Monday, March 12, 2018

Things I'm Loving - kitchen edition

Today I wanted to share with you all the things that I am loving for the Kitchen!  Ever since we moved into our house (10 years ago) I have wanted to remodel the kitchen...we made the first big change back in 2010 and painted the oak cabinets white.  It really brightened up the space and modernized it but still leaves for some things to be desired.  We're entertaining the idea of an addition to our house or possibly moving in the next few years.  So I'm really unsure if I want to invest in a new kitchen when  we might be moving, how about let's leave it to some accessories to tide me over until we make a decision, shall we? ;)

Lately I am all about the natural elements.  Give me all the wood slices, marble, slate and a touch of metal and I am one happy camper.

I adore this cake stand because it combines two of my favorite things right now...marble and wood!!  Can't you just see it on the counter piled high with all sorts of baked goodies?  Try these butterhorns, they're delicious!

Trays are always just a great thing to have in the kitchen you can either lean them up against the backsplash or use them as a place to corral your countertop staples like salt, pepper, and oil.  I have a wood one (similar) I picked up at HomeGoods and I love it, and how about this agate one? use it for a touch of whimsy and elegance! If you're dreaming of adding a touch of marble to your kitchen (like I am because marble countertops are just not going to happen) this marble cutting board is on point or how about this awesome marble slab?  I actually have this and it has made a huge improvement on my pie crust abilities.  Or if you are really into both pick up this wood and marble board - the best of both!

I didn't know about spoon rests until I lived in an apartment in college (that was one of the only good experiences I had out of that...).  I actually have a mellamine one that has a beachy coral theme to it because back in the day I thought I wanted to have a coastal home on the farm...silly girl, but now I have found this wood and marble spoon rest and I can't stop thinking about it!!  I think it's time for an upgrade, don't you?

For all you coffee lovers please take a look at some of these goodies.  Up until a couple months ago we used to make our coffee with a French Press, I am loving this copper one, y'all it is seriously the best way to make coffee but I ran across this little diddy a Poor Over Coffee Drip and it looks so freaking cool.  I just want to have it out on my counter as a talking point for when guests come over ;)  I already have this mug tree but I'm loving it in white and then there is gold!!!  Not sure which color I want.

When it comes to pots and pans there are so many options out there.  But the one pan that I keep grabbing for time and again is my Cast Iron.  I have done a lot of reading on how to care for them and I might be using it all the time because it is always out on my stove top or in the oven drying out ;) They are seriously so versatile; you can fry, you can sear, you can bake or even take it outside over the fire!! Talk about getting your money's worth outta one of these! And when you find yourself doing as much frying and searing as I have been doing you're going to want to pick yourself up a splatter screen.  You just put it over the top of your pan and it helps keep all the splatter from getting all over your kitchen - cleaning lifesaver!! Since we are talking about fat and oil nothing ruins a soup or gravy like all that fat from the juices.  It's really a simple fix, a fat separator will do the trick.  I refuse to make (or eat) gravy without using one. 

If you didn't know I am also currently obsessed with copper lately.  It has such a fun modern vibe to it but it lends itself well to my farmhouse style I am trying to create in our home.  While these babies may not be out on display all that often they would get daily use in my house.  Our current measuring cups are from our wedding and have seen better why not add some bling to my cooking and baking with some copper measuring cups? I am also really in love with these rectangular measuring spoons, I picked up my own set several months ago and I love how they can fit into all my spice jars.

I love the idea of storing all your pantry items in glass containers.  These weck jars are so beautiful and I can think of a dozen uses for them!  They are perfect for all those smaller items you pick up like baking soda, baking powder, or specialty salts and sugars!!  I am in desparate need of some new large storage jars for my flour and sugar.  I have tin ones that work great but I can't see how much I have left or tell which is which...getting  some new glass jars will solve my daily dilemma and since I use a lot of flour I am in need of some big jars.

We do a lot of hand washing in our house and I wouldn't be able to do it without this dish drying mat.  It cushions my more delicate dining items and soaks up the water effortlessly and it's a nice neutral color that it doesn't create an eyesore on my counter.  Before I picked this up (years ago) we would just use a dishtowel but it never did the job as well.  So do yourself (or your husband) a favor and pick one of these up.

♥ Ashley

Friday, March 9, 2018

Oh Boy it's Fri-Yay!!!! plans for my birthday, home decor and other updates

Friday is here which means we are at the very beginning of "Green Week" in celebration of my Birthday and St. Patrick's Day which is next Saturday!  So what we do is we dress in green every day to show our Irish Pride.  I'd love to see your green and how you celebrate.


Speaking of my birthday, I don't really have any big plans.  I'm turning 34, I'm pregnant, tired, and all I really want to do is take a nap!  We are heading out to lunch with my dad at a local Irish restaurant and then my BFF is coming over for dinner and cake (which I'm making).  I just want to spend the day with my family and hopefully getting a few projects crossed off the list.


We've got all our St. Patrick's Day decor up (see last year's decor) and I have a St. Patrick's Day station playing on Pandora through our Echo Dot.  She's so nice to have, but Ellie got to talking to her the other and claimed she was Thomas and began the Voice Recognition now Alexa thinks that Thomas sounds like a 4 year old girl 😂.  Thankfully she's not set up to purchase anything for us so we're hopefully in the clear.  However, Ellie adores Alexa and is always telling me that Alexa's head is in the clouds!! Haha


We haven't done our St. Pat's Day art yet but I have big plans to get it done this weekend.  I always find myself stocking up on the 8x10 canvas at Michaels when they have a sale (I've got quite the collection now) so that the girls can get their paint on for the holidays.  My favorites are Valentines, St. Pats, and Christmas.  Just this year I decided to display their previous year's work in their rooms and Ellie is over the moon seeing her artwork up on the walls.  Finnley seems to be quite into the artwork as well and it's so fun to see what she comes up with.  We usually do shades of green and the girls tend to do more abstract art and then I go over it with a gold to give it some more holiday flare.


This past month I've been getting paperwork together to sign Ellie up for Kindergarten!! Our home school district isn't the best so I had to do some extra steps to waiver her into a neighboring district...which means she's going to miss out on riding the school bus and not have neighborhood friends from school.  Which I'm totally used to since my parents sent me to private school and all my friends lived in a different city than I did.  It was so exciting to get the email that she was approved to waiver and then to do all the paperwork for Kindergarten.  She still has some improvements to make sure she is 100% Kindergarten ready (so I have a spot reserved for her preschool again) but I have high hopes that the next few months will prove to be full of growth for her.  I love the prospect of her going to Kindergarten for full days because I think its going to be so good for her, and bonus points she is so excited to go to Kinder, and it will be nice to have some one on one time with Finnley while the babe sleeps all day 🙏.


Speaking of the babe, I know y'all are dying to learn the gender.  And today is the day I'm going to share it with you!!!  I've known for quite some time that I wanted Disney to play a part in our eventual pregnancy and I loved having the opportunity to make our pregnancy announcement from the parks.  

Now I get to do it again and have the help of Disney to announce the gender of our sweet little nugget!!  We found out the day before we left what we were having and I got to start my plan the minute our feet hit the ground in California.  Our first order of business was to get a balloon...but then we learned that with the construction they were doing in DL that the characters weren't out and about on Main Street USA and we'd have to visit them in their homes in ToonTown with a wait of over 90 minutes - not happening.  So I brainstormed and tried to come up with an alternative so we made our way to City Hall and picked up some buttons for the fam.  On day 3 of our visit the walls were down on Main Street and the character's were out!!  We donned our appropriate Mouse wear, brought the balloon and buttons with us.  We learned what time our Mouse of choice would be out and made sure to arrive before that so we could get in line.  While we were waiting...our balloon got loose and flew away!! I was distraught and pissed and went on a search for the balloon guy only to learn that they wouldn't be out for another SIX hours!!!  Thankfully one of the cast members went behind the scenes and was able to retrieve our beloved balloon just in time for our Mouse to come out!!  We were first in line and got some great shots! Enjoy!

Mickey noticed my button right away and was so congratulatory!  He made sure to make a big deal with both of the girls and it was just everything I had hoped!!  Even Finnley was on board and willing to interact with Mickey sans tears!!

So if you couldn't guess, we are having a BOY!!! the first (and quite possibly only) boy in Thomas family, immediate and extended.  We are over the moon to continue the Parsons legacy and to bring a whole new dynamic to family gatherings!  Ellie is super excited to have a brother and can't keep herself from telling anyone we come in contact with.  When we found out at the ultrasound she exclaimed "I always wanted a brother!!" Finnley gives the belly kisses on the daily and has absolutely no idea what happening.

♥ Ashley

in case you missed it:

Monday I posted the latest Bumpdate
Thursday I posted tips on guessing the gender

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Boy or Girl?

I'm completely ecstatic that we at the halfway marker of this pregnancy.  Never in my life did I ever dream of carrying a child for this long (considering 8 weeks was the longest before this) but to have the chance to have multiple ultrasounds to see and hear our sweet little babe has been a complete dream come true to this Infertility Fighter.  Science is simply amazing.

With that being said, now that we're over halfway baked we had the chance to go to our Anatomy Scan the other week to learn among other things the gender of our sweet little miracle.  We learned that my placenta is anterior so it's cushioning little babes movements - which would explain why I haven't really felt anything.

I'm sure many of you are dying to know if we're having a little boy or a little girl, but you're just going to have to wait to find out a little bit longer.  Just so you know, we are over the moon excited with what we are having!

So to help you with your guessing here's some deets:

I had basically zero morning sickness

Chinese Gender says it's a girl

Heart rate has been in the high 140's

I've been craving all the meats and spicy foods

So now that you have all the info let me know your guesses!!

♥ Ashley

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Monthly Bumpdate: weeks 17 - 20

Here we are in the first week of March...I mean how did that even happen?  It's so crazy how quickly time goes by the older you get.  This month we celebrated Valentines Day, decorated for St. Patrick's Day, went to Disneyland and had our Anatomy Scan!!!  To say it's been a full month is an understatement 😉

How far along: 20 weeks!! half way baked

Size of baby: measuring right on schedule, the size of a mango or banana or to throw it back the size of Cher's cell phone from Clueless!!

Weight gain: around 15 pounds

Sleep: it's really hit or miss but I feel like I sleep better more often than I don't so that's been good so far.

Cravings: give me all the spicy and all the meat.  Although I'm not sure I can ever pass up on pasta.

Miss anything: Sandwiches.  Every time I see a picture of a sandwich it looks so good.

Movement: maybe?  I wouldn't say that I've felt anything definitive yet but we learned at our anatomy scan that my placenta is anterior so I probably won't feel anything until closer to 22 weeks.

Gender: YES!!! and we're so excited!!  I can't wait to share it with y'all but would love to know your guesses.

Wedding rings on/off: still on and mostly loose as usual.

Happy or Moody: I would say this month I've been more happy than moody which makes me feel really good about all of it.

Looking forward to: celebrating my birthday this month and putting together our gender reveal post for y'all!!

Next appointment: in about 3 weeks and I'm kinda excited about it as I'm trying out my midwife's centering group, her group is a smaller group but I think it will be really fun to have prenatal visits in a group setting  and learn from all of our questions, concerns and experiences.

previous Bumpdates:

♥ Ashley

Monday, February 26, 2018

Weekending - Disney Style

I can't believe that February is basically over! It just flew by...but of course that probably had to do with our anticipation of our Disneyland trip, yep that's right we went to Disneyland again!! And I realized that I still haven't even recapped our trip back in September for all the Halloween Festivities...don't worry that's coming soon and will probably just be a bunch of pictures because I'm not sure how much I can remember.

Anyways this was Finnley's 4th trip and Ellie's 7th trip to Disneyland.  I have to say that the 22 month age is practically the perfect age for kiddos to experience Disney to its fullest (almost).  Finnley had so much fun running around, going on rides (including one's Ellie wasn't tall enough for until she was 3!!), looking at the characters from afar and just loving the Disney Magic in general.  Seeing these two girls enjoying themselves so much is what dreams are made of and I cannot wait until we get to share the Disney Love with our 3rd little babe on the way.

Our flight's with the girls went pretty smoothly and even though we had a 30 minute delay for our return flight we were lucky enough for the girls to sleep through almost the entire flight!!  Ellie is obsessed with maps and diagrams of all sorts and her favorite reading material is always the safety pamphlet on the plane!

Another fantastic trip to Disney and I promise that I will have a more timely detailed recap before our next trip in April!!

♥ Ashley

Friday, February 16, 2018

That Friday Post

Happy Weekend Y'all!!  We've had ourselves a busy week over here on the farm.  Finnley hasn't gotten a proper nap since Monday...all other naps have taken place in the car and thankfully she has adapted well!  It's hard to believe that she is going to be TWO in just 2 months!  We're fast approaching my favorite age (minus the potty training - which has already begun) and I am just thrilled to see how she thrives through this stage (hopefully less crying...).


As usual we celebrated our Valentine's Day on the super low key, I didn't even manage to take any pictures of the girls...oops!  But I'll tell you what, Ellie absolutely loved celebrating Valentine's and kept giving Thomas and myself "valentines" all week long!!

Now that Valentine's Day has come and gone it's time for us to pack up all the decor and get out my favorite decorations for St. Patrick's Day (which also happens to be my birthday so it's a pretty big deal in our house --- luckily we both have an Irish heritage as well).  My decor tastes have changed over the years but I'm pretty much always obsessed with green so whenever I find something I usually makes it's way home with me. 


The girls have swimming lessons on Friday's and I love that they are signed up for the same time, Finnley is actually in a Parent/Child class so I have to get in the water with her - it's a great bonding time for us and she is actually doing quite well.  Ellie got moved up into "the big pool" and isn't too big of a fan...but I told her she has to do it anyways and even though she is apprehensive before each class she doesn't want to get out of the pool when it is time to go.


It's Presidents Day weekend and I'm sure there are tons of sales going on but we have better plans for the holiday.  The school district Thomas works for takes the whole week off so we take advantage of his holiday and make our annual trip to Disneyland!!  While I can't go on my favorite rides I know that I'll be indulging in all the Dole Whips, Churros, and Mickey Pretzels I can get my hands on!! Disneyland, our home away from home.


I've done some online shopping lately and all my purchases are due to arrive within the next week.  I get those daily emails from Zulily but barely ever look at them because #momlife but it was the last day for Disney stuff so I just had to take a peek....I ordered the cutest clothes for the girls, a pair of mickey slip ons for myself, some Easter Basket goodies for the girls, and some fun items for the house, then since I got free shipping I checked out the women's clothes and have some maternity dresses (with pockets) as well as some great green tops headed my way!  I also took advantage of the Old Navy sale and got a couple more pairs of jeans for Thomas and then over to QVC to try out the Elemis face cream that comes so highly recommended.  I cannot wait for everything to come in!!

♥ Ashley

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day 2018

Just popping in to wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day!

We kept our festivities low key this year with minimal decor (including the lack of chalkboard art 😱) and left over take out from last night!  However, Ellie had a total blast at her Valentine's Party at school and couldn't believe that each one of her friends from school gave her a Valentine!  We also had to go to 3 different Starbucks to locate her a pink cakepop to celebrate the day!

This year's artwork is displayed on the mantle.  I just can't get enough of it!

 Finnley's artwork from last year is displayed in her room along with a Shimmer and Shine envelope (from NC) on her door.

 Ellie's door is sporting a heart I made out of a wire hanger and her own adorable handwriting 😍

 And then Ellie's artwork from previous years is displayed in her room!

Like sister, like sister...they did this on their own and it was so hard to choose from the 20 pics I snapped but this one took the cake!

Hope your day was filled with LOVE!!

Last year's Day of Love!


♥ Ashley

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Monthly Bumpdate- weeks 13-16

I can't believe it's already been a month since my last bumpdate.  The weeks are just flying by and the belly is growing bit by bit!  Exciting news this week, baby is the size of an avocado - no complaints here with that superfood comparison 😉.  This month I got the flu shot, went on a trip with Finnley across the country, and came home with a 24 hour bug that landed me in Urgent Care due to being pregnant...thankfully it turned out to be nothing and all is well on the farm.  Over in the Carolina's I got to indulge in all the Southern goodness of food: biscuits, BBQ, and cheesy grits being the highlights of my culinary exploration.


How far along: 16 weeks 3 days to be precise

Size of baby: an Avocado

Weight gain: I'm fluctuating around 10-12 lbs but my boobs are huge!!

Sleep: not terrible but not great.  I keep waking up with a stiff neck and I have the most vivid of dreams.

Cravings: the things I can't have (a sandwich, poached eggs, and copious amounts of coffee) additionally I still like all things spicy, give me all the pasta, and I can't say no to meat.  But I've also acquired a sweet tooth and think that cinnamon rolls and other baked goods are always a good idea.

Miss anything: aside from sandwiches, poached eggs, and coffee - there are some physical things that I miss but honestly I know I only have 5+ more months of this and it's not that bad.

Movement: not yet 😢, but hopefully I will soon.  I've always wanted to feel a baby in the belly (mine or others) and I can't wait to finally have the chance!!

Gender: we find out in a couple weeks and I am so excited.  I have no inclination whatsoever.

Wedding rings on/off: on with room to spare.

Happy or Moody: thankfully I've been happy more often than moody (which I'm sure everyone in the house can appreciate 😉)

Looking forward to: our anatomy scan and going to Disneyland!!! eek, I know I'll miss out on most of my favorite rides but when you go as often as we do I don't think I'll mind very much...just gives me more opportunities to sneak in an extra churro without sharing 😂

Next appointment: our anatomy scan and then my regular midwife appointment on the 28th!

Bumpdate 1, Bumpdate 2

♥ Ashley

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

What's Up Wednesday - January 2018

I can't even remember the last time I participated in What's up Wednesday...but these posts are always so fun, so here we go!!

What we're eating this week:
Tonight we are have a parent/teacher conference to talk about Ellie's kindergarten readiness so we're headed out to Red Robin for dinner afterwards.  Thursday is Steelhead (because it's so much better than salmon and Ellie eats the most out of all of us).  Friday I have to work and then we're all about the Pizza.  Saturday I have some Spaghetti (or other pasta) calling my name. Sunday is for Soup, I haven't decided which kind yet but here are some of my favorites: Cream of Carrot, West Virginia Governer's Stew, Cheeseburger Soup, and my very favorite chicken soup ever Colombian Chicken Soup.
What I'm reminiscing about:
6 years ago Thomas and I had our first HomeStudy visit scheduled for our Adoption.  I remember being so nervous and anxious about the whole process, it was totally worth it because Ellie is our biggest blessing and here we are 6 years later with two adorable daughters and our very first bio-babe on the way.  

What I'm loving:
Now that I am finally pregnant I actually get to look at maternity clothes with the intent of buying.  Sure my bump isn't that big yet and we're still 6 months from our due date but I went down the rabbit hole the other day looking for birthing robes/kimono's and I am completely obsessed with this one.
What we've been up to:
Last week Finnley and I headed to the East Coast with my dad to check out the Carolina's.  I ate all the good foods in Charleston (Callie's Hot Little Biscuit) and in Charlotte.  Finnley was an amazing girl the whole trip and I'm sure she had a great time.  Meanwhile, back home Ellie was living it up with Dada and Nanny (who came to watch her and take her to all her activities while I was away).

What I'm working on:
I signed up for the January Cure again this year to help me deep clean and declutter the house (this is the 3rd year I've done it and I love it so much).  So I've been working on my "homework" and crossing things off my big "to-do list".  My entryway has never been cleaner 😉.
What I'm excited about: 
I had my appointment with my Midwife today and got to hear the little babe's heartbeat again.  It's so nice to hear that and know that things are still going on in there, since I can't feel anything yet.  They were moving all around but she managed to locate the heartbeat and their heart rate is in the low 150's...tell me your guesses on the gender!!

What I'm watching:
We recently got rid of our cable and are solely streaming tv in our house.  I'm loving hulu, prime, netflix, and SlingTV.  So I'm watching all my favorite shows: Superstore, Big Bang Theory, This is Us, Fixer Upper, Call the Midwife, Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations and Reign.
What I'm wearing:
All the comfy clothes.  I've never been one too excited about tight waistbands and now as mine is expanding I need all the elastic I can get!! Leggings, Sweatpants, Joggers, Maternity Jeans, if it's stretchy then you can bet I'm wearing it 😊
What I'm doing this weekend:
We have big plans to go to the Children's Museum on Saturday and then hopefully on Sunday afternoon I can go bra shopping with my bestie because my girls are popping out of all of my bras 😆
What I'm looking forward to next month:
Thomas got me tickets to the Flower Show for Christmas and I can't wait for it to finally get here!! Flowers are my love language and I love all the inspiration I get going each year.  We also have some birthday parties to attend that should be super fun.  We are also heading back to the Happiest Place on Earth!!! yep we're making our annual February trip back to Disneyland and I can hardly contain my excitement! I cannot wait to get my mouth on a churro and corndog!!  Also I get to have another appointment with my Midwife and we get to find out the gender!!

Happy Last Day of January!!

♥ Ashley