Back to School!

I have back to school on the mind- it is 2 weeks away for us! So I thought I would share some of my favorite things as I have been shopping around.
I have to tell you- I am just dreaming on most of this- but if I had an endless budget I would have all of this for Ellie's back to school! I say Ellie because she is my meticulous child who hands down perfectly kept clothing/gear for her sisters!

{poppin.com- best site ever for fabulous LOOKING school/office supplies! I heart these crayons- $5}
{I love this tote- also from poppin.com}

{This lunchbox is great- cute look and they put the chalk paint inside for you to write a note!}

{THIS is fun for school clothes- it would remove the daily "what to wear"}

{I love these Lunch Sacks}

{THESE are Izzy's dream shoes, so she will be wearing them every day at school I assume!}

{Ellie loved THESE- I would guess this is her last year wanting sparkle shoes, sniff sniff!}

{I am obsessed with this coat}

{LOOK at these boots- LOVE them!}
{Love THESE}

{These backpacks are awesome for littles LINK}
{I LOVE these backpacks-so clean and timeless! Duluth Pack}
{I really love this one too- of course my backpack choices are not exciting enough for the girls- dreaming! HERE}

{Amazon is my fav for the essentials- Amazon Prime is worth every penny- you get free 2 day shipping, instant video, and you get a 30 day free trial! HERE is a link to all of the school supplies-!}
>>>Join Amazon Prime - Watch Over 40,000 Movies  AND Free 2 Day Shipping! <<<

More back to school to come- All 3 of my girls will be in school this fall- (1st Grade, Pre-K and moms Day Out (at Preschool)!) I am sad for them to start back up- I love having them home- but I think they are really excited! 


Summer Projects- Before and After!

As previously discussed, I have been on a roll this summer with little projects- since I love "before and afters", I thought you might too! Here you go:

{My hand-me-down pots- painted black}

{This is the bench "before" (I am horrible about taking pictures before- I just get started and roll- so this was taken last fall}

{After- I cant wait for fall to put my pumpkins and mums back on! Again, painted black- and you can see the pots before and this is after}

{I did not want to purchase new outdoor light fixtures- or pay for someone to come install them. So I whipped out a can of black paint and painted them. Much better, but that glass had to go...}
{So I had new clear glass cut- MUCH better!}

{The final porch look :) I just love it!}

{A closer look at my new front door sign- I heart Hobby Lobby and their 40% off coupons! I also love that all my neighbors can see this from the street- may it be a daily reminder!}

{Another hand-me-down- I painted these chairs black..}

{This used to be the play kitchen next to the real kitchen area- we moved the play kitchen to the playroom...}

{And this is the new kitchen sitting area- we love it!}

{This is my moms 52-year-old desk- I have had it forever but it was looking so shabby that I put a cloth over it for the past few years- then I got a whim about me and decided to paint it- }

{...Silver! I seriously love it!}

{Isn't my pillow darling- Hobby Lobby of course!}

{I wanted this verse next to my make up- so I got this little plaque at HL and wrote it on there- I don't just love the way my handwriting turned out..but imperfect is good!}

{This is our basement table- serving table, art table, etc.. outside of the playroom- it is fabulous for function- but I wanted to brighten up the chairs}

{Covering chairs is a cinch- just need the material, a screw driver and a staple gun!}

{Before and After- so bright and fun!}

{Here is the after!}

{Finally the garage art wall before...}

{Now a pink chalk wall!}

I wish I would have taken pictures of the yard before and after our yard makeover last weekend- it looks so much better...but there is a little before and after update for you! I keep telling myself..put the paint cans away..put the paint cans away...I am dying to paint something else now..!


18 MONTHS- Holy Cow!

I try not to "air dirty laundry" on here or any social media for that matter- it is just not for me. However, I am having one of "seasons" with Milly that I think might give some of you encouragement that you are not alone! I have now officially had 3, 18-month-olds and can I just say- Holy "Shoot". That period from 18 months- 2 years is INTENSE!!! She can't say what she is thinking, she is not old enough to do a lot of what her sisters are doing- so she is frustrated... A LOT!!! I literally lay that strong-willed, strong as an ox, wild, fun, hilarious, ornery, opinionated, independent, precious child in her crib at night and every bone in my body aches..and I feel like I either need an ibuprofen or a glass of wine- one thing I need for sure...silence!
She has recently decided that she would like to do all of the following (and by "decide", I mean has a full body melt down WHEN each does not happen for her!): brush her own teeth, sleep in a queen sized bed, sit in a booster seat in the car, potty train, stop eating all healthy food, only wear flip flops, wear the same red tutu every day, drink out of a cup with no lid, sit in a barstool not highchair....of course all things her sisters do and she thinks she is big enough to do as well (and she is not big enough to do ANY of them)! So here are some things that help me get through the day!!

10 Ideas for Surviving THRIVING with an 18-Month-Old!!! 
(NOTE: this is what works for ME, you might not agree and I am great with that! Since this is my blog, I am telling you what works for me!!)

1. When she is having her full body melt down or if I am asking her to come somewhere and she is not coming- I count down from 5- "5,4,3,2,1". This gives me time to breathe- it gives her time to learn that when mom gets to 1...she no longer has a say. I actually continue this through toddler years, I never have to get past 4 with the big girls before they are RUNNING. (at 1, there is a consequence)
2. Every day is a new day! Lets not have "bad days" but "bad moment's" that we can turn around at any time (thanks to my friend Lori for teaching me that!) When we decide it is a "bad day" it shoots the day- let's say "NO", this was a B-A-D moment but this day will still be great because THIS is the day the Lord has made!
3. The end result always has to be: mom/dad wins. If I start letting her have her way (on important stuff like car seats, beds, etc..) at 19 months old- she would literally run the house, and that is not how God set up the family unit- "children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right" (Eph 6:1) I let her "choose" on the little stuff- what book we read, what toy she plays with, goldfish or graham sticks, if she is excited about a certain tutu that is fine, etc.. but there are certain things that she does not receive a vote on...and on those...I win. period.
4. I know the whole "Love and Logic" idea is great- and a lot of mom groups LOVE this. I cannot speak as someone who has read the book- but I have heard the "pitch" at a mom's group and in my opinion, they do not need to be given these choices for a LONG time. They need to first learn to obey the authority of #1 Jesus Christ and #2 their parents- and as they become more responsible...they should gain the additional responsibility of choice. I just think we might be hearing the L&L plan a little early- I don't believe an 18-month-old should be asked "do you want to do this...or this".
5. For me, naps are not optional- I have heard a lot of people who let their kids choose to not take a nap anymore- FOR ME, naps are important for her (she is much happier with sleep) and for me. I need to recharge and be ready for the second half of the day of "training"! When mom says its nap time...its nap time
6. I wrote all my ideas for dining out {HERE}, this is the age where you have the choice a) do we stay at home and get take out or cook b) do we eat in the car or c) do we dine out and "train". I love to dine out, I love to take my girls with me ...so for me, I will not fear the training! I believe, when you have a strong-willed 18-month-old, the minute you give in at a restaurant and do the "walk around" where you either let them walk around or you have someone who walks around with them- you will have to really fight to undo that! I have been known to take the child out of the restaurant and have a "stern talking to" but make no mistake, when we leave the table it is not "fun time". I do like the "train them at home so you don't have to do as much training in public" idea. But of course, children are not perfect all of the time and doggie bags are delightful for the "quit while you are ahead" moments.
7. Time Out- this is the phase where she gets a time out for bad behavior- looks different for everyone. For my #1 she needed to be put in the crib or pack-n-play, removed from the room and confined. For my #2 all she needed was to be sat on a chair and she would be devastated. #3 can be sat anywhere as long as it is away from the "party" she cannot stand to miss the action! Can I gently say one thing about discipline- I don't believe that taking a picture of a child in the middle of a consequence is sending a good message- they see that mom/dad gets the camera out when they are doing cute, fun, good things- so when you are snapping away during a consequence...what is that saying? Just a thought!
8. The "hand squeeze" is still big- firmly squeeze the hand, especially if she has done something with that hand like hit or touch something that is off limits. Some people put breakable things away, I figure they will eventually be somewhere where someone will not hide everything from them- so lets teach them what is not okay to touch from the start. (this comes in handy at stores) If Milly approaches something that is breakable I say "Milly, pat pat" which tells her gentle (I had to show her the pat pat several times) then if she is rough with it or picks it up, I VERY firmly squeeze the hand. If she continues, I remove her from the situation.
9. Praise Baby videos are delightful!
10. I read Shepherding a Child's Heart  when Ellie was a baby and frankly, it didn't sink in too much. However, now I wish I would have studied it a bit more. Just paying attention to the heart issue as opposed to the behavior issue. It is great to start identifying the sin/heart issue as they grow and start helping them to identify the behavior. For example call selfishness what it is- they might not understand for a while, but it starts the process of identifying their own sinful behavior. I think helping a person to identify their sinful behavior from a very young age is a gift- IN LOVE, not holding it over them but helping them see what that is. I am always trying to be more aware of the sin in my life for example tonight I was convicted by the "slow to anger" command...lots of "bad moments" and I might have blown up a time or two! I am grateful that His mercies are new every morning and His grace is endless- these times give me good moments with the girls to tell them that mommy needs Grace as much as they do!
Bonus #11. I go look at them when they sleep! It will remind you of the peaceful, kind, sweet and innocent baby you love- before they wreck you the next day, haahaa!

Those are my 18-month ideas- I thought I might write it down now...because, this is the VERY LAST 18-month-old I plan on having! This is definitely not the most challenging age, but I would bet it is one of the most exhausting! Hang in there mama!!!


Catching UP!

I have been a bad "blogger" this summer..and I am okay with that! I feel like I should soak this summer up- in one month my big girl will be in First Grade and gone from me more than she is with me...which I strongly dislike! So we are just spending TIME this summer- hanging out and playing...and of course I get myself into a million random projects when I am home! For example, we were playing outside one day and I decided to whip out a paint can and paint all of the outdoor light fixtures- that led me to taking the glass in to have new clear glass cut for them- that led the girls to want to paint, so we decided to paint a pink chalk wall in the garage- that led to me emptying the entire garage onto the drive way and blowing, spraying and mopping the garage- which led to us ripping out most of the plants in the front of our house- which led us to getting tons of dirt to regrade the front and back of the house- which led us to re-mulching the front- that led us to trimming the trees and cutting one down in the back....very productive house week...very unproductive blogger/everythingelser! Here is a little update of what we have been up to this summer! 

{If you follow me on Instagram you have already seen this- but it is our new "Raspberry" chalk wall- my poor husband!}

{4th of July at the lake! The tradition is my parents take the kids on the golf cart parade- they LOVE it! Our sweet friend Lori got to go along this year!}

{This has been a HUGE summer for my girls and their "fear factor"- they have always been tentative- and last summer I forced them to take swim lessons all summer- even through tears- and it made a huge difference! This is Ellie and her buddy Sydney- lake buds jumping in!}

{This was also a big year for fireworks- last summer Ellie was scared of the loud noises, this summer she launched them with her daddy!}

{Someone discovered Ice Cream Cones- sheesh!}

{The "Hot Dog" is huge this year- Ellie is doing a "trick" and standing up- again, huge!}

{Love sleeping boat babies! Notice how she has a tight grip on her snacks- she held them for the entire nap!}

{Me and Izz on the Dog!}

{I got a new App- "A Beautiful Mess" so I am playing with it- I like writing on the photos!}

{Our friends have the coolest neighborhood pool- Ellie LOVED this slide!}

{We have done lots and lots and lots of swimming this summer- so much fun!}

That is it- you are welcome to follow along on instagram {JENICAMCM}- I have a yummy cold pasta salad recipe I am working on- I will share it soon! 

Happy Summer! 



I wanted to share this with you because it means so much to us! Our friends Phil and Heather Joel (Phil is formerly of the Newsboys) have 2 albums out for kids- and can I just tell you how much they have impacted our family? My girls know all of the books of the bible, the fruits of the spirit and several other scriptures from listening to their music! It is fun and cool and refreshing- we love it! I am so excited for the future of Deliberate Kids- I want to soak up all of their resources for raising kids! (They have 2 of the most amazing kids I know as well)
SO, they are doing a Kickstarter campaign to relaunch Deliberate Kids 1 & 2 and they have 11 days left to raise the money needed to relaunch. You can pre-purchase the albums and other fun stuff on the kickstarter page HERE. Please go check it out and support these amazing resources- you will love them!
They can tell you about it better than I can....so please watch this video below!!!

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