Saturday, October 29, 2011

Another Surgery for Stephen. :(

Hello from BEAUUUUTIFUL California! I'm here for my little brother's wedding and I've got to tell you, I am just LOOOVING it here! We are in a place called Clements and it is just gorgeous. I'll tell you all about it later and include pictures of our adventures, but right now I've got something else on my mind.

Stephen will be going in for another brain surgery on November 2nd. The surgeon didn't get as much of the brain tumor as originally thought, so they need to go in and try again. They have discovered that the type of cancer he has is very aggressive (ATRT), so there is no time to wait. Unfortunately, when they operate again, they are going to have to operate around the part of the brain that controls speech, sight and motor skills...really important things. He will be flying out to St. Jude in Memphis, where he will be in very good hands. After the surgery, he will have about 10 days to recover, and after that he will start 6 weeks of radiation therapy. *sniff sniff* Please continue to keep him in your prayers!

I have been working like crazy on your necklaces! I will start getting them sent out within the next week or so! :)

Thank you for all of your love, support and prayers! I really do have the best blog BFF's in the WORLD!


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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Stephen: post surgery update with pictures! :)

Hi Friends and family! For those of you who are following along with Stephen's journey, I thought you might enjoy these pictures! These are all from the past few days, and they are just so heartwarming! You can really see what a sweet little boy he is!

After they took the tubes out of him, he had one simple request. Ice cream. He is a boy after my own heart. :) He downed the entire thing. I can only imagine how good it must have tasted after being on a clear liquid diet for so long...

Taking a stroll with Mom. You can see how his little face is swollen from the surgery (which is normal).

He is a big Star Wars fan and some VERY special visitors came to see him! CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW AWESOME THIS WOULD BE!?! WOW. Darth Vader couldn't make it...because, as we all know, he was killed in the last movie.


Killing time colorfully...Star Wars style. ;) Oh my gosh, I love this kid! :)


Yup, more ice cream!

His Aunt gave a little background on Stephen for me, I thought it was very fitting to include in this post!

"Sweet Stephen has been through a lot in his 6 years. He was abandoned and left on the doorstep of a Chinese orphanage as a baby. He is missing his right arm, due to an amniotic band in utero. If he'd have stayed in China, he would not have had access to an education, as he has a physical disability. My sister and BIL adopted him and he's been a part of our family for 4.5 wonderful years now. He had to have pretty intensive speech intervention also. He's a special, brave little boy who brings so much happiness to our family. The thought of losing him tore my heart out. Please continue prayers for him and his parents. They've got a long way to go, but we have absolutely witnessed a miracle!"

He is a VERY special little boy. Thank you for all of your continued prayers!


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Friday, October 21, 2011

Did You Order a Necklace? Read This. :)



I've been getting a lot of emails with people wondering how/when to pay for their custom orders with the Hope for Stephen special. I've been doing a lot of thinking and talking to people and I think the easiest and best way to do this is to put up personalized invoices on my All Things Natsprat page. This personalized invoice will include your name, what you ordered, the price of the listing and a "buy now" Paypal button. This way, you can make sure you are getting what you want and you can change the order if you need to. SOOOOO, I will be working on these over the next few days and if you have left your email address with your comment I will email you a link to your order. If this is what you want to finalize, then you can just click on the "buy now" button and purchase it. This way, it will be more organized and there is no chance that I will be confused with any orders.

Another thing to clear up, if you ordered a mini necklace, the only kind of beads I can use with the mini necklace are the mini turquoise "egg" beads...it's a mini necklace because it's smaller because of the beads. (Did that make any sense at all???hahah) And, the mini necklace is also cheaper because it doesn't have the heart or bird charm. However, if you would LIKE it to have a bird charm, let me know and I will add it for $1 extra. ;)

Okay....I think that covers the bases. If you have any questions, let me know! Thanks so much!


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Hope for Stephen Update {PLEASE READ!!!}


*Deeeeep breath*

Hello, my WONDERFUL friends! I know I keep saying how blown away I am at the love and support you have all shown for little Stephen! This necklace promotion has spread like wildfire and right now I am at over 80 necklaces! This is WONDERFUL!!!! However...I am starting to get a little overwhelmed by it all. I wasn't really expecting it to grow so big, and while I am eternally grateful for your kindness, I can't handle all of these orders on my own. It's absolutely humiliating....but I think I need to stop taking orders for now and work on what I have so far. It's costed a lot in out of pocket costs for supplies and right now my reserves for supplies are gone...and that's only after ONE day! So, for all who ordered necklaces yesterday and today, I will still do your orders. But, after today I will have to put a pause on all orders until I can catch up and get my bearings and give my sore fingers a little break! ;) Thank you SO much for your understanding....and I am so sorry! I feel like I'm letting people down....but I just don't know what else to do.

In the meantime, if you would still like to donate to the Hope for Stephen fund, you can click on the link on my right sidebar! I know all donations would be greatly appreciated!

They just found out that the 90% estimate of the brain tumor removal was inaccurate, and he still has about 20-25% of the tumor still in there. I guess the brain had shifted during surgery to fill the hole and it got harder to navigate. They didn't want to go any deeper and risk cutting into the important parts of the brain that control speech, sight and motor functions. So....the hard journey isn't over yet.

I'll be sure to keep you updated, and please continue to keep them in your prayers! Thank you!!!

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Want To Help Stephen? Want To Get Something In Return???

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*UPDATE: DUE TO THE OVERWHELMING (-LY AWESOME) AMOUNT OF NECKLACE ORDERS I HAVE RECEIVED, I NEED TO PAUSE ON TAKING ORDERS FOR A LITTLE WHILE...I NEED TO GET CAUGHT UP ON WHAT I HAVE SO FAR! I WILL LET YOU KNOW WHEN I'M UP TAKING MORE ORDERS!!! THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH!*


Hello my friends! You may have noticed a little addition to my sidebar. :) Many of you have been following along with the news about my cousin's 6 year old son, Stephen, this week. For those of you who are just reading this for the first time, you can click HERE to read the full posts about Stephen and his brain cancer story.

While the doctors were able to get 99% of the tumor, they are not out of the woods yet. He will still have to go through chemotherapy and more testing. I have been feeling so helpless, feeling like there was nothing I could do other than pray. And last night, as I was trying to fall asleep, an impression came to me. There IS more I can do to help! And, this is it.

We all know how fast hospital bills add up! And, with 2 MRI's, brain surgery, chemotherapy, tests, doctor bills, (SUPER AWFUL EXPENSIVE) hospital stay costs, and all of the other expenses they will have to end up paying....I just don't even want to think about having to add it all up. *shudder*


Like the button? The gray ribbon is the ribbon for brain cancer awareness. I put his name in yellow because that is the color of childhood cancer awareness. So sweet...*sniff sniff*

If you would like to donate and get something out of it, I am doing a special thing with my nest necklaces. If you order one from now until October 25th, I will donate ALL proceeds to their account. That way, you can donate AND get something in return!

Now, the meaning of this necklace is very special. Each egg represents each of your precious children, here on earth or in Heaven. (you can have as many eggs as you want on your necklace! I've made a few with 7 eggs even!) The bird represents the parent/parents, there to guard and care for the nest. The heart represents all of your love for them. This is just so fitting...especially for this occasion.

All mini necklaces are made with the mini turquoise, which is half the size of the original turquoise. So, if you want the original turquoise stones you have to order a full size necklace. It also doesn't come with the heart or the bird. But, if you would like a little bird on it, it is $1 extra. Just be sure to let me know. ;)


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This is the full size necklace. All I have left in stones are the original turquoise...(that's what's pictured in the nest) The full size necklace DOES come with the heart charm and the bird charm.

And...

Just look at his little happy face!!! Oh how I love this kid!!! :)


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So....if you would like to order a necklace (Christmas presents with a cause, anyone?) please leave me a comment with how many eggs you want in your nest and whether you want the mini nest or the full sized nest necklace.

And if you could, please pass this on for me? Thank you SOOOO much! I love you guys!!!


*UPDATE*

Wow! I am so incredibly blown away by all of your support! There just aren't words to express my gratitude!

Due to the INCREDIBLE support, please expect it to take 2-3 weeks for me to get your necklaces made and shipped! I make them all by hand, so it takes a while! My fingers are going to be sore! HAHAHAH! (not complaining...SOOOO worth it!)

Thank you!!!

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Update on Stephen: {surgery news}

Wow. My heart is SO full of gratitude right now! First, I am so, incredibly grateful for all of your prayers and comments and emails...just, WOW. Thank you so much! I seriously have the BEST group of blog BFF's in the world. We are not only craft friends, we are LIFE friends. :)

Secondly, I am so grateful for God's goodness. I have been stressing out all day, waiting for updates on Stephen's surgery...not expecting good news, but trying to have faith that things would turn out okay. I bit off all of my nails and stress ate an ENTIRE batch of no-bake cookies. Brent put up these pictures of Stephen's MRI scan. Just look at the size of that tumor! :(


Then, later this evening, they put up these pictures. This is Stephen after he came out of surgery. Bless his little heart. He is still sedated, but doing well.


This was Brent's update:

"Just talked to the surgeon. It went great! He estimates he got out 99 percent of the tumor. There was minimal bleeding and no transfusion necessary. Pre-pathology results classify it as a PNET type tumor and pathology will most likely confirm it given a few days of testing.
Stephen will be in ICU sedated and incubated overnight. They will wake him in the morning aver a new scan. Both Amber and I will be able to stay with him overnight. No telling how soon he will get out of ICU, but recovery will be at least a week and maybe two.

We can't tell you how relieved we are and thank each of you for your WONDERFUL support, prayers (across multiple denominations and faiths), fasting, priesthood blessings, karma and whatever else you sent our way!

We are so blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives.

Of course we are not out of the woods yet, and there will yet be chemotherapy to endure, but we could not have any better news to announce today!"


I have NO doubt in my mind that it was all of the prayers reaching up to Heaven today that brought this WONDERFUL outcome. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! Now...please say one more prayer and THANK Heavenly Father for pouring out his blessings! :)

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Update on Stephen


Hello, friends and family. Right now, as I type, little Stephen is in an operating room. It hurts to just think of him right now. Surgeons standing over him operating on his little head. I can't imagine how hard it must have been for Brent and Amber, watching them wheel him away, not knowing if they would see him alive again, not knowing what kind of effect the surgery would have on him. I can't even hold back the tears. My heart just aches for them. How do you tell your little child that he may die? How do you tell him goodbye? How do you let go of his hand? How do you break your gaze from his face as he leaves down the hall?

After another 3 hour long MRI yesterday, they discovered that the tumor most likely originated inside of his brain. And with a little 6 year old brain and a tumor the size of a large orange it just doesn't look good. Please, PLEASE, say a special prayer for them today. We don't know what God has planned for this little boy, whether he will be called home or whether he will be a living miracle. But either way, please pray. Pray that the doctors hands will be guided as they operate, pray that his little body will be strong. Pray especially for the family, that they will feel God's loving arms around them to comfort them in this most difficult of times.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

For Stephen's POST-SURGERY update, click HERE!


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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Prayer Request {personal}




This is a very hard post to write. No crafts or tutorials, something that is so much more meaningful and important. I know so many of you who are good, faithful Christians, and I humbly ask for your help.

Today I got a call from my mom who was in tears. My cousin and his wife received some heartbreaking news yesterday. Their 6 year old son, Stephen Chow has been having horrible headaches for the past month or so. They took him to the doctor where he was given antibiotics, assuming it was some sort of a virus. The headaches continued. Yesterday, they took him into an eye doctor where they discovered that his optic nerves were very swollen. This prompted an MRI, where they discovered a brain tumor the size of a large orange. He will be having surgery to relieve the swelling. Please, keep them in your prayers, I know without a doubt that God hears them and He will answer.

In the meantime, hold your little ones. Don't waste time on meaningless things, and cherish EVERY moment you have. Keep the Lord at the center of your life and never lose faith, He is our Creator and is aware of our every need. Trust in His TIMING, rely on His PROMISES, wait for His ANSWERS, rejoice in His GOODNESS and believe in His MIRACLES. Thank you all! I love you!!!



For Stephen's surgery update, click HERE.

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Nat's Top Ten Pins of the Week

Woohooo! It's time for Nat's Top Ten Pins of the Week! Ready....set...go!

1. Craft of the Week


How fun would it be to make a giant one of these for kids to reach into to get their Halloween candy at your house???


2. Cute Outfit of the Week

I love how simple and classy this outfit is! And...I have pretty much everything needed for this outfit...minus the ADORABLE lacy ruffle shirt...MUST.FIND.ONE.NOW.

3. Tip of the Week

Okay...maybe you already know this..but it was new to me! Most mason jars fit with your blender! So many possibilities with this!

4. Kid Friendly Craft of the Week

White shaving foam + food coloring= bathtub paint.
Now, that's a math problem I can actually handle.


5. Good Laugh of the Week



HAHAHAH! Love it. *this much*


6. Inspirational Quote of the Week

Sometimes we spend so much time praying for the things we want, that we forget that we can be the answers to OTHER'S prayers. Or, we just expect things to fall onto our laps. How much faster would our blessings come if we at least tried to meet God half way? :)

7. *DROOL* of the Week


I have a little love obsession with enchiladas. And these look INCREDIBLE.

8. Tutorial of the Week

Now that it's starting to get a little chilly outside (Well, here in Colorado, anyway...) it's time to start thinking about things for kids to do inside! How cool would this be for a reading tent, or even just for pretend camping trips in the living room? This is SO on my to-do list.

9. Hairstyle of the Week

Love this! Especially with the bump in the crown! Easy AND cute. Just my kind of hairstyle!

10. Home Inspiration of the Week


Okay, so this was originally posted into my "Good Laughs" page...but really. It's genius! I'm not kidding, I am doing this in my laundry room.


Annnnd, that's it for this weeks edition of Nat's Top Ten Pins of the Week! Which one was your favorite? And, are you on Pintrest, too? I'd love to see what you've been pinning!

OH! *duh* and if you'd like to follow me on Pintrest, click HERE! :)

See you next time!

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Peanut Butter Eyeballs

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Today was a nice lazy day. We busted out Nightmare Before Christmas and I had this crazy craving for these Peanut Butter Eyeballs that my mom used to make with us around Halloween time. It's become a tradition with my kids and I, and today was the special day! I thought I'd share the recipe and maybe you can start the same tradition with YOUR family! :)

PEANUT BUTTER EYEBALLS

1 1/2 C peanut butter
1 stick softened butter
1/2 tsp salt
3 C powdered sugar
M&M's candies
White chocolate candy coating
black food coloring or chocolate chips

Mix the peanut butter, salt and butter well. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Shape into 1 inch balls, place on waxed paper. Then, put them into the fridge to harden.

Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate coating on low heat (or in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time and stirring) until melted.

Dip the peanut butter balls into the white chocolate and coat evenly. Place them back onto the waxed paper. Immediately press an M&M onto the top center of the eyeball.

Dip a toothpick in either the black food coloring or melted chocolate chips and put a small dot in the middle of the M&M to create the pupil.

Put it back into the fridge until the white chocolate is nice and hard again. All done!

If you're really feeling ambitious, you can dip a toothpick in red food coloring paste and make veins in the eyes!


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P.S. Don't forget to check out my current giveaway for a mini nest necklace!

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Linked up to:
Tatertots and Jello
Family Ever After
Sassy Sites
I Heart Naptime

Thursday, October 13, 2011

{Mini Nest Necklace GIVEAWAY!}

How would you like to win one of my {ADORABLE} mini nest necklaces? I'm telling you, these things are HOT right now!

Well, now you can! It's giveaway time, baby! Entering is easy! Here's how to enter!

1. Follow NatSprat (I love my blog BFF'S!)
2. Follow me on facebook
3. Follow me on Pintrest
4. Tell me which of my tutorials/crafts is your favorite.
5. Share this giveaway on facebook, twitter or your blog.

Please leave me an entry for EACH thing you do! That's 5 awesome ways to enter! This giveaway will end at midnight on October 21st!
Good luck!

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Linked to:
I Heart Naptime

Friday, October 7, 2011

Georgia Mud Fudge Ice Cream Cake {Tutorial}


Today is my WONDERFUL Mother's Birthday! (Hiiiii Mom!) I got the awesome job of making her birthday cake. I wanted to make her something special. I know she loves Georgia Mud Fudge Blizzards from Dairy Queen...so I decided to make her a Georgia Mud Fudge ice cream cake! Wanna know how I did it? :)

You will need:
1 1/2 tubs of chocolate ice cream
1 cup chopped pecans
1 box brownie mix
1 tub of Cool Whip
1/4 cup of milk
1 small box of chocolate pudding
1 bottle of Magic Shell ice cream topping (you know, that stuff that hardens in just few seconds after you pour it onto your ice cream?)
1 round spring form pan
a large star frosting tip and frosting bag

First step, make your brownie mix. Pour it into the greased spring form pan about 1/4 of the way to make a "crust" for the ice cream cake. Pour the rest into a square baking dish so it's about 1/2 inches thick. Bake them for 20-25 minutes until it's set and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the brownie.

Meanwhile, while the brownies are cooling, take out your ice cream and leave it on your counter to let it soften to the point where you can plop it out and stir it. (Just NOT to the point where it's a melted liquid mess!)

Cut the extra brownies you made into little squares and put them into the freezer for a while to harden.

After the ice cream is softened, plop it into a large bowl and stir it up so it's about the consistency of a Wendy's Frosty. (Mmmmm.) add your chopped pecans. Get out your brownie chunks and throw them in. Then, take your Magic Shell topping and give the ice cream a good dose of it! Stir it up until things are mixed evenly.

Dump that into the spring form pan on top of the brownie crust and smooth out the top as much as you can. (I took a piece of wax paper and smoothed the top with it) Put it back into the freezer for about 3 hours until it's hardened again.

While it's hardening you can go ahead and mix up the "frosting". Mix your Cool Whip and the chocolate pudding mix and 1/4 cup of milk together. Get it nice and smooth and creamy and put it into the fridge until the cake is ready to take out of the freezer.

When your cake is set, take it out of the freezer and carefully run a warm knife along the edge of the inside of the pan to loosen the ice cream and brownie from the side. Take the spring form part of the pan off and smooth out the sides with the knife. You're almost done!

Next, put your "frosting" into your frosting bag with the large star tip and pipe it onto the top and bottom edge of the cake. (See the picture!)

BEAUUUTIFUL! Now, get your Magic Shell topping and drizzle it all over the cake however you want! It's so fun to watch the stuff harden...

Now, YOU'RE DONE!!! Carefully put it back into the freezer until it's time to eat it! :) To cut it, use a knife warmed in some hot water.

See, super easy and SUPER delicious!

Now...I wish the birthday party would start so we can break into the cake! The picture is killing me! hahahah!

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Linked up to:
Tatertots and Jello
Lolly Jane
The Girl Creative
Nifty Thrifty Things
Pinkopotamus
Blue Cricket Design
Fingerprints On The Fridge

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Nat's Top Ten Pins of the Week


Wow, has it really already been a week!?! I don't know where the time went. But...happy October, everyone! Are you ready for my top 10 favorite pins of the week? I am! Here we go!


1. Craft of the Week

I just love these!!! I can just imagine putting them on bags...scarves...sweaters...headbands...AAAAAH! Cuteness overload!


2. Cute Outfit of the Week

Ooh, gray and turquoise together? Yes PLEASE!!! I'm seeing a lot of scarves on outfits lately...and I'm loving it.


3. Tip of the Week

Now really. How did I not know this? If you need to get those pesky sticky labels off of something and don't want the gooey, scummy mess left over, just heat it up with the blow dryer and it'll slide right off! *smacking forehead*



4. Kid Friendly Craft of the Week

With two little girls, I know this will be a big hit! I have to admit...I love sparkly things, too! :)



5.Good Laugh of the Week

No explanation needed!



6. Inspirational Quote of the Week

Okay...so this is funnier than the Jolie's Pitt's (get it? Jolie's armpits???) kids thing! BAHAHAHA! Maybe I should start carrying around water and sugar in my purse so I'm always prepared?



7. DROOL of the Week

You could make these so many ways! Cinnamon and Sugar...sea salt and butter....olive oil and Parmesan...green chili and cheese...I'm getting hungry....



8. Tutorial of the Week

Remember how I said I'm seeing scarves everywhere??? Well, soon you'll be seeing them on ME! And hopefully YOU!



9. Hairstyle of the Week

Now, this is actually for shorter hair. I imagine it will work with long hair, too. I love pretty AND easy updos...updoos...updo's...*gah*!



10. Home Inspiration of the Week

Sweaters aren't just for your upper half...they're for your couch, too! I know I have some sweaters who would LOVE to sacrifice themselves to have a place on my sofa. Or bed. Or both.

And this, my friends, concludes this weeks edition of Nat's Top Ten Pins of the Week! Which one inspired you most?

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