Just Being Us

Just Being Us
Family, where we can be real, and feel unconditional love!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women

     My daughter, who is 11, has always loved spending personal time with Jesus.  I can remember when she was just 3 years old, finding her on her bedroom floor "reading" her little toddler Bible.  She would carry it around with her and tell everyone how much she loved it.  Now that she is almost a teen, when I see her reading her Bible and doing her devotions, my heart fills with such joy.  I know that she really loves her Savior.  She chooses to spend time with Him. She wants to follow Him. When we were chosen to receive and review Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women from Zondervan, we were excited! She couldn't wait to get it and begin reading it.  

     We were so amazed when it arrived in the mail. It is so pretty.  This hardback book has 365 devotionals that are designed to inspire our young women to be who God designed them to be.  The stories will feature women from the Bible and will help guide them through the many pressures and changes that they will face as women of God.  The colorful pages have a Bible verse to begin each devotional and then a place at the bottom for notes and thoughts on what you have read that day. 

     My daughter and I started reading this together and right away I could see that it was touching her heart.  When I asked her how she felt about it this was what she said: 
     " I feel like this book is teaching me why God designed me the way I am.  He made women to be strong yet compassionate.  He wants us to love others and show Him to them through the lives we live. I feel it's okay to be me.  I don't have to change myself in order to live up to the world's expectations. I just want to please God."

     We have only had this book for about a month or so, yet she is learning so much from it.  Her heart is open to what the Lord has for her as a young woman.  She isn't afraid to be who God wants her to be.  She is more concerned with how God sees her than how the world does.  She knows that God made her in His image and that His plans for her are greater than any plans she could make for herself.  What an awesome gift this is for her!  I pray that she continues to see herself in this manner.  

     If you have a teen or pre-teen daughter, niece, granddaughter, or friend, I would highly encourage you to purchase this devotional for them.  The writer, Lindsay A. Franklin, has done an awesome job showing God's design for women.  This devotional truly inspires women to be all that God has made them to be!  

     If you would like to learn more about this devotional and other products by Zondervan, please check out their website or their social media pages listed below: 

     We also have more reviews of this devotional here 

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women {Zondervan Review}
Have a blessed weekend!!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Preparing Our Hearts {Free Mini-Workbook for Christmas}


 It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, but I believe we need to take time out to focus on the real reason for this time.   Jesus came to earth as a tiny baby and we need to remember that is why we rejoice at Christmas, but that is only part of the good news.  The rest of the story is the fact that He came to die for our sins.  He chose to enter our world, live among us, and then He chose to die on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven. His sacrifice took the penalty for our transgressions.  He conquered death so that we might have eternal life with Him and He only asks that we believe on Him.

      His amazing grace brings both joy and sorrow to my life.  I am so thankful that He pours out His grace on me everyday, but I am sad that I have trouble extending this same grace to others.  I want so much to be more like our Savior.  My prayer is that I can love on others like He does  I want to show His love through the way I live my daily life.

     As this wonderful holiday approaches, I find myself wanting more and more of Him.  I love spending time with my family and watching them enjoy the joy that this season brings, but I don't want to lose sight of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I want Him to be at the center of our home and our main focus this month.

     I have some great activities planned for the kiddos this month to remind them of His love and wonderful gift of salvation that began with the day He was born.

    We are doing an Advent study with a different theme each week.  The first week we focused on hope. We will also be studying love, joy and peace. It keeps our hearts centered on Christ.  

    We also love our going through our names of Jesus ornaments. We look up the verses where these names are found.  It is all about keeping our eyes on Him.

    What are you doing to proclaim Him?  How will you show Him glory and laud this month? Do you have family traditions that keep you focused on Christ? 

           I have made a mini-workbook for you to download and print for use in your homes this season.  I hope it blesses you!  

To download this study, just click the link below the image.

Friday, November 9, 2018

FREE Veterans Day Printables!!!


    Veteran's Day is coming up soon,  so I wanted to give you a free PDF to download and print. It's important for our children to understand why we take days to honor our soldiers past, present, and future. 

     Each day we must pray for those who fight for our freedoms and who sacrifice so much to do so. Some gave their very lives in order to give us the freedoms we have today. We need to love, support and encourage our military men and women. 

    Along with the free PDF, I have a challenge for you.  Find a way to thank a Veteran this weekend. Get creative!  If you personally know a Veteran, do something special for them.  If you don't, find a way to honor them today or tomorrow. One way to show your gratefulness is by making a contribution to an organization that helps our Veterans.  Be sure to do your research! I hope you will accept my challenge.  Have a blessed weekend!!!!!

To download this PDF file, just click on the link below the image.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW: Our Review of Master Kitz The Starry Night

     Our daughter loves art.  After school, you will always find her doing something creative with her time.  She loves to draw, paint, sculpt, and do DIY projects she finds on the internet.  She was so excited when we were chosen to receive and review Master Kitz The Starry Night from Kidzaw.com.  We have never used a kit like this before, and were thrilled to be able to work through it.  

     When the kit arrived in the mail, I grabbed a quick picture of her with it and off to the kitchen she went.  She couldn't wait to open it and get started.  The easy to follow directions made this a creation she could do on her own without any help from mom.  She opened up the box to find: 
  • 3 different colors of paint
  • A customized Van Gogh paint roller
  • 5 Oil pastels 
  • 2 pieces of large art paper (16" x 20")
  • A customized stencil for this project
  • A sponge roller
  • Star mask sticker sheet
  • Van Gogh learning materials
     All these items come in a wonderful little box that can be used again and again to keep your art supplies safe and in one spot.  

     It didn't take her very long to begin to put the project together. She read the instructions then began to work on the painting. I sat with her so I could watch her little mind at work.  She started by taping down the art paper provided with the kit.  Our kitchen table is safe to do any craft you want, so she wasn't worried about her art space.

     After taping the paper, she placed the star mask stickers on to the designated areas of the project. She then got out the paint needed and the foam roller. It didn't take her long to get a very beautiful painting that would soon change into something even more fabulous.  Once the paint dried, she removed the star stickers.  It wasn't too hard, but did require some patience.  
    After placing the stencil onto the painting and taping it down so it didn't move around, she rolled on the black paint.  When she was sure it was dried and safe to remove, she peeled off the stencil and was surprised to see that it worked perfectly.  Some stencils we have used in the past didn't work as well as this one.  I have to say I was thrilled with the outcome.  

     After it sat overnight to be certain the paint was completely dry, she put on her finishing touches with the oil pastels.  She didn't want it to be just like Van Gogh's painting, so she did her own thing. She's funny like that.  Below is her finished painting. I think it turned out great! She had so much fun doing this and I had a lot of fun watching her.

     Do you have a little artist in your family that loves to paint?  Are they ages 3 and up? This may just be the kit for you!!!  Master Kitz The Starry Night is a great way to begin your painting experience.  I encourage you to check out their website along with their social media pages listed below: 

     We also have more reviews for you to read over here 

Master Kitz The Starry Night {Kidzaw.com Reviews}

Friday, November 2, 2018

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Balancing Diapers and Deadlines

     I don't know about you, but sometimes it can get very difficult to balance my work life with everything else I need to get done at home. When you leave your home to work, you can separate these two quite easily, but when you are at home and seeing things that need done there on a daily basis, it's hard to balance it all.  That is why when I was chosen to receive and review Balancing Diapers and Deadlines by Lisa Tanner Writing, I was very excited.  I couldn't wait to read how she has managed her home life with her home business for so many years.  
     Lisa Tanner is a homeschooling mom of 8 amazing kids.  She also works from home by doing freelance writing and a few other things to help pay the household bills.  I bet you are thinking... HOW DOES SHE DO IT ALL?  I can barely get my housework done and take care of the kids?  Well that is what this online course is all about.  It will help teach you how to balance it all. The course includes 30 lessons that are broken down into 8 sessions.  Here is what you can expect: 
  • Welcome to Balancing Diapers and Deadlines
  • Building Your Foundation with the Basics
  • Minimize Your Decisions
  • Minimize Your Decisions: The Annual Meal Plan
  • Sustainable Growth
  • Growing a Business with Your Kids Around
  • Boost Your Productivity
  • Closing Thoughts
     With each session, you will also get worksheets and ways to implement what is being taught.  Once you begin these sessions you won't want to stop.  So much wonderful advice and suggestions! 

      I have been homeschooling for over 20 years and trying to run a home business for the last few years.  Sometimes I could just pull my hair out trying to manage it all, but after taking this course, I feel more empowered to accomplish everything. Her encouragement is astounding. She is real and honest!  Just what I needed to reboot how I do things around here. The meal planning alone will change your life!!!!

     Have you wanted to supplement your family's income? Have you thought about making money to help send your children to college? Well with this course, you will be able to learn techniques that will help you make it happen. You won't be overwhelmed by the idea anymore.  Lisa will help walk you through the steps of starting and maintaining a home business, but also be able to take care of your children and home.  I know I will continue to use what I learned from this course for years to come.

     I encourage you to check out her website to see this course along with other wonderful products.  You can also check her out on these social media pages: 

     We have more reviews for you over here

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines {Lisa Tanner Writing Reviews}


Friday, October 19, 2018

What If.....


     Yesterday I read a sign that said, “What if we only woke up with what we thanked God for yesterday?”  I know I have seen this quote before, but this time when I read it, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  It was almost immediately convicted of the way I complain about blessings that the Lord has given to us.  Instead of being thankful for what He has provided, I grumble because I must take care of these things. 

     For instance, when I complain about washing dishes, I am taking for granted the fact we have food to eat on them.  When I complain about washing our clothes, I am forgetting that there are many who would love to have our clothing to wear.  When I moan about doing errands, I am saying that I am not thankful for the van we drive and the money to purchase items we need.  Have you ever really thought about that?

     Next month is Thanksgiving. I have decided to take the rest of this month and next to write out things I am thankful for.  Even the little things like a hot cup of tea to warm me when it's cold outside is something to be grateful for.  What if we decided to express our gratitude instead of complaining?  How do you think that would change our days... weeks... months?  I think it would be life changing.

     So the next time you feel like grumbling, speak life instead.  Look around you.  Find something to be thankful for.  Stop and pray and show God how incredibly grateful you are for the things He has given to you.  Stop dwelling on what you don't have and begin praising God for what you do have. There are so many people who would love to have the blessings we have and yet we still gripe and moan about caring for the things we are fortunate to have.  

     I am going to focus on being positive and thankful.  Won't you join me? 

This is the verse I will think on every time
I am tempted to complain.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW: Our Review of St. Bartholomew's Eve

     Our family has become fans of the G.A. Henty audio dramas over the last year.  We were just thrilled when we were chosen to receive and review their newest production titled St. Bartholomew's Eve by Heirloom Audio.  We couldn't wait to receive our CD's in the mail.  I think our son wore a path to the mailbox waiting for them to come. 

    Heirloom Audio has taken audio dramas to new heights.  These stories are not only exciting, they encourage your children to use their imaginations.  They bring you right to the time period by using amazing actors and sound effects.  I can't explain how wonderful they are, and they are not just for kids.  Adults will love them as well.  I love the fact that they teach morals, values, and godly character.  As a parent that is very important to me.

     I could go on and on, but instead I have asked my 18 year old son Ryan to give you his opinion of these audios and a look into what St. Bartholomew's Eve is all about.  Here is what he had to say....

     St. Bartholomew's Eve is an amazing story. The voice acting made you feel like you were  a part of the adventure.  I love these Heirloom Audio productions. You know you will never be disappointed by the quality of them. These are stories I think every Christian should listen to.  It reminds us of how lucky we are to live in this country where we have the freedom to worship God. While there are some intense scenes in these audios, I don’t believe it is to rough for younger children.  I am not a young child anymore, but I enjoyed this a lot, and I think adults and children alike will enjoy this. I am a bit of a History nut.  I love different parts of history, including the era this story is set in. G.A Henty really was one of the best story tellers of historical events and Heirloom Audio preserves that. 

       Now, let me tell you a little bit about the story. The story starts out with a young man named Philip Fletcher, who is from England, visiting family in France.  He is there to help the Huguenots, a group of people seeking religious freedom. During this time period in France, you were only allowed to worship God as the traditional Catholics did.  

     As the story progresses, Philip gets close to his cousin, they become like brothers, fighting along side one another. As you get further into the drama, you will see it is full of twists and turns, showing people that even though it may cost them everything including their lives, serving the Lord is worth it. As a matter of fact at one part of the story all seems lost for the Huguenots, even though they were quite possibly about to die, they all sing a song of praise to the Lord. It brought tears to my eyes as I imagined what this scene would look like.  

    While there is plenty of  action throughout the story, they also include some emotional scenes. The characters and places are brought to life as you listen to this story. I couldn't stop listening and will listen to it again. 

     Wow, I don't think I could have said it any better.  You can tell my son is passionate about history and these audios.  His heart is soft and as he listens, he puts himself right there in the story.  Heirloom Audio makes it easy to get caught up in the story and I think that is awesome!  

     I encourage you to check out this audio as well as their others on their website or on their social media pages listed below: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeirloomAudio
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeirloomStories
Google+: https://goo.gl/d8btpX
Instagram: @HeirloomAudioOfficial

       We also have some more review for you to read over here 

St. Bartholomew's Eve {Heirloom Audio Reviews}

     I would also like to share our other reviews of Heirloom Audio from our blog page.  Just click the links below to see what other adventures we have been able to review over the past year or so. As you read these reviews, you will see that right from the start, we loved these audio dramas and will continue to listen to them in the years to come.
Our Review of Wulf the Saxon
Our Review of In The Reign of Terror


Friday, October 12, 2018

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW: Our Review of Season 6: Underground Rising from Brinkman Adventures

     Our family loves audio books and dramas.  We listen to them all the time while cooking, cleaning or while out driving doing errands or taking a trip. We are always excited to get new ones to listen to. so when we were chosen to receive and review the digital version of Season 6: Underground Rising from  Brinkman Adventures, we were very happy and couldn't wait to listen to them.  

     Last year we were given Season 4 of the Brinkman Adventures and we just fell in love with these amazing stories. Each are unique and help us learn how important it is to share our faith with others.  I believe they inspire us to become missionaries right where the Lord has us. We are here for a purpose and God wants us to spread the gospel near and far.

   As you listen, you will hear real stories told through the eyes of the fictional Brinkman family.  Each episode is about 25 to 30 minutes in length and will keep your interest. 

     Season 6 includes 6 episodes: 
  • Dutch Underground Part 1
  • Dutch Underground Part 2
  • Twice Born Fly
  • I Wonder Why
  • Free Burma Rangers Part 1
  • Free Burma Rangers Part 2
     In these adventures, you will use your imagination as you soar back to the time of World War 2 in the Netherlands, learn what it's like to serve as missionaries in India, and finally you will see what life was like for a Green Beret as he and his wife share the love of Christ in Burma.  

     As we listened to these stories, based on true events, our hearts were touched. My son Ryan made the comment that everyone should hear these stories so they can realize how awesome God is and how He can change lives through others. We were all brought to tears on more than one occasion as we listened to these episodes.  The sacrifice and dedication of these individuals allowed God to work in the lives of many.  

     Twice Born Fly was my favorite episode. We all have fear.  Some are afraid of the dark, others are afraid of spiders, and some are afraid of flying like Charlie in this episode.  What we forget is that if we are saved, not even death can separate us from our Savior.  It reminded me of the verse in Psalms.  The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? ~ Psalm 118:6   God will always be there for us.  He will never leave us.  We do not have to fear ANYTHING!!!  In this episode you will see a young man come to Christ and yes tears may flow.  He learns that he doesn't have to be afraid anymore.  My heart was overwhelmed with joy.  

     See how awesome these audios are? I encourage you to check out their website and their Facebook page for more information about this set and others.  

     We have some more reviews of this amazing resource over here 

Brinkman Adventures Season 6 Reviews

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW: Our Review of CashCrunch Careers

     Have you ever had your child ask you... "What career would be best for me?"   I know I have had a couple of my kiddos ask me that question.  It usually comes half way through their senior year in high school.  They are nervous about graduating and aren't quite sure what they want to do with their lives.  I wish I would have had a resource like the one we are reviewing today for them. 

    I am happy that we were able to receive and review CashCrunch Careers from CashCrunch Games just in time for our son Ryan to use as he searches for the career that will fit him best.  He just graduated in June, but is still not sure where God wants him yet.  We have been praying with him and for him.  During this time of prayer he is researching a couple of fields he feels drawn to.  When I told him about this program, he was so thrilled to have something to help him navigate to his perfect career.

   I also took the survey to see where it would put me if I chose to have a career after my children are all grown. I wasn't surprised with my outcome as I already had an idea where I would thrive as a person and employee.  I am best suited to be a manager.  That is what I do now... just inside our home 😉

     So what is this program???  CashCrunch Careers is an online site that helps students and adults choose a career path that is best suited for their strengths and weaknesses.  They do this by having you take a 75 question survey that allows you to pick attributes that best describe you.  When the survey is finished, you are given several different career paths that may be a good fit for you.  

     Once you complete the survey, you are assessed to see where your attributes will best serve you.  No one wants to go down a career path that doesn't fit who they are.  Ryan was very excited to see where he would do best and was a little surprised with his assessment.  He hadn't even thought of a few of the paths it said would be a good fit for him, and now has a better idea where he is headed. 

     I asked Ryan if he felt that this was a good estimate of his talents and character and he said yes.  He felt that every suggestion was something he could do and do well. He said each career recommendation was something he could accomplish with ease.  I think that is great! 

       Ryan is feeling more confident is who he is and where he would do well.  He has been praying about doing something in the law field.  Guess what was one of his suggestions???  YEP!  He now knows what type of law he should study that will use his strengths.  Here are just a few areas of study that was on his list.....

     As he searches each role in this career path he can look at what courses are needed, what colleges will be good, and a brief video of what the job entails.  It couldn't be easier to use. 

     If you, your husband, or child are looking for a career path, I would encourage you to check this site out. It is only $99.  That is well worth peace of mind when finding a job that best suits who you are and where you will be able to make a difference as you use your strengths and abilities God has given to you.  

     For more information you can check out their website CashCrunch Careers or their social media pages listed below: 

     There are also more reviews for you to read over here 

CashCrunch Careers {CashCrunch Games Reviews}

Friday, October 5, 2018

Encouraging Your Child When They Want to Give Up

    Recently my children gave me this cup for my morning coffee. As I read what it said, I was reminded once again how important it is to encourage our children.  Are we inspiring them to be all they can be? Do we support them as they follow God's plan for their life? Are we able to give them the help they need to push through and finish a difficult task?

     Sometimes our children struggle in areas and we allow them to give up too soon.  As parents, we need to be sure that we are not letting our children quit just because there is some discomfort involved.  In order for our kids to make it in this world, they must realize that there are going to be times where they want to throw in the towel, but it's crucial to be sure that they are not giving up for the wrong reasons. We need to teach them that God will give them strength to finish what they have started if it is in His will. They need to learn to rely on Him and not their own abilities.  

     Over the years I have failed in this area a few times. I didn't realize that it was okay to see my children struggle as long as I was there to cheer them on.  I wanted to rescue them.  I didn't understand that letting them go through would be what strengthened them for the next battle they would endure.  Now I know that its critical for me to let them work through difficulties in order for them to grow.  

      God our Father has shown me that He is the same way. He allows me to go through rough times so I can become stronger.  He doesn't swoop in to rescue me but instead encourages me to push through.  He knows it will build my faith and I will be stronger for the next battle I face.  

      So today I challenge you to become your child's biggest fan.  Cheer them on when you see them struggling. Don't let them quit just because things get hard. Give them the support they need to finish what they have started.  Pray with them. Let them know that as long as they trust in God, He will be with them through everything they go through, good or bad.  Our greatest job as a parent is to point our children towards Christ.  He will supply them with all they need.  As they walk in obedience to Him, He will guide them in all they do.  


Thursday, October 4, 2018

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW : Our Review of Books of the Bible At-a-Glance

     We love to study God's Word as a family on a daily basis.  It is so hard to find a Bible study that fits all the ages of our household.  I was so excited when we were chosen to receive and review Books of the Bible At-a-Glance from Teach Sunday School.  I knew that we would all benefit from this particular study after I read about it online.  

     This Bible study is unlike any other one we have done in the past.  We are learning about each book of the Bible.  Each printable sheet includes:
  • Book Title
  • Book Number and Placement
  • Author
  • Date Book Was Written
  • Time Period Covered
  • Claims To Fame
  • Famous Stories Included
  • Most Famous Verses
  • Important Points About The Book
     It takes us about 25-30 minutes each day to go over one book of the Bible.  We take time to read each section and discuss it.  It has brought up some interesting conversations about stories we have heard before, but now see in a different light. 
     Knowing more about the book you are reading is important. The kids like knowing the time period each book is set in and who wrote it.  It brings a new dimension to the stories found in each book.  They also enjoyed going over their favorite Bible stories they use to hear often as they were growing up.  Now that they are older they like to dig into the scriptures and this resource is helping them do just that. 

      This study is so versatile.  You can use it by itself or in conjunction with other Bible studies.  After we have gone through each book of the Bible once, we will be using these sheets to help us with our other family Bible studies.  I think they will serve to remind us of so many wonderful facts.  I want my kids to memorize all the amazing information on these sheets so they can be more knowledgeable of God's Word and able to answer questions that others may ask them.  

     So you are probably wondering... How much does this product cost?  Well let me tell you that it is worth so much more than the $19.99 that you will be paying for it.  It is a download that you can print and use for single church use or household use.  You can print as many copies as you need for your Sunday School class, small group or for personal use.  Isn't that AMAZING!!!!  But that's not all they offer.... there is also a 60 day unconditional money back guarantee!   Can you believe that?  That means this company has integrity and believes in their product.  

     I encourage you to check out their website or visit their social media pages listed below: 

     Our crew has more reviews for you to enjoy reading over here 

Books of the Bible At-a-Glance { Teach Sunday School Reviews}