I survived….

11 days

10 nights

5 year old boy

3 year old boy

1 year old boy

baby due this summer

longest time Chris and I have been apart in 8 years of marriage

3 molars cut (by the 1 year old – that alone is a feat)

lots of PB&J, grapes, apples and cheerios

30 baths given by myself – leaning over a bathtub when you are pregnant is not fun:)

and a lot of other fun and not so fun stuff

All and all….Chris is back from a trip to Egypt and the boys and I can finally feel normal again! I missed my best friend!

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  • Kari S. - Hey Ashley! I’m glad all is well in the Campbell household and that your husband is back safely! I love the sign that says “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Have a good week!

  • melanie - Glad he is home safely and you all survived!! Looking forward to seeing you soon!

  • Courtney Connelly - Yippee that Chris is home! Hope you get some time to rest this week…

  • Christina Larsen - Glad you survived. That was quite a task. Maybe a much needed day of rest for you.

  • Shannon Phillips - Cheers to you Ashley! I knew it all along that you were super woman! I bet you and your boys are oh so happy to have Chris home. Welcome back Chris.

  • bopha - Wow, that sounds like a lot of work. Glad that Chris is home safe. Try to get back your sanity.

  • Jamie Dickerson - Ashley, I am loving your blog and your ideas and your photograpy…Ari told me about it and got me hooked. I am going to have to find a place for some chalkboard paint. :)

  • Charissa - We saw your cute little family at the airport yesterday. I could tell you were happy to see each other! :)

  • Mandy B - I think maybe your sign that says “Keep calm and carry on” should have been hanging directly above your count down.

  • Cassie Raney - Girl… you are SUPER MOM! Way to go!

  • Liz Pray - We are so glad Chris is back safe and sound. We really enjoyed having him on this side of the world. We had a great time. I love your sign as well, i need to post that on many walls in my house! Talk to you soon.

  • Emily Lusk - Yeah!! You did it! You should win a mom of the year award for that!! I bet you are so glad that Chris is home now! I love how you have a sign right by the count down that says Keep calm and carry on! I bet you had to look at that every time you went to go mark off another day on your count down!

Rainbow cake {the thought that counts}

When I saw the picture and recipe above on Meg’s blog, I knew I had to make it for the boys. Since we aren’t huge fans of cake, I decided to have a little “Yeah! School’s Out Party!” with a few of their friends. Keep in mind Biggest Brother is in preschool, so all the friends are 6 and under. Well I got all the ingredients and got busy while the boys were away. It was so fun to make with all the bright colors. It made me think of my friend Angela’s food blog (check out the amazing recipes). The food on there is always so colorful, but I laughed thinking this cake would never show up there…way too much sugar!

How beautiful is this batter?!

After 2 hours of cooking (remember the boys weren’t home) and cooling I started layering the cake. In the process I realized it was about time to pick the boys up, so I got moving a bit faster. One, two, three, four, five, and the sixth layer is on. I start frosting it and SWOOSH everything slid, I caught it with my hands and used an elbow to grab a tray. Thus, my cake:

After all that time planning a party around a cake, buying special food color (for $9.00!) and two hours of cooking, you better believe I was still going to serve it.

So I covered in it sprinkles and had a great time laughing at myself

The kids and moms didn’t mind too much and it tasted really good.

So once the house was empty I began cleaning dishes and watched Littlest Brother in his highchair out of the corner of my eye. He was eating a banana, but focused on the cake. When he thought I was good and distracted he climbed right out of the highchair onto the table and dug in….he liked the cake.

So lessons to learn from Ashley:

1. If you don’t like cake to begin with, don’t try making one that is 6 layers tall.

2. Instead of spending $9.00 on food dye, go buy a new shirt from Target

3. If you aren’t much of a cook, don’t plan a party around a cute cake

4. Don’t plan a party for preschoolers on the last day of school…they are all tired and a bit sick of sugar

5. Don’t spend 2 hours making a cake, make something that is not edible

6. Laugh at yourself and be grateful that you can serve your friends a mess of a cake and they still dig in and tell you it tastes great.

Thanks Meg for posting the recipe, maybe some of my readers can make one as beautiful as yours…for now I’ll leave the cooking to my sister!

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  • Marina - HILARIOUS!!!

  • Lisa - Oh my goodness! That is the most beautiful destroyed cake I have ever seen!!

  • Christina Larsen - So, the batter was beautiful. However, I probably would have made the cake just for fun. I like to cook and bake; so it would have been adventurous. Looks like Everett had a great time.

  • Emily Beaty - LOL – you are awesome! I love how you captured Rett at the end… so cute & funny. Happy Friday :)

  • lesley - This is great! Sorry the cake didn’t work out as planned but it made for an entertaining post and it still looked pretty with the sprinkles :)

  • Lauren - It was a beautiful mess! Thanks for all you do Ashley! We love you!

  • Jenn G. - I still think that it was a stinkin’ cool cake. The colors were awesome and it tasted good… but yeah, I’d rather have a shirt from Target, too.

  • bopha - That is so funny, what a way to end the week. I love seeing Rett attack that cake, he was a man on a mission.

  • Ang - I’m laughing out loud! Your cake, the comment you made about it having too much sugar, and Rett digging in for himself – loved it!

  • Aunt Sandy - I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT. That is so much fun and you know those little one’s will always remember the rainbow cake with the sprinkles. Great pics.

  • meg duerksen - This is so good! You could have put in bowl and made triffle! Good for you to laugh and help us laugh with(not at) you. It happens to all of us. I usually burn things. I almost always have double of my cake ingredients…because of my history.

  • rachel denbow - Love the pictures of your little man on the table! And even the mini disaster looks yummy! Thanks for the laugh:)

  • wendy - Love it! OK, It does make me feel a LITTLE bit better about my cake, although your photos are to die for! Sprinkles. Brilliant. That’s what was missing. :) Now I’m off to look at all your lovely photos.

  • Dana D@BoysMyJoys - Mine did the same thing (minus the sprinkles).
    I think next time I try it, I’ll have to let the layers become ice-cold before trying to ice them!
    But with all those happy colors, it was still beautiful!

  • Molly Jean - Love your blog, it’s adorable! And if you’re looking for an easier version of rainbow cake, I just make mine by throwing all of the different colors in the cake pan! It’s like splatter paint cake. It turns out great though :)

  • Pamela M - Those pictures are priceless. A little trick – If you want to color a cake, add a package of jello to the cake batter. i.e. want a pink cake, throw in a package of strawberry jello. It makes it pretty and it is delicious.

Creating a masterpiece

Blank Canvas from Hobby Lobby                                             Littlest Brother (about an hour old)

The older 2 boys have been watching me work on the nursery and they wanted to add a bit to the room. Hobby Lobby has canvases on sale this week, so I figured I let them each paint something to hang on her wall. As I watched them paint their blank canvases my mind wandered back to the days they were born. They were so much like those blank canvases….and as their mom I became one of the painters adding color. Everyday, every interaction, every word spoken to their tender hearts I am adding something to those canvases. Sometimes what I add that day is unintentional or even hurtful and has to be painted over the next day. Other days I am very intentional and the color added on those day is beautiful…those are the days I wish happened more often. You see whether I want to ‘paint on their canvases’ or not, I am – I’m their mom and I don’t have an opt-out option on days I don’t feel like it. So with that in mind, I am so challenged to add each day in a way that I won’t have to fix it or paint over it in the future. Even with that intention, my art history classes taught me that part of building a masterpiece in a painting is all that lies underneath what the eye sees….

So I have 3 little canvases to paint today and another one coming soon….I can’t wait to see how they come out!

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  • amanda torres - I’m not even pregnant and I’m crying! What a great thought.

  • keely steger - Wow. Both convicting and encouraging words for every mom out there. Or, they certainly were for me. Thanks!

  • melanie - Thank you for the beautiful reminder.

  • Serena - Thanks so much for these words!

  • lesley - So, I should have waited to later in the day to check this…my eyes are all teared up. Great insight Ash.

  • Shannon Phillips - How sweet! Yep, I think you have made us all cry this morning. ;) I can’t wait to see what kind of beautiful art your boys make.

  • bopha - What a great post! Now with my own 2 little “canvases” it really means more than ever.

  • Christina Larsen - I love this thought. If only every mother saw her children this way, the world would be a much better place. However, thank goodness we have a savior that can re-paint the picture of our lives’ if it has gotten messed up or out of line. Thanks for posting.