Students At Home

For Everyone who Learns at Home

Key Lime Angel Food Bars

key lime angel food bars

Sometime in the past few months, I bought a can of key lime pie filling. It must have been an impulse buy because it’s been sitting in my pantry collecting dust. That never would have happened with chocolate, but I digress.

Today, I decided to use it. My daughter made Key Lime Angel Food bars, and they are refreshing and light. Here’s the recipe she adapted from Enjoy!

  • 1 angel food cake mix
  • 1 14 cups cold water
  • 1 can pie filling


Heat oven to 350.

Beat cake mix and water on low speed for 30 seconds; beat on medium speed for 1 minute.

Add pie filling and mix well.

Pour into ungreased 15×10 jelly roll pan or cookie sheet.

Bake 25 minutes.

Top with powdered sugar, lime glaze or frosting.




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May I Have a Compromise?

While my hubby watches TV, my son plays Minecraft with his friend and my daughter enjoys a sleepover, I’m getting a head start on work for the week.

One of my writing topics is compromise. We already compromise and negotiate in our home a lot. I figure it’s a good way to give my kids a voice. I do not want to be a dictator, and everyone deserves to have a say in most sitations.

That’s why I was excited to find this interesting perspective on the topic at I definitely think “May I have a compromise?” is going to become a new mantra in my home! What about yours?

May I Have a Compromise?


When people hear our kids ask, “May I have a compromise?” they tend to look at us a bit funny. They seem completely confused when we respond to our kids as if their request for a compromise is normal. But at our house it is normal. In fact, it’s a request we hear no less than a dozen times each day.

We began teaching our kids to ask for compromises when our now five-year old daughter was only two. We figured that she was old enough to have a conversation with us, so she was old enough to begin learning how to compromise.

One thing we’ve noticed over the years among kids who are adopted or in foster care is that they tend to have control issues — sometimes really BIG control issues. Many kids (and parents) struggle with control issues, but this especially true for adopted and foster kids that come from homes or situations where most, if not all, of their world was out of control.  Sometimes these kids had to raise younger siblings, or had to fend for themselves to find their next meal. Sometimes these kids had to use control and manipulation to stay safe, both physically and emotionally.  And some of these kids resorted to control as an attempt to mask their lack of trust and feed their desire to avoid being hurt, neglected, or abandoned ever again. Control is often an “all or nothing” proposition for these kids, and when they come to our homes they aren’t willing to easily give up the control they’ve worked so hard to get.

In our home we’ve decided we are going to help our kids deal with their control issues not by taking control away from them, but by sharing control with them. Share control with our kids?  Sounds crazy. After all, we are the parents so we need to show our kids that we are in control, right? The thinking goes that they need to respect our authority or everything will devolve into chaos. We followed this way of thinking for a while, but showing our kids that we were in control was NOT working. As we tried to suddenly take all the control away from them what we got in return were power struggles and the very chaos we were trying to avoid. What worked, however, was a very simple solution…compromise.

The insight that helped us grasp this approach was actually something that Dr. Karyn Purvis said – “If you as a parent share power with your children, you have proven that it’s your power to share.”  This helped me understand that I get to decide when and how much power to share when I offer my kids a compromise.  And offering compromises doesn’t mean that I lose control or give my kids all of the control.  It means that I teach them how to share power and control appropriately and by doing so, I teach them an essential skill for healthy relationships.

Here’s how a compromise works at our house:

Me: Son, please go clean your room.
Son: (who is playing a videogame) Sure mom. May I have a compromise?
Me: What’s your compromise?
Son: May I finish this level on my game and then go do it?

Since that is an acceptable middle ground I will typically say sure and let him finish the level before going to clean his room. Of course this is an ideal conversation. Often times it goes more like this:

Me: Son, please go get your room cleaned up.
Son: (who is playing a video game) Ugh!! Can’t I just finish this level first?
Me: Whoa! I don’t like that tone. Are you asking for a compromise?
Son: Yes.
Me: I’m listening.
Son: May I have a compromise?
Me: What’s your compromise?
Son: May I finish this level on my game and then go do it?
Me: Sure! That’s a good job asking for a compromise!

Learning compromises takes practice for both kids and parents.  As they learn this skill, it’s important to praise your kids when they ask for a compromise correctly (even if you have to prompt them). Still the risk remains that your child might not hold up his end of the deal.  So, as you start using compromises it’s important to remind your kids that if they don’t hold up their end of the compromise, then you won’t be able to offer as many compromises in the future.  Contrary to what I thought would happen, my kids have always held up their end of the compromise.  As a result, we have had far fewer control battles.

By using compromises our kids have learned that they have a voice. They know that I can’t always give them or agree to a compromise, but they also know that I will as often as I can.  And the funny thing is that they now are able to accept ‘no’ much better than in the past.

Remember – compromising is NOT about allowing our kids to argue or debate with us, nor is it about losing our control or giving them all of the control. It is about sharing power – our power.  Compromises give our kids a voice and allow them to RESPECTFULLY ask for what they want and need.  And compromises give us as parents the opportunity to teach our kids an important way of relating that builds trust and connection.



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May the Fourth Be With You

May 4

Photo by:Fernando Bueno (Flickr)

Confession: I’ve never seen an entire Star Wars movie. (Hard to believe, right?! It’s on my bucket list for when I can really sit down and focus on it!) But May 4 always reminds me of power!

God’s Force lives in us!

I’m grateful for that power because in the last 24 hours, it has helped me forgive a nasty comment someone made about me, choose to overlook a sin committed toward me and respond with grace instead of anger toward one of my children.

Here’s a short list of some of my favorite Bible verses that talk about God’s power.

What will you do with the power that lives in you today?

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When You Feel Weak, You’re Strong

2-corinthians-12-9Motherhood wipes me out.

I often feel unqualified, unprepared and unequipped to do this job.

And then I read these verses from 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Go ahead, read that again. I know I needed to.

Paul’s saying that God gives grace despite our weaknesses. In fact, when we’re weak, God gives us power to endure everything that comes our way.

Think about it.

When we’re energized, recharged and rested, we feel capable of taking on the world.

But when we’re drained, worn down and exhausted, there’s no way we’re doing much of anything besides ordering takeout.

This parenting gig will beat you up faster than a round inside a boxing ring with Muhammed Ali. Trust me, this past year has been filled with drama, trauma and heartache for me and my family. Many times, I felt like quitting and was certain that I would not make it out of the day alive! Yet, according to these verses, I am at my most strongest when I am weak. Those moments certainly are the times when I cry out to God for strength, wisdom and help.

May we learn today to celebrate our weaknesses. Instead of trying to be super moms who complete the to-do list by 9 AM, create three healthy, gourmet meals every single day and always know exactly what to say to our hurting kids, may we accept our limitations and cling to God’s power!

He has what we need and will make us strong despite our weaknesses.

Will you let Him work through you today?

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Make Your Home a Yell-Free Zone With Two Helpful Tools

In Everyday Use
(Photo courtesy Flickr, David Goehring)

Confession time: I’m a yeller.

I admit – I do hold my tongue many times. But when I’m pushed into a corner or feel out of control, my blood pressure rises, my voice rises and I yell.

After two pretty intense yelling episodes on Monday alone, I decided to get serious and get help.

I started by praying for wisdom. I asked God to show me how to stop yelling and to change me. Sure, I could blame my behavior on my kids, the cats or circumstances, but the bottom line is that I control whether or not I yell. If there’s an ongoing trigger, a need for control or some other root issue that increases my proclivity for yelling, I want to know about it and know how to change it!

Then, I read Facebook. My cousin and a local parenting expert shared two articles that spoke to my heart.

Get Closer

Dayna at Lemon Lime Adventures shares how getting closer can reduce 90 percent of all yelling in a classroom and a home.

I tried that tip yesterday. As my kids grew louder and louder in the playroom, I walked to them instead of standing in the kitchen yelling for them to be quiet. I saw the problem for myself and was able to deescalate the situation with calmness. We all resumed our activities with peace and goodwill rather than anger and frustration.

How often can an escalating situation be diffused by getting closer? I plan to keep practicing this tool and test it out.

Show Compassion

The second tool comes from Dr. Laura Markham at Aha Parenting. She says compassion is the key that turns off the yelling.

Too often, I expect myself to remain calm no matter what pressures I face, but that’s unloving and unrealistic. There’s only so much pressure a person can face before they pop.

When I begin to feel the pressure rise inside, I can take a breath and give myself permission to feel stressed, anxious or angry. Then, I’m able to step back and calm down before I burst.

Plus, I can apologize if I mess up. Admitting mistakes and asking for forgiveness are two essential skills I want my kids to learn, and I teach best when I model the behavior I want to see.

These two tools might not eradicate yelling from my home. However, they offer helpful steps I can take today as I strive to make my home a yell-free zone. What tools do you use to stop yelling in your home? I’d love to try them out!

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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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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?


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.


Corn on the Cob Fan, Fanatic or Frump?

I have a confession to make.

I’m not a big corn on the cob fan.

Delicious Corn on the Cob

My parents, who have grown rows of sweet corn on their farm for at least three decades, don’t understand my lack of enthusiasm for their favorite summer meal. They wonder if all the years of corn harvests affected my current taste buds.

Every summer, we picked row after row of corn and husked all those dozens of ears. I occupied myself outdoors or with a good book when my mom and grandma shooed me out of the kitchen. Here, gallons of water boiled on the stove, and every available surface was covered with cut off corn kernels and sprayed with corn juice.

I might never know why I don’t enjoy corn on the cob, but my kids sure did jump on the bandwagon. As soon as the season starts, they’re itching to sink their teeth into a juicy, sweet cob that’s loaded with melted butter. (I think rolling the freshly boiled cobs in a stick of butter make eating this vegetable even more appealing for my kids).

0802141209Despite my lack of love for corn on the cob, I bought some at my local farmers market, husked it while our four kittens watched and cooked it up for my family.

They dug right in.

I on the other hand, ate one cob so that I could say I ate fresh corn this year, and then I eagerly grabbed the dental floss. Once everyone had their fill, I cut the corn kernels off the cobs we didn’t eat and now have a nice side dish for dinner this week. Now that I’ll enjoy!

Do you have any corn picking, prepping or eating memories? If so, let me know. I’d also love to hear if you’re a corn on the cob fan, fanatic or frump. :)

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