We’ve been asked a lot if we have any big RV trips planned this summer. Nope. We’ll be sticking around home this summer, but are looking forward to future trips.

Chris and I have always relished experiencing new places and new people. Cultures. Places. Nature. Cities. People. Our world becomes both bigger and smaller with each adventure outside our home. As we raise our 5 kids, we hope to share with them our love for exploring the world around them. Traveling – even if it is just a park 30 minutes away – is a lot different as a family of 7 than it was as a couple. We are learning as we go. We are dreaming of new places as we go.

I added a new Travel page to this blog – a way to easily access our travel posts. (see the sidebar on the left?). The new page is a place for me to keep all those posts in one place and maybe help others that are planning trips or out to explore, as well. I’m anxious to start adding new posts to the page again!

Right now, my friend Natalie is on a European adventure. For the past year, she and her husband have been planning and saving for a dream trip. While she is gone, she has guest posts and posts with tips related to traveling and planning on a budget. She asked me to guest post – an addition to her “Adventure Series”.

Here is an excerpt from that post:

“There was a time that my definition of adventure included huge trips or big moments. Skydiving. Trips overseas. Helicopter rides over islands. Adventures were big moments, not the little ordinary moments that happened everyday. I had to GO on adventures.

And then somewhere along the way, it all changed.

I realized I am ON an adventure. Everyday. Every moment. I can BE on an adventure right where I am today. It boiled down to perspective for me.”

You can visit Natalie’s blog and the rest of my guest post by clicking here.

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  • Tammy - Girl, that picture of your youngest staring at the crab might be the cutest thing I have ever seen.

  • Tammy - Er, crawdad?

  • Ashley Pickrell - I loved your guest post. It’s words ring so true! It brought a smile to my face when I saw we have the same name but I completely lost it (in a good way) when I saw that our husbands have the same name, we are similar ages, and that we are both Christian and striving to raise our families to honor God. Amazing! God bless you and your sweet family.


  • Katie - I just came back to say exactly what Tammy said- I love the pic of Little One and the small creature!

  • marie - This is a lovely post! The thing I love most about it, is that you’ve learned this truth as a young woman. I turned 60 this year, and this is something I’ve struggled with for a long time. Always worrying that things aren’t quite Pinterest perfect…how silly is that!
    Anyways…this post blessed me. I hope my daughters feel like you do! I hope they keep their front doors open while waiting for their dreams to come true!


Two extra boys were running around my house. When there are extra boys, we make cookies. Needless to say, we make cookies A LOT! The boys had been over for less than twenty minutes when she started getting out the cookie supplies. She was determined to get baking whether I was ready or not.

cookies-01The boys kept running through the kitchen asking, “Are the cookies ready yet?” She kept telling them, “Not yet.”

Eventually, they were ready and she got out the cake stand in preparation to share her cookies.cookies-03cookies-06Walking around the house, inside and outside, looking for the boys…cookies-07The rain started back up, so she had all the boys line up outside the window. One by one, she told them the cookies were free, but they needed to say “please” and “thank you”. She limited the boys to ‘2 cookies per boy’. Eventually, her cake stand was empty. She called out, “My shop is closing now.” Then she shut the window, pulled the curtains, and smiled up at me. Goodness this girl – she is delightful.cookies-08In a couple of years she will be a teenager. In a couple of years, my house will be full of extra teenage boys (at least I hope so!)….I have all kinds of thoughts about what is to come! For now, I’ll just keep baking cookies with her and celebrating that my boys have pretty terrific friends.

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  • Bevy @ treasured up and pondered - Love this…

    The cookies look divine… I loved the please and thank you’s for payment!! Clever girl!! :)

    Recipe please???

  • Ashley - Cutest ever :) :)

  • Natalie - Love this post! I had older brother and he always had friends over. The cookies look AMAZING!

  • Shannon@Heart...Captured - Oh my cuteness! LOOOOVE.

  • AndreaB - This is just the best! She has so much character. I love that there was also a change of clothes involved too :)

  • Jenn - great post
    love the picture of her serving then through the window. so great.

  • Carol - She really is an amazing girl. Good job Ashley

  • Karen - So perfect!! Nothing better than fresh chocolate chip cookies!

  • Stephanie George - I love this. I can see my five year old daughter playing out this exact scenario. So cute!

  • Rae - WOW WOW WOW!! Great Job, FireCracker! :)

  • Kimberly oyler - she is a beauty.

  • AshleyAnn - Andrea – there is always a change of clothes involved! She was jumping on the trampoline in the rain in the first outfit :)

  • Stephanie - love this!! would you mind sharing your cookie recipe? always searching for a good one…

  • keely - Hey Ashley, will you please share where you got the chair that Firecracker is standing on? Love it!!

  • - I love your work. There’s no question about you enjoying what you do; it shows. I really like the angle you got of her serving the cookies through the window.

  • AshleyAnn - Keely – They are from Joss & Main

  • Kate - Hi Ashley. Are you willing to share your receipe??

6.15splahpad-01My dad celebrated his 45th high school reunion over the weekend. We joined my parents for the family picnic. One of my dad’s friends brought pictures from their 20th reunion, when they had a small get together at my parents’ house. I am three years away from my 20th high school reunion. What?! My parent’s were pretty close to my age in those old pictures. I was the age of my oldest. Growing up is just strange. A good strange, but strange nonetheless!

It has been a while since we visited a splash pad. We used to go all the time during the summer because it was easier than going to a swimming pool with lots of littles. These days, we just swim.

85mm, ISO 100, 1/800, f/2.8 ~ 85mm, ISO 100, 1/640, f/2.8

6.15splahpad-0285mm, ISO 100, 1/1000, f/2.86.15splahpad-04

Their favorite aspect of the park was the dumping buckets. I kept watching them and thinking about all the times Chris and I would race over to rescue them as toddlers before the dumping water knocked them over. Now they were pushing and holding eachother while laughing the whole time. I think next time I need to join them.

85mm, ISO 100, 1/1250, f/2.8 ~ 85mm, ISO 100, 1/1250, f/2.86.15splahpad-0585mm, ISO 100, 1/2000, f/2.8 ~ 85mm, ISO 100, 1/1250, f/2.86.15splahpad-0785mm, ISO 100, 1/1600, f/2.8 ~ 85mm, ISO 100, 1/1000, f/2.86.15splahpad-09Summer is my favorite. Spring is a close second. Fall and winter require too many layers!


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  • Southern Gal - I’m with you. This growing up thing is very strange.

    Around here spring and fall are the best seasons. Summer is fun, but it’s beating us up with hot, humid days. If you don’t have some type of water around you have to stay inside!

  • Kayla - Your little’s swim suit is the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen! Boy shorts? Stripes? The cutest!

  • Jen - Ah, sometimes I wish I lived across the pond with you guys – UK, especially in the north is so not summer yet!!

  • AshleyAnn - Southern Gal – I am sure most in Oklahoma feel the same as you!!

  • Danielle - My boys love the dumping buckets! They really like that park as well :)

  • Candace Barbee - Looks like fun! Where is this splash pad?

  • Jenny - Your pictures always turn out awesome! I haven’t used my 85mm lately, but after seeing these I’m going to. :)