Current Family Life

This family of mine. I love them. This picture is from our walk that we took this weekend. Our wagon and stroller are the best. Sometimes Chloe rides her scooter while the other two ride in the wagon, but we really just wanted to enjoy a walk together instead of getting onto Chloe for trying to go in the middle of the road/going too far ahead/running us over. You know?

This week has been a bit of a struggle. Everyone is just off and grumpy. We are all short tempered with each other. It’s been dreary and cloudy all week, so we have been indoors a lot. Our yard is currently a giant mud puddle from the buckets of rain that fell last night. I am incredibly thankful for all of the rain the covered Oklahoma last night. We needed it.

I am trying to gather things up to have a garage sale next weekend. I’ve been doing this since we moved to town. haha! We lived in an apartment last yard sale season, so I just kept collecting it in bags/boxes that are labeled. I can’t wait to finally clear some of it out!! Now, if the current sunny/perfect temperature forecast for next weekend can come true, I’ll be set.

Is anyone else jealous of her setup? I want someone to push me in a cozy stroller while I eat a snack with my shoes on the wrong feet. Gah! I love her so..

The baby fever is real with me. Harper turns THREE in a few months. I’m not ready. I can’t handle it. I am so thankful that I have been in the nursery at church getting to snuggle babies. haha!!

 

Easter is coming up. We have bought a few things for the big girls. All I have for Harper so far is a book. We really try to not do a lot of candy. They get plenty at the egg hunt at church. Do you have any ideas for an almost three year old?! I should have an idea, but nope. I’m lost. I don’t have dresses for them yet. I feel like things have been so chaotic that I’m losing control of it all. Yikes!!

On that note.. Happy Wednesday. We are halfway through this week! Hallelujah!

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Fresh Bread

The girls and I made fresh bread yesterday. I used this recipe that my younger sister sent me. I can’t wait to try this one though. I believe they are essentially the same recipe, one is just a much larger batch.

What is it about fresh made bread that is so comforting?! The house smelled delicious while it cooked. I let it cool and gave each of the girls a slice to eat. We sliced more to make garlic bread with our dinner. We have less than half a “loaf” left now and I can’t wait to make more.

I have dreams of being a homesteader. I probably won’t mill my own flour, but I would love to live off of the fruits and vegetables that I grow and make everything from scratch. I make quite a bit from scratch compared to other families, but I know there is so much more that I could be doing. Owning a home on a decent sized piece of land would be a dream come true.

I have been reading this post and slowly going through the information. I find it all fascinating. Making my own bars of soap?! While I would never wish to go back to the horrific diseases and struggles of the “olden days”, I long for the simplicity.

Imagine a world without social media to drain the life from you and give you so many ways to compare and rob you of joy. I deleted the Facebook app off of my phone. It is sad how freeing that has felt. I found myself getting sucked into scrolling for absolutely no reason. It’s sad. I have really contemplated deleting it altogether. It is a nice way to keep in touch with family and friends all over the globe, so I keep hanging onto it.

We plan on starting a small container garden this year. We rent our home and are just starting out with gardening. I am praying that it is successful and we can add to it each year. I read somewhere that a homesteader is anyone who is making an effort to be more self-sufficient. So, I guess I could call myself one, but I certainly don’t feel like I deserve that title yet. haha!

I am curious. Have you ever made your own bread or soap? Or anything else? I’ve made my own cleaners and love it! (I made my own laundry soap, but it did not work well with my HE washing machine.. the stink was bad.)

 

**(Completely random, but I found this bag that looks just like my Lily Jade bag for 1/3 of the price. It comes in teal also, if anyone has been looking!)**

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Date Night- what?!

Oh, date night. I love you.

Date night was the best. My mother-in-law watched the girls for Scott and I so that we could go out to dinner together. We went to a local place where the atmosphere is super cool, the food is so good, and you leave feeling completely stuffed.

Scott got a gigantic catfish sandwich that was really good, and I got a huge open-faced green chile burger. I was born in New Mexico.. my blood type may be green chile. (J/K it’s coffee) They make everything fresh; even their french fries. We were completely stuffed but still ordered a warm chocolate espresso brownie with vanilla ice cream on top.

We walked around downtown for a little while to offset everything we ate before heading home. The weather was beautiful. It was glorious. No one stole my food. I did share my food with Scott because I wanted to try his, too. But, nobody was throwing food at me. No one threw a fit. We didn’t have to scarf our food down to finish before someone had a meltdown. Parents, you know what I’m talking about!

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I also was reminded just how much I love this man that I get to do life with. We still have fun together. We still love each other. We are still Scott and Ashley, husband and wife, apart from just mom and dad. It was nice to take off our parental hats for the evening and just be us.

I am so thankful for my mom-in-law for giving us this opportunity, and for SO many other things. We get to do it again this Friday so that we can go watch some of our high school kids in their musical. Their musical just so happens to be HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL. I am geeking out and want to sit in the front row so that I can sing and dance along. I will control myself.. I think..

The girls and I are making peasant bread today with plans of making this depression era bread later in the week. It is supposed to be rainy/stormy all week, so what better way to pass the time than make loads of bread? haha!

Happy Monday, friends!! I hope that you had a wonderful weekend!!

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Friday Favorites

First, I’m going on a date with my husband tonight. It has been WAY too long.

Addi got a new haircut (sort of pictured above). She never sits still, so I don’t think I’ll get a good picture. It’s so cute though! Her hair got caught in the engine of a leaf blower, so it had to get cut. We are so thankful that she wasn’t hurt. She has been wanting her hair cut short for a while now, so she is really happy.

This stainless steel 360 cup. It is insulated, which is a huge bonus for me, the mom of a dairy-allergy child. (It is $14.99 in stores, so don’t pay more than that on Amazon!)

THIS is just too hilarious. And, maybe I’m terrible for thinking so.

We have a wagon that my parents got us for Easter several years ago. If you have little kids, you need to get one! Radio Flyer made a fold up wagon that is for kids to sit in. Genius.

I want to share my love of Arvo watches again. I bought a watch from them over a year ago. The hour hand on my watch somehow got ahead of the rest, so the time wasn’t accurate. I e-mailed them about it figuring that because I was past warranty, I would be out of luck. They told me to send it back (on them) so that they could repair or replace it. They are out of the watch that I bought, so I get to pick a new one.

I’m intrigued by the “step hem” jean trend. This tutorial by Merrick would be a great way to try it out on an old pair of jeans. (She is by far my favorite fashion blogger, so go check her blog out!)

I love this kitchen reno post.

Saving the bees needs to be a huge priority for all of us! Do you like coffee and avocado? (If not, we can’t be friends) (J/K) This is really intriguing. Has anyone tried it?

Happy Fri-YAY!!

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Food, Unplugging, and Tests

 

Look at that! Frosted Animal Cookie ice cream. Does it get any better?! No. No, it does not.

We had this for dinner Monday night, and it was SO delicious. It was the perfect dinner on a super hot day. That avocado mango salsa. Yum.

We also went without the TV on for the entire day. I’m embarrassed that this was such a huge deal. Harper is at an age where she needs constant attention or she does naughty things. So, I typically turn on one of her favorite shows so that we can get school work done without me having to chase her down. I have really been wanting to cut out TV time altogether. We had so much fun on Monday without it.

These have become a favorite in our house. (We have these and these; all were bought on sale at different times!)They are so great for open ended play. My kids love to build houses and all kinds of things for their small toys. They will play for HOURS. I’m only sharing that if you need a non-candy idea for Easter baskets. 🙂

I really feel like the most boring person on the planet because I don’t even know what to say or share. Life has still been crazy; and only seems to be getting crazier. God pointed out my lack of trust just in time to really test me. I know that these tests and trials are all going to work out for HIS glory; certainly not my own.

I hope that you are having a wonderful week so far. Scott and I are going on our first date in well over 6 months on Friday. I can’t wait.

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Happy Spring

Oooorrrrr Summer..

It is currently 84 degrees and the temperature keeps climbing.

We are soaking up as much sunscreen covered sunshine as we can. Everyone is covered in dirt and enjoying quiet time now.

We went to visit Scott’s parents yesterday so that Scott could help set some things up for them. The girls love their dog, Sierra. She is such a sweet girl. Harper wasn’t too sure what to think of her at first, but was hugging her by the time we were leaving. haha! 

Papa even took the girls for a ride on his golf cart, which is always a favorite activity of theirs. I love that his purple golf cart has traveled all across the country with them. lol

We also made a trip down to Whole Foods. I had some coupons for a free product that is only sold at Whole Foods in our area. We also stocked up on some sale produce. I love looking in my fridge and seeing all of this goodness. This is probably the best part of Spring/Summer.. sunshine and fresh fruits!!! 

I really cannot wait to plant a garden of my own. In our area, the end of March/early April are the best times to plant; or so I have read. I have some seeds that I will plant, and have a flat of veggies/herbs that I am going to do some container gardening with. We will see if I have a green thumb. I sure hope so!

I am loving all of the spring colors that have been popping up in the stores. I can’t believe that Easter is less than a month away. We are getting all geared up at church for the egg hunt and our incredible Easter service. I just love this time of year.

 

I hope that you are having a wonderful first day of Spring; and that you are at least getting a glimpse of warmer temperatures wherever you are.

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Dirty Toes

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Isn’t this what childhood should look like? Dirty bare feet playing outside?

We love having a back yard. Usually at least one of my children ends up barefoot. (We make sure we clean up after the dog before this happens.) I always kind of groan because I think of the baths that are needed.

But, they are making such precious memories.

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My childhood was full of playing outdoors. I used to ride bikes with my friend Christina. We would go door do door asking anyone with a dog if we could take the dog for a walk. Surprisingly, there were quite a few who would say yes. We made chalk roads down the sidewalks in-between our houses. Once, we made them EVERYWHERE. One lady was not happy that she had chalk in her driveway because she tracked it into her house. Oops.

My children’s childhood will look different in some ways. But, they will get dirty and play.

They will dig in the dirt and get covered in mud. They will jump into leaf piles and stand while we attempt to pick the leaves from their hair. They will adventure and imagine and play.

I am really grateful that spring showed up early here so that we could get a head start on our outdoor play. (It definitely left for this week, but will be back again next week.)

We love to color with sidewalk chalk. The girls love to swing and imagine that the swings are any other form of transportation. the tie jump ropes to the swing and pretend that they are vines to swing from.

Most of the time, I can’t keep up with their imaginations. Harper runs along beside them trying to keep up, too. She will climb in the wagon and ask for a ride, so I just pull her around the yard for as long as she wants.

Childhood is such a special time. It is such a short time in our lives that vanishes as quickly as it came. I want to make their childhood as special as possible. I want to do this without so much STUFF.

My sister and I used to build a house for Barbie out of books… I just loved the simplicity of my childhood, and I hope and pray that I can give my children the same.

Extraordinary Women

I spent the past weekend at the Extraordinary Women’s conference. I was really excited to go. I knew I needed a break from the day to day, and I needed to be challenged. I didn’t really know what I was going to get out of the conference; especially since this was the first I have ever been to. I just knew that I didn’t want to be the same when I left. Sidewalk Prophets were also putting on a concert Friday night, so that was AMAZING.

The theme for the weekend was “Trust God”. Well, that is easy. My whole theme for last year was to TRUST God. I would have this down. No problem.

Wrong.

Do you know what I learned? I don’t trust God. Yeah, in my head I do. I know that through all of the trials of the past several years we have been protected. I know that God’s hands were in and over every circumstance and situation. But, I am angry. I am bitter. My heart is a completely different story.

Our first ministry experience left us both feeling incredibly wounded and betrayed. God, if this is what ministry is then I am building walls. I’m building them tall and strong so that NO ONE can get in and hurt me again; including YOU.

We have faced many many trials since our ministry journey began. Through the loss of jobs, a miscarriage, more health issues than I ever wanted at this age, financial struggles, hurt, gossip, pain, etc. etc. etc. All of it has left me feeling incredibly bitter and angry. I have denied that every step of the way.

That hurts to admit. It’s hard to admit and come face to face with that harsh truth. It is hard to publicly admit this, but I think it’s important to do so. I need the accountability. I need others to know that they are not alone. I need others to know that God is not intimidated by our anger; that He is still right there loving me in spite of me.


Kasey Van Norman‘s teaching really forced me to come face to face with this reality. (Seriously, read her story.) She talked all about the reasons why we don’t trust God. Why we should trust God. How God faithfully loved her through her lack of trust and her mistakes and hurts. She really spoke right to me. I was left with my mind racing when she finished, but I still wanted to deny it. Oh, yeah, I trust God… maybe not as much as I thought, but I trust him for sure.

Then, up comes Rick Rigsby. He lost his first wife years ago to cancer. He said that God asked him when he was standing next to the casket “do you trust me?”. Of course he trusted God. Here he is 20 something years later and FINALLY getting it. He said that it hit him at 2 AM a few nights before when God asked him again “do you trust me?” Rick said “I keep flunking the same class over and over again.”

That’s when it really hit me. I keep saying “Yes, God, I trust you.” While holding onto all of these hurts and past wounds that I just keep pretending aren’t really there. I am obviously not trusting God if I am hanging on to all of these things. I’m desperately searching for stuff to make me happy and fulfilled. If I just have better clothes, I will love myself. If I just have a bigger home, I will be happy. Because, God definitely can’t bring me happiness. Look at where our lives have gone. (please note that I say that sarcastically.. these are lies I have told myself.)

GOD DOES BRING HAPPINESS AND JOY AND FULFILLMENT. God brings peace. He brings all of these things to us if we TRUST HIM. If we allow Him to do great things through us, He will. Not because of who we are and how good we are, but because of how GOOD HE IS. Good grief. Why have I been denying this for so long? Why have I blamed God and questioned Him?

I know that the transformation to trust God FULLY isn’t going to be overnight. I know that it is going to take time for me to allow healing. I know that those walls aren’t going to just fall down and suddenly everything will be rainbows and sunshine.

I’m really comfortable in my walls. I’m really good at not letting people in. I’ve perfected this art over the last 8 years. It is so much easier to leave them up so that I can’t be hurt anymore. But, I am not happy in my walls. In fact, I am downright miserable. I am lonely. I can paint on a fake smile with the best of them. But, inside I have felt like I am dying. I haven’t been LIVING my life. I’ve been just existing in the worst way.

Friends, please don’t stay stuck like I was. Don’t let it take so long for you to face whatever your reality is. God will take your mess and turn it into an amazing message IF you allow Him to.

I love you all, and am so grateful to every single person who takes the time to click over here and read.

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We also heard from:
Angela Thomas
Shelene Bryan (Founder of Skip1.org)
Sheila Walsh
Kay Robertson

 

Turning the week around.

This week… Ugh. I have been in a grumpy funk.

Monday, Chloe and Addi had dentist appointments. Chloe is super brave and does a really good job. Addi, like me, has a lot of anxiety when going to the dentist. She was a rockstar though. It could be because they had cartoons on TV, but I don’t care. They both did great!!

Tuesday was the ultimate grump fest from every female in our household. Rocci was out of the house (he got fixed yesterday) so we didn’t even have him to distract us. It was annoyingly windy and cloudy outside. I have been stressing about some things that we have to get figured out. Chloe had dance class, which happened to be a parent participation night. I got coffee with my friend Hannah, which REALLY helped to boost my mood, before it was time for the parents to join. Chloe is such a shy little girl. She wouldn’t dance with me, so I finally twirled her while she held on to my finger. Once we made it home after picking up the dog and dinner, the grumpies were back.

Ugh.

Today, Chloe had an eye appointment to see how her glasses are helping her. I have been DREADING it since I scheduled it. The last time it was a nightmare. Chloe didn’t want to cooperate and her sisters were wild animals. Thankfully, only a certain toddler was a wild monkey. It was really stressful and I really had enough.

Cake pops for the car ride.

I decided that I am sick of feeling like Oscar the grouch, so I put them in the van and we went to Hobby Lobby. I needed to get some supplies for Chloe to make a dance poster anyway. But, I decided to search for some crafts that we could do today to life everyone’s spirits (mostly mine).

I got a tie dying kit from the clearance section. Chloe and Addi tie dyed scarfs. I found a white shirt that never gets worn for Harper to dye. She never sits still anymore, hence the lack of pictures of her.

Chloe decided she wanted a marbled look and Addi wanted stripes. I really can’t wait to see how these turn out. I always loved getting to tie dye things when I was a little girl.

This has really helped to turn the whole week around. We don’t have any more doctor’s appointments, which will help tremendously. It is also the first day of a new month, so there was no way I was going to stay a grumposaurus. We’ve got to start off the month on a good foot.

This weekend, I have a women’s conference that I am going to with some ladies from church. I am really excited since I have never been to a conference like this.

Can you even believe that it is already March?! I don’t know how that happened, but I am thrilled. Hello, spring!!

Happy Wednesday, friends. I hope that if you are having a rough day, you can find a way to turn it around.

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