February 24, 2011

May I Suggest...

It's been a while since I've made any suggestions so I thought I'd spread the love...
 1. Miniature peppermint patties.  I know the Valentine ones are gone (which happen to be my favorite with their pretty pink hearts), but the mini's in a bag are still available in regular shape.  They are a good way for me to get my sugar fix without a ton of fat/calories.  Since they are so sweet, I only need one.  Or two.

2. I feel like I am eating at a girlie restaurant when I put this on my salad.  Add a little goat cheese, cranberries and walnuts and I am in my happy place.

3. Speaking of salad.  Have you tried the new Thai Chicken Chopped salad at Panera?  I need a napkin to wipe the drool from my keyboard just thinking about it.

4. Since my pumpkin spice and christmas tree flavors don't cut it for the month of March, I decided to pull out the candle my mom gave me at Christmas.  Yes, I realize it's not March yet, but work with me.  This Dune Grass is so fresh, but not overpowering.  Love it, mom!
5. There was a great debate at the NEM household during the holiday season regarding scented soaps.  I loved the Twisted Peppermint from Bath and Body Works, but some members of my family hated it.  While I was smitten through January, by mid February I was ready for a change.  We all agree on Fresh Lime Basil for the kitchen.

6. Did you know that Bath and Body Works has their new spring/summer scents out? Happy colors, happy scents, new designs on the bottles.  This Citrus Crush Hand Sanitizer makes me happy!  You know I'm all about a good sanitizer.

Have you found something new lately?  Please share!

February 21, 2011

Just Keep Smiling

I'm in a list mood today, mkay?  No reason for this post to be in a list form, but sometimes a girl just needs a list.

1.In my effort to stay above the drowning force of laundry, I sometimes forget to check pockets.  It's pretty normal for me to find {very clean} loose change, Lego men, and the occasional lip balm.  This week I found a new item as I was pulling wet laundry from the washer.
 Clean string cheese.  
Just keep smiling.

2. I have a deadline fast approaching that I am getting very nervous about.  It has to do with running shoes and a little road trip.  Being off the treadmill for a week really put me behind schedule, and a little jiggle to my wiggle.

3.My daughter turned 10 over the weekend.  On the eve of her birthday she came to me sobbing.  I don't want to turn ten tomorrow.  Hiccup.  I want to stay a little girrrrrrlllll.
Just keep smiling.  Me too, baby.  Me too.

4. Ever have a moment that you could kick yourself for not having your camera ready?  That happened this week as I was driving.  I had to pull off onto the shoulder so that a log truck could pass me.... with a full sized trampoline (with net attached) resting atop the logs.  One man was holding onto the trampoline so it wouldn't "fall off."  Ya might be a redneck....
Just keep smiling.

5. We lose stuff round here sometimes.  Overall, we are a pretty organized family thanks to my man, but sometimes we just can't find stuff.  Yesterday I discovered why I can't find the obvious sometimes:
Seriously.  A boot in the freezer.
Just keep smiling!

February 19, 2011

Fresh and New

We have had 3 gorgeous days of weather here in NC!  Even for this winter-lovin' girl, it sure it refreshing!  It's the perfect weather for the kids to be on the swing set and running in the backyard.  I even jumped on the trampoline yesterday.  Today my legs are like jelly; another kind reminder that I'm getting older need to stretch more.  After a very rough couple of weeks, we are healthy and happy.  I even had a little surprise waiting in my inbox.
The fine people at Wayfair would like for me to do a product review.  I can't decide between a new cutting board and some baking sheets.  Which would you choose?  After 15+ years of marriage, those kind of things are starting to wear out.  I took a look at some of my dishcloths the other night and thought, "These look like rags.  I can't believe I'm using them."

If you could replace something for your house, what would it be?

February 18, 2011

Beautiful Today

One day at a time
This is enough.

Do not look back 
and grieve over the past
for it is gone.

And do not be troubled 
about the future 
for it has yet to come.

Live for the present,
and make it so beautiful
that it will be worth remembering.
~Ida Scott Taylor

February 17, 2011

A Care Package of Delight

 This was how our crib looked last week.  For the entire week.
I had sick babies.  Even when they are too big to sit in my lap, they are still my babies.

A WONDERFUL package arrived on our doorstep.
A care package from my sweet brother and sister-in-law.  I almost cried.
He's halfway around the world on deployment and she is 1,000 miles away visiting friends and family and yet they took the time to send us a "hug."
 I had never heard of this company, but as I opened the box I decided they should get an A+ for pretty packaging.  Full of happiness.

Look at the yumminess that arrived!
 The food was de.lic.ious.  The chicken soup even had homemade noodles.
As we feasted with delight I thought, "why didn't I think of starting a company like this?"  What a fantastic idea for families to send their hugs to each other from across the country!

February 15, 2011

I feel very safe...

but a little weird when I'm taking a bath.  

 I have to remind myself that one day, I will look back and yearn for the days that superheroes lined my bathtub.

I'll wish there were more dishes to wash, sweet little mismatched socks to launder, and elastic hair bands in every nook and cranny of the house.  On days when the housework and the little annoyances get the best of me, I try to remember they are not annoyances.  They are signs of a life well lived, children well loved, and home filled to overflowing.

A little fashion tip: Boots are all the rage right now.  And look great with capes:

Is it me or does this guy weird you out, too?
Maybe it's the feet.  Or the body paint.  Or the loin cloth.

Have a great day!

February 14, 2011

Happy Heart Day!

Hope your day is:
cheerful, sunny, bright, hopeful, satisfying, blissful, beaming

May you be: 
delighted, happy, content, exhilarated, refreshed, joyous, blessed

Take time to:
enjoy, relish, savor, laugh, appreciate, love, delight

February 9, 2011


It's been a week.
It started last Thursday with my little man.
He crawled into my room at 4:30 in the morning on his hands and knees whispering "I can't breathe."   Pitiful.
We've been down this road before, so I knew what to do.   I love a good steam shower, but not so much at 4:30 in the morning.  We were up for the day, so we decided to head to the cesspool pediatrician's office to get some legal steroids.

Since my little man was still recovering, my main squeeze offered to stay home with him while I  took my girls to a concert on Saturday night.  It should have been a clue when my daughter kept saying, "I'm so tired."  Since I had to take out a second mortgage for the refreshments, we decided to share a drink.  Not my best  parental decision to date.  I finally realized that something might be up when she wanted to go home before her favorite group even hit the stage.  I felt her forehead and knew.
So I did what every self respecting mom would do.  We stayed until the end and rocked it out.

By Sunday afternoon, both girls had high fevers and I was waiting for mine to spike.

Monday morning the phone rang at 5:00, which is never good news.  It was my father in law asking my husband to go to the hospital to be with his mom.  Her own mother was dying and they had called the family in.  She had not been in good health, but it came as a surprise.

Moments after he left, my oldest daughter came in my room with a very scared look on her face.  "I can't breathe."  This time I was scared.  Her lungs sounded like wet wheezing.  The first thought that came to mind:
For the second time within 5 days we were back partying in the pediatrician's office germ fest.  The waiting room was full of very sick kids.

There were kids with throw up buckets, kids coughing, barking, sneezing, snorting.  This germaphobe chic wanted to curl up in the fetal position.
Anyways, my well educated guess was  right.  Pneumonia.

On Tuesday, my son decided to join the partay with a bloody nose.  (I don't do blood.  Period.) And my husband rounded off the day by throwing his back out at work.

Today we attended a very sweet memorial service, celebrating the life of a woman who kept her wedding vows for 64 years and decided it was time to go home to her eternal Groom.  My girls are still (very) sick, my husband is walking around like a cute old man, and my house is a disaster.

I am healthy.  Very tired, but healthy.
It's truly a miracle.

But, ya'll.
It's been a week!

February 4, 2011

My Week Summed Up

 Armed and ready

 A sick, but very sweet boy

The never ending pile

How did your week shape up?

February 2, 2011

End of the Journey

Well at least the end of this part of my journey...
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
~Jeremiah 29:11

One of the most beautiful verses for the hurting and fearful.  Yet we often cut it short without reading the rest of the passage:

Then you will call upon me and come and pray
to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me 
and find me with your whole heart.
Jeremiah 29:12~13

I needed to know that He had a plan for my life and this crazy curvy road I travel.  I clung to that verse with all that I had.  But it took a little longer for me to follow through with the second part of the passage.  When I finally decided to put down the boxing gloves and pray, my heart was released.  It took time.  I had to not only pray, but I had to seek.  And wait.

Verse 13 didn't promise that our finances would be fluid again.  It didn't promise new shoes or easy living.  It told me that I would find Him with my whole heart.

Hmmm... maybe that was part of the problem.  I had not given him all of my heart.  There were areas that I still wanted  to hold on to; to argue about the "why" and why-nots."  

The Rubber Meets the Road:
As it turns out, it wasn't about finances.  It wasn't about hunting accidents or pride.  It was about how God was mapping out my journey.  You see, even though I started this journey without packing, He had some souvenirs for me.   
1.  My marriage is stronger 
2. I expect less from myself and others
3. My parents and in-laws have experienced the joy of giving us gifts that we truly appreciate
4. My children are not spoiled.  Okay, maybe a little.  :)
5. I see the world in a completely different light.  
6. I have had the privilege of ministering to others in ways I would have never imagined. 
7. The generosity of others has floored me.  Not only in action and deed, but also in words of encouragement.  

YOU have been a part of my journey.  You have blessed me.  
Here are some of the words of wisdom you have shared since I started this little series:

God is good. And sometimes, until we get a little desperate, we don't see just how good He is. ~Kay

The one thing I hope comes out of this is that we can set an example to others that you don't have to have what everyone else has - which I've come to learn is a lot of debt.  ~Laura

Isn't it crazy how easily we can make our circumstances big and God small? ~Joy

What a relief when we seek Christ and his goodness above the approval of man or material things! ~Sara

Insecurity can shake your world in ways you could never imagine. That is where we have to remember God is our rock. It really isn't about us... it is all about the molding and shaping God is doing in our lives. ~Kellie

in God's eyes, there is no "big" and "little" -- that it's ALL important to Him.  ~TZ

Traveling light really does make a difference. ~ Richella

See?  I am surrounded by wise, caring women.  Thank you for sharing the road with me.  Thank you for opening your hearts by sharing your wisdom, experiences, and personal journeys.

Even though our roads may have bumps, turns and unexpected detours, it is a privilege to journey through life with you.

February 1, 2011

My Journey (part 3)

It would be so nice to finish this story right here and say, "everything is back to normal," but that's not life.  And is there any true normal?

During the time of my husband's recovery and our lightning party, another storm was brewing on the horizon.  It was call a recession.  My husband is a builder, so when the housing market tanked, so did the the extra cash flow.  We were relieved (beyond measure) that he still had a job, but with the strain of our medical bills and repairing the damage to the house, the extra income had become our grocery money.  Somehow, telling our kids not to eat didn't seem feasible. :)

Before we had children, we made the decision for me to become a SAHM (stay at home mom).  We felt like the Lord was calling me to be at home with them and focus on their little lives for a season.  That timing was cut shorter than we had planned, due to finances.  When we realized that I needed to find a job, I sort of panicked.
I had forgotten that we serve a creative God.
He provided a job at a preschool so that I could use my teaching experience and yet have my children there with me.   It turned out to be exactly the amount we needed for our grocery budget.  And not a cent more.

For two years we worked hard at sticking to the budget and not spending excessively.  We were beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.  We learned to save for big (necessary) purchases and we learned to live without.

God wasn't done with us yet.

We had learned to accept our situation, but we hadn't learned to step out in faith.  We had learned to deal with what was handed to us, but we had yet to learn the meaning of sacrifice.  That's when we felt the Lord call us to home school.  (You can read about my journey to that decision here and here.) Home schooling our children meant I could no longer work at the preschool.
Our income would decrease.  Decrease, as in go down.
Some called us crazy.  Heck, we even said we were crazy.  But that's what true faith looks like, right?

Being creative with your finances isn't always what you'd expect, but the rewards are priceless.  Remember our trip to Maine?  We were able to afford that trip because we camped.  In tents.  El cheapo.  What a memory my kids would have missed out on if I didn't take a step out of my comfort zone (like heat and a mattress).

My children have learned the value of hard work and to appreciate the things they have earned.  They have learned that children and adults alike don't get everything they want.  They have seen the fruits of the gift of time far outweigh the objects.  
When I say they, I really mean "we."
I still have a long ways to go.  I still battle feelings of frustration when I see other kids get every kind of electronic gizmo available without any expectation of responsibility.  I still feel a little jealous of my friends who can afford to sign their kids up for camps/classes/lessons.  But I am learning.

And learning takes practice.  And faith.
And enough humble pie to write about this journey.

*I have just a little bit more to share with you about my journey.  I can't stop now.  The best part, the view from the top of the mountain, is why I started this story.  Stick with me for one more day.  Every story needs a good ending.