Building my Business in 2013 & GIVEAWAY

 If you didn't hear yet, I recently started my own business with The Pampered Chef. I am so excited to have gotten off to a great start and even more excited to continue that momentum in 2013. 

Since I am just getting started I'll still need your help.
And no good deed goes unrewarded.

So here's the deal...

I have a new Facebook page, The Pampered Chef w/ Ashlee
And it's a little lonely around there right now. 

Like my page & the more likes, the bigger the giveaway.

This giveaway will remain open for the month of January. 
A different prize and winner for every milestone reached.


Weekday Dinners - Done! 
Two menu plans, 10 weeknight dinners at around $2 per serving!
Include a handy shopping and pantry list.


2012 Round-Up from the Heart cork Trivet
For every Trivet purchase, $2.00 is donated to Feeding America.
Help the cause and take your chances on the Mystery Host show mentioned below!


Decorator Bottle Set
A Baker's Dream! Exclusive set includes three decoration bottle, tips (round, open star and basket weave), couplers and one cleaning brush.

200+ likes:
Stoneware Small Bar Pan
If you don't own a piece of stoneware yet, you're going to want this baby.
Love using mine for small pizzas!
Ideal for chicken fingers, appetizers and sandwiches.  Fits in most toaster ovens.

But wait... there's more!!

Do you love Pampered Chef? 
Want to spend some of that Christmas Dough?! 
And get more bang for your buck?

Head on over to my website and search for the "Online Mystery" party. Online being the first name, Mystery being the last.

Place an order and your name will be entered into a drawing. 
One lucky Customer will receive all of the Host benefits without ever leaving your comfort zone!

Guest Sales*Free Product ValueHalf-Price ItemsDiscount
Cooking ShowCatalog Show

Happy Shopping! 


It's the little things.

A friend of mine invited us last minute to go see Christmas lights at the local zoo last night. My husband hadn't made it home yet, but I REALLLY wanted to go. I love Christmas lights and went to see lights at the Toledo Zoo every year when I was growing up. 
And it was the last night!! 

My husband got home shortly after and decided he didn't want to go since he had just got home and had to work early today. But he suggested that I take Keegan. So I obviously did! It was awesome. They had a snow area with "real" snow and a snow blower (the kind that makes snow).  ...Keegan is such a tropics baby, he does not like snow... How will I ever take him to Ohio in the winter?!

Anyway, the real awesome part was when I came home. I have been feeling pretty crappy and extremely tired lately,  so my house has taken the backseat. 
We got home around 9:45 and my house was clean!!! 
The dishes were even done! 
If you knew my husband, you'd know what a rarity this is. He hates doing the dishes.
 But they were done. 
And so was the laundry. 
And the carpets were vacuumed. 
One happy lady right here! 


But it gets better. 
Ronin woke up around 1am and as I fought my way out of bed, my husband beat me to it. He woke up to change him and put him back to sleep. I was so tired, you have no idea how much those 10 minutes of extra sleep meant.

I'm so lucky to have a husband who knows exactly when I need him most and knows just how I need him. I woke up this morning feeling so much better! 

I love my husband and all the little things he does for me.


Missing the Snow.

I hope you all enjoyed your Holiday celebrations. I know I did! 
I loved watching my sons face light up and spending time with both my babies and my wonderful husband. 

And I got a Macbook Pro, so I'm one happy girl =)

Christmas really is my favorite Holiday. I love cooking all kinds of food ( even if it takes me forever and destroys my kitchen!) I love having friends over (since our family is so far away). And I really love gift exchanges! 

It's hard though. 

It's hard to force myself into the holiday spirit when it's 60 degrees and sunny! I know, I know.. I really shouldn't be complaining. But I grew up with snow and white Christmases with hot chocolate and sledding. 

I feel that my kids need all of that. .. I did keep the AC to make it feel extra cold =)  Though i'm not sure if it made a difference. 

But I want that. 
I want to snuggle in Pj's and warm socks under tons of blankies and drink hot cocoa on Christmas eve while we watch Christmas movies and wait for Santa to come! 

This is our last Christmas here in Okinawa, still no clue as to where we're headed next, but I'm hoping for somewhere with snow.. and I never thought I'd say that, but it's for my kids. For the Christmas experience! 

Happy Holidays everyone! 


Secret Santa!

I'm super excited that Christmas is two days away!!!

I love gift-giving and usually do a few secret/dirty santa gift exchanges every year. I've already done two this year, and we always have on at our Christmas Dinner with the marines. 

This year, however, is my first time EVER participating in a bloggy secret santa!!!

Due to the outrageous influx of mail during the holidays, plus living overseas, plus some crazy strike for mail handlers in Tokyo last week... I have't received mine yet. So stay tuned.

My favorite part really is giving though, so I was uber excited to see that Erin over at Keep Calm & Sparkle received her gifts and is enjoying them all =)

And i just have to know... 
The game where you draw numbers and then take gifts in that order and have the choice to steal... 
Do you call it a Dirty Santa or White Elephant? 
It's a white elephant where I'm from but I've had to convert to please the masses... 
it's pop not soda! =)

Happy Holidays Everyone!!!


Overcoming Fear.

I often like to believe that I am fearless, but I know just how much of my life is consumed with it. And as hard as it is to live by sometimes, I also know that I should have no fears as my faith in God should overpower them. 

Last night at my bi-monthly MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers!) meeting, we talked about fear and how it has consumed people in our country in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings. How so many have said that they will now homeschool their children, or never go to a mall, or a movie theater? How they will put their life on hold because of this tragedy. 
Because where was God? 
What about the Gun gun control?

There are so many questions, and I can't say that I or anyone has all the right answers, but I do know that we ought to not be afraid to live our lives. There is no way of knowing what will happen during our days or when our last one will come. Just keep faith in God and know that he has a plan for all of us, whether we are here on earth for 6 years or 106, he has a divine plan. Trust it. 

Please, know in your heart that no matter how devastating and tragic were last weeks events, good will prevail. In some way, big or small.. the good will prevail.

There is no need to live in fear of the unknown. We have no control. 
Do not let Fear dictate your life and rob you of a chance to live a fulfilling life.

I didn't think I needed to hear these words, but I did.
Not even because of last weeks events, but because of the countless other things that I am afraid of. 

Because I am a mother.
And most of my days are spent being paranoid about my babies.
Because when my babies are sleeping I check on them several times to make sure they are still breathing.
And when I'm showering, I pop my head out 5 or 6 times because I swear I just heard one of them crying.
I keep them close because I am afraid to lose them. 

Often I don't let my oldest engage in activities that would benefit him because in some way I am afraid for him.

I need to stop letting fear consume my thoughts and my life.
Just live. 

& Fully. 

Do not be afraid.
God will lead the way, Trust him.


Revamping things.

If you've been following, then you know that I've been a little MIA lately and have been trouble coming out of the blogging slumps.

It's rough.

So last night I had this great idea to buy a book because reading inspires writing, right?
Well, it does for me anyway.

Usually I'd go for a romance novel, or a "schmuck" book as my brother-in-law has dubbed them. I used to swear I'd never read them, but my sister-in-law totally corrupted me on a camping trip a few years ago.
So, I went to find one.

When I got to the book store, I instead found myself drawn to the business and finance section... that was a first. 

And I found this marvel:

I haven't even had the book for 24 hours and I already know it's going to be one of my most used purchases. It encompasses everything for the home-based mom.
(and let's not forget that I'll be a SAHM again in T-minus 9 days!!!)

There's an entire chapter on blogging.
 I so wish I would have bought this when I first started blogging.

What jumped at me was that my blog needed purpose.

When I started blogging in August, I did have a purpose, but it wasn't clearly defined.
I was not clearly defined.

Since I've joined the blogosphere, I have lost sight of what my blog means to me.
I've posted so much on mommy-hood, my babies, and our day to day because that's what was easy.
Because it was easy to participate in Mommy link-ups,
and it was easy to find mommy readers.

But that's not what I wanted my blog for.

I love my kids, no doubt about it.

But I need a space for myself.
To be me, outside of being a mommy.

So, from here on out, there will be some changes around here.
You may still see posts about my adorably awesome boys, but they won't be in every single one.

I'm here to find the funnies in life.
To share my thoughts and ideas.
To try to make sense of all this nonsense.
(Though I know it will never make sense.)

Here goes nothing.

To celebrate new beginnings,
head over to my sponsor page to grab yourself some free ad space for the next 30 days!


Offer is good until all ads are spoken for.

Use the following PROMO Codes.

Really Really Big. 200x300 - FRESHSTART
Pretty Big. 200x200 - REVAMPIT
Little Less Big. 200x100 - JUSTLAUGH
Swap Spot. 100x100 - LAUGHFORFREE



A Bloggy Rut. HELP!

Seriously, what do you do when you get in a blogging rut?
When you haven't posted anything in two weeks and you keep telling yourself,
"Tonight, I promise!" and later.. "I swear I'll get to it tomorrow!"
 ...because that's where I'm at. And it's not that I don't have anything to write about, ideas dance around my head all day long. It's just finding the time. If I'm not eating sleeping, at work or chasing one of the babies, I'm overly exhausted and just want to go back to sleep..
So how do you prioritize? When is blogging more important than sleep, or other things?
How do you make up for the lack of blogging you've been doing?
AHHHAAAHHRRRGH!! That's about how I feel about that.
The good news is...
I put in my two weeks notice at work!!!
And I am just so overly excited about being a stay at home mom again!
So hopefully I will not only have more time with my family, but for my blog and other things I enjoy too!
Looking forward to it, and figuring this Bloggy MIA thing out in the meantime.
Thanks for being so patient.


Scary Moments.

If you've ever been in a car accident, I'm sure you're familiar with the moments just before and immediately after the crash that seem to just float in slow motion.
The moment when all outside sound is drowned out, leaving you with the thud of your own heartbeat and racing thoughts.

I met that moment again this weekend.

On Saturday my family and I were on our way to the local PX where my husband was volunteering for Toys for Tots and I had a list of Sale shopping to do!

We were barely 3 miles from home when a woman crossed the center line and hit our vehicle head on.
We had been stopped as we were waiting to go around a larger vehicle that had stopped to refill soda machines on the side of the road. For this, I am thankful as I'm sure it greatly reduced the amount of damage.

I was reading the sales flyer, since I was on my way to shop for them, when my husband muttered a few curse words. I looked up just in time to see the woman speeding towards us, and that's when everything just seemed to slow. Her vehicle collided with ours with a loud crunching metal sound and enough force to jolt us a bit. Immediately, I could hear the boys start to cry and all I  could think about was jumping to get them. Everything seemed so slow motion and I couldn't move fast enough, though I know in reality, I probably moved faster than I ever had in my life. And my husband was right behind me. We grabbed the boys and took them to a safe spot on the sidewalk across the street. They we crying - and scared - but they we're fine. We all were. My husband went back to look at the car and check on the other driver. She too was fine other than some scrapes and bruises.

Paramedics came and checked us all out, and to be on the safe side, sent us to the ER for Ronin to be checked.

We are all okay.
Other than the headache that is filling out insurance claims...

But that moment was scary. Because for a moment I didn't know.
 And as mothers, I think we are hard-wired to always prepare for the worst.

My kids are troopers and I'm so glad they are okay. Tonight, I'll be holding them extra tight.


To feel important.

Lately, I have been having those days.Those days where nothing goes right, the kids are screaming, the house is a wreck, and my husband won't be home for another few hours.And most of the time, while I'm juggling five or six tasks at hand and trying keep my sanity and composure intact, I can't help but feel small.
And unimportant.
And that although I have many things to do, they're not important.
And then I think, if only..
If only I could finish college.
If only I had stayed in the military.
If only I could find a job that wasn't bottom of the ladder.
If only...
Because then I might feel important. And then my husband will know that I am important.
That what I do matters. That I am making a difference.
I feel that way sometimes. And sometimes I desperately say things fishing for some kind of verbal confirmation that my thoughts are wrong. That I shouldn't think if only, because what I do IS important.
My husband is most often caught in direct fire of those desperate pleas and being the ever so stubborn and quick man that he is, he often catches on to the fact that I'm looking for him to tell me something and of course then refuses. Because he's stubborn.
And I get mad, because I know he does this and damnit, can he just tell me I'm important?

But the truth is, even though there are moments where I feel small, overwhelmed and as if my daily tasks do not matter, I know that is false.

I am a Mother and a Wife. I work full time. I go to school and I have my own business. I am a military spouse. I am expected to move every few years and start all over. And I do. I am resiliant. I have my days, but they make me stronger. Because there's never been a day that I haven't made it through. With everything that has been thrown at me, no matter how overwhelmed I have become,  or how negative my thoughts have been, I have not given up. I am here, still mothering and still married. Still working, still going to school. Still moving.
I am important. & whatever I do, matters.
To someone.
My children need me.
It is important that I feed them, change them.
Nuture them, and teach them.
I make a difference to them.
Within them.
& For them.
They need me.
My husband, stubborn as he may be, needs me.
It is important that I stay strong and resiliant.
He is a Marine, and that's his job.
But I am his wife, and he needs me.
He needs me to be patient, and to listen.
To hear his fears and join in his excitement.
To say, "We can do this!"
He needs me to take care of things while he is away.
To raise our children as they should be.
I make a difference to him.
He needs me.
And I know that those are true, even on days when I feel otherwise.
Please know, that even when your child is naked, screaming, and running rampant while you attempt to cook and clean with the other on your hip...
 what you are doing is not worthless.
 You are not worthless.
 You do matter.
And what you are doing matters.
Because you are a woman.
You are a mother.
You are a wife.
And whether you're just one of those, or all three, you are important.
And whatever we do...
...big or small.
It matters.
To someone.


100 Follower Giveaway!

We finally did it!!!
Laugh with Ash now has over 100 fans following via GFC!
I'm so happy to be hosting this giveaway, because once upon a time I had no followers.
& I anxiously checked my blog every hour after every blog hop, just hoping for one.
Now, here we are. Just 3 months later, and I'm giving stuff away!!!
Thanks to my lovely Swap buddies for pitching in and offering you all even more prizes!
Check it out.
You're going to win:
300 x 300 Ad Space over at Michelle's Pixie Dust
Michelle is wicked cool. 
And she's one busy mom in Missouri!
She makes the juggle of work, motherhood, and blogging look easy!
200 x 300 Ad Space over at The Domestic Geek blog
Brittany is seriously awesome.
She loves to cook and play video games, hence The Domestic Geek!
She's from Wisconsin, and loves cheese..
and frankly I just think it's impossible for those to not belong together. 
&& You already know me! But here's what I got for ya...
30 Days of Really Really Big ad space
$15 iTunes gift card!
And to toast this awesome celebration..
From The Pampered Chef,
Drink it Up! Itty Bitty Bevs gift
Now go ahead, enter away...


Back to Work

Well, Today is the day.

After two short months, I am back to work.

Can you believe how fast that went? Ronin is 7 weeks old already!!

I have to admit,  I was starting to get used to being a stay at home mom again.
I was starting to thoroughly enjoy it.
I was just starting to get into the swing of things and be able to manage Ronin and Keegan and plan some fun activities.

And now, I'm back to work.

We took Ronin to daycare twice last week, for 2-3 hours to let him get used to it.
Today is his first full day, I'm a little worried, but I'm just up the road if anything happens.

Needless to say, I'm missing my babies already!

Look at them, How could I not miss them?

Linking up =)

P.S. A few weeks ago I won a giveaway from Nicole at Flip Flop and Combat Boots!
First giveawy I've ever won, I was so excited!!
And the prize..
$50 to Shutterfly!!

So I ordered these Christmas cards. 
Crossing my fingers that I find them in my mailbox today!

Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

P.S.S. Don't Forget to enter this Giveaway!
And expect another giveaway soon, because Laugh with Ash hit 100 FOLLOWERS last week!! woohoo!!


Fundraiser & Giveaway! For Victims of Hurricane Sandy

If you read my post a few weeks ago, you know that I recently became a consultant for The Pampered Chef. Well, here's what I love about them: THEY ARE SUPER GENEROUS!!
The Pampered Chef has vowed to match all funds raised through fundraising shows for Hurricane Sandy.
So I am hosting a fundraiser and giveaway to support this cause!!!
Here's how it works:
1. You log onto my Personal Pampered Chef Website, and find the American Red Cross fundraising show. (instuctions below)



2. You purchase all kinds of cool things for yourself or those extra lucky people on your Christmas list.
3. Once the show closes (On Saturday November 17th), The Pampered Chef will send a check for
20-30% of the show totals to the American Red Cross to support aide for Sandy.
(Your items will not be shipped and you will not be charged until the show closes on the 17th.)
(That means if you win the giveaway, $25 can be taken off your order.. or you can add to it!)
So what about that Giveaway??
Check out my website and find your favorite things!
You have a chance to win $25.00 to The Pampered Chef, with me!
This giveaway will end two days prior to the show closing so that you will have time to shop on the fundraiser, if you wish!
Please Share & Shop Away!
Support Sandy Relief!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Trying to Hate You.

Dear Husband,
I try really hard, you know.
And I'm not talking about keeping up with the boys and all the housework...
and school, and work, and my blog.
I try really hard with all that too, but that's not what I'm talking about.
I'm telling you I try really hard to hate you.
Because I hate that you work ten times as much as you don't.
I hate that I have to sleep alone, more than half the month... every month.
And I hate that that means I have to wake up alone, more than half the month.. every month.
Because I hate that when you're running late or get caught up at work, you don't call or text.
I worry, you know. And I hate that when I finally call you, you act like it's no big deal.
Because I hate that you don't notice the little things like my new shirt or the way I extra super deep-cleaned the house.  
Because I really do hate the way you think you know me so well. I hate when I'm excited to tell you something and you finish the sentence or story.
Because I hate your lack of planning. And I hate that even when there is a plan,  you're always late so it never happens, unless of course it's your plans.
And Because I really really hate that no matter how hard I try, no matter what angry lunatic speeches I have planned for you, the second you walk in the door I fall in love all over again and it's as if nothing happened.. unti you're gone again.
I hate it, I really do.
xo, Your Loving Wife



One Tired Momma.

I haven't been able to post much lately.
But here's why..

 These two have been taking ALL of my time and SLEEP!

I am one tired Momma.
 I wouldn't change it for anything!
& I am so thankful to be able to stay home for 2 whole months with them
Big Brother Kisses =)
Back to work in two weeks, uugh.