Friday, July 31, 2015

Hooray for Friday

 Can you believe that we are at another Friday already?? Not to mention that its also the last day of July!!! Where did July go? I swear that we haven't even celebrated the 4th yet....or maybe we did.  I think that I just get so spoiled in the summer because, up until this year, Thomas and I are on summer break and our days all mesh together into one since there is no work.  While that didn't really happen this year with me working part time (yay for money to support my family) we still got to spend a ton of quality time together - and get a few house projects done.

So lets get to some highlights of the month!


Let's start off with the 4th of July.  I kind of dropped the ball this year with decorating for the holiday, but I don't think anyone really noticed and I didn't miss having to put everything away.  We actually bought fireworks this year and Ellie had so much fun holding the sparklers.  I also bought a few Morning Glories, but for some reason they didn't light very well and kept catching on I the only one?  Our neighbors drop A TON of cash on fireworks each year and we get to watch a practically professional show every year...which for most people is probably really cool and enjoyable, for me I would be just fine if they were banned from our county.  Part of my distaste for fireworks comes from having a horse (RIP Jazz) who was deathly afraid of them and needed my companionship for 15 years to hold his head and keep him calm, the other part comes from having a Roman Candle explode on my leg and foot.  It was a big step to hold sparklers this year and I actually kind of enjoyed it.  This year was pretty enjoyable since my other horse just likes to stand and watch the fireworks...I would head back to her every once in a while but she seemed totally content so I could actually watch the show this year.  We did have a huge swarm of mosquitoes around us - nothing that a little Horse grade bug repellent won't fix, so other than all the bites we had fun.


Pool Parties are all the rage in the summer when you have a little one...except Ellie's pool parties are mostly Party of One. Poor girl, but she doesn't seem to mind one bit - she sure does love the water.  I just get a kick out of her in a swim suit and her love of splashing around.  We have also gone to the splash pad a few times but with how crazy it is there I have no chance to snap a pic ;)


I mentioned earlier this week that I have gotten back into the kitchen and have created some goodness this month.  Here's a peek into what we have been eating:

Fresh made Strawberry/Blueberry Shortcake (just use the recipe on a Bisquick box) with hand whipped whipped cream by yours truly with a tsp of powdered sugar for a touch of sweetness.

I pinned this recipe a few weeks ago and made it for my bestie (who is getting married this weekend!) a couple weeks ago when she and her mom came over to start altering my dress and begin work on Ellie's dress and let me tell you it did not disappoint.  It makes a lot so be ready to invite over a crowd or have left overs for days.  I cannot wait to make it again.  Instead of the spinach I substituted Kale since we have a shitload in our garden...

Battered and Fried Cod with a lemon mayo dipping sauce, delish.  You can find the recipe here.

And finally some fresh homemade pasta.  It couldn't have been easier to make and I still have about half the dough left in the fridge.  I highly recommend that you go get yourself a pasta maker and start making your own just cannot compare it, recipe here.


Our plan was to have Friday Night Fires this summer, but with the way our life has gone this month we didn't always clock them in on a Friday.  I love them so much and I get a real sense of accomplishment and pride when we make them since the Fire Pit was one of our big summer projects a few years ago.  The best part about the pit that it was practically free aside from 3 bags of sand.  All the rocks we used were found on our property and have proved to be quite useful in my landscaping designs over the last 7 years.  To make our pit we just dug a hole about 2 feet deep and lined the edge with the rocks, added a layer of sand for the bottom and then build your fires in the center.  It always feels so good to use something you worked on and made yourself.  Ellie loves the fires and asks for them (and fireworks) all the time.  I am so glad that we are able to make these memories with her.


Our house has changed so much since we moved in over 7 years ago.  I am not sure if the previous owners would recognize it.  We did a major overhaul of the front yard; removing over 32 junipers and replacing with grass, flower beds and a vegetable patch, we switched out the the lighting fixtures on the garage, I painted the front door, and finally we we painted over the Peaches'n'Cream exterior combo to my color crush of 5 years: Grey and White!

 Here is what our house looked like when it was on the market.  Cream paint with a fleshy peach trim and juniper's galore.

In 2010 we pulled out all the junipers and replaced with flower beds and grass.  It was still sporting the horrid Peaches'n'Cream (take a look at that front door...)

Finally in 2015 I painted the front door white.  Most of our landscaping is set with some maturing trees to create some shade and flowers to beautify and to hopefully distract from the awful paint color.

In July 2015, I found some paint color contenders

and after a few hours we had chosen a color, waited a week and then purchased the paint.  We decided to hand paint the entire house ourselves and it has proven to be quite the project.  Ellie has been fantastic playing in the yard, picking blueberries, and watching Mickey Mouse on the laptop at her table we brought out front while we painted, she also blessed us with two 3 hour naps.  Our paint job might not be perfect and there are some touch-ups we need to complete but my oh my does this color scheme look so much better.  I am falling in love with this house more than I ever thought I would and I am not so embarrassed to drive home to it anymore, now that the color doesn't make me queasy! 

In case you are wondering we went with the far right option.  While it's not complete (we still have to finish the back side) I love it so much. I still have hopes of putting some trim around the windows (and maybe beefing up the trim around the garage?) adding some black shutters and maybe a window box or two...also the light fixtures have taken a beating from the sun and need a fresh coat of black paint ... next weekend I am all over that!

Both colors are by Valspar and part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Grey: Valspar Mark Twain House Ombra Gray 4004-2A
White: Valspar Homestead Resort Jefferson White

PS. I am featured on H54F link up! Go check it out!!

♥ Ashley

linking up here

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Meals this Week

Can you tell that it's Summer around here?  I didn't know that I was going to lighten the load when it came to posting on the blog this summer but it has happened and I just have to be okay with that.  I want to make sure that my content is real and that I am not just posting to throw something up there.  I have seen my stats dwindle a little bit over the past month which makes me sad but in reality I have been enjoying living life!  

One thing that I have started to get back into is cooking.  It's been a while since I have posted anything food related (or recipe related) and it makes me kind of sad since it really is a big part of my life.  I want to share it more.  I know that I really need to up my food photography skills but I just get so wrapped up with the cooking process that I usually forget to document with photos...I will work on it - I promise!

I really have been on a roll lately with making foods and it's time to share what's been cooking.  But first lets start with the Menu for this Week:

Monday: Fried Cod with a side of sauteed homegrown veggies: kohlrabi and green beans
The fish really couldn't be any easier all I did was mix together in a bowl 1 cup of flour, 1 tsp seasoned salt, some pepper and enough milk to get the right coating consistency.  Then I just seasoned the fish and dropped it in the bowl.  Meanwhile I heated up a good amount of vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and then I carefully dropped the battered fish into the hot oil and fried for about 4 or 5 minutes on each side until cooked through and nicely browned.  It tasted so good, especially with my homemade "tartar" sauce of mayo, seasoned salt and lemon juice (I didn't have any relish or pickles to make it a real tartar).  I am definitely making this again...the only thing I would change would be to first coat the raw fish in flour before dumping into the batter.

Tuesday: Pasta.  A few weeks ago I was perusing our local TJMaxx in hopes of finding a counter top pasta maker, since I somehow failed to grab the one that belonged to my mom when we had our estate sale back in 2012. (I would get the one for my Kitchen Aid but no one has $150 to drop on one of those) So thankfully I found one similar for $24.99...much more manageable and takes just as much time as the attachment one.  We had planned on having pasta but then realized that we had no noodles in the house - so I got to put mine to work and it was SO good you guys!

Here's how I made it: 1 1/3 c flour, a pinch of salt 3 eggs, and 1 T olive oil.  Mix all ingredients together in a Food Processor until dough comes together, then knead on a floured surface until smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for a minimum of 30 minutes before working.  Then use your pasta maker!  We paired ours with frozen meatballs and jarred marinara sauce.  So good I may never go back to dried pasta!

Wednesday: Our vegetable garden is booming with produce and we need to use what we have.  What better way than with a Stir Fry?  I just cut up all the veggies and cook in a little bit of oil in my cast iron skillet (I love that thing) and near the end I add some stir fry sauce.  Put it together with some rice (or quinoa if you want to be healthy) and enjoy.  Also excellent with chicken or shrimp.

Thursday:  BBQ Chicken.  We hosted a neighborhood potluck this past weekend and one of our neighbors brought us some marinade.  So we are going to try it out.  I will be sure to share how it was on here (I promise) and maybe we will make it again!

Friday: Wedding Rehearsal for my bestie!!! I mentioned earlier that both Ellie and I are in my friends wedding and I couldn't be more excited.  I finished Ellie's dress on Monday and it is so adorable.  I can't wait to share it with y'all after Saturday.  

Saturday: the Big Day! It's wedding day and I am looking forward to having some really good food after standing up at the alter by my bestie's side!

Sunday: Fajitas are always a good choice.  Just grill up some bell pepper, onion, mushrooms and Chicken/Beef/Shrimp add some cheese and a tortilla and you are one step closer to heaven!

So I am dying to know, what have you been cooking up this summer?

♥ Ashley

linking up here

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hello Friday!

I can't even believe that it's Friday already.  This week has just flown by and you know what that means, Summer is just flying by and pretty soon we are going to have crisp fall weather and pumpkins will be everywhere!  I can't say that I can really complain about it because I love Fall, but there is something so relaxing and enjoyable about Summer.  I think a lot of it has to do with Thomas being a teacher and having the summer off so we can spend so much time with each other.


Speaking of Summer lets take a look at our Summer Bucket List:

We haven't really accomplished that much yet but we sure have enjoyed ourselves!  Ellie still loves the splash pad about as much as last year, though she likes to stomp around in the water more than getting sprayed with the water (something about getting her face wet...I totes understand).  She runs around like a maniac and I love it.  We had our first bon fire a couple of Fridays ago and have decided to make it a weekly thing "Bon Fire Fridays!" With our first fire we also had s'mores.  I love s'mores so this was a huge hit for me and all Ellie wanted was the graham cracker! Which actually didn't surprise me seeing she doesn't like chocolate and the marshmallows just aren't her thing (too sweet?)  Ellie is a huge fan of the bon fire and will ask for "fire fire fire!" just about every time we go outside.  Our Friday Fire didn't happen last week since we didn't get home until almost 9pm so we had to have it this Tuesday, Ellie loved throwing in the cardboard boxes we were burning and then kept asking for "fireworks" so we got out three of the Morning Glories we still have left from the 4th and she loved them just as much - though she was pretty sad when all three of them were gone.  I have a secret - we still have a bunch of sparklers left!  Finally horse rides are Ellie's favorite.  She still loves the goats but has grown a new fascination for Pal (our miniature horse) and will run up to him and pet him and hug him and say "I ride, I ride!"  She did fall off last time we took a ride (we had actually stopped to look at the chickens and she leaned over to the left a little too much - she was totally fine) but she got right back on and wanted to keep going and then cried when her turn was over!  We also got out his cart and she really enjoyed riding in the cart and driving around, so now she knows all about the joys of having a horse - just need to teach her how to scoop poop!  Hopefully we will be able to cross the rest of the items off our list in the next couple of weeks.


I mentioned a couple of Fridays ago that we had chosen a paint color for our house, I will give you a hint it is NOT the one on the far left.  Our plan was to get started the following week and then a wrench got thrown into our lives and I was told to take it easy so I could recover from emergency surgery.  I have been healing pretty quickly and felt great yesterday so we started painting our house!  It looks SO much better and I can't wait for it to all be done.  We hand painted for about 5 hours yesterday and got the entire front of the house done with two coats.  Ellie was a champ running around the yard, picking blueberries - although I am not sure how many were ripe without my assistance ;) and then sitting at her little table watching Sheriff Callie on the laptop (that she is proficient at btw), she also took about a 3 hour nap that really allowed us to get our paint on.  I am not sure if you can really tell in the photo above but the trim is a fleshy/peachy color which is just awful and it looks pretty 80's with the grey color we picked out.  So today Thomas is busy painting the trim along the front of the house white so that it at least looks beautiful from the street!  I can't wait for it to be done so I can share it with y'all.


Let's talk about some more home improvements.  I have been wanting to switch up Ellie's room for a while - it's time for the yellow paint on the walls to go and now that she is no longer a baby a nursery isn't quite working anymore.  As I am currently on a grey kick I have dreams of her room being grey and white with accents of shades of pink and gold touches here and there.  I have been pinning away some ideas, tell me what you think!

I'm loving fake trophy heads. I have metal antlers in my room. Rustic vibes

I want her room to be whimsical and I just love the stuffed animal trophy heads - I am pretty certain that girlfriend needs these in her life!

So cute. I want to do this in my daughter's room!

I just adore this and think it would be adorable in Ellie's room, I just need to work on the layout to see where I can fit it in!

Make some lovely Tissue Pom Poms for your daughter's room, a nursery or an upcoming wedding or shower with this step-by-step tutorial |

I already have some tissue poms on the ceiling above her bed but I think I really like the idea of them they need to come down anyways so I can paint the walls (and add some crown moulding if I can convince the hubs....)

Watercolor flowers with deer horn by GraphicSafari on Etsy

and to go along with a sense of whimsy I just love these antlers with the floral detail!


Earlier this week Ellie had her monthday and turned 26 months.  While I am no longer doing monthdates, I absolutely love having a monthly picture of her to see how she has grown and changed.  And just like last year I totes forgot to take an official photo in June and it makes me so sad.  A little update on Ellie since she turned two: words are coming out of her mouth like crazy, she "counts" to 10 and throws in some 'teens every now and again, can identify red and green but whenever asked a color she says "blue".  She climbs on everything and runs everywhere, I am convinced she doesn't know how to walk anymore!! She is actually eating Mac'n'Cheese now which is a relief since I used to make it for her per her request and she used to throw it all to the dogs.  She is obsessed with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and knows how to use the laptop.  I can't  believe how much she is growing and changing - it makes my heart so full because I enjoy every minute of it.


let see....I think that is all I've got for now!

Have a great weekend! I will be painting and weather permitting hosting our neighborhood potluck!

♥ Ashley

linking up here

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Life Update

I have been on a bit of an unintended blogging break but our life has been a total roller coaster the past few weeks.  Experiencing our fifth pregnancy loss has been incredibly difficult both physically and emotionally as I am sure you can imagine.  I still am struggling with the fact that we have lost 5 babies.  I have now been pregnant for about 40 weeks but have never made it past the first trimester which is also crazy.

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that I was spending the weekend with my good friend and bride to be for a bachelorette type weekend with the bridesmaids.  We had so much fun hanging out and getting to know each other better.  There was lots of drinking (on their part not mine), some time in the hot tub, and a pretty exciting game of Cards Against Humanity.  Then on my way back home on Sunday July 12, I started to get an achy feeling in my back that radiated down my right leg to my foot in addition I started to feel some shooting pains in my lower right abdomen (the same place where my fallopian tube ruptured in 2010) and tried to get home as fast as I could because I was so incredibly uncomfortable.  I was on the phone with Thomas practically the whole way home.  Once I got home the pain worsened to where I could not get comfortable and had to crawl around the house on my hands and knees.  I called my doctor's office and spoke with the doc on call, she advised that we head straight to the hospital but I probably wouldn't be able to make it the hour and fifteen minute drive to my hospital so I would have to go to the local Emergency Room.  We called up my MIL and she came right over to get Ellie.  You guys I barely made it there (just 30 minutes away) before I wanted to cut my body off the pain was so bad.  After we arrived at the ER, I was seen by a nurse and then a doctor pretty quickly but then it was another 30 minutes before I got an IV and my blood drawn.  Then another 20 minutes before I got any pain meds put into my IV.  I was freezing and they "couldn't find a blanket" for me, luckily we had one of Ellie's baby blankets in the car.  After being at the ER for about 90 minutes I finally started to feel some relief from the pain, I had an ultrasound where they confirmed that my tube had ruptured (but the Ultrasound Tech had some difficulty remembering her left from right), and I was scheduled for Emergency Surgery at 10pm that night.  The Doc on call was very nice and assured me that she would ONLY take out the affected tube and leave the other one, though she was going to look at my left tube since that is what the ultrasound said was ruptured.  I argued with her a little bit about the laterality of which tube since it had been confirmed a week before that it was on my right side and I could feel the pain on my right side.  What a mess up.  By about 11:30pm I had officially lost half of my fertility because she removed my Right Fallopian Tube.  Yes the ultrasound tech was wrong and I was right - I know my body!  I had two great fears; 1. that this was NOT how I wanted Ellie's first sleepover to go (this was our first night for both of us not being home) and 2. that I did NOT want to die on the operating table.  Ellie did great over at Nanny and Papa's house and I didn't die during surgery!!  I have just been recovering the past week and should be fully recovered in 6 weeks total.  Its been hard not being able to pick up Ellie, but I have enjoyed being able to get out of diaper changes!  Girlfriend needs to get potty trained.

I have received so many kind emails, texts, comments on Facebook and IG that might heart is so grateful for all the support out there.  My friend that is getting married (in less than 10 days!!) came over last week and spent the day with me and brought me flowers (my love language) and it felt so great that she took the time out of her crazy, busy, wedding planning schedule to spend the whole day with me.  I have the best friend ever.

In other news, our life has been pretty busy with some other stuff.

1. Our coffee make bit the dust so we have been drinking some French Press coffee and it is SO good!  I don't think I'll ever go back to another kind of coffee at home.  But we do need to get another French Press maker since ours has a crack in it :/

2. I shared about what it's like to be able to see again with new glasses from Firmoo

3.  Not only am I going to be a bridesmaid in my friends wedding but Ellie is going to be the flower girl!!  I get to make her flower girl dress and I got started this past weekend - here's a sneak peek.

4.  After my mom passed away my dad moved and rented out my childhood home. The renter's have moved out and he is going to sell our home.  I am so sad to think about that house no longer being "my home" and that someone else is going to buy it and move in.  I have been okay with the renter's since it was just temporary but now when the house sells it's not going to be the same.  We went over there yesterday to drop off some furniture for staging and I took a few pictures with my cell phone.  The house looks so big and empty without anything in it.  Definitely a sad sort of occasion.  So here is the living room, dining room, and kitchen of the house I grew up in.

5.  Ellie has been super involved in helping us in the kitchen.  She prefers to help us bake and yesterday Thomas was making some cookies and Ellie of course wanted to help.  Once the batter was all mixed up and it was time to scoop the cookies he let her have the paddle to lick off all the batter and Oh MY Word she was so adorable cleaning it off.  The pictures don't do it justice but she is now officially a cookie batter head!! She loved it so much!

And that's all I got.  Have a great day!

♥ Ashley

linking up here

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

New Glasses with Firmoo

I have a confession to make.  I wear glasses and have had a prescription since I was in about 8th grade.  I don't wear them all the time because they really are just for seeing things far away and now that I am no longer in the classroom they don't seem as necessary to me anymore.  But also, the last time I had my eyes checked or bought a new pair of glasses was in 2003 (oops!) so needless to say the pair of frames I have are a bit outdated and don't really help me see much better anyways.

Thankfully somehow Firmoo knew that I was in some major need of some new glasses and let me pick out a pair for review!  So I checked out through my vision insurance where I could go for an eye exam so that the pair I picked out from Firmoo would be functional.

What do you think? They are so different from the last pair that I had but let me tell you, I love these and actually feel kinda "hipster" wearing them.  

Firmoo has a huge selection of frames online and if you click here you can see the Daily New where frames are updated on the daily!

One thing I have noticed as I have gotten older that I really am not a fan of salespeople in brick and mortar stores.  They jump on you the second you walk through the door and then follow you around constantly asking if they can help.  I am a DIY'er when it comes to shopping and if I have a question I will let you know so please get off my back!!!  Since Firmoo is an online retailer I got to browse their selection in the comfort of my own home and no salesperson was bugging me.  Complete and total bliss!  Not to mention that after you register you can upload your own photo and "try the glasses on" so you can get an idea of how they fit!  

So many of the frames are super affordable but if you are a new customer you can sign up here and get a 15% off coupon code for your first pair!  How cool is that?

When was the last time you had your eyes checked?  Was it over 12 years ago like me?

♥ Ashley

linking up here