Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Birthday and an Anniversary

As of today, we’re officially living with a teenager. However, our teenager is also a senior citizen. That’s because today we are celebrating our beloved Katie-dog turning THIRTEEN! As the title post mentions, we’re also celebrating an anniversary – the anniversary of having Katie in my life and our family for five wonderful years. I didn’t adopt her on October 1st, but a few days later (I would have to look at the adoption records to remember the exact date…) but I figure they’re close enough to celebrate them together. 


Continue reading A Birthday and an Anniversary

Yes, I’m Alive

Keep Calm Because I'm Back

My mother recently pointed out that I abruptly stopped blogging right after I posted that I was heading in for surgery, and that may leave some people wondering if I just died on the table. Given that I pretty much went silent on social media as well, she kind of had a point. So, I’m here to assure you that I survived surgery and am, in fact, alive and well.

I didn’t mean to just stop blogging. It wasn’t something I planned at all. In fact, I figured that I would have tons of time to write while I was recovering and that I would be blogging more than ever. Obviously, that didn’t happen. At first it was just because I was in pain, on a somewhat insane schedule of medications, and had absolutely nothing going on in my life – which inevitably leads to some writers block. Once I got out of the habit of writing every morning, it just became tough to get back into the habit. I’ve missed it at times, and I kept piling up post ideas in my head, but I just couldn’t get myself to sit down and write. Part of it is that I’ve been a bit too busy enjoying my new pain-free life. Let me tell you, it’s pretty liberating. But more on that tomorrow….

I don’t know if I’ll go back to posting quite as frequently as I was before. As I said, I can do a lot more now and I don’t want to feel chained to my laptop when I can be up doing stuff. Like gardening – my new favorite hobby (more on that later too). BUT….I am planning on posting somewhat regularly, perhaps just not quite as frequently as I was before my big break. It’s all going to depend on how much I have to say and how much time I feel like putting into it….and right now I don’t know what that looks like. What I do know is that I have a lot of stuff to catch everyone up on, starting tomorrow. 

To sum this post up in a nutshell…….I’M BAAAAAACK!!!

Until tomorrow, Ashlen


Awesome Link Up

Today I am excited to be co-hosting the monthly Awesome linkup with Anne from Love the Here and Now! Let’s get down to business with some awesome things I’m loving right now….


Spring is amazing in Indiana. Winter is grey and dreary, summer is way too hot and humid – spring and autumn are the perfect in-between seasons. I was going to go out yesterday to take some pictures of the loveliness (even though most our trees are past blooming and are just leafy now) but then it started raining. It was a full thunderstorm actually….which turned out to be pretty nice because we could sit on our lanai, eat dinner, watch the rain come down, and listen to the thunder without it being insanely humid. Plus….we’re not quite into tornado season yet, which is a huge bonus. 


Since moving into the house, we’ve turned into major barbecue fans. We haven’t been able to barbecue in years, and it’s just so delicious. Pretty much every meal we eat has some barbecue component to it….last night it was including barbecue chicken on our nachos. Dave picked up some fresh pico de gallo, which made the whole dish even more deliciousContinue reading AWESOME

Ready for Guests

It’s been THREE WEEKS since we closed on the house – and that seems unbelievable! The house definitely already feels like home (it did from the very first night) but we’ve been busy unpacking and getting ready to show off our new casa.

We’ve already had a few of our close friends over, but this week my cousin and his girlfriend are coming to stay for a few nights! I’m really excited for our first overnight house guests (other than my in-laws when we first moved in). I only have one cousin (yes, only one….I come from a very small family!) so having him come visit is pretty special. The only time he’s been to Indianapolis was for our wedding, and this will be his girlfriend’s first visit here, so I’m really excited to hang out with them and show them around. In anticipation of their visit I’m trying to get us completely unpacked. Trust me when I say that it’s easier said than done! We’ve made some great progress, but there are still boxes and stuff all over our counters that need to be put away. 

It just needs to warm up a bit so we can start USING the lanai!
It just needs to warm up a bit so we can start USING the lanai!

We are so thankful for our friends and new neighbors for their hospitality. Our friends Adam and Lacey are letting us borrow a set of chairs for our lanai, because so far we have nothing but lawn chairs. One of our neighbors welcomed us with a gorgeous orchid, and our friends Leif and Katrin gave us a bottle of wine and a bottle of their home-brewed beer!  Continue reading Ready for Guests

The New Normal

I’m baaaack! I’ve pretty much been ignoring this little space since we moved. I can’t believe that we closed over a WEEK ago! Since closing on the house we’ve been insanely busy, so I figure it’s time to update y’all with what’s been going on in our lives. 

I finally convinced Dave that we needed to hire movers. It was a really last minute decision, and I started setting it up. We closed late Monday afternoon, and needed to be out of the apartment by Wednesday. That meant we needed the movers for Tuesday. Unfortunately, the agent informed me on Monday night that they wouldn’t be able to move us on Tuesday, but they could do it on Wednesday. After a bit of discussion, we decided to go back to Plan A and move everything ourselves. We needed the stuff out of our apartment by Tuesday so we could clean the place on Wednesday. It rained, and rained a lot here in central Indiana last week. Our primary moving vehicle was going to be my father-in-law’s pickup truck. Thankfully my husband saw the problem of moving all our stuff in an open bed truck during a downpour, and decided to rent a UHaul truck for the day. The good thing about this plan? Much less expensive than hiring movers. The bad thing about this plan? It’s hell on earth. Given that I’m heading into surgery in less than a month and had strict instructions not to carry anything over 10-15 lbs, I was pretty much useless. Plus, our apartment was on the 3rd floor and climbing stairs is a great way to make me hurt. Despite doing a minimal amount of the actual “moving” I was still in a world of pain. My mother-in-law was also around to help, but she also has back problems, so we mainly stuck to boxing and unboxing. That left just my husband and father-in-law to do pretty much ALL of the moving…bless their souls. I watched my father-in-law load my boxed-up mattress and bed-spring into the back of his pickup truck on Monday night without any assistance. He’s a serious work horse! Continue reading The New Normal

Journal Swap Creative

Today I’m linking up with Anne at Love the Here and Now and Cassie at Sage for the Journal Swap Creative!

About a month ago, Anne and Cassie had the brilliant idea of pairing bloggers together and having them swap journals! Bloggers are writers at heart, so what blogger doesn’t love a journal!? Actually, I haven’t been one to journal a lot in the past but I had been thinking of starting before Anne and Cassie announced this linkup idea – so what better time to start than now!?

When I signed up for the journal swap, I had the option to get a domestic partner or an “anywhere” partner – domestic or abroad. Being a Canadian, I know that foreigners need some love too, so I picked the “anywhere” option…and I’m so glad I did! I was paired with Kimberley, who is the voice behind Peculiar Treasures. Kimberley happen to live in….AUSTRALIA! I’ve always wanted to visit Australia, so swapping journals with an Australian sounded really cool to me. The great thing about this linkup is that it allowed us to get to know other each other! I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Kimberley – she has such a wonderful heart. 

Ready to send Kimberley's journal off to Australia!
Ready to send Kimberley’s journal off to Australia!

Continue reading Journal Swap Creative


Today I am linking up with the April Awesome Link-Up with Anne from Love the Here and Now. Unfortunately, I’m in the middle of something not-so-awesome: moving for the third time in three years. While the act of moving is one of the least awesome things on the planet, I’m choosing to look at the few awesome things in the process:

1) Finding packing tape, in bulk, at Costco. Do you know how much packing tape we’ve used? Several rolls. It’s actually scary how much packing tape you need when boxing up your life to move it from point A to point B. 

2) Discovering our wedding gifts all over again. And Christmas presents. So many things had to be stored away until we made this move. It’s like Christmas all over again by opening all our boxes and discovering amazing things. Like all our wine glasses…

3) Speaking of wine glasses…I christened one of them with a glass of moscato this evening….in a bubble bath. It was the perfect remedy for my aching post-move joints.  The bubble bath, I mean. But the moscato helped relax me too. 

4) Katie “christening” the house by taking a piddle in the basement guest room…aka one of the few places in the house with carpet and not hardwood or tile. Oh wait, that actually wasn’t awesome at all. 

5) Eating dinner on our lanai. We might not have had plates, or a table, or really anything other than lawn chairs, but it was still awesome.  

…and now I’m back to moving…

Until later, Ashlen

How We Save Money and Get Cash Back

How to Save Money

Saving money and getting cash back are two of my favorite concepts in the world. Since we’ve been a single-income household, I’ve become even more aware of ways that we can maximize our cash back and increase our savings. 

Shop Online

My father recently sent me this article that talks about methods that stores use to get you to buy more. By shopping online I avoid the navigation roadblocks, the comforting scents and sounds (which are probably the reason I always over-shop at Fresh Market), and the “touch factor.” If an item is sold in multiple locations, I can shop around for the best price.

Stores with Free ShippingFree Shipping

If you end up paying more for an item online than you would pay for it in the store because of shipping, then it defeats the point of shopping online to save money. A lot of stores give you free shipping if spend a minimum amount of money, but a select few offer free shipping no matter how much money you spend.  Continue reading How We Save Money and Get Cash Back

Babies, Babies, and More Babies!

I swear there’s something in the water. I mean, I know we’re at the age where a lot of our friends are having kids, but the number of people we know who are expecting right now is off-the-charts ridiculous! We’ve got friends in Chicago expecting their first (a girl) very soon, and friends in Iowa expecting their second (a boy) in early April. Then our friends Adam & Lacey, who live really close to us, are expecting in early July. Technically they’re due July 8th, but Lacey’s been early with her previous two boys. I’m hoping this one is about a week early so we can share a birthday! That said, my birthday and anniversary calendar is overflowing in July (and August) so all our friends and family really need to stop having kids and getting married in the summer! Just kidding….kind of. On top of that, my Facebook feed and Bloglovin’ feed are overflowing with pregnancy announcements and updates. As I said, there’s something in the water…

Gender reveal cake. Continue reading Babies, Babies, and More Babies!

Five on Friday


If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen the picture of my brand new iPhone 6! If you don’t follow me on Instagram, and want to rectify that problem, you can find me here  😛 

The phone arrived yesterday. We were expecting it on Tuesday, but it got stuck in Tennessee because of the winter weather. I’m super-duper excited about it. I’m loving the thinness and the big screen. Unfortunately the SIM card in my iPhone 4 did not fit into iPhone 6. Sooo Dave had to run out to the AT&T store last night to get us new SIM cards while I made dinner. Anyway – I still need to find a cover. I had a soft silicone cover for my iPhone 4 and it served me well. I’m not particularly hard on my phones – I’ve never broken one or had water-related accidents with them (knock on wood). I’ve been having trouble finding soft silicone cases for the iPhone 6 online, and now that I have the phone I can see why….it has so much stuff on the bottom and the button is also close to the bottom so it would be difficult for a softer case to envelop the phone like they did in the older model. So I’ll probably be switching to a hard case that snaps on the phone. I don’t know how I feel about that….we shall see! 

Continue reading Five on Friday