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We are home.

I didn’t think that I would ever be writing that on this space, or even saying those words really.

It was a long road, one that took us over nine months from start to finish.

Why nine months?

Well, a lot of the reasons are very personal, some that I probably won’t ever share, but they were a part of our journey nonetheless.

We put our beloved first home on the market in April and it sold shortly there after, we closed in July and were living with my parents until the very end of October.

We had ups and downs placed ever so neatly in the mix of the closing of our home all the while finding the house of our dreams.

It had land and a shop, a place where my husband could work just steps away from us. We put an offer on it, and they came back not accepting it, we were heartbroken but we moved on.

We put offers in on two other homes, both never went through, and we were sitting in our empty house the day we were to be out and we both felt like we had been punched in the stomach.

The wind just knocked out of us.

I felt guilty, I felt prideful, and if I am being honest with you I was so ashamed.

What had I done?

I sold our home, it was really all my grand idea, and now we had nowhere to go.

Until our Realtor called.

Our dream home,  the owners had reached out to her, they wanted to accept our offer.

We couldn’t help but feel like God was writing a bigger story, one we couldn’t wait to watch unfold. We hugged we laughed and we cried as we walked away from our home for the last time.

Escrow drug on with that house for two months.

Deadlines were missed, over and over again, but we kept pushing on.

God was teaching us and refining us, and we were growing. We knew no perfect gift could come easily.

Until we were denied.

Not because anything that was wrong with us, but because of the amount of things wrong with the house.

We were heartbroken.

It was our dream home. It was perfect for us, but our eyes were shielded from the actual amount of work that would have had to have been done. We didn’t care, it was supposed to be ours.

We were denied on a Tuesday, and on a Wednesday we went out to look at houses. We had spent countless hours online searching for homes, even more hours driving around looking at the houses we had already narrowed down. Only to narrow down our list even more.

Two homes.

We held our breath as we walked into the first, we had learned something after looking at over fifty homes in the matter of a couple months…pictures lie, big time.

It was perfect.

Everything about it had been what I wanted in a house when we started this journey, everything except… it didn’t have the land, didn’t have the warehouse, and wasn’t exactly where I had imagined myself living.

We went on to the next house, the house in the perfect neighborhood, the one that was newer and seemed like it would be it.

We were greeted with smells and holes and stained carpets.

And a longing for the first house.

We left and returned to the house that was tugging at our hearts.

This was it, we walked in with different hearts, and it felt like home, like it had to be ours.

Contracts were written and accepted in a matter of hours.

No waiting, no worrying, no deadlines being pushed, no terms being changed.

It was ours two weeks later on Halloween.

Just like that.

God wrote our story, he knew the ending, but he walked us through the ups and downs with amazing people by our sides to teach us and grow us.

We were loved on, taken care of, grew closer to one another, and learned that a home is more than walls, more than a neighborhood, more than our dreams.

A home is a place where God puts you, where he knows you will be.

He gave us this good and perfect gift, and that my friends is the real story of our home.

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Cookies are my weakness. Like so much so that I think I could live off of cookies alone. I love eating cookies, baking cookies, giving away cookies, developing recipes for cookies (insert Forrest Gump movie line here).

I think you get it right?!

The easy thing about cookies is once you have a nice solid recipe, you can tweak it and develop new recipes over and over again.

Take my tried and true chocolate chip cookie recipe, that turned into my browned butter coconut chocolate chip cookie recipe (which also won the award for worlds longest title) and that recipe has been transformed to this one.

White chocolate chip cookies with cranberries.

This title seems equally as long, oh well;)

These cookies are decadent, feel a little fancy, and are so so delicious. They are sweet yet buttery, chewy yet soft, and the browned butter gives it such a nutty flavor, they seriously rank at the top of my list, which is very long.

Friends bring these to your cookie exchanges this year and enjoy.

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White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cranberries

Ingredients

1 1/2 Sticks Butter melted and browned

1 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Egg plus 1 Egg Yolk

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

2 Cups Flour

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1 1/2 Cups White Chocolate Chips

1 Cup Dried Cranberries

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White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cranberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare baking pans with parchment paper. Heat a small skillet over medium high heat and add butter. Cook until browned. Set aside to cool while you sift and combine your dry ingredients. In a stand mixer combine your butter and sugar. Mix well then add in egg and egg yolk. Combine completely and add in vanilla. Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in cranberries and chocolate chips.

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Using a cookie scoop or a large spoon scoop out about two tablespoons of dough. Form a ball and gently pull apart two pieces. Place each cookie on cookie sheet with torn edges on top. This helps for a more natural looking cookie.

Bake until lightly browned but center is still soft.

Makes about two dozen cookies.

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//original recipe and photography

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As promised I am going to be doing an introduction to everyday essential oils.

I started off here a few weeks ago just introducing you to the idea of essential oils.

Like I had said, essential oils have sort of become the new “thing” lately, but I truly believe it is with good reason. Just last night my little guy had a stomach bug, I quickly covered him with a combination of oils and began diffusing some more, and he was quickly off to bed sleeping through the night without ever getting sick again. Could it be the placebo effect, maybe, but one thing that I know for sure is that they aren’t hurting anything, and that result has happened more times than not.

Back to the oil we are talking about today though.

Lavender.

This is sometimes referred to as the Swiss army knife of oils.

It’s gentle enough that anyone can use it, without dilution, and it’s one that most big brands have even introduced into their products.

Think Johnson and Johnson nighttime bath soap. I used this on my oldest two all the time when they were younger. Lavender is known for its calming properties and so this is just one of the many products that have included lavender for that very reason.

Lavender has so many uses really, I will list a lot of them, and then highlight my favorite uses.

Calming and sleep aid:: Like I said, this is probably the most well known benefit of this oil. I have mixed lavender in coconut oil and used it as an after bath lotion for the kids. It is so gentle and mild that you can use it head to toe, even on your youngest babe. You can also mix lavender oil with a little bit of water in a stainless steel spray bottle and spritz it on sheets or pillows to help for a restful nights sleep. I have even just rubbed a few dabs on the kids foreheads and wrists before bed, undiluted, and then rubbed my hand over their pillows and because of the potency and concentration of the oils, the pillows smell strongly of the scent. Diffuse lavender and enjoy the aroma and calming benefits any time of the day.

Dry chapped skin or eczema:: Like I said above, mixing about 5-6 drops of lavender oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil is a perfect combination providing not only calming benefits but also helps with dry chapped or irritated skin. I keep a mason jar full of the coconut oil/lavender oil combination in my medicine cabinet and use nightly as a face cream.

Cuts, scrapes, sunburns, and bug bites:: Going right along with the calming, dry chapped, or irritated skin relief, lavender oil also relieves the pain associated with cuts, scrapes, sunburns, and bug bites. Apply undiluted directly to the affected area and it will relief irritations almost immediately. This came in handy so much during our infestation of mosquito’s. The kids legs were covered in bites, and while I used to use every single hydro-cortisone cream out there, this oil was the only thing that I actually ever saw results from.

Nausea and Motion Sickness:: So that story up there, the one that happened last night. Well I rubbed a little peppermint and lavender oil on his belly and we didn’t have any more sickness. You can also rub a few drops behind the ears or a drop on the back of the tongue, and enjoy the same relief.

Earache:: While I thankfully have yet to try it for this reason, and hoping not to have to, mommas of young babes know that earaches usually tend to rear their ugly heads right as you lay your little one down to sleep. I am a firm believer of the breast milk remedy, and have seen this method work time and time again in my own children, but lavender oil is said to relieve pain from earaches. Simply massage a small amount on the skin surrounding the ear and it will bring relief.

Lavender can also be added to mascara to help increase growth of eyelashes, added to coconut oils for massages and for relaxation exercises, it can be added to recipes, and it can be used in homemade laundry soap and deodorant.

Honestly, the uses of lavender oil can go on and on. There are so many amazing benefits of this oil, and I hear new ones every day.

I hope you hear my heart in this series. I in no way would share anything on this space that I didn’t wholeheartedly believe in or love. Time is getting full and busy in my home, and it is taking away from my time on here, so I have made it a priority to only share things that are meaningful, things that are worth me carving time out of my life for. And this friends, has impacted my family enough for me to want to pass it on to you. If you have any questions, would like to order, or would like to know what oils to use for different symptoms please leave a comment, or email me. I would love to help you out, and would love to share my knowledge with you.

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Friends!!

I have been quiet, partly because of my need for a break but also because we finally moved into our new home. And with new homes come no internet. They totally should include that, but until then, after many issues we are up and running.

I cannot wait to share the story and some pictures of our new space, but for today, I am over at Dreambook Design sharing this recipe for Brussels sprouts. Also, is it Brussels or brussel because I had a serious issue with spell check and Google over this subject and it still don’t feel content with my answer.

Anyways, trust me when I say you won’t want them any other way. Click through for the recipe friends, and enjoy.

/original photography and recipe

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Where do I even begin.

Essential Oils.

These seem to be all the rage right now, am I right?

But friends, truthfully and honestly, from the bottom of my heart…they really should be.

Do you want to know why?

They are a perfectly natural way to boost your immune system, heal your body, and enhance your well being.

My goal for this series is to inform you of the benefits of essential oils. To introduce you to my favorites and to help you see the simple ways that you can use them to enhance your everyday.

There are a few different brands of essential oils, but the kind that I will be sharing my knowledge of, is Young Living. I know that there are other reputable companies out there, but Young Living is the company that I get my essential oils from, so that is where my personal knowledge and experience comes from.

A little background on essential oils… essential oils have been used for thousands of years for their health, cosmetic, and emotionally uplifting benefits. Young living essential oils are the purest and most potent form of the oil, which gives you quick and effective results.

I have experienced results simply by holding the vial of oil under my nose

and inhaling its aroma.

I think the part that has surprised me the most with these oils is the fact that they can really be used in a multitude of ways. I have diffused them allowing the fragrance and healing properties to enhance the air in my home, I have used them topically, applying a combination of oils to a sore tooth or muscle and experienced immediate relief, I have ingested them by adding the oils to my tea or water and experienced the benefits and immunity properties that way…and the list goes on and on.

I became interested in the oils after experiencing a large amount of stress related to our move and school and work. I reached out to a friend who I knew had great success with the oils and simply asked a few questions.

After being told about the way her life drastically improved from just introducing essential oils to her everyday I was sold.

I simply wanted what she had.

I felt the excitement and true satisfaction she had from the oils and I knew she was sincere. And friends, that is all I am doing here with you today. I have a genuine love and excitement for these oils, and I cannot wait to share with you.

Each week I will highlight a particular oil, I will share benefits from the use of this oil, and different and simple ways that I use it in my everyday. Some of the oils that I will highlight will be…

Lavender, Thieves, Stress Away, Panaway, Peppermint, Lemon, Frankincense, Purification, Peace and Calming, Joy, Valor, and more.

Please remember all of the information and uses that I share with you are related to Young Living. Young Living oils are made with the highest quality and standard allowing you to be confident that the potency and oil purity are safe for everyday use and consumption. Please know that I am sharing any and all information with the heart to help you all. My experiences with these oils are nothing short of amazing, and I have a genuine excitement to share with you and to help you make steps toward healthier living.

So friends, I will see you back here next week as we highlight, Lavender.

Lavender is known as the swiss army knife of essential oils, the oil is gentle and can be used for so many different reasons. I am so excited to share some of my favorite uses for Lavender next week.

If you have any questions, or would like information on how to order, please do not hesitate to email me at Ashley@crazysimplelove.com. I would love to give you any and all information that I have.

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I think as a stay at home mom, and being a mom in general, a tough struggle is taking care of myself. When the day is full of drop offs, pick ups, clean ups, diaper changes, homework, cooking, and cleaning some more, I don’t take the time to ever sit down and feed myself. A quick peanut butter sandwich as I am running out the door, or a protein bar as I am passing through the kitchen, is usually the way “meals” go during the day.

But, on the days when I am actually at home, the kids are both sleeping, and I still have an hour until school pick up, well on those days I make this spinach salad. Its quick because there isn’t much washing and chopping, and I can sit at the table with a glass of iced tea and pretend for just a moment that I am sitting down at a restaurant in something other than yoga pants.

Yes, the days I make this spinach salad are few and far between, but when I do friends, boy, do I enjoy it.

So, for the days when the heavens have parted and you have a quiet minute to make yourself a nice and quiet lunch, enjoy.

spinachSpinach Salad

Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups Baby Spinach

1/3 of a Cucumber peeled and diced

1 Small Tomato diced

2 Green Onions diced

1/2 Apple chopped

1/4 Cup Feta Cheese

1/4 Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

Salt and Pepper

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Directions

Wash, dry, and prepare all of your ingredients. Once prepared add them all to a bowl. Mix dressing ingredients together and drizzle on top of salad.

spinach3Mix well, and enjoy immediately. Salad serves one, and is best if enjoyed right away.

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//original recipe and photography

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It’s kind of funny. This weird thing called writers block. It’s like all these ideas are swirling around in my head but when my fingers tap the keys I just keep on backing up.

Erasing it.

Starting over.

Erasing it.

Over, and over, and over.

So much in life is going on, so much change, so many beautiful new seasons are starting, but I find myself wanting to hold them close, to keep them sacred, and inside of my heart, and my family, and my life.

I use this space as a way to work through my own thoughts, to put them down, read them back, learn from them, and save them. But what do I do when I want to hold them tight, keep those words inside, and sit on them for awhile? I do just that, I close up tight and my fingers don’t tap away with the ease they used to.

I heard once that our generation thinks things don’t happen unless they are online.

Isn’t that sad?

Those moments, the ones that are so special, such a part of us, we feel like unless the world knows about them they seize to exist.

Strange.

And something that I really hope that my children don’t ever feel.

So for that reason, I think this space and I need an emotional break. A break from sharing my life’s thoughts. I will continue to share recipes, and food photography because that has become a real love of mine, but my life, those sacred parts, I am going to keep those close, keep them where they belong, besides, I am pretty sure my recipes are the only real traffic this place gets…and to those that read my words, that keep up with my beings and doings here, oh how my heart is so happy to have you, and you know I share quirky little stories with the recipes, and you can always keep up with me on Instagram.

Thank you.

Thank you friends, you are all my favorite.

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Hi Friends, I am over at Dreambook Design today sharing the recipe for these delicious little handfuls of fall. Be sure to head over there to get the recipe and take a peek around. I am pinching myself that I am sharing a recipe on Adrianne’s beautiful space, I have been a forever reader of hers. Enjoy my loves!

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My boy.

My firstborn boy.

He is amazing, brilliant, smart, loving, honorable, and so hard working.

But we have yet to find his thing. The thing that sets his little heart on fire.

And this boy, he is so serious, seeing him smile hasn’t been an easy task lately.

So you better believe when we found his thing. The thing that set him ablaze. The thing that made him smile for days after he did it. Well, you better believe we were all about it. All about seeing that smile.

Kids need to experience things that they love, things that they are good at. They need to feel good about themselves. The need to find something that they can be confident in.

And this boy, he needed that.

And would you believe it was his bicycle that brought him that happiness.

We took him Monday night to the local BMX track.

We brought his helmet, rented his bike and gear, and with a nervous excited smile he laced up his shoes.

We were under the lights, getting eaten alive by bugs, but watching our boy shine. He smiled, again and again. He was fearless, and he was good. He was amazing, and more importantly he was happy.

And as parents, isn’t that all we want for our kids?

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It’s 9 am and I am still in my pajamas.

The baby is napping, I have two boys sick in bed, and my wild one is curled up on the couch in between a state of dreaming and watching television.

The house smells of pumpkin candles and bleach.

Dishes are washed, bathroom is scrubbed, laundry is going, but the pajamas are still on.

Life has been a roller coaster lately. So much do and go and not enough rest and refresh.

It’s kind of funny how God uses even the things that seem to be a nuisance, like kids that are sick, or bathrooms that are dirty, for his good.

I didn’t have to rush off to take kids to school today, didn’t have to make lunches and breakfasts, didn’t have to wake them as they were sleeping and rush them out the door.

I did get to rest, I got to read my bible and clean the house.

All the while taking my time.

No hurry up, no it’s time to go, no rushing, no yelling.

Just the smell of bleach and pumpkin candles, and something God commanded us all to do..

Rest.