Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas around these parts


Decking the halls and everything else is in full swing over in our corner of the mitten.
Bing Crosby is pretty much on repeat with an occasional sprinkle of Tony Bennett. 
We are fluffing the tree (yes, we are part of the fake tree camp).
Unraveling lights so they can be looped and molded over practically any surface.
Unpacking funky ornaments that have seen many a Christmas. 
As each decoration goes up so do memories and feelings of happy times.

Let the warm fuzzies commence.
Christmas is such a special time of year. 
I know that there are a lot of emotions and childhood memories that get wrapped up in the season. 
It's a time to remember and slow down and really focus on what matters. 
I'm grateful for Christmas and the peacefulness that comes along with it. 

How are you decorating and getting into the Christmas spirit? 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Where hope lies


Well, I made it. 
 I can't believe how fast it went, and yet it feels like I've been doing it forever at the same time. 
Can anyone else relate to that feeling? 
I can honestly say this challenge did help my physical body in very practical ways.
I noticed a difference in not only my blood sugar numbers, but also how I felt overall. 
It made me realize in so many ways that I have to choose physical health. 
That isn't something that just happens. I need to be choosing it. And praying for it. 

Tomorrow I have a very important step in this whole process. 
And I have had moments of excitement. And moments of apprehension. And moments of straight up fear. 
Sometimes no matter how good the change is that is coming, it's still frightening. 
I become fearful of the outcome. 
I become fearful to try different things in regards to my health because what if it doesn't work? 
Sometimes the idea of hope keeps us paralyzed from moving.
 I would rather hope in some far off future than step out in faith right now and trust God with the difference and the outcome and all the steps and days in between. 
I have to realize where my hope lies and what it is in. 
Is it in the difference? Is it in the future? Is it in the next 30 days? Or is it in Jesus? 
Because if my hope is in Him and Him alone, it can't disappoint.
I am checking my thoughts daily on this one. 
 My hope is not in the results, it's in Him.

Monday, November 26, 2012

thankful



Happy Monday everyone!
I hope your Thanksgiving was full of wonderful memories, family, friends, and all the traditions that make the holiday season such a special time of year.
Erick and I spent our Thanksgiving traveling all over the state of Michigan to visit family in various places!
Because of this, we got to experience Thanksgiving dinner quite a few times.
We traveled out on Thursday evening to participate in our traditional shopping trip with Erick's brother.
It always ends early Friday morning with a stop for burgers or ice cream.

We also enjoyed some quality time with my brother who flew home for a few days by eating, decorating a Christmas tree at my parent's house, and just lounging around. 
It was a such a packed weekend full of so many blessings!
Erick and I have so much to be truly thankful for. 

What traditions do you and yours have for Thanksgiving?
What (or who) are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Blog Thankful : featuring Amanda!

In light of this month of November and Thanksgiving approaching, I wanted to do a series that focused in on some lovely blogs and the ladies behind them that I am especially thankful for.
Today I am so excited to introduce you to Amanda, the writer behind, It's the Little Things
Amanda has such a lovely spirit about her. She brings that to her blog so effortlessly! 
Whether she is writing about her adorable little family or her love for cooking, she writes with a wonderful perspective of thankfulness.
I have greatly appreciated getting to know her through this blogging community and her friendship to me!
So, sit back and enjoy getting to know more about her and her little family!

Tell us about yourself and your blog space:
Well hello there! I’m Amanda, writer behind our family’s blog, It's The Little Things, centered aroundthis fantastic little thing called life! Our tiny corner of the internet isyour glimpse into our endless giggles, yummy meals, park excursions, bebeletters, colorful crafts, and heaps of love, with bits and pieces of whatinspires us along the way. Something parenthood has taught us so far, is thatthe little things in life aren't so little after all; they are, in fact, quitebig and beautifully important. We invite you to our neck of the woods to enjoya peek at some of the treasured moments in our lives as a itty-bitty family offour.

What inspires you?
Inspiration is wonderfullypowerful indeed. I tend to find it in the little things in life, hence my blogtitle.  From a perfectly poached egg, tomarket excursion, to cuddling with my two best friends, Andrew and Stella, Ienjoy discovering pockets of inspiration everywhere.  Embracing positivity and finding happiness inlife’s simple pleasures continues to bring so much love and joy to ourfamily. 

What artists can you not stop listening to right now?
Right now I am all about TheBlack Keys, Alt J, Mumford and Sons, and Beirut. It is so hard for me to justchoose one since we listen to a wide range of music nonstop at home.  A few nights back I found myself in our newkitchen belting out the lyrics to “Blank White Page” by M&S.  It was awfully liberating and made my hearthappy.

What is your favorite book and why?
As a lover of literature, andan English teacher to boot, choosing one book is rather difficult for me.  So, I will let you in on a little something Ihave been devouring over the past month, An Everlasing Meal by TamarAdler about cooking intuitively with economy and grace.  I have referenced when whipping up recipesmany times in the past few weeks and feel that it has taught me to be not onlya more savvy home cook but a better one, too. 

What is your favorite product in your beauty bag?
In one word: mascara.  I live by the classic Mabelinne mascara thatI usually buy in the checkout lane at Target or CVS for under $5.  I have tried other more expensive mascaras,but this one in “very “black” does the job every time.  And my wallet greatly appreciates it, too.

How has being a mom changed you?
I could write a book aboutall the ways being a mama has changed me. I have better time management, I can carry more groceries in one loadthan ever before, I am what you could call a pro at making the bubbliest bubblebath, and when it comes to creating goofy voices and or sounds for getting Stellato take a picture, well I guess you could say I rock.  And then there is one overwhelming differencebetween who I was before having Stella and the woman I am now.  I am much more patient.  I am better able to find beauty in theunexpected and savor life’s rather chaotic moments.  I am definitely a better person as a mama.

 Coffee or Tea?
I am without a shadow of adoubt addicted to coffee, coffee, and more coffee with a little coffee on top.  I cherish my morning ritual of making a strongbrew of freshly ground espresso beans and sipping it rather methodically on myway to work.  And then there’s pumpkinspices creamer that just takes my addiction to a whole other level, youknow. 

What is on your Christmas list this year?
My Christmas list this yearhas three things on it this year: an automatic car starter, a new pair ofglasses, and the book How to Cook a Wolf by M.F.K. Fisher.  Oh, and a couple candy canes wouldn’t hurt.

Whatare you thankful for this year?
This year I am bursting withthankfulness and gratitude for finally getting to settle down in our newhome.  Andrew and I made our first bigpurchase as a married couple and are beyond happy with where we will be for thenext chapter of our life.  I feel asthough the holidays are going to be extra special this year with Stella beingold enough to open presents and help her mama in the kitchen, so I am thankfulfor that, too.  And I must say, I am alsothankful for you, miss Ashton, for being such a sweet friend to me!  Happy holidays to you and your love.

Thank you Amanda!
You can find more of Amanda here: 

Visit her blog HERE
twitter: @mamawatters OR click HERE
pinterest:@mamawatters OR click HERE

Monday, November 19, 2012

Concerts and a cold

This past Thursday we traveled a whole two hours (and fifteen minutes) to the other side of Michigan to see one of my favorite bands: Anberlin. 
They were on tour for their most recent album release and I was so excited to see them in concert again!
Like always, they put on an amazing show. 
We were introduced to the wonder of Steak N' Shake after the concert. 
Burgers at midnight? Why not. 
Mine was a bun-less burger....but that still counts, right?
The downside to living the rock n' roll life?
Traveling back with a cold (which latched onto me between the burger soiree and the two hour drive home) .
I hope this doesn't say anything about my age.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

some thoughts on poms, bustling, and headbands


I can feel the holiday spirit creeping up on our little city as it seems busy with the bustling of people. 
Sometimes in the midst of trying to accomplish everything before these wonderful days of the year, we can get a little lost. 
I am trying to remind myself to savor this time. And to really focus on what I have to be grateful for. 
God has given me far more than I deserve.
With the busy and bustle of this week I thought I would mention a few of my favorite things that are making me a little skippy. 

Christmas wrapping. Whoever gets this giant fluffy pom on their package is to be determined.
But, I kinda' just want to cuddle with it. 

Unfortunately, the owls rendered me helpless.

Clothes Pins. They are a sign that things are getting accomplished in my little office room.
Soon, things shall be hanging from them in office glory!

My new headband! From my sweet friend Whitney!
Here is her recently opened Etsy shop if you would like to take a looksy at all the adorable headbands she creates. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Some things I learned over the weekend.....

I am feeling the festive spirit. The one that involves all things Christmas. I'm not sure how to avoid it with the stores brimming with cheer and coffee coming to me in red cups.

I bought this Tony Bennett Christmas album. And I can not stop listening to it. Tony, why do your musical arrangements have to be so addicting?

I am giving myself two points for not only making chocolate chip cookies for an event we had Sunday after church, but for not touching them after they emerged from the oven. Because, everyone knows cookie weakness always strikes when they are warm and melty and all things gooey.

Erick and I spent our weekend enjoying friends and family. And that is how we like them. 

Sometimes kitty surfs the web.

AND we might get some snow today! So, in honor of snow and festive red cups I give you a video.

How was your weekend? What were you up to?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Blog Thankful: featuring Whitney!

 In light of this month of November and Thanksgiving approaching, I wanted to do a series that focused in on some lovely blogs and the ladies behind them that I am especially thankful for. 

So, with that, I am so excited to introduce you to Whitney the writer behind  The Sweetest Things.
Whitney has become a dear friend through this blogging world
Not only does this lady know how to dress a baby bump (I can only pray that I look that cute when pregnant someday!) she really has such a sweet and joyful spirit.
I'm going to let Whitney take the show away now! 
 
Tell us about yourself and your blog space:
Hello to all of sweet Ashton's readers! My name is Whitney, I'm a wife and stay at home Mama.
We have two little boys who are ages 2 and 1 with a baby girl due in March!
 The sole purpose of my blog is to journal our day to day life and document all of the memories that we’ll enjoy reading through in the years to come. I plan on publishing my blog into several books to show my kids and grandkids in the future. I also hope to be an encouragement to other wives and mothers who read along with us!
 
What inspires you and gives you purpose?  
God has really used my husband and children to inspire me and to give me purpose. I know that my actions and emotions affect my husband’s life and the well being of my kids and it always makes me think twice about how I’m acting or what I’m doing.
 
What artists can you not stop listening to right now? 
 I can never get enough of Kari Jobe! She is hands down one of my favorite worship artists! On the other end of the spectrum I’ve had the Avett Brothers new cd on repeat while I’m cleaning or crocheting. My boys love it as well and a lot of the time it ends in a dance party in the living room. Lots of laughter and giggling ensues.
 
What is your favorite book and why?  
The Bible! I’m not much of a reader so I’ve never really gotten into reading anything else. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read other books before but only as a requirement for school, not really for enjoyment. I did enjoy The Hunger Games movie though and was instructed that the books are a must read…we’ll see if I ever get around to actually reading them!
 
What is your favorite product in your beauty bag?  
This is a hard one! I would say as of late my favorite beauty product would be my lipstick! I have a few shades that I rotate through, one from Clinique and two from Revlon. The Revlon shades are my favorite and they’re only $5 each! I think I need to stock up on some new colors soon.  

How has being a mom changed you?  
Being a mom has changed/is changing me in more ways than I could ever describe! I’ve never realized how selfish I am, how much of a worrier I can be, and I never experienced the kind of love that I experience with my kids! You always hear that you’ll love your children, but once they’re here it’s insane! My heart melts into a puddle daily and I squeeze in as many hugs and kisses as I can get. The thought of them growing up brings tears to my eyes (even though I know it’s a good thing…call me crazy)…I can’t even watch old videos of them without balling my eyes out, I’m a mess! I always thought I was a patient person but quickly learned otherwise and it’s a constant struggle for me! Lord help me!  

Coffee or Tea?  
COFFEE! I think it’s safe to say I’m addicted to Starbucks…you can ask my husband, when we’re budgeting out money, there always has to be some in the coffee fund! I know everyone who works at our local Starbucks and I love going in with my boys. Yes, I’m that person…but they’re all so sweet and thoughtful so the whole experience is always so fun with the perk of walking out with a good cup of joe. I could talk about coffee all day…ok maybe not ALL day…but close.
 
What is on your Christmas list this year?  
I don’t have anything on my Christmas list this year only because my parents are taking our entire family to Disneyland and getting us annual passes! That is the best gift ever! We’re big on going to Disneyland, my boys love it so I’d rather save money to take a couple more trips throughout this next year than to get gifts on Christmas. I’ll definitely be getting my boys a few things though, it’s irresistible!  

What you are you thankful for this year?  
I am thankful for a loving, sweet, and generous husband! He is such a blessing to me and I’m so glad God brought us together! I’m thankful for my two boys and the blessing of adding a third baby (not to mention a girl!!) with a healthy pregnancy so far. I’m thankful to have family living close because they are always loving on my boys and are more than willing to help when needed. I’m very thankful that my husband has a steady full time job that allows us to pay the mortgage, bills, and put food on the table each month! God has truly blessed us and is faithful always!  

Thank you Whitney!!
You can find more of Whitney here:  
Instagram:wkbaker
Click HERE to visit her blog! 
Twitter: @WhitneyKBaker

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Being prayed through the middle.

I am officially two weeks into my 30 day challenge
Can I be honest? It feels more like two months.
This is the half way point though. This point, in any challenge, always seems to be the hardest. 
You are just somewhere in the middle.
Trying not to give up.

 Ever since I have committed to this journey of bettering my health with God's help I have just felt an outpouring of love.  
My heart has been filled up countless times during these last two weeks.
I have received multiple emails, texts, and messages from friends around the country that are full of encouraging words and the promise of prayer.
 I am being faithfully prayed for by ladies that I have never met face to face. 
And that has been the most humbling and encouraging thing. 

 I truly believe that is the reason I have made it thus far. 
I feel wrapped up in it. 
There has been more movement in my health and the processes that go into that in the last two weeks than I can remember in a long time. 

 Thank you for praying me through.

You have reminded me so much of the unconditional love that God has for us!


Monday, November 5, 2012

27


My husband just celebrated his 27th Birthday this past week.
We joked and chatted about this birthday more than we usually consider birthdays all together. 
For some silly reason we both couldn't quite wrap our heads around that number. 
I know, it's nothing momentous or 'over the hill' as they say. 
But, every time we thought about it we would start laughing. 

One evening this past weekend, after the Birthday festivities subsided, erick said: 
"I felt old today"
He went on to explain how he had one of those moments while he was chatting with someone at work where he couldn't get over the feeling of age. 
He was aware of time.
I couldn't help but think as we chatted about age and life that we were really talking about the goals and dreams that get wrapped up into those two things. 

One day, whatever the number might be, we wake up and realize that some time has passed.
 And here we are. 
And I can't help but think that this thought might be slightly discouraging to some people. 

Sometimes erick and I feel like late bloomers. 
We got married young...but it has taken us awhile to figure out where we are going and where we are headed. 
I think there was this looming notion in the both of our minds with this birthday that maybe we haven't accomplished enough or figured out all the things you are supposed to have figured out by this age. 
 Obviously, my mind easily wanders to the many other women I know my age or younger that already have three children and one on the way, and I'm still waiting on one

But, it was in this moment of discussing time and age and our slight feelings of failure that rose up in us that I realized that God has not intended us all to live a life that is exactly like someone else.
 To everything there is a season. 
A time. 
And I can be certain that there is always a purpose.
Matter of fact, He has a plan that is unique to all of us.
Are we willing to wait for it when it requires patience and are we willing to run after it with everything we got when He calls us to?
That requires us to stop comparing ourselves to others and building time frames and instead setting our eyes on Jesus.

There is a firm foundation that our feet can stand on. 
And He establishes our plans (proverbs 16:3).


Cheers to 27!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Let there be bangs.

Ladies, please tell me that I am not the only one desperately fighting the urge to cut me some bangs. 
Every time I see a picture of someone sporting them so effortlessly....I begin to rationalize why I should or should not try them again. 
Here are some of my favorite bang pictures that I have pinned on my pinterest boards. 
Enjoy trying to fight the urge to find the nearest pair of scissors.
those bangs.
image via
Dark brown + bangs.
image via
Hair.
image via

Thursday, November 1, 2012

How about a smoothie?

I am about a week into making some major changes in my diet.
See this and this if you would like some background.
With that said, there are not many "sweet things" that are acceptable for me to be eating at this point. 
So, for fear that I am going to break my jaw from chewing way too much sugarfree gum....I decided to go on a smoothie adventure.
It was an adventure because I attempted to create a drink that not only tasted good and had the illusion of "sweet" but also was low carb in nature.
Before you now, are my findings. 
And I think it rocks.
But, I am also the desperate writer looking for anything to satisfy my sweet tooth at this point. 
So, bust out your blender and give it a try.
Please feel free to share any truly low carb recipes you have lying around.....especially if they ease chewing gum dependency!

Smoothie Recipe
(in all of it's low carb glory!) 

8oz of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 scoop of Egg Protein Powder(vanilla custard flavor)
2 tbsp. Peanut Butter 
(you can add less pb if you want to deduct more carbs)

1 stevia packet 
1 tsp. cinnamon
 1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder 

1/2 of a large glass of ice 
 (depending on how you like the consistency of your smoothie)

Blend it!
Total carbs: 10 grams 


     


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