Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


Party Details...Final Post:)

I'm going to finish up the birthday party posts today.  I could go on and on and on, but I'm ready to move on.  I'm sure you guys are too!  As always, I am happy to answer any specific questions you have.  Just send me a message with your email address in it and I'll help you in any way I can.  

Again, these are some of my favorite photographs from Ashley's Acres.  The details are what I love the most.  Our photographer was my close friends 11 year old daughter.  No joke!  She is SO talented and did the most amazing job for us.  You can see Katie in action in the upper right photo.  I love her eye.  I love her angles.  I love seeing the party through her lens.  I couldn't have asked for anything more.  She simply did an incredible job.

These photos show our "produce" stand.  It was built out of old pallets and Allie white washed it for me.  We lined old apple baskets, which we had painted a barn red color, with burlap and then filled them old fashioned candies.  In the top row of photos you see a white basket that shows the little burlap treat bags we provided.  My mom and sister sewed them up one weekend and then we simply painted our Ashley's Acres brand on the front.  They had a little draw string in the top made out of jute to close them up once the kids filled them with treats. We also filled mason jars with yummy candies, lined the tops with gingham fabric, and added an Ashley's Acres tag on a burlap patch to the front of the jars.  The kiddos who won the races received a badge and then they took that badge to the produce stand and chose a jar of candy as their prize.  They loved this!  I've also included a picture of the little barns we handed out as party favors.  They were complete with a "Thank you for visiting Ashley's Acres" card attached.  I had bushel baskets of the favor boxes scattered around the grounds.  In addition to the barns and candy bags the kids took home the stick ponies and cowboy hats too.  The final pictures are of the "seed" garland we assembled.  Rectangle pieces of burlap with either our brand or a packet of garden seeds attached and the hung with clothes pins along a line of jute.  We strung them up high between the trees.  I love the final look of this!

I added this to help answer the questions I'm receiving about how the windows were made.  These are just some close ups that show in more detail the final products.  I think you can see pretty clearly the chicken wire in these pictures.  I added a large sunflower to the bottom corner to pull it all together with the rest of the farm.  I chose some of my favorite pictures of Ash over the last year and used clothes pins to attach them.  I was very pleased with the end product.  A great way to display her pictures.

Many of you always ask what tips I would give for throwing a big party like we do for Ash.  I have a method to my madness.  It may not seem like it, but I really do.  So I'm going to share with you a few of my biggest tips.

1.  Pick a theme and pick it early.  I like to know almost a year in advance what theme I'm going to be working on.  It doesn't always work out that way, but it helps if you know what type of party you are planning as early as you can.

2.  Keep a notebook.  I know that sounds so old fashioned in today's technology, but it works for me.  I compile my ideas, my "wishes", my plans, my sketches, my supplies, my everything in this notebook. Nothing is assumed.  I add items as small as straight pins to as large as my menus in the notebook. I brainstorm to come up with every single thing I will need to finish every single idea I have in mind. Whatever I need to finish every project with.   I work with it almost every day as the party gets closer and closer.

3. Look.  All year long I keep my eye out for props that I could possibly incorporate into my party.  I find them everywhere.  Sometimes I even find them on the side of the road, in trash piles, on the ground, garage sales, flea markets, etc.  Not my favorite places to visit, but essential when staying inside of a budget.

4.  Start early assembling props, painting, organizing, etc.  We work for months in advance on the big items we are building and even on any sewing projects we may need done.  If you give yourself time then you save yourself a lot of stress and panic.

5.  Secure a photographer.  You need someone to take the burden of capturing pictures off of your hands.  It really can be a huge burden if you as the host it trying to make sure your getting all the pictures you want.  If you can pass this responsibility off to someone else it will make your event so much more enjoyable.  Professional or not you need someone neutral to be assigned the task of capturing your memories.  That way you are free to host the event.

6.  Have fun.  I honestly enjoy every minute of the process.  I stay focused on the gift of Ashley's life as I plan to celebrate it.  How can I not enjoy planning another birthday for her?  She's a miracle.  Every day, every year, is a gift to our family.

Now we can move on to the next chapter in our lives.  School is starting next week and before you know it I'll be working on the holiday decorations.  Blowing right past Halloween and into the good stuff!  Life is as busy as always.  The big kids are running in lots of directions.  Two in high school!  Blows my mind.  Just think, if Ash were able she would be starting second grade this year.  Wow...second grade.  Some days it  makes me long for a different life for her.  I can just picture her in second grade.  My sweet girl would be amazing!  Oh well, her back packs won't be filled with pencils and papers this year, but they will be filled with the bags that sustain her life...and ...thats whats most important to me.

 Who needs second grade to be happy?  Not my Ashley.  I promise you wouldn't be able to find a happier 7 year old in the world than the one that I'm going to spend my day with.  We are blessed and grateful.

I'm gonna keep taking my cues from her.  I've got a lot to learn!


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