Sunday, June 29, 2008

Free Stuff for you.....

I thought I should do my part for the Blogosphere and have a giveaway. It really is the least that I can do after winning a couple giveaways last month.

3 winners will be randomly chosen on July 15th to receive one of three Paisley Lane Handmade Jewelry packages. (That is the little jewelry line I created. FYI)
1st name chosen will have first choice of the prizes - 2nd will have next choice and the 3rd winner will get the remaining prize.
How to enter....
1. Leave me a comment and you will be entered in the contest. If you don't have a blog or a google account then just leave me an anonymous comment with your name and e-mail address.
2. Give me a shout out link on your blog and I will enter your name three times in the contest.

Purple teardrop earrings with genuine amethyst pendant on choker

Green leaf earrings with art glass pendant on leather.

4 pairs of Czech Glass earrings - once pair for each season

As an extra bonus - I will award a couple special prizes to my favorite comments made on any of my others posts (past or future) during the next two weeks.

Enter as many times as you would like.

And while you are here....

Becoming part of the blogging world has opened my eyes to the fact there are a lot of creative women out there who make some really cool stuff. I had this great idea. Let's trade! Seriously, if everyone who made stuff got together for a little trade action, we could have Christmas shopping done in a week. One of my friends makes these adorable toddler hair bows. I happen to have an adorable toddler. I traded her a few pairs of earrings for a few pairs of bows. We told each other the colors we wanted and sent them off. Voilà.
So let me know if you have something handmade you want to trade - aprons, paper goods, hats, purses, home decor, jam...even jewelry! Whatever! Just email me what you want to trade and how many pairs of earrings you think it would be worth. Or send me a photo of what you want to trade and I will tell you how many pairs I would be willing to trade to you. Whichever. I think that earrings are the easiest "currency" for me, since I price most of my earrings the same, but if you see something on my Etsy account or you have something else specific in mind, just let me know. I have been making earrings like a banshee, so I am ready to go. Just and no receipts to account for! Could it get any better!?!

A (very) small sample.
Good luck!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Real Simple...Again.

A few days ago I received this email from my friend Mary Lea.

"I just opened my July Real Simple and saw your response to 'This Month’s Question'! How many times have you been published?"

Well, that was news to me! Guess I shouldn't have let my subscription expire and I would be more in the know.
Click here for my other Real Simple "publications". I also had a third one published on the Dec 2007 Web site.
Anyway, I forgot that I entered the "your words" question a few months ago. I SWEAR I don't just sit around thinking of things for the Real Simple Magazine. Since being "published" in 2007 I have only entered twice. Once on my fav beauty product (was not published) and the second is now in your July copy....
The question is "What are the top-three things on your lifelong to-do list?"
My answer:

Well, I get a copy of the magazine and Shane reads my answer. He looks confused.

"What?" I ask.

"Natalie. These are not the top three things on your lifelong to-do list".

Okay fine. At the moment that I was writing it sounded good. For the record they are in my top 10.

If I was going to answer that same question just for my blog (and not feel the need to wax somewhat eloquent) I would say:
  • See my children grow to have their own families.
  • Live in Europe for a year while still young enough to enjoy it.
  • Maintain a loving and passionate marriage.

(And maybe throw in there : Have a closet full of beauiful clothes that I look beautiful in.)

What would be your top three?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Today I got something that I have wanted my entire adult life.
A bouquet of hydrangeas on my kitchen table...fresh from my very own garden.
Thanks again to Shane for planting them for me as a sweet Mother's day gift.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

To whom it may concern.

I don't know who reads my blog, but if there is a nice millionare out there who finds it interesting and wants to thank me for the entertainment with a small gift, how about a nice bedroom set from Pottery Barn? I am partial to this look, but I am open. My birthday is in September if you need a reason.

Oh wow

I want to send a huge thank you to my friends who reintroduced me to Indian food last night. The last time I entered an Indian restaurant I was 19 and I swore never again. Last night, I am embarrassed to say, I think I giggled a few times. Every taste was delectable. The curries, the cilantro, the naan, the lentils! I even ate some of the green pea dish. (I hate green peas). Going with a group that consisted of half meat lovers and half vegetarians helped to introduce some dishes I would have never tried otherwise. I will be dreaming of that meal for a while. Did someone say they have a lunch buffet?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Housewife happenings...

I know that it really isn't "P.C." to use the term housewife. I guess I could use my official title:

Domestic CEO, B.A. Class 5, D-1

My friend Wendy and I came up with this method of classification a while back while jogging. (Okay, more like a brisk walk mixed in with snack breaks for our daughters.) Anyway, I will explain.

  • Domestic CEO - that is obvious. I am in charge of the household.

  • B.A. - This indicates the level of education obtained. (G.E.D./H.S./A.A./B.S./P.H.D.) Wendy is an attorney, but I can't remember what she decided on for her particular title.

  • Class 5. This is the amount of years I worked full-time after completing said schooling, before staying home.

  • D-1 - Dependants - 1 (husband's don't count) Once I have another child I will be D-2.

So.. My sis-in-law Sara who is having a baby in a couple months will be:
"Sara Clifton, Domestic CEO, B.S. Class 6, D-1"
Wendy and I thought of lots of random little titles we could add if we felt so inclined. Like adding "S.G." standing for "Sex Goddess" or maybe on the other side of the spectrum: "B.H" for "Blames Headaches". :) Any other ideas? I like "W.T." for "World Traveler" and "N.L.H." for never left home. Maybe if you have a side business "entrepreneur" could end the title. Let me know what your "official" title would be.
Oh - the point of this blog - housewife happenings (I know the word sucks but for those of us who stay at home with our kids and are not gainfully employed, that is exactly what we are. Sorry)
So....getting on with it. The other day it was about an hour until Shane would get home from work and I realized that I had forgotten to go grocery shopping. I had made a trip to the farmers market for veggies, but forgot the chicken and french bread that was supposed to make up the rest of the meal. I really wanted to make a real meal because Shane has been taking over evenings a lot for me lately. Unfortunately, there was nothing in the fridge. Mayo, soymilk and that was about it. One hour later check out the spread. No trip to the grocery store needed!

Roasted pork tenderloin (found at the bottom of the freezer) with a fresh rosemary, thyme and garlic rub, parmesan summer squash and crispy polenta. Yea. That is what I am taking about.

Oh - and thank you so much to "Texas Natalie" for this awesome lunch idea. Lydia was eating spinach. Spinach!

Paige said...
OK, let's see... Domestic CEO, MEd., Class 5, D-1 (pending promotion to D-2) However, despite all those letters and numbers, my ability to "whip up" a dinner such as the one you have pictured is next to nothing.

Gilbert Family said...
You probably don't remember me but I went to CV with you and I was in your seminary class once (I found you through a friend of a friend, you know how that works, I am always looking for fellow CVers:)anyways, I just had to tell you that I LOVE the idea of feeding your kids in a muffin pan...GENIOUS!! It's so perfect since they always want alittle taste of everything! Great idea and your dinner looks amazing!

Hannah LaRue said...
I love the lunch idea. That is the neatest idea ever!

100 Percent Cottam said...
ooh, groovy! so glad you tried it out. i haven't yet, but it's in the plans! :)

kristi lee said...
You clever thing you! Dinner looks amazing. . .as always! The muffin thing does work great. My mom said she would do that for our lunches when we were little. We've done it for a while here and call them "Rainbow Picnics!" They're super fun and easy too when friends are over for lunch.

Randi said...
Okay - that spread looks re-donculous. Domestic CEO,BA,Class 1,D-4 BTW- if you are going for a digital SLR - don't buy the lens that comes with the body. Buy the body only and do some research about which lens to buy!

Elizabeth said...
JACKPOT!! Do you know I have a dozen muffin tins?I bake alot.More than I should really,but now I have a use for them when I am not baking.And I am wondering why the heck I never thought of it.

SuperCoolMom said...
Hey Natalie, Thanks for stopping by my recipe blog (especially for leaving a comment)! So fun to make new blogfriends! I am LOVIN' your classification system! and your toddler buffet! Janie, Domestic CEO, MaEd, Class 10, C-6 (Soooo glad to finally be home with my babies!)

Shandra said...
thanks for stopping by my blog! i'll have to try the idea w/ the muffin tin. my child is SO picky!! your little girl is adorable.

vana chupp said...
this is such a great idea!
Look what I won! Keep checking back....Paisley Lane Giveaway right around the corner!

Monday, June 23, 2008

It's on!

So how is everyone doing with keeping that Christmas spirit in their life all year long? Not so hot? I figure that most people have, for the most part, forgotten those New Year's Goals by this time too. Here we are in the middle of the year. I think that this is the perfect time to start making some midway goals.

For a while now things have been "good" in my life. I got past the horrid "survival mode" of having a nutso baby. She blossomed into this amazing, spirited toddler and my life got a little more on track. It seems to me that I need to move on past good. I think that is why I have been feeling a bit blue lately. I'm not drowning anymore, but I'm not swimming forward either. I'm just treading water. Maybe a little dog paddle. (Please excuse the lame metaphor) I need to get to "great mode" especially before another little bundle of crazy arrives. Yesterday I thought it would be a nice Sunday activity to write down the things in my life that need improving. For example, I want my house to be clean and organised, not just tidy. To prepare for this economy I need to watch my retail therapy and keep random purchases to a minimum. (This isn't a big problem for me, but I have a tendency to buy beads and jewelry findings with abandon). I want my prayers to be meaningful, not just existent. And the biggy - I want to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes comfortably.
  • For the cleaning part I am taking the advice of many bloggers and using flylady to start to take more control of things.
  • For the $$$ stuff I am focusing on using the beads I already have to make jewelry and watching my gas usage.
  • For spiritual goals, Shane and I are working towards our goals together.
  • For getting into shape..............

We are going on a cruse. Planning a cruise is the best way that I personally know of to get the fear in you to get into better shape. The last cruise we went on was 9 months before Lydia was born. I had a new outfit for every day, every dinner. I even dawned a two piece swimsuit. Those clothes, for the most part, have stayed neatly folded in an attic box marked "vacation". Here is the thing. I WILL wear them again. All of them a size (or 2) too small, by October, they will fit me nicely.

So the truth of the matter, are we really going on a cruise? We aren't totally sure. That depends on if my mom can really come out, if Shane is able to save enough vacation days for that and Christmas. It depends on if we can get a good price on flights to Florida and if gas stays under $5 a gallon and the economy stays afloat. There are a lot of "ifs" but I want it bad. And even if it doesn't happen and we have to settle for a long weekend relaxing by the Chattanooga Hilton pool, I need to believe that it could happen so that I can get ready.

That cruise was one of the best weeks of my life. The most romantic, decedent, (and well priced) vacation ever. The thought of doing it again makes me gitty. The salt air, the sunsets over the ocean, making out on the beach....the buffets....

So I am getting my life into "great" mode. Wish me luck.

Photo of our favorite day. Ever. Private island, our own private beach. We didn't see another soul for hours.

P.S. I think I will do a weekly blog of my progress, ideas, meals, etc. Just to keep me honest. A "countdown to cruise" if you will.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Meaty thoughts...

  1. This morning Shane was making Lydia a breakfast of blueberry pancakes and soy sausage. He microwaved two sausages links and they "fused" together at the ends. When he sliced the tips off of the links they stayed attached. Lydia picked them up and said "Look! Boobies!" Shane replied. "Oh yes. Sausage boobies" Lydia played with the sausages boobies for the rest of breakfast, walking them around her tray.

After church we had Hebrew National hot dogs for lunch. Shane commented, "These hot dogs are so fatty, they are almost cheesy". Gross.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Maybe it's okay...

I have heard a lot of people complain that many bloggers paint their world to be a perfect place. That they "pretend" that their life is always happy. The perfect little mommies with their perfect little homes.
Last night I was up at 4:30am writing a blog after having a nightmare. I have been concerned about this scary world we are raising our children in, and that fear seems to manifest itself in my late night dreams.
I cried and wrote, and by the time I was finished I felt much better. I re-read my entry and found it to be a lovely indication of the terror I sometimes feel as a mother.
I was about to "publish post" but then thought the better of it. This was personal and moving and disturbing all at the same time. It was a journal entry. Not really a blog entry. So I printed a copy and erased it from my drafts page.
I am not criticising anyone for bearing their soul on their blog. I do that myself. Often. But I also think that it is alright to have a sunny, happy blog too. A personal blog is a portrayal of one's self to the outside world. I think that if someone chooses to focus on the positive, that is fine. I know that I personally don't believe that their lives are all bliss, but even if they are, how wonderful for them. To each their own.

P.S. I don't consider this a happy, sunny blog.

In honor of sunny, happy blogs - a few sunny photos from my family....

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

First Molly is in China with the earthquake and now Abby is in Iowa with all the flooding. (check out her blog for freaky flood pics. What is up? Emily- What natural disaster does Arizona sometimes suffer from? (Besides being hotter than hell)

Kicking some butt

I taught a self-defense class at Girl's Camp today. I think I got them all empowered up. I look heinous, but I guess that is what girls camp is all about right?

Look! Strangulation is fun!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sara's Satellite Shower

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My sister-in-law and her husband Rusty came to visit this weekend from New York. She is 7 months pregnant and just a few weeks ago I was thinking how I wished I could throw her a baby shower. With all of the shared friends the four of us share, it would be a great opportunity to all get together. (For further info on our interesting relationship - see previous post).
Unfortunately, all those shared friends live all over the country. So.... I came up with the idea of a Surprise Satellite Shower. (I think I am the first to coin this phrase, at least according to Google). Basically we had a shower at my house and friends sent gifts. Thank you so much to all those friends who participated. We just wish you could have been here in person.
Lydia and I had so much fun making and decorating cupcakes. I got creative and made a "Binky Garland" (also my brain child) which turned into a nice decorative necklace for Sara. (If you notice a wardrobe change, Sara decided she needed a new outfit and a little makeup if this shower was to involve photographs.)

The four of us.

Shane, me, Sara and Rusty at Coney Island.

  • Rusty and I were best of friends in high school.
  • Sept 1999: Rusty and I (and some other friends) were going dancing and he said he was inviting his old mission companion Shane who was "super cool". Shane was attending Ricks. Rusty and I were at BYU.
  • Shane's sister, Sara, bummed a ride so she could see a guy she was dating.
  • That night Shane and I met. Rusty and Sara met.
  • June 2000 - Rusty and Sara get married.
  • May 2001 - Shane and I get married.
  • Jan 2006 - I give birth to Lydia - who is Rusty's niece.
  • August 2008- Sara will have a little girl - and Rusty's daughter and my daughter will be cousins.
If anyone had told us all of that in high school......

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Okay, I have all of these blog entries that I have not published. Ranging from Hallmark moments to really random, I am just going to get them all out of my drafts page. So here you go....

Books this month

I really did want to get into "Goodreads" but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
So instead I think I will just do a monthly blog about what I am reading.
My favorite books for June:

Other mommies

"The great motherhood friendships are the ones in which two women can admit [how difficult mothering is] quietly to each other, over cups of tea at a table sticky with spilled apple juice and littered with markers without tops" Ann Quindlen

Today I am grateful for my friends.

Maybe just a hick at heart

I have tried really hard to develop an enjoyment of fine cheeses. I want to be a “cultured” (no pun intended) individual and since I don’t drink wine, cheese seems the natural choice for exploration. I was in the French Club in college and dutifully attended the annual cheese night, sampling the Bleu D Auvergne, Stilton, Baratte, Camembert de Normandie, Roquefort, Brie. At parties I nimble on the blue, the soft, the hard and the goat cheese that is customary. When I am at the gourmet market, I try something new every few weeks. However, I think I am finished. The other day I was tasting a new cheese and it tasted exactly like dirt. When I mentioned this to the “Maître Fromager” he gave me the loveliest condescending smile. “It is supposed to”. I looked at the cheese and thought “I don’t really want to eat dirt on my cracker.” – Sorry Rusty and Sara. I am sticking with Cheddar.
(Hey. At least it isn’t Velveeta)

Worst Kiss Ever

So I was watching some lame movie on TV and there was this kiss that really disturbed me. I'm all for a little passion, but this guy was devouring this woman. I think it was supposed to be sexy, but it was just gross. It was then that I remembered something that must have laid dormant in my mind for years.

New Years Eve - 1999. The party of the millennial. My friend Lisa and I decided to hit Seattle with some friends. What better place to celebrate the turn of the century than the Space Needle? Unfortunately, the "authorities" thought that terrorists may have the same idea, so the Space Needle and area around it was cleared. Never heard of the 2000 Seattle Terrorist attack? Neither did anyone else.

There were parties all around Seattle neighborhoods, people still wanting to see the fireworks. We found ourselves at one of these functions. All of my friends were there as couples. The guy I was dating was spending New Years with his family on the East Coast. I was resigned to be a 5th wheel.

As the countdown started we all counted and watched the Space Needle in anticipation. I was just about to yell "Happy New Years!" when I was attacked. Okay not literally, but it felt that way. This guy that I had been having a pleasant conversation with wrapped his arms around mine and started to kiss me. At least, I think he was trying to kiss me; I can't be sure. I think he may have been trying to eat me. His month was no where near my lips, they completely surrounded my mouth. I was trying to yell, but it would seem he was also sucking in my life force. I couldn't push away as my arms were pinned and he was quite a bit taller than me. Then, he started to use his teeth! A little tug on the bottom lip would have been one thing, but he was chewing my entire mouth! I started to feel my tears well up in a combination of anger and pain when he pulled away. Then he looked at me and gave me the sweetest smile.

"I'm Blake by the way".

I was shocked. He was nice. This guy wasn't trying to hurt me. This was the way he kissed!

"Happy New Year Blake. I think you disconnected my jaw."

He laughed out loud at that, and then gave me another smile. I knew that smile. He thought I must be impressed.

Luckily, I had the excuse of having a boyfriend when he asked if I wanted to "get out of there".

Tell me- Do people really kiss like this? On a regular basis? I'm not talking passionately, I am talking violently. Anyone else meet up with a scary vampire in disguise? Is this the most random blog ever?

P.S. Happy Ending. - Shane is a FANTASTIC kisser.

for today

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait for tomorrow,
For babies grown up, I've learned, to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep.
-Author Unknown
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