I hate a runny nose!

Today has been one of those days. I woke up at 6am to do some housework, even though I wasn't babysitting any little ones today. Amelia was up around 6:30. I got showered and ready to begin our day. Amelia and I haven't had a weekday with no little ones for a while now so I had a lot of things on the agenda. I know my daughter is awesome, but this morning proved that she knows her Mama all too well. We were sitting on the couch and she said "We a go to Starbucks if you want Mama, cause you're a good Mama"... so we went. I really think she just wanted a cake pop, but putting it out there as if she is only thinking of me is beyond sweet.

I have been promising Amelia that I would take her to story time at the library so we headed there this morning. We went to the toddler story time and I am definitely going to try and get her to the preschool one instead. She had fun but I think she would enjoy going with a little more advanced books and other kids her age. I didn't know what the exact schedule was, only that they do it at 10:15, so we just went for it this morning. 

 Ready to go to one of her favorite places... the library

She picked up four books to read and started right in the second we got home.

A cold has been creeping up on me for a couple of weeks now, and last night it decided to fully hit me. I am so congested with a crazy runny nose and watering eyes. Thankfully my family and I don't get sick often, generally only once or twice per year, so I can't complain too much. It just sucks feeling a bit under the weather. I even passed up an opportunity to take Amelia to ballet, which is just plain unusual.  Needless to say, I didn't get everything on the agenda done today. We do have an auction to go to tonight that is put on by my old office. The money is all donated to the local food bank. It is a great event and always a fun time. 

Here are a few pictures of my girl from today...
 Look how long her ponytail is getting

 She looks so cute when her bangs are cut short

 Hahaha, I love how voluminous her hair looks here. Silly girl.

Ready for ballet! Love her

Well, I better get up and ready to head to the auction. Have a great evening all. 

Ashley Elizabeth

A pretty nice Tuesday

Oh my yummy! So, I've been tossing around the idea of meal planning. It seems that we always get to 5 o'clock or so and have no idea what to cook for dinner. I think if I planned out a week's worth of meals with grocery lists then I would be able to stay on track and perhaps save a little money on groceries. Tonight I decided to try a chicken recipe that I found on Pinterest, and it turned out awesome!

The recipe is called Double Crunchy Honey Garlic Chicken and the original recipe can be found at Rock Recipes by clicking here.  The only thing I did differently from the recipe was to have the honey garlic sauce on the side to dip my chicken in instead of soaking the entire chicken breast in it. We were supposed to have mashed cauliflower with it but for some reason (Mark did it in the Ninja) it turned out with a weird consistency and tasted gross.

My girl mixing together all of the spices and flour. As you can see, it makes a lot so the recipe I was using said to save half of it for another time. 

Yeah, you are seeing this correctly... a whole lotta oil! We NEVER cook with this much oil, but the recipe called for it so there ya go. 

My adorable little kitchen helper

Today we had a pretty great day. As I've mentioned before I'm babysitting at my home. I have a great bunch of kiddos, two I consider full time and a few drop-ins. Today it was Amelia, Kyler (almost 1 year), Carly (4 yrs) and myself. Thankfully the weather was nice and we got to take a stroll over to the park to swing, run around and kick ball.

 Awww, my love

 That smile is contagious

I love how her hair is such a mess in this photo!

Well, I'm off to bed... after I do some dishes. I can't believe how fast the days go by when I watch little ones for 12 hours of it. 

Ashley Elizabeth

A little fridge revamp

Do you have one of those fridges? You know, the one covered in magnets that hold up this paper and that picture. Covered to the point where you aren't sure if you are looking at a fridge or a bulletin board... that was our fridge! Finally my frustration with the mess led me to do something about it, and the results are below. I can now say, my fridge is awesome!

So, all of the frames, with the exception of the large black frame, are from the dollar store. I spray painted them and applied magnets from Home Depot to the back. It looks so much cleaner than the magnet/papers everywhere mess it had become.

I made the calendar on Excel and we will use dry erase markers on it. Mark and I have a horrible time keeping track of what the other is doing, so this will be so helpful to us. 

 Amelia painted the two bottom left frames, too cute!

 This is a picture Amelia drew of our family the other day

 We chose a few of our favorite hand drawn pictures by Amelia

So there ya have it, our revamped fridge.
Ashley Elizabeth

Homeschool, Sunday school and a lazy afternoon

"Mama, thank you for teaching me things, I love to learn and you are my very best teacher"

I've decided to homeschool Amelia's preschool year and she is having a blast with it so far. I've gotten a negative comment here and there from people who think I'm somehow allowing my child to miss out on an important part of their development, but I take any opinion from non-parents with a grain of salt. My sisters and I never went to preschool, and we were never behind, in fact were ahead in several subjects. Personally, for my husband and I, we didn't feel it was necessary to send her. I'm a very involved stay at home mom who puts a lot of effort into teaching my child; finding one of those "teaching moments" in just about every situation. There are a lot of resources out there to help me, and Pinterest is an awesome tool. When Amelia turned to me the other day and said "Mama, thank you for teaching me things, I love to learn and you are my very best teacher" I knew I made the right choice when I left my job to spend every day with her. 

Children are like little sponges, they sop up every bit of information that we are willing to teach them. I get hundreds of questions each day from my girl "Mama, who made the colors in the sky?" "Mama, what is the sun?" "Why is the moon out when it is still daytime?" "Mama, why does Rudy purr?"

If I could give any piece of advice to a new parent, cherish every moment where you have an opportunity to teach your child... and write down all of their little questions and funny sayings. 

Today has been a beautiful sunny day, and I've spent a great portion of it cooped up in the recliner with a warm blanket. Amelia and I did go to to church this morning; she loves going to Sunday school. God probably rolled his eyes at me today when, during mass, I busted out my phone and took a picture of my child. It was too cute a shot to pass up. 
She was reading her little church books that my mom bought her. 

She loves books and is such a good girl in church

After church we headed to the store to grab a few items, and then headed home where we've been lounging about since. I do have some serious house cleaning and projects to get done prior to watching kids tomorrow, so I should hop off of here soon. It is just one of those days where I don't want to do anything. 
Ashley Elizabeth

High Five For Friday

Happy Friday!
I am excited to get to have a date night with my husband tonight. We are both so busy all of the time that we rarely go out. My mom is watching Amelia for us and Amelia informed me this morning that it is her pony Alinda's birthday today... and she is going to have a party for her at Grandma's. Too cute. Well here's my Friday post, linking up with Lauren over at From My Grey Desk.

1. My Aunt Shannon is teaching me how to knit, and I love it so far. She is so incredibly talented; I would consider myself lucky to one day be half as talented as she is in the knitting department. I'm pretty proud of what I've got so far. 

2. Amelia got a new pair of Toms from her Auntie Erica. They are so incredibly cute! My girl has style.

3. I've been babysitting more this month, and I think I have filled all of my slots! I really love kids and we just have a blast during the day. I'm so glad to have such amazing kids and wonderful parents... and my daughter is a pretty awesome little helper.

4. My best friend Molly was in town for a visit so we got to go on a dinner date. This is a picture from years back at my cousin's wedding. We are sometimes a little "special" when we get together. Here we were being fierce tigers... I don't even know.

5. For lent I decided I was going to follow Weight Watchers exactly how I am supposed to. I have a hard time sticking to something for more than a few days, so this is good for me. I've done pretty well so far and lost 2.8 pounds my first few days.

Have a great day All! It is a nasty, rainy and windy day here in Oregon... just the way I like it.
Ashley Elizabeth

A discovery worth sharing

I must share with you the most wonderful discovery! I have been up all night coughing for, well, nights now. I stopped at the store on the way home from dinner with my family the other night and picked up some cough syrup, cough drops and Vick's Baby Rub. I saw on Pinterest how eucalyptus rubbed on the bottom of a person's feet helps to stop coughing. Since the number one ingredient in the baby rub is eucalyptus, I decided to give it a try. Let's just say, the past two nights have been the best sleep I've gotten in months... maybe even years!

Seriously, I recommend this! I was a little skeptical at first, but looking it up online and reading all of the positive comments I decided it was worth a try... and it was!

Ashley Elizabeth

Tis the Lenten Season

I know not everyone follows Lent, but being the Catholic that I am, I always participate. For Lent I decided to follow Weight Watchers and use it exactly how it is supposed to be used, but I've struggled a bit. I've been a member of WW for a couple of years, off and on, but I never track for more than a few days before I am done. For lent I promised I would track EVERYTHING I eat, and so far so good. Yesterday was not my best day, but I guess that is why they give you additional weekly PP (points plus). I tried the program a few years back, before they switched over to the new Points Plus version, and I didn't like that fruits and veggies counted toward your usage for the day. I found myself skipping those foods so that I could use the points for something a little less healthy bad. The new program allows you to eat all of the fruits and veggies that you want, for free! I don't eat a lot of fruit, but I notice that I really pig out on the veggies. My weight is definitely like a yo-yo, and even my Naturopath is in shock at how hard it is for me to lose, but last week I did have a 2.8 pound loss, which I was very proud of. Since Ash Wednesday was on February 13th, I lost that in less than a week (without exercise).

I'm hoping our lovely Oregon rain subsides a bit in the evenings this weekend so that I am able to get out and walk. I will suck it up and go regardless, but it is always better to walk in dry conditions.

What did you give up for lent, and how are you doing with it? Shoot me a comment and let me know!

Ashley Elizabeth

A visit from the best friend!

So the other night I sent a text to my best friend Molly letting her know that I desperately needed/wanted to talk to her, knowing full well that the three hour time difference between us probably meant she was sound asleep and unlikely to respond. Sometimes I just need to send her a text! I was hoping for a phone date in the near future but instead, to my surprise, I got a text back the following morning saying "you will be able to tell me the story in person when we hang out this week". Do you ever get a text that makes you squeal with excitement out loud when you read it??? That is what happens when I get a text from Molly saying that she wants to get together. I generally don't know Molly is heading home (Oregon) for a visit until she is already here. I think it is probably best since I get so excited and anxious to see her that any more than a couple of days notice and I'd probably go insane waiting for hang out time. Molly is that friend that you can go years without seeing and pick right up where you left off, as if you saw one another just the other day. We've known each other for most of our lives, went through First Communion and Confirmation together, were doubles partners in tennis and roommates at college... bestest friends! Let's just say, my date with her tonight was spectacular. I wish I could save up enough to go visit her. 
Our Halloween costumes that we wore on a day other than Halloween.

Other than the excitement of my friend's visit, I've just been hanging out at home... enjoying life! Amelia has been working so hard on her Preschool work, I've been babysitting more than the past couple of months and I think we are starting to get into a great rhythm. I have projects galore that I want to accomplish in the near future, but have a hard time getting things done during the week. Hopefully I make this weekend a productive one!

Ashley Elizabeth

High Five For Friday

What a gorgeous spring day it is here in Oregon City! Seriously, if you can get out and enjoy this... I would! This past week was a busy one, yet really exciting. We had my daughter's 4th birthday, my mom is in town and I started babysitting a new little guy, who is awesome! Here is my High Five For Friday post, linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk.

1. Our baby girl turned 4 years old this week. I swear, time goes by twice as fast the second you become a parent. She is growing up so fast and is quite the wonderful little lady.

2. We made it outside a few days this week. I am definitely looking forward to spring. I have so much planned for Amelia and I. I am also pretty proud of a few photos that I took. They turned out really nice, but some were of the little guy I babysit so they won't be up here. I'm excited to start my photo editing class this week!

3. My Etsy shop is slowly getting restocked. I'm offering 10% off purchases through the end of the month. Use coupon code AMELIABDAY at my shop AmeliaBug located here

4. I knew there was a reason I bought these tiny vases. They are just too cute, and these little bouquets are adorable!

5. My husband was off work today because he has to cover the weekend, and since I wasn't babysitting and Amelia spent the night with my mom, we went out on a lunch date to the cafe down the road. I love Singer Hill Cafe, and if you are ever in the Oregon City area, I highly recommend it! It is super close to our home, so we took advantage of the nice weather and walked the few blocks down to it.

So there is a little snapshot of my week! I have a crate project I'm going to be working on this week, along with a fridge revamp (getting all of those papers held up by magnets under control) and more shop items up. I'll be sure to share with y'all!
Ashley Elizabeth

My baby turns 4

Today is Amelia's 4th birthday! We spent the weekend celebrating and had a blast. On Saturday we had a family birthday party for her at our home. It was laid back and just all around fun.
The Birthday Girl
My girl and I
Amelia's pony cake

Sunday we had her first friend party, and it was a ballerina tea party theme. My mom and I made all of the girls tutus and set up a fun afternoon. 
 Waiting for her guests to arrive
 The Birthday Girl
 Tea party treats
 The decor! 
The little ladies

So I started a tradition last year of asking Amelia birthday questions. It was really funny to see how different her answers were this year from last. Example, last year she wanted to be Eeyore (from winnie the pooh) when she grew up, this year she wants to be a singer. I plan on making a scrap book and carrying on this tradition until she is 18. 

Ashley Elizabeth

Family Photos

February 3rd my little family and I had pictures taken. We had only ever had one professional set of family photos taken and Amelia wasn't even a year old when they were done. Let me just warn you, this post is going to be filled with nothing but pure awesomeness! 

Kimberly Schiewe over at K Photography is amazing! I have known Kim for quite some time; we went to the same school growing up and she was only a grade behind me. Shortly after we moved into our current house we realized that we shared a fence with Kim, and our house butted up against her backyard. I've been eyeing Kim's work for a while now and decided to book a session with her to update our family photos. Her photos fit our style perfectly and she ended up shooting some timeless photos that I will cherish forever! I literally can't say enough about her talent! 

Kim's first shot of the day was this beauty. I have so much love for this photo; it makes my heart smile! The way she captured Amelia and her daddy was perfect. Everything about this photo is gorgeous. 

Amelia turns 4 this Tuesday and I wanted pictures that captured the little person she is. Kim had the brilliant idea of a giant balloon, and it definitely added the perfect touch to the photos of our girl. This photo is what childhood is all about; free, innocent and perfectly perfect. 

This photo puts the biggest smile on my face. Anytime Mark and I kiss, Amelia squeezes her way in and insists that we snuggle her between us and each kiss one of her cheeks while she giggles. Her face in this picture is awesome!

My beautiful little family and I... my everything!

I don't even know what to say about this other than Kim captured my little girl perfectly! I absolutely love this photo!


I'm usually the one taking photos of Amelia, and sometimes we try the whole take photos of ourselves thing, but this takes the cake! This is going on my wall and by my nightstand! 

These photos are just a snippet of what Kim got, and I can't wait to see the rest (which will probably be shared in another post). The outing with Kim was so great. She is such an energetic ball of fire and made the entire experience easy and fun. Kim knew that Amelia was slightly shy so she brought along her little man who is 3 years old. When they showed up at our door, her son Kellen was sporting the cutest outfit, complete with suspenders, and presented Amelia with a bouquet of Valentine's Day flowers. If you thought the above pictures were incredible, just keep scrolling. Holy Cuteness!!! 


Cutest EVER!

 I just can't stop looking at all of our photos! They are stunning!

If you are in the area and need family photos, I recommend Kim! I could keep going, but I will end this post with one word that describes Kim as a person and a photographer... INCREDIBLE!

Kim's blog can be found here

Ashley Elizabeth