Friday, December 19, 2014

Insta-Friday #61 - Christmas time is here!

You guys! My baby is sleeping and my kids are playing nicely in the living room. I think I have about 20 minutes of prime time free time!!!! (Prime time free time is any free time that happens before bedtime. It's exorbitantly rare for me. Am I the only one? I really wish I could have a heart to heart with baby Elise and let her know that babies are supposed to take a couple hour nap in the day where their mommy's can shower and pee and maybe, just maybe, do a non-mommy thing. But no. She likes the 45 minute nap plan. Also known as the "mommy is about to lose it plan". )

But right now I have 20 minutes. Well, about 18 now.

Hold up. Kids bumped heads. 

Cry-Cry-Cry, mom kisses heads, "go play."

- 15 minutes left. 

Okay. Here's what we've been up to....


I LOVE our "Merry and Bright" theme. 
It's been a really cool change from our usual traditional decor. 

And my mantel is my favorite.

Took a vintage cheese dome and turned it into this snowy goodness. Miniatures and Epson salt. 
My new obsession.

I'm putting everything in jars and dumping in epson salt. It's kind of an obsessive habit at this point. (House globe from Target. My other obsession. )

I'm finally jumping on the felt bandwagon. I was looking at Pinterest months ago saw a great nativity. I thought "I could do that. What a nice handmade gift for my babies." FIFTY HOURS of cutting and hand embroidery later, and I'm done. The donkey alone took three hours of stitching. All I can say is they better freaking cherish it. 
(Instructions here. I did a lot of extra stitching. Don't do the extra stitching. In fact, do no stitching and you could cut this down to a 10 hour project. But I do like the stitching...)

And then I got tired of stitching and decided to start burning wood. 
It's crazy fun and makes my home smell like a campfire. 

(And this is why you snag fallen branches after storms like a crazy hoarder. )

I thought my projects were pretty cool. Then my sister Abby sends me this made from the drift wood near her home. I know. You can't top this. Wow. 

I'm still working on my embroidery projects. I may get them up here before Christmas. Or I may throw them across the room and shove fist-fulls of fudge in my face. I'm still deciding. 

Hope everyone else is ignoring nightly chores to do fun holiday projects too!
I love Christmas!!!!!

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Perfect Christmas Trifle

Ah, Christmas desserts. The one time of year that utter decadence is allowed guilt free. I've been limiting my sugar this year to the occasional small indulgence. But I'm going to shove my face into every dessert available this Christmas. 

Last year I hosted a big Christmas Day party and I wanted to have a showstopper dessert to go along with the goodies my friends were bringing. I wanted to combine some of my favorite holiday flavors into one dessert. And thus my version of a Perfect Christmas Trifle was born. 

For the cake - Mace Bundt cake. This cake tastes like Christmas. Really, it does. 

Mace Bundt Cake

(Do not preheat oven)

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature + 4 TBS for pan
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 TBS Ground Mace (found in spice section of almost any grocery store.)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional, I think better without for the trifle)
  • Cream the one cup butter; add sugar gradually; beat until very light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time- beating well after each addition.
  • Add dry ingredients to blend, add nuts
  • Grease Bundt pan using 3-4 TBS butter (You REALLY want to get that pan greased up.)
Bake at 300 degrees 50-60 minutes. Watch carefully!
Turn out immediately. Cool to room temperature.

Paula Dean Egg Nog Pudding

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups milk
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
Freshly grated nutmeg

Mix together flour, cornstarch and sugar in a saucepan. Add 1/4 cup of the milk to the flour mixture and stir until smooth. In another saucepan, scald the remaining 2 3/4 cups milk; add to flour mixture. Cook and stir mixture over medium-low heat; do not allow to boil. In a bowl beat the yolks; remove 1/2 cup hot mixture and add to yolks to temper them; mix well and return to pot. Continue to cook over low heat for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; add butter and vanilla. Thoroughly fold egg whites into the hot mixture. Place in bowl, sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg and chill.

OR - Just make a pudding mix taste like eggnog! That makes it a bit easier.

I use raspberries for this dessert, but they are a little pricey at Christmas time. I've found if you defrost frozen raspberries, mix in a little sugar, they are fantastic drizzled on the inside of the trifle, buy a tiny container of fresh berries just for the top. 

Layer cake, raspberries soaked in sugar and then pudding. Repeat until almost to the top of the trifle bowl. Lastly, top with fresh whipping cream (flavored with sugar and vanilla of course) and fresh raspberries. Refrigerate for several hours. Served chilled. 


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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Hope it's wonderful!

As we focus this week on all we are grateful for, I keep thinking about these little treasures and how, for right now, they're all mine. Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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Winner of the handmade earring.... HeidiK! Email me and I'll send you your prize. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Thanksgiving Dress Rehersal.

We are hosting Thanksgiving this year and I've asked Shane to handle the turkey. So naturally, he wanted to do a test run. We found a recipe from Sur la table that looked promising. Something about starting with the breast-side down and herb butter under the skin sounded intriguing.

It was the best turkey I have ever had. He followed the directions exactly and it was perfectly moist and unbelievably flavorful. The drippings made scrumptious gravy.

Just in case the link is temporary, here's all the details:

Classic Herb Roasted Turkey

Serves: Yields 10 to 12 servings
  • 1 (12 to 14 pound) turkey, neck and giblets removed
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, divided
  • 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons each minced fresh thyme, sage, and rosemary leaves
  • 1 to 2 cups chicken or turkey stock, as needed
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large stalks celery, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

Buy your turkey (and thaw if needed) two days before the big day so you have time to salt the meat and dry the skin in the refrigerator. Make sure to save the turkey neck and giblets, except the liver, to make a delicious stock to flavor your gravy. 

Wash the turkey thoroughly in cold water and pat completely dry with paper towels. Place the turkey on a large cutting board and run your hand gently between the skin and meat to loosen the skin, being careful not to tear the skin. Loosen as much skin as possible over the breasts, legs, and thighs. Rub the meat with kosher salt to coat the meat evenly, again taking care not to rip the skin. Transfer the turkey to a baking dish large enough to hold it and place uncovered in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours. 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. and place a rack in the lower third. Remove turkey from the refrigerator and transfer to a cutting board. Place ½ of the melted butter in a small mixing bowl, add chopped herbs and stir to combine. Rub the turkey meat with the butter mixture, coating all parts equally. Gently stretch skin to cover breast meat completely. Coat turkey skin with remaining melted butter. Using kitchen twine, tie the legs together at the ankles and tuck wing tips under breasts. 

Place a heavy roasting rack inside a large roasting pan and lightly oil the rack. Flip turkey breast side down and place on top of rack. Place turkey in oven and roast for 60 minutes, turning the roasting pan every 30 minutes to ensure even browning. Check roasting pan to make sure pan drippings do not scorch, adding stock or water as needed. 

After 60 minutes, remove roasting pan from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Using turkey lifters or clean kitchen towels, carefully lift turkey off the rack and flip breast side up. Return turkey to rack, breast side up, and baste with pan juices. Scatter onion, carrot, and celery pieces across bottom of roasting pan, stirring to coat with pan juices. Return turkey to oven and continue roasting until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 170 degrees. Remove turkey from oven, place roasting pan on a heatproof surface, and tent turkey loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm. Rest turkey for at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Strain pan drippings, pressing on solids to remove liquid, and reserve drippings to make gravy. 

To serve, remove legs and thighs using a sharp carving knife. Slice the breasts into ¼-inch slices and place on a serving platter with legs and thighs. Serve immediately. 

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tomorrow is Halloween! - Insta-Friday #60

Last weekend Shane realized Elise has never experienced his shaped pancakes!
He rectified that immediately. 
 Took her on her first hayride as well.

First corn maze. We got lost. Didn't tell the kids. 

And first attack of leaves from big brother. 

So far, a pretty eventful October. 

(Oh yea, I also cut 7 inches off my hair. I like it.)

Can't wait for tomorrow!!!!

Follow me on instagram @natssentiments

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life rearranged

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Still here.

It's Fall!

Well hello there! Anyone still around? I'm dusting off some cobwebs just for a moment since I am forcing myself to stay awake until Shane gets home from a recent trip. To Alaska. Alaska is really far away. I kind of wish I could head to Alaska for a week. Or really anywhere that had a nice hotel with a plush bed and room service. I am beat.

So why the crazy lull in blogging? Well, I'll tell you. I have three children. It doesn't really seem like a lot when you just say it like that. 3 kids. That really is only one more than two. And two is less than the American average. But take it from me, 3 is a lot.

I love having three kids. I can't believe how scrumptious my baby is. She is so funny and bright and my other two find so much joy watching her grow. Today we all sat on a blanket and laughed as she continuously tried to escape us to go eat dirt.

For the most part, being a mom to these little darlings is about as good as I could imagine it to be. With the exception that Elise does not feel the need to nap for much longer than 45 minutes at a time, which is pretty much the bane of my existence. (And let's be honest. A whole lot of the time I think I am going to freaking lose my mind. But, I've realized that is just part of the mom status quo.)

AND - one more big reason for blogging lull?.... I made the (TOTALLY INSAIN) decision to hand-make almost all my Christmas gifts. I've been working since June. I kid you not. So all that fun blogging time that I used to have around 9:30 at night? I'm at home working with a glue gun, needle and thread or pounding nails with my tiny hammer. I'll make sure to show you some of my creations coming up.

I miss ya'll! Happy Autumn :)

they are pretty cute.

P.S. - you can always catch me on Instagram @natssentiments

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Super Saturday!

Hey readers, I'm bogarting my blog for a tic for a church activity. Hope you don't mind. 

Hello McMillan Relief Society ladies! It's crunch time for our Super Saturday. We need all your order forms and money by WEDNESDAY!!! If you're still not sure about what our crafts are, take a look....

We will have a table of starched fabric and will be teaching how to make removable wall decals.
I was playing around with some other uses of starched fabric and made a cute little garland and hanging decor. We can teach you to make these, but you will need to bring your own embroidery hoop and/or bakers twine.  

Do you have scrap fabric laying around? We need donations to keep this project free! 

Questions or need an order form? Email me or Sally at

Be excited!!!!

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Whidbey Island is Dreamy.

Hey! How about we pack 9 kids (8 under the age of 5) 
+ 4 moms and head for a little vacation on beautiful Whidbey Island! 

Crazy! Let's do it! 

"YAY!" Says baby Elise!

Maybe we'll even get a sisters only afternoon out of it!

Cousin beach time.

Rocks are yummy!

These kids were seriously in heaven. 



Smores anyone?

Berry picking. 

Or giant slugs perhaps?

Thanks to my sister Abby for deciding she needed a log home....

 over-looking the ocean.

We'll be coming back here for sure.

Follow me on instagram @natssentiments

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Guess whose ONE?!




Happy Birthday Elise Juliet! We love you more than tongue can tell.

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