Wednesday, November 26, 2014

DIY Christmas Advent

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!! I feel like we just had Halloween last week (but it also feels like it was a year ago...)

I just love this time of year and I am so grateful to have the best little girl to share this with.  It really is the little things that make life special!  So making the holiday's just that for Ellie is what I am most looking forward to!

I thought I would share a quick little DIY with you all today!  Its our Advent Calendar.  I saw something similar to it at Pottery Barn (similar) a few years ago, but was not going to pay that and figured it would be simple enough to recreate. 

Here is what you are going to need:
an over the door shoe organizer (similar here) 
number stencils (similar here)
paint (here choose whichever colors you like)
stencil/pouncer brush (here)
scrap paper

first you are going to want a level surface to lay your shoe organizer on (preferably one you aren't worried about spilling paint on). Then with your scrap paper, place a piece in each shoe compartment. This will help with any bleed through.

second you are going to want to determine your color pattern (if using multiple colors) and squeeze out your paint onto a paper plate or other surface, pounce your brush in to coat and then begin stenciling.  What I found to work best was to do all the 1's and 2's in a single color first, then fill in with the remaining numbers in the same color.  Once all the white was done I moved onto the red and repeated the process.  I had to wait a while for drying when I got to the double digits since my stencil overlapped.  Once all your numbers are painted let dry overnight and then hang up!

third thing I did was come up with a list of activities for us to do on various days.  This year I finally made "permanent" ones that fit into envelopes that fit in each compartment.  I didn't number the envelopes so that we could switch up the days in the coming years.  This was the most time consuming part but still only took me about 45 minutes.  I used cardstock, colored pencils, and Pinterest to help me come up with text/fonts and decorations on each.  I am so looking forward to enjoying this with Ellie in the years to come!

Examples of Advent Activities:
go ice skating
visit Santa
watch a Christmas Movie
bake cookies
sit by the fire
do a Christmas craft
go on a sleigh ride
visit a tree farm
read a Christmas book
host a holiday party
go to a holiday play/musical
drive around to look at Christmas lights

And then what Advent Calendar is complete without some chocolate?  I like to wrap up a few small presents to put in various day pockets just to keep things fresh!

Do you do an advent calendar in your home? I would love to know how you do yours!!

♥ Ashley

Our Pretty Little Girls

Monday, November 24, 2014

This Weekend

What a weekend!! We braved ikea on a Saturday during the "holidays" crazy for sure. I think we spent more time in line that walking through the store!!!  The good thing is is that ikea has some great stuff right now!  

I picked up a some pillow covers for our living room at $6 each you really can't go wrong, not to mention I can use some pillows I already have as inserts which helps with the clutter!!  We also got Ellie her easel for Christmas and I will be making it over to go with my home decor!  Can't wait to show you the DIY. 

plaid and plain green from ikea. 

Since we got a few things for Christmas decor and we aren't having anyone over for Thanksgiving we have started the decor change. We are blending Thanksgiving and  Christmas to make "Christgiving" in our house!

I just love the festiveness that a tree does for a home and Ellie was so excited to see it lit up she screamed and danced for joy!! I cannot wait to put her tree in her room again this year! (But we need some child friendly ornaments to go on it - suggestions please!!!)
 My plan is to get most of the Christmas decor up this week and then we can trim the tree on Friday. 

A few years ago I made an advent calendar that was inspired by Pottery Barn but at a fraction of the price. Up until this year I just wrote activities on an index card or stuffed some chocolates into the days I couldn't come up with something.  But I finally got my act together to make our "permanent" activity cards. I love them so much and it's going to be so fun to switch up the days every year!

I think this is going to be so much more fun and meaningful than the chocolate adverts you see everywhere! I'll post a DIY on this soon too!

♥ Ashley

Friday, November 21, 2014

Some Favorite Things

Y'all I can't even get over that its Friday, not only that but that Thanksgiving is one week away!  
Thomas and I tossed around the idea of hosting but decided that we would take a break this year and enjoy a "stress free" holiday season at his parents house and my family's homes.  I can't tell you the relief that actually gives me! As much as I love hosting holidays it's really fun to just be a guest!


Spinach & Bacon Baked Egg Soufflé

I have been craving these so much lately.  I absolutely love them and totally hit the spot in the morning.  If you haven't tried them - do yourself a favor and pick one up today!


we just picked up these pajamas and they are my 
favorite ones for her so far.  I love the fleece 
because its so nice and warm and you can't
beat the footies to keep your little's toes warm
at night while they are sleeping!  These are the 
perfect combination of my favorite colors for Ellie
and I love how they can transition into all of winter.


I feel like I have been keeping a secret from you guys.  I recently found this blog and she has the best style sense ever.  She is also amazing at DIY and I want to be her best friend.  If you haven't already checked out her blog - you are going to want to do that! It is pretty top notch.


I love baking and bringing desserts to family dinners is one of my favorite things to do!  If you are in charge of dessert this year for Thanksgiving and are in search of some inspiration look no further.  I have three recipes that are delish and totally go with the theme for Thanksgiving.  First up is my fool proof Pumpkin Crunch Cake it takes very few ingredients and is sure to please!  If Pie is more your thing then this is the recipe for you, this is my favorite Pumpkin Pie because it is nice and thick and dense - just the way I like it. And if Pumpkin isn't really your thing then you have to try my Applesauce Cake, oh yum!


We are heading out for a day of Christmas shopping on Saturday.  Our plan is to brave IKEA on the weekend (eek!) to pick up a few things for Ellie, I am meeting someone to pick up a few more cloth diaper items and then we are headed to the old spaghetti factory and I love the Garlic Mizithra with a side of meat sauce!! Oh I cannot wait to get that in my belly!


somehow my little muffin turned 1 1/2 today and I am just loving this age!! check out her monthdate here!

♥ Ashley

{monthdate} half

Little Miss Luella is 18 months today!! I can't believe it!!!!

scarf, pants, moccs, bow, sweater from Ireland.

It's incredible how much out little nuggets change each month!  Life seriously cannot get much better with our little love in it!

Here is what Ellie has been up to this month:

• she started nodding her head "yes" and it's the cutest thing. 

• her vocabulary has increased so much:  baa, moo, woof, hiss, neigh, meh, caw, bawk are her go to animal noises and then she just makes up sounds for other animals that have nothing to do with their name or sound. 
Mama, Dada, Nana, Papa, Gaga, Sata (Santa), ah (all done), huhuh (yes), Tuka (tucker), Appah (apple), cah (car) kaka (and points to our dogs), bo (bowl), ba (ball), and bah (bath). 
And then lots of toddler rambling. 

• she is becoming pretty opinionated in her food choices but is doing well with keeping her plate on the tray, using utensils is getting better, and is a pretty clean eater (thank God!!). Some favorite foods are: cheese, puffs, crackers, apples, hamburgers, fries, pasta (mac'n'cheese), bread, corn flakes, Cheerios, fishies, rice and broccoli. 

• Lu has been pretty rock star in her napping.  She sleeps well in the pack'n'plays at work and still does pretty good at home too. Nighttime sleep is another story. She is on about a 3 hour cycle. I finally have weaned her middle of the night feeding and we are working really hard at making her stay in her crib/room until at least 5am (sometimes that means I am crawling into her crib to sleep/cuddle with her).  It's a struggle but bad habits die hard!!!

• some of her favorite things to do: climb anything is at the top of her list (especially those that are off limits), reading books (looking for sheep on every page!),  dancing, running, pushing her baby stroller, and trying to pet the dogs. 

turning a cardboard box into a slide

• tantrums: we have kinda entered this territory. She is not too bad just has the occasional scream/cry/throw herself on the floor for 1/2 a second and then gets over it. I also tell her that that type of behavior is not necessary and she better get it together. These outbursts usually happen when I tell her that she cannot do something or take something away from her. Such is the life with toddlers I understand. 

• some of my favorite things this month: Lu pointing to things when I ask her where they are, her helping to clean up her toys and messes, her enjoyment of independent time, and her excitement of seeing her Daddy come home from work. 

This is by far the most fun age and I am so grateful that I get to spend everyday with her! I wouldn't change my decision to leave teaching for anything!!

♥ Ashley 

see all her Monthdate's HERE

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christmas Wishlist

Christmas truly is my favorite time of year.  I love all the joy that gets spread around and the season of giving.  They say that the best gift is the one given - but lets not kid around here, I love receiving gifts! Its always fun to get a surprise here and there but I think that providing a list of things you would like really helps out the giver to narrow things down!!

For me a Christmas Wishlist is a list of things that you would love to have but wouldn't necessarily buy for yourself.  Plus I view it more of a guideline than a must have.

Christmas Wishlist

Christmas Wishlist by lifeonthefarm 

One thing I have noticed is that when you become a mom you tend to buy more things for your children than yourself, hence Ellie's awesome, fashionable wardrobe and I'm still wearing clothes from High School and College.  A girl can never have too many pairs of jeans.  I am not too picky (I usually pick mine up for less than $15 at Ross) but know that a pair of good quality denim can last a really long time!  I grabbed a pair of my mom's 7 For All Mankind after she passed away and they are one of my favorite pairs of jeans but recently I wore holes in the knees....
Also I need a new pair of my mom uniform - leggings.  I know some don't think these are appropriate for wearing out of the house or gym but I love these types of pants.  Most of mine are pretty old and I have one long pair left that have become quite faded.  I love me some pockets and when I saw that these were available I knew they had to make an appearance on my list!! Black on black please!!

For some reason the past few years I have had shoes on my list.  Toms have fast become one of my favorite types of shoes to wear.  They are so versatile and super easy to slip on and off.  I have worn holes in one of my pairs so I am desperately needing to get a new pair!!  I think I am brave enough to try something NOT neutral and I think these plaid ones are so cool - though you can never go wrong with anything green in my book!! (plus they are on sale)
I know I am a little late to the Riding Boot trend.  I thought I could get by with my Cowboy Boot collection and other tall heeled boots from years ago but I am really wanting a pair of tall flat boots and I love what Target has!  I have also seen a lot of the lace up riding boots around and since I haven't gotten a pair of these since I was showing horses back in High School I think these would be a great addition! Plus you just can't go wrong with Target's prices.

Back when we first were married I thought it would be fun to get all sorts of patterned sheet sets.  What I have learned over the years is that the Classic White sheet set can go with EVERYTHING!! the last set we got has been through the washer/dryer a few too many times and don't quite fit anymore. I would love a new set.  Besides who doesn't love a fresh new set of sheets to sleep on?  And I have been doing a lot of reading on how to help my hair grow stronger and stop breaking, the answer I have found are silk pillow cases.  So I would love a pair of those, they help to reduce any breakage from tossing and turning all night!  I will take all the help I can get to ensure my locks can get as long as the Duggars!!

It's time to turn in my cheap con-air curling iron from 1995 and get something that will be a little nicer on my hair and a better quality curling iron.  I have watched lots of tutorials and practiced on how to get the best curl in my hair (hides the breakage a little better) and I have come to the conclusion - your hair stylist will agree - that you get great results from quality products.

I'm getting older and I am tired of putting my concealer and foundation on with my fingers.  A brush is much more forgiving and kind to aging skin.  I have been using a cheapo one from Kmart for the last two years but I think now is the time to really splurge and get something good.  Like the curling iron above, if you don't have quality products you aren't going to get the best results or come close to recreating what they do for you in the salon.

So these are a few things that I would LOVE to open under the tree in 6 short weeks.  I would be happy with just one of these items!!

What's on your list?

♥ Ashley

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

{Toddler Tuesday} 12 to 15 Month Faves

Life on the Parsons Farm

12 to 15 Month Faves

I just love sharing what some of our favorites were for the different stages in Ellie's life. I also really enjoy reading others favorites so it can help guide me in some gift ideas. 

I finally put together Ellie's 12-15 month faves. Most of the items really have to do with sleep since that was a big part of our focus during this life stage with "sleep training". 

Ellie got this wagon for her birthday and we got so much use out of it during the summer. She rode in it almost everyday for farm chores. She also loved to try and pull it around the yard - so cute. 

Blankets are a huge hit for sleep time whether it's for naps or bed time sleep. Ellie usually gets two blankets, a thin swaddle type blanket and then a warmer knit blanket. She loves to snuggle with them as well as throw them over the side of her crib. 

Jelly Cats are the cutest stuffed animals. Ellie got the bunny for Christmas and I am so happy that she has taken a liking to it. I had/have a bunny from when I was little (confession I still sleep with it) and I love that we can share that!

The only pacifiers she will take. Her favorite one is the orange that we got from the hospital but she's chewed it a little too much so she only gets it on special occasions. Thankfully she has accepted the pink and purple ones. Used only for sleep time. 

We transitioned Lu into a convertible car seat and I love how easy this was is to instal into each of our cars. It's also super comfy for her and she enjoys being a little bit more upright. Not to mention how much I love grey and this fit the bill!

These sippy cups are awesome. They have a great valve to help prevent leaking (except when your babe chews on them. You can buy just the spouts but I find the whole thing so much cheaper at TJ 
 or Marshalls. 

Books. Lu loves books. Dear Zoo is so much fun because it has flaps in it and she has so much fun participating in reading. Most of her books are at her level for easy access and she will disappear into her room for at least 10 minutes to "read" all by herself. 

Moccs are hands down my favorite shoe for her. They come in all sorts of colors which are a great accessory, they're super easy to take on and off (but stay put) and protect her feet when we are out and about. They also mimic bare feet which is the ideal way for new walkers to learn - they really learn to balance so much better with bare feet. 

What are some of your favorites for this age?

♥ Ashley

Monday, November 17, 2014

Weekending on the Farm

We had a great weekend on the Farm. We got some much needed chores and improvements completed. 

Girlfriend got the hookup from her Nanny and Papa this week with getting her ready for the cold winter months ahead. I feel so much better letting her run around outside on the farm now knowing that she is warm!

On Saturday we got up early and had coffee on the couch together. Then I got ready to head out to a junk show with my MIL but before we could meet up I dropped my car off to get new tires. The junk show had a lot of really cool things but I didn't buy anything - is it just me or are prices inflating?

After the junk show my MIL dropped me off to pick up my car and I drove it home (and it wobbled several times on the trip...not good). 

It's been freezing overnight here and we finally decided that after 4 years we would get a water heater for the chickens so we won't have to go out and de-ice everyday. 

I called around to all the local farm stores and found the best deal. One store was $20 higher than the rest!!! I don't know why we haven't got one of these before, but now it's a huge relief. Speaking of the chickens. When we built their coop a few years ago we fully encased it in hardware cloth to keep out vermin. Well I guess over the years we got a gap in the door and they found their way in a couple weeks ago. We've set traps but no luck, so we finally fixed the hole and haven't seen them. 

We finally put a new draft stopper/weather strip on our front door. Something that's been on our to do list for far too long. Gone are the days of laying a towel against the door to keep the draft out and up went our heating efficiency!! We also installed them on the door into our laundry room and then out to garage so hopefully that will keep us a little warmer this winter!!

Oh and about my car. We took it back in this evening and turns out the tie-rod is shot! We got a great discount on the repair since the guy who "cashed me out" on Saturday failed to inform me of the safety issue. So we are getting that fixed too. 

♥ Ashley

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Five - Toddler Christmas Wishlist

Ellie's Christmas List 2014

Ellie's Christmas List 2014 by lifeonthefarm 

I am so excited that the holiday's are fast approaching and that I have a couple of Nanny jobs so that we can be sure to make this Christmas special for Ellie.

I love it when other bloggers post their wishlists for their babes - so I can get ideas for Ellie as well, since she is still too young (18 months) to really communicate what she wants.  However, she is becoming much more active and creative so I let that be the "theme" for this year.

Ellie loves to sit and play at the kids table at church.  I think that having one would be a great addition to our home.  They are the right size for her and we could accomplish a lot of activities at it as well (not to mention it would be great for when cousins and friends come over!)  I am LOVING this one but its a bit out of our price range so I am on the lookout for something similar and how great are these chairs?

To go along with the craftiness that Lu has been showing I think that an Easel should definitely be on the list.  I am loving this one for a number of reasons: it's white, has a chalkboard, whiteboard/magnetic board, paper roll, and cubbies for all the supplies.  In addition to the easel, I think some craft items are in store like chalk, toddler crayons, play doh, a chalkboard eraser, and some magnets.

Books are always a good choice for littles and Ellie for sure loves her books.  Often times she will disappear into her room for at least 10-15 minutes to just flip through her books.  She has her favorites but I am sure she will appreciate some new ones in there.  I have heard great things about Flora and the BabyLit books, plus I loved Madeline growing up and don't have the whole series.

I don't think it would be a Christmas list for a babe if clothes weren't part of the list!! I am hoping to get some 2T sized clothes for E that will help transition from Winter to Spring.  Basics are always good; jeans, some tops, a sweatshirt or two and then how can you pass up these cute boots? Totally out of our price range though!

Ellie has also been showing a huge interest in instruments or at least toys that make music so she can dance.  Any or all of these would be a big hit, especially the maracas since she loves to "shake, shake, shake"!

What sort of items are on your Little's Christmas list?

♥ Ashley

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday

I can't believe that we are already a couple of weeks into November!! That means that we are quickly approaching the holiday season!!  I just love this time of year with all the festiveness and the joy that it brings to people. 

Something that I think we all too often forget to do is to be thankful. In a society where there is so much competition and always wanting to "keep up with the jones's" it can make us focus on what we don't have rather than what we do have. In an effort to be more positive I have been making it a point to be thankful in my nightly prayers and to make sure that my friends and family know my gratitude. This is a trend in hoping to continue throughout the year and not just the days leading up to Thanksgiving. 

It can be hard but so rewarding to focus on all we have!

Now let's be real here. Life with a toddler can be rough, with their tantrums, "not listening", napping strikes, and the ability to make a mess of everything!  I have to tell you that I love it. Our road to parenthood was challenging but Ellie is the biggest gift. And I truly think that I appreciate her so much more because of our struggle with infertility and the roller coaster of the adoption process. 

Today I am so thankful for God's plan and gifting us the most beautiful, funny, energetic, sweet and loving little girl. I'm thankful for Him for opening our hearts to adoption and placing us with the most perfect baby!! 

I love you Ellie Faith. So much more than words can express and I thank God every day for the gift of you!

♥ Ashley

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Gosh I feel like the past two weeks have just flown by. I guess life gets pretty busy when you're in charge of more than one kid!!

We've started Christmas dressing in the house and I couldn't be happier!! Let the festivities begin!!

I love my new jobs. I get to nanny for two families. My favorite part is that I have the chance to be with Ellie everyday! I love that I get to spend time with her and that she is having the opportunity to socialize with other kiddos around her age. This is definitely helping to suppress the constant baby bug I have.   Ellie is doing so well playing with the other kiddos, learning how to share, and taking her naps! I know that some day she will be a great sister and I can handle more than one!!

How cute is this goat!?? She got it for her birthday and it's just the best!!

And also Ellie has totally gotten bit by the "craft bug" and enjoys herself some good chalkbaording. 

I see one of her very own in the near future!

Speaking of babies and my emotions. Back in August Thomas and I had a conversation about how horribly I handle people's good news. He pointed a few things out and it finally clicked. I can finally be happy and not feel so jealous of this great news. I have started to fully accept the path God has for us and our family and to put it all in His hands. 

There were so many baby announcements on my blog feed on Monday and I was able to really be happy for each and every one of those lovely bloggers.  The green monster was no where to be found (still hasn't made an appearance) and I can't tell you how good that feels. So truly, from the bottom of my heart, Congratulations!!! To all you mama's to be!!

♥ Ashley

Monday, November 10, 2014


I had a pretty busy week last week. I am a nanny for two different families and I pick up hours at our church. So I'm working a lot - which is good. The best part is that I get to bring Ellie to work with me!!  I don't know why I didn't start nannying before!!

We had a great weekend! 
One of the most exciting things we did was head out to our local Children's Museum to meet up with a blogger!! We met up with Jenny and her adorable daughter Callie. It was so fun meeting her in real life. I've been reading her blog for a while and it was so cool that we actually got to hang out. 

Jenny sent me an email a few weeks ago letting me know that she would be traveling my way and asked if we could meet. I jumped at the chance. She is just as sweet and kind in person as she is on her blog and Callie is just adorable. 

The girls got a long great and we just had a fabulous time!! Although we were having so much fun and I hardly took any pictures! Luckily Jenny has it more together than I do and was taking pictures left and right!! I got a few (that she sent me) that I wanted to share!!

So first Blate was a success!  I can't wait to do more!!!

♥ Ashley

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


I always imagined myself being a SAHM. Little did I know the challenges and heartache we would endure to become parents. But we have a faithful God and through adoption He made us parents. And through His plan, I get to be a SAHM/Nanny and get to spend my days with Ellie. 

I have seen many posts around the blogosphere about DITL (day in the life). I finally got my act together and put one together!! Keep in mind this is not really a typical day. 

The day is Thursday October 2nd. 

7:15 I woke up with Ellie stirring in our bed next to me. Thomas had already left for work. I brushed my teeth and then got Ellie up, changed her diaper and get her some milk (and coffee for me)

7:25 we snuggled a little then she watched an episode of Arthur on PBS kids eating her breakfast while I read emails. 

8:00 I got Ellie wrapped up in my carrier and we headed out to do our morning farm chores - feeding the goats, horses and chickens. 

8:15 we came back in from our chores and I set Ellie down to play while I washed my hands. Then I made the bed (something I try to do every morning) started a load of laundry (it's never ending amiright!?), I opened all the blinds in the house, started the dishwasher and made up a chore list for myself. I have found I am so much more productive of I write down a plan of action. 

9:00 I finally got ready for the day and got Ellie ready too. Then we played some more and sang a few songs. 

This girl and shoes!!

10:00 I got Ellie and myself bundled up to take a walk since it was nice outside. The neighborhood next to us has a few little playgrounds with slides and those are Ellie's favorite. So I got her in the stroller and we headed out in that direction. I have been really working on "letting go" and allowing Ellie to try new things - I don't want to stunt her abilities - and I let her go down the big slide all by herself. Oh my word was she in heaven. I think she could slide all day if I let her. 

11:00 we got back home from our walk, had some lunch and then played some more. I am really trying to get more of a routine for Ellie's day going and also praying for our meals. It's a work in progress. I have also found that coming up with toddler meals (that don't make much of a mess) that get a majority of the food groups is a challenge. 

Nachos, fishies, cheese puffs and cheddar for the win! (At least we got dairy covered!)

12:00 I put Ellie down for a nap - she gets a sippy of milk and a special song I made up for her and then down she goes. She has actually been going down really well lately and today was no exception. Thanks babe!!  While Ellie was sleeping I started on my chores list (laundry, cleans kitchen, clean master, etc) and then started reading some blogs  and watched a cooking show or two. 

Finished up my fall chalkboard on my pantry. 

3:00 talk about a good nap!!! Ellie woke up so she needs a sippy of milk to keep her heart happy (and belly too)!! Then I got her 2nd lunch ready, aka afternoon snack and we had some more one on one time working on table manners and leaving her plate on her high chair tray. 

3:30 the dogs have been acting crazy for the past hour so I decided it was finally time to feed them and to have Ellie help with her "chore". Basically I fill up the feeding cups and walk Ellie to the dog bowls and have her dump the food into the bowl. Most of the food made it in today!! Win!!  I also opened up the playroom so she could play with some different toys. She wasn't really into it and kept running to the slider and banging on it. Okay girlfriend Mama can take a hint. Thankfully the weather was nice and warm, so we went out to check on our front garden and then out back to play with the goats!

4:10 we came back inside after too much fun and excitement (and dodging Annabelle - that goat!!) got cleaned up. Really I'm surprised I live on a farm with how OCD I am!! and then we read some favorite books and while Ellie was flipping through them I finished up some of the noisier chores that I couldn't do during nap time. 

5:30 got the call that Daddy is on his way home so I pre-heated the oven for our super healthy frozen Tortinos Party Pizzas!! Lol. Just keeping it real and we can always guarantee that Ellie will eat these! Throw on an episode of Daniel Tigerls Neighborhood and just enjoy the cuteness of my baby girl!

6:00 Daddy gets home and I tell her he's coming through the garage and she runs down the hall saying "dadadada" with her arms out! Melt my heart!! Pizza is almost ready so we get the table ready and then have dinner. 

Again this is not a typical day (with the walk to the park or the finishing up of the chores!) but I just had so much fun showing Thomas all the pictures from our day and showing him what we did! It was like he was there with us. I will definitely be doing another post like this in the near future!!

♥ Ashley