Category: Personal

Learning our numbers

When Buddy started preschool I made this binder filled with letter, shape and number learning. Everyweek at school he learns a new letter, and it’s been fun doing extended learning at home.

This week we’re on Thanksgiving break. I don’t want to stop the momentum of learning, so today we busted out the book the do some color pages. Buddy really enjoys doing the color by numbers pages, and I enjoy that he’s learning his numbers while doing being artistic.

I found these color pages here. I slip the printed sheet into a sheet protector, and then let him color the picture with dry erase markers. After he’s done, we just wipe clean and start another page. This makes these sheets reusable, which is something I love.


Our adoption story.

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There was a time in my life the was very uncertain. When you hear people who say “I struggled through life”, that was me. I was a mother, and have always been a mother. I knew from they day I found out I was pregnant that I needed to care & nurture a human being more than I every had for myself.

As for always being a single mom I knew that I needed to be very strategic about who I brought into my life, especially men. Not everyone that I considered friends would ever meet my darling angel, and there was a reason for that. This little human didn’t need people coming in & out of her life, she needed consistency. Although I had many strong men in my life: my dad, grandpa, & my wonderfully supportive Uncle Bob, she someday would need a dad. BIG shoes to fill right?

During my single days, I dated (a lot), and hated it. I started to let go of the dream of having that ‘perfect’ family. Until one day, a new man (my boss at the time, whoops) came walking into my life. I knew from the second I laid eyes on him he’d be my husband. If you don’t believe in love at first sight, I can tell you happens!

For 3 years we got to know each other, never once did he meet my little girl, although he heard LOTS about her. Finally the hard conversations came, did you want to be apart of OUR life? If you make the commitment to be apart of our life, you don’t get the option to walk right out when you decide no more. Yes, ask my now husband, I was that blunt about the needs of being in our life. I take the lives of my children very seriously, their emotional wellbeing is my top priority.

After the first meet, the two became inseparable very quickly. Within months, she had asked if she could call him DAD because “he is what I think a Dad is: he plays with me, helps me with homework, is there for me when I puke and kisses me goodnight”. At only 5 she had so much wisdom, it brought me to my knees.

A few years later, after we were married & had brought our new little one into the world. Sitting in the car, dropping off a rent check, she saw a check. “Mom; if dad’s last name is Falco, and your last name is Falco, what is Buddy’s last name?” — “His name is also Falco” “So why am I the only one with a different last name? Why can’t I be a Falco like everyone else?”. At that very moment, we needed to do something for this little blessing child.

And so our adoption story began.

This story isn’t a typical adoption story. She was already in our family, she was mine & his (but we needed to make that part official). On November 18th, 2013 the adoption was finalized and she was finally a Falco, like she had dreamed one day would happen.

And then in true fashion, we had to celebrate this!

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My sister-in-law made this cake, and I did the cake topper. Isn’t that cake the most amazing cake you’ve ever seen? She did a fantastic job!

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A party isn’t complete without a banner & decor.

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The ‘guest’ book was actually pretty cool. Everyone got to leave their thumb print on the tree. We actually still have this canvas, and it hangs on our wall. The favors were little jars filled with Swedish Fish

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I ended up listing all of the decor in my shop afterwards because I thought it was super cool. I’ve sold so many ofishal banners and have heard so many other adoption stories, it has warmed my heart. Adoption isn’t about just getting a child, adoption is the completion of a family. To make whole what our hearts need. Adoption for us meant certainty, forever, & roots.

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Faithbox


Huge milestone!

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Hard to believe that my dream of being my own boss 4 years ago would bring me to this accomplishment today!

I recently did an interview for a blog and it was about being an entrepreneur. This was what I said:

1. Please introduce yourself and tell me about your business. When did you establish it? Were there any constraints in your life that led you to starting it?

Hello! My name is Ashlee Falco, 30 from Independence KY, and I sell custom party decor at FalcoClan.etsy.com — everything from cake toppers and decorations to wedding invitations and baby shower games. FalcoClan was established in 2011, and has been growing ever since. I had long been a crafter and DIYer, making things for my own family’s special occasions. After years of being told to sell my stuff and never doing it, my husband gifted me an Etsy shop and a Cricut, the cutting machine I use for all of my items, because he believed in me. The only constraint was believing enough in myself to accomplish my dream.

2. At what point did you realize that you found the right idea or passion to pursue? How long did it take you to begin working on this idea?

Within the first couple weeks of opening the shop, I had sold an item. I listed more items and then they sold. The lightbulb went off that people really want homemade one of a kind party decor. So off it went, within the first few months I realized that this shop could actually work.

3. What path did you follow in turning your hobby into a business? At what point were you ready to create your full-time “thing?”

My hobby turned my business the day we opened up shop. I always wanted to be my own boss, so this was a perfect venture for me. I was a stay-at-home-mom before this shop opened so I wouldn’t say that I went into this expecting the shop to be a “full-time” thing. That is, until 3 years ago. When the shop first opened I just hoped that I could buy the household’s groceries each month ($200). When I achieved that goal my next goal was to purchase the ‘mom-car’ that I’d been wanting ($479 a month car payment). In April 2013 I purchased my 2011 Ford Flex!! The next goal that took a bit longer to achieve, and was a bigger dream, was to become a homeowner, the first in my family. I set a goal of $3,000 monthly gross sales, and I said when that happened we’d search for a house. In July 2015 we purchased our first home!

4. What were some roadblocks that you encountered? How did you overcome those roadblocks, and where are you in your business today? Can you share any data (i.e. annual revenue ranges, sales, etc) that point to your pursuit of the “American dream?”

As stated previously, my biggest roadblock was believing in myself. When I first became a mother I was teenage, single & unwed. I struggled, I put myself through college (graduating w/ 2 college degrees) and also worked a full-time job. For many years my confidence level in myself got chipped away. I needed to rebuild that confidence, and this shop really helped rebuild that. I know I CAN DO IT! 

In 2011 I had this little desk that held 1 Cricut machine and a small tub of paper. Now I sit in a 16×16 office fully stocked with all the latest & greatest items, and 7 Cricuts, which allow me to cut out professional-grade party decor. My first full year selling on Etsy I sold $2,400. I have figured I will do over $50,000 in sales this year. I am so thankful that I do get to live the American dream, be my own boss, and make my own dreams come true.

5. What advice do you have for individuals who may be struggling to make ends meet in their jobs? How can people navigate the transition from career to passion project to lucrative career?

My greatest learning experience was being a struggling single mom. My motto; don’t hope that things will happen, make them happen. If you are struggling, find a way not to struggle. Believe in yourself, you can do it. Set your first goals as reachable goals, don’t go into a small business wanting to do $50k+ a year, go in wanting to only make $200 a month! Watch your goals change, and how much you’ll grow in the next few years. Also, do not give up, and work hard. Achieving the American dream is hard work, it will not be easy, but in the end it will be so worth it!

Please remember to always believe in yourself. You will either be your biggest roadblock  or your biggest cheerleader, be the second

-Ashlee


How New York City changed my life

I know what you’re thinking, of course it did, NYC is AMAZING …. Sadly I have to disagree! I’m not a city gal, I’m a down-home-back-country-sit-by-a-bonfire-at-the-end-of-the-night kind of gal. The hustle of the city was a bit overwhelming to me, and the rats are way bigger than I ever dreamed of.

So why did NYC change my life? Because the opportunity that took me there was what changed my life! For 5 years I’ve just been this gal, selling on Etsy her party decor. Everyday I hoped that the new item I threw up was going to sell, and that people would buy my stuff. Well, apparently someone noticed! A little over a month ago I was approached by the amazing marketing team of  Cricut. They found my shop and LOVED my stuff! WHAT (shocker, gasp, I may even passed out a bit), they wanted to fly this small town girl from KY to NYC to speak to magazine editors about being an entrepreneur.

I jumped at the opportunity to go to NYC, of course I would love to show off my talents! I thought I was going to talk to magazine editors and tell them about myself, and never did I think I’d come back re-energized about my craft & life. This NYC trip was more than just a press event, I mean press is cool, but to be told by so many that my stuff is amazing and I’m on the right track, is like, WOW! Seriously, an editor from Martha LOVED my stuff! I met a ton of people for the 2 days I was out there, one thing I took from the trip, start a blog! So of course here I am, listening to the people, public, and PR people.

To look back on the last 13 years of my life, I would’ve never guessed in a MILLION years I would be where I am today.

My life wasn’t always cupcakes & party banners, it was once a very rough road. I was a troubled teen, now before you go off and think, well every teen has their moments. Ask my Dad, he’ll agree I was hell-on-wheels, I’m sure he had nightmares about the stuff I hadn’t done yet. By the age of 18 I was pregnant, and faced with the reality of this.is.my.life.

Unwed, teenaged, single mother.

By the age of 20, I had seen & been through it all. Had a 1-year-old on my hip, dealing with domestic violence, drug abuse (not me, my then counterpart), food banks & life. During this time though, I was always working at least 1 full-time job, and going to college full-time. After I turned 21, I had committed myself to being a single mom, working & going to school full-time, I was doing it by myself. I put myself through college, graduated with 2 degrees & ended up meeting one of my biggest cheerleaders in life, who I eventually married.

The day I told my Dad I was pregnant he said to me: You will live your life-like you will always be a single mother, do not settle, you can do this. Do not depend on someone else, make a life that you want to live, whatever you want to accomplish, do it. Work your butt off, it will be hard, but in the end it will all pay off.

Well Dad, YOU WERE RIGHT!

Hard work has paid off.

While in NYC I went to the Empire State Building. While peeking through the window I saw a glance at the Statue of Liberty. To me she represents hope & promise. No matter what, as long as you work hard there will always be hope.

 


My work station

My kids call this the “work station”, I call it “the dungeon”, but this is my office. Where all of the party decor & invites are made and now where I blog.

This office isn’t one of those pretty designed spaces that you see on HGTV, flip or flop, or in any home furnishing magazine. However, this office is functional, seriously. I’ve jammed packed this 18×18 space with a TON of party supplies.
Do you see that? 3 paper cutting machines? Yes! I use all 3 at one time while working, it’s NUTS!
I really hate showing my office not clean but this is me. Real & raw. 


Hello world!

Greeting from Independence, KY

My name is Ashlee Falco, wife & mother of 2. I run a successful party decor shop on Etsy (FalcoClan.etsy.com) and am just starting out my journey of a blogger.

This blog will be dedicated to all things party. I love the art of party planning and am hoping I’ll convert a few others to find the love too. I hear all the time party planning is stressful, and I feel as though it’s not, you just have to be prepared.

I will have a bunch of DIY party ideas as well as tips for foods, and games.

Let’s get started!