Zinnias from the yard. Cookie dough mixing. Watermelon on the counter. Staples in our kitchen during the summer. Sometimes I wonder what things about growing up in this house my kids will remember most. I feel like the things I remember from growing up are so random and probably not what my parents thought would stick in my mind.

Will my kids remember sticks of butter always on the window ledge softening for cookies? Will they see a broom and think about how many times a day they saw me with one in my hand? Sidenote: anyone have a Roomba or a different brand (Neato was mentioned)? I’m considering making the investment…

It is kind of fun to look around at my day and think about what will pop out in their minds. It will probably be things I don’t even notice!

Yesterday, I posted that picture of Snickerdoodles on Instagram. A few people asked about the recipe – it is the basic recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook. Hands down this is my favorite cookbook. It is simple, no-fluff basic recipes. I posted about my version of the Baking Powder biscuits before. I also use the Peanut Butter Cookie recipe a few times a month (topping it with a Hershey Kiss). In the back is a simple graph for tips on the various ways to cook a ton of vegetables. I reference that chart all the time.

If you like simple – I highly recommend it.BettyCrocker2So I did a search on Amazon and it looks like you can only order used versions of this edition. However, the newer edition looks like it has my favorite recipes in it too. Here are a few links I found to the cookie recipes I use most:

Betty Crocker’s Snickerdoodles Cookies

Betty Crocker’s Peanut Butter Cookies (I add a Hershey Kiss on top)

I’ve been working on organizing my Pinterest boards – I have so far to go! I had every food item on one huge board and recipes I wanted to try got lost in the mix. I’ve been trying to use one new recipe a week (or every other week) from one of my Pinterest boards. If I like the recipe, it stays. If not, it gets deleted. It has been a good practice for getting me to try new recipes that I want to try but often forget.

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  • Caoimhe - Had a roomba. And a boy who liked to ride it…it always seemed to miss a spot which I found really frustrating but great for getting the bulk of the dust up. It survived a solid year in our house. And provided many rides to kids, cats and dogs. Would I buy another one? Probably not!

  • Emily - I have a Roomba and love it! We’ve had it almost 2 years now and its still going like a champ. My kids and dog do not ride on it though…

  • Sayonada Y T Laeng - OK — So I HAVE to chime in re: roomba. I have a Neato (same concept, better reviews on amazon) that I got as a gift after begging for one for (literally) years. I LOVE him (his name is Kevin.) I could write a novel for you, but in a nutshell, here is my take.
    – a robot vacuum is like having a dishwasher. It doesn’t mean you NEVER have to handwash a dish, but it means you typically don’t have to. We just him once or twice a week. I use the standard vacuum only for stairs or if i have to vacuum/sweep in a hurry.
    – the Neato uses a systematic approach to vacuuming — so he never misses a spot and leaves straight lines on my area rug that are SO satisfying since i NEVER do that myself.
    – i live by the beach and prayed it would work on the sand for my mostly hard wood and tile floors — it did NOT disappoint!
    – my ENTIRE house is cleaner now since you have to clear random toys/shoes from Kevin’s path. My kids know that to “pick up for Kevin” everything needs to be picked up. (not just pushed off the rug)

    i am thinking about getting a mopping one b/c i love it so much!

  • Bonnie - We are on our second Roomba. My biggest complaint is that it’s noisy, so I don’t like to run it when I’m home. We always forget to set it off when we leave, so I would be inclined to get an auto-starting one next time. When it goes from hardwood onto a rug, sometimes a wad of dust/dog hair comes off. But it does a more frequent vacuuming than I would do otherwise, so it’s nice to have!!

  • Donna - If you don’t or can’t buy the cookbook you can just go to the Betty Crocker web page and get the recipe. Happy cooking

  • Reesa - I still have my “older” Betty Crocker cookbook. I got rid of tons of cookbooks since I find myself using Pinterest more and more. I had to hang on to my old friends, my Betty Crocker and my Better Homes and Garden. They are still my go to along with my church recipes books because everyone knows that Baptists know how to cook. I have seriously considered a Roomba and I think after hearing all the positive reviews, I think I have to have one now! I also think I’ll have to give mine a name, lol Love your blog, Ashley!

  • Kiera Chambers - I love that cookbook, it was a wedding present 18 years ago {can’t believe I’ve been married 18 years!}.
    My husband and kids laugh at me that i have 1000’s of recipes and boards dedicated to every type of recipe on PIntrest, yet still pull out my trusty Betty Crocker when I’m making biscuits, scones, cookies, pies, {insert every recipe every}…..
    And that veggie chart, that made me laugh when I read it, I look at that all the time!
    You just can’t go wrong with Betty, that girl has our back!

  • Amy B. - We have a Roomba as well (yes, I actually asked for one for Christmas lol) and it’s great. And like Sayonada said, it’s a lot like having a dishwasher— it’s awesome for most jobs, but some things won’t fit and some dishes will need to be hand washed. We’ve had ours (I call him Rudy lol) for about a year and a half now and I’ve learned that it does a better job when I don’t try to vacuum the entire house all at once. I’ll run it in half the house one day, then do the rest of the house the next day. You could also let it charge a few hours in between to get it done in a single day. The only thing that kinda bugs me about it, is that it sometimes gets “stuck” in weird spaces- usually it gets trapped under the dining table, endlessly bouncing off the table/chair legs until I move it. I also have a cordless vac that I use for quick pick ups in-between if needed (or if I’m feeling too lazy to move chairs/pet bowls/husband’s shoes…), and for stairs and baseboards/general dusting. I highly recommend a good cordless vac with multiple attachments! We got my mother-in-law, who ALWAYS has a broom in hand (my father-in-law is a paraplegic and his chair drags in crazy amounts of dirt), a Dyson cordless for Mother’s Day and she told me the other day that it’s changed her life lol

  • Byron - You lost me at “tips on the various ways to cook a ton of vegetables”. 😉

    But the cookie recipes are solid! 😀

  • Kelly - I have a iRobot Roomba 650 and I LOVE IT! It was sort of a Christmas gift to myself after doing a bunch of research. The best price I found was on Amazon prime, but I ended up matching that price with a coupon from Best Buy and picking it up same day. It is “no frills” (ha! how can owning a robot be anything but “frilly”?!) but it gets the job done. You can set it to run automatically and with a couple “virtual walls” it is easy to keep it contained (don’t want it bumping the dog beds and scaring my pooches!). It takes to Roomba longer to sweep a room than it would for me to do it, but the point is that i don’t have to do it! I can fold laundry or wash dishes or whatever and my floors get clean! It is not super loud, but I find the noise a bit annoying after a while, so I tend to run it when I will be working on something in another room. Another bonus: my two little boys love to watch it wander around and anything that keeps them entertained gets extra point from me!

  • Jodi - I have a roomba and I love it! Is it perfect?, no…but I love that it will mindlessly vacuum and I don’t have to. We live out in the country on 9 acres and have a gravel drive…with 4 kiddos and a cat, stuff gets tracked in constantly…it is such a help to combat it! I do wish mine had the scheduling feature, as sometimes I go days without remembering to run it, but I am so thankful for it and if it died tomorrow I would replace it in a heartbeat!!

  • Kristen - I have that cookbook from my wedding too! My new summer project will have to be to break it out.

  • Lisa K - I have a Roomba (the model from Costco). I L-O-V-E it! You can program it to vacuum during the night. I have six kids and it helps a lot. It isn’t perfect but I would buy it again in a heartbeat.

  • kristiina - I got a Roomba last August for my birthday and I nearly cried (ironic that my favorite gift of all time was a house cleaning tool…). It was life changing for us! I absolutely love it!!

  • Buffy - Oh, Betty…you have never failed me in 17 years of marriage. My go to recipes are her macaroni and cheese, banana bread, cinnamon rolls, and Icy Chocolate Roll with Hot Fudge Sauce.(ice cream cake) If you have not made that last recipe, break out your book and give it a try. You’ll be a hit at your next party. The hot fudge sauce is good enough to swear off dieting forever.

  • Anna - We have a roomba it sadly isn’t working at the moment since it was stored for the 18 months we lived in a van. I would agree with it keeping the kids from leaving stuff around “roomba will eat it” I used to run it at night. It does occasionally get stuck and doesn’t quite clean everywhere that you would get to with a Hoover. I occasionally wondered if it really was labour saving as it needs emptying and cleaning every time to get it to work efficiently.
    Betty Crocker is a new one on me being a Brit but I have my equivalent, my mums readers digest cookbook now held together with gaffer tape. It includes how to joint livestock and exotic fruits such as bananas!

  • TheDenverPack - We added Ricky the Roomba to our family almost 2 years ago (family of 7, golden retriever, a cat, and 2 guinea pigs). He’s ok. I like that if I run him consistently that I don’t have tumbleweeds of fur rolling through my home. But as above comments have noted: he’s loud, so I haven’t run him as much since we adopted a toddler and nap time became sacred. We also have laminate flooring on the main level of our home. And after a few months of use, we began to notice that we had circular scratch marks on our flooring most likely from dirt being pushed around by Ricky’s brushes (we’ve since moved him to use on the 2nd floor and basement which are both carpet only). We have to empty him constantly when he’s running (again, lots of kids and pet fur) and Ricky is a bit ornery…he likes to play hide and seek becoming stuck in very unique and hard to reach places. Would I spend $800 again? No, but we still use him 3-4 times/week.

  • Katie - So Ashley, I always think of you when I have neighborhood kids over, and how you mention you always make cookies. This is probably a total type A mom question, but do you just let me take however many cookies they want, do you have a two cookie per person limit, these are the things I need to know! ???

  • AshleyAnn - Katie – Your question made me smile! I have 5 kids and typically there are 8-10 kids at my house at any given time. As I write this there are 8 kids and I just made cookies. With so many kids there is usually only enough for everyone to have 2, maybe 3 cookies. I know most of the parents well enough to know how they feel about cookies. I don’t have any close friends that are opposed to their kids having cookies, so I don’t worry about that. When I have certain kids over, I limit everyone to only 1 cookie because I know that is a parental preference. For the most part they just dive in and because there are so many kids no one can get too many. Also, my eldest daughter is usually passing out cookies and she is the one that tends to enforce cookie limits (on her own initiative) :)

  • AshleyAnn - Thanks Buffy – I will be trying that!

  • AshleyAnn - Kristen – mine was a wedding gift too!

  • Julie - My husband bought me a Roomba for Christmas a couple of years ago. Possible my favorite gift. Ever. It’s amazing. It keeps my apartment of 3 boys and 2 indoor cats under control.

  • Liz - Confession – I still make the recipie you posted for the Betty biscuits – complete with your modifications. I just put a batch in the oven now for our beach day!

  • AshleyAnn - Liz – that is awesome!!

Today I want to introduce you to my most recent blog sponsors. Knowing many of you check my blog via your phones, you don’t always see the sidebar. Monthly sponsor posts give me a chance to make sure you see the small businesses that I get the opportunity to partner with each month. It is an honor to work with them!

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  • Laura J - I always enjoys learning more about your sponsors. When you are thinking about a PNW trip, see if you can go when Holt Adoptee Camp is in Oregon. They have a one day day camp for younger adoptees to see what it is like. Age appropriate talk about adoption & tons of fun. My daughter is now 15 and has been going to the overnight camp for years. Everyone but the cook & the nurse are adoptees. Bonus is that at all the families look like yours and mine!

Things you never expect to see…your name on an Anthropologie event flyer. At least that is true for me. I mean the last time I visited the Anthropologie in my town, I’m pretty sure I had a baseball hat on and no one was there to mingle with me.

I just returned from The Farm Chicks Antique Show in Spokane. I was helping my friend Amanda with her BeCrafty Workshop (more on that later). The show started on Saturday, but Friday night Jenny Keller (of Jenny Cookies) hosted a kickoff party at the Spokane Anthropologie….

anthroI arrived with Amanda, Sara, and Lesley. Serena, the founder of The Farm Chicks, was already inside. There were two sweet ladies checking guests’ names off a list before you could enter the event. We gave them our names, but we weren’t on the list. Part of me thought, “Well, of course, we aren’t on the list. Let’s head back to the hotel and put on our pjs!” We all felt so awkward trying to figure out how to tell her who we were and why we were there. Eventually, Amanda broke down and quietly said, “Our names are on the graphic you sent out.” I was trying not to laugh at our group awkwardness.

We stepped inside to be greeted by Jenny, who outdid herself with the entire event. It was beautiful in every way. Women creating floral crowns, totes and body scrubs. There were tables of the cutest desserts and drinks. Again…enter our group awkwardness. The four of us had no idea what to do at a “meet and mingle”. Do we stand in one place? Do we walk around? Can I hide in a clothes rack? Please someone come talk to me because I don’t know what to do!

THANKFULLY a few sweet women came up to me and broke the ice. It turned into a beautiful evening of chatting face to face with a handful of women that read this random blog of mine. It felt like meeting old friends…only I was wearing a dress and heels with flowers on my head, which is SO FAR from normal for me.

6.16AnthroEvents

I came home and returned to my normal routine. Lots of sweeping floors, washing dishes and hearing, “MOM!…..” all day long. I thought back to the night in Spokane and an invitation with my name under “Meet and Mingle With” and it all makes me laugh a little. Heels and flowers and a necklace at an Anthro event with my name highlighted – so far from what life is really like.

It was fun to get dressed up and I wish I could wear a floral crown every day, however, standing at my kitchen sink in my tennis shoes, hair in a bun and gym shorts is real life. As much fun as the night was (and gorgeously planned) – given the chance I would have relished meeting those women at my kitchen table. I would have poured them a cup of coffee in an Anthro mug and the cookies would not have been near as cute, but it would have felt like they were meeting a fuller picture of me. A less glamorous, but also a little less awkward! IMG_8501Special events and nights away are so, so good, but real day-to-day life in all its mess and lack of glamour will always remain my favorite. I just wish there was less sweeping involved!

 

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  • Jenn - looks like I fun night. I would have been uncomfortable too. glad you were in a group even though you all may have felt awkward. real day life is great. glad you are back home in your comfortable. sweeping……..just this morning I crawled under the table with my hand held vacuum to pick up all the crumbs under there. it was a crazy amount.
    have a great day. hopefully with not too much sweeping.

  • Becky - I just love you! I have so enjoyed your blog for years. And to be perfectly honest, I’m glad you’re getting recognition on an Anthropologie invite! The world needs more “Ashley”! I know that’ll make you blush but you’re honesty, walk with the Lord, family values and that cute smile should be shared with this broken world.

  • Byron - So did you show them the proper form for front squats? 😀

    Glad you had fun! I need to get that photo signed so I can say, “I knew her when…”. LoL!

    Good to have you back!

  • Krystle Detwiler - So you’ve been to WA twice now that I’ve seen, and I’ve missed both! Urgh! Come back one day and I swear I’ll attend!! :) Dang Spokane being 6 hours away by car or costing a plane ticket. :( Hope you enjoyed the side of the state that has 4 seasons! :)

  • Sara - Our names are on the graphic ???? still laughing about that hahahaha miss you.?

  • Sara - And the ???? Are supposed to be emojis. Oy I’ll just use the old school wink 😉

  • amanda - goodness, that was a fun night. I will never stop laughing about trying to get in. xo

  • AshleyAnn - Good times. Good times!

  • AshleyAnn - I miss you too!

  • AshleyAnn - Krystle – Well, I hope to bring back my family one day! It is a beautiful state!

  • AshleyAnn - Nope – no squat form lessons…and it is good to be back at Crossfit :)

  • AshleyAnn - Thank you Becky :)

  • AshleyAnn - How do all the crumbs get under the table? I ask myself a version of that question way too many times a day!

  • Analne Love - Ashley~ I so wanted to come and to meet you in person! I realized the dates were upon me at the last minute and my husband graciously offered to send me off for the day – a 2-3 hour drive from where I live in North Idaho.
    Through a few silly tears I have to tell you, I decided to stay home and enjoy the weekend with he and the rest of my favorite people (all 10). This blogging, it is a push/pull of emotion when reckoning with what one sees through the screen and esteems as valuable, and what one experiences on this side of it which is also valuable though maybe not as edited or noticed. When weighing the decision to stay or go, the importance seemed heavier in favor of stay. It was a lovely weekend, AND I missed you. Too bad there’s no way to do all the favorite things at once! :-)

    Since taking your DSLR class a year ago January, I have considered you a friend :-) I often think of you when I pick up my camera, and take so much pleasure in having this fun toy/creative outlet that I can enjoy in the midst of busy life! Thanks again, for sharing your skill and eye for beauty on your blog. I love to visit just to be heart-edified and for my eyes to find a resting place.

    I love what you guys are doing there across the states. I love what you are sharing with others! And I do love T-shirts and hair tossed into a bun myself.
    You are very precious Ashley. Keep glorifying Jesus with your own unique sparkle!

    Maybe I’ll pop in to see you next time you’re in the Pacific Northwest :-)

    All my heart,
    Your sister

    Analene

  • Serena - Hee hee hee hee Oh my goodness this is just the sweetest and cutest. I’m so thankful to have you ladies in my life. Looking forward to more to come. Lots of love.

  • Katie Thomassen - So incredibly bummed. Made it to the show (5 hours of driving including a stop for “a weird noise under the hood) but I didn’t have the chance to see you and say hi! I DID see your sister, Leslie, out and about and peaked into the crafting room, aka Fort Knox (just kidding, but there was no sneaking in, that’s for sure! :-) Maybe next time. The show itself was amazing and the time spent with friends was priceless. And I will be following your search for a Roomba….

  • Tasha B. - Amen! All the formal hooplah does make it awkward. But beautiful! And I thought not to bombard you / worked up my courage to come say hi and by then you gals were gone. Next time I’ll be brave! :)

  • AshleyAnn - Tasha – I wish you had come to say HI!!!!

  • Farm Chicks PRE-PARTY at Anthropologie » Be Crafty - […] After spending that entire day at the show setting up for Saturday’s workshop , time quickly flew by and the girls and I ran back to our hotel to get ready for the pre-party event. We were all a little frazeled trying to get ready so fast.  We meet  up with Jessie and Stevie in the hotel lobby and walked over to Anthropologie. The girls are I were quite nervous walking over. Ashley says it best on her blog post. […]

  • candice - I love your kitchen! What is that hanging in the window?