Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Update

Well I am a little slow to the game.  I guess the Five on Friday linkup is on a Summer Break - which is cool because I am too but also kinda sad because I love the ease of these posts and checking in on other linker-uppers.

If you come around these here parts often you might have noticed I haven't been too good on the blogging front lately.  I have an excuse and I think its a pretty good one.  We are on Vacation!! I know weren't we just at Newman Lake not too long ago? Well this one is even better and I have many posts coming up in the near future about it.

 walking the grounds at Stirling Castle
 checking out the cannons at Stirling Castle
 the gorgeous crests above the fireplaces at Stirling Castle

We hopped on a plane (or three) to travel to the UK!  We are visiting Scotland and Ireland (the homelands) and we are having a total blast.  This trip has been a long time coming and we are so grateful for my Daddy to take us on this fabulous adventure.  Ellie is doing swimmingly well.  She was a total pro on the planes and has been the highlight of our trip so far.  We get stopped nearly every block and at each store/restaurant/venue we go to with people wanting to get her to smile at them, wave, blow kisses, and hold her hand.  The people of this part of the world are extremely friendly and just about everyone is interested in the baby.  We have had several offers to trade her for some teenagers and in our first night in Dublin we happened upon a Pub with live music, the musicians fell in love with Ellie and dedicated the whole show to her! They changed up several of the lyrics in songs to include her name and she got the fiddler's bow!!  But more on that to come in future posts!

The sights are just beautiful and I can't wait to share more!

♥ Ashley

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Toddler Tuesday - with Natasha

Hey ladies!! I am so excited to have Natasha here from Schue Love today.  If you haven't been over to her blog you better get to it.  She has an amazing eye for home design (she and her husband to a remodel on their house in Tahoe), creates design boards for friends, has some of the most delicious recipes, and of course one of my favorite boys - Ethan.  I am still trying to figure out a way to have an arranged marriage between him and Ellie.....

Life on the Parsons Farm

Well, hello there!  I'm Natasha, mama of Ethan and blogger over at Schue Love.  Ethan is on the brink of two, which means he's also on the brink of a lot of fun times ahead.  You know, the terrible twos!  And we have already started to get glimpses of what that looks like.  So today, I share with you, the Five T's of Toddlerhood.  Get's a fun one!

1. Tantrums

Oh my...where do I start??  The toddler tantrums are in FULL effect.  As I type this, Ethan is on "time-out" for throwing a fit and pinching me.  Oy.  Tantrums at this age are no joke, but I try to remind myself that he's ultimately trying to communicate and is getting frustrated in the process.  Let's just say that once he goes down for bed, I am ready for my glass of wine.

2. Twins

Toddlers are notorious for wanting to mimic everything little thing.  He's like our twin, or shadow.  It's actually pretty comical to see how quickly he picks up on something we do.  He will follow my husband around the yard copying everything thing he does, or copy me putting on makeup in the morning.

3. Talking

Gone are the days where I don't understand a lot of what he wants.  He knows the words of things he really wants and once you acknowledge that you know, you can ignore the commands as easily.  On the other hand, the talking is really fun and so cute.  Ethan can say his own name now, count and mimic most anything we say {which is scary!}.

4. Teething

Ethan has most of his teeth now, but teething is a real part of toddlerhood.  Every time one of those suckers pop through, we sure know about it!

5. Treasure

Last, despite all the trial and tribulations of this stage, I constantly remind myself to treasure every moment.  I know this stage is fleeting and there will soon be a time where I miss everything about my little toddler.  

So there you have 5 T's of Toddlerhood.  Would you add another T to the list??

Thanks for having me today Ashley!

xo natasha

Isn't she just the cutest - and that Ethan!! 

♥ Ashley

Monday, June 23, 2014

{monthdate} 13 months

A few days late, but I am sure that Ellie will forgive me!  I have gone back and forth trying to decide how I am wanting to do Ellie's monthly updates for this coming year.  As she is no longer going to the doctor as frequently (fingers crossed) the stats will be on an as found out basis. I know that she changed so much in her first year but will continue to do so in her second year as well.  While these changes might not be quite at "monumental" as her first year milestones I know that these ones are going to be so much fun.  We have a lot to look forward to and so far she isn't disappointing!

I can't believe that my little girl is already 13 months old.

Here is what she has been up to:

- Since Ellie had her first birthday I had the opportunity to take her one year photos and had so much fun with it.  I am now inspired to take some classes to really learn how to use my big girl camera!  

- We celebrated her birthday with family and friends. The weather was gorgeous and girlfriend was so blessed by the love she was given! Some of her favorite gifts have been her cell phone, teepee, wagon, and car, but lets not forget her tea set - now she can leave mine alone!!

- We went on a mini vacation to Newman Lake.  Ellie was a pretty good traveler and thoroughly enjoyed sharing a bed with me at night!  One morning she played so hard that she fell asleep while eating her breakfast only to wake up about 10 minutes later and start eating like nothing happened! We also went out on the boat and she got had to wear her life jacket - she was not pleased with that one bit! She did however get to drive the boat and she enjoyed that part.  We saw lots of wild deer and she got to have a visit with her birthmom, birthgrandma, and birthbrother.  I think Ellie's favorite part was getting to spend the whole weekend with us and her Nanny and Papa!!

- The weather was pretty lovely and she had many opportunities to go out for a ride in her wagon around the farm to see all the animals.  Of course the Goats (Annabelle and Penelope) and Paladin are her favorites.  She is pretty good at following the directions and rules of riding in the wagon - she must be sitting down and holding onto the railings.

- We got to celebrate Father's Day and had Thomas' family over for some ribs, pasta salad, corn bread, and other yummy goodness.  Thomas had a pretty fun day just relaxing and spending time with us!

- We also celebrated Thomas' birthday with dinner out a few days before and then pizza at home after he went out with some co-workers to watch the World Cup game - his birthday present was the win!

- Ellie has also started walking like a maniac.  Now that she has it figured out its all that she wants to do.  We are no longer in the crawling phase of life - so now we really need to start baby proofing our home.  We already have gates (thanks to the dogs) so all we do is gate off our entryway and the kitchen.  We only have a few cupboards that are "off-limits" so we need to invest in a few child locks.

- One of my favorite things is that Ellie can now play in her room.  It's so fun to have her toddle into there and then start playing with her bedroom toys.  Plus it is super fun to watch her play in her room through the monitor.  I just love this stage so very much!

My dearest Ellie Faith how I love you so!  Every day is just that much more fun and you truly have been a total blessing in our lives.  I love your sweet smile, how you wave and blow kisses and your little giggle.

♥ Ashley

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer 2014

Ladies. I seriously cannot even tell you how excited I am that it is summer break for us here on the farm! This will be our second summer with Ellie and I know she is going to be so much fun with how much she can already do!

Life really does get better as our kids get older.  I can't wait to see what the future holds for us!


Just like our spring break we have a summer bucket list of projects to do around the farm. And probably once again I am being over zealous with what we can actually accomplish. 

- I would like to get another load of rock delivered and spread out in the horse paddock. 
- get enough mulch to cover our front flower bed. 
- keep up on the weeding and upkeep with harvesting our veg garden (at least better than last year). 
- finish up the trim on the chicken coop. 
- clean out and organize our "office" room and convert into Ellie's playroom, this will be a huge undertaking but totally overdue!
- complete Ellie's picnic blanket I was hoping to have done by have done by her birthday (oops). 
- paint the kitchen. 
- organize our closet. 


While talking about summer bucket lists let's go ahead and talk about some of the things we want to do with Ellie. 

- go to the park on a weekly basis 
- check out new parks 
- daily family walks (weather permitting)
- hitting up local splash pads
- enjoying our farm life with staying put at least one day each week
- take a mini road trip
- go on at least 3 hikes
- teach Ellie how to "ride" Paladin
- enjoy family time with both sides of our family


Another thing I really need to focus on this summer is looking for new employment and to see where God wants to take me. If you have been following my blog for a while you'll know that since graduating college finding secure and reliable employment has been nothing but a challenge for 6 years. Maybe teaching isn't my calling after all and then again maybe it is and the plans God has for me is to touch more students lives than I could have ever ever imagined. Although working from home would be an absolute blessing. Being a SAHM has been my dream since forever and a day. 


It's so funny how people view parenting and the "warnings" they give to you. Before Ellie started
crawling so many people told us to enjoy her being stationary while we could because with baby
mobility comes a lot more supervision. I can't can't even explain how much I loved having a crawling
and mobile Ellie. It was so fun to watch her gain her independence and to see where she wanted to go!  Now she has started walking and this is a whole other new ball game that we were "warned" of. Again I love this type of mobility even more, if not for my OCD of cleanliness alone! Now when we of places we can set her down and I don't have to worry about her toes, knees, hands, and clothes getting so dirty from the public floors/ground! not to mention she is just so cute being such a little big person!!! My favorite thing is watching her walk around our house. Sure we have had to "baby proof" a bit with some gates to block off areas and we have had to give her more redirection than before, but I just love it. This part of development is so important and we are able to really work on our behavior expectations with Ellie as well as her listening skills. As she becomes more stable our dogs are becoming less nervous around her and I can't wait to see them running around and playing together in our back yard. This is the stage that I have most been looking forward to with Ellie and let me tell you she is NOT disappointing!


Life on the Parsons Farm

I kicked off my Toddler Tuesday series a few weeks ago and I am loving it even more than I thought.
 I love being able to showcase some of my favorite bloggers (and some new ones too) and also learn  what to expect in the near future with my sweet Ellie. The traffic and comments have been so encouraging and I love where this is going! Each blogger has such a unique take on toddlerhood and all of them have great pieces of advice. Be sure to check out the previous posts from Natalie, Jenny, and Courtney as well as what I have scheduled coming up!  If you are interested in being a part of this series just shoot me an email. I would love to have you and get you on the calendar.

♥ Ashley 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Whats up Wednesday

I have kinda been MIA recently. 

It has been a rough couple of weeks.  As I mentioned back in May, my position at my school has been eliminated so I am back on the hunt for yet another job.  My heart is broken as I have created such a bond with the upcoming Senior class and I am so bummed that I won't have the opportunity to be a part of their lives in their last year of high school.  

If you talk to teachers you will know that they all have their "special" class. 

For me that is the class of 2015.

They welcomed me to my school with open arms and taught me so much about being a teacher, mentor, growing in my faith, and community.  I seriously consider all 77 of them to be my children and know that they are all going to accomplish so much in their Senior year and beyond.  The relationships that I made at my school these past two years are ones that will be cherished for a long time.  This group of students have been so supportive and kind and have exceeded my expectations in every way possible.  

In your life you probably have those teachers that you reflect back on and can say that they made a real difference in your life.  The same goes for teachers.  There are students that we come across throughout the years that make an impact on our lives.  I am so proud and lucky to say that the 77 students in the class of 2015 at my school have all made an incredibly meaningful impact on my life.

Teachers complain a lot.  I am not exception.  We are people too.  With real lives, real struggles, and real joys.  Teaching isn't easy and there is a lot of work involved in it, but sometimes you get a group of students who make it fun and not seem like work.  Every year there are so many mixed emotions about the end of the school year.  One side is relief that we get our break (which is used to prepare for the next year) but the other side is the closing of chapter.  The kids move on, some graduate, many wont be back in your classroom, and some you are lucky enough to see again.  
                     My heart is so heavy with this next year but at the same time is so unbelievably full because of "my class".

this photo is one of the "little things" that makes teaching so rewarding!

So that is where I have been in a nutshell.  Ending the year and saying all of my "goodbyes" to my favorite students, along with packing up my classroom and knowing I won't be returning.

♥ Ashley

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Toddler Tuesday - with Courtney

Life on the Parsons Farm

Ladies! I am so excited to have Courtney here to guest post today. We "met" each other a while ago and I have to say she is one of my best blog friends.  She is such an inspiration and I love reading and learning all about how she is raising her adorable daughter Abigail.  What I would really like to do is move in with her for a while and be taking notes all day on how she is raising such a great little girl! She has so much wisdom and we can all learn a lot from her.
 Well enough of my blubbering: here she is!

Hello Life On The Parsons Farm readers! My name is Courtney and I blog over at A + Life. Ashley and I "met" last fall after I read a guest post she published on Erinn's blog. We've been emailing each other ever since! I'm so honored that she invited me to participate in her new series Toddler Tuesdays and I hope that my post can be a blessing to you today!

As I wracked my brain over things that I could share with y'all today, my thoughts bounced around to all sorts of topics. Food, sleeping patterns, homeschooling, discipline, etc, etc. But finally, I landed on this topic. Abigail is 3.5 right now and rapidly blazing past toddlerhood{does 3.5 still qualify as a toddler anyway?} so some of the toddler milestones we have already passed and truthfully, I can't remember what I ate for lunch yesterday let alone what I fed her 2 years ago. SO! Here we are. Something that we are 100% into right now.
I wanted to share with you some easy ways that you can incorporate Jesus into daily life with your little ones. I don't know about you, but I always feel like I need a guidebook to navigate the waters of teaching my daughter everything she needs to know. And while we have the Bible, there are some really big words that are just too far above her little head right now{goodness, and even sometimes above my own}. So here are a few ways that I've found to bring Jesus down to her level, to give her a chance to know Him personally, and for us to be able to worship together.
Jesus StoryBook bible
The Jesus Storybook Bible is my all time favorite book that we own. It is amazing. It includes all of the best Bible stories and it brings them down to her level, but it doesn't edit anything out. I love that. But the best part? Every. Single. Story. points to Jesus at the end. There aren't any stand alone stories that are just...over. They all point to Jesus and spell it out for her so that she can understand where it is all heading.

This is a favorite for us to read while she is eating her lunch or before bedtime. She'll ask, "can we read my Jesus story??"

Youversion app and Sproutville app

Both of these apps are SO fun to play together and are absolutely free! I love that they are interactive and help her absorb a bit more of the stories she is listening to. The Sproutville app also has games and songs as well.
You'll be singing "I am the good shepherd" until kingdom come.
Christian Music
We love, love, love music in this house. There is almost always something playing during the day. Jim plays the piano and leads the worship at our small PCA church and I play the viola and play on the worship team. On top of that we usually have a radio station going. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I love almost any sort of music and we don't exclusively listen to Christian music in our house, but on particularly hard days or when we just need to get refocused and recharged, there is no better way than to put some of God's truth to music.
Pandora works okay for this, but I'm pretty picky when it comes to my Christian music. That being said, here are two of our favorites:
Sovereign Grace Music
Indelible Grace Music
You can stream most of their music for free straight off of their website or you can buy all of the albums{worth the money, for sure!} There isn't much that warms my heart more than listening to Abigail sing praises to the One who created her.
Weekly Chalkboard Verse
I made this chalkboard last year{you can read my DIY post here!} and have been using it to help us both memorize bible verses together. My hope was to learn a new verse every week, but eh, it's turned more into a new verse every month. Anyway, it's right by our kitchen table so we are able to read and recite our new verse at every meal time, which I love!
Letting Them Pray
 There are lots of ways that you can teach your little one to pray. When we first started having Abigail pray, we began with memorization. The Lord's Prayer was where we started and then we incorporated songs of prayer: the doxology and To God the Father{the Christian doxology 1}. Then as she started talking more and more we have taught her to pray like this: "Dear Heavenly Father, [thank Him for at least one thing, request at least one thing], In Jesus name, Amen" We take turns praying throughout a day, with our meals, before bed, as a need arises.
We want Abigail to understand and learn that her greatest need in this world is the saving grace of Jesus. While we know that there isn't anything we or she can do to save herself, we pray daily that Jesus will continue to draw her to Himself and that by the groundwork we are laying of God's truth now, that it will prove to be essential to her salvation and Christian walk someday.
Life on the Parsons Farm

Thanks again for having me, Ashley! I would love for you all to stop by my blog and say hello!
Blog / Facebook / Twitter /Instagram 

Isn't she just the bee's knees?

 ♥ Ashley

Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Birthday Thomas!!

Yesterday we celebrated Thomas' second Father's Day. We had a pretty laid back day, had coffee, went shopping, and got our house ready for hosting a Father's Day dinner with his family. 

Let's just say that this year Ellie was a lot more fun than last year. 

Today my dear husband turns another year older. I can't believe how quickly time is going. I swear we just celebrated his 30th a few weeks ago (oh wait, that was mine...). 

The hubs had to work today but he had a chance to go out to the bar with some co-workers to watch USA play against Ghana for the World Cup, so I'm thinking this soccer super fan had a pretty good day. 

Ellie and I are both so lucky to have such a wonderful and hard working man in our lives. He has the best fashion sense, can grill a mean burger, and has perfected my moms guacamole! He is a professional pooper scooper and is a rock star at helping to keep our house clean. Not to mention he always has a pot of coffee ready for me when I wake up! It's love you guys!!

I love you Thomas! Happy Birthday my love. 

♥ Ashley

Monday Meals Mashup - recipe share [linkup]

Sorry ladies that I have been slacking on this linkup! We were out of town last weekend so I didn't have a chance to put together a plan for the week.

Monday Meals Mashup

This week I wanted to share one of our favorite go to recipes.  I always have these ingredients in the pantry and its a total winner with everyone asking how to make it!  Also its super easy and goes with steak, chicken, and fish!

Brewer Brown Rice

1 1/2 cups white rice
1 can of French Onion soup
1 can of Beef Consume 
4 T of unsalted butter
1 pinch of salt


1. Preheat your oven to 425
2. In a glass baking dish (preferably with a lid) spray with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Next you just want to dump the rice, 

then the butter, 
 then the french onion soup, 
 then beef consume,
 and finally top with a pinch of salt.
4. Cover with lid (or foil) and bake in the oven for 45 minutes

5. Take out of the oven and uncover - let cool for about 5 minutes and then enjoy!

I know its nothing fancy but it tastes oh so good.  You can omit the pinch of salt if you use salted butter. Please don't be mislead by the title, we call it brown rice because it turns brown from all the soup liquid.  We have tried making it with actual brown rice before and it takes about 30 minutes longer and needs about a 1/2 cup more of liquid otherwise its not cooked through all the way.

♥ Ashley

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Little Things - our weekend getaway

We had a mini road trip this past weekend.  It was a total blast and I just loved being with our little nugget for 4 1/2 days straight! Ellie was a total champ during the weekend and her little go with the flow personality gets me every time! I feel so blessed to have her in our lives.

We went to Newman Lake, its just about 20 minutes out of Spokane.  We have been before and just loved it so much!  This time was a lot of fun because we got to bring Ellie with us!  Despite the home we rented being disgusting we really did have a good time.  We have rented homes many times and they have always been great, but this time was new.  The lady barely cleaned the place (if at all) and there were dead bugs all over the window sills, back of the couch and in the corners.  Each time we went into the bathroom there was another spider! Not to mention there was a giant hole in the middle of the living room floor - dangerous with a brand new walker (yes Ellie is walking!).  We already complained to the owner of the home and are writing our very honest review on the place.  At least we know that we aren't going to use that lady again!

 Girlfriend was a star at taking naps - she now has this new thing about sticking her right leg up in the air!

We went to the lake with my In-Laws, it was so great having them there not only for the company but to also help keep Ellie entertained.  She sure does love her Nanny and Papa!!

Being that we stayed on a lake the in-laws brought their boat.  Ellie finally had the chance to get out on the water - needless to say she was less than impressed (especially with the life jacket!)

 Our little serious boat driver!
even though this wasn't her most favorite thing - she did very well.  However, she was the most excited when we finally too the life jacket off!!

While we were on our getaway it was Nanny's birthday.  We headed out to our fave spot in Spokane - Tomato Street and enjoyed our meal.  Ellie had a great time too.  She got to draw for the first time, eat play-dough, and find her favorite way to sit in a high chair (legs up!)

 I don't know about you but this doesn't look very comfy!

her first masterpiece!

obligatory feet with water/tanning picture

On Sunday we headed out to Coeur d'Alene to a splash pad!  This was Ellie's first time (in a bathing suit too) and she went WILD!! I am sure we are going to have to frequent these places often this summer with her!

 the water was freezing but that didn't stop her!
 my swim suit
 Ellie's swim suit

She was a happy camper!

 Girlfriend was tuckered out after all our splash pad fun!
 Wildlife at the lake!

Later on Sunday we met up with Ellie's birthmom for a visit.  I have to say that I love her so much for giving us the opportunity to be a family.  We so enjoy our visits with her and are so thankful that we all get along.  Ellie also got to meet her older birth brother and it was so fun seeing how much they look alike!  We went to a fabulous park and E had so much fun!  The ground of the park was mostly a squishy rubber - great for new walkers!

 swinging fun!

 both Ellie and her birth-brother LOVE the swings!
 honey i shrunk the family!!

All in all I would say we had a total blast and are looking forward to our next visit to the lake (preferably in a different house!).  Ellie was a trooper and while she got sick of the car she was still pretty pleasant - not to mention she was working on cutting TWO more teeth on top!

It's these little moments that stick in my head and I never want to forget! Thank you to Ashley and Jess for reminding me to stop and treasure the little things!

♥ Ashley