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March 2011
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May 2011

(Re) Starting - again



After moving my office for the fourth time in less than a year, and getting it all dialed in, a funny thing happened. I made some physical space for my writing project. I’ve been checking in Friday mornings with a group of motivated women focused on the same goal: completing a fiction novel. Which is to say I made some mental space to hold my vision of the completed project. As I take small, baby steps toward that end, things are starting to come together. (Which is not to be confused with a finished manuscript, yet).

For instance, I’ve been looking for this one key scene for a long time. Re-writing it wasn’t an option, for some bizarre reason (er, procrastination?). I woke up one morning (following this advice from Wayne Dyer:

Go to sleep with visions of what you love. Let your dream vision marinate overnight. Wake up with your positive, hopeful thoughts in place, ready to guide you through a day in which you step ever closer to the life you dream of. - Dr. Wayne Dyer

I realized that while I dug through my papers and files, I never searched my computer under the old working titles for this book. And ta-da …. there was that scene. (In one of my edits I’d taken out this character and needed her back). Even cooler was the fact that that scene was attached to 176 other pages I’d never printed out. I somehow never realized I’d gotten that far. Now that’s a special kind of distracted!

story board

Here’s a snapshot of my story board collage  … I keep adding to it as I go but I just love it!

All that is to say … some may say starting, and starting again isn’t really making progress. To that I say … well, I guess I’d just hold up my pages of progress and keep writing. Thing is, with all the starting, I never once quit.

“Some will try to stand in your way, others will follow. William Feather said it best, 'Success... seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.”

( I saw this on my aunt’s Facebook page this morning and thought it was just perfect!)

So, keep moving in the direction of your dreams, however slowly … it sure as hell beats the alternative of wishing and hoping for circumstances to change!

I {heart} Grocery Outlet



As you likely know, we are big fans of Grocery Outlet Bargain Market and were so excited to get a brand new one up the street from our house.

A few things you should know about shopping at Grocery Outlet Bargain Market – if you love it, stock up … it might not be there next time. Yes, that kind of sucks but the deals are too awesome to focus on that.

Secondly, you might have to make a second stop to get more produce or the exact items on your list … GOMB is better for your basics, goodies, random deals and ideal for people willing to base meals around bargains.

My favorite deals from yesterday:

cutie mandarins – a big bag for 2.99

Drew’s organic fizzy tea (Sparkling green tea) 3 for $1

Organic whole wheat elbow macaroni – 99 cents a box

And these frozen Ocean Market Wild Alaskan Mediterranean crusted salmon, packs of 2 for $4 (ish – I can’t remember, it was $4 or less per box)

(Two boxes feeds my family of 4 for two nights … my kids eat more than you might believe … First night is usually the salmon steaks with the boys splitting one between them. Second night, I split the leftovers into tacos).

Happy bargain shopping! You should know that I’m in no way affiliated with Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, just a fan. If they wanted to sponsor my blog … well, I’d be honored.

{What’s working & April’s article}




This simple little phrase is working wonders at my house. I don’t know why but Sam totally gets this. His teacher says it so I started saying it and to my utter amazement it works almost all the time!

So I was stoked to see Becky Higgins created a free download on her site with this expression printed on three different colors … uploaded to Shutterfly and now it’s on my fridge. Easy.

I forgot to post the link to my April “Baby on Board” column: click here if you want to read it.

I'll let you in on a favorite parenting secret of mine. Sometimes, particularly out in public, I pretend I'm the nanny.

This comes in handy when my toddler nearly dives into the water feature at Wilco, or takes it upon himself to "deadhead" the flower display as I wrestle my 1-year-old charge into the shopping cart. When people shoot me the stink eye, I just shake my head along with them, nanny-like.

The nanny thing works at home as well.

The way I see it, nannies actually have fun with their darling charges because they aren't as emotionally attached to the outcome. They don't worry so much about messes and are far more playful.

I know, because I worked as a nanny all through school.

{Read more}

Life in progress

Growing up I wanted to be like Jane Polly, and later Oprah. I mean I really, really wanted to be a news anchor and have my own talk show. I keep waiting for the day that dream seems silly and dies … but instead it gets stronger and more vivid.

I talked myself out of pursuing that goal professionally for two reasons 1) I knew I’d have to get up super early. Pre-kids I considered 8 a.m. to be waking up very early and dropped classes scheduled before 9 as a matter of course. And 2) I learned that I wouldn’t be able to write my own material and that was more important to me. Now I’m not sure that was even true!

Flash forward … As I’ve mentioned, I’m working my way through a “rough patch” and am identifying areas of personal responsibility and how much I truly am in control of my own happiness.

That’s why I love Becky Higgins’ motto: “Cultivate a good life and record it.”

First because it is absolutely our right (and responsibility) to cultivate our own good and secondly, documenting life as we live it is something I am most passionate about.

Because my next goal is to teach journaling classes and because I still dream of having my own talk show … welcome to my homegrown version of Nathalie’s Notes Live!


p.s. Mom, I’ll clean up in here and tour the studio very soon. Dad, I know the quality sort of stinks and will keep learning! (Mam tam “Rec”!”)



~ Write as you go, learn as you live.

{What’s working: DIY furniture}

Of course, when I say “do it yourself” it’s more of a team effort where I’m the idea person (by which I mean rip-the-picture-out-of-magazine-person) and Matt’s the finisher. Here are two of our recycled materials projects.

A year ago exactly, I posted this picture I saw on



I didn’t know where we’d be living, only that we were moving and had put in (yet another) offer on a house. This one, though, I was pretty certain was The One. While the inspection was pending, I visualized this bench in the entry way, with my kids’ boots in it.



This morning I took this picture in our entry way. Love, love, love it. Matt made this for me for Christmas. Should you fancy one for your own home … let me know.( Shoe bins are from Target.)


A couple years ago, during yet another move, a door broke off our dining room cabinet, I kept it knowing I wanted to repurpose it somehow, just not quite sure how. Until I saw this idea in Good Housekeeping last year. I tucked it in my idea binder and waited for the right time to try it.

During my recent personal crisis I decided to do some self-esteem boosting – it’s amazing what seemingly small things can do! One of which was spray-painting for the first time. (Yes, I’m 35.) So with the help of some girlfriends, I sanded and spray-painted the door.

(Side note: I left it in Matt’s shop so long, he offered to paint the other side for me and I took him up on it.) He hung it up for me last night in my new studio and it’s just how I pictured it.

The little books are from a company I like called Compendium. For doses of inspiration visit their blog.



- signature

{What’s working: Martha’s magic cleaner}



First of all, can you believe Jake is old enough to walk to school to pick up his brother?!

Secondly – where did March go? I meant to post this on Wednesday. During my forced hiatus from my Google Machine, I had to turn to other resources … I needed a homemade cleaner that I wouldn’t worry if my kids found in our cabinet childproofed with the rubber band from a bunch of asparagus. I flipped through my Martha Stewart homemaking handbook and found this:

Fill a spray bottle with:

2 cups water + 2 Tablespoons liquid dish detergent = magic

Really. Magic.

Seriously magic in the sense that it cleans everything and magic in the sense that I actually liked cleaning for awhile. It got old again, but still …

Sam colored on the carpet – sort of an accident in that he colored off the page but he shouldn’t have had the page on the carpet … where was I? Slamming a rum and Coke in the bathroom. Just kidding. I was changing Jake upstairs. So I discovered the multi-colored carpet and in my calm, Zen Mama fashion got all angry and said:

“You better pray to God this comes out of the carpet!”

Sam took me literally and got on his little knees, folded his little hands, closed his eyes and said:

“God, we have a problem. Mama is maaaaad.” I used the magic cleaner and it was coming out.

“It’s working! Keep praying.”

Sam grinned, “Thank you God.”


Project Life note … While I wish I’d thought of this sooner I’m not going to let all-or-nothing thinking get in the way … I snapped a picture of Sam’s school bucket from the top view this morning so I see his snacks and show and tell. Every month, or so, I’d like to make a free collage at Photility to include in this book – and maybe for his school album. (The theoretical one). It'd be fun to see what he picked to take each week – even if it’s the same block week after week.