Poetry by Ashley


Spirit of the Season
Christmas is upon us.

Everyday it’s drawing near.

Lights on trees and wreaths on doors.

Holiday music is all I hear.
The joyous spirit warms me,

This season that’s all about giving.

Reminds me to embrace

Each moment I’m living.
The days creep faster.

Gone far too fast.

My children will grow,

And this will soon be past.
Let them be young,

And let them believe.

But teach that it’s better,

To give than receive.
You blink your eyes,

And like the snow,

You’re children have grown,

And of course they know.
That Santa’s not real,

And reindeer don’t fly.

It was you all along,

And they’ll ask you why.
Tell them the truth.

Give them your reason.

It’s not about Santa.

It’s the spirit of the season.


Writing with Style

This is a geat article on writing

Writing Bad - Official Site

style writer

All writers have experienced the first draft blues. The idea for the story came to us in a flurry of inspiration; the characters sauntered through our door, greeting us with their riveting personalities. Yet, as we sat down to write the story, the sentences stumbled and clanked together in an oafish web of prose. Too many writers have sat and stared at these first drafts thinking themselves too unskilled to give justice to their stories and characters. Yet, with only six simple steps writers everywhere can begin writing with style today.

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A character that bleeds…

A good article on forming great characters.

Writing Bad - Official Site

pottery wheel

It is a common fallacy that stories are driven by plot. The truth is, the stories that last are the ones driven by character. They’re the ones where we’ve become so attached to the characters over the years, that we simply can’t let them go, rather we continue to re-imagine these characters over and over again. Huckleberry Finn, Holden Caulfield, Randle Patrick McMurphy-these characters are unforgettable, their traits carved into the memory of all readers who’ve met them, just as if they had walked through the door and shook the reader’s hand. These characters breathe and bleed upon the pages as the reader follows their stories in anticipation of what will become of them. How did their writers do it? What exactly is the perfect recipe for a character that bleeds?

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Tot Workbook

H loves to learn! He’s a little sponge. Constantly asking why and how and who. (Hubby refuses to answer him when asked “Why?” He instead asks H to give a full question. I.e. “Why is that truck loud?” I feel like it has helped the kiddo to think more about what he wants to know and narrow it down. Plus it’s less annoying to hear all day when the questions are different 😉 )

Last August I came across a tot activity book idea on Pinterest. After a little more searching and reading I came up with my own version. After a trip to the store, H’s workbook was born!


I already had the binder. I used fun scrapbook paper for decoration. Sturdy page protectors from Target. ** They HAVE to be the sturdy kind or they will not work**

We started with a black dry erase marker. Once we did the book cover to cover and he asked to do more, and I realized HOW much he liked it, I bought him a pack of colored markers. Big hit!

I used pages from a preschool activity book (shapes and colors) to start with. I started small with only 5 pages, front and back.  Ones I thought he would like or shapes he already knew.  After he seemed okay with those I added more.


He likes this page but always tries to incorporate the line into his letters. 😉 I think a reprint with the lines gone will be better. I made it in Word.

Anytime we learned about something new (Octopus, Owl, Cow, Cat, Spiders) I would print an extra letter tracing page out for the binder. That way we had one for the activity and one to keep doing!


He prefers to trace inside the bubble S rather than the dotted line ones.

Every couple weeks I have gone through and updated the workbook for him. Added new pages and removed old ones.


His favorite are these; where you have to help someone get to somewhere via shape path. He’s done these well from the get go.



He has gotten pretty good at tracing! He can write a lot of the alphabet but his tracing  has improved so much. When we first started with the book he was more interested in coloring things in and erasing them.


This was back in October. He was working in the book while I did dishes and he called me over to see. I was SO proud. The blue is mine.


To teach him to have a good grip on his writing utensil I take a small wad of napkin or tissue and have him hold it with his pinky and ring finger. Then his other fingers hold the marker naturally. He doesn’t always need it but if he asks I will do it for him. He’s at the point now where all I really have to say is “pretend you have a tissue under your fingers”


Finished number


He kept making silly faces and finally pretended to be asleep for this picture last week.

If there is dried stuff on the pages then I’ll take a little Windex and a washcloth to them at the end of the day. Not every night but at least once a week. He has a small eraser he can use and thinks it’s fun.

He has some empty pages for just doodling as well. He likes when we draw together.


This is his cat, Violet. (Again mine is the blue. 😉 )


This is baby and me. 😀

Overall I’m very happy with this workbook. It’s so versatile and he enjoys it. 🙂 Any questions or ideas just let me know!



UPDATE: I’ve added a bunch of new pages. Most are hand drawn (our printer died) He did this one tonight 4-6-16 with no prompting


I have a bunch printed out though. I’m going to do a Bug themed week and I also have a bunch of other work packs. Most of them are from 123 Homeschool 4 Me
but I also have a bunch saved to my Pinterest board.

DIY Paracord Belt

This project was really exciting for me! I really like the idea of keeping paracord around in case of an emergency and there is a lot of things people make with it! I’ve seen it used a ton as bracelets, keychains, replacing shoelaces, watches, bottle holders, knife holsters, and so much more. It is super strong and durable. Doesn’t fray. Plus it comes in a wide variety of colors. You can get charms for it as well.


One section of the selection at Hobby Lobby. There are compasses, whistles, buckels, and charms. Not to mention the paracord itself. 50 feet to 100 feet packs.


I chose this color for my belt. I got 100 ft for $8.99 (But actually with the mobile Hobby Lobby coupon I saved 40% on it) I still have maybe half of it left over.


They have multiple colors for the belt buckles. (Lowes and Menards both didn’t carry any.) With this buckle I think I could have easily fit 5 loops/rows rather than the 4 in the tutorial. (What I’ll try next time!)


Beginning the weave. All in all it took me two days to complete. That’s just because of little man and other activities taking precedence. If i were able to focus solely on it I’m sure it would take less than one day. Once I got the hang of it it was pretty relaxing!


Tada! I know a few things I would do differently next time but I’m still proud of it. I spent a total of $10 on this belt and it is resizable(with a little work) and sturdy. I made mine a little bit looser so it was more comfortable.


Here is the link to the instructions. Paracord Belt

My only tip is to follow them EXACTLY. I didn’t to start and it wouldn’t work. If you end up making one let me know! I’d love to see how it turned out!

DIY Body Scrub

I know there are tons of DIY scrubs out there, but I wanted to share mine. I’ve been wanting to get a jar of coconut oil for awhile but I always forgot about it when I was at the store. Finally got some last week. I started using it on the dark circles under my eyes(that I’ve had for forever) in hopes of making them go away. I also am using it in place of the Cerave lotion cream that I was using.

Today before my shower I decided to do a scrub. I dug around in the cabinet for what I wanted and mixed it together and gave it a go. I feel awesome now! Here’s my recipe 🙂


1 TBSP coconut oil (melted…which happens when you leave the jar in the bathroom :/ )

1 TBSP brown sugar( exfoliate)

1 TSP baking soda (supposed to help make your skin glow)

Small resealable dish (optional, i didn’t have very much left over so next time I’ll probably just use it all up)

Mix you ingredients together in your dish. While standing in your shower(pre-water),  use it to thoroughly scrub wherever you want to exfoliate. I did my legs, feet, arms, and face. I just rinsed off, using my hand to rub the mixture away. No soap or anything.

I also rubbed a little  plain coconut oil into my hair and washed it out with the usual stuffs.

My feet have been pretty calloused and rough. They aren’t completely soft now, but they do feel much better. This is a simple and inexpensive scrub and I’m sure you can do a lot with it. (Essential oils and such)  Enjoy!