Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Get's my best Halloween costume ever!

Let me take you on a little journey. It was Halloween 1997. 15 years ago. I was 20 and studying for a semester in Jerusalem. There isn't a lot of Halloween festivities in Israel. Go figure. But that wasn't going to stop 180 overly enthusasic young Americans (and two Canadians) from partying like it was 1999. 
Which still hadn't happened yet.

But where would we find costumes? Oh I know. Some random clothes from vendors around the Old City and a dirty old wig from the gutter. 

And we have the Brady Bunch.


I was born for this role.
My sway-walk was epic.

Braces? Nope, tin foil.
I have no idea whose glasses these were. 

"Peter" is wearing the wig found in said gutter.

His green shirt was mine.

There are a couple extra characters, "Peter's Girlfriend" and "Alice's butcher boyfriend, Sam Franklin. 

Ah, Carol and Mike.
(My "Brady Dad" was kind of hot huh? And for the record, not gay.)

So there's your Halloween treat from me. 

You're welcome.


To all the people suffering from the impact of Sandy, our prayers are with you.

Monday, October 29, 2012

100% Dad-Made Costume Reveal!

We've watched Charlie Brown Halloween a lot this month. 

So much so that when I was taking a walk with Collin and he said to me 
"If you try to hold my hand I'll slug you!"

And Lydia decided she wanted to dress as a ghost this Halloween.

Great! How simple. A sheet with two holes.

But Shane had other ideas. 

"Natalie, can you buy me some black yarn and a yarn needle?"

Um, ok.

Two nights of hand stitching while watching 30 Rock.....

And we have this. Pretty much the coolest ghost costume I've ever seen.

He sewed in a pair of lensless glasses to make sure the sheet stays in place. 

The mouth opens in case Lydia wanted to snack on candy.

Yea. My husband is a genius. 

I was in charge of Collin's costume. It's pretty cute too. 
I spent a lot of time on it. 
If by spending a lot of time you mean finding it at a yard sale last summer and borrowing the hat from my mom's dress up box.

Cowboy watch out! Behind you!!!!!


Even the creator is frightened!

(Shane, you rock.)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Instafriday #20 - and a instagiveaway

We are in full Halloween mode around here! Shane is busy building Halloween decor and our calendar is BOOKED.  Every minute of the next 5 days is filled with Halloween activities. We had the pumpkin carving party last weekend. A church Harvest Festival which I spent 6 hours setting up/preparing food/cleaning up. (Being in the Relief Society Presidency is a full time job.)

Last night we went to the pumpkin patch for a (thankfully rainless) hayride and to enjoy some nighttime kettle corn and pig races. We're classy and we know it.

This time Collin actually got to pick a pumpkin. 
(Instead of almost drowning in a cornfield like last week.)

Grandma sent Halloween shirts.

And may I add, all I said was "Let's take a photo to send to Grandma." This pose was all their own.

We had a chilly evening around the fire eating nutella smores.

I put Lydia to work.

Which Collin immediately thwarted. 

We warmed up with a little spelling and hot chocolate.

I can't believe MY daughter is good at spelling. 
Spelling used to make me cry. A lot. or is it alot?

She's so pretty.

Her hair is finally long enough to do a sock bun again. 

One steadfast rule in our home....mommy picks Sunday clothes and hair. NO DISCUSSION.

Well, Shane can pick his own clothes.

In big family news, Shane is MAKING Lydia's Halloween costume. This was all his doing. He heard what she wanted to be, and had an idea and started to work. The costume debuts tonight at a trunk or treat, so I'll let you see on Monday. It's awesome.

Hope your family is up to some spooky fun this weekend!

Follow me on instagram @natssentiments

life rearranged


I'm think that every 10 instafridays I'll have a little giveaway.  Just cause I love you guys. Leave a comment below and I'll pick one randomly to win a pair of handmade earrings :) Winner announced next friday.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Keeping her from growing up too fast

If you are a natalie's sentiments facebook fan, you may have seen my distressing cry for parenting advice last week. If not, here was my update:

"Parenting emergency. Lydia came home from school today obviously wanting to tell me something, but couldn't quite do it. Finally, covering her face, she wrote out the word "SEX". My 6 year old was told about sex today by a boy in her class. He also said he wanted to "pretend sex" with her in the field at recess. I think I handled the conversation ok with Lydia, but what do I do with the situation at school??? Do I talk to the teacher? The boy's parents? I thought I was at least a couple years away from having to deal with this!"

Thank you very much for all of your advice. It helped immensely. The most "liked" advice was from Randi Schmid who said, "I would call the school immediately! No, in fact, I would go to school and speak directly to the principle. That's unacceptable. I know it probably happens but it should be addressed immediately. The boys' parents should be called by the school, though." 

The next day I made an appointment to speak to the principle. She was mortified. While she said this was not uncommon, she did take it very seriously. The boy was pulled out of class and the principle and he had a little chat. He was pretty embarrassed, but the principle got him to admit he had told her about sex. However, it was still a little sketchy on what exactly he had told her. Lydia was too embarrassed during our talk to tell me exactly, and I didn't want to force her into anything. I knew that this conversation needed to make her feel safe and teach her that I was an ally. For that reason, I also told the principle that Lydia was not to be made aware that I had divulged our conversation. She assured me that the parents would be called, their teacher made aware of the situation and that the boy would be watched. He was also keep from recess the rest of the day so he could not talk to Lydia about his meeting with the principle. The principle said we could meet again soon to discuss the situation.

Right after our meeting, I went and joined Lydia for lunch in the cafeteria. She was thrilled with the happy meal I brought. As we munched on fries she leaned over to me and whispered. "I talked to Pete* today. I told him I didn't want to play the sex game or talk about it anymore". I told her that was great. I reminded her again that sex was something she could always talk to me or daddy about, but not with anyone else. "Oh, I know". *name changed

It's sad. I've done a lot to try and keep my little girl from growing up too fast. But she's very mature and looks like she's 2 years older than she is. All the more reason to be vigilant.

I do almost all of her clothes shopping and never go near places like "Limited Too", or even the girls section of Target. Sexy is not a look I want for my 6 year old. Why would anyone?

Lydia is hardly ever on the computer, and when she is, I'm with her. Last year we shut off cable so that we could have complete control over the shows the kids watch (and to escape commercials and the crazy cable bill). We just have Netflix streaming. I heard one of Lydia's friends telling her that all the shows Lydia and Collin watch "are for babies". That made me smile. I love that my six year old is watching strawberry shortcake, Wonder Pets and Max and Ruby. Shows meant for 6 year olds. I happen to know this particular friend can watch any PG-13 movie she wants to, as long as a parent is watching with her. So I'm guessing she really has a good understanding of sex. That friend hasn't been invited over again.

There is no reason for any child to grow up as faster than they need to. But often we can't keep it from happening. This summer I took the kids to the local park. Annoyingly, a bunch of teenagers were lurking around the play equipment. I hate that. On several occasions I've asked older kids to get off the playground so the young kids could play. I'm that mom.

Well, on this occasion, Lydia ran over to the swings while I was helping Collin elsewhere. I saw that there were a couple teenage boys also swinging. When I noticed they were talking to her, I grabbed Collin's hand and walked over to them. The boys left quickly. It was time for us to go anyway, so we headed home.

"Mom, those boys were really nice."

"Oh yea? Why was that?"

"Well, one said that no matter how much he wanted to hit little girls, he wouldn't."

Anger rising in my chest. "Um, that's not really a nice thing. You shouldn't want to hit anyone."

"Oh." "Mom, what's "herpes"?"

This was when I slammed on my brakes, flipped my car back to the park to find these "nice boys" who had talked to my daughter about herpes, so I could slap their pimply faces. Unfortunately they had retreated back to their dork cave.

I know there's no way to totally protect our kids from this world that wants them to be Honey Boo Boo (gag) instead of Anne of Green Gables. But it's hard. There's a lot of crap out there.

I'm so unbelievable thrilled that Lydia came to me to talk about her sudden introduction to sex. And I think I handled it well. The moment she told me what had happened, I said a silent prayer that I would be the parent she needed me to be. I stayed relaxed and listened. I kept it light. I never let her feel like she had done anything wrong, or that there was anything wrong with sex. Just that it was a special, private thing that we would talk about when she was older. But I made sure she knew she could always talk to me about it. Anytime.

Since then, I've asked her exactly what it was that *Pete told her about sex. She says she can't really remember. She remembers something about being naked and kissing, but after that she said she didn't really want to know anymore, so she stopped listening. She didn't like the way he made her feel, so she left. I marvel at the strength of my little girl to already trust herself enough to walk away in a situation that she felt uncomfortable. Even with a boy who she has "liked" since the beginning of school.

Oh, I pray that she will always have that strength.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Little Pumpkin Carving Party

My friend, Kim, throws the best kids parties. They're the best because they are so simple. Just a couple friends, some good food, a few games and a simple activity. This weekend a few of us headed to her darling country home for a Pumpkin Carving Party.

I know. It's the cutest thing ever. It even has a red barn in the back. And a tree house. 

Someday I'll have a driveway like this.

(Kim would want me to tell you that she is new to the house and is in the process of taking down all that wall paper. See that hardwood floor? She discovered it under 40 year old carpet.)

The party was great. We had everything we needed.

Chili, hot chocolate and a daddy who's skilled in pumpkin carving.

A rousing game of wrap the mummy. Can you find Collin?

Some creepy desserts.
(green pudding with oreos + plastic cups and a sharpie = frankenstein parfaits.) 

A competitive game of ghostbusters. (Relay of popping the ghost balloons. As you can see, Collin was not a fan.)

A country sunset.

And eight very happy little kids.

Thanks for the great evening Kim!




The randomly selected winner of the Manner Cards is Shannon. Congrats! Email me and I will get you your prize. (Sorry so late in announcing! I totally forgot.)

One of the best parenting investments you'll make.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Meet a Mintie!

If you've read my blog long, you know I love Minted. I've ordered my Christmas cards from them, Easter cards, party invites, party decor, and stationary. Great modern design, thick quality paper and wonderful customer service. 

I pretty much freaked out when I found out Minted is now selling art prints! These prints are by independent artists from all over the world.

I happen to know that gallery walls are all the rage now. Just look at this photo I took of my friend, Zooey Deschanel's, bedroom when we were having a little slumber party the other night:

Or this may be a screen shot from the season premire of "The New Girl". Either way.

Design Crush used several Minted Art prints to show you how to do the perfect gallery wall.

I was totally thrilled when one of my readers/friends let me know that after clicking my blog link to Minted, she discovered Minted's search for designers

She entered a piece and won! Now you can order her print!!! So exciting.

This is Laura with her gorgeous original painting. 

And here's the print!

And all the sizes you can get it in.

Love it.

I thought it would fun to get to know the artist behind the art so I asked Laura to tell me a little about herself.

I Studied Art and Graphic Design at Utah State State University, since then, we have
been doing a lot of traveling as a military family. One place we more recently lived was
Okinawa, Japan. We were there for 3 years with our 3 young children, 2 of whom were
born there. What a wonderful place to have the chance to live and experience a
different culture and language. It definitely has influenced the way I look at life and also
my design. We now live in Meridian, ID. I have continued to try and fit in time for
designing and my art. I have been blessed to be able to do some design work from
home while still being with my kids. I was excited to recently be involved with some
various art challenges through It has been a blessing to have an outlet for
something I love and to be exposed to great designers & their amazing work. I am also
presently the art mom for my sonʼs first grade class. What a great experience to go back
to the basics and see little artists who truly enjoy the process. 
In the words of PabloPicasso, “All Children are artists. 
The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

Thank you Laura! I loved your painting so much, I got a print for my house!

Go check out the Minted Art prints for yourself. Or, even better, submit one of your original designs. Maybe you will be the newest Mintie!

Friday, October 19, 2012

InstaFriday #19 ...a little vacation and when NOT to go on a hayride.

I'm really behind on my week updates. Sorry Mom!
Here's a couple weeks for you.

General conference weekend started with a little stowaway in my bed. I didn't mind. 
Everyone needed a little sleep in.
Can I tell you how excited I am for next year when church will start at 11 instead of 9? Heaven.

The kids worked on their conference packets. 

We had a special conference meal.

Penne with creamy pumpkin sauce, served with fried rosemary. I asked shane to make it while I did dessert and he did a great job. But my favorite part was him getting frustrated with the kids for eating nothing but bread. "after I spent so much time making all that food." It took everything I had in me not to yell "HA!!! Welcome to my world!" 

I focused on making the ultimate fall dessert.

Ina Garten's Warm Apple Crisp is Autumn perfection.

There's been a lot of Fall treats lately. Lydia and I had a shopping date that ending in Lydia getting 5 new sweaters and pumpkin doughnuts.

"Mom, that sweater looks like it was dyed in swamp poo". Okay, no olive green for Liddy-Bitty.

Chocolate chip cookies with cloves makes them nice and festive. 

I swear they weren't this big when I put them on the pan.

Matching fake smiles, or total sugar overdose? You be the judge.

There was school inservice, so we packed up the car to visit Grammy who was visiting SLC.

Spent a rainy Fall afternoon taking a solitary walk while Grammy hung with the kids. I love this house so much I was about to knock on this door to make an offer. 
Or at least to ask to see the floor plan.

Found some cool yarn graffiti.

And other awesome things.

Kids went leaf picking when the rain slowed.

And when it didn't, we turned on The Nutcracker and the cousins danced. 

"Aunt" Savannah made creepy snacks.

And Grammy gave out Christmas gifts since she won't be with everyone in December.

Under the guise of getting a red box movie, Shane and I managed a mini date to get gelato. 

We attempted a family photo. Fail.
At least I got one good smile.

We love Grammy.
(And my darling nephew Jonah of course.)

We got home in time for Collin to go on his first field trip.
I called ahead since I saw really bad weather in the forecast, but they were going, rain or shine.

Collin decided he wanted to be a farmer.

We heard teachers yelling "let's get on the hayride and get our pumpkins before it starts to rain!"
Ok. I guess that's a plan.

Though the clouds were getting closer.

Really close.

Oh dear. (This is a no-filter shot people.)

Suddenly the sky BROKE. I have NEVER felt harder or more powerful rain in my life. Had I been in Tennessee I would have been in total tornado panic.

The wind was so strong, peoples umbrellas were being whipped away, and then the hail started. The kids were screaming all around us and Collin started to freak out. 

Somehow I held on to our umbrella and wrapped in around us so that we couldn't see anything. I told Collin what an adventure this was and even got him laughing a little. The wind was so strong, we weren't able to hear the people around anymore. "Let's take a photo for Daddy!"

My body was as wet as if I had jumped into the ocean fully dressed.

Finally the tractor got us to an awning and people started sprinting for their cars in the mud. By the time we made it to ours, we were covered in muck and hay, shaking from the cold.

My car heater was the most blessed thing.

Collin was laughing and crying simultaneously. It had been really scary.

We got home, put on warm clothes and spent a few hours in front of the fire, snuggling and drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows. 

I thought about my pioneer heritage all day long.

life rearranged
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