Friday, October 17, 2014

jami nato's craft room

i put my name in the title because it's mine. only mine. no children may enter through these doors, in fact, i'm buying a lock for it and i'm not even kidding about it. double in fact, i'm writing about the craft room from the craft room. which is much like taking a picture, of a picture, of a picture in mirrors.

jay kay. i am not high. just excited to have my own space where there's no snot or spit up to be found.

so. there's this little room off the master. i believe these were called "sitting rooms" in the 80's but i'm not sure what they're supposed to be for. OHHHHH, sitting romantically together talking back and forth over magazines and spiked hot chocolate while you laugh about your day.

um. no.
we have a sitting room and it's called, every other room in the house.

at first i wanted to make it a laundry room/craft room. but my husband was adamant about this just being my space(because he's amazing). and luckily, i found a different space upstairs for  just the laundry...stay tuned. like stay tuned for a year because we need to save some monies first because i just spent it all at ikea this last week.

anyway, here she is before we moved in:
and after

the desk is 2 shelves from ikea with one of their countertops on top. i wanted it to be really long so i could get my craft on.

my desk chair is a side table from target with some ikea fur thrown on top. i don't need a comfy office chair because i have a couch in there. this chair is for not falling asleep. the couch is for falling asleep and pretending i'm working. 

could not resist gold and black pencils with little sayings on them. target does me so wrong and so right all at the same time. 

why yes, that is a jewelry hanger i bought at target on clearance for $5 that i spray painted gold. 

these nate berkaus shears are changing my life. so wonderful. worth the $16.
the oversized paperclips are his too. i had to resist buying all of his office line because i'm not a millionaire. 

i do have a little bulletin board area that's nothing crazy. i hung them with brass tacks. i love that it's simple.

now turning to the other wall, more shelving. because MORE SHELVES!
and this little settee i found on the side of the road. people be crazy.

all the black cubby bins are from ikea too. surprise. you can't beat $3.99.

the bottom baskets are my "project baskets". instead of piles, i make for parties i'm throwing or crafts i'm doing, i'll throw them in baskets and call it organized. 

the numbers are from the ikea gift section. i decided to do numbers because i don't have to label my stuff... i'm the only one that uses them. i know what's in them because i made them and they are my sheep. wait. biblical analogy gone wrong. 
like i was saying, for instance, number three has all the " keep stuff together things" in it. glue, tape, stickers, staplers. etc. 
and so on and so forth.
i forget what the other numbers are but i'll make a key and tape it to my desk.

i made this little print. is it just me or is dirty dancing far too inspiring. why does it give me goosebumps every time they do their last dance? i feel like i can change the world after i watch the scene. 
you guys can print it out's my file. you're welcome. go change the world.

the rug is from costco. and it's changing my feet's life. where are my toes? they're eaten by fur. yes please. 

the ottoman is from target clearance for $20. 
it was this:
turned this

a little spray paint, and some indoor outdoor fabric i already had, and i love it so much.

(the floors are white wood. the entire master is this sort of just looks like bare wood with a slight whitewash. the rest of the house is dark hardwoods...but i felt like i could get away with something crazy in the master. if i get sick of the trend, we can always stain it darker)

i spent $900 on all the shelving, accessories, and rugs. i already owned the mirror, and the couch and some of the accessories. and i went ahead and stole things from around the house to make it complete. 

 the whole room is simple and visually unstimulating in most ways. i need the house to be quiet for now. don't get me wrong,  i really love pattern and color-- so this was a real stretch for me to tone it down. but i know i need this space to be a retreat where i can think. plan. rest. create. there are so many cute and colorful craft spaces and i would craft in them any day! for my own home, i'm enjoying simple and quiet decor. maybe during each season i can add different pops of color or some crazy artwork over the couch. the great thing about neutrals is that you can add that stuff over time...but the base always stays the same.
white on white on white FOREVERRRRRR.

(paint color: snowbound, sherwin williams)

target clearance hack

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

free halloween tote from & stroller review

ok a couple of things.
if you are a new or old bundle subscriber at, make sure you get your free glow in the dark halloween tote using code HALLOWEEN2014 this month.

the other thing is, i purchased the stroller from there and am loving it. they are not paying me to say this, by the way. 
we didn't need our larger double stroller anymore and was looking for something more compact. plus we ruined the wheels on our old one. i'm not a jogger, but i do walk a lot. with that said, this isn't for if you're an avid runner, get something more hardcore!
what i do love about the stroller is the huge canopy it has on it. and the adjustable handle bar. and how easy it is to fold up. you literally pull a handle on the seat and it pulls itself into a compact situation for the trunk.
and it's really cute. ha. i know...not important. 

the other thing the kids love is the immunity boost in the vitamin section. we put 1/4 teaspoon in their applesauce and it turns it pink...which everyone goes nuts for and think tastes good.  i don't know about you, but with all the weird viruses flying around, we're trying to stay healthy using all the methods we can. 

and new this month, which i'm excited to try in my bundle is the air and fabric refresher. chemical free...yes please. you know i'll be adding a little essential oil in there because i'm obsessed. ha. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

the BEST tomato soup you'll ever eat.

this  is a repost from 2 years ago(can it really be that long ago?), but i thought i would post it again, because it's perfection and i'm making it tonight.

i had a bit of a cold last week and my hubs was sick too with the flu. we were supposed to go over to josephine's house for dinner but cancelled because we didn't want to bring the plague to her house. so the crazy thing here is that josephine insisted she still bring me dinner. i'm all no, no.  ok, yes!

so we sat down to eat this tomato soup with homemade bread (duh), and i was mind is blown. this is the best tomato soup i've ever had in my life.
and nato loved it. yes.... my husband loved soup. miracle.
and we felt FULL. full after eating tomato soup. never happened to me before. second miracle in one sitting.

and so i told josephine that we loved it. and she was like, i love cooking. it was such a pleasure to do this for you!
what? cooking is fun for people? not me.
but that's when it hit me. josephine must be my recipe contributor. you guys can deal with my casseroles only so much, if we're honest with each other. and i'm more of a baker, anyway.

so please meet my friend, josephine. genius, practiced, real life mom-cook. and the new recipe contributor on this very blog. because she doesn't have a blog. rude. so rude.

is her kitchen not the cutest thing ever. it's completely vintage!

and she keeps her recipes in a real book. like she writes them down. they aren't on a pinterest board...IN A BOOK! let that sink in for a moment.

and meet the best creamy tomato soup that will make your heart skip a beat from sheer goodness.

Creamy Tomato Soup

1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled or diced tomatoes, organic preferably, like Muir Glen
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 stalks of celery, diced
4 small carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups chicken stock(her homemade stock will blow your mind)
2 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon of white sugar
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup heavy cream
¾ cup 2% milk
salt and pepper
if you like heat, just a dash of cayenne powder

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrot, onions, garlic and the dried basil and some salt and pepper. simmer the aromatics until softened and caramelized, about 10 minutes.
jami says: aromatics? ok, what are those? whatever. i'm going to google that. look who's learning so much!

Add the tomatoes (with the juice) and sugar.
josephine says: if you can find canned fired-roasted canned tomatoes, please use those in this recipe. Muir Glenn has fantastic fire-roasted tomatoes. it adds a smoky flavor to this rich and creamy soup. and a little bit sugar helps cut down the acidity of the tomatoes.

then add chicken stock, bay leaves and butter. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. add the cream and milk. you can add ¼ cup chopped fresh basil at this point, if using.

fresh basil isn’t always available. or, it is just too pricy. so, Jo recommends two steps to make the best use of dried basil. add the dried basil from the get-go when all the veggies are being sautéed. before adding it in, give it a good rub. this step helps release the oil of the dried herb. also, cooking it along with the veggies helps toast the dried herbs, which definitely helps the flavor. however, if you like fresh basil and don’t mind paying for it, please feel free to add and blend it in at the end.

then fish our the bay leaves and then blend the veggies with an immersion blender. this is the immersion blender i have and i love it!

you'll need to taste this at the end to see if it needs more salt.

josephine says:  In my experience,  homemade chicken stock is a key ingredient to this soup. It adds lots richness and depth to the soup. You will see I use it in all the recipes that call for chicken stock. I’m definitely a homemade chicken stock snob.

jami says: you make your own stock? oh man. i enjoy the carton so much. it's so easy. baby steps...

jo says: But it is so easy to make! I will post later on how to make homemade chicken stock. It really is easy breezy.

ok...we'll just have to post that some other time. and we will! i'm hoping that you'll see a post from josephine each week. get excited for your kitchens to explode with joy.

and enjoy your soup.
perhaps with a bacon apple grilled cheese, sayeth the Lord. perfection on a cold day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

how we're using essential oils to combat sickness

we have a little bit of a cold floating around this house. nato had to get the flu shot for work (or else they put you in a moon suit from october to march . i call it the suit of shame). anyway, the next day he felt like a truck ran over him. and now he has a cough and feels sluggish. of course. i have a little bit of tickle in my throat and am not taking any chances. we're not getting a lot of sleep in this house with the newborn, so it's time to get aggressive!

let me tell you our routine for when we get sick or start to feel something coming on.
like i said, we get pretty aggressive about it, because aint nobody got time for vomiting their brains out/cleaning up other people's vomit/cleaning up vomit then having to vomit.

here's what we're doing besides praying(insert emoji hands):
(when placed on the skin we apply with a carrier oil, like coconut oil)
we put lemon oil on the sides of the throat. we drink a drop in our hot tea.
we put thieves oil on our feet. on the the little toes(you can reference the foot reflexology chart to see why) every hour if possible that first day. we will also put it up and down the spine. we alternate with lemon oil and frankincense on there too.

we put a drop of thieves in the mouth so that it hits the back of the throat to aid in ridding bacteria in the throat.

we put RC on the chest. eucalyptus would also work here.
we diffuse RC and Purification and Thieves by the bed when we sleep and during the day.
we put 3 drops thieves, 3 drops oregano, 3 drops citronella in a capsule and take twice daily.
i'm pretty obsessed with oregano. it has long boasted of antibiotic properties.

we also kill vitamin C and take well over the recommended amount.
we double our juice plus and multi vitamins.
i continue to go on walks...i think moving and extra vitamin D from sunshine is also important.
and trying to drink more water than usual and less sugar.

ok that's what we do! i'm not a doctor, so always use these things with caution.

if you are interested in young living oils, you can learn learn how to order them here.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

i guess it was dark.

it's late and i should be sleeping. but i took a three hour nap this afternoon because guess when it comes down to it, i'll take whatever uninterrupted sleep i can get.

these last weeks have been incredibly hard. i think i was barreling through life, quickly and survivingly(it's a word, okay?) for the past 6 months and then. it all settled. the newborn haze lifted. i realized i was in a different house in a different part of town and now we're 6 instead of 5. all the dynamics had changed. everything that was my normal was not that anymore.

last week i drove the exact route from lila's old preschool to our old street. except this time, i didn't turn left, i kept going. kept on going to where i live now. the entire drive haunted me. it is a strange predicament to pass by a life that still feels like yours.

i cried again. because why not. crying is the trend these days. that was our preschool and that was my trail i walked on everyday and that was my grey colonial with the red door. and that was my perfectly mapped out kitchen, dammit. 

i was struggling with wanting to go backwards. it was better back there where i knew how to live.

the Israelites wanted to go back to egypt too. where it felt like home and everything was in it's place-- instead they were wandering in the desert of the unknown and the needing God for every little, tiny, thing.

i know it's not a new emotion. i guess i'm hoping there's a promised land up here somewhere too.

the night before i had sent an email to the parents in lila's class. a bridge.
i explained some things about lila. i threw in a few jokes. i was a bit too real probably for a introduction. i used capital letters and didn't make up words(i.e. THIS IS ME TRYING).  i told them it was scary and that i didn't know how to do this.

and i paused before i hit send.
this is dumb. no, this is great. no, this stupid. that joke is sort of weird. just do it, who cares.
(this is generally my process in making decisions. it's pretty great!/is sometimes called premature and irrational.)

and i get home from that strange drive and read email after email after email of parent's encouragement.
the me too's and the let's have a get together.
the thank you for saying that and the it's going to be ok's
over and over.

God's grace flooding in.
oh, He heard me?
i thought He had forgotten about us in the desert.
only He had not and he was making a way. this whole time He was working, but i guess it was dark and i didn't see Him up ahead.
Lord, help my unbelief.


can i just say thank you all for your sweet comments and words of encouragement on my last post? to feel completely alone but find community among strangers, even online, held me up for some very hard days. please know that your words were like salve on wounds. thank you for walking with my family.

Friday, September 19, 2014

the misfits.

i woke up late this morning because of a rough night with the baby. i knew it was the school fundraiser, where parents are invited to walk a mile with their kids, but figured i would have to miss it. like all the things i've been missing lately. all the late pickups from school. all the missed soccer games. all the forgotten tennis shoes for gym day. the unwashed shorts he wanted to wear today. the unprinted picture day form. the frantic email to the teachers...can you print that for me?

i was going on a walk anyway. i needed to get out and maybe the baby would fall asleep finally in the stroller.
i would do my regular course towards the school.
i would pass by the pathway going directly to the school and try to ignore it. no, it makes me nervous...i don't know anyone. people will judge me for my jankety stroller with the weird wheel. everyone has all the newest and best here. 
 but i would stop and turn around. i would decide that maybe i could catch lila's class on the track. a moment of bravery that was unlike me. and at best, not of me.

i saw lila's teacher coming up the trail off the track, colliding serendipitously with mine as i walked up the hill. i couldn't see lila in the crowd of children and parents and began to feel a bit of panic reach my cheeks. where is she. and why am i the only parent that didn't show up?

and then whatever angst was in my cheeks sank deep into my heart when i saw her at the very end of the group. there she was, hidden behind a mother and father  holding their little girl's hand, as she teetered between them. those three towering like a visible gate. you don't belong here. 

i wanted to burst into tears. the sleepless nights. all the changes. the inability to do anything right or on time--it had all softened me to an embarrassing level.
mom! skipping and with a smile, she saw me.

hi, baby. how was your walk?

fun. i walk. fun!

my head was spinning. i was thinking of how we don't fit in here. i saw the crowd of kids and parents ahead of us on the hill with balloons and music and celebration. except i was at a funeral of all the things we lost when we moved from her safe preschool where everyone was different and our safe church where we knew everyone and our safe neighborhood in the city where we belonged.

we walked up on the hill of people and no one talked to us. mom's grouped together in circles like cages.
ignored, we chatted with ourselves. and my voice wavering a little i said, lila. i love you.
i luh you, mom.
the teacher gathered some girls to take a picture. lila, come over!
and lila was stuck in the middle of the group without the fundraising tshirt on that everyone had on. and sandals. and purple pants.
 of course. of course! if ever i needed a visual picture of my life, there it is. we don't fit it.

when they were done, i talked with the little girls. hell, if none of the adults would talk to me, i'll talk to the children. i tried to explain to them that lila didn't have a lot of words but that she still loves friends. she's different. it's ok to notice that about her.

and then the teacher hollered for the kids and they all left.
ok, go with them, lila. when all i really wanted to do was gather her up and go home where it was safe.
she ran to meet the group and i turned around to walk home. a mom i had seen in the pick up line passed me.

and the words, HEY! i don't think i've met you yet, flew out of my mouth as if by accident. i immediately wanted them back. what am i doing?
her accent was different and thick. we exchanged names, talked about our kids for a good while. i told her about lila. she doesn't really fit in, everythings new for all of us. 
and she lunged at me with a hug. i'm so sorry. that is very hard. i came here with no english. i know this feeling.
we exchanged a few stories of not belonging and moving to a new place...a few snippets about our lives and then we exchanged phone numbers.

it was the colliding of two misfits and it was beautiful and redeeming.
i walked away in a blur of the strange and painful morning that was laced with beauty. i thought of lila in the back of the line and could feel the wind hit my wet eyes.
i thought of how she didn't seem to notice that she was an outcast and i pictured Jesus holding her hand in the back of the line, laughing and looking down at her.

later as i stood washing dishes at the sink feeling sad again, i smelled that woman's perfume lingering on me from our hug. the fragrance of acceptance swirled around me and i remembered lila and Jesus at the back of the line together.

for her and for me. he is holding us both.
that friendship is all i need to know. let me smell that fragrance every day.

i thought about how He knows how it feels to be an outcast, even in his own town. like me. i grew up in these very suburbs, and now i have no place here.
i thought about how He sympathized with her and me because he was rejected to the highest degree possible so that we would not be rejected before God. He knows because he lived it.
he had already walked a mile in lila's shoes that day and mine too, when he went to the cross all those years ago.

and so from his bravery, i will face this year. resting on all of his courage and none of mine.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

first day of school. where i act like i'm sad.

today we sent the kids to school.
this after i was up all night with a newborn.
i could write a sentimental post, but listen, they're in a better place. i.e. mom is a crazy lady who doesn't sleep and acts bipolar for sure.

this is literally how i feel inside. as seen in a terrible you tube video of an orangutan dancing. i actually heard this same music as we pulled up to the school.

(layne's hair =lloyd christmas)

child: mom, why are you eating cupcakes for breakfast? and is that your second?

me: guys. quit being so observant. eat your bland cereal and be thankful.

so basically, we got to school. spent way too much time in lila's kindergarten class with all the other excited/sentimental/pretend sentimental parents. and lila told me to leave, so whatever. i left. after i showed her her desk and asked her if she wanted to join the other kiddos playing legos on the floor. she said no. she just wanted to unpack her school supplies and then went over to the teacher's desk where she found a cup of markers.

you should have seen her face. she was in heaven. ALL THESE MARKERS, mom!
that's when i knew she would be ok. i told the teacher, hey...she found your markers. you might want to watch out for that one. 
(should have shown her pictures of all the lampshades, walls, couches, lila's "arted" all over.)

then chuckled awkwardly /slightly evil-ish as i left. i was not sad. lila was not sad. this is going to be a good year for her with lots of things i can't give her at home.

for instance, attention. minor detail of parenting.

reference this picture if you don't believe me: it's a known fact no child takes you seriously when you try and parent while nursing. they laugh in your face.
winter garb in the summer. 

anyway, of course we were late getting to layne's classroom and we literally shoved him in the door. he looked back with anxiety on his face. i whisper yelled, it's going to be fine, buddy. , i mouthed 3rd grade! with one hand in the air cheering and through the little window in the door.

i'm sorry. it's all i got right now, layne.

penelope will go to preschool in a couple weeks and i'm wondering if there's a newborn preschool. PRE pre school. jay kay. i love having pruett all to myself. and even penelope. i haven't been able to really spend a lot of one on one time with her either. yay to a year of firsts for this family! (that was my pathetic cheer). at least we're doing it together.

alllll six of us.

ok giant parenthetical statement coming up:

( i feel like i should reference for memories sake, last night we went out-- without any kids...even Pruett, for my birthday. we have awkward proof.

and the kids and hubs got me cards that were so sweet.
and i won't remember any of it because i don't sleep and everything is a blur.
so this makes it real. this happened, tired self! )