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Friday Favorites {4.20.18}

It’s Friday! If only every day could be as happy as a fist-full of cotton candy on a spring day! My hopes are that your Friday is at least as happy as this picture. Today I’ll be celebrating Earth Day with my son at his school at lunchtime. The huge celebration is packed with 901rock decorating, crafts, reading time (Earth Day books of course!) and music- I love that they put so much effort into celebrating this special day. My son will also be playing his first baseball game coached by my husband- I’m snack mom this week and we’re bringing oranges and Pirates Booty at the request of my son (every 5-year-olds’ dream!)

We also have lots of other fun things planned this weekend- I am stoked it’s Friday!

Here are some things to ponder around the web.

Some states are now raising the bar on restaurant labor laws– a step up from my $2.13 an hour server days.

We have been binge watching this Netflix show.

Self-care– are we all doing it wrong?

This hopeful prayer

My friend had on Rothy shoes and gave me a demo on my porch- ha! Makes me want to buy some! They’re washable and bendable and made out of recycled material.

AND I have this ‘ole ab workout video on repeat #summergoals

What are you up to this weekend? We’re hoping the weather pans out! Have a lovely two days.

Family, Uncategorized

5 Fun Things {4.3.18}

Hey hey! How’s your week going? I’ve been saving up some fun things I stumbled upon (around the web) and this week is a great week for a pick-me-up. Here are 5 fun things (plus 1)- check it out if you’d like to see!

Fleeing desk jobs for the farm life

Breakfast for Dinner-yes please!

Morning Motivation -made me pumped!

My new (aspiring) dance moves -I can’t stop watching!

Tacos. Tacos. Tacos. -If you’re not obsessed we can’t be friends.

And for those asking and wondering, we’re still in the adoption waiting game. We’re approved and on stand-by for our placement. It could be tomorrow or three years from now- what can I say- we live on the wild side! Please keep us in your thoughts during this waiting period. Happy mid-week!

~Ashley

Family, Food & Wine, Uncategorized

Sunday’s Are For Sending Winter Away

This Sunday we had enough. We took a stand to the injustice that is otherwise known as the never ending winter and we had ice cream- gasp!

First we headed to one of our favorite parks and played away most of our winter blues. And then I didn’t want it to end so I suggested ice cream. My family started walking over to the ice cream truck and I steered them over to the car- “we are not eating ice cream there, get in the car!”

We headed over to Sweet Noshings, a candy, fudge, popcorn, coffee, ice cream shop (they have pretty much everything amazing in life on their menu) and we picked out our ice cream flavors. By the way, I still need to educate my kids that, brown, white and pink are not flavors, but colors, but I let all that slide today. I guess I was also feeling melancholy about the weather because I splurged on a pack of pop rocks and white cheese popcorn.

Here are some pictures of our delightful afternoon if you’d like to see. I completely understand that ice cream is just defeating my ongoing plan to become bathing suit ready, however I’m really trying to partake in some of my kid’s blissful, pleasurable moments and I chalk this day up to a splurge day.

After all that sugar, and the dancing to celebrate the sugar, both kids finished out the evening watching their new favorite show, Clifford the Big Red Dog!

What are you doing to shove winter out the back door? 

PS: If you’re in the Memphis area and haven’t been to Sweet Noshings, check them out. All four of our ice cream flavors were on point and their popcorn was amazing!

~XO Ashley

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Friday Favorites {2.16.18}

Hey hey it’s Friday! We have a fun weekend planned with a date night, a birthday painting party and a “no-plans Saturday morning” that I’m so excited about.

These right here are some of my favorites if you’d like to see.

Sheet fried eggs– what?!?! If I had known about these years ago it would have saved me from hovering over the stove. We’ll be trying these out Saturday morning so I can hang in bed a little longer while the oven does all the cooking.

My dad was in town last Saturday and we surprised him when he came over with our family Valentine’s party.

Haha! We had this magnificent sign on the porch with a spotlight to greet him when he arrived at our door.

And these ridiculous balloons that my kids picked out especially for the party! Everyone received a gift from the table in the corner.

My son and I picked out chocolates at our local candy shop special for the occasion- here he is sampling them- choices choices!

We buy striped Amazon pajamas for the kids all the time, but this time I bought some for me and my husband too (it was one of his Valentine’s gifts). My daughter was so excited when she saw us wearing them. She ran to her room to change into her pair so she could match us!

I can’t wait to get into gear for spring. Usually on the first nice day I head to Lowe’s to jazz up my patio. Here are some fun ideas to get ahead of the game.

Also if you need a mood boost, check out these fun links…

How The Rock feels about rainbow surprises 😂

I did a post on “work moods” this week and how to take yours up a notch. And this interview, “Why Limit Happy to an Hour” just puts me in a good mood.

This window washer really makes the best of his job!

Toddlers and their bedtime shenanigans… I mean this is my life.

Finally on a more somber note, this school shooting has me just utterly devastated. I just can’t even imagine what these families are going through and my heart pours out to them. It’s hard to know what to say and sometimes we are all left feeling a little helpless. If you’re feeling that same way but would love to take action, here are five ways to help.

Have a fun relaxing weekend and hug your loved ones a little tighter!

Family, Food & Wine, Health, Uncategorized

Friday Favorites {2.8.18}

Happy Friday- Whoop whoop! Work has been insanely busy and I couldn’t be more ready for the weekend! We are still surviving winter in a big way over here- I am particularly over it and we sure are ready for some warmer weather- however it’s projected to be cold and gloomy again this weekend so our plans will be something indoors. We might head to the movie in theatres now- The Greatest Showman- and we’re scoping out a hands-on, interactive, dinosaur show at the Agricenter this weekend.

I haven’t posted favorites in a while but here’s a little bit of what I’m loving.

I discovered these two recipes during my Whole30 journey and they’re on weekly repeat at our house now! If you’re doing Whole30 too just minus beans and rice on the second recipe.

Click here

and here

My new go-to workout is Pure Barre! My back was really killing me due to sitting at work all day. I was going to the chiropractor every month but I have not been back in 3 months due to Pure Barre! It’s a lot of planking, core work and stretching that I think was missing from my life. This workout can get expensive but they always have a special going on that makes it a little more economical. It’s been worth it for me, and my back, to have a stronger core!

My kids are real comedians at this age and I’ve been blogging a lot lately about our life, and our humor.

Click here to read about my son’s 3 medals and here to read all about how my daughter is asking everyone she encounters all about their age!

If you’re looking to create a collection, here are some details to consider.

Plus if you’re interested- I give you permission to nap!

I found these Brazi bites at my local Fresh Market and I’m in love- they had me at cheese and bread. It’s been about 6 years since I’ve visited Brazil, but as far as I can tell these little bits of heaven aren’t too far off the mark from the originals. You can find them in the freezer section. They’d be great appetizers if you’re needing to bring a side for a potluck.

I hosted our dinner club last weekend at my house- apps and game night was the theme. It was so much fun! Everyone brought and app and a game and the food spread we ended up with was something I just would never have accomplished on my own! One of the crowd favorites were these Parmesan cheese bites! One of my friends described them as “little bites of heaven”.

Other than that I’m also loving these two pictures, but I’m partial!

I hope you’re having a great week so far. Be sure to comment all about what you’re loving right now!

Health, Uncategorized

Do You Have a Collection?

When I was younger I collected Pez dispensers- I had forgot all about it until my brother sent me a vintage Santa Pez dispenser this Christmas. Other than some coins that my great grandfather gave me when I was younger, I’ve really been out of the whole collection loop for some time.

Fast forward to parenthood, next year Graham will have to build a collection of 100 things for Kindergarten so we’ve been noodling with ideas on what to target. One afternoon he collected acorns in the backyard and we thought that might be the winner, but he left the bucket on the porch and a few squirrels who had been starving over the winter jumped on the opportunity to snack on his hull. Now Graham’s been gathering acorns instead, to feed to the squirrels.

Graham got a Polaroid camera for Christmas and a photo album that fits Polaroid snapshots so lately he’s been taking random pictures of our daily life to place in his memory book. So far that’s the collection he’s stood by and I’m loving that this photo album is completely made by him of his perspective on how he sees life as his younger self. The book includes pictures of his favorite toys, his babysitter, and our family.

Rose from retirement.com says there are 8 benefits to having a collection, one of them being the improvement of organizational thinking- she organizes her Rhino collection by horn length!

Amongst other reasons, James Halperin mentions that people collect things for the competitive challenge, relaxation and stress reduction, knowledge and learning or the desire to control or possess small order to the larger world.

Artofmanliness.com gives this tip when considering the start of your collection:
“Make sure your choice is broad enough to make the hunting fairly easy at first, but niche enough as to not be overwhelming. For instance, you don’t want to collect sports cards as a whole — that would just be too much; focus in on a single sport or a particular team or player.”

I’ve always loved the idea of collecting corks from wine or champagne on special occasions and noting the celebration and date on the cork with a sharpie.

Do you have a collection? Graham’s upcoming poject is making me want to start my own!

Family, Uncategorized

Life Lately {11.13.17}

Well hello. We have been keeping busy lately. October was a good month for us and we were sad to see it go. Here are a few ways we made sure to enjoy the month and the weather.

We started out October with Disney on Ice. I really wasn’t sure if these kids would sit still long enough, but we took a chance and I’m so glad we did because they LOVED it!

We did a little car shopping and well it isn’t always roses with these two. We were chatting with the salesman and we turned around to find these two wrestling on the floor. Sigh.

We finished soccer season with a bang. These two friends just love to hang out!

The weather cooled down and we found this fun hat at our Bass Pro Shop.

I did a little meal prepping with the cutest little assistant.

We attended school Halloween parties….

This Halloween party had a fun crafting station. What a fun idea!

We attended my son’s school Peace Day celebration complete with a dove release. The best part was watching this kid play on his school playground.

We celebrated this guy’s birthday!

We tried a new restaurant.

They had fun games including a Moana board game complete with character figures.

They have a yummy butternut squash soup!

And we enjoyed the cool fall weather riding bicycles and climbing trees and swinging on tire swings.

We visited the most fun farm near Huntsville and picked out pumpkins, rode on hayrides and swam in corn.

We visited family and my sister-in-law broke out their school mascot “The Buck” for the kids. My daughter was not much of a fan- eek! His eyebrows are kind of angry! Fun fact: My sister-in-law LOVES mascots. She filled in as the school mascot when she was in high school. She’s just the perfect size to play the part of a school mascot!

And finally our trip ended with a lot of outdoor time, gator rides, kite flying, a homemade playground (out of chopped tree stumps) and some swinging.

 

Also, our kids dressed in these costumes about 4.2 million times (or maybe just five times- it felt like they wore them all month).

We were sad to see October go and can’t wait to celebrate again next year. These kids are just so fun.

Family, Uncategorized

Friday Favorites {10.12.17}

HELLO Friday! Ah, after six days of being out on vacation and then for a work conference last week it sure is good to be home. I missed my kiddos so much.

We had a little bit of a crazy week THIS week. My daughter’s school had a sewage mishap, caused by the water company. Well the entire place was backed up with sewage overnight, flowing for a good six hours before anyone made it out. So what they have is a good 4 inches of poo poo (literally) all throughout the building. We have been coping with a pieced-together-plan of working from home and a fantastic borrowed nanny that stepped in to support us for a few days. The most amazing contingency has come about as a result of the contaminated building and we are crossing our fingers that the school will relocate to another promising facility next week! The school is having to replace EVERYTHING since items are all deemed contaminated, so parents and teachers are all coming together to outfit the temporary location. This is crazy town!

I love to spend time with my toddler at home, but working from home with a toddler for multiple days is no joke. I know she’s ready to get out of the house and play with her friends and go back to her regular routine.

We also heard a bit of news about our adoption journey. We originally planned to adopt internationally, but due to my preexisting medical condition and our birth order plan, coupled with a few other details, we found that we did not have a risk-averse country that would accept us, so we have decided to switch to domestic adoption. Basically, we could have wrapped up our adoption application for a country, gone down a long road of waiting, paid up to $20,000 in country fees, all to have the country come back to us with a “no”. I don’t have any more info on our new plan other than that for now, because we ourselves are in the dark, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated on our journey here.

So here we are again, where I recap my Friday Favorites with you and share a little bit about what’s been going on.

First, one of my favorites was visiting my new baby niece. I wrote about my trip here. Isn’t she just so precious? I remember that newborn stage being so fun but so exhausting!

I headed to a conference in San Antonio for work. Our speaker, Mel Robbins had fun words of wisdom for us. She wrote a book about the Five Second Rule. Her method motivates her to get “out of her own way” by counting down from five every time she hesitates to do something. She equates it to a rocket launch, and says that it triggers blockers in the brain that keep humans in a procrastination state. She uses it to get out of bed, boost confidence, network, start projects, etc. Basically anything that she hesitates moving forward on. I’ve used it multiple times since I arrived home.

I finally finished Crazy Rich Asians on my trip. I highly recommend it for a fun, light read. And I picked ups JoJo Moyes, Paris for One in the airport. So far, it doesn’t disappoint!

 

This resort in San Antonio was beautiful. I didn’t get to lounge around much, but I did grab a margarita and while I enjoyed the view. It has a water slide, which I definitely didn’t get a chance to take advantage of, a spa, a gym and a TPC golf course along with several restaurants.

This was the view outside my balcony.

Isn’t San Antonio so pretty at night?

I had a little bit of time to grab a manicure on the vacation portion of my trip. Isn’t this green nail color a great transition to fall? A guy asked me at the airport “what is green your favorite color?” I was in such a zone that I did not even realize he was referring to my nails!

Right before I left for travel, we had our Fall Dinner Club. We had our annual scarf exchange and had dinner in this sweet little town square in Collierville (at this little place). Isn’t this town cute? Every single scarf we exchanged was beautiful. We all left with a fun new fall accessory!

My daughter had a fun birthday party a few weeks ago to celebrate 2! Our nephews came up to visit us with their parents and they just had so much fun with my son. They gave him a whole lot of attention. Here he is with our youngest nephew goofing around.

And last week, right after I arrived back from my trip, we headed to Disney on Ice as a family. We don’t spend the money on tickets for these type of events very often- my kids just don’t sit still at this age- but they absolutely loved it!

So that’s a wrap. It’s been a packed few weeks and I can’t wait to catch up with my husband and kiddos this weekend. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Family, Uncategorized

Friday Favorites {8.25.17}

Hey there. It’s been a while. I have been stuck under mountains of “to do” lists, and trainings, and the first day of school for my son, and all the things that I’m trying to wrap my mind around including a test I need to take for work- eek! I think I’ve made about six lists of things that I need to do, but I keep loosing track of the lists so there are multiple lists with multiple things scattered throughout my life.

BUT I do feel extremely motivated and accomplished that we made a date night to attend the new Crosstown Grand Opening that we toured a few weekends prior. I booked both our fall and winter Dinner Club dates complete with reservations- let it go down in history that I have a reservation at a restaurant for December that I made in August! I also shared this post about tips I’ve gained over time to develop a resume.

And finally we’re surprising our kids with a dinner this weekend where they’ll get to meet the Toy Story characters crew. The end of fall is fast approaching and I’m bracing myself for Halloween costumes, fall festivals, cooler weather, and all the things pumpkin (Starbucks starts serving their Pumpkin Latte September 1st)! Also, doesn’t this Caramel Apple Mimosa look AMAZING!?

But through all the craziness and lists and work events good news came- my niece was born! Whoop whoop- I can’t wait to meet her and spoil her, she’s such a beauty and a little nugget! We are all so excited about her arrival.

I’ve been trying to capture some of my favorites in the midst of this crazy chaotic time because it helps me to be mindful of being thankful and appreciative of all the little things. Here are some of my most recent favorites to round out the week.

 


Fall Art Festivals!

My two favorite Memphis Fall Art Festivals are happening in September. If you live in the area mark your calendars!  The Germantown Festival will be held September 9th and 10th and the Cooper Young Festival will be held September 16th. Both have a variety of arts, crafts, pottery, door signs, clothing, baby goods, and all the things you can think of that would be homemade. We love shopping early for Christmas gifts.

 


These Flowers 

Aren’t these flowers from Whole Foods so pretty? I split them up and scattered them all throughout my house.

 


Our Rock Collection

People decorate rocks in our town, they call them 901 Rocks, deemed from the area code. Here’s our more recent collection. Our kids love to look at them. And when they find them in the city (which is like a giant Easter Egg Hunt) they go crazy!

 


Our Yard Day

Our yard was a little crazy. We made a point to cover some ground and involve the kids, because well, there’s no other way! So we bought these yard tools, got some smaller rakes for the kids and bagged up nearly 20 bags of leaves. I’m ready for fall and being able to enjoy our outdoor area again- it’s been so hot here lately!

PS: We love all our new tools and our bag holder for the leaves. The shovel came in especially handy when piling the leaves into the bags.

 


This Necklace

Look how pretty, and the packaging on old library cards- LOVE!


Basketball Season

Basketball season is almost upon us! And that means our hometown Grizzlies will be playing soon! If you’re local, be sure to check out the schedule.


These Two!

They’re adorable and destructive all at the same time. Here’s our art time at one of our favorite places! They were loving the stamps that day and all the colored pencils.

 

And that, my friends, wraps up all of my favorites as of late. What are you up to this weekend? We are hoping the weather dips so we can enjoy the outdoors. We also caught the tail end of this movie last night (insert ugly cry here)- we love us some Morgan Freeman! Have a great weekend!

Family, Health, Uncategorized

Hand Out a High-Five- A Little Tip

Do you hi-five? I mean do you really hold up you hand with the corny gesture to tell someone “way to go” or “hey man good job”?

I gave my husband a high-five today for eating all his corn and chicken at the dinner table (for the pure audience of our children- hey parents will do anything to get their kids to eat). I also gave my husband a high-five for putting a backyard playground together. And you know what, it’s so cheesy. But you know what else, it feels great to hold up your hand and slap some recognition right into someone else’s being.

I don’t remember ever giving my husband a high-five before last week- how sad is that? There are so many missed opportunities. I am going to have to make it up to him! For those of you still here reading on about my kooky high-five banter, here’s the back-story.

My daughter would not eat the other day. This was her regular performance. We would set down her dinner and she’d turn her head and say “I don’t like” without ever trying it. This has been going on for weeks. It started to really concern me sooo I got desperate and did the first thing I could think of. I looked at my son and started giving him high-fives for every single bite he ate. My son was stoked and my daughter felt left out so she started shoveling food in her mouth. Hunger strike over! I was shocked! I mean, yes it was a desperate idea and I tried it out for size, but I never thought it would work!

My little experiment makes me realize how little effort requires to make someone feel engaged and appreciated. We have been handing out high-fives in our house ever since. My daughter is eating better because she doesn’t want to feel left out. She cares about being appreciated.  And what I took for granted is that my son WAS eating well and we weren’t giving him credit for that.

Here’s my challenge to you. Try out your high-five. Start with your kids, your spouse and your family and move to co-workers. Throw in a stranger for good measure. I promise you, most people can’t leave a high-five hanging. Plus, showing appreciation for other’s efforts with a high-five is totally cheesy, but strangely rewarding.

Side bar: We also tell Alexa to set a timer for a five minute count-down when our kids just take forever to eat- it drives my son BONKERS! (I can’t give away all my wonderful parenting tips in one post!) But the high-five approach has much better results around our table.

Cheers to high-fives (if a cheers and a high-five at the same time is even possible)!

~Ashley