Just Being Us

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

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Mom, Why Aren't There Any Pictures of You?


     I use to hate having my picture taken. I didn't like the way I looked. I had no self-esteem. My body wasn't like it was in high school.  I wanted to hide it, so why in the world would I allow someone to take a picture of me? I hadn't given it much thought until one of my children was looking through some old photos and said: "Mom, why aren't there any pictures of you?"  

     I didn't know what to say to her. I made some lame excuses at the time, but I knew in my heart why.  I was so uncomfortable in my body.  I didn't want to see reminders of what I thought I looked like. What I didn't realize is no one else saw me the way I did.

     DID YOU READ THAT>>>> NO ONE ELSE SAW ME THE WAY I DID!!!

      My husband saw me as a beautiful woman who he loves with all his heart. My children saw a mama who loves and cares for them every day. My friends saw someone who was there for them. No one saw the imperfections except for me.  

      One evening I went through some old photos of my older 4 kiddos.  Very rarely did you see me in any of those pictures. I was always behind the camera. As I looked at those precious pics, I began to cry.  My older kiddos will not have photos of them with their mama, and I can't change that, but I could begin taking pictures right then and there.  I refused to let how I feel about myself to keep me from making memories with my kids.  I want them to have pictures of their mom. I know I cherish the photos I have of my parents especially now that they have gone to be with Jesus. How could I deprive my children of having photographs of me?

      So Moms out there, don't let your imperfections keep you from taking pictures with your children. I promise no one sees what you think you see in the mirror.  They see YOU!!!!  The mom, wife, sister, daughter, and friend that they love and never want to forget. Get out there and have fun with your kids. Take tons of pictures and don't worry about anything but making memories!!

     I know I am not perfect and I never have been or will be, but I do know that I don't want to be the mom hiding behind the camera.  I have embraced who I am and what I look like after having 7 beautiful babies, dealing with a thyroid disorder and anxiety. I won't allow anything to keep me from enjoying life one more day!  I want my kids to have memories of their mom just as she is.  They love me for me, so I will too 😊 

      Here is a look at some photos we have taken in the last month or so.  I am so happy they will have these memories to look back on. I am so thrilled to just let go and be me!








      



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: The Pencil Grip, Inc.


     A few months ago we had the privilege of reviewing a product from The Pencil Grip, Inc. so when we were picked to receive and review The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors and The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit, from them we were excited.  We knew that they would be fun items to use and we were not disappointed. 

     I sure wish I would have had the Ultra Safe Safety Scissors when my kids were younger. They are so unique and they keep little fingers from getting cut.  I was impressed with how well they were made and how easy they were to use.  

     So what makes them different from other safety scissors? Instead of having very dull blades like other safety scissors, they have a guard over the blades to shield your child from getting cut.  They cut with ease, yet are safe for your younger ones to use.  These also have a blunt end so they can not poke your children as they use them.


     
     Do you have little ones learning to write?  The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit may be perfect for you.  These grips help little hands learn to hold pencils.  My children had fun using each one and said it would have been beneficial to have these when they were learning to grip their pencil/pens. These grips are soft and made of silicone and come in different colors. They make learning to write fun for children. I appreciated that you can use them on many different pencils, pens or even crayons because they slide on and off easily.  

     At first, you start with the crossover grip. The wings keep little fingers from crossing over. My daughter said it was a bit awkward using at first, but once she got used to it, it was comfortable for her fingers.


   
     After your child has mastered the crossover grip, you will transition them to the pinch grip. This grip loses the "cape", but still gives them a thick part to pinch with their fingers to ensure the proper grip.


     The final one is the original pencil grip. This one is my favorite. It was very comfortable to use and it actually improved our 12-year old's handwriting skills.  

     
     The only issue we had with the pencil grips was that as you placed them on different writing utensils, they would stretch and rip just a bit around the openings.  This didn't keep us from using them, but I could see how after prolonged use, they may not stay positioned properly on the pencil or pen.  Even though we had this little problem,  it wouldn't keep me from recommending them to my friends and family. 

     We enjoyed trying these extraordinary products and hope that you will check them out for yourself. I encourage you to check out their website and social media pages to learn more about these products and more.  

     We also have some more reviews of these products for you to read over here

Ultra Safe Safety Scissors & Pencil Grip Training Kit {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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.  

   


Monday, October 16, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Reading Eggs



     Do you have a little one who wants to learn to read? Do you have a struggling reader? Would you like your child to brush up on their reading skills? I have an online reading program that may be a good fit for your family.  We were given a free 6-month  subscription to Reading Eggs to review and we are having fun with it. We love it and hope you take advantage of the free 4 Week Trial offer that we have for you so can try out this amazing program. 


     My daughter Hope, is enjoying using it as a supplement to her reading program we already use.  Since she is in the 5th grade, she is using the Reading Eggspress program on the site that is geared towards ages 7-13. When we signed her into the site, it gave her a reading assessment and that helped us place her right where she needed to be in the program. I know most parents will like this feature as it's hard to know exactly where they should begin. 



     Reading Eggspress focuses on teaching reading, comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, and grammar.  This part of the program is for grades 1-6. Each section will teach a different skill.  Hope is completing her lessons quickly and with ease. I feel it will give her more confidence in her reading and spelling skills. 





     Reading Eggspress is only one part of the program. The Reading Eggs site provides 4 different sections. Along with Reading Eggspress, they have Reading Eggs Junior, Reading Eggs, and Math Seeds. 



      I was able to look through each program and I was impressed with each one.  The beautiful colors and interactive characters make the site fun for children of all ages.  They will not even realize they are learning. The program teaches reading and math skills through games, songs, and activities that keep the attention of the students. They will be motivated to keep going so they can collect the golden eggs throughout the games.  They also receive trophies as they complete sections of the program. My kids love little motivators like these. 

     As I was searching the site, I also found the bonus materials.  The bonuses include activity sheets, a parent's user guide, and just recently they added a homeschool program of work for grades 1 and 2.  Another fun bonus is the videos that come with your reading eggs subscription called The Eggsperts.  These fun little videos help teach phonemic awareness.  Little kiddos will enjoy getting to know all the fun characters in the videos as they learn reading skills that will help them in their quest to become eggcellent readers 😉
     
     I was happy to see that the site offers a few ways to purchase your subscriptions.  The 6-month subscription is $49.95, but if you like to save money like me, the 12-month subscription is the best buy for only $59.  I also like that you can add a second or third child for 50% off the subscription price. 
     
     I wish we would have had this program for my older children. It would have made teaching reading skills much easier on me and more fun for them. I am so happy that I can share this with you all. I hope you get a chance to check it out for yourself. 

     If you want to know more about this exciting reading program, I encourage you to check out their social media pages here: 
•   Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/readingeggsUSCA/ 
•   Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/readingeggs/
•   Twitter: https://twitter.com/readingeggs @readingeggs
•   Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/readingeggs/ 
•   YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ABCReadingEggs


     We also have more reviews from real families for you to read over here 
👇
     
Reading Eggs

Thursday, October 12, 2017

5 Ways to Stay Close as a Couple


     In the last few years, I have watched two of my children fall in love and get married.  Watching their young love blossom has been a reminder of how my husband and I fell in love. Back then I never thought there would be anything that would get in the way of our relationship, but as the years rolled on, we allowed things to take priority over our relationship. 

     When you first get married, it is easy to find time to be alone. You go on date nights. You snuggle in front of the TV and watch romantic movies.  You focus on each other and that is great! So what happens when life gets in the way of your relationship with your spouse? 

      Usually, the first thing to come between a couple is children.  When that baby comes home, you tend to focus on him or her and your spouse gets lost in the shuffle of everyday life. You don't mean for it to happen it just does. 

      Another wedge that comes between a couple is careers.  One or both of you begin to spend more and more time at work and less time with each other. You don't even realize how it is hurting your marriage until you no longer feel close to your husband or wife. 

      I have been married to my high school sweetheart for over 24 years and I know we have had times in our marriage where we felt like strangers.  We never thought that it could happen to us, but it did.  In those times of disconnection, we would fight more.  Our hearts were hard towards one another.  Resentment had taken the place of the romance. Unkind words filled the air. We didn't have the closeness our hearts longed for.

     Don't get me wrong, we still loved each other, but we were not communicating it, and that left us with unfilled love tanks.  We had to realize what was going on and fix it!


      I would like to share 5 ways to stay close as a couple. Even when life gets busy, we must find time to stay connected with our spouse.
  1.  Do devotions together every morning or evening.  Growing closer to God will bring you closer as a couple. A couple that prays together, stays together.
  2.  Take 15 minutes every day to sit down and talk. Be open and honest with each other. 
  3.   Set aside one day a month spend time with each other, just the two of you.  Go on a date night or simply take a walk or go for coffee. If you can't afford a babysitter, find another couple that would be able to watch your kiddos, then do the same for them. 
  4.   Always kiss each other hello and goodbye. 
  5.   Say I love you often! Don't' let one day go by without letting your husband or wife know that you love and care for them.  Those three words are powerful!!!
  
   I encourage you to begin today! Don't let one more day go by without letting your mate know how much you love them and that you long to be close to them.  I am praying for you and your marriages.  What God has joined together, let no man separate.  




     

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of the Brinkman Adventures


     Our family has always enjoyed listening to audiobooks and audio dramas.  When we were chosen to receive and review the Brinkman Adventures Season 4 we were thrilled. We love listening to audios while we do our chores or during reading time.  I have found they actually help keep my kids focused. 


      Have you and your family heard of the Brinkman Adventures?  It is a radio show about a family that shares their adventures that inspire you to share your faith with others.  Once we started listening, we didn't want to stop.  

       Season 4 of the Brinkman Adventures has 12 episodes that include: 
  • A Paradise Lost
  • Remember Nhu
  • Aisha's Fear
  • Heart Song
  • The Crashed Kitchen
  • Crisis In The Congo
  • The Mysterious Palm Feller
  • War Of The Raccoons
  • The Five Guys
  • Toughest Man
  • Cambodian Quest
  • What Brings Us Together
     Each episode is unique and exciting.  The Brinkman family will bring adventure right to your home as you listen to their stories. The wonderful ways they share about their faith and how other Christians have endured many hardships in order to share Christ with the world will inspire you to get out and share the Lord with others you know.   My children were on the edge of their seat with some of these episodes. We were given opportunities to discuss how we would react in similar situations that these faithful Christians faced. 

     I was impressed with how well the stories were acted out and the heart and soul that went into each one.  You can tell this company wants to reach out to young people and give them food for thought.  In the world we are living in today, I feel these stories could encourage our young people to be obedient to Christ and not to follow the world. I know they lit a fire in my youngest daughter.  She knows she can make a difference even though she is just a little girl.  

     When I asked my daughter what their favorite episode was she said Heart SongIn this episode, the Brinkman family is invited to Russia to hear about a family who was willing to do whatever it took to hear and teach God's Word.  She said it touched her heart to hear how someone was willing to go to jail in order to teach others about Christ.  It made her realize how blessed she is to be able to worship God without fear of being thrown in jail or even killed.  She said she is thankful that she didn't have to face trials like this. I have also noticed that she is praying more for others who do not have our freedom to worship God. This episode opened her eyes to what others may suffer in order to love and serve God.  

      I encourage you to check out these wonderful audios.  God can do a good work in our lives as we listen to wonderful stories like these.  They give us courage and inspire us to do more for Him. 

      To learn more about the Brinkman Adventures, you can visit their website or their Facebook page:


     Would you like to read more review of this resource?  Come over here ⇓⇓⇓
Brinkman Adventures Season 4


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: CTCMath


     Good morning! Today I want to share our experience with CTCMath, and give you the opportunity to get  60% off + 6 bonus months for your family.  We were given the one-year subscription of the Family Membership to review and it has been such a blessing for our family.  

     As a homeschooling mom, I have always had anxiety when it came to teaching high school math subjects like Geometry, Calculus, and Trigonometry.  With CTCMath, I don't have to worry.  They are an Australian based company that teaches math lessons through videos. Their courses range from Kindergarten to 12th grade. They provide quality lessons for our children to learn what they need to know in a way that they will remember.
Here is what they offer:

     We have 3 students using the program.  Hope is using the upper elementary math classes, Josh is doing Algebra, and Ryan is doing Calculus.  Each child is doing very well.  They enjoy the videos and love the fact they can work at their own pace. I love that CTCMath keeps records of their classes and grades and sends me progress reports.  If you are not sure what class your child belongs in, they have diagnostic testing to help you put them right where they belong. 

     Hope loves the awards she can earn as she completes each section of her classes.  So far she has a gold certificate and is on her way to earning another real soon. 

     This program can be done independently or you can sit with your child as they watch the videos and complete the lessons. I like that our children can watch the videos over and over again until they understand the concept being taught.  After each video, they are given questions to answer.  You can print the questions and tests, but we prefer to save paper and ink, so we do what we can from looking at our computer screens only using paper to work through steps of an equation, then entering our answers into the computer where they will be graded immediately. If you miss any, you can go over them and try again.  On the teachers side of the program, you also have the answers to pull up at any time if needed.  

     I have personally sat down with each of my children to see how the program works and I have to say that I have learned quite a bit from the videos.  The lessons are thorough and they make sure each concept is taught and understood before going on to a new one. 

     I never took Calculus in high school, it wasn't offered in my school, so I am learning it right alongside my son. We are having fun figuring things out together. 
An example of a pre-calculus worksheet

     It has been a good experience so far and we are looking forward to learning more as we continue with the lessons.  

     It has been so nice these past few weeks.  No one is complaining about their math lessons. Some days it was like pulling teeth to get them to do their math lessons, now they are actually enjoying them.  I have been thrilled to see their progress and their grades have been remarkable.  Compared to other math programs we have tried, this one seems to be the best fit for our family.  I am so excited to have a full year to use it, and  I have a feeling we will be continuing our subscription after our year is up.  I am no longer anxious when it comes to math class and that is a good feeling. 

     Would you like to learn more about this program? I encourage you to look over their website CTCMath or check out their social media pages: 
     

      We also have more reviews for you to read here
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CTCMath Online Math Tutoring {Reviews}
Come check out the special for homeschoolers!  
CTCMath