# Daily Connoisseur # debt-free living

I'm Back! Life Updates | Jennifer L. Scott

Hello everyone, how I've missed you! I am back from my summer vacation and am renewed and excited for this new season of The Daily Connoisseur. I hope that you have had a great month and were able to spend quality time with your families.

Before this post begins, I'd like to extend my thoughts and prayers to the people of Texas who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. I hope that you and your families are safe...

In today's video, I'm sharing some major life updates that are happening in our family right now.

The first major update is... we have moved into a new home and have left Los Angeles! This may come as a big surprise to many of you who have followed me, since it seems we only just moved to our last home. We lived there for two years and loved the home, however, my husband and I have been working toward certain financial goals, which you'll hear about in today's video, that necessitated our move.

The second update is that we are spending an extended period of time in Europe this year (mainly England) to visit my husband's side of the family. Because of this, we are homeschooling our children this year. Homeschooling really frees up your time to travel as you do not have to wait for the scheduled school breaks. This has been a decision that we have studied and researched about for an entire year and not one that we have taken lightly. Thank you in advance for your supportive comments in this endeavor! For much more on the subject, be sure to watch today's video.

Lessons from Madame Chic is out in Vietnam from Bloom Press.

Today, I would love to know... what requests do you have for the upcoming season on The Daily Connoisseur? If there is anything you'd like to see, please leave your request below. If you are interested in hearing more about debt-free living, please let me know in the comment section below. Also, if any of you are homeschooling parents, please leave me your best advice down below. Your comment could be chosen as comment of the week.

It's wonderful to be back and I will see you soon!

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Shayla Deluy said...

Love this video and the topic. It came at a perfect time. Thank you for sharing.

HelenD29 said...

Hi Jennifer, welcome back! I'd love to hear about your children's wardrobes, do you 'limit' their items also? My daughter starts school in September (they wear school uniform) and I'm thinking about doing a capsule wardrobe for her for weekends and school breaks. Also, what do you do about gift giving at birthdays and Christmas? Do you give 'things' or experiences and do you have a limit of items or budget? As I get older I definitely see a benefit of experiences we can enjoy as a family instead of giving them more 'stuff'.

ICU aus B said...

Hi Jennifer
Thank you so much for your work. I am so happy that you are back and admire tbat you will post during your travels. Have a safe and wonderful trip and good luck with your homeschooling. It is incredible what you get done, you are really inspiring. And regarding the money topic in the video I have to say that I believe you can talk about everything, because you always do it in a very kind and graceful manner.
All my good wishes for you and your family

Casey said...

I"d be very interested in a debt-free living series.

Sonya said...

I would love to see more about a debt-free journey, living well while being frugal, and general inspiration for saving! Thank you!

Alicia Damron said...

I love this update! What exciting and interesting changes for your family! I'm interested in hearing about all of it. The new home, homeschooling, Europe, and debt free living...you are speaking my love language, haha! I have a huge curiosity in seeing people's homes, I was homeschooled myself and am homeschooling my two daughters, I love to travel and Europe is on my bucket list, and I'm a huge fan of Dave Ramsey and living debt free so learning how others do it keeps me motivated. I'm so looking forward to updates on all these areas. Best of luck to you on the homeschooling this year and I'll just add that I agree with you about travel being a wonderful education. Instead of seeing pictures in a book your children will get to experience Europe with all their senses!

Stephanie said...

I love hearing about making debt free living chic and would love more videos on this topic and maybe a book ;) ! Congratulations!

JeanH said...

If you're going to be visiting and traveling in England and Europe, you're going to need some cold-weather clothes in your wardrobe! :)

Jenny said...

Memoria Press has an excellent series of homeschooling books, especially their Latin curriculum.

Jill Foley said...

Yay for all of this!

I've homeschooled my two daughters from the beginning and they are now 6th and 7th graders. My advice is that when all else fails, read a book together. We actually build our homeschool around enjoying stories together and it's been fantastic.

Debt-free living is fantastic - we achieved this about 18 months ago and it's been amazing.

Jan P. said...

Hi! I homeschooled all three of my children from kindergarten to 12th grade. I loved it! My top three points on homeschooling would be: (1) read out loud to your children from classic books every day, (2) get outside and take nature walks (It's too easy to stay indoors thinking you have to get all the school work done. Life is short. See God's beauty.), and (3) make sure you take time for yourself (get your hair done, go shopping alone or with friends, or simply go off and read a book). Enjoy your stay in England. I hope you get to see beautiful areas such as the Lake District, Wales, etc.

Lillian said...

Hi Jennifer!

I listened to the first Madame Chic book (again) this summer while on various road trips to visit friends and family. The first time I had read it was two years ago, and while I believe that some of your tenets have always been central to my life (cultivate your mind, seek out the arts) there are a few areas I can see I've really made some improvement: I've made a lot of progress in controlling clutter, sticking to a skincare routine, and have really honed my sense of style with a smaller wardrobe. Being organized in those areas is not something that comes easily to me, but reading about Madame Chic gave me the permission I felt I needed to make it a priority. It's funny, because when you read your book a second time at a different phase of your life, new things begin to jump out at you. This time, I was reminded of how the Chic family - with their aristocratic upbringing and extensive means - didn't necessarily have the newest, trendiest, most updated apartment and they weren't slaves to trends in general. They had nice things that they appreciated, used, and took care of. I believe this is a key to financial success, and before you even suggested a financial series for the blog, I had considered the Madame Chic you describe a great example of financial discipline. So I would definitely enjoy a financial series on the blog. Congratulations on your move, and on your upcoming travel. I'm sure an extensive trip to Europe will be well worth the investment that you have now put yourself in the position to make. My parents took my sister and I on some amazing trips when we were young, and gave us the gift of being skilled confident travelers as adults.

Jennifer Slenk said...

Celebrating with your family as you live out debt-free living and the wonderful adventure of homeschooling. Our family homeschooled for thirteen years, six of those years literally traveling throughout the United States and Canada as missionaries. Our years homeschooling were the most precious of our lives and the Lord used that time together to create an incredible bond within our family. Praying God's richest blessings upon your family!
Wrapped in His Grace,
Jennifer Slenk

Caroline Hightower said...

I'm very excited for you and your family-I can't wait to hear all about your adventures! One of my favorite blogs, Aspiring Kennedy, could give you some fun ideas to do as a family while on your travels. She is a young American who has started a family while living abroad and travels all over Europe for work. She has tons of helpful tips. Maybe you could even do a blogger meet up? As a blog reader, it would be pretty cool to have my two favorite bloggers collaborate.

I think someone else made a comment that alluded to this but I'd love to see how traveling this year will change your ten item wardrobe.

Susan Bybee said...

Welcome back! I can't wait to see you explore these new topics.

Christina Roseman said...

Hi Jennifer,
So glad to see your beautiful face and hear your soothing voice again. Great news about your move and I look forward to seeing how you decorate. I think you will be giving your children a life experience that they will not be able to get in a "normal" school setting. I encourage you and your husband to take full advantage of this wonderful gift of being able to travel to Europe and back ...it will bring priceless memories and will be life changing for everyone I'm sure. Looking forward to sharing this with you :)

Natalie T. said...

You know what is "so not chic"? It's NOT talking about money and pretending one's financial houses are in order while secretly drowning in debt.

Taking charge of one's finances and being financially educated are tres chic in my book!

Welcome back, Jennifer. We've all missed you and I personally am thrilled about your England, Europe and homeschooling adventures. Thank you for taking us along on the ride virtually and to all the naysayers, do remember that it is NOT about you. No one is attacking you and your choices when others choose to live an alternative lifestyle - one that brings them peace, love and lasting contentment.

Rachel said...

Hi Jennifer! I enjoyed this video and am excited for you over the new changes in your family. My family has very similar goals. We have set up a debt-free life for our family, and we homeschool our three kiddos. We are three weeks into year six, and so far this year is the smoothest yet! I've learned that staying as organized as possible (down to having labeled bookshelves and plastic drawers of supplies), putting joy and in my relationships with my children as a top priority (over and above their academic achievements), and being flexible and tuned in with each child. When the long division lesson gets to be frustrating, I have learned to take breaks early and break it down into small chunks to avoid having meltdowns. Each of my kids has a certain look about them when they are starting to get to an overwhelmed place, and I stop before it progresses past that. They hear "Great work, buddy! You are really pushing yourself, and that's something to be proud of. How about you go build Legos for a while and we will work some more later when our minds are fresh." At the beginning of my homeschooling journey, I would start a lesson, and by golly we would finish it right then no.matter.what. It led to a not very joyful school experience, to say the least.

The more you reveal of yourself on your blog, the more I see that we have in common ��.

Frenchcaligirl said...

Wonderful video! What great news! You are so inspirational and I love following your life story. Looking forward to hearing all about your adventures in Europe.

Summer Smith said...

First of all, I commend you on your brave and honest post. I keep fearing you will fade in my eyes as many "stars" seem to, through my experience. However, I seem to find myself respecting you more and more and the decisions you continue to make are a part of this.

We too have been making changes to attempt to do what you are doing with the debt-free life. We started a budget several months ago and sticking to it can be very challenging because there is not much room for error. We have not been able to visit family because we can't afford it, but overall I feel that it has brought my husband and I closer and helped us to be more creative, honest and wise in our decisions. Any videos to help with that will be greatly appreciated from this home. I cannot thank you enough for your honesty.

Also, the home schooling: We made a smiliar decision several months ago too. I was very nervous about it but it is the right decision for our family. Our oldest will be homeschooled for PreSchool this year mostly because we can not afford the fees. We also look at this as an opportunity to have him under our influence another year. Which helps us to have the right values we want our children to have. Any resources, tips and advice from you and others will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for living a life that others can be encouraged by but also respect and in such a way that we can only feel happy to honor your life you are living.

Thank you very much! I am so thankful you are an example others can live by and be the encouragement so many of us need! Happy Travels!

Christina said...

What a fun adventure with moving and a long trip to England. I have been home schooling my children since kindergarten and learned so much along the way! My top advice is 1. Have certain hours of the day that you do school. We start by 9:30 at the latest. This is the time I know we need to start by to finish in time for lunch. 2. Be flexible. We do school four days a week with Wednesday off. That gives us wiggle room for appointments or things that come up unexpectedly. Also be flexible with curriculum. If you hit a wall and the reading books you picked just aren't working don't be afraid to step back and change when necessary. 3. Don't try to "do" public school at home. Homeschooling is different and I think things go better when you understand that. Have fun!!

Maureen said...

Wow, Jennifer, what exciting updates! Best of luck with homeschooling and your year of adventures abroad. I truly believe that the gifts of travel and experiences are the best gifts you can ever give your children--how wonderful.

Thank you for your willingness to share your debt-free goals with us. This is something that my husband and I are actively working toward as well. We were just discussing finances and budget last night so it's fresh on my mind. I would love to hear more about what has worked well for you and your family. There are a few blogs that I have followed for a while that I love, most of which discuss living well and budgeting, however I tend to find your general lifestyle tips the most valuable because you have a husband and kids. The other blogs that I follow are written by inspiring, awesome women, however, when they don't have a family like I do, their money messages don't resonate as deeply. You, on the other hand, have a husband and three kids and work from home. Your messages speak to me on my level. I would love to hear more!

Bon voyage, and bon chance!

Karen said...

What an interesting stage of your journey! I feel privileged that you are sharing it with us.

I would be interested in both homeschooling and debt-free living ideas. As someone above mentioned, frugal yet stylish living is a very interesting topic.

Welcome back!

Kirstin Humann Thompson said...

Welcome back! What a wonderful experience you will be giving your children, as well as yourselves.

As for topics for the coming year, you have many "older" readers/viewers too who may not necessarily have children at home but who deal with other situations/challenges. It would be nice to hear your thoughts on how Europeans live chicly while doing things like going through cancer treatment, dealing with health challenges that may impact energy or the ability to walk everyday, or even as a yound person, perhaps living with a disability that may not necessarily mean they are wheelchair bound but perhaps have an invisible disability that impacts the distances they can walk. This would be a fresh and welcome topic!

Polly said...

As I listened to your video I could hardly wait for it to be over so I could post a comment! :) What a great life update! We also live debt-free (we do have a small line of credit at a local bank that we sometimes use, and then pay it off). No mortgage, no car payments, no student loan, no credit card debt....and it is very freeing. As Forrest Gump said--it's one less thing to worry about. ;)

You are in for an exciting year homeschooling your children and traveling in Europe! We have homeschooled our children (now ages 10 and 6) from the beginning. I know it's not for every family or for every season of life, but after a decade of motherhood I say with confidence that it's the best decision we've ever made *for our family.* I love being around my children all day long. They're a joy and a pleasure. It's so fun to study nature together, to read Shakespeare together--yes, we do!--enjoy poetry, learn about history, etc.

Three top tips: 1) Live a full life, because that's what sparks a love of learning in our children--seeing adults who are interested in being alive and learning new things! (I think you do this already!); 2) Give yourself grace to rest or spend some time alone when you're feeling fatigued.....it's a marathon, not a race; and 3) Relax and trust that learning happens in a variety of ways, through books, experiences, discussions, cultural events, etc.

(My most recent writing on homeschooling is on my blog, August 16, when I talk about planning and peace. It reflects my own philosophy on learning and schooling.)

Enjoy Europe! What a gift for your family.

Alexandra said...

I am logged on as my son here, but I don't want to start over; so I'm just going to go with it. I'm so glad you're back on your blog~ I missed your posts so much! Best wishes for your new home, for your travels, and your homeschooling endeavors. I home-schooled my son for two years, from the middle of third grade to the middle of fifth grade. It was a special time to spend together. I will need to reflect on what my three tips might be and share those later. I support all your decisions, and I'm surprised that you feel you need to defend them, but then I am not a blogger!
F.Y.I., I will also be traveling in Europe next spring with my children, although for a much shorter period of time. It will be their first visit to France, which is long overdue since they're both studying French with great success. Knowing that we have this trip coming up, I've started rereading your first book to brush up on my "Paris skills". I'm enjoying it so much once again.
I believe it's very important to talk about debt free living. My husband and I have made an enormous amount of progress over the past decade, and in 3 years we will also be debt free. It takes dedication and commitment, and everyone could use moral support and tips for this endeavor. Please keep up the great work~!
Warm best,

Chelsea Burbach said...

Hi Jennifer!
Welcome back and congratulations on all your news, how fun and exciting for your family! I am a homeschooling mom of a second grader(with an almost 3 yr old underfoot, ha) in Texas. I would definitely love to hear more about your homeschool journey, especially while traveling. My best homeschooling tips for you would be to: 1. Don't stress if you don't get as much done in a day as you hoped to; we all have bad days! and 2. Don't feel guilty if you need a break. I found that was the hardest adjustment for me to make as a stay at home mom, I suddenly became both teacher and mom and that was hard to juggle initially.
Enjoy your time in England, visiting English gardens and the countryside is an ultimate "bucket list" item for me! Thank you for sharing your life and experiences with us here!

Mary Grace Metheny said...


I'm in college now, but I was homeschooled from 4th-12th grade and absolutely loved it. For my family, and just for my personality, homeschooling was such a blessing and I'm so thankful my mother had the courage (and patience) to step out and do something a little unusual for our ultimate benefit.

Whether you're just homeschooling through this one year, or continue to do so in the future, I just wanted to encourage you by saying that my experience as a homeschooled-kid was so, so sweet. My mother did many things that really encouraged our growth in education and in the social aspects (because everyone will begin to ask you how you were / are / intend to be socialized--my personal favorite: "do you have friends?"). I think of how she sought out the best sorts of extra-curricular activities for us, so we could develop skills that we wanted to pursue. I so loved, and still do, how my mother allowed my sisters and I to experience life among grownups--we were invited to dinner parties, encouraged to speak up. Homeschooling came with a lot of freedom and a depth of experiences for me, as a child.

All the best to you,
Mary Grace

Elizabeth Lukes said...

It has been wonderful to see you and your blog evolve. Best wishes with your homeschooling and travels. Maybe in a year or two you can share with us how you have adapted to suburban life and whether or not you would consider returning to the city?

Wellyboots said...

Welcome back Jennifer. You look so happy and relaxed 😎. Oh how I wish we were debt free!! Any information from you on becoming debt free would be welcome from me. Well done and good on you! X

Gigi said...

Hi Jennifer, welcome back!

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Welcome back and bravo for you to be debt free....very inspiring!
It will be fun to see England and Europe through your travels...your children will learn so much visiting other countries and the benefits of home schooling will be evident as they embrace new adventures and expand their "horizons."
Love to see more of your new home and garden.


Mary said...

Welcome back, Jennifer! Congratulations and best wishes on your new endeavors! You are truly inspiring in your pursuit for excellent living. Thank you for your transparency and for demonstrating that a quality life does not equal materialism. I look forward to hearing about financial management, home schooling, your travels, and more. Perhaps, a "Money with Madame Chic" is in the works?!

Charlene said...

So good to have you back! Congratulations on all your life changes--moving, homeschooling, traveling, and living debt-free! How wonderful! I'm excited to hear about your plans to travel and look forward to hearing about them. I lived in England many years ago for about three years and have such fond memories. I'm sure your girls will make lovely memories as they travel and get to know their relatives. Living in a different culture is such an education. I'll be interested to hear about your adventures in homeschooling as well. My children are grown now but I have grandchildren and my daughter has talked about the possibility of trying homeschooling at some point. It'll be good to hear about your experiences. I'm very impressed by all you have done this summer and what you're planning for this year and can't wait to hear about it!

Amy said...

We homeschooled all four of our children all the way through high school. Those years are so precious to me.
My top three tips are 1) The most important thing is to let your children know that they are loved. 2)Avoid trying to bring the classroom into your home, let learning be more natural, read to your children daily, teach them math and basic life skills. 3) Don't stress about it and enjoy your time with them.
All of the learning that will take place while experiencing Europe will be priceless.

Lisa McEvoy said...

I really enjoyed your video, it's great that you're back! We lived in the UK for years (Australia now) when our daughter was young and it was a wonderful experience for all of us, both for making stronger family connections and allowing her to see so many new and interesting places. I would very much like to hear more about your travels and your debt-free journey. After all - what is less chic than spiralling debt?! Any tips and knowledge you can share on this would be great. I hope you have a lovely journey :-)

Cheryl Ann said...

Jennifer, you are such a gift to those who follow you! Downsizing to live debt free is so cool and timely for many. Homeschooling your children? Fabulous idea, especially since you will be traveling. This is a great age to show your children more of the world and it will enhance their education beyond any public or private school that I'm aware of. You and your husband will see the world differently now through the eyes of your children, also. Great opportunity all around! You are my favorite young blogger and I love that you are living well & within your means. You could teach us all more about this gentle fulfilling lifestyle. Thanks so much...and many blessings!

Gentle Mama said...

I am so happy for your news.

3 homeschooling tips

1) Relax and enjoy your time with your children. They will learn so much by just being around you and they will develop new interests that they will want to investigate and learn about.

2) Dont feel pressured to follow a homeschool formula. Curriculum is a tool, not a task. Use it anyway that works for you and your family and that gives you and your children Joy.

3). When you are in England be sure to visit Ambleside where Charlotte Mason had a school. Also visit Beatrix Potter's home. Your children will learn so much from these two ladies.

May God richly bless you and your family

Robin said...

Hi, Jennifer. Congrats on homeschooling. My advice would be
1) Re-evaluate each year. What works one year might not the next.

2) Realize what works for one child might not work for your other children.

Also if you haven't heard of Read Aloud Revival, check it out when you get a chance. It can really enhance your homeschooling.

Again, congrats on all the wonderful changes in your life.

taylorcait said...

Oh Jennifer, your blog just became that much more relevant to me! I've admired you and what you stand for, and I'm excited to explore these new topics. It's been difficult for me to balance our homeschooling/simple living journey with me desire to live a chic, European inspired life. And now you are bringing that right to me :)

Homeschooling: my son is in 2nd grade, and this will be our second year homeschooling. My number one tip, especially for the first year, is to not sweat it! It would be impossible for a child to reach adulthood without learning SOMETHING along the way, even without formal teaching. So when you get overwhelmed (you will), don't even worry one bit about it. The girls are young. Even skipping school completely this year - which I know you aren't doing! - would not mean the end of the world.

Debt-free living: yes, please do a series on this! My family lives on one very small income, and we have the typical student loans/car payment/mortgage/credit card debt. Before kids, we did so well financially, and made major headway on our student loans. We have just recently begun to really tighten our belts again, and it certainly doesn't feel chic, but we know the payoff will be well worth it.

Again, thank you so much for sharing these life updates with us, and I look forward to hearing more!

Karen said...

I'm so glad that you're back with your videos! I love that you are homeschooling your kids this year so that you can travel. We lived in London for several years earlier in our marriage--such a fantastic experience! We went to Switzerland and Germany this summer for our 25th anniversary and took our kids. We had so much fun showing our kids places we'd been. I'm in my 13th year homeschooling this year!! I absolutely love it! My tips would be: read, read, read! It's amazing how much kids learn just from being read quality books and reading themselves. Museums and traveling are fantastic learning opportunities also, particularly when your children are younger. And, if something isn't working for your kids, don't be afraid to mix things up, change curriculum, methods, etc. Each child is so unique. I try to do "customized" education for each child depending on their unique bent and learning style.

Debt-free living: I love that you're on that bandwagon too, and would love to hear more about this in your journey. We also aim for debt-free living and only have a few years left on our mortgage and we will be completely debt free.

Thanks for being chic and real with all of us!

Melanie said...

I am a homeschooling mom of 5. I think the best advice is to embrace every moment and not be tied to the curriculum. They learn so much by experiences and encounters they have. These can come from all facets adventures in life or adventures in books.

I would live to see a video on what you are using for your curriculum and what homeschooling books you have read.

KarynsHouse said...

I have missed you and am so happy to have you back doing these inspiring videos! We've done public school, charter school, and homeschool with our children (now 19 & 21) and I honestly think this variety of educational methods has been a positive influence on them. All the best on your travels in Europe!

Kathryn Wind said...

Congratulations on reaching your long-sought-after goal, Jennifer! I'm so thankful you are willing to be vulnerable with us, because the more you share your life, the more I realize what a "kindred spirit" you are!

I would so love a series on debt-free living, especially living excellently while pursuing that goal. I feel like I can develop a "scarcity mindset" while working towards our own goal, and I want to live well, and live joyfully, while doing what's right for our family.

I am so eager to hear about your first year of homeschooling. My son is only 16 months, but I'm already considering homeschooling as well as other educational options! (Might be jumping the gun, but I used to work in education... what can I say, I love school!) I am particularly keen to hear about how you balance your writing work with your homeschool, as I am also a writer.

Wishing you safe and happy travels, and just know we are all so thankful for you and the light you provide in this world!

Deanna L said...

Good to have you back, Jennifer! I would love to hear more about your financial/budget decisions. Also, as you yravel I think it would be fun for you to try on various makeup and hair looks to match the current culture you are in. I think it would be fun!

Teresa said...

Jennifer, congratulations on your decision to live debt free! About 12 years ago, my husband and I also made that decision and we followed the Dave Ramsey program. I am happy to say that we were able to retire from our jobs and we are very happy. We live in a modest home in San Antonio, Texas and because we are debt free, it allows us to bless others. With the aftermath of hurricane Harvey, we are not only able to help with resources but being retired and healthy we have been able to work at the Red Cross shelter serving evacuees from the coastal areas. I look forward to hearing of your family experiences as your travel and home school.

Elizabeth Wakefield said...

I'm curious about what things you determined were "luxuries" and if giving them up was difficult. Also, as a parent to 2 small girls myself, I'm wondering if you have 10 item wardrobes for your children? and how you go about maintaining a clutter-free home with children? I'm also curious about enjoying the arts from the suburbs? Just wondering how that will change for you, if at all. We moved from a metropolitan area to a suburb and haven't attend as many events in the city as we used to, however our area has so many unique artists, performers and museums that we don't notice it. We also live very flo to a National park and have spent a lot of time exploring it.
Your changes sound very exciting and I, like many others, I'm so inspired by your ability to ascertain your desires and achieve your goals.

Lex said...

Hi Jennife!
I'm a teacher from Australia and have also recently moved house so that my husband and I can live debt free. It has taken so much stress out of my life!

I'd love to hear more about the 10 item wardrobe evolution as you move countries, how you "downsized" your belongings to live debt free (how did you choose what to keep and what to get rid of?) and how you are managing to live a good life, while living frugally.

My best tip as a teacher is to try and make learning "real" - learn about money by letting your kids buy things at the shop, learn about maps by looking at real maps when you're travelling, read stories set in the country you're living in. For example, Beatrix Potter is a great author from England and your 2nd grader might like Enid Blyton's books - she's another English children's book author.

Take care, I wish you and your family all the best with the homeschooling and travels in Europe.

Janessa said...

Love it!! We are working toward being debt free too. What a great opportunity you and your husband have created for your family! I haven't read it yet, but I bet Tsh Oxenreider's book about world schooling would interest you. Love her blog The Art of Simple. Here's a link to the book.

Congrats on all the awesomeness!!!

Katrin said...

Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful post with us. I can't wait to hear from your exciting adventures both indoors and outdoors.
Will it be possible for you to visit Rye in England? It would be so great to hear your thoughts on the original Tilling.

I wish you a fantastic season with lots of interesting experiences!


Susan Gavin said...

Hi Jennifer! Congratulations on what you have already accomplished and the upcoming journey! I look forward to hearing how you navigate the differences and "similarities" of England.
I was not able to homeschool my own children but they attended a school where there were homeschool children who came for "specials" (art, music) as well as high school level classes and sports. I think the benefits for my own children as well as those who were homeschooled were great so, my "tip" is to find opportunities to join extra-curricular activities with children of similar ages.

ilsa said...

Dear Jennifer,

First of all, thanks a lot four your blog and for sharing a "real" and extraordinary life!!! I'm so happy for your life's changes..Imsure they we'll be for the better
I'm sure yourgirls are going to enjoy their time in England.. my former husban was English..and I spent the happiest days of mylife with my "in love" family over there.. specially in the country therwas still in those years (late 80s and 90s) a sort of "old fashion"way of life that I miss nowadays..
Please if you are touring Europe and Think about coming to my town, Barcelona, it will be wonderful to help you and your familly with anything, in any way... in spite of the sadness and terror of the last two weeks is worthy a visit.
All the best and God bless you and your familly.
Warm regards from Barcelona, Spain

Woman of the House said...

Wlcome back! We homeschooled our two children, one from sixth grade through graduation and the other from kindergarten through graduation, and it was one of the best decisions we have ever made. We loved the freedom and flexibility. Homeschooling is a great choice for your family since you will be traveling this year, which will be an education all by itself. What a wonderful opportunity! My husband and I spent two weeks in London this summer and absolutely loved it. Enjoy your journey!

Top three homeschooling tips: 1) Don't compare yourself, your children, and your homeschool to others. Just do what you think is best for your situation and don't feel pressured by what other families are doing. No one knows your children like you do. 2) Don't hop from curriculum to curriculum. It's okay to switch if something is not really working, but don't be enticed by ads, gimmicks, and what other families are doing if you are happy with how things are going. 3) Read, read, read, and read some more. Read aloud, listen to audiobooks, give your kids time to read to themselves. Have a rich, literary environment in your home. Choose excellent books, not twaddle. Reading covers a multitude of homeschooling sins. :) I'm sure you will do an excellent job and your children will thrive!

Good for you for clearing your debt and living within your means! We have also made financial mistakes, but we are now debt-free. It must be especially challenging to live debt-free in California, but I admire your commitment to financial responsibility. Kudos!

Kathryn Long said...

Thanks for the update Jennifer. This is wonderful news and I pray that you and your family have a safe and fruitful time in Europe.

Thank you also for sharing about your financial goals I would love to hear more details if at all possible. This is such important information for everyone no matter the age or situation.

May God bless you.

Megan Grewe said...

How exciting! Love that you have welcomed the changes and begun your fresh beginning. We too are on the plan to be debt free.. a few years out from that goal, but definitely making decisions with that as our focus. As far as homeschooling goes, I've enjoyed listening to the Simply Living for Him podcast. She talks about their homeschool and centering their lives around Christ. Makes doing dishes or cooking dinner all the more pleasant. Thank you for sharing your life with us. It is always a joy to hear your thoughts!

Annette Robinson said...

Bravo, Jennifer! Living debt free is the ultimate in living a life of excellence. Thank you for sharing this information as I'm sure so many of your readers would love to experience that freedom also.

Kira McGarrett said...

The interesting challenge is living an excellent meaningful life without being extravagant and living beyond your means. Being crushed by debt is not chic!

Lilac Love said...

I would love to see a series on debt free living. Although my circumstances are different, I am a newly single parent, I am older (51) and I still have young children at home. I would love any and all suggestions on living debt free/fugally while still doing fun things with my young kids, saving for my retirement, and living a good life.

Amanda said...

Hello, Jennifer! Congratulations on reaching your goal! My husband and I took the Dave Ramsay financial peace university course shortly after we were married and feel that it was one of the best decisions we've made. It feels so good to not have financial worries! We also have taken an extended time in Europe. Over a year now! Its the best and you will learn so much this year. i don't know anything about homeschooling but the public schools in France are amazing if you want to try it out for a few weeks. Our blog is thegreatwideanywhere.com I wish you all the best, and if you're ever in Geneva we'd be love to meet up for a play date. :)

Bridget said...

Congrats on everything! I second the request for children living with less (toys, clothes etc.) and what to do about gift giving from family/friends.

Donna Stratton said...

Hi Jennifer, you've covered such an important subject in this video. Congratulations on being debt free. This is the way we have always tried to live and now we are retired able to enjoy our lives and support causes dear to our hearts. I just wish that personal finance was taught in schools so that youngsters don't fall into the debt trap thinking that they have to have everything that everyone else has. Of course many who look like they have everything are in fact in debt. I know in America you have people like Dave Ramsey but we don't seem to have anyone beating that drum here in the UK. I think a series on living debt free would be great and fits beautifully wih the values you talk about in your Madame Chic series. Hope you are really happy in your new home.

Donna Stratton said...

Hi Jennifer, you've covered such an important subject in this video. Congratulations on being debt free. This is the way we have always tried to live and now we are retired able to enjoy our lives and support causes dear to our hearts. I just wish that personal finance was taught in schools so that youngsters don't fall into the debt trap thinking that they have to have everything that everyone else has. Of course many who look like they have everything are in fact in debt. I know in America you have people like Dave Ramsey but we don't seem to have anyone beating that drum here in the UK. I think a series on living debt free would be great and fits beautifully wih the values you talk about in your Madame Chic series. Hope you are really happy in your new home.

Anna said...


I would love to hear more about debt free living. I think this is a very chic subject indeed! I also homeschool. We have started My Father's World curriculum and we are liking it so far! I have also heard good things about Simply Charlotte Mason but the idea that I have to schedule all the lessons myself is a little intimidating to me. I love the Charlotte Mason approach. I would love to hear about the curriculum you have chosen!

The Mann Fam said...

So excited for your little family. I homeschooled my kidlets from grade school on through high school graduation. Some tips I have are to read. Read classics. Read books that bring the subjects your kidlets are learning about, the people, places, principles, to life for them. It will make it more meaningful. I had help with courses through independent study and community college when they got older. Also for yourself read Charlotte Mason's approach on homeschooling and incorporate those things that feel right for you and your girls.

So proud of you for being debt free. We're close to retirement almost debt free. I wish I we had made the effort to live that way much sooner in our lives. I'm glad there are bloggers who share their experiences to help other young people to follow. There is so much freedom in being debt free. Unfortunately the world would have you feel otherwise. Interest never sleeps, goes on holiday or believes in national hoidays.

I just started following you before you took your summer break. I've already read through your first book and have the other two. Glad you're back sharing with us.

wholeheartedmom said...

Great update! I'm so excited for you and your family! Homeschoolng changed my life. I intended to homeschool 1 son for 1 year and it turned into homeschooling 10 children for 34 years, with about 5 years left to go. It's been a dream life (except when it wasn't hahaha) We've been fortunate to homeschool through Europe, also. History and art especially came alive for us there.

My three top hs-ing tips:
1) Don't try to replicate school at home.
2) Early elementary is all about learning to love learning.
3) You're a mom first, teacher second.

I completely second a previous commenter's tips of reading aloud daily and taking care of yourself.

Gumbo Lily said...

Congratulations on your move into a new, debt-free home and life. And also, congratulations on choosing the "home school life." It really is a way-of-life more than anything else. I homeschooled our 5 children from K-12 and loved it. My three married children are homeschooling their children now which is exciting for me to experience with them. Just the other day my 9 year old granddaughter (and neighbor) said to her mom, "Grammy says that we don't have to be in school to learn. We learn all the time!"

Three top homeschooling tips:
Children are curious, natural learners so let them learn everywhere and at all times.
Always keep in perspective WHY you have chosen to home school.
Try, as best as you can, to keep learning joyful and not drudgery.

So glad to "see" you again, Jennifer! I've missed you too. Blessings on your travels.

Debbie Burns said...

Good for you! I love that you are traveling with your family and educating them as you see fit. Even though I work in the public school system I don't think there is one set way to educate children. I wish my family would have had an opportunity to do something like this when they were younger. With 2 very active high schoolers and jobs that keep us firmly in the US I'll have to live vicariously through you! We also live a debt-free lifestyle (except our mortgage, which we are working on) and it is so freeing. Although I initially stayed home when my children were young and have been back in the work force for 10 years we have continued to live on one income all this time. This has enabled us to travel, make major home improvements, and purchase a camper without incurring any debt. I would love to know which debt free living/minimalism bloggers you follow and see more posts about this way of living. Enjoy your time in Europe!

Patricia said...

Jennifer, I've followed your blog since just before you became pregnant with your second daughter and love it. I missed your blog while you'd taken some time away, but it's well deserved, obviously. I'm so excited for you, your husband, and your children. I can't wait to share your family's upcoming adventures through your videos. Congratulations on those experiences your family will remember and savor all of your lives; your new home, and also finding yourselves successful in your goal to live a "debt free" life. My husband and I made that a goal many years ago, finally succeeded, and have continued on that path. Problems in living life arise for all of us, but ridding yourself of creditors helps you to breathe freer and stronger to deal with whatever else life throws at you.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Ladies, I'm truly blown away by your supportive comments. I thank you so much for taking the time to not only read the blog and watch the videos, but to leave your thoughtful input here. Thank you to all of the homeschool moms who have given me such wonderful advice. I truly appreciate you! With love, Jennifer

Gerty and Stripes said...

Congratulations. Refreashingly honest. Enjoy the new adventures with your loved ones, that is something truely priceless.

Domestic Engineer said...

Congratulations! My husband and I are also living in the U.K. for a few years for his job. While I wish we could have done it when the kids were little, we are enjoying it just the two of us with one child in college and another with her first job in the states. I can't wait for them to come visit at Christmas when I can share my love for England with them. We have taken them overseas for a few weeks at a time but never to live. It is a fabulous experience! Cheers and welcome to the U.K! 🇬🇧

mymello said...

Your debt free living could not come at a better time for myself. I actually had my husband watch this video with me because we began budgeting 4 months ago to become debt free. We have never carried a consumer credit card debt and I would say that we are very conscientious about finances but for some reason we just accepted carrying car and home debt because 0% (cars) and 3.75% (home) seemed okay to do BUT we figured out that if we just took 10% of our income and reallocated it from spending to debt repayment we would be debt free in just over 4 years. I'm excited to see more posts on this. It is always chic to manage your life whether be it finances, home management, or health. Keep up the great posting.

Edna Grace Cubillos said...

Hi Jennifer!

So glad to see you back :-) What an exciting season in your life, for sure!

Like many others here, we too are striving to live debt-free, and I'm glad that you've started the discussion. And as for the homeschooling, well, I personally couldn't be more happy for you!

We have homeschooled our three children over a span of fourteen years, and all three of them had entirely different experiences from it. All of it was amazing. Many were surprised when we made the choice to homeschool, since I worked as a teacher at the time, and many didn't understand why we would choose to educate our children at home. But we did not let any of that distract us, we knew what our educational goals for our children were, and we stuck to them. How wonderful it is to have the freedom to educate your children AND travel. Your children will benefit so much from this, and you will look back at this season with so much joy!

My advice to you would be the same as just about everyone else's advice here, so I don't want to be redundant. BUT I will say, that when you're all done with this first year of homeschooling, you will discover so many new things about your children that you wouldn't necessarily have if they stayed in traditional school, and you just might decide that continuing to homeschool could be the way to go for your family. As an aside, I homeschooled my oldest (now 26) during kindergarten and middle school only, my middle child (21) for the full twelve years, and my youngest (16) from K to 8th. All three are amazing individuals, and all three are pursuing their life's passions. These are exciting times for your family!

Thank you for including us in your journey and I am so looking forward to what lies ahead. AND for the Mapp and Lucia book club! ;-)


Edna Grace

Katrina Holte said...

I love all this!! I adore your books and as my husband and I were homeschooled, I highly recommend it for an excellent education.

I have been wishing for a while that you would do a video or two about how you met your husband and about your wedding. Our culture doesn't celebrate marriage enough and that would be fascinating to heat your story. It seems that the two of you are so well matched, and that you have so many similar interests to your mother in law (ballet, arts, dressing well, etc). I'd be fascinated to hear anything about your trip to England, too! I've spent some time over there and I'm a complete Anglophile.

Thank you for all your inspiring videos!
Katrina Holte

Grace Wu said...

Hi, Jennifer,

Welcome back! Congrats on moving into a new home! Hope you found some time to rest and relax after this hardwork.

My friend Lillian and I are both moms of a 4th grader living in Taipei, Taiwan. She has followed you closely and even practices your 10-item wardrobes, the minimalist lifestyle, and others. I immediately subscribed to your Youtube channel after she first recommended it to me and have enjoyed what you shared. It always helps me to reflect my value on daily doings. Thank you for your work!

I'd be very interested in the debt-free living topic in the following aspects if you feel free to share:

1. Discussion and decision making process as a couple
2. How to come up with a plan that actually led you to achieve the goal step by step
3. Barriers that you needed to overcome in the process
4. How to prepare "everyone" in the house (or outside your house) to start living the new lifestyle which may requires some daily adjustments in almost all angles in life. Is there any particular thing you decided not to cut back at all?
5. How you and your husband plan to manage the debt-free living forward to stay on track

Sorry, it seems a lot to ask already but I am afraid I am also very curious about how to start homeschooling. My husband will have served 25 years in his job to warrant a retirement in 3 years. One of my dreams is that we can travel the world together after his retirement or even bring our child to live abroad briefly. Other than debt-free living, your
homeschooling experience will definitely be very useful to me making my dream come true someday!

Thank you for your inspiring videos and for reading my long comments. Have a wonderful trip in Europe!

All the Best from Taiwan 🇹🇼
Grace Wu

Amanda Garcia said...

Welcome back! Congratulations on your life updates! I'm so very happy for you! I would love to hear more about debt free living. I wish you all the best in your travels.

Best wishes!

Sheri said...

Hi Jennifer,

I wondered if we could definitely hear more about 10-item wardrobe building, makeup and hairstyles, french meal and menu ideas, french way to manage weight, and also definitely hear more about your journey to living debt-free!! I know that is a lot to request, but always love your video messages and books. Can't wait to see what's next!! Thank you and God bless you!

Linda said...

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you for bringing up such important subjects. Both my husband and I were raised by parents who taught us never to take on debts if we could avoid it, and I'm more grateful for their advice than ever.

A year ago, I got serious health problems and at the same time both my husband and I lost our jobs. It was a horrible blow. But. We had no debts, and as we already led a simple life, we did not have many expenses to cover each month. We lived in a modest apartment and we had invested in quality clothes (partly thanks to your inspiration), so we didn't really need much. Also, we had been able to save some money for a rainy day, and that day had indeed arrived. We knew we had enough money to see us through at least a year, and that was such a comfort.

Now, a year later, we're finally back on our feet. My husband got a new job, and I started to work as a freelancer, which had always been my dream. Business was slow at first, but now I'm actually turning offers down because I'm so busy.

It has been a tough year, but we're more determined than ever to keep our lives simple and to live within our means. There is so much you can enjoy in life when you have peace of mind.


fourkid said...

We have homeschooled for over 25 years (our 4 children graduated from our homeschool) - I am now helping to homeschool a 2nd generation with the Grands.

Top 3 tips: 1.) Homeschool is NOT school at home. 2.) Do all the subjects together no matter the grade - except for math and phonics. Those are incremental and have to be done at the child's own pace. 3.) Have fun every day.

If you ever get stuck or have questions - I have been helping and counseling homeschool moms for almost all of those 25+ years - feel free to ask me anything about home education. ;)
fourkid @ mindspring (dot) com

Vicki Zimmerman said...

Wow! So many life changes, yet such wonderful ones. To be able to immerse your family's life in Europe with family, friends and culture abroad is an extraordinary opportunity for everyone. Yes! I am most interested in debt-free living and how you and your husband did it. You mention that you made huge mistakes and also wise decisions over the course of your 11-year marriage and I am intrigued in learning how you changed the focus with these wise decisions to get to this point? In regard to The Daily Connoisseur philosophy, I am also most interested in seeing how you make these budget-friendly or more frugal choices to enjoy the refined art of daily living, stay within your budget and remain debt-free. It's never too much TMI for me. That's what makes you so wonderfully human and interesting. Plus, it helps many. Finally, and I hope it is revealed down the road, because I adore you and simply like to enjoy walking in your fine company, is to know where, generally, you live in the suburbs, because I know living in Newport Beach, that no matter how far or near one moves, real estate and property values are high everywhere here in California. I'm happy you found a place to meet your needs. I truly admire what you and your husband have done for yourselves and your family. This is a remarkable road you're on and I'm a huge fan.

Eija said...

Thank your for this video, and I would love to hear more about the debt free living!

Stephen Larkin said...

Hi Jennifer!
How exciting...everything you shared! If you visit Athens Greece would love to take you around! We have two girls about your girls' ages. I think this comment will show under my husband, ignore that :)

Scott -Kathy Wilson said...

Thanks for sharing. I would love to hear all about your homeschooling and debt- free living.

Jessica Lung said...


I've been reading your books and blog since I was 23. I am now 27 and just graduated law school. I have students loans and I am still searching for a job. I love clothing, beauty products, and travel, but I am determined to pay off my loans by my 30th birthday (3 years). Please post more videos about getting out of debt while still living an "excellent life".

Thank you for your openness and courage.


Polly F. said...

Thank you for sharing your life with us. I applaud your courage for taking the steps toward your life goals, and I absolutely look forward to seeing new videos about what it is like to live in England!

Jen said...

Congratulations, from another debt-free homeschooling mom! The feeling of freedom with being debt-free is hard to describe, but so worth the effort and the wait. I also have a second grader and kindergartener (plus two younger kids), and I agree it is both fun and really not overwhelming at this stage. I think you will also love what the experience does for sibling relationships. What a wonderful opportunity to travel like this! I'm so very happy for you, and look forward to seeing and reading whatever you share on all of this. Thanks for your work! It is so encouraging.

Jessica Schneidereit said...

Does debt free also mean mortgage free? We are trying to whittle away, just wish our medical, dental and veterinary costs would "get the memo." 🤑

Sharon Wilson said...

Thank you for sharing. My family - daughters who are married and my son are following the same ideas - debt free and my girls (they are twins) are home schooling their children. They are using the Charlotte Mason schooling method - teaching through literature. By the way, Charlotte started this method I believe in the early 1800's teaching farm children by going home to home. She felt everyone should have access to the same education. We are all very excited about the education of our grandkids. Eventually I will be their music and vocal teacher. Love my 6 grand loves. 6 under the age of 6. Just want to eat them up. My daughters will be homeschooling as a group effort. How exciting to wxtch these 6 beautiful kids grow and learn together. Prayers and thoughts as you do all you do that you and do not lose heart. You've got this!

Sharon Wilson said...

Charlotte Mason is from England.

Betsy said...

Another debt free and homeschooling mom from North Texas here! Our kids are older now ( two in college and one graduated from college) and looking back I am so glad we homeschooled. ( A good part of those years our kids attended a classical Christian school two days a week, they called it a university model , and we homeschooled the others days in which they completed their assignments. In their upper grade years we went back to homeschooling for financial reasons , but made use of many homeschool coops in our area for higher math, science, foreign language , sports, etc. My best advice is to get involved in a support group in your community and online. You will get lots of advice and ideas from other homeschool moms and dads. Our area even has many homeschool cotillions and a HUGE prom that is amazing.

Pray a lot and trust in God to lead you and your husband and you will reap so many rewards, benefits and blessings.

School of the Modern Home said...

Congratulations. Bold and rewarding choices. My homeschool experience came to a close last school year, as my youngest entered college. My 3 tips: savour every moment, hang on to the curriculum (those folks know what they're doing) and find a standardized test for your children to take, an outside source to verify they're growth.
Powerful stuff, the debt free life. Congratulations again.

Elise Claiborn said...

Jennifer, this video est magnifique! My husband and I are on our own path towards being debt-free, and it makes me so happy to see that you have done the same, as I have followed you for years.

Thank you for using your influence to bring up this subject. Les francais may not talk about money, but they're silly about some things :)

Merci beaucoup et bonne vacances!


Unknown said...

Congratulations on so many exciting life changes. We are entering our 15th year of home schooling. I am so thankful we chose this lifestyle, though I must admit, we didn't really set out to do it and we really did not realize the beauty of it at the time. But, now we could not imagine a different lifestyle.
What a wonderful education your children will receive by traveling with you. And the family bonding that occurs by home educuating is such a blessing. Enjoy. I have many resources and trial and error has given me much information. I am happy to share with you if you have any specific questions or if little wrinkles come up and you are unsure what may work to iron them out.
Blessing to you on your new endeavor.
Benita Wicks

Anna Wegner said...

Congratulations on your changes. While not everyone considers it appropriate to talk about money, I think it's more about how you do it. You are sharing part of your story, being open and honest. Many people may want to have the same goal and not know how to reach it. You can be an encouragement to them.

We're starting our 8th year of homeschooling. We started in the public school system in the US, then Canada. When we moved to Africa, homeschooling was necessary. I thought it was necessary, but didn't realize how much I would enjoy it. There are many benefits, but one of the best for us has been the flexibility of traveling as a family.

My top 3 tips for homeschool would be:
1) Work on behavior first, academics second. Someone told me this before I started, and it has been invaluable. Not that my kids are bad, but they are kids. The day goes much more smoothly when you are all on the same page about expectations.
2) Don't try to recreate the classroom. You can get your work done in a much shorter amount of time than a traditional classroom. Lots of learning can happen outside the classroom, too. Have fun with it!
3) Have fun! Don't take it too seriously. Do things you enjoy, and let your kids follow their interests.

Christina Aranda said...

Your video about "adulting" put into words several things I have noticed, but not necessarily connected. When I was little, I sometimes traveled with my grandparents- we dressed up to go to the airport and ride on a plane. We also dressed up for holidays, dinners out, going to the theater, etc. Occasions are only special if you treat them as special! I think dressing appropriately for any event shows respect and appreciation. As an example, once or twice a year (depending on finances and the price of tickets), my family goes to a play at the theater. Unless it is $10 tickets for a high school production, we all dress up. Actually, I even dress a bit for the high school plays. Many people still dress up for theater, but there are always those who show up in jeans, or even sweats. It diminishes the occasion for everyone who looks at them, it shows me they don't care about all the work the actors and theater company put into this, or the efforts and sacrifices other theater-goers made to be there. I picture these people daring professors to teach them anything in college classes, or tossing the bills aside when their favorite tv show comes on.

Maybe part of the problem comes from the old perception that adults didn't have any fun. Once upon a time adults looked so serious all the time, like their lives were strict and boring. Acting like an adult does not mean that, it just means that you know when you need to be responsible, and when you have time to relax. Both times can be fun and rewarding. And at all times, "dressing like an adult" (love that phrase!), shows you are conscientious about who you are and respectful of others.