Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Homeschooling with a Toddler

Many homeschooling moms throughout the ages have dealt with the same conundrum: It's not easy to keep a toddler busy while schooling your older children. Considering toddlers have the attention span of a gnat and older children aren't much better, it's no surprise there's an ongoing battle! One way I've handled it is to come to terms with letting Selah make a mess in a somewhat controlled environment if it buys me some time to focus on her siblings.

One day, I set her up in the kitchen with dry Kix cereal and various cooking utensils and just let her go at it!

She spent over half an hour pouring the cereal from one container to the other, dropping them in the funnel to see them fall from the other end, scooping them up with spoons ...

... and every good cook knows that you taste along the way!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Joe's Birthday Party

For Joe's birthday this year, his gift from us (along with a Star Wars Legos Wii game) was a birthday party. I chose a Mad Scientist theme because Joe loves Dr. Doofenshmirtz from Phineas and Ferb. When his guests arrived, I gave them each a bag of party favors which included a lab coat, vinyl gloves, a pocket protector, glasses, a notebook, a magnifying glass, Nerds, Smarties, and other stuff. The boys dressed up in their scientist gear, and then had a blast! The video below is a montage of pictures from the party.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Beautiful Gift Idea

I have a baby shower to attend on Sunday and I've been pondering what I could get this sweet couple and their new little girl. I finally found the perfect idea on-line the other day. I took the shower invitation and cut it into thin strips. Alternating the strips with pretty pink ribbon, I stuffed a clear glass Christmas ornament full. To finish it off, I replaced the top and tied it with more of the ribbon. It was a simple project that turned out beautifully! This would be perfect for a wedding invitation, a milestone birthday, anniversary party, anything special!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Poverty Of Chocolate

It's the fourth day of school, and I already have funny/sweet stories to share! Homeschooling is definitely never boring!

Day 2 - Joe sighs and says, "I miss summer vacation."

Kaity was reading Dr. Seuss to Selah and without breaking rhythm she handed the book back to the baby and said, "I am bored with reading now, you can do it - you know how!"

And now, a cool story about capturing teachable moments:

One day, the kids were hard at work at their individual tasks. They'd been diligent and quiet for several minutes (surely a record!) so I went to the kitchen and grabbed two peanut M&Ms for each child. I gave Kaity's to her, complimenting her on her hard work and focus. When I turned to Joe, he was lying on the floor pretending to sleep. I got his attention and showed him the M&Ms. His face lit up, then fell because he knew he'd been caught. I told him I would give him ONE because he had been working so quietly and well earlier, but that I would get to eat the other one. 

Later in the day, we were going over some scripture to establish some principles of our home school. We discussed topics like being teachable, obedience, and love, with accompanying verses from Proverbs, 1 Corinthians, and Ephesians, among others. When we got to hard work and integrity, one of the passages we read was Proverbs 6:6-11 (go read it if you're not familiar, I'll wait.) I pointed out to Joe how perfectly that matched what had happened to him earlier: "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you ..." I asked him what he had lost out on because of his "slumber" instead of working. Kaity giggled and piped up, "You had a poverty of chocolate!"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


So, yesterday was the first day of school! I like to get the kids to draw self-portraits at the beginning of the year, just to see what they come up with.

"I like to read and play video games. I also like playing on the computer, sewing, singing and drawing and writing."

I had them draw themselves and two things they like/enjoy doing. The sun, soccer, and dogs are on Joe's list, along with his friend Eli who played soccer with him last year.

Selah got in on the action, too!
In fact, Selah is so talented she used different media to express herself, including her potbelly.

I plan on submitting these along with their transcripts to the college of their choice.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Recently, our littlest princess gained 4 pounds in 3 months. Though thrilled with her progress, I was less-than-thrilled with the fact that she outgrew all of her 18-month clothes in one fell swoop! I made a trip to the consignment store in our downtown to see what I could find. All of the summer clothes were on sale either half-price or for one dollar. I bought three outfits for $8.50! And best of all, I had a credit in the store for $9 from clothes I had consigned.

Church dress, leaving-the-house/play dress, play outfit

I love the detailed embroidery on this dress, and the swooshy fabric is so fun! Selah wore this to church and she loved swishing the skirt.
In other news, we started school today! It's already been a long day at 10:00 a.m.! I'll update with pictures and more details tomorrow.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Yogurt is Delicious!

I know, you just had a "Selah Post", but there's no such thing as too much adorableness.

Our little toddler has become increasingly independent - a necessary evil. It's wonderful, because it gives me more freedom, plus it means she's growing and learning ... but it's awfully messy.

Especially at mealtimes:
She insisted on finishing off her Greek yogurt BY HERSELF.

I promise she actually had a spoon in the beginning.

Look! There it is! (And please take note of the fact that she is wearing sandals and no pants. Thank you.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Selah in Pigtails

Prepare yourself for extreme cuteness ...

Selah's little pigtails don't last long, but while they do, they are just too much!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New Jewelry

There comes a time in every woman's life when the young man she loves gives her a very special gift. A gift she'll cherish, because every time she looks at it, she's reminded of how much he loves her. I received just such a gift on Sunday, a beautiful, unique piece of jewelry that features my favorite color ...

My sweet little Joe made a bracelet for me! **

I love that he chose to put "Jeni" on there instead of "Mommy".
** (And just so you know, my hand is resting on the arm of the recliner: that is NOT my leg!)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Joe's Birthday!

I know, I know, it's been forever since I posted regularly! But I've had a crazy, busy week. I left the house every day last week! EVERY DAY. It was awful.

Anyway, our favorite little blonde boy turned 7 yesterday! Grammie and Bobba had given us a gift to give to him on the big day, and Jeff and I had plans for him, too.

Joe's big haul from Grammie and Bobba was Star Wars Legos and clothes, including new church shoes, which he's been asking for forever!

 One gift we gave him was an invitation to his birthday party! He had no idea we were planning one for him, and since it's not for another couple of weeks, we gave him the invitation to surprise him.

The party will have a mad scientist theme, so I used an "invisible ink" trick to fill in the information on when and where. Here, Joe is revealing the answers.

What will it say??

Here's Joe realizing what the invitation means! An actual party, with actual friends!

Now he's opening our present to him - the Stars Wars Legos video game for the Wii.

He loves it!

I planned his cake for when the college people were over on Sunday night. Chocolate with chocolate buttercream icing.

Everyone singing to Joe!

As if it weren't a big enough day already, Joe also lost a tooth on his birthday and got a visit from the tooth fairy last night!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


A few years ago, when Jeff and I began to be involved in the college ministry at our church, I wrote a blog post about hospitality. Today it's being featured on a site called Mentoring Moments for Christian Women. The post is called "Gourmet Meals or Ready Hearts?". Enjoy!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Little Chef

It's so hard to believe that Selah is already 18 months old! She's every inch the toddler, though, so it's not so hard to believe after all. She gets in to everything, exploring fearlessly, and screaming when she doesn't get her way. Yesterday, I let her "help" me in the kitchen and she had a blast!

"Would you like an espresso, Mother?"

Thursday, August 04, 2011

New Shoes!

Little Selah-Bella has been in desperate need of shoes. She's been getting by on one pair that used to be Kaity's, that I had already glued back together once, and though still cute, baby needed a new pair of shoes! And for a little one who LOVES her some shoes, I felt kind of bad for depriving her of the joy of a new pair. Anyway, she got 'em!

Ack! Aren't they the sweetest things?

I wish you could hear her saying, "Shoes?", entreating me to put them on her adorable little feet.

She wants to wear them all the time. ALL THE TIME. But my favorite time is when she's wearing only a diaper ... and her shoes. It's so  ... toddler!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Water Park!

Last week, Grammie and Bobba surprised us with an invitation to meet them at a water park in Greenville, SC. We were thrilled to join them!

Joe's turn on the waterslide!

Now it's Kaity's turn!

And of course, Bobba had his turn!

Selah loved the water! Kicking and splashing really tuckers a girl out, though!

My sweet baby.

Taking a break from playing to fuel up on sugar!

My silly kids. Bobba is wearing Selah's bloomers on his head!
It was a wonderfully fun trip to the water park, and a nice finale to summer! I don't have a definitive date set yet on when to start back to school, but I think we're all ready to get back to the comfort of our routine.