Happy Friday! Linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk with High Five For Friday!

1. I was finally able to cash in my 10 pound weight loss reward!!! I lost 11.4 pounds last week, bringing my total over the past couple of months to 16.2. You can read about it here!

2. Amelia and I spent an evening over at my Grandma's house working on a craft project for Easter. I love crafting with her!

3. They are quite the duo.

4. Amelia and her baby had a wonderful tea party the other day. I wasn't invited so I sat in our room (next to hers) and listened in on all of the cuteness.

5. This is what Amelia looks like when she leans back on my lap and I pull her up really quickly. I just love the look on her face... and the crazy hair. Mark took the photos and they are all hilarious.

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Ashley Elizabeth

Delicious tea!

Let me start off by saying, I love tea. I'm generally an iced tea fanatic, since I don't lean toward drinking anything hot, but occasionally a hot cup of hot tea just hits the spot. I've tried my share of tea, and I must say I was extremely happy when Katie at Runs For Cookies reviewed David's Tea. I'm constantly looking for more flavorful teas, something beyond my usual black iced tea, and David's Tea is amazing. I decided to order two flavors, but David's Tea is awesome and always sends 3 free samples along with any purchase, so I get to try 5.

The flavors I picked out are Fantasy Island and Cocoa Canela.
Fantasy Island: black tea, coconut flakes, freeze-dried raspberries, coconut
Cocoa Canela (organic): yerba mate, carob, cocoa nibs and powder, cinnamon, chocolate chips

The three samples they sent me are Honeydew Mate, Pom Tango and Coconut Oolong.
Honeydew Mate: green rooibos, green yerba mate, white hibiscus blossoms, melon pieces
Coconut Oolong: pao zhong oolong tea, coconut flakes
Pom Tango: mango cubes, black tea, pomegranate seeds, freeze-dried mango

So far I've tried the cocoa canela, fantasy island and pom tango. I liked all three of them, but the fantasy island is my favorite so far. 

If you are a tea lover, I recommend trying David's Tea

Ashley Elizabeth

A weight loss reward!

So after a successful week and a trip to Nordstrom last night, I was finally able to check off my first weight loss reward.
I love MAC cosmetics, so a trip to the counter was a fun reward for me. I have a slight obsession with the two eye colors I chose, and they are always in my make up drawer. It was perfect timing that I recently ran out of both. 


I bought a beautiful lip color as well. I'm a newbie to lipstick and still find it somewhat awkward to wear since I have very thin lips and a scar over my top lip. Most of my colors are bright and bold, so I toned it down a bit with a nice pink that compliments my light freckled skin. 

So if you didn't see my previous post... I lost 11.4 pounds last week, bringing my total weight loss to 16.2 pounds for the past couple of months. I weigh myself every day and continue to see the number go down, so hopefully I can cash in my 20 pound reward soon... a pedicure with Amelia! Just in time for sandal weather. 

My full list of weight loss rewards can be found here!

I want to hear from you...

Do you have a weight loss goal you are trying to reach?

Do you reward yourself?

Ashley Elizabeth

Meal Planning

I've been searching for ways to organize my life and make things a little easier, all the while trying to stay on budget. I notice week after week that we spend a lot on groceries but don't actually use it all, resulting in us throwing more stuff out than I'd like. I decided that I'd try my hand at meal planning and I have to say, I will probably be making this a regular thing.

My Naturopath suggested Rachel Ray's magazine "Every Day" so I subscribed to it about a year ago. I got an online deal where I get 3 years for only $3.00/year. That is cheaper than one issue. She does have some great looking recipes that I'm anxious to try. I spent a little time browsing through my recipe binders and the Every Day magazines. I made up a document where I can list out the meals by day along with the groceries needed by department. If you want, I am happy to email it out. I finally got a great menu put together and was so excited to try this whole organized dinner thing out. Since we had family in town and decided to go out to dinner one night, the meal plan didn't work 100% as planned. I do think this is going to save us money in the long run, and help me feel a little more organized... so I'm anxious to try it again.

I would love to hear how this works for you since I'm such a newbie to it...

Do you meal plan?

How has it helped out your family?

Do you have any wonderful recipes that frequent your dinner table?

Ashley Elizabeth

The cherry on top of a great weekend!

I had a pretty great weekend!

Friday night Mark, Amelia and I headed out to dinner at the Thirsty Lion. Since it was no meat Friday I really wanted the shrimp tacos they have. When we got there we had about a 50 minute wait. Mark and I looked at one another and decided to stay and chat instead of leaving.... because the Thirsty Lion is worth the wait. Once we were seated we enjoyed the ridiculously tasty food. Mark had an awesome looking burger and I loved my tacos. We each had a drink and got dessert, which is definitely NOT our norm. It was nice to relax and enjoy some family time together.
On our way out to dinner

Saturday I hung out with one of my best friends while Mark and Amelia went on a daddy/daughter date to OMSI. We decided to go see Identity Thief. That movie was great! I love Melissa McCarthy so I knew it would be good. After the movie we headed up to Mt. Tabor. The day was beautiful, even with the chilly wind. It was really nice to get out and catch up. 
I love this view of Portland

Sunday we got up and headed to church. Mark had to drive us because my car overheated the day before and he hasn't had a chance to check it out yet. Amelia never complains about waking up early for church, which makes me smile. 

My mom is in town so we headed over to visit her last night. Amelia is obsessed with her Grandma Tami so the second she comes in to town the begging to see her begins. It is really cute how close they are. 

Today I woke up and can't stop smiling! I stepped on the scale to an 11.4 pound loss this week!!!!! I can't even explain how excited I am right now. I have been stuck in a rut, but apparently things have changed. Now I just need to keep on track. It was the cherry on top of a wonderful weekend. 

Happy Monday!

Ashley Elizabeth

High Five For Friday

Happy Friday! I had a pretty uneventful week. Here is a quick recap, linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk.
1. This is one of Amelia's favorite spots in Oregon City. She absolutely loves this waterfall.

2. Friday night we went to a youth production of Beauty and the Beast in Oregon City. It was really great! All of the actors/actresses were between the ages of 8 and 18. There were some incredibly talented kids there. Belle was amazing, and sounded so similar to the real Belle.

3. I have been searching for my huge case of CDs since we moved in this house over a year ago. Yesterday I found them!!! So Rudy and I imported a lot of them into my iTunes. Since Portland got rid of it's rock station (incredibly sad), I'm thankful to have some great rock on my iPod now.

4. I did a little spring clothes shopping for Amelia this week. I love some of the clothes that are out right now for little ones. This girl is going to be so stylish!

 5. I am pretty sure Amelia would spend every day with her Grandma Tami if she could. Since my mom lives 8 hours away, Amelia loves their little Skype dates.

6. An extra pic this week... just because it is so darn cute!

Ashley Elizabeth

A fun St. Patty's weekend

I feel like I haven't posted in quite some time... so I will fill you in on last weekend since this week hasn't been too eventful. Saturday I slept in a bit, which was incredibly nice! I had plans to go out with my sister to a few bars in downtown Portland where the pipe band she is in would be performing (she plays drums). Mark worked this weekend so he stayed home. Amelia was going to stay home as well, but she was less than thrilled about a "boring" night with daddy which would ultimately lead to an early bedtime (Mark works at 4am). My Grandma offered to babysit... and I took her up on it. Amelia is such an easy kid, she can pretty much take care of herself, so I knew they would have a great time together and my Grandma wouldn't have to do much. Erica and I grabbed a quick bite to eat at Pita Pit before meeting up with the band. It was a really fun night and I had a blast.

We started out at Patty's playing the half time segment for the Timber's game that was going on, then we hopped the Max over to the Thirsty Lion. It was the first time I had ever been on Max. After they played their slot at the second bar, we walked back to Patty's so that they could play another 45 minutes. 

When we got back to my Grandma's you could tell they had a wonderful time.There were toys strewn about, books laid out and the residue of chocolate on Amelia's cheek... much better than an early bedtime. 

Sunday I took Amelia to Sunday school and my friend was there with her little girl. It was so nice to have someone to chat with while the girls were in class. I have been just hanging out by myself for the hour, but time definitely passed faster having Amanda there. 

As I said, this week has been pretty uneventful so I will share a couple of pictures.

 Amelia chatting with Grandma on Skype. I love technology!

Our kiddos snuggling

Ashley Elizabeth

A Colorful Daffodil Experiment

As spring comes into full bloom I hope you are taking advantage of the rain free days in Oregon. We try to get outdoors every chance we get. Thankfully we have several awesome parks within a 5 mile radius of our home, and we frequent them on days the sun shows itself. The first sign of spring popped up for me this week, our first daffodil bloomed.

Since I take full advantage of Amelia's ongoing curiosity of all things around her, I let her pick the daffodil for a little experiment. Every moment can be a memory made AND a teaching moment.

We brought the flower inside and put it in a skinny vase full of water. I got out some food coloring and let Amelia pick a color. We put the blue food coloring in the water and I explained to her how the flower will drink the water up through the stem, and the food coloring will show us where the water ends up. She was so excited when she woke up and looked at the daffodil.

With our next daffodil that blooms we are going to try the stem splitting trick, where you put half of the stem in one color, and the other in another. She had a lot of questions such as "Mama, our water goes into our bellies, where is a flower's belly". This was a great little experiment to do with her; a sweet memory made and a lesson learned.

Ashley Elizabeth

High Five For Friday

Happy Friday. I had quite an exhausting week. I'm pretty sure I could go to bed now and sleep through most of tomorrow. I'm pretty happy that we don't have quite so much on the agenda for next week. Here is a little recap, linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk.

1. We had some pretty great weather here in Oregon this past week, and the little ones and I took full advantage of it. We ran around outside, played ball, blew bubbles, drew with sidewalk chalk and had races in the yard. I'm so excited for spring weather. I love that one day it will be pouring and the next it will be beautiful.

2. We picked the first daffodil of spring. I walked into the kitchen to find Amelia taking a big whiff of the flower, which led to my #3 recap of the week...

3. Another sign spring has arrived... Amelia's allergies are here in full force. Poor girl!

4. I got some craft projects done. Look for this one on the blog later on this week.

5. We spent last Saturday at my Grandma's house. I love the relationship that Amelia has with her Great Grandma, and I love how much time and how many memories we get to make with her.

Happy Weekend! Tonight we are going to a local Beauty and the Beast play... if LivingSocial will fix the problem with my vouchers!!!
Ashley Elizabeth

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday! I'm looking forward to a weekend of crafting! I have a few projects that MUST get done. Here is a quick recap of my week, linking up with Lauren over at From My Grey Desk.

1. I managed to keep my hair curly all day, without it falling. This was after 9 hours of chasing 4 little ones around my house. I have incredibly fine hair so the fact that it stays this way for so long is awesome. I will post about the miracle product I use another day.

2. We've managed to take advantage of the two nice days of weather this week. Trips to the park, walks to the local cafe, playing in the yard and sitting on the front porch.

3. Amelia drew me an awesome picture while we were cleaning our craft/play room. I love all of the little creatures she draws.

4. Amelia and I made no bake cookies for the first time ever. They taste good but are a little too crumbly for me. I think I will try a different recipe next time.

5. I love coloring dates with my girl. She definitely got her love of arts and crafts from me.

Well that's about it. Happy weekend.

Ashley Elizabeth

Liebster Award Nomination

I was nominated for a Liebster blog award by Stephanie over at Die(t)ing to be a Skinny Bitch. Thank you so much for the nomination! The Liebster award is given to new or small blogs (under 200 followers). The Liebster Award isn't an actual award in the sense that you receive a certificate, prize, medal or statue of some sort; it is blog recognition from a fellow blogger. This is a great way to gain exposure for your blog and a sweet acknowledgment from the nominator. There are some incredible small blogs out there and I'm excited to have been nominated for this award. To qualify for the Liebster award you have to complete a few tasks and then pass this along to other new/small bloggers.

The Rules
  • List 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the questions the tagger has set for you, then create 11 new questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.
  • Choose 11 new bloggers to pass the award to and link them in your post
  • Go back to their page and tell them about the award
  • No tag backs

11 Random Facts about Me, Ashley
  1. In college I took writing courses for fun. I took all of the required classes, but then jumped up a couple of levels and took all of the 300 level and specialty courses because I love it. 
  2. Pride and Prejudice is my absolute favorite book, and probably one of my favorite movies (with Colin Firth). I first read the book when I was in 4th grade and immediately fell in love with it. Mr. Darcy secretly has my heart, but don't tell my husband.
  3. As a child my favorite number was 88, and I always planned on having 88 children... until I became old enough to comprehend that. I think I will settle on 3, 4 or 6 or something like that (haha, I can see my husband rolling his eyes as I type this).
  4. I lost 15 pounds during my pregnancy with Amelia since I was sick the entire time. It wasn't until after I had Amelia that a hormone imbalance really packed on the weight.
  5. I have a friend named Ernest that resides on my tongue. Really, there is a ball that I've had on the left side of my tongue for years. Since he is apparently a permanent resident I decided to name him. The doctor wasn't concerned so I don't worry about it.
  6. I don't know what I want to be when I grow up.
  7. I dream of one day spending time in New York during the month of December.
  8. I have no problem talking in front of several hundred people at a time.
  9. I gag in really cold weather. I know... I'm a freak of nature, but it's true. If I am outside in the cold I always end up gagging. I ALWAYS wear a scarf so that I can shield my face. This is something that started after my pregnancy.
  10. My all time favorite band is Disturbed.
  11. I love make up. I'm a MAC addict and really had to change my shopping habits after having Amelia. Prior to mommyhood I could easily drop a couple hundred at the MAC counter each time I went. 
Questions from Stephanie

  1. What is your guilty pleasure? Chocolate and craft supplies
  2. What is your favorite activity? Spending time with Amelia. My favs: reading to her every night, snuggling, tea parties, we have dance parties almost every day, do craft projects several times per week, go shopping, hit up the park, go for walks and always have a great time playing.
  3. What is the one goal your are striving to achieve more then anything? to lose a lot of weight! 
  4. What is your favorite blog to read? I read four blogs regularly. Katie at Runs For Cookies, Mandy at Biblical HomemakingKate at The Small Things Blog and Lauren at From My Grey Desk.
  5. What are you most proud of accomplishing? I'm most proud of the mother I've become and the decision my husband and I made when I became a stay at home mom. I am in awe of the little person Amelia has become and I love how Mark and I parent. 
  6. What is the most spontaneous thing you have ever done? I must be boring because I can't think of anything incredibly spontaneous that I've done. I guess ditching class almost weekly for an entire term to drive over an hour one way to the beach with my friend Brian. We never planned it, he often just met me outside of my class and asked if I wanted to go to the beach... and I always thought it was a good idea. What college kid wouldn't want to head to the beach immediately following math, biology, chemistry etc.
  7. What silly thing do you do behind closed doors? Mark, Amelia and I can get goofy. We dance, make funny faces, talk in funny voices, put on silly make up... it's always a good time here at our house.
  8. What is your all time favorite song? Oh wow, this is a hard question for me. I love almost every genre of music, with the exception of jazz. A few of my favorites... 'Down with the Sickness' - Disturbed, 'Falling Slowly' - Glen Hansard and Marketa Iglova, 'Time to say Goodbye' - Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman
  9. What is your idea of a perfect day? Spending the day with my amazing little family. It doesn't really matter what we do, it's spending time with one another that makes it perfect.
  10. What chore do you hate more than anything? The litter box! 
  11. What is your favorite nail color?  It has to be french tips on my toes and a rose color for my fingers. 
Questions for my nominee

  1. Why do you blog?
  2. If you could spend one day as any famous person, who would you choose and why? 
  3. What is your favorite movie, television show and book?
  4. If you could go anywhere, money not an issue, where would you go and why?
  5. Siblings... how many, if any, do you have?
  6. What is your New Year's resolution for 2013?
  7. Favorite meal?
  8. What is one luxury you are willing to live without?
  9. What is your favorite childhood memory?
  10. Favorite band? Favorite song?
  11. What is your dream job and why?
My Nominees: in no particular order

Ashley Elizabeth

Squirrels in Love

I know I've written about the tenants in our attic, but lately they have been going crazy. I think it must be the rain that is keeping them indoors, making them run laps up in the attic. I say they/them because I recently, as in just a few moments ago, realized that it was not one squirrel we were dealing with, but a pair of squirrel lovers. They were just running about on the branches of the tree outside our window, playing chase, before I heard them both run back into the attic. I've posted the first picture before, but the second was what I saw when I came out of the craft room this morning. Amelia and Rudy are fascinated with our friends and they are so incredibly loud that even on the first floor we can hear them as if they are chewing through the walls (our home is 2 stories). I wonder if we will have to capture them and take them when we move.

Amelia, Rudy and the Squirrel all staring at one another

 Amelia and Rudy listening to the squirrel running around in the wall/attic

Perhaps they wouldn't stick around if we stopped feeding them; I just have a hard time telling Amelia she can't give them food anymore.

Today has been a great day. I think I'm finally getting into a schedule that works for the little ones and I, although I could go to bed earlier than I have been. Tonight we are going to look at a rental. We aren't quite ready to buy yet so we want to find a place we can stay in until that time comes. Our current house is large which I like, but it needs a lot of work and our landlord isn't the most attentive person. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the house we are looking at works out, but this neighborhood is quite popular and there are always TONS of people that look at each house. 

Have a great evening all.

Ashley Elizabeth

Family Photos Part 2

As promised in my previous family photos post... more pictures are here! Again, I can't stress how wonderful Kim is. She took the time to really get some amazing shots that showcase our family. Now comes the hard part, deciding which ones to hang. I'm guessing I will have a wall of family photos up now instead of just a few of the great shots. You can find Kim's blog here.
 This was the mouse face she had to make while performing in the Nutcracker, and now we see it all of the time
 My soul mate 
 Love everything about this picture
 Peek-a-boo with Mama
 Love of my life
The balloon was a hit
 This screams Amelia.
 My picture perfect loves
Kim is a genius
Ashley Elizabeth