Friday Favorites and other happy crack

I miss some of my regular blog features so I’m starting with bringing back my Friday Favorites which is really just a way to share some happy crack with you all and a reminder to me that there is always something to celebrate … even in chaos.

1. Every day this month Christina Katz is giving away a book on her blog: The Prosperous Writer. Check out the Writer Mama Every Day in May Giveaway to meet some cool authors and get some insight into your own writing with prompts and good conversation.

2. Speaking of the writerly life, participating in the world as a writer and showing up for each other and local events makes me happy. So this Sunday I’ll be at the final Northwest Author Series Presentation featuring Heather Vogel Frederick. I’d love to meet some of you there but we can only talk during commercials 'cause I'm totally taking notes! To learn more about this author click here.

3. Discovering Dave Ramsey = total happy crack. IMG_0456_thumb[9]

Yep, that’s my credit card those are my credit cards tucked in this little envelope. This is really its own post so for today I’m just giving a shout out to the hopefulness that comes with staring down what scares you the most and realizing that with diligence, patience and persistence you really can accomplish just about anything.

4. Happiness is … not waiting for someone else to do it for you. This sweet little rub-on sign that says “Bless this house with love and laughter” had ironically become a source of personal bitterness.

It has moved with me to two houses in hopes of my husband putting it up for me. “Next weekend” never came and I never wanted to “do it wrong” and as it fell under the vague category of “his arena” it just didn’t get done. For.Ever. So when he moved out* … I realized if it’s going to get put up, I need to do it. Which, duh!, was true before but I needed to be okay with him being mad if I “did it wrong” or whatever. And that is the true happy crack I discovered this week: if my intentions are good and I am honest with myself about my true motives it is okay for people to be mad at me! (Also a post for another day.) That realization, 36 years later, is liberating. Every time I see this at the top of my stairs I smile. *As an interesting aside: when he moved back home, he didn’t notice it. Good thing I spent so much energy being ticked about it, huh?!

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5. And, last but not least, a little Happy Crack for kids:IMG_0297_thumb[15]

Heart-shaped muffin cups + water +  food dye + freezer = super fun bath time!

Disclaimer: if you start this you might as well keep a “batch” of these in a Ziplock in your freezer because they will be frequently requested.

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For the love of awesomeness

Happy Crack. Mad awesomeness.

Those are just a few words I’ve used to describe my new passion: Pinterest.

It was one of several things this week I found myself asking: How have I not heard of this before?!

I don’t even know how to describe it, it’s one of those things where you’ll likely do one of these things:

1) Be mildly interested but not curious enough to click on the link and join in the fun.

2) Sure, you’ll look but you will tell the part of you that wants to dive in that the last thing you need is another time suck. And you’ll be right. BUT maybe you could exchange something else that’s sucking your energy and check out something that just might be your daily dose of happy crack. Just sayin’.

3) Or, you might click on the Pinterest link, suck in your breath a bit as you behold the simple genius behind this mad awesomeness and start pinning your happy heart away. (If you fall into this camp and need an invite, email me or leave a message in the comments with your email and I’ll send you one with joy in my heart. p.x. would love it if you follow me and let me know you’re on there so I can follow you too! Too bad the social media lingo is so … sixth-grade please-sit-by-me-in-the-cafeteria sounding!)

But what the hell is it?

Oh, right. It’s a virtual corkboard of coolness. It’s a place where people pin photos that take their breath away like this:

LOVE

or ideas they want to try like this:

bookstairs

stairs

pkitchen

or words to live by like this:

quote

words to live by

This is the best guide I’ve found about getting started: Pinterest: a beginner’s guide

 

Okay, so the next thing many of you likely know about but I just discovered Pandora – (thank you Paul for helping me with that!) internet radio where you type in an artist you like and “they” customize a radio station with music you can groove to. For free. Sweet.

Bonus: you can click to see the entire lyrics of a song in case you’re one of those people who consistently hears them wrong.

And finally, I accidentally came across a copy of Mental Floss magazine while chasing Jake down at the library. Seriously, how have I never read that? I totally geeked out on an article called:

10 incredible Moments in the History of Editing

By david wanczyk

Can I just tell you how happy it made me to know that there were enough other people on the planet that think it’s cool to care about edits that changed history to justify the cost of producing a magazine? Love that. If you’re one of us, did you know Catch-22 was originally titled Catch-18. Now I’m full of more fun facts like that, FYI.

So, there’s a few of my favorites for this Friday!

Happy Weekend.

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Suffering is optional

Happy Friday, friends and random haters who Google me … truth be told these last few weeks have given me an opportunity to practice being aware of my participation in my own suffering. More importantly, I’m learning to change long-standing habits (approval-seeking, sugar addiction, expecting my body to take care of me without returning the favor, over-thinking things beyond my control, etc.) It sounds like a lot, but it’s connected. And simple once I realized the root was all in my brain and how I think about a thing. I’ve known that for years. Putting it into practice on a consistent basis, especially when things don’t appear to be going well, is another thing entirely.

Let me tell you what I mean by “not going well.”

In summary: we’ve spent a small fortune on doctor’s copays, pharmacy copays and prescriptions and vet bills. We’re all on one kind of antibiotic or another and very, very slowly recovering. Matt and I both have pink eye in both eyes and have had to cancel plans we’ve been looking forward to like a camping trip at the beach and a writing day for me. It’s disappointing, but that’s life. Trying to find the gift in those disappointments is our challenge.

I think the gift is this: time for reflection and incentive to do better. Nothing like having the whole family down for the count to serve as a kick in the ass to make the changes you’ve been meaning to make.

Right before I got sick, I’d been thinking about my role in my own suffering, how I contribute to it by dwelling on things, not letting go, saying “yes” when I mean “no,” saying “no” when I’d like to say “yes!” I’d made a personal decscion about something I’d been struggling with for the last 7 months and as that was happening several friends suggested I read this book by Laura Munson: This is not the story you think it is – I’m working on a review of it to share but for now, both the book and the experience of reading it at the time in my life that I was reading it was deeply moving, and life-changing.

Another book, also recommended by a friend, called Skinny Bitch made an irreversible impact on both Matt and myself. I can’t recommend this book to anyone unless they’re ready to seriously overhaul their current lifestyle … but more on all that later.

For now – some fun Friday inspiration:

one of my favorite artists, Susan Branch recently started a blog – I love it and think some of you might, too.

A fellow writer-mama, yoga-teacher friend of mine started something called “Breathing Space” where she delivers doses of serenity and balance to your inbox. Check it out and share if it moves you.


Friday favorites and freebies

 

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First – my February column, one of two where I throw myself under the proverbial bus for what I consider a good cause, ran this week:

Baby on Board – Kitchen interest comes full circle

We took our first family walk last night! To the park – which means a couple of things – Spring’s a coming and Jake is officially vertical. I wish I’d gotten a close-up picture of Jake’s first little shoes and Sam so sweetly holding his hand. (Sam, I noticed, even kept his hand down low so Jake didn’t have to reach too high).

I love this picture because Matt took it, which means he came to the park with us after work. He drove up our street and saw the THREE of us walking ever-so-slowly and joined us making it our first family walk. Matt was starving so he bailed early, just as the boys’ new friends Paul and Kaylee joined us.

And here, a few Friday favorites:

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-Twig and Thistle posted the cutest DIY Valentine’s idea – stickers for fruit – so, so cute.

- Simple decorations. I’ve been using this little frame for seasonal quotes, pictures, etc and this month I’ve downloaded a freebie from Becky Higgins – you can get it here – either print it on your computer or you can have it printed for your own Valentine’s. Ali Edwards has also posted some cool freebies.

My favorite thing this week is that I’m back to being fully-engaged in writing my book, Breaking Branches and I’m enjoying re-reading it enough to think it might just be The One. The first one that makes it … I hope.

Favorite quote from Sam:

I tried an overnight Crockpot oatmeal recipe. By the time we stumbled into the kitchen it looked very unappetizing but made for a nice (pricey) potpourri. As we were coming down the stairs Sam said:

“Do I smell muffins? I smell something. What could that yummy thing be?”

I scooped some out, pretty sure he’d reject it on looks if nothing else, but instead he gobbled it up and said:

“You sure are a fast cooker, Mama!”


Friday Favorites & This week on Google

Favorite snack: apple slices and almond butter

{a funny thing is happening, things I used to dislike for not being “sweet enough” I’m now acquiring a taste for. Almond butter compared to “normal” sugary peanut butter was like grainy cardboard to me until I cut back on sugar. We had a surplus of apple slices that didn’t fit onto the drying trays and were out of peanut butter … and bread – so I made almond apple sandwiches. Sam, Jake and I had seconds, thirds … and bought  more apple butter today}.

Favorite scrapbooking tool: my stapler + colored staples

{born of laziness, perhaps but now I love it. Example below. }

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Favorite kitchen tool: my Pampered Chef chopper

{A friend of mine has the Pampered Chef hookup, so let me know if you’d like one, too}

Favorite kid: just kidding whichever one slept through the night

Website of the week: http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/

{Don’t miss out on this if your baby isn’t new or if you aren’t down with homemade bay food, there are awesome snack idea and easy meal ideas on here.}

This week on Google:

How to get poop out of carpet

Can you compost eggshells?

Easy salmon recipes

Can you compost apples?

Can you compost What to compost

National Room of One’s Own Day

Scrivener

April Henry

Oregon Beach vacations

United States of Americana

Kurt B. Reighley

*It occurs to me that this is a lot like posting a picture of me gazing at my navel. But I even like reading random grocery lists people dropped at Winco so I’m weird like that.

**For Project Lifers, this could make a cool journaling idea.


Mom Groups and Friday Favorites

I was relieved to read my column in print, Emily wrote to tell me it was better than I’d feared and as I read it I realized part of this “new” me, which is to say the me I used to be before I got all mentally ill self-conscious about everything, is writing from the heart with less interference from my head.

So here it is: the link to my January column about Mom friends and whose job it is to keep your head out of the oven.

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Yesterdays’ pictures of the day – Sam waiting for me to get Jake in the Ergo to walk him to school and Jake happy to be snuggled in there. Sam had his first show-and-tell yesterday and picked the little Monchichi doll “his brudder” got him for Christmas.

Monchichi

 

Favorite Overheard:

“I’m Sam! And dis is my brudder Kubko, and my friend Daddy and my other friend, Mama.”

As you know I tend to find some cool things online when I’m on deadline procrastinating, errr … letting things marinate.

Here are a few of my favorites this week:

1. Ana-White DIY furniture – Wow! I found this while looking up DIY kitchens for kids and this site made me want to borrow some of Matt’s tools. I realized that might lead to injury so I just marveled over more of Ana’s work. So awesome!

2. I {heart} organizing – enough said. Love the colors she uses and looking forward to poking around a little more.

3. Prudent Baby – I can’t wait to check out more of this site … maybe after I submit my column.

Happy Friday!

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Muffin Meals & Spa Water

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Muffin tins somehow make meals taste better ... I suppose fun is always better! Note the special eating "utensil" - mini (play) tongs. As long as it's safe and can go in the dishwasher, I don't care if Sam eats with it as long as he's really eating and not just playing. So here he has a relatively balanced meal, macaroni, peas, tofu and some applesauce. Random. Whatever. His dirty chin is proof that he actually prefers the tofu. Gross, I know. Just a small thing to share in case it helps mealtime at your house. I can't offer help for parents of picky eaters because I've been lucky there so far, but Sam has gone through plenty of food phases and mixing things up is helpful. When he's going through a particularly difficult eating phase I offer him the muffin meal and tell him he has to eat something out of each cup and that has worked so far.

So spa water is just good tasting water. I happen to not mind drinking water but it's nice to have a variety. When the mint starts growing like crazy ... pick it, wash it and put it in a pitcher (ideally the kind with a strainer spout) and add sliced cucumbers and chunks of cantaloupe. I described it to Mel and she said, "Sounds like something you'd have at a spa." So there you have it ... serenity in a glass.


Friday favorites ... yeah, I know it's Tuesday

Sam's:

  • Yelling "school bus!" every single time he sees a school bus.
  • Playing with his new Little People School Bus from his Omama and Opapa
  • Getting really, really dirty now that Daddy's taught him "how to do it right." Doing it right seems to mean having to strip down at the back door.

Mine:

  • Being at the part of my pregnancy where I'm not so concerned about what anyone else thinks. About anything. This has its good and bad points.
  • Pretending I'm going to get all crafty one of these days. Really, I'm enjoying thinking about the things I'd like to be doing with my scrapbook stuff and the sewing machine I still don't know how to use.
  • Getting the awesome news that I am not going to be dealing with gestational diabetes, and knowing I never have to take that awful test again!
  • The mini-face lift Matt gave our kitchen cabinets.

One of my favorite things in my earlier "Nathalie's Notes" days was my"observed and overheard" category. I wondered what happened to that the other day. As I was sitting in the hospital waiting room sans Sam I realized I stopped doing it when I started having to focus completely on the care and keeping of my little guy. My ability to observe and take notes on the things I overheard gave way to my need to develop the new skills needed to survive early motherhood. So two years later, maybe I can pick it back up. Until January anyway.

Overheard this week:

I listened to a review on NPR of Bob Dylan's new Christmas album. There was a line in the review that still has me cracking up. The guy described Dylan's rendition of "I'll be home for Christmas" as sounding like more of a threat than a promise. If you listen to the clip, you'll likely agree. And this is coming from a fan.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114204279

And finally, Friday's link: http://www.amybutlerdesign.com/mainmenu.php you can check out cool fabrics, project ideas and download free templates. I'll be doing none of the above but it was part of that crafty fantasy I mentioned earlier.



Friday Favorites

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Me:

The fact that I seem to be feeling better some of the time!

Tazo's Ginger Green Tea, cold

Perfect summer weather, not too hot & not too cold

Public Parks

Sam:

MUD. He recently discovered the one mud puddle at the park and went to town. He had mud everywhere, including inside his ears.

Matching music mobiles with Ella. They turned it into a "gentle" game of bumper cars.

Salad. Seriously.


Friday Favorites

IMG_0689 Friday already? Okay, a few favorites this week:

Me:

Sam's smile

Tazo Brambleberry Tea

Getting quotes for a maid service and pretending I can afford it



Sam:

Surprising his parents with his rapidly advancing climbing skills.

Yelling "Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!" every time he sees a truck

Chasing "Good Girl" around the house


Link of the week: Ali Edwards' site because it makes me happy and inspires me to get back to that creative part of me buried under piles and to do lists.