Thanks for the suggestion on the tea options yesterday…I will be trying some of those out. I recently went to a shower where the mom-to-be recieved a small can of PlayDoh. The giver (her mother-in-law) said it was meant to be a reminder of the great role a mom plays in molding the heart of her child. What a beautiful picture and fun gift I thought.

We love playing with playdoh at our house. Here is our favorite recipe to make it at home.

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Sheer joy. He loves molding his playdoh. As I watched him and thought of playdoh in the context of molding my children, it reminded me of the sheer joy I feel being a mom. I love being a mom….LOVE IT.1.10playdoh-04

It’s a big deal – to mold a child’s heart. A big, fun, exciting, rewarding deal.1.10playdoh-07

And again, to answer a few more of your questions from last week:

Are you planning on adding more kids to your family in the future?

To be honest I wasn’t sure if I wanted to answer this question…it just seemed very personal. However, the more I thought about it the more I knew I wanted to answer it. I love being a mom.  Of course I love my kids, but I just really like them too. I look at big families and smile thinking of how much fun they must have. So, yes, we hope our family expands again….we have dreamed of adopting since before we were married.  We hope to begin the adoption process in the coming year…..

How do you organize your day and have time to blog?

I blog at night and during naps. I usually try to write a couple of posts at a time. My day is fairly organized and scheduled. The kids and I have a daily routine…without it I think I would be sinking rather than swimming….though there are sure days of sinking. I even schedule time during the day for undistracted playing. That might sound sad, but I have learned if I don’t tell myself “this is play time only” then I find myself saying “Just a minute” or “hold on” or answering the phone, checking email, doing laundry, etc. instead of giving my kids undistracted attention from me.  Our schedule is flexible…always room for a friend to stop by or a spur of the moment trip to the park, but when we are doing the day to day the schedule is the only way I can feel some sense of control in “the crazy house” (what I lovingly call my home).

I enjoy this funny little blog and I make time for it for many reasons.  To be honest there are many days I think of stopping because it does take time…and I wonder its value for others and myself. It usually works out that just when I think I’ll stop blogging someone emails or leaves a comment that is just the thing I needed to hear. So thank you.

Where do you get your creative inspiration?

Blogs. Magazines. My kids. My friends. Nature. Just about everywhere and everything really.

Do you sleep?

Like I did before I had kids? NO. Last night I got up at 2am with one boy, another boy crawled into my bed at 4:30am because he “needed to cuddle”, my daughter was hungry at 6am…I slept in between those. If they would all sleep like my oldest then I could answer “Yes” to this question. As much as I would love sleep…I know one day that sweet boy won’t want to cuddle in the middle of the night. I know that all too soon this too shall pass.

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  • Alba - who has kids and sleep all the night? no one I know. It’s a time in our lives that will pass, sooner than we expect. Please, please, please, do not stop blogging, I love your blog and your comments. It’s one of my good moments of the day around 14:00 (local time). Petonets, alba

  • anne c - thanks for sticking with your blog and not stopping…I love reading it everyday and you keep life real. As for the sleep thing.. I am slowly learning to embrace this phase of no sleep. I have to remember that it won’t be forever and God wouldn’t give me anything I couldn’t handle…but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss it from time to time :)

  • christina larsen - I appreciate you taking the time to blog everyday. I sure don’t! :( However, I do start my day off by reading yours. It makes me smile, or think, or it inspires me to think out side of the box.

  • Jodi - Thanks so much for answering the questions. I have thought about doing the 2 posts every time….I should try that.

    I have that same feeling when I see big families (including yours). A big smile.

    Thanks for continuing to blog. Although I know it does take time, it is TRULY appreciated by all.

  • Jodi - PS— even if you didn’t write anything (to save time). The pictures alone are worth a thousand words!!!!

  • amy - Re: the sleep question, that was mine. I guess I meant more along the lines of, do you stay up till 3am crafting and blogging, ie is that where you find the time to do all your projects–at the expense of sleeping! I have two little ones of my own, and we have our share of wake-ups every now and again. I hear that when they are teenagers you can’t get them out of bed…..: )

  • Jody - Ok..I usually don’t write to blogs..but I must now…KEEP WRITING! Your blog adds a small joy to my day. I am a Mom of four boys – four years and under (yep, triplets in there!) and most days I am running from one boy to the other & your blog gives me a time out & GREAT IDEAS for crafts. We’ve made your chocolate cake, your mod podge clothespins & your bird canvas (which inspired me to do more boards – I wish I could send you pictures!!)

    Really, your blog reminds me to stop & enjoy just the fun of the days spent home with my kids & I appreciate your blog. Thank you!

    (P.S. Another inspiration – your photos of details – kids’ shoes! I love it.)

  • Kara P - Just to let you know, I would be VERY sad if you ever stopped blogging!!! You totally inspire me!!!

  • ashlee - please dont stop! i check your blog every morning before my kids get up…it gives me a creative spark EVERYDAY. your photographs are beautiful, your crafting is so doable(is that a word?!), your mothering is inspiring, your craftivism is so generous. you are such a blessing to my life and i KNOW the lives of others. i am so thankful that you take the time to write this blog. God is using you in an awesome way!
    can you share more of your daily schedule? this is something i struggle with so much and I would love to see how you handle it:)

  • Mara - I would understand if you felt you needed to stop blogging. But, I would so sad if you did. Yours is truly one of my favorite blogs not only for the beautiful images, amazing crafts ideas (of which I have tried tons) but also for the realness you bring. I am so inspired by your every post and hope to become a better crafter, photographer, mother and person!

    I wish you the very best luck with the adoption process, as soon as we have our baby boy in April we will be considering adoption as well.

    Thank you for taking the time to listen to your readers and answering our questions.

  • Jill R - Thank you for blogging! On good mornings I am anxiously watching the clock so I can check the new blog post. On crazy days, the blog is my afternoon “treat.” I love your pictures, love your words, love your craftiness, love everything! Your blog is my daily reminder to not take a single day with my boys for granted. What a precious gift!

  • Carla - i think you are a really great example of being a mom. i don’t have kids yet, but i appreciate your ideas and positive outlook on it. and you have such cute ones, you shouldn’t stop! :)

  • lisa - I have to say I was recently introduced to your blog and LOVE it! It makes me smile and I LOVE the pictures. I agree you could just post pictures, they are worth a thousand words. I am expecting our third child and wonder where you find the time to get all the things done in a day.
    Thank you for blogging and welcoming us into your family

  • mandi - i understand setting the undistracted play time. i have to do that too- there are just so many things needing to be done.
    i love being a momma too. it always makes me sad when parents seem to want to rush this process of being little. i enjoy being in the thick of it. like you, the late night cuddles, the early breakfasts (part one and part two), just love it. i think it’s all how you look at it, you know? “a cheerful heart doeth good, like medicine”.

    yep.

  • rachel denbow - Not allowed to stop blogging. Not allowed!
    Someday, when you feel up for it, I’d love a peek at your written out daily schedule. I feel up a creek sometimes with nap times for Ruby being a little unpredictable still and Sebastian needs a little more routine or we’re going to be having hourly battles for the next few years on when it’s time to do what. Right now we give him a list of what comes first, second, third and a 5 minute warning when it’s time to wrap up on thing and move on to the next but the list of things is NOT the same most days and I don’t easily function in a self-imposed structure. I like to see what works for other mamas so I can tailor it a little.

    But…only when you feel like sharing.

  • Sunshine Burns - I truly appreciate your words, your spirit and your blog. It’s such an encouragement to hear (and see the pictures) of your real world/home… I’m a couple of steps behind you as a mother and you have been a blessing and great encouragement to me as I’ve been reading the last few months. It is honoring to see how you are raising your little men (and lady!) to love the Lord! Your post today hit home- scheduling free play time needs to be a part of my day- giving my children disctracted minutes is not the same as sitting down with them with undivided attention! Would you share your rough/loose schedule…!?

  • Ruth - Great post. Being a blogging mother of four who wants to honor the Lord with my time, I’ve had to follow through with many of the same things that you’ve described here. Thanks for sharing–helps to see that I’m not the only one…:)

  • Katy - I was wondering if you might give a tutorial for the awesome ceiling decoration in baby sisters room? pretty please?

  • Melissa - I think one of the reasons I am so drawn to your blog is your confidence, you seem to take on life with open arms with a “come what may” attitude. It really is encouraging to see a little taste of your life, with all it’s mess and joy and color and “real”ness”. It makes me smile and reminds me to be thankful for my own little ones and take advantage of the moments I’m given. it is wonderful that your family is looking to adopt – I hope you do! What a blessing you would be to a child in need of God’s love.

  • Margie - Your blog is totally fab! Glad you take the time to do it, I have found so much inspiration in your posts….the chalk board, your faux fireplace (totally dig it!), your shoe print…..the list goes on and on!
    ‘Sleep’ and ‘Mother’ aren’t two words that usually go together, at least not in my house anyway :0).

  • Yanet - This is the very first blog I read (and I now religiously follow). I found it by Googling some kind of decorating question (which I now can’t remember). I browsed thru it one night for over two hours! Which is a HUGE chunk of time for a mommy of 3. Well, a huge chunk of time for any mommy really. Anyway, I love your decorating style and your little ones are adorable. Not sure if you read all your posts, but I wanted to say: Thanks for the inspiration creatively and to become a better mommy.

  • yeeshan - Hello, I’m a new reader and I love reading your posts. Your photos are fabulous and everything is just so inspiring to me. Thank you for taking the time to blog and I look forward to your new entries everyday!

  • Jennifer Foster - Hey Ashley, we knew you guys from college and were excited to find your blog a little while ago. Thanks for taking the time to share with and encourage your readers. I love your creative ideas of time shared with your little ones and how you are teaching them to love others.

  • Stephanie - Hey Ash! Great post….I too would LOVE to see your schedule. I am still struggling incorporating a new one in the mix (and I only have 2!) so I would love a glimpse of what your day looks like. As always, thank you for being such a blessing. Being authentic and sharing who God made you! Hope you are having a great week!

  • the inadvertent farmer - Being a mom rocks! Adopting is an adventure of a lifetime…can’t imagine my world without my darling daughter, our lives would be much less colorful, and noisy…and dramatic, lol! Kim

  • Kelly - I loved your answers. All of them. But especially the sleep one. I know it passes way too fast so I will give up sleep for middle of the night cuddles anytime!

  • Holly Todd - Submit my email address, I two years behind on photobooks now!

  • vicki - As a mom of three adult children, I can testify that the years fly by. You are wise to recognize the importance of living in the moment. Continue to cherish your precious family,and thanks for sharing your beautiful photographs and sweet blog.

Recently I tried the Shaken Ice Tea Lemonade at Starbucks….delicious. Like all things Starbucks it is pricey, so I came up with my own version. It turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. I am always one for doing things the simplest and fastest way possible…

Ingredients: Lipton Cold Brew ice tea, frozen lemonade (if you aren’t getting Starbucks tea and go with generic lemonade you can take what you save and sponsor a child in need….which let’s face it is so much better than name brand frozen lemonade!)

Step 1: Add the frozen lemonade and all but one can of water (if the lemonade calls for 4 & 1/3 cans of water just add 3 1/3 cans right now)

Step 2: Place tea bag in lemonade can

Step 3: Fill the can with cold water (which would be the remaining 1 can the lemonade calls for)

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Step 4: Brew the tea. You can just leave it there sitting, but if you swirl (or shake) it will brew stronger. This just depends on your taste.

Step 5: Add the concentrated brewed tea to the lemonade

Step 6: Pretend it is hot outside and you are sitting on a porch watching the sunset as your kids sweetly play in the yard and you are enjoying your iced tea lemonade

You can add more or less tea depending on your personal preference.

1.10tea-05And to answer a few more of your questions from last week:

What type of ribbon/binding did you use on your Little Dresses for Africa?

We used double biased tape for the arm holes…you could do it lots of ways. Here is the pattern Little Dresses for Africa provides.

I can’t subscribe to your blog…am I missing something?

Google Reader stopped working on my blog several months ago. I am trying to get that bug fixed…or at least figure out what it is to begin with. Several people have tried helping me with this. In the next couple of weeks I am making some changes to the backend of this blog, so hopefully I’ll get that issue fixed.

Are your kids in school?

My oldest is in kindergarten….and has the most wonderful teacher. We LOVE her!

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  • bopha - You need to try the passion tea lemonade and figure out how to make it, it is dee-li-cious!

  • Erin - Awesome, can’t wait to try this!

  • Crystal - This sounds delicious! I’ve been on a lemonade kick lately, and I love tea, so this sounds perfect!

  • chrissy - Thanks for posting about the ‘little dresses for africa’. this week my a group of women are getting together at my church to make the dresses for an orphanage for Haiti. so very excited and we got the idea from your blog!!!! SO THANK YOU for all your work and compassion for others! depending on how well this week goes we may end up doing this quarterly and focus on a different country each time!
    Thanks for your creativity and sharing it w/ the world! love your blog, pictures and ideas!

  • Allie - As a Starbucks barista, can I let you in on a little secret??? We just began selling our full leaf tea (passion, zen, and black) that we use in our tea lemonades as a retail item in stores everywhere. It comes in a tin of 15 tea bags ($6.95) and I can assure you that you will not be disappointed — they are all amazing!

  • chantelle - look great! I love the blueberry and ginseng by tetley right now……it’s called clarity! Ha Perfect! Just what I need!

  • candace - Mmmmm, definitely worth trying. Makes me long for Spring and Summer……

  • Liz - I second the comment above about passion tea… It’s SO good, especially in the summer. And like she said you can buy the tea bags at any starbucks store.

  • Kristin S - This is one of my favorite drinks at Starbucks but I order with the Passion Tea. Of course you can buy Tazo Passion Tea at the grocery store so I’m trying your recipe! Makes it decaf this way too.

  • Jasie - I do something similar to that. I mix one of the generic Crystal Light lemonade packs with one of the GCL Iced Tea packs. I get that because they’re sugar free. I’m definitely going to make your version and do a taste test. We love teamonade at our house!

  • Meagan - Yum! My friend had a recipe for the passion tea lemonade on her facebook the other day using the Tazo passion tea too. Why have I never heard or these? Oh yeah, because I’m too distracted by the white mochas and caramel macchiatos… :)

  • Kate - Mmm… I can’t wait to try it!

  • Shelley in SC - I think the best instruction is to sit on my porch, pretend it is hot and children are playing in the yard. May I add fireflies??

  • Justine - Soooo, I am a long time reader first time commenter :) but this post caught my eye! Because I worked at starbucks. I just wanted to tell you you are very close with your recipe, and if you want to add the sweetener to it like starbucks does you can buy a huge bottle of it for 6 bucks! We don’t sell them in the lobby, you just gotta ask and we will pull one from the back.

So last week I opened it up for some questions…I had no idea you all would have so many! I’ll answer a few each day this week. Since posts without pictures are boring, I’ll throw in some pictures from the zoo last week (yeah, for warm weather!).

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Some of the questions are similar, so I’ll address a few at a time:

Can we see a tour of your house?

No, only because there is always a room in progress. Right now I am working on the boy’s room. When I finish it I’ll post a tour of that for you, but you’ll have to wait. I don’t know that my house would ever be at a point for a whole house tour…at least one room (usually 2) is always Under Construction.

Where did you get your globes?

All over the place! A few came from one antique store, the rest are just random places. Flea markets are a good bet. I saw one at GoodWill for $5.00 last week. Thrift stores usually have them too.

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What about that chalkboard in your living room…did you make it?

Yes, we built it. Here is a link to an Apartment Therapy feature on it…with some written instructions. I built it before I had a blog, so there aren’t any tutorials or pictures of the building process. Life before blogs!

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What about your fireplace?

Yes, it is real wood. We grabbed some branches and cut them into discs. I hot glued them to a backboard. We built the fireplace too. At one point the mantle almost got tossed through a window by my husband due to his love for handiwork projects. I haven’t asked him to build anything for a while…he’s probably had a long enough break that I could talk him into something again now. Here’s  the Before & After of the living room.

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What is the name of the green & blue bedding?

I don’t know. The teal/lime quilt is from Target a while back. The different colored pillows are all made from Amy Butler fabric( Belle Collection & Daisy Chain Collection). You can buy Amy Butler fabric all over online…just do a Google Search or a search on Etsy.com.

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Where do you get your daughter’s clothes?

Everyone was so excited for us when we found out we were having a girl that they showered us with lots of adorable clothes. I have only bought a few. She has a lot from Target, BabyGap, & Old Navy….headbands and hats from Etsy.com. I have a long list of patterns I’ve seen online that I want to make, but the reality is my mom will probably be the one making them!

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Where did you get that earflap baby hat from this post?

BabyGap…it was on sale…and an additional 40% off that. I love good sales! I love hats…as if you haven’t figured that out yet!

What are those stretchy headbands your daughter wears?

They are made out of nylons I think. I bought them from ElleBows. The Messy. Flower. is from Joy’s Hope.

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What about Meg from Whatever…have you met…are there pictures?

Oh you mean my ‘online best friend’ Meg…no we have not met.  Though when I talk about her you would think we go way back, when in fact we’ve only met online (isn’t that a movie line?). I hope to meet Meg this Spring/Summer….and yes I am sure we will both have pictures to post from that. She’s getting ready to go to Africa as support for a group called Word Made Flesh and will be opening her etsy store on Feb. 1st to help raise money for her trip. You should go buy something cute, but if there are pillows leave one for me.

Last year we (me & my boys, not me & Meg) were in the rainforest section of the Zoo and a bird aimed for my shoulder and deposited the by-product of a previous meal. My oldest never forgets a thing. Everytime we go to the zoo he says, “Can we go to the building that the bird pooped on you?” On one of my first dates with Chris we went to a zoo….a bird pooped on me then too.

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Happy Monday…hope you don’t get pooped on by a bird!

Google Reader does not ‘read’ my blog, don’t subscribe

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  • Mandy B - My oldest remembers the rainforest building for that same incident…everytime we go in, she giggles and tells us the story of how a bird pooped on C’s mommy. Thanks Ash for being the source of all sorts of entertainment!!

  • Jeannette Swan - I have been wanting to make a chalkboard since I first saw yours. I finally last week, got the hardboard and Lowe’s cut it wrong, so it didn’t fit my frame! Yes, I bought a frame many years ago that I’m going to use…I can’t make my own. So, my father-in-law fixed the board for me. Now…on to painting it, maybe today – that would make me happy!

  • Kari S - I see that Hudson is prepared for the birds (with the hood over his head)!! That’s funny! Our encounter at the zoo was with the monkey throwing up…I’d take bird poop on the shoulder anyday before I had to witness the monkey vomit! Eewwww!

  • Rachel Ridd - Thanks for answering my question about the fireplace! If you ever have time I would love to see a tutorial about how you created the mantel. Although I might just pick one up at the Habitat Restore because I have a feeling my husband may do the same thing :) Thanks for your blog – I love it!

  • chantelle - thanks for the peek into your life! Your blog is fab.

  • Christian T - I LOVE Baby Gap sales! I always have an additional %age off the sale price from a random coupon I find.

  • Carrie Sowell - I love you Ashley! Every post makes me smile! I miss seeing you.

  • Stephanie @ Bona Fide - Did you know that getting pooped on by a bird is supposed to mean good luck? I got poooped on by a bird in the middle of Times Sqaure once.

  • meg duerksen - yeah…what ABOUT that meg from whatever?! :)

    can’t wait till we meet. it will be stellar!
    love your answers…it’s fun to find out info about you…even it’s your bedding is from target. ha! mine is from wal-mart.

  • Heather - Great post! I hear that when a bird poops on you it’s good luck, or maybe that’s just what a lady told me to make me feel better after a bird pooped on me.

  • emily anderson - okay ashley, this made me crack up…i always get pooped on by birds too!!
    aaaaaaand, in your post from today (or whenever) i thought it was neat that y’all are thinking about adopting…that’s hopefully our next step too! we are alike, and it makes me laugh.
    :)
    emily