Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Toddler Tuesday

Hey lovely ladies!

Life on the Parsons Farm

I am so pleased to be posting for my own series again this week!  I truly have learned so much from all you mamas out there who have posted on this topic. Since Ellie is a new toddler this topic is near and dear to my heart!

PS. The winner of Freshly Picked Moccs has been chosen! Was is you?

I thought I would talk a little bit about toddler meals and eating today. While I don't have a whole lot of experience on the subject I have learned a lot since girlfriend went mainly on solids. 

At first I made most of Ellie's first foods with the exception of rice cereal and fruits.  I just steamed the organic vegetables and then puréed them with my hand blender and strained them through a sieve when she was really little and then as she got more used to foods I skipped the straining part. 

Since Ellie has come off the formula we are more dependent on "solid" foods. Pouches are an awesome snack for her and many have several ingredients in them like amaranth or chia. Ellie loves these and it's a great way to get a mix of fruits, veggies, and grains in one simple pouch. 

I have a diverse pallet and am hoping that Ellie will too. I can help foster her love for different foods and textures by feeding her the same meals that Thomas and I eat. She definitely has preferences of things she likes and things she dislikes. Ellie loves veggies and most fruits (hold the tomatoes) and will gobble those options up first before going to dairy, grains or meats (her least favorite). 

For lunch she had grapes, pasta, fishy crackers and string cheese. You can bet the grapes were the first things she ate!

I am loving this stage of toddlerhood. But would love some advice on getting her to use utensils!! Let me know your tips and tricks in the comments section!!

♥ Ashley

Do you love this series? Do you have a toddler and advice or stories to tell? I would love to feature you on this series!! Just let me know in the comments below or send me an email and I will get you scheduled!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Hey Friday Favorites!

TGIF!! Ellie and I are so excited that its Friday and we get to have Thomas (daddy) home for the weekend!! We have had a pretty eventful week.  We started  this morning with a bang. As we were getting ready Ellie decided to play on Sakari's dog bed and fell bumping her head on our bed frame - instant egg on her forehead.  She cried for a few minutes and then was back climbing all around on Sakari's bed again!! Girlfriend has NO FEAR.

{ O N E }

On Monday I gave you a tour of our farmhouse.  A lot has changed since we moved in 6 years ago and I am in love with my design style/taste right now.  I have totally embraced the vintage/country vibe.  While its not my ideal house I can live in it for now.  However, I finally got Thomas to agree to paint the exterior (next year) and need help finding the PERFECT dark grey color! So please tell me your favorites in the comments below!

{ T W O }

Life on the Parsons Farm

I am so loving the Toddler Tuesday series I have going on.  I am learning so much from my guest bloggers and love showcasing them here.  If you are interested in contributing a post about life with your toddler I would LOVE to have you! Just send me an email or comment below and I will get you on the schedule!

{ T H R E E }

I chose a winner for the Solly Baby Wrap.  Was it YOU??  You can also check your email to see if you won!

{ F O U R }

I mean toddlers in vests!

Old Navy is killing it right now with leopard toddler wear!!  I have so many things on my wishlist for Ellie right now, that if I wasn't unemployed they would be on their way to us via mail and cashback would be happening from Ebates too!! Plus you can save 25% on your online purchase today!

{ F I V E }

Infertility is a bitch, and I am pretty sure each of my readers knows at least one person who is battling it, whether or not they know it.  Join me in bringing awareness of this disease and being a source of support, comfort, and strength for those dealing with the devastation of infertility.

Happy Friday Y'all!

♥ Ashley

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thoughts for Thursday

You probably don't give it much thought. But I can assure you there are many women in your life that are fighting a disease. It slaps them in the face every month and every time they see or hear of someone becoming pregnant. I am the Face. You have a friend who is the Face. Maybe even you are the Face. The Face of Infertility. It debilitating and wreaks havoc on your emotions. Be kind. Be real. Be genuine. Be sensitive. Be understanding. Be supportive. 

Well another cycle bites the dust.  I've been struggling emotionally the past couple of days - as I'm sure any Infertility sufferer does when it gets close to period day. 

Ever since my first pregnancy/miscarriage (which was also an ectopic pregnancy requiring emergency surgery) back in December 2010, my cycle hasn't been the same. You would think that nearly 3 1/2 years later I would have it figured out but every month dear Aunt Flo plays a trick on me giving me the hope that maybe I just might be pregnant. 

Before my ectopic pregnancy my period would come on strong the first day and remain strong for the duration (usually 7 - 8 days) and then be gone. Since my ectopic surgery and subsequent removal of endometriosis they haven't been as consistent. I usually spot for three days (which always tricks me into thinking we've been successful) then on day four when I get the courage to try a HPT it comes out negative and there is a strong flow which lasts for two days and then is light for another 2-5 days. 

This cycle really had me. I was 2 days late some super light spotting and then BAM negative test and on comes the flow.  

Every month is devastating. It doesn't get any easier.  It just plain sucks.  

I'm praying for all my IF sisters and even those who are TTC.  I feel your pain. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What Ellie Wore Wednesday

I used to be really into fashion and the latest trends. Looking back at pictures of some of te outfits I actually wore out of the house is a little embarrassing. But I worked in a mall and had unlimited access to shopping during my breaks throughout the day. 

Since quitting my days at the mall and becoming a teacher, my style has become more classic an less trendy and my affinity for shopping has diminished. Well at least for myself!

Ellie on the other hand is the most fun to shop for! There are so many cute options out there (and many I can afford!) and girlfriend has a ton of clothes!

This is an outfit that Ellie wore not too long ago and I love it!

Jeans: Carter's
Top: Crazy 8
Cardi: Gymboree
Headband: Sweet T Boutique on etsy
Shoes: Freshly Picked in Blush

Do you find it more fun shopping for your little than yourself too?


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Toddler Tuesday - with Mande #2

Y'all I am so excited to have Mande on here again!! I loved what she shared last time!

Life on the Parsons Farm

also be sure to check out BOTH of my giveaways this month! #1 and #2

Hi again! It's Mande from Sweet Home Alabama! Mamma to 18-month old Parker, wifey to super scientist Max, and currently in the process of relocating from Scottsdale, Arizona to Huntsville, Alabama. I had the pleasure of guest blogging for the Toddler Tuesday series last month, telling about our experience with baby sign language. Thank you to Ashley for having me back again, this time talking about reading with your toddler!

As a former elementary school teacher, this subject is SO near and dear to my heart, and for so many reasons. First, being able to literally introduce reading to a fresh new being is the most amazing thing.  There's the sharing of the love of books, and all the bonding and cuddle time associated. There's the watching as your baby grows from a passive participant to an active one, turning pages, pointing to pictures and verbally naming them, and making connections between those images and the world around him. And of course, there are the incredible, wonderful, long-term and meaningful benefits of reading daily with your child from the start (just click here, here and here for articles confirming this).

How can you make reading a normal part of your daily routine? Here are the ways we've made reading a priority in our house...

1. Book Access
For every basket of toys, we have a corresponding basket of books. This has been the best way for us to store Parker's board books in a way that is easily accessible, both for us and for Parker. I liken it to veggies in the fridge - if they are front and center, you are more likely to grab for them, as opposed to having them hidden away in a bottom drawer. We keep the book baskets in the places we spend the most time - the den, our master bedroom and Parker's nursery. Since Parker can reach in and get the books, this system also fosters independence and autonomy. The basket system works wonderfully for sturdy board books, which we read almost exclusively since our little man is tough on his literature. Regular picture books might not hold up so well being tossed in a bin.

2. Consistency
Parker is always, always read to before naps and before bedtime. It's something he has just come to expect, and automatically selects books now when we enter his room at those times. Even if we are having a crazy busy day and haven't sat down to read yet, we will come his first nap. Once the routine is established, it's like having a standing appointment in your schedule and you'll be sure to get quality reading time each day. We even took it one step further, and we read the same exact book before lights out each night. We'll go through a few at bedtime, but the last one is always Goodnight Moon, and has been since Parker was three-months old.

3. Making it Fun
Sometimes Parker wants to run around like the crazy ball of energy he is, and he turns away if I hold up a book. Reading is not something I ever want to force; so when he wants to run around I run around with him. I really want reading to have positive associations for him. Other times, Parker will pick out a book on his own, bring it over to me, and will sit in my lap and want the same book read to him over and over and over. And over. He'll flip the last page, turn the book to the front again, and immediately begin signing "more." I try my best to go with what he's feeling, always making it happy and fun. Part of this is being "present" and an active participant in the reading process, pointing out colors, naming objects, asking questions, reading in voices... Parker also loves books with flaps that he gets to open and close, and song books, too.

4. We Turn Off the T.V.
Like, literally. If Parker is awake, the television is off. Simply not having this source of entertainment as an option (or tablets, phones, etc.) has both freed up more time for books and has made them Parker's top source of entertainment.

Happy reading, y'all

Wasn't this just the best!! I love reading with Ellie and its so fun to learn more about it from other moms!!

♥ Ashley

Monday, September 22, 2014

Come inside and I'll show you around!

I am so excited to be nominated by Courtney for this post!!  you can check out her home tour here.

This post couldn't have come at a better time!  As I am getting used to my new SAHMdom, I have been seriously taking advantage of nap time around these parts. Not only have I been getting some projects that have been on the "To-Do" list for years but I also started to do a serious deep clean of the house! As as with most homes it is a work in progress but I love it so much more than when we bought it 6 years ago and boy has it changed over the years!

Welcome to our Farmhouse!We live in a 1700sf rambler with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  We have a great open floor plan that I think was pretty rare back in 1989 - so we really lucked out!

Our entryway is ever changing. I jut brought in this great dresser that used to be in my sisters room growing up. I love all the surface area it gives. We used to have a small half-round table and I am so glad it's out of here!

Probably one of my most favorite pictures ever!
Just to the left is our kitchen. While it's not my dream kitchen it works and I'm so glad that we decided to paint the 1989 oak cabinets white!
You can't still see we have our vintage 1989 fridge and microwave that are still going strong!

And then the view from the sink. 

First door on the left is the 3rd bedroom or Ellie's playroom/storage room. It's taken a while to even get it to this point
A little spot that she likes to climb in and play!

Then you come to our hallway that leads to our guest bathroom, laundry room (garage), master and Ellie's room. 
Ellie photo bombing

Then the first door on the right (actually the only door on the right) is Ellie's room
This is an awesome door sign that my friend Kendra from Simply {Darr}ling made. I love it because it's Ellie's birth year and the perfect marker for her room!

Ellie photo bombing again!

over a period of months I collected all the alphabet letters from various craft stores and then painted them all white. Then during one of Ellie's many newborn naps I painted them all with craft paint and different patterns. I love how it turned out and there are lots of things to pique her interest in here. 

Gallery wall of her 3, 6, 9 & 12 month photos

Then the door to our room, 2008 for our wedding year! Again Kendra made this for us and I love it so much!

Not much to see in here. Just a bed, nightstands, a dresser, closet and bathroom. 

Down the hallway is the laundry room - again not much to see and then our guest bathroom. That also happens to be Ellie's bathroom.  It just got a major overhaul makeover this past April and I love how it turned out. 

Still looking for the perfect shower curtain.  I'm thinking white with large gold polkadots.
And it wouldn't be complete without a goat picture. (We are "goat" farmers after all!)

Then coming back through the kitchen you come to our dining room/great room. 
Just about all of the furniture in here came from my parents house. I feel so blessed and am so thankful to have their dining set, I have loved it forever and it's a great way to remember my mom. 
Sakari wanted to get in on the home tour.

The just to the right is our living room. This room has probably undergone the most changes and updates than any other room in the house. None of the furniture is the same from when we moved in!

One of my all time best vintage/consignment investments were these two chairs. Not only did I get them at the best price but their bones are great and everyone wants to take them home. 

Well that about finishes my home tour! Thank you so much for visiting and I hope you enjoyed it!!

If you have any questions about sources in any of our rooms I'd love to help you out!!

Check out the lovely ladies that I am nominating! You can check out their homes next Monday!

Beth Newman 

♥ Ashley