A Change Is Gonna Come

Well, that was an extremely long and slightly unexpected break. I'll admit that blogging has taken a major back seat in life recently, so far back that it is probably safe to say it's in the trunk. Locked. And I'm not sure exactly when I will be back or how it will look when I do. The only thing I'm fairly sure of is that I will be back.

This has happened to me many times before. I usually come back with some grand plan and I'm full of promises to blog a certain amount and that things are going to be great. And I'm sure I will do that again, just not quite yet. And here is why:

Recently, Facebook made some more changes (yes, more) and now there is a spot on my profile page where my previous "notes" are displayed. Remember notes? Yeah, me neither. I only ever wrote three of them and they all took place during my freshman year of college when I had no friends and spent a lot of time in my room. I was reading one of those this last week and was reminded that teaching has always been something I have wanted to do.

"I really want to teach for a living. And while I’ve always said that I want to teach high school, right now it really doesn’t matter which age group or even the setting, I think. I just know that this is definitely what I want to do with my life. " (Me, age 19)

Fast forward to life right now. In November of last year, I got a job as a substitute/transitional teacher at a Child Development Center. In general, I cover classes while the main teachers go on their lunch breaks or after they are finished with their shifts. About a month ago, my hours doubled and I now work at least 30 hours a week, sometimes more. 

The center in which I work has a day camp during the summer for elementary students and I was recently offered the position of a main teacher for one of the age groups at this camp. So my summer will be taken up with field trips, crafts, games, science experiments, reading, and bunches of other developmental activities. And I couldn't be more excited! 

All of that to say that my life direction is changing. When I started this blog, I had become a bit discouraged about the possibility of teaching and thought that I was going to pursue a more design-based future. However, now that I am consistently in a classroom, I realize that my passion has always been here. I still have an appreciation for design and it will always play a role in my life, but it will probably come more in the form of setting up my own home or planning my future children's birthday parties. The future that I had planned on, the one where I take online classes to become certified in wedding planning and interior decorating and start a home-based business, is slowly fading and the one where I teach children the skills they will need in life is becoming more of a reality. 

So, what does that mean for this blog? I have no idea. That is what I am trying to figure out. I will still have my Etsy shop and will continue to support handmade and creative businesses. I will still share design-oriented things that I find fascinating. I will still strive to make the world around me more beautiful. But Uncommonplace might also see some of the projects I try with my class this summer, and more of my struggles with balancing work and domestic life. Who knows? It may not deviate a terrible amount, but trying to keep this blog something completely separate from what my daily life includes seems difficult and unnecessary. 

I'm going to Mexico next Friday for a mission trip. I will have a lot of time on the car ride down and back to think about the direction this blog is going to take. I'm hoping to come back with a slight plan and start to put that plan into action upon my return. I really enjoy blogging when I make an effort to post regularly and interact with people, so I know I want it to continue to be in my life. But the form it will take and what it will look like are still up in the air. So don't go too far and I will let you know when I have it figured out. :)



Desktop Loveliness

Today's post is short and sweet, but I ran across this desktop wallpaper last night and just had to share! 

I am in love with this design because it is so functional! I save a lot of things on my desktop and they start to build up. I feel like this would be a constant reminder of what I need to do. Whether I will actually use it or not remains to be seen. But really, why haven't I seen something like this before?

Oh, also, GO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! It ends TODAY! Winners will be announced tomorrow. Enter it HERE. :)



Valentine's Day Giveaway & Interview from Oh Abby Day!

When Vickie from Oh Abby Day approached me about doing a giveaway, the first thing I did was look at her Etsy shop. As soon as I did that, I knew that I had to support her business! Her jewelry is gorgeous, she takes amazing photos of her products, and she is just such a sweet woman! It is my privilege to feature her on Uncommonplace today and give you guys an awesome Valentine's Day gift in the form of a giveaway! 

So read through the Behind the Shop interview to get to know this awesome lady, and then enter the giveaway at the end of the post! Be sure to stop by her adorable blog and leave some words of encouragement!

1. Where did the name Oh Abby Day come from?
My daughter, Abby loves to listen to "Oh Happy Day" by Kim Walker.  Whenever she hears it, she belches the song out loud and begins to twirl.  It is truly one of my favorite mother-daughter moments.  At the same time, I was in the process of starting my jewelry business and looking for a name that was fun and catchy.  So thats why I decided to clash the title and my daughter's name together.  It works for me because the song is truly a beautiful worship song and my daughter inspires me abundantly!

2. What made you decide to start blogging and open your own Etsy shop?
I left my marketing job to stay home with the kids after I had my second child.  I've always been crafty and made jewelry for the longest time.   Plus, I can also focus on improving on my writing and photography by blogging about the things that matter to me - motherhood and handmade.  It just felt right to start blogging as well as start up an Etsy shop.

3. How did you choose what to make and put in your shop?
I have over two hundred pieces ready to sell, but I also have less than thirty-five pieces on Etsy.  WHY? The process of placing an item up (on Etsy) is very, very time consuming and can take days.  You have to set up props, take lots of pictures, edit, be creative in your writing and more...  It can be overwhelming with two little ones.  Right now, I am only focusing on my wire wrapping pieces and I also make mixed media pieces. 

4. How do you balance motherhood, your blog, your shop, and other daily activities in life?
A lot of prayers.. Seriously! I'm practically new to it (blogging and Etsy), so the learning process can be difficult at times. Who in the world would have ever imagined that blogging would be this stressful? It'll get easier, I believe it.  I have to remind myself that my kids are my priorities. They come first. When they fall asleep thats when I can do the other stuff.  

5. What does your typical day usually look like?
Wake up by eight 
Make breakfast
Go to the park/museums/take walks
Make lunch
Put my son down for his nap and do educational activities with daughter
Prepare and have dinner
Give the kids a bath
Kids are asleep by eight
Clean up, shower, check emails, blog, read and make jewelries
Sleep by midnight

6. What would your perfect dream day look like?
No crying, no complaining and all yes's. Thats what I call a perfect day!

7. What advice would you give someone wanting to open up their own shop?
My advice to someone wanting to start up their online shop would be to invest in a camera. Taking good pictures matter in this business.

Giveaway details: There are two prizes and there will be one winner for each prize. You will not win both prizes, but have the opportunity to win one. The two prizes are shown below:

Clinique & Estee Lauder Make Up Kit

Set of Four Friendship Bracelets - Made with waxed Irish thread

Like these prizes? You should! Now go enter the giveaway! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Monthly Dates for the Husband (V-Day Gift Idea!)

Valentine's Day is this week (whaa??)!  Justin and I are working toward some specific financial goals, so we have decided not to get anything for each other this year, but the gift that I got him for Christmas would also be great as a Valentine's Day gift! And I haven't shared it yet, so I figured this would be the perfect time!

I've seen things slightly similar to this floating around Pinterest, but I put my own twist on it. Basically, the gift was 12 preplanned dates, one for each month. I couldn't do the prepaid date idea that some websites have suggested because our money needs to go elsewhere, but a little imagination and a few bucks can get you a long ways in the world of dating your spouse!

After I had scoured the internet for date ideas (specifically The Dating Divas), I made a list of my favorites, combining a few along the way and customizing the date ideas to fit my husband's preference. I narrowed it down to 12, choosing the ones that seemed the most doable. 

Then, because my husband needed something to open on Christmas, I decided to choose one item to represent each date. I wrapped each of the 12 items individually and attached an envelope to each wrapped item. Inside the envelopes are personalized invitations to each date, made by yours truly. :) These are the envelopes that you see in the photo above. 

How the date gift works: At the beginning of each month, Justin chooses one of the items that he opened on Christmas. He has no idea what the date associated with that item is. Then we choose a day on which the date will occur. On the morning of the date, I will give him the invitation and later that day, I reveal what the date includes! 

Unfortunately, this is a lot more complicated to explain then it is to actually do, so it sounds very convoluted. Justin is still a little confused about the whole thing since we weren't able to do one of the dates in January. The thing I don't think he understands is that each date is geared toward him. Each one involves activities, movies, food, or something that he enjoys and that I don't normally do with him. So this really is a gift for him, not just me. Although I'm really looking forward to some of them!

This month, he has chosen the travel-size shower set and we have set the date for February 15th as part of our Valentine's Day celebration. :) 

As much as I would love to give a list of the items and what type of date goes along with each, my husband does occasionally read this blog and I do not want it spoiled! But I will be doing a quick recap of each date so that the married people who read Uncommonplace can get some ideas for fun dates!

What are some of your favorite dates to do with your husband? I'm always looking for new ideas! If this ends up being a successful gift, this may continue to be a tradition! 



The Last Week

I had some great blog posts planned for this week. I really did. I was going to give you a great Valentine's Day gift idea (still coming tomorrow!), a fun DIY, and a link up. 

But all of that changed on Sunday when I found out that my great-grandma, who was 96, had passed away. I had known it was coming and she had been going down hill for almost a year, but it still through life for a loop. 

Her service was in eastern Washington, so my parents picked up my husband and me on Wednesday and took us up there for the funeral. It was actually a really great day, the funeral was a good way to say good bye to my great-grandma and it was a fun visit with family. I ended up with her china, so now I have something to remember her by. 

Anyway, that is the short version of this past week. Tonight, as I watch the Grammy's, I will be working on some blog posts for this week. I'm going to really have to start being more disciplined in my blog posting because as of tomorrow, my work hours get doubled, so I will have even less time at home. But come back soon for some great posts!

And, on Valentine's Day, be sure to stop by as I am hosting a giveaway! And its a good one!



February Workout Challenge

One of my goals for 2013 was to start exercising on a regular basis. And, surprise! It didn't happen for January. Because the month started out with a trip, I never really got motivated to figure out a good time and routine for myself. It has just been one of those constant nagging thoughts at the back of my mind. 

But the other day, I saw this pin on Pinterest. The tumblr address at the bottom of the picture leads to this website. This intrigued me because, honestly, I'm tired of the tummy pooch. As I have gained weight over this last year, that is the part of me that has most noticeably gotten bigger. Even some of the kids at the preschool where I work are starting to ask if I have a baby in my tummy. (I also had a grown man ask me that, in slightly different words, but I attribute that awkward misunderstanding to my empire waist dress and the fact that I was sitting down.)

However, the calendar for this February ab workout is for last year and I want to do it this year! So instead of using that as the world's lamest excuse not to at least attempt this challenge, I decided to update it to this year (although this does make it go until March 1st) and put it in list form. This makes it easier for me to keep track of if I miss a day. Plus, I had enough room on the side to add a box for healthy post-workout snack ideas.

Looks simple enough, right? I have a feeling I'll be regretting those words in a few days. 
If you want to join me in this challenge, let me know in the comments or in an email and we can hold each other accountable! I'm excited for, not only the possible results, but for simply making my lifestyle healthier!


(Non-Instagram) Five Facts

Linking up to The Life of Bon today with my five facts! I'm not on Instagram nearly as much as I should be, but I guess there is some sort of a five facts tag going around. So instead of waiting around to be tagged, here are my five facts you probably don't know about me!

Oh, also, I guess you are supposed to post some hot picture of yourself, but those don't exist. Instead, enjoy me smiling awkwardly at 4 years old. :)


1. I was "supposed" to be raised in Argentina. When I was born, my parents were still planning on    being long-term missionaries there. That is one of the reasons that they gave me the name Natalia, knowing that it would fit in. 

2. I had five teachers in third grade. My first teacher left our class to be a principal at another school, the second teacher only lasted two weeks because the boys in our class made her cry, the third teacher (who was actually my awesome kindergarten teacher) was a temporary sub, the fourth teacher was the permanent teacher hired by the school, and then my family moved to Oregon and I had a fifth teacher. Can anyone beat that? :)

3. I have eaten Alpaca. When I visited Peru in high school it was one of our meals. Tastes like beef, for the most part. What I really wanted to try was Cui (aka guinea pig), but no one was brave enough to try it with me and I was too self conscious to order it for myself. Bummer. 

4. I want four kids, my husband wants two. We'll see who wins. 

5. I'm making Turkish bacon-wrapped pork chops for dinner. I'm sure that helps you understand me better. 

I tag all of you who are reading this! If you have any sort of blog, do it and then leave a comment with the link! It may seem a little silly, but sometimes writing a very self-centered post is just the ego-boost you need. Have fun!



Currently Reading....

I bought this book at a thrift shop this summer (because I am a total sucker for cheap books) but haven't got around to reading it yet. I started a few days ago and have already noticed so many differences between the book and the movie. Some of my favorite aspects of the movie are going to be impossible in the book, but I have a feeling other things will more than make up for it. :)

What are you currently reading?



Photo(s) A Day: Catching Up :)

Since my last post, I've only taken four pictures. :( But that is better than zero! So I decided that I will share what I have for now and hopefully I will be able to keep up on them from now on!

Day 6: Mine

Husband. He's mine. :)

Day Seven: Street

Still in Idaho at this point and it was snowing!

Day Fourteen (yeah, big jump...): Something Yellow

Ok, so only part of it is actually yellow. Still counts though, right?

Day Fifteen: An Ordinary Moment

Homemade chicken strips in the oven. :)

Remember to check out Fat Mum Slim to play along!


Still Here!

Hello! Just a quick post to let everyone know that I am still here and haven't abandoned you. :) 

Here are my excuses:
Honestly, life has just been really busy. 
I've been working more than usual.
The last few days I have been attempting the "once a month" cooking style (which I WILL be doing a post on later!). 
I have been abnormally tired lately and I'm pretty sure my body is still trying to get rid of a cold I got a few weeks ago. 
My house is a mess and I have a hard time focusing on blogging if there are other things that need to be done. 
I have hit a bit of a creative block and need to reevaluate. Again. This seems to happen to me whenever I stop blogging for awhile. I just need to keep at it!

Anyway, I will answer emails, approve sponsors, and all of that stuff soon. So bear (bare?) with me for now! Hope your new year is off to a great start. :)



Photo(s) A Day: New & Heart

Yesterday we had "second Christmas" with Justin's family since we are visiting Idaho for the week. So the prompt of "New" was perfect! It is a tradition with his family to receive a tin of Danish Butter Cookies every year, and I thought the sugar sprinkled on top of the cookies would make for a decently attractive photo. 

Today's prompt was "Heart." The Christmas tree is still up at my in-law's house and I think this little guy fits the qualifications for the photo pretty well. Although my favorite part of the picture is the lovely dog hair that is clinging to him. :)

If you want to play along, be sure to check out the link at Fat Mum Slim!



Photo A Day: Today

One of my New Year's Resolutions (of which I will be writing more about later) was to do Fat Mum Slim's photo a day project. Every month, she posts a list of photo prompts to inspire each day's photo. So here is my first one! The prompt was simply: Today. 

Each day, probably some time in the evening, I hope to be posting a photo. I may miss a few here and there, but I'm hoping the idea of prompts will keep me motivated! If you want to join in, you can do so here!

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