Just Being Us

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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review for Heroes of History- Ronald Reagan

     We love to learn about our Christian heroes of the past. It is a unique experience to read about how they lived and trusted in God.  When we were picked to receive and review one of the Heroes of History books titled Heroes of History- Ronald Reagan from YWAM Publishing, we were thrilled.  Ronald Reagan is one of our favorite presidents.


     As we learn about historical figures who lived lives pleasing to God, we can follow their examples.  Their faith and trust in God are a powerful testimony.  I feel it is important for us to study their lives so we can see how they were able to put God first and stand up for what is right. Having men and women like this to look up to is a blessing. 

     Our son Josh, who is 12, decided he wanted to be the one to read this wonderful Christian biography of Ronald Reagan.  He enjoyed learning about the election process back in November and took an interest in learning more about our Presidents soon after.  I knew this book would be a good fit for him.  

     It is hard to find a good biography that keeps a child's interest, but YWAM Publishing did it. Josh said it was one of the best books he has read.  He said he didn't lose focus while reading it.  That is huge for him as he has a few issues with focusing. As I watched him sit on the couch reading, I saw that he was not getting bored.  He was actually enjoying this book.  He even asked if we could buy some of the other books in the series.

      I asked him what he learned from this book and he said that he learned that even a young man can make a difference in this world.  He saw that Ronald Reagan was able to do big things as a teen and that meant he could do the same.  This book inspired him to take a stand for what he believes. Josh said, "You don't have to be an adult to make changes that can even save lives."  What an incredible lesson to teach our young people today. They can change things for the better!!!

     Do you have children who like having a study guide to keep them on track while reading?  Well, YWAM Publishing thought of that too.  They have some wonderful Unit Study Guides to go along with each book in this series.  These guides ask questions that keep you thinking as you read.  We used our study guide that we were given, to see how much Josh remembered.  It helps me to see how much he comprehends as he reads.  

     I encourage you to check out their social media pages for more information on their products:

  • Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/YWAM-Publishing-482973445102/   
  • Twitter:  http://twitter.com/YWAMpublishing      
  • Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/YWAMpublishing              
  • BLOG:  www.ywampublishingblog.com

  •      We also have some more reviews for you to read over on the Homeschool Review Crew website.  I always like reading reviews for products I am wanting to learn more about.   
         Have a blessed day!!!

    Wednesday, May 24, 2017

    Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of The Typing Coach Online Typing Course

         I have fond memories of taking a typing class in high school.  It was fun and relaxing to me. I hadn't used a typewriter before that class, so it was all new to me. I didn't have a computer keyboard. We used a typewriter for our class.  That was back in 1989. 

         Our children today are familiar with a computer keyboard at a young age.  They use it to play games and to type messages to friends. I know our youngest was typing before she started school. When I heard of this program, I knew they would enjoy taking an online typing class to work on their typing skills.  We were happy to be able to review The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach.  


         I think it is important for our children to learn to do things well, so when we can help them improve skills they may use in life, we should do our best to do so.  This program is geared to help those who type to do it more quickly and with more accuracy.  They will also be more comfortable with the keyboard at the end of this course.  So whether they are a beginner or someone who has typed for a few years, this program will be a helpful resource. It only costs $17 per year for each typing student.   

         When we started the course, I read the course introduction, watched the visual tour of the course, then printed out the student packet.  Our 12-year-old son decided he wanted to be the one to try it. I asked him how he liked the lessons and he said that he felt they taught him how to type better.  He said he isn't searching the keyboard for certain letters like he did before.  He also said he liked that the lessons were self-paced.  He likes to be able to go forward with new lessons as soon as he has mastered the one he is working on.  He is a child who doesn't like to be constrained with lessons that hold him back if he is ready to move on. 

          I feel this course is set up well.  With 7 lessons in all, your student will not feel overwhelmed. I think it sets realistic goals for students but also motivates them to work harder to get better and better.  All you need to get started is a computer with internet access, a printer, and your yearly subscription.  Most students over the age of 10 will be able to work independently.  Your smaller ones may need a little help.  The site is easy to navigate once you log and see how it is set up. The course uses audio, video and written instructions for their lessons, and your student can take their time until they master each one.  It's really a great program for anyone wanting to learn to type more efficiently and accurately.  

    Here is a peek into what is included in this course.

         I encourage you to check out their site The Typing Coach and to take a look at their Twitter page.  We also have some more reviews for you over on the Homeschool Review Crew website.  

         Have a blessed day!!!!

    Tuesday, May 23, 2017

    Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors

         My youngest daughter has always loved arts and crafts.  She is always looking for new DIYs to try.  When she heard that we were going to get the chance to review the Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors from The Pencil Grip, Inc, she jumped for joy.  I knew she would love these.  

          When they arrived in the mailbox, she ran out to grab them.  She opened the box and immediately got them out to see how they worked. It came with a sheet of paper that told about them and let you try them right away.  The smile on her face let me know these were soon going to be a favorite art supply that she would have to have on hand all the time.  She takes her arts and crafts seriously and is very picky about her supplies. 

          At least 3 afternoons a week, she and I sit down to work on our art projects.  I enjoy Bible journaling and painting canvases.  She also likes to work on her Bible journal, but loves painting and drawing on paper and canvases even more. I wanted to get her honest review of these paint sticks.  Here is her list of things she loves about them along with a few of mine:
    • The colors are so vibrant 
    • They are easy to use
    • They are smooth and fun to work with.
    • They dry very quickly
    • You don't have to have water to use them
    • You can use them on the go
    • They blend well
    • They work well on many surfaces like cardboard, poster board, and canvases
    • They are non-toxic {we are very conscience of what we allow in our home}
    Here we used the Thin Stix to paint the flowers
     and to make the JOY.

         Hope had fun using them for a couple of my Mother's Day gifts she made for me.  This was my favorite.  I love emojis so she made a hand painted one for me on a canvas.  I have it hanging on our hallway wall so I can see it every day as I head downstairs to start our day.  

         I think art is an important subject for us to include in our homeschool schedule, but at times it can be hard to clean up.   These Thin Stix paint sticks let them express themselves without all the mess and fuss of other paints.  As a mom, who already has so much to clean up on daily basis, this makes me a happy camper.  They can be creative wherever they want with this wonderful product.  

          I encourage you to check out all their products on their website The Pencil Grip, Inc and their social media pages listed below:
         We also have some more great reviews for you to check out on the Homeschool Review Crew website.  I hope you enjoy reading about how other families used this resource.  I always like to read about a product before purchasing it for our family.  

         Have a wonderful day!!!


    Monday, May 22, 2017

    Are You Changing?

         When we give our lives to Christ, we will see changes occur in our lives.  We will want to live a life pleasing to the Lord.  We must put off our sinful nature, lay down our wants, and give our hopes and dreams to our Savior. He will change us as we seek Him.  He will renew our minds and hearts.  He will heal us from the inside out.  We will want to follow Him.  He will be our all in all.  We will long to read His Word and talk with Him each day.  

     Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.~ Romans 12:2 

          Before we are saved we look to the world to satisfy our desires, but once we receive Christ as our Savior, we see that nothing the world has to offer will satisfy.  We are made to worship our King.  Everyone should see that we are different.  We are in this world but not of it.  We should be examples of Christ's love and grace.  We will stand strong in our faith, not compromising the Word of God.

          As a mom, I pray each day for the lives and souls of my children.  I am on my knees daily praying they will serve the Lord with all their hearts, minds,souls and strength.  I pray that my failures will not keep them from being the servants of the King.  I plead for the Lord to help me be a good example for them.  Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs on earth.  It doesn't end until the day we take our last breath.  Even when our children are adults, we never stop being mom.  We still pray and pray for them to seek God and follow His plan for their lives.  We pray that Satan will not overcome them and devour them. From the second we find out our child is in our womb, we pray.

        In the past 2 years, our lives have changed in many ways.  Our oldest daughter has gotten married and moved out of state, our oldest son is engaged to be married, my husband has been promoted at work and I am beginning to go through some early signs of menopause.  As I thought about all these changes occurring, I began to feel fear, but the Lord quickly reminded me that in order to grow there must be change.  Change isn't a bad thing, it is just a new thing.  I don't need to be afraid, because He is there with me through all these changes, just as He has been with me before.   We will continue to change until the day the Lord returns or calls us home.  Walking in faith isn't easy but it will give us peace.

         Are you experiencing change?  Are you leaning on God through it all?  Do you pray for change in your life?

          I am praying for you today and everyday.  Don't fear change.  Allow God to have it all!

    Thursday, May 18, 2017

    Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Captain Absolutely

         For years our family has enjoyed the wonderful resources from Focus On The Family.  We love Adventures in Odyssey and recently we joined their Adventures in Odyssey Club.  With this membership, you receive a monthly magazine called Focus on the Family Clubhouse Magazine. It was here that we first started reading the amazing adventures of Captain Absolutely.  When we were picked to receive and review this book, my youngest son, who is 12,  was thrilled.  He couldn't wait to read it.  

          It didn't take him very long to read it. I feel this book could be read in a short time by any intermediate or experienced reader. This book is a compilation of many different comic strips that star Captain Absolutely.  I couldn't believe how this book kept Josh's focus.  He couldn't put it down.  He loves to read about superheroes and this is one hero I didn't mind him wanting to be like. 

          I asked Josh to write down who Captain Absolutely was and this is what he said:
         "Josiah King was a normal man until his friend made a reactor explode.  Josiah was saved from the explosion by hiding in a room that had a bunch of Bibles in it.  Josiah received special powers that day and his eyes were forever opened to the Word of God. He was now Captain Absolutely.  He wanted to defend the Truth.  He was willing to fight for what is right."

          Josh then went on to tell us about Captain Absolutely's sidekick Hana Lin:
         "She was a girl that was rescued by Captain Absolutely.  After he rescued her, she got saved and invented a flame suit that she could use to help him in his daily conquest to battle for truth and justice."

         After he finished the book I asked him to write down what he thought.  Here is what he had to say: 
         "The book was awesome.  It taught me a lot about the Bible.  It wasn't too long, so I enjoyed reading it and was able to read it quickly. The story was a real page-turner.  It kept my attention. It had great characters and the drawings were very detailed.  I loved the lessons it taught throughout the entire book.  I think it's a great way to teach children about the Bible and it's Truth."

         I feel that he really gave us some great knowledge of the book without revealing the storyline too much.  We wouldn' t want to ruin it for others 😊

         I am so happy that they are creating material like this for our young people.  They need more creative resources that share God's Word with our pre-teens and early teenagers.  I feel this book was just what we need in our society today.  A godly hero to look up to.  We should encourage our children to stand up for what is right and not be afraid to fight for the Truth.  

         If you would like more information about Focus On The Family or this book Captain Absolutely please visit their websites, or visit their social media pages: 

        We also have some more great reviews for this resource over on the Homeschool Review Crew web page. I hope you enjoy reading through them.

        Have a great day!!!!


    Wednesday, May 17, 2017

    Homeschool Review Crew: My Review of Homeschool Rescue

         I have been homeschooling for over 19 years now, but I feel I can always be learning new techniques and ways of doing things that will keep our homeschool running smoothly.  I was excited to review Homeschool Rescue from Only Passionate Curiosity.  This course is for new or veteran homeschooling moms {or dads} that would like to learn some new ways of doing things or refresh their homeschool schedules.  

         This online e-course takes about 60 days to complete.  Whether you are struggling with day to day routines or if you would just like to learn how other homeschooling families get through their days, this course is for you.  My favorite part of this course was the section that taught you how to say no with grace.  I have always been someone who wanted to help anyone, but it was wreaking havoc into our homeschool schedules.  I was taking on too much and it was wearing me out. This would cause me to be short-tempered and downright mean some days.  I saw us getting behind, but couldn't find ways to politely say no to those asking me for help.  

          The e-course has 5 different modules that you go through at your own pace. Every module consists of 1 to 5 lessons. Each module begins with a video to introduce you to what you will be learning, and then each lesson has a video for you to watch.  You will then be completing your "homework" for that lesson. There is also a list of resources and links for each lesson.   

    Here is an in-depth list of what's included:
    • Module 1 
          Lesson 1: Take Your Pulse
          Lesson 2: Looking to the Future
          Lesson 3: Triage Your Homeschool
          Lesson 4: Special Circumstances

    • Module 2
         Lesson 1: Just Say No
         Lesson 2: Take Back Your Time
         Lesson 3: Teaching the Masses
         Lesson 4: Saving Time
         Lesson 5: Organization

    • Module 3
          Lesson 1: Curriculum
          Lesson 2: Pacing Guides
          Lesson 3: Supplies
          Lesson 4: Classrooms

    • Module 4
          Lesson 1: Reward Systems
          Lesson 2: Consequences
          Lesson 3: Training Children
          Lesson 4: Master the Follow Through

    • Module 5
          Lesson 1: Teaching Teens
          Lesson 2: Study Skills
          Lesson 3: Time Management

         I absolutely loved each lesson that we went through. Heather Aliano did a great job putting this course together.  The "homework"  and worksheets for each lesson reinforces and helps you work through what has been taught.  I am someone who likes having notes on paper that I can read and go over later and this course even offers that for you.  They thought of everything. I know that you would think after 19 years, I wouldn't have anything new to learn, but I find that talking with other homeschooling moms and doing courses like this, helps me to keep things new and up to date in our homeschool.  

         If you would like to learn more about this wonderful resource you can visit their website Homeschool Rescue or you can visit their social media sites: 

    Twitter:  https://twitter.com/opchomeschool
    Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/OPChomeschool/
    Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/onlypassionatecuriosity/
    Goggle+:  https://plus.google.com/b/110290451358830656260/+OnlypassionatecuriosityHomeschool

         There will also be some other reviews of this online e-course over on the Homeschool Review Crew site.  I know I always enjoy seeing many perspectives of a product I am praying about buying for our homeschool.  

         Have a blessed day!!!!


    Monday, May 15, 2017

    Forgiveness in Marriage

         In marriage, we have got to learn two things right from the start.  That is to be able to admit when we are wrong, then apologize, and to be able to forgive our spouses when they say or do things that hurt us.  If we can not forgive, we will not be able to have a godly marriage.  

           Forgiveness is clearing the record of the wrongs committed against us.  This word is a powerful tool that can set people free.  It not only sets the people free who receive the  forgiveness, but also the one who forgives.  Bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness eats away at our souls, minds, and bodies.  It can make us sick physically, emotionally and spiritually.  When we hold grudges, we are holding back the very gift Jesus gave us on the cross.

     Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. ~ Ephesians 4:32

         Do you know that when we fail to forgive, there are consequences?  Jesus says in  Matthew 6:14-15 ~ For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  This means that if we do not forgive, we can not be forgiven.  SERIOUS CONSEQUENCE!   I don't know about you but that verse speaks loud and clear to me.  I am responsible for my part (forgiving) and my husband is responsible for his part.  I can not allow unforgiveness to fester in my heart.  I must forgive quickly and completely.  

          Can you think of some  issues in your marriage now or in the past, that you need to forgive?  Let's sit down today and pray about this.  We do not want to allow unforgiveness to keep us from what the Lord has for us.  We must also remember true forgiveness  disregards any thoughts of revenge.

        Okay now that we are getting unforgiveness out of our marriages, we need to get it out of our homes as well.   How do we teach this character quality to our children?  There are many times in a day, where your child will feel like he or she has been offended or hurt in some way.  Sit down with them and explain this quality of forgiveness.  Explain that Jesus forgave us even while we were sinners. Look up Romans 5:8 together. Give them examples of times you have forgiven others.  We need to make sure they understand that revenge and retaliation is wrong.  Holding a grudge is not something Jesus would have us do.  

     Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. ~ Romans 12:19

    I love Matthew West's song Forgiveness.  These are some powerful words.

    Monday, May 8, 2017

    Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of High School Essay Intensive

         Writing essays can be intimidating for many students.  Our son has found it to be even more of a challenge for him throughout his high school years.  We knew it was going to be difficult for him to write essays for his college applications, so when we were chosen to receive and review  High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing, we were so thrilled.  It was an answer to prayer.  

         The course includes:
    • 5 DVDs in a lovely case (6.5 hours)

    Parts 1a &1b: General
    Strategies for Essay Writing

     Part 2: Understanding  and Preparing for the  New ACT Essay

     Part 3: Understanding  and Preparing for the  Redesigned SAT Essay

     Part 4: Strategies for the "Personal Essay"

    • Student Handouts
    • Portable Walls for the Essayist

         Ryan was a little nervous when he started the course.  So many times before we had gotten him courses in writing that were either really boring or just too simple.  He needed a course that would be able to teach him and keep his attention.  Within minutes of beginning this series, he was hooked. The instructor was upbeat.  He knew how to keep his students focused.  This resource was unlike any other we had tried in the past. I knew we had found a good fit for our son.  

         Since Ryan was the one using this curriculum, I asked him to give us his opinion of it. We were able to get through the entire first part of the program titled General Strategies for Essay Writing, and here is what Ryan said was taught in this section: 
    1.  What an essay is
    2.  Different types of essays
    3.  Essay structure
    4.  What makes a good paragraph
    5.  The TRIAC Method: Topic, Restriction,  Illustration, Analysis, & Clincher
    6.  How to write outlines

         I also asked him to write how this program is going to improve his essay writing skills.  Here is what he had to say:

         " Through this course, I have learned so much. The teacher knew how to keep my attention.  He explained everything in detail, with examples for each lesson he was teaching. I enjoyed his humor. Good humor always keeps me interested in what someone is saying.  I have taken other classes for similar subjects and each time I am bored within the first half hour. This time was different.  I was not bored at all.  I was actually interested in learning about how to write. I was enjoying the lessons! It surprised me and my parents. I would recommend this course to anyone who has had issues with writing in the past or would like to brush up on their essay writing skills." 

         I think he has said it all!  A young man who has struggled with writing for a while is saying that this program has changed his life.  He is no longer intimidated by writing.  The lessons have taught him in a way that he can understand and implement in his everyday life.  He will be able to sit down and write essays now without feeling overwhelmed.  WHAT A CHANGE ONE GOOD COURSE CAN MAKE!!!  

         He said he is looking forward to moving on to the rest of the courses on the DVDs and would be willing to share his opinions of these when he is finished.  I can't believe how excited he is to learn more about writing skills.  

         For more information on Institute for Excellence in Writing you can go to their website or visit their social media pages listed below:

    YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/iewtv
    Twitter:  https://twitter.com/iew  @IEW
    Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/iewriting/

         We also have some more reviews for you to read over on the Homeschool Review Crew website.  Please come on over and check them out!

    Thursday, May 4, 2017

    Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of The Secret Bridge


         As a parent who encourages and supports character training from the time our children can walk and talk, I admire the goals and commitment of Lamplighter Publishing.  This company wants to print high-quality books that uphold Biblical standards.  They want their material to point our children to the Lord.  We need more companies that want to instill morals and teach our kids to make good choices.  It is so important to inspire our children to have a real relationship with our Lord and Savior, and this publishing company makes this their number one goal.  I love what their header says: "Building Christ-like Character....One Story At A Time."

         When we were chosen to receive and review The Secret Bridge, by Amy Le Feuvre, we were so pleased. This would be our first book from Lamplighter Publishing.  We had recently heard about how great their books were and felt honored to be able to have the chance to read one for ourselves.  

         When our book arrived, we were so thrilled to see the beauty of the hardback cover. The cover is so soft and the golden touches made this book stand out from any other book I have ever seen. Such intricate details and gorgeous craftsmanship. We couldn't wait to read it. 

         As you begin reading you realize this story, written in 1899,  is unlike ones you would read today.  The author brought depth to her characters and storyline.  She had a story to share but also wanted to make an impression on the reader. You can identify with the characters.  This allows your mind and heart to be open to what morals the author is trying to convey.  Amy did a great job of bringing you into the story.  It was so well written.

         The main character of The Secret Bridge is named Bridget Channing.  This young lady finds herself making some hard decisions after her father dies and she finds that her plans are quickly unraveling.

         Within a few paragraphs of the first chapter of the book, we also meet up with Godfrey Bullingham.  He is on the ship that Bridget is taking to England.  Right away you see that he is intrigued with her. He wants to know more about her. 

          It wasn't long after arriving in England that you see his intentions towards her are genuine and he wants to care for this young woman.  Due to some unforeseen circumstances, she is now alone and without money. He wants to help her.  He asks her to marry him so that he will be able to give her a home and security.  She agrees to become his wife and that is where the story takes off.

         I don't want to give away any more of the wonderful storyline, as I feel you will get more from reading it yourself, but I do want to let you know that this story is inspiring.  You will see Bridget go through many changes and difficulties, but through it all, she is being pointed to Christ.  A young woman who didn't believe in Him is now finding herself being acquainted with Him on a daily basis.  I felt like I was being encouraged to pursue Christ more in my own life as I read through this book. 
        If you like to read more reviews of this amazing book, please come on over to the Homeschool Review Crew site.  

         To find out more about Lamplighter Publishing, you can also check out their social media pages:

    Twitter:  https://twitter.com/lamplighterbook  @lamplighterbook

    Tuesday, May 2, 2017

    Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of ArtAchieve, Level II

         My daughter and I enjoy working on many different types of arts and crafts.  When we were picked to review ArtAchieve, we were thrilled.

         ArtAchieve has 5 different levels of online art lessons to choose from and we were given the Entire Level II set to use and review.  This level was perfect for us. It was a challenge, yet not too hard for my 9-year-old and I to complete and enjoy. 

         I love how they have priced these art lessons.  You can buy an entire set or individual lessons to use for a year.  The Entire Level II lessons are about $5 per lesson, per year, or you can buy them all together at one discounted price.  If you would like to see which level is right for you, it's great they allow you to buy one lesson at a time.  Once you have found a good fit for your art level, you can purchase the entire level of lessons. ArtAchieve also offers a free lesson for you to try.  That is always a plus for me when I am considering a new curriculum for our homeschool. 

          From the beginning, we knew these lessons were going to be fun yet educational.  They give you a list of supplies you will need, then the "rules" to follow as you complete the lesson.  My favorite rule was the one that said there was no wrong way to do this.  This rule gave you the freedom to make mistakes and not feel like you have to start over everytime you mess up.  This was especially important for my daughter who feels like she has to make everything look perfect or just like what she sees on the paper.  She felt that she had more flexibility in her drawings.  This freedom gave her more joy as she completed the lessons.  

          Each of our lessons came with a warm up, powerpoint of each step for the lesson, a printout of the finished drawing/painting, and a video version of the lesson.  We preferred to use power point for our lessons.   They were easy to follow and allowed you to work at your own pace. We also enjoyed reading the background of each art project we were doing.  It brought depth to the piece we were working on.  Each lesson also comes with Cross-Curricular Connections like the one here for the Swedish Dala Horse.  This gives you the option of studying the object of your art lesson during other classes like history or geography.   

         Our favorite project was the Ukrainian Cat.  We had a lot of fun with it.  Adding our own details at the end was always a highlight to the lessons.  

         We have decided to try Level III after our summer break, and we look forward to learning more and more about how to express ourselves through art.  Drawing and painting can be so relaxing, and for me, it lowers my stress levels considerably.  It's also a fun way to bond with your children.  

         I also want to share a piece of artwork that my daughter did after we completed our art lessons. I don't think she would have been able to do this on her own without the confidence she received through the ArtAchieve lessons.  Last week she sat down with a blank canvas and drew a bunny.  She then went on to paint it and it turned out really well.  

          I encourage you to go and check out the other reviews for these amazing online art lessons over on the Homeschool Review Crew site.  You will be able to check out the different levels and what other homeschoolers had to say about them.