Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lovely Gifts for Lovely Friends

Lydia has decided she wants to make all of her friend's Christmas gifts. At first I was less than thrilled, but then I thought....jewelry! She could make little bracelets and things. I have tons of jewelry making stuff. I was going to reopen my Etsy store a couple months back, but someone decided to start their own Etsy site.......WITH THE SAME NAME! They just changed the spelling a tad. At first I was seriously bugged, but there isn't anything to be done. Most likely I will just be making jewelry for gifts from now on.

I found some great beads for awesome prices at Auntiesbeads.com. Like this cute snowflake for under a buck. Lydia picked out a bunch and we are going to work. Also, Check out these amazing rose beads. I have been lusting over several Etsy necklaces that are $$$$, but I think this is where they get their beads, so I'm just going to make one myself.


More things I am loving....


These felt owl magnets are perfect for a teacher, don't you think? Find them at Sew Cute Shop


Why can't all wrapping paper be this darling. And two sided? Find it at Smock


I got a few of these for friends a couple months ago and I'm kicking myself I didn't get one for myself. Waterproof (i.e. kid proof) and darling to boot. Grab them over at RBT Bags



For a really special friend, something to wear everyday. Find it at Lasting Impressions


Cutest wristlet and card holder set over at sweet pea totes


On my wish list....Oh Kate. These are perfection.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Emily Elizabeth Jewelry Giveaway

Anyone know the color of the season? I'll give you a clue. It is a hue of my very favorite color. And perfect for the Holidays.

Gold. Lovely lovely gold. 

It was all over the fashion shows this year and now I have it on the brain. I got a pair of gold embellished flats and next I started searching for some (reasonably) priced gold jewelry.

Should have known I'd find what I was looking for at Emily Elizabeth Jewelry. Emily Elizabeth has the most scrumptious jewelry. Just take a look. Bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings, even hair pieces. Blithe designs that are modern yet classic, you are guaranteed to find the perfect Christmas gift. (To give or ask for.) You can also choose to order pieces in white gold if that is more your style. Click here to see how beautifully each piece is wrapped.

Some of my favorite things....(Dear Santa.....)


Emily believes that women should be able to express different facets of themselves and thus, divides her line into three collections: “Sweet and Pretty,” “Cool and Kitschy,” and “Elegant and Sophisticated.” 
Which one are you?

One lucky reader is going to receive the THREE ESSENTIALS NECKLACE TRIO!

(As seen in People StyleWatch and Pregnancy Magazine.) It's three separate necklaces to be worn together (another tread this season.) Or you could give them to three separate lucky ladies on your Christmas list. 

Check out the CYBER MONDAY DEAL TODAY ONLY!!! 30% off everything + free shipping!
Head over to Emily Elizabeth Jewelry and let me know in a comment what jewelry you have gold lust over. 
For an additional entry, let me know in a separate comment (for each) if you:
  • Are a public follower 
  • Have my button on your blog 
  • Tweet or Facebook about this giveaway leaving the link in your comment. (use the handy links at the bottom of this post if you like).
  • For THREE extra entries, leave three separate comments letting me know if you blog about this giveaway.
I'll announce the winner on December 6th. Good luck!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Snow

It would seem that snow is not very popular in Boise, but in our family it's always welcome. 
(And it makes the mountains here truly beautiful.)
 We were up and taking advantage of the inch or so before breakfast. 




MA MA!! BAAAAALL!!!

Shane added to the celebration with some homemade hot chocolate and, of course, his famous pancakes.


Ah, so cute. And by the way. There is a lot more than an inch of snow right now.

See more of the snow fun here

Winners!

The winner of the Bake Me a Cake Giveaway is the Gilbert Family.
The winner of the Minted giveaway is amydear

Congrats! Leave a comment and email me within 48 hours to claim your prize.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What to give when you seriously don't have a clue.

There is a certain family on my Christmas list that is totally impossible to shop for. Every year it's the gift I most stress over. They're relatives who always send us something nice, but I hardly know them so I have no idea what to send in return.

This year I'm going with a gift basket. Seems totally safe and everyone likes getting them. When I was a "career women", I loved when clients sent goodie baskets. Except this one time when it contained chocolate covered potato chips. Sick.

Here's the one I think I'm going with from Gourmet Gift Baskets.com. It's right in my price range. I got Shane a grilling basket for Father's Day and he really liked it.
Seems like a sure thing. English Toffee Caramels, three different types of cookies, Peanut Brittle (oh how I miss peanuts.) And other surprises. Yum!!! And since there is nothing perishable, they can enjoy it whenever they like.

I love the Bountiful Harvest too, but I'm not that generous. :)


 Just can't figure out what to get me??? The Ultimate Barefoot Contessa Basket!!!!! 

Come on. You know I deserve it.

Okay. Off to do this bit of Christmas shopping from the comfort of my couch. I love the internet. It's spoiled me. No way I was standing in line at 5AM yesterday. I was cozy in my bed.

(If there is a rich relative out there who has always wanted to get in touch with me but didn't know how, the above mentioned gift basket would be a great ice breaker. Or just set me up a lunch date with the Barefoot Contessa herself. You introduce me to Ina and I will name my next child after you.)

Holidays are on!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What I'm thankful for today.


(I'm also thankful for the fact that we've already had two Thanksgiving dinners. Thus while you are slaving over a hot stove, I'm watching the Macy's Day Parade in my PJs and having pancakes for our big meal of the day.  Shane's famous Turkey Pancakes of course.)


Monday, November 22, 2010

An Early Thanksgiving


Had our Thanksgiving a bit early this year. It was the only time when we could all get together. Love it because it extends this cozy happy holiday. The plan was that my parents, sister Abby, and her baby would head down to Boise for the weekend. My mom almost had a heartattack when she opened my pantry and found my sister Molly and her husband in the pantry. Eating chips.


Photos of the couples. And sad Abby missing her husband. But where is baby Paige? 


She's eating on the floor under the table of course. Wait? You mean that isn't how you feed your baby? Weird. 





Dinner turned out great. Shane is the master carver. Look at that platter. My dad asked why there were "weeds" on the plate. I said it was thyme. "Yea. Time to get the weeds off the turkey". 
Nice one dad.
The only thing I would have changed was the stuffing. The vote was for Stove top. (Blah) I think homemade is soooo much better. This is the one I like to make. There isn't really a recipe since I don't measure, but it is always delicious. 

Let's call it:

"Natalie's super easy but really yummy cornbread stuffing"


Sauté equal parts carrots, celery and onion until just soft and starting to brown. Season lightly with garlic salt. (Or salt and garlic.) I like carrots in my stuffing, but there are lots of other great veggies to try instead. Parsnips would be really good.



Brown one pound(ish) breakfast sausage. Sage is yummy. Not the maple though. Too sweet.

Drain fat.


Crumble up pan of day old cornbread (homemade or store bought. I use the marie calendars mix from costco.)

Mix together veggies, sausage and cornbread. Throw in some cranberries if you like.

Add handful of flat leaf parsley and thyme if you have it. Which you should if you are making Thanksgiving dinner! (Whatever my dad says....)

Moisten mixture with chicken broth until moist, but not too soggy. I like my stuffing a more firm consistency instead of wet. You can use an egg if you want it more casserole-like. I personally don't.

Cook at 350 degrees for around 30 - 45 minutes. 



Yummy.

Hope everyone is having fun gearing up for Turkey day. We hosted yet another round of relatives this weekend, this time our NYC family. Our actual Thanksgiving day will probably be Mexican take out.

************

WINNERS! 

The winners of the EA SPORTS Giveaway are:

NBA Jam - Mommystired
Monopoly - Robyn 
Family Game Night 3- Angelene 
Need for Speed - tanya904
The Sims 3 - The Wheeler's
The winner of the Shutterfly Giveaway is Nat and Charles
Congrats! Email me within 48 hours and I will get you your prizes. 
Hurry hurry, got to get these things out in time for Christmas.

Don't forget to enter the Bake Me A Wish giveaway and the Minted Giveaway

More giveaways to come after Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Attune Guest post and a Cereal Giveaway

I was recently asked to be the first guest blogger on the Attune Health blog. They're hosting a series of moms who will be discussing their thoughts on healthy eating. Attune is the company that brings us Uncle Sam's Cereal (yum!) along with Erewhon Organic cereals (a big staple in my house).  They also make New Morning products and their amazing probiotic chocolate


Any-who, after my recent rant about how hard it is for me to cook, I thought it would be a good idea to refocus my thoughts. I dwelled for a while on my philosophy of heathy eating, came up with a simple rule of thumb, and put it out there for your consideration. I would love for you to check out my post. And, since I know you will ask, yes, the story I tell is totally true. 


As a little bonus, Attune will be sending one reader 4 boxes of their delicious cereal. There are tons of yummy options. My kids are huge fans of the Erewhon Strawberry Crisp - Organic & Gluten Free along with the Cocoa Crispy Brown Rice. Personally, I eat the Uncle Sam's mixed with yogurt. 


All you have to do is read my post and then come back here and tell me your thoughts. Disagree with me if you like. I'd like to know your healthy eating philosophies. 


Receive an extra entry if you comment on the guest post


I'll announce the winner on November 27th. US addresses only. Good luck!


P.S. I know that I mention Ranch dressing as something my kids like. I have a soy version for Collin. Just thought I would let you know that so it doesn't sound like I'm giving my baby something he is allergic to.

Taking a weeklong break from giveaways.  More to come the week after Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bake Me A Wish Giveaway




I know it's technically "pie season", but I think it's always the right time for cake. Right time to eat it and right time to send it! Bake Me A Wish is this fantastic company that allows you to overnight cakes for any occasion. I love this idea! People expect flowers, but a cake? Such a fun surprise to find arriving at your door. Cakes are made with only the finest, freshest ingredients by an award-winning family run New York bakery that also supplies pastries to some of Manhattan's most elite restaurants. 
Wishing you could be with family this Thanksgiving? Send them a cake to let them know you are thinking of them. Birthdays, new parents, valued client, get well soon. There are so many perfect occasions to send a cake! Want to know how much I like cake? Check out this vintage post for proof.
Bake Me A Wish was so sweet and sent me a cake for my birthday this year. I received the 
Triple Chocolate Enrobed Brownie Cake and it was DELICIOUS! So chocolatly, rich and unbelievably fresh. We shared it with friends and it was a hit. AND right now, that particular cake has free two day shipping! Other cakes that I am dying to try include: Red Velvet Chocolate CakeViennese Coffee Cake, and the Tiramisu Classico Cake


One reader will receive a Bake Me A Wish cake of their choice! I won't judge you if you have it sent to yourself. :)





Head over to Bake Me A Wish and let me know in a comment what cake you would choose.

For an additional entry, let me know in a separate comment (for each) if you:
  • Are a public follower 
  • Like natalie's sentiments on Facebook
  • Have my button on your blog 
  • Tweet or Facebook about this giveaway leaving the link in your comment. (use the handy links at the bottom of this post if you like).
  • For THREE extra entries, leave three separate comments letting me know if you blog about this giveaway.

I'll announce the winner on November 27th. Good luck!




By the way - I am extending the EA SPORTS video games giveaway (6 winners!) and the Shutterfly giveaway until Sunday. Don't miss your chance to win great Christmas gifts! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Monday Maven is...ME!

Before you rush down to the giveaway, I wanted to mention that I've been featured as today's "Monday's Maven" over at I Never Grew Up! If you feel so inclined, head over there and check out my little interview. I feel so flattered to be included with some of the fabulous bloggers who have held the "Maven" title. (Which is a really cool word I must say. Definition here.) 

Ok. Now you can check out the giveaway. :)

Winner!

The winner of the Miraclebody Jeans Giveaway is Jennifer. Congrats! Email me and I will get your awesome prize!

(like the new logo? It was also designed by redbud designs. I"m trying to decide if I want a change.....)

Minted - Holiday Cards Giveaway

You didn't really think I would only have one holiday card giveaway did you? 

*****

I know there are a lot of people out there who aren't into sending Holiday cards, but I really think it's just because they've never gone to Minted. Minted has some of the most gorgeous stationary on the net. The muted colors, fresh fonts and indie designs combined with luxurious paper make for holiday cards perfected. I'm a wee bit obsessed. Like I fantasize about hanging with the Minted crew because they must be the coolest people ever. That kind of obsessed.

(I also kind of want to have a 10th wedding anniversary party, just so I can order THESE invites. Divine.)

But we are here to talk about holiday cards. Cause one of you is going to win some.

A few of my personal favorites.....






















(Yellow and grey are so Christmas. Says me.)







(These minibooks are so over the top rad. Send a card that's a gift too!)

Ah. Wasn't that a nice stroll down holiday lane? Makes you want to get busy making your own cards huh? (Send me one!)

One lucky reader is going to receive 50 flat cards from Minted! Over a $100 value. 

To Enter:


Head over to Minted and let me know in a comment your favorite card design.

For an additional entry, let me know in a separate comment (for each) if you:
  • Are a public follower  and/or Like natalie's sentiments on Facebook
  • Have my button on your blog 
  • Tweet or Facebook about this giveaway leaving the link in your comment. (Use the handy links at the bottom of this post if you like.)
  • For THREE extra entries, leave three separate comments letting me know if you blog about this giveaway.
I'll announce the winner on November 27th. Good luck!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Favorite Seasonal Drinks



If you buy anything this season, get these Mulling Spices from Williams-Sonoma.  Years ago my friend Lisa gave me a tin for Christmas and I've been enjoying it every winter since. Mull with apple cider, some fresh orange juice, some orange rinds, a bit of lemon juice and maybe a cinnamon stick or two. Heaven.



Be brave and try the Silk SoyMilk in "Pumpkin Spice". It's delicious. Tastes a bit like Horchata, but with a autumn touch. Yum!




Shane and I have been having "Starbucks Saturdays" since we first became parents. He orders the apple cider and I get hot chocolate with pumpkin spice flavoring. Pair that with a few of their vanilla scones for a perfect drive-thru splurge. OR make the scones yourself using this recipe and make some homemade "Barefoot Contessa" cocoa. Dear Santa....Starbucks gift card please.



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