When God Made Me A Girl…

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This post comes from my heart. In light of everything going on in the world today, I can’t help but think: If I had not been born into a godly home, and if I had been born in today’s times when children are told they can be anything they want to be – even the opposite gender – I may have made some very different choices and missed out on many blessings. This post is not written in anger or to hurt anyone. It’s just something I need to say.


When God Made Me a Girl…

He knew exactly what He was doing. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee;” Did you catch that? Before I was even a twinkle in my mother’s eye, God already knew all about me.

Growing up, I was a tomboy. I loved dirt. I loved sports. I could beat up any boy who looked at me cross-eyed. I had no time for nail polish, lipstick, and frilly dresses like the other girls. I wanted to be outside, riding bikes over dirt ramps, crashing into things, and joking around with the boys I called my friends.

As a teenager, most of my friends were guys. Girls were catty and mean, so I avoided them and just hung out with the guys. We played basketball, card games, and always had a good time.

That was my life. There were many times I wished I could have just been born a boy. Boys had it so much easier. (In my mind. They may not have!) Guys could get mad and get over it a few minutes later. Girls could hold grudges for years. In fact, I’m sure there are still a few girls that won’t talk to me because I didn’t wear the right shoes that one day in 9th grade.

I grew up going to a Christian school where girls were required to be in dresses to our knees every.single.day. No pants. Only skirts. (And the occasional pair of culottes.) Oh, how I hated it. You couldn’t ride bikes (well) in a skirt. I always had shorts on underneath my skirts, because I was not going to let a stupid skirt slow me down. I wanted to be able to climb and play like all the boys no matter what I was wearing.

I hated being a girl most days growing up. Absolutely hated it. If I could have changed it, I would have.

So, did God make a mistake? Should I have been a boy? Life would have been easier, sure, but it definitely wouldn’t have been the same.

Growing up, I would often mention to my dad that I wished I was a boy. He knew it, and he knew why. But, instead of encouraging me to be something that I was not created to be, he would tell me this verse over and over: Psalm 139:14 – “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:” He would remind me all the time that I was made exactly the way God wanted me to be, and that God had a purpose to fulfill in me one day.


Maybe God taught me to fight like a guy and not hold a grudge because He knew it would help in my marriage one day. Gene and I rarely fight anyway, but when we do, the fights don’t last for days. Usually, they only last a few minutes. We speak our mind and the fighting is done. It’s probably why we’re still married today!

Maybe the reason God allowed me to be a girl who liked dirt and sports and being outside was because He knew that one day I would be the mother of 5 boys. I cannot be intimidated by dirt, must love sports, and I have to be able to deal with unidentifiable smells at any given moment.

So, why did I have to suffer all of those years wearing those awful skirts? I’m guessing it’s because God also knew I would be a mother to 3 amazing girls, all of whom love to wear dresses, paint their nails, and are just as girly as girly can be. He knew that one day, I would have to teach each of them to be modest, at whatever cost, and show them the ways a girl behaves.


Years ago, when I was struggling and in so much pain, I had no idea that one day God’s purpose for my life would be fulfilled – or how it would be fulfilled. I certainly didn’t know it would mean being a mom of 8, surrounded by many different situations that both my boys AND my girls are dealing with, and that my life as a young person had set me up to handle it all.

When God Made Me a Girl… I didn’t like it. I didn’t understand it. But I am oh so very thankful He did because of the life I have now.

If you, or your child, is dealing with a similar situation, and they feel like they don’t belong, please don’t try to go above God’s head and change something that isn’t meant to be. Instead, encourage them to embrace the person God created them to be. To try and achieve whatever they want to do, but to do it as the person they are – not the person they wish they could be instead. Life is HARD. I get that. But changing who you are on the outside does NOT change who God created you to be. You are still that person, you are just trying to hide it. I get that. I wished many times I could have hidden the fact that I was a girl and that I really could have been “just one of the guys.”

I want you to know that you are loved. God loves you SO much – as confused as you may be, as hurt as you may be, as unloved as you may feel. Turn to Him. Let Him lead. I promise, His ways are perfect. We just have to be willing to sit back and hold on as the ride goes around.

If you don’t know God, and if you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, can I introduce you to Him? He wants to get to know you. ALL of you – just like you are. Contact me today, and we can talk. I think you’d like Him. I already know He loves you. :) May you find the peace that only Jesus can give. Not peace from changing everything about you, but true peace that overwhelms you from the inside out.

#Spon: Bringing up Baby: Costs & Habit Insights of the American Mom from zulily.com

sponsoredDisclaimer:This is a sponsored post on behalf of Zulily. They provided the information, but any opinions expressed are my own.

In celebration of moms this Mother’s Day, online retailer zulily.com is honoring new moms nationwide by taking a closer look at something they all can relate to –budgeting for all things baby!

Read on here for some of the survey insights they found regarding spending and saving habits when preparing for baby:

  • With annual childcare costs hovering around $6,000, it’s crucial to choose (and pay!) the right person to watch your kids. In our survey Julia Roberts was voted the top celeb moms would let babysit, but Kim Kardashian didn’t make the cut and was only selected by 3% of respondents.
  • Raising kids can get pretty pricey, so it’s no surprise a third of mothers surveyed said they’d compete in a monthly random dance battle (32%) in exchange for free baby gear, attire, etc.
  • Almost half of mothers surveyed (45%) said the most missed pre-mom indulgence is actually having a day off.
  • 33% of moms agreed that the most common squabble couples have regarding new parenting is about money.

With all the above stats, it’s no wonder moms everywhere are always on the lookout for smarter ways to spend on baby, and online retailer zulily is dedicated to helping their plight by serving up fresh, unexpected items for baby and the whole family, in fact, just in the last year customers have saved millions of dollars on baby gear items. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Savings on baby blankets: over $2.4M
  • Total savings on key items needed to set up a nursery: over $2.6M
  • Savings on all baby feeding supplies: over $4.5M

Be sure to check back on zulily.com or on their app every morning to discover new finds, especially on Mother’s Day (May 8th) for their Moms First event, to shop everything a new mama wouldn’t want to be without.

mothers_day_infographic - FINAL

*The study was conducted online using a Google Consumer Survey, which uses inferred demographic and location information to employ stratified sampling method by distributing the surveys based on the targeted audience to its publisher network and/or android smartphone users. The study consisted of 1000 respondents between April 4th and April 7th among women aged 25-54. The margin of error is +/-5 percentage points.
**Sales Data Methodology: The methodology used to report on the 2015-16 maternity and infant purchasing trends was created by reviewing more than 262,000 products, from April 2015 – April 2016. zulily has approximately 5 million active customers, as of Q4 2015.

#Spon: Partnering with @ParasolCo to Bring You the Best Diapers Around!

sampleDisclaimer: I received a sample of Parasol Diapers in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

best baby diapers

It’s true. As a mom of 8, I have lots of experience with diapers. I’ve tried them all. Honestly! Every single one of them. I’ve even tried cloth diapers. I know what works best for super sensitive bottoms, and I know what works best for crazy super-soakers. What I wanted was a diaper that would make me happy no matter what! I’m now down to just one baby in diapers. (Crazy, right? And no chance of any more in diapers, either, which is even crazier!) After all this time, I’ve been looking for that one diaper that I could fall in love with and use all the time. I wanted it to be safe and gentle on Sawyer’s sensitive skin, but I wanted it to hold up on the nights when he had a lot to drink during the day and needs some extra protection to get him through the night. And, truth be told, I wanted them to be cute.

It’s not so much to ask, is it? We spend most of our time outdoors during the Spring and Summer, and Sawyer prefers to be naked. If I’m going to have my baby running all over creation in his diaper, is it too much to ask that they be cute? I think not.

Earlier this month, I was introduced to Parasol Co. They wanted me to test out their new diapers on Sawyer and tell them what I thought.

cute baby diapers

Oh my goodness. Diapers that are gentle, strong, AND cute?! Who could say no?! So, they sent me a box of diapers and asked if I would mind doing a comparison with my current diaper and wipes brand(s).

Here’s the result of my comparison immediately after I received my package from Parasol Co.:

Immediately, I fell in love with these diapers. I started using them right away, and I never switched back. The same is true for the wipes. They are so soft, and feel more like a washcloth than a wipe. They work well on even the yuckiest messes, and my kids all love them!

Before I switched to Parasol Co. diapers, I had been faithful to one brand, but I had also recently grabbed a pack of “slip on”diapers because they were on sale one day. BIG MISTAKE. Those diapers caused a horrible allergic rash on Sawyers back, and even after I switched back to my regular diapers, I couldn’t get the rash to go away. TWO DAYS after using nothing but Parasol Co. diapers and wipes, there was a huge difference in his rash, and now it’s completely gone. I won’t claim that the Parasol Co. diapers healed him, but they sure did help, and I am eternally grateful! It shows me that their products are exactly what they claim they are: made with safe materials and eco-conscious practices. These are diapers you can trust. They are Hypoallergenic, Chlorine-free, Fragrance-free, Lotion-free, and Latex-free. See? Safe.

Maybe you’re worried about a monthly subscription service. Maybe you think it’s too expensive. Let me assure you, as one who has purchased diapers endlessly for the past 13 years straight, these diapers are not too expensive, and could even help you save money in the long run!

Think about it. For $85/month, you get an entire month’s worth of diapers and wipes. For one month, you don’t have to worry about a thing because everything is sent to you. (You decide if you want it sent every 3, 4, or 5 weeks.)

Now, think about how much you are currently spending on diapers and wipes. If I buy a pack of diapers every week at $10 – 12, that’s approximately $45-50/month. Plus wipes. (And wipes are not cheap, especially if you want wipes that work well!) So, we’re up to about $75-80/month between diapers and wipes. Hmmm… Now, factor in the gas it took you to get to the store, the energy you consumed taking your little one (or little ones, in my case!) into the store, and all the unnecessary things you bought at the store just because you had to stop for a diaper run.

See? You’re already saving money, and you’re getting super cute diapers that are SAFE and work well! (The only issue I have had with the diapers was one night when Sawyer slept for 14 hours straight and woke up soaked. But, the fact that he slept 14 hours was a fine trade off for one morning of washing the sheets. Totally worth it!)

Want me to give you an even better incentive to try Parasol Co.? If you head to the Parasol Co. website, and use the code Blessed16 when you order your first box, you’ll receive $20 off that box! This is it, folks! It’s what you’ve been waiting for! We all love a discount, and this is a great way to try out these amazing diapers for a fraction of the cost.

parasol discount code blessed16

Now, tell me those aren’t the cutest diapers you’ve ever seen?! They have 3 great patterns to choose from, so pick your favorite, and order now!

I love everything about the Parasol Company, and I am so excited to partner with them. I can’t wait to see what other products they come up with. I know it will be great, and I hope I get to share more with you again soon!

Take a chance and try Parasol Co. diapers on your little one today! If you do, please be sure to let me know.

#IC #Ad: #FamilyTravel? #FamilyAdventure? The @GBChildUsa #gbPockit Stroller Makes it Better! #gbFuturePerfect

sponsored Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by @GBChildUsa as part of a Blog Blast Activation for Influence Central.

The weather is finally getting nice, and that means it’s time to start thinking about your next Family Adventure! When you have a little one, you have to take time to decide what is going to be the easiest way to get them around. You want them to be comfortable, but you also need to be comfortable too! You need something light, portable, but sturdy. That’s why I want to introduce you to the gb Pockit stroller available at Babies ‘R’ Us. It’s perfect for little ones from 6 months up to 55 pounds, and comes in 6 gorgeous colors. It’s the world’s smallest folding stroller at 12″ x 7″ x 14″, making it lightweight, but still easy to use!

One easy way to learn more about this amazing little stroller is to check out the #gbPockit Twitter Party. Here’s everything you need to know:

  • Date: Thursday, April 28, 2016
  • Time: 1 – 2 PM ET
  • Moderators: @MomCentral
  • Brand Participants: @GBChildUSA
  • Party hashtags: #gbPockit
  • Prizes: 2 pre-party winners and 6 party winners will receive $50 Amex gift cards and 1 grand prize winner will receive the gb Pockit Stroller
  • Party Focus: We’ll be chatting about family adventures, whether a jet-setting vacation or a weekend getaway, the gb Pockit gives on-the-go Moms a portable stroller, ideal for all of our family travels.

Check out the link above to get all the details, and I hope to see you at the #gbPockkit twitter party next week!



#Spon: #SickJustGotReal – Beat Cold & Flu Season with Pfizer Pediatric Products @Target #Giveaway

sampleDisclaimer: The Pfizer Pediatric Platform products, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. All thoughts and reviews are my own.


Cold and flu season in our house is a nightmare. With 8 kids, they pass germs like crazy! Playdates, school, birthday parties, church activities, even trips to the park and the grocery store expose the kids to more germs than I even want to think about. So, naturally, someone ends up sick. Then, just as one gets better, two more get sick. It’s a viscous cycle that we can’t ever seem to beat.

Thankfully, we can stock up on Pfizer Pediatric products at Target when Sick Gets Real in our house. They help us be prepared for fevers, coughs, and colds that come our way and want to linger in my kids.


If Sick just got real.™ for your family, there are so many different solutions to help tackle the worst of symptoms, like Children’s Advil®, Children’s Robitussin®, and/or Children’s Dimetapp®:

  • Infants’ and Children’s Advil® provide unsurpassed fever and pain relief(1) , and contain ibuprofen, the medicine pediatricians use most for their own kids’ fevers(2) (for ages 6 months -11 years)
  • Children’s Robitussin® provides soothing action and cough control with some formulations lasting up to 8 hours (for ages 6-12 years)
  • Children’s Dimetapp® provides great-tasting cold-fighting power and is the #1 pharmacist recommended brand for children’s cough & cold symptoms(3) (for ages 6+)

*It is important to remember to always read and keep the cartons for complete warnings and dosing information on Pfizer Pediatric Platform products and to use as directed

Please take a few moments to check out the following links and learn more about the Pfizer Pediatric Platform products to help your little ones when Sick Gets Real at your house:

There’s no way around it. Kids get sick. It just happens, no matter how hard you try to prevent it. While there’s no way to keep the sickness from coming on, you can make your little ones more comfortable. So, if Sick Just Got Real at your house, head to Target and stock up on the Pfizer products listed above.


To help you stock up on all the things you need to keep your little ones comfortable this cold season, I’m giving away a Pfizer Pediatric Platform package to one lucky reader! Here’s what you’ll get:


  • A product bundle including each of the Pfizer Pediatric Platform products (Children’s Advil®, Children’s Robitussin®, Children’s Dimetapp®)
  • A $50 Target gift card to purchase additional Pfizer Pediatric Platform products at Target to get your family through cough, cold, and flu season

Want to win? Enter using the Rafflecopter Gadget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway will end at midnight Thursday, 4/21. I will select and contact the winner that same day. You MUST claim your prize that day so that I can get your information over to the sponsor.

1 Among OTC pain relievers.

2 Based on a survey of doctors.

3 Source: 2015-16 Pharmacy Times and U.S. News & World Report.

#Spon: Our Sip & Seek Adventures with @EvenfloBaby

sampleDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by Evenflo. I received samples of the products in order to facilitate my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sip N Seek Adventure Pack

Sawyer loves to explore. That child is always running, climbing, and exploring everything he can find. He never stops. Ok, maybe twice a day: once at nap time, and then again at bed time. But, every other minute of the day, he’s trying to find something new that he can get into. It’s no wonder he’s my best sleeper, simply because he’s the most active baby I have ever had. Needless to say, the boy keeps me on my toes!

sip n seek climber

So, when Evenflo contacted me and asked me to take part in their Sip N Seek Adventure program, I *knew* Sawyer and I were the perfect fit! We were supposed to take a day to go on an adventure. Evenflo provided me with the awesome pack you see pictured above. There were more than enough snacks and cups to get us through the day, as well as some extra goodies that made our adventure even more special.

sip n seek group shot

We started our day at the local Misty Mountain Railroad. None of my kids or I had ever been to this fun little museum before. It was incredible! I can’t imagine the hours someone put in to making that museum come to life. The kids spent so much time taking everything in. And I wasn’t surprised when the very first thing Gage pointed out was Superman on top of one of the buildings.

sip n seek superman

After spending some time with the owner of the museum, and learning all about the different sections they had set up, how much work had gone into it, and being shown all of the little hidden treasures, (like Superman), hidden throughout the display, we knew our adventure was far from over! My friend had come along on our adventure, and she invited us back to her home for awhile. But, her home isn’t like most homes. She lives on a farm. Complete with animals, and all sorts of stuff for Sawyer to climb on and explore.

sip n seek farm

We met a cow, climbed on everything we could find, fed the bunnies, pet the goats. My goodness, what fun we had! And, through it all, Evenflo was there to keep him hydrated and happy with their Sip N Seek Cups!

sip n seek cups

Evenflo sent us an awesome Astronaut themed Sip N Seek Cup with their new Triple-Flo stoppers in their insulated cups. It keeps Sawyer’s drinks cool, without fear of it spoiling while we’re out and about. Other designs available include Mermaids, Unicorns, and Dinosaurs, each one sure to make your little one smile!

Evenflo’s new TripleFlo Sip & Seek Cups are now available at Babies ‘R’ Us, Meijer, and HEB, and retail for $4.99 each. You can also purchase 2 packs for $9.99 at Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and Target.com.

If your little one is always on the go, and you need a cup that can keep up with him (or her!), I highly recommend the products from the Evenflo feeding line. We are super impressed, and these are now the only cups Sawyer will use!

Thank you, Evenflo, for making high quality, BPA-free products that I want to give my baby.

#Spon: #FlyBy Presents the #UndertheSea Bible for Kids

sampleDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by FlyBy Promotions and Zonderkidz. I received a copy of the Under the Sea Bible in order to facilitate my review. Any opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

under the sea

In our house, we are always trying to find ways to encourage our children to read their Bible. Typically, this isn’t a problem, but when it comes to our younger children, it can be more difficult.

Thankfully, we received a copy of the Under the Sea Bible. The timing could not have been more perfect! Our 7 year old son, Parker, is constantly asking questions and wanting to know more about accepting Christ as his Savior. His little heart is so open and so willing. Not only that, but his class recently took a trip to a local Aquarium. His class has been studying things “Under the Sea” for weeks now, in order to prepare for their trip. So, when a Bible, whose cover was decorated with beautiful, sparkly, creatures from under the sea – well, let’s just say – Parker called dibs!

reading the Bible

While I wish the Under the Sea Bible was available in other versions, (namely the KJV with the words of Jesus in red), I still believe this is an excellent resource for Parker. The inserts inside the Bible are full of color, and more importantly, full of information to help him understand what the Bible tells us. It’s opened the door to lots of questions. Even more than all of that, though, I love that I will just randomly find Parker sitting and reading this Bible all over the house.

The Under the Sea Holy Bible, NIrV would make a fantastic gift for any child aged 6 – 10. The beautiful underwater creatures sparkle on the outside cover and bring the interior of this Bible to life. The inserts inside the Bible cover themes of God’s love and care for all of us, and also give a clear representation of the gospel.

You can learn more about the Bible by clicking either of the links above. The Bible is now available for purchase at these major retailers:

You can also learn more about Zonderkidz products by following them on social media:

Thank you, Zonderkidz for producing a Bible that has my child wanting to read, wanting to learn more, and asking the questions he needs to learn in order to give his heart to Christ. We love this Bible, and we are sure you will too!

Moms, Let’s Get REAL.

I used the following post as a devotional for my monthly MOPs group this month. (Mothers of Preschoolers) It went over so well, and so many moms approached me afterward, I felt it needed to be shared here. I hope this post touches you and helps you realize you are loved, no matter who you really are.

Let's Get Real

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the Casting Crowns concert with one of my very best friends. After we left the concert, and had some ice cream, we got into some pretty deep discussion. Since then, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this topic. I think this is something all moms need to hear, I’m just praying I can bring it across in a way that points to Jesus.

Tonight, I want us to get real. I mean really really real. Like, spill-our-guts-and-show-the-world-who-we-really-are real.

I start thinking about what Mark Hall said at the concert that night when he said, “As Christians, we feel this overwhelming need to always look good so that we can make Jesus look good.”

Whoa. That hit me like a ton of bricks. I am SO guilty. I feel this need, and it is absolutely overwhelming, to make sure *I* always look good, and therefore Jesus will always look good.

Why do we do that? Why can’t we just be real? As a mom of 8, I often feel like everyone is looking at me. Scrutinizing every move I make, and just waiting for me to fail. And so, I try, with all my might, to NOT fail. To give this perfect appearance of a perfect life all the time.

Oh, what a fake I am. I am not perfect. Nor, should I ever pretend to be, because I am so far from perfect, it’s ridiculous. I have done things that would make you gasp in disbelief and cause you to think little of me. It’s true. I have a past so tattered, that I would do anything to hide it from all of you.

Let me tell you a little secret, and please don’t think less of me because I say this, I just want to be real – to be honest, and to tell it like it is.

The first time I attended my local MOPs group, about 8 years ago, I felt oddly out of place. It was like everyone in the room was so much better than me. Everyone was gorgeous, put together, and so outgoing. There I was, like a bump on a log — a frumpy, overweight, stressed out, exhausted mom of 4, pregnant with her 5th. I had to be better. I had to do better. I had to fit in with everyone around me. (Let me just interject here, if this is how you feel about coming to MOPs, please know that is the exact opposite of what we want you to feel! We want you to walk into MOPs, just as you are, even if it means you show up in your pajamas, and know that you are loved regardless of how much money you have, how stressed out you are, or how long it’s been since you got to take a shower that lasted longer than 3 minutes.)

Back to what I was saying. I felt so out of place, like I could never fit in with these gorgeous ladies. So, I put on a mask. Every time I walked into MOPs, I made sure my makeup was perfect, every hair in place, even made sure my legs were shaved and my eye brows were plucked. I’ve done this for years. Why? Because that’s what I thought I needed to do to give off the appearance of being a good Christian mom that would always make Jesus look good. I had to give off that “perfect life” vibe.

But, you know what? Here’s the thing. It’s not my job to make Jesus look good. He IS good. He radiates good. And if I’m trying to show HIS good by lying? Well, that ain’t doin’ nobody no good! (My high school English teacher is wagging her finger at me right now!) But, it’s true. How can I radiate the love of Christ, if I’m not willing to be REAL and let Him use me in whatever way he chooses?

I have been told that I give off a vibe that I am very difficult to approach, a holier-than-thou vibe, if you will. You have no idea how much hearing this hurts my heart, but it is very much my own fault. It’s all due to the fact that I feel the need to give off that “perfect” appearance. Instead of perfect, though, I am making myself appear stand-offish, and completely unapproachable. Oh, how I hate it! (I have also been told – by the same friend that was willing to give me the brutal truth – that once you get to know me, you see how far off the initial appearance is, but I fear that many people won’t take the time to get to know me simply because of that initial vibe. It hurts my heart so badly to think of all the friendships I may have missed out on because of my overwhelming desire to be look perfect.)

So, my sweet friends, let me confess to you how real I am, and how perfect I am not:

– I yell. A lot. And loud. There are times when my kids make me so angry, I will literally turn into She-Hulk and can only grunt commands. “GO!” “EAT!” “CLEAN!” “QUIIIIEEEETTTT!!!!” Seriously, it’s not pretty.

– I am not Super Mom. I cannot do it all, even if my Facebook posts show otherwise. I am simply a stressed out mama who needs a super God to get me though my day. Every day.

– I am not patient. Sometimes, I’m certain God gave me children to teach me patience. And He gave me so many kids because I need a LOT MORE practice in patience than most women.

– Laundry is my nemesis. I have 15 (yes, 15) tubs of clothes stacked on my back porch. They are not clean and sorted by season. Oh no. They are dirty clothes from before our move. IN NOVEMBER. I still haven’t touched them. And at this point, I’m thinking I should just burn them so that I can have the 15 storage tubs for other junk.

– Every day is not perfect. Facebook is only one part of my life. There is so much more that goes on behind the scenes that no one even knows about. I fight with my husband, who is wonderful, but still a man. I can barely make ends meet with one income and 10 people in our household. Some days, I don’t know where dinner that night is coming from. Sometimes, I don’t want to be a mom. I want a day off to myself, and I want to SLEEP.

After I had written out this devotional before my meeting, I started to get ready for church. Standing in front of the mirror, I had had enough with my bangs. They were too long and too straggly, and they needed a change. So, I grabbed the scissors and…. oh, shoot! Too short. Oh my gosh. Way too short. So much for the perfect representation of my non-existent perfect life. I sure took care of that, didn’t I? I guess I really needed to keep it real. As I’m standing in the bathroom, tears streaming down my face, my 11 year old puts an arm around my shoulders and says, “It’s not so bad! Look! Now we have the same hairdo!” Just what I always wanted… the same hairdo as my 11 year old… SON. Sigh. I’m just keepin’ it real here, ladies. Really real.

I could go on for hours, there is just so much more I could share. But, I think you get the point. I’m a frazzled, crazy mom, who hates laundry, her hair, and can turn into She-Hulk on a whim. And I am definitely not holier than you!

Before I close, though, I want to leave you with this verse:  Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Do you get that? We are his workmanship – created in Christ Jesus. God made me this way. God made you that way. He knew I was going to be a mess, and yet He loves me anyway. Even when I yell. Even when I have a bad day. He’s still there, still loving me, still wanting me to serve Him in whatever capacity I can. He wants us to walk in good works, but it doesn’t mean we have to do it perfectly every moment of every day. In fact, we don’t have to do it perfectly at all!

So, ladies, can we make a pact with each other? Can we promise to just be real from here on out? Really real?

Let’s just do our best, and if we have a bad day, don’t hide it. Embrace it, and discover what the Lord is trying to teach you through it. Your bad day might be a blessing to another mom who is trying to hold it together when it seems like her whole world is falling apart.

Always remember, YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made!

fearfully and wonderfully made

#Spon: Let Them Be #JustAKid with @POWERADE & @Walmart

sampleDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post for POWERADE through SheSpeaks. Any opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.


Earlier this year, I signed my 11 year old son up for baseball. Now that the weather is nicer, it’s time for practice, and soon, we’ll be at all of his games. My life is now consumed with baseball – and that’s OK, because I love watching my little athlete play his heart out for a game he loves.

As mom, it’s my job to make sure all of my athletes reach their full potential. One of the ways I can help most is making sure Jace has everything he needs to play his best: the right equipment, a well-balanced pregame meal, on-time arrival to practice and games, and, most importantly, making sure he is properly hydrated.


Jace has never played baseball before, and while he is off to a great start, he is very tough on himself. I find myself constantly reminding him that as long as he’s doing his best and having fun, that’s all that matters. Yes, they are all athletes, but they aren’t professionals, and no one expects them to be!

That’s why I love the POWERADE “Just a Kid” Campaign! No matter what you achieve in your life, there’s one thing you have to remember: you start in the same place as everyone else, a kid full of big dreams and oodles of potential. At the end of the day, we’re all “Just a Kid” from somewhere. Isn’t that fantastic?

POWERADE believe that our everyday athletes can realize their full potential and maybe one day go on to be one of the athletes they look up to. Whether playing t-ball or the pros, every athlete in every league has a story waiting to be told.


Now through April 4, 2016 (or until supplies last), you can get a free custom POWERADE sports bottle! Just head to Walmart, stock up on POWERADE for your athletes, and when you purchase two (2) 20 ounce 8-packs of POWERADE products, you can click this link and get your free personalized bottle.

You can also represent your “somewhere” with custom “Just a Kid” apparel that features where you’re from here. All net proceeds from the sale of “Just a Kid” apparel goes to the Boys & Girls Club of America.


I am excited about this season of baseball, and watching Jace grow and improve as the season goes on. I will cheer him on, encourage him when he gets down, and always, always, always remind him that he is #JustAKid and we all have to start somewhere!

Thanks, POWERADE for your attitude toward our young athletes, for helping them stay hydrated, and for encouraging them the reach their full potential!

A Christian Mom’s Opinion of Fuller House

a christian mom's opinion of fuller house

I have to admit, I was a little giddy when I found out “Fuller House” was going to be a reality.

I grew up with Full House, and because I was the same age as “DJ” on the show, I always had a special connection with the issues she faced.

My family watches Full House on television every evening. My kids can name every character on the show, and they can still relate to the issues brought up in each episode. Sure, some episodes are goofy, and my kids cannot get past some of the clothes they wore, but for the most part, they love Full House and we all look forward to watching it together.

I’ve also followed Candace Cameron Bure through the years. As a professing Christian, I was proud of many of the stands she took on moral issues. It was nice to see that someone in the spotlight could still shine a little light for Jesus.

And then she did Dancing with the Stars. I was crushed. The racy outfits, dancing seductively with a man she wasn’t married too… just so much I disagreed with. So, I “unliked” her page on Facebook, and let it go. (Thank you, Elsa.)

Then, talk of Fuller House started. The middle school girl in me got all giddy. Maybe a little too giddy, because I didn’t bother to do ANY research on the show. (Where’s the hand to the forehead emoticon?) Not having Netflix, I hurried up and subscribed, just so I could tune into the show.

I assumed it would be just like Full House. I assumed I could watch it with my kids. I assumed it would be the next family show we would all love watching.

I assumed wrong. VERY WRONG.

Without any research on the show, my family sat down the night of the big premier, and set in to binge on the entire season that night. Minutes into the show, I had a feeling our plans were going to change.

We sat and watched the entire first episode as a family. I am still so ashamed of that. (Please note: this is proof that Christians are not perfect. I let MY desire to watch the show stand in the way of what I KNEW was right. And even worse, I subjected my children to it, because I wanted SO BADLY for us to love it.)


Really. Sometimes, I do dumb things. Really dumb things. Like subject my husband and my pre-teen boys to “Stephanie Tanner’s” breasts hanging out of her dress through most of the episode. Sigh.

As we were watching the show, and they revealed the red dress Stephanie was going to wear to the party, I kept thinking, “There’s no way she’s really going to wear that. DJ will make her change!”

I was convinced that Candace Cameron Bure – NOT DJ Tanner – would step up and say, “No way. Not on my show. This isn’t going to happen.” Like she had a little bit of that Jesus in her, and she would make it all ok. But she never did. Stephanie wore the dress, and I sat there and let it be shown on my television.

We finished the first episode, and then we sat there in dumbfounded silence. Had I researched the show, I would have known that the show was NOT going to be kid friendly.

(Note: I read an article that the creators made the show for the adults who had grown up with Full House. Like, when we grew up, we all left our morals on the cutting room floor? Is that really what they think of today’s world? But, with the amount of “Conservative Christians” that thought Fuller House was great, I’m guessing those creators are correct.)

We turned the TV off and found other things to do that night. No mention of the show was made again…

Until the next day. All night, I had tossed and turned, begging God to forgive me for allowing that show into my home. Thanking Him that my stupidity only lasted one episode (and that was with not even knowing what any other episodes held!).  When we got up the next morning, the very first thing I did was apologize to my husband. Over and over, I apologized for subjecting him to that. He kissed my forehead and told me he was just as wrong for not turning it off either. I’m thankful that he admits his faults and loves me through mine.

I spoke with a friend of mine who made it through the whole season. The things she told me made me SO glad we had shut it off and not gone on to another episode. Sex, drinking, vulgarity… I just don’t understand it. Then, I read this article that made me even more glad we didn’t continue watching. (Warning: If you are a follower of Jesus, that link will make you sad, sick, and angry. And if it does not, there’s something wrong.)

I expected so much more from the show. I expected it to be loved by my kids as much as Full House is. I never expected to be shocked and horrified by what I saw.

I think my biggest disappointment lies in Candace Cameron Bure, though. Secretly, I wonder what her brother thinks about her new show. With her “high moral standards” and her “love for Jesus,” I never, ever expected her to take part in something like this. Yes, we are all human. And, yes, we all do dumb things. (See above – and I’m certain I have many more stories I could share…) BUT, as a professing Christian in the media and all over social network outlets, I think she should be held to an even higher standard. Her role on Fuller House has set Christian women back a thousand paces. It is NOT OK to live a double standard. (Read James 3 if you need further explanation.)

The good news is, my hope is NOT in Candace Cameron Bure. My hope is in JESUS. He is the only one Who ever lived a perfect life. So, while people let us down, and while family shows are now becoming a thing of the past, I am thankful I can still trust in Jesus. And I am so thankful that He loves me… even when I do dumb things.

What are your thoughts on Fuller House? Were you as disappointed as I was?

#Sponsored: Show Us Your Smile Contest for Children’s Dental Hygiene Month

sampleDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by Great Expressions Dental Centers. Any opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.


As a mom of so many kids, lots of lost teeth, and many (many) trips to the dentist, I understand the importance of good dental hygiene! I stress it all the time with my kids.

To encourage children everywhere to participate in good oral hygiene practices, Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) is launching their “Show Us Your Smile” facebook contest this month.

To enter the contest, parents get the chance to submit a photo of their child’s smile for a chance to win a free bike and a movie bundle. Winners will be selected once a week throughout the month of February.

Visit the Great Expressions Dental Centers Facebook Page to submit your entry today!

Remember – the contest runs all month, but once February is gone, so is your chance to win! Head on over and submit your child’s entry today!

#AD: Keeping Our #GameDayTraditions FUN! @SheSpeaksUp @ProcterGamble @Walmart

sampleDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/P&G. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.


Game Day in our house means lots of preparation! I’ve got so much to do! There’s the food to prepare… the house to get clean… every little detail must be taken care of… Even down to what toilet paper I’m going to make sure is available for my guests! (I don’t want someone coming over, using my bathroom, and then going home to tell their spouse, “Ugh. That toilet paper was like sandpaper!” No thank you! Only best for my guests! They deserve the ultra strong, yet squeezably soft goodness that only Charmin can provide.) Luckily, I can head to Walmart and grab everything I need to make our traditions for Game Day perfect.


Set up is crucial. Spray some Febreze to get the furniture smelling fresh and clean. Then, I need everything laid out just right so my guests can get to it easily. I need the right paper towels to handle clean ups, because with the crew we host on game day, there are sure to be a few spills! Bounty helps me get the counters clean after I’ve slaved in the kitchen all day, and then Bounty paper towels are perfect for clean up during and after the party!


And then there’s the food. Oh my goodness, the food! Meatballs, sandwiches, chili cheese dip and chips, bread, pasta, desserts galore. I don’t do anything small. I have to make sure there’s plenty of food for everyone, and that there’s no chance of anyone leaving my house hungry!


And while I’m going out of my mind, trying so hard to make everything just right, I remember the most important tradition I have when it comes to game day: the people I share game day with.

Even though I have ten people living in my house – and we can make any occasion a party! – when we add family and friends to the mix, it’s always something to remember!

Once the game is over, and everyone has left, that’s when I’m thankful I stocked up at Walmart! It’s time for the real clean up! I find dip under the couch. Stains on *everyone’s* clothes. And the bathroom usually looks like a tornado ran through it. (Did you notice all those kids in the picture above?!) Luckily, I’ve got Bounty to help with the clean up of the house, and Tide to help make laundry easier.

After every game day happening, all I want to do is sleep for a week, but I’m always thankful that I’ve had the fun with family and friends. They make every moment of preparation, frustration, and clean up worth it. It doesn’t even matter who wins the game!

Companies like Walmart and P&G make Game Day even easier. I’m thankful for quality products that make everyone happy, at a price that makes my wallet happy!

Want to read about other bloggers and their #GameDayTraditions? Here are the links that will help you do just that:

Now, tell me about Game Day at your house. Do you have any traditions you follow? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

Moving From the City to the Suburbs

If you grew up in the heart of a big city or live in one now, you enjoy many benefits of city life — easy access to public transportation, extensive shopping and social activities, vibrant art and culture. But you might be like many who wonder if raising a family in a large city is a good idea. Many parents and parents to-be worry about the quality of schools, frequency of crime and lack of safe spaces for kids to play. You’ll drive more if you live outside the city, but there are some distinct advantages to ditching your city digs and taking up residence in the suburbs.

In the city, an apartment or flat costs more. You pay a premium for sidewalks, cafes and theaters, as well as the shorter commute. But you money simply goes further in the suburbs. In Seattle for example, a one-bedroom apartment might cost $1,500 in a moderately priced city neighborhood, but in a suburb a mile away, the same apartment might be $900.

Less Noise & Less Pollution
Suburbs have the benefit of less crowding and more green space. When people aren’t packed in like sardines, crime is also less frequent. You can check out crime rates of an area before you move to see what your new neighborhood might be like. With less people and less industry comes better air quality too. See where your current city ranks in terms of pollution according to the American Lung Association. Less noise and pollution can lead to less stress and a higher quality of life.

Better Schools
City schools often don’t compare to their suburban counterparts. Part of the reason for this is the lack of tax base to support the school districts financially. Lower incomes correlate to school bonds and measures not being funded. So families choose the  suburbs to help ensure their children get a better education, even though doing so often means paying higher property taxes. Last, homes and apartments in good school districts hold their value which is important even if you don’t have kids. Look up schools ahead of time and compare. Global report card even allows you to compare any town or suburb to locales outside the U.S.

More Kids
While there are plenty of children who live in the city, parents usually find more convenient access to child care centers, parks and recreation facilities in the suburbs.

If you are considering a move to the suburbs, rent first, or rent permanently. The benefits of renting include flexibility to move should the commute turn out to be too long or the neighborhood doesn’t meet your needs. Renting may be a great permanent option for your family. It also might be a place to stay while you look for a larger place or house. Check out some of the hottest suburbs in the country for renters. Many of the suburbs on this list are among the safest places in their broader metro area. In some cases the rents might be higher too, but the benefits might be worth the premium.

#Sponsored: Another @PhotoPad_VG #Giveaway! ($25 OR $100 Amazon GC – Your Choice!)

sampleDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by PhotoPad. Any opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.


Last month, I ran a contest for a $100 Amazon Gift Card, and I have to say, I’m a little baffled. There wasn’t one entry on that giveaway post! That’s just crazy!

So, I approached the owner of photoPAD, and we talked. We want to give you another chance to win! I’ll get to the giveaway in a minute. :)

While I kind of kept a business focus on my last post, I want you to see how great this can be for sharing family photos with those you love most!

Take a look at my family PAD:

Isn’t it cute? And it only took a few minutes to make. Now, I can share my PAD with family and friends on Facebook, twitter, or through email at the click of a button!

It’s like digital scrapbooking without all the headache, expense, and frustration. It’s so easy to create a PAD!

Just in case you’ve forgotten, here are the steps to create your own PAD:

  • First, head to the PhotoPad website.
  • In the top right corner, click on “Start Exploring.”
  • Click on “Join Today.” (Takes 30 seconds to join. SO easy!!)
  • Click on the Plus (+) sign at the top left of the page to create a new pad.
  • Follow the steps to Describe your Pad and get to work using the tools on the right!
  • Now, add pictures and create pages to complete your Pad.

Be sure to save your work at the end, and then you can share your pad by finding the link and sharing through social media. To find the link to your Pad, go to the home page, then click the funnel icon. Just click on “My Pads” and there you have it! SO easy!

I really want to encourage you to try out the new photoPAD for yourself. I think you’re going to love it!

And, to reward you, we’re holding another giveaway. You can win a $25 Amazon Gift Card OR a $100 Amazon Gift Card – your choice. Here’s how it will work:

  • 1. To enter for a $25 Amazon Gift Card, visit the PhotoPad Business Facebook Page. (Because we can’t ask you to “like” the page, according to Facebook rules, we sure would appreciate a “like” if you “like” what you see!)
  • 2. Want to increase your prize to a $100 Amazon Gift Card? Simply create your own Pad, with at least 2 slides, using the PhotoPad creator. (Follow the steps above.)
  • 3. Leave a comment on this post and tell me you did the above. If you created a pad, please leave a link to your PAD in your comment.(You MUST leave a link to your pad in order to win the $100 prize.)

Contest will end Sunday, January 17th at 11:59pm, and winner will be announced and contacted on January 18th.

Winner has been selected…. thanks to all who entered!


#Sponsored: LeapTV – Educational Fun to Get Your Kids Moving! #Giveaway #LeapFrogMomSquad

sampleDisclaimer: This review and giveaway is made possible through my relationship with LeapFrog and the LeapFrog Mom Squad. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

leaptv giveaway

Have you heard of LeapTV?

It’s this fantastic little gaming system that gets your little ones up and moving and *learning* all at the same time. My kids love it, and they just can’t get enough of it.

We’ve had our LeapTV for awhile now, and it definitely hasn’t gotten “old.” The kids still ask to play with it all the time, and I’m happy to comply when I know they’re going to be learning while they play. My favorite part is that ALL of my kids love it – from Carly (almost 3) all the way up to Zander and Jace (who are 12 and 11). The bigger ones help the little ones, and a fun time is had by all.


There are so many games to choose from, and something to make everyone happy. From Blaze to Frozen, Paw Patrol to Sophia the First, all of our favorite characters are part of the kids favorite games. It’s a win-win for everyone!


LeapFrog has been one of my favorite companies to work with, and product like the LeapTV are why! In their kindness, they sent me 2 LeapTV systems, so I’m sharing one with you! That’s right! You get the chance to win your very own LeapTV system and a Letter Factory Adventure game to go with it! How lucky are you?!

What if you don’t win? That’s OK! The LeapTV system is now retailing for just $59.99. That’s a fantastic price for a great product, and it’s worth every penny! No excuses. Now you can use up those gift cards you got for Christmas and make the kids happy. (Which, in turn, will make YOU happy!)

Use the Rafflecopter Gadget below to enter the giveaway. The contest will end January 19th at 11:59pm.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kids in the Outdoors: The Benefits of Outdoor Playtime

kids outside

Confined within the house or classroom, your kids may become stir-crazy. Make sure they have an outlet for all their energy, and let them run free outside. Outdoor recreation has been scientifically linked to physical and mental health benefits. Nature can also serve as an outdoor classroom that teaches your children about wildlife and plant life. Regardless of where you live or how old your children are, there are many ways you can incorporate outdoor outings into your family’s routine.

Learn the Benefits of Nature
Time outdoors reaps many benefits that bolster mental and physical health. The mere act of frequent nature outings encourages exercise and an active lifestyle. The University of Essex studied the effects of colors in relation to exercise. The study found that the color green produces better results — less mood disturbances and lower feelings of exertion — than any other color. From this study, it was deduced that the greenery within nature provides an ideal setting for exercise.

Nature helps improve brain function and concentration within children. A study conducted by the National Center for Biology Information found that children with ADHD who spend time outdoors have lessened symptoms. Those who engage in the same activities indoors do not show the same increase of concentration.

The summer sun provides an ample amount of vitamin D, which increases your children’s bone and cell growth, increases their immune functions and provides them with energy. Make sure that your family wears sunscreen that is 30 SPF to be protected from skin damage or cancer.

Make It a Habit
Make outdoor recreation a habit for your family. Schedule time when you and your kids can take walks through your local parks, go on weekend hikes or try new outdoor activities. You can incorporate outdoor activity into your daily routine, even if you have smaller children with some simple solutions. For example, install a kid seat on your bicycle for regular rides around the neighborhood after dinner or to and from school.

The habit of outdoor recreation can be implemented in any environment or weather conditions. If you live in the city and nature isn’t as accessible, many cities have interurban trails or arboretums that are abundant in greenery. If you’re in a colder climate, there are a number of cold-weather activities you can take part in. Equip your kids with the right winter gear, and teach them about snow and ice safety so they can fully enjoy the outdoors in the winter.

Fun Activities
There are plenty of outdoor activities that the entire family can enjoy. Excite and engage your kids with a variety of outdoor games that will keep them outside for as long as possible. Take your family to a park or some fields with a soccer ball for a friendly afternoon scrimmage. Purchase some small, multi-colored cones to place around the field for a game of frisbee golf.

Bird watching is an activity that provides your kids with outdoor time as well as an increased knowledge of all the varieties of birds. Research the best spots for bird watching in your area and bring along a picture guide and a journal. You and your child can make a game of how many types of birds you spot.

You can also take nature walks with your children to identify plants, trees, insects and wildlife. A number of handy outdoor apps will assist in your identification of all the life that lies within nature.

The Lessons Every Good Parent Teaches Their Children

As a parent, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to teaching your children the lessons they need to learn. Here are some of the most important ones that you should focus on to begin with.

That Respect for Others is Vital
Your children are not born with the understanding that respecting the other people around them is important. Many parents seem to think that these things should just happen by themselves. But it’s actually up to parents to show their children that being kind and respectful is important. It’s only then that they will begin to understand and believe what you say. So, you need to show them in practical ways why respect is a good thing. You can do this by only giving them something they want when they show you some respect and talk to you in a polite and considerate way. The message will eventually get through.


Photo Source

That Mistakes Can be Learned From
Everyone makes mistakes, and you don’t want your children to stress over these basic mistakes too much. That’s why it’s so important to show them that even when something bad happens, or they make a mistake, they can learn from it. It’s the perfect way of showing your children that there are positive things to be taken from every situation. This will then help them to develop a positive view of the world, and that can surely only be a good thing. So, when they or you make a mistake, talk to them about how they can learn from it and not make that mistake again in future.

That There is a Range of Different Beliefs in the World
One of the biggest problems that we have in the world come from a lack of understanding and openness. You don’t want you child to grow into the kind of adult that has no knowledge of other cultures and beliefs, do you? That’s why you need to introduce them to diversity and different beliefs as soon as possible. This doesn’t mean that they have to take up a particular religion or set of beliefs. It’s merely about showing them the diversity that there is in the world. You can do this by exposing them to different religious texts, so why not get them a Bible as a gift?

That Telling the Truth is Always Best
This is the one that every parent knows about, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not hard to get across to a child. Children are not stupid. In fact, they’re very clever and a little cunning. They know that they can sometimes escape trouble or get their way if they tell a little lie here and there. That’s what makes it so difficult to show them that lying isn’t a good thing and that telling the truth is always best. But it is a vitally important lesson and one that they need to learn sooner rather than later. So, when they lie, punish them for it and then show them what the negative consequences of lying are.

Here’s How I Help My Toddlers Walk Further

No two kids are the same. Some will pull themselves up to standing at seven months and then not let go of the furniture until eighteen months. Others will just choose to stand up and run off all in the same day! These things aren’t predictable, but there are plenty of things you can do to help them find their feet and use their legs.

Active kids are healthier kids. Usually, children need no encouragement to run around and play. But it doesn’t hurt to get them out and about and walking as much as possible anyway. Pram shoes aren’t any good for walking around outside. It’s best to wait until your little ones are fitted for their first pair of proper shoes, especially if they’re on their feet early.


Rheuch is the provider of this picture

Start with walking about indoors. You can play Follow The Leader, or become a human choo choo train to get them up and moving. Turn up the music and do some dancing for a while. All these activities help your toddler to develop core strength and balance. Best of all, it gets them active so they will sleep better at nap time!

Once they’re ready for walking about outside, take their hands so you can stop them falling on the hard ground. You might prefer to take them out in the pushchair to the park. Then they will still have enough stamina to walk around the park a little. If it’s cold, be sure to use your pushchair footmuffs, so the legs and feet don’t get too chilly. Little bursts of walking are all a small toddler needs to make big progress with his walking.

Over time, your little one will be more confident and more skilled at walking. You might be ready to let him walk without holding hands. When you are out and about it is essential you still have hold of him, though. Why not try a backpack with a wrist strap? That way you can stop him running off, but his arms are free for balancing.

Head out for a walk every day. Choose a spot to stop that is a little further away from your starting point every day. This will help your child build up his strength and stamina. Some toddlers get bored, though. You might want to have points of interest and things to see and do on the way. And if your little one decides enough is enough, you may have no choice but to carry him all the way home. Heading out for a reason can help motivate him to see the journey through.

All my big kids were different as toddlers, but they all got through those first tentative steps eventually. If you’re worried your little one isn’t walking, you can speak to your child’s doctor. There is rarely anything to worry about before eighteen months. Try to make a game of it, and add a little extra padding to their trousers just in case! And just think, the next big milestones will be jumping and running!

#Sponsored: @PhotoPad_VG Makes Business Better | $100 Amazon GC #Giveaway

sponsoredDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by PhotoPad. Any opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.


When you run a business, it’s so important to “brand” your business. Even with my blog, I’ve tried to brand myself so that when people see my logo or maybe even an anchor, they think of “Blessed Beyond Words.”

Do you own a business or a blog and need to brand yourself? PhotoPad is the best way to brand your business through Photo Stories.

You won’t believe how easy it is to start creating!

  • First, head to the PhotoPad website.
  • In the top right corner, click on “Start Exploring.”
  • Click on “Join Today.” (Takes 30 seconds to join. SO easy!!)
  • Click on the Plus (+) sign at the top left of the page to create a new pad.
  • Follow the steps to Describe your Pad and get to work using the tools on the right!
  • Now, add pictures and create pages to complete your Pad.

Be sure to save your work at the end, and then you can share your pad by finding the link and sharing through social media. To find the link to your Pad, go to the home page, then click the funnel icon. Just click on “My Pads” and there you have it! Easy, right? (Ok, I’ll admit. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to find my finished pad, but I did it!)

Here’s what my finished Pad looks like:

Not too shabby for my first try, right? I love it!

While PhotoPad is still in beta, I have to say, I’m in love with it! This is such a great way to share photos with clients, and even with friends and family!

Don’t run a business? That’s ok! PhotoPad is still the perfect way to show off your beautiful babies! In November, I hired a photographer friend to take photos for my family. Here are the results of that:

Super cute, right? And what a fun, easy way to show off my photos! I just love it! Now, I can quickly and easily share all the latest happenings with my family.

Now, PhotoPad wants YOU to try out their new program, and they’re giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky winner!

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Create your own Pad using the PhotoPad creator. (Your pad *must* have at least 5 slides.)
  2. Like the PhotoPad Business Facebook Page.
  3. Leave a comment ON THIS BLOG POST letting me know you did both. (Please leave a link to your created Pad in the comment. I want to check them out.)

That’s all you have to do! Remember to leave a link to your Pad as a comment on this post, because that’s how we’ll pick the winner!

Now, go create! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

*Contest Ends January 1st at 11:59pm. Winner will be announced and contacted January 2nd. Facebook is not associated with this giveaway in any way.

The Top 5 Playful Dog Breeds for Young Children

Everyone loves dogs, right?  Well, although your children may be pestering you to adopt a puppy, it’s important to remember that not every kind of dog loves kids.  Some breeds of dogs can be aggressive in general, and some may not think kindly of children who aren’t always particularly delicate when handling them.

So if you’re considering getting a family dog, it’s important to research, and think very carefully about which breed to get.  You want a dog that your kids will love of course, but your dog needs to love them back.

Here are a few ideas to get your research started:
Australian Shepherd
Why consider an Australian Shepherd?  Well, these dogs are very much people dogs.  Hugely friendly in fact. They really want to be (and stay) part of the family, and be involved in everything you do.  Plus they could quite happily fetch, retrieve, fetch, retrieve, fetch, retrieve a ball all day!  In fact, your kids might get bored of the activity before your dog does.

Teddy Bear Shichon
Do little dogs any cuter?  Search Google for pictures and I’m sure you’ll agree they don’t! And just like any dog, you can bring it into your fold as a baby, or perhaps when it’s older.  So if you are looking for little puppies online do a special search for Teddy Bear Shichons.  Deal?

Bernese Mountain Dog
This type of dog is much larger than the others we’ve listed.  But if you’ve got the space, and your kids aren’t scared of such a big animal, then give it some serious thought. And don’t worry about its size.  Bernese Mountain dogs are surprisingly docile and easy going.

Boston Terrier
This small dog can be particularly easy to take care of.  They’re tough, love having fun, but also have huge amounts of personality.  It’s also been said they don’t need much exercise, but you may want to research that further.  Don’t let it be an excuse not to take your dog on walks.

Jack Russell
First things first, Jack Russells often have so much energy they don’t know what to do with it!  To say they have personality is putting it mildly. They come in long haired and short haired varieties.  The longer haired varieties can often have quite a scruffy look, while the short haired breed is much sleeker.  And they often have their tails snipped to just a few inches.  At full length, it’s around a foot.

Jack Russells can sometimes be aggressive against other dogs, but they are wonderfully good natured at home.  If you treat them well, and bring them up well, they’ll be great with kids.

However, it is of course important to remember that even the kindest, friendliest dogs can snarl, and even bite, if treated poorly. So as well as choosing the right dog for the family, you need to teach your children how to handle dogs and understand their personalities.  Of course, every dog is different but there’s some definite baseline characteristics to keep in mind.

Therefore you’ll want to show your children how to safely handle dogs, so the dog feels secure and comfortable, especially if it’s being picked up.  You’ll also want to show your children how to safely play with them, feed them, and make sure they never get bitten by accident.