Something to Sink Your Feet Into

The power of a rug.

They are soft. They are comfortable. And they really can pull a room together.

Do you KNOW how much a of a difference a rug can make in a room?

Well, I KNOW it, but rugs always tend to get pushed down on my “to purchase” list since they are on the pricey side.

Miss M’s room progress is creeping right along. ;) As is all progress around this house. Not complaining here or anything – it’s just how we roll!

But I’d been feeling kind of unsettled about her room. Like I needed to hit some key things so that I could be happy with it. A rug was one thing.

I’ve been craving a rug in that room since it was Mr. B’s. Since the floor is tile, it’s cold and hard. The kids don’t complain about having to play on the tile floor, but I just think it would be all around nicer if they had some place comfy to sit and play. So a rug in her room was a very practical thing.

But rugs also bring such cohesiveness. They just pull things together. They are kind of amazing like that. I’m sure there’s some kind of scientific reason or home decorating rule about why rugs work the way they do, but I don’t know it. I just know that they work and I love ‘em.

I was in Target the other day and on my way out, I noticed their posted sale’s flier said that rugs were 20% off. Um, okay! This lovely was perfect for her room. Sold!

This rug is really plush. Like…I love to sit on it for no good reason.

Nolan and I laugh because Miss M’s mattress is the most comfortable in the house. I joke that one day I’m going to steal it. Now I just might have to commandeer that plush rug too. That girl’s got the cushiest room in the house. Funny this is, she LOVES to sleep on the rug. She would probably sleep on the rug for every nap and bedtime if we let her. Silly girl.

Living’ it up like a Princess!

Little Miss :: 3 Months

It’s been ten days since Little Miss turned three months, and somehow I managed to miss posting her monthly picture. Oops! Let’s just say it’s been a busy last couple of weeks.

Better late than never, right?!

Here’s Little Miss at 3 months. :)

She’s right around 12 pounds and at this rate will soon be out of her 3-6 month clothes {what?!}. She’s super sweet! She loves to “talk” and will coo back at you if you talk to her just like you’re having a conversation. She’s also pretty social and will cry if you leave her alone in a separate room for very long unless she’s napping. An all around pretty fabulous baby girl. #noimnotbiased

Two of her siblings wanted to get in on the photo action. Of course, I couldn’t turn them down!

12 Weeks With Little Miss

My baby girl is 12 weeks old already. How did that happen?

Yeah…I don’t know either!

I’m trying to take a monthly photo with my “real” camera. But I’m also trying to grab a weekly pic with my phone and posting to Instagram {find me @jennaqu}.

Here’s the last 12 weeks of Little Miss… They change and grow so quickly! I love it and hate it at the same time.

She’s a joy!

Why I Should Plant a Fruit Tree :: Thoughts on Neighborliness

Why I Should Plant a Fruit Tree - Thoughts on Neighborliness || Delighting in Today

It was so simple…

The doorbell rang.

With Little Miss on my arm, I peeked out the window and saw a lady I didn’t recognize.

“At least it’s not the incessant tree trimmers!” I thought. They never give up. They ignore the “No Soliciting” signs. They knock. All.the.time. Those industrious tree trimmers.

I opened the door and she said, “Do you like mangoes?” while holding out a bulging plastic sack.

“I do, I really do!”

“I’m your neighbor from over there. We see you out and about sometimes.”

She came in for a minute and gave me her phone number in case I ever needed anything. And, you know, I feel like I could take her up on it.

{I may not feel that way about everyone, but many, many years ago we went to the same church. So while I don’t *know* her, I know who she is – kind of.}

And that was that…

My heart expanded. I was so touched that she would come over and offer me mangoes. It meant a lot.

Such a simple thing to do. So non-threatening. So friendly. So neighborly.

The “neighbor” thing doesn’t come easy around here. There’s no small town vibe. No “you know all your neighbors.” No chitchatting in the front yard.

Because, truth be told, I hardly SEE my neighbors.

We’re the only ones with small kids, so no one is out in the street teaching their kiddo to ride a bike.
Most everyone {but us!} uses a lawn service, so they’re not out there mowing their lawns on any given Saturday.
I guess if people are outside, they are in the backyard. I know that’s where we tend to be.

We just plain old don’t see each other. And it’s sad.

I’ve thought about reaching out to my neighbors. But it feels so…difficult. So hard. So, “what if they reject me.” So, “what do I do, go knock on the door and be like all ‘Hi! I’m your neighbor!’”

And, sure, yes, maybe I SHOULD just knock on the door. But that’s so not me.

But the fruit thing? Yes.

My neighbor took the bounty from her own yard and extended it to me. No strings attached. No work involved. Little chance for rejection.

A simple thing that went a long way.

We may not become huge friends. We still probably won’t see each other much.

But the door has been cracked open. The door of neighborliness.

All because of a fruit tree.

I think I need to plant a fruit tree…

Photo-a-Day Challenge :: Week 5

June 30 marked the final day for Kati’s June Photo-a-Day Challenge. Therefore, today is my final round up of pictures. I’ve really enjoyed the challenge, though I admit that I shuffled the days around and didn’t always take the photo on the actual day. Ah well…At least I got all of them in!

Challenge 26 :: Thermometer

“It’s Hot Out There, Ya’ll!”

99*. Yowzers! Then shortly followed by a downpour. That’s Florida in the summer!

Challenge 27 :: Fruit

“Friendship Fruit”

I’ll be blogging about this mango on Monday. Come back then to hear how it impacted my life.

Challenge 28 :: Yellow

“Petite Peds”

Did anyone else hit up the Old Navy $1 flip flop sale?! Mr B and I stood in line for about an hour. Yep. All for the love of a deal.

Challenge 29 :: Grass

“Understated Underfoot”

Who knew photographing grass could be amusingly serene? I actually enjoyed getting down at eye level with the grass and really observing. Lovely…

Challenge 30 :: Looking Up

“The Sky’s the Limit!”

The photo above was a lucky photo I nabbed while trying to get this guy… Yikes!

And though this one didn’t fit anywhere {I took it while photographing her flip flops} this may be my favorite photo I took during the challenge…

That was fun! Thanks, Kati, for putting the challenge together!

Another Homeschool Curriculum Resource {I Forgot!}

In my post Saving {Online} on Homeschool Curriculum, I totally forgot about another great resource!

As in, I’m kicking myself because I haven’t been checking them at ALL this year, and they normally have great prices. UGH!

Good thing I noticed one of their emails stuck in my spam filter.

And it’s such a great resource that I simply HAVE to pass it along to you as well.

Better World Books: Super-good prices! Free shipping!

They rescue books destined for the landfill and give them a new lease on life {to you! for great prices!} and in turn give back to libraries and literacy programs. I’m on board with that! I benefit, they benefit, others benefit. It’s such a cool thing.

No bidding. No contacting the seller. Just plain old clicking “add to cart.”

I was able to knock out a handful of books still on my “to buy” list all in one shot because their prices were that good. Yay!

eMeals Savings and Bacon Potato Salad {yum!}

You guys know my love for eMeals is unceasing {and if you don’t know it, just read this and this to find out why}. The other day I went to the beach in the morning, the library in the afternoon, and STILL got a yummy stress-free dinner on the table {read: not frozen pizza}. Thank you, eMeals! #bffs4life

As we gear up for Independence Day, I thought I’d pass along this coupon code {15% off, yo!}, free Fourth of July menu with subscription, and a recipe for Bacon Potato Salad.

I haven’t tried the Potato Salad {yet}, but it sounds yummy.

If you’ve been on the fence about trying eMeals, now would be a good time to save. Use code: FOURTH

Here’s what’s on their Fourth of July Menu:

  • Easy Baby Back Ribs
  • Bacon Potato Salad
  • Marinated Slaw
  • Crunch-Topped Squash Casserole
  • Watermelon Salad
  • Berry-Topped Thunder Cake

It is FREE with any eMeals subscription purchase, so check out 1 of their 60 meal plans today to help you get dinner on the table with ease.

But regardless of if you try out eMeals; here’s a free recipe they are sharing with you!

Bacon Potato Salad:

  • 4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato

 

  1. Cook potatoes in boiling water to cover with 1 teaspoon salt 20 minutes or until tender; drain and cool 15 minutes.
  2. Cook bacon until crisp.
  3. Stir together mayonnaise, mustard, pepper and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl.
  4. Peel potatoes; cut into 1-inch pieces.
  5. Add potatoes and eggs to mayonnaise mixture.
  6. Stir in bacon.
  7. Sprinkle with tomatoes.
  8. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe serves 8-10.

Hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July!

{Disclaimer: I am not being compensated for this post. eMeals provided some of the content, the recipe, and coupon code to share with my readers. I am, however, and eMeals affiliate. If you choose to click on a link and subscribe to eMeals, I will make a commission.}

Simple Jungle Safari VBS Decor

We love our church’s yearly VBS. We had to make a two-year switcheroo due to the construction of our church building {woo hoo!}. But this year, VBS was back and as wonderful as ever in Jungle Safari!

Simple Jungle Safari VBS Decor || Delighting in Today

Twice in the past I have taken on the role of “VBS Decorator.” And loved it! I give it my all to make it as super-fabulous as I can with my resources and budget money.

Okay, I can’t help it, here is the first set backdrop that I painted. Is it wrong to be proud of it?

Excuse all the junk around the backdrop. We painted this in my father-in-laws family room while he was in the midst of a remodel. It was so kind of him to let us take over for a few days!

Crocodile Dock VBS Swamp Decor Stage Set || Delighting in Today

{I don’t have any pictures of my second set?!?! Ugh… It was painted to look like you were on a huge ship…ocean waves around and fluffy clouds in the sky.}

This year, I was asked to take on that task again, but with having Little Miss, I just wasn’t feeling the desire or motivation to take on that role.

I did, however, end up assuming the role {two days before! yikes!} of decorating the registration tables. The *boom* welcome to VBS spot. The first glimpse as you walk into the door. I didn’t like my timeline, but I did like the challenge and motivation to get it done! And…I’m pretty happy with how it came out.

With a little help from Pinterest, here’s where I ended up. I think it came together really nicely. And, really? God brought all the details together. He’s so good like that!

Simple Jungle Safari VBS Decor || Delighting in Today

If you’re looking for a little Jungle Safari VBS inspiration, here’s how I did it… {no step-by-step pictures…remember this was last minute!}

For the backdrop…

We used a rolling partition and started by covering it with some of that green plastic tablecloth that comes on a roll from Party City. Thumbtacks help it up nicely.
Then we cut two colors of streamers and taped the tops together in fours overlapping a little to give it a layered look. Then just taped it on the backside of the partition.

Cheap! and Easy!

Two of my favorite words.

But also with a major *WOW* factor.

Our fearless VBS director “found” the VBS sign she didn’t realize she had. Cue angels singing…perrrrrrfect! And she had leftover birds and flowers {made from tissue paper and paper napkins!} from the other decor she was doing. The birds all came from the dollar store {I’m guessing Dollar Tree, because that’s what we have around here}.

Finally, I topped it all off with two strings of lights that I had bought ages ago for our patio and ::gasp:: never used. I know! They were hanging out in our garage and when I saw them I *knew* they were just what I needed. Totally a God thing!

Simple Jungle Safari VBS Decor || Delighting in Today

For the table!

Our VBS Registration Leader commented that she didn’t like the slippery plastic tablecloth surface when trying to write, so we decided to go with Kraft paper instead.

To make it look amazing…

First we taped our awesome grass skirt {holla, Party City!} to the edge of the table with clear packing tape. I actually taped the “band” at the top of the skirt to the top of the table instead of the side for extra durability.
Next up we rolled our Kraft paper out on top, and taped that bad boy to the grass skirt with sweet pink spotted leopard duct tape. Oh yeah!

So easy. So, so easy! But the Kraft with the green with the pink! Love it!

To top it all off, I used coconuts to identify which line people needed to get in to check-in and check-out. And some rockin’ balloons from Party City.

And our turtle Squire Lightning became the star of the show as our centerpiece. The kids LOVED him. Mayyyyybe a little too much. But he survived unscathed.

So that’s a breakdown of my role in the VBS decor.

But really, VBS isn’t about decor. It’s about Jesus. And I’m so excited that several children asked Jesus to be their Lord and Savior during the week! Can I get an amen?! Because THAT is what it’s all about!

Photo-a-Day Challenge :: Week 4

Time for Week 4 of Kati’s Photo-a-Day Challenge!

Challenge 19 :: Refreshing

“May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth!” Psalm 72:6

I may not always like that it rains {a lot!}. But it refreshes the air and the earth, so I’m grateful for it!

Challenge 20 :: Book

“Get in Line”

I’m such a book lover! As exemplified in my monthly{ish} Book Worm posts {January, February, March/April}. I can never get enough!

This is the line up of Sonlight books we’ll be using next year. Can’t wait! {Urr..yeah I can. Although I am excited to delve into these books with the kids.}

Challenge 21 :: Summer

“Blue Skies on a Summer’s Day”

Our weather is so bi-polar or maybe it just has major mood swings. One minute the sky will be gorgeous like this. The next it will be dark and pouring rain.

Challenge 22 :: Green

“Baby in Green”

Admittedly, this is chartreuse which is reading yellow. But I assure you that her little shirt is indeed a shade of green.

Challenge 23 :: Pair

“A Pair of Cruisin’ Brothers”

Challenge 24 :: Hot

“It’s Whaley Hot Outside!”

Challenge 25 :: Cold

“Cold Coconut”

My preferred summer treat. The kids aren’t even allowed to eat them! Long live coconut popsicles!

Saving Money {Online} On Homeschool Curriculum

School’s out! School’s out!

And like I imagine most other homeschooling moms out there, I’m already deep into planning and purchasing for next year. {No rest for the homeschool mom!}

Saving Money {Online} on Homeschool Curriculum || Delighting in Today

There’s something crazy, fascinating, overwhelming and wonderful about delving into the many, many options out there.

For this coming school year, I knew some basics that would stay the same, and spent a bit of time earlier this year searching out some new things. Right now I have a pretty good idea of what we’ll be doing next year {maybe I’ll share out school plans down the road}, so that means it’s time to buy!

Let’s face it – homeschooling can get expensive!

I try very hard to keep our schooling expenses down. To do that, I pick what I’d like to use and then search and search and try to purchase at a discount or used. It takes time, but it’s {quite literally} paid off. I feel good about saving our family every penny that I can.

Now is a really good time to stay on top of things since it seems like lots of moms are finishing up and clearing out their shelves.

Here’s how I keep track of what I need and know if I’m really getting a good price:

I start with an Excel spreadsheet and list everything I’m thinking of buying.

Then next to the title, I add the best price I can find it for new. This lets me see everything in one place and it lets me know what my price to beat is. I also keep a vague thought of shipping in the back of my mind. Some places will ship for free if you are over a certain price point, so I’m continually weighing my options.

My goal is to purchase my books including shipping for LESS than the price new without shipping. Sometimes I may only save $5. But $5 is $5! I’ll take it!

Wanna know my favorite online sources for saving on curriculum?
{Of course you do!}

Now, of course, there are always the used curriculum sales, garage sales, Goodwill, but I don’t always have to time to get out to those. So I end up doing a lot of bargain hunting online. Here’s where I turn:

Rainbow Resource is my go to for new curriculum. They have just about everything at just about the best prices.

They also have free shipping for orders over $50.

Need new? Check Rainbow Resource.

For used and new, I turn to eBay and Amazon right away.

I stalk eBay like a crazy lady sometimes. You just never know what will pop up at a good price. Some stuff, like my kid’s math workbooks, are often available new at decent “Buy It Now” prices. So if I can’t score a rockin’ deal, I’ll go ahead and purchase through eBay for a decent deal.

I love that Amazon almost always has a buy used option. Shipping is generally about $3.99. So even if a book is listed at $0.99, it will run you about $5 after shipping. Sometimes a great deal, sometimes not. I have found lots of great curriculum through Amazon though.

Here are my favorite and best ways to score deals on curriculum!

These other sources for used curriculum are more hit or miss, but I really like the feeling of knowing I’m  buying from a fellow homeschooling mom. And! You’re more likely to score pretty sweet deals.

For these three sites, you contact the seller directly and set up the sale – normally through Paypal.

The biggest frustration I’ve had through these sites is that you may email the person with items listed and never hear back. That happens more than I would like. But! It’s worth it to me to spend a few minutes writing a brief email if I’ll be getting the book I need at a fraction of the cost. Overall, I get enough response that it’s worth it for me to keep trying.

To be successful:

  • Start early {like long before your school year starts}
  • Look often
  • Jump right away

Here are my all-time favorite used curriculum sources.

My current favorite {mostly because I feel like I get more frequent responses on here}:

VarageSale: You need to sign up for VarageSale through Facebook and then pick the sale groups you’d like to be a part of. The curriculum one I use is {Best} Homeschool Swap USA/Canada.

I just scored three books that would have run me about $40 each for $50 total including shipping. You just can’t beat that!

VarageSale feels a little bit like Facebook meets eBay but no bidding. You can watch and like items, and you can comment directly on the item. If you want it, comment. Then set up the sale with the seller. Easy.

Homeschool Classifieds: This one is a little more hit or miss. But I’ve had pretty good success here as well. For this one you email the seller directly about the item you want, then set up the sale.

VegSource: I’ve had success on VegSource in the past, but this year I’m coming up pretty dry, and not hearing back from people who have their items listed. I also think their search function is frustrating. But! In general, I’ll sacrifice a little bit of convenience if I can save some money. I still check them often for the books I’m looking for.

As a disclaimer: When you use Paypal, never send your funds as a gift because you won’t have any buyer protection if the seller never sends your item. I also like to ask for an invoice instead of just sending them the funds. Use your own discretion!

There is one other SUPER fantastic place to buy used for really cheap. No bidding. No Paypal. Just “add to cart” and you’re good to go. I blogged about them here: Better World Books.

I haven’t purchased everything I need for this coming school year. However… As it stands right now I’ve saved about $300 buying used or at a discount versus if I would have paid new retail. That’s something I can get excited about!

How do you save money on homeschool curriculum? Do you have other great resources that I should know about?

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