February 28, 2010

Sunday Rest

I will refresh the weary
and satisfy the faint.
Jeremiah 31:25

February 23, 2010

Just Call Me Dr. Doolittle

What do you do for your little girl who was too sick to have her birthday sleepover?
Postpone it? Rent a movie? Take her for out for ice cream? Rent a clown?

Nope. We buy a bunny. I'm not talkin' about a trip to the Build-a-Bear store to create a stuffed bunny complete with a satin heart tucked inside. Yes, you read it right. We spoke her love language... animal kingdom, aka animalia leporidae, aka the cutest softest velvety black bunny you've ever laid your eyes on.
Meet Luna.

She is a Mini Rex which means that she will only reach about 4.5 lbs. (compared to the lops which reach 9 lbs.) Don't let this little tidbit of information fool you. Most people do their research and then go purchase a pet. Not us. No, we like to make impulse purchases that go something like this:

Mr. NEM: Hey, I'm at the farm store and they just got some really cute bunnies in.
Me: I don't know how to take care of bunnies, but they sure are cute
Mr. NEM: I had rabbits growing up and they are super easy
Me: um... okay, but where will it sleep?
Mr. NEM: I'll build a little hut for it in the backyard.
Me: Sure, as long as it is low maintenance.

So he brings her home in a plastic crate and after getting parents of the year award, we decide to keep the crate in the garage until he can build the hut.

By bedtime I'm thinking it might be wise to do a little research on the internet about our newest family member.
**Note to self: research is usually more beneficial prior to purchase of live animal**

This is when we realize that cute-little-ball-o-fur probably won't survive in our backyard, and said ball of fur needs a leeeetle more than just a plastic crate.
Somehow, Mr. NEM found pure delight in the prospect of building a bunny condo.
He did not disappoint.

Now before you go thinking I've lost my ever-lovin' mind, the bunny condo is not IN our house. She resides very comfortably in our garage complete with heat lamp and softly playing music.
Our birthday girl (and maybe her momma, too) makes sure that Luna gets plenty of playtime...
and snuggle time, too!
One little detail that Mr. NEM forgot to mention was that the rabbits he owned as a child were actually wild rabbits that he caught and kept as pets. Um, hello feral rabbit. Ever heard of rabies?! Just a little sumpin' that he kinda left out when he was expounding his knowledge of rabbit care experience. ;)
But since Luna is so cute and snuggly, I totally forgive him!

Remember our ducks? One of the benefits of owning ducks was the short term commitment. In my little bit of research, I discovered that bunnies live between 8-13 years. Years. That means I'll still be hanging with Luna when Birthday Girl leaves for college. Wowsers.

Any tips on bunny care? Do tell!

February 21, 2010

A Friendly Reminder

Hey girls, I know you spend most of your time caring for your family, friends and all the bajillion things that have to get done in a day. But today, make time to take care of YOU. Have you had your annual PAP exam? If the answer is no, DO it.
Don't delay. I know it's no fun, but we need to take care of ourselves.

Have you checked these lately?

You know what I mean. Do a monthly check. It takes 2 minutes. Two minutes that could save your life. Ask your doctor about a mammogram. Let the good times roll!
If you are 40+ admit it long enough to schedule an appointment, then you can go back to denial and enjoy being 39 for another year. ;)

What a way to start a Monday morning, huh?
You know I love ya. You're worth taking care of!
Take care of yourself so that you can handle all 106 bajillion things on your list. Wait, I guess it's 107 bajillion now.

If you are one of my few faithful male readers and you actually made it this far into the post, make sure the woman in your life is taking care of herself. She deserves it.

Happy Monday!!!

Sunday Rest

God's voice thunders in marvelous ways;
he does great things beyond our understanding.

He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,'

and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.'

Job 37:5-6

February 18, 2010

East Meets West

Bloggy world has been good to me this week. First of all, I finally got to meet IN REAL LIFE Gretchen of the West. We've been blog fwends for a few months and what a blessing to finally get to give her neck a hug.
She's just as wise, adorable, and funny as I thought she would be. And she has a talent for making you feel special when she calls you "honey." Love her.

CPQ hosted a brunch, complete with her amazing orzo, for us bloggy friends to get togetha. The conversation flowed so easily, you would think we've known each other forever. Laughter, encouragement and conversation about real life spilled out onto the page of life that day.

I placed my first etsy order this week, yes I did. It's about time, huh? I'm a little slow sometimes. Anyways, I was so pleased with how quickly it arrived. Can you believe the price? Hopefully I'll have pictures when we do the big room reveal.

I felt all grown up and faincy-like with 2 ladies lunches this week. My mom treated me to an amazing new French restaurant in town. Ooh-lala! Even the menu was written in French. Oui!
While my dad treated the grands to a lunch of their own, we feasted on crepes.

On Valentines Day I received this beauty from the uber-talented Heather. She was having a giveaway and I WON!!! Thanks, Heather! Love, love, love it!

February 15, 2010

May I Suggest...

Ever get tired of the car mess? Me too. Now that the kids are older, the crumbs are much more manageable, but I still have stuff. I keep this basket in my front seat to contain all of my papers, books, coupons, snacks etc...
A dear friend gave it to me as a gift and I use it all the time. It's the perfect size and durable. Want one? Last year Target had some solid color ones in their spring/summer picnic collection, so keep your eye out this spring. I've also seen some cute ones in Hallmark stores.

Are your hands suffering from the winter weather? We are constantly bathing our bodies in using hand sanitizer. I keep this in the car because it is not as harsh on my skin and the smell isn't perfumy:

I found it at Harris Teeter (grocery) in the pharmacy section.

Since the theme of the day is the car, I thought I'd share the best $4 I've ever spent:
We keep one of these in the backseat and it has greatly improved the quality of life back there. When the kids were little my husband used to say that he didn't have to worry if we got stranded because we could live for a week off the cheerios, goldfish, and half eaten chicken nuggets hidden in the backseat. Now I guess we'll just starve. :)

Well, the kids will starve. I'll live off of these:
Swoon. My mother-in-law brought these back from a recent trip to NYC. A little piece of heaven in your mouth. They are so rich and delicious I only eat 3-4 and I am satisfied. Shocking. Did I mention how pretty they are? They have a shimmer. What girl doesn't like a little shimmer?

Tell me about something you keep in your car.

Olympic Madness

Ya'll. I'm addicted. I find myself squealing and jumping off the couch. I never jump off the couch. Evah. I cry over the personal stories about brothers with CP, overcoming injuries and first-time medals. I stay up waaaay too late cheering, holding my breath, and learning all kinds of new words like fakie, biter, and choctaw.

In a world of chaos, war, and strife, we all come together for the next two weeks to cheer on the home team as well as the underdog. I found myself enjoying the view of my children as they sat riveted to the screen as they watched mogul skiing and couples skating for the first time. What a great life-lesson in hard work, risk, courage, victory, failure, and determination.

I know most girls love the figure skating, but my favorite events are the snowboard halfpipe and snowboard cross. I might have to skip out of the fellowship time of bible study tonight to make it home in time to watch. :)

What is your favorite Winter Olympics sport?
Do you stay up past your bedtime during the games?

February 14, 2010

Sunday Rest

Give thanks to the Lord
for He is good;
His LOVE endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34

Happy Valentines Day

February 13, 2010

Just Yesterday...

The year is 1909.
One hundred and one years ago.
What a difference a century makes!
Here are some statistics for the Year 1909 :
************ ********* *********
The average life expectancy was 47 years.
Fuel for cars was sold in drug stores only
Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles
Of paved roads.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!
The average wage in 1909 was 22 cents per hour.
The average worker made between $200 and $400 per year ..

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year,
A dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000
per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME .

Ninety percent of all doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION!
Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which
Were condemned in the press AND the government as 'substandard. '

Sugar cost four cents a pound.
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used
Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from
Entering into their country for any reason.

Five leading causes of death were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars.
The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30!!!!
Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented yet.

There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write and
Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school..

There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A.!
Plus one more sad thought; 95 percent of the taxes we have now did
not exist in 1909

Hmmm... wonder what life will be like in 2110!

I got this from my friend Kellie. She got it in an email, so if you find some of this information false, don't blame us. :) We both love history stuff and just thought it was a little something fun.
Enjoy your weekend!

February 11, 2010

Keeping House 2

On Monday I mentioned my cleaning schedule or lack thereof. I am no expert, by any means, and if you came by today you would probably be just as disgusted as I am from the dog hair that lurks in every corner. Why do dogs shed in winter? Don't they need a thick coat right now?

Today's topic is a continuation from yesterday's question about how I keep my house in order.
I don't keep it all in order all the time. Aren't you shocked that it's not pristine 24/7? wink wink
But I do love a tidy house, so here are my suggestions.
Start with one room in the house:
The kitchen.

Why oh why, when that is the one room that requires daily maintenance??? Because it truly is the heart and hub of the home.

3 Steps to a Clean Kitchen

1. De-clutter
Take everything off of your countertops and put it on the kitchen table.
Clean the countertops while they are completely empty.
Choose only the items that you truly love or use on a daily basis.
If you are feeling a little wild, rearrange some things. About a year ago, I realized that the coffee machine needed to be near the sink. Why was I walking across the kitchen to fill the pot each morning?
Create a grace space. We all have stuff and there is no getting around it. Give yourself a little area to dump it. I use a large basket to collect all of the things that typically clutter the countertops (random papers, coupons, mail, spare keys, etc..). Once a week or so I clean it out. Remember, clutter begets clutter and it will take over. When I ignore my grace space, it soon spills over onto the desk and chair. Don't forget to clean it out on a regular basis.

Clutter can be distracting and overwhelming.
Yesterday I was in Claire's Boutique spending a looonng 45 minutes while my girls tried to figure out the best way to spend a $15 gift card. Painful I tell ya, painful. When we were finally ready to make our purchases, I could hardly focus on the transaction because of the cluttered register counter. There was so much stuff I wondered if our purchases might get lost in the sea of lip gloss and other various impulse items strewn about. I'm thinking the manager could use a lesson in de-cluttering. ;)

2. Clean.
Give yourself 30 minutes to deep clean your kitchen as a jump start. It's amazing how much we can accomplish when we have a time limit. Set the timer and start with your sink. I'm no Fly-lady, but she's the expert on shining your sink. When the 30 minutes are over, you may be on a roll and want to keep going, or, you might be ready for a break. Take a look around an enjoy your labor.

3. Maintain
This is the hardest part of the plan. Remember, it is a plan. In order for it to work, we have to follow through. If your kids are part of the kitchen-clutter problem, have a family meeting and gently but firmly explain your expectations. You may need to give each of them a grace space.
Give yourself 10 minutes each day (maybe when the kids are doing their 10 minutes of chores) to maintain the kitchen. Remember, it's only 10 minutes. That's less time than commercial breaks for your favorite tv show.
*Don't expect your family to catch on right away. Lead by example, share your plan.*

Give it a week. I think you will be pleasantly surprised how good you will feel every time you walk in the door. Our homes need to be a place of peace for our families. Don't make excuses for the clutter. Start today!

I'm feeling a little lonely out here, so let's chat. C'mon and answer the question of the day ;)
What area of the house do you keep up the best?

February 8, 2010

Keeping House

Are you preparing your child to be a responsible adult?
That question was proposed over 4 years ago at a parenting conference my husband and I attended. It has stuck with me because it is so simple, yet poignant. The very foundation of my job as a mother exists on that question. Are my parental expectations yielding the result of a growing, maturing child on the way to adulthood?

Oy. Sometimes my desire for them to "just be kids" gets in the way. When my girls were in a traditional school, I would often do their chores for them so that they would have time to play after school. Am I the only one who thinks like this? Thus, rendering me and my husband as the one(s) who were solely responsible for the upkeep of the house. Not only did this wear on me physically, it also did damage to my children.

What kind of responsibility do they learn when they only SEE me do the work? How will they know how to keep house one day, if only by observation? It is a gift to my children to teach them household responsibility. They won't realize that gift, much less appreciate it, until they are out on their own.

We are not off the hook with our sons. Your future daughters-in-law will greatly appreciate the effort you made to teach your son the value of being responsible, not only for his own things, but for the home in general. It does not take away their masculinity. Rather, it prepares them better for the professional scene. Wouldn't you rather have an employer that manages an orderly business and works as a team on projects?

Back to my concern of giving them time to play after school. Consider this. If you were willing to require only 10-15 minutes per day of "chores" from your children, it could potentially eliminate (depending on the number of and ages of your children) your need to:
1.) Dust
2.) Put away clean clothes
3.) Put away clean dishes
4.) Feed the pet
5.) Set the table
6.) Pick up toys

Is this for your benefit? Yes and no. Yes, you will benefit from it, but the ones that will truly grow from it will be your children.
Seriously, what's 10 minutes (15 if they are pokey) out of the entire day?
Don't fall into the trap of enabling them to be lazy. Boy, I sure fall into this easily.

Remember our Ask Away Day?
My friend KR said: Okay. So when do you do your chores? You have a flock of little ones whom you school at home. You have hungry mouths to feed and clothes to wash like the rest of us. Just honestly curious about your schedule...do you have set times that you do X Y and Z, do your kids have set jobs they do for you, how do you get it all done?
Elizabeth added: And to go along with that, which rooms are the easiest/hardest for you to keep picked up?

First I need to thank Kellie for this grand idea. I don't do it exactly the way she does, but she got the ball rolling at our house.

We use fake $$ as allowance. This frees me up from having to have cash on hand (which I never do). Each Monday, when I'm being a good, consistent mom, we begin with this chart:
Each child is given $4 in the first pouch (with their name on it). Throughout the week, it is their responsibility to keep the rights to the $$. When I ask them to do a chore (like the ones mentioned above) they must do it with a good attitude and completely. If either of those are not fulfilled, they lose a dollar. By the way, they never touch the $$. Only the banker/mom handles the money right now.

The following Monday we go to the bank and deposit the $ into the right "accounts" and we start it all over again with 4 more dollars. The accounts look like this:
$2 always go into the "God" account (tithe), then $1 into the "Save" account and whatever is left can go into the "Now" account. The kids can earn extra money through extra effort/chores.
This has been a huge help when we are in the dollar section of Target and they have to have something. When I agree that they can buy as much as they want to, but it's coming out of their "Now" account, they usually stop and consider how important it really is.

As far as my schedule goes, KR, I'm a pretty laid back person, so I don't have a specific cleaning schedule. I'm working on that, though. :) But check out my other Kellie-friend. She's got an awesome family schedule! I must say that the Lord blessed me with a husband who loves a clean house and does more than his share of the work. Over the years I have adopted his love of a tidy home and this makes us all a little more happy and peaceful.

I think I'll save my cleaning/tidying theories for another day since this turned into a marathon post. Sorry KR and Elizabeth. I'll answer your questions this week ... pinky promise ;)

QOTD: How do you encourage your kids to pitch in around the house?

February 7, 2010

Sunday Rest

Where jealousy and selfishness are,
there will be confusion and every kind of evil.
But the wisdom that comes from God
is first of all pure, then peaceful,
gentle, and easy to please.
This wisdom is always ready to
help those who are troubled and
to do good for others.
It is always fair and honest.
James 3:16-17

February 4, 2010


1. On day 2 of a nasty cold. It does have its perks: My kids and hubby have been so sweet. Who knew you could teach school from the couch? I really can't complain. This is the first day I've been sick since we started school in July. A hand-delivered peppermint mocha from Starbucks sure made me feel better this morning, too.

2. Ever tried a neti pot? The thought of it makes my eyes water. But the Puffs aren't cuttin' it.

3. We are getting ready for a dream makeover here at the NEM household. My daughter informed me that she is ready for a big girl room. Since when was turning 9 considered a big girl? At least she didn't say she was ready for a teen room. This is the room she's lived in since she was 8 months old. I guess it's time to say goodbye to periwinkle blue and horses. Sniff, sniff.

4. I am NOT a fan of ESPN or any of its affiliates. BUT, lately I've come to appreciate the sports empire for two reasons:
a.) The winter X games. Love, love love them.
b.) When they host local sports teams, it does not interrupt my viewing habits.

5. I live in the heart of ACC and I hate college basketball. (See item "b" above)

6. The NEM household has been known to throw a mean party. You name it, we're on. We love to have people over. But sometimes it's nice to be invited to someone else's house, ya know? We've had some sort of New Years Eve party for the past 14 years. If you do the math, that's every year we've been married. For the past 9 or so years we've hosted a superbowl party, complete with the infamous wardrobe malfunction. So this year we decided to wait and see if we were invited to anyone's house for the big game. {Crickets chirping}
After all, who wants to watch the big game here where we don't even have a big screen tv? {more crickets chirping}

7. We still have patches of snow in our yard and I am sad to see it go. I LOVE cold weather.

8. I think I've become a hermit homebody. While some endured being stuck in the house for 5 days because of the Snowstorm of 2010 (go ahead and laugh if you live above the Mason-Dixon Line), I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of comfort food, board games, sledding, family time. Loved. every. minute!

9. Did I mention the Neti pot? It's sounding better by the minute. Bleh.

10. I'm thinking about hosting a swap. Accessories, home decor, books etc... If you live near me, would you be interested?

February 2, 2010

A Little Love

Most holidays (with the exception of 4th of July) are toward the end of the month, which gives me plenty of time to decorate and prepare. Well, unless you decorate for Labor Day --?? However, if Congress ever decides to pass a law to move Valentine's Day to, say, 2/25 they would get my vote. Since it is such a short season, I don't do much decorating for Valentines.
This is the extent of Valentines decor around here. Well, unless you count the Valentine M&Ms I put in the glass bowl. I change out my stocking caps and snowflakes for felt hearts, and throw in a red candle.
I'm all about spreading a little love, but I don't like to go overboard on the red-and-pink decor.

Do you add a little red this time of year?

February 1, 2010

On Parenting...

Ashley recently asked, What ages of your children did you find the most difficult and why?
I remember a time, when one of my daughters was about 3 years old and I sat in puddle of my own tears feeling guilty for not really liking her. We were in the throws of her strong will, strong opinion, and strong emotional reactions.
I just wanted it to be easy. For one day.
Part of the problem was my parenting. I was being a re-active parent rather than a "pre-active" parent. Reacting to her outbursts, reacting to my frustration, reacting with my own emotion. I had to learn to be the adult and plan for her outbursts. Nothing was being solved when I just reacted. I had to make a plan. I also shared the plan with her (during a calm moment). This let her know what to expect the next time she used her emotion/will/opinion to try to manipulate the situation. Don't let that ruffle your feathers. She wasn't manipulative, but 3 year olds know how to push the right buttons. ;)
The next step was for me to be consistent. Once I had a plan, I had to follow through. If I told her she would have to sit on her bed until she gained control, then that's what had to happen. There were a couple of times she sat there and yelled, cried and screamed for an hour. That's the hardest part of breaking a strong will ... outlasting them.
Once she figured out that she wasn't going to win the battle, the war was over pretty quickly. Needless to say, I really like that kid now. I realized it wasn't that I didn't like her. I didn't like parenting the strong will that was bottled up inside her. She still has strong opinions, and I'm okay with that because one day when she's on a college campus and someone is pressuring her to do something, I want her strong opinion to shine.
I have much more to say on this grand adventure of parenting, but I'll stop here for today.

Need some creative ideas for consequences/incentives? Check out this book. It's the most practical parenting book I've ever read:

My all time favorite "expert" on parenting ins Dr. Bob Barnes. He has written numerous books on marriage and parenting. If you ever get a chance to listen to him in person (or on you-tube) I recommend it. He is funny, practical, and wise. I love this particular book: