What Up With That??? : Country Edition


So I have been living in the boonies 

for let’s say about…

2 months and some change?

Not sure.

I would have to count and I avoid math at all costs.

But any who,

the corn was at our knees

and now it seems 8 foot tall

turning it’s beautiful golden color.

Which means

fall is upon us.

As the birds begin to line the telephone wires

and pink misty mornings become the norm

I begin to look forward to

gathering pumpkins with cousins,

and boots,


I love boots so much.


I have a few questions

that this summer in the country has brought.

And so I give you

a new series called

What Up With That???

Just light hearted musings

of a Main St. Smalltown USA girl

living out on a CR in the middle of a cornfield…


Surrounded by corn.

Beautiful corn.

You probably understand that if you are not from Illinois.

But round here corn is beautiful.

But corn aside,

there are some things I don’t understand about living in the country

that even as a native Illinoisian I cannot wrap my city girl mind around.

I give you

What up with that…



In the country there are intersections with no stop signs.

Country, what up with that?!?  Are stop signs really that expensive? I know it’s an unspoken rule to stop at corners but there is the chance that maybe some city slicker will slip by and find themselves cruising down CR 3400 and bam! They hit you. I mean I get it, it has always been like that but this is 2014. Put up stop signs. I am a mom.  I listen to Veggie Tales on repeat in my car, do you think I have the mind capacity to watch out for tractors, make sure I can get over with oncoming traffic without hitting the gravel and spinning out, and try going over 45 mph as to not piss, excuse me, tick, anyone off who may have the misfortune of being behind me? Let me tell you, I do not. So I go 45. Beware the white explorer crawling the back roads of rural Illinois. heheh

Broadband High Speed Internet is non existent.

Country, what’s up with that? Hello, Country? 1997 called and it wants it’s internet back. Back in the day I would get online in the morning and stay on all day long.   This cost me nothing.  I didn’t have to turn anything on.  I didn’t have to turn anything off. I just clicked on Safari and bam! Freakin’ internet. 

Out here, it’s like the wild west for internet. Every man, woman, and child fore themselves. It’s a battle for the data. You do what you have to do to get it. Everyone is packing their own heat. We use the Verizon Jetpack.  You have to make sure it’s charged.  You have to turn it on and off. You have to make sure that you don’t use more data then your plan allows. Blah. Blah. BLAH!!!

This means, no more streaming videos from Amazon Prime while I craft, no more X-Box Live.  We can’t even DVR 2 things at once or watch one show and DVR another.  It’s like being in the 80’s again.  I have to watch what is actually on TV.  There is no OnDemand to veg out and watch entire series at a time or order hundreds of dollars worth of movies. Sigh. Being in the country is harder then I thought.  

Cats literally come out of the walls.

Country, what up with that?!? Always makes me think of Charlie from It’s Always Sunny “Classic case of cat in the wall”. It is like Cat’s Of The Corn out here.  They just show up on the door step howling in heat or eating your garbage and spraying every where.  Where are you all coming from?  Sometimes one will live here for weeks, annoy the crap out of me, and just when he has sprayed my freakin’ garage for the last time and he is about to disappear to Mahomet.  He just disappears like he knew his days were numbered. And then the cat comes back?!?! 2 months later? Seriously, country whats up with that?

We have had 3 cats and 3 kittens that have just shown up and that is in 2 months.  

It’s like if I wake up and feel like

“Hey I think I would like a kitten today.”

I could just  go out and look around my yard and find like 8. Country, thats weird.  Where do these cats come from? Where do they go? Is that where the song Cotton Eye Joe originated? These are serious questions I ask.

There are bugs big enough to drive cars and babysit your children.

Country, what up with that?!? I am extremely jaded now when it comes L,TRHB  OV            VZCZto bugs and spiders.  It would take a tarantula to really get me now. You know that statistic where you eat an average F  Y N[‘    QFDTYTD MMHN4SEWOX 8 spiders a year?  I bet here in the country that is MUCH higher.

I’m just speaking truth here people. CDTM LMMM T you will have my business.  I cannot wait to sign up for a monthly subscription. Is it sad or does it make me old that I would take that as an anniversary present? Hintgfn[[[[[[[[[tv.c.               xs xxtse-d[[[;==P, hint Mr. S.

There is a bluegrass gospel band that plays every weekend next door.

Country, WHAT UP WITH THAT?!? Not that I don’t like bluegrass, not that I don’t love gospel music.  It’s that I can’t watch Dead Files and feel nice n’ spooky with you signing Amazing Grace with your AMP?  We are out in the middle of no where- do you really need an amp and mic to sing songs around the fire? It’s like the stinking Fall Festival that never ends.  People come to my house on Friday evenings and think I have ordered a live band for the dinner party.  I have not friends. I. have. not.

Well Water.

Country, what up with that?!? You are so stinky and stain my toilets and bathtub.  Usually, I am a chemical free cleaner kind of girl. Not in the country. Nope. No way.  You get that Lime Away and a mask and you use it.  Also I have found that soft scrub with bleach is a country girls best friend.  Industrial strength Lysol? Check. It’s is nice to add to your arsenal as it literally kills hepatitis and HIV virus but good luck getting your hands on some {mine came from the dental office I use to work at} It gave me peace of mind about that tub upstairs that looked like it hadn’t been cleaned since 1949 but it was just lime and rust build up from not being cared for a couple of months and not refilling the water softener with salt. Gotta maintain that water softener that too is a Country Girls’s best friend.Hopefully we can have a better relationship well water, I have heard of others who have worked things out and come to care for you. Maybe one day but for now?  It’s a Brita Pitcher all the way. 


It ruins your laundry!  I went from a 3 step process to a 7-8 step process to do a load of laundry. All my beautiful crisp white towels, free of stains? No more.  Yellow and dark and dingy. It was a sad week. Figuring out that laundry was never again going to be the same. A very sad week indeed. 

Here is my new routine:

01.Detergent 02. water softener 03.fabric softener {a ton} 04.oxy clean 05.sometimes borax 06. Purex smelly crystals 07. and one of those sheets that absorbs colors that come off in the wash and will stain other clothes 08. sometimes I will also use baking soda for especially stinky stuff.

Ridiculous. This doesn’t include any pre-stain cleaning I do.


Canned Meat, Dried Beef, and Cow Tongue

Country, what up with that?!? When I first saw canned meat………….. -picture a shredded roast in a mason jar-  I was like “What the…is that?” That is meat in a jar, Ashley. That is meat in a jar. At first I was extremely skeptical of this meat in a jar.  I liked my meat the usual way

…without a jar and meat jelly. 

The thing is, if you try this stuff without knowing it comes from a jar, with some homemade mashed potatoes, and fresh corn off the cob from down in the freezer- it’s DELICIOUS. But I can’t be the one to get the meat from the jar.  That is Ryan’s job. When I was pregnant I was so sick from nausea but wanted to make dinner for Ryan.  I attempted to get the meat from the jar myself. “Squeeeeeeelch”…plop

Nothing that makes a squelch when it comes out is good for morning sickness. {Which is lie because it should be called All Day Long Sickness}.

This ended with me dry heaving and vowing to never again get canned meat out of the jar. That is a man’s job.

And you better eat it the right way.  Rumor has it that someone once was putting it in soup {which would be delicious!}  and it was threaten that he or she wouldn’t be able to have anymore if she was gonna ruin it like that. I love that story. It’s so cute and just shows how deeply rooted this community is in tradition.

You can’t make this stuff up.  I love it.  

Also dried beef.  Ryan comes home with this stuff and it’s like he has gold.  I have seen trades of dried beef for jars of canned meat.  I am not kidding you.  Each person walked away thinking they had just gained the world.  

So if you really want something done all you need to do is offer a jar of canned meat or dried beef. Bam. Done.

I won’t even discuss cow tongue. I can’t go there. Tongues are not for eating. They have bumps.  Do you know what cows lick?  I live with cows.  I have seen what they lick.  It ain’t pretty people.  We are talking about animals that walk around and will lay in their own poo poo. Don’t get me wrong I love cows but their hygiene leaves something to be desired.

No tongue for Ashley.



I say all this in fun, in truth, it has been the best moving out here.  I like that instead of watching a tv series I am more apt to do something creative or more meaningful with my time. I like that my internet surfing time has limits.  I love living closer to family and being able to run to Dairy Queen with Oma and Aunt RyRy on a hot summer night. 

All in all, Country, I have to say I am falling in love with you.  As the corn grows more golden every day I look forward to fall on the farm.  I am already planning scare crows, mums, and pumpkins peppered through out the yard.

Cider and apple donuts.


I love it!

With moving,

and some really tragic personal stuff,

this has been a short summer,

not filled enough with pool days

and ice cream cones.

I am looking forward to a fresh season

a little less hectic.

A little less sad.

A little more cheer,


and fun.

Fall will be good.

And if not, I get to wear boots

and boots make you feel like you can do anything,


or kick it really hard.

{I read that on a card once. Fresh Ink by Hallmark best.cards.ever. Ami right Lindsay?}

Here’s to fall and boots. 

By the way

I bought these boots

just in time for pumpkin picking season-

can anyone say fall photo shoot?


Image From: Ruby Bleu Boutique

Am I going to be the chicest farmer there ever was?!?

And free shipping always?!

Lets just say this was my first experience ordering clothes

online and I did a little damage.

Making the hubs take me out on the town to try my new leggings


Image from: Ruby Bleu Boutique Ponte Leggings

can’t wait to share with you all how they are!

So far, I am so impress by quality of fabric and make of the garments. 

Can’t wait to get the rest of my fall essentials in the mail

{which doesn’t arrive by pony express like you might imagine with as far out in the boonies I am}.

And now I must really end this post.

Because it’s gotten a little long,

but you know what?

It’s my blog and I’ll ramble if I want to.

; )

Thrify Nautical Nook…


inspired by a beautiful painting i picked up

in a garage sale store,

my living room has become an ode to all things sea worthy.

i try not to call it nautical

but really it’s nautical.

hipster nautical if you will…

this desk came with the house.

it is a great place to store 



camera and equipment,

editing and printing supplies,

paying bills,

in other words,

it’s flipping’ handy.

i wish i could tell you i picked the globe and the little ship

but alas

like George Washington,

i cannot tell a lie.

Ryan  found them,

i wasn’t even present for the thrift-

he went alone.

and he found good stuff.

like more then just the globe and ship.

little rascal.

i can’t go thrifting with a 2 year old

it just doesn’t work for long periods of time.

plus she is chanting

“Target, Target, Target…”

the whole time and who am I to say no to that?!?

ok, ok, ok

i got a little off track.

here is my nautical desk nook in my new living room

at Ingleside.


DSC_0110_2 DSC_0111_2 DSC_0113 DSC_0112DSC_0115 DSC_0116_2DSC_0119_2 DSC_0120 DSC_0121 DSC_0123DSC_0124 DSC_0125 DSC_0126 DSC_0128 DSC_0134

plant: walmart

mermaid: hobby lobby

globe: thrifted 

coffee table books: thrifted 

bottles: thrifted

gold tray: thrifted

globe of shells: prairie gardens and shells from hobby lobby

boat: thrifted from Restore

marble and gold mail holder: thrifted from Italy

chair: thrifted from Restore

globe: thrifted

pillow: TJ Maxx

Ruby Bleu Boutique…

I am seriously flipping over the new online boutique

a friend of mine just opened.

Ruby Bleu Boutique

It’s like Forever31 : ) and Anne Taylor mixed together

and because she is a mama of two

she knows what us other mama’s are looking for.

No longer will you have to sneak into Forever21 to pick up a few trendy pieces.

Cause you know you have done it and dang it,

it’s hard to push a stroller around that store!

Plus Ruby Bleu is based out on the west coast so we all know that instantly ups the hip factor

for us folks here in the midwest

The picks are spot on with out being too trendy.

These are really great, quality pieces you can have in your wardrobe for a long time.

There is something for everyone.

Athletic gear,

sun dresses,


Here are some of my favorite pieces that I am hoping to pick up for fall.



 Indie Fringe Cardigan


Fine Knit Sweater


Funfetti Top


Native Love Top


Heat Waves Sweater


Easy Breezy Cardigan


Qupid-Martyr Round Toe Bootie




Fringe Pendant Necklace

Oh and did I mention that it’s free shipping?


Can it get any better then never having to leave your couch and having fabulous, quality pieces delivered right to your door- FOR FREE????

I’m in.

Ryan you better watch out

cause Imabout to add these items to my fall wardrobe.

Prepare the bank account and your spending expectations : )

Go check out Ruby Blue Boutique

and tick your husband off too 

so I’m not in the dog house alone alright?


How to survive teething…


Let’s be honest

teething is a b*&@#.

Pardon my french.

But there is no other way

to express how I feel.

I feel like being a dental assistant

has helped me a lot in this area

and for me personally,

is a big reason that I choose to be a stay at home/ work with my kid mom.

On days like today, and yesterday, and all of last week,

I can be on the schedule Charlie needs to be on.

She can sleep when she can sleep.

I can get up in the middle of the night

without worrying about how I am going to function at work the next day

and this I know this may seem like a luxury

to other mama’s out there working and wishing they could stay home.

So I am thankful that this is how we can deal with teething.

I feel for you working mama’s getting up in the middle of the night,

soothing hurting baby,

knowing you have to get up in 2 hours

no nap in sight,

worrying their caretaker is doing as good of job as you would or that you should have stayed home.

I am amazed at you and admire your stamina.

But staying at home has not come without sacrifices too

but that is a post for another day.

Today we talk about teething!


your thinking right?!


Teething is one of the woes of motherhood.

There seems to be such misery and hardly a thing to do for them right?


Here is my list


No. 1

{ A chewy teething toy }


N0. 2

{ Orajel }

Personally, I use the extra strength nighttime formula 4 times a day. But use whatever you feel comfortable with. Charlie willingly opens her mouth to let me rub it on so I know it must help.


No. 3

Children’s Ibuprofen }

Why do I use Ibuprofen?

Because it is anti-inflammatory

and not as hard on your toddlers liver as Tylenol.

Make sure they are taking plenty of fluids though.

Extra water, juice, fruits that have lots of moisture like oranges.

Keep them really well hydrated but don’t just randomly give Ibuprofen to them.

If you are going to use Ibuprofen then use it consistently for 2-3 days every 6-8 hours.

Otherwise you aren’t doing anything for their pain or their teething.

It takes time for the medication to build up in the body and start to reduce the inflammation and swelling around the new teeth.

Staying on a course for 2-3 days gives it time to actually do it’s job.

Reducing swelling, inflammation, and keeping it down.

There for reducing pain.

All Tylenol is going to do is reduce the fever. It may help a little with pain

but not much because it is not an anti-inflammatory and isn’t going to the same nerves as Ibuprofen.

Why do I do this?

Because at the dental office we didn’t tell adults with toothaches to just use Orajel and suck it up

We would instantly put them on a course of 2-3 days of anti-inflamatories and go from there.

We never told them to take Tylenol

because it doesn’t do squat.

It seemed pretty obvious to me to do them same with teething pain.

But again, always talk to your doctor and do what you feel is best as a parent.

This is simply what works for me.


No. 4

{ Frozen Treats }

I like frozen blueberries.

They are full of good things for kiddos.

Charlie loves the taste.

and they feel so good to chew on.


No. 5

{ Plenty of movies }

I don’t limit tv time during teething.

All I want if for her to be comfy.

If all she feels like doing

is lying around watching Veggie Tales

then I let her.


No. 6

{ A project for you }

A book, a craft, organizing photos on the laptop,

give yourself something to do so that your mind

doesn’t go crazy

being confined to a constant state of snuggling on the memory foam mattress  (see No. 7.)


No. 7

{ Make a nest }

Ryan makes the best nests.

Last night he took the memory foam mattress pad

from our spare bedroom

and made a huge nest in front of the tv.

A nest must include:

cozy blankets,

cozy pillows,

and lots of padding.

With prime tv watching positioning.


No. 8

{ A temporal scanner thermometer }

If you do not have one of these,

get one.

They are amazing and extremely accurate.

All you do is turn it on,

wait for it to tell you it is ready,

place on center of the forehead,

and slowly scan across forehead to the temple .

I can even take Charlie’s temp when she is sleeping without her waking up.


My dad didn’t trust their accuracy until he did his own google search so feel free to do the same.


No. 9

{ Books! }

No one,

not even a toddler

can watch Dora the Explorer for 9 hours straight.

So you will need some light activities to keep their little minds from going crazy.

We like to take a little tv break and cozy up on the bean bag.

The Llama Llama series is a big hit around here.

Anna Dewdney.

Look her up.


No. 10

{ Coffee }

How can you survive teething

or toddlerhood in general

without it?!?

Waking up at 3:30

you need a little energy boost.

I like to whip cream with my IKEA Milk Frother and then add cinnamon coffee to it

makes a homemade latte.

It’s the little things that get you through the day.


So there you go.
10 ways to help you survive teething.

Good luck to you.

I must go change a diaper.





after years,

and years,

and years,

and YEARS,

of talking about moving,


we actually are!!!!!!!


in two weeks.


I just threw up a little….


I need to get back on packing.

But as a person who has moved over 30 times in my life span,

I know my process…

Step one: make a plan to move—feelings of excitement and imaging the future

Step two: follow through with actual plan to move like sell a house, rent a new one—more feelings of excitement and imaging the future

Step three: prepare to move—at first feelings of excitement rapidly turning into sentimental sapping about every nook an cranny.

Step four: procrastination and hesitation.


It is always scary-


Not bad scary.

Good scary.

It is a new beginning.

And it is time for this move I know that.

But I still love this house.

I fell in love in this house.

We came home to this house after our wedding


with a new baby.

So many dreams and happy times were realized here.

It has good juju

and great memories.

I love it.

I know every corner,

every nook,

every cranny.

And I wonder

will the new owners love it

like it deserves?

Will they take care of it like I have?

The truth is probably not.

They will do what they want with it.

It will no longer be mine.

And it makes me sad.

I took pictures of Charlie playing out front.

Like we always do.

So we can say hi to puppies,

and watch kids ride by on bikes,

and say hello to walkers who pass.

I love this neighborhood


I don’t love felons hiding in my back yard

(story for another day)


I love this neighborhood.

It has a park 3 blocks away.

It is ethnically diverse,

Charlie goes to the park and plays with a little girl who she has named Mulan.

They love each other,

running all over the park

trying to boss each other around.

Completely unaware that they speak different languages

or look any different.

I love that.

I will miss all this.

Then I start to wonder…

will I be lonely out in the country?

Will I miss watching people walk by all day,

all kinds of people…


stay at home dads,


hippies who walk barefoot,


elderly people out for fresh air,

the lady who has three dogs and a cat that always follows behind,

my mailman who I adore and watches out for me and the safety of Charlie by turning in drug dealers and

who I trade recipes with and gossip about neighbors with.

I wonder if anyone will ever live in the house across the street that has been vacant the entire 6 years I have been here.

Someone takes care of it,

works on it,

mows the lawn and prunes the bushes

but it sits empty and alone.

It has always made me sad.

I know this entire place inside and out.

I have watched this world for 6 years

and I will miss it.

But now I must think about my new world.

Full of cow pastures,

and fields that go on for miles and miles,

of gardens full of fresh veggies,

and animals,



all the time.

Something new and fresh.

I know

I want to live more simply

and use my hands more.

I think too much of life is about convenience,

not taking the time to do the little things,

make our food,

grow something,

have quiet moments instead of constant go-go-go.

I got rid of my microwave in January.


actually it started a small fire inside,

so we threw it out.

At first we thought we would replace it

but as the weeks passed

I realized how often I was using it

just to save time.

It made the food taste terrible.

It is not a great way to thaw meat.

It zaps 30% of the nutrition out of your food.

It just isn’t necessary

and so I learned how to reheat food without it.

I learned how to make popcorn without it.

It takes a little more time

but it tastes so much better.

And it made me really think-

are we in such a hurry in life that we even have to have 30 second food?

I want to slow down.

I want to savor life.

I want to be attached to what I eat.

I want to make a wonderful quality of life

and appreciate the sacrifice of an animal to give my family nourishment.

Too much of life comes in packages.


artificial packages,




I want to get away from that.

Not completely amish

gotta have my blow dryer

but I also don’t want to reside in this world of iPads for babies,

electronic toys for toddlers,

and preschool,

and structure,

learning and sports

and music and activities pushed from age 2 and up.

We are rushing our kids too much

and making them grow up too fast.

We are on the go to much.

This is not how a childhood is meant to be spent-

driving from event to even to event.

I want Charlie to get dirty,

to play with imaginary friends under the pine trees outside,

to run free all summer

with popsicle stained mouth,

with her kitties,

and chickens,

and skinned up knees

and collections of lightening bugs

and earthworms in jars.

I don’t want to follow the flow.

I want to live free and simple.

And this is that beginning.

I am calling it Ingleside.

After Anne’s adult home from Anne of Green Gables.

It’s a dreamy little world and one I hope to replicate.

In reality,

it is a little 2 acre farm we are renting.

It has 2 cows,

a pasture,

a chicken coop,

tons of space,

and a farmhouse full of charm and potential.

It is my little slice of heaven

for me to start making my dreams of a more simple life

come true.

I think learning comes naturally for kids,

in counting how many baby chicks we have.

In spelling out vegetable names as we mark the garden rows.

In routine and responsibility of caring of other living things.

Learning doesn’t to be a competition or standards to keep up with,

it can just be life.

Living it side by side.

Teaching in little moments,

all through out the day.

Teaching that learning is not something that you only get in school

but also from life

that it doesn’t start and end with

an institution-

that it continues on forever.

That we always need to be learning,



to help us move on to that next part of our life.

We must always be learning.

So I will learn this new life.

Just as I have learned this life at 906.

I will learn this farm life

and I will teach it to my daughter.

I look forward to these next years.

The ones that will stick out in Charlie’s mind about her childhood.

It is mine to create.

What kind of world do I want her to remember?

Isn’t that what being a mother really is?

Crafting a childhood worth remembering.

Full of memories,


and little moments of lots of love?

I hope that is what the next years bring

at Ingleside.

Meet Lady Gaga and Cher

our moo cows.

They will both be having babies this fall.

We can’t wait and I am hoping to assist in the birth…


I just said that.

I am hoping to help a cow have a baby.

How the heck did I go from Manhattan and fashion week parties to possible cow labor assistant?!?

Who knows…

It is a funny life I live.

But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Charlie Chase Turns Two


How can it be possible

that two years ago

the most precious being

to ever grace this earth 

was born?!

Charlie Chase

you literally light up 

mommy and daddy’s life.

What was life like before you?

I honestly don’t remember,

or for that matter 

care to.

You are funny,




and we love that about you.

You sleep all night

and have since you were 4 weeks old.

You take 3 hour naps 


You run everywhere you go

and you are FAST.

There is no doubt that

you come from a long line of runners.

The questions remains

will you be a sprinter 


distance runner???

Mommy is team distance.

Perseverance my dear,

it comes in handy.

Distance runners have to push 

through pain,

through aches,

through miles and miles

and not give up,

and yet still have enough left over

for that final

glorious push to the end.

When you dig deep

and give it all you have left inside.

And I want you to have that perseverance

because the race of life calls for it.

I tried to hold my crap together

on your birthday.

To make it about you

and not me


if it were up to me-

I would keep you this age forever.

This year has been pure magical sweetness 

and I know all to well what 2 brings.


larger then life emotions,



This past year has been

long walks,

park days,


and sidewalk chalk.

Things that dreams are made of


at least what my dreams are made of.

Being your mommy has made my life complete.

I could die tomorrow a very happy

just for bringing you into the world. 

I hope you had a lovely birthday

and I hope you enjoy many more to come.

“You is kind.

You is smart.

You is important.”

{Kathern Stockett The Help}


grow up

and do important things.

Be the change I wish to see in this world.

Just never forget how much

your mama loves you…