Life Lately – 5 Things About My Week

Affiliate links are included.

Here’s a quick update of the things going on in my life this week.  Nothing too deep or life-transforming,  just a sneak peek into what’s on my mind today.

  • 1. – I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to buy a pre-lit Christmas tree.  I just want a tree with sparse branches and 5,000 Christmas lights.  Is that too much to ask?  ha.  I love Christmas lights. 🙂
  • 2. – I feel a little guilty that my daughter has forgotten about her Halloween candy stash that I’m still enjoying.
  • 3. – The Stride Rite in my local mall is closing and everything is 50% off!  We stocked up on shoes for my daughter for next year but they were sold out of shoes for my son. (I just got an email that select Stride Rite boots are only $19 online though!)

A photo posted by Ashley (@embracingbeauty) on

  • 4. – I entered to win a Christmas gift tag contest where 5 winners’ artwork will be displayed on tags at Gap this holiday season….I entered before I knew it was a voting competition.  Sigh.  I hate voting contests.  If you like my design, I would appreciate your vote here. Thank you!
  • 5. – I just noticed that the picture on the bottom of this blog is so old.  Six years, maybe?  Man, have I really been blogging that long?  I need to update that picture soon!

What’s going on in your life this week?

5 Things About My Week – Life Lately #FacebookDown

Facebook Down

  • 1. Today when Facebook was down, I felt lost.  Abandoned.  Lonely.  ha.  Okay, it wasn’t that extreme but it did make me stop and think about how many relationships I hold on Facebook.  I went to converse with a blogging friend in a Facebook group we share when I noticed it was down.  I went to message my husband on Facebook to see if it was down for him.  Yea, not so smart.  I message him on google hangout while I headed back to Facebook to check in another group I’m in and see if Facebook is down for them too.  It was shocking to see how quickly I turned to Facebook and how I didn’t know what to do when it was gone.  What did I do?  I went to Twitter to make sure it wasn’t just my account.  I tweeted my “Is #Facebookdown for everyone or just me?” tweet.  #Facebookdown wasn’t trending yet but after a quick hashtag search I found I wasn’t alone….and that I wasn’t the first one to use the hashtag #Facebook down.  Maybe one day I’ll start my own hashtag but today isn’t that day.  Hopefully Facebook will come back soon but in the mean time, I’ll continue to share with you 5 things about my week.  1 down, 4 to go.

My son

  •   2. My daughter was going to sing in church on Sunday so we brought our son with us to hear his big sister before we took him back to nursery.  I snapped a quick pic before it started because I can’t believe how big he has grown.  Seeing him sitting there with his daddy looking all grown up gave me waves of different emotions.  Oh, how I do wish I could slow down time sometimes.

Kid's Choir

  • 3. I didn’t manage to get a good picture but my daughter sang beautifully.  : )  What can I say?  I’m a proud mom.  I’m thankful that she has much more confidence than I did at her age.  It would have taken a lot of coaxing and prep work for me to be on a stage when I was her age but she found out yesterday that she would be singing an hour later.

Things Throw Away

  • 4.  One of my posts over at Embracing Homemaking has gone viral.  The post 200 Things to Throw Away has had upwards of 45,000 visitors a day.  A day!  That’s very humbling.  Humbling that that many people want to read my words.  Well, some of them have left nasty comments but still, many people enjoyed reading an article that I wrote.  I really don’t have the words to describe my appreciation and gratitude for that opportunity.


  • 5.  We had a fun time this past week playing at the playground together.  My daughter asked if she could go “play at the ground” and it took me a minute to figure out what she was asking. 🙂  It was a beautiful day and a great idea.  We had a blast playing at the ground. 🙂

I hope you had a wonderful week and relaxing weekend!  What do you have planned for this week?

Life Lately – 5 Things

This post contains affiliate links.

My mind is so full of cluttery thoughts, to-do lists, and mental reminders all circling and dancing around in my head.  So much so that I want to slow down and share with you a little bit of what’s going on in my life now.  I used to do this much more before I divided my sites…not that I regret that, but I’d like to start writing occasionally about myself again and this is the site that started it all and where I feel most at home. 🙂  Ya’ll are great readers, really, you are!  Every little comment, like, and email mean so much to me.  Thank you!  I truly appreciate you, every one of you!

My 5 Things!

eos visibly soft coconut milk

1.  I am in love with this eos visibly soft lip balm, made with coconut milk.  I’ve tried a few of them before and none of them compare to the lusciousness of this one.  Plus, the design of the sphere is adorable!

More Treasure in Books

2.  I started selling Usborne books because I LOVE their books for kids.  I love literacy and instilling a love of reading in my children.  However, I’m torn because the more Facebook parties I host the less time I have to spend blogging and that is my true love.  I’m struggling to find a good balance.  Sigh.  All of life is a balancing act, isn’t it?  Maybe I should just stick to blogging and write about their books occasionally?  Hmm. I’m not sure.

3.  I’m moving soon…I hope!  We’ve bought a new house and we’re fixing up the place so we can hopefully move in at the end of this month.  Which means I’m packing like a mad woman and purging a LOT of our things.  I’m constantly asking myself, “Why do we own this?” and “Where did this come from?”

4.  I just finished watching the series finale of Drop Dead Diva on Netflix and I can’t stop wondering what the next season would be like if it came back for a seventh season.  I put off watching the sixth season because I liked having more of the story left to see and now it’s gone.  Bring it back, Lifetime!

Crayola Oil Pastels

5.  I’ve recently discovered oil pastels!  I feel like I’ve lived in a cave.  How did I not hear of these before?!  They are incredible!  They are what I always wished crayons were.  They’re soft, give a rich color, are blendable and yea, I just love using them to create colorful masterpieces with my daughter.  I bought the 28 pack of the Crayola brand for under $5 shipped from Amazon.  Love them!

I may make this a regular thing, listing 5 things I love.  What do you think?  Is it worth reading or should I just write it out for myself then erase it?  🙂  Either way, have a good day!

Sugar-free Gum For Kids from Orbit

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Orbit for Kids. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Otbit for Kids Logo


Good oral hygiene is very important for my family.  Brushing, flossing, and mouth wash are all apart of our daily routines…well, most of the time.  Sometimes I’ll skip flossing even though I know better!  I wish I could brush after every meal and every snack but that’s not always practical and possible.  Chewing gum, sugar-free gum, has always been a great option between brushings.  It helps my teeth feel clean and freshens my breath.  Win-win!

Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved gum but I’ve never liked the strong mint flavor that so many have.  Now having kiddos and being around more kids I realize that I wasn’t alone with those thoughts.  That I’m not alone with those thoughts.  Fruit flavored gum is still my favorite gum to this day.

I’ve loved Orbit gum for quite some time now but they’re newest gum has me excited.  Yes, it’s the little things in life that make me happy.  Orbit now has a line of gum called Orbit Kids.  They’re sold in a bag that has 10 micro-packs with 6 pieces of gum in each.  These smaller packs are perfect to give to kids.  Not to mention that the size of Orbit gum is great for kids!  I can still remember my grandmother tearing a stick of gum in half to share with me.  There is no tearing needed with Orbit, it’s the perfect size!

Orbit for Kids Two Flavors

The best part of Orbit’s new gum isn’t the packaging but the new flavors they’ve unleashed.  Are you ready to hear what they are?  Strawberry Banana.  Sounds awesome, right?  Well it is!  Don’t take my word for it though, go out and buy a bag or two for yourself.  They also have a Bubble Gum flavor too but I haven’t tried that one yet.

If you’re looking for a way to keep your kid’s teeth clean through the day or if you just want to try a new flavor of gum give Orbit Kids a try!

Do your kids chew gum?  What’s your favorite flavor of gum?

Minnie Mouse Party Advice Wanted!

I need your help, ladies!  All you fashionable, trendsetters, know-a-good-style-when-you-see-one people, I need your advice!  You see my mind is a little overwhelmed with blogging {for 6 sites!}, guest contributing {on 3 others!}, running and decorating our church’s VBS, consulting a local company with social media {check out Black Tie Transportation for all your travel needs!}, starting a new MOPS program at our church {yay!}, and of course being a wife and a mommy.  My mind is so cluttered that I need your help making a decision for my little girl’s birthday party that’s coming up.

You may remember her Pink Lemonade Party last year.  Well, this year we’re going with a Minnie Mouse theme and I’m pretty excited about it.  The thing is, I’m not in love with the Minnie Mouse party decor you can buy.  The bright fuchsia, purple, and hot pink aren’t doing it for me.  I like the classic Minnie.  You know the one with the blue dress, yellow shoes and matching yellow hat with the flower in it?  While I’m still sticking with the more modern pink shades, I’m not going as far as today’s purple colors.  Long story short, I need you to help me decide which party set to buy.

The company Minted contacted me about doing a review for one of their party sets.  It took me about two seconds to look at their well put together sets and say yes but it’s taking me much longer to decide which set I want.  None of these sets perfectly scream Minnie Mouse! but I think they can all be made to work.

Here are the three sets I’m choosing between:

Pajama Party Decorations

 1. The Pajama Party 

It’s pretty cute right?  There is much more that’s included than what’s featured above but I’ll get into that after I showcase each of the party designs.  There is also a fun party hat and pinwheel party favors!  I love everything about this except the bunny slippers.  I would have to figure out some way to cover them up.

Guapa Party Decorations

2. The Guapa Party

I love the colors that are included in this set!  It would help me from buying eeeeverything in one shade of pink or another but my concern is maybe it’s too grown up.  What do you think?  Oh, and while this set includes more than is pictured it doesn’t include the fun pinwheels because this is an adult party set.  I could always buy them a la carte though!

Wooded Blossoms Party Decorations

3. Wooden Blossoms Party

This set doesn’t contain pink and if you know me you probably think I’m going crazy right now but I’m not!  I still plan on incorporating pink into everything else so this would tie in well with it.  But maybe it wouldn’t work.  I’m torn! Even though this set looks more mature it is a kid set so it does have the pinwheels.  Can you tell I like the pinwheels?

From the Minted website:

Personalize bunting banners and signs to make the party extra-special. Create a unique centerpiece with table confetti and a wishing tree, top your cupcakes with fun flag stickers, and send guests home with a treat in glassine bags closed with a stylish sticker. Party decor can be purchased as a suite (starting at $65) or a la carte. All suites come with bunting banner, stickers, table confetti, and paper plates & napkins.

There you have it, folks!  There’s my dilemma and I can’t wait to hear your answer.  Feel free to browse the Minted site and pick out a fourth option if you want.

Thank you!!

Awkward Moments

I read a post over a year ago that listed awkward and awesome things together.  This idea has stuck in my head for a while and I’m finally writing my version of the post…well, two posts actually.  I’m breaking mine up into two posts so check back tomorrow for the “Awesome” segment.  By the way, I can’t seem to locate the origin of the post so if you know please let me know and I’ll add the link here.

Now, on to the awkwardness…

Awkward Moments:

When I’m out with my husband and I run into someone I know but for the life of me can’t remember their name.  It’s awkward to try and introduce them because the harder I try to think of their name the more my brain turns to mush.  When possible I’ll try to walk up, hug them, and say, “Hi!  How in the world have you been?”  Then standing with them I’ll turn and say, “Have you met my husband?”  That’s my husband’s cue to introduce himself  and then my unnamed friend will reciprocate and save me from unwanted embarrassment.

Getting caught taking a drink from my toddler’s cup in public.  Sometimes a girl’s thirsty and there’s nothing else around!

Leaving an answering machine message {are they still called that?} … and then giving out the wrong cell number. Well, at least half of it. “uhhh. No, I mean…here’s my other…”  I’m a real professional.

Not realizing that I have walked out of the house and into the grocery store with my slippers on.  Thankfully they weren’t the big fluffy bunny ones but were just the cute flip-flop ones instead!

Walking over to tell someone something important, waiting patiently for them to finish their current conversation, then when it’s my turn to speak, my mind goes blank.  “Your hair looks lovely today.  Yep, I just walked over here to tell you that.”

My husband pointing out an embarrassing typo in a blog post hoooouuurs after it was published.

Realizing in the evening that I went the entire day with a huge chunk of hair that didn’t make it into my pony tail. {#SportingaRatTail}

Walking into a spider web that no one else sees.

I’ll end with this awkward photo I took while trying to see what my hair looks like from behind.  Why can’t I just invest in a $1 mirror like a normal person?  I get embarrassed at myself every time I do this.

Back of Hair

{Know that the posting this photo is a demonstration of the love I have for you, my dear readers.}

What awkward moments are you brave enough to share?

KidKraft Kitchen Review

Why We Love Our KidKraft Kitchen

When my husband and I decided to buy my little girl a kitchen for Christmas last year, I didn’t know it then but, I had my work cut out for me.  There are dozens, probably hundreds of models to choose from.  There are wooden ones, plastic ones, non-gender ones, girly ones, ones with grills attached, and ones with seating attached.  There are kitchens that transition with age.  There are some that offer a lot of storage and some that have very little.  Some come with electronic sounds and some have old fashion knobs that click when you turn them.  The options were overwhelming!!!  Don’t get me started on accessories.  You know?  The play food, plates, blenders, toasters, dish towels, aprons…Ahhh!!!

From the picture above you can tell that I did finally decide on a kitchen.  It took weeks of researching and weighing the pros and cons.  This was the only big present we got her for Christmas and we only gave a few small other gifts so we shelled out the money for a new, fancy pants, wooden, KidKraft kitchen.  We love it!  Absolutely love it!

Because I’ve posted pictures with my daughter playing with her kitchen on Instagram and on Facebook I’ve had probably a dozen or so people ask me where I got it.  Requests keep coming in so today I decided to write a post and tell everyone about the kitchen we bought and why we love it.  For disclosure, I was not paid by any company to write about this product but I have included my affiliate links in this post so I can maybe buy a coffee with the proceeds from people who buy through my link.  It won’t cost anyone a penny more!

Now, here’s the kitchen I bought.  It’s called the KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen.

Why I like it:

  1. It’s wooden and built well so it will last.  Plus, it’s heavy enough that it won’t fall over on her (but it does come with wall brackets just in case!).
  2. It doesn’t take batteries so there’s no need to replace them and no annoying noises.
  3. It’s non-gender so if we have a son later down the road he can play with it too (I know boys play with pink things all the time but I figure why plan for it when it can be avoided?).
  4. It’s attractive enough to have in our living room without looking like an eyesore.
  5. It’s not a primary color and it doesn’t have to have matching accessories to look nice (Things like that bother me. Maybe I’m the only one!).
  6. The sink was removable for cleaning. Nice bonus!
  7. It had a towel rack and pegs for hanging towels or utensils (What can I say? I like details!).
  8. It has a chalk board on the freezer and a water dispenser in the fridge.
  9. The fridge has a shelf inside so you can put two large baskets inside to hold food.
  10. The oven has a slide out cookie sheet that is removable (Two levels of storage inside!).
  11. The dishwasher’s shelf is removable too (Two levels of storage inside!).
  12. There is a detachable phone on the side of the fridge.
  13. There is a small amount of counter space for food prep.
  14. There is space behind the sink for accessory storage (We have a toaster and salt and pepper there).
  15. There is a shelf above the sink for extra storage.
  16. The sink head rotates and the handle moves up and down.
  17. The stove and range knobs click when you turn them but that’s all the noise this kitchen makes.
  18. The oven doors open to the left and the dishwasher to the right so you can play in both at once.
  19. My daughter (who was 18 months when we bought it) can play with the lower parts now and the upper areas when she gets older.  This will be a toy she can play with for a long time.

To buy it:

If you’re interested in buying this KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen you can buy it online at  I bought mine from but they’re currently sold out of this kitchen at the moment.

The accessories:

KidKraft Cookware Set

We chose to go with different pots and pans but if you are wanting to hang utensils on the pegs in the back of this kitchen, this KidKraft Cookware Set is the only one with handles wide enough to fit.  It’s on sale right now at for $20.34 but keep in mind that those prices could change.


Step 2 Cookware Set

We have the Step2 Cooking Essentials 10-piece Stainless Steal Set.  It’s adorable!  I love that I she could really cook with them later on and we can throw them in the dishwasher when they’re dirty.  Isn’t the little stock pot just adorable?  We hung the two pot holders from the pegs in the kitchen and store the other pots and pans in the dishwasher when not being used. currently sells this set for $29.77 + Free Super Saver Shipping.


Play Food

I bought plastic play food so it would be quieter play than if I had chosen wooden food.  It’s much cheaper too!  You can read about how I got a great deal on my play food at Aldi here.


Kidkraft Play Dishes

I hope to buy these plastic KidKraft play dishes soon for my daughter’s second birthday. has them on sale right now for $15 and for $18.48 but the prices are always fluctuating.

6 Month Update: We still love our kitchen and recently reviewed out KidKraft Baking Set if you want to check that out here.

Well, I think that’s it!  I hope I gave you enough information without boring you to tears.  If you have any questions at all please feel free to ask!

Letter to My Daughter – About Life

My Girl


My Dearest Daughter,

When I was a little girl, your grandmother and I had a nightly tradition.  She would lay with me in bed and just listen as I told her about my day.  I’m sure I rambled on and on about nothing but she was always good to listen to me.  I would often ask her to share stories from her own childhood, something I could relate to.  I can still vividly remember many of her stories.  I think I rehearsed them over and over in my mind because they made me feel like I was normal, like I was on the right path.  I cherished those times and I hope to share this tradition with you soon.  You’re learning many new words everyday so I don’t think it will be too long now before we can start this.

I’m astounded at how fast you’re growing and learning!  Here is a small list of the things I want you to always remember:

  1. You are loved, very loved! By everyone in your family and by so many others.
  2. You’ll have lots of friends in life.  Some will stay with you for a lifetime but most will come and go.  Always be the best friend you can be.
  3. Learn from your mistakes.  You’ll make mistakes, everyone does, but it’s important to learn from them and move on.  Don’t waste an opportunity to learn.
  4. Love your body. You are beautiful just the way you are. You don’t have to be skinny to be pretty.  Beauty is found in all shapes and sizes.  Take care of your body by eating healthy and exercising but don’t put too much focus on outward beauty.
  5. Try your very hardest in school but don’t worry too much about what your grades are.  Believe in yourself.  I believe in you, your Dad believes in you, and so do all of those other people I mentioned before that love you.
  6. Work hard.  My grandpa taught me the joy that comes from working hard.  I hope you’ll learn this lesson too.  Don’t be afraid of hard work.  Take a break from time to time but don’t give up, even when you feel like it.
  7. Don’t worry about the cool kids and what they think of you.  The less you care about them the happier you’ll be.  Don’t ever do anything just because someone else is doing it.  Trust your instincts.  If you have to think twice about doing something or if you’re worried you’ll get caught doing it, walk away.
  8. Don’t be discouraged by the word “no.” You will hear it many times from your Father and I but there’s always a reason behind it.  Remember #1 when you’re tempted to be discouraged.  You are loved!  There is a reason for the “no.”  Trust us.
  9. You can’t change people.  You can’t change your friends, your parents, and even men later in life.  Always accept people the way they are and if they aren’t someone you want to become then don’t hang around them (except your parents of course, you’re stuck with us!).
  10. When you’re having a down day, find something that makes you happy and do that.  I like to listen to music and dance like a crazy person.  You might like to run, draw, sing or write a poem.  Find something that you like to do that brightens your spirits.
  11. Your attitude is your choice.  This is a great lesson to learn early on!  You control your thoughts.  Always try and see the bright side of a situation and see the good in people.  You can’t always change your circumstances but you can always change your attitude.
  12. God loves you.  He created you special and He cares about you more than you can comprehend.  He wants to be your very best friend.  He’s always there to listen, even when Mom and Dad are busy.

I enjoy spending each and every day with you and I look forward to the watching you grow up.  You’re a beautiful little girl!

I’ll love you always.

– Mom


A few bloggers and I decided to put together a Letters to our Children blog hop and we hope you’ll enjoy reading these heartfelt letters to our children.  There are 9 blogs in total and to hop over to the next blog please visit, Penelope’s Oasis.  She’s fabulous, I know you’ll enjoy her!

A Visit From the Fairy Hobmother

What would you say if I told you I was visited by a fairy this week?  Would you think I was crazy? Out of my mind? Lying?  Well, make no mistake about it, this week I was visited by a fairy.

Fairy Hobmother

It’s true, the Fairy Hobmother to be exact!  He was gracious enough to bestow on me an Amazon gift card courtesy of the folks at Appliances Direct.  Trust me, the Fairy Hobmother couldn’t have come at a better time – tax time is right around the corner and we owe big!


Would you like an extra special, magical visit from the Fairy Hobmother?  All you have to do is leave a comment below and you might be the next person to receive an Amazon gift card!


*Throws handful of glitter in the air.*


Disclosure: I received a gift card to facilitate this post.  See, this is proof that the Fairy Hobmother does exist!

My Donation to Locks of Love

Donation to Locks of Love


I’ve always wanted to donate my hair to Locks of Love and I’m so excited to finally be able to do it!  I’ll share more details about my process later but I was so excited and I wanted to show you pictures right away.  I’ll also have to show you a picture of my hair after I’ve styled it. 🙂


Have you ever donated your hair to a charity?