Tuesday, August 30, 2011

YAY!!!! - Please PLEASE please please.....

I woke up this morning to this email....

The photo you submitted to the Days of Summer Photo Contest on The SITS Girls website has been selected as the best in its category....

Voting for the grand prize winner is now open.


Click this link and vote for my photo of Lydia swinging. All it takes is one click. You don't even have to sign up or anything. 


And, just to say thank you, if you leave a comment here telling me you did, I'll pick two of you and send you something fun from my trip to Hawaii.

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Day of School

Yay! It's my favorite time of the blogging year! When everyone (even those bloggers who never post anything) post cute photos of their kids on their first days of school. Lydia started KINDERGARTEN this year!!!! And to quote my facebook page....

Now that we are on day 2 of kindergarden I can say one thing. I'm not a home schooling mama. No no no. This is awesome. Lydia is happy and loves the social aspect. I am getting soooooo much more done around the house and when both kids are home, I already feel like I can dedicate more focused time with them. We still have our "learning time", but now someone else is adding to that process...for free! LOVE me some public school.

She picked out her outfit. She seems to have gotten the style gene. If you ever saw any of my elementary school outfits, you would know, she didn't get it from me.

Take a photo of me "on my way"!

And get one of my backpack!
(Got it from Gap Kids. All out of pink, but the other colors are on sale)

So excited!!!

Me too! While Collin was napping I actually had time to organize my pantry AND my "hoarding" shelf. No five year old begging me to play. Cleaning without feeling guilt??? Incredible. 
(Todd, I added this photo just for you, my little OCD clean freak.)

In other news - 

Click here to see some of our last summer adventures.

 Collin and I made a little "vlog"
(For the reader who asked if I picked up a Southern accent, you can see for yourself.)

As requested, I put a link list of my favorite "wordy" blogs on my righthand sidebar. Happy reading :)

AND I have a fantastic birthday giveaway coming up so stay tuned!

Don't forget to enter the Summer Reading giveaway!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Summer Reads - And Giveaway!

My 2011 summer bookshelf

I learned something this summer. When you live in a neighborhood filled with children, good luck getting your kids down at a normal time. So my big plans for reading dozens of books this summer didn't go as planned. But I still got in some great reads I thought I would share with you.

In no particular order:

Coming Up For Air - Patti Callahan Henry  -  I actually just finished this last night and I'm still sad it's over. Maybe because I felt a strange connection to the main character, Ellie. From my teenage years through college I had one overriding fear. The one that would keep me up at night. That was, to experience true love, then to lose it and settle for something less. I thought it would be one thing I couldn't bear.  When I met Shane I knew he was going to be either the best thing that ever happened to me, or the worst. After feeling the way I did for him, I knew no one else would ever make me as happy.

But what happens if you do settle? What if the love you live is just a shadow of what you've known? How long can you push the longing aside before it starts to consume you? Coming Up for Air delves into the loss of of two women. A mother who's choices left her cold and alone, and a daughter determined to learn from her mother's mistakes. -  I found this book riveting and beautiful especially in it's Southern setting. (Have I mentioned lately I miss the South?)

Beauty Queens - Libba Bray Love me a LOL book! Libba Bray, you are my summer reading favorite. The most perfect "beach book" I've ever read. Just wish I had saved it for my trip to Hawaii. A plane full of Beauty Queens crash land on a desert Island. Genius. Every super awesome stereotype you can think of, plus a few you wouldn't even dream of. It reminds me of all the times in Tennessee, women would ask if Lydia was going to compete in pageants. Um. HELL NO. Have you seen Toddlers and Tiaras??? (Excuse my language. I have mentioned before, I like the word hell.)

(Warning, a smattering of F-bombs, so this is a PG-13 book for sure.)

A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness  - In the mood for a supernatural novel but sick to death of young adult versions? A Discovery of Witches main character is a 34 year old (My age!) intellectual who just happens to be a closet witch. She has been ignoring her childhood world of the supernatural her entire life, until that life forces it's way back in. Reminds me of a combination between Twilight and Outlander. Great crack lit.

You Don't Sweat Much for a Fat Girl - Celia Rivenbark - Oh Celia. You're always reliable to fulfill my snark craving. If you haven't read any of her books, you're missing out. Celia writes witty essays exposing the seriously messed up aspects of our culture. I spit coke out of my nose when I read her thoughts on Marly and Me, and how "Marley needed to die a lot sooner". Amen sister. That dog was wack. Only Celia would look to Betty Draper for Motherhood inspiration and drag the Science Fair moms under the bus. And I really want to hit the mall together so we can mock "kiosk hell". Sometimes we just need to address that Octomom, "that nutty broodmare of a mama" is completely "Cray cray". And that even if you don't agree with Obama politics, he is a genius at planning date nights. 

If you are looking for a serious laugh, this book is for you. (Expect some "flavorful" Southern language. Just warning ya'll.)

And a few more....

Room - Emma Donoghue  - I think I already mentioned this, but it was just so incredible. Tragic yet uplifting. You won't be able to put it down.
The Beach Trees - Karen White - I love everything Karen writes. Read my review here.
The Lost Hero - More Percy Jackson fun! - Great if you're needing a Harry Potterish fix. - I have learned more Greek Mytholgy from these books than my college course on the same subject!
The Red Pyramid - The new Rick Riordan series, just as fun as the Percy Jackson, but instead of Greek mythology, it's Egyptian.
Black Heels to Tractor Wheels - Pioneer Women - Great happy love story. 
The Red Queen - Phillippa Gregory - I'm not sure how I feel about this book. It was interesting but really slow. If you are really into historical fiction and atypical main characters, you may just like it.
5 Love Languages - I re-read this every few years. It will change your marriage forever, I promise.  


One reader will be receiving their own sparkling new copies of You Don't Sweat Much For A Fat Girl and Coming Up For Air! Both just released this month!

(Getting advance copies of books may be my favorite blog perk.)

To enter:

  • Leave a comment letting me know the best book you have read lately, or a book you are looking forward to diving into.
  • Get an additional entry if you are a public follower. - let me know in a separate comment.

I will announce the winner on August 31st. Good luck!
US addresses only.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Yellow Lovelies

Back for just a moment to share some summer color before the Autumn moves in. 


I love eating dinner outside in the hot air and then suddenly reaching for your sweater and noticing it is nighttime and you've talked the evening away. 

Next baby...entirely yellow nursery?

Blond is just another world for yellow you know.

Add 4 inches and you may just tempt me.

My birthday is almost here. Missing my friends who always made it a yellow affair.

Enjoy the rest of your summer. School is right around the corner! Yikes!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

of course my hot husband might have something to do with it....

Unplugging for a bit to enjoy the rest of my summer with them. We have kindergarden to get ready for! I'll probably still be updating my family blog on our super exciting summer doings.

Enjoy the rest of your season. :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Handmade Swap II

Update - FULL! I will move those of you who didn't get a spot to the top if the list for the next swap.

I've been doing some serious jewelry making lately. I kind of get into a groove and my nights disappear into separating beads and choosing color combos. I needed a little break from the computer. Something is really messing with my analytics and I'm too frustrated to spend anymore time trying to figure it out. Doing something creative de-stresses me. 

Since I have all this pretty jewelry done, I thought it might be time for another handmade swap. Anyone game? I will send you a package of two wrapped handmade things (one of which will be a necklace/earring set), and you send me a package with two of your handmade creations. 

I will probably have enough time to get 5 or 6 packages done, so if you are interested, email me by Wednesday night at nataliessentiments@gmail.com. My only requirements are that you be a blogger, live in the USA and that you didn't participate in my last swap. Since I wasn't able to accommodate everyone who wanted a spot last time, it's only fair. :) 

Off to go do some beading with Lydia. She's learning to make necklaces. Don't worry. I won't be sending any of you her creations. Her choices in color combinations are...um....imaginative.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The wondermom bubble pops easily.

Today we had a "hot day". It happens when I feel like the house is getting a little stuffy. As soon as we wake up, we open every window in the house. As the day (and house) heat up, we get into our swimsuits and have a little vacation afternoon. I filled the kiddie pool and laid out towels. I dawned my floppy black hat, made myself a diet coke with ice and grabbed my book. It would seem my legs are impervious to the sun, but I really want at least a little color on them before Hawaii. Later, I set up water-paints under the umbrella and went to make lunch.

At the kids request I made corndogs and to compensate for their general lack of anything redeeming (the corndogs not the kids), I decided to steam some green beans. I stood in my clean, freshly mopped kitchen, looking out the window at a sunflower peaking over the fence. I washed the fresh beans and started snapping off the ends. Listening to the kids playing and laughing in the backyard, sweat beading a little on my forehead in our home that had reached 90 degrees, I felt very 1940's housewife. From my floppy hat and one piece black swim suit, the vintage cloth catching the beans and the non-air-conditioned house - all I needed was a little Scout Finch to come running in barefoot asking for some lemonade.

Of course, that didn't last long. I turned the water off and heard a sound I recognized immediately. It was the "ahhhhhh" sound of satisfaction Collin gives every time he takes a drink of soda. Not that he is normally given soda, but every once in a while he gets a sip of Sprite at a restaurant.

Oh no. I ran out to the backyard to find Collin downing the last of my diet coke I had forgotten about. The 44 ouncer that had been nearly full. As my eyes drifted from the empty cup, I then noticied little Collin was buck naked. Except for the fact he was wearing head to toe body paint compliments of Lydia. Where is Lydia? I look around. Oh awesome. She has also painted her entire body but added her hair and the patio as well. Crap! Collin is about to poop in the pool! Oh wait. He must have sat on a large piece of sidewalk chalk cause it's stuck between his cheeks.

Buh bye 1940 fantasy, looks like we are back to 2011. Naked kids eat all corndogs and ketchup. Green beans and plums are discarded on the ground outside. I give them a bath in the pool. The clean kitchen is replaced by a spilt sippy cup full of almond milk and an enormous box of crayons that Collin drops into the milk. Time for nap! Of course, it doesn't happen. Not with "baby's first caffeine" racing through his veins. Lydia asks for the seventeenth time for the dang tape so she can make a "project" during rest time. I know from experience that it will inevitably cause utter chaos. "Please just go read a book for half an hour."

She returns every 5 minutes for the tape until I threaten to tape her door shut.  "PLEASE Mommy, can I have a cheese stick first???"

"Fine, go get it out of the fridge drawer."

Want to know how far a huge carton of soy yogurt will fling itself when it lands on it end? Onto every single surface of counters, floors, ceiling, open fridge, drying dishes and 5 year old daughter.

Rest time is a bust. I gave her another bath in the kiddie pool.

I have a few minutes now while they are watching Super Why. I cleaned up most of the yogurt during Dinosaur train. (Man I love TiVo.) Now if I was smart I would go clean up the almond milk/crayon/yogurt gravy off my no longer freshly mopped floors. Or I could go clean up lunch on the patio. I could go shower.

But I don't. I just make myself another diet coke, edit this snapshot of the happy flower outside my kitchen window (didn't I make it look nice and 1940's?) and write this blog post.

Now that I think of it though, I do have all the makings for a peach crostata. I could have the kids help me make one (Mommy points!) and have it ready for dinner tonight (wife points!). I just might rally! This may just be a successful day. I can be super mom! Or I may just stay on this couch and catch up with the Glee Project. I haven't decided.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Getting ready to do a little service today. We had a great lesson in Relief Society (the Mormon class on Sunday for women) about getting outside ourselves and I felt inspired. Nothing cheers you more than cheering someone else. Of course, it's nice to be served too. I swear, I will never forget the day when the young women at my church came over and mopped my floors. That was a good day.  

Other good things:

The house I would buy if money was no issue.
Way to refill the Swiffer Wet Jet Bottle! Cause for $4 a pop, it's a total rip.
My (way too beautiful) friend Sabrina and her great style.
The hairstyle I must perfect before Hawaii.
Story to warm your heart.
Funny people are awesome.
A winner of my one of my giveaways shows off her prize in use. Darling!
The backpack I would get if I was still in school.
If you have a big tree, these swings are a must.
LOVE this hat. In black please.


The winner of the doTerra Giveaway is April. Congrats! 
Email me and I will get you your prize. 
I hope the peppermint oil helps with your...um....constipation.
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