Hi Friends! Iā€™m Natalie Mason. I live in Charleston, SC and I am mom to Sterling 12 , Frances Moon 8 and our mini golden doodle Dolly.



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Thoughts For Thursday

Dec 1, 2016

Our house is finally totally decorated inside and out!  It feels good to have all this accomplished by December 1.  Here are a few snaps of my favorite decorations around the house.  

I am hosting my annual girl’s Christmas party next week.  I usually just serve wine and appetizers and we do a dirty santa gift exchange which can be pretty funny.  I am looking for some fun new apps to try- any holiday favorites?  These are 2 I found on Pinterest that I am considering.  

Brie Apple and Honey Crostini

Cheesy Bacon Holiday Crack

Big thank to you my reader who told me start Elin Hilderbrand’s Christmas series.  I just started the first book in the series and I am loving it.  A perfect story for this time of year.

Winter Street

Speaking of books I just finished listening to Amy Schumer’s book and loved it.  She is hilarious and it was so interesting to hear stories about her past.  Books on tape on my new jam, so perfect for road trips.

I spied the most gorgeous table setting at GDC Home this week.  I bought a few of those cute linen napkins to save as gifts.  

My favorite lounge pants from last year are back in stock in some fun new prints for the holidays.  These pants are seriously cozy!!  I am wearing a size small.

Lounge pants | Faux Fur Throw | Peace Pillow

Sterling lost another tooth this week.  I just love his notes for the tooth fairy.   He is such a sweet boy except when he is talking back which is often these days:)

I picked up this red wine while I was home in Charlotte last week at the Winestore.  It is so good, I highly recommend it.

Ombre Love.  This top is tee shirt material but it has cashmere blended in which makes it so soft!!

Ombre Tunic

It also comes in a beautiful blue cowl neck version.

Any potty training tips for difficult kids?  Frances is honestly too big for her diapers and now that she has turned 3 it’s time.  Sterling was so easy to potty train and so far Frances cries every time I ask her to tee tee on the potty.

Happy December 1st!

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  1. Julie says:

    My daughter is very strong willed and was impossible to potty train. She would literally stand in front of the toilet pee on the floor rather than sit on the toilet. I tried everything and she resisted everything. Then a teacher suggested using mini m&m's and it worked amazingly well. Every time she actually used the toilet I gave her three or four mini m&m's. It was a small treat that encouraged her, but not so much that she was overloaded with sugar all day, everyday. Good luck, though – I feel your pain!

  2. L Shotwest says:

    Been reading your blog for years and figured I'd better start commenting šŸ˜‰

    We aren't 100% there with the potty training, but this book (Oh Crap! Potty Training) really helped. It wasn't easy as you have to stay home for some days, but it worked. There's a website that goes with the book that is also really helpful … … hope this helps!

    How'd you get rid of the pacifier? That's my struggle … my daughter will be 3 in February and she can't sleep without … eek!

  3. Morning! I've made Pioneer Woman's Mushrooms stuffed w. Brie several times and they are always a hit. They take a little bit of time but they are worth it!

    Thanks for all of the wonderful recipes you post!


  4. ElanaFaye says:

    Can you share details on both mirrors?! love!

  5. Julie Butler says:

    Your house looks lovely! So festive!

    For potty training tips. I potty trained 4 kids. My easiest were my last 2 .. I waited until they turned 3 and then took 2 days of staying at home and put them in underwear. No pull ups. They figured it out really quickly. Have some cheap prizes handy. Only did pull ups at night while sleeping. Good luck!

  6. Your house looks beautiful! The only tip I have with potty training is wait until they're ready. Maybe you can find bigger diapers somewhere to hold you over for a while? That's the hard part…but we tried to force potty train b/c it was time and failed miserably (we were all miserable). Talked to my pediatrician in NYC about it and she said "even though the kids are smart enough and fully capable, they have to be ready and WANT to or it will be a nightmare for you." She also suggested once they're ready to use M&Ms (one for going #1 and two for going #2) because they need a 'disposable' reward or it won't mean anything after a while (aka don't buy them a toy for going potty). She said don't worry, nobody shows up to high school wearing diapers ;). I reluctantly agreed, and six months later my daughter was potty trained in less than a week and has never had an accident (even at night). I feel you on wanting it to be done, but it was SO much easier for us once we decided to wait. Good luck!

  7. Kelsey says:

    My youngest who I just potty trained was very difficult. He NEVER wanted to go! My only real suggestion is to keep them naked on the bottom. I usually set aside a couple of days where I don't really go anywhere. Over a weekend is a good time. Give them lots of water/juice, and lots of crackers ( keep them drinking) and then keep them naked on the bottom. Put her on the potty every 15-20 mins or so and tell her to try and go. If you keep that up and don't offer a diaper then eventually she will go! Scream, cheer, dance, freak out when she DOES go so she sees that its a really fun thing. And give her a little treat. Usually I did chocolate chips for potty success. Once she has the peeing down its time for the pooping and that is a lot harder but the same method usually works! Hope this helps!! potty training sucks big time but it'll be over before you know it if you stay consistent. šŸ™‚

  8. Jennifer says:

    Good luck with potty training. My first one trained so easily. My second (I have two girls) was a nightmare. Did not respond to prizes, candy, sticker charts, new underwear, NOTHING. We ended up going to a potty school at our local children's hospital because she was so incredibly anxious and stubborn. I am only writing to say trust your instincts, don't push her if she's not ready (if she's anything like my second, she'll only push back harder).

  9. Annie Malone says:

    I just added that Winter Series to my GoodREads list yesterday after reading Shay's book review from Mix and Match Mama. I love the idea of cozying up with a winter series this December. All of your holiday decorations look beautiful. I love the metallic theme. It's so pretty.

  10. Suzie says:

    I just emailed you the 3-day potty training thing we did with our boys. It is about 45 pages to read, but I swear it worked like a charm!

  11. Get the E book 3 day potty training by Lora Jensen. I just used for my 2 year (he will be 3 in February) and it worked like a charm. He was toilet trained for pee and poop in 3 days. He is also toilet trained at night. My older child wore a pull up at night until she was 4. My son had zero interest in potrying at all, but we were going on a cruise and you can't wear swim diapers in the pool. I had 3 weeks to get him 100% trained. You have to give 3 whole days and you will need some help with sterling beacuse you will be intensely focused on the her. You will feel like you are going to lose your mind but it works.

  12. Kris M. says:

    Your house is so darling!

    I know Matt works a lot.. how do you stay motivated to cook for yourself? When my husband is out of town, I don't go all out as much! So inspiring!!

  13. We recently potty trained our 3 year old daughter. It was super tough and took close to a month! We put her on the potty every 15-20 minutes and had her wear underwear so she got used to the feeling of being wet. Also learned pretty quickly that using a training potty was not effective, she liked to sit on it, but would never actually go. So we switched to the toilet and promised stickers and m&m's if she was successful. We made a little Potty Chart and every time she went successfully, she got a new sticker for the chart. That worked like a charm!

    Number 2 on the potty took a couple weeks to get the hang of, and was not as bad as learning to Number 1. Good luck, and don't get frustrated, she will get it šŸ™‚

  14. Junkshow says:

    I tried to do the potty training bootcamp and it failed miserably. She just wasn't ready. So I slowed down, acted like it was no big deal. Asked her constantly if she needed to potty — and then one day she just started asking to go. Now she goes alone. She turned 3 in October. I think if you're cool and relaxed, it'll come. Although that's just my experience and I only have one kid.

  15. Unknown says:

    My daughter cried every time I asked her as well and I went the bribery route and it so worked. She loves nothing more than Peppa Pig and we don't really do a lot of iPad time, so we made that the special time to sit and watch a little clip on YouTube Kids. She could hang out as long as she was on the potty and then when she finally went, she got one M&M. In a few short weeks, she was happily going and we "had to charge the iPad" sometimes so it wasn't available. Best of luck! These little kiddos are all so different. šŸ˜‰

  16. Aja says:

    One of my sons didn't potty train until 4. He just wasn't ready and my doctor told me to wait. We didn't do preschool until 4.5 so it wasn't a big deal as far as that. When he decided he was ready he just did it with no "training" involved. It was so much less stressful. Now that he's older, I'm so glad I didn't rush potty training or giving up his paci etc. They grow up so fast and It's not worth the stress to rush it.

  17. Ella Mahon says:

    I was in the same boat as you for the potty training. My son was pretty easy and my daughter dragged her feet. What made it worse was that she was almost completely potty trained and then fell back to square one! It took forever and she was not fully trained until after age 3. I think things must happen organically and not forced. When she was ready, it happened smoothly. I always say "it's not like you are going to have to drop them off at college still in diapers." It will happen sooner or later, everyone is just different.

  18. Traci says:

    I would LOVE potty training tips for boys! My son is about to be two and I have no idea where to start.

  19. K Money says:

    I potty trained my oldest girl just kind of winging it but when I had to do my twin we used the Potty Training Boot Camp Method (just google it and you buy the e-book). I have to say it seems tough at times but my twins really had no issues with that method. We did it at 2.5 years for them and one of them was a bit difficult. Our preschool requires potty training once they are in the 3 year old room.

  20. Suzanne says:

    My third just turned 4 in September, she wasn't fully trained until 3.5…I was stressed about it, but knew that she would go when she was ready šŸ™‚ Hang in there!