He is the deet in my Deep Woods Off

The scene of the infestation!

Hubby and I spent another fine weekend deep in campground country chilllaxin’ this weekend. And yes, we brought my shit shack with us; otherwise known as Nat’s Stool Shed (why hubby has chosen that nickname is beyond me…I only use it for number 1). I think he’s having a sign made. How wonderful.

Anyway….back to the point of my story. We soon discovered that it’s caterpillar season at the campground. There were oodles of the little creatures everywhere. Mostly the white/black type which kind of freaked me out because I had heard they can be deadly. After a little Google search, turns out I was being a wee bit dramatic (shocking…I know….). They aren’t deadly but some people can have an allergic reaction to them in the form of an itchy rash after touching. So I was not going near them.

In all honesty, I am just not a huge bug fan. Hubby is actually surprised I enjoy camping as much as I do given my distaste for all things insect. Bugs, ants, spiders, flies…UGH. I mean, I am not afraid of ALL of them but I certainly don’t want to be BFF with any of them. And yes, I do scream and flail around like an epileptic having a seizure when I surprisingly find something on me.  This weekend, that happened a lot.

There we’d be…playing crib at the picnic table. I’d be kicking hubby’s butt when I’d just happen to glance down at my lap and BAM…one of the white crawling devils would be plotting my rash demise. I’d leap up in a single bound, scream hysterically and start doing the dance of “get this freaking creepy caterpillar off me NOW!!!!”

UGH!

It was exhausting standing on guard all the time. Where were these bad boys coming from and how the heck were they getting on my lap? I started wearing a hat fearing they had hidden wings and were circling the obvious weakest link.

But I must say hubby proved to be my hero time and time again.

He got up from the table or his chair a hundred times to “magically sweep” away the persistent little bastards. This was no small job given the world-wide domination and infestation that was going on (perhaps being a tad dramatic here but there were a LOT of them). Not to mention, I started developing a keen eye for spotting one within a 20 foot parameter of what I deemed my “caterpillar-free safety zone”. I armed hubby with a fly swatter and was commander-in-chief sending him out into battle over and over again.

Hubby…there’s one over there crawling over a leaf 10 feet from the fire pit on the left hand side next to the green twig. Quick…get him!!

No insecticide needed here. I had Soldier Hubby in the trenches fighting the good fight; being the deet to my Deep Woods Off.

I gotta say, there’s nothing quite so romantic as your loved one putting a smile on his face time and time again regardless of the incessant inconvenience to do you a solid.

Sweep. Me. Off. My. Feet.

How does your significant other sweep you off your feet? What things does he/she do that you know deep down drives him/her batty, but they do it anyway…with a smile…for you? Come on…share the wealth….

More blog deliciousness here:

  • August McLaughlin’s post on learning to trust our instincts was bang on. Not just in your writing life but across the board!
  • Loved this post by Lisa Hall-Wilson on what makes a real man. So timely with today’s post because I am so grateful that I held out for hubby…he is the real deal! And the real deal is always worth waiting for.
  • Fab post by Elena Aitken on taking time to unplug and how important it is that we all do it from time to time. Tks for the wonderful reminder girl!

Keeping love in the tub on chill

Y’all know hubby and I are big romantics. We have regular date nights, we hold hands and whisper sweet nothings in each other’s ears, we snuggle and cuddle, and we do sappy cards and flowers (ok, hubby does the flowers but I’ve done an edible arrangement). You get the point. We love romance.

It’s easy to get caught up in the business of life, work and responsibilities. We think it’s important to keep the magic alive and what better way than through romance and adoration with each other.

So when we bought our house, a non-negotiable for us was a kick-ass bathtub for TWO. That’s right, hubby and I like to take the occasional bubble bath together where we slip and slide and get all sudsy and slicked up together. Nothing is more romantic than THAT! And what totally MAKES a bubble bath for two…you guessed it…CHAMPAGNE!!!

We’ll get the tub all fired up, hubby will open the window, crack the champagne and fire that cork out to the backyard. After a long winter, we’ll find dozens of these little plastic tokens of romantic deliciousness in the spring. Sadly, like true rednecks, we’ve been stuck keeping our champagne bottle on the side of the tub. What this means is we gotta drink it pretty fast before it loses its chill.

That’s till now! Check out the Bathtub Champagne Chiller.

Eeeekeee!!! I am sooo excited! Where were you for Valentine’s day?!?!? Dang! Oh well, there’s always next year.

This bad boy clamps to the side of the tub and will keep my champagne on ice while we lather and love. The chrome bracket adjusts to accommodate tub sides that are 5″ to 7″ so it should work fine for ours. And it’s got pads on the bracket to ensure the unit won’t scratch bathtubs.

It can also serve to hold your kids rubber duckies or perhaps your bathtime spa products but I suggest you try champagne!

For $49.95, you to can order this delightful dish and keep your bubbly on ice.

Do you enjoy a little bath time bubbly? How do you keep the romantic spark alive outside the tub?

It’s Twisted Tuesday and that means it’s time to enjoy a smile, giggle or laugh…here’s hoping I’ve provided it in spades…enjoy!

More blog deliciousness here:

  • Before you click the publish button, Jody Hedlund suggests you pass it through a few walls.
  • Many authors write under pennames. Juliana Haygert played a fun game of toying around with possible for herself. FUN! What would you choose?
  • You guys likely read about my conversations with Jenny Hansen where she shoved me encouraged me to start writing ANYTHING. She said we all have 3000 words of dribble inside of us until we get to the good stuff. Hmmmm…nice! I then read this post by Tawna Fenske  on it being ok to suck for awhile that brought the point home all over again with her post!

Valentine’s Day: let the love palooza continue

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

 

Given hubby’s recent back injury and our upcoming trip to the Dominican Republic in April, hubby and I are planning for a quiet Valentine’s this year. A romantic dinner at home cooked by us, a luxurious bubble bath enjoyed with some delicious champagne, wonderfully scripted romantic cards, and a candle lit night of romance. Ahhhh…delightful.

Last week I entered hubby and I into a contest to find our city’s ultimate couple and win a night on the town for Valentine’s Day. The prize includes transportation, flowers, spa treatments and dinner at one of our fav restaurants. Perfect! To enter, I had to explain, in 1300 characters, why I thought we were the “ultimate couple” and deserved the night out.

Now, y’all know I believe that hubby and I rock (as you may have noticed from yesterday’s post)! But to put into words why was harder than I thought it would be. I wanted to go beyond the wild romantic gestures that hubby chooses to bless me with; beyond our love of public displays of affection; and beyond our crazy fun and adventures. I wanted to go deeper.  What do I think sets us apart? What makes us special? What truly makes us, in my opinion, an ultimate couple?!

Here is what I came up with:

Scott and Natalie are the ultimate couple because we believe in a living marriage, romance found in everyday stuff, and that it’s the little things that count. We believe in being best friends, you complete me, yin to my yang, K.I.S.S.I.N.G., and that love makes the world go around. We believe in supporting each other through anything and everything. We believe in having each other’s backs; no matter what. We believe in putting each other’s needs and wants first; every time. We believe in investing in each other’s happiness. We believe in fighting clean and always being willing to forgive and forget. We believe there is no such thing as right or wrong and that there is always room for negotiation, compromise and win-win. We believe in living responsibly and having a lot of FUN. We believe in honesty, integrity, monogamy, compassion, empathy, and thinking the best of each other; always. We believe in laughter, snuggles, cuddles, vulnerability, and hugs that last forever. We believe in champagne bubble baths, candle lit dinners, long walks on the beach, holding hands, kissing whenever the mood strikes, love letters, and flowers…just because. We believe in miracles, fairy tales, dreams come true, soul mates and life partners. We believe in each other! We believe in true love forever.

What a wonderful exercise! To spend some time putting into words our unique beauty as a couple…was amazing! So win or lose the actual contest (they announced the winners this morning, it wasn’t us…sniff), I know we already won! In celebration of that, I thought I’d share some of hubby’s love notes to me and some photos of our Valentine’s Day fun from throughout the years. I hope you enjoy!

You inspire me to be a better person and a better man. The rest of the world fades away with you in my arms.

Everything about you makes me love you more everyday…your father would be so proud of the woman you’ve become.

Valentine's Day

My day starts and ends with you and looking forward to the rest of my days with you.

You are truly a gift in my life. Thank you for sharing all you have to give. You are such an amazing woman.

Valentine's Day

Nothing means more to me than you and what we have together.

Together we can conquer life’s challenges. Together we can do anything. And as long as we are together, I don’t care what we are doing or conquering because I will have everything I need…you!

Valentine's Day

I truly do think of you as a miracle.

You are the highlight of all my days and evenings! You make my world go around and my head spin! You are a dream come true for me.

Valentine's Day

Growing old with you sounds like a dream come true for me. You really are the “sparkle” in my life.

You put the Happy in my Valentine’s day.

Valentine's Day

You are the giddy comment on my blog; the happy place in my heart! xoxox

Being with you is such a gift to me!

Valentine's Day

Just so there is no confusion, I’m crazy about you!

I do get lost when I am with you. Happy Valentine’s day!

Valentine's Day

You are the best Valentine a guy could wish for. xoxox

I love being a love bird with you! You are and always will be “the love of my life” and my Valentine!

Valentine's Day

What makes you and yours an ultimate couple? What sets y’all apart? If you are single, what makes YOU an ultimate person? What are some of your favourite and/or most romantic Valentine’s Day stories? Got any special plans for this evening? 

It’s Twisted Tuesday and that means it’s time to enjoy a smile, giggle or laugh…here’s hoping I’ve provided it in spades…enjoy!

If you enjoyed this post, check out more blog deliciousness here:

A palooza of romance: hubby’s top 5

Tomorrow is Valentine’s day and I’ve got a week-long love fest planned for you. Buckle up for a palooza of all things romantic, sappy and corny. We are going to kick off the week with the top 5 romantic things hubby has done in our over 7 years together.

1. Nat’s Day – Letters of the alphabet. Very early on in our relationship, hubby planned and executed a day-long scavenger hunt. All day long I received different clues and deliveries that led me to flowers, love notes, cards and presents all with these little foam letters attached. Each letter came with a note. “A is for how adorable you are; B doesn’t begin to describe your beauty” etc. At the end of the day when I got home with my entire alphabet, I found the original alphabet form to put all the letters in. When I did, and flipped it over, there was a message to meet hubby at his place. There he had dinner, dessert and an evening of the Notebook all planned for us.

Nat's Day - Letters of the Alphabet

Nat's Day - Letters of the Alphabet

2. Nat’s Day – Keys. Another day-long scavenger hunt for little gold keys (you know, the ones for those tiny luggage locks). Throughout the day, I came across them in a million different ways; packages delivered by co-workers, in the trunk of my car, and hidden in flowers. At the end of the day, all of the keys unlocked a box which promised a night of romance.

Nat's Day - Keys

Nat's Day - Keys

Nat's Day - Keys

3. Nat’s Day 3 – Mission Possible. This time it was a scavenger hunt for CDs. Each CD was part of an all-day mission for Bruce Easily (hubby) and Fatality (me) to hook up for a night of romance. And each CD contained hints about where and when to find the next.

Nat's Day - Mission Possible

 

4. A day for Dad. My Dad was killed when I was 16 years old. One year, on the anniversary of his death, hubby gifted me with a large picture frame that he put together with a picture of my Dad, a few of me growing up, and the poem I wrote for Dad’s funeral. He also gave me my first orchid (my Dad grew orchids).

A day for Dad

5. The millions. The millions of flowers I’ve received; the hundreds of romantic messages in dreamy cards; the foot rubs, massages, and spa evenings; the never-ending surprise dinners; the engagement proposal; and….the never-tiring cuddles, snuggles, chick flicks, back tickles and hair pulls.

Hubby’s talent for all things romance makes me a very lucky lady indeed. There’s nothing that makes a gal feel more special and loved than surprises and unexpected gestures of adoration. And I gotta say, hubby delivers in spades.

How do you breath romance into your relationships? What’s the most romantic thing someone’s ever done for you?

Prize Alert: Last Monday I did an author’s spotlight featuring the amazing Elena Aitken and we did a fahhhbulous book giveaway. Here are the winners:

  • Julie Glover – Nothing Stays in Vegas e-Book
  • Louise Behiel – Nothing Stays in Vegas e-Book
  • Darlene Steelman – Nothing Stays in Vegas e-Book
  • Marcia Richards – Grand Prize – Drawing Free signed copy

Elena is gone on vacay (lucky lady) so she will connect with y’all upon her return. In the meantime, fire me your email addys to Natalie at nataliehartford dot com. I will forward the info along to Elena and she can get in touch with each of you upon her return Feb 25.

If you enjoyed this post, check out more blog deliciousness here:

Marriage proposals; be original


Marriage proposals come in all shapes, size, and styles. I’ve heard some pretty incredible proposals stories and, unfortunately, some pretty lame ones. As you likely guessed, hubby did it up right when he popped the question.

It was a gorgeous summer day. Hot. Sun shining. Not a cloud in the sky. We decided to drive the 2 hours to spend the afternoon at our fav summer beach. With spectacular white sands and warm ocean waters as far as the eye can see, it’s perfection. We loaded up the truck with all our gear and headed off on our adventure.

When we got there, people were just starting to arrive so we had lots of space to choose from. We settled in with our blankets, chairs and beach umbrella and cracked a cold beer. A little sunning, a little reading; the day was shaping up lovely. To make matters even better, another couple we are close with joined us.

We were all maxin’ and relaxin’ when hubby said he was going to go build a sand castle. About an hour later, he came and asked me to check out his sand art. And there, when I rounded the sand bar, was when I saw it. Hubby had carved a spectacular sand heart with a hand coming out of it. My ring sat perfectly in the hand.

He asked me if I would marry him. I cried and said yes. Our friends gave us a huge cheer. It seemed like the entire beach applauded!!! It was by far the most romantic day of my life.

Yip, the photo at the top is REAL and was my engagement experience.

But I gotta say….this guy gives even hubby a run for his money:

What about you? What is your marriage proposal story? What’s the most romantic (or utterly disastrous) proposal story you’ve heard? Share the wealth…

If you enjoyed this post, check out more blog deliciousness here:

  • Louise Behiel wrote an ahhhmazing post on personal responsibility with a powerful metaphor that helps bring this tough concept home. The post…moved me!
  • Elena Aitken (who just released her new book Drawing Free…eeeekeee…congrats Elena) did a wonderful post on how life is about pushing yourself outside the comfort zone to reach your dreams.
  • Emma Burcart did a fantastic post on fun traditions she and her family enjoy. I am inspired to create some of my own and am definitely adopting the red panties on New Year’s Eve (I am sure hubby will love that one)!

Romance in the oddest of places

This week is the start of September and that means the closing one of my favorite seasons. No, I am not talking about the end of summer or the return of kiddies to school (although yes, the Dude is going into University this Sept). And it’s not the end of the golf season (still a few months left for that…yipppeee). Haven’t figure it out yet?

It’s the close of another successful yard sale season!

So sad. :(

Yard sale season is one of the most exciting things about spring. Yes, we are total urban rednecks. Hubby and I get up early Saturday mornings to the thrill of the yard sale adventure. We grab a hot coffee (Pepsi for hubby) and go for long, meandering drives across country and down obscure lanes looking for those amazing deals and new-to-us treasures.

And this past Saturday was our last yard sale adventure of the season and we scored big. We got a pine screen door, a small pine coffee table, a set of massive steak knives, a few wall ornaments, and a retro spice rack all for around $70 bucks. Woot woot. Great goodies for the camp (AKA: HarKen Lodge).

Beyond the treasures we pick up, for me there’s something so romantic about going on a yard sale adventure. I love cruising around for a couple of hours talking about the latest “find” with the radio playing softly in the background. No rush. No hurry. Our driving occasionally interrupted by a hand-holding saunter to pick through other people’s junk quietly whispering to each other “hey…check this out…what do you think….it’s only $5 bucks!”

It’s intimate. It’s he and I time. We are alone. We don’t know anyone. It’s an adventure. It’s always good for a few laughs. And we never know what little treasures we are going to bring home to boot.

Romance is the most unusual of places.

That is until the romantic atmosphere is shattered by the haggling. This is where hubby and I differ. If I arrive at your yard sale and want an item, I am going to pay you the price on the sticker. Hubby says people snicker behind my back and call me foul things like “sucker!” I ignore him. I prefer to think that people respect me for honoring their pricing. I figure you took the time to sort through your shit, haul it outside, and put little yellow stickers with a price on it, the least I can do is pay you want you want.

Hubby prides himself on being a master haggler. His yard sale technique is to find multiple items, put them in a box, and haggle (or as I like to call it: low-balling) for a better price for the group of items. Honestly, when he snags himself a little treasure at a great deal (ripping off that poor little old lady whose likely trying to raise funds for food), it’s like a little high for him, I swear! Badges of yard sale honor.

Honestly, he’ll haggle for anything, anywhere including retail stores. I usually run back to the truck, hide in an aisle, or duck out of the store when he starts “working his magic.” The sad part is that he usually gets the freaking deal. Damn them for giving in…it only encourages him!

Where do you find romance? Do you haggle or pay sticker price at yard sales?

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