Art with Heart for Miss M

Even though life is full to the brim with family and homeschooling and church (and now Jamberry!), I’m still finding time here and there to dibble-dabble in the house. Not as much as I used to, but I’m still enjoying it.

One thing I notice in houses I love is the layers of love. The unexpected pretty and meaningful thing. Something a little fun to brighten things up and bring a smile to your face. I’ve been on a mission to try to incorporate that into our home. To sneak a little more love in here and there. With that thought in mind, I decided to hang some art on the side of Miss M’s dresser {with 3M command hooks}.

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The boys made her these canvases while I was pregnant with her, and they hung in her nursery. I love them because they are so personal.

It took me awhile to figure out how to incorporate them into her big girl room. But I’ve finally succeeded!

You can’t see them when you walk into the room, so they are like this sweet little surprise if you’re sitting on her bed.

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They are just at her eye level when she is in bed. And I hope that she always remembers how loved she is when she sees that art made just for her.

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It’s been on my heart this year to make our home meaningful. I don’t just want my house to be pretty, I want it to have heart. I’m not entirely sure how to achieve that, but I’m pretty sure this was a step in the right direction.

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Do You Jamberry?

Neither did I.

Sure I’d heard about it here and there around the internet, but I never tried it. I mean, what’s the big deal after all?

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Until! My good friend asked if I’d be interested in hosting a Facebook Jamberry party.

She sent me a sample, and…..yeah…..now I know what all the fuss is about!

If you’ve been around here long or follow my Instagram account {@jennaqu} you know that I like pretty nails. And I ALWAYS have my toes painted. Always. So really, Jamberry is right up my alley.

nailsI couldn’t wait to get the wraps on. I generally do my nails on bed at night while watching a movie. It’s like this comforting thing to me. Lol. And it gives them time to dry since I’m distracted with a movie. Even though Jamberry has no dry time, I still had to keep in my comfort zone. So I collected my supplies {hello, hair dryer}, turned on a movie, and got to work!

I’m not really sure how long it took me, but definitely not the length of the movie. Maybe 20 minutes? Not as quick as a pass over my nails with one coat of polish. But if I do a good job with polish {base coat, several coats of color, and top coat and then account for dry time}, I’d easily spend the same amount of time.

A little heat, a little pressure, and – VOILA!

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No smudging. No wait time. No waking up in the morning and finding sheet impressions on my nails {I know I’m not the only one!}.
And best yet…they keep lasting and lasting and lasting. They advertise them as lasting “up to 2 weeks.”

So yeah, I’m more skilled at polishing my own fingers {lots of practice}, but this wasn’t hard. I did get a crease on one nail. But even so, I think I’m the only one who noticed it. And I know with practice I’ll get even better.

Nolan and I had fun snapping some pictures. :)

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Eight days later… Not gonna lie. They almost look as good as Day 1. A little bubble had formed on the side of one wrap, but other than that – pretty good!

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Can polish do that? Huh! No way!

The ONLY thing I’ve ever had last on my nails for EIGHT DAYS is a shellac manicure {which I still love}. But that requires a bit of time at the salon and at least $30. For $30, I can get two sheets of Jamberry wraps and get 2 manis and 2 pedis out of each sheet. Um, deal? Hello. And I don’t have to go anywhere. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely giving up on salon visits because I love the pampering. But I’ve significantly cut back on them anyway {I used to go at least once a month for a pedicure. Now it’s more like twice a year.} so it’s truly a win for me.

So what do they look like two solid weeks later?

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Yes, I said TWO WEEKS!

Still looking pretty good to the casual observer. The tips are a little worn and the wrap on one finger is starting to lift a little. But overall, I’d say that’s pretty amazing for two weeks!

You guys know I use my hands! Diaper changes, dishes, teaching, cooking, and plenty of other odds and ends, I even went to the beach! Haven’t done any painting…that will be the true test. ;) But since they are vinyl, I have a feeling the paint will just come right off.

So I hosted that party online. Duh. So fun! {Like for real, I didn’t think it would be as fun as it was.}

And…

And…

Now I’m *this close* to becoming a consultant. Yep! I think my friend converted me! That’s how much I love the product.

Will I be throwing away my polish? No, probably not. But I do know that Jamberry will be appearing way more often on my fingers {and maybe even my toes}. Because it looks great, lasts a long time, and is cost effective.

I could always send you a free sample if YOU wanted to try them out. ;)

*I was not perked or paid to write this review. All opinions are 100% mine. I am, however, so in love with the Jamberry product, that I will probably sign up to be a consultant.

Giveaway :: The Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a giveaway for you, so I’m really excited to offer this one!!

Do you remember when I read and reviewed Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran?

Kudos to you if you did! That was two years ago!

Well….I thoroughly enjoyed Cleopatra’s Daughter – the strong female lead character, the historical accuracy, and the amazing story! It’s a book I still remember. And that’s saying a lot because I read a LOT and often they don’t stick with me unless the story was exceptional.

Michelle Moran is coming out with a new book next month that sounds so intriguing!

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A Queen of India? Who is able to raise two armies to fight back against Britain for the land she loves? One of the armies is a female army?!

Why have I never heard this story before!

Here’s a quick synopsis of The Rebel Queen from Michelle’s wedsite:

When the British Empire sets its sights on India in the mid-nineteenth century, it expects a quick and easy conquest. India is fractured and divided into kingdoms, each independent and wary of one another, seemingly no match for the might of the English. But when they arrive in the Kingdom of Jhansi, the British army is met with a surprising challenge.

Instead of surrendering, Queen Lakshmi raises two armies—one male and one female—and rides into battle, determined to protect her country and her people. Although her soldiers may not appear at first to be formidable against superior British weaponry and training, Lakshmi refuses to back down from the empire determined to take away the land she loves.

I cannot wait to get my hands on this book!

And Michelle wants to give a copy away to one of you! A hardback signed copy at that!

Not only that, she wants to send this special winner a pair of bangles that she brought back from India. Isn’t that sweet?

bangles

Are you ready to win? I’ll make it easy :

Just use the Rafflecoptor form below and leave me a comment telling me what book YOU think I should read in 2015.
Earn an additional by sharing the giveaway on Facebook and tagging the Delighting in Today Facebook page.

The giveaway will be open from Monday, February 2 until Monday, February 9.
Open to readers ANYWHERE in the world!
Winner will be notified by email and must respond within 24 hours or a new winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I have not yet received my copy of The Rebel Queen so I cannot offer an opinion on the content. However, I did thoroughly enjoy Cleopatra’s Daughter and hope The Rebel Queen is just as great.
**I will be receiving a copy of The Rebel Queen as a thank you for hosting this giveaway.

On Training My Brain

I bought myself a tablet. And I love it. But the tablet love is for a different post {maybe}. The point is that I loaded this “Rosetta Stone Fit Brain Trainer” game-ish thing on my tablet. Because I thought to myself, “Self, you could use some brain training. That sounds fun-ish, and it could help keep you sharp(-ish). Now that you have kids your brain feels a little more mush(-ish) than it used to feel(-ish).”

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Here’s how my first “Brain Training” session went…

Fit Brain Trainer {from here on referred to as Drill Sergeant or DS for short}: Match the tiles

Me: Oh, like Memory. No problem.

Background: Hhhhhheeeeeeeey! Don’t put away car town! Mommy said we didn’t have to put away car town! Stoooooooooooop!!!!

DS: You matched two tiles correctly. You have scored 8% better than most people.

Me: Huh…okay…

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DS: View the numbers and letters. Then pick the one that is missing.

Me: Okay….That shouldn’t be too hard.

Background: Mommmmmmmy! My room is clean. Can you open the gate? {Miss M is unable to open the security check point the baby gate that keeps Little Miss from crawling down the hallway to her utter doom her siblings big kid rooms} Pleeeeeease! I can’t do it!

Me: What was that letter again??

DS: Congratulations. You have scored 5% higher than other people.

Me: Bummer

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DS: Tap anywhere on the screen when you see a green light.

Me: EASY!

Background: Happy baby. NOT HAPPY BABY…. SCREAMMMMMMING baby!

Me: Oh…come here sweet girl. {Tap} It’s okay, honey. Just come here {tap} and I’ll pick you up. {Man I missed one. Tap, tap}

Background: Whhhhhaaaaaaaa…baby crawling towards my one outstretched arm.

Me: {Tap} Sit on Mommy’s lap. Bounces on knee {tap} while making ridiculous noises. {tap} You’re okay, Little Girl. {tap}

Background: Baby crawls off happy.

DS: Your reaction time is a little slow. You should work on this area. You have scored .05% higher than most people.

Me: Well, at least I’m not the dumbest person around.

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Me: Viewing results

DS: You have scored in the 18th percentile of those in the FBI. You are smarter than 18% of those in the FBI.

Me: Wow?! Really? Not sure how I managed that this go around. But the FBI? Wow! Maybe I should sign up!

Me: Oh.

Me: FBI? = Fit Brain Index #Ineedmorebraintraining

Me: I will have to exercise my brain when the kids are napping. I know I’m smarter than this!

Me: I think there should be extra points for multitasking mothers.

Me: Who needs brain training anyway?

***Experiences and scores may be slightly exaggerated. No children, babies, or brains were harmed in the making of this Fit Brain {or blog post}. Fit Brain failed to mention that the free app was a free trial and it actually costs money to have a fit brain. I guess I’ll remain less(-ish) sharp(-ish).

Afraid of the Dark

We had been having bedtime struggles with Miss M.

Lots of tears. Lots of getting up. Lots of “I want Daddy.” Long past bedtime. Like…this would go on for HOURS past bedtime. I wish I was kidding.

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For me…Lots of frustration. Lots of questioning. Lots of not knowing how to deal with it.

We tried so many things. Ignoring her. Not ignoring her. Disciplining her. Not disciplining her. Sitting with her. Praying with her. Scolding her. Rubbing her back. The whole gamut.

The hard part is, I KNEW that it was manipulation on her part. I knew that she was safe, comfortable, and loved. And yet it was not good enough.

A few nights into our bedtime craziness, I was sharing this struggle with my parents and sister, and my sister shared that as a child she had a big fear at night {that was the first time my mom even knew about it!}. And then I recalled my own occasional childhood fears at bedtime. I was convinced that on the nights when I was restless and couldn’t sleep that God was keeping me awake because surely we were going to have a fire or someone was going to break in and He needed me to be awake so that I could wake the rest of the family and keep them safe. An unrealized fear, as there was never a fire or a break in. So silly in retrospect; so real to me then.

Bearing those things in mind I thought it was worth chatting with Miss M to try to discover if she was afraid of something.

As I was tucking her into bed, I asked her about going to bed and the dark.

“I’m scared,” she said with a completely non-frightened face.

“What are you scared of?”

“The dark.”

“But what about the dark?”

“I’m scared.”

“But are you scared of something in the dark?”

“I want the door cracked.” {Which we already do.} “I like to see. I don’t like it when God makes it dark.”

Aha! So many places to take that statement!

“Well, Miss M, God did make the dark. He made it so you can sleep.”

“I don’t like it.”

“Does God ever make mistakes?”

“No.”

“So did He make a mistake when He made the dark?”

“Yes.”

Oh, y’all. Is that not how we often feel when things look dark for us? We know that in an overarching way that God never makes mistakes. But sometimes in the nitty gritty of real life we feel like He has made a mistake in this *one* thing?

“Yes, God, You are perfect and everything You do is perfect. But in this one thing, God? You sure did make a mistake with it.”

It’s hard {dare I say impossible?} to trust when we are overwhelmed with fears.

Miss M’s fear of the dark was keeping her from trusting that God knew what He was doing when He made it.

I’m not afraid of the dark. But there’s always opportunity for fear to dwell in my life if I let it. Financial fears. Parental fears. Homeschooling fears. Social fears. Marital fears. The Crazy World fears. Ebola fears. What if someone doesn’t like me fears. I don’t like change fears. And on and on. I’m certain you could come up with your own list of fears.

But God is more powerful than our fears! Learning to trust. Learning to rest. Learning to let go of my fears and cast them on an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving God and letting Him carry my cares. Trusting that He knows, and He will do what is BEST for His children. His best for me. His best for you.

There can be PEACE in our fears.

Every time I think I’ve learned this lesson, I am challenged anew. In this case, challenged by my dark-fearing daughter to make sure I have turned over any of my fears to Him – the Great Fear Destroyer. The Rock on which I can rest.

“Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you.”

Going for a Bike Ride with 4 Small Children :: Or Not

Have you ever tried? To go for a bike ride with four small-ish children? I’m sure some people are very successful!

However…

Here’s how it’s going down in my house.

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{Please read as a monologue of me talking to myself.}

{Me, driving to a furniture consignment store across town} Ooooohhh, it’s such a beautiful day! We should take the family for a bike ride!

But…We don’t have a seat for the baby. And Miss M doesn’t really know how to pedal her bike. So…I should probably look into getting one of those trailer things. I’ll just check on Craigslist. Maybe I’ll find a cheap one.

{After returning home and spending some time on Craigslist. Read: some time = hours}

Hmmm…there’s lots of options here. I wonder what the best one would be?

Let’s Google “best bike trailer.” Oh, Amazon has reviews too! I’ll look at Amazon too.

This is so enlightening! I’ve eliminated the few cheap ones on Craigslist, but there are still a few options that might work.

Oh…what did that review site just say? Bike trailers are only for kids over a year?!

Hmm….that won’t work.

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I wonder if I could get one of those baby seat things that mount to your bike.

Score! Yes! Some of these are rated for babies 9+ months. Little Miss is just a few days shy of 9 months, so we’d be good.

Okay, here’s a baby seat that gets good reviews on the review site – oh! wow! It is even “highly recommended” by that TwoWheelingTots site. Sweet! Just 40 bucks for a $180 seat. {Sidebar: $180 for a baby bike seat?!?! I hope it feeds baby a bottle and changes diapers while it’s at it. I digress…} So, Awesome! But…it’s like over an hour away. Hmmm… Okay.

Look, there’s one that’s just a 30 minute drive away and is $30. That’s great. It gets pretty good ratings, but not “highly recommended.” In fact, it’s “recommended with caution.” Hmm… Danger, Will Robinson!

Okay, so I think the hour drive would be worth it, right? I mean, I want only the BEST for my baby, right? Right?!

So…great…Now I maybe have a seat for the baby if Nolan will drive down and get it. But that still leaves Miss M without a ride.

I need to decide if one of these trailers on Craigslist would work. But it looks like they are an hour away in the OPPOSITE direction from the baby seat.

Oh…man…I just remembered that I’d need to get Little Miss a helmet too. Darn all these safety regulations! Bless all these safety regulations! Don’t want my sweet baby to be hurt in a bike wreck!

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Okay. So baby seat. Bike trailer. Bike helmet.

You know, I’ve always been curious about those “kid bike things that attach to mom or dad’s bike.” There’s a couple of those on Craigslist too. I wonder if that would be the best option?

Nah…I think Miss M would be happier riding in the trailer.

Okay, so now I need to talk Nolan into picking these things up.

Oh wait! I forgot that T outgrew his bike for the most part. But maybe he could still ride it? Oh, and, yeah, I also forgot that it has a flat tire and needs a new tube. ::sigh::

I wonder if he’d just want to run alongside? I mean, the kid’s GOT enough energy!

And, you know, it’s really past time for Mr. B to learn how to ride without training wheels. Okay, don’t get ahead of yourself, Jenna. You can do that another day.

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So…hmm…baby seat, bike trailer, baby bike helmet, Big Kid bike.

I think I’m broke.

Also, it’s now 6 o’clock at night. Too late to ride.

Besides. I’m EXHAUSTED! And I haven’t even put a foot to the pedal…

My Most Favoritist Picture :: G and Me

I’ve been wanting to share more of the pictures from our Christmas photo shoot, but I’m so behind on EVERYTHING! I’ll share the rest with you later, but for today – I leave you with my most favorite of favorites.

1Having a forth child has not been easy. But having this girl? She’s been pure delight. Love her!

Little Miss :: 7 Months

So I’m way late posting Little Miss’s monthly photo. So late in fact that it will soon be time for her 8 month pics!

Such is life.

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This little one continues to grow and blossom. Though Mom says that she is stoic, I think she is hilarious. I guess it all just depends on her mood.

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She sits up without falling over. Has cut two bottom teeth. And loves her baby food. Actually, she loves ALL food and probably “real” food even better than baby food. I love not having to coerce her into eating her veggies! {Big sister could take a cue from her.} She babbles a lot {always has} and can say “mamamama” and “dadadada” and even “papapapa.” Even though I’m well aware that she has no idea what she is saying, it makes me smile.

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Her biggest accomplishment is that she is mobile! Not true crawling, but she definitely has the army crawl down pat. She goes anywhere she would like, and that has made homeschooling and life a little more interesting. ;)

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We visited my grandfather recently at his assisted living home, and it never ceases to amaze me at how much a joy a baby brings. So many people – young and old – wanted to see the baby. Just something special.

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4 Years with Miss M

This girl turned 4 this week.

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I simply can’t believe that!

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It’s been four wonderful years of having a girl in the house! And now with Little Miss, the boy-girl count is even. ;) But Miss M gave me my first taste of little girl heaven and I love it. :) Can’t wait to see what the next 4 and 44 years hold for her special life.

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