Friday, February 28, 2014

[sponsor love] Life As Always

Oh my gosh! let me tell you about my amazing sponsor Sarah from Life As Always.

She is one of the most fabulous women I know! 

She is hilarious.

She loves Ireland (and so do I) she has actually been there and that makes me jealous and oh so happy because I can ask her advice on traveling there since we are going in June!

I adore her blog design, with all the shamrocks!

She is due with her first baby, a sweet boy, in May and its been so fun following her pregnancy journey on her blog.

Also I have actually met her at our Blogger Meetup last month!

Here is what she has to say about her blog:
1. I started Life As Always in 2011 shortly after I got engaged. Since then the story has followed our wedding, marriage, move to the suburbs and now a new baby on the way!
2. This is not a fashion blog, or a cooking blog, or a DIY blog. Sorry.... I don't do that stuff. But we do a lot of other fun and adventurous things that I love to ramble about!
3. My favorite part of having a blog is connecting with other bloggers and developing friendships... this is such an amazing community!

To check out her reader's favorite post head here!

I do hope you enjoy reading Sarah's blog as much as I do! she is just fantastic! 

Life As Always

♥ Ashley

To become a sponsor on my blog please check out my Sponsorship page at the top! 


{favorites} baby items newborn to 3 months

Now that we have been living with our dear Ellie for 9 months I'm ready to post about the items that got us through the first 3 months of her life!!

Some of these were true life savers and really helped us ease into parenting.  As you may have read
These are items we are for sure going to want to have on hand for our next bundle of love!!

A home decor collage from February 2014

1. Swaddle Blankets we actually went with a different brand that we found at Marshalls or TJ Maxx.  They are the perfect size for swaddling and lightweight enough we didn't feel like Ellie was going to melt in the hot summer temperatures.  They are a little stretchy which is perfect for getting a tight wrap on her! Also they just keep getting softer and softer as wash them!

2. Dr. Browns Bottles.  I really can't say enough about these bottles.  Sure they are the only ones we tried but they work so well for us.  I like that there is the option for BPA free plastic and also Glass bottles.  They also come in Pink!!  These bottles do have a few extra parts that make bottle cleaning somewhat of a task but the benefits of reducing air intake while suckling is totally worth it!  There is also a wide mouth option that has a nipple more like a breast to ease with the transition from boob to bottle.

3. Fisher-Price My Little Lamb Swing.  You guys I cannot tell you how much easier this swing made our lives!!  It has a few different sound/song options (you might get annoyed with some of them) that is an adjustable volume as well as three different positions/directions for swinging and speeds.  We found that Ellie preferred the fastest speed in the 'Front-to-Back' motion direction.  The cover comes off super easy for cleaning and the whole thing breaks down pretty small for transporting on vacation like we did!

4. Boppy.  So many people have these and they really are superb for feeding and propping your little one.  We have the protective cover as well as a few different fabric covers that go with our decor.

5. Gumdrop Pacifier.  We got this binky in the hospital and is the only one that Ellie likes. Thankfully I was smart enough to ask for a few extra just in case.  They sell the colored ones at Target and other places but she really only likes the orange one.  The texture is a little different (less slippery) and she tends to gravitate towards orange toys so it could just be a color preference as well! haha

6. Skip Hop 'Treetop Friends' Activity Mat: I originally chose this activity mat because I loved the colors and that it had birds/owls on it.  It is just the cutest and they have a lot of accessory toys that match this particular "theme".  This activity mat was great for having her play and work on hand eye coordination by swatting at the hanging animals as well as checking herself out in the baby safe mirror.

7. Tag n' Smile Plushie Mirror:  we actually picked ours up at Fred Meyer and it has been a total hit.  It really helped to encourage Ellie to play on her tummy and look at herself.  I loved that it comes in both blue (for boys) and pink (for girls) plus I am on a total "Bumble Bee" craze so I was drawn to it for the fact that it has a cute little bee on in!  It also is able to stand up on its own and is soft enough for when baby's head gets a little too heavy during tummy time!

What are some of your must haves for baby?

♥ Ashley

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Google + and "noreply-comment blogger"

You guys,  I made the switch about a month ago to using my Google + profile on this blog.  I liked it and thought that it was working just fine.  But then I noticed that I wasn't receiving any comment replies when I would comment on my favorite blogs.

Luckily one of my blogger friends emailed me in response to what she believed to be my comment and let me know that I was coming up as a "Noreply-comment Blogger".  That made me so mad because I wasn't having any problems before but then thought that might be why I was lacking in communication with some of you lovely ladies.

After doing some research I learned that it was because I had switched from my Blogger profile to Google +.  So I had to go to my settings and revert back to my Blogger profile.  Then I had to go to my profile settings and click "Show Email Address" so that I can have better communication with you all.

So hopefully that has fixed that whole problem and we will have better communication from here on out.

Also I can't help myself but share a picture of my adorable little girl!! I love her so!

(Throwback to this summer for a wedding!!) gotta protect those baby blues!
follow me on IG @lifeonthefarm

♥ Ashley

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Little Things #5

I just love the link up that Jess and Ashley host every Wednesday. If you haven't checked out their blogs yet, go do that right now.  They have the most adorable little girls. 

The reason why I love this link up so much is because it really makes you stop and enjoy those little moments or things that can easily be forgotten.

I love spending time with my mini, Ellie.  We have fun making faces, twinning and I am loving her curls!

Twinning with our mint turbans she loved mine so much it was hard to keep it on my head!! I guess that means that I have to be more intentional of wearing hair accessories.  She is super good with hers, leaving them on!

She is so much fun now as she is starting to make faces!  So we play in the mirror a lot and when I have my act together I take pictures!  (and of course reaching for the iPhone which is off limits!!)

A number of people (family and friends - those without children) have asked "When do you usually give them their first haircut?" and they are usually asking this because they are commenting on her "rat-tail".  Ellie got what I call a "halo", when she lost/rubbed out her hair on the sides and the back section of her head leaving a mohawk with a gap in it. Now the bottom part of the hawk is long enough to show curls.  And I can't bring myself to cut them off.  I am hoping that it will all grow out fairly normal and look okay, I know eventually I am going to have to give a trim.

But those curls though!! So sweet!

♥ Ashley

Sadie Sky Boutique

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

{little eats} transitioning to solids

Before we adopted Ellie, and after as well, I did a lot of learning and researching about when and how to transition from formula (or breast feeding) to solids.  There is a lot of information out there. 

My dad has a friend who used to be a nurse in the nursery at a local hospital and they actually used to put rice cereal in the bottles of formula for newborns!!! Of course that was back in the day before even I was born.  My MIL told me stories about how she fed we sons rice cereal at 2 weeks (her oldest) 4 weeks (her middle - my husband) and then 6 weeks (her youngest). My understanding from her is that this was common practice. Oh how times have changed. 

Other research showed that some doctors recommended you wait until at least 6 months of age while others encouraged earlier (4 months) or later (9 months). 

Even still it is agreed that all solids should be mostly supplemental until around 11-12 months and formula or breast milk is still the main source of calories. 

Ultimately you as the mom or dad know your baby best.  So you know when your baby will be ready.

One thing that I found to be really helpful was to wait until Ellie started to show interest in us eating.  When she did that I felt that meant she was ready to try something other than formula.  Our doctor actually told us that we didn't have to start out with rice cereal but could actually start out with a veggie or a fruit!  I loved that idea but I decided that we would start with rice cereal since I knew I couldn't make it myself.

Since introducing Ellie to "solid" foods, we have taken care to allow time between new introductions to see if there are any allergies. We know that she loved avocado but she got a bad diaper rash after so we are holding off on trying that again.

Since I couldn't breastfeed Ellie, I knew I wanted to make her food myself.  I started out with the vegetables we grew in our garden by steaming/boiling them and then using my hand mixer and the cooking water to puree. When we ran out of our own grown produce I then hit the organic produce section at our local grocery store and Costco.  At first I pressed her food through a sieve so make sure that the texture was really smooth but now all I have to do is mash it up for her since she is better at eating!  Although I am not comfortable with making fruits for her so we do buy organic baby fruit for her.  I am thinking I can try some "whole" fruits now that she is picking up foods and making them into her mouth quite well.

Its been a rather slow process and I have probably been more conservative than other parents. But I just want Ellie to get used to eating different foods.

Any tips or ideas you might have would be greatly appreciated as we are wanting her to have more "solid" food throughout the day!

♥ Ashley

{weekly update} week 40

OMG Ellie Faith is 40 weeks old today! How on earth did that happen? She grown and changed so much! I can't believe how big my little girl is getting. She is absolutely so fun to play with as she is so much more interactive and aware!

Eats: Girlfriend is really into self feeding this week.  She totally knows what her bottle is, we ask her if she wants a bottle and show it to her - if she is hungry she reaches for it, kicks her feet and gets really excited.  Also when we show her a full bottle she gets super excited and then cries because we have to get her "into position" for feeding; bib, boppy, sitting.  She now insists on holding the bottle and loves bread!  better start getting her some whole grain bread instead of sourdough!

Sleeps: Nothing too new here except that I am trying to rock her back to sleep in her own room when she has middle of the night wake ups so I can put her back into her crib rather than bringing her into bed with us.  Although she does come in now for morning time and we love to have that snuggle time!

Goes: I don't think she really went anywhere new this week.  Just to church, out with Miss J, restaurants.  Oh she did come to my doctors appointment last week and was a total gem!  Then she had her 9 month appointment yesterday.  Girlfriend is a rockstar!! two shots and barely a tear!

Does: Self feeds bread, peas, and puffs.  Holds the bottle.  She started waving this week and has waved "bye-bye" to me a few times when I have had to leave for work (melt my heart!) Still not walking or crawling but she is a rolling machine!

Loves: Her walker, striped mouse's tail - she sucks on it all the time (see photo below), her connect-a-rings, Sophie, stack-a-rings, shoulder rides, raspberries, grunting noises and elephant noises.  She is also a huge fan of the bathtub!! I think we should start swimming lessons soon!

Mama: I had my annual last week.  All looks good and my Thyroid has actually normalized on its own (it is no longer hyper active!! yaya).  It was recommended that I go to a Neurologist to help figure out how to manage my migraines better so I don't miss out with Ellie so much.  I wasn't feeling 100% this weekend a little sick and my voice is starting to leave me today but otherwise I think I am doing pretty good, minus the neck pain I am having.

Sweet baby girl we love you so much.  I am having so much fun playing and making faces with you.  I just love how much you are learning and seeing your cute little personality shining through!!

♥ Ashley

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cara Box - Winter 2014 "Shine"

I participated with Kaitlyn of Wifessionals Cara Box exchange again this winter. The theme of the box was "Shine" meaning to get items that would make/help your partner shine!!

In addition this was he first time it was primarily centered around IG and we also were paired up this time with ladies in our own state!! How fun to actually be able to meet your #carabox partner!!! 

A bunch of us got together right before the Super Bowl to meet up! I got to meet Rebekah, the girl who I have a gift to! Unfortunately my partner, Jenifer, (who was gifting me) had just gotten word that they were needing to move so she was unable to attend.  She is awesome and has an adorable store "Shop Monkeybug" you can also follow here on IG: @shopmonkeybug

Let me tell you that Jenifer did a stellar job in selecting items for my box!! I love everything in it!! [sometimes when you participate in these you never know what you're gonna get] but absolutely NO worries here! She nailed it!

Jenifer wrote me a sweet note on her personal stationary. It was so kind and encouraging!

I love to garden and am a huge fan of being organic; so these organic veg seeds are right up my alley!  I can't wait to get these planted and enjoy the sweet treats of my labor, and hopefully Ellie will like them too!

I am also a total tea person and have become obsessed with honey so this lavender blend will be awesome and hopefully help me lower my stress/anxiety levels!

Somehow she knew that I love chocolate and toffee. I can wait to treat myself!

A girl who has a chalkboard can ALWAYS use more chalk! I love the colors and am looking forward to my next design. 

And who doesn't love a free trip to Starbucks? I am already picking out my order, grande upside down caramel macchiato. Yum!

Burt's Bees is one of my most fave products and we use the lotion for Ellie. I am so happy to have my own special supply!  Especially to help me battle my extremely dry hands (it's what I get for washing my hands and using sanitizer every five minutes at work)!

Seriously. She knows me so well. I am obsessed with the color mint right now and she got me matching Mama and Mini turbans from "Pieces to Peaces" in mint polka dots!! And my first bottle of Essie nail polish! I am so excited to try it out and see what all the fuss is about!!

Girlfriend loved her turban so much she would let us take it off and she wanted to wear it as a necklace during "dinner". Also she wanted mine so bad during our mini iPhone photo sesh I could barely keep it on she kept trying to pull it off my head!!! She is just too much! Haha. 

♥ Ashley

Sunday, February 23, 2014

{meal planning} on the menu:

As you may have noticed we like to have Soup on Sundays. It's this little tradition that I started not know that it was something that my mom grew up with as well. I am so happy to carry this on and share it with our dear Ellie Faith!

I made a super duper good soup today: Buffalo Chicken Soup with franks buffalo sauce.  The soup even has blue cheese in it. It was so good. I'll put the recipe up later this week!

Monday: our Safeway sells simmer sauces and they have Butter Chicken (an Indian dish). We love it. So all we do is add chicken, mushrooms, onions and peppers to the sauce and simmer according to the directions on the jar. Then we also cook rice and have naan (Indian flatbread). It's so good. And the jars are an awesome size and shape so I save them for repurposing for vases, etc. 

 Tuesday: we got potstickers at Costco a while ago and they have been in the freezer. So I'm gonna fry them up and make some fried rice. I will come up with a recipe but basically rice, carrots, peas, soy sauce, and egg. 

Wednesday: I am currently obsessed with my moms baked chicken - I will post the recipe soon but I am probably going to try one from Pinterest. And then just some sautéed green beans! Yum

Thursday: not gonna lie it was hard coming up with something for this day. Pizza is always good. Not sure if we are going to go frozen, takeout or homemade. But it's pizza and you can't go wrong. 

Friday: we have been craving some good ole burgers up in this joint. So we're headed to RR to meet that need!! If I'm really hungry I'll go for the Whiskey River BBQ Burger with fries as Campfire sauce, if we are feeling a little cheap then we get the tavern double (sub cheddar) and most likely the pig out style. I mean you gotta keep it real, if you're going to RR for a burger you don't hold back!

Saturday: this was a toughie. Obviously so since I said we are having leftovers. That might change as the week progresses. 

Sunday: I have been wanting to make a potato leek soup for so long. This weeks the week! Hopefully it's good. 

What are you having? Any recipes to share? Leave your link in the comments section I'd love to check it out!


Friday, February 21, 2014

{monthdate} nine months

We have had a fun filled month with many firsts for our sweet Ellie. Now that really isn't too surprising since just about all of her firsts are going to happen this first year.  We didn't have too many thing that we did this past month but let me tell you - we enjoyed every minute of it!!

You got to see a first for the Seattle Seahawks franchise when they won the Super Bowl on February 2nd. Of course you only got to watch a portion of it because you were not feeling well and Mama had to take you into the spare room to get you to nap.  Every time I tried to put you down you woke up so I ended up missing most of the game as well.  Aside from being a little crabby you were just the cutest little girl!

You attended your first Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle.  Nanny even came too for her first time.  As usual you were a total champ and we got stopped by nearly every vendor who commented on your adorableness!

The Winter Olympics started in Sochi.  We aren't huge on the Olympics in our family but we have discussed whether or not you want to Go for the Gold in any of these sports.  Mama is rooting for Figure Skating.

You got Dedicated to our church on February 9, 2014!!  A few months later than what I had planned for but it worked out great because you were loving seeing all your favorite people at church!

And we got to celebrate your first Valentines Day!  It was a pretty low key day for us. We just got to spend some quality time with each other and bask in the love we have for you.

You have been a total sweetheart and just the best little girl we could ask for!!

Stats: Official stats on Mondays appt. 
Height: guessing around 28"
Weight: somewhere in the 19 pound range
Head: larger than 17"
Food: eating about 6 ounces at each feeding for about 28-30 ounces a day. Solid foods and self feeding bread, puffs, beans and peas. 
Diapers: size three
Clothes: mostly 6-9 or 6-12 month. With a few 3-6 still fitting well. 
Sleeping: pretty well through the night on verge about 10 hours. And then still has a few naps during the day. Still swaddled and sleeping in her own room. 
Cries: rarely. Usually when hungry or poopy. And then the occasional random times. 

Loves: baths, eating, holding her blankets, clapping, spinning her foot, kitchen utensils, rolling over, sitting, standing with assistance and laughing. 

Hates: still not a big fan of getting her boogers out and being hungry.  Depending on her mood she may or may not be a fan of the vacuum cleaner. 

Mama's proudest moment:  when she reaches for me

Daddy's proudest moment: how she says and whispers "dada" 

Oops of the month:  I don't think that we had any major events that would take the cake, but we have ran out of diaper wipes a couple of times (well nearly, we used the last of them).

Things we are looking forward to: Ellie walking and talking. 

Sweet dear Ellie.  How we love you so.  Watching you grow and mature and begin to interact and enjoy the world around you is just the most amazing thing.  I love your little voice and how you make yourself cough.  You are mesmerized by your hands and are so good at picking things up!  I always get a big smile on my face when I think of you!! I love you baby girl!
♥ Ashley

Hot Dog it's Friday

Last week we were blessed with a three day weekend. Or at least I was. My husband works in a different school district and he got the WHOLE week off!! Let's just say I am super jealous. But I think it was good because he has had the opportunity to spend some quality Daddy/Ellie time.  It's times like these I wish I could be a bug on the wall to observe this sweet relationship grow and blossom!

We also celebrated Valentines Day last Friday. So today for Five on Friday I wanted to share Ellie's festive outfits. We are in full fledged green now for my fave holiday: St. Patrick's Day. But let's take a look down memory lane (a whole week ago!!)

cute is my middle name
my fave PJ's (Carters for Costco similar HERE)

I love me some Polka Dots these are also from Costco
Old Navy - no longer available


Super old onesie (0-3 month!!) pants are from Carters at Target

Headband is handmade but the bow is from Crazy 8 - similar here
Cutest little girl on her Valentines Day photo shoot.  

Thinking I am going to have to go all out for St. Patrick's Day with a backdrop and everything!!
outfit Carter's Just One You for Target - Here

I just love this little girl! In other news she turned 9 MONTHS today!! click here to see that update!!
Thanks for stopping by and oogling at my sweet little girl!

♥ Ashley