Friday, April 29, 2011

Etsy Feature Friday - Sora Designs

I'm starting a new little thing on my blog. Etsy Feature Friday. When some people detox, they watch TV. Me? Well, I watch TV and browse Etsy at the same time. I have so many shops bookmarked, I thought to myself, why not share my sweet finds?

You probably already know that I'm a jewelry addict. I just love all that pretty bling. Sora Designs is my newest jewelry addiction. I love everything in the shop from the simplicity necklaces for everyday wear to the 3D nursery necklaces that are some of the most classic statement pieces I've ever seen.

Here are a few of my favorites (and narrowing it down was painful):


One Fine Day - vintage repurposed OOAK necklace





Prohibition Necklace 








Cherish no.2 - multi strands glass pearls, Swarovski crystals

I would have loved this look for my wedding.




And this one for my bridemaids!





Chain of Clouds no.2 - multiple 14kt gold filled chains and pearls

I was planning on getting this one to wear to the royal wedding today. 
Strangely, it seems my invite was lost in the mail. 


You can see why Sora Designs has over 5,000 Etsy sales. I wonder how many of those are just mine? Hum....

Hurry up! Still time to get something for Mother's Day!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's For Dinner (A much saner mommy)

After my little vent about how sucky 4PM is, I decided to make a few changes around here. I like to cook. In fact, I would say cooking is about an 8 for me. Cooking with kids around? I would give that about a negative 2. So I am switching up the schedule. Usually I put Collin down for a nap around 1pm and Lydia takes her rest. Then I sit for 15 minutes, check emails and drink a diet coke. I then spend the next hour running like a crazy women to clean whatever I can get to. I look like a contestant on the Supermarket Sweep. (That was a cool show.) By the time the kids are up, I'm exhausted.

New plan. After the Diet Coke break (which is non-negational), I make dinner. At 1:15pm. All by my lonesome. I can watch a little TV on Hulu, or listen to music. I'm just going to go to my chopping and sauteing zen place. When the kids get up, I'm happier and have energy to play with them. Of course, the downside is the house is messy. But I would much rather tidy up with the kids around than cook. I can always vacuum to drown out the 4pm breakdowns. (That above photo is of a very impatient Collin yelling "Mama EAT!")

The first day I tried this routine, I made a culinary masterpiece. My copy of BON APPÉTIT arrived and I knew I had to make the cover receipe of Pasta al PomodoroEver since traveling to Italy with friends I've been marinara snob. The sugary tomato pasty crud they sell at the grocery store is no comparison. It just has the same color. (It doesn't keep me from feeding it to the kids though. They love it. )


Oh my. I have had major restraint with my portions lately, but this dish was such decadence, I was slurping it straight from the pan. Creamy and silky, bursting with basil and garlic. It's perfect to serve to company as it reheats wonderfully. (Just make sure to save extra pasta water for the reheating or it will dry out.) I served it with chicken sausage on the side. You can get the recipe here. And if you use dried basil, I will hunt you down.


Another yummy and easy recipe is Quinoa soup with corn and avocado. My kids HATE quinoa and sadly, this will be my last attempt to serve it to them. Shane and I thought it was delicious. Use homemade stock if possible. It makes all the difference. I make a batch of stock every week, so you know it must be easy. Seriously. It is the easiest thing ever, and it makes the house smell incredible. I like this tutorial, but I cook it for at least 6 hours instead of 4.
If you use bouillon cubes, I will hunt you down.

Lastly, the other day I had no idea what to make for dinner. I hadn't been to the store in ages. I thought I would try my hand at pantry cooking and was pretty happy with the results.


Was it as good as if I made everything with fresh ingredients? Well, no. But it was pretty good all the same. No one in my family is a fan of canned veggies, but they were troopers and ate them with minimal complaint. I didn't eat the potatoes because I think they taste fake, but the rest of the family loved them. Guess I will have to start integrating potato pearls. I can always microwave a real potato for me. I found a sad little pork tenderloin in the deep freeze that wanted to be of use. Instead of white wine for the sauce, I used white wine vinegar from the pantry, and in this instance, I think I preferred it. Made an outstanding gravy. Loved the briny hint.  I found just enough Marie Calendar's Corn Bread mix for the four of us. The "Fried" apples were the real hit. I cooked sliced apples in water and lemon juice until they were tender but not falling apart. Then I mixed them with apple juice and a bit of sugar. Once it was boiling, I added some cornstarch mixed with a bit of apple juice and cooked until it made a sticky sauce. Yum yum yum.


Excited to get back to enjoying cooking again. Look at me. Domestic! (Kind of. We're having corn dogs tonight. I will not be preparing them early however.)


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Little Easter Shoot

The other day I was just putting Collin down for a nap when I looked outside and saw the most glorious lighting outside. I made a snap decision. "Lydia! Put your Easter dress on!" I pulled Collin out of his sweats and whirled around his closet like a crazy person, trying to get his Easter outfit on before the light changed. I did enjoy seeing them look at each other with that "Mom's losing it" look. "Jellybeans! Each of you will get a whole egg filled with jellybeans if you smile!" That changed the tone. I had about 3 minutes before Collin was totally done and wanted candy, but I still managed a couple cute shots.


Dancing in the driveway while I hurriedly tested the light.

They seriously know how to shake it. 


Goodness she's lovely.



So handsome. Even with hat hair. He looks like his Daddy.

Oops. Looks like the bow tie is falling down. Did I mention we were rushed?


And did I mention this was during Collin's nap time?


Had enough.


"Don't worry mommy. I'll stay in the photo."
(Jellybeans!)


Ahhh, there we go. 

Hoping the message of Easter brightens your home and heart.

Have an extra three minutes? 
Click here to see a beautiful Easter message you can share with your entire family.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Countdown and Winners





















Finally got some Easter decor up. Isn't my new little flower adorable? I got it in my handmade swap. You can get one too at Wood n' Stitches.




Shane really likes a baked ham for Easter so I will oblige. However, I personally would rather copy this entire meal from Eat Drink Pretty. (One of my very favorite blogs.)


Since Shane is choosing dinner, I will pick dessert. Making this Sour Cream - Lemon pound cake. Planning on serving it with vanilla whipped cream and fresh raspberries. Haven't been indulging in dessert lately (dark chocolate doesn't count) but I found this recipe via Cooking Light, so I guess it's okay. It looks scrumptious. 

Almost ready for Easter. Now if Mother Nature would just help us out. We went to the park yesterday in winter coats, hats and boots. LONGEST WINTER EVER! Shut up Kristi, I know Tennessee has been in the 80's. Give me a call in August when you can't leave the house. :)


Mother's Day Giveaway Week Winners!!!


Winner of the Magpie Lovely giveaway is Melcy.


Winner of the Truche giveaway is (lucky number #1!!) Lindsey

Winner of the Dali Decals giveaway is CW.

Winner of the Huggies Diaper Giveaway is Melanie

and

I never heard back from the winner of the Uppercase Living giveaway, so the new winner is Kara

Congrats to all the winners! Please comment here, then email me with in 72 hours so I can get you your prizes.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What to do with leftover cake....Recycle! (It's Earth Day this week.)


I know there's probably a right way to do cake truffles. But here's how I do it. Take one half cake leftover from a 5 year old's birthday extravaganza. Throw it in the food processor and blend until it looks like pudding. Just toss the whole cake in, frosting and all. Spread out in a cake pan. Chill. Scoop out tablespoon balls and place on parchment paper. Coat with melted white chocolate. Then drizzle with semi-sweet chocolate. Store in freezer and take as treats to sweet new friends.

******
Other things I am loving right now:

Heel Tastic. Works miracles on cracked heals. I got it at Ross for about $6.

2010 Rexburg Baby names! Read to know what not to name the baby.

Vitatops. Saving me with all this Easter candy around!

My sweet kids. They love each other so much.

Luna Smores Bars. Always in my purse.

Kate Spades perfect Easter purse.

New Etsy shop Gloria Jane.


House.

You!




Don't forget to enter last weeks giveaways! All 5 are listed on my right sidebar. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

One week until Easter

I wish I could say that the reason I have the Easter baskets done is because I am a super overachiever. Sadly, it's indication of the opposite. Last week I set aside an evening to get things done on my to-do list. I started with the most pressing: clean the humidifiers. Ick. Once that was done, I scanned through the rest of the list. Organize the pantry? Better to do that after I shop. Sweep the worms off the patio? Too cold. Scrub the kitchen floor? Too exhausting. That went on until I came to...put together Easter baskets. Yay! Totally not pressing in the least, but fun! Anyway, they turned out kind of cute. I'm still working on Shane's.


I'm starting a thing where there is one wrapped gift outside of the basket. That will be the Edward doll. Lydia has no idea who he is, but when I found it on clearance, I knew it must be ours. 
I think it will add a new element to Barbie play. 
I can't wait to bust out "Tangled". That movie was so good. I think we will be spending Easter evening watching it as a family with a dinner of jellybeans, chocolate bunny and popcorn. I may throw a ham in there somewhere. 



Collin has a slight obsession with the Llama Llama books so I was thrilled to find one we don't have. He also is fully obsessed with Elmo. Tucked into that basket are two dairy free chocolate bars, bubbles (like Lydia's), a party blowout, funny mustache glasses, toy bunny that does flips, peeps, TONS of jellybeans and gummies. I think he will be a very happy boy.

As for me, I always get myself something new for Easter, but this year I'm recycling. That's the beauty of moving. No one has seen your wardrobe. However, Lydia and I will both be wearing these incredible bracelets sent during my handmade swap. Thank you so much Rachel! They are stunning.

I am kind of freaking out right now because I had a file full of photos from the packages I received during the swap, but I cannot find it! Argh. Please please tell me I didn't accidently delete it.

Okay. Tonight I am really going to take care of that to do list. Well, at least the line that says "Wrap gifts for baby shower."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Gourmet Gift Baskets.com Giveaway

Here we are to the last giveaway for the week. Make sure to enter the other 4, all listed on my right sidebar. All giveaways end April 21 at midnight.

This one isn't technically a Mother's Day giveaway, but I thought you wouldn't mind a great giveaway from Gourmet Gift baskets.com. You know I love a good gift basket. Cute little thoughtful things all put together to make someone feel loved. So sweet. Well Gourmet Gift Baskets.com has started a new line called "Care Packages" to send to anyone you think might need a little pick me up. Midnight Snack package or Exam Cram Care package for College Students, sports enthusiasts care package for Dads or maybe military family. Plenty of junk food and toy care packages for kids at camp. Easter Care Package for just about anyone. Always quality brands, fresh product and ships fast. This is about as easy as gift giving gets.


One of you is going to receive the Health Nut Care package!
Full of yummy treats that won't kill your diet. Have it sent to a friend or keep it for yourself! (Would be great to use in a 72 kit!)

To enter:

Become a fan of Gourmet Gift Baskets on Facebook. Mention on their wall what basket you are most interested in. Then comment here letting me know you did.

Extra entries for: following Gourmet Gift Baskets on Twitter, liking Natalie's Sentiments on facebook, publicly following my blog and blogging about this giveaway week.

I'll announce the winner on April 22th. Good luck!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Luxe Adornments Giveaway plus a bonus....

When I think of Mother's Day gifts I always think of birds. Something about a mother bird and her nest seems so sweet and maternal. (And most likely because my mom was into decorating with birds way before it became so vogue.) I spent some time searching Etsy for the perfect Mother's day bird necklace and happened upon the most darling jewelry shop, Luxe Adornments. Not only are the wears adorable, they are so affordable! How often does that happen?



This is the Mother's Love personalized necklace. So sweet! It would be a lovely baby shower gift too. The designer of the shop was inspired to create this piece of jewelry to celebrate the birth of her new son.




The lovebirds necklace would be a wonderful bridal shower or anniversary gift. My 10 year is next month....hint hint Shane....


If my Grandma Nordstrom was still alive, I would get her this bakers necklace for Mother's day.
 She was a famous cook. 




These rose earrings look like they were made for Mother's Day. Lots of different colors and styles available. (Only $14)


For less than $15, you can get mom something classic like this Sweet Cream vintage inspired ring

So many pretties, such great prices. Good luck deciding!

One of you is going to receive a $20 gift certificate to Luxe Adornments
PLUS, just to round out your Mother's Day gift, the winner will also receive a $20 gift certificate to Pear Tree Greetings! 

Give your mom some jewelry and personalized note cards. You will, of course, be the favorite child. 
To Enter:

Head over to Luxe Adornments and let me know what you would get with your gift certificate.  

For additional entries, let me know in a separate comment if:
  • Are a public follower 
  • Like natalie's sentiments on Facebook.
  • You have my button on your blog 
  • Tweet or Facebook about this giveaway.
  • Blog about my Mother's Day Giveaway Week. You only need to blog about it once to receive an extra entry on all giveaways this week!
I'll announce the winner on April 22nd. Good luck!
US and Canada Addresses only.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Huggies TWO MONTHS WORTH OF DIAPERS!!!! Giveaway

Okay, I know that you probably won't be giving diapers as a Mother's Day gift. But, I thought it might be a nice Mother's Day gift for you. I know I would be thrilled with a nice box full of diapers. Last year I had my sister Molly for Christmas and I needed just one more gift for her. She was 9 months pregnant. So I ran to the store and bought her several packs of Huggies. Seriously, you can never go wrong with that gift for a new mom.

Now, I guesstimated that 6 packs of diapers should last about 2 months. That's how many we go through in this family. And I've already mentioned that we are a full fledged Huggies family. I love those stinking diapers. And with Collin, I mean that literally. You think a formula feed baby's poop smells nasty? Try a toddler on Almond milk. Gawk! BUT, the diapers hold it all in there and he's comfy as pie.

One lucky reader will be receiving 6 packs of Huggies Little Movers Diapers! 

Huggies® is giving away $5 million in prizes, with the Enjoy the Ride rewards codes included on each pack of Huggies® Little Movers Diapers. You can find more about the in-pack rewards by visiting www.huggies.com/keepupEvery package has a special in-pack code that you can cash in for gifts immediately. Every pack is a winner, so even if you don't win this prize check out some Little Movers for yourself. 


To Enter:

Leave a comment below about who you would give these diapers to. Or if they are for you, something funny your baby did lately.
For additional entries, let me know in a separate comment if:
  • Are a public follower 
  • Like natalie's sentiments on Facebook.
  • You have my button on your blog 
  • Tweet or Facebook about this giveaway.
  • Blog about my Mother's Day Giveaway Week. You only need to blog about it once to receive an extra entry on all giveaways this week!
I'll announce the winner on April 22nd. Good luck!
US and Canada Addresses only.

Prize will be awarded in the form of 6 coupons, each for a free pack of Huggies Little Movers Diapers.
Coupons work for Huggies Overnight diapers as well. 


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dali Decals Giveaway

When thinking about a Mother's Day gift, you can't go wrong with making it personal. I love the idea of sending a sweet photo as a custom canvas. Such a modern feel for a classic gift.  Dali Decals has beautiful canvas in any size you want. I really wanted a square canvas for my recent family photo, but had a hard time finding a place that could do it. Dali Decals allows you to pick just about any dimensions you want. It has image wrap (where the photo wraps around the borders of the canvas) for the extra professional look. I loved how my photo turned out! It's beautiful quality, the colors turned out perfectly, and it was very easy to order.

If you are looking for those huge decals that keep turning up in magazines lately, Dali Decals specializes in them. There are hundreds of stock-designed wall decals that can be used in living rooms, bathrooms, toy rooms, and kitchens. The have a variety of decals for nursery and kids' rooms, they have sports themes, animals, and quotes. The decals come in a variety of over 40 colors to match just about any decor. My bedroom has like zero decor, and I am loving how just one decal can make the entire room look finished!

One reader will win a $25 gift certificate to Dail Decals!

To enter:

Head over to Dali Decals and let me know your favorite decal.  

For additional entries, let me know in a separate comment if:
  • Are a public follower 
  • Like natalie's sentiments on Facebook.
  • You have my button on your blog 
  • Tweet or Facebook about this giveaway.
  • Blog about my Mother's Day Giveaway Week. You only need to blog about it once to receive an extra entry on all giveaways this week!
I'll announce the winner on April 22nd. Good luck!
US and Canada Addresses only.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Magpie Lovely Giveaway

If you've never explored Magpie Lovely, I'm warning you it's addictive. Magpie Lovely is a gorgeous site showcasing beautiful items for women, children and home. Incredible jewelry, accessories, clothing and home decor. I don't know who the Magpie Lovely buyer is, but I want to be her friend. (I imagine her name is Maggie and we like to lunch and then shop at little boutiques for each other's birthdays. But that's beside the point....) If you are ever stumped at what to get a friend, sister or, of course, mom, Magpie Lovely is gift mecca.

Some of my favorites:







(Pretty sure Collin will be getting this for his birthday next month!)



I want this for Lydia's first day of kindergarten.












See, I told you. Addictive. I have spent way too many hours wishful shopping on Magpie Lovely. One of you is going to get to do some real Magpie Lovely shopping with a $25 gift certificate!


To enter:
Head over to Magpie Lovely and let me know what you would get with your gift certificate.  

For additional entries, let me know in a separate comment if:
  • Are a public follower 
  • Like natalie's sentiments on Facebook.
  • You have my button on your blog 
  • Tweet or Facebook about this giveaway.
  • Blog about my Mother's Day Giveaway Week. You only need to blog about it once to receive an extra entry on all giveaways this week!
I'll announce the winner on April 22nd. Good luck!
US Addresses only.



Monday, April 11, 2011

truche giveaway

Sorry! This giveaway week was supposed to start yesterday, but I am running a little behind. I'm on top of it now. :)


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A couple months ago I was homesick, missing Tennessee. (Still missing it. It's a continual winter in Boise and Chattanooga has been in the 80s!)  I thought it might be nice to add a little Tennessee charm to my charm bracelet as a little pick me up. In my searching, I came across the Etsy shop truche. Oh my. The cutest cutest theme shop ever. 


Truche sells pendants in the shape of US states with a tiny punched heart over the city of your choosing. The pendants are made from PMC (Precious Metal Clay) and are .999 silver. They are darling!


As soon as I saw them, I knew I had to have a Tennessee pendant. Something lovely to show love for my Southern home. These would also be wonderful Mother's Day gifts. Maybe you and your kids live in Texas, but your mom lives on the other side of the country. Send her a Texas pendant to remind her "where her heart lives". Every State is available. 


Don't I look so not homesick with my Tennessee necklace? (Speaking of mothers, mine is going to look at this photo and tell me I need to wear lipstick.)


Mom from Massachusetts? Send her something to show her pride. Maybe your family took a vacation to France one summer. Send mom a France pendant as reminder of sweet memories. Each pendant comes with a 16 inch sterling silver chain. 


Truche also has adorable stud earrings that would be great gifts for everyday wear. The tiny love studs are so dainty and classic, what mom (or friend) wouldn't love them? 


Have a mom with understated style? I recommend the Leaves necklace
Or perhaps the Maple necklace. So pretty.

One lucky reader will receive a $25 gift certificate to Truce!

To enter:
Head over to Truche and let me know what you would get with your gift certificate.  

For additional entries, let me know in a separate comment if:
  • Are a public follower 
  • Like natalie's sentiments on Facebook.
  • You have my button on your blog 
  • Tweet or Facebook about this giveaway.
  • Blog about my Mother's Day Giveaway Week. You only need to blog about it once to receive an extra entry on all giveaways this week!
I'll announce the winner on April 22nd. Good luck!
US and Canada Addresses only.



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