Monday, November 25, 2013

Chicken Wire Window Display

I've had my eye out for an old window pane lately.  You can find lots of ideas for them on Pinterest.  I was mainly thinking of doing some sort of picture frame...  But if you've ever been to my place, you know I have picture frames EVERYWHERE.  I love pictures.  I love being able to look at my friends, family, and memories every day and smile.  But I have plenty for now.

A few weeks ago I went back home to go to a barn sale with my mom.  It happened to be the perfect weekend, because the occasional stores were open in Dassel, MN, so we made a morning of it!  We didn't have too much luck at the barn sale, but proceeded to find some goodies at all of the stores in town.

One of my finds was an old wooden window frame with chicken wire on it.  I don't know if it's for a coop or if the wire was added at some point in its life.  Then in the back of the store, I found an eight-panel window.  UGH!  DECISIONS!  After a huddle with my mom, I decided on the chicken wire window.  Something a little different than the usual.

When we got home, it sat up against our fridge for a few weeks.  I couldn't quite decide what to do with it  Did I want it in the loft, that is slowly becoming more shabby?  In the safari room?  Start taking over the basement?

And then it came to me...

Christmas card display!!  

I bought some miniature clothespins at Michael's, it was probably about $3 for a pack of 18.  You can find these online as well at sites such as Oriental Trading (depending on how many you want).

So as not to put any more holes in the wall, I took down a picture frame that hangs in our living room by the front door.  And I hung up my window!  I didn't paint it, sand it, or fix it.  I left it as is: rugged, uneven and all.  In the future I may paint it or stain it, but for this season, I'm going to let it be itself!

Some Detail
Side View
On the wall!

It definitely adds a little more character and charm to our living room, and I can't wait for the holiday cards to start flowing in so I can add them!  After the holidays, I may simply put new pictures on it with the clothespins.  Maybe my sacrifice will just lead to more pictures being displayed {evil giggle}.

Let me know what you think, or if you have any ideas for its next use!

Friday, November 22, 2013

COMMITTED {a book review} on Marriage

I just finished reading Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love).  I loved it! I really enjoy her writing and plan on reading The Last American Man written by her as well.  She writes in an honest, quirky, personal way that I can really connect with.  Not to mention she is very intelligent and has lots of life experience for a younger woman.

So...on to the book.  I think everyone should read this book before getting married.  She gives a lot of history, experience, and world insight about "the institution of marriage".  She is divorced and never wanted to remarry, but life gave her an interesting hand when it came to marriage.  So she goes on an all-out-mission to learn everything she can about marriage within her family and around the world.

A few standout portions of her book:

(Page 48)  She talks about a woman traveling to the US in 1919 and writing home about the crazy fact that people had the "expectation that every part of their bodies should be warm at the same time!"   Referring to the fact that a spouse/lover/mate should be able to make everything about you right, warm, and fuzzy.  The author then talks about how people always say "marriage is hard work" but concludes it only becomes work when you expect your spouse to make you feel warm/fuzzy at EVERY moment.

"Marriage becomes hard work once you have poured the entirety of your life's expectations for happiness into the hands of one more person."

WOW!  That makes sense, right?!  You cannot "give" everything to your spouse and expect them to maintain it for you.  Relationships go two ways.  Don't make it work, make it love!

(Page 97)  She talks about the philosophy of Aristophanes:  that humans used to be two-headed, eight-limbed creatures, with the "perfect partner sewn into the very fabric of our being".  People were so happy and content, they stopped worshiping the gods, and eventually (in a fury) Zeus split the beings into what we know today as humans.  The thought being that humans now are all searching for that lost portion of their being to become complete/satisfied/happy.  And that's where "love" comes in.

I thought this was extremely interesting and hope to look more into it in the future.  What I wrote here is a high overview, she goes more in depth in the book, talking about searching for your other half, infatuation, (think soulmates, if you will) and it is fascinating.

(Page 130)  "Anybody can love the most wonderful parts of another person....Can you accept the flaws?"  The point here being:  people fall in love, take in all the magnificent things, and think everything is perfect, meant to be.  There's a reason it's called the "honeymoon phase".  IT TAKES TIME to see and learn people's faults.  Obviously someone is not going to show you their worst parts right off the bat.  That is why quick marriages IRK me!!  But that's another post...

Point is:  read this book.  It's a quick read, eye opening, and interesting.  You will not regret it, it really makes you think!

PS-  This is one of the books I got from my book exchange :)  Read about that HERE.  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Getting to Know Myself

I never got the chance to tell you about my second business trip.  I went to Florida about 3.5 weeks ago to conduct more training.  The weather was great, but for almost everything else...


I got home on a Thursday night, dropped my luggage in the kitchen and fell in to Mike's arms for a good cry.  I just needed to let it out.  The only good thing about the trip:  I learned a little more about myself.

I learned that I am NOT shallow, that I don't care about brands, expensive food, and putting others down.  That I'm a kind, overly loving person, that I need time to myself, that I'm unique, that I'm just ME.

Needless to say, the three women I traveled with were very much the opposite.  One of them certainly lives a "queen bee" lifestyle.  Two phones, online shopping constantly, Prada 'et al' everything, judgemental, rude, impatient.  Everything I'm not (except the impatient part).  But the other women fed right in to it, rolling their eyes behind her back.  WHY?!  Why would you help to fuel that fire?

I certainly didn't.  It really put me on the outside because I was not going to behave as they all did.  Tipping 5% for a party of four, harassing the wait staff, constantly being picky about ordering drinks, criticizing people's work at our work site, saying rude things about people, and on-and on-and on.

It got to the point where if I did speak, they wouldn't even acknowledge that I had spoken.  It was a horrible place to be.  In a group of women constantly bringing others down and judging with no basis.  Being rude.  GRR, just writing this and thinking about it again makes me angry!  Mind you, these are professional women, and I know someone loves them.  Just not me.  I don't mean to be negative toward them, it just really made me realize what I'm not.  I'm not like that.  I'm just ME.

I am Natalie.  Small town girl living in the "big" city.   I love my family, treasure my friends, and adore my husband.  I am loyal, unique, and quirky.  I love to make memories.  I love to try new things.  I love being me, and I've come to realize that if you're not okay with that, then walk on, because I don't have time for people to bring me down.  I've always had no problem being who I am, and I going to keep on being me.

That awful experience of being trapped in another state with three people tearing others down really make me stick to being me.  It made me see more of who I am.  I won't change for anyone.

Please be true to yourselves, my friends.

**If you've never read the book Queen Bees & Wannabes, you should do so.  I read it in high school because my brother's girlfriend was writing a college essay about it.  It is the book that the movie Mean Girls is based on.**

Photos courtesy Tumblr #beyourself

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sweet Sugar Cookies

I love to bake, but most of the time my stuff comes out flat, crunchy, burnt on the bottom..blah blah.

This past weekend, I finally had a super successful batch!  I made sugar cookies based on this recipe.

Start with a large bowl and add:

1 cup Butter (softened)

3/4 cup Vegetable Oil (or canola,or olive oil)

1 1/4 cup Sugar

3/4 cup Powdered Sugar

2 Tablespoon Water

2 Eggs (3 if they are small)

Whip together in your mixer or use a hand mixer.  You want the mixture very smooth and creamy.  It will be a little lighter than a peanut butter texture.

In a separate bowl, mix together:

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tarter

1 teaspoon Salt

5 1/2 cup Flour

Slowly add the dry mixture to your butter mixture.  Then use your hands to make dough balls and place them on your cookie sheet.  Place the bottom of a glass into a bowl of sugar and press the dough balls flat (mine were about 1/4 inch tall after).  They will crack at the edge, but they will cook up nicely!

Bake your cookies at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes (depending on your oven).  You won't want them to brown, just make sure you get the middles cooked!

We ate them straight out of the oven and the middles were cakey, warm, and delicious!!  Yummm.  These were quick and easy, and it made about three dozen cookies.  And they didn't fall FLAT!

My grandpa used to be a milkman and literally still has hundreds of ice bags!  You can  tell how old they are based on the address.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Unintentional Veteran's Day Post

This past weekend we went to my parent's place for a few days.  My parents got married in 1980 and have lived in the same house ever since.  Every bit of my childhood memories still lie in that house. Sometimes they are great memories, some hard, some hilarious.  Each of those came back to me this weekend.

Saturday morning I woke up after having a dream about my brother's friend who was practically my brother.  I have so many memories of him being at our house growing up.  Some of them are so vivid.  I can remember what he is wearing and what he said to me as his little sis.  These are true memories, because he is no longer with us.  I told my mom I dreamt of him and she could feel my heart hurting.

That afternoon, we went to the cemetery to visit him.  I used to go see him quite often when I was younger, but I haven't made the trip out there in a few years.  I remembered exactly where he was after all these years and walked right up to him.  It was windy and cold, blowing bitter air in our faces. After saying a few words, the clouds split out of nowhere and the sun came shining through, warm and bright.

We said, "Okay, we see you, David."  It was pretty obvious that he was there saying, "I'm still looking over you two women!"  I can't help but think that he came to me in my dream to reassure me through this awful month I've been having.  I have been really down and depressed, and knowing he went through even harder times, I think he visited to say "Come on little sister, things aren't that bad, and if they are, I'll always be here".

If you know me, you know I'm not a super religious person.  But I have my relationships, and my own way of understanding faith and the way it works for me.  This is a perfect example.

Then I realized today is Veteran's Day.  David was a Veteran Marine.  His birthday was last week.

What a perfect little circle this weekend has brought me.

I'm going to push through this mountain of bull* that has been haunting me lately and remember that my big bad David has always got my back.

Thank you everyone, for your service.  And thank you David, for always having my back.  I hear you!