Tuesday, March 31, 2015

{Toddler Tuesday} 18 -21 month favorites

18 -21 month favorites

Just one more favorites post after this and my babe will officially be 2 years old!!

This was such a fun age to experience with Ellie! As a nanny and bringing Ellie to work with me there were a few things that have really helped her to transition to new situations and environments.  I think we are pretty lucky for her to have such an adaptable personality anyways but anything I could do to help create a routine or norm really has helped.

Since Ellie is still in a crib at home I have found that Pack'n Plays are really beneficial to her naptime routine, we don't actually have one of our own but use the ones at the nanny houses.  Ellie doesn't seem to be too worried with which one she uses but I cant totally see the benefit of this one, just for its ease of opening and weight.  I would definitely invest in the 4moms next time around.  I love to use the pack'n play because it is small and portable and it can contain her while she is getting ready to sleep.

Chewbeads were a new favorite again. Ellie loves to wear this necklace and chew on it whenever the need hits. It's great for her teeth and so easy to clean, just throw it in the top rack of the dishwasher and you are good to go!

Swaddle Blankets have pretty much been a favorite for Ellie's whole life.  We didn't have it in our budget to get the famed ones that everyone likes, but I found these which are a great substitute at both Target and discount stores like TJMaxx and Marshalls.  They are a great light weight blanket and super easy to take to our nanny houses since they don't take up too much room. Ellie loves to carry them around our house and play ghost in them too!

I could go on and on for days about the benefit of soft soled moccasins for days and days.  Of course these ones are absolutely fantastic and have such great workmanship.  They really help her learn to balance and don't trip her up. They mimic bare feet which are the best way for kiddos to learn how to walk. 

Stuffed animals have become a favorite around here and we have two Jellycats.  We love them because they are super soft and just so darn cute. I'm a huge fan of the bunny (I have a bunny myself) but the goat speaks to my goat farming heart!!

Crayons and Board Books I think are self explanatory.  The Sandra Boyton ones are so cute and we find them in packages of three at Costco. Ellie loves to flip through them and she can't rip the pages out. Crayons or "Cores!!" are a fave of Ellie's, though we have to supervise her with them since she tries to color on the table and eat them..,

Pacifiers are used very rarely in our house. Mostly for naps and nighttime sleep. Occasionally Ellie will find them in the diaper bag and think she is super sneaky by pulling it out. These ones are her favorite and the only ones she has used since birth!!

What were some of your favorite items for this age??

♥ Ashley

linking up here

click to see our other favorites for the past 21 months!!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Our Weekend & a Monday Meal Mashup!!

It's been pretty busy over here on the farm lately and as you can tell my posting has been lacking. Many apologies, I've just been being present in our life!!

Monday Meals Mashup

It's been a long time since I've done a Monday Meals Mashup post and I thought I would try to get into them again. I originally started them about abtear ago since I was newly starting out on a meal planning venture. Thankfully we have continued our meal planning for about 14 months and it has made life so much easier. 

Here's what's cooking on the farm this week:

I have a lot of cookbooks and always seem to go on my memory recipes rather than trying something new. Not this week!!

Monday: I'm making meatloaf from the Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook. We had everything here except for the sausage so it was an easy pick. Andplusalso I have been craving a meatloaf sandwich for months.

Tuesday: nothing too fancy just some quick and easy pasta. I did pick up some meatballs in the frozen aisle at the grocery store and I think they'll make for a nice change. 

Wednesday: I get a random day off so I am going for it with a full on meal from the Spring menu selection of my Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home cookbook. We're going with menu #3 on page 27. Roast Salmon and Potatoes with a mustard-herb butter and Haricots Verts (green beans) with Tapenade. 

Thursday: since I have the day off on Wednesday I'm going to make some pizza dough. We'll have homemade pizza for dinner. That way we can put on our favorite toppings.  I have a feeling Ellie is going to pack hers with sausage!!

Friday: this tends to be one of my longer days so we want to keep it simple. Just a skillet cooked steak (so easy) and some "Brown Rice" seriously the best side ever; 1 1/2 cups of white rice, 1 can of Beef Consume, 1 can of French Onion, 1/2 a stick of butter, and a pinch of salt. Put all ingredients into a buttered casserole dish and bake in a preheated oven at 425 for 45 minutes. *make sure it's covered!

Saturday: Thomas' family usually does easter on Saturday and we always have chicken and noodles with potatoes. 

Sunday: I think it's just going to be the three of us this year so we are going to enjoy a nice meal at home. I'm turning it my Martha Stewart cookbook again and we're going with menu #1 on page 15. Baby Lamb Chops with Lemon Strips, Asparagus with aioli, and Quinoa and Pea Salad. 

So that's our menu for the week!! Yay!

Now let's talk about our weekend!!

With the great weather we've been having all the tulips are blooming early so the Tulip Festival opened early. We got up bright and early and drove the 2 hours to the fields. It was a little windy and a bit cooler than I had planned for, but we made do. It was so fun to have Ellie with us again this year and to continue the tradition!! Surprisingly Ellie wasn't very interested in walking around she mostly wanted to be held (PTL I brought the ergo!) we had been doing a lot of talking and decided that we were going to order some more bulbs while we were there. While I have learned that daffodil and hyacinth bulbs are better investments (they naturalize without being dug up) I fell in love with some tulips so we got them and are only going to plant them in planters this year. I have also been doing a lot of reading and learning and decided to get a Mason Bee house. I want to encourage as many to come to our farm as possible. 

After the tulips we headed to my favorite antiquing town, Snohomish, and went on the search for mirrors for our bathroom. No such luck but there was a lot of eye candy!! I really wanted to bring this deer home but she was way out of my price range at $74. Isn't she so cute though?

To make a long day even longer we hit up Flower World since it's only about 15 minutes from downtown Snohomish. Ellie was pretty done by the time we got there so we just made a quick whip around the nursery and went to go look at all the animals. Probably the shortest visit ever. Then we went to the Inlaws for dinner and finally back home about 12 hours later!!

Sunday we spent the morning at home doing some yard work. One of our huckleberry plants had been failing so we thought a transplant to another location might give it new life. Hopefully it does. Then I found a bunch of seeds that I scattered. Also the planter on or doorstep is totally overgrown so I thought it was time to spruce it up. I pried it out and the whole thing came out with a giant rootball. I did some dividing, transplanting, and put in the beautiful plants my MIL got me for my birthday!! I love how fresh it looks now!! 

My dad is having knee surgery on Tuesday so we are watching his dog for him for about a month (or longer) so we met him for lunch in Seattle for Dim Sum and picked up his dog. I love spending time with my dad and love to watch the relationship between him and Ellie blossom. Ellie also loves his dog and she is so good with her!!

On the way home we stopped at a nursery and picked up a few plants and another Blueberry bush to put where the huckleberry plant was. Then we just did a few things around the house (and yard) and got dinner ready: easy chicken noodle soup and then watched the season finale of The Walking Dead!! No spoilers here but I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL OCTOBER???!!

How was your weekend?

♥ Ashley 

Linking up here 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

{Travel Diaries} Disneyland 2015 - Day 4

On Day 4 we knew we were going to hit up Disneyland again because we had so much fun on our First Day and pretty much did all we could at California Adventure on day 3.  We got up a little earlier and were ready to go.  We had a big day ahead of us since we knew what we wanted to get accomplished!

When we first walked into the park we checked out the Princess meet and greet again but the line was hecka long and it was the same princesses as before.  So we headed back to Fantasyland and got on the tea cups.  This time we did it right and took two cups - much more comfortable.  Ellie had a blast in the cup with Nanny and Papa (the chewbeads helped as well) and we all enjoyed having some actual leg room.  Thomas and I took a fast cup while Ellies moved a bit slower.

After the tea cups we went straight to the Alice in Wonderland ride since it was less than 8 minute wait.  (I guess it turns out that this one gets pretty crazy...) It was probably one of Ellie's favorites and I think it was because it goes both inside and outside.  After that ride we went to ToonTown and rode on the Roger Rabit ride which there was no wait just a five minute walk through the line!! It was an okay ride but I don't think I need to go on it again.  We walked around ToonTown and Ellie got to run around, found out that both Minnie and Mickey were hanging out in their houses for Photo-Ops so we went into Minnie's house first.  We got to walk all through her house (of course Ellie loved the chairs in the kitchen) and we finally found Minnie out in her courtyard in the back. The video is on IG (@lifeonthefarm) and it is so funny.  We told Ellie to give Minnie a hug and she ran right passed her, Minnie waved bye bye, and then after we all called to her to turn around and come back she spotted Minnie and circled around for round two.  We were all dying laughing.

Then we were off to Mickey's house.  He met us right at the front door and Ellie found the love of her life.

I think they were made for each other!

After we took our pictures with Mickey we got to walk through his house and found a car outside.  Ellie jumped right in and started moving the steering wheel around!

Then we headed over to the fountain where you can stomp on the metal plates (I have no idea what you call them) and they make music.  We had to pull Ellie away because she had so much fun stomping on all of them!! she just kept running around the fountain and stomping on the plates!!  Thomas and I rode the mini roller coaster that was there and I totally forgot that it splashes you with water at one point!!

My favorite part of ToonTown was the little play ground they have for kids.  Its a perfectly safe place for them to run around and climb and blow some steam off!!  They even had a slide!! In actuality it wasn't very steep and Ellie barely moved down it...oh well she still enjoyed it enough to go for about 8 rounds!!  Afterwards we ran into Goofy and he fell in love with Ellie...Oh it was so sweet!

After much coaxing and finally just grabbing her and putting her in the stroller we got out of ToonTown. (I would say that was Ellie's favorite part this trip because it was quiet enough that she could run around like a crazy mad woman and we weren't worried of losing sight of her!)

We walked back through Fantasyland and went on Dumbo again.  While we were waiting in line we got to watch the Evil Queen from Snow White meet and greet with some kiddos and she is HILARIOUS!!! we couldn't wait to get done with the ride so I could get a picture with her.  Unfortunately she was gone by the time we were done...but Ellie and I had a selfie-thon during the ride.
all that drool from the chewbeads!!
silly faces

Then we headed to Adventureland and got our fast passes for Indiana Jones and took a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean again. We did some more looking around and went to the Haunted House again before it was time for Indiana.  We tag teamed Indiana and Nanny and Papa went first while we stayed with Ellie, then it was our turn. The last time I went on India Jones (back in the 90's when it first opened) I was running out the exit and fell down the stairs and sprained my ankle which resulted in us getting me a wheelchair.  Thankfully this time I made it out alright and injury free!!  The ride wasn't how I remembered it and I don't think I need to go on it again.  

We talked about how we wanted to take the train around the park so we headed to the main square and while I was getting Ellie's stroller put in the "parking lot" I saw Ariel walking by, with one little girl following her, so I scooped up Ellie and we went walking to see where Ariel was headed.  She just went around the corner and I couldn't believe our luck with waiting for just one girl before it was our turn.  I felt a little guilty that I didn't tell Thomas or his parents but when opportunity knocks you have to JUMP on it!!  It was just the sweetest and I am so glad that Ellie got to get a picture with my favorite princess!!  After our photos we headed up to the train and were lucky enough to beg the conductor to let us on right before they were leaving!  I think this was the first time I have been on the train and it was so fun!!  Definitely a must do.
We decided to get off in Tomorrowland so we could get fast passes for Space Mountain and then we were going to head back for a nap.  Nanny and Papa took Ellie ahead of us since there was a t-shirt we were hoping to get for her at the gift shop in Tomorrowland (yes most of the shops have the same stuff but there are certain items that can only be found in specific lands!) Unfortunately they were sold out of the smallest size so we had to get a child xs, at least she will be able to wear it for a while.  Then Thomas and I headed back towards the entrance and found his parents with Ellie on the curb waiting for the parade.  *I am not a parade person, I have been a participant in over 8 of them and they just aren't that interesting to me* I am so glad we stayed for it because Ellie had a total blast!! We got to see all of the princesses including Anna and Elsa (they opened the parade) and the music was right up Ellie's alley.  She danced and waved and ran around having so much fun!!  I got to sit in her stroller to watch the whole thing and she has a pretty comfortable stroller!!  So I think I might have changed my tune and will probably be attending a few more parades - for Ellie's sake of course!

Ellie also got to snack on some popcorn...now I need to get some at home for her!

After the parade we headed back to the hotel for some relaxation time.  Then we all went back for our Space Mountain fast pass and some more rides for Ellie. Then Thomas and I got a date in where we went on the Autopia...I was so irritated while we were in line. The guy sent about 8 of us to one parking spot and then the people pulling into the spot would't get out of the cars!! It was ridiculous.  Finally when it was our turn I was able to calm down.  Thomas took the gas pedal and I got to steer.  I did pretty good at the beginning but then after I hit the center rail about 5 times I lost count and stopped caring so much!  After our Autopia ride we ran to get some churros, the girl was just closing her truck and only had one whole one and a broken one so she gave us the broken one for free!! 2 for 1 churros?? YES PLEASE!!!

Then we had to run to the shops and get our final souvenirs, two mugs and an ornament. It was so hard to choose but I finally went with the Tinkerbell themed shoe, Little Mermaid I am looking at you next time!!!  Then we had to run down Main Street so we could get to the shuttle on time.  We got back to the hotel and had to do some bed shifting so we could all have a place to sleep.  We woke up early in the morning to get on the airport shuttle and then on the planes for our adventure home.  Ellie slept practically the whole way...Praise the Lord for my Ergo carrier.  It was by far the best thing we brought (aside from the stroller and the carseat that we didn't ever need to use....)

We had so much fun but still ran out of time to go on Tom Sawyer's Island or the Mark Twain Riverboat and also CritterCountry was closed so we didn't get to go on Splash Mountain and they were working on Peter Pan...so at least we have some things to look forward to for next time...maybe next year??

Have you been to Disneyland? What is your favorite part?
♥ Ashley

Linking up here

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

{monthdate} 22 Months

How can my baby be 22 months already??? This is by far my most favorite age yet, Ellie is walking, talking, running, climbing, laughing and tantruming.  I love it all!!

No real stats for the little lady.  She is mostly wearing 18-24 month clothes as well as some 2T thrown in there.  Girlfriend is a little short cake and most of her pants need to be rolled up (same with the sleeves on her tops).

Her vocabulary is growing by the day and it is so much fun.  She still says a lot of words that are only known to her but she does give long winded explanations for some things.  Some new words are: cuz (when asked why), AhhhBow (for Annabelle our goat), Pooper (for Cooper our Minpin) and Kari (for Sakari our husky) cocks (socks), cockacocka (clock), flwer (flower), cow and MeeeMee (for Mickey and Minnie Mouse). She can point to and say eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and toes.  She says boots and shoes and knows the difference and prefers to get mine!!  I love that she is able to communicate and point to what she wants, it is really helping to avoid some meltdowns.

I would say that Ellie is a fairly adventurous eater, she just doesn't always eat a lot.  Surefire wins are always broccoli, peas, chips, cooked carrots, and corn.  She also likes beans and is now a fan of sausage (or other ground meats).  Usually we can get her to eat bread and some pastas (Macaroni and Cheese on Wednesdays and Fridays).  Her favorite snacks are goldfish, cheerios, rice chex, and "cookies" aka crackers, although she loves herself some peanut butter cookies.  Still cannot get her to eat chocolate (and I am totes okay with that one!!) but likes ice cream.  Anytime we go through a drive through and I get a paper bag I can hear her yelling "Flies flies!!!" for some fries!  We mostly have Ellie eat whatever it is we are eating, its just usually deconstructed into the individual parts.  The best thing we have found for her is a frozen gogurt, I'm sure it feels great on her gums and its not as messy as regular yogurt.

We went to my brother inlaw's beach house this month and Ellie loved putting her hands in the rocky sand.  She was also a great helper when we played cornhole (grabbing the bean bags and putting them into the holes!!)  It was so fun for her to have a chance to spend time with and get to know my side of the family a little better.  Ellie loves to be outside and we try to take advantage of it every chance we get.  One of the nanny houses has a swing set in their back yard and she could spend all afternoon out there.  She is my little sidekick and I just love that she enjoys running around doing errands with me.  I am working on her manners so everywhere we go I make sure she says Hi and waves to the workers, if we get something then I have her say thank you, wave and say bye, tell them to have a good day, and blow a kiss.  Of course its adorable and I am so pleased that she is figuring out the routine and can do some of it on her own!!

Since we got back from Disneyland (here and here) she is a huge fan of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, so we have started to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, she loves buses and cars, and is really showing an interest in her stuffed animals.  She got a Daniel Tiger stuffy and he has become a fast favorite.  She has also found where I keep the pacifiers in the diaper bag and will be "sneaky" and pull them out.  She really only gets to use them for naps and sleeping so I think she thinks she is being really "cool" by getting it herself.  

Tantrums have begun.  They aren't too bad and I hope they stay that way.  Most of her "tantrums" happen when I tell her no or that she cannot do something.  Her outbursts vary between crying, pouting (hilarious), or face planting on the floor.  So far the longest one has lasted about 90 seconds to about 2 minutes.  Her favorite word to say is "NO", and when I tell her we need to change her diaper she tries to "hide" by faceplanting on the floor or couch, I guess she thinks if I she can't see me I can't see her!!  When she gets this way I usually tell her that its not necessary to behave that way and if we are out in public I tell her she needs to calm down because no one there wants to listen to her crying to which she replies in the most pitiful tone "otay mama!"

She totally makes up for all of her misbehaviors by all the love she shows us with random hugs and kisses.  Oh My Word it is so precious for her to just come up and give a kiss on the knee, or hand, or arm or wherever she can reach. 

My sweet Luella Faith I love you so incredibly much and I am so glad I get to spend everyday with you.  I wouldn't trade a moment of this life with you!!

♥ Ashley

click to see other Monthdates
linking up here

Thursday, March 19, 2015

TGIF Blog and Instagram Hop!!

Y'all I'm so excited to be co-hosting this week for the TGIF Hop! I love linking up and checking out new blogs. 

But first lets celebrate that its Friday!  

Last week was a miracle.  Ellie slept nearly every night (all night) in her crib.  Then we went to my sister's cabin for the weekend where we shared a bed with her....we have had a nightly visitor around 11:30 each night since we came home.  I will take the small steps.

We have finally receive some rain lately and my gardens are loving it (so is my water bill!).  Springtime always makes me so excited but I have to remember what our weather is normally like and I have to wait until about mid-May to plant most of our veggies.  While we were at the cabin on Whidbey Island we visited a few farms.  I have finally convinced Thomas of my "need" for a greenhouse and we have decided to make one ourselves.  Its not going to be fancy, just some PCV piping and a greenhouse type fabric.  But I am so excited....I might even be able to grow a Meyer Lemon tree in there!!

Speaking of lemons.  I have been craving lemon bars like crazy lately.  I haven't done anything about it, yet.  Anyone have a good recipe they would like to share??

This weekend is going to be fun.  We have family coming over on Saturday for dinner, working in the yard (and farm) and then hopefully we might be able to make more progress on our Master Bath.  Don't worry I haven't forgotten about it.  I am just trying to decide whether I want to find two vintage type mirrors or get medicine cabinets.  I don't really need another excuse to get more sh!t to store inside of a medicine cabinet but I do think it would be nice to not have our toothbrushes out on the counter top. What do you think?  And then we just need to screw in the hand towel racks and decide on a tile and I think we will be done!

And finally, if you haven't had a chance to check out our GoFundMe page to help us raise money to adopt brother for Ellie, make sure you go do that!  When we adopted Ellie almost 2 years ago we had already spent much of our savings on Infertility treatments, failed pregnancies and surgery for a ruptured Fallopian Tube thanks to an ectopic pregnancy.  Then we chose to move forward with adoption.  With the help of some donations from friends and family, along with taking out a loan and re-organizing our debt we were able to bring Ellie home.  Now we are starting the process again but don't have the same nest egg we did with Ellie.  Before we can really even start the process we need to raise about $2,500 that will help pay for our mandatory Home Study update as well as re-application fees for our agency.  So far with generous donations we have already raised about $250!!  Any little bit helps whether its a monetary donation or sharing our GoFundMe page via social media! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping us to grow our family!  Ultimately our goat is to raise $10,000 which is about half of all adoption fees.

Now it's your turn!

♥ Ashley

In case you missed it 
Tuesday I shared our 15-18 month favorites
Wednesday I shared 31 random facts about me

Happy TGIF! Fridays have always been one of my up most favorite days of the week. Which is why I started this growing, fun, friendly, inspiring hop! I am thankful to have each and every one of you that link-up and share with us each week. Thank you! 

Celebrate with us making it to Friday!

The TGIF Blog & Instagram Hop is a Friday friendly hop where we hope you can blossom, meet and greet new bloggers. We enjoy having you. 

Each Friday we will feature our most favorite post from the previous week. It could be you! We also have a weekly Cohost spotlight, that is great to gain your blog some extra notice (enter here). 

The rules of the TGIF Blog and Instagram Hop Are simple!
1. Link-up any post or posts (no specifics) and your Instagram.
2. Grab a button and display it on your blog, in a post or somewhere visible to help us get notice for the Hop. Also helps us better feature your blog.
3.Be social. Comment and follow at least one blog you enjoy. 
4. Tweet out the TGIF hop. 
Tweet: Link up at the #TGIFhop with @kaitlynmarie003 @desireephillips @silviearmas @ryderbunch @scggirl #instagramhop #bloghop http://ctt.ec/8oM2V+

Meet This Weeks co host
we live on a little farm and are new parents to the most adorable little girl! 
follow us on our journey of parenthood and farm life!

Want to be our next Cohost with a special spotlight?! Cohost Form HERE.

 This Weeks TGIF Feature
From the blog of: Simply Anchored 
Be sure to check her blog out: here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

31 for 31

As you may or may not know, I had a birthday yesterday (March 17th).  I had a great day spending it with sweet Ellie at one of my nanny houses.  Then we came home and I started making dinner.  I made Irish Soda Bread and Shepherds Pie.  It was raining so luckily Thomas' tennis match got cancelled so he got home early and my Dad came over to join us for dinner.  I was so surprised when Thomas came home because he brought me home a present, he said he read my blog post and got me this!!! Well actually he ordered it so I just have the online receipt for it but still!! I got myself a winner!!

I thought I would share 31 things about me in honor of my 31st birthday.  

1. I'm short and love it. (5' to be exact)
2. I have not broken a bone
3. I have only had one nose bleed
4. I do not have a sense of smell
5. In high school I had an unfortunate experience with a box of hair color and will never color my hair at home again - only the salon for me
6. I LOVE going to the dentist
7. I went to two high schools simultaneously
8. I cheered in High School, Community College and University as well as on a College Level All Star Team
9. I have been riding horses since I was 10
10. I have cut my hair short 4 times in my life and have regretted it every time, long hair from now on!
11. I used to pretend I was a mermaid when I was little by squeezing both legs into one leg of my green leggings and hopped around the house
12. My favorite color is Green, that may or may not have something to do with being a St. Patrick's Day babe
13. I got the worst hangover of my life after my 21st birthday, I was somehow talked into a "Mind Eraser" and a chocolate martini...never again.  I also had a Math Final the day after my 21st and as I was driving to and from school I had to pull over multiple times.  (I was that girl on the side of the road!)
14. I could care less about Professional Sports, please don't talk to me about the Mariners, Seahawks, or any other Major team.  Although I do support the Sounders because Thomas loves them
15. Gardening is one of my passions.  I love growing flowers and making my yard beautiful as well as growing vegetables to eat
16. I played the violin for 10 years
17. I gave up drinking soda for 5 years, and then started dating Thomas and now will drink it on occasion
18. I used to not eat bacon, then I got my head put on straight and eat it all the time
19. My favorite item to order at Jack in the Box are the 2 tacos for $1
20. I was very daring in High School with fashion, I once had a pair of brown cow print pants that were actually furry, lets just forget I ever shared that
21. I attended the same Christian school from pre-K through 12th grade
22. I chose to live in an all girls dormitory for 3 years while in college
23. I have two tattoos and have plans for at least 5 more, you can read about my most recent ink here
24. My first job was working at JCPenney in the Fine Jewelry department.  I was the only Caucasian who worked in my department, all my co-workers were Iranian, Bosnian, or Russian, in the two years I worked there I learned to speak some Farsi but have since forgotten it
25. I took Japanese and Spanish in High School.  I really only remember Spanish, but even that is embarrassing
26. I bought a second horse in college because my mom wouldn't let me bring my first one with me
27. The last two time my family took a trip to an amusement park, I had to get a wheelchair.  The first time was because I was running down the corridor after getting off the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland and fell down the stairs which sprained my ankle, my mom tried to get me a stroller (I was 13 years old) but luckily my brother convinced her to get a wheelchair!  The second time was because we had a beach day the day before and I got sun stroke.  Needless to say my brother and sister were very happy to take advantage of the wheelchair line
28. I can't stand watermelon.  In third grade we had a "watermelon day" where everything was watermelon, from the juice, to the popcorn and then the fruit itself. We had a competition between the other classes for who had the most watermelon seeds and our teacher got a seedless watermelon!!
29. I haven't had a hair cut in over two years, so the other day after a shower I grabbed some scissors and attempted a trim...so far so good, but I don't recommend it
30. I have been in my hometown's newspaper two times.  The first was when my mom picked me up from the bus stop with a Pig in the backseat and the second was when we walked our miniature horse to the local coffee shop downtown
31. I had braces for four years and made my orthodontist take them off prematurely because I didn't want to have them in my homecoming picture

♥ Ashley

linking up here

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

{Toddler Tuesday) 15-18 month favorites

15-18 month favorites

I just love sharing these types of posts and really only have 2 more scheduled.  I know that when we were preparing for Ellie it was so helpful to see what sorts of things would be useful at each of the age stages.

So much has changed for Ellie during 15-18 months. We started a sleeping schedule, I made a career change to stay home with her and to become a nanny, and her physical maturity took flight!

One: For her birthday, Luella was gifted a handmade teepee by one of Thomas' co-workers!  I got all the fabric (JoAnn's and Lowes) and she used this pattern.  It is the perfect little hideout for my sweetie and she so enjoys taking toys and books in there, but mostly uses it as a garage for her car!!

Two: I am finally feeling comfortable in embracing "messes" during meal time and have found some utensils that are great for little hands.  I love these ones because they are small enough for Ellie to grip comfortably but the tines are sharp enough to spear food.  There are so many different types of kiddo utensils you just have to try out a bunch to find what you like best.

Three: I introduced Ellie to coloring during this time and she fell in love! She started to call them "Cores" and asks for them on a daily basis.  At first we were just using the small crayons you use in school, but they were challenging for her to get enough pressure to really get some color on the pages.  I found these and am so much happier with them - and they truly are washable which is a lifesaver!

Four: Like I mentioned that Ellie's ability to move around really took off. She loves to go outside and run around but is still working on her stability.  I know that it is best for toddlers physical development to go barefoot as much as possible because it really improves their ability to balance so finding a shoe to protect her feet while outside was a must.  Not only are Freshly Picked Moccasins adorable and come in so many colors (I want these, these and these) but they really give a "barefoot" feeling.  I was nervous that the leather sole might wear out once on the pavement but these puppies really hold up well and you get to see an imprint of your babes foot I mean SWOON!!! I highly recommend them and they are totally worth the price tag. They really are the only shoes I put on Ellie and would graciously receive any of their color options in a size 4 or 5!!

Five: I am sure that this is not the first time someone in the blogging world has talked about JellyCat stuffies.  They are seriously the softest stuffed animal I have ever come across and they are so adorable.  As "goat farmers" (we have 4) we adore this Goat JellyCat that Ellie also got for her birthday, and not surprisingly goats are very hard to find so when we see one we usually scoop it right up (unless of course it is fug!).  Ellie adores this goat and we bring it to our nanny houses everyday for nap time and she sleeps with it most nights as well.

Six: When we transitioned Ellie from the bottle to a sippy cup I did a lot of research to find the right one.  We love these Nuby sippy's because they are no spill.  I find them all over the place and my favorite place to look for them is at discount stores like Marshalls or TJMaxx.  I do have to warn you though that as great as they are, if your child chews on the spout at all they will damage the backflow mechanism and they will begin to leak.  You can buy spout replacements if you like but I have found that its just easier (and cheaper) to buy new sippy's.

Seven: We have been working hard to wean Ellie from co-sleeping.  She does great for her naps but ends up in our bed half the time during the night.  This baby monitor has really helped me to be comfortable with Ellie sleeping in her own bed because not only can I see her, but I can pan the room while she is playing in there, it has night vision, I can talk to her and when we adopt another babe we can hook up a second camera to see both babes!!

Eight: The Anywhere Chair.  I have seen so many bloggers (and non-bloggers) get anywhere chairs for their littles.  These are so much fun to have in their rooms or in the family room to watch tv or movies.  I love them because they are pint sized for our littles but our kiddos get to feel "grown up" by sitting in something that looks like Mama or Dada's!  We chose to not go the PBK route mostly because I couldn't choke down the price tag, so I found one on clearance at HomeGoods for about $30!!  I highly recommend shopping around to find the best deal you can.  Ellie loves to sit in her chair and bring her baby and act all like a grown up.

So there you have it friends, my round up of our favorites for Ellie 15-18 months!

♥ Ashley

linking up here

Friday, March 13, 2015


I'm Oh Friday how I have been looking forward to you!! We've had quite the week and I have been looking forward to this weekend for a while! Ellie has been in top form lately and is such a little lovey girl. Yesterday I took the kids I nanny on a walk (down the driveway and around the corner to a vacant lot) and while the five of us were walking I thought to myself  'I can do four kiddos, no problem'. The oldest was pushing the youngest in a stroller, one was also holding onto the stroller and Ellie was holding my hand, the next thing I knew Ellis brought my hand up to her mouth and gave it the sweetest kiss my heart melted. 

: O N E :

Back in January (or maybe around Christmas) Thomas and I were talking about being more intentional with spending time with our families. We are lucky enough to have all of our family living close by (within an hours drive). So far we have had two family dinners with Thomas' family, one in January and one in February. This weekend we are spending with my family for a little "staycation" at my sister's Inlaws cabin! I was so pleased when she offered to plan this get together. We don't see each other often since my mom passed away. Now that Ellie is in our family I really want to build relationships within out family. I am so glad that God has put His hand on us to allow for this to happen!!

:: T W O ::

Next week is my birthday. I am a St. Patrick's Day babe and I wouldn't have it any other way!! I share my wishlist this week, man was that hard to come up with something just for myself! I don't know what it is but I have the hardest time coming up with stuff for myself. I guess kitchen items technically are for me but it just doesn't quite feel the same. Last year was a really low key birthday (even though it was my 30th) ibwasnt really in a mood to celebrate last year so we just went to dinner with my dad and Ellie. I just really wanted it to be us for my birthday and was really missing my mom. Then three days later my best friend (Jazz my horse of 17 years) collapsed and had to be put down. I'm hoping this year can be more of a celebration and I can enjoy the day. 

::: T H R E E :::

I have a PSA for all y'all. A few weeks ago we went to Disneyland and I ate several churros. Oh my goodness those are delicious. I was craving one last week and thought I would get one at Costco, you know to "compare" to DL since I had just been there. You guys! Even though Costco churros are only $1 save your money. I would much rather pay the $4 or $5 at DL for a quality one. While we were at Disneyland we got to check out California Adventure, it was my first time and I liked how it was a totally different feel. 

:::: F O U R ::::

Last Friday I got an email that told me my package had been delivered. It was from Minted. My cake stand and Ellies bunny art that I chose from winning a giveaway had arrived. I was so excited to get home and open them. You guys I love the cake stand even more in person and I am so inspired to start her toddler room makeover. But first I need to finish our bathroom....

::::: F I V E :::::

It's almost spring and I couldn't be more excited. I haven't been shopping online for Ellie in a while but I know that this is probably the time where I can count on a lot of floral prints showing up. I'm kinda obsessed with floral right now... One thing I love about spring is daylight savings. Ellie did pretty well with the time difference (and actually is waking up at 6:30 instead of 5:30am so there's that). I also love all the flowers and life growing in gardens and yards. I just live the breath of fresh air after months of winter. Gardening is my happy place and I have made it a point to really educate myself this year about becoming a better gardener. 

:::::: S I X ::::::

And finally I wanted to share this post about the side affects of a Tubal Ligation. I have been advised from my doctor on several occasions that I should get one since I have a history of ectopic pregnancies. I was seriously considering this surgery and then I learned about what could happen. I am so grateful that I have not gone through with this and that I listened to my desire to have bio-children. 

♥ Ashley

Linking up here 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

{Travel Diaries} Disneyland 2015 - Day 3

On day 3 in Disneyland we chose to go to California Adventure.  I had never been before and was really looking forward to it.  They were building it the last time I was there and it was set to open about 3 months later.

Our morning started out like this:

Ellie had so much fun that she was exhausted and slept in past 8am!! Not only that but we weren't even being that quiet and she just slept through the noise...maybe we should try this at home more often.  

Finally she woke up and we all got ready to go.  We decided to eat breakfast in Downtown Disney at the Jazz Kitchen Express, I had been eyeing those beignets since I saw them on the menu on day 1!!  They did not disappoint and reminded me of the ones I enjoyed at Cafe Dumond down in NOLA many years ago!  Ellie could tell that we were heading back to the magical land and was super excited in her stroller, yet again!

One thing I noticed was that the large CALIFORNIA letters were no where to be found, I guess the got rid of them? 

After we walked into California Adventure we went on the Monsters Inc ride, which was fun because we had just watched Monsters University with Ellie a couple of weeks ago.  She had a blast on this ride and it was like it took you through the movie.

After our first ride we walked around a little bit we remembered to get our fast passes for the Radiator Springs Racers.  We got our fast passes less than an hour after the park opened and they were already set for 7:00pm!! five minutes later and we probably wouldn't have had an opportunity to go on the ride!

Then we went over by the Tower of Terror and the boys wanted to go on it, so Nanny and I took Ellie to Its A Bugs Life area and went on one ride before the boys showed up (and Ellie had an accident in her diaper) we got Ellie all cleaned up and headed to the boardwalk area.  I spotted the The Little Mermaid Under the Sea ride and bolted for it.  There wasn't even a line! so we hopped right into a shell and Ellie was completely mesmerised.  After that ride we headed over the water and the boys went on California Screamin' so I took Ellie on the carousel.  It was so fun because most of the animals were from the sea.  I chose an orange fish for Ellie since its her favorite color!
As Nanny and I were walking along the boardwalk we spotted one of those mirror that make you look wonky...well girlfriend had a hard time figuring it out and because she is so short her image wasn't really distorted at all.
We found that in California Adventure there were more rides that had a height requirement that Ellie didn't meet than in Disneyland.  So we finally found another one for her, the Golden Zephyr and it was a lot of fun!  Ellie couldn't sit on my lap for this one, she had to be a big girl and boy and I thankful they make the smaller rider sit in first!! I envisioned her sliding out so many times while on the ride, I am so glad she was safe by my side the whole time!!

We finally met up with the boys again and headed back to It's A Bugs Life area to go on the caterpillar train ride.  Ellie loves to be goofy with Nanny's sunglasses, and this did not disappoint.
We got to be in the very front of the train. I have no idea how we got so lucky on this trip!!
but Ellie was pretty done with taking all the selfies!
The best we could manage.  It was a fun ride, but super short which I guess is good for little ones who are nervous or can't sit still for very long.

We were getting hungry so we headed to Cars Land for lunch at Flo's V8 Cafe.  The food was pretty good and we found a nice spot in the shade.  We got a chocolate milkshake to share and it totally hit the spot.  After lunch Nanny took Ellie back to the hotel for her nap and we stayed to go on a few more rides with Papa.

We rode on the swings, and after being on them I understand why Ellie is too short!
It was really fun but there were some teenagers/young 20's that were being total assholes and almost got the ride stopped because they kept grabbing for each other and trying to flip their swing around.

Then we went on California Screamin', now that right there folks is a roller coaster you do not want to miss.  I would have been very happy to go on it about 5 or 6 times....I just love looking at the pictures they take and had I known where the camera was, I might have had a better pose.

Then we went back to Tower of Terror.  It was a super fun ride and I can only imagine how great it is at nighttime.  Basically you sit in an "elevator" and it takes you up a few floors, opens the doors so you can see the "hotel" and then up some more.  Then it drops you several floors super fast, then goes back up and down, up and down, and again if I knew when/where the camera was I would have had a better pose.  When we went to check out our photos the group in another elevator had the best picture! I was cracking up and so jealous that we didn't think to pose like that...next time I suppose!

Here we are outside the Tower.

Then it was about the time that Ellie woke up from her nap so she and Nanny headed back over. We went on the Ariel ride again and despite the photo she really did love it.  I have to tell you it is hard to get these pictures while the ride is going!
And here is my favorite Disney Princess, the one who taught me to be a hoarder!!

Ellie really did have a blast riding around in her stroller and was just a big goofball.  I found my strand of Chewbeads in the suitcase and thought she might enjoy them, she barely took them out of her mouth the entire time and her shirt was soaked with drool...I think she might have some molars coming in!
Mickey's Wheel at night.
And finally an hour before the park closed, at 7pm we made our way to the Radiator Springs Racer's ride.  It was shut down because of malfunction and some people in line were getting extremely pissed!  Nanny and Papa were the first in the Fast Pass line while Thomas and I stayed with Ellie in the stroller parking area and about 5 minutes later they fixed the problem and the ride was up and running again.  We had to tag team this ride since Ellie wasn't tall enough.  We only had to wait about 15 minutes for Nanny and Papa to trade with us and then it was our turn.  Ya'll the line for the people without a Fast Pass was like a 70 minute wait and most of them had been waiting in line the whole time the ride was shut down!!  Luckily they have a rule that as long as you are in line before the park closes they will let you stay for the ride.  What a relief for them.  When it was our turn we got a Yellow car and the ride was pretty entertaining and fun.  I think the only way I would ride it again though is with a Fast Pass, I don't think its that good to wait in line for that long.  

Then we all headed back to the hotel to go to bed.

Have you been to California Adventure?  What was your favorite part?

♥ Ashley

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