Many months ago my friend Amanda shared the exciting news with me that she was asked to bring a Be Crafty Workshop to the Farm Chicks Show. When she asked if I would be interested in joining her, along with my sister and friend Sara, I didn’t hesitate. Amanda worked for months preparing every little detail. Coordinating getting 4 ladies to Spokane and planning for 150 women to attend 5 different workshops is no small feat. It was an honor to help Amanda.

I flew out with my sister. We don’t get much time together, so trips like this are extra special to me. I got spoiled by the 4 days with her and am ready for more.

Me ~ Sara ~ Lesley ~ Amanda

BeCrafty-102I wore a hat all day Saturday to the workshops. A few people told me I was looking very “Farmer Chick.” In reality, I knew I’d be going fast all day and didn’t want to mess with my bangs. Whoop whoop for hats and hidden bangs. Sara served in a million ways all weekend. One of those ways was as the event photographer. All the photos in this post were shot by Sara.

A few peeks of the workshops:

BeCrafty-1

BeCrafty-7BeCrafty-71BeCrafty-17BeCrafty-116BeCrafty-63BeCrafty-55BeCrafty-12BeCrafty-47BeCrafty-1BeCrafty-13BeCrafty-97A little slideshow with more pictures from Sara…there were too many to narrow down for 1 post!

I’ll share more about our sponsors tomorrow. It was a beautiful day full of meeting many women. As much as I like crafting and helping Amanda, the highlight was by far meeting women and hearing their stories. I had the chance to chat with several that have read this blog for a bit and their words were hugely encouraging to me.

It always surprises me the things that stick out to others about what I share here. There is plenty of ‘noise’ online and I sure don’t want to just add to that noise. I’m thankful for the women that took the time to let me know why they read these words and random pictures I post to this little corner of the internet. Their words spoke life to me. Thank you ladies.

Thank you Amanda for inviting me to come along.

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  • Byron - That giant hat made me think of Gandalf (“Farmer Gandalf Ashley”)! 😀

    It looks like you had a lot of fun and got to mingle with some great folks. “Crafty” is an amazing talent to me; great pictures!

  • Donzel - I was so sad to miss this! BUT, the MOPS retreat I attended more than made up for the lack of crafty stuff – and it gave me an opportunity to get to know my local ladies much better.

    Time with sisters is so very special, isn’t it?! So glad to hear it went well, and that you were able to meet women who’ve enjoyed your blog and (like me) been encouraged by it.

  • amanda - Such a great weekend . xx

  • Trischa - Where do you get the huge balloons? Love them. This looked so fun!

  • Melissa - Could you tell me what camera len you used to shoot the pictures inside at the Farm Chicks Show?

  • AshleyAnn - Trischa – Those are from Shop Sweet LuLu!

  • AshleyAnn - Melissa – I am not sure the lens used. Sara Parsons took all the photos.

  • AshleyAnn - Gandalf – thanks Byron :)

  • Nikki - It was such a pleasure to meet you! You are as sweet and genuine in person as you are in your little corner of the internet. :) You have been a huge encouragement and inspiration to me in so many areas of life, so thank you for the honest, “real life” posts week after week. PS. I hauled that darn rug all over the show. My arms and back were aching, but it’s perfect in my home :)

  • Christine - Just catching up on your blog…where did you get that fabulous hat!?! LOVE.IT.

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!

BigWhiteFarmhouse6.16Big White Farmhouse

Big White Farmhouse is a carefully curated collection of home decor and gift items, all made from artisans right here in the USA.

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Discount Code: UNDERTHESYCAMORE for 15% off your entire order

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VintageOilsVintage Oils

Improving your health and well-being is possible with essential oils, and I’d love to help you on your journey. All income goes towards our next adoption!

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Discount Code: $20 cash back to Under the Sycamore readers when you purchase the Premium Starter kit (contact Amy for info)

flourishsimplifyinghomeebookblogSimplifying Home

Inspiration and practical help to find simplicity and enjoy peace along the way.

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Discount Code: Ebook currently 50% off. Currently doing a free 8-part space-by-space email series to help people simplify their homes in 2016.

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handmade rag dolls for the modern babe

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mpixMpix.com

Your favorite spot for premium quality photo goodies and stationery. Create and order professional quality photo prints, customize cards and stationery, shop personalized photo gifts, custom wall art, and more online.

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Monthly printable designs for everyday. Imagine how much more enjoyable your everyday tasks like writing shopping lists or thank you cards would be if you had something cute to write on!

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Discount Code: Use this link for $5.00 off your first subscription payment

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The Totally Rad! Photoshop Actions have helped thousands of photographers take their images to the next level. We’ve got you covered with easy, one-click adjustments to color, contrast, saturation, and tone. Whether you’re adding a subtle pop to an image, or fixing a problem photo, the Totally Rad Photoshop Actions have powerful tools to help you get it done faster. (RadLab is pictured above.)

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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!