Where I Blog

about the usually ordinary, occasionally exciting and sometimes quite boring daily happenings around here

Category: Uncategorized

7 QT

  1. Hi!  I’m Jennifer.  This blog is a mess.
  2. On Tuesday, we enjoyed a parade, a family get together, grilling out and fireworks.  It was a good time and had me feeling a bit sentimental.  I was thinking about how many things about this tradition are exactly the same as they were when I was a kid – 30+ years ago.  And how many things have changed.  I thought especially about those that are no longer with us.  My heart was heavy as I thought of all the memories I had with my grandparents and aunts and uncles on the 4th of July.  Maybe I was looking at it through the eyes of my kids, especially our youngest, and how much she loves it.


    Only picture I took all day. At my parents house, before heading to the parade.

  3. I am building a farmhouse table for our patio.  I read the plans here and all of the comments and suggestions from others who have built it.  I cannot over estimate how much those helped.   I also gave myself permission to make a few mistakes.  I am really happy with how it is turning out.IMG_0176.JPG
  4. I’ve started to think about next summer.  We are talking about an extended family vacation and my daughter is talking about a class she may want to take.  That feels weird to me.  I don’t know – its July and we are making plans for next July!?!
  5. I have been listening to podcast while I tackle some of the projects that I really dread.  AKA housework.  The Lazy Genius is a new one I’ve found and I am really enjoying it.  Check out the one on baking.
  6. How many cups of coffee do you think is too many cups of coffee?
  7. My birthday was yesterday.  I turned 43.  I think back to how old I was when my mom was 43 (or 42 or 41 – you get the picture;-).  Its a different perspective.  For so long, I thought my parents were perfect – not only that – but that were supposed to be perfect.  When I think of my mom’s age and my age, its a good reminder that there is no age that we are magically given all the answers.      Thanks for hosting, Kelly.

7 QT

Thank you, Kelly, for hosting.

  1.  We returned home after vacation last week and I’m not going to lie, it’s been rough.  I like vacation mode.  Lets stay there.image
  2. Last year when we returned home from vacation we had several nests of baby bunnies.  Some of those had mothers who abandoned them because they made it in a drainage area and they were washed away.  This year, we return from vacation and – same thing.  There are baby bunnies everywhere.  My best guess is our yard is safe when our two dogs are not patrolling it.
  3. Our kids are feeding three that were found crawling about in the yard.  What are my options here?  Google has helped.  But we just can’t keep doing this.image
  4. I feel like real life is on the horizon… school, activities and bedtimes – oh my.  I’m hiding and in a bit of denial.
  5. What else?  I made this Mexican Casserole and received great reviews from the family.
  6. I need a good book to read.  Any suggestions?  I just finished Blue Castle by LM Montgomery and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I heard rave reviews about Eligible and I was anxious to read it, but I’m just not loving it.
  7. We are going to go out to eat at a riverside restaurant on Saturday that has the best corn fritters this side of the Mississippi.  No kidding.  I’ll report back.


Have a great weekend!


Building Bridges

This year I am going to be serving together with several other women.  It is a great organization and I am excited to be a part of it.  These women have friendly, beautiful and upbeat personalities.  They have awesome children.  They have hearts that want to serve and I am grateful to be serving with them.

In conversation yesterday with one other woman I saw it.  I heard it.  I almost felt it.  Our differences.  We have pretty big philosophical differences that guide us in our own lives.



What if we confidently go forward, certain in what divides us and yet also certain in our own approach.  What if we go forth confident in our decisions?  Decisions we’ve made with our spouses and through prayer.  What if we move forward peacefully confident in our own decisions?

What if?

What if we looked at these decisions differently?    What if I looked at my sister and said, “But you should continue on this path.  It is what Christ has planted in your heart.  Keep going.”  These differences between us are beautiful and necessary divisions.

They don’t require arrogance, insecurity or competition.

These differences may see like a canyon in our relationships; deep and stunning.  They are carvings from our unique backgrounds and experiences.  If we move toward one another in  our strength, confidence and certainty we can build a bridge that defies all odds.  We can create a connection in places we can connect.  In places we do connect.

Connection over differences.



I walked this bridge in the literal sense last week.  What does it look like to relationally walk this bridge?  What does it look like to walk the bridge of connection over differences?

It means not entertaining insecurity or fear about my own decisions.  No second guessing or doubting what we have discussed and discerned with our spouses and others.  It would be mutual; both people seeking connection in places we connect.

It means allowing space for others to be themselves.  Allowing space for differences in opinions.  As Matthew Kelly says in The Seven Levels of Intimacy,   “Consciously or unconsciously we tell ourselves, ‘When I understand him, I will accept him’ or ‘when I understand her, I will love her.’

This is akin to standing at a stove and saying, ‘I’ll give you wood when you give me heat.’ Too often we make understanding a condition of our acceptance.’ ”

If we took time to remind ourselves, I do not understand your approach, but I accept you.

If we took the time to remind ourselves, that together we are trying our best and following the call that is placed our hearts to become everything we were created to be.

If we took the time to remind ourselves, that your path looks different from mine and I accept that.

We would build amazing bridges.












Thank you, Kelly, for hosting.

  1.  Summer is going way too fast.
  2. This past week I had a disagreement with someone.  I like disagreements about as much as I like the thought of having my wisdom teeth removed without anesthetics.  The thing is.  I believed in what I was bringing to the table, but it was messy and a lot less 7 steps to resolving a disagreement and more like,  I don’t even know. It was messy and awkward and shaky voice and angry and oh man I don’t think it should be going like this.
  3. It hit me this week  (I use that phrase too much – it hit me.  Its deep. Real deep.)  that that is what bothered me the most. It bothered me how wobbly I was in the midst of the conflict.
  4. I wasn’t happy that I had stood up for something I believed in, but was feeling bruised that I didn’t look or sound polished doing it.
  5. Pride is a messed up thing. It messes with our confidence and belief and strength.  It tells us if you don’t wrap everything up in a neat little package with a $20 bow, then we are a failure.  A big and epic failure.the-art-of-glamorous-gift-wrapping-L-93af5y
  6. That’s a lie.
  7. We won’t look good and certainly won’t feel good doing it.  But if we think it’s worth it, or it needs to be said then we should say it.  Sure its nice if we can deliver it in a nice 7 step flow chart with a resolution as number 8, but life is messy and unpredictable sometimes.
  8. A bonus one because I love you faithful readers. Ok.  I love you, mom and dad. Due to our marathon kitchen update, we have no cupboard doors.  In our absence last week our dog found a bag of powdered sugar and had a par. tay.  When we came home, my husband and kids warned me as I was the last to enter the house.  I considered 1. the time and effort it would take to clean this up.  or 2.  what our lives would look like if we never used the kitchen again.




Linking up with Kelly.

  1.  I love the Fourth of July. There was some of this….

My parents have a little haven for a backyard, including a zip line:).

2.  There was a parade, bingo in the park, cotton candy and kettle corn.  The carnival. Was. In. Town.

3.  Yesterday we visited an ice cream shop that locally sources 95% of their ingredients.  It is about 20 minutes from our house but I would drive there again for the Saigon Cinnamon or Brown Sugar Bourbon Ice Cream.  It was delicious.



4.  This weekend we are on day 7462 of a kitchen update.  We have finished sanding the doors and are now on to sanding the drawers.  When we started this we said we were FOR SURE going to be finished by the Fourth.


5.   How many days can laundry sit in the living room waiting to be folded?

6.  Six is always hard for me.

7.  Im off to the grocery store and maybe Home Depot.  Don’t be jealous.

Happy Friday!









I’m linking up with Kelly.

1. My blog is a hot mess. Send help.

2.  We went to the CWS this week.   My husband and son go to watch the game.  I go for the food.  My girls seem to be joining team mom on this one.  I’m raising them well.  Insert the picture I didn’t take of the $10 chicken-walking taco with sour cream and jalapeños here.

3.  I just read Jen Hatmaker’s book, For the Love,  it is a keeper (but belongs to the library).  I laughed out loud in several parts.  Others I tabbed and had to come back to and share with my husband.  Good stuff.  I don’t know if it was my favorite quote because there were several, but the part that made me giggle later when I thought of it was, ….

Honest to goodness, I just got up off my couch to go find it and apparently I took it back to the library before it was due.  I’ve done that 7 times since I’ve had a library card.  No quote, but it was the part where she talks about asking her child to get a shovel to dig her (his?) own grave after she sassed her and then said, because “that is WJHWD.”  Be kind dear reader on my placement of quotation marks, “because” may have been in there as well.  I’m not taking credit for the because.  Don’t sue me.

4.  I’m reading Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery.  It has been a little slow to grab me, but I am really starting to enjoy it.  I read reviews and heard great things about it before picking it up to read.

5.  Have you ever tried this recipe?  It is so good.  I don’t like beer.  At all.  I know that that image conjures up a prudish, middle age woman who says the word beer with kind of a creaky voice.  It’s not that.  It’s just that I really don’t like beer.  But I really like this recipe.  It is great if you are having a group over.  My neighbor froze some raspberries and lemons to put in the pitcher.  So cute. Which is exactly what you are looking for in a drink, I know.  Tasty and in my experience a crowd pleaser.

6.  My word this is hard.

7.  Here is a picture of one of our dogs.  He’s really cute.  I like him on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and every other Saturday.



Our Lenten Journey

We need lent.  Lent is a time to step back and reflect on what is getting in the way of our relationship with God.  It is to be just that – a relationship. Not a checklist or a drive thru.  But, we are human and even our relationships at home can feel like that from time to time.  When they start to feel thin or lacking, we can tune in and make some changes. Maybe we’ll schedule a date night at home with our spouse.  Or we’ll go out for dessert with one of our kids.

It is so easy to forget that we need to do the same in regards with our relationship with God.  We cannot see Him with our human eyes, only with our heart – so it is easy to forget that we need to maintain a relationship with Him.  What stands in our way of entering a relationship with God or going deeper into our relationship with Him?

Our idea of him?  Maybe we read a chapter of the Gospel every evening during Lent.  Our lack of trust?  Maybe we start every morning with the simple prayer, “Jesus, I trust in You.”  And then we journal, sharing with Jesus about what is on our heart and our minds.

Where does your sense of security come from?  Money, number of friends, number of followers on a blog or Facebook?  Be honest with Jesus about this.  Maybe tithe $5 more.  Maybe step away from whatever your security blanket is during Lent and ask Jesus to be that security for you.

The options are endless.  It starts with asking the question, “What is getting in my way with starting/continuing or deepening my relationship with Christ?”  Answer it honestly and offer it to Christ as a prayer.  Listen.  Your lent will be fruitful.





On a whim

On a whim


Noun. 1. A sudden desire or change of mind.

I am working on being truly and genuinely thankful for being able to home school my children. I know I should slap myself for writing that first sentence. What I am discovering is this. I am. I am eternally grateful to live in a country where homeschooling is legal, I am grateful that my husband and I decided this is the best educational route for our children. I am grateful for the plethora of resources available within 10 minute car ride, a quick phone call or even at my finger tips. Really it is amazing.

Home schooling is the job you’ve dreamt of your whole life. It is the job with flexibility. It is the job that touches somewhere deep inside your soul that speaks to your purpose here on earth. The job, in which your boss trusts you with immense responsibility, requests your input on important decisions and asks you to help navigate the course for the future of the company.

It is all that and getting to do it in your pajamas some days or your favorite maxi skirt and gold scarf the next. It is sometimes making maple and oat pancakes for breakfast on a Wednesday. It is some days seeing it come together; your curriculum choice, the spiral approach, the classical foundation and the hands on exploratory science. In a moment you see it all come together. It is a moment that needs to give birth to its own enormity, but instead your heart holds it and knows never will you be able to capture the awesomeness that has landed in your life, in the same way you cannot capture the hidden, crystal clear lake, hidden on a three hour hike to the top of Bear Mountain.

A picture can capture this lake, but it cannot hold how much, in that moment, your heart needed to rest here. It cannot capture the peace that washed over your soul in that moment you happened upon it. Whether it is in the discussion that follows a history lesson with your son or the concept in math that finally clicked for your daughter, it is just awesome.

These moments are the same moments you await when you drive 12 hours to a national park, hoping to spot a grizzly bear or mountain goats feeding on the slopes.

This moment is when they see the light bulb. They smile and understand something, and maybe are even surprised at their own excitement.

Some days it is none of this. It is still the job you dreamed of with flexibility, relationship and trust, but some days you don’t see any of it. It is a quick breakfast because you need to get to work. It is a Latin lesson gone wrong….again. It is history, the same old book, unit and subject that does not ever end. But it can’t be! This is the history you vowed to make come alive and Latin; it is the perfect unit study that incorporates so many other curriculum disciplines. It is wondering how the same words you practice are still misspelled. It is a reading lesson that really should be going smoother than it is.

It is on one of these days, because really they don’t come so often. No, they do, it is just some days you handle them and understand that this is life, the continuing, the persevering and the setting a good example, because when the going gets tough…….

On the days when I can’t deal, I say let’s go get Blueberry Pancakes.


Or it snowed, again? Let’s research igloos. Or, it is just too nice outside. Let’s go.

I am learning to listen to these whims. I am learning they are essential to our home school. Sometimes, I need to tell them to wait because whims can be impatient. Other times, they must be taken seriously. I greet them like a good host should, ask them if I may take their coat and if they can stay a bit. I’ll put on some tea, Mr. Whim. You sit here and I’ll tend to the details.

Bags must be packed. Hair must be brushed. Matching socks must be found.

Whims can bust a whole days schedule or they can just mess with an hour. They are all very different and each must be treated as such.

So, Mr. Whim, it’s Monday, are you listening? I am.