Weekend Recap

This weekend wasn't eventful at all! I spent Saturday and Sunday working on my assignments and didn't do much else. Amelia and I did get to sleep in, which hasn't happened in months! It was nice to not have to hear the alarm. Since I don't have a lot to share, I will post a few of the photos I worked on this weekend.
Check out that grey the husband is rockin'
My baby sister is beautiful!

And here are a few that were edited or created by using methods our teacher had us use.

Three photos I took blended into one
Three photos I took blended into one
Three photos I took blended into one
An editing process called the Dragan Effect
A photo created using two photos from the internet and one of my own
Ashley Elizabeth

Amelia's Glittery Kitty Birthday Party

When I asked Amelia what theme she wanted for her birthday this year she eagerly responded with "I want a kitty, flower painting birthday party". I was sort of lost on how I would pull that off. Thankfully a few days later she decided that a glittery kitty party would be better. Now that I could do. We had originally decided on February 9th, but due to snow and ice we had to move it back a week. The weather was much nicer and we were able to celebrate with other family members who would not have been able to make it on the 9th. I decided to make all of the decor. I just love the look of homemade decorations.

The first thing I picked out for her party were the invitations. I figured I would find one I loved and then create the decor to match. I decided to use Tiny Prints. Their invitations are beautiful and excellent quality. I took these photos of Amelia specifically for the invitation. I wanted something glitzy and fun. I love how they turned out. When her invitations arrived I couldn't be happier. They were even better than imagined.
Color scheme: mint, light blue, pink, rose, gold glitter and silver glitter

The bakery in our local Thriftway (Canby, OR) makes amazing cakes and we use them for every major event. They even did our wedding cake. I ordered a chocolate/chocolate mousse cake and a dozen almond poppy seed/raspberry cupcakes. They decorated them in a ruffled pattern using light pink butter cream. They turned out awesome and were so delicious. Since I didn't have them write anything on the cake, and I wanted to tie in the kitty theme, I ordered an adorable porcelain kitty by Lenox. It was perfect and the colors fit so well.   
Lenox Wise Cracker Kitty Cat in Costume
For the matching cupcakes I topped them with custom tags from Tiny Prints. I was happy to find that they had them in the same pattern as her invitations. To create the tags I used Wilton lollipop sticks, pink cardstock, clear tape and the Tiny Prints tags. I stuck the tags to cardstock, cut them out and simply taped the lollipop stick on the back. Doing it this way looked much better than sandwiching the stick in between the tag and cardstock. 

I needed to add more kitty touches to the party so I created this piece of art to stand on the cake table. I found a kitty image, re-sized in it Photoshop to fit in an 8x10 frame, printed it, cut it out of silver glitter paper and glued it to a light pink piece of cardstock. Add that to a white frame and you have a cute little piece of kitty art. I'm really pleased with how it turned out and plan on adding it to Amelia's bedroom decor. 

Amelia had one other kid at her party, her cousin. I wanted to give him a little party favor so I came up with this. Amelia wrote "Free Kittens" and then I purchased these two kitties, one for her and one for her cousin. 
Kittens can be purchased HERE
Tissue paper pom poms have become common decor for me when I'm hosting a party. They are easy to make on your own without buying the kits. 
1. Gather supplies
2. Keeping all 8 sheets together, fold accordion style (you can use more sheets for a fuller pom pom)
3. Example: accordion folded tissue paper
4. Fold in half 
5. Staple on the fold and knot fishing line around the center, leaving a long enough tail to eventually hang up
6. Clip the ends (rounded and triangle create cute pom pom balls)
7. Fan out the tissue paper like this and pull each piece of paper out one at a time. Be careful not to rip the tissue. 
YouTube video tutorial by SMScrapper
I also decided to create a circle paper garland that matched the decor colors. If you are interested in how I create my paper garlands, click HERE for a tutorial.

Another little touch, a DIY letter 'A' that matched perfectly. I purchased the letter from JoAnn's, used hot glue to create the design and then gave it a couple coats of paint. This is something that I display in Amelia's room when it's not being used for her parties.

I was really pleased with how it all came together. It was a wonderful day spent with our family celebrating our little five year old, Amelia.
For the "Happy Birthday" banner I cut out triangles in varying shades of pink and punched two holes in each one. I used a Cricut to cut out the letters in a white cardstock and glued them on with a glue stick. Then I ran a thin white ribbon through each hole to finish it off. 

light pink chevron paper straws can be purchased by clicking HERE
And the Birthday Girl, Amelia

 photo mintcoralsignature_zpsef9bf100.png
Ashley Elizabeth

Boys Behind the Blog

It's that time again to hand over the computer to Mark for Boys Behind the Blog. I really like this link up. He is very supportive of my blog and this is a great way for him to step out and take part.

Mal Smiles

1. If you could live anywhere, where would you live? I actually really like Oregon, but I wish we could take a vacation once a year away from the winter.  However, if I could pick wherever, I think I would choose Australia.  I don't have much of a desire to travel right now, but Australia has always been interesting to me.
2. Sand or snow?  Sand

3. What Winter Olympics sport would you rock at?  curling, maybe
4. You're cooking a romantic dinner - what is your go-to dish? smoked salmon & crab cakes with garlic aioli sauce with roasted asparagus
5. Fill in the blank: This year I gave Ashley a haircut and color, chocolates and Starbucks for Valentine's Day. 

Ashley Elizabeth

Amelia 12 in 12

So a few months back I stumbled upon a blog and immediately fell in love with it. Jessica, wife of a Coast Guard Sailor and mother to four beautiful little girls has a blog that I relate to on many levels. Most of you have probably heard of the 52 in 52 or 365 in 365 photo challenges. Well, taking a daily photo, or even weekly for that matter isn't the hard part of this project for me since I basically do this already. I think I would have a hard time keeping up with posting these photos, which is why Jessica's 12 in 12 is perfect for me! Today I'm linking up with her over at My Baby Birds with a photo of Amelia, my newly 5 year old.

Ashley Elizabeth

Fresh Cut & Color

A couple years ago the stars aligned and I found the perfect hairdresser. Seriously, I've had my share of horrible haircuts. I'm not one to stick with the same color and style, I'm constantly changing it up and it took a long time before I found someone who could do it all. I've known my stylist Emily since we were young. A couple years back I asked my Facebook friends for recommendations on stylists since I hadn't been happy with one for a while. I mean, when you ask for a trim and you hear the clippers start and feel your hair being shaved off, you know you're in trouble. Emily responded that she would be happy to cut my hair... and so began my love affair with my hair. My sisters, mom and I all go to her now. She's amazing!

This weekend I went in to get some fresh color and a cut. It hadn't happened since June. This is what Emily began with. It was so gross! I'm pretty sure there were six inches of dead and dry hair on my head. 

And here are the after shots...

I am in love! I normally don't keep the same style or color very long. Heck, I usually change it a little every time I go in. I'm pretty sure though this is going to be sticking around for a while. 

For those of you local, Emily will be opening up her own salon at her property on the outskirts of Canby, Oregon. She is amazing! I highly recommend her to everyone. Her salon is called The Divine Salon and she should be open this spring (as in the next month or so). 

Have a salon horror story? Please share...

Do you have a stylist you've been seeing for a while now? If so, how long?
Ashley Elizabeth

A recap of a pretty great week!

It was a great week! The highlight was Amelia turning 5 years old. I am still shocked that she is 5. I remember that 38 hour labor as if it were yesterday (and yes... I pushed for 4&1/2 of it). I'm so excited for her birthday party this weekend. It should be a great time. Here is a recap of the past week.
1. I've been working on Amelia's birthday party decor this week. A couple of months ago I was contacted by Tiny Prints and they asked to be a part of her birthday celebration. I'm excited about this opportunity and can't wait to share the blog post once it is ready next week.

 2. This week My mom, Grace (the bride), Erica, Amelia and I went to try on bridesmaid dresses (Erica and I were the ones trying on). I was totally dreading it, although I'm NOT dreading the wedding or being in it. Anyway, it ended up being a super fun time. We ended the night at RAM enjoying some delicious drinks and yummy food. (The Thai Chicken Salad is the best!).

 3. Amelia chose to go to Slappy Cakes this week on her birthday. My mom, sisters and I went with her and had a blast.

4. Mark wrapped Amelia's Valentine's Day gift... we didn't have appropriate VDay wrapping so he chose a 'gift bag' with the holiday color scheme. She didn't know the difference :) 

5. My lovely girl got a new coat this week! I love it! 

What are your weekend plans?
I plan on cleaning house all day Saturday and then celebrating Amelia with family on Sunday. 
Are you celebrating Valentine's Day? 
Amelia went to stay with my Mom and Erica so Mark and I will probably order take out and watch a sappy romance movie (haha, he doesn't know this is the plan yet). He did get me Starbuck's after work, reloaded my SBucks card for me, bought chocolates and I'm getting my hair cut and colored... he knows me well!!! 
Ashley Elizabeth

Love: It's worth it

Today I'm going to talk to you about love. After all, it is Valentine's Day.

Mark and I haven't always had the easiest relationship... in fact there have been times when it seemed as if we were failing. I don't think either of us planned on falling in love with each other and were both taken by surprise. We met in college a year before we started dating and quickly became best friends. You know, the type of friends who talk about our crushes... on other people. When the whirlwind of love took over we both brought some emotional baggage to the table. After only being together a short five months we ended things. That lasted about a day before we realized it wasn't what either of us wanted. We quickly ran back to one another only to find ourselves in the same spot a year later. We definitely loved each other, but it didn't seem as though love would be enough for us. Even after breaking up twice we couldn't stay away from one another, yet we couldn't make it work. When we got the unexpected news that we were expecting neither of us knew what to do. We both strongly agreed that getting back together because we would be sharing the responsibility of parenthood was not an option... it had to be because we couldn't live without one another. We had to actually be in love and be willing to work together instead of working against one another. You see, Mark and I are too similar. We are both incredibly stubborn and unwilling to compromise. An ugly quality to have when trying to share your life with somebody. We both took some time apart to deal with our pasts and figure out what we wanted in our future. About two months later we found ourselves together again. This time our relationship was stronger than ever and we each had a deeper love for the other. About three years later we were married.  

Making our love work isn't easy. It takes effort. It takes compromise. It takes communication. Mark and I have been through a lot together, more than what some couples go through in a lifetime of marriage. We've been there for one another through our darkest times. In my opinion, loving someone is the easy part. It's all the other junk that makes it hard. I'm not sure our relationship and love would be this strong if we hadn't gone through hard times along the way. I appreciate that man and everything he does for our family. He is so kind and compassionate. I love that man more than I can explain. I am truly lucky to get to spend the rest of my life with him. We're not perfect people, but we're perfect for each other. 
Ashley Elizabeth

A Kid's Birthday Interview

On Amelia's third birthday I started the tradition of asking her a set of birthday interview questions. I thought it would make a great scrapbook that she can have to look back on when she is older, and I'm excited to see how the answers change as she grows up. It is really fun and totally cute. For instance "What do you want to be when you grow up"? When she was three she answered 'Eeyore' (yes, from Winnie the Pooh) and this year her answer was 'a painter'. I also have her write her name and think it will be awesome to see how her handwriting and signature transforms as she grows up. This really is a simple way to document your child through the years. Her scrapbook will include a photo of her on her birthday along with the questions and answers.

I also started video taping her while I ask her these questions. I'm so excited that I will have something to give her on a birthday when she's all grown up. 

Ashley Elizabeth

Happy Birthday to Our Amelia

Five years ago today I became a Mommy. Where does the time go? Seriously, she shouldn't be five already. February 12, 2009 is most definitely the best day of my entire life. There is something so magical that happens when you give that final push and hear the tiny cry from the little one you have just given life to. It's an incredibly emotional and very powerful moment. I can't even describe the feeling of holding your child for the first time. Your heart just doesn't know a love like that until you have a baby. Mark and I didn't know what to expect when we entered the world of parenthood. It was scary, exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. We have both grown so much and have become such better people since having Amelia, I honestly don't know what we would do without her. So, in honor of our little lady I would like to share a recap of the past 5 years with you. It was so hard to choose what photos to post, because I have thousands upon thousands.

Happy 5th Birthday Amelia Sandra

Ashley Elizabeth