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Thursday, October 30, 2014

You Don't Know Jack...


Let's take this opportunity to bemoan together THE worst holiday tradition known to mankind… The carving of the pumpkins.
Is anyone else with me on this?
The gigantic glops of pumpkin guts and the slippery seeds that make their way to every surface of your house.  How your forearm itches in a weird "there are pumpkin fibers sticking to my skin and slowly drying" kind of way.  How your oldest goes neurotic in an effort to collect EVERY.LAST.SEED since his preschool teacher taught him you can bake and eat them?
See that knife right there?  I almost grabbed it to use on my own jugular is what… I kid.  But really, this is SUCH a process and who the fetch started this whole bit anyway?

Well, one hardy google search later and a comparison of many an article about the beginning of the Jack O' Lantern tradition, I have answers for you.
{I know, I can sense your relief from here}
Tuns out this "hellish" tradition stems from Irish folklore (I'm not gonna lie, a lot of good stuff is Irish…) and it's a story about a guy named, "Stingy Jack".  He was a hooligan and a trouble maker and he ended up making a deal with the devil through his trickery.  He made the devil promise he would never go to Hell, but upon dying, Jack found he was also barred from the gates of Heaven for his rogue ways throughout his life.  He went back to Hell where the devil laughed at him and his predicament and gave him a glowing ember to light his way as he wandered the earth for all eternity.  And the legend of Stingy Jack became what we know as the tradition of "The Jack O' Lantern" --which actually started as the carving of turnips but later morphed to the carving of pumpkins.
Whoa.

Anyway, rad Irish legend or not, I had had it up to here (picture my hand ABOVE my top knot, will you?) with the pumpkin carving last night.  Yep, I'd decided it was all a bunch of junk.

Until I looked at this.
Which is the whole reason these dang traditions live on from year-to-year, you know… It's these excited little cherubs we all call "our children".

There's really no sense in fighting it.  So congratulations to all of us on carving out another gourd.  {Back Pats all Around} For those of us who did not use power tools or stencils of any sort, we apologize for our unartistic eye.  But seriously…

A variety of emoting and crudely carved jacks on the front step with shirtless kids who are sporting matching faces?  Oh man, I'll take it.
Happy Haunting, Y'all. 
XO
Amber 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Statement Tee...

If you haven't noticed, the fashion industry has caught on to the popularity of sarcasm..finally ;)



And we are all the beneficiaries. Everywhere I go..stores, Instagram and Etsy, these gems are all over the place. And I heart them times a million. Let me count the ways...

1. Since when did we girls need an excuse for a comfy jean and tee day? Ya..never. And these tees are  a thousand percent step up from the tees you might wear that you get for free. You know those ones I'm talking about...the city league winner tee, 5K sign-up tee, and the "come try our new Fro-Yo and get a tee" tee? Let's all leave those bad boys in the bottom of our drawer where they clearly belong (used only for pajama and painting) and start rockin these babies...










2. In case you hadn't noticed, Amber and I are all about a healthy dose of sarcasm. It's our second language. And to have it front and center on our T-shirt...well..that's a no-brainer.





3. In a "I have nothing to wear" funk? (like every day for me) Jeans and a good tee are always a winning combo. The fashion statement tees are my new go-to wardrobe staple...OK well I only have 2 in my collection so far..but I'm starting the accumulation process..time and money people ;)



4. IF for whatever reason, you have to get dressed up a bit more than the standby denim, throw on some skinny black jeans a skirt, a blazer or cardi over the tee and wa-la. Night out..done!





5. And lets not forget about the littles in our lives. Could these numbers be any cuter?





6. And besides..some of these great Tee's double as fundraisers for great causes. Like these...



If you love tees and adoption, you can help one of our fellow Instagrammers reach that goal. Click here for a link to her website.

And to end things off right, you gotta check out one of our favorites company's "My Sister's Tee" features a little bit of love and a little bit of inspiration which you can never go wrong with..right? Check them out at www.mysisterstee.com and use the coupon code "lovely" for a 15% off discount. These are a few of our faves...




This "soul sister" tank is just 13 bucks...use the 15% off code and it's practically free ;)



So fist bumps all around to all the peeps who are more creative than me. These fab tees are giving my wardrobe a fresh feel and an "I've got my shiz together" vibe. Win-Win!!

XO
Ashley

PS... Links to all these shirts are on our Instagram account.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Of Halloweenie Things...

I would like to discuss the holiday that is nearly upon us despite what the shelves at Target are screaming out.  Yes, it's Halloween time.  While I'm not a balls-to-the-wall Halloween gal, I totally appreciate those folks who go all out.  You know, if it's your thang - do it like you mean it.  

So, while I do not decorate my house or yard to the nines, or throw a pumpkin-carving party for this, the spookiest holiday on the calendar, I make up for it in my efforts to dress up my kids like a Halloween boss.
{Listen the days are numbered for having coordinating duds so I'm riding that wave HARD until I can't ride it anymore.}
This year, the costumes of choice were of the "Great American Hero" variety thanks to Costco WAY back in September.  We have a Fire Fighter, a Swat Team Member, and an Army Dude.  They could not be more pleased with themselves.
Which leads me to the rest of the family.  A couple weeks ago at dinner, I asked the hubs what he was going to be after telling him what the little men had selected. 
 He said, 
"I guess I'll wear scrubs and be a doctor… that will be easy."
Done.  Perfect.  And then, in that 'slap yo butt, flirtatious husband way' he said, 
"And you should be a nurse… a naughty nurse."
Wink. Wink.
{This is called foreplay for parents people.  Don't judge - you do it too.}

We shared a little laugh and dished up some chicken and potatoes to the little people who were gathered around the table and went on about our bid-ness.
Let's fast forward to a few days later.  My neighbor Mickey drove by.  She stopped to talk to the boys who were out riding scooters and asked what they were going to be for Halloween.  They dutifully replied, and then, my oldest said, 
"And my Dad is gonna be a doctor and my Mom's gonna be a naughty nurse!"

I blushed thirteen shades of red, then we had a good laugh and I chalked another one up to my kids and their non-existent filters.  Wowza.
But this leads me to the sad reality that is Halloween costumes for women.  I mean really, if it ain't kinda risque and borderline inappropriate for a mama to wear, you can bet they won't be selling it on the Walmart shelves.  I would know… I've been looking for a nurse costume and turns out - nurses of the naughty variety are the only viable options.  And hey, I've been there.  I was once Little Red Riding Hood who sported a corset and a mini skirt and blonde braids and it was HAWT.  So let loose and get into character if you'd like.  For me, this year, with the Great American theme we have going on... it seems a little outta place.  Next year maybe we'll be Minions and I'll get that adorable little mini-denim-jumper skirt and revert back to my old ways.

This year, it's looking like I'll be the one at home handing out candy to all the cute little Elsa's of the world.  (We have a running bet as to how many Elsa's there will be and I'm going with 20+)
I'll send out my Great American Heroes to gather their goods  accompanied by their Dad.. the doctor. 
But maybe I'll pull out a little naughty nurse getup for later.
:)

XO
Amber

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

One of Those Moms...

So today is my 4th kiddos birthday. The big number 5! All my girls were born in the fall....so it seems that from October til December, I have a decorative mixture of birthday banners and fall leaves and pumpkins. And if I'm being honest, I wish Nate and I would have "planned" things a little more conveniently (like that's possible). Summer birthdays are much more fun and chill..plus I don't have a billion other Holidays to juggle and compete with. 

Anywho..along with birthdays..comes planning and parties. And if you are like me with a whole herd of kids and a to do list a mile long..weeeellll...these birthdays tend to sneak up on me. I have the best intentions of putting on the most incredible party. You know..one of those Pinterest parties..complete with homemade invitations, matching hats and plates with the striped chevron straws; fancy cupcakes set on a white cake stand along with matching jars of coordinating candy..tied perfectly with polka dot ribbon...you know..those ones ;)




Yaaaa...so then I snapped out of my pinning coma, realized I had two days til the big sha-bang and put my big-girl, realistic, mommy pants on. And you know what? A momma who loves her wide-eyed little ball of fire can really pull out some magic when it comes down to it. You know those fab times when, under pressure, you can really nail it? 

So yes...I'm patting myself on the back cuz guys..today I'm having 8 five year old over for a party and we are..wait for it..having a PAINTING party. I know..you think I've lost my mind...but it's washable and guys..girls and painting are a winning combo...they love drawing pics and it takes up lots of time...therefore, I don't have to come up with any other activities or pin the tail on anything games. Applause all around.

This was the pic that started it all



And in reality, we won't have canvas or easels or aprons for that matter..hello..cha-ching. But we will have tables and pieces of poster board and maybe some paper towels ;) And we'll have cupcakes and candy..and really, what more does a 5 year old little gal need? Ok..so maybe I did splurge (to the tune of $3.99 for four..thank you Hobby Lobby) on these bad boys..but can you blame me?



So in the grand scheme of life, I may not be a fancy-party, overachiever, match-matchy party mom. But I don't fall into the never-throw-a party, lazy bum of bum moms either. Nope...I've decided I'm a middle of the road, realistic, gotta party and do real life with a real budget kinda mom. And I'm down with that.



XO
Ashley

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Orange is the New Black...


Hey friends!  It's fall break around here.  Which means exactly two things:

1.  I will make a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies using my recipe perfected.  Really, though, we have a winner here.  DING DING DING!
and
2.  I will be deer hunting with my beloved and the three little amigos this weekend.  That's right, sporting blaze orange and eating pine nuts in a truck while wielding a rifle.  Do I sound like I could be a part of the Duck Dynasty clan yet?  Good.  Because I totally could.  And I have some mixed emotions about deer hunting, and I don't mean to offend any of you who lean far to the left, but mostly, I enjoy feeling that if things went terribly south and Ebola took over the globe and I had to hit the hills with my family and dine on venison roasted over a fire… I could do it.  But please… team work.  Let's all wash our hands and try to keep that apocalypse from happening any time soon and focus on this buttery yellow autumn that we're basking in right now, OK?
OK, then…
THE Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wet Ingredients
2 eggs
3/4 cups canola oil
1/4 cup molasses (it makes me feel either incredibly fancy to use molasses in a recipe or incredibly southern… you know?  I channel my inner Paula Dean when I pull out a jar of molasses)
2 cups sugar
1 can of pumpkin (Approximately 1 3/4 Cups)
1 1/4 tsp vanilla

Dry ingredients
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon*
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg*
(*alternatively you could use 1T pumpkin pie spice because we never frown on efficiency)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
As many chocolate chips as you need… and listen, I'm not one to judge, but I've come up with an artful mix of semi-sweet in both mini and regular size that seems to morph into perfection in this recipe.

Mix wet and dry ingredients until smooth, then drop by the spoonful onto your cookie sheet using a scoop.  For those that really care about aesthetics, just know that the way you plop the dough on the pan is the way it comes out of the oven on a slightly more puffy scale.  So - you've been warned.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Be prepared to have your neighbors think of you a bit more fondly.  I know, I know, like that's even possible - but seriously - this bakes up a SERIOUS batch of goodness.  So there's plenty to share.  

See you next week when I'll be hosting a deer jerky giveaway!  What?  You're lining up already?  :)
Oh the confidence of this huntress… I hope I didn't just jinx myself.

XO
Amber

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pity Party...

I will admit it. I've been having a massive pity party for myself lately. It's really been quite lame..with no balloons, cake or confetti.



It started out a few weeks ago when our computer went ka-put (it did give us a long 8 years so I wasn't complaining...until...) our smart TV (of just 2 1/2 years) started turning off and on every two minutes..on the dot..it may or may not have been possessed but it cost me $350 bucks to cast out the demons aka replace the MainBoard.

A few weeks later Nate went out to edge the lawn  forest (because guys..I'm a lawn mowing pro but that edger gives me grief and Nate had been MIA for about a month or so). He got one side of the front yard done when it gave up the ghost. And I'm not lying when I tell you that I seriously considered taking a pair of scissors to the edge of our outta control lawn. 

A week later while in mid-mow, the lawn mower busted a gas line..leaked gas all over my lawn and was benched. Do you want to come to the pity party yet?

And if things weren't bad enough, I was driving the Suburban home from St. George two weeks ago (you see where this is going) when my transmission blew. This put my minor pity party event into a full-blown, firework, celebrity-status celebration. Why can't it ever be just the gas cap that breaks?

And to top it all off, my husbands job requires me to be a single-mom until far too late each night...leaving all the dinner prep, dinner dishes, homework helping, bath time, and tucking into bed all to yours truly. Lucky me!

And you know..I get it. I really do...you guys are all nodding your head because you have been there..or you are there..or you have it even worse. 



And really I know this is all part of life and things are always gonna be hard and there will always be challenges to rock our boats. But sometimes it builds and builds and builds and you start to forget all of the wonderful things in and about your life because all of the bad have been taking over...or in my case, I was letting them take over me. Sheesh..this is getting serious...but just humor me for a few...

So two days ago..as I was sitting in church, I had a little tender mercy..an ah-ha moment..the light bulb finally turned on. And it happened as I watched this video.


I realized that I was giving so much of my time and thoughts and energy to all of the negative things happening in my life that it was clouding my vision of all the good. And as I was telling the hubs later that night how our 3 year old came running into the kitchen butt naked..beyond excited to tell me to "come see" that she had pooped in the potty....he reminded himself and me that those were the positive, good things we should be focused on. Yes people..potty training! 

We have so much good and it will ALWAYS outweigh the bad. But sometimes it gets hard to see..especially when you have to spend $3100 on a new tranny but the good news was that the lawn mower part was only $6 bucks. See..this is me focusing on the good;)


So the lesson here is that it's OK to get bummed over the crap that does or does not happen in our lives.. it's part of being human. But we can't dwell on it. It will inevitably lead to your own pity party and let me tell you..no one wants to come to your pity party! Oh and go to church..lesson numero dos;)

XO
Ashley


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Wendy Peffercorn...

It seems Ashley and I have ourselves a little theme of late... "Lotioning, Oiling... Oiling, Lotioning" a la Wendy Peffercorn from The Sandlot.  Tell me you know what I speak of?  If not... the shame!  :)
Anywho... here I am today shedding some light on my latest lotion - it may just qualify for potion status because it's that good.  I present to you, Green Cream.
A couple of weeks ago I swear I reverted to fifteen-year-old status.  My skin was out of control.  HOW can I be in my thirties and be sporting acne?  It was embarrasado.  In a truly passive fashion, I asked my hubs to ask the Dermatologist what I should be using to avert the disaster like the "third eye" I was currently sporting.  He dutifully came home and reported, "You should probably consider Retinol??"  You should have heard the clueless inflection in his voice, God bless him.  "But he said he would have to meet with you for an examination before he could really prescribe anything."

Let me tell you... that was all I needed.  I got my Internet researching specs on after the brood was in bed and surfed the world wide web like my life depended on it.  (Yep, I said World Wide Web like a boss because I like to throw out a little vintage verbiage every now and again)  After much humming and hawing and excessive review reading, I landed on this baby-- and girls?
I ain't never gonna look back.

Here's the brief and un-scientific skinny on Retinol:
-It is a derivative of Vitamin A which is a key building block in hair and skin
-It minimizes the appearance of pores and scars
-It diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles 
-It reduces the frequency and lifecycle of blemishes
-It is the most effective anti-aging and skin repair treatment available.

Read no further for this gal.  I ordered the goods and upon receiving my Green Cream I followed the instructions like an 'A' Student.  

I utilized the cream for two days straight and on days three and four I did notice some flaking.  I washed my face on day three, skipped the cream, and moisturized with Aquaphor that night, and on day four things were looking amaze-fest-USA and I was a clear-skinned happy camper.  

OK, fine, I'll shoot straight with you, I was basically doing cartwheels and considering submitting pics of my mug for any future ad campaigns that Green Cream might want to contact me to star in.  *It goes without saying the lovely people at Green Cream have no idea who I am - I just REALLY have a testimony of their product, so should they catch wind of this, they should know I stand at the ready.  You know, in case Wendy is unavailable.
 Bottom line... if you're having Macne (that's Mom Acne, and yep, I just had that little stroke of genius) give it a whirl.  Even if it doesn't clear up your skin, the other benefits are worth the bucks you'll spend for this little bottle of potion.

Now go ahead and say it with, "She knows exactly what she's doin'."
Yeah we do, ladies... Fist bumps.
XO
Amber