Gratitude Weekly: Family Tradition

I've been struggling a lot lately with what to write on my blog so I've broken out a few categories to stick within and hopefully that will help! Mondays often leave me feeling sad to be missing my family as I start my work week but I thought it would help to write a blog post each week about things I'm thankful for. They may not always be published on a Monday, but I thought that would be a good place to start.

This week, I want to talk about the gratitude I have for family tradition. How thankful I am to have any tradition at all, and to still have some of the family who passed them on to me around to share them with. I am thankful to be able to share them with my son and my husband. I am thankful for the freedom to also create new tradition with my own little family.

Variation of my Honey Lavender Shortbread Cookies (This time I just also added rosemary and a touch of confectioners sugar- recipe for the original cookies are on my blog and may create a new post with the variation for the holidays.)

Variation of my Honey Lavender Shortbread Cookies (This time I just also added rosemary and a touch of confectioners sugar- recipe for the original cookies are on my blog and may create a new post with the variation for the holidays.)

I grew up celebrating Christmas in a very special way with my family where we baked a lot, talked a lot, and ate a lot. I grew up around the table, I think in part due to my Italian heritage. I love that I grew up this way. In my world, the table is a place to share stories, conversation, cries, cheer, and good food with family. I know that I am extremely fortunate to have grown up this way which is why I wanted to reiterate how thankful I am for this.

Baking with my mother. I am truly lucky.

Baking with my mother. I am truly lucky.

Of all of our Christmas traditions, baking cookies is by far and away my favorite. My mother came over to my house over the weekend to bake with me. To be honest, I was totally stressed out because we planned to make a certain cookie that we've made year after year and I couldn't find an ingredient I needed last minute. That's when I decided that despite this, we were still going to bake. I decided that I'd take my Honey Lavender Shortbread Cookie recipe and modify it a bit to make it more suited to the holidays. I decided to add rosemary into the dough which gives it kind of that piney Christmas flavor and I also rolled out the dough to cut out stars! Finally, I added a few rosemary leaves atop the cookie before baking and sprinkled with powdered sugar when they came out of the oven. We created a new tradition together. I was so happy with the way these turned out because they were just a trial run and they were perfect. I will be baking these every holiday to come! I am happy to have shared something new with my mother.

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Silas tasting the dough. It's an egg-free recipe so he was loving it. He kept coming up to the table to steal a taste and running away and saying "Mmmmm!" 

Silas tasting the dough. It's an egg-free recipe so he was loving it. He kept coming up to the table to steal a taste and running away and saying "Mmmmm!" 

After baking, my mom and my dad stayed a while to play with Silas before returning home. I couldn't help but sneak this snap of my mother holding Silas's hand. My heart is full and I am happy. I hope you all find something to be thankful for this holiday season! If you didn't grow up in the greatest of homes, I hope you surround yourselves with lovely people and create new traditions with them. Sending a lot of love to all of you out there this season!

I love how sweet they are together.

I love how sweet they are together.

Thanks for reading, my loves.

Xo

Ashley

Women Who Creatively Inspire Me

With my last blog post about my Instagram following, I mentioned that I was really grateful for some of the women I've been lucky enough to connect with on Instagram. These women not only inspire me, but they have been great sources of encouragement and inspiration and I attribute a large amount of my positive experience on Instagram to them. A lot of you may know who they are, but if you don't I'd love for you to have a look at their amazing work and follow along, or at very least, know that if you're just starting out, it's not impossible to get to know people with larger numbers. To all of you I'm about to mention, thank you, thank you, truly! Xo

(Also, each image shown on this post links directly to their image on their Instagram account!)

Kayla of @this.little.wandering

#lovelywanderings

#lovelywanderings

I'll never forget the first time Kayla  liked one of my photos - my heart jumped in my chest. I was a fan girl! What?! It sounds ridiculous, I know, but it's true. Not long after, she started following me and we began talking. And then I realized there was nothing scary about her! She's the sweetest, most thoughtful person I interact with in this little social space. She's a wealth of knowledge for me and she encourages me and gives me guidance when I ask. Also, she's just an awesome human. We talk about everyday things as well! Kayla, you are so lovely and I can't tell you how much our conversations mean to me. Thank you!

Kayla and her two daughters, Jessamyn and Ophelia

Kayla and her two daughters, Jessamyn and Ophelia

Kayla and her newborn (at the time) Ophelia

Kayla and her newborn (at the time) Ophelia

Alexandria of @alexandriaslens

#ourmagicumbrella

#ourmagicumbrella

Well isn't that just magical?! I connected with Alexandria only a month ago I think but from the beginning she's been really kind and inspiring! We chat every now and again about creativity and kiddos and she encourages my creative endeavors! She's another lovely soul that I highly suggest you check out and follow because you are certain to find magic every day on her feed! 

Self portrait - are you amazed? I am! I honestly can't wrap my head around it because I'm no good at self-portraits at all!

Self portrait - are you amazed? I am! I honestly can't wrap my head around it because I'm no good at self-portraits at all!

Her and babe are completely lovely and moody. He words are inspiring and magical in this photo on her IG account also!

Her and babe are completely lovely and moody. He words are inspiring and magical in this photo on her IG account also!

And finally but not lastly or least:

Barbora of @herinternest

#thisautumnlife 

#thisautumnlife 

I first discovered Barbora via Sara Tasker of @me_and_orla 's blog looking at her Bloom & Grow course. (Ps. I discovered Sara Tasker from Kayla of @this.little.wandering - you see how I love this community?) I completely fell in love with Barbora's delightful, squishy face and all the images on her feed! I followed her instantly and then later participated in her hashtag, #thisautumnlife that she created with Sarirah of @prettynotinc . Eventually she noticed one of my photos and started following along with me, as well! Since then Barb has become a mentor of sorts. She pushes ideas, challenges me, and offers insight into the world of Instagram and she also asks me to look within myself. Barb, thank you, thank you, for being wholeheartedly you and for branching out to help others! You are simply amazing! Xo

Really though, how great is that?

Really though, how great is that?

She has a few magical windows in her little home in Norway that make for the loveliest shadow play!

She has a few magical windows in her little home in Norway that make for the loveliest shadow play!

These are by no means the only amazing people on Instagram, they're just a few I'd like to specially mention and pay it forward. Again, thank you three for your kindness and support!

Xo

Ashley