Tree Hunting & Reindeer Finding

When you are only 15 months old tree hunting is very exciting. They all look so big and beautiful & smell so great!

Big brothers also love to find trees...but they love running through them even more!

What's great is if you look carefully through the trees you might even see a REAL reindeer...

or an ginormous nutcracker!

And when you take a break from "hunting" its so fun to watch the reindeer and think about them pulling Santa's sleigh...

and think, "If they would only let us play with those great deer!" Don't you think a ride through the sky would be nice?

Well, even if you can't get a ride from the reindeer at least you can remember them with a nice picture. How about a great shot with Santa's deer in the background?

Um, or maybe not...

And if the trees cost $70 {gasp} at the tree place with the reindeer, just head for Lowe's. Then you can also ride in the cool car cart & push all of the buttons of the snowglobes. What fun!

It doesn't really matter where you get your tree as long as you were a good "hunter" and you LOVE the one you found. Right?!

And everyone in the family can help bring the tree home!

Just throw that tree in the back of a truck...

and have fun decorating it when you get home!

May your tree hunting adventures be full of fun & your decorating be lower than a toddler can reach!

Save$$: Christmas Photo Postcards!

Debating on whether or not to send out Christmas cards this year? I love getting cards from the friends and family especially those that I don't see very often. But a stamp, PLUS the cost of a card or can really add up fast! Even if you Costco's deal of $14.99 for 50 cards it is still around $.72 for each card you mail.

If {like me} the thought of mailing 14 cards for about $10 makes you cringe but you'd still like to send a card to people--here you go! How about a photo postcard?! It will cut your costs almost in half...or even nothing if you just send it as an Ecard!
Christmas Photo postcards!

What is a photo postcard? A 4X6 picture of your family that you send as a postcard in the mail! You can even write a little note on the back if you want to.

Step #1 Get a photo.
Find a picture you like enough to mail to your friends and family. I know this can be challenging, but if you don't have one...get one! You'll never regret having a recent family picture--even if its just a snapshot.

Step #2 Create a card!
There are several ways to do this. I just made mine in Photoshop Elements. If you don't have Photoshop you can use photo places like Shutterfly or Snapfish to "edit" your photos... or add a border, writing, etc. Its really not that hard, & you can create a fun, unique card that people will love to get!

Note: If you're interested in a little help just email me.  For $10 I'll put your photocard together for you. Just email me: for details.

Step#3 Order 4X6 prints
You can do this just about anywhere, but I got mine for super cheap at!  I just upload my picture as a postcard and I have more than enough for my photocards and to put on my neighbor gifts. 

You can also just get prints at I just uploaded them online --they have a 1 hr service--and picked them up the next day.

Note: They need to be 4X6 to be considered a "postcard" for the postal service. You can get more details at the USPS website.

Step#4 Get a postcard stamp
This is where you really save $$! Buy postcard stamps for $.28 each. Oh yeah!

Step #5 Mail that card!
You just address it, stamp it, and mail it as you would any other postcard!

And TahDah!
Its a great way to keep in touch with people {like your great uncle Harry, your friends from college, your old neighbors}, and let them know you are thinking about them. I'm sure it will make their day to see your face smiling when they get the mail! {Hint, hint...should I post my address so you can all send me one?:)}
PS That's not all you can do with photocards! I have another fun idea that I'll share with you soon!

Toad's $5 Holiday photo postcards & gift tags!

So you can't figure out how to make a photo postcard-{or photo gift tags}-or just don't want to? Well, I'll take the stress out for you. This is how I'll do it:;)

#1 You pick the photocard below that you want & pay $5 on paypal. {The button to pay is on the right hand side of my blog. The $5 pretty much just covers the web products I bought to make the cards and a few minutes of my precious time...:)}

#2 You email me {} the .jpg picture you want in your card. I'll customize it so it has your pict and sign it with your family name or individual names-- whatever you'd like.

#3 I email you back your new photocard and you go crazy ordering the prints!:)

*If you want a photo gift tag just let me know in the email. I'll send you a 2 copies of your card. One for a postcard and one for gift tags!


Here are you options...

Option A

Option B

Option C

Option D

Option E {Just added!}

And have a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!:)


I pretty much put myself out of the running for "Daugher of the Year" again. I had all of these great intentions to send my Dad all of these fun birthday things since we won't be there to celebrate---but instead he got a late birthday card with a gift certificate to Costco so he can go and buy a book. Yeah, I'm not so cool.

So to make up for it I'm going to wish tell my Dad how great he is on my blog. And he really is great.

One of my favorite memories of my Dad was when he would put me to bed at night. He would often make it fun by letting us sleep in a "tent" {blanks hanging} and would sing a few songs that have become very special tree. My faves were "Lemon Tree" & "Sing Terry O Day". Ethan likes to hear them now too.

And now he is making things special for my kids. He often mails little crafts, toys, or treats to the boys & you can imagine how much they LOVE it. Its hard for me to be living so far away from my dad. He is always so patient and understanding. {Maybe all those years of being a marriage and family therapist?:)}

Last summer the boys had a great time with him...

I love you Dad. I hope you can figure out how to read my blog so you can read this post. Thanks for everything.

Now, what's your favorite thing about or memory of my Dad? If you know this guy, you'd better speak up. Let's hear some good stories people!!:)

Toad's Simple Patterns

{Simple Beginnings}
Not long ago I was reading through the "Brother" manual to figure out how to thread my sewing machine!  It was hard for me to find patterns and cute projects that were at my basic level that didn't make me what to swear, so I started creating my own.  Now YOU can sew too!:)

I cater to those beginning to sew, but even those who have spent many hours at the machine can enjoy these fun and EASY projects!  Listed below are my patterns for sale as well as all of my FREEBIES! Have fun!

{Car Seat & Stroller Blanket $6 }
 My most popular PDF epattern. I love this blanket. Click here for more great details.

{Free Patterns & Picture Tutorials}
For pictures of all of the patterns & Tutorials listed below just click here.  These are for personal use only...if you'd like to make and sell from my patterns for profit just click here!

Hope you'll enjoy a few of my "treasures"!

+Emily Ashby

The BEST pumpkin bread recipe ever!!

I LOVE those pumpkin cookies you can get in the grocery store bakery. So as fall approached I asked all of my "friends" on facebook to send me their favorite pumpkin cookie or bread recipe. {Thanks for all the recipes guys!!} After trying several recipes I have a favorite! It is super easy and SUPER yummy.

The background: Last year there was a great gal in my neighborhood who brought me some pumpkin bread and it was SO yummy. {I downed the whole loaf before anyone else in the family could even have any!:)} I begged her for the recipe, but didn't get a chance to make it last year. Now I'm making up for lost time! So here's a shout out to Dixie!! Thanks for this great recipe!

But be may not be able to stop with one bite & don't blame me when you want more! I've found with this recipe you can make the bread in a loaf pan, as cupcakes {our fave}, or as cookies! All you have to do is adjust the cooking time.

Pumkpin Bread by Dixie

Preheat oven to 350F & grease and flour your pans. (This recipe makes alot of batter so you'll get at least 3 9X5 pans or 30+ cupcakes out of it!)

In a large bowl combine the following until smooth:
3 cups of sugar
1 C vegetable oil
1 can pumpkin puree {15 oz}
2/3 C water
4 eggs

Blend in:
3 1/2 C flour
1 T cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
{Or instead of the cinnamon and nutmeg I just use a T of pumpkin pie spice}
2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t salt

Fold in 1 c chocolate chip {and 1/2 c chopped nuts if you like them--I left them out}. Put batter into baking dishes and bread pans for 1 hour or until knife comes out clean. I bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes or so & the cookies for 12-15 minutes depending on how big you make them.


And if you ever wonder what the boys are up to while I'm baking here's a little peek...

Having lots of fun!

Well, most of the time...:)

Let me know how you like the recipe!

PS I have a great idea for your Christmas card coming soon! {Soon= next time I get a block of time to post about it!:)}
+Emily Ashby

Turkeyby# & I{heart}5 yr olds

First of all, here's a fun little turkey that you {or your kids} can color or paint by number! We love little fun crafts around this place. Just click on it for your own copy!

Second, I{heart}5 yr olds. Why? Well, when you're 5 you can...

...leave little stick people all around the house. They become a beautiful addition to your mom's "decorations".

...are a scavenger. If your mom is busy and you are hungry, you do what you have to. This includes eating applesauce with a measuring spoon. {Your mom will find this spoon later and feel like a lame mother.}

...can color a turkey whatever color you want and everyone will think its cute. Also, you can paste it together anyway that you'd like.

...have a super great time anywhere you go---especially Cornbellies.

{For you locals, Cornbellies is at Thanksgiving Point and its SO great. Unfortunately they are closed now, but they'll open again next September and its so great. Pictured below are our fun friends Heather, Anli, & Sadie--you may recognize them from previous posts.}

...push the "go" button so your little brother can enjoy one of his favorite things at Cornbellies...the Chicken Show.

...think you are so cool when you get to ride in the front of the "cow train".

...take "dress up" very seriously. as you watch your little brother tries to charm the ladies.

Ahh, to be 5.

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