Contest closed. The winner was selected via Comment #47, Alanna! Congratulations. Thanks for entering. This was fun. Let’s do it again sometime. πŸ™‚


She came into our lives a year ago today. Because of her there has been more pink, more ruffles, more rosy cheeked dolls, more kisses, more love, and more joy. Because of Ivy I’m not the only girl in the house any more. Because of our sweet sister baby I’ve gotten to see my boys, big and small, be more kind, compassionate, tender, and loving than I ever thought possible. She’s only been here a year, an incredibly fast year at that, but I can not imagine our little family without her.


To honor her first year with us we had what we called, “A Ladies and Gentlemen Tea”. The men folk donned felt mustaches while us ladies snacked on tea sandwiches and sipped iced mint tea.


There was cake. Lots of cake. Some slathered in chocolate while others wore layers of pink fondant.

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Petite sandwiches came in all shapes and sizes. Mini blt’s, cucumber with blue cheese, cucumber with jalapeno and mint, and radish, butter and salt sandwiches.

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Little rounds of melon bathed in a tarragon syrup and were doused in fresh lime juice just before serving.


All she cared about was the cake.

She initially approached her hefty slice timidly but after one sweet taste she left her manners at the high chair and dove right in. I couldn’t have been happier.

It was the perfect way to celebrate my daughter’s first year.


To my sweet baby Jane, you are more loved than you will ever know. Your presence in our lives has made each one of us a better person, already.

I melt as I see your brothers stopping everything they are doing to acknowledge you when you enter the room. At the slightest whimper they are at your side giving kisses and doing whatever they can to make your sweet, dimpled smile return.


Never have I seen your daddy so proud and joyful than when he’s dancing you around our living room. When he looks at you I can see in his eyes that he is eager to do absolutely anything in his power to make your joy his priority. I love your daddy more because of how he loves you.

And then there’s me. Oh sweet sister baby, you inspire in me the strength I need to be the woman I am called to be in order to teach, guide, and love you. Being your mother is a gift I don’t take lightly. Each and everyday I give thanks that I have the honor of being a mom to you and your brothers. Everyday I’m not perfect, there are always things I can do better. Then I wake up to your smile, eager for me to just hold you. Your chubby little arms wrap around me and wash away the doubt and encourage me to simply love you in the way I was first loved.

You, my daughter, are a gift. I am so thankful for each day we have together. I pray we will have many, many birthdays together. For now, we’ll start with this one. Happy 1st Birthday, Ivy Jane.


For Ivy’s birthday she would like to send one of you lucky readers a gift!

Did you happen to notice that beautiful wood serving board where many of the tea sandwiches sat? That was made by an incredibly talented artist who has a business called, Red Onion Woodworks.

I adore their work and philosophy. “With RedOnionWoodworks, like the rest of my life, I take sustainability very seriously, using only locally-sourced wood including trees taken out of backyards by arborists and hardwood logs salvaged from industrial logging operations, reusing or repurposing shipping materials, and applying non-toxic finish on all my cutting boards and serving trays.” from a featured seller interview on

Camille is the artist and has happily agreed to let us giveaway one of her stunning boards.

There are three ways to enter. You can 1. Leave a comment on this post. 2. Follow on Twitter or 3. Like NWS on Facebook. Simple. (For those of you who live outside the U.S. I apologize, this contest isn’t for you as these are very large boards with hefty shipping costs).

I’ll pick the winner, randomly, next Friday, September 16.

The board Camille is giving away will very similar to the one pictured.


A sweet birthday gift from my birthday girl.

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Yellow Cake with Fudge Frosting

Melon Salad with Tarragon and Lime

1 small water melon

1 small cantaloupe

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

a couple sprigs of tarragon

1 lime, zest and juice

Combine the water and sugar in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Turn off the heat and add the tarragon. Let cool.

Cut the melon and place on serving tray. Drizzle the cool tarragon syrup on top of the melon. Finish from lime zest and a squeeze of lime juice over the top.



Yellow Cake

adapted fromΒ

6 large egg yolks

1 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 9-inch x 1 1/2 inch cake pans with pan spray, line bottoms with parchment paper, then spray again. Set aside.

In a medium bowl lightly combine the egg yolks, 1/4 cup Β milk, and vanilla extract.

In the bowl of your electric mixer combine the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch sugar, baking powder and salt) and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds or until blended. Β Add the butter and remaining 3/4 cup milk. Β Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Β Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 1-2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Β Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Β Gradually add the egg mixture, in 3 additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the egg.

Divide the batter and pour into the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with an offset spatula. Β (Pans will be about half full.) Β Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in center.

Place the cakes on a wire rack to cool, in their pans, for about 10 minutes. Β Then invert the cakes onto a greased rack. Β To prevent splitting, re-invert cakes so that tops are right side up. Β Cool completely before frosting.

Fudge Frosting

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted to remove lumps

1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a microwave safe bowl combine the chocolate chips, cocoa powder, milk, espresso powder, and butter. Heat in 30 second increments until melted, thoroughly stirring in between each heating. You could also use a double boiler if you prefer.

Carefully beat in the confectioners sugar, one cup at a time. Stir in the vanilla. Β Press frosting through a fine sieve if there are any lumps.

Cover and chill until firm, a couple of hours.

Once the frosting is firm remove from refrigerator and place in your mixing bowl. Β Beat the frosting for a minute or two or until it is nice and smooth and of spreading consistency.

Frost the completely cooled cakes. Serve with a cold glass of milk.


385 Responses to “she’s one + a giveaway”

  1. Maia

    What a touching post. Not being a parent yet myself, I truly appreciated how beautifully you articulated the joys of motherhood. (And the pink fondant on that cake is just about the coolest, most modern/fresh looking decoration imaginable!)

  2. Eunbi

    This is SO adorable. I’m a nanny for a little girl and I love moments like these, where it’s something incredibly monumental for us, and they’re just caught up in the excitement and love around everyone. Plus, you just want to capture them in their most adorable, round-cheeked phase ever πŸ˜‰

  3. Kaela Wells

    What a sweet girl! I love all her curls. Looks like you threw her quite the party. That melon salad looks unbelievable.

    The serving board is lovely, whoever wins it is lucky.

  4. la domestique

    Such a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing Ivy Jane’s first birthday. It all looks fantastic and so elegant. I love the idea of having a tea party.

  5. Kelley Green

    Congratulations to both of you. My little darling will turn 8 this year…but I remember.


  6. Anita

    The pictures on your post are absolutely beautiful! I just ran across your blog today. And I think it will be one that I add to those that I already follow daily. The food looks so wonderful.

  7. Snippets of Thyme

    Happy Birthday to your Ivy. The photo of her looking quizzically at her morsel of cake is adorable! She has pillow cheeks just like my daughter had. The moustache cutouts on the straws is so creative and unique!

  8. Aubri

    What a precious post! I teared up. My son will be turning one in December, and I hope to bake the cakes for his party. I don’t know if mine will look as perfect as yours though! πŸ˜€ Happy Birthday Ivy!

  9. April

    Looks like a lovely way to celebrate a first. My daughter just turned 3 months and 1 year seems so far away. The cutting board is beautiful and would make a wonderful addition to our serving pieces.

  10. Lyn

    Love the mop of curls on Ivy! I have 4 sons, and might be just a tiny bit jealous right now. Wait, I’m picturing the teen years, OK, jealousy gone! πŸ˜‰

  11. Olena

    Happy Birthday to your gorgeous baby!!! I’m sure she will appreciate this great entry when she grows up. It was beautiful and very intimate!!!! Best wishes to your family on such a wonderful day!

  12. Wendy Koz

    I am a regular reader but a quiet one. This post actually brought tears to my eyes. I am the mother of a 2 1/2 year old and your ability to articulate your love for your child and the joy that is between you is just beautiful. Thank you, from all us mothers!

  13. My Little Expat Kitchen

    Happy Birthday to your little girl Ashley! This post is almost as sweet as her.
    I love how you chose to celebrate her b-day. Your spread looks amazing and those two cakes look amazing.

    (I’m in Europe so please exclude me from the giveaway).

  14. Anastacia

    This is the first thing I read this morning. I hope the rest of my day is just as beautiful and profound.

  15. Havilah

    Happy Birthday Ivy Jane! I love every picture you post of that adorable chubbiness of little girl. I can’t believe she is a year already!

  16. Amy

    How beautiful! Happy birthday to your little one- I’ve been reading for more than a year, and I can’t believe she’s already one.

  17. April

    Ashley, your note to your daughter was the true mark of a mom! Happy Birthday to your little girl. I’m not much of a baker but I’ve been trying to learn as a way to bond with my 4 year old son, and your page has really given me good instruction and hope I can actually do it! In the meantime, I was thinking about how to serve my community this Sunday, September 11th, and I came up with A Sweet for the Brave. My son and I are going to make your chocolate chip cookies together, and walk them over to the local fire station on Sunday. I thought it was just a small thing we could do together to honor our brave men and women, and let them have a baked good to be a tangible reminder that humanity, at it’s finest, is sweet. I encourage all of your readers to do the same! (please don’t let me jack up these humanity cookies!)

  18. Morgan

    Such sweet words! I am marrying the love of my life on New Years Eve and I cannot wait to start planning our family. I absolutely adore all of your fun party theme and decor ideas! Happy Birthday sweet Ivy!

  19. anne

    What a lovely party! I’ve had a blogger-crush on you all for a while, and this takes the cake! (pun intended)

    Beautiful girl, beautiful party, beautiful family, beautiful photos. And, totally beautiful cutting board, too. I’ll have to spread the word on this one–that’s an awesome give away! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  20. Emma

    What a head of hair! Cute sandwiches, cute mouussstachioohhhhs, and cuter cakes. I’m going to spend the morning dreaming of how that pink fondant cake comes together structurally:)

  21. kos

    Wow, she is such a beautiful child. What a fun idea for a child’s party. I like the idea of making it enjoyable for the grown-ups, too.

  22. Alexa

    Beautiful family! And what a fun idea for your little one’s first birthday! I love it! Now I’m itching to host a little Ladies & Gentlemen tea. πŸ™‚

  23. Jill R.

    Happy Birthday to your sweet baby girl! My “baby” girl turns 7 on September 30. Yay for pink!

  24. Emily H.

    Happy Birthday Ivy! The mustaches on the straws are classic. Such a beautiful cutting board would be very happy in my kitchen!

  25. alanna

    Seeing your beautiful post makes me a bit jealous that I don’t have a big, loving family to celebrate our joys together. I hope you had a lovely day.

  26. Shelly

    Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughter! My daughter just turned one on the 4th πŸ™‚

  27. kristin @ contented me

    what a beautiful tribute to your little girl! Your words made me a little weepy, actually, as I think of my soon-to-be two year olds who are celebrating their birthday this sunday. don’t you wish you could keep them this little for a while longer? Everything you made looks delicious — especially those cakes! Even at 9:00 in the morning, my mouth is watering reading that recipe. πŸ˜‰

  28. Jenny

    Your posts are always a joy to read and this one is especially heart-felt. I recently moved away from Seattle and your blog is a lifeline back to the wonderful Pacific Northwest. Thank you!

  29. Jennifer

    I’m recently engaged, and reading your post really made me excited for this next chapter in my life…it was so lovely.

  30. Grace & Gusto

    Such beautiful post, and your daughter is sooo adorable! Those cheeks!!

    I saw your commercial yesterday, and it made me smile.

    That cutting board is amazing. I might feel bad cutting stuff on a piece of art, not that that would stop me. πŸ™‚ Thank you for this opportunity.

  31. IC in Madrid

    What a beautiful family you have. And what a beautiful post, as usual. I always look forward to your updates! I’m going to try the fudge frosting some happy day very soon.

  32. Melissa S.

    What a wonderful day to be born (it’s my birthday too!)!! I love your blog and all of your wonderful photos. Constantly inspiring!

  33. Deanna P.

    Your children are beautiful and what an amazing mom they have. Reading your words to Ivy made me misty eyed. My children are now (almost) 26 and 24 years old and have blessed my life in ways I never knew imaginable. What gifts we have been given:)

  34. Lilja

    Happy birthday to your little girl. I am expecting my first child in December and am very much looking forward to all these feelings you are describing πŸ™‚
    I would love to take part in the cutting board give away, it is beautiful.

  35. Liz

    I’ve been reading your blog for some months now and just love coming here. Mostly I drool over your recipes, wishing I had the time to make all of them, but it’s possible I love your photos even more. (Happy Birthday to Ivy! Love that name, by the way.)

  36. Christina

    What a wonderful post! Also, those cakes look incredible. I’ve been on a quest for the perfect yellow cake recipe, so maybe this will be the one!

  37. Nico

    That is one classy spread you put together for a one year old! She looks so sweet and her hair is just fantastic.

  38. Christie Cook

    Every aspect of the party was gorgeous….from the cake, to the baby, the boys, and the sentiments you’ve shared with us readers. Thank you for continuing to inspire!

  39. Renee

    What a sweet and intimate way to celebrate a first birthday. I too was momentarily jealous of the pink ruffles on the birthday cake, as I have two sons. Then I remembered that little girls grow up to be teenage girls and will happily relish the trucks and camouflage that my boys request with no regrets. Happy birthday little one!
    p.s. LOVE your photos- makes me live living in Northwest Washington!

  40. danielle

    happy birthday to sweet baby ivy! she is an absolute stunner, as are your boys. and what a sweet birthday message from her mommy. πŸ™‚

  41. Trisha Baron

    Ashley what a beautiful post! I was brought to tears as I share your sentiments so deeply with my own precious baby girl (who I can’t believe is one as well!) What a sweet gift our precious daughters are. Your photography is beautiful!

  42. courtney

    happy first birthday, ivy! and what a generous gift to give one of us on your baby girl’s behalf! those cutting boards are so lovely!

  43. Jess

    Happy Birthday Ivy! What a beautiful party & family πŸ™‚ And that raw edged serving board is absolutely amazing!

  44. Rae

    Happy birthday little cutie.
    I loved the mustache straws and notice the board the second time I looked at the post (the first time was 1am and I was looking at pictures with one eye open). I thought, “That is a gorgeous board!” ha ha. Your recipes are fabulous. Thanks for sharing.

  45. Addie

    Oh how sweet. I loved the part expressing your love for your daughter and husband. A forwarded the link. I have been looking at cake stands similar to these. My daughter is having a park wedding next year and a stand like this would add so much.

  46. Bethany

    She’s so cute! Happy birthday! I’d love the serving board! I’m getting married in 9 months and it would be great to have in my apartment!

  47. JennG

    What a wonderful party you put together and such a beautiful girl. Thank you for being so serious about sustainability. I am also dedicated to natural and sustainable materials. That cutting board is amazing.

  48. Anne

    What a wonderful mom you are!! And what a lucky group of kids to have you! Happy first birthday Ivy Jane!!

  49. Becca

    You pretty much have the cutest family ever. I admire you so much because of how obvious it is how much you love and cherish your husband and kids…. I can only hope to be a fraction of the wonderful woman you are for your family!!

  50. andrea

    oh my goodness, that hair. she is lovely. what a beautiful post, you captured it perfectly. so sweet.

  51. Judy in SATX

    Happy Birthday to your little girl! I love tarragon but have never thought of using it in a sweet application. I will definitely try your melon salad!

  52. Tina

    Wow! I can’t believe she is one! I actually stumbled across your website last year when I was prego looking for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe… And let me say, it is the best! My husband and I also enjoy the corn flake ones as well. My daughter just turned one as well September 5th, time flies but I must say your birthday beat mine hands down…. We had a “nick Jr moose a moose” theme…. Cake gel is a nightmare!!! Cake batter was amazing as it turned out… My Olivia however is not a cake eater, to think she came from me….. πŸ™‚

  53. Marcella M. thorson

    First, your daughter is gorgeous! Love the hair! I noticed the board immediately – gorgeous – What a very elegant and yummy looking table – Happy Birthday Ivy~!

  54. arvee

    That’s one of the prettiest cakes I’ve seen. It’s in delicate pink! πŸ˜‰ Aww… I love the picture of you both… β™₯

  55. Chari

    Your post reminded me of the journal my mother kept for me when I was just a babe. Her thoughts and love written on those pages are something I hold very dear. Happy Birthday to your little one, and I know she will love your messages to her forever.

  56. Rechelle

    What a gorgeous mop of curls your little girl has! and what a lovely party- I am inspired now to have a tea and make some of those delicate sandwiches for my sorority-

  57. Danielle Browning

    Happy Birthday to your sweet little girl! I love reading your blog – it makes for happy bellies in my young family. Thanks for sharing all of your recipes and ideas!

  58. jeannette

    she is SO precious!! what a beautiful birthday affair! she’ll love seeing all these things when she’s old enough to appreciate them πŸ™‚

  59. Jessica

    It sounds like her birthday party was THE place to be (especially if you made all that food.. hehe). Your message to your daughter made me tear up a bit! It was very sweet and touching to hear something like that from a mother to daughter, and I hope that one day she finds it and gets to see how much she has been loved by everyone since her first days.

    I feel like cutting out a mustache for my straw now. Off to find scissors!

  60. Tanya

    I’ve loved your site for a while now and make it a point to visit at least once a week. I’ve never posted, always from the outside looking in, but I felt compelled to post this time. I teared up hearing your sweet message to Ivy. How heartfelt and warm. Made me excited for that day I get to meet my sweet girl, if God has that in the cards for me. I’m newly engaged and your posts always inspire me to see what potential there is to be a loving mother, caring wife and business women following her dreams. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and Happy Birthday to your little lady πŸ™‚

  61. tracy

    i was reading through…looking at your gorgeous pictures and spied the wood and was like OOOOH. Look at that prop and low and behold YOU ARE GIVING IT AWAY!!!! Omg. Nice!

    Happy Birthday Ivy! Your mom is so talented, you’re one lucky lady!

  62. brandy

    Such a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚
    And yes, please enter me in the giveaway contest!

  63. Mandy

    Amazing birthday spread! I gained some ideas for my own next year. Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing. Happy Birthday lovely little girl!

  64. Dana

    Wait, what? She is one? I have not seen her in far too long. And seeing as 12-18 months is my absolute favorite stage of babyhood, I think we need to get some playdates on the calendar. Me and Ivy. Happy birthday to her and congratulations to you for making it through your gorgeous baby’s first year in style. Love the photos of her, the boys, the two of you. Also love how you make everything look so lovely. I am catering a party tonight and am realizing that I need to work on my presentation skills. πŸ™‚ LOVE THAT BOARD.

  65. Katie

    Your post makes me want to be a 1 year old at that birthday party! Happy birthday to your beautiful girl! Sounds simply amazing!

  66. Lynn

    Happy Birthday to Ivy Jane – looks like you all had a wonderful celebration! I’m not so much a sweet eater but those sandwiches and the melon salad look delicious. I’m definitely going to try the recipe – the melons at the QA Farmer’s market are ripe for something like that! Thanks Ashley & congrats to your family!

  67. Stephanie Quiroz

    I love your blog! And this first Birthday party is absolutely adorable! Thanks for sharing!

  68. Annalisa

    Very sweet.=) And pleeeease tell us how you did the pink fondant layers? I’ve always been scared by fondant, but that picture might make me try it… So simple and pretty.

  69. Jenny

    Oh, those boards are gorgeous. Please enter me in the giveaway. And I think you have inspired me to make some radish tea sandwiches at the very next opportunity.

  70. Dana

    This post made me teary as I have two little boys and a new baby girl. Your words are exactly how I have been feeling about my family and our sweetest new addition. Happy Birthday Ivy!

  71. The Cilantropist

    What a fabulous 1st birthday party for such a beautiful girl! I adore all the different dishes you made, but the cake is always my favorite. πŸ™‚ I would love to have this cutting board too, the natural grain is stunning.

  72. Anna

    Your baby is gorgeous, your party was gorgeous, and those cutting boards are, well, pretty gorgeous. Yes please. πŸ™‚

  73. sara

    your kids are so lucky to have you, ashley. That letter was incredible. How ‘sister baby’ has changed your boys, makes my heart melt a bit, so sweet. Gorgeous gorgeous spread, of course.

  74. Kendra

    Such a sweet post. I love seeing photos of Ivy, and that hair would make any baby jealous. πŸ™‚

  75. Nishta

    sweet letter to a sweet baby girl! I’ve loved watching the journey over the last year…mustache straws are the cutest.

  76. MikeVFMK

    Ashley, I’m not here for the chance to win that beautiful board ( I can’t anyway). I’m not even here for the delectable sandwiches and stunning cakes. I am here to wish your adorable little girl a happy birthday! Did she get to smash the cake?

  77. Dina

    I’m new to your blog (followed a link on Twitter) and love it! What beautiful pictures. As a mom of a 3-year old, the pic of you and your daughter at the end brought tears to my eyes. There is nothing like your child loving on you. The cutting board is amazing! I totally noticed it in your pictures before reading about the contest. Cheers…

  78. mirabelle

    thanks for the inspiration – my baby turns 1 in a few weeks and will definitely be using some of your ideas!

  79. Sandy Margoles

    Gave me ideas for my little girl’s one year old celebration coming up in December. Too cute!

  80. Tami Ellett

    Beautiful blog, beautiful family! I can’t wait to dive into previous posts, as this is my first visit to your site.

  81. NicoleD

    Beautiful! Those cakes, that party food, the adorable dress on adorable Ivy, wow. Congrats on all of the recognition this week! You deserve it, your blog is such a beauty.

  82. kristen schumacher

    Happy 1st birthday Ivy. Thanks for the inspiration for my daughters’ 2nd birthday!!

  83. Stephanie S

    I love the mustaches on straws! Those will definitely be on my craft list for my next dinner party. Ivy looks beautiful, as do the rest of the family. Happy 1st!

  84. Miss Molls

    Happy birthday to your little one! What a fun party! And what a beautiful cutting board too!

  85. Trish B

    Oops! Guess this is my comment since I left my FB like and comment in one post! Silly girl!! LOVE this board, and the party food looks so yummy!!

  86. meg jones wall

    happy birthday gorgeous little ivy! love these beautiful photos and the delicious recipes – can’t wait to try a few of these out. those boards are gorgeous – you wouldn’t even need to put anything on them to get great shots!

  87. Caryl

    Love your site. Became a fan, followed on twitter and now leaving a comment. The photos were stunning. The cake – WOZERS! and all the food looked delish! Happy Birthday little one!

  88. Aunt Jane

    Hi Ashley, Beautiful family,beautiful words, You’re amazing!! Happy Birthday Ivy Jane!!!

  89. rosie

    Happy birthday! It looks like a beautiful party, full of love and delicious food! (not to mention a beautiful board!)

  90. Spencer Carter

    Just found this blog a few weeks ago and have been addicted ever since. Keep up the good work, and HappyBirthday to your daughter!

  91. Elizabeth

    What a beautiful party for a beautiful little girl – the longer I’m an adult, the more and more I realize just how precious it is to have come from a family full of love. It’s clear how cherished your children are! I don’t use Twitter but I have found you on Facebook now.

  92. Kristin

    I love, love your blog! Gorgeous photos and the recipes are always delicious. The wood board is amazing! Would love to use it in our home πŸ™‚

  93. Donna Vieira

    What a lovely sight, children being enjoyed for being just that, children! Innocent and precious! A true gift from God. . .

  94. Kasey

    That picture of you holding her is just precious – she looks like a little doll! You have such a beautiful family, Ashley. And, oh, that cake…Sounds like the perfect way to celebrate.

  95. Robin Pratt

    I came across your blog today. I’m in love! What a wonderful blog! I can wait to read it daily!

  96. Diane M.

    Happy birthday Ivy and congrats! Your melon salad is so colorful and vibrant, what a great recipe.

  97. molly

    Well, the board IS lovely, but I’m not here for the freebies, just to wish this obviously beloved babe a most happy, happy first.

    Ashley, you’ve done well. Three for three, no small feat!

    (p.s.: those moustache straws are an absolute hoot!)

  98. Ana Garriga

    This has been one of the most touching posts I have ever read! I have to tell you that you are making me consider have babies sooner with my husband. Your recipes are also amazing and I will definitely try them!
    Thank your for inspiring me πŸ™‚

  99. Kate

    As an amateur writer, cook, and photographer, I absolutely adore your blog. It reminds me of the potential of food, the importance of family, and the power of words. Keep it up. πŸ™‚

  100. Cindy R

    Happy Happy birthday to our sweet baby girl! What a blessing you are to all of us, you light up our lives!

  101. Aimee H.

    What a lovely post to your daughter. I’m always waiting patiently for your next post. I love your blog to pieces.

  102. Camille

    How sweet! Thanks for sharing bits of your life with us.

    My name is Camille, too! How serendipitous.

  103. Jennifer Bulthuis

    I completely feel the same way, that I love my husband more just watching him with our two little girlies – Ada Lynn (2) and Ruby Jean (only 7 months). I definitely fell (and continue to) more deeply in the love with the man watching him care for his girls.

  104. Julien

    Those boards are spectacular! I mean, they are absolute reminders of how much beauty exists in those things we don’t play a part in creating. I’d absolutely have to keep this on display (and use, of course) at all times. You can’t hide something like that.

  105. Rachelle Louise

    Oh my, Ashley. Where to start. I knew I wanted to comment before I even realized there was give away! This was such a lovely, heartfelt post. Possibly my favorite yet. The party you threw was so precious and the feelings you shared about being a mom to your beautiful children completely warmed my soul. Thank you for sharing such a personal, intimate afternoon of your life with us. I can’t believe your little Ivy, sister baby, is a year old already! She’s too cute! So excited for you and the things going on right now in your life. xx

  106. Kebra

    What a fun party! I can’t wait to make this melon salad. Thanks for all your suggestions.

  107. allison

    Love the board (I follow you on twitter and “liked” on facebook as well)

    The party is so adorable! The food all looked gorgeous πŸ™‚

  108. mdvlist

    None of my children will EVER have a birthday party as classy as the one you threw for your Ivy, but that serving board might class up my cheese habit a bit.

  109. Michelle

    What a lovely tribute to your daughter! This will be something wonderful for her to read in the years to come. I hope you all enoyed her special day!

  110. Patty

    Your website is way cool. I look forward to coming back and reading recipes and enjoying your wonderful pictures!! I saw you on t.v. and checked out your website…very awesome!

  111. Amanda

    I’m turning 27 in December…can you host my birthday? Just kidding, but everything looked AMAZING! Maybe if I win that board, I can throw a party just as fabulous πŸ™‚

  112. Ami

    The first thing I noticed about those sandwiches was the gorgeous board they were served on. It would be equally gorgeous in my kitchen, I’m confident. πŸ™‚

  113. Martha

    Happy birthday πŸ™‚ If I don’t get the board can I have the baby (just kidding) you post was one of the sweetest I have seen.

  114. Amanda

    I only started getting into food blogging a few years ago (I’d say 1 1/2 or 2), and notwithoutsalt is still one of my favorites. I check for new updates all the time. Congrats on the successful birthday party!

  115. Maureen

    Happy Birthday to your sweet little one and congrats to you as well. I’m reminded of your old entry on PPD as it was so meaningful with it’s honesty and hit home for me at the time. So many milestones achieved and so many yet to come.

  116. heather

    To Ivy on her first birthday: Happy, happier, happiest of days to you! May all your one-year-old dreams come true, and more.



  117. Jess

    Happy Birthday little one! Everything here is so precious and delicate – from Ivy’s curls to the sandwiches and cake icing! So perfect for a first birthday! And the board is amazingly rustic – makes me want to design a kitchen around it!

  118. Jess

    For some reason my comments don’t seem to go through…
    But Happy Birthday Ivy!! I love everything about this – everything is so precious and delicate, from her curls to the sandwiches and cake icing. Perfectly cute for a first birthday!! And the board is amazingly rustic – makes me want to design a kitchen around it!

  119. victoria

    first and foremost, happy birthday to the sweetest of babes and that hair, my oh my, what lovely locks! Thank you for sharing and for Ivy’s generosity!

  120. jen

    mine turns one and a half this weekend, your post makes my heart so warm of memories of his first. oh and ache a little too – i want to freeze time.

  121. wawa wang

    Your creation and your words are beautiful. I love your smile and the pictures of your little ones. You made my day and touched it with love and warmth. Happy birthday to your little girl. <3

  122. heather

    those curls! those cheeks! those eyes! every time you post a picture of ivy she’s just so beautiful. it’s no wonder she’s got the family swooning :o)

  123. darla

    i LOVE that girly pink cake!! Ivy is beautiful! thanks for such an awesome blog, really inspires a newbie cook like me!

  124. adamarie wallis

    I’m so glad to hear how much your daughter is loved. It gives me warm fuzzies. Thank you also for posting a link to those awesome cutting boards and a giveaway to one. I’m always amazed by the talent of people in the world.

  125. Sally

    I love the picture of the two of you in the kitchen.two girls at the heart of a home. There’s something old world and enduring about it. Just what you want as you write the first birthday memories on your heart and hers. Oh, beautiful blessed baby!

  126. Crystal Malek

    I adore the idea of a tea party type birthday!! I think I just may steal that for my baby girl who will be 9 in October! πŸ™ That last pic of you makes me think of old pics of my mom. My Dad is dark, and my mom fair skinned, so all the old pics of us look like that. I had huge brown eyes and dark brown hair, and she had blue and was so fair. People often gave us strange looks, but I loved it. Now, I’m still dark, but my last little man is blue/blonde, so it’s kinda the same but reversed. LOVE how the Lord creates such beautiful combo’s. πŸ™‚

  127. ellie

    Shes so cute!!! Lucky little girl, the food looks amazing, I might need to throw a one year old party as well!

  128. Erin Rose

    Congratulations on one year of beauty and sweetness! And many thanks to Ivy Jane for the giveaway – I’m also following on Twitter and Facebook. xoxo

  129. Kara O'Dea

    I love the cakes! They’re precious. I just moved out of my parents’ house for college and my mom gave me artwork expressing similar sentiments, I have it hanging over my bed πŸ™‚ Such a cute tea party!

  130. kd

    congratulations on having a beautiful year behind you and numerous more ahead. mmm will i be lucky and acquire that piece of art!

  131. Jacqui

    Happy Birthday wishes and blessings to your little girl. The food is so beautiful and no doudt delicious. The cutting and serving board is lovely.

  132. cassie

    Those cakes were so cute! My daughter turns one in December and I’m really looking for ideas!

  133. Sara

    What a beautiful way to mark your sweet little girl’s first birthday! The ultimate tea party!!

  134. Jessica

    Love those boards! My late father, he passed away in march made cutting boards like those. So beautiful! I found your blog after watching your commercial. You are fantastic!

  135. Heather salinas

    Your blog is beautiful and inspirational. Food is my passion and I love to check your blog. It inspires me to keep food in my life. I am in awe of your talent. Please keep posting. It brings such joy and hope to me and I am sure so many others. Heather Salinas

  136. Amanda Barkey

    Happy Birthday baby! What a gorgeous little party for a gorgeous little girl! Stunning board as well and would love to win it! xxAmanda

  137. Kimber

    What a gorgeous party! The fondant cake was truly amazing! I might have to steal the mustache straw idea! πŸ™‚ A birthday party … and you’re giving away gifts! I love it! What an awesome board!

  138. beth thompson

    happy birthday to your little girl! mine just turned one last month … i remember being in your class at Julie Hubert’s house – we were both pregnant and couldn’t drink the beautiful pomegranate granitas! now these little ones are a year … how time flies! πŸ™‚

  139. Ashley

    What a beautiful sweet baby girl. My little one, Piper, also just turned a year, but we celebrated with a pirate theme…

  140. athena

    Beautiful post. Happy Birthday to your little girl. Just found you via twitter today, happy to be following you now there and on facebook.

  141. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    This is the definition of the perfect blog post. Beautiful photographs, a heartwarming story, and some of the most delicious food I’ve ever seen. Sending your sweet one a big happy birthday wish (from one Virgo to another). πŸ™‚

  142. Holly

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Ashley (and Ivy Jane)! I was wondering, how did you ice the stunning pink cake with all those layers?

  143. Christina Bentley

    I appreciate the joy and love you put into your home and cooking. What a gift you are giving to your family! Thank you for sharing your adventures with your readers. You encourage me! May the Lord continue to bless you all.

  144. Samantha

    Beautiful cakes, beautiful sandwiches, beautiful baby girl! My little one is turning 2 soon and I would love for my cake to look as lovely as yours. Awesome board, too and great that it’s reclaimed wood. Lovely.

  145. Margaret Carlile

    I hope your wee one had a wonderful party – she’s a lovely girl and she is lucky to have a mom who so obviously cherishes her as you do!

  146. Wendy

    Ahhh, such sweetness. My first visit here. I’ll be back regularly.
    I have 2 girls and have loved every moment with them. Your post brought a surge of happy memories. Thank you πŸ™‚

  147. Melissa

    Happy Birthday! Such a sweet, special time. And a lucky little birthday girl to have such love in her life. Good cake doesn’t hurt either. Can’t wait to try a pink cake for my girl.

  148. Kelsey

    Happy birthday beautiful baby Ivy! What a wonderful way to celebrate + beautiful photos to capture the memories. That serving board is incredible!

  149. elizabeth

    just found your beautiful blog. so sweet! everything looks amazing!!! family is everything :>
    would love to place some yummies on that gorgeous wood!

  150. Jessie

    I just stumbled upon your blog whilst googling “garlic scapes” and got sucked in. Your photography is beautiful as is your daughter.

  151. Thea

    Dang. The trouble with having kids so close to yours is that every time you post photos of their birthday parties, I feel immediately outdone! But that’s probably just because I can’t be their to celebrate with you all.

    Happy birthday, sweet Ivy! Welcome to the rest of your life, where you’ll measure your age not in months, but in years.

  152. Paula

    The food you prepared for Ivy’s birthday looks absolutely fantastic. Very light and colorful–a good way to have a close to the summer πŸ™‚

    I am really curious: how on earth did you do the frosting for the pink cake? I am not sure I’ve seen something like that before!

    Lastly, I absolutely love the staches! So clever.

  153. Ali

    Happy Birthday, Ivy! What a lovely post and your photos are fabulous. Thanks for sharing and the giveaway opportunity.

  154. Angela Guida

    First off, Happy Birthday to little Miss Ivy! Your site is joy for the senses and I am inspired every time I visit. Thank you.

  155. Deb

    Happy Birthday Ivy!
    Your photos are beautiful and I look forward to making the recipes.
    Thank you!!

  156. MG Atwood

    Yeah for little girls, and curls, and brothers who will adore her. Wish I could have donned a mustache and sipped soda with the pretty pretty Ivy. Cheers!

  157. Alice

    I found your site via, which linked to this post. Lovely lovely, all around! Happy birthday to the beautiful little girl! (And I love how fresh all the recipes are… I feel like if I had a nice garden I could just pick out all the ingredients..)

  158. Karla

    What a beautiful post, these memories you are recording will be priceless treasures when your three little ones are grown. Happy Birthday Ivy!

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Thank you all for the incredible comments. I can only imagine how loved Ivy will feel as she reads these sweet notes as she gets older. I’m humbled by your support. Thank you.

  159. Devon

    Absolutely darling!

    And those boards are spectacular. We have a lot of rustic wood pieces in our house and I have been on the lookout for a cutting board like yours. Awesome.

  160. Karen

    Hi! found your blog via Twitter Gluten Free Girl. so glad I did–Yummy recipes!!! The soups to swoon over!!

    What a sweet baby girl. Her ringlets are precious! You sure must be a proud mama!

    Peace and many happy birthdays!

  161. Kerry

    & Facebook — And a new reader, so I’m super excited to find out you’re in Seattle! I just moved here from Florida and am looking to make connections as I’m in the first months of my blog. πŸ™‚

  162. Simply Vintagegirl

    Happy birthday, little Ivy Jane!

    It looks like you provided the party attendees with some delicious food! Thanks for the give-away… would be delighted to win one of Red Onion Woodworks’ cutting boards – a great tool that would work excellent with food styling!

  163. Tonya

    Your party looks wonderful. I actually noticed the cutting board right away. Gorgeous.
    I also liked NSW on fb.
    Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  164. cyndi

    I noticed a photo in the birthday party section of a tomato-basil-mozzarella or ricotta salad. This is one of my favorite flavor combinations- what is the recipe?

  165. Kristin

    We have our first baby on the way and I’m so inspired and touched by the celebration of little one’s birthdays – your Ivy’s party looks just right, intimate and a little something to tickle everyone’s fancy. Those cakes look incredible. I’m so love the graded pink on the one cake. Ivy is adorable. The cutting boards are gems!

  166. Jennifer saugen

    LOVE IT. Wow what a gorgeous piece! It would totally match our decor… Plus I am always up for trying out a new gorgeous product.

  167. Linda M.

    What a beautiful post. Loved all the food and that pink cake is gorgous! Happy birthday sweet Ivy! πŸ™‚

  168. Kerstin

    Dear Ashley! Thank you for sharing this special moment with us! I’m – not a mother yet – but an aunt of two beautiful baby girls. Emily turned two in May and Aeden will be two years old in December. Although I’m ‘only’ an aunt, I know how specially all the little princesses are who come into our lives. My husband is in the military and we are currently stationed in Germany. Due to this fact, we were only able to meet our little niece Emily yet. Aeden we only know from pictures. When I look at your little Ivy she so much reminds me of Aeden. Sooo much dark and curly hair !! πŸ™‚ I love it !! HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the little princess !! And thanks again for your wonderful blog !! Greetings from Germany !!

  169. Megan Gordon

    What a beautiful party (and cake!), Ashley. I loved this heart-felt post and the photo of you and Ivy in the kitchen. Happy (almost) Friday, my friend.

  170. Melissa DiLernia

    Oh my! How did I not know about your blog until now?? Thank you tumblr!!! Amazing stuff…love this blog!!!! Facebook liked too πŸ™‚

    Officially obsessed!!!

  171. Kathleen

    First may I say, the black and white photos of Miss Ivy – stunning!!!
    Happy First Birthday Ivy!
    Second….everything for her party looks stunning! Though we’ve no children, I’ve 2 adorable nieces who would love something so wonderful – I can’t wait to try your recipes! I would love a birthday party like yours Ivy! πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for sharing this!
    p.s. ……hoe does one get an invitation to Ivy’s 2nd birthday party? πŸ™‚

  172. Lalitha

    Happy Birthday to your little girl. I tried to make the chocolate fudge frosting for my son’s birthday cake, and it was super runny, and I really couldn’t ice the cake with it. I had to run out and buy boxed icing from the grocery store, which did the trick, and tasted great. Any one else have the same problem with the runny-ness?

  173. Diana

    Your daughter is adorable! And, I think you should sell prints of your photography. I would like some for my kitchen.


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