Monday, February 27, 2017

Around Here Winter 2016-2017

Around here, I have seemed to fallen off the face of the earth again. I really do enjoy blogging here. I really enjoy curating what our life looks like and sharing recipes we love and projects we make. Blogging is like a time capsule for me and it really makes me sad sometimes that I don't have regular posts here from the last few years. Part of the issue this time was an unreliable laptop. Now that has been resolved, I have lots words and photos to share.

Around here, we are entering into the toddler phase. Teddy will be two this spring and most days, I can hardly believe it. Other days, I feel like I am barely hanging on trying to keep up with his antics and correcting his crazy behavior. He is so incredibly inquisitive and hard headed. Two awesome traits he gets from both parents. All that said, I wouldn't trade any of it. I love seeing who he is and watching his personality develop.

Around here really hasn't been around our usual neck of the woods which seems to be par for the course this past year. 2016 was filled with so many adventures. Weddings, camping trips, baby and bridal showers, and Disney Trips, along with regular trips to visit family, have taken up so much of our time. As exhausting as those things can be, I am so glad we have all these memories.

Around here we are celebrating a bunch of small milestones as my nephew makes progress after being born at 31 weeks. It was been a crazy month in that regard. I am so incredibly proud of how strong my sister and brother in law have been throughout this whole journey. I couldn't imagine being in that situation. It takes so much strength.

Around here, I finally feel like we have settled after our big move in August 2015. We are slowly growing roots here. In effort to feel more at home, I am planning on having a slow year. After spring break, we have no out of town event travel plans yet on our calendars. I plan on taking advantage of the fact that our local community loves parades, music festivals, and all those fun things.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Friday Five: 2016 Ugly Sweaters

This year we are spending the holiday weekend in California with my family. Part of the festivities is my Grandma's Annual Ugly Sweater Party on Christmas Day. We are very excited that we get to attend this year as we love themed parties, especially ones where it is absolutely acceptable to look extremely goofy.

This year, I opted to make my own sweater, which I hope to share after we return from our trip. It is awful and I love it. We thrifted Berkeley's sweater, and Teddy's we found online. During my online browsing, I did find a ton of awesome options for next time. This week's Friday Five is a collection of Ugly Sweaters for the whole family!
Friday Five: 2016 Ugly Sweaters

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Quoted November 2016 | Days 11 - 30

Today I am back with the last of the November Quoted challenge with Onica Hanby. My quotes for 11 to 20 were going to go live the week of Thanksgiving but for whatever reason, did not. So I am just adding the two posts together and finally getting them posted. I still haven't decided what I am going to do with them all. However, this was a really fun "challenge" and I could see doing more of these if I went the Traveler's Notebook route (which I have been considering).
This set is very similar to the first. Lots of Seafoam Core Kit journaling and filler cards, and Smash Pad sheets. I also added in a few 2x4 cards that are from a WRMK Albums Made Easy pad. I used a mixture of different writing utensils including Sharpies, Zig writers, ball point pens, and EKS metallic pens.
Nov 11 Veteran / Nov 12 Family / Nov 13 Crisp / Nov 14 Grateful

Nov 15 Treat / Nov 16 Friends / Nov 17 Pinecone / Nov 18 Chilly

Nov 19 Space / Nov 20 Gather / Nov 21 Voyage / Nov 22 Frost
For day 19, the original prompt was Spice but for some reason when I was writing out all the prompts, I wrote Space instead so I just went with it. 

Nov 23 Feast / Nov 24 Thanksgiving / Nov 25 Bountiful / Nov 26 Delicious

Nov 27 Blessed / Nov 28 Fall / Nov 29 Tradition / Nov 30 Abundance

Monday, December 19, 2016

December | Currently

getting into the "Christmas Spirit" much slower this year
celebrating this month with small traditions
drinking to all the Christmas music
building cookie trains 
watching all the Christmas Specials, especially Charlie Brown
listening to all the Christmas music
loving that Teddy is slowly starting to understand the season and that he was in love with this Santa
taking it one day at a time as this December has been marked by tiny little messes and toddler antics 
cleaning eyeliner (crayon, pencil, mascara) stars off the tile floors (bedroom walls, kitchen cabinets, etc) - you get the picture
trying to appreciate all these things as signs of his growing development and curiosity
seeing in him all kinds of traits from various people in our family and finding it fascinating
in awe of his ever increasing vocabulary
discovering that 18 months can be the most challenging but also the most rewarding
being really thankful that Berkeley has not been laid off for the season yet
reading Jesus Calling and loving it
making Ugly Christmas Sweaters
heading to California again in a couple days to celebrate the holidays with family
baking holiday cookies and cooking family recipes
enjoying this season of life 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016

Quoted November 2016 | Days 1 - 10

Before Teddy, I used to do all sorts of crafty type stuff. When I got pregnant, my desire to do a lot of that stuff went away almost entirely. I finished up my 2014 Project Life album and my 2015 Tis The Seasons minibook, and I am almost done with my sister's From Ms. to Mrs. album. I have toyed with the idea of making a big, events based Project Life style album for 2015 through 2017, but I haven't decided yet. In the meantime, I have been itching to do something creative. So when my awesome crafty friend Lea posted Onica Hanby's Quoted challenge for November, I decided to jump right in.
I think most people do these type of lists and challenges in their Traveler's Notebooks. These notebooks are so cool, but I haven't really gotten into that memory keeping trend and I didnt want to buy new things to start this. One thing I do have is journaling cards. 
After 7 years of minibooks, and 3 years of Project Life specific albums, I have tons and tons of paper stuff varying in sizes from 2x2 up to 4x6, especially 3x4 cards. That is what I decided to use for this project. It was so easy to pull out my stash, a couple pens and jot my quote down each day. Also, because I don't know what the end product will be for all these quotes, I like being able to keep on these smaller papers in an envelope until I figure it out. 
Nov 01: Autumn - "Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower" -Albert Camus. This is one of my absolute favorite quotes. The card is from the Seafoam Edition Project Life Core Kit. The quote was written with EK Success Metallic Pens.
Nov 02: Leaves - I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things. I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind" -Leo Buscaglia. This card is from a SN@P Smash Pad from years ago. The quote is written with a Zig Dual Tipped Pen. I think I may go back and cover the "Jotty, Jot, Jot" title on the top but I havent decided yet. 
Nov 03: Warmth - "Friends are like quilts, they never lose their warmth." This is Smash Pad card with a fine tipped light blue Sharpie. I also used a Martha Stewart Avery label to cover most the of the irrelevant title. 
Nov 04: Season - "To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven" -Ecclesiastes 3:1. Another Smash Pad card, another Sharpie but in orange, and another label. 
Nov 05: Colorful - "Without any black, no color has any depth" -Amy Grant. This is another card from the Seafom kit. I wrote on the diagonals with a pink Zig pen and one of the smallest Micron pens in black. 
Nov 06: Time - "We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right" -Nelson Mandela. I cheated a little with this one. This is a printed journal card from an Elise Joy download that was available on her blog years ago. 
Nov 07: Migrate - "Success is going from failure to failure without using your enthusiasm" -Winston Churchill. I am not sure where this card came from. It was part of an unmarked pad of 3x4 cards of different colors and grids and lines. I wrote the quote with a Zig Dual Tipped Pen in Ocean. 
Nov 08: Elect - "There will never be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers" -Susan B. Anthony. This is a card from the Be Bright Minikit from Becky Higgins Project Life with a green Bic fine point pen. 
Nov 09: Change - "I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination" -Jimmy Dean. This is just a black ball point pen on a card from a Smash Pad. 
Nov 10: Harvest - "The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny" -James Allen. Orange fine tipped sharpie on a Seafoam Core Kit card. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Around the Farm August to October

Whew! The dust is finally settling after all that travel. We are slowly getting back into our home routine. While we are settling back in, I wanted to share a few photos from our trip.
Doing chores with Papa
Tomato Bandit
Sunset at the Lake
Hey Ma! Look! I climbed up on this Vroom Vroom all by myself!
First birthday with my family in 11 years and they all disappear.
Watching dirtbike videos with Uncle
Feeding farm animals
Riggins Baby Gender Reveal
Celebrating my Great Grandfather's 95th and his sister's 96th birthdays.
Five generations in one photo but we are missing at least 10 other people! 
Like I mentioned in a previous post, this trip was originally supposed to be 10 days so that we could go camping. Instead we were there a total of 50 days! While some days it was rough being away from home and Berkeley, I am really glad we were able to have this time with my family. There were so many special moments and events I got to experience and be part of while we were there. I am so thankful!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday Five: Toddler Travel Essentials

One question I get quite often is "How do you get through a 15 hour car ride with a baby/toddler?" First and foremost, I am extremely blessed with a fairly easy going kiddo. He has always loved being in the car going somewhere. Often he points to the garage and exclaims "GO! GO! GO!"

Also, instead of worrying about how he will do, I just went for it! I loaded him up when he was 2.5 months old and headed out. Those were the easy days because he slept a lot and only needed breast milk and diaper changes every few hours along the way.

Now that he is older and is awake for most of the trip, it takes a little bit more to keep him happy. Today, I am sharing five things outside of standard stuff (food, diapers, wipes, clothes) that make our trips not only doable but enjoyable for both of us.
Friday Five: Toddler Travel

Friday Five: Toddler Travel by ashleyamak 

Carter's Swaddle Blankets // Munchkin Snack Catcher // 360 Cup // Music // Books and Toys

Cuddly Blankets // My little one loves to snuggle blankets. He has always had two options in the car for long car rides. First is the blanket I made him while I was pregnant. Second is a super soft Carter's brand swaddle blanket. They usually come in two-packs and are a great quality and he loves them. 
Snack Catchers // These things are awesome! These little snack cups have a perforated silicone lid that allows for little hands to get in and grab snacks but prevents them from spilling them (mostly). I allow him to have a handful of small, easy to eat snacks. It tides him over between meal stops and keeps him occupied. 
360 Cup // These cups have a unique screw on lid and silicone lip, where kids can drink off any edge of the cup. My little loves drinking water throughout the day, so these cups are great because he can have them back in the car seat with him but I don't have to worry about him popping the lid off. 
Music // My little one LOVES music. In fact, most days start with him asking to dance. Having music specifically for him can be a huge help. Most of the time, I can find decent stations, but our usual trip has a couple long stretches of desert with few radio stations. We don't have a fancy car with a fancy stereo so for us I always pack my iPod with a couple different playlists for him. 
Favorite Toys and Books // Lastly, I make sure to have a couple of his favorite toys and board books in a basket or tote that is easy for him to reach. Right now, the toy collection includes a soft cuddly bunny, Kiki the elephant, a Manhattan Toys skwish, and a rattle ball. What comes along changes every few months based on what his preferences at the time. 

So there it is. My list of things that help us make it through our many. many, 10+ hour car rides. These are just things that work for us, and I hope this list can give you an idea on what may help you get through your own long trip. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Day in the Life

If you are interested, today I am participating in Ali Edwards' Day in the Life. My initial documentation will be over on Instagram @ashleyamak

Friday, October 21, 2016

Our Summer Vacation

Also: How to make a 10 day trip last 8 weeks!

Back in August, I thought Teddy and I would make a quick, spur of the moment trip to visit family in California while Berkeley was on a fire assignment. I know we had just had a trip and there was another trip for in October, plus the holidays. However, I figured why not go for a the week around the holiday weekend. The plan was to join my family for their annual Labor Day camping trip that we've been doing since I was Teddy's age.

We packed up the car and were trucking along smoothly. That was until about 40 miles from arriving at my parents home, when my car stopped working. My awesome younger brother came to look at it, and tried to read the computer codes. Nothing was making sense. We got it towed, and it sat for 3 weeks while a few different mechanics we know tried to figure out all the weird and inaccurate codes the computer was giving out. The car didn't even know what was wrong with itself! Finally, towards the end of September, they finally discovered that it was the fuel pump. The guys got the pump ordered and spent a Saturday afternoon getting it installed.

At this point most people head home after being away for a month. We didnt! In the middle of sorting out my car, my mom was expecting it would need to go to a proper repair shop so she planned a Disneyland trip for us. We got tickets for Mickey's Halloween Party (more info to come) and spent 4 of the hottest days of the month in the parks.

Now, I could have chosen to head back home from Disneyland. Initially, I was going to do just that with an overnight stay in Tucson to see Berke's parents. That didn't happen either. Between the additional fee for parking a second vehicle at the hotel and the fact that we needed to be back in California less than two weeks after getting home, we decided I would just stay and Berkeley would fly out for the things we had planned for our October trip.

We finally got back to our little house in the mountains a few days ago. We are slowly settling back in and getting back to a routine. In a few days, I plan on sharing a little look into what all Teddy and I did during our trip.

Also, I have a whole list of posts to finish and share that were meant to go up in the past 50+ days. I know I had starting posted process videos and blog posts about my sister's album. I still have all those posts ready, I just didn't have my laptop while we were gone. It was another hiccup in my spur of the moment trip planning! So stay tuned for that!

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