Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Day 2015 on the Farm

We had an earlier start than we hoped for...but it wouldn't be Christmas morning with kiddos if you didn't get up at the butt crack of dawn (or 6:15am).  While it was early I am so glad that we had all that extra time to celebrate together.  

I grammed this photo on Christmas Eve with Ellie's big Christmas present being a bike...that girl has been asking for a bike since the summer and we were so excited to give it to her!  

When she woke up she came into our room for some milk and a few snuggles while Thomas started the water for our coffee. She I couldn't handle the excitement any longer so we decided that it was time to start Christmas Morning. I got a video of Ellie seeing her bike and running to it...holy moly is it adorable, I shared a short clip on IG (follow along here) and the full video is on FB.  The reaction we got out of her was priceless and the sheer joy she had about her bike "I lub my bike too much!!" was perfect.

After the excitement of the the bike wore off a bit she wanted to play with her monorail and then we opened stockings.  Our Santa is always helping us out with our dental hygiene and brings toothpaste and toothbrushes every year!  This year he did great by picking out a Doc McStuffins toothbrush!  Unfortunately most of Thomas stocking stuffers fell out of the sleigh on the way to our house and Santa promised he would send them in the mail....Ellie also got a super cute necklace, a watch (she is obsessed) and some Shopkins.

Her birthmom sent a gift and so we opened that first...she was so excited and we were sure to take lots of pictures. 

She got the Little People Princess Garden Party and just loves them.  She is really into her toys kissing lately...so Cinderella and her Prince got to lock lips many times ;)

After our Coffee was ready (we enjoyed it in our Disneyland Parks mugs from Starbucks) we took a family photo in our matching jams, I think I love this idea of matching jams for Christmas and think we will have to do it again next year!!

Once all the presents were opened I got started on Breakfast: Eggs Benedict.  Since I am not a ham person we had our with bacon and one of our two remaining chickens came out of retirement the week before Christmas and blessed us with fresh eggs!!!  The timing couldn't have been any better since I read the fresher the egg the easier to poach.  I used this recipe for the Hollandaise sauce and it was so easy and so good...I can totally see myself making these more often!

Then we volunteered to make some of the treats for Christmas Dinner and you can never be too careful when baking, so Ellie had to sport her new helmet ;)  We made peanut butter blossoms (some with chocolate and some with jam...I prefer the jam) and rice crispy treats.  Ellie was a fantastic little helper and I am determined to let her help me more in the kitchen.

During Ellie's nap I went out to spend time with my other favorite girl, Ragtime.  Spending Christmas Day with my horses has been a tradition a better part of my life and I plan to continue on.  In all honesty I haven't spent much time with this girl in a while so we just took it slow and worked on building trust together.  If felt so good to just get out there and put my horsemanship skills to work and I really do miss being out there every day (except the rain....

Once Ellie woke up from her nap we got her ready and made our way to Nanny and Papa's for Christmas Dinner.  Unfortunately part of the family was unable to attend because they got plagued Christmas Morning with the FLU!! talk about a a bummer of a holiday!  We had a great time with our family and enjoyed a delicious meal of Prime Rib and all the goodies - Ellie loved the meat and the beans, but the rice crispy treats were her favorite ;) I guess she has a sweet tooth afterall!

We have been encouraging her love of Bitty Baby and Nanny got her the best present...a carrier for Bitty!! now Ellie will get to be like Mama, since babywearing is something I love to do!

She also got a new pair of slippers and thoroughly enjoys jumping off the ledge into the living room...

She also was able to add to her Little People collection with Mickey and Minnie Mouse houses!! So totally cute, they remind me of Toon Town!

We really had a great day for Christmas and just are so blessed with this life we have.  I hope y'all had the best Christmas to date and that you were surrounded by those you love!!

♥ Ashley

Monday, December 28, 2015

Our Christmas Eve 2015 on the Farm

I took a break from this blog to just enjoy the holidays with my fam!! I have so much to update y'all on but lets start with our Christmas Eve this year!

This year was a little bit different from years past.  Traditionally Thomas' family does a big huge holiday bash for Christmas Eve with a Prime Rib dinner (and all the other delicious fixings) and then we open all the presents from the family.  This year since extended family was in town from the East Coast for one of our inlaws, we pushed our Eve Extravaganza to Christmas Day and spend Christmas Eve on our own, respectively.  It was a nice change but sort of threw us for a loop with how we "Do our Eve" if you will.

Our morning was quite relaxing and we were blessed with some great weather (cold but beautiful).  Ellie just loves to go out on the farm and is currently obsessed with our mini horse, Paladin, and going for a ride on him.  So when she asked to "Ride Pal please" I just had to oblige we got ourselves ready.

These little glitter antlers I picked up in the Dollar Section at Target are 100% adorable.  Ellie always has to laugh at the goats when they jump up on the gate to say hello, she thinks they are so "punny"!

Then we got Pal all ready in his little saddle...he looks similar to a buffalo in the winter because he grows an enormous coat despite all my efforts to keep him slim throughout the past 20 years, so we just go with it now and I think it adds a little bit more "whimsy" this time of year...haha!

Ellie really just has a blast out on the farm and I am so grateful that not only does she love animals but that we have the opportunity for her to go out on the farm anytime.  We also started her Trotting this week and now all she wants is for Pal to "Go Fast!!!!!!" 

After her ride on Pal, it was time for her nap and Thomas and I got things together for the rest of the day.  Our plan was to go to church for the Candle Light Service with my dad and then back to our farm for dinner, but my dad had to cancel because he came down with Pneumonia...he is doing better now but it just wasn't a good idea for him to drive down.  Thomas' parents were originally going to spend their Eve with other family but since there was a sickness going around they were happy to accept our last minute invitation and joined us for Christmas Eve!

We met up with them at Church and as usual Ellie was all about her Nanny!! I totally love that she is so in love with her and that they have such a strong bond, I can barely get a hug or kiss when Nanny is around, ha!  So for a majority of the service Ellie clung to Nanny, then she started to get a little restless so I took her down to the nursery to play for a bit.  [Sidebar: One thing I was concerned about when we brought Ellie home was her attachment to us since we didn't get to bond with her the nine months she was in utero.] But since we don't ever take her to the nursery because she doesn't like to not be with us she only lasted about 15 minutes.  We know she loves the candles and fire so I went to go get her for that part of the service and I showed up just in time because they were just getting ready to page me ;) 

I think this photo says it all about her excitement with the candles.  She got to hold it all by herself and was constantly blowing it out and relighting it with mine.  I only had to blow it out a couple of times because she was getting it a little too close to her hair for my comfort but she lit it right up again and was pretty much all smiles.  

I posted about it on my IG (follow along here) feed but when we were in the depths of our infertility battle I wasn't sure if we were ever going to experience this type of joy during the Christmas Season, but God had a plan for us and blessed us with THE BEST BABE EVER!!! She is a true joy in our lives.

Our family photo by the big tree in the lobby

and with Nanny and Papa

Thomas and I headed back to the farm to start dinner while Nanny and Papa took Ellie to their place to pick up a few things and then drive over.

Here is what we ate:

I used a recipe from here for the Roast Beef and it's the second time I have made it - it is so good!
The Hasselback potatoes were from here, they tasted alright but I felt they were a little dried out...could have been my execution though.
The Broccoli Casserole is just like what you make for Green Bean Casserole but with a package of frozen broccoli florets instead of the beans.  It's a great alternative and good flavor.
We just had some steamed peas with a little butter and salt for Ellie ... and she ate about all of them! She is a Pea girl.
Just some sauteed mushrooms with butter, olive oil and s/p does the trick.
And then my favorite part of the meal was the Yorkshire Pudding, I added in some Rosemary as well and I think I am going to have to make it again very soon!

It was a lot of food prep but thankfully it all came together well and was a delicious meal.

Here is how I set our table

I wanted it to be fancy but not too fancy so I used my green mason jars as drinking glasses along with our wedding china and silver.  I think the napkins were my favorite part, I picked them up at HomeGoods a few weeks ago and thought they looked just like Santa and the placemats I picked up here but can't seem to find them online.

Once we finished dinner we changed Ellie into her adorable Disney Christmas Jams (we have the coordinating family set and they're on sale right now!) and opened one present.  I did such a great job wrapping that even I had a hard time getting the ribbon off!! oops

The paper was a little challenging to rip open but she got the hang of it.

Ellie got the Disneyland Monorail!! She had so much fun helping to put it together and figured out how to use the remote very quickly...good thing we've been working hard on our color recognition ;)

She loved it so much, it was hard to keep her hands off.  We kept her up pretty late since we were having so much fun with the Monorail and that Nanny and Papa were there that we totally missed our opportunity to read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas...no biggie, we'll try again next year!

What are some of your Christmas Eve Traditions?

♥ Ashley

linking up here

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Christmas Home Tour

Because I know you like to snoop into people's homes just as much as I do...you have my permission to look around without judgement!!!

Lets start with the street view.  Its been a work in progress but this is by far my favorite year for lights on our house (might have something to do with the new paint color...) 

We stocked up on the red lights at Target for the day after Christmas Sale and I am so glad we did.  I just need to figure out where we can add in some green because y'all know that color gives me life.

When you first walk into our house you can see straight through the slider to our backyard and farm.  

You can drop your keys, bag and coat off here.  I am so glad that I got rid of the tiny little entry table we used have and replaced it with this old dresser.

Then we have Ellie's kitchen and table.  They don't usually look like this - I had to stage them for the photos of course!! Girlfriend is still in the stage of shoving everything off of a surface so this is usually empty ;)

Then just to the right is a newly blank wall (it used to have a giant pine hutch here but I sold that and replaced it with this old table from Ellie's nursery) I love how much more open the room feels with that furniture piece gone!

And a little bit more to the right is the dining area.  If you have seen my old home tours you will notice that I replaced the curtains in here.  I sold the old brown ones and switched them with Ellie's old nursery ones.  I think it makes it so much lighter in here and they really are the perfect colors for my home!

My dining table isn't usually so full of food, but I was hosting my Annual Ladies Tea over the weekend so I thought I would take some photos then.  Our table usually has a bunch of "stuff" on it and we don't use it nearly as often as I wish we would - maybe a New Years Resolution??

And then taking a step further to the right you can see our tree and more of our dining area from the living room.

I love that we switched up the layout in here and were able to add in more seating by bringing in the couch that used to be at my Mom's house and these chairs just look so cozy with my blanket scarves on them.

Another view of the chairs and dining area.  I love displaying all my Christmas themed books, here is the Polar Express (which was actually a gift my mom gave to Thomas) and then Christmas with Anne (from the Anne of Green Gables series)

Here is the Fireplace.  I switched it up this year and put one of my garlands on the mantle and kept it pretty simple with our stockings, a nutcracker, and my favorite little Nativity that used to be my moms.

Over by the window over our old couch I have a fun non red Santa and another garland over the window.  I also display these really fun "snow screens" that are just cotton balls strung on fishing line...they are so pretty but a pain in the A** to unravel each year.  I was thinking that maybe next year I would get a wreath to hang in the center of the window...what do you think? Oh and as I was taking pictures Ellie insisted on playing with her train set - so that made it into this picture.  I am still trying to figure out what to put on our coffee table and how to edit/display things with a toddler.  Usually there isn't much on it except toys when we have to leave the house...

Another shot of the snow screens and...Jingle Bell Rock!  Here you can see another Christmas themed book called "Why Does Santa Where Red?" and it goes into the history of the Christmas Season and traditions from all over the world!! 

I love this display tower, I got it for a steal at a Junk Show several years ago and it is one of my favorite finds.  

And then another view of our living and dining area and off to the kitchen we go!!

Here is my chalkboard this year, this is actually our pantry doors!  I love how it turned out but I can tell that I am going to need to paint another coat of chalk paint pretty soon... back before Ellie was walking I was able to use the whole board, but now the lower half is reserved for Ellie so I have a smaller area to work with.  I also have some of the Christmas cards we've received displayed just to the left (ours are almost ready to be sent out!!).

And into the kitchen. Again I kept it pretty simple this year and just have a few touches in here.  Ellie helped to decorate the small trees and so I felt I just had to display the one she did all by herself (mostly) out here in the kitchen.  We also got a new fridge...big things happening on the farm lately (thank you Black Friday Deals and 18 month financing!!!) So now just our little microwave is the only appliance that looks out of place...but she works good so we'll keep her for a while!

And then here is our hallway with some Christmas festiveness on the doors: Our Advent Calendar, a faux wreath on the bathroom, a fun swag on Ellie's door, and my very first wreath I purchased for my dorm room in college on our bedroom door!

Here is a peek into the bathroom, just a little holiday with a tree... and you can tell we are full fledged potty training here on the farm!

And then Ellie's room!! I love how its turning out.  My favorite parts are her tree and her holiday sheets!!

Well that's it for the tour!! I hope you enjoyed taking a look around!!

♥ Ashley

linking up here