Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What's Up Wednesday : August 2015

I can't even believe that we are already to the last Wednesday of August....I swear the 4th of July was just last weekend!! 

I'm linking up with Mel for Whats Up Wednesday Linkup!!

Let's get started!!

What we're eating this week: Thomas and I have kinda taken a break from meal planning and its been a little bit stress causing (I never knew how relaxing it would be to have the meals planned out for the week!)  We haven't really sat down to discuss this weekend yet so I am not too sure.  However, I was watching Farmhouse Rules the other day and Nancy made Chicken Taco Pacos and they looked so good.  I whipped them up for dinner last night and they were so good, we have a few left over so those will be our lunches...yum.  Then on Thursday we are planning on grilling some pizzas.  And my Okra is ready to harvest so this weekend I'll probably make some Gumbo and maybe try some fried okra?!  Have you ever had it?

What I'm reminiscing about: I love that FB gives you the option to get daily notifications of what you were doing on this day in the years past.  7 years ago I posted pictures from our Honeymoon to Cancun and have just been thinking about what a fun trip that was for us (despite the food poisoning!)  Other things, I think about times with my mom often and the house I grew up in as my dad is putting it up for sale :'(

What I'm loving: So many things but I really am in love with our deck makeover and the start of Ellie's toddler/big girl room!

What we've been up to: Home improvements for the win.  This past month Thomas has been hard at work each weekend with his dad to expand our deck and put a roof over it.  The hard part is complete and now we just need to work on the tedious finishing touches like painting and staining.  I have also been interviewing up a storm to try and fill the rest of my week up with another nanny family and I am so pleased to have been hired!!

What I'm dreading: The end of Summer and getting to have Thomas home all week.  I'm also dreading the end of our vegetable garden and needing to finish up harvesting and preparing the bed for the winter (I dread it so much that I've never actually done it before...)

What I'm working on: Ellie's bedroom for sure and then I am slowly working on our Adoption Portfolio.  It's so fun to go back through old photos and to reminisce about our beginning, but it is a lot of work putting it together and trying to sell yourselves to potential birthmoms.

What I'm excited about: Starting my new job and having the opportunity for Ellie to make new/more friends.  It's going to be busy but I think it is going to be great.  My new family mom is a teacher and I am so excited to get to "work" on a teacher schedule again.  The best part is I get to bring my other two nanny charges with me - its going to be busy with 5 kids but I can do it!  

I am also super excited that Fall is just around the corner.  I am ready for some boots, scarves and sweaters.  Not to mention some hot coffees and lots of pumpkins!!

What I'm watching/reading: DVR is my life.  We just started watching Fear of the Walking Dead, it took a while for the show to draw me in but I am pretty sure its going to be good, although nothing can beat TWD.  Other shows of note: The Jim Gaffigan Show, Last Comic Standing, Real Housewives of OC/NY, Another Period, and The Pioneer Woman, Southern at Heart, and Farmhouse Rules.  Reading...blogs, that's all I have time for.

What I'm listening to: ummmm.....the radio? when the radio in my car decides to work....

What I'm wearing: leggings, shorts, t-shirts or tanks...and flip flops.  Basic stuff but I love it.

What I'm doing this weekend: We were planning on having a garage sale but the forecast is predicting 60% rain so we're going to put it off for another this weekend we will be cleaning, organizing, and pricing all our stuff.  

What I'm looking forward to next month: We are going to Disneyland again!! This time it is to celebrate Ellie's Adoption Day!!  So that will be our highlight of the month for sure, so I am not sure what else I am really looking forward too...

What's new: I was asked to be a Table Leader in my MOPs group and I am pretty excited to take on this leadership role.  We had a meeting a couple weeks ago to gear up for the year and it has me all hyped up for this coming year!  I am really hoping to make some great connections and build a sense of community with my ladies.

Question of the month: What is your favorite back to school tradition? Wow! This one is hard, growing up I think I loved going out and getting new school supplies (I used to wear my backpack around the house all the time) and also getting new clothes!  Now, I don't really think we have one....

♥ Ashley

linking up here

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Weekend - the one where we finished our deck (almost)

Happy Tuesday y'all!!

I just can't believe how fast this summer is going, something about August just means the time flies! 

On Friday our sweet babe had a monthday and turned 27 months. It's crazy how just a few months makes such a change in Ellie's growth and development. Her vocabulary has blossomed and she talks all the time. I can usually figure out what it is she is trying to say but there are still those times I just can't help her. Ellie also started a gymnastics class and she looks bed to hang from the rings and do somersaults. Her physical ability blows my mind on the daily. 

On Saturday, Thomas and his dad worked hard getting the roof framed up for our backyard makeover. First we doubled the size of the deck and now we are putting a roof on it. I can't wait for it to be all done and we can use the space year round!!

While the boys were working outside I was busy prepping sides for our Sunday Pita Party with one of my besties. Ellie and I also did a lot of playing together. 

On Sunday the boys finished putting up the roof and it looks so good. We are almost done with the transformation. We still have to paint the whole structure and stain the deck (have to choose a color of stain....) oh and also paint and put up the railing. Then our last step is to replace the original deck boards...but that won't be until next year.  We're also putting up our bistro lights and I love the ambiance they give!!!  Then my bestie and her new husband came over for dinner and we had a delicious Pita Party. Seriously Martha Stewart does not disappoint. 

And finally this is what our deck currently looks like at night!! I love me a fire and covered deck!!! #loveyourhome

♥ Ashley 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Five

I'm Friday again already?  This summer is seriously just flying by. We have been super busy and that is probably why I can't believe that its almost back to school time.  I love that we were so busy because we finally got a lot of things done on our to-do list and it feels SO GOOD!!!


Last week I mentioned that we have a few unfinished projects that we have been working on.  You can read more detail about them here.  I am in love with the color that we chose for our house and I feel so much happier pulling into the driveway now that I am no longer looking at a house that is "Peaches and Cream". The house is almost all the way painted, we just need to paint the eaves and then a few touch ups here and there. Thomas and his dad are making great headway on our deck expansion/makeover/covering.  As with many DIY's we have come across a few blips but I am confident that this will all come together and look great.  I can envision it now and its going to be so amazing to get to enjoy our outdoor space year round!  They are going to be working hard on it this weekend and fingers crossed they will get the roof on by Sunday!


Ellie's room is going to be a long process, I knew this and I am totes ok with it.  The walls are painted and I also painted her bedframe that I got for a song on craigslist.  We moved it into her room the other day and she is in love!!  I love it too and can't believe how lucky I got with that find considering similar options are insane.  She keeps talking about her bed and will run to her room and climb on all throughout the day and pretend to sleep.  She wants everyone to sleep in her bed and its just the best.  We are still working on her staying in her bed but I am not stressing about it.  She did fall out already but she is totally fine, so I am going to try the noodle trick and see if that helps.  I just love that she can have this bed for the next 16+ years.

So lets do a mid-makeover tour shall we?:

Looking in from the door.  I am thinking I want to paint the rocker (grey or white please help me choose!) and switch out the curtains...

Looking to the left, its a big bed (full size) and she loves to climb up on it and hide under her comforter (yes its a toddler size)

looking over towards her closet doors, I mean isn't that bed swoon-worthy?!

Looking out of the door, I still need to paint the baseboard....will it ever end?!!!

And finally the last wall.  I am at a total loss as to what to do with the walls.  I know that artwork and pictures are going up but I just don't know if I want to put up the pictures from her first year or go more the artwork route, what do you think?


I may have mentioned it on here before but I have made a career change and I am a Nanny.  Last year I worked for two families but one of them had some shifting around at her job and needed a full time option, so I have just been working 2 days a week this summer with my other family.  I have been looking for a new family to fill up my week and I got another job!! I am super excited about it - especially since I will be working for a Teacher, so I will get to have the benefits of a school schedule! Hooray!  Not only that but my new family is ok with me keeping my old family so I get to bring my 2 day a week kiddos with me.  Which means that I will be in charge of 5 kiddos twice a week and I couldn't be more happy about it.  The biggest blessing is that their homes are only about 4 minutes apart so that makes my commute super easy!  I am just so grateful for the blessing of my new career that I get to continue to contribute financially to our family but also have the perks of being with Ellie every day kind of like a SAHM!


Yesterday we headed up to Seattle to go to the Star Wars exhibit yesterday and it was so cool.  I actually got the tickets for Thomas birthday back in June but we had to keep rescheduling and finally yesterday worked!  I remember watching the original series back in elementary school and they were too long to keep my attention, I preferred this one which is HILARIOUS!  But then when Thomas, Ellie and I took our trip to Sun Peaks, BC we had the opportunity to "rent" all 6 episodes and I binge watched during Ellie's non-naps.  Needless to say I understand what all the fuss is about (it just took me about 22 years!)  Anyways this exhibit was so cool because it had almost all the costumes worn in the actual films along with lots of information about all the thought and work that went into creating them. It was so fascinating to learn all this because I never really gave it much thought other than the fact that Padme had a ton of outfits!  While we were in the exhibit the Fire Alarm went off so we had to exit prematurely, which actually was great because I was starving so we headed to the food court area and had ourselves a delicious MOD pizza and then went back to more Star Wars.  After we finished checking out Star Wars we looked around the EMP some more and then took Ellie to The Children's Museum so she could run around and have some fun.  I know that we will be taking her back there for sure since she had so much fun!  If you are ever in the area I recommend checking it out, it does cost $8.25 to get in but its well worth it.



Happy Friday Y'all, I wish you the best weekend!

♥ Ashley

linking up here

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Guest Posting - Girl Moms

I am so excited to be over at Beth's blog today for her Girl Moms series.

I am talking all about how much I love being a girl mom and some hopes I have for Ellie as she grows up.

go check it out here and leave some love!!

♥ Ashley

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Park Adventures

Happy HUMP Day!!

One thing I really wanted to focus on this summer was to get out and visit a bunch of different parks.  My hope was to do this as a family but when you are a nanny and watching 2 other kids alongside your own, you have to fill you days with something.  

So over the course of the summer my "kids" and I have visited parks on the regular and we've even checked out quite a few more than just three new ones.  I have definitely found some parks that I LOVE and others I don't have to go back to - which I think was the whole point of this part of the Summer Bucket List.  Having the responsibility of watching over 3 kids means I don't get to take as many pictures as I would like so here is just a small sampling of the fun that Ellie has had at one of the parks.  This one has fast become my favorite because it's super quiet, pretty empty, shaded by tall mature trees, and the jungle gyms is relatively visible all throughout.  Plus Ellie can basically navigate this whole park without me worried about her falling off!!

Except of course when she decides to act all dangerous....

And another super neat thing about this park is that not only is it nestled in 85 acres of mature forest land but it has a creek that runs through that the kiddos love to play in.  This girl + water = occupied for DAYS!!!  Ellie had so much fun stomping and running through the water (which is super shallow) and just basically having a grand ol' time!!

This one with her tongue hanging out is one of my faves!

Nothing is better than Summer days with this little cutie!

♥ Ashley

linking up here

Friday, August 14, 2015

Unfinished Projects

I know that I can't be the only one who has all the motivation to start a project but then as the project continues my motivation wanes and progress slows, then I get ideas for a new project and begin that one, rinse and repeat.  The thing about this is that I have quite a few unfinished projects going on at the farm.

So here is a list of my unfinished projects:

1. Our Master Bath is kind of at a standstill at this point.  Here is a reminder of my Inspiration Board.  It is nearly finished and we have been living with it as is for about 4 months now.  All we really "need" to do to finish is replace the lighting and I am in love with these, pick out flooring and get it installed (because I STILL don't know what I want), and select knobs and pulls for the vanity (I am debating between satin nickel and a glass/crystal knob).  And then on my wishlist is a new counter top, sinks and faucets, but those really aren't necessary as we aren't planning on staying in our house for too much longer (5 years or so) and I can totally live without doing those three things.  I am really hoping that we will be able to at least get the lighting fixtures and hardware picked out before December!!

2. Ellie's bathroom still isn't completely finished...I know its been practically two years since I started this project.  This bathroom just needs some finishing touches; new lighting fixtures and I am all about the look of these in there, a new shower curtain, new towels, and then to change out the accessories to match the antique bronze of the lights.  So really none of this is necessary it will just give the room an updated look and get rid of the old 1989 feel.

3.  We are still painting our house.  We have to finish out the trim on the back.  Additionally we have to still paint the eaves which will probably be the most tedious part.  I am in LOVE with the color we chose and can't believe we waited so long to make this change - good thing though because I know I would not have chosen this color 5 years ago!  Part of the reason we have stalled in painting our house is we have started a new project...

4.  Expanding our deck (doubling the size) and building a roof/cover for it. Thomas and his dad started building the deck last weekend (on our anniversary) and finished that part.  I cannot believe what a difference it makes and how much bigger the deck is, it went from a 12x12 to a 24x12 and its just the best.  Once we get the roof structure up we will be painting that the same color as the trim on the house and then I just have to figure out a complementary stain color to go with the house.  I don't like the idea of painting the deck boards but I know they need some sort of sealant to remain waterproof/weatherproof.  I was thinking some sort of aged or weathered grey....but that might be too much grey at our house? NM you can never have too much grey!



5.  Ellie's toddler/big girl room!  I got it painted this past weekend (still need to do some touchups) and I love it so much.  I went with this color and oh my word it is perfect!  It is amazing what a can of paint can do to change up the whole look of a room.  So now I have to paint the bed frame, baseboards, touch up the paint on the doors, and then figure out the details: artwork, curtains and accessories.  I am so happy to be transitioning her out of the nursery and into a more sophisticated room.

what projects are you working on?

♥ Ashley

linking up here

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Seven - Wool

Happy 7th Wedding Anniversary to the Love of my Life, it has been 2,557 days since I said "I DO" and I will continue to say it for at least 50 more years!

It's hard to believe that just a short seven years ago I pledged my life to the love of my life.  The years have flown by and I am more in love with my man than I could have ever imagined.  Some say that you get the itch around 7 years and I am happy to report there is no itching happening around here!

I really hit the jack pot when it comes to husbands.  Thomas is the most caring, kind, funny, attentive, giving, supportive, devoted, and loyal man.  He is a hard worker and a solid supporter for our family.  We haven't had it easy during these first years of marriage; with job loss after job loss (on my part), battles with infertility, multiple pregnancy losses, and my mom passing away from brain cancer, but this man of mine is so strong and our marriage/relationship with each other has become so strengthened through these that we are deep in our marriage together and I really wouldn't want it any other way.

Additionally Thomas entertains me and my wild ideas for all the home improvements I have planned, even though he really dislikes painting he has painted over 85% of our home exterior and it makes my heart so happy.  While he may question why I feel the need to paint our bedroom for a third time, or that the bathroom decor just needs to go, he still supports me and will help me choose a color.  He is willing to try all my crazy food concoctions and even cleans up the messes for me.  He makes the perfect cup of coffee and is always willing to do so for me.  We totally take turns with changing Ellie's diaper and he is a full on teammate when it comes to raising her.  He is my brain when I lose mine about 60% of the time and always makes sure that I have my phone and Ellie's diaper bag is full and ready to go.  He doesn't mind being my chauffeur as I really hate driving and has been a huge supporter as I have gone through many infertility appointments and procedures.  He loves our daughter and is a huge proponent to our adopting to grow our family.  He takes great pride in all he does and I love him eternally.

If we chose to gift the traditional anniversary gifts to each other this year would be Wool.  But we aren't like that, so we go big or go home like a dishwasher, oven/range, camping trip, or this year we are building out our deck!! I can't wait for it to be completed and to really be able to enjoy our backyard oasis.

We usually take turns planning what to do for our anniversary, this is my year and I haven't figured it out yet...I know we will do dinner and Ellie will be a part of it for sure!!

♥ Ashley

Friday, August 7, 2015

It's Friday!!

Another week has just flown by!  I cannot believe that we have already had a full week of August - where is the time going?  I guess we have kept ourselves pretty busy and that's why we are moving along so quickly.

Let's just get right on to today's Five, shall we?


Girlfriend insisted on bringing Bitty Baby to bed last night, which was all kinds of adorable.  Not long after I laid her down I checked the monitor and couldn't help myself, so I took a picture of the utter cuteness.  Our day wasn't too crazy busy but my little sweetheart slept for 9 hours!! In her own bed the whole time no less!  Which is probably crazy but since her 2 year molars have started coming in her ability to sleep through the night has been waning and we're more interested in our own sleep than training her to stay put - so we just bring her in with us (and I think she really likes it...).  Pretty soon here that's going to become a little ridiculous so we will start working on her staying in her room.  But seriously how cute is she with Bitty??


Speaking of Ellie sleeping through the night.  I am on a total painting kick right now (might have something to do with Lowes paint deal going on right now).  A few weeks ago I was perusing OfferUp and Craigslist for a bed for Ellie.  We chose to go with a Full Size bed because we already have a mattress that size.  I have been dying over this one since forever but cannot swallow that price at all, I mean seriously who has that kind of money?  I know that by getting her a Full Bed it is an investment that will last us another 16+ years but still.  Anyways since that was the look I was going for but on a budget of less than $100 I had my work cut out for me.  Then the stars aligned and I found the PERFECT bed for Ellie!  Thomas got it all sanded yesterday as it was all chipped up and I am looking forward to painting it this weekend.  Additionally I selected three paint colors for her room since the yellow has GOT to go!!  And if you guessed I was going a shade of grey then congratulations you know me so well!!  I am choosing between the following Colors:

I don't know why its always so hard to choose a shade of grey but it is.  I am pretty sure that I have picked out the color I like best, so I will be picking up a gallon this evening when I get off work.  I am so excited to transition Ellie out of her "nursery" and into a room that will hopefully last for a number of years!  Please don't expect to see a makeover/reveal post anytime soon, this is a project that will be taking a while to curate and put together.  I might post snippets along the way - because sometimes the suspense of waiting is too much.


In case you missed it Ellie was a Flower Girl this past weekend in my besties wedding.  I was also a bridesmaid so our duties and weekend was FULL!!  Ellie totally rocked it and was the most adorable Flower Girl if I may say so.  I am so proud of her performance and grateful that my friend thought to include her in the wedding.  While it was just a little stressful having both of us in the wedding, Thomas did an incredible job entertaining Ellie and keeping her is a good mood, which in turn helped to keep me relaxed and less stressed.  Best bit of advice if you have a Flower Girl is to ask the bride to please schedule the pictures with the littles as late as possible so they can play and have fun for as long as they can before they need to get dressed and try to be calm and clean...


Our garden is growing like crazy.  I started planting it about 13 weeks ago and it has been doing really well.  One of the things that I do have a hard time with is remembering to harvest - and then use our bounty.  Ellie is addicted to Peas, so those were an easy item to get since she requests them all the time.  Their season is over so I will have to replant in a couple of weeks to try and get a second round of them.  We also grow green beans which are so easy to blanch and freeze and they make me so excited for Thanksgiving and green bean casserole!  Of course I make that all throughout the year because it is just SOOO good!  Kale is another super easy item to grow and its pretty hardy so you can't really kill it, I usually saute it and hide it in lasagna, salads, soups, and a variety of other sides.  I have been wanting to try kale chips for a long time but never get around to actually making them - I am going to change that this year.  We also tried growing kohlrabi this year, and while it was easy I didn't particularly care for it so I won't be growing it again.  I also grew some fennel but I don't think that I harvested it in time as its really has a lot of fronds so I can use those but I will try again next year and see if I can't be more on top of it.  And also this year we grew pumpkins for Halloween.  They are doing really well and we have about 5 that should be ready around that time (fingers crossed) we are still planning on going to the Pumpkin Patch this year but I think it will be fun to have grown our own pumpkins!  Other things growing (or grown); Swiss Chard, Okra, Spinach, and Radish. 

We also have a small blueberry patch with four bushes.  2 Chandler Blueberries (seriously the best kind and not sold in stores) and 2 Pink Lemonade Blueberries (they really are pink berries and taste delish!)


A few days ago Ellie requested pancakes so I whipped up a batch of blueberry ones.  They were a total hit and I will be making these again after I pick some more berries from our bushes!  I like it when my pancakes have a crispy edge so I use a bit of extra oil in the pan and make sure its extra hot (but not burning) to cook the cakes.  SO good they don't even need syrup!

Happy Weekend Y'all!!

♥ Ashley

linking up here