Salt, Pepper & Shadow {our spring chicks}

I wish I had snapped a photo of my son reading all your birthday wishes last night, but I was sitting next to him caught up in it all. He read every comment and really enjoyed that so many of you posted where you are from. I think it might have blown his mind a little bit to get so many birthday wishes from near and far. It meant a lot to him. Thank you for taking the time to do that for him, for me. It was so very special and was a highlight of his day. Thank you.

In other news, we got a few spring chicks. We don’t have a rooster, so none of our eggs will hatch. However, the next time one of chickens gets broody (wants to sit on an egg and hatch it) we are going to try sneaking in an egg from our friend’s chickens (they have a rooster). I would just love for the kids to see the natural process of a momma hen hatching and protecting her chick.

Until then we’ll enjoy these little girls…please at least 2 of you be girls.

So, we added to our flock. And there is a lot of smiling going on in my house. The kids are smiling too.

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  • Bambi - Love, love, love them! So cute and perfect and awe inspiring!
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Here is what inspired me recently:

    Love from Germany and a sunny day!


  • LeahGeneva - What type of chicks are those? They are so, so sweet! I’m expecting my first chicks in three weeks. Can’t wait to have them in the family :)

  • molly - hi Ashley! love your blog…always inspiring. wondering if you would sell a print of your photo with the three chicks and the scale? I would be interested! thanks!

  • Lacy - They are beautiful! We’re getting some more this month too. What kind are these??


  • angie - I desperately want to add to my flock. I have 4 hens currently but got them once they started laying so I’ve never dealt with the chick stage. I’m kinda scared of it honestly, but would so like to venture down that road. I went to the feed store yesterday and snapped pictures of the chicks and sent a few to my husband. When he came home he thought for sure I had bought some. I wish but I couldn’t make such a rash decision with a sweet little life!

  • Cheri - What Molly said! I’d love a print (or jpg.)of the chicks/scale too! Absolutely love the chick in the dollhouse doorway!

    I might have to get chicks this spring….. add to my flock of 3 :) thanks for the inspiration!

  • Kimberly | Turning It Home - Having chicks in the house is so fun! My children loved our baby chicken, but sadly it died a couple of days ago – so we bought a baby turkey instead. Ha! We used to have a rooster (along with 12 hens in the city) and although none of our chickens were broody, we hatched some eggs using an inexpensive incubator – it was a lot of fun!

  • Allie - I die. My chicks don’t arrive until the week after Easter, so I’m just going to soak up all of this chicky goodness!!

  • Becky - I always love your pictures. These, though, have to be some of my favorites.

  • Necole@seriouslysassymama - Baby chicks are so cute!

  • Abby - Gosh what perfect names! I want chickens, but our suburban neighborhood might have a problem with it!
    Love the photos of the chicks on the egg crate–so cute!

  • Taylor - So adorable! I love those pictures of the chicks together!


  • Jenny B. - Aw, man! I missed the birthday post, and as I was scrolling back through, I saw that I totally missed your Joss & Main collection too. Where have I been?? So…

    Happy belated birthday, Biggest Brother!! I’m from Northwest Arkansas, so not too far from you guys! My oldest son is 9. He can’t wait to be 10. He would think you are SOOO cool because you are 10 (and for lots of other reasons, too, I’m sure). Hope you had a great day!

    Ashley, I can’t believe he’s 10! I remember your post about when he turned 8 and how you felt about 8-year-olds. That seems like a couple months ago, not a couple of YEARS ago! Goodness. Time FLIES.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh my goodness – the one in the front door is cracking me up!

  • Marcy - Oh my gosh, the scale photos! love love love!!

  • Jenny - I missed the birthday post yesterday! Happy Birthday, bud, from a military family living in Los Angeles, California! Hope your day was full of all things awesome.

    Love the new baby chicks! These pictures are amazing!!

  • AshleyAnn - Lacy – they are a blue copper maran, black copper maran and a splash copper maran….they lay dark brown eggs

  • AshleyAnn - LeahGeneva – they are a blue copper maran, black copper maran and a splash copper maran….they lay dark brown eggs

  • Julia - Happy 10th birthday to the biggest brother! We wish him all the best and hope that he’ll enjoy reading in his double digit years as well. Greetings from Slovenia (a small central-European country in the shape of a chicken!) :)

  • Pam - Hey Ashley. We are 4Hers and our agency offers Embryology for homeschoolers. You should check out your local 4H for a great experience with baby chicks hatching in an incubator. We have gone through the program twice. It’s a little stinky in the end but a great journey. Oh and I didn’t think to put my location on yesterday’s post but I am in Gibsonville, NC.

  • Emma - I wish we could have chickens in our backyard! We are only allowed if we live out of town, they are just so cute and fluffy!

  • Angela - So, so cute!!! We get our chicks next week and I can hardly wait!

  • Kyra - I needed to see these beautiful girls (fingers crossed)on my computer. So cold and lots of snow here but these ladies remind me that Spring is coming and of Easter, too.

  • Laura - Hi Ashley, I am a Tulsa area mom and we are hoping to start our chicken family this year. Thanks for all the good info about chicks! Would you mind sharing where you get your chicks locally? I have called around farm stores and they all seem to have “assorted” breeds. I would like to pick certain ones but not sure the best way to do that. Thank you!

  • Cathy - Ashley, your family is so inspiring!! My mom always said she wanted chickens and I always laughed at her and told her she was crazy. Now after reading your blog and seeing your experiences with them I would love them! My husband and I are going to move out to the country in a couple of years and I’m totally going to get chickens thanks to you! :) Happy Thursday!

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - Oh chicks! Why can’t you stay tiny forever and lay jelly bean sized eggs?!? We don’t have roosters either, so we put a dozen fertilized eggs under one of our broody girls. It was so fun to see her get to do what she was designed to do! If you go that route, try to get more than one egg. Out of the dozen we put under her, only 3 hatched. Out of those, only two survived.

  • Made ME Smile | Breath of SimpleBreath of Simple - […] these adorable chicks. One of my favorite blogs.  Ashley has her own chicken coop this […]

  • Katie mcminds - Please oh please give me advic to raisin chickens! I want to have them so badly but don’t know where to begin, I’ve spent hours on Pinterest dreaming of my perfect chicken coop, and looking at cute adorable chicks, but I don’t know where to begin or if I should just dive in head first. I’m assuming if I want to start, now would be the time. And should I protect my garden from them or let them wonder around it? I don’t know anything!! Haha

10. ten.

I am excited, thrilled about the future. I look forward to the days ahead for my family. I don’t dread the future or wish for the past. However, today my oldest turns 10…so I’m letting myself be a little sad. I LOVE being his mom. The past 10 years with him – so thankful.

10 is hard for this mom.

I didn’t realize how hard it would be for me because I do look forward to the days ahead. I do enjoy the present. But, 10. Wow. In eight years he will be 18 and I just can’t go there right now.

He made me a mom. I wrote him a long letter today – being his mom is one my life’s greatest pleasures.

Ahhh…my baby boy is ten.


It is just happening too fast.

Too, too fast.

Tomorrow will be better, but today I’m happy and sad. I don’t want to keep him small forever, but I kinda do!

He likes to read comments on my blog and instagram. If you feel so inclined, I’d love for him to get a few birthday wishes here. Feel free to tell him how awesome his mom is and how he should always think she is really cool:)

Happy Birthday bud, I love you.

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  • Melinda - Happy Birthday big guy- I so enjoy following your mom’s blog and watching you learn new things and develop into a young man. God Bless! Sincerely, Melinda and Katie(Toledo, OH)

  • Beth in Illinois - DOUBLE DIGITS! That’s pretty special! Have a great day today! Blessings to you!

  • Andrea - I have been following your blog for a long time now, but never commented on anything, so this will be my first ever comment on your blog. :-)

    Happy 10th birthday from SWITZERLAND! :-D Have a great day with lots of awesome food, fun friends and amazing presents, and all the best for your future. From what your mum posts about you on here, everybody knows: you’re a great kid. :-)

    All the best,

  • Peggy - Happy Birthday! Wow! What a lucky guy you are! Your mom loves you so much! Have a great 10th year!

  • Jessica Anderson - My first born’s tenth Birthday is today too!! I love who he is becoming but sad he is so big at the same time. Happy Birthday to your boy!

  • Tracy - Happy Birthday Big Brother! With lots of love from cold, cold MN!

  • Michelle Davies - Welcome to Double Digits! I hope your tenth birthday is amazing! Happy Birthday and many, many more!

  • danielle - Happy Birthday! 10 is an amazing year!

  • Christy - Happy Birthday! I actually had the pleasure of meeting your mom at one of Meg’s craft weekends and I can tell you that you are blessed with a great family (especially mom:))! I hope you have a great day and year to come!

  • Anna - Happy B-Day from Slovakia (Central Europe)! Enjoy your day big boy! :) I wish u happiness, coz thats the most important thing!

    Your family is awesome! :)

    PS: happy b-day is in my language “všetko najlepšie” (u can use google translator if u wanna hear how it sounds ;) )


  • Lisa - Happy Birthday Master Campbell! Have a truly fantastic day. Just remember, no one will ever love you like your mother.

  • Christi {Jealous Hands} - Happy Birthday from Madison, GA! 10 is SUCH a fun age!

  • Bambi - So beautiful!!!

    Here’s what inspires us today:

    Love from Germany,

    Bambi and Birdy

  • Susanne - Happy Birthday Biggest Brother! You hold such an important place in your family. You were the beginning of a dream for your parents. It has been fun watching you grow into such a fine young man. Blessings to you!

  • Karla Swalve - Happy Birthday!! I remember very clearly how cool it was to get to the double digits :) Have a fantastic birthday! I only knew your parents briefly, but it does stand out in my mind how kind and gracious they were. You are blessed to learn from them and to see God’s grace through them. Pay attention to what they say as you continue to grow :) Happy Happy 10th!!

  • Bonnie - Happy Birthday from Ohio! I hope you have a fantastic birthday!

  • Alice Labaune - Happy 10th birthday big brother.
    I follow your awesome mother’s blog all the way from France, I love watching you all grow up, blossom into beautiful bigger people… I hope to be here watching you one day fly from the nest & go after your own life…
    Many thoughts xxxx

  • Erica Baker - Happy Birthday from Washington, DC! I have been reading your mom’s blog for about 4 years now (I don’t think I have missed a post!) I was the oldest too and was always sneaking off to read so you remind me of myself at 10 when I see posts about you. (except, obviously we are different genders :) ) I hope you have a great day! Welcome to the double digits!! P

    Praying for the Lord to raise you up as a leader as you grow and that he would break your heart for the things that break His. May the Lord wrap you in His love and plant His seeds deep within your heart. Blessings!

  • Jillian - Happy 10th Birthday! With your recent request for a Bible, you already have the best gift. A growing faith in Jesus is all you will ever truly need. On top of that though, God has blessed you with an amazing family. I have never met any of you in person, but I did take a phone course from your mom. She is beautiful and talented and love just pours out of her. Her pictures speak thousands of words, and you are clearly a wonderful son, an awesome big brother, and a really neat friend. God bless you as you celebrate your first decade. May you have many, many more to come!!
    Love from Minnesota

  • Thuy - Happy BIG 10th Birthday C!! Hope you have an awesome day!

  • Michelle - Happy Birthday from Arkansas! Hope you have a great day with friends and family!

  • Kimberly | Turning It Home - Happy Birthday! My son turned ten in November – it is such a fun age!

  • Helen - Hi there! I’ve been a fourth grade teacher for 29 years, so I know 10 year olds pretty well, and I can tell you with certainty that 10 year olds are some of the coolest people in the world. Enjoy being 10! (Now, go give your mom a hug and pretend to look away when she gets misty. It will give her a chance to wipe away her tears pull herself together.)

  • Stephanie - Happy 10th Birthday from Philadelphia, PA! Have an amazing year filled with a lot of adventures!

  • RachelC - Wow. Now, I’m crying….memory lane. Happy 10th Birthday C! You are an amazing big brother with a great big heart. It has been a joy to watch you grow from a tiny baby to a handsome young man. You are so smart, and I love hearing about all of the great ideas you have and how you love people. In a few years, when you get your drivers’ license, you’ll have to take me for a spin. We can roll the windows down and sing at the top of our lungs (don’t tell your mom….it might make her nervous). I look forward to watching you grow into a man over the next 10 years. You are awesome.

  • Granny Sandy - WOW, Happy Birthday my dear Grand Nephew. TEN. WOW. Like your Mom, where did all the time go. I still remember the day you were born, it just seems like yesterday. I have enjoyed watching you grow into one amazing young man. And, yes, you do have amazing parents. I hope your birthday is full of fun and love. Happy Birthday, from a VERY PROUD Granny Sandy. Love you.

  • Ellen - Happy Birthday! I hope all your birthday wishes come true.

    p.s. If you see a tear in the corner of your mom’s eye today, just know it’s because her heart is so full of love for you, some of it leaks out every now & then.

  • Sara Morin - Happy birthday!! It’s been a pleasure watching you grow up online. Enjoy your day!!

  • Caroline - Happy Birthday, Big brother!
    I’ve been reading your mom’s blog for a couple of years and I can see that awesome big brother in you!
    May you grow to be a charming young man, from inside out!

    and yes, i really do think that you have the most awesome mom and you should always always love her like she love you so!

    Caroline from Singapore

  • Pam - Happy Birthday Big 10!

  • Necole@seriouslysassymama - happy birthday big man! My oldest turned 10 last September and it just about killed me. She will be starting 6th grade in the Fall. 6th grade people.

  • Megan - I have followed your blog for so many years; I couldn’t help but let the tears flow a bit reading this!
    Happy, happy birthday big brother!
    Your family is inspirational and your mother is truly spectacular!

  • Amanda - Happy 10th Birthday from freezing cold NY!!! I’ve enjoyed watching you grow on your mom’s amazing blog! Have a fantastic day!!! :)

  • Jaime | Queen of the Creek - Happy 10th Birthday!!!

    P.S. can’t believe how long we’ve been following you! ;)

  • Lauren - Happy Birthday from London UK!

    You have an amazing family and it’s soo cool that you’re the oldest – being the oldest rocks!!

  • Avenlea - Happy birthday, Biggest Brother! Remember that your siblings look up to you. I hope you have a great day! Praying for you.

  • Sarah - I remember turning 10! It was a big deal to become two digits. I am also the oldest child and grandchild so it was a really big deal for my family. That was 20 years ago and the area that I grew up in was really rural. We always had a family dinner or lunch with my grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc. So since turning 10!!! was a really big deal, we had carry-out pizza for my party. It was the first time my grandparents had ever had pizza. So happy 10th birthday! I bet you will always remember it!

  • Alisa - Happy bday from Thailand too. :) I’ve got two boys (though they’re pretty young) and the oldest loves seeing all of the pictures of you guys. I like showing him how awesome it is to play with your siblings – and I love it (!) that you’re a reader! Hope this year is the best yet for you!

  • Alice - Have a happy 10th birthday Big Brother, from up North in Canada!

    Stay warm and enjoy your special day with your family!

  • Kelli - Happy, happy birthday, sweet boy! You are a wonderfully special part of a very special family. I know your brothers and sisters look up to you so much. Have a great day!

  • Celine - 10! WoW!!! Happy birthday, Big Boy or should I say Lil Man!! May you have a birthday that you are wishing for ….. together with God’s many blessings!! Thinking of you today all the way from KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA (in Asia).

  • Stoich91 - Happy, happy birthday dude! It’s been so cool to watch you and your family become brilliant, grow together and train chickens. I hope your birthday brings you all you wish for and more, and you have muchos, muchos mas blessed years ahead of you! *sends virtual birthday cake of choice*

  • Alessandra - Buon compleanno anche dall’Italia!

    It ‘s always a pleasure to read the adventures of your family and join in your joy on this special day … Happy Birthday Big 10!

  • Cindy - Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you!
    Have a wonderful day with your family.
    Love from Canada

  • Theresa W - Happy Birthday, Mr. 10-year old! My grandson will turn 10 the end of this month, so as I look at your pictures growing up, it reminds me a lot of him. I know that your inquisitive, smart and such a good big brother!! Have a very happy birthday! AND your Mom and Dad are very special people…always remember that!

  • Meredith - Happiest of all birthdays to the oldest! I remember turning ten and writing my parents thank you notes for being awesome parents. Such a fun year! Enjoy and eat lots of cake!

  • babs - Happy Birthday from the east coast!!!For your gift,I will suggest a reading of “The Secret Garden”by Burnett. It may seem a “girls book” at first glance but two very different boys are main characters.The main character is 10 years old.It was a favorite of my now grown sons.As you life fills with activity,continue to keep your head in a book.

  • Nan - Happy Birthday, Biggest Brother! Hope you have a great day!

  • Brooke - Happy Birthday! It’s such a pleasure to watch you grow up through the moments in your life that your mom shares with us. You are a wonderful big brother! I hope you have the most fabulous birthday and nothing but health joy and goodness in the years to come. One of the things I admire so much about your parents is how they encourage you all to be yourselves. Pursue what you love, don’t let anyone squash your passions. Being the wonderful authentic best version of yourself has gotten you this far, let it keep carrying you onwards!

  • Courtney - A big howdy and Texas sized greetings for your 10th Birthday!! Hope you have a super fantastic day!!

a few reminders to mention


Just a reminder that my Joss & Main Collection ends on Tuesday, March 4th. Click here to view it.


Registration for both SnapShop courses is now open. To register for either course, click here

Phone photography course dates:

May 4 – 25, 2014 – registration open

August 2014 – exact dates TBA

Oct/Nov 2014 – exact dates TBA

DSLR course dates:

May 4 – June 1, 2014 – registration opened today

August 2014 – exact dates TBA

Oct/Nov 2014 – exact dates TBA

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  • Erin - Hi Ashley Ann. I adore your blog! I’ve been following it for quite a while now. Your family is beautiful and I love your photography. I just wanted to let you know — I shared a link to your website on my blog today! And I made a little comment about your blog as well. I hope you don’t mind!! Here’s a link to it –

    If you have an issue with it at all, let me know.
    Happy blogging!


  • Kat - Happy 10th Birthday from Australia. ????????????
    Our household has three boys as well. The youngest two are about to turn 10 in a couple months. Double digits is pretty cool – but hard on mums. I found the oldest turning 10 the hardest….same with 13! Hug your mum (and dad) and have a great day.

  • Kat - Oops. Sorry Ashley I posted this on the wrong blog post. Can you fix?