Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stylish Dinner Ideas for Kids

For Lydia's birthday this year, my sister in law sent this awesome "Mrs. Food Plate" that you decorate with food. Usually I let Lydia arrange her food herself, but sometimes I like to try my hand at it. Some recent creations for your approval....

By the way, some of these photos are terrible. But when you have hungry kids at the table, you don't spent the time to make sure the lighting and focus are perfect. You just snap and serve.

Green bean dreadlocks with roasted potato bows and grilled tilapia cowl. 

Platinum mashed potatoes with a pork tenderloin and green bean fascinator. Strawberry earrings and a fried apple muff. 

I've heard that breakfast for dinner is becoming quite vogue again.

Corndog masquerade 

Edamame is really the most versatile accessory I've found. 

Military Breakfast chic.

 Layered grilled chicken with basil lemon vinaigrette highlights. Baked red potato earrings and a grilled zucchini necklace.

And lastly, my favorite. Retro Carmen Miranda snack ensemble.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Best Friend was on TV last night!

The story of my best friend Carrie and her family was documented on the the season premiere of The Generation Project last night. You can see the full episode here. It's really lovely. It will make you want to hold your babies tighter.

We miss you Carrie and Xander! Let's get together soon for some grilled cheese.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tisk Tisk.....

Naughtiest thing I've ever done.....went on a date with my French Teacher in college :) He really wasn't too much older than me, I think he was a grad student. but still..... Coquine!

Other shameful secrets:

I lied to that same French teacher about being sick during a huge test day in order to go to a daytime Smashing Pumpkins concert. (Met the band!!!! SOOO Worth it!)

I have over 150 pairs of earrings. I figure, if you are going to collect something, why not something tiny that fits in one corner of the closet? And I've made most of them anyway so really it's just a creative expression. An Art if you will. Better than my horrible roommate that brought to college her collection of dozens and dozens of wildly expensive teddy bears. Oh man she bugged.

My favorite pair of pants have a really obvious stain on the knee. Looks like fresh jam actually. Do I throw them away? Nope. Whenever I wear them and I'm around someone, I exclaim "Oh man! My baby must have got me this morning with his sticky fingers!" Classy I know. But they are soooo comfortable!

Sometimes I tell Shane I'm sick to my stomach, then go upstairs and read on the bathroom floor while he watches the kids.  

Once I was going to a function that had several important people in attendance (including an ex-boyfriend).  The outfit I ended up purchasing cost more than my wedding dress. Now, considering I got my wedding dress for cost, it wasn't that bad. Still bad though. I have such a good husband. He just smiled and said I deserved it after all the bargain shopping I do. (He doesn't know how much I spend on jeans....)

What's your naughty little secret? Come on. You know you want to spill it.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Springtime "I want!" List

Ah Spring. Slowing I see you arriving. I've decided I'm done being sad and no one is going to get sick in my family for the rest of the season. I believe good thoughts have power. 
I'm normally not a sad person and I'm getting on my nerves. 

I love Spring. And I love Springtime wears. Just getting started looking for our family Easter outfits....and naturally I found a few other things I'm pinning for....

How cute would this be in an Easter basket? Filled with Jelly beans maybe?

I can't imagine ever feeling sad in a Sunny SoirĂ©e Dress from Anthropologie. 

(Kristi, this would look darling on you!)

Pair it with a little J Crew clutch perhaps?

Loving this little paige skirt from Magpie Lovely.

A sweet wreath from Two Inspire You.

Chalkboard tags for my Spring cleaning efforts. From l'alfabeto.

I received this little spring wreath as part of my "Homemade swap". Doesn't it look sweet above my  bed? Just a little sunny springtime touch. Thank you Holly! You can get similar ones over at Etsy, but I think I want to learn to do them myself. They seem to be the craft of the season. 

Horary for Spring! I'm going to go open all of my windows and just breath.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My favorite photo

This is my favorite photo of myself. It was taken on a warm May day at my parents home. After almost two years of sleepless nights and an inconsolable child, things were finally getting better. Lydia and I spent the day laughing and running. We wanted to get a photo for "Daddy's Day" to frame for Shane's desk at work. I remember that day feeling complete and utter joy in my daughter and in knowing I was her mother. Feeling gratitude to God He had sent her to me. I finally knew that things really were going to be okay. For the first time in a long time, I felt happy. That day I felt beautiful. I recently put it out to remind me that things do get better, and it usually happens in the Springtime.

photo by m photo

Monday, March 21, 2011

Books I liked (and a tiny giveaway)

Haven't done a book post for a while, so here goes. (oh, by the way, update on my kidney infection here.)

I've read quite a few books in the last couple months. Including my favorite book of ALL TIME, Ender's Game. I've read it like 50 times.

I finally got around to reading "The Lost Symbol". It was entertaining, thought provoking with a fantastic villain. Really creepy. 

Spent a quiet Saturday reading "A Song for my Mother", and while predicable and short, it is was a nice campy read. Something for the front porch and some lemonade. 

The Gemma Doyle Trilogy is good if you are looking for a more crack-literature read. The third one is the best by far. All 800+ pages of it!

I'll be reviewing the next Karen White novel in May.

My top picks for the last couple months:

The Intentional Family: How to Build Family Ties in Our Modern World

A really lovely book about making the daily rituals already in place in your family more binding and meaningful.  Anyone with any kind of family should read this book, especially ones with children.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Oh man, I love this book. I am mad at myself for really never understanding what made Lincoln such a powerful leader. It makes me want to move back to the South and visit all the Civil War sites I never took the time to see.

Dick and Jane and Vampires

HA! This book is so awesome! Lydia got it for Christmas and besides the BOB Books (which are golden) it is Lydia's favorite book to read. And she doesn't even know it's hilarious. She just thinks there is this vampire hanging out with Dick and Jane. No biggie. 
She is reading so much by herself! She is going to totally rock Kindergarden.

And now for a little giveaway. I really really need to restock my library. I feel totally off without a good book. I don't think I have read a novel I really loved since "The Help". Comment on this post with the name of your favorite book you've read in the last couple years. I'll randomly draw a name and send you a pair of homemade earrings in any color you choose. I've gotten back into jewelry making...since I don't have any good books to read!

Speaking of giveaways...I have some incredible giveaways coming up in April just in time for Mother's Day. Want your product to be included? Email me ASAP!

USA and Canada addresses only. I'll announce the winner April 1st. No fooling!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wanted: One Woman to Deal with Crap.

Thursday we found ourselves at the hospital. Lydia was unable to pee. I felt like my kidneys were being stabbed by a tiny knife. 

Results: Lydia has a colon blockage and needs some "assistance". Urologist said that based on the x-rays, it looked like this had been a problem for months. "Oh. I see you took her to her pediatrician 3 times for this problem since Christmas. And the pediatrician, play therapy?" 

Yep, the pediatrician thought the painful peeing was her just trying to get attention. The urologist gave me a new pediatrician recommendation. I thankfully took it.

Urologist thinks I have a serious kidney infection or kidney stones. Oh, please please no to the stones. 

Doctors orders:

for Lydia:
         spend lots of time getting her to drink, stay active, laxatives and twice a day....enemas.

for me:
        antibiotics and rest. Lots of rest. "Keep your feet up".

I just looked at her for a minute, holding my restless toddler and trying to keep Lydia from escaping the exam room.

"Can your husband take tomorrow off?"

"He is on a business trip".

"Any family around?"

"Unfortunately no."

That was yesterday.

Today. Enemas on a 5 year old should never
be administered by someone trying to stay still. 
Or by someone wearing white.

Collin saw the chaos of said enema and decided to try walking down the 
stairs while I was distracted.
Of course he fell.

I ran to find him almost to the bottom, head pointed down. 
He was fine but it scared the crap out of him. Literally. As I held him to me, it soaked through to my jeans.

Funny thing is, it really wasn't such a bad day. 

Lydia and I painted while Collin slept and I loved the smell of the paint and the feel of the brush after such a long time. Lydia is a very sweet painting partner, always complimenting my efforts.

Collin dumped my bedside water over himself, so I undressed him down to his diaper and we cuddled in bed and read the Llama Llama books over and over and over again. We had a simple dinner of baked salmon and roasted carrots and it ended up being delicious. 

It always helps to have sweet friends too. Look at the beautiful arrangement that arrived this evening to wish me get better soon and brighten my day. Yellow brightens any day. Thank you M.L.!

"Wook Mama! Yellow!" 

I'm so proud.

Tomorrow I'm taking the day off. If you need me, I'll be in bed. Shane will be taking over poop duties until Monday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I feel like I've been in a daze since the 11th. I've been updating my 72 hour kit and talking to Shane about where we would meet if disaster struck. Mostly I've been thinking about families torn apart in Japan. Something changes in you when you become a parent. You feel things differently. Knowing mothers are mourning their children causes you to mourn. And fear. You hold your children tighter, grateful that they are safe. You weep for those whose arms are empty. 

Today I am grateful that I know families are forever

Canada: Text REDCROSS to 30333 to donate $10
USA: Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10

Monday, March 14, 2011

Help me decide on my new stationary

I'm gearing up for spring, and looking for some new personalized stationary. I love (love love) Minted, from their designs to their amazing paper. Look at all the designs I found in my signature color combo! But I can't decide. What do you think?

To be honest, I was planning on ordering my 10 year anniversary party invites right about this time. But that was the plan when we were still in Chattanooga. If we threw a Boise party we would only have to order two invites. And one of them would be for us to keep :(

These were my two favorite:

Celebrate 10  (with a different font)

With the photo alined of course. A designer does all that for you.

I would have loved my wedding invites to have looked like this last one.

Or maybe something fun like this one

We actually went through 3 different printings of our wedding announcements.
But that's another story....

Oh well. No Anniversary party for us. 
Instead we will go out to dinner and start planning our slightly belated trip to Hawaii in September.

So....which stationary should I get? And which Islands should we stay on in Hawaii???

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I'll have a reason to wear this.


The winner of the Shelf Reliance Giveaway is Anne. (With an "e") 
Congrats! Email me and I will get you your prize.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rough Week

One very sick boy with a temp over 104, a frightening trip to the doctors and 3 nights of no sleep. Poor baby. Poor mommy! I feel really bad about the way I used to get annoyed with co-workers who seemed to always be gone because of "sick kids". As hard as it is to be a SAHM, sometimes I just don't know how the working moms do it. Speaking of stay at home moms, I'm loving all the great comments on my last post. I'd love to hear your thoughts on being a stay at home mom too. Or thoughts on being a working mom!

Collin is on the mend it seems. (Oh please please please. I haven't slept in so long.) During one of his naps, I could feel myself crashing and knew I needed to get moving. So I turned our huge "clutter closet" in to a reading room! Thanks to Making Lemonade for the closet cleaning inspiration! Photos to come.

Yawn. Let's go spring. These gray days are getting old.

Don't forget to enter the Shelf Reliance Giveaway! Ends Friday at midnight.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cookie Cutters

I've been finding myself having the same conversation over and over again. After a bit of polite "how do you dos", the topic of career comes up. When I say that I'm a full time mother, I often receive the same incredulous look and questions of why I would choose that. One particular conversation I'll never forget. I was speaking with a man I highly respected and looked to as a mentor of kinds. I was a little blindsided when I was bludgeoned with "Why on earth would you surround yourself with such cookie cutter women?!" This individual was speaking of Mormon Housewives. 

Now I wasn't offended. Not really. Probably because for a while there I thought of them as cookie cutters too. When I was attending BYU, I worked at a Italian Restaurant as a server. I hated when young mothers would come in with their kids during my lunch shift. First of all, they always made a horrendous mess, and they were really really bad tippers. (Note to ALL parents. No matter what, leave at least a 20% tip if you have young kids. You are paying for the service and the clean up.) After a while of working there, the moms all started to look the same. The same sloppy pony tail, jeans with t-shirts and flip flips. Huge purses bursting at the seams with coloring books, sippy cups and discarded jackets. The same bloodshot eyes barely seeing me as they asked for 4 cups of water with lids and straws, one diet coke, one salad and one cheese pizza. I really never gave them much of an afterthought. I had my mind on my date that night. And the businessmen at the next table had all ordered beers and were calling for refills anyway. 

I now see myself fully developed into this woman. I don't want to have the sloppy ponytail, but I didn't get a moment to shower. I hate that I never wear my cute clothes, but my kids' hands are always so sticky and I'm spending my days cleaning, on the floor playing or at the park anyway. I try to brighten my eyes with makeup, but there is only so much you can do on 4 hours of sleep. I've learned to rock my huge diaper bag.

I that guess to the masses we may seem cookie cutter. We have kids and we stay home with them. There is a lifestyle that surrounds that. But the longer I'm a Mormon Housewife, the prouder I am to be such. We are not cookie cutters. We are not boring or lazy (HA!) and we have not settled. 

We weren't always mothers. That's just what we have chosen to be. With all our degrees and experience, we choose amongst all other options to be mothers and wives. And it amazes me to be part of this generation. A generation of the most educated and experienced mothers yet. We have different needs than the generations before us. We need more adult interaction, most of us need time away. Most of us spent years developing ourselves as women outside of being mothers and wives. That part of us must continue to thrive. That's probably why we make up such a huge population of this blogosphere. 

Blogging is an extraordinary development for us mommies. We have a place in the world and our words are heard, even if most of our time is spent in our homes. We have made the world aware of our presence and the voice we have in regards to everything from families, politics, to what products are actually worth our money. So many defend our choice to raise children as a career with confidence, humor, candor and grace. 

Last summer I was in Spokane with my family. Two of my sisters and I took our babies to the park. As we played on the grass two college age girls ran past. They smiled, but I saw one give the other a look that said "lame". I looked at the two women sitting next to me, laughing and playing with their children. As a group we did look the same. We were all wearing capris with t-shirts and tennis shoes and hats (we had walked to the park on a very hot day). We looked about as stereotypical, stay-at-home-mom as it gets. But knowing them, I could hardly see them that way. All of us sisters graduated from college and traveled the world before starting our families. Emily has traveled to more countries than I can count and had a successful job at a university that she still advises on. Abby lived with a Namibian tribe in Africa. My sister Molly, who just gave birth to her first baby, taught school in China. I had my share of career and travel myself. 

One of my favorite quotes is one by Edith F. Hunter. "Educated women in the home? What an odd thing to deplore! What better place to have us "end up"... what more important job is there than sharing the values we are learning to cherish with the next generation of adults? What more strategic place could there be for the educated woman?"

I love my religion and my family. I love being a Mormon Housewife. First because I think it is a wonderful and fulfilling thing to do with my life. And second because I am honored to share the title with so many amazing women.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

TV assignment and winners

Just letting you know. EVERY husband should watch this latest episode of Modern Family. 
Really Really Really. I even embedded it for you for your convenience. That's just how sweet I am.

(And can we all agree to never watch 2 and a Half Men again? Not that I ever watched it, but Charlie Sheen is not someone I want to invite into my house, even if it's just on the small screen. As a public, let's just not support the crazies anymore.)


The winner of the Peartree Greeting Giveaway is Emillie Rose.
The winner of the Uppercase Living Giveaway is Patty

The winner of the Funky Polkadot Giraffe Giveaway is Anna
The winner of the Yoplait Giveaway is Alzbeta.
Congrats to all the winners! Email me and I will get you your prizes (lucky ducks!). 
Don't forget to enter the Shelf Reliance Giveaway that ends next week. And remember, if you are going to buy some stuff (and you know you are) make sure to come back for 3 extra entries. If you're not a blogger, just email me that you ordered and I will enter them for you. You know you want that gift certificate and cookbook. I just wish I could enter...
Ok. Natalie out. See you next week.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Still my baby.

The hardest part of my life was by far the first 18 months of being a mother. Now when I look back, I'm amazed I came out of it sane. Lydia is (usually) a delight now, but having her as a baby was a nightmare. I've often felt so completely cheated out of the baby experience. 

 I was terrified to have another baby. I thank God everyday for sending me my little Collin. He wakes me every morning by humming "This Old Man'. 20 times a day I hear "Wook Mama Wook!" as he shows me his amazing feats like crawling in the bathtub and pulling his own hair.

He'll be 2 in May. Some boys at this age are full little boys. But Collin still seems like a baby to me. Still round and soft and cuddly. He's as sweet as ever. 

And I thank God everyday that he is staying my baby just a little longer. 

Slow down sweetheart. Stay little, my darling baby boy.

I'm tearing up just writing that. Motherhood is so bittersweet.

Wow. I'm not going to attempt to cut his hair myself again.


Don't forget to enter these giveaways! All but the Shelf Reliance end on Friday.

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