November 29, 2010


This past summer my husband decided it would be fun to raise chickens.  I wasn't so sure about it, but agreed as long as they were kept in a pen and their house was cute.  So surfacey, I know.  To see how he built a GORGEOUS hen house click here
Well, our girls are growing beautifully.  They love people, too.  When we get near the pen, they follow us around.  Actually 3 of the 4 do.  One of the hens is socially inept.  Too bad she doesn't belong to a hoity-toity family.  They might invest in some socialization therapy.   We'll just hope she learns from her social sisters and doesn't get labeled by the public school system.
I stepped inside the pen to get these pictures and they thought my shoestring was the best thing since, well, cracked corn.
See how beautiful Henrietta is looking these days?  She's an "Easter Egger" which means her eggs will be blue, green or pink.

Last week, one of the Red Stars gave us a special surprise:
Our first egg.  
Within the first week we collected 8 eggs and those are just from two of the four hens!  So far no easter eggs, but we are waiting expectantly!

I get a little squeamish about stuff, so I told my husband that I would have to wait until the "production line" had been in full swing for a little while before I would have the nerve to eat the eggs.  Am I being weird?

When we cooked our first two eggs this is what we found in the pan:
A message from God telling me to smile; or just a really happy egg white?

And no, I didn't change the color of the picture.  The yolks are truly that orange/yellow, apparently the telltale sign of a really fresh egg.   
I hear that fresh eggs are the BEST to bake with.  Have you ever tried fresh-from-the-farm eggs?

November 28, 2010

Sunday Rest

My goal is that they may 
be encouraged in heart 
and united in love, 
so that they may have the full riches 
of complete understanding, 
in order that they may know the 
mystery of God, namely, Christ.
Colossians 2:2 

November 27, 2010

Giveaway Winner

I'm two days behind in posting the winner of the Thanksgiving giveaway.  Why?  Well I guess we've just been having too much fun.  In just two days we: cut our Christmas tree fresh off the mountainside; played in the leaves; took several walks; eaten waaay too much of my mom's cooking; played cards into the wee hours of the night; and took an amazing hike that is not for the faint of heart.  My computer time has been min-i-mal.  And I'm okay with that ;).

So as I sit with a slice of apple cake and breathtaking view of the mountains I will gladly announce the winner.

Brandi of Shack on the Rocks is the winner!  Brandi, email me and we will make sure you get the pin of your choice.  Congrats!

November 23, 2010

Google NEXT: A tutorial

I'm doing a giveaway this week so be sure to put your name in for the drawing tomorrow night!  Click here for details!

During a recent conversation with some friends I realized that there are still plenty of people who are typing in their favorite blog addresses each day to see if there are any new posts.
 Google Reader is your new best friend.
For a quick tutorial on installing it (uber easy!!!) click here.   It keeps track of all your favorite blogs and websites and shows you when there is a new post you have not read.  Trust me, it is a HUGE time saver!

If I want to catch up on Just a Girl through Google Reader the screen looks like this:

Sometimes it is nice to catch up on my blogs in a "just the facts, ma'am" fashion.  But sometimes I like to visit the actual site.  With Google Next I get to experience her whole website while still benefitting from the shortcuts of Google Reader.  So now when I catch up on Just A Girl's blog, using Google Next, it looks like this on my screen:

It's kind of like the difference between an email and a card in the mailbox.  Both are nice, depending on what you feel like that day.  You can have Google Next and Google Reader at the same time.  They work together, so you are not seeing repeats.  Let me explain.  (Stick with me.  It's only 4 simple steps)

After you've installed google reader, it will look something like this:

1. Go to the far right of the screen near the top and you will see this:

2. Click on "Settings" (in blue at the top of the picture).  Choose "Reader Settings"

Your screen will then look like this:
3. See the tabs at the top?  Click on the one that says "Goodies"

Then your screen will look like this:

4. The screen explains it pretty simply.  Just drag that "Next" button up to your bookmarks bar and when you do, it will look like this:

See the word "Next" next to the "Google Reader" in the grey bookmarks box?  That's my "Next" button.   You're done in 4 easy steps.

Google Reader and Google Next go hand in hand.  Once I look at a blog post using G.R. it will not show up on G.N. and vice versa.  It's kind of like when you read your email.  Once you've read it, it doesn't show up in bold print anymore.
The difference between Next and Reader is very simple.  With Google Reader I see all of the blogs/websites I am following.  It gives me an overview of the blogs and lets me know which blogs and how many posts I have not yet read.
Google Next takes it the next step.  When I click on the next button on my bookmarks bar, it automatically takes me to the most recent blog and post that I have missed.  It's a little more random than google reader, but it is a fun and easy way to visit actual sites.  Give it a try.
You just might like it!  :)

If you have any questions, leave me a comment and I will try to answer in the comments so that everyone can benefit.  That's assuming I will have an answer.  Ha!

November 22, 2010

Giveaway Day

In the spirit of giving Thanks week, I thought it might be fun to have a giveaway.  These little pins have been my new creative outlet lately.  If you win, you may choose one of the three above OR have one made in your favorite color.

Here's how to enter:
Leave a comment telling me your favorite gift to give at the holidays.  It can be for any age ... I'm just looking for some neat-o ideas!

I will choose the winner on Wednesday and post it on Thursday.

November 21, 2010

Sunday Rest

Give praise to the LORD, 
proclaim his name; 
make known among the nations 
what he has done.
1 Chronicles 16:8

November 19, 2010

Say It Ain't So

While I was out and about doing some Christmas shopping today I happened upon a fashion statement that I haven't seen in a long time.  Since 1989.  
Grey sweatpants hiked up to expose the lily white skin of her calves/shins; keds; big hair; and to complete the look: a gold chain that I'm pretty sure she bought by-the-length.  Remember those days?  
Total 80's coolness.

As I shared with my sister-in-law my regret of not capturing the moment with my phone camera, she told me about the current "hot item" at the GAP:

 Get out.  This is the actual picture from their advertisement.    My arches have never been the same.  I know you wore them too if you are over the age of 25.  You know you did.

Guess what else I ran across during my shopping spree:
 Fame!  I wanna live forevah....  Yes.  They're back.  Even though they make my feet look petite, my ankles look like they've been abused (by stirrup pants, possibly??)

Not to worry.  I hear these are making a comeback:
Tiny ankles, tiny feet, saggy butt.

November 17, 2010

Tablescapes (part 2)

Today I am sharing a few more wonderful table top ideas from a women's event I recently attended.  If you missed out on yesterday's pictures, click here for inspiration.
Glitters Like Gold  This table was full of sparkles.   I loved the gold and red theme.  (The green was someone's folder that happened to be in the picture, but the whole table was done in red and gold only).  So classy and sassy!

For Kids of Every Age  This candy themed table would appeal to the child in everyone.  Click on the picture to enlarge and see the detail.  I loved the idea of putting gumdrops in a glass votive holder.  So fun!

 Heights of Harvest  Notice how this table used several small items to make a big statement.  I love the martini glass filled with M&Ms and the use of real twigs and leaves.

 Merry and Bright  This table was so fun!  Check out the place card holders (printed with a verse).  They are ovals with a ribbon running behind to look like a giant piece of candy!  I'm partial to red and white, so this one made me happy!

 Gorgeous and Girly  What a fun surprise for the eyes!  It was such a treat to see pink for Christmas.  I loved the pink tule wrapped around the bottom of the apothecary jars.  The glass dot plates were her grandmother's.  What a treasure!

Natural Beauty  This was such a simple yet elegant table top.  A faux berry wreath with a vase of fresh flowers in the center.  I loved the use of soft turquoise with the red.  The table runner was simply a strip of fabric cut to the size of the table.  No sewing involved!

What colors would you use for your Christmas table if you could do something really different this year?

November 16, 2010

Tablescapes (part 1)

Each year our church hosts a women's fellowship to prepare our hearts and homes for the holidays.  It is such a fun morning because each lady has the opportunity to sign up for a couple of practical seminars and attend a brunch while listening to an inspirational speaker.
There are usually about 25-30 tables decorated by different women.  I gain so much inspiration from these tablescapes that I thought I'd share them with you.
 Fall Bounty  A metal pumpkin (larger than a basketball) is filled with pumpkins, acorns, apples and gourds.  The square tins were filled with chocolate as a party favor.  Gorgeous!

 Whimsical Winter  I loved the lime green and bright red on the table. Everything about this table made me happy.

 Rustic and Warm  The use of natural elements (pinecones and live holly) along with lanterns and plaid made this table so inviting.

 Happy and Bold Everything about this table was joyful.  I loved the brown, red and bright green.  The centerpiece was different from every angle.  The picture above is one side of the table and the picture below is the view from the other side.

 Creative and Simple  This is a centerpiece using what she already had:  the fall wreath from her front door, some beautiful leaf candles and mason jars with votives.  If you look closely she tied twine around the jars and slipped silk leaved under the twine to decorate the mason jars.  Brilliant!  Oh, and check out the party favor (bottom left): flower pins for everyone.

 You Can Do that to a Gourd? This was amazing!  She cut the top off the gourd and planted cabbage and pansies inside.  I loved the natural beauty.

 Funky and Festive  This table went beyond the traditional red and green.  Talk about creative, look at the bowls under the tree and holding the giant ornaments.  She took a soup bowl, turned it upside down and placed a plate/serving bowl on top to give it some height.  Wow.
She also used her fine china as a charger so that she could use the fun paper plates.  Less mess too!

Tomorrow I will show the rest of the table ideas.  Which one is your favorite so far?

To see the ideas from past years, click here and here and here and here and definitely here.  Or just type "table" in the I'm Looking For... box on the right.

November 15, 2010

Monday Request

Hello Friends! It's a little dreary here today, but sometimes I like a cloudy afternoon.  I want to sit on the couch with a book and read until I fall asleep.  It probably won't happen, but that's what comes to mind on an afternoon like today.

Remember the sound coming from the telephone on the Charlie Brown cartoons?  Waa-wa-waa-wa?  Sometimes when I type the words on this blog I think it comes across just like that: waa-wa-waa- wap.  Some bloggers prefer the lecture style:  this is what I have to say, take it or leave it.  Some bloggers prefer the dialogue version: here's what I think, what do you think?

I fall into the second category.  I like to write, but I also like to hear from you.  Lately my "comments" section has been drier than a crusty western ghost town.  For a girl whose love language is "words of affirmation" it's been tumbleweed blowin' dry.

 I want to know a little more about you.  Well, I really want to know a lot more, but for today how about you just answer a simple question.

What is your favorite cold weather drink?

It's super easy to comment.  Just click on the "sweet thoughts from friends" below.  You can answer anonymously.  You don't have to have an account to leave a comment.

I'll read the comments and pretend that we are sitting on my couch sipping our favorite drinks together. :)

November 14, 2010

Sunday Rest

Great are your purposes
and mighty are your deeds.
Your eyes are open to all
the ways of men;
you reward everyone 
according to his conduct
and as his deeds deserve.
Jeremiah 32:19

November 12, 2010

If I Could Sum it Up

Being one who loves a little change every now and then, I recently changed the song list here on NEM.  I wanted to include this song because it speaks the words I would say if you were feeling discouraged or just needed a "word hug."   

Be strong in the Lord
And never give up hope

You're gonna do great things
I already know
God's got His hand on You
So don't live life in fear
Forgive and forget
But don't forget why you're here

Take your time and pray
And thank God for each day
His love will find a way
These are the words I would say

What a beautiful legacy to pass on to our children as well.
Be encouraged today and enjoy your weekend!

 The Words I Would Say by Sidewalk Prophets.

November 11, 2010

Gratefulness: A reality check

I find myself surrounded with so many blessings, and yet even in this month of giving thanks there are times that I sink into the "I wants."  Over the weekend I found myself feeling a little jealous of some friends who were discussing a fun clothing shop that is way over my price range.  I've come a long way in the past two years, but every now and then  self pity can rear its evil head.

And then a good shot in the arm with a dose of get-over-yourself is in order.

I stumbled upon Meg's blog and was drawn to her sense of style.  But that's not why God had me land on her site.  I stopped on her Africa button and stayed there for a long time.  It totally changed my perspective.  Do I want to go to Africa now?  No.  I'm still scared of everything that comes to mind when I think of that region of the world.  But it sure brought me to my knees. 

 These precious little ones come to meet Jesus and receive ONE egg and some vitamins a week.  One egg.  As a treat.  To get some protein.  As Meg put it, "would my children even eat it?"  Would we be grateful?

    This is reality for so many.

Two days after discovering Meg's blog, I came across this blog.  You need to go there.  Take some tissues.   Katie is a beautiful, young woman who has chosen to live permanently in Uganda.  She has adopted 13 children on her own.  The joy that emanates from her can only be from the Giver of Life. 

She writes so beautifully about the blessings of following the Lord's call and yet your heart will break over the love, pain, hunger, beauty, and desolation that surrounds her.  She is living the Word made flesh.  

After spending several hours one night this week reading about these precious little ones I fell on my face before Jesus.  Oh that I would be grateful for all that He has blessed me with.  
Blessed beyond measure.

November 10, 2010


~fire in the fire pit
~half eaten ring pop on the coffee table
~tomato basil soup
~watching home videos
~a gift from a neighbor
~peak week of fall foliage
~36 library books
~waiting with my daughter until her friends arrive at youth group
~visiting the LEGO store for the first time with my little boy
~watching my 9 year old be excited for her brother
~homemade bread
~laughter in my home
~my husband's tough exterior, soft heart
~nuzzles from my dog
~blue jeans and down vest season
~clean sheets

November 9, 2010

Pumpkin Bars from Heaven


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or cloves/nutmeg/cinnamon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1/2 jar pumpkin sundae topping (if unavailable, use caramel)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, nuts, sugars and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Add butter, mix until crumbly. Reserve 1 1/4 cups of the mixture. Pat remaining mixture on bottom of ungreased 13x9-inch baking pan.
  2. Meanwhile, in large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon, allspice and salt; mix well. Pour evenly over crust. Mix reserved crumbs with 1 tablespoon flour. Sprinkle over pumpkin mixture.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until set. Cool 10 minutes. 
  4. Drizzle sundae topping over bars before cutting into squares.
  5. Serve warm. Or cold. (we like them both ways) Store leftovers in refrigerator.

November 7, 2010

Sunday Rest

Let us not become weary
in doing good,
for at the proper time
we will reap a harvest
if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

November 4, 2010

May I Suggest... {book edition}

Even though I want to do a "May I Suggest" post on all of the yummy fall delights I recently found at Trader Joes, I decided it would be better for us all if I chose something a little less fattening. :)My first suggestion is my ALL time FAVORITE series.  There are five books in the Chronicles of the Kings series and trust me, you will wish there were more.  A friend suggested the series to me and  I waited about a year before trying it because it didn't fit into my typical genre of choice.  This series stretches to almost every reader's preference.  My dad loved the series as much as my mom and I.  Seriously, you need to give it a try.  Our local public library carries the series.  Here's a close up of the first book:

 My favorite author boasts many titles I could suggest to you, but if you haven't read this one, I'd try it first.  Francine Rivers writes in a manner that you don't want to put the book down.  Even to feed your offspring.

Enough about me.  :)   We found this next book in our church library.  Remember the "Where's Waldo?" books?  This is the Bible story version of it.  My little boy loves any kind of I Spy book, so this was a fun way to read some truths while he looked for the clues.

This children's book by the same authors of "Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See" is a great rhyming book for the pre-K children in your life.  I think it would make a neat gift, too.
 Each page is filled with beautiful colors as it travels through the characters of the Bible.

We just discovered this series.  There are at least 12 books in the Time Warp Trio series, probably more.  We started with this one because we had just studied gladiators in history.  I read it aloud to my 1st grader, so it is probably written for a 3rd grade reading level.  He loved it.  There's enough boy humor to keep him laughing and enough history to keep me happy.

I'm always looking for a new good book.  Have any suggestions?  How about a favorite kids book?