About Ashley

Ashley is very happily married and the mother to a beautiful little girl and sweet baby boy, and she is the main voice behind Embracing Creativity.

100 Days of School Shirt Idea

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Do you remember being in elementary school and celebrating 100 days of school?  I do, I can remember it just like it was yesterday.  One of the teachers wore the same shirt every year.  Her shirt that had 100 sequins that she has sewn on.  The sequins looked just like these!  Oh, the memories.

The week that surrounded the 100th day of school was filled with fun counting projects.  I can remember a paper chain we made that had 100 links in it.  We of course counted out 100 pennies too.  I miss the innocence of elementary school sometimes.

Nowadays I’ve noticed, via Facebook friends, that it’s customary to wear a hundred items on your shirt.  My elementary school teacher had it right all these years!  While I’m homeschooling and don’t find it necessary to craft a shirt just for one day for only my immediate family to see I thought I would share this cute 100 day of school shirt idea that my friend made for her daughter.

100 Days Shirt

She just glued of a 100 googly eyes and wrote on it.  Simply adorable!

It says, “All eyes on me.  I’m 100 days smarter.”  I just love it.  Mainly because I have an unexplainable love of googly eyes.  On second thought, maybe I’ll make this shirt for my daughter after all.  And one for myself. :)

Favorite Things About Fall

Anyone else love fall. I literally have a countdown beginning the first day of September, and I always resist the urge to wear fall attire on the first day of fall. It may be 70 degrees outside, but I’m sure I can make those boots and flannel work.

Pumpkin Patch 2015

Our October is filled with events: hayrides, festivals, and family traditions fill our fall up to the brim. We go to the pumpkin patch; we carve the pumpkin… and I dream about making those cute pumpkin topiaries out of dollar tree plastic pumpkins but never do.  I do buy a number of glittery pumpkins from there every year.  Even if I don’t get that topiary made, they look darling just sitting around.  The sheer number of fall-themed decorations makes me reconsider yet another project… though I do love my burlap garland I made.

I’m often teased because I buy more Starbucks in October than I do in the whole year – not because I’m in love with their coffee, but those Pumpkin Lattes make me feel like fall.  And apple cider.  Oh my!

Progresso Soup

We also eat soup – a lot. Tomato bisque, chili, and potato soup are our favorites. What about you all? Do you have a favorite soup?  I love homemade but Progresso is convenient and delicious!   When I’m feeling especially healthy, acorn squash soup is divine, but I’m not quite sure what to pair with it. Do you eat grilled cheese sandwiches with acorn squash soup too? I love to cuddle up and watch movies with my husband while under a cozy blanket and warm soup.

When it comes down to it, I think I love fall the most because it isn’t hot. Seriously though, fall is my favorite because of the memories shared with people. My family always too advantage of the beautiful weather and local activities to create memories together when I was a youngster, so now I do that very same thing with my family.  Trips to the zoo, walks around the neighborhood, playing together at a park…they’re all special because of the people I’m spending time with.  Traditions are important, though not necessary or not always budget-minded, they do make our memories.

Cooking With Kids and Ragu

Growing up I remember my mom cooking and baking with my mom.  We didn’t do it a lot but the times we did were very special to me.  I can still remember the time my mom accidentally pulled the beater bar out of the chocolate cake batter before turning it off.  I was sitting in my pjs on the counter beside the mixer when it happened.  Chocolate went everywhere and I thought it was hilarious!  She laughed at herself and took the accident in stride.  We cleaned up, baked a cake, and had a great story to tell Dad.

Now as a busy mom I want to remember to take time and cook with my kids.  The messes and mistakes are worth the memories.  Last Saturday, we baked blueberry muffins from scratch along with scrambled eggs.  It was fun but it took so long to do that it ended up being brunch.

While I don’t have time every day to involve my kid’s in each meal preparation I try to every now and then.  Tonight’s dinner was a simple one.  Ragu sauce and bow tie pasta.  Easy peasy and my daughter was able to help!  She only poured the past in the the pot, poured the cooked pasta into the sauce, stirred it, and added Parmesan cheese to everyone’s dish but I know she felt like a chef.  It may have been the chef’s hat and apron she was wearing that made her feel that way but I like to think it was because I spent time with her and allowed her the opportunity to serve her family.


Sometimes it’s the little things in life, isn’t it?

Knitted Baby Dress Pattern

This post contains affiliate links.
Knitted Baby Dress Pattern

Today is the second day of our 31 Days of Knitted Gifts!  Our previous two projects can be found here.  This sweet knitted dress is perfect for fall.  Just picture it paired with leggings and baby boots.  Absolutely adorable!  Oooh, and if you added stocking and gold shoes with a gold hair bow it would be perfect for Christmas!

Needle and yarn

US 7 – 4.5 mm

Pattern: This free pattern can be found on Ravelry.com.


Followed the listed pattern through row 27, doing seed stitch instead of ribbing between the leaves. On row 28 did 25 stitches in seed stitch, bound off 31, 50 seed stitch, bound of 31, 25 seed stitch (last stitch knit 2 together). Couple more rounds of seed stitch…then I knit 3 rounds in st st, one round of purl, and started Flora dress with 9 repeats of chart A.  I knit one round then 3 rounds of seed stitch to finish.

Baby Apple Hat Pattern

This post contains affiliate links.

Apple Hat Pattern

Today is the second day of our 31 Days of Knitted Gifts!  To see our previous project, go here.  This little apple hat is adorable for newborn photos or family fall pictures!

I love to see babies in hats!  Well, babies are always adorable but when you put one in a hat they are overwhelmingly cute.  So cute that women will have to make some sound when they see them.  Either “awww”, or “oh my!” or the ever popular high pitch squeal.  I hope this apple hat will bring your babies lots of compliments.  Be sure to bookmark this tutorial to share with them when they ask where you got it…because trust me, your little one will be so cute, they’ll have to ask!

Needle and yarn

Pattern: Both patterns used in this project are from Ravelry.com and were free!  The apple hat pattern can be found here and the leaf pattern here.


I only own two 12” circular needles: size 4 and 8.  I prefer these over DPN so I used the 4’s for the ribbing and 8’s for the rest. Switched to DPNs when I had to. Used a little scrap of cascade 220 for the stem and scrap of lettuce malabrigo for the leaf.  This hat took less than 3 hours total to make. Even on size 8’s it seems tiny. I hope it fits her!

If you like this hat, please pin it so others can find it.

31 Days of Knitted Gifts

This post contains affiliate links.
31 Days of Knitted Gifts

This month I’ll be sharing a DIY knitted gift idea with all the details for making them.  I hope you’ll follow along with me.  {I’ll be posting the first one later today after I wake up a bit. tomorrow after I get some meds in me.  I hate being sick, I’m sorry!} :)

Knitted Booties Pattern

The first knitted project I have to share adorable little knitted booties to cover itty bitty little sweet baby feet!

Needle and yarn

In addition to the eggplant Knit Picks yarn there was a little hand-spun yarn (from a fiber festival) for the contrast color.

Pattern: From Ravelry.com (This one’s free!)


There are lots of ends to weave in, but cute and easy.  I made the large size and they are still very tiny.

Here’s is the master list of 31 Days of Knitted Gifts:

Day 2: Baby Apple Hat

Day 3: Baby Dress

Brew Your Breakfast w/ Nature’s Valley K-Cups + Giveaway

This post is sponsored by General Mills but my opinions remain my own.Publix

I’m all about convenience. I guess it’s American through and through, but I’m also about quality. When I can get the two together you can bet I’m a happy camper.

Recently, I’ve been having to eat out quite a bit and have been frequenting fast food joints. You know how excited you get when you get that free Chick-fil-a sandwich JUST because you took the survey to tell the how awesome they already know they are? Since I’ve been going to so many restaurants recently, I feel like a critic and I get excited about those survey receipts for more than just the bargain they offer. I get excited because I can’t wait to tell the fast food restaurant exactly what I thought of my transaction and it’s quality.

I simply cannot bear bad service. I’m not one of those to get in the manager’s face, but I am about letting people know politely if my experience wasn’t up to the degree which I expect. Like I said quality is a big deal to me, especially if I’m paying for it. Sometimes don’t you think it’s just worth staying home and prepping the food yourself, so you know what quality of food (and service) you’ll be getting?

Keurig Oatmeal

One of my new favorites that offers me convenience and quality is the Nature Valley Bistro Cup (I’m in love with the Brown Sugar Pecan flavor). I have a K-cup brewing maching, and this oatmeal is made using the K-cup brewing machine technology. For some reason I just LOVE this idea. I really think it’s because it’s easy and that’s what my poor brain is attracted to early in the morning. Basically, you empty the packet in a big mug, put an actual Kcup that has seasonings and flavors in the machine, and press go! This isn’t regular mushy oatmeal but is oatmeal with pizzaz. It’s kind of like Panera.

This fits well into my schedule because I can just turn on my K-cup brewing machine and prepare my oatmeal. While it’s setting, I can make my coffee too. I get to have a little convenient gourmet breakfast. By the way, one special touch that’s saved me money and time is a coffee frother. I make lattes all the time with half & half. You can also treat yourself to fall season anytime with a little pumpkin spice extract. It’s a great mock pumpkin latte for the 7 months of the year Starbucks makes us cry without the pumpkin!

Speaking of saving money, there’s a $3.00 off coupon at Publix which is a great way to try this yourself to see if you like it as much as I do and if it fits into your routine. I’d love to hear how you streamline your mornings!

Enter to win $10 Paypal cash! Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

13 DIY Kids Halloween Costumes

13 DIY Kids Halloween Costumes

Halloween will be here before we know it! Some of my best memories as a child are dressing up and going trick or treating, and now it is my turn to share those memories with my kiddos! I have been on the hunt for some great DIY kids costumes and I came up with a great list, so I had to share! This list has it all, from Disney princesses to super heroes. What do your little ones want to be this year? Tell me below! I am always on the look out for more great ideas! Be sure to pin, tweet, and share! Happy costume making!

  1. Disney’s Brave (PICTURED)
  2. Baby Lion Tutu (PICTURED)
  3. Magic Man (PICTURED)
  4. Where the Wild Things Are (PICTURED)
  5. Minnie Mouse (PICTURED)
  6. Mister Rogers & the gang
  7. A-Team
  8. Minions
  9. Mermaid
  10. Mega Blocks
  11. TMNT Tutu
  12. Scuba Diver
  13. Super Hero

5 Minute Tortelloni Dinner

I love homemade meals.  Homemade spaghetti with chopped up carrots, celery, garlic, and onions.  Yum!  Sometimes though, life doesn’t slow down long enough to prepare a meal made from scratch.  Sometimes short cuts are okay.  Embrace the short cuts sometimes and give yourself grace!

I want to share with you a favorite short cut delicious dinner that I pull out every so often.  It takes 5 minutes to make.  Yea, I know, crazy, right?  Okay, maybe a little longer depending how fast your stove will boil water.  My 5 Minute Tortelloni Recipe is easy though and absolutely delicious!

Delicious Tortelloni in five minutesShopping List:

– Mezzetta Napa Valley Homemade Marinara Pasta Sauce (Roasted garlic & caramelized onions is a great choice!)

– Refrigerated tortelloni (chicken/mozzarella is my fave)

– Fresh basil

– Parmesan cheese for grating

– Loaf of Italian bread (optional)

Tortellini Recipe


– Bring water to a gentle boil. Add tortelloni.

– Heat Mezzetta marinara sauce.

– Meanwhile, wash and chop the fresh basil.

– Drain tortelloni and cover with marinara sauce.  Garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan.  Serve immediately.

Quick Italian Meal

I’m telling you, it feels like you’re cheating on dinner but it tastes so good that you won’t feel bad for it.  Mezzetta marinara sauces are a high end line of sauces that taste delicious!

Mezzetta is hosting a fabulous giveaway where you can win the perfect pasta night!  Just click the picture below to enter!  Good luck!


Sweet and Salty No-Bake Clusters with Honey Bunches of Oats

This is a sponsored post but all the yummy pictures are my own. : )

No Bake Clusters Recipe

Honey Bunches Of Oats is a cereal that my family loves and I feel good about feeding them.  Recently, I was asked by Honey Bunches of Oats to make their version of sweet and salty no-bake clusters using their cereal.  I’ve always loved been obsessed by no-bakes so I had to give it a try.  If you like sweet and salty treats, you’ll love these.  They are delicious!  You have to make these to experience this chocolatey, honey, crunchy goodness for yourself!

Here’s the recipe and it makes 2 dozen clusters.  You can thank me later! : )


  • – 1 cup sugar
  • – 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • – 1/4 cup butter
  • – 1/4 cup milk
  • – 1/2 cup reduced fat peanut butter
  • – 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • – 1 1/2 cup Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted Crunch
  • – 1 cup pretzels
  • – 1/2 cup peanuts


  1. In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Let boil for 1 minute then add peanut butter, vanilla, peanuts, pretzels and cereal.
  2. On a baking sheet coated with waxed paper, drop mixture by 2 Tablespoon scoops. Place sheet in the refrigerator until the clusters are cooled and hardened. When ready, gently pull clusters off of the waxed paper. Store clusters in the refrigerator.

This is a great treat to make for a summer picnic or cook out.  The prep time was only 15 minutes and from start to finish they were ready in an hour.  If you have young kiddos at home, this is a great recipe to let them help with because there aren’t any raw ingredients that they couldn’t eat.  I know I’ll be making these again soon and next time I’ll have my daughter help me.  She loves to measure and mix.  I love simple recipes that I can make with my little “helper.”  If you give this a try, let me know how you like it!

Sweet and salty no bake clusters