Sunday, November 21, 2010


I've always loved hand-me-downs. I loved being the recipient as a child. I love swapping maternity clothes and kids clothes with my sister. My mom and Joy always pass me "mint-condition" clothes. Having 4 kids, its nostalgic, seeing a little one in clothes that I saw a few years earlier.

Toys are another animal. Toys will take over your LIFE if you let them! But when we lived overseas, I started putting up some toys and changing them out every few months or so. It was like NEW toys!

A few years ago I got this rocking horse for Hattie. She played with it a little, but it took up space and wasn't really played with, so since we've lived here, its been up in the attic.

But what do you get a 2yr old for her birthday? They don't need anything. They don't even really know its their birthday day, or at least what that means. I can't STAND spending money on something that I know won't be used, that I'm just buying to buy. But taking a rocking horse down from the attic and re-gifting it??? I'm not beneath that!

So, this is what Millie received for her birthday and she LOVED it!! Everyone's love for this horsey has been rekindled. Its pretty funny. Call me cheap...I call it thrifty!

(pardon the blurriness, I could not get her to stop rocking!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This Little Girl

this little girl....

lights up our world!

She's fun.

She's funny.

She's full of life!

She loves to
tell everyone what to do
greet people
{whether at the store, at the college,
at church, or as people come into our house}

She does NOT like
to be told NO
to be separated from her siblings
people leaving her presence
watching TV
sweet tea

What a blessing she has been these 2 years to our family!
We love you Millie Grace!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Questions and thoughts

....are we really due for another bout with the stomach bug?

...I LOVE Trader Joe's, wish it were a little bit closer!

...why are the terrible 2's (aka sinful behavior + newly discovered vocabulary + independence) starting before the actual birthday?

...I'm afraid Christmas commercials are going to start BEFORE Halloween next year. I mean, really? Already? Grama "B" is the oldest person I know. She's going to 97 tomorrow! can I instill more gratefulness and generosity in my children during this upcoming season?

...I have so much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010

This year I tried something new. I attempted a more homemade halloween (with the help of some of my sweet college girls). My kids LOVE dressing up, all year long. They always have. We have 2 bins full of choices! But this year, here is what we did:

Millie is in Hattie's Old Navy chicken costume from 2006. It brought back some cold memories of our first Halloween in North Dakota!

Luke has been introduced to Johnny Appleseed in K4 this year. He fell in love. So with a foam/cardboard pot for a hat and a burlap sack over his shoulder, he was so proud to portray his new hero!

Hattie would love to have blond hair, so we decided to attempt to make a wig so she could be Rapunzel. We followed a pattern from Family Fun's October issue. Its yarn sewn in small bunches onto a panty hose cap. She is wearing a nightgown that was mine, made by my grandmother, when I was a little girl!

Silas wanted to be Abraham Lincoln. He loved feeling tall in the top hat. He was sure that he looked so much like Lincoln that no one would recognize his as Silas! He loved knowing how much Abraham Lincoln loved reading just like him.

We had a great time going around to the girls dorms and also at our churches Harvest Festival. What a fun weekend!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

To Blog or Not to Blog...

I'm trying to decide whether or not to keep up with this blog. I just do not sit at the computer during the day (try to stay away from having the TV or computer on so that I can accomplish things), afternoons are busy (4 of my own kids, one of my neighbors and numerous visitors in and out) and evenings I am zapped (of course the addition of the iphone to my life last year, gave me the snippets I like of facebook and looking up things on the internet!).

I'm beginning to wonder if blogging is fading away in general. I mean, itseems to me, that so many of the blogs I used to keep up with are filled with ads and plugs for products or books, or offers to join this or that. Is it just me? Maybe I'm just easily annoyed.

I like keeping up with people I know via their blogs, but I'm just nosey. I'm not sure why people really want to know about our happenings. There is rarely a dull moment in our lives, but I hate to turn my life into a comparison or look at me show!

So.....hmmmm. What do you think?

While you are thinking I will post a few cute recent pics.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Top Ten Things You Need to Know About Luke

In honor of Luke's 4th Birthday here are some things you need to know about Luke.

10. He is a family snob. He LOVES his siblings. He prefers his family to other people, everytime.

9. I prayed specifically for a blue-eyed baby, and he has the most beautiful, big blue eyes!

8. He never runs out of things to say. Ever.

7. He is our funny guy. He makes you laugh without even trying.

6. In general (with exceptions like this week when he bit his cousin!!!) he is a real peacemaker. He is very giving because he wants others to be happy.

5. He hates Michael Jackson, thanks to Aunt Holly. He believe Michael Jackson exists to make people afraid of the dark.

4. He is very good with names. He likes to "trick" people and call them the wrong names. But he knows peoples first and last names very well. What a gift!

3. His favorite color is blue.

2. He is on his OWN timetable. No amount of "hurry-ups" will make him get his shoes on faster. I used to be a very punctual person before Luke was born into our family. He has put a kink in my style!

1. After his near drowning last year, we feel extremely blessed to have this little ball of energy in our family. We believe that God will use him in special ways throughout his life.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Lazy Day ---Mommy Style

If you would have told me
that sleeping in
I don't think I would have signed up.
If I would have thought
that reading the same paragraph
too many times to count
would be my idea of
reading a book
I'd stick to Readers Digest.
If I would have known that
I would feel like a GIANT
everytime I left the room
and the little paper clips
were living and breathing
well....I wouldn't know what to even
This mommy business is hard work!
Its tiring.
There are no days off.
There are few uninterupted moments.
But there are a lot of hugs.
There are really fun times.
Saturdays may not consist of
sleeping in
watching what I'd like to watch on TV
reading a book I'm dying to read.
It may be more like
squishing on the couch
excessively drinking chocolate milk
and picking up numerous books
and toys.
I'm glad I didn't know about what kind of
Saturdays I'd be experiencing in 2010....
I might have missed them!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Jennings Summer 2010 Top Ten

Here are some of the memories I will take away from this summer:

10. Borrowing a cell phone from a military dad at Cinderella's castle in order to find the rest of my family who happened to have my cell phone. Yeah, I was pretty unhappy when we were reunited!

9. Leading my laid back Jennings family in true Boitnott (my maiden name, for those of you who don't know that) style thru 3 major parks (Sand Dunes St Park, Mammoth Caves National Park and Smokey Mt National Park) in 3 days.

8. Millie Grace (in that 18month range this summer) keeping some type of scab on her body in plain sight.

7. Watching Silas (7) become immersed into some really cool books. Count of Monte Cristo, Little House on the Prairie, A Home for Barkley...and others.

6. Dog. I said we weren't ready. I didn't think we could handle one. Then my husband fell in love with Sage.

5. The last summer I believe it will ever be possible to get all 4 of my kids to take a nap simultaneously. It happened 3 times this summer! A shear miracle!!!

4. Swimming with my family, remembering the near death experience just a year earlier involving Luke. Rather than live in fear, we swam and swam and learned and learned....very carefully.

3. Family Camp in Michigan. A new Jennings family tradition. Next year we will be there with both my parents, my inlaws, and Jody's sister's family! Looking forward to it already!

2. Becoming creative in what to do with the pages and pages and pages of Hattie's very cute drawings and poems.

1. Celebrating 10 years of marriage to my super husband. We enjoyed lots of conversations this summer reminiscing the many adventures we have had together. Seminary, Uganda, North Dakota, the Carolinas....our children and how we can't imagine life without each one of them. The Lord has really blessed us!

Hope you all had a great summer too! Here's to a great school year! We are praying for new relationships, good character development and lots of fun!!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Love That Summer Produce

Yes, its been a

But I sure do love the
Bounty of Summer!
Don't you?

This is what we had for dinner one
night this week.

So Colorful!

Grilled Chicken
Romaine Lettuce
Green Onions
Red Peppers
Goat Cheese
Sweet Potatoes

We also enjoyed fabulous fruit!

I will welcome the cooler weather,
but I will miss this food!!

Monday, July 26, 2010


like the corner of my mind.....

Tonight we ate supper, did the dishes, and bathed the kids

Jody went to take the {new} dog out
(long story, I'll try and post pics of our sweet
Labradoodle, Sage)
We had reading time.

I told the kids to go brush there teeth
there was

I thought, no...the bill IS paid for.
{I have made this mistake recently}

We all walked outside and saw
running down the side of the road,
across the street!

Oh the summer fun!
Dogs and kids

the most vivid memories
that surface in my mind
are living in Uganda
where most evenings
our water shut off.
There I was a little more prepared
as I had at least water to drink
in the fridge!

The similarities stop here
within the hour
our friendly BRRW company truck
pulled up
checked out the situation
and turned off the running water.
Now, I'm hoping the guys with the
show up tonight to fix it!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Kicked to the Curb

Poor Baby
Learning to hold her own
is tough
for a 4th child.
{notice the scab under her nose}

The Culprit:

Piling into the suburban
is just not as safe as it used to be!
Especially if you have a sibling
who KICKS!

Bottom line, everyone was excitedly
getting in the car as I
grabbed a few things.
Luke kicked Millie...
She fell flat on her face.

Luke got a spanking
and I THINK he has learned a
valuable lesson.

I hope.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fruit Flies

We came home from a wonderful vacation (staring with a camp out at Nana's, family camp in Michigan, Warren Dunes State Park, Mammoth Caves in Kentucky, and ended with a campout in the with pics will follow in the near future) to a home that was INVADED by FRUIT FLIES!

It was unbelievable!!!

It was my own fault. Unbeknownst to me, I had left a half of a banana in the fruit bowl. It rotted and bred a colony or 2 of nasty, pesky little fruit flies. {GAG}

I cleaned, I bleached, I wiped, I swatted. I repeated all of these steps. All in vain, the fruit flies just moved from corner to corner in the kitchen and bathrooms. Making babies, I'm sure!

I was SO annoying. So gross! I felt like the Egyptians in Exodus! Well, it wasn't that bad....but it was bad.

Skeptically, I looked up remedies online.

I am thrilled to report, on my first try at home remedies...I {think} I have annihilated them. Its amazing!

Here is what I did:

Took 3 small bowls and filled them 2/3 full with balsamic vinegar.
Mixed 1/3 c water with 2 pumps of kitchen soap
Poured the soap mixture evenly into the vinegar cups

Set the bowls in the corners and waited. With in minutes the flies were lighting on the bowls. Within hours I could not find any swarms of flies in the house. I waited until morning and dumped the vinegar into a tea strainer.

The result?
Hundreds of drowned fruit flies.

Amazing! Magical!

I may just leave a little bowl on the counter from now on!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Disney in a Day

We headed down to Orlando for the SBC 2010 and decided to take a day to hit Disney. It was a long, hot day. But we had a wonderful time! We met Jody's childhood friend, Martin, at Animal Kingdom as the park opened. He told us he had VIP seats for us to the Lion King Show!
We sat in the Lion section, and Silas, Hattie and Luke were chosen to participate in the show! Luke was a little uneasy. Millie Grace LOVED every second of the show too!
Afterwards we got to meet the cast! It was so cool. This was the highlight of our day!!
Hattie shared a silly band with one of the cast members.
Then on to some rides....
Luke didn't know he was not a fan of roller coasters.

Hot and tired! We did a LOT of walking!

Its a Small World was so relaxing!

Gotta pose at the castle!

Me and my Prince Charming!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

2010 Summer Ideas Part 2

Keeping Your House in {some semblance} of Order

Yeah right...I hear you say.

I am not, nor will I pretend to be a wonderful,

I do clean the kitchen after every meal.
I love cleaning the bathrooms.
The shark (vacuum thingy) is my friend for kitchen floors and
highly trafficked areas.

But I am a MESSY.
I operate on the pile system.
I have more than one junk drawer.
I always have clothes hanging out of my drawers.

Here are some things I do and will do this summer to try and
maintain a livable home.

Inspector MOM. This is something I did last summer and plan on doing it again, beginning next week. Regular old mom tells the kids that Inspector Mom is coming to visit in a set amount of time. (Like 15 minutes) Everyone scrambles to pick up. Then the Inspector Gadget theme song begins to play. Regular Mom puts on a funny hat and uses a funny voice and has a cup full of quarters. As Inspector Mom walks thru the house, she rewards the kids who have picked up, made up beds, closed drawers, helped a younger sibling...etc.

{Side note: Hattie told me yesterday that she was trying to keep her drawers closed in practice for when Inspector Mom visits. Poor girl, she takes after regular mom in the messy department!}

Sharing the Load. Its pretty much impossible for me to set aside A DAY to clean the house. So I break it up the big jobs over a few days, of course there are tons of daily jobs too. Bathrooms, vacuuming, mopping, laundry...let the kids do what they can. If they are little, let them "help" by standing on a step stool and wipe the sinks, or shorten the handle and use the swiffer. If they are bigger, let them pick a job. Like, "Would you like to vacuum the living room or clean the toilets?" My mom used to do that for us. She got help, and we {thought we} got off light.

The Mad Dash. This is when dad is expected to be home at a certain time. You set the timer, make a game of it, and every one does a FAST clean up job. I like to focus on the main living area so when Daddy comes home, he gets a good first impression and doesn't say things like, "Ooooh, what have you guys done all day?"

I'm sure there will be {many} days
it will look like a
hit the inside of our house.
But, hopefully, we can maintain
a little order...
Got any other ideas???

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Low Sugar Strawberry Freezer Jam

So, I saw a FB status (Mary Alice Dice) about eating strawberry freezer jam. I was jealous. I was thoroughly warned by more than one person (including my mom) that it has a LOAD of sugar in it. Because I am always looking for ways to cut the sugar out of our diet while maintaining a good taste, I combined a few recipes and have made this twice now.


Start with fresh strawberries. Rinse and cap them. Mash them in layers until you get 3 cups worth. {I used my handy Pampered Chef Mix-n-Chop which is AMAZING AND my Core and More for capping the berries--- btw, if you don't have these, you should get them!}

Now you need Fruit Pectin. I used the Ball, Natural Gel, no sugar needed brand. I then gradually mixed one package of that with 1 3/4 cup of Apple Juice. Bring that to a fast boil, whisk while boiling for 1 minute.

Then, add the strawberries to that mixture. If the strawberries are on the tart side, add some sugar. My first batch I added about 3/4 cup of sugar or splenda (compared to the 3+ cups the regular recipe calls for!!!). But with my second batch, the strawberries were SO good, I didn't add any extra sugar).

Ladle the mixture into containers leaving 1/2 inch room at the top, at least.
Set at room temp for about 24 hours or so.
Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to a year!

I'm telling you, this was very easy. Not too time consuming. And UNBELIEVABLY delicious! You can use this on PB&J's, toast, ice cream, pound cake....something everyone can enjoy!

Monday, May 17, 2010

2010 Summer Ideas Part 1

Summer is FAST approaching!!
With four kids { 7 } and under, I have no choice but to be organized and intentional with what we will do during these upcoming weeks. I'm not going to schedule every minute of every day, but I want to avoid the "What are we gonna dooooooo today?" questions.
I want to look back on the SUMMER OF 2010 and think, "that was great!" Rather than, "Shew....glad that's OVER!"
We have several big events planned, but there are many days where we will be taking the ordinary and making it fun.
I collected some great information and ideas together for my MOPS group. I've decided to do a little series. I'd love feedback and other ideas you may have to add.

Part 1 of this series is about SUMMER READING.

With all the work that you and you child(ren) have put into the school year, whether you've home-schooled or not, whether your child has excelled in reading or not, maintaining and even improving these skills is crucial!

Listen to some of these stats:
  • The average student learns about 3,000 words per year in the early school years (8 words per day).
  • 50 percent of American adults are unable to read an eighth grade level book.
  • Students who reported having all four types of reading materials (books, magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias) in their home scored, on average, higher than those who reporter having fewer reading materials.
  • When the State of Arizona projects how many prison beds it will need, it factors in the number of kids who read well in fourth grade.
So, what are you going to do this summer to encourage good reading skills for your children? Here are some ideas:


Read outloud together.
Pick some classics like Charlotte's Web, Black Beauty, Ramona the Pest, the Westing Game, Chronicles of Narnia...Pick some currents like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Magic Tree House, Marley and Me, Tale of Winn Dixie.
(try not to be interrupted during this time with the phone.)

Read separately, alone time. Even MOMMY reads her book or bible or whatever.

Set a timer if your child loathes this idea and reward them (even the little ones who are only looking at picture books) for reading for the amount of time you have set. Make a big deal when the timer goes off.

Join the summer reading program at the library.

Give rewards, incentives, cold hard cash for reading certain books that you suggest, like biographies or books of the bible.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Strawberry Personalities

Last week we (my kids, 4 NGU students and myself) went strawberry picking at a local place up the road from our house. It was very funny to observe my four kids and their personalities that came out as we were there.

Silas: This little perfectionist searched for the perfect strawberries. FEW met his expectations. We picked a total of 3 gallons and Silas might have contributed 5 strawberries total. He is so meticulous, so observant, so sensitive.

Hattie: All she cared about was being able to pick strawberries and put them in her special BLUE basket. Its all about the process, the experience for her. She skipped up and down the rows of berries. She flitted between us showing us her little loot. Such a social butterfly.

Lukey: The words that would describe his method would be grabbing, stuffing, any berry will do. He ate about as many as he put in the basket. He talked the entire time. He's impulsive in every way, evident in his strawberry picking as well!

Millie Grace: I will say that she stuck with the program better than I thought. Nothing gets by her ever, she can keep up with her siblings easily. She stayed with the group, enjoying taking the berries picked by others out of the baskets and moving them to others. However, in perfect 18month old style, she picked few and ate MUCH.

Its AMAZING how four little humans with such similar DNA can be SO different. They have so many similar likes (strawberries). They love eachother so much. And yet they go about life at completely different angles. They know how to push eachother's buttons and at the same time prefer to be together all the time.

God has made each of us exactly the way He has intended us to be. Our personalities are not good or bad. Some are decision makers, some are creative thinkers, others are great listeners, and still others are detail oriented. So often we butt-heads with people that don't do things the way we do it. But we are all strawberry picking together. We accomplish so much as we go about our tasks with our own styles. Isn't it funny? Isn't is wonderful?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ten Years!

Today, Jody and I were walking downtown and we met this lady and told her that it was our 10 year anniversary she said she couldn't believe that we were old enough to have been married that long.

HA! I think I actually did laugh at her.

Now, here's some fun Jody and Emily Trivia

Our cheapest anniversary ever was in Hoima, Uganda. Dinner cost us about $7 total. Friends (The Lammers) babysat Silas

Our favorite show is Survivor, the first season came out the summer we got married and we've loved it ever since.

We have a HARD time coming to an agreement on the names of our kids. Jody prefers to wait all 9 we typically can't make it official until we meet the baby.

We are very adventurous eaters. Like today, we walked into a random hole-in-wall Jamaican restaurant totally enjoyed every bite!

Having people in our home has become one the joys of our life together. Being able to model and practice all aspects (good and bad) of marriage and raising a family is such a blessing!

So glad to be married to my best friend!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lessons:Tying Shoes and Driving Cars

I can't remember learning to tie my shoes.
I don't remember not knowing.
Do you?

I do remember my dad {trying} to teach me to drive a stick shift.
It didn't go well.
I believe he made me walk home...

We've been trying to teach Silas to tie his shoes...
for like a year now.
Yes. We are behind.
{I really hope Silas's K5 teachers do not read this post, since we were supposed to teach him last year}
No. We have
NOT been consistent.
Yes. Silas wears slip on and velcros mainly.

ironic thing is, unfortunately, I got my teaching skills from my dad.
{I think I got some good traits from him too!}
But when the "I know's" and "let me try's"
come out of my child's mouth
I get
I quit.

The good thing is,
my husband is a
very patient man,
a good teacher.
I think he will be doing the family
driver's ed too!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I love naps.

I love to take naps.

I love my kids taking naps.

Its like happiness for the taking!

Why do kids hate naps? Why do they resist? I don't get it!!

Did you know?:

1. The human sleep-wake cycle causes a drop in alertness between about 2 and 5 pm in the afternoon and more dramatically in the early morning between 2 and 5 am. This suggests we need two sleep periods a day, as in siesta cultures.

2. The afternoon slump is a natural effect of our circadian rhythms, and occurs even if you’ve had a good night’s sleep causing tiredness, loss of focus/reduced concentration and increased irritability.

3. Workplace accidents and errors peak at exactly the same times that our circadian rhythms cause a drop in alertness.

4. A brief nap can improve your mood and productivity, alleviate tiredness, increase alertness and reduce errors made at work. A nap as brief as 10 minutes will produce these results.

5. A mid afternoon nap has been shown to be more recuperative than a nap taken at other times of the day. If you nap at other times you will still get some benefit but it won’t necessarily prevent the afternoon slump, which is programmed in to our natural biological rhythm.

6. If you take the opportunity to nap, but don’t fall asleep, your mood and problem solving ability can still get benefit.

Acknowledgments to Dr Gerard Kennedy, Sleep Specialist, Melbourne.

Now, try explaining this to your preschooler!! Ha! Good luck. Unfortunately I'm afraid Luke (3.5yrs old) is getting close to dropping his afternoon nap. I know rest time is effective too, but its just not the same! Nothing beats a sweet cuddly sleepy head come out of the room from a nap! And nothing makes us all happier to make it to bedtime with smiles than a good naptime!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mom and other various forms of that name

one of the most glorious
and anticipated words
that will come out of the mouth of babes.

makes you feel needed
and important

you know your kid is growing up,
so conversational

add inflection
Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom...
when Mama {to that sweet baby of yours} also means
no, food, or anyone who walks in the door...

That's why I have asked my children to call me
It has a nice ring to it, dontcha think?
Its pretty.
Its not annoying.
It almost sounds like you have to sigh {ahhhh} after you say it.

I think the message has reached the ears of a
few of these blessings of mine.
Luke called me Gloria today.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

DC Summary and PIcs

Sunday: We left around 9am and arrived in DC around 730pm. We were VERY tired and very grouchy. We settled in and got to bed VERY late.
Monday: The kids and I went to a fun park and spent time with my friend Amanda (Jennings) Lee and her two sweet kids.

Tuesday: We joined to team of students at a local community center. We cleaned and helped with what we could then we headed over to my aunt's house for naps and supper.

Wednesday: We rode the metro with my aunt and spent the day in DC. It was so fun! Luke says, "We saw a HUMONGOUS Abraham Lincoln". We also saw Dorothy's ruby red slippers, kermit the frog, the First ladies dresses, the original Star Spangled Banner (my personal favorite), the insect zoo, a T-Rex....
Thursday: The National Zoo and then some terrible nasty stomach bug or food poisoning or something hit. Out of the team of 31, 20 spent the evening and night camped out in the hallway near the bathrooms. Let me just say I have NEVER seen and experienced so much bodily fluid EVER. 2 out of my 4 kids (the girls) woke up throwing up. Ugh. It was unbelievable.

Friday: I spent the day trying to get all these sickly people to eat bananas, applesauce, drink gatorade...
Saturday: Traveled in the rain back home. We picked up Nana (my maternal grandmother) on the way to bring her to SC for a little visit.

It was a great trip. The kids behaved great. We LOVE those college students (both ours from NGU and our new friends from Furman's BCM). They did a great job scouring the city, surveying, serving, and working hard.