April 28, 2011

A List of Sorts

... that is totally unrelated in any shape or form...

1. Can you believe the devastation in the deep South?  My heart breaks for them.

2. I've stretched the groceries about as far as I've ever stretched them.  Today my kids had scrambled eggs and canned chicken noodle soup.  It was literally the only thing we could find.

3. We're celebrating my husband's birthday tonight just the 5 o' us.  I let the kids decorate.  Who knew a valentines wreath, a used car lot pool flag rope, and some ribbon could be so festive?

4. I made my first big cookie cake from scratch today.  We didn't have a regular bag of chocolate chips so I used minis and chunks of a giant Hersey bar.  What could go wrong?

Oh, maybe the fact that I used a flat pizza pan so now my house smells like burnt cookie drippings.

5. My brother has been trying to make it home from deployment for over 2 weeks.  It involves a large plane that keeps breaking down. The fact that he had to travel over 8,000 miles of ocean made us a little uneasy.  We're waiting on the phone call of his safe return...

6. Someone please tell me the secret to a clean toaster oven.  Ours looks disgusting and it's less than a year old.

7. Here's a hypothetical question for you... if you find a snake in your yard/garage do you catch an release?  ignore it?  kill it?  Just curious.

8. My son was dropped off from a playdate yesterday and the mom said, with a perplexed look on her face, "He wouldn't eat dinner."  If your child is anything like mine, they NEVER skip a meal.  She had taken them to CookOut and he said he would get migraines if he ate the hot dogs (which is true) and he would DIE if he ate the hamburgers.  Umm.... maybe allowing our 7 year old to watch a documentary on meat processing wasn't the best call.  Sorry, Erin.

9. However....  I HIGHLY recommend adding Food Inc. to your Netflix queue.  It will change the way you look at dinner.  Our family has made some drastic changes to our eating habits.  Drastic and for the better!

10. We have a not-very-nice neighbor.  When I say not-very-nice I am being VERY nice.  (Have any of those??) I passed him in public yesterday, put on my big girl pants, and said hello.  He completely ignored me.  From 6 feet away.  Needless to say it provided a good life-lesson conversation with my daughter who was completely shocked that someone would be rude to her momma.

Don't forget to answer #6 and #7.

April 27, 2011

Hiding from the Camera

There's nothing like accountability for a good kick in the pants.  :)  I mentioned last week that I was going to make it a priority to take some pictures of just me and my man.  
On the way home from church, with my to-do list running a mile long, the last thing on my mind was a photo session.  I had 10 people to feed and a turkey to check on for Easter dinner.  Fortunately, my daughter said, "mom, we have to take some pictures of you and daddy."  So I grabbed the camera and headed to the yard for some shade and a couple of snaps by the kids.  We didn't even plan on matching our blues, it just worked out that way.  

A dear friend reminded me of the importance of capturing mom in the pictures of life because one day our kids are going to look back and not have any photo memories of us.  I'd much rather stay behind the lens.  It's safer (and more fun) back there.  If I'm real honest, when I look at pictures of myself, I become very critical (bad hair day, chubby arms, lines of life on my face.) But if I stay in my "safe" place, it's not doing my kiddos any good.

I had a Groupon to Lulu.com that was going to expire at midnight last week, so I threw a memory book together faster than you can fry a chicken.  It wasn't perfect, but I got it done in time.  One of the things I noticed was how few none of the pictures were of just the two of us.  Hence, my commitment to take more of the man of my life with his bride.  

What about you?  Are you being intentional about capturing your daily life?
Are you making sure YOU are in the pictures?  
I encourage you to pick up your camera and capture the everyday, normal life.  Sure, beach pictures are great, but unless you live at the beach, they shouldn't be the only moments captured.
Start clicking!  :)

April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!!!

Celebrating the greatest miracle...
Jesus' gift of eternal life

He is RISEN!!!

April 22, 2011

Good Friday

But God was merciful! 
We were dead because of our sins, 
but God loved us so much 
that he made us alive with Christ, 
and God's wonderful kindness 
is what saves you. 
God raised us from death to life 
with Christ Jesus, and he has given us
 a place beside Christ in heaven.
 God did this so that in the future world
 he could show how truly good 
and kind he is to us 
because of what Christ Jesus has done. 
Ephesians 2:4-8

April 20, 2011

Easter Morning Pictures

Do you try to get Easter pictures on Sunday morning before you leave for church?  We usually do them when we get home.  Needless to say, the lady with the camera (me) is not the most popular chic in the yard because my little bunnies are hungry enough to gnaw on their appendages.  This year I decided to go ahead and do our "Easter morning" pictures on Tuesday.  Before Easter.

I explained my reasoning to my kids and they happily donned their Easter attire and had great attitudes during our little photo session.

 I didn't have to worry about their outfits getting dirty because I knew I still had time to wash them again before Sunday, should the unexpected happen.  Fortunately, it didn't.

 Since we weren't trying to rush to Easter dinner, we had time to include some adorable props.

Rocko just wanted to help out with the natural smiles.

One of my favorites...

The only drawback of doing it early is not having my man and I in the photos.  Oh well, I've made a resolution to get more pictures of the two of us together.  Seriously, it is sad how few we have of just US.  So, I plan on snapping a couple of pics of us on Easter morning.  Assuming I can find something in my closet to wear...

Needless to say I didn't want my picture taken on a Tuesday morning in my favorite Wyoming t-shirt.  My little man snapped this picture of me and my girl.
 Ha! He may be the future designated family photographer.

One of the {many, many} things I've learned about photography is that I've got to make it fun if I want to capture genuine smiles and natural poses.  In the middle of the session, I told them to take their shoes off and dance in the wet grass.  They thought that was the coolest idea ever.

Hope you are enjoying this beautiful Easter week!

April 18, 2011

Coming Down from the Mountain

Last week we decided to take our spring break.  I know it was a week earlier than the rest of the world, but we just needed it.  One of the clues that we might be ready for some time off to enjoy the great outdoors was this:
 Two full size tents set up in my living room and foyer.  Complete with rock campfire.  Notice that my 11 year old camps in style.  She has a loop/shag rug, matching quilt, small chair and blow up mattress.  That's how we roll.  Comfort and style, baby.

The kids and I took a road trip to the NC mountains to enjoy some fresh air and time with my parents.  See?  We are accomplishing both:
 Isn't my mom cute with her grands?

 It was a week of rest and refreshment for me.  I checked off everything on my list (except for scheduling a photo session and doctor appts ... too much work for break).  Speaking of work, my sweet honey stayed home to work so we could play.  Little did I know that he was working day and night.  He stayed up each night working on this:

 Squeal!!!  We needed to replace the carpet on our stairs, but it was either a family vacation or new carpet.  So we racked our brains and decided to pull up the carpet and paint the subflooring.  Since it was going to be a summer project, I was shocked to come home to it already done.  I love my man!!!  Pulling off all of the carpet staples almost sent him to the looney bin.  It was a labor of love that turned out beautifully.

The dishwasher fairy visited while I was gone, too.  No, she didn't come in and wash all of my dirty dishes.  She dropped off a dishwasher.  I know it's totally lame to post a picture of my new dishwasher, but when you have to spend that kind of money, you want to show it off.  No?
My kids think the blue lights are so cool.  Not so cool when they found out it doesn't put the dishes away for them.

Blown Away

You may have heard about the tornadoes that struck NC on Saturday.  Wow.  
Our house/neighborhood was spared, but we have friends who were not.  The devastation is incredible.  Please keep NC in your prayers.  There is so much damage.
Some family friends lost their barns and found one of their horses a football field away, 30 ft in a tree.  Stories like this are becoming commonplace (but no less shocking) as reports roll in.  It saddens me to see so many families and poor migrant workers who lived in mobile homes that were completely swept away, leaving them with only the clothes on their backs.  There were more than 15 deaths in the state and some are still missing.

April 12, 2011

Spring Break

We are officially on spring break at the NEM household.  Since the teacher (moi) is more just as excited about the week off as her students, here's a list of what I plan to accomplish this week:

1. Stay up late and sleep in. (So far, so good)
2. Read a couple of non-school-related fiction books (started one yesterday)
3. Design a new header for my blog (Checkin' it off the list. You like?)
4. Enjoy the NC mountains (already here and enjoying the view)
5. Peruse the curriculum choices for next school year (aaakk!  there are too many choices and I thought it would be easier by now to make decisions!)
6. Work on and hopefully finish preparing a seminar I am giving in 2.5 weeks. (Prayers, please!)
7. Enjoy my momma's cooking (I'm hoping for some apple pancake omelet and flan, but her homemade mac-n-cheese made me very happy tonight)  Can we say comfort food??
8. Schedule a family photo session with Sherri.  (But then I have to figure out the whole coordinating outfit thing.  Suggestions?)
9. Schedule several doctor-ish type appointments for myself that always seem to get pushed aside (You know, girly stuff that isn't nearly as fun as a manicure)
10. Take a break from laundry, dusting, and pretty much any other household chore that calls my name (that's why it's called spring BREAK, right?)

What would you add to this list if it were your spring break?

April 8, 2011

May I Suggest...

Today I am going to keep things healthy.  It was really hard not discussing  Cadbury eggs again, but I will control myself.  :)

Have you met the newest kid on the block?  We were in the produce section of Target last week when the produce guy approached us with a test taste of Opal apples.  Normally test tasting at the store grosses me out, but it was an adorable old man, so I accepted with a smile.  Oh. My.  It was the best apple I've ever tasted.  It has the tartness of a GrannySmith with the flavor of a HoneyCrisp.  They're pricey, but go buy one for yourself to cut up and share.  They are huge, so there's enough to go around.  

 I love the look of a tinted lip gloss, but I hate the sticky feeling.  I recently stumbled upon Cover Girl Wetslicks Amazemint.  It is NOT sticky, stays on for a long time, and has a little mint tingle.  I'm partial to the Merry Berry color because it's not too pink, not too coral, but somewhere in the happy middle.  It's a good shade to wear over my regular lipstick if I want something a little darker.  At $6 it's worth a try!

I love this outdoor pillow from Lowes.  It would add a "tweet" to any porch or patio for only $9.98  They didn't have it at our local store, but my sweet man found this one for me.  He knows my taste!  Speaking of taste...

Have you tried these??  I love them!!! They are usually near the deli, why, I do not know, but they are the perfect little snack.  And low fat!  See?  I kept it healthy today!

What is your favorite lip gloss/ lip stick?  Tell me the color too!

April 4, 2011

Why We Make Church a Priority

...And How We've Made it Work
A friend recently posted about this very topic, which got my wheels turning...
Why DO we make church a priority in our family?  
It was a question that needed attention.
Sometimes we get into the habit of something without digging deep into the heart of the reasoning.

We choose to make church a priority not only for the obvious reasons of being spiritually fed and the fellowship, but also because of our responsibility to others and obedience to Christ.

Notice I used the present tense "choose."  It is an open invitation each week from the Creator.  That's humbling enough, isn't it?
Each week, we have the option of choosing to go or stay home.
Sleep in, or get up.
I am always blown away with the excuse of "we have a hard time getting up so early for church."  How does their boss feel about that on weekdays?  How do their children's teachers respond when they drop them off late at school and the excuse is "we have a hard time getting up in the morning"?  Making church a priority  is all about choices.

If my children see me making church an option, rather than a priority, I am teaching that very concept: church is optional.
Have a golf game on a Sunday morning?  Optional.
Had a late night?  Optional.
If we make church an option, then when they leave the nest, what will they most likely do?  Make it an option.
As they head off into adulthood and the array of options available on most college campuses, I want the steady diet of God's word, fellowship and spiritual growth to be a priority.  Not an option.

It saddens me how many parents I see, even within our own church, who do not make regular church attendance a priority.  If you are a young mom, I encourage you to make. it. happen.  From the time our children were infants, we have chosen to attend the 8:00 am service.  I know this is not for everyone, but just hear me out.  ;)
When we are in town, we go to church on Sundays.  Our kids have never asked, "are we going to church tomorrow?"  They just know.  We choose the early service because it gives us more of an afternoon to enjoy as a family.   Not once have my kids complained about having to get up.  Not because they weren't tired... simply because they know what the expectations are.  It's like it never even crosses their mind that church is optional.

Now, lest you think I am a supermom that gets up at o'dark-thirty to have all my chicks in a row, here is how it works for us:
6:05 alarm goes off
6:15 roll out of bed (not usually bearing a smile)
 I get in the shower while my husband lets the dog out and gets the kids up.  This system has taken some tweaking over the years, but now that the kids can dress themselves it works much faster.
6:30 While I dry my hair, he takes a shower.  The kids at this age can self maintain.  When they were younger, we plopped them in front of some cartoons so we could get ready in peace.  See, we're normal.
7:10 Roll out of the driveway
7:25 Pick up donuts to eat in the car (excellent bribery reward for the kids)
7:40 arrive at church to make coffee for children's workers

See?  I don't dress my kids.  I don't make breakfast.  I'm not supermom.  :)

One of the rules we had to install for our pre-teen girls is that we lay their clothes out the night before and they are not allowed to change their mind on Sunday.  Way too much drama for 6:30 am.  This rule does not apply to mom, by the way.  She may change her mind. Multiple times.

As a word of caution, church attendance is one of those areas that could easily become legalistic in nature.  We don't go to church because it is the rule.  We go to church because we desire to follow after Christ, minister to and fellowship with others, and grow in the Word.

I'll finish with a a funny (quick)story:
When our oldest daughter was 3 she HATED coming to church.  She would start crying when we pulled into the parking lot.  She cried the ENTIRE time she was in her Sunday school class. They even had to get an extra person to work her room just for her.  I, needless to say, was mortified.  But they were precious souls who encouraged me to not give up.  So we didn't.  Now that same child who wailed over having to come to church is almost twelve.  She LOVES going to church.  In fact, she gets super frustrated if we have to miss for sickness or travel.  Each Saturday she will usually say, "I'm so excited that tomorrow is Sunday.  I love church!"

Priorities.  So worth it!

April 1, 2011

Room Makeover

Last summer my daughter asked for a "new room."  She had lived with periwinkle blue and sage green her entire life.  I can't believe I kept her room the same for 9 years!  That is a record for me!  

 We scoured the PB Teen magazines and she got a general idea of the colors she liked.  Then, we did the Target version of her choices.  She chose bright navy walls (which look more royal in the picture above than they actually are) and lime green accents.  It is now one of my favorite rooms in the house.

If you are wondering about the blurry thing above her bed, it is her name in vinyl attached to an artists canvas that I painted with acrylic.  I ordered it from here.  Seriously, it is a GREAT deal!  Below is the example from her Etsy shop.  You get to choose 2 colors and all of the words that go behind the name.  SO personalized!!!
The dots on the wall came from her store too.  Total cost?  $20 for a whole wall of yumminess!

The comforter set and throw pillows came from Target.  The throw pillow covers were from their RE line for $5 each!  I love dots!

She got the green butterfly chair from Target Santa ($18).
She inherited the feather boa wreath and I love how it shows up on the dark wall.  Oh, and the desk swivel chair came from Target ($18) too.

I hesitated posting this last picture, because I rarely leave a project unfinished.  My goal is to make a little pendant flag window treatment that swoops down in front of the two windows from the top of the bookcases.  But you get the picture.
My parents gave her a "husband" for Christmas (that green pillow thing on the window seat).  I had one from childhood through college and loved him it.  Now I have the real thing and he's so much better.  :)

The colors in her room make me happy every time I go in there.  Since she did not inherit my "I-love-change-gene," it's a good thing I like it, because she will probably keep these colors until she moves out.  Well, maybe.  :)