I saw this idea on Apartment Therapy. It was originally from The Artful Parent. Genius idea.

The little people are getting restless around here…their mommy is even worse. This activity kept all four entertained for about 20 minutes…even longer for the 2 & 6 year olds.


You should take a few minutes this weekend and check out The Artful Parent. Here are some ideas I really hope to try out:

Candy Cane playdough – next Christmas

Rubber Cement and watercolors

Texture painting with toddlers

Okay, too be honest I want to copy all her projects. It is winter and The Artful Parent blog just might save my sanity!

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  • amanda torres - Ah man! I used to do a form of this to teach prisms to 4th graders. I wish I’d of thought of marshmellows. I used little tiny balls of clay. Marshmellows would have been easier ‘vertices’. Thanks for passing this on. We’ll be doing this today! I kick myself in the rear almost daily when I see things I used to do with my school kids and have yet to transfer it to my own.

  • Tess S - AWESOME! we used a cute little blog last year to entertain us through the winter and she had stopped blogging. i was crushed. it’s like losing a friend. thanks for finding and sharing the artful parent!! love it!

  • Ruth - Thanks Ashley! I now know what I am going to do with my two sick-ish kids this morning!

  • Anna Marie - Thanks for posting this and that blog. My 3 1/2 year old will love these ideas!!!

  • Yanet - That’s some pretty fancy building Chris and Biggest Brother are up to! I can tell your family is pretty used to you taking shots like mine is. The one from up above, were you standing on the table? I can just picture it (because it’s totally something I’d do), you’re standing on the table shooting away and they think nothing of it doing their marshmallow thing. πŸ™‚

  • Kirsten - Isn’t her blog wonderful??? We’ve used a lot of her ideas on snowy, cold, or rainy days, too. Haven’t tried this one, though – I just might grab some supplies while I’m out! My husband is an engineer – he and Kiddo would have so much fun.

  • Sadie - Great post. I love this idea and I will have to give it a go as well!

  • Jodi - I have been following her blog for a long time now! She is one of my favorites. Along with yours of course!!! Love the creativity your family came up with using the marshmallows!

  • Jen Helbert - oh my goodness…i cannot handle all the itty bitty hands in your pictures! thanks for the blog tip, cabin fever is floating around in our household.

  • Julie B - Ellie made one of these in Pre-k and brought it home yesterday. Then she dropped it and it broke. The marshmallows were hard so we couldn’t “rebuild” it. They have been talking about construction and I thought how clever they were to have them build something with materials other than popsicle sticks and glue.

  • amy - my daughter just did this at school but they used spaghetti noodles…raw obviously. great way to teach 3D shapes.

  • Liz - WOW! I need that for my three boys today! Thank you!

  • carrie @ brick city love - Hi Ashley! I’ve been following your blog for a long time (LOVE your photo tips & projects!!) but don’t think I’ve every commented. I’m not a parent but thanks for the link! You find the most awesome things.

  • Elisabeth - Hi Ashley! We did the same thing as a boredom buster this summer, but used bigger marshmallows and straws: http://growinghomeonline.blogspot.com/2010/07/marshmallow-fire-station.html. My little man was napping at the time, but I think the straws would’ve been less hazardous for him. So glad to know about this blog–thanks!

  • Laurie J - looks like a way to beat the winter blues this weekend! CABIN FEVER
    thanks for the idea πŸ™‚

  • Sarah - Awesome! Thanks for sharing… I’ve been needing some fun activities for Kenzie.

  • Shannon - I saw this too and wanted to try it! The kiddos are going to Grandma’s this weekend(she begged me for them lol) but it is a 3 day weekend so maybe Monday we will give this a shot!

  • CharlaL - thanks for the link…my youngest and I just made the ice wreath(we used oranges on their last leg and holly leafs)!!! Hopefully it be cold awhile! Marshmallow sculptures up next! Keep the great ideas coming!!!! still can’t wait to see your bedroom floor!

  • the whyte house - thanks for the link and fun ideas! i have a 3 and 5 yr old over here that have the tummy bug…only they act fine when they’re not in the bathroom puking(ha!), so they’re getting stir crazy. we’ve done a little water painting, but the wizard of oz is saving my sanity. big time. πŸ™‚ as much as i like that, i’d rather them do something hands-on than have to listen to the munchkins sing their songs. haha.

  • ashlee - oh my word, my physics loving boys are going to die when i show them this!!!

  • Blanca - I can’t wait to here the words “I’m bored.”. I will certainly give them this little project.

    Way cool!


  • Anja - thank you so much for sharing all this! Makes me smile at the end of soooo loud and stressful days. Life with those littles ist wonderful and your blog helps me see that in all the chaos here πŸ™‚
    a big thank you from germany

  • tiffany feger - I read this then did it w/ my boys and blogged it on my family blog:) we did this last year too. yours are amazing! lst year we just did snow men. here’s today: http://thefegers.blogspot.com/2011/01/grass-is-always-greener-on-inside.html

  • amber - Kinda obvious whose brain your 2 & 6 year old have;). I love seeing daddy’s in their kids. Especially their boys. Really cool. And…I want to squish Littlest Brother. Your pictures of him make him seem squishy SWEET.

  • giozi - He he he. Your little boy is so concentred and happy πŸ˜€

  • giozi - Your little sculture remind me Theo Jansen

  • Marykay - Thank you, thank you, thank you! I need some inspiration for things to do with my kids. I’m so sick of doing the same things over and over and over and over…

  • Kristin S - Last year in an effort to recruit college students to come work with us, we had them do some competitive team work.

    Gave them a pile of spaghetti and bag of bigger sized marshmallows. The goal was to work together to make the HIGHEST structure.

    It was a blast! Of course the goal was to learn to work together but they had fun too.

  • sarah - Oh man I am going to get my “mother of the year” crown back from my sister when I bust this out at family dinner on Sunday! Thank you!

  • Aja Vaught - That’s a great idea! I usually send mini pretzel sticks and marshmellows with my son to pre-k when it’s our turn to bring snack and that’s what the kids do with them. Although the toothpicks will hold better!

  • Life on the Ranch…. « These Stones - […] ~fun marshmallow 3-D structures (thanks to Ashley Ann Photography for the idea!) […]

  • Becca G - saw this in an old childcraft book except they used peas. i like the marshmellows much better. less squishy mess. fun!

  • Victoria - What a great project, perfect for the winter chill! Although I fear mine would just eat up the marshmallows and end up with more energy via sugar than when we began;)

  • Digital Backround Gal - Love this idea…I’ll have to try it with my little girl this week!
    Thanks so much!!

  • Jenn from The Mustard Seed Blog - That looks like such a fun activity! And I love that it does not involve a single electronic device (as I type this on my laptop, haha). It’s just great to unplug for a bit.

  • Sistergirl - Love you ideas.

  • Beth - I sat in church (TCABC) this morning and cringed, just a little, when Chris announced this his wife was a blogger. I know many women who prefer to blog in anonymity. And I some times wish my mother didn’t read my blog! LOL! Anyway … I was curious enough to “google” you and was delighted to find your lovely blog and make the *connection* between you, Ashley Ann Photography, and Under the Sycamore (which I think I’ve visited before). It may be a small world but it’s still some days hard to figure out who is who! Anyway … I’m delighted to meet you! And I promise I paid attention to the rest of the service! Chris did a great job! πŸ™‚

  • The Motherload » Amy’s Notebook 01.19.11 - […] marshmallow & toothpick activity looks like a great winter boredom buster (@ Under the […]

  • spoonful of design sugar - Valentine's crafts - Best Bedtime Trick ever | Small for Big - […] here this year (this winter will not be forgotten any time soon). It’s perfect weather for an indoor marshmallow craft like this one. Cancel […]

  • Melissa - Thank you! Tried this last night. The kids had a blast!

  • 7 simple science experiments you can eat - […] marshmallow-toothpicks : From a train to a cube to a dodecahedron these ideas are endless! […]

  • Gina - Cute! I’ve just run across you on Pinterst and love your beautiful photos. We do this too, with marshmallows and with gumdrops — not only a great everyday boredom buster but super party game. Beautiful shown. It’s wonderful to find like-minded creatives — I look forward to returning to your blog.


  • Marshmallow Architect - […] Oct 12, 2011 I was anxious to have The Chief try this activity I saw on The Artful Parent and on Under The Sycamore. Constructing buildings and geometric shapes with toothpicks and marshmallows. But I, clueless mom, […]

  • What National Day Is It? | familyfaithandhome.com - […] 26th:Β  Mini Marshmallow and Toothpick Art Day – Come in from the summer heat and try this fun and inexpensive craft.Β  Have a contest to see who can build the biggest and most creative […]

  • Marshmallow Sculptures Easter Craft » B-Inspired Mama - […] marshmallow and toothpick to create sculptures is nothing new.Β  I’ve seen it before here and here.Β  And it’s really cool, but I’ve actually never done it with the kids.Β  Until I saw these […]

  • Marshmallow Sculptures Easter Craft for Kids - B-Inspired Mama - […] marshmallow and toothpick to create sculptures is nothing new.Β  I’ve seen it before here and here.Β  And it’s really cool, but I’ve actually never done it with the kids.Β  Until I saw these […]

  • Here Are Some Fun Activities for Your Kids During Holidays « Latter-day Learning - […] ashleyannphotography.com via Latter-day on […]

There is a reason sane parents do not take on the task of tearing up carpet to paint subfloors…in the middle of winter when paint & stain don’t dry as fast…with 4 kids….and an entire room relocated to the living room. Sane parents should have stopped me before I took that box cutter to carpet and crowbar to trim. I say that now, but in a week or so I will be happy I did this. In a year I will totally forget and will find some other room to attack with my box cutter and crowbar. It is the vicious cycle I live in and Chris did not grasp the reality of it when he asked me to be his bride.

Since the floors aren’t drying fast (one more reason for me to continue my disdain for cold weather) I started bleaching and dyeing fabric for pillows. My house now not only looks like tornado hit it, but it smells like a health club swimming pool.

Once I got the dye mixed for the fabric I liked the color so much I ran through the house grabbing anything white I could dye. I now have an apron, 3Β  0-3 month onesies, and 1 random stripped pillowcase…all in a beautiful shade of dark green/teal. What I am going to do with all that teal? I have no idea. I’ll figure that out later, but I didn’t want to waste my dye.

The mess of my house is really starting to wear me down. Some people cope with stress by sleeping, reading, shopping….I cope with it through photography. Photography has been a gift in so many ways to me. It helps give me perspective and focus. When I pick up my camera I can focus in on what I want to and block out everything else.

My girl would live on apples and oranges if I gave her that option. It was good to pick up my camera and spend a few minutes observing her enjoy her favorite snack.

Looking through my camera I see a beautiful brown background to compliment her white shirt and green bowl…when without my camera I just see my headboard propped against the stairs in the middle of my kitchen. Perspective.

Photography is so much about light and so much about angles. What I chose to capture depends on the angle I am taking the photograph. It is a matter of what I am choosing to see. Photography helps me to take time to focus on my girl and forget for a few minutes that I am sleeping in the living room…sandwiched between the couch and my dresser.

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  • Jenny Joy - I loved absolutely every word of this post. And this morning, I’m needing perspective and a little focus. So, thank you, lady. πŸ™‚

  • amanda torres - I bet the floors are going to turn out super cool. I can’t wait for the finished product.

  • Tess S - she looks a lot like your oldest in these photo’s. gorgeous.

  • Deb @ PaperTurtle - We re-tiled several rooms in our house this past year so I can appreciate the disarray you are dealing with right now. And what a sweet little cherub you have to distract you! Super cute shots!

  • Sadie - Can’t wait to see the new floor! I am sure it’s worth every moment of sleeping in the living room! She’s one gorgeous little girl. She looks like so much fun!

  • andy - love it
    love trying to find new perspective
    i need to remember to do that more
    thanks for the reminder

  • Jen - I really need to get better at blocking out some of the things I don’t want to see. My house is making me crazy! But what a sweet distraction you have…

  • Lauren Klouda - Hang in there. Last year starting in February and going until May my house became a construction zone as we ripped up the floors in ever room downstairs. That included my kitchen, main bathroom, and living room. We pulled up the old flooring, the sub floor, and even had to straighten some floor joists. The best part, I was pregnant due in June. It was a long and frustrating 4 months with no kitchen or living room to sit in and no where to cook but so worth it. My floors are warmer and beautiful and perfect for baby to start crawling on.

  • kate o. - hmmm…i spy a little girl shirt that could be dyed teal, too…

  • colleen - I love how the Lord uses a variety of things (including your blog) to reiterate things He is teaching me…these past few days i have been having “teaching moments” with my 8 yr old son and 10 yr old daughter about focus. “Instead of being disgruntled with the fact that they have to make their bed, lets focus on the fact that we have a bed at all”, “instead of frustration over having to pick our clothes up or fold them,lets be thankful for all the fabulous clothes we have” you get the picture. I need desperately to remember that I am ALWAYS blessed and with blessing comes responsibility and many times it neccesitates being a little uncomfortable. Thanks for saying the same thing in a different light… πŸ™‚ Thanks Lord for using Ashley Ann, I hear you!

  • Laurie J - I love how photography helps gain perspective. You were able to capture what is important in the midst of…..well, it sounds like you’ve got a little chaos over there! (temporary, just temporary) Hang in there, sounds like it will be worth it and I can’t wait to see πŸ™‚

  • Heather - you crack me up…health club swimming pool!
    i love your angles and the view you found.

  • the whyte house - way to not waste that dye!! so pretty.

    so i’ve decided that you should pitch an idea(because you could get to big people before i could) about a new show. i think we should call it ‘modern day macgyver’s’. it can focus on people all over living life macgyver style…through the way they cook, sew, remodel, fix vehicles, etc., etc. i think it’ll be a hoot. πŸ™‚ and then when you’re big and famous, all i ask is that you take me thrift/vintage/antique store shopping for a day. πŸ™‚

  • Rebecca S. - Would you consider doing a post on SOOC shots and how you crop them? I always edit my photos for color, light, etc. but I don’t do such a great job of cropping to invoke the emotion your photos give. I’d love to see what comes out of your camera and how you decide to crop them.

  • Candice @ ChiaSeedMe - I absolutely love this post. I’ve only started getting into photography in the last 8 months or so, but sometimes I feel it’s crazy what I’ve discovered about myself. I’m not very good still, but getting behind the camera does so much for me. It blows my mind how spending just a few minutes snapping away with some good lighting can help relieve sadness, frustration and so many other emotions.

    Cute pictures of FireCracker!

  • Kara Paslay - Oh my goodness Ashley! I am so excited to see your master bedroom- that painted pattern looks gorgeous! I share your distain for cold weather. Let’s move our families to Hawaii. You still have friends there, right? πŸ™‚

  • Gussy - you are amazing :]
    love this post & your positivity-ness. xoxo

  • JΓΌrgen - the appearance of the soil is very promising. I can not wait to see

  • giozi - I love the two pictures with the chair. I have my new lense πŸ™‚ Is a 50mm 1,4. I have to practise a lot, and move, and how you say looking for better angles πŸ˜‰

    Could you teach, when you have time, about lenses, when use some of them.

  • Jenny - You’re one brave Mama! It is a wonderful feeling once the project is all done though… I’m sure it’ll be darling!

  • Amy - i can not wait to see this room when it is done. i also love the pictures of firecracker, she looks like quite the little ham bone πŸ˜€

  • sarah - Your pictures are making me want to redo SOMETHING-doesn’t matter what. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Getty Images Philippines - Photography is very interesting to do. Doesn’t matter if you are a professional or not. But see how elegant the photos you have here. Great shots.

  • Becca G - teal is my favorite color! definitely going to try the bleaching and dying thing.

  • Yanet - She’s such a cutie!

    I’m so excited that we got a little sneaky peek at your floors!!

  • melissa - My camera is like therapy to me also. I love the challenge of capturing time in a creative and beautiful physical memory. Love the contrast also of her white shirt and the green bowl against the dark background and table. I have learned so much about photography from reading your blog. Thanks!!!

  • jessica h - me, too! I get that πŸ™‚ She looks just like Chris in that last shot.

  • Elizabeth - I recently starting reading your blog and absolutely love it. I’m a photography major and I love that you take so many pictures of your children. I hope to someday be like that. I’m also taking a textiles class and learning how to dye fabric! Keep up the awesome work!

I really love this picture of him. He’s not looking at me. He’s not smiling. He’s not moving. He’s just sitting…staring off…serious…handsome.
1.12.11-01It reflects a side of him that is sometimes hard to capture with my camera. He’s my oldest. Not one day have I ever missed the days when he was a baby. Not for one day do I wish I could go back and relive that time. Not because he was a rough baby. He wasn’t. I just think that if you really live in the present, you don’t miss it when it becomes the past in regards to loved ones that are still with you. I love seeing who he is becoming. I remember and cherish the days he used to lay swaddled in my arms and fall asleep. As fond as those memories are…I don’t want to go back in time. I want today with him. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Today.

I was almost so distracted by his younger siblings that I nearly missed what he said as he slipped something in my pocket on the school playground.Β  “Will you hold this? I got it from the Treasure Box today.” And he ran off to play. I stuck my hand in my pocket to pull out a little cardboard box with funny little snowmen on it.

I knew the minute I saw it that the puzzle was not for him, but for his youngest brother. He had earned a reward at school and instead of using it on himself he picked out a little puzzle for his brother. I asked him about it and he responded, “I knew he liked it, so I got it for him.”

Simple as that.

His little brother did like it. It was a thoughtful and generous gift.

“I knew he’d like it, so I got it for him.”

He is a normal 6 year old who can be selfish and fights with his brothers. I often wonder if he is getting anything I am trying to teach him. I’m grateful for a little Treasure Box puzzle that reminded me that he is listening when I don’t realize. He is watching. He is learning. He is getting it. Somewhere along the way my oldest has learned generosity and thinking of others before himself…and if I wasn’t paying attention I would have missed noticing.

“I knew he’d like it, so I got it for him.” Simple as that.

Makes me wonder what do I know that someone in my life would like…and what is keeping me from doing it or giving it?

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  • andy - that is so sweet
    thanks for sharing your son’s heart

  • jessica h - πŸ™‚ such a great reminder to live in the moment, especially with my kiddos. I will be sure to do that today!! thanks.

  • sarah - I read your post and because of the beautiful gesture of your son’s, today I will give something to someone just because I thought they would like it. What a sweet brother! I love the lessons we learn from children.

  • Lindsay - So Sweet. What a great big brother!

  • Erin Lee - Ahh!! I love this entry : ) What a testimony to the joy of giving and the patience of an amazing mama to notice <3. I love how the simplicity of children releases powerful revelation!! And Littlest brother is so smart when I was his age I ate puzzle pieces not solved them! Great post!!

  • amanda torres - The heart of a kid is so amazing. When I hear stories like this it makes me think of God’s love for us. Thanks for sharing!

  • Danielle - seriously. the sweetest thing.

  • Sarah Frost - such a sweet, sweet thing….out of the mouths of babes

  • Ana - This post got me to tears…not tears of sadness but tears of joy…educate a child is a very complex task and as they do not come with instructions for us to follow, we got to always use our intuition and we can only hope that in the end everything will work out … small demonstrations like this are the proof that you are in the right way and doing an excelent job… Congratulations.
    Love your post….Love your blog…

  • dawn - raising boys is an extra challenge since you are raising future husbands and fathers.

    he is well on his way.

  • Diana - Photos, feeling, beautiful words …

  • Fee - This lightened up my day :)!

  • Sadie - Precious. Love when your children think of others. Makes you feel like you are doing something right. Well done Ashley! Your family is precious! I really appreciate your words when it comes to living in today!

    (Oh and we have that same puzzle, and I thought it was a pain to put together! Maybe it’s just me, but some pieces looked like they went together, but they didn’t! HAHA!)

  • Allison - I got chills and tears in my eyes as I read this post! I pray my boys grow up like this too….always thinking, loving, and caring for others!!!!

  • danielle - Oh goodness, now I am crying again from reading one of your posts. Our second child did this in SK. They had a reading sheet and once filled they were able to choose a prize. Well he came home with an orange plastic necklace for his little sister. It hit me then, like hit you recently that yes, they do listen to our teachings and follow our examples… I melted that day with all the love I felt. πŸ™‚ Wonderful wonderful story and images… thank-you for sharing such a special moment.

  • Ranee - one of my favorite posts…thanks!

  • annie - I think you nailed it – enjoying the present. I love my kids, but I love who they are becoming. I’ve cherished the milestones – but I wouldn’t go back. I love now. I love the person my almost nine year old is becoming. I love his heart and his compassion. He and his 6 year old brother and almost four year old sister are all so different in so many wonderful ways. I think it’s healthy to live in the now – I’ve never been one to wish I could go back to college or high school or my twenties or whatever. I appreciate the time and move on. Kudos to living in your moment!

  • Debbie - I love the picture of Biggest Brother. I think I recognize the spot for the photo. Is it Behind the coffee shop near the shore of Kialua Beach? I was there this past June to visit my nephew, we spent alot of time there. I loved the Birds at the Coffee Shop. Small World!

  • Debbie - Was the shot of biggest brother taken at the Kialua Coffee shop?

  • Debbie - Sorry for the double post. I thought my computer was acting up, I got an error message after the first one. Have a great week, I am wishing I was at Kialua Beach right now. I have been snow bound in NC for 3 days now. Starting to get Cabin Fever!

  • lindsey - Ashley – I love your blog! And this is the sweetest post. I feel the same way about my 14 month old. People are always saying “she’s so big! don’t you wish she was tiny again?” and I tell people no, because I really love knowing her right now.

  • Andrea - I couldn’t hold back the tears. I think recording this story and your amazing photos will always be a treasure.

  • Kristin - Thanks for sharing. I think all of your giving to others is making a profound effect on your children to be always mindful of those around them – so nice to see siblings love each other like this.

  • ashley jensen - Dang I love moments like that. Helps me not doubt myself in parenting on those not so great days.

  • Lori - seriously , made me cry. thanks for a glimpse of wisdom, insight and a big dose of live in the present.

  • Jen Helbert - this was truly beautiful, ashley. well done.

  • Amanda - perfect. πŸ™‚

  • Tess S - incredible

  • Caroline - awwwrrr. that makes my heart melt. he’s such a sweet boy!
    His siblings are so fortunate to have him as their biggest brother! πŸ™‚

  • LeAnne - What a sweetheart! I’ve got a smile and tears at the same time. It really gets me when the little ones do something like that. There are no other intentions behind the giving, just simply to make someone else happy. Others should take note. If a six year old gets it, why don’t most adults? Thanks for sharing that moment with us!

  • anne c - this made me tear up….so sweet. you are doing a great job ashley…and thanks for sharing this!

  • Nori-R - Truly beautiful and moving. Brings tears to my eyes and must make you very proud. What fine men you’re sculpting.

  • amber - Thanks for sharing posts like this. It’s so nice to come here & be reminded of real matters. I love what you said about not wanting to go back with him. That you just want to live in the now. I’ve been working on that…it’s good to be reminded:).

  • emily anderson - we have some good kids.


  • giozi - I Think that this is one of your most beautiful post. It was really tender.
    I miss the past. I would like to have my chubby as baby again, because the first month when I have my boy was hard to her, and I feel guilty.
    Then you said, your boy is learning about you tell him.
    My chubby only fight with her little brother πŸ™
    I told you this before and I tell you again. You have a BEAUTIFUL FAMILIY.
    God bless you Ahsley. πŸ™‚

  • giozi - Me again. I forgot. I love the picture where you little boy has the puzzle over his nose πŸ™‚

  • Noel & Ben - Thanks for sharing, Ashley. He is a very sweet boy. Very often, we concern how much our children have learnt intellectually. However, most important of all is what kind of person he will be. I hope my son Caleb will be kind and loving too.

  • gina - Beautiful.

  • Krista Lund - love this post. reminds me that i need to pay closer attention and jot it down.

  • Melanie - Beautiful…tears coming from my eyes. Love the point about ” I just think that if you really live in the present, you don’t miss it when it becomes the past in regards to loved ones that are still with you.” Cherishing the time with my 3 and 8 year old is so important!!

  • Gevay - So beautiful. Those are the moments to remember in the not so wonderful moments!

  • ria - Sweet. I love it when my girls think of each other, it warms my heart. It makes me feel like I have accomplished SOMETHING. Thanks for sharing.

  • Hannah Bunker - That is absolutely precious.

  • Justine - what a sweet post, it got me emotional and i don’t have have kids!

  • Heather - what a wonderful big brother! love this post and his generous heart.

  • Shelley - This is my favorite post yet!

  • Liene - Wow, beautiful!

  • CharlaL - Love,Love, Love this!

  • caro - i’m crying, i hope my oldest boy be like your oldest.
    Thanks for sharing

  • Brooke - oh wow. i teared up on that one. what a sweet, sweet gesture from one brother to another.

  • Natalie - What a great heart on that kid’s sleeve! Thanks for sharing this post…worried about how my eldest is going to transition to being the oldest of 3…wondering if I’ll have enough love to go around because I already feel spread pretty thin. I appreciate your mothering/perspective!

  • Cassie - Precious. Simply precious. Makes me want to give my kiddos more siblings to love on. xx

  • kristi - LOVE this! That is what this life is all about. Great job, mom! Keep up the good work!

  • Denise - I don’t know him, but I want to! What a special young man. I hope you continue to recognize the simple things!

  • Heather - i want to be like him. simple as that. πŸ™‚

  • Moriah - Ok, this definitely hit me this morning (as I sit here crying). Yes, they are listening and learning, a great reminder to listen for the little details. Thank you

  • Rebecca - Sounds like you’re doing really great work bring up your kids. Your son will be quite the gentleman some day. I know you are very proud.

  • Alice H - I cried. What a sweet brother. I love seeing tender moments between my 3 kids that make me realize that I am doing something right. And that no matter how much they fight, they will always have each other.
    Love the picture of him sitting and focused on his thoughts.

  • Cherish Stockdale - That is so awesome! So nice to see little reminders that we are doing good as mothers! Love this!

  • Heidi Stukenberg - LOVE this post! I have followed you for years and you always hit me where it hurts (in a good way!). Sometimes it’s easy to live in the past with my girls instead of pouncing on today’s opportunities. I needed this today!

  • Joyce - Your children are so beautiful. Mine are grown, I want my babies back. Sigh.

  • Tina Smith - Thank you for making me cry :o) Simply beautiful…..

  • Melissa Perea - Beautiful post. Brought me to tears. Your life is utterly sweet.

  • Carrie Rosalind - Aww…so, so sweet. What a good older brother!

  • Heather - aww that is just so sweet.. it kinda made me a little teary eyed. what a great big brother!

  • Brittaney - This made my heart smile.

  • Courtney - totally made me cry…wow…
    oh, this parenting thing. it’s HARD on our hearts!

  • Dacia - Ok I’m all choked up. Drugged and in pain from wisdom teeth extraction… and now sniffling. But because this post was so sweet, like so many others of yours! Thank you for sharing.

  • Kirra Sue - what a sweet, sweet story. loved it. thanks for the challenge & encouragement.

  • Abigail - GREAT post…great reminder! I’ve been struggling with loving this time so much and wondering how the days ahead could ever be better, you gave me some super perspective today! Thanks!

  • Ang - Ah! I am sitting here with tears in my eyes after reading this! So needed this today. We are in the throws of potty training and I’m feeling worn out, exhausted, and disheartened.(The potty training is not going badly, I’m just in a funk.) Anyway, thanks for sharing. Loved this!

  • Krystina - Thank you for this post. It is officially one of my favorites. This was such a pure and simple moment.

  • Elisabeth - Thanks for sharing this sweet story. We’re iced in here in Atlanta now, and my boys are both climbing the walls and constantly at each other due to their cabin fever. This post was a good reminder to look for the little ways that they are loving each other, rather than blowing my top!

  • Jennifer - you make me want to cry. so sweet. thanks for sharing.

  • Megan - Brought tears to my eyes! Absolutley precious. And how I appreciate your insight on living in the present! Thanks for a beautiful post.

  • Shannon - That is so sweet, and I love how you live in the moment.

    My oldest is 8 and I often wonder about him too, but he thinks about his brother and sister all the time. They all do, not so much baby girl but she’s still little yet. I loved when they did Santa’s workshop at school because even though I wrote down that they had to get their siblings something, the boys took the time to really pick out a present that they knew the kids would like. Sometimes I don’t even do that, and I feel bad. Sometimes if it’s too noisy/messy/big/ugly I don’t get it and choose something they would still like, but that I like also. I need to stop that and just let them be kids. Although I might wait until one of them actually starts to help me clean up after them all!

  • Kim - I.LOVE.THIS.

    so much, so true… as a mom whose oldest is in her first year of college, a whole new dimension, but peel the outline from your story and lay it on mine, and it fits as well. Enjoy each of these moments and look forward to the ones ahead! Sooner than you know, you will be admiring a piece of art you helped God in making, priceless…

  • Jenny B. - MAN! I am all choked up now.

  • Leanne - what a sweetheart..

  • Katie - so sweet Ashley – love this post!

  • Georgia - your joy will continue…it is so wonderful to see your children (child in my case) grow up and turn into what God created them to be…sounds like he is well on his way

  • Maria - beautiful.

  • twirling betty - This moved me to tears. One of the things I treasure most is the relationship that is developing between my two little girls – a close and thoughtful bond of a kind I never had with my sibling. Like all kids they fight and act selfishly (unlike their totally perfect in every way mother, ahem) but more often than not they’re loyal supporters of the other. And your little fellow’s thoughtfulness towards his brother is heart-achingly sweet and kind. Pass me the tissues please!

  • Brooke Leigh - holy crap. this post is touching, seriously. I hope I’m as good at teaching my kids the values that you have successfully taught yours.

  • Denise - Thank you for sharing.

  • Carissa Miller - I cried not once, but twice. Sigh. I needed to hear that about living in the present. I am crying daily right now because little momma starts pre-K next year. I need to live in the present and not wish for the past.

  • jessica b - So cool. Wish you had a “Love it” button… simple as that πŸ˜‰ tee hee. Again, such a touching example of the kind of childlike love I wish to be reminded of more often. Thanks πŸ™‚

  • katherine - For the first 3 months of my eldest daughter’s life I listened as many people said to me “make sure you don’t miss a thing…they grow up so fast”. I started to really worry that I couldn’t remember every little moment. Until I decided that I liked the stage she was at. And I liked the next stage she fell into. And I began to look forward to seeing her grow and develop in stature and in character. I didn’t miss the past because I was enjoying each day and anticipating the years to come. It’s a great, fun way to live! Well done to you for smiling at the future and to your son for making the future a little sweeter with his kindness!

  • Just what I needed, but not what I deserved. |Just Us - […] then I read this. I realized how there are a lot of times that I’m not listening to the good stuff. The loud […]

  • nori - i don’t think i’m pms-ing, but i totally cried when i read this.

    ashley, i love how you capture the most incredible moments with your children.

    there is so much beauty in every day… thank you for seeing it, reminding us of it, and writing and illustrating it in your uniquely beautiful way!

  • Amber - What a beautiful post! I feel like you wrote this specifically for me since I’m having a hard time with my youngest growing older so quickly. Thanks for the reminder about living for today.

  • libby - this post makes my heart very happy. what precious kids you have. you’re doing a great job momma!

  • Deborah - What a very sweet post. Your little guys are indeed handsome, and what precious little hearts. thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

  • Lacy M. - I just love, love your blog. I love looking at your pictures especially. I’m wondering if you use any kind of photoshop on your pictures before you post them??

  • trauma « Smalltown Lovin - […] this really moved me today! […]

  • ~abi~ - just beautiful! what a sweet guy. πŸ™‚

  • Kat - Wow, the same thing happened with me at Christmas time. My In-Laws took my three boys shopping and gave them each some money to spend on themselves. My two 6 year olds did just that, however my sweet, sweet 11 year old came home with a gift wrapped up for me for Christmas. It turned out he had bought me some turkish delight, which I absolutely love, but I did not know that he knew that. I was so touched. The gift to me was not the turkish delight, but the unselfish act of spending his money on me and not himself. I was very touched by this and still get emotional when I think about it. Having 3 boys is crazy at times and you wonder if you are getting through to them. These little gestures helps reassure you that you’re on the right path… and I think my hubby was secretly jealous too!!!!! PS – Hello from Australia.

  • Ann - So often your posts are so delightful that my heart feels like it could burst and a tear comes to my eye. thank you so much for these moments. Ann

  • Debs - its such an amazing moment when our children do that one small thing that means the most, touches the most and shows the most…the precious thing is….they don’t realise the impact on what they have done.

    i have a 6 yr old son who is just that way. innocent. loving. smart. funny yet he can be brattish at times towards his 14 yr old sister!!

  • Rachel - What a wonderful little boy! My daughter, who is 6 as well, did something similar last month. She won a little game from a prize box at school and her brother loved it. The next day she was able to pick something else and instead of choosing a new prize she picked the same game to give to her brother. I was proud of her for thinking about him πŸ™‚

  • Jenn from The Mustard Seed Blog - oh, I just love this! It’s moments like this in teaching that keep me going, too. A moment where I see that through all of the teenage-ness, they do get it!

  • Brooke Whitis - At the end of the day, that is the joy in parenting….right? The character of your children! Good job, Momma.

  • Jodi - What an incredible story. Precious.

  • Amanda S. - Why am I CRYING? Ah, the life with boys. The simplest gesture of kindness towards one another makes me weep.

  • Janmary, N Ireland - New to your blog, but delighted to “find” you.

    I love how precious this is, and in the busy-ness of life this sweet gesture could have easily been overlooked. But he wasn’t doing it to get praise, he was just doing it for love πŸ™‚

  • hearttypat - this post makes me cry!!

  • eva - congratulations for the great work your doing: raising your family and blog.

  • Mallorey - That was a very sweet thing for him to do. Very touching to read that.
    I bet you are very proud.