Snow Days

Snow Days

Snow days in the south are so different than snow days in the north.

After two years in Northern Ohio. I learned the difference pretty quick :)

I did learn to drive in it better….

… and after a few years in Atlanta, I realized when it snows, its all good and fine, as long as you aren’t on the road. Snow + Atlanta traffic = nightmare.

Thankful that this year Travis was at home. He had a gun class of some sort for work the day it started to snow. Because the gun course was outdoors, they canceled due to weather. So Travis got not only wednesday off, but thursday and tomorrow!

Here are some memories from our time :)

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Our neighbors yard has a nice hill. We used theirs as well since our hill got over used haha…

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Reed missed the “snow man” building process…” however, I brought him out for a quick photo. Jammies and all :)

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and of course after any time playing in the snow, you must warm up with hot chocolate.

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I also decided to ask my neighbor to model for me when the snow really came down thick. It was a lot of fun. I’ve wanted to photograph a “teenager” in falling snow for quiet some time. It was a quick shoot but I got some fun shots for her. You can view the entire blog post with those images OVER HERE on my photo blog. Below are just a few.

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Social Media Heaviness

Social Media HeavinessDo you ever have those days when you read something else, yet again that just makes you a bit heavy?

From a news article.

To a blog post.

To a persons post on instagram or facebook.

Something else that is laid in front of your face to read, that does nothing but cause worry, anxiety and at times anger. It seems like more and more each time I log onto social media I am confronted with crap. With depravity and news articles about our freedoms being taken away… (Although we need to stay informed about those terrorizing our country and targeting those who follow Christ. That is something we should not refrain from knowing…. and if anything learn to be vocal and proclaim your faith, despite fear!) Our minds are flooded with comment after comment of hate from complete strangers *ever scroll through a photo of one of the Duggar girls… the comments would make you sick – yet why am I reading them!?*, people mouthing off things they’d never say to a persons face. As I sit there and judge them for their bickering and hatred, I cant help but see this in myself… quick to comment, quick to leave feed back. Yet knowing deep down I probably would never even utter a word to the person face to face. Nor would they.

Interactions being made so flippantly just because.

Its something to do.

Something in front of us.

… and becoming more and more the norm.

Its okay to do right? why not. No harm.

We’re staying connected with our loved ones.

Its a good thing?…

Yet when was the last time you logged on just to see how big baby Ben is getting or how Uncle Joes family vacation was.

The more and more each day passes, the more and more harm I find from it.

Why can we not live in the now.

Live today, with those we love. Without a screen or a status. Constant pulling of our attention.

Another “Hang on a sec buddy….” As you read one more meaningless article or watch yet another viral video.

I want more.

I love interacting with new people. Meeting so many awesome people through my blog *and even instagram* (yes Ive met people off both and its so cool!). I love Sharing my world. My kids. Pouring out things I have learned and hopefully helping someone in return. Bringing in income for my family. (Yes I make money with my blog. Last month I made around $400, month before that over $1,000.) No reason to hide that… I’m not ashamed by the income I work hard to bring in. My husband often tells me I am fulfilling the Proverbs 31 verse each time I find a way to be resourceful in order to help my family, yet again. Even if its only $10.00 here, or $50.00 there. My ability to use things at my fingertips to help my family has been invaluable and so helpful. Our family depends on that income. So a huge huge HUGE hug and thank you to all of those who read our blog.

Know that you reading it is a blessing not only to me but to four little boys and a hard working man paroling the streets with a bullet proof vest. Who despite risking his life makes less hourly than I do as a photographer. He shoots a gun. I shoot a camera. Yet he gets so undervalued it makes me want to march right up to whoever decides their pay and show them some mommy/wife wrath. That in and of itself is a can of worm I will not open. Maybe one day but not today.

footprintsWe have much and plenty and for that I am thankful.

… but the heaviness I feel lately cannot be hidden or escaped some times.

I’m exhausted at the thought of all the pinterest praise post.

Showing perfection.

Houses with everything set right and kids dressed cute. *Does my kid even have underwear on right now??*

Mothers calling other moms heartless idiots, weak or selfish for being unable to nurse, birth a baby without pain meds or choosing not or to give their kid a shot. Its a competition, right? One moms choice means shes right and the other utterly foolish and wrong. Many make it seem so… and moms read comment after comment, filling their hearts with hate from total strangers, daily. How is this good for anyone?

Flawless meals with all real ingredients and post after post of boxed food sharing every single thing wrong that is in it.

You know, I can read… I realize processed foods contain crap, we all do. Even those who consume it daily know this. The difference is some care, some don’t. I for one am the type that does care... but I refuse to live in a bondage to it. I refuse to put my family in debt because I cant imagine eating something that contains a hormone or a gmo. I find peace in knowing I’m trying and doing the best with what I have and I believe God blesses those who do so. We cannot live in ignorance or turn away from truth but we can learn to trust the Father and know He is good. If our bank cant afford everything organic, He knows that! He knows the hairs on my head, the stars in the sky, you better believe he knows the desires in my heart and the amount in my bank. I believe in eating healthy, real food and making sure my kids know the benefits of this and importance… but you better believe ill be a good steward and be reasonable.

I don’t need food babe telling me my kids cereal is going to kill them with some sort of preservative that is linked to cancer.

The constant worry that floods us mothers…

Our minds.

Our hearts.

Its exhausting!!

I’m putting a stop to this today! For me.

For my children. For my home.

I love my blog and will continue to blog, because, I love yall :) – really. I do! Email me, it makes my day. I love being able to share my heart…
… and I will continue to do so.

One thing that I have learned over the years, is being silent. Not genuine. Not expressing struggle. Is to live in a box. I want nothing more than to be real with those around me… with other women (esp mothers)… and break the mold of traditional expectations. I was a Pastors wife and may very well be one again… but that doesn’t mean we have to pretend perfection. No one should have to.

now….

Lets learn to cut the screen off.

Put the PHONE DOWN (turn it off – really! preaching to myself here).

and be here. Now.

With those who love you.

See you.

living in the now, a post about being a mom and putting the phone down

Chin Boo Boo?

Last week I was tidying up my boys room a bit prepping them for bed… I was fixing up Taite’s bunk and noticed his night time reading light was unplugged. They have these ikea lamps that connect to their bunk post using a large CLIP… well as I went to plug up the lamp, I didnt realize the clip was sticking up so far and as I bent over, I hit my chin. Not just a little. Full force. Enough that I had to refrain from cursing… and made my way to the bathroom… where my chin bled… and bled…. and bled. I was surprised it bled so much. Within seconds of the blow, it began to swell and I was left with a pretty big gash on the tip of my chin.

::sigh::

This particular day had been one of those “off” days too… where everything went wrong… It was the “Man I can’t wait to go to bed” type of day…. you all know the type, right? So to end it with a blow to the chin, was not cool.

As soon as I stopped the bleeding I took the Essential Oil Gentle Healer though and applied it pretty heavily… I knew if anything, I could use this moment to show my friends and readers how amazing this oil is. If you missed the post where I talked about this oil and how we saved Reed from a trip to the ER and stitches… be sure to read that post HERE.

This oil was one of those that I cringed to buy.. The cost was not cheap. Although the cost is less now than when I purchased it, so it is cheaper than what I paid!

Now that I have this oil though I have seen first hand how amazing it is… multiple times.

Below is a photo of my chin… and how fast it healed. The pictures are unedited and not altered in any way. I took them all with my iphone and just put them together side by side for blog purposes. To those curious, I applied this oil onto my chin every 12 hours or so. Just evening, morning and mid day if I thought about it.

How you can use Essential Oils to heal your skin. From old scars to new boo boos. This stuff is unreal!

How you can use Essential Oils to heal your skin. From old scars to new boo boos. This stuff is unreal!It seriously is like having a doctor in your medicine cabinet…

The ability it has to heal and regenerate skin is unbelievable to watch… and I cannot praise it enough.

To those curious how I dilute my Gentle Healer. I place it into a roller bottle (10ml). I put around 15 drops into that roller bottle and then fill the rest of it up with a carrier oil.

Lots of people are skeptical of Essential Oils… I for one was.

It is kind of annoying to see people post things over… and over… and over again about “oils.”

I really don’t want to be that mom :) – so trust me, I bite my tongue a lot on things like Instagram and Facebook haha… It is the type of thing though, that once you see what these can do in your life and for your family, you want to share…

I purchase Gentle Healer From Rocky Mountain Oils. They are a smaller company than DoTerra and Young Living… but one that I greatly respect and love. Their oils are 100% pure and if you have any question in regards to their sources… certificates and what not, call them! They are legit and over see all their farms.

Great company and great prices. Their shipping too is the best.

Feel free to check out the below post I have written about this company… Or comment letting me know if you have any questions.

~ Why I chose Rocky Mountain Oils and one of my favorite recipes to make with my oils, Face Lotion Bars.

~ What Essential Oils should I get?

~ How to Blend and Dilute Essential Oils (with free printable chart)

~ How do I organize my Oils?

~ My go to Surface Cleaner Recipe – using Essential Oils.

~ Natural Lip Balm Chapstick Recipe using Essential Oils.

~ Whipped Lavender Body Butter Recipe

~ My homemade Hand Sanitizer Recipe (I use this any time we go out!)

*The above post does contain Affiliate links. I am an affiliate for Rocky Mountain Oils. I purchase all my oils though using my own money. Rocky Mountain Oils did not pay me to post this. I just became an affiliate for them because I love their oils so much, it only made sense. If you click through my blog to their site and purchase anything, a small portion of the sale goes to help our family. This in no way affects my thoughts on these amazing oils. I would shop with them either way. Hope these post can help you as you begin your journey with Essential Oils. Either through Rocky Mountain or another company. There is never any pressure to buy from them through me. Happy Oiling :)

Reorganized Home School Room 2015

One thing that often happens when you home school. Is that things can get sloppy. At least I find that true for me. The every day task of motherhood, house keeping, school room responsibility and everything else that goes along with what I do daily, piles up. I have been in this weird “purging and reorganizing” mood for weeks now. I have no idea why. No, I’m not pregnant. So I cant blame hormones. :) I think it may be the pre-spring cleaning fix? or something.

Whatever the culprit my husband I know is probably a bit annoyed with my moving of furniture and purging of stuff.

Then again, he can’t complain. At least I’m not going out and buying a bunch of stuff we don’t need. If anything I am selling and making money along the way as I purge our things.

THIS POST will give you an idea of what the room looked like prior to my changing things around.

Here goes…


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I originally had a rectangle table in this room. The old table was nice and solid oak. It was my childhood table. I decided to put this in our breakfast nook area instead though, because the circle table made it easier to teach from. It also took up less room. Although glancing back at the before photos it may not seem so. It does though, trust me.

The round table I got for free via our neighborhood facebook page. Score! It actually has a leaf you can put into the center to make it bigger if you choose to do so. This table only came with three chairs (the white one shown was one of the the three it came with). In order to have some unity in the breakfast nook area of our home, I took two white chairs and two darker wood chairs and alternated them in the kitchen nook. So it makes more sense. So in the school room I have the other two brown chairs for my older boys and the white chair is my throne… hah :)

I have found since the beginning of ever schooling my boys, that having a large table for all of us to use together works best. While having desk in their room is handy during independent study times and what not… having a center place where we come to sit and do school, functions well for our family. Eventually once I am schooling all 4 boys ill have to expand and add the leaf and extra chairs. For now the little boys sit at the smaller table picture. This table has been with us since the beginning too. A friend gave me it. It may not be much to look at but its perfect for young kids under age 5. It also is solid oak and can withstand lots of beatings.

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The book shelf to the right of the white cabinet is where I keep extra books we aren’t currently using. So 1st grade books, kindergarten, 3rd grade… or curriculum we may use in the future. It is also where we keep our kids money jars (we use a 3 jar system. Savings, giving and spending). I also have a big black treasure chest full of special treats for when the kids do well. If they do well during a week of school they get to go to the treasure box… or if they get A’s on their test… that sorta thing. The black cabinet drawer thing on top of that shelf has stickers, laminating sheets, readers we currently dont use and so forth.

The small table in front of our white board has our essential oil diffuser.

As well as an organizer with all the supplies we’d need to get through a school day (roughly).

The white board we got at an office max that was closing. I saved 80% of it and only paid $30.00 for that! Such a steal!! It is also magnetic and cleans up so much easier than our former chalk board and cheap white board alternative we tried using for a while.

I highly recommend every home school mom invest in a good white board.

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The white cabinet my dad made for me years back too out of an old TV console. It is what I put all of our craft materials… puzzles, board games, misc. school things. Its great at hiding things. Its extra special to me too since my dad helped paint it and put it together.

The dark blue school table with color chairs was given to me by a friend when we moved to GA. Its adjustable and solid! Easy to clean off too. The computer my dad gave us… although I do think we will upgrade to a nicer one this summer. On that desk we also have a copier that prints color/black and white. I use it to make copies of seat work and student pages. The other printer is a laser black and white. I use that to print most papers that dont involve color. Laser printers are hands down the way to go if you want to save on ink. They last forever!! I have had that same ink cartridge for like 4 years now! Eventually Id love to get a laser copier… but my budget doesn’t allow for that just yet.

That table is used for our computer work. Switched on School house. Spanish and typing. Also any videos we have to watch we use that as well.

The book shelf to the left contains all of our current school books and reading material. At the very bottom of that book shelf is the tot shelt. With board books, play do, kenetic sand and so forth.

I used bricks to help keep books together for different students… much cheaper than expensive book ends. :)

On top of that book shelf is our hamster Daisy in her bin cage. Shes a great addition to our classroom.

The little colored shelf unit to the left is now organized with all of our boys legos! Color coded. I use to keep extra paper and pencils in that. That shelf unit though did not do well when holding heavier items… so it works much better for legos.

That is pretty much it! :)

Our school room in a nutshell.

I love it!

We spend a lot of time there… so keeping it organized in a way that makes the day go smoother is really important.

Comment letting me know if you want to know what curriculum we enjoyed this year and why… what we plan to do next year… etc… I have already begun to do some new curriculum with the boys even though its close to the end of this years school year. Im a bit unusual in that aspect. I add things in as we go sometimes and you know what, that is the beauty of home school! We arent boxed in and we can change things mid year if we want and make it work. Hard to believe that this year ill have a 5th grader! Seems unbelievable really…

Casper Bed Review

Casper Bed ReviewI told you all that I would do a full write up review on the Casper Bed after at least a few weeks… We’ve had the Casper Bed since Feb 4th. So its been just about 2 weeks. If you missed our unboxing video, feel free to watch that HERE.

Now before I get started with this review, let me start off by disclosing that I was not paid by Casper to write this. I was not given this mattress for free to conduct my review. I have been wanting a King Sized bed for a decade and finally just went for it.

The Casper Bed company is a company I had never heard of before. A friend of mine mentioned them to me after learning I was interested in a new bed… and as soon as I saw the concept of how it all worked, I knew it was what I wanted to do.

Travis and I debated going mattress shopping… but the idea of dragging four boys to a mattress store… dealing with sales men and or having to hire a sitter, costing us $10 an hour, just so we can look at some beds, didn’t make sense. What better way to buy a mattress than to have it shipped to your home.

There then came a decision.

Try the Casper Mattress…. or try another brand I soon learned about after the fact, called Tuft and Needle.

BOTH looked great. Both had killer reviews….

Both had great return policies.

So being the bargain shopper than I am, I went with the cheaper one. Tuft and Needle.

Feel free to check out their site. Their company is great and this post is in no way written to bash them. I am just sharing my experiences and hopefully it’ll help someone.

Tuft & Needle had the same “business model” I guess you could say. You buy the mattress. Try it. If after 30 days you don’t like it, you can return it no hassle. Get a refund for 100% of what you paid. For those curious how that works with shipping the mattress back. Both Casper and Tuft and Needle DONATE their used beds to a charity… so you basically schedule a pick up with the Salvation Army, they come pick up the bed. You take a photo of your donation slip, email that to the company and that is it. You get a refund. Simple.

Travis and I loved the feel of the Tuft and Needle at first… but after night one… then night two…. and so forth, we knew it wasn’t for it. The mattress was beautifully craft and I loved the look… but it was just to firm. I had read many reviews where people said they would place toppers onto this mattress and it made for the perfect bed… but for me, I was paying for this bed and wanted it to be good, without a topper. I didn’t want to have to buy anything extra.

So we returned the Tuft and Needle bed… I really felt bad about this :( … Their customer service was SPOT ON… so kind… so understanding. I cannot praise them enough. So if you would like to try a cheaper alternative, try the Tuft. It may be perfect for you… it may not. You still get to try it – if its not a fit, return it, no questions.

So with that return, I then went and purchased the Casper.

ED9A6435This mattress cost $950.00 – with a coupon it was $900.00. The Tuft and Needle was $750.00. So roughly $150.00 more than the Tuft and Needle (with the casper coupon I found). So it is a little bit more…. but for a King Sized mattress, its still a great price!

Casper gives you a 100 day TRIAL! So you can try this bed for 100 days. If you hate it after 90 days, schedule a pick up. Full refund. No questions. You truly cannot go wrong.

From night one we loved this bed.

WOW. So incredibly soft… but not to soft.

I have lower back issues and DO NOT LIKE overly soft mattress. I have always hated memory foam too… but there is something special about this bed and it is just so perfect. Travis and I have slept great since day 1… and now at almost 2 weeks, we cant imagine not having this bed.

I love it.

Our Kids adore it. (they all want Casper now)

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The ONLY CON I have, is that after the initial unboxing, it has a funny smell. The smell though is gone within a few days.

We placed our mattress onto a plat form we purchased off amazon. It was $100.00. It is great. Does not squeak or anything. Solid and easy to assemble.

So for $1,000 we had a brand new King bed and frame. That I paid cash for. That btw is important for me to emphasize. I do not believe in debt and I believe firmly in paying cash for things. Esp things like this, that we dont really “need” but know will better our sleeping experience and marriage haha… I would strongly suggest anyone planning to get married, to just invest in a king from the get go. This sized bed would have saved us many frustrations with sleeping together. :) I’m a light sleeper. Travis is not. I cannot tell you how many times Ive kicked him out because I just could not sleep with his face so close to my face. (truth!) I wish we had purchased this bed 12 years ago.

So to those curious how I like the Casper.

Hands down the most amazing mattress we have ever owned.

The only negative thing to result from this….

I do not want to get up in the morning. :)

**Feel free to use this link to get $50.00 off your Casper Bed. -Casper has a great referral program too btw. If someone buys a mattress using your link, you get $50.00 too. The one thing I dont like is they put a CAP on that referral program. So once your coupon is used 5 times, you no longer benefit and get the $50.00 in return. I have actually already hit my max of 5 sales (yall rock!!). So I wont get a penny for at least a year, but at least you all can save $50.00 still, despite my hitting the quota already.

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