Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Toddler Tuesday - Disneyland Essentials

Hey there ladies!! I can't even believe how long its been since I have posted on a Toddler Tuesday Post!!

In case you didn't see on my IG account (@lifeonthefarm), you should totally be following btw, we took another trip to Disneyland!  We got the 4 day hopper this time and had a total blast. It was hot but not too busy and we just love creating these memories with our little sweetheart.

You can see my recaps for our First Disneyland trip here, here, and here.  This time our trip was to celebrate Ellie's Adoption Day and we had a total blast.  Don't worry I will have another round of recaps for our second trip.  

But first I wanted to share what we feel are Essentials when taking a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth!!

Disneyland Essentials

First up when traveling with a Toddler (or any young child for that matter) a Stroller is a MUST!!  We have the Jeep Stroller and absolutely love it.  While it is a little bulky it has a TON of storage and 4 cup holders, plus snack holders, a compartment for you iPhone6 and a fun little steering wheel to keep your tot entertained.  Not only was this useful in the Park but also for carrying around our luggage in the airport (don't worry I will have a traveling post coming up as well!).  It is super comfortable for Ellie and I love that it is has "all terrain" wheels so we could pass people by going on and off the curb.  Ellie loves to sit and stand and turn around in her stroller and this one has plenty of room for her to do that and she can sleep in it too!!

Whenever you are going to SoCal, you need to remember to use sunscreen - especially if you are from the rainy city of Seattle (we don't see much sun around here).  I actually received this sunscreen in an Influenster box several months ago and we just love it.  It spreads on nicely and isn't greasy.  The best part is that none of us got burned on our trip and that's saying something since it was nearly 90 the entire time we were in the Parks.  And a fun fact, the lid turns blue if it comes in contact with UV rays so you know when to apply!

Ok so this may not be an essential for everyone but Ellie still uses her pacifier.  When we are home it is only for naps and bedtime but when we are traveling its nice to give her something to keep her happy and not complaining (amiright?!!)  These are her favorites but as she has gotten older she isn't quite as picky since she knows she rarely gets them.  I think that using a pacifier was a life saver on this trip especially since the heat was so much hotter than we are used to.

Before we left for Disneyland, I stopped by Target and picked up a package of toys (similar).  Ellie has recently become OBSESSED with "Docastuckins" or Doc McStuffins so I knew these would be great to keep her entertained while we had to wait in lines or at meal times and they were.  She threw them out of her stroller a few times so we had to keep an eye on them but they were a hit (not to mention they are a Disney product - so that is DL approved ;) )

Snacks and Drinks are a must when doing the parks (for both toddlers and adults...we can all get a little hangry!).  I love that Disneyland allows you to bring in your own foods because it can get pretty expensive on a Disney trip.  We brought some snacks from home and currently Ellie is all about pretzels, fruit snacks and popcorn. We also brought some graham crackers to mix it up and she was a happy girl.  Most of the dining places will give you free cups of ice water which is great in the heat we experienced but Ellie is still all about her whole milk.  We found that it was actually way more cost effective to stop at Starbucks or one of the coffee carts and order a grande whole milk with ice than to get the cartons (of nonfat) they sold.  We just transferred them into the sippy cups we brought along with us and girlfriend was good to go!

Lastly and practically the most important is to bring a lightweight blanket, you know like those swaddle blankets we all use so much?  These are perfect for creating a shade cover in the stroller when you toddler finally falls asleep.  We use these blankets a lot anyways and it might benefit you to bring several on your trip since they are bound to fall on the ground and get dirty....

and one last essential for those littles that are just a hair too short for some of the rides...like out little 31" darling who needed just a boost to go on Autopia and Mater's Junkyard Jamboree a pair cowgirl boots did the trick!

Have you been to Disneyland? What are some things you would add to this list?

♥ Ashley

Monday, September 21, 2015

Do the Puyallup!

I have always looked forward to September.  One reason is because during 4-H we competed in our local county fairs to qualify for State at the Puyallup Fair in September.  I only ever qualified with my miniature horse (where we placed 2nd in State!!) and while it was always a goal to get my big horse there I knew it would be a horrible experience as he did not do well with new places.  State was always so magical and fun, probably because there was only a handful of us with mini's throughout the state, and I was able to accomplish all the Fair Fun for 3 days straight!

Now that I am no longer showing my horses, and getting a bit older, going to the Fair just isn't that big of a deal anymore.  I look forward to it each year (and we get free tickets for being teachers) but then when I show up its all just the same and getting more expensive each year.  I mean $12 for a burger? At the fair? And its not even that big!!!  

Regardless of how I am starting to feel about the fair I don't want to deny Ellie the experience.  And so we make it a point to go.  Our visit this year was yesterday, on Sunday, (we were heathens...) and did my two favorite things: got scones and watched Mutton Busting!! 

Ever since I saw it a number of years ago I knew I wanted my kiddos to participate in Mutton Busting, I mean its just hilarious.  Ellie got to watch it this year and kept talking about how she wanted to ride the "Baa's"!! Unfortunately Ellie cannot participate until she is 4, but that's ok we can start her practicing on our goats at home!!

Ellie also enjoyed going into the petting zoo area, and of course the sheep were her favorites (just like last year) and checking out the weird collections people have in Hobby Hall.  We didn't do any rides this year - again so expensive - and with our Disneyland trip coming up we don't feel like we were holding out on her.  Maybe next year when she is a little bit older and asks to go on the rides but until then I just fine with my fresh Fair Scone!!

How was your weekend? Do you have a local Fair you enjoy going to each year?

♥ Ashley

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Thoughts for Thursday - Brag on God

Hi there ladies!! Wow it's just crazy how inspiration hits you and you have all sorts of fun things to share and then you have times where there is like nothing.

Life has been pretty crazy here lately on the farm with my new nanny job, but I love it!!  The naps don't always match up but that is ok because I am doing what I love and I get to be with Ellie, and to me that is all that really matters.

The reason for my lack of posts lately is that I have been SO FOCUSED on completing our Adoption Portfolio!! Our agency has requested that we change the format and create one on Shutterfly. Our book is complete and I am so happy with it.  It was definitely a labor of love and I truly hope that our personalities and character comes through our book to potential birth moms!  Thanks to all the free codes out there we have been able to order a few of our books at a much discounted price!  We still need to order a few more so if you have a code you aren't going to use please send it my way!  

Speaking of our Adoption, I would like to Brag on God for a little bit.  I have fervently been praying that God will help to provide money for our adoption.  It has been a prayer that I have been praying with Ellie for almost 6 months.  I know that we aren't supposed to put a time frame on God answering our prayers, but I also know that it is important for us to be specific in our prayers.  The prayer that I have been praying with Ellie was that God would provide 80% of our total amount by September 1, 2015.  I can't explain why I chose that date other than it just sounded like an appropriate time frame.  I am so happy that God has provided abundantly for us and through donations on our GoFundMe account, our yard sales, and a very generous donation from my dad we are looking good!! Now my prayer to God is that of Thankfulness for providing for us.  We are able to move forward in our adoption process with no more road blocks (on the financial side) and are grateful that God knows the perfect timing for us.

We still have a few steps in the process with completing our Home Study Update and getting our FBI fingerprint clearance done and then we will be moving full speed ahead!


Friday, September 11, 2015

Fabulous Friday - the Stitch Review #4 (it's a keeper)

Happiest of Friday's!

This week was the official start of school and Friday could not have come at a better time!! It's been a wild week getting used to my new job and figuring out school drop offs and pickups with FIVE kiddos! I'm happy to report that it is not as hectic as I thought it would be and I absolutely adore having so many kids!! It's not always easy and their nap schedules don't always match up but I love it so much. 

I got a "present" in the mail - it was from Stitch Fix and without giving anything away, I think it's safe to say that I LOVED this fix!!!! I might have to keep it all.  

How it works is you sign up and then fill out your profile and identify your style preferences, then schedule a Fix and they send you 5 items to try on.  You get charged a $20 styling fee but that goes towards any of the items you choose to keep.  If you keep all five items they give you a 25% discount.  It's really fun and you get to try on not only the items they ship you but with other pieces you currently have in your closet!!

I chose to not have them send me any accessories since I haven't liked any of them so far...and that has proven to be a good choice.

SO here it is y'all, enjoy!!

Not only did I get the sweetest note from my stylist but she really hit this one out of the park. I always asked myself (in my head) how all these other bloggers and friends got such great Fixs and mine were all lack luster. Well I think with the honest feedback and detailed requests it's finally starting to work for me. 

Andplusalso please forgive the horrible lighting, dirty mirrors and overall awful selfies. But do take notice of my adorable photo bomber!!

Kut from the Kloth Iriss Twill Short in Olive

At first I was hesitant about the shorts when I saw them on the idea card.   After I put them on I was still a bit unsure.  I liked the color and thought all the pockets were fun and I liked the wide waistband, but the fit around my thunder thighs was a little tighter than I prefer.  They are also a bit longer than what I usually buy (which probably isn't a bad thing)...

No there is nothing wrong with my legs...that is just one dirty mirror thanks to somebody's hands pushing on it daily.  Why don't I notice how dirty these mirrors are in person?  It really sticks out in pictures.  As you can see they are a bit form fitting but maybe if I do some jumping jacks and lunges my thighs will thin out a bit??

The beauty of Stitch Fix is getting to try on these items with other pieces of clothing in your closet.  These shorts look great with a relaxed black tee.  After further review (and thinking about going to Disneyland in a couple weeks) these shorts might have to stay considering the other pieces I got in this Fix, it might be worth it to keep them for the 25% discount for all 5 items.  (Photobomb!!)

Pixley Indianan Graphic Print Mixed Material Tee in Light Grey

When I first saw this on the card my thought was - just what I need: Another Grey top!!! But you know what? I love Grey and that is probably the reason why I have so many options in my closet and so many other home items in this color (bathroom, Ellie's room, house color, etc)  Plus I cannot get over the patterned detail on the shoulders and backside.  

How cool, right?!!

I love that it is a V-neck, because those really are my favorite and its a relaxed fit so I can actually eat while wearing it.  I remember back in the day (high school) where a top could not be short enough or tight enough...now the longer and looser the better!!  I don't know if that is because of trends or age, but I am way more comfortable in something that doesn't look like its painted on!!  Not to mention that the armpits are pretty loose so I don't think I have to worry about sweat when I get hot (which is basically all the time...)

So I am pretty sure this one is a keeper...what do you think?

Liverpool Mira Skinny Jean in Blue

Okay these were practically a joke when I pulled them out of the box.  I know that my Stylist mentioned in my note that they are are favorite of moms but the wide elastic waistband kind of reminded me of a maternity pant (even though I have never worn a pair).  But when I tried them on, they weren't extremely long (actually kind of were the right length) and I loved the waistband.  It hit me right in the area I am self conscious about to "cover" it up and I loved them.  

I might not be able to front tuck my shirts all the time since the waistband isn't something I want to accentuate but I do love how stretchy they are and the wide waistband allows me to squat down and sit on the floor without having a "plumbers crack" showing - so that in and of itself is a bonus.

And again they look pretty good with some of my own things so they just might have to stick around...any thoughts?

Market & Spruce Aleah Heathered V-neck Dolman Top in Green

I think that Stitch Fix must have some sort of agreement with Market & Spruce because I have gotten something from them in all of my fix's.  I know that a lot of other bloggers have requested this item, I didn't and when I saw it on the outfit card I thought that for sure I was going to hate this top.  I did ask for something that would transition into Fall  and my stylist knows I love green.  After I put this one on I was like "Oh, that's why everyone loves it"...I love the fit and the material is really soft and stretchy.  The sleeves hit at the right part of my arm - I cannot stand having clothes on my wrists, I always roll up my sleeves...

It's nice and loose in all the right places and its long enough to cover my assets when I don't want to show them off or feel like throwing on a pair of leggings... And again with the V-neck speaking my language once again.  

See how loose and drapey it is around my midsection??

The color is so perfect that it goes so well with my favorite scarf!!  I can see this top taking a permanent spot in my clothing rotation!!

Can we please talk about how dirty my mirror is? I swear it doesn't look that bad in person...

Daniel Rainn Eliza Crochet Detail Blouse in Navy

Hot Damn!!! I am on the search for the perfect floral top - so I ask for one in every fix.  When I saw this one on the suggestion card I loved it and hoped that it was going to look just as good on.  This one totally takes the cake on any that I have received.  It has the best flowers on it, the color is flattering and I love the fit and the lacey crochet detail on the sleeves.

If ever there was a floral top I would pick out myself, this would probably be one of them.

Seriously, I couldn't stop smiling once I put it on.  This one is a KEEPER fo' sho'!!!!

I decided to not look at the pricing card until after I tried everything on because I didn't want that to sway my choices, but I was pleasantly surprised at the price points of each item.  And if I got all 5 items I would receive a 25% discount which makes the floral blouse free!!! I am pretty sure that I would wear each and every item in this fix multiple times and they would be a great investment!!

You can sign up here with my referral link and I'll get a nice little bonus on my next Fix!! Thanks in advance!

To see my other Fix's:
Stitch #1
Stitch #2
Stitch #3

♥ Ashley

Linking up here 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Meal Plan

There is always room for improvement in just about everything. Preparing meals and feeding your family is one of them.

I can't believe that until 2013 we had no meal plan set in place. Thomas and I would just end up texting or calling each other on our way home to see what we were craving. This fly by the seat of your pants type of meal plan was extremely stressful - but I had no idea that it was!! I have a friend (who is no longer blogging) who would write about her meal plans for the week and I thought it was such a genius idea. I had never heard of such a thing, my own mom was a SAHM and loved to cook so she would just get inspired throughout the day for what to have for dinner and then make it - or she would make our requests. 

So enter in 2013 and the beginning of my meal planning journey. I really cannot get over how much simpler just having a plan/guideline for the week has made my life.  We don't always follow it 100% of the time but it's nice to know that if all else fails we already know what's for dinner.  I write our weekly Menu on a chalkboard I picked up in February 2011 and it's so nice to have it out and displayed. 

One thing I noticed was a bit of a challenge was coming up with what to eat. We try to sit down and talk about it on Sunday nights but that doesn't always happen. It get exhausting trying to come up with 6 meals for the week that have a variety. Some weeks we don't meal plan and I can tell the difference anxiety!! 

A couple weeks ago I came up with an idea of how to remedy this. Much like in blogging I have content guides for the day of the week why not do something similar with meal planning?!!

So here it is:
Monday meatless 
Tuesday Mexican 
Wednesday American
Thursday eat out
Friday Italian 
Saturday family recipe
Sunday soup

Of course this is just a guideline and not set in stone. We can make adjustments as we want but at least it helps to give ideas. 

Here is what we came up with for last week:

And the reality is that we went out for Mexican with my dad on Monday so we had leftovers on Tuesday. Wednesday we had to make a Costco run and nothing can beat a $6 meal of pizza and hotdogs.  Thursday we went out for BWW $.65 wings and Friday we had our impromptu family gathering for the Husky game with my family. Saturday I made the Carbonara since we had picked up all the ingredients and Sunday we enjoyed family and Gumbo. 

Here is what this week looks like:

Everything but Sunday meets our suggested faire.  And so far we are two for two with following through with what's cooking!

How do you meal plan? Have you figured out how to meal prep on the weekends too? Gosh I would love to get my act together enough for that!!

♥ Ashley

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Our Weekend - Adoption Day Celebration

How is the weekend over already?!!

We had the best long weekend just soaking up the last few days of summer before school starts. 

I had a half day on Friday and it was such a blessing after the long week we had with Ellie. It was so nice to have her home for her nap and to just chill for a little bit afterwards.  

Friday night we headed up north for dinner and to watch part of the Husky game with my family. It was so great to have some family time and encourage Ellie's relationship with her cousin. My sister also picked up one of those roller coasters at a garage sale and Ellie had a blast playing on it, so I think I'll be on the lookout for a good deal on one of those!

Saturday we got up and went out for doughnuts!! I have been wanting to do that for a while and I'm so glad we finally made time for it.  There a is a "newer" doughnut shop fairly close to us and it is so much better than the Safeway kind! I got a bacon maple bar, Thomas got a Bavarian Creme and Ellie got one with sprinkles. They were a total hit and I'm hoping to have this be a monthly tradition. Not to mention Ellie was pretty into her donut which was a pleasant surprise.  Then we stopped by the sprint store so I could get my contacts transferred over - ahh how technology has changed since I had my first cellphone back in 1998.  We ran a few more errands and then back home for Ellie's nap. 

I got my hair done in the afternoon. It was the best to have a few hours of pampering. I got my hair cut (haven't had a professional cut in over three years!!) and then also got a color (it's been since January). My friend/colorist took before pictures and I can't even believe I had that many grey hairs I looked nearly 65! Why didn't anyone tell me?? Anyways I just love how it turned out and will try to make it to the salon more often!!

Then on Sunday it was Ellie's second Adoption Day!  In case you are wondering what that means, on September 6, 2013 we had our court date that made us a legal family!! It is definitely a day for celebration and we have every intent to make this day special for the rest of Ellie's life!!  
We decided this year we would take a trip to Disneyland! This will not be the case every year but we wanted to take advantage of Ellie being free until she's three for admission into the park. It's a trip we are looking forward to and if you have any Disney tips we'd love to hear them!

Additionally since practically all of Thomas' family are teachers we had an end of summer/school starting get together with his siblings (and Ellie's cousins). We had a great time just spending time together and we even had a FaceTime call from my MIL (she is visiting family in Nebraska).  It was so fun and a great way to kick off the school year!

Monday was pretty low key, we headed to a nearby town that has some super cute vintage-y type shops. I picked up a new amber necklace for Ellie since her original one is two years old. Then we grabbed some caramels at my favorite spot - this year they have Pumpkin Spice Caramels and they are so good, even Ellie likes them. We had pizza for lunch and back home for Ellie's nap. I made a Michaels run and a trip to the grocery store during her nap and Thomas washed the cars - I've landed myself a real winner! Then it was just playing and hanging out, having dinner, bath time and bed. 

Happy Tuesday! Praise Jesus it's only a 4 day week!

♥ Ashley

Linking up here

Friday, September 4, 2015

Hello Friday!

Wow it's Friday already and I have gone this whole week without a post! That was not intentional.  As I mentioned before, I got a new nanny job and it has been keeping me BUSY!!  I don't mind though because it is not only giving me the chance to help contribute financially to my family but it also means that I get to "stay home" with Ellie and that she has the opportunity to socialize with some other kiddos.  Yesterday was my first day with FIVE kids and all things considering I would say it went pretty smooth, despite no overlapping naps...

Lets get on to this weeks FIVE:


Sprint is having a promotional deal right now on their iPhones so Thomas and I both upgraded to the iPhone6.  I got the 64gb with the Gold case and I love it.  We have only had them for a couple of days and I can tell you that the fingerprint passcode is probably my favorite.  Now that I have a 6 there are so many more case options (I previously had a 5c and it was nearly impossible to find a case for it).  If you know me, I am totally obsessed with floral and THIS case is just speaking to me - not to mention it's on sale!!!


Ellie is talking up a storm these days and it's just so sweet hearing all she has to say. About a month ago she got all these weird bumps on her thighs, they didn't seem to be bothering her so we just kept a close eye on them. After about 10 days we took her to see my dad and he didn't seem too concerned but after another few days they still weren't disappearing and she started to itch them we took her to her doctor. He diagnosed her with Contact Dermititis and prescribed some ointment to put on the affected area. A week later the rash spread all over her legs and onto her arms so we went back in and were advised to switch laundry detergent, bubble bath, shampoo, and no more spandex/Lycra clothing. I'm happy to say that after eliminating these possible triggers and religious applying her ointment we are finally seeing some improvement and girlfriend is getting some relief!!! Through process of elimination we are pretty confident that she has acquired an allergy to Honest brand shampoo 😞.  The other day as I was rubbing her ointment on she said "thanks Mama for fixing my legs"...my heart just about melted. This girl of mine is so sweet. She also exclaims her love for everything under the sun (except me!! Haha) "I love Dada too" "I love Mickey Mouse" "I love my shoes" "I love Daniel Tiger" "I love my bunny" "I love my blanket" "I love my goats" "I love horses" "I LOVE baths" it's just the sweetest. She also says "thanks Mama" for lots of things and that is one of my favorites. 


School is starting up next week and I am so glad that I am NOT returning to the classroom. I absolutely love being a nanny and bringing Ellie to work with me every day. It just warms my heart incredibly to get to raise her in these formative years. It's not always easy watching other people's kids but the benefits of getting Ellie to be able to socialize, contribute to my family, and have Ellie be used to sharing me is my favorite. 


Speaking of being a nanny, I mentioned that I got hired on by a new family and will be in charge of FIVE kids twice a week - which also includes school drop off/pick up so I will be driving all five of them around. While we have a vehicle that can hold all 6 of us, we are on the search for a 7 seater vehicle - I prefer to not have a van - so I am looking for an SUV that will fit both my needs and financial situation. I would love to have some recommendations, please send them my way!


That's all I've got for today. Happy 3 day weekend and Happy Labor Day!!

♥ Ashley

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