Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmas Instagram Challenge

Janssen, from Everyday Reading, and I are hosting a Christmas-themed Instagram challenge during the first week of December...(which starts tomorrow!)

This challenge will be a great way to get creative, and bring in the Christmas season!

It's going to be so fun seeing everyone's pictures, so we'd love for you to join in!  (Do 1 day, all the days, whatever you decide!)

Just use #7ChristmasCarols, and enjoy all the great pictures!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ask Ashley

I've been wanting to do a vlog (a video blog) for a while, so I thought this would be a perfect way to get that going.

So!  I'd love to hear any questions you may have for me.  I'll answer them on my vlog (probably going up next week).  Questions can be about anything.....blogging, family, children, dancing, church, schedules, fashion, my opinion on a particular topic...anything(!)

You can leave the questions in the comments below, on my Facebook page, email me (, tweet me,...whatever works for you.

I'm excited for this!

I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving!!  
Linking up with Shanna

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Story time at Progeny Shoppe

A few weeks ago I hosted a story time at Progeny Shoppe.  It was my second time hosting, and I had just as much fun as last time! I was pregnant the last time around as well, but good grief, I look so round sitting there this go around with my giant self!

I do love Progeny Shoppe and all their cute clothes, accessories, and nursery decor.  It really is the cutest shop of all time!

I've hosted several events lately for children that have been completely free, and I have to tell all those that brought their kids how proud I am of them!  It's so important to go and do and teach your children how to behave in social settings.

I've been a "working" mom and a stay at home mom, and there's activities and events available for both.  (I know it's hard to get to a week day morning activity when you have a full time job outside the home!)

But I'm telling you....I hear way too often how moms aren't taking their kids to story time, craft time, classes, etc. because they're afraid their child will misbehave, or not be interested, or something along those lines.  These are the opportunities children deserve to have!  These opportunities teach children how to sit stillish and listen, how to behave in public, and makes them a well-rounded individual.  

(And no, I'm not promoting a child's schedule to be packed from morning to night.  They definitely need time to themselves to learn and explore and be individuals.)

One of the many things I thank my mom for is taking me to so many of these activities.  If she had a meeting, I was there.  If there was a class of some sort, she signed me up for it.  If there was any kind of production (high school, local theatre, professional, anything(!), I was there with my mom. (And she worked full-time!)  This taught me how to interact with other people, taught me how to behave, and gave me experiences that shaped my personality.

I'm so grateful for those experiences! 

Be on the look-out for more of these story times and fun activities!

Monday, November 24, 2014

DIY Advent Calendar (including a list of ideas!)

This Christmas is going to be really different for us.  We usually go to my Grandma's house for lunch, and then head over to my parents' house for a few days to spend time with my whole family.

This year, baby is due the week after Christmas, so we're staying home so I won't have to travel. I'm excited to spend the day in our own home, but I'm also a little sad that my Christmas tradition is being altered a bit.

Because of all the changes, I decided this is the year that we're going to really kick our own family traditions into full gear.  This advent calendar is something I think will be exciting for the boys, and the activities can be changed each year as they get older.

I went to Michaels and got a few supplies ^.  All the Christmas ribbon was 50% off, and I had a couple of really great coupons from the Michaels app.

I want to be able to keep this calendar year after year, so I wrote the numbers on the burlap tags, and then wrote the daily activities on a cute, colorful tag that I clothes pinned behind the burlap one.  (I can replace the paper tags each year.)

And here's our list for this year!  I included a little bit of everything on it.

1-Open Christmas pjs (I can't wait for this...they just came in from The Orange Iris, and they're ridiculously cute!)
2-Write letters to Santa (The town of Cary has a Santa mailbox where you can mail your letters to Santa, and he'll write one back to fun!)
3-Read a Christmas book (Janssen has a really great list)
4-Drink hot chocolate (this will probably be done every night.) :)
5-Make Christmas Crunch...and take some to a friend.
6-Pay for the person behind us in a drive-thru line. (I guess I'll have to get some chicken minis this day.)
8-Color and play Nativity matching game
9-Make Christmas goodies for neighbors
10-Clean toys (and donate some)
11-Make Christmas cards for friends
12-Watch Home Alone (so excited about this one!)
13-Attend the Apex Nativity (Free and open to all, by the way)
14- Watch Elf  
15-Make a Christmas craft
16-Visit the nursing home
17-Read a Christmas book
18-Drink apple cider
19-Make Christmas cards for grandparents/great grandparents
20-Drive around to see Christmas lights
21-Read the Christmas story from the Bible
22-Write about major events from 2014 in journal
24-Make cookies for Santa/snacks for reindeer 

Another benefit of this calendar is for the boys to see how many days are left until Christmas. They asked me yesterday if it was Christmas Eve (we put up our decorations this past weekend), so hopefully this will avoid the "are we there yet?!" question over and over. :)

I'm excited about Christmas, but this week I'm most excited about Thanksgiving!!  I can't believe it's already here.  

What are your favorite holiday traditions?!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Car Chat

^and then I anti-bacterialed my hands immediately after realizing that touching leaves on a city street is so gross.  :)
Boots, Leggings, Sweater: Motherhood Maternity (similar)

In the car, on the way home from the library yesterday, I looked down at the temperature and said to the boys, "Can we please talk about how it is 35 degrees?!"  Without missing a beat, Charlie said, "Nope!"  Smart boy.  It's way too cold.

I'm 33 weeks this week.  This pregnancy is flying by.  I'm one of those crazy ladies that actually loves being pregnant.  (Minus the very beginning when I felt like I had the flu for 2 months.)  I know that terrible, lonely feeling of wanting so badly to be pregnant, so when I am, it all seems so amazing.  

Both of my boys were giant babies, so around 38 weeks (Christmas!), I might be struggling a little bit.  But for now, I'm embracing the hugeness that I am, and loving all the belly movement, the slight waddle, and especially all the extra chocolate chip cookies I keep justifying eating. :)
Linking up with Shanna and The Pleated Poppy

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


A little sneak peak from our Christmas photo shoot with Sara Logan Photography.  She is amazinggggg.  And so are these little boys of mine.

Today I'm joining Kristen's Blogathon challenge with the "Currently" prompt.  So....I am


Reading:  Jim Gaffigan's, Food.  I loved Dad is Fat, and this one, though not quite as hilarious as Dad is Fat, is still really funny.  (My favorite chapter so far is the one about seafood. Hah!)

DIYing:  A sample ornament for the Christmas ornament workshop I'm hosting at West Elm this Thursday.  I hope you and your kids can come out and join me!  More information here.  

Annoyed with:  Toys!!!  My boys like to dump out every toy box, everyday, and then it takes them a million years to clean everything up.  They actually do play with them a lot, but it was getting to a point where that's all we were doing.  Cleaning up toys.  So today, I was DONE, and decided that all the toys get locked up except for one box.  They can choose the toys they want to play with for the week, put it in that one box, and that's it.  No more.  Next week we'll switch them out.  Hopefully it'll work, and I can actually do other things besides cleaning toys and getting them to clean toys (like...oh you know...laundry...and literally anything else besides cleaning toys.)

Eating:  This wrap.  Yummmmmm.  It's actually really easy to make, and is such a nice change from my daily lunch turkey sandwich.

Craving:  Dove chocolate.  I was craving it this weekend, too, so I got a bag and put it up in a kitchen cabinet.  I came downstairs Sunday morning, and most of the wrappers were on the counter, empty.  Walker boy had helped himself to a little "breakfast".  I couldn't be too upset with him, though....I would've done the same thing if I had found a secret stash of Dove chocolate.

Loving:  This quote.  The key to being happy.  It's so true.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Join me for a Christmas ornament workshop!

I am so excited to be hosting a free DIY Christmas ornament workshop this Thursday, November 20 at West Elm Southpoint.    

Bring your kids of all ages to make an ornament!  The children will be able to take one home with them to enjoy, and leave one at the store.  The ornament they leave at the store will be used as a thank you gift to all customers who donate $10 to the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.  

This is such a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season, and will be such a fun way to spend your morning.  (My boys love the fountains at Southpoint.) :)  

Come any time between 10am and 12pm. I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Outfit Inspiration

Necklace: Vestique, Shirt: Old Navy Non-Maternity, Jeans: Old Navy, Shoes: Cousin Couture

When I saw this outfit on Pippa, I thought..."Buffalo plaid with heels?!  I love it!!" (I also thought about how much I would love her and Kate's entire wardrobe.)  Meagan also wore a similar outfit, (with a touch of fur), and I loved that one as well.

I was hoping I could stretch this non-maternity top out for just one more week so I could replicate it, and it worked out!...(barely) :)  I wore this same shirt here and wow, what a difference a little over a month makes!

Have you found some cute outfit inspiration lately?!
Linking up with Shanna and The Pleated Poppy

Monday, November 10, 2014


This is my absolute favorite tree in our town.  A ton of the leaves have already fallen off, and the colors have changed a bunch since the very beginning of the season, but it's still so stunning. So glad I get to pass it every single day.

The boys and I checked out a a really great group of books this past week from the library. (Sometimes the random picks can be weird), but these were actually good.  One of those books was called Albie's First Word: A Tale Inspired by Albert Einstein's Childhood.  What I loved most about this book was how Albert Einstein's parents gave him so many opportunities to learn and grow, and most importantly, to be himself....even though he was so different from his sister.

My boys have plenty of similarities, but it's interesting how I have to parent them so differently. They react differently to situations, get mad about different things, respond to discipline in different it's always a fun challenge learning how to be the best mom to them individually.  Baby boy #3 is going to rock the house with a whole new personality, I'm sure!

And also, I would be embarrassed to tell you how many times I've worn this cardigan since Belly Dance Maternity sent it to me last week.  It came packaged so beautifully, and I literally put it on the second I took it out.  I then wore it the next day, and the day after that....and finally decided it might need a wash. :) 

With only 2 months left of this pregnancy, and with baby growing bigger every day, my number one goal is to be comfortable.  Such a bonus that this cardigan is super cute, too. :)  (All of their clothes are ridiculously cute!)

I hope y'all have a fantastic week!!  If you're in the Raleigh area, I would love to have you join me for a special story and singing time tomorrow morning.  More details here
Linking up with Molly today!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Join me for story/singing time!

I'm so excited to be hosting a story/singing time at Progeny Shoppe again.  The summer story time was such a blast, and I'm looking forward to a new theme with a whole new set of fun this go around.

I'd love for you to come!  It's free for bring your kids/nephews/nieces of all ages to join in on the fun.

See you Tuesday!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fun Facts

^this picture :)  
Jeans: Old Navy, Boots: Old Navy (similar), Top: Motherhood Maternity (Similar), Sweater: Express (similar)

My good blog friend, Kristen, is doing a fun November blog challenge.  Monday's prompt was to post 30 facts about while I'm a few days late, and 27 facts are 3 fun facts about me. 

*Even though Celine Dion is my favorite of all time, I really love listening to some good ol' rock 'n roll.  Nothing crazy...just the nice, classic stuff.  I do play the typical Wee Song and Primary songs, but I'm usually saying, "Charlie, what instrument is this?"  and "Walker, one day you need to learn this drum solo." :)

*I currently have 4 notecards of different to-do lists on my desk right now.  One for the boys, one for Relief Society, one for the house, and one of random things that didn't fit in with the other notecards.

*Sometimes, when I'm in need of a break or a breather, I go to Pinterest, click on "humor", and spend way too long scrolling through, laughing at all the hilarious memes.

PS.  These 28 facts about me are way better! :)
Linking up with Shanna and The Pleated Poppy

Monday, November 3, 2014


A week before Halloween, the boys changed their minds from Captain Hook and Peter Pan, and decided they wanted cool weapons and Ninja Turtle costumes.  I was actually sad about this, (which sounds insane), but they seem like such "big boy" costumes.  I'm not quite ready for all this yet.

After the boys' Halloween parties at school on Friday, we drove to my parents' house to spend the weekend with them.  My dad took the boys trick-or-treating and then dressed up as Darth Vader for a costume contest a little later.  Just as a side note...that costume is NO joke.  I helped him get into that thing and it took about 40 minutes.  He had the Darth Vader breathing sound effect strapped to him and everything.  Ridiculous, but kinda fun.

Charlie thought his Grandpa was THE coolest, and stayed by his side the entire night.  I have no clue about ANYTHING Star I'm trying to educate myself so Charlie still believes it when I say, "Mommy knows everything." :)

Here are some pictures from our weekend.  I loved seeing all the cute costumes from your Halloween.  Such a fun way to kick off the holiday season!

^Michaelangelo and Leonardo. 

^I was one of the moms in charge of Charlie's party, and had the paper product and fruit assignment.  Those "pumpkin", so fun...but so, so time consuming.

^Walker's party.  His teachers tell me that he takes lunch time very seriously.  :)

^Charlie and his friend, Claire.  I adore this picture.  This is their FIFTH Halloween together.  (More annual pictures here.)

Hope you're having a great start to your November.  Fun month ahead!
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