Students At Home

For Everyone who Learns at Home

Pumpkin Season is Here!

0925141448My pumpkin farmer friend blessed us with these adorable mini pumpkins. Aren’t they cute?

Y, my son, wants to carve them. I don’t think I have the patience or talent for that, though. :)

So, they sit on our patio table and make me smile every time I see them.

They also make me crave pumpkin coffee, pumpkin rolls and pumpkin pie.

What’s your favorite pumpkin dish?

 

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“Beautiful Boy” And A Thought On Parenting

IMG000013“Our children live and die with or without us.”

I cringed when I first read David Sheff’s quote in “Beautiful Boy.” I mean, why else do I make my kids eat broccoli, go to therapy and introduce me to their friends?

Because I think I can somehow save my children.

Now, I know they’re still young, and I have parental responsibility. I have an obligation and desire to guide my children in a path that’s healthy and whole. Mr. Sheff knows that, too. However, there comes a time when we have to let our kids go.

Personally, I don’t think I’ll ever be ready.

But that’s in the future. My children are still young, and right now, I plan to do everything I can to help them be godly, honest and balanced kids who grow up to be productive adult contributors to society.

Ultimately, I know my kids will have to make decisions and choices for themselves. They will also have to deal with the good and bad consequences that come with their decisions.

David Sheff’s son chose a drug addiction to meth and other substances.I hope and pray my kids don’t go that route. I pray they make different choices.

Until then, I’m here walking with them every step of the way. And until we’re separated by death, I pray they know that their mama loves them always and forever no matter what.

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Jamberry Nail Wraps: Who Knew A Girl Could Have So Much Fun?!

0925141449 0925141450 Painting my nails is something unique I enjoy doing. With nail polish, I can customize my look, match my mood and look my best. I guess I passed on my hobby to my daughter because she loves to paint her nails, too.

The fumes are a major downside to looking beautiful, though. The men in our house don’t like the fumes, either. In the past, we’ve sat outside to paint our nails. But who wants to be banished outdoors now that the weather’s growing cooler? Even with steaming hot pumpkin coffee, the days are growing too cold to polish our nails outdoors!

So, I was thrilled when my friend Ruth Hope introduced me to Jamberry Nail Wraps. She assured me that they’re easy to apply, fun to enjoy and gentle to remove. Plus, she showed me pictures of how I can apply Jams to all my nails or just one or two nails. I can even mix and match different designs and colors.

I  jumped on the chance to try Jamberry for myself. Getting the hang of applying the wraps took a bit of getting used to, but the learning curve didn’t take long. My daughter still occasionally has trouble getting hers to stick, but we’re solving that problem with alcohol wipes, plenty of heat and bedtime application so the wraps really adhere.

I love the fact that doing my nails now takes minutes rather than an hour. I don’t have to apply a base coat (wait for it to dry), apply the first coat of polish (watch the paint dry), apply a second coat (more waiting) and then apply a top coat (am I done waiting yet?). And they won’t chip, peel or smudge the minute I stand up (like my purple nails in the picture did).

If you’d like to try Jamberry Nail Wraps, check out the wraps on Ruth’s Jamberry page. You can buy three and get one free, plus each page does two or three manicures/pedicures. Place your order and check out under my (Jennifer Turner) party, and post plenty of pictures of your gorgeous Jamberry nails!

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Happy Be-lated Birthday!

Birthdays only come around once a year, so celebrate all month! That’s my philosophy, at least. So, I spent August enjoying my favorite coffee flavors, desserts and books.

I also thought long and hard about goals I want to accomplish this next year, the last one I’ll spend in my 30s. From reading every day to growing in love, I’m ready to make the most of the next 365 days.

I’m also super excited about sharing my birthday cake recipe. After all, no birthday is complete without cake! :)

My mom made one of my favorite cakes for my family party this year – Jimmy Carter Cake. Can you guess its main ingredient? Yes, peanuts! It layers crushed and baked peanuts, cream cheese and peanut butter, pudding and whipped cream. So yummy, especially when it’s frozen.

I didn’t take any pictures because we pretty much devoured it, but you can find a pic and the recipe at Deep South Dish. Try it: you won’t regret it. And you can customize the crust on the bottom by replacing the peanuts with crushed chocolate-peanut butter candy or cookies.

If you make it, let me know how you liked it! I know it’s a family favorite here, and it might become your next birthday cake, too!

 

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Looking for the Perfect Decision?

Celestine Chua (Flickr)

Celestine Chua (Flickr)

 

I’ve been thinking about decisions lately.

And I’ve been putting off quite a few decisions lately.

 

 

Should I buy a smartphone for work access on the go or stick with my plain phone?

Should I sell outgrown toys on eBay or donate them to charity?

Should I toss the clothes in my closet that don’t fit or save them for “some day”?

Should I make chicken or hamburgers for dinner?

 

On the surface, most of these decisions won’t affect me too much in the long run. But I’m afraid of making the wrong one, wasting money or failing. Those are the reasons for procrastinating the decisions I need to make.

I’m very grateful to know that I’m not the only one who struggles sometimes with decision making. Lysa Terkeurst’s blog made sense to me, and maybe her words will encourage you, too.

So, what decisions are you putting off and why? Is there something you can do today to get started making at least one of the decisions on your list?

 

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Let the Music Calm You

Ever have one of those days where anxiety, worry, anger or stress sit just under the surface of your “I have it all together” mask? Do you ever feel like those ugly emotions are waiting to bubble up and spew out at the slightest provocation?

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Scream (Courtesy Mingo Hagen, Flickr)

Okay, you don’t have to admit it.

But I will.

Parenting a kiddo with special needs takes more emotional strength than I can muster sometimes. Although, to be honest, just navigating a busy grocery store, parking at Walmart or paying bills can be enough to set my internal thermometer rising.

And when I feel the internal frustration begin to bubble and threaten to spill over with ugly and hurtful words or mean glances, I try to turn to music.

It soothes and calms me like few relaxation techniques can. And believe me, I’ve tried tons of relaxation methods!

Listening to this song by Hillsong United is one of my favorite ways to restore peace and calm to my soul. I simply close my eyes and let the words and the song’s truths pour over me. Sometimes, I have to listen to it a few times before the truths sink in, but I remain incredibly grateful for the calming lyrics and peaceful message.

What is your go-to relaxation method? You might not need one today, but in case you ever experience one of those days where you’re frazzled, angry, anxious or unrestful, give this song a listen and let the music calm you.

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My Favorite Book of the Summer

How often does the front page of a book grab your attention and suck you in?

That’s what happened when I saw “Making Rounds With Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat” on the Lebanon County Library shelf. I’m a cat lover, so naturally the cat on the cover caught my eye. But I also appreciate the topic: can a cat predict when a person is going to die?

I won’t spoil the ending, but I did give this book 5 stars on Goodreads. It was a quick read and very personable. I also appreciated the inside look into an end-of-life Alzheimer’s home.

If you have a chance, check it out for yourself! And please share your favorite book of the summer. I’m always looking for new suggestions!

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Hugs: Because You are Not Alone

Erica Firment (Flickr)

Erica Firment (Flickr)

 

 

 

 

 

When was the last time you were hugged?

Ben+Sam (Flickr)

Ben+Sam (Flickr)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think about it.

Petras Gagilas (Flickr)

Petras Gagilas (Flickr)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not talking about a casual hug where your bodies barely touch and you can’t wait to escape. I also don’t mean a sexual hug. Instead, think about the last big, heartfelt hug you received. They’re the type when you cling to, connect with and share your energy with someone.

Tania Cataldo (Flickr)

Tania Cataldo (Flickr)

 

 

 

 

 

For most of us, those types of hugs are few and far between.

Kevin Dooley (Flickr)

Kevin Dooley (Flickr)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My son’s camp counselor is a hugger. I see her almost every day and sometimes twice a day. She hugs me every time she sees me.

I’m not a hugger by nature, but I sure have come to appreciate her touch. In fact, I look forward to it. It’s a gentle reminder that someone cares, that I’m important and that I’m loved.

Are you a hugger? If so, thank you. The world needs more people who value and share human touch.

If you’re not a hugger, how do you feel when others approach you and expect a hug? It’s a wonderful way to connect to others.

Whether you are a hugger or not, will you join me in giving someone an affirmative, loving and accepting hug today?

 

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Comfort in the Crock Pot: Mac and Cheese

One of my favorite foods just got better. How is that even possible? Well, I tossed a few ingredients into my trusty crock pot, and in three hours, I was dining on delicious mac and cheese.

0802141209aIf you like what you see and want to try it for yourself, here’s the recipe.

 

2 cups uncooked pasta

3 cups milk (less if you like a firmer mac and cheese)

3 Tablespoons butter

3 cups cheese (I used sharp and American, but modify the mix to meet your needs!)

salt/pepper to taste

(Add cooked ham, sausage or hamburger if you want a one-pot meal.)

 

Spray the crock pot with cooking spray to prevent sticking.

Pour all the ingredients into the crock pot and stir.

Cook on low for three hours, stirring at least once during the cooking process. (I cooked mine for 3.5 hours, and it turned out just fine.)

 

If you decide to try this recipe for yourself, post a pic here and let us know how it turned out! I’m always looking for ways to make my favorite comfort food even better! :)

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One Little Compliment Can Change a Life

Have you ever received a compliment that changed your life? I did.

My Jerusalem University College classmates and I were waiting in line during a field trip to see a significant historical site. One of my friends happened to glance down and saw my toes peeking out from my sandals. “Oh,” she exclaimed. “Your toes look so cute!”

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I have to admit I was shocked. I had never received a compliment on my toes before.

So, what did I do? I tried to show off my toes as often as possible! And to this day, I wear revealing shoes that show off my painted toes and fun toe rings. (In case you were wondering: the ring on my left foot is from Israel and features feet that remind me to walk in love. On my right foot, I wear poppies, my birth month flower.)

I doubt my friend remembers saying that to me, but she changed my life. Every time I look at my toes, I think of that compliment, feel better about myself and look for someone to compliment in return. After all, I can’t keep all that love I felt from that one compliment so many years ago to myself!

As I painted my toes Tangerine this week, I remembered that day. It made me wonder what would happen if we all chose to look for the good in others more often. Instead of focusing on the bad, annoying or frustrating aspects of the people in our lives, we could compliment them and spread cheer as we help others feel better about themselves.

What do you think?

Whether you have cute toes or not, will you join me in changing lives one compliment at a time?

If so, let me know in the comments, and please share a compliment you received yesterday or decades ago that still affects you today.

Together, we can spread kindness and encourage our friends, loved ones and even strangers simply by pointing out something we like or appreciate about them.

 

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