The Ashley Maria Blog
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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Farm Animal Party Favor DIY

I can not believe that we are just a few weeks away from Joey's big first birthday! Wow did that fly by. Someone once told me the quote "The days are short, but the years are long" and I thought they were crazy. But after spending that last year getting to know Joey and his sweet yet stubborn personality, it literally flew by. It feels like forever ago I was pregnant with him so scared as what was to come. 

But enough of that sappy talk.. the fun thing about a first birthday? The first birthday party of course! We chose the theme of Farm Animals since Joey definitely has a love for them. After the party I will be sure to do a full recap for you, but today I'm showing you one of the first things we put together. This is the favor we will be handing out to our kid guests. 

I started purchasing everything back in January once we decided on the theme. I knew I wanted something cute but not over the top for favors for the kids. 

If you follow my Shop on instagram, I did a story and saved it to highlights going over everything we put in it! We plan on giving these to all the kids attending Joey's party, even the babies. It will be something fun for when they get older!

I was able to score the favor tins at Target on clearance for only $.30 each. I also linked similar ones below. The cow bells I found out Hobby Lobby and had to buy before I even had a use for them! These never go on sale aka 50% off, so it's good to use your 40% off coupon to save a few cents.  

You can really fill the tins with whatever, but I like activity items instead of toys. The stampers, crayons, bubbles and play-doh are perfect for that and the cow tails are just a little extra treat. 

Metal Tins | Target or Amazon
Cow Bells | Hobby Lobby (smaller option)
Stamps | Amazon
Bubbles | Amazon
Crayons | Amazon
Play Doh Mini's | Amazon
Cow Tails | Amazon
Bandannas | Hobby Lobby (use 40% off Coupon!)

The final touch we have to add is a little thank you label which we will attached to the string the cow bell is on! And there you have it, a multi use farm animal favor for under $5.00!

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

What I’m Feeding Joey to Help him Grow Strong

At Joey's six month check up our doctor confirmed we could start feeding Joey baby cereal. Right after the appointment we be-lined for Target and picked up Gerber Single Grain Oatmeal. I was so excited to start feeding Joey and single-grain infant cereals are an ideal first solid food to check for food sensitivities and help develop baby's eating skills. 

Right now, your little one needs iron to help support healthy brain development! I felt so comfortable giving Joey this new food and he loves it!  Just two servings of Gerber infant cereal meet 90% of your baby's daily iron needs.  

Gerber cereal has essential nutrients such as Iron, Zinc, Calcium, Vitamin C, E and six B Vitamins for healthy development.  There are no artificial colors or flavors which is perfect for my little guy.

Don't hesitate, check out Gerber Cereals today with this coupon!

Essentials With Joey in the First Six Months

When I found out I was pregnant, I was terrified. Not at the thought of stretch marks, labor pains, or pregnancy related sickness, but at the thought of I will be solely responsible for this new human being. They will rely on me for everything and I have to be the best mother I can be. Making sure baby has the best ability to have a healthy life everyday.   That to me is such a struggle. Even with Joey now being almost a year, I still am constantly battling mom guilt and if I am doing a good job as a parent or not. 
You can read more about his birth story here.

One thing I learned is parenting is so much easier if you have the right essentials. Today I've rounded up five of the musts we used during our first few months with our Joey!

1. Graco - Click Connect Series is in my opinion the best bang for your buck when it comes to strollers, car seats and bases! This made taking baby out of the car and into the house, store, etc. so much easier. The bases made it convenient for Joe and I to both be able to use the same car seat and not have to switch cars. 

2. Diaper Pail, I can't  tell you how much your nose will thank you! We received ours for our baby shower and have used it every day since Joey arrived! Even though we change the carbon refills weekly, the stench when we open it is sometimes so bad, it makes your eyes water. I read an article about trying some drops of essential oils so I thought I would give it a try! I placed a coffee filter on the bottom of the pail and added 1/2 cup baking soda and 10 drops of lavender EO's. It not only cuts the smells, but lavender is a relaxing scent for babies! Since giving Joey probiotics to regulate his gut, we have been putting the pail to good use even more!

3. Probiotics.. whether you are breast feeding or formula feeding, it is so important in the first six months of baby's life for autoimmune and metabolic development. Your baby can create bad bacteria in the gut which is linked to a higher risk of autoimmune and metabolic issues like colic, eczema, allergies, diabetes, and obesity later in life. When more good bacteria is present in the gut, it creates a strong, protective wall and crowds out the bad bacteria. I struggled with breast feeding when Joey was born due to not producing enough milk and him then not latching. It was so hard on me and would never want to wish that on anyone! Thankfully, now I know my baby doesn't have to worry about autoimmune and metabolic development thanks to Evivo!  

The first and only baby probiotic of its kind, Evivo is clinically proven to restore a healthy gut in your baby A daily probiotic powder, Evivo mixed with breast milk and fed to babies helps release nutrients in breast milk to create a protective internal environment in baby’s gut. It also helps develop baby’s metabolism and immune system and builds the foundation for good health that can last a lifetime.

4. Meal Delivery Service - When Joey was born my company gave us one of the best gifts.. a meal service. It helped so much because everything was already purchased, measured, and ready for us to cook. We didn't have to take the time away from baby to run to the store! 

5. Help- Whether it's just your spouse or partner, mom, sisters or friends; everybody needs it! Don't be afraid to take it or ask for help. I still 'feel bad' when I'm away from Joey more then a few hours and others watch him, but it's okay. I'm allowed to do things for myself.. and that's something I'm working on!

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Joseph Michael | Ten Month Update

Image may contain: 1 person
Ten Months: February 8, 2018Weight: lbs
Weight: 23lbs
Height:  inches
Diet:  formula, solid foods broken small
Sleeping:  wakes up a few times at night
Clothing Size: 18-24 months or 2t's
Diaper Size: size 4's

Teeth: 2 on the bottom and one on the top 

I love walking along the sofa and pulling myself up. I say GaGa and Baba and MaMa but only when I cry. I like to point and play paddy cake. I get angry if not fed fast enough. I celebrated my first Valentine's Day with my favorite Valentine.. my mama!!
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Sunday, February 4, 2018

The BIG Game

Guys, I'm so excited for the Super Bowl this year! Why you ask.. Well because my team is actually in it- I'm a Philadelphia Eagles fan!!! If you have been around these parts then you know my husband is a huge Charger"s fan.. prime example , but these last few weeks I've gotten to gloat just a little! 

Jersey | Victoria's Secret old
Jeans | American Eagle
Moccasins | Ugg's 
Joey's Shirt | Old Navy (similar)

Do you have any plans for the big game this year? We plan on staying home to watch it and make some picky foods. One thing we are going to be making is these easy cheesesteak egg rolls. 

enjoy the game and GO PHILLY!!!!

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Farmhouse Decor from World Market

One of my favorite online shops for home decor is World Market. Last year I purchased all our baskets for our linen closet organization from there and picked up some great accent pieces too. Two summers ago, I snatched so really cool rope lights for our patio as well as some fun lanterns for around the patio table.
Today I'm showing you some of my favorite farmhouse decor for around your home. 

Candle Holders
Wire Baskets with Liner
Wire Basket
Floor Cushion
Wall Rack
Fiddle Leaf Tree

Now that I look at the items I picked, it looks straight out of my living room! I love to hang decorative items on my wall rack behind my door, but yet still use it as functional for coats, umbrellas, bags to throw some of Joey's toys when we head out the door. I have similar candle holders on our catch all table as a similar fiddle leaf tree in the corner of our living room. I have black thumb and can't keep anything alive, so faux greenery is the way to go for me!

With Joey on the move these last few months, we had to free up some room in the living room. We decided to put our leather reclining chair in the basement in order to push our ottoman against the wall making the middle of the room open. I purchased these floor cushions to use as additional seating and also to help out our butts while we play on the floor with Joey! The ones from World Market are much cheaper, but we really wanted ours to match our sectional!

The lined wire baskets are used all throughout my house! I have one in the kitchen that holds our cookbooks to make our shelving a little more tidy. I also have them used in our upstairs bathroom, bedrooms for additional storage and a large one holds Charger's toys . I just love that they go with everything and the liner hides the stuff inside them.  The pillows above add a pop of color to a somewhat plain and neutral decor scheme!

What do you think? Are you a follower of the farmhouse/ neutral trend?
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Monday, January 22, 2018

2017 Year in Review

This may be a little late, but I've started this post back in early December and have yet to finish it, until now! We have had one busy, busy year and boy was it fun! Such huge milestones and love this year past. So without waiting anymore.. here is our year in review!

January 2017...
We started off the year getting right down to organizing the house in preparations for Baby Joey's arrival. The first check on our list is our downstairs (and now only) linen closet. Posted how we did this project, and also some free printables for you to use on your own organization!

February 2017...
Holy nesting February! I felt as though the whole house needed to be cleaned and I mean every. single. inch. It was so nice to have everything tucked away and clean.. boy do I miss the house looking like this!! We also did a gallery wall on our stairway and turned some old frames from Goodwill into Shabby Chic displays!

March 2017...
March was a BIG month for us. The countdown was on and we had a lot to get done! Our half bath upstairs was turned into a whole bath and like that it made life so much easier! This was one the biggest projects in our house to date and it felt like it took forever. Now more then ever with baby, this is so nice to have a shower upstairs. 
We finished Joey's nursery early in the month and I found myself just sitting in there some days. 
We also were blessed with an amazing baby shower. The theme was 'Little Slugger' and everything about it was perfect!

April 2017..
and I can confidently say, April was by far the biggest month of the year for us. We welcomed Joseph Michael Melchionna into the world on April 8, 2017. You can read all about it birth story here!

May 2017..
In May we celebrated my first Mother's Day! I know everyone says it, but you really can't imagine loving someone as much as yourself, but this little person proves you can!
June 2017...
We were pretty busy getting to know our little man then not much time was spent on the little old blog, so I do apologize for being a little absent! In June Joey got baptized into the Catholic faith. 
I purchased a new car.. however if you didn't know, you would prolly think it's the same exact one! Hey stick with what ya know.. right!
Joe and I celebrated our one year married anniversary! Even though it feels like decades, can you believe it's only been a year!! We celebrated at the place it all happened.. Hotel Bethlehem.

We had an exterior makeover and had our siding on our house painted, and man did they change the whole look! We are in love with it!
Joe also celebrated his first father's day! Aren't they just so cute!!

July 2017...
Another home project I took on is painting the backsplash in the kitchen. We really didn't want to spend the money on replacing the back splash and it wasn't terrible.. just the god awful color! While I was pregnant with Joey on our many trips to Lowe's I picked up the paint. It did have a lot of fumes, so I opted to hold off on this project until summer when the windows were open and Joey could be upstairs

August & September 2017..
These months feel like blurs. Joey had so many milestones and is growing bigger and bigger! One thing that was a total set back was we learned Joey has tortacolis which is where he favored one side of his neck causing the muscles to be shortened on one side. However, his case was very mild and we started therapy to fix this! He loves going to therapy because he gets to play with toys the whole time while our therapist massages his neck muscles! Every time we go we see so much more improvement!

October 2017..
We celebrated Halloween this month and Joey also turned six months!

November 2017...
Back on Labor Day weekend we had a freezer problem that led to water getting under our new (installed last May) floor!!! Insurance of course got involved and held up the process therefore causing mold to form under the boards. It was an absolute mess to begin that cleaning process and the floors couldn't be spared. We did end of finally getting our new floor installed in November and I love them. Actually a lot more then the previous ones installed!

December 2017...
And just like that we've made it to December. We spent December doing Christmasy things with our little guy and getting the house all ready for Santa. 

I hope to be more active on the blog this new year! But no matter what my family time will come first! I want to thank each and every one of you for following along on my little adventures! Cheers to the next year :o)

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