Back to School {With a Delayed be 3 Weeks Post}

School’s back in session, and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it.

SIDEBAR :: And just to give you an idea of how crazy it’s been around here…I wrote this post three. Count them. THREE weeks ago and never posted it. Even though it was completely written. I’m posting now because…it is my life. This is my life right now. Good or bad. This is me.

In one way I’m glad to be back to structure and learning all kinds of great things.

In another way, I’m missing the flexibility of summer days with nothing that I *have* to do.

But! It’s school season, so we’re here.

We started school on Monday {three weeks ago remember}, and…you guys…it was such a doozy of a day that I literally just had to spell “Monday” three times to get it write right. And…I took our “first day of school” pictures on the second first day of school. What’s one day? Lol…

Maybe one of these years I’ll ease us into school, but I’m always so eager to dive in that it’s like a shock to the system to go from nothing to full throttle! Lol…

T did pretty good.

Mr B was verrrrrrry resistant and slow, slow, slow. He enjoys guessing instead of listening and thinking, and pulls out the most completely random answers. ::sigh:: “What’s 1+2?” “Blueberry ice cream?!” Maybe not quite that bad, but….it feels that way!

Miss M twisted her knee on Saturday {ugh!} {three weeks ago} so is stuck sitting on the couch, which to her means whining for anything she wants. And, of course, since she won’t put any weight on her knee, I have to carry her around. Ya’ll…it’s not for wimps!

And then – Little Miss – who is like, one of the most content babies, was very seriously NOT GOING TO HAVE IT! She got up early from her naps {interruption!} and didn’t want to be held OR put down. And when I would hold her she would squeal so loudly that I couldn’t even hear my own voice! Yikes! I’ve never done full-blown school with a baby. It’s a whole new adventure in itself!

And, of course, I’m feeling the pressure of keeping my house semi-clean and the laundry and and and…

So in a moment in between the “mommy, I need you’s!” I decided to throw in a load of wash. When I went into the laundry room/garage to check on the load, I was greeted by INCHES of water on the floor and flooding out of the washer. Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!! I kept saying to God, “PLEASE, don’t let it get any worse!!”

Fortunately, that was the most of it and by nap time I was feeling a little more relaxed. But – wow! If someone would have told me to take a long walk off of a short pier, I would have been happy to oblige.

Yesterday was much smoother. I’m so grateful. So maybe there IS hope for the school year. :)

I guess this is a bit complainy and not so positive. But homeschooling is not a cakewalk! However, I don’t want to end on a down note, so….some positives:

The boys are PUMPED about studying Astronomy this year, and so am I.

Sonlight continues to be a huge highlight! Our first read aloud is Red Sails to Capri. Many of the characters are Italian and I’ve had a BLAST imitating my grandfather and trying on my Italian accent. {Watching a million episodes of Cake Boss on Netflix helps too. Just saying.}

Miss M is insistent that she do school. Which is good and bad because I’m not really sure what I’m going to give her to do! I had nothing official planned for her since she’s only 3. But at least someone in the house wants to do school.

My mom listens to me go on and on and supports and encourages me in our homeschooling endeavor. Being a veteran herself, she can see that the bad days will pass.

I’m excited for a new year! Bumps and all, I know that we have so much to learn and so much growing to do! By God’s grace, let’s do this!

Little Miss :: 4 Months

Well, folks, seems like this here blog has turned into a monthly show-off of my littlest girl.

I promise that my intentions are far greater, but my time is so limited.

I do hope to come back soon and chat with you about more than just my cutie pie!

However, she is pretty stinkin’ cute! And I just can’t believe that she is 4 months old!

Picking one picture is so hard…She’s so sweet and precious and beautiful….

Here’s what I imagine her saying…

“Wait. What did you say? I’m 4 months already?!”

“How did that happen?!”

“But I’m pleased as punch!”

She’s so yummy… Just a few more of my faves from our little photo sess…

I was so happy when big brother T asked to have his picture made with her since he declined last month. The love they have for her is something special.

This is actually my favorite picture of her from yesterday. But the exposure was way to dark, so it kind of has an artsy spin to it.

A glance back…

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!

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