busy weekend so far.  On Friday after work I attended "The Funky Junk Sisters 'Junk Salvation' " with my MIL Deanna.  We had a fabulous time checking out althe good junk to be had. We have found that we are more selective each time we attend one of these shows. I was on the look out for some baskets or bins to put in our Office room but could not find any I liked or a price I was willing to pay.

On Saturday I went to Check out that BIG Macy's sale and got some pants. Then back to the junk show where I did find a nativity set (I was looking for one last year) so I picked that up along with
another antler.  Then I went to "The Washington Bloggers - Meetup"   We had a great time meeting each other in person and just good old hanging out.  On my way home I stopped by a favorite nursery to pick up some paper white bulbs to get planted in various containers around my house.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Campfire Sitting [Friday Fancies]

 Sitting by the campfire seems like it would be pretty cold this time of year but if you bundle up and look cute it is well worth it...especially if you get some s'mores!!

Campfire Sitting


Linked to:  Friday Fancies

♥ Ashley

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

[recipe] Cranberry Crumble Bars

I am sorta getting back in the saddle.  Here is today's post for Tasty Tuesdays!!!  Like I mentioned in my last post it was getting the ingredients for this and missed all of our trick or treaters.  This was a delicious recipe and I am definitely making these again.  They were soft and moist and had just the right amount of cranberry - thinking I might try these with a pumpkin filling.

Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart


Filling -
1 can (14 oz) whole-berry cranberry sauce

Dough -
2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
2 cups All Purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp course salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 large egg (beaten slightly)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats


  1. Filling: If making your own, pulse dried cranberries and granulated sugar in a food processor until a coarse paste forms. Transfer to a saucepan. Whisk cornstarch into cold water, then add to cranberry mixture, whisking to combine. Stir in juice. Simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and sugar dissolves, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool completely.
  2. Dough: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, and line with parchment, letting 2 long sides overhang edges. Butter parchment, then flour parchment and sides of pan.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add brown sugar and butter, and stir until well combined. Mix in egg and vanilla, then oats and walnuts.
  4. Press half the dough into pan. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, then crumble remaining dough on top of filling. Bake until golden and cooked through, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack, about 1 hour, then lift out using parchment. Cut into 2-inch squares.

    I didn't take pictures because I forgot so this picture is also from MSL.

    I hope you enjoy - we sure did!!!

    Linked to: Tasty Tuesdays

    ♥ Ashley

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November ♥

Happy Belated Halloween!!! or as I like to spell it Howloween.  Per the usual, I had all sorts of plans for a post for yesterday but as life goes that just didn't happen.  I am totally noticing myself being super busy so far this year.  I hardly get to email with my MIL anymore - when last year we practically wrote novels each day!! and I was posting a lot more.  But I kinda like it busier - keeps my mind on things or rather off things if you catch my drift.

Lets talk about yesterday real quick and then we will get into the meat of the post.  I had all sorts of intentions of handing out candy to all our little "trick or treaters" but on my way home I remembered that I needed to make "Test Treats" for my class - after each test or quiz I bring in baked goods for them.  I was planning on making some cranberry bars - so I needed to stop by the store to get some cranberry sauce.  I missed our record breaking 6! "trick or treaters" by about 10 minutes. (sad face). So I spent my evening making the bars and watching a Roseanne marathon. (I was denied the lovely Rosanne growing up so I am making up for it now....good thing there are marathons and re-runs).

I LOVE November almost as much as I love December (and of course March because that is my birthday month).  Thanksgiving is coming up and while a couple years ago this was a very sad time...I am able to see the other blessings in my life that God has given me and they totally trump the sad times.  I can imagine that this year might be difficult as it is our first holiday season without my mom but God is good.

Fun things about November:
    the beginning of the Holiday Season
    Starbucks has their Holiday cups out
    Black Friday
    Fall coloured leaves
    Christmas in the stores
    Fires in the fireplace
    Hot tea
    Spicy Italians at Subway are only $5 this month!!!

What do you love about November??


Friday, October 26, 2012

Looking for Help

Ok I have a couple of questions. 

I have some gently used clothes that I would like to sell on here.  But I don't know how to set up the pay pal thing...can anyone help???

Also I have these two chairs that I got at a consignment shop and the fabric on the seats is really worn (actually there are giant holes in them) that I need to replace.  So I will be asking for fabric choice advice and if you know anyone in the greater Seattle/Tacoma/Puyallup area that does great upholstery?


♥ Ashley

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Adoption Update

Well it has been a crazy few weeks here over on the farm.  I have been debating about whether or not to write a post about this...but as I am a teacher I like to share my experiences with others.  Also I would find this to be beneficial for myself so I am sure that it will be for others.

About a month ago, I got a phone call from our agency letting me know that a birth mom (BM) would like to meet us!!!  Hubby and I were ecstatic about this news.  Once we were given the contact information I gave her a call.  We talked for almost an hour and planned to meet up the following weekend in her hometown. We met up with her and while things may have been a little awkward in the beginning, I am sure that is to be expected, our conversation evolved and we became comfortable with each other and had many laughs.  Things ended well at our first meeting and we talked about making plans to meet up again.  A few days following our meeting she had an ultrasound and was able to find out the sex of the baby, she is having a girl!!! Which means that we are having a girl!!  However, this has been making her decision more difficult (which I guess is normal for most BMs when they find out they are having a girl - I totally understand).  Fast forward to this week.  Our BM is really struggling with her decision as to whether or not she wants to adopt.  This is understandable and we totally respect whatever decision she makes, but it is hard.  So now we need to give her some space.  She did say that if she does choose to give her child up for adoption that we would be the couple for her.  Our agency has assured us that there will be a baby for us, this we know, and they will continue to show us.  So we might have a different baby that comes sooner that what we thought.  We are trying to keep our hopes up and our faith and we know that God will provide for us and put us in the best situation for us.

♥ Ashley

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

[recipe] Chicken Tortilla Soup

Not this past weekend but the one before that I was searching for a soup to make with a bunch of the peppers that I received from Thomas' aunt over Labor Day weekend.  (I cannot believe how long they have lasted in the fridge!!)  I looked in my trusty Better Homes and Gardens cookbook then I remembered that I did this great thing back in April - I went to visit the Pioneer Woman and got her cookbook.  Surely she would have something for me!!  And she did Chicken Tortilla Soup, but of course like just about everything else in my life I had to switch it up and use it more of as a guideline.  It was delicious!!!

  • 1 roasted chicken from the store
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Diced Onion
  • 2 Diced Pablano Peppers
  • 1 Diced Banana Pepper
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • About 15 chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 32 ounces, fluid Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 4 cups Hot Water
  • 2 cans (15 Oz. Can) Black Beans, Drained
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornmeal Or Masa
  • 12 whole Corn Tortillas, Cut Into Uniform Strips Around 2 To 3 Inches


1. Separate chicken from the bone and shred (I put mine in a Kitchenaide with the paddle attachement)

2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, peppers, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.

3. Add tomatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.  Meanwhile in a medium skillet heat vegetable oil on medium heat and fry the tortilla strips (in batches) for about 1-2 minuets and drain on a paper towel sprinkle with salt.

4. Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed---add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. I needed to add another T of tomato paste.

5. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.

6. Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, sliced avocado, grated cheese, cilantro, and extra tortilla strips (The garnishes really make the soup delicious.)

served with a side salad YUM

Linked to: Tasty Tuesdays and What I Whipped Up Wednesdays

♥ Ashley

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


 Well it is officially October so I thought I would show off some of my fall and halloween decorations.  I love getting the house ready for each season and upcoming holiday.  (normally I don't like my decorations for halloween to be up longer than my christmas ones but I am just super excited this year!)
 here is my every season tree all ready for halloween.  I love the candy corn garland.  All of the ornaments are from Pier 1 except for the green jewels.  The leaves are from the dollar tree and I made the spiders last year.
 spiders again are from last year, the pumpkin scarecrow I believe is from Pier 1 as is the turkey...I love that turkey.
 Leaf garland is made from the dollar tree.  The wicked blocks are from Wight's and the glitter pumpkins are from the dollar deals in target this year.

 here is my second every season has a ghost and pumpkin theme.  the ghosts are a garland from the dollar deals at target and the pumpkins are from pier 1 and hallmark.

and finally our entry.  the wreath is made from items found at the dollar tree (I think all in all it cost around $12)  and the little scarecrow guy is from kmart.

I hope you enjoyed my harvest time tour!!
Linked to: Fabulous Fall Linky

♥ Ashley

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

[recipe] Tomato Soup

 A couple of weeks ago my dad came over for lunch and I made this really good soup.  I got the recipe from a co-worker last year when we participated in "Soup Club".  Soup Club was where you signed up to be a part of the club and we took turns bringing soup, salad and dessert every Friday at work.  This is the Tomato and Grains Soup, I loved it.

The ingredients:

Harvest Grains (from trader joes) 1/2 of the bag cooked according to package directions
2 boxes of the Tomato and Roasted Pepper soup
1 bag of shredded pepper jack cheese
salt and pepper



Cook the grains according to package directions.  Then add to soup pot and add in both boxes of soup. Bring to a simmer and let heat up.  Add Salt and Pepper if needed (mine needed a lot!)  When its time to serve add in the cheese stir around and let it melt in.

YUM!!!  I served mine with grilled cheese sandys!!

I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I did...I find it something that I crave often!!!

Linked to: Tasty Tuesdays

♥ Ashley