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December 2013
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February 2014

Reporter’s Notebook: forget fresh starts

journal spotlight

I’ve been considering making this a regular feature as enough of you have asked for a peek at what my journal entries really look and sound like.

So, we’ll see how it goes, it feels sort of awkward to share but if I could convert even one of you into a person who journals as a form of self-preservation it will be worth the trepidation I feel before sharing this post and with it my intention to make a habit of posting a randomly opened journal page.

As I flipped open this recent journal and landed on this page I thought perhaps it was a sign that this was the right direction to go.

You can click on the picture above to see what it says or, read below:

Sam and I say “I love you to Pluto and back” but last night he was mad at me and said “I love you to the planet before Pluto.”


am coming face to face with how much of the novel – my novel -  I lost in the computer crash. Not to mention {pictures of}the first four months of Jakey’s life.

am also feeling resolved to move forward anyway.

maybe it’s not about fresh starts, but just starting again.

and again.

until you’re done.

Taking a new angle

I’m struggling to pull away from the picture a day mentality, and as a result still don’t have actual pages to share, but plenty to say about process.

Since learning about the process of others is as encouraging to me as it is inspiring to see their pages, here goes …

Except I just realized I left my journal at work which feels sort of like the dream where you show up somewhere naked. Except worse, because this is really happening.

So, for those of you reading Nathalie’s Notes for the journaling tips … the whole misplacing the journal thing is admittedly an occupational hazard.

I am going to have to take a medicinal bong hit just to sleep through this anxiety. Kidding, that stuff is illegal. Until March 3. In Oregon.

In other business … Project Life …

I’m recording notes in my planner, yes a Moleskine again. Always. And by “always” I mean since 2008.


Also, I have a notebook labeled Project Life in my Evernote which is super handy thanks to the search function.

I plan to use more of these week in review cards designed by the super cool Cathy Zielske and purchased at Designer Digitals.


This is an idea of the kinds of things I want to capture in words and/or pictures. I’m not in love with how I did this … wrong font? Wrong something … but in the spirit of progress not perfect, I’m moving forward.


One of my Project Life intentions for 2014 is to take more interesting pictures and I think why is pretty well summed up in this this post by Elise Blaha called “getting out of snapshot mode.” 

Some snapshots I took at Jake’s party to tell more of the story than cupcakes and presents:


I’m not sure if my friend Melisa or I took this picture but I love it because while it doesn’t show the kids it shows how important it is to them to get The right cupcake ring, those are a thing right now, fyi.



Love this one because it shows a little detail easily missed, Jake feeding the tickets in himself … not long ago he had to have help.


This one captures Sam making sure his little brother is okay. It is hard for Sam not to step in and do it himself, I tell Sam all the time that it’s hard for me to let him go it alone too but it’s how we learn … with help standing by.


Love this little guy!


And this … I just love this picture of Jake and his dad with profiles more similar than I realized before looking at ten versions of this same picture.

Pictures I wish I’d taken: the zebra candles I carefully picked out for Jakey, a picture of me and the birthday boy, a good group shot of the kids, and a close up picture of the hit gift: a fart gun. (Funny post about that to follow).

Yes, a fart gun. For real. You can get one by clicking the link below – see the disclaimer on my blog that tells you I get a couple cents for anything you buy on Amazon if you get there through my links.


Coming up: The scraps of life – Project Life memorabilia | Raising the Hardy Boys, with fart guns | The time times I lost my journal at the airport, and at the gym, and at my boyfriend’s house.



For my {Project Life} archives click here. To like me, I mean really like me - like, on Facebook, click here.

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Project Life, take six


PL badge 2014

Good news! With the new year I’m merely five years and three weeks behind on Project Life.

But it’s all good because I’m committed to this project forever. For real. Okay, maybe not forever but for a really long time.

The fact that I haven’t lost interest in over five years despite the reality that my books remain unfinished year after year is indicative of my passion this project designed by the amazingly awesome Becky Higgins.

This is why: the point of the whole thing is that it’s supposed to be a blessing, not a burden. And it is such a blessing to leaf through what I do have finished that it’s worth keeping on.

So … here I go again … I plan to update Project Life posts on Tuesdays because deadlines are how this reporter mama gets things done.

This year I’m using this album:


And, my first insert is tucked in there already thank you very much … I got this on this blog, it was designed by Leah Aldous and I love it.



As per tradition, my title page is started but not finished. Most likely it will look like this for the next five years. See below for proof.



Project Life, 2009



Project Life, 2010

Interesting to note … nothing is done on 2010 except the one picture tucked in here of our friend Bob visiting Baby Jake … Bob is now with us in spirit, but I am so glad we have this shot of him holding Jakey Cakes. Just funny that it’s the only picture I tucked in there all year!


Project Life, 2011





Project Life, 2012




Project Life, 2013





{What’s Working}



What: Salad shooters for dinner

Why: Because life is too short to fight over spinach, and yet eating it will make said life longer.

How it works: Spinach + celery + kale + banana + mango/apple/pear + honey + cool glasses and this phrase “you don’t have to like it but when your glass is empty, dinner is served.”

Note: It’s also worked well here to talk to the boys about what different foods are doing for their bodies, sometimes as simple as explaining that salad helps scrub their insides clean … and of course talking about food as medicine – here is Jake taking that literally to fight the sniffles with a shot of green shake.

2014-01-04 17.21.10



What: Going digital with the envelope cash system using the Good Budget envelope system.

Why: Because it’s 2014 and while it departs from Dave Ramsey’s budget bible, it fills in some of the gaps where we were failing in Ramsey’s recommended cash envelopes. (You remember cash, right?)

How it works: This app is on both of our phones and every time you buy something you enter what you spent in digital envelopes to help you stay on budget. Which means you have to actually have one. Which is not as hard as it sounds. Actually, that’s not true. It was hard to really get a budget figured out and dialed in. Hard … and totally worth it.

I’ve said this before but we got into debt $30 at a time, coupled with a few bad decisions. If you’ve never actually tracked your money FOR REAL you might be surprised by what you discover. I was. And that information was empowering once I embraced some new ideas and habits.

Note: As a cool bonus, this app features snarky commentary such as “Hmm. Negative money. Interesting.” If you go over budget and are honest about it by entering the figures into the phone (or on your computer). I figure it’s worth tracking even if we go over budget so we can tweak it as needed next month. And with historical reports, you can get trends for when, and where, you overspend the most.


2013-12-11 09.13.28

What:  Writing it out instead of spelling it o-n-e- f-r-e-a-k-i-n-g letter at a time.

Why: Because I want to support Sam’s writing and learning without being impatient. The thing is, Sam is a prolific little writer already. He writes in his notebook on the way to school, before bed, when he “thinks of something I have to write down right now” you get the idea. Problem is, he can’t quite spell yet. We’re still at the “sound it out” stage. So it takes approximately forever to get from “Dear {insert name of friend he sees every day but still writes letters to here} to Zam.” Yes, Sam with a “Z” because it’s one of his signature things I guess, kind of like still wearing his clothes backwards, on purpose.

How it works: He tells me what he wants to say, I ask him to try to sound out what he can and then come back to me. Then he essentially dictates and I quickly write it out and he spends the next ten minutes quietly and earnestly working on doing it himself with that guide.

Note:  The first time we tried this was in a note to the Tooth Fairy – I’ll post about that later because it’s also a story featuring a total Mom Fail.


For my {What’s Working} archives click here. To like me, I mean really like me - like, on Facebook, click here.

By the way, when readers subscribe to my blog it’s like getting a high five in my inbox. Of course when they unsubscribe I get all self-conscious. Thanks for signing up to get these free updates from Nathalie’s Notes.



Enter your email address:

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