March 29, 2011

Making Strides

1. Daisy might belong to my little man, but she owns my heart.  She's a snuggler.  Yesterday she sat on my lap for 45 minutes while I played Bejeweled Blitz worked on lesson plans.
Isn't she adorable??
Even my animal-avoider daughter cuddled her and then admitted her cuteness.
We're making great strides.

Speaking of great strides...
2.My youngest finally decided he was ready to ride a bike.  Yes.  He's seven.  
I was older than that when I finally learned.  Hey!  No snickering!
A couple of years ago we tried to push it, but the lessons always ended in wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Of everyone involved.  I think my husband was afraid he would go to college on a tricycle.  ;)
We decided to let it go.  We figured he would pick it up eventually.  A great ah-ha moment as a parent is learning to let go of the not-so-important stuff.

3. I received Photoshop Elements9 as a Christmas gift.  For the last 3 months I felt like an idiot every time I turned it on. Even the "Photoshop for Dummies" didn't help.  Ignorant I tell you.
Last night, my uber talented friend Heather gave me a personal tutorial.  She knew she was in trouble when I asked how to open the program.  We made great strides, through her patience and talent.  (See, Heather, I made the collage above!)

4. I haven't made homemade cookies in forever and a day.  I tried these .  They are divine because they are gorgeous, delicious, and stay soft for days.

The icing is VERY lemony, so I tinted it pink and called them Pink Lemonade Cookies for my 6th grade bible study girls.  They like cute names.  And dessert.
Check out this food blog.  It is fabulous.  She is a personal friend and I can promise that everything on her blog is creme de la creme for your inner foodie.

I'm not going to let the fact that I only have 4 points in my list of "making strides."  Maybe I should have titled it "making baby steps."  Oh well.

March 28, 2011

Vacation Planner?

I need your help.

We are planning a road trip from NC to Mount Rushmore.
I know, we're insane.
Our stopping points along the way are Knoxville, Nashville, St. Louis ..... and somewhere in middle (Kansas City, Omaha)?  We'll come home the "shorter" route through Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois etc...
Neither of us are big planners, so that is why I am asking you.
Have you been to any of these destinations?
Do you have any "must-see's"?
Favorite restaurants?

Here is our list so far:
Nashville: good food
St. Louis: the arch
Mt. Rushmore
The Badlands
Walnut Creek, MN
Louisville: Sluggar plant

Other than that, we are wide open.  Any suggestions?  Thoughts?

March 26, 2011

This and That

 1. We enjoyed a week of gorgeous weather here in NC.  This is what school looked like for 2 days:
 It was serious business.  Well, as serious as you can get when it is 80 degrees and the birds are deciding the playlist of music.

2. As we begin the descent of our second year of homeschooling, I am realizing that my friends were right when they warned me of curriculum overload.  We switched grammar/language books in January and I am still considering a new science route since the other one remained on the shelf for most of the year.

 3. Since my science mojo has long been forgotten, I decided a field trip to the NC Zoo would count for Life Science.  Right?
(A super fun day with our buddies, the Moores)

4. If the zebras, snakes, and flamingos weren't enough life science, the baboons decided to give us a detailed anatomical education.  And a desire to purchase PreparationH.
 5. I ran into an acquaintance while there and she snubbed our need for a field trip, while she openly admitted pulling her kids out for the day to play hooky.  Hmm....
I just smiled and remained pleasant.  At least she wasn't wearing moleskin.

6. I'm not usually addicted to tv programs, but this season's American Idol is making me very, very happy.  There is so much incredible talent, that I will probably be happy regardless of who wins.  Personal favorites?  Casey, Paul, Lauren, Pia and James.  See?  It's win-win!

7. My mom took us girls on a shopping spree last night.  I mourned the fact that we made purchases from the Juniors department.  Sigh.

8. I know my blog suffered this week, but I chose to spend extra time outside with my kiddos.  Good mommy points are more important than blog statistics.

9. My daughter found a wedding photo today and said, "you guys were so thin and young!"
Forget the mommy points.

10. Since the weather teased us for the past week, we decided to do the spring clothes-switch-out.  Today the high is 49 with tomorrow being 42.  What does one wear on a very cold spring day?  I must say, it is a fashion quandary.

March 21, 2011

Big News Round Here

1. We added to our brood this week.  Our little guy has been asking for a pet of his very own.  We took him on a surprise visit to the Tractor Supply Store and he chose Daisy.
This picture makes me weepy.  
Adorableness all the way around.

2. Starbucks has a new logo.  Have you seen it?
I like the simplicity of it. 

3. My kids tried a Slim Jim the other day.  Can you believe the size of this one?
It got 1 thumbs up and 2 thumbs down from the kids.  I actually like them, if I don't think about what they are made of.  Shudder...

 4. My sister-in-law challenged me, back in December, to run in a race.  I don't like to run, but the idea of a goal that would help with the booty jiggles was enough for me to say yes.
Even though 8k is peanuts to many of my runner friends, it was a big deal to me, being my first run, evah.

5. We finished!  
Right after the race, showing off our shamrock medals 

Last week my 11 year old asked for prayer for me, that I would win the race.  I quickly told her that I wasn't trying to win.  "Okay, please pray that my mom doesn't have to go to the hospital."  Cracked. Me. Up.

I'm pleased to announce that we didn't win, didn't go to the hospital, but we did finish, making better time than we planned.
Big news!

March 17, 2011

There Is a First for Everything

Well, I've finally done it.
After celebrating 3 years of blogging and 500+ posts, I have finally received my first snarky comment.

Yesterday's "fashion" post was done in good humor, with the hopes of bringing a smile to my readers' faces.  Apparently I crossed the line when it came to moleskin.

Part of me (the pleaser part) wants to apologize if it came across as too critical.  I truly meant no harm.

The other part of me wants to say that surely we have greater things to fight over for than moleskin jackets.

So, in the spirit of keeping things positive around here, let me just say this:
1. I like to keep things encouraging and humorous here at NEM and I in no way want to hurt people's feelings.
2. This is my blog and if I choose to write about something you don't like, you may say so.
In a nice way.
If you cannot respond kindly, I will no longer post your comments.
3. I LOVE the conversations I have with my readers.  I welcome differing opinions, ideas, encouragement and humor.  I do not welcome snarky-ness.

March 16, 2011

Just Say NO.

We'll start with the face since it's the window to your soul, or something like that. :)

1. Bronzer.  If it is more than one shade darker than your natural skin color, please say no.  
I walked into the dentist office the other day and was blinded by the orange woman behind the desk.  I truly almost laughed out loud.  I was just waiting for one of my children to ask the million dollar question.  

2. Eyeliner on the bottom lid only.  Girls, this only gives you that droopy eye look.  No, not bedroom eyes... rather, the I-grew-up-in-the-80's look, or possibly the I'm-just-too-tired-to do-the-upper-lid.  If you have to choose one lid, make it the top one.  
Speaking of eyes...
3. There are a very select few (in the world) who should be allowed to wear Aviator sunglasses.  If your name ends in Cruise, as in Tom or Penelope, then you may wear them without shame.  Otherwise, just say no.  Seriously.  

See?  Even in the 70's people thought they looked good in them.  But they didn't, did they?
Let's just camp out here for a minute, shall we?  There's so much worth mentioning:
high waisted pants, PLAID jacket with a MATCHING vest, the collar, the glasses, the hair.  Oh my.

4. Matchy-match.  Unless you are a 4 year old twin or on stage in Branson, Mo, it's usually not a good idea to try this look: 

5. With spring just around the corner, I thought this might be helpful:
No matter how much of a studmuffin you may be, mint green suits are a no-no.

6. Speaking of mint green...
Can someone please explain this concept to me?  Why does a toilet need a parka?  Why does a toilet lid need a knitted hat?  What is the purpose of this?  Anyone?
Please undress your toilet.  It's okay for it to go au-natural.

7. I have no good segue to this one.  Because really, nothing goes with MOLESKIN fabric.  Nothing.  It should be outlawed.  Only a woman over the age of 90 can get away with it; because if she has lived to that age, she has earned the right to wear whatever she doggone pleases.  No one else.  Period.

8. No words are needed for this one:

What's a fashion NO-NO that you wish everyone knew about?  

March 15, 2011

Kitchen Happiness

I wanted a rug to go in front of my kitchen sink.  I wanted a pop of color.  I wanted to go a little funky.  But I am very practical.  It had to be machine washable.  And soft.  And inexpensive. 
I had searched many stores for the perfect rug, and yet it was sitting right under my my computer.  CSN has a HUGE variety of everything rugs.  This chenille rug is on sale right now for only $19!  It is washable and comes in other colors if orange doesn't make you happy.
It makes me happy every time I step up to do the dishes.  Well, as happy as one can be with a sink full of dishes. :)

Remember my dilemma trying to decide between a cutting board and a new baking sheet?  Well, you helped me decide!  Thank you!  I ordered this Nordicware commercial half sheet.  It even comes with a lid for keeping things fresh and safe for travel.  I love this sheet.  It is big enough to fit 2 dozen cookies or two loaves of french baguettes.  Because of the 1' lip it is perfect for making granola or bar cookies.  
One of the things I love about CSN is their quick turn around time.  They don't waste any time getting the orders shipped.  If you need a little kitchen happiness, check them out.

You might even smile while doing a sink full of dishes!

March 9, 2011

Sa-weet Suggestions

I have a major sweet tooth.  You can keep the salty (unless there is salsa involved).

My amazing husband came home with these:
The skies parted and the angels sang.

Aren't they adorable?
The best part?
No guilt
They are snack size, so they fit perfectly in my freezer door.  Please don't ask what the other items are.  I have no idea.  Random, organized chaos?

Sa-weet #2 for today involves coffee, so get your mojo ready:

Last week I was standing in front of the dairy creamer section and I had to apologize to the lady behind me for taking so long.  There are SO MANY good choices!  I was not disappointed with this little number.

Lastly, the fine makers of all things candy-related have stocked the shelves for Easter.  I'm not a big candy girl, but I do love some chocolate.  These are so melty-fine!

What is your favorite Easter candy?

March 7, 2011

Peace Be Still

This is my first attempt at making a video.  It's a collection of some of my favorite photos set to a very special song. (Peace Be Still by Rush of Fools)
*Scroll down to the bottom of the page and turn the volume off the playlist.  Then come back up and enjoy.

March 3, 2011

Stronger Souls, and other thoughts...

 I have a little quote posted at my desk.  Its message is so simple yet powerful.  For some reason it has spoken volumes to me this week.  I don't know why.  It's been on my desk for months.  Maybe I've needed the message a little more than normal.

Only speak words that make souls stronger

Stronger souls.
That's what I desire for my children.  For my husband.  For myself.  For my loved ones.  For you.


I've fallen in love with my camera.  Not because of what it does or because of how clear it is. I've fallen in love because when I peer into the lens, I am reminded of all that I am blessed with.

Even on the crazy days.

It only takes a moment.  A click of the finger to capture the everyday.  The here and now.  How quickly it will become yesterday.  So I allow myself the pleasure of capturing the moments to treasure.


I was blown away by your insightfulness regarding my dilemma.  Thank you for your words of wisdom, honesty, and encouragement.  I still haven't decided my plan of action.  I'm still praying through it.  Your comments were amazing.
 We've spent a lot of time outside during the past week.  The weather has been gorgeous.  It does a momma body good to get the kids outside!

Several of you asked about the ice.  Funny how the questions were not about the boot in the freezer, but the bags of ice...
Anyhoo, we keep bags of ice because we like to be prepared for ice shortages n' such.  Haha.  Just kidding.  We (meaning my husband) usually keep ice in that freezer because we do a lot of large group entertaining.  In 15 years of marriage I've never had to ask him to pick up a bag of ice on his way home.  Milk? Yes.  Ice?  No.
Until your questions, I never really thought of it as strange, but now that you mention it...
Wait.  You're distracting me.  Didn't anyone else find it odd that there was a BOOT in the freezer?

I sure do love you girls.
Have a happy, bouncing-on-the-trampoline kind of day.
Remember: stronger souls

March 1, 2011

Salsa: Good enough to eat with a spoon

1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes with juice
2 cans (10 oz) Original Rotel (mild)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of one lime

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Pulse about 15 times.  Adjust seasonings to taste.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

This is restaurant quality.  Seriously, you will want to open your own Las Palmas.
It makes about a quart, so there is plenty to eat when the kids are in bed share.